Thursday, June 22, 2017

Holy Contentment

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Our life in Christ has nothing to do with the wisdom of the world. In fact, much of what we do defies nature, scientific laws and worldly expectations.

Therefore, some of our friends, relatives, associates and neighbors will reject us over our beliefs and actions (Psalm 14:2-3). They are consumed with their self-important life and cannot conceive of why we would believe the precepts of what they consider an archaic religion (Proverbs 3:7).

Yet, we are not alone. Jesus lived a misunderstood life as well (Luke 23:11). If we renounce the truth of God that we know to please other people or to fit in to society, we will pay the penalty of a compromised soul.

If we search the world to find something or someone else to bring us fulfillment, we fall short of the glory of God. God does not only call us to worship Him with our mind and understanding, but in spirit and in truth as well (John 4:23-24).

God reveals His truth to us as we seek Him with our whole heart (Jeremiah 29:13; 1 Corinthians 2:10). Our life becomes a Bible for others to read (2 Corinthians 3:2).

Satan wants us to believe that we are hopeless sinners, unable to rise up to partake in holy living. The truth is that when God moved in, He imparted His divine nature to us as well (2 Peter 1:4).

We are Saints of God (Romans 1:7). We walk as children of the Light, and we give no place to the flesh (Ephesians 5:8; Galatians 5:16, 25). We trade our heavy load of selfishness and sin for His yoke, which is easy and light (Matthew 11:30).

Father God, teach us to accept one another and to encourage each other in Your love (Romans 15:7). Unite us with one another by Your Spirit within us (Ephesians 4:13). Remind us that eternal life is knowing You in an intimate and personal way (John 17:3).

We do not need to wait for eternity to have this relationship, but to trust only in Christ for our salvation now in this life. Remind us that we can bear fruit for Your Kingdom as we abide in You, obey Your Word and walk in Your Spirit (John 15:5; Ephesians 2:10; Galatians 5:15-25).

Thought for the Day:
God's' love for us knows no bounds, and it fills us to overflowing with appreciation and wonder; we gain holy contentment when we realize who we are in Christ and we develop a grateful attitude for what God provides for us.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

A Good Marriage - Key Ingredients - Part 2

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God usually puts opposites together; in fact, He created us so that opposites attract one another. I used to consider this a huge trick and I failed to see the wisdom or humor in this conundrum.

Over the years, however, I saw the reason behind this attraction. God knows that our individual strengths can compensate for our mate's weaknesses, in the same way that their strengths counterbalance our failings.

We lean on one another rather than insist on our own way or compete with each other. We forgive each other's idiosyncrasies that drive us crazy and look for ways to appreciate our differences.

I have yet to meet a mind reader, with the exception of my husband and younger son. They seem to be able to know what I am thinking prior to me saying anything about it.

Yet, we do not want to assume that anyone has this talent on a continual basis. We acknowledge character traits that we respect in one another, and focus and dote on those personality differences that we find attractive and that we really appreciate.

We all forget what we have been told at one time or another; so it is important to clearly and patiently communicate during our quality time together what we are needing, thinking and feeling until our need is met.

Making a schedule for date nights is often a necessity in our busy lifestyle. This does not diminish the romance of the occasion, but it actually proves to one another that we care and that we consider each other worthy of our time and effort.

We can also spend time together on spontaneous picnics, movie nights and sitting on the porch swing together, etc. These are very romantic times of sharing and also worth our whole-hearted commitment to make each other feel special and cherished.

Father God, teach us to cherish one another and to appreciate all that we mean to one another and what we do for each other. Help us to be grateful for our mate and to realize why You brought us together. We want to serve You with our time individually and as a couple.

Remind us to pray together and to share with each other what we are learning in Your Word. We desire to be Godly examples to each other and to our family, neighbors, associates and friends. Help us to prioritize our time and to keep our focus on You, to follow the guidance of Your Spirit and to walk in Your will for each moment of our day and night.

Thought for the Day:

When we love God more than we love our self or our mate, He helps us to love both our self and our mate more sincerely and fully.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

A Good Marriage - Key Ingredients

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We often hear or read about the idea that friends make the best mate for our life. In the 44 years of marriage that I experienced so far in my lifetime, I have to agree with this wisdom.

There is one downfall to this concept, however. We often end up taking our friends for granted, neglecting our relationship when our life gets busy, and letting down our guard with one another until we treat each other with less respect and cherishing love than is healthy for our marriage.

The only way to keep the spark of love and interest alive in our marriage is to appreciate each other and to spend time together. Attending church services together, working together in a ministry, riding together to appointments and chatting along the way.

We can participate in hobbies that we are both interested in doing with our time; make an effort to share laughter every day; trust one another with our secret fears, hopes and joys; and cherish our relationship above all others.

We forgive each other for shortcomings, inconsideration, grouchy exchanges, perceived slights and failures to keep promises. Hoarding hurt feelings blocks the flow of love between two people, but forgiveness is God's divine ingredient for living happily ever after.

Expectations are a part of marriage. We are all human with individual desires, and we only have one mate to help us to fulfill those needs. Be willing to help your mate meet his/her needs.

Healthy couples never insist on their own way, but we express our requests clearly, expect to be taken seriously and trust that our mate will cheerfully help us to complete whatever task in which we are involved.

Sharing moments of intimacy, meaningful looks, a wink or a smile across the room, frequently expressing the words "I love you"; connecting physically during the day with a phone call, email, text or love note hidden in an obvious place, and a frequent kiss or hug are all ideas that will keep the spark alive between us.

Father God, remind us that serving one another in love enables us to remember that we are both equally important in our marriage. When there is discord, help us to look for solutions within our self and our attitude and behavior, rather than to try to impose our opinions on one another.

Keep us aware that our body language is very expressive, sometimes more so than the words we use. Inspire us to make the effort to brainstorm together to find a solution with which we can both agree on, in order to keep the peace in our home through every season of life. This will make both of us feel "heard", considered and cherished.

Thought for the Day:
Whenever two people live together, there is always conflict; but it is how we handle that conflict that allows us to pull together rather than to pull apart.

Monday, June 19, 2017

God's Agape Love for Us

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We find rest in our soul - our thoughts, feelings and choices - in God alone, because He is our only source of true hope (Psalm 62:5). No other person, place or thing, regardless of how much we love them or how well-suited we are to one another, can bring us this fulfillment.

We can completely enjoy being our true self in the presence of God in us, but we are continually endeavoring to earn the love of humans in our life. We pretend to be someone we think they want us to be and we are rarely relaxed and spontaneous around them.

Even our best friend requires that we put on a mask now and then; but Jesus already knew us when we were developing in our mother's womb (Psalm 139:13).

We do not need to hide any failure, flaw or foible from Him, because He loved us while we were still sinners (Romans 5:8). His love is unconditional and we cannot earn it, run from it or lose it (Psalm 139:8).

Our relationship with Christ has the potential of growing into the most intimate bond we can ever experience, as we seek Him and obey Him while His Spirit directs each moment of our day.

No human being could ever grant us the desires of our heart as intimately and completely as Jesus can (Psalm 37:4). At salvation, He comes to dwell in us and He knows us better than we know our self.

Secular self-help groups promote the practice of turning over our life to our Higher Power. Almighty God is the only "higher power" that can provide us with His peace, joy and security in this tumultuous and insecure world in which we dwell.

Father God, once we accept Christ's atoning redemption for our sins, You raise us from eternal death and give us Your ever-lasting life. You teach us to focus on eternal matters rather than on earthly concerns. You help us to die to our old sin nature and You regenerate our spirit with Christ's life, in which we are hidden in You (Colossians 3:1-3).

Intimacy with You is more fulfilling than any relationship on earth. We share with You our deepest thoughts and divulge our most dreadful concerns without fear of ridicule or rejection. You care deeply for all that we are, all that we do and all that we hope for tomorrow. You are our best friend who sticks closer to us than a brother (Proverbs 18:24).

Thought for the Day:
It is time to completely surrender our life to the Lordship of the true Lord Jesus Christ, submit our self to God and live according to His plan and purpose for our life, because it is only in His presence that we will ever find fullness of joy in this life and in the next. - Psalm 16:11