Popular wisdom states that a couple should enter marriage wearing rose-colored glasses so as to not see the imperfections in their spouse. Perhaps we’ve got this backwards.
Over the years, experience has shown that it would be better, and healthier, for the marriage for both parties if they began with an honest appraisal of their spouse – warts and all. As the normal events of a new marriage unfold, and we learn to live with those imperfections, then it is time to don the glasses so that we can look past the flaws and concentrate on the good things that attracted us to our spouse.
The truth is that we are all sinners and no matter how much we love our spouse, he/she, like us, is going, to be flawed by sin. The consequence of that flaw is that we will fight, we will say angry things, and we will go to bed angry even though we shouldn’t. It says that there will be difficult days in the life of our marriage. This is a natural outcome of two sinful, loving people living in intimate contact with one another.
However, when we re-read what Paul has to say concerning the roles of a husband and wife in the marriage, obedience to what he has written automatically demands that we don the rose-colored glasses.
Have you got yours on and how are they fitting these days?
Scripture: Ephesians 5:15-32
The Most Important Life Lesson Ever Learned
There are many lessons that we learn from God’s Word – The Bible. We can make ourselves dizzy just trying to remember them all, let alone putting them into practice.
At times, it is a good idea to just step back and take a look at what is truly fundamental in our relationship with our Lord and Savior Jesus. Anna B. Warner did exactly that when, in 1860, she wrote these words: “Jesus loves me – this I know, for the Bible tells me so; little ones to Him belong – they are weak, but He is strong.” We of course know this as the first verse to that children’s hymn – Jesus Loves Me.
These words are simple, direct, and fundamental to our relationship with our Lord and Savior. So, the next time that you have the opportunity to sing this hymn, do so with the gusto and innocence of the Child of God that you are.
Know that you are loved in spite of what you may have done in the past, what you are doing, and what you might do in the future. Allow that love to bring you to the confession of your sins and to guide you this day and every day that follows.
Scripture: Ephesians 3:14-18
The Power Of Identity
Who are you – mother, father, aunt, uncle, friend, foe, old, young, etc.? Your identity is important! It informs others about you and to an extent, defines how they treat you.
As a Christian, what identifies you? How can others tell that you are a Christian and how does your identity determine how you are treated? In truth, there have been numerous books and articles written answering these two questions.
The answer to the question of what identifies you is your baptism. This is where you are linked to your Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. This linkage changes your life. No longer can you continue in the ways of your former identity. You take on a new identity; the identity of being a Christian.
Others cannot help but notice the changes. Some will react positively, while others may not. But for you, these changes will carry you into eternal life as promised by God the Father.
Scripture: Romans 6:1-14
Hugged Your Family Today?
Did you hug your children before you left for work today? How about telling your spouse that you love him, or her? If you don’t have children or are not married, did you tell a friend how much you value their friendship?
If you didn’t, you missed a wonderful opportunity to strengthen your relationships with them. Perhaps you were just too busy or something else had your attention. Yes, this happens to all of us at one time or another. However, can we ever justify being too busy or too distracted to focus for a few moments on a loved one? Just maybe your day would have been better if you had taken the time to tell someone how much you love them.
It’s a good thing that God is never too busy or too preoccupied to tell you how much He loves you. Even when you don’t think that you deserve it you do, for His love is unconditional!
Give it a try this week and see what happens; you might be surprised.
Scripture: John 3:16
This Year, Whose Time?
Who will control your actions this year – the world, you or God?
On the surface the question seems trivial but it’s not. We do well when we operate according to God’s plan for us but not so well when we allow ourselves and/or the dictates of the world to control our actions and how we spend our time.
The issue here is two-fold. The first is discernment. We have to know His will for us and we do this by asking for it in prayer. The second is patience as we wait for Him to unfold that will.
So, how did you do last year? Was it a year of seemingly constant struggle? If so, then why not try a different approach? Try making God a part of your plans and see what happens.
Life In The Balance
There is no doubt that we live in difficult times. There are forces, sometimes self-imposed, that tend to throw us off balance. We’re living and breathing but that’s about all.
So why is this? How have we let our lives get so out of control? Perhaps we’re chasing after the wrong things – things that we think will bring peace and contentment but can only fail to deliver.
Jesus spoke of the danger of doing this. He said that man cannot served mammon (that which separates us from God) and God at the same time. He further said that if we attempt this, we will wind up serving one and hating the other.
He’s saying that we can’t have everything. We are free to decide which one, but serving both is out of the question!
So, if you find yourself just existing then perhaps you need to decide – mammon or God. Who should I serve and why? A little prayer might just be in order here.
Scripture: Deuteronomy 5
How Large Is Your Plate?
A question that each person must constantly ask is: how large is my “plate” not in terms of that amount of food that the dinner plate can hold but in terms of how I can use my time and talents.
It’s not uncommon to take on too much in the way of commitments. After all its just a little request, and I can tough it out for a while. We tend to forget at times that we need to prioritized our resources in order to remain healthy.
If we don’t, or are unwilling to do so, then something has to give way. All-to-often its relationships with family, loved ones, and God. We allow one, or more, of our relationships to suffer thinking that we can go back later and repair the damage; but do we?
The solution is a simple one – reduce the size of your plate. Prioritize what needs to be there and be selective as to what can, or should, be added. Allow nothing on that will result in something more important to be pushed off.
Need help in doing this? Go to God in prayer.
Scripture: Exodus 20:1-17 (noting the order in which He presents His commandments.
We live in a world in which technology is as much a part of the fabric of living as breathing. We’ve come a long way from the technology days of David’s sling that slew Goliath.
This technology by itself is neutral – neither good nor evil. It just exists, ready to be put to use. While God doesn’t speak to its existence, He does speak to how it is to be used – for good or evil.
It can be used in either realm – benefit or harm, good or evil. The computers that are the heart of the diagnostic tools available to your physician are certainly well within the realm of benefit. Those same computers, however, can be used for evil, doing harm and causing us to step away from God.
The point here is that this technology, no matter how powerful it is or will become, is only a tool. Therefore, the question is not the technology but the intent of the one who uses it. Do I use it to glorify Him or the world?
Scripture: Matthew 25:31-46
Over the years you’ve been blessed by the many relationships that you’ve encountered. As you look back over them, you see that they are a living reminder that life is all about relationships.
Most of our relationships are transient and for the most part enjoyable. However, there is one relationship that is permanent, joyful and by far the most important of all – our relationship with our Lord Jesus Christ. He brings a love to the relationship that is strong. So strong, that He willingly died on the cross so that you and He can continue your relationship for all of eternity.
So, the next time one of your relationships is not going as well as you think that it should, think back to what He did to ensure that His relationship with you went the way that it should. He gave everything to make the relationship with you work; can you say that you’ve done the same?
Scripture: Acts 10:43
Life’s Only Constant
The only constant in life is change, or so a very wise man once said. At first-blush you might think that he was just being funny, but history teaches us that he was spot-on with his observation. The world of today is no longer the same world as it was even a few short years ago.
There is one aspect of life, however, where his observation is not spot-on. In amongst the changes in our lives, there is one facet of life that has not changed – God’s word and His love for His children.
Our understanding of right and wrong, good and bad, acceptable and unacceptable may have shifted over time, but His word and His love for His children has not!
His love for each one of us is the same now as it’s always been: at times soft and comforting and at others, hard and demanding. Yet, in all of His dealings with us, this foundation has never changed.
Scripture: 1 John 4:19