Month: August 2015

Our lives are not our own

I read Ezekiel 24 just now where God kills Ezekiel’s wife as a sign to the Israelites. He was told ahead of time and commanded to not mourn for her. 

Of course my initial reaction is, “God, how could you do this?” Especially after all the miracles I’ve witnessed God do to bring my husband back to me, this breaks my heart. But the point here and in my own life is that we know He is God and He does everything for His glory alone. He loves us and does all things for us to know Him, but our lives are only to give Him glory. Our happiness does not matter. John Piper said it best, “In the end, what matters is the effect that God produces in our lives through his written word by his Spirit.” 

Yes, bad things happen…unimaginable things, but God is still Sovereign. And our circumstances don’t change what God requires of us. And God doesn’t require any more from us than He, Himself, has given. Lest we forget, it was His Son who was mocked, persecuted, tortured, and murdered. Just like Christ, the things God calls us to are not easy, painless, or happy, but the suffering makes us like Christ and gives the Father all the glory He requires. Therefore, our lives are not our own. They were bought with a price. At a cost that requires we forego our temporary lives for that (whatever that may be) which gives the Father His glory. Although it is a hard lesson, it’s one in which reaps the only eternal benefits. Ezekiel knew that and lived it. The question remains: Do we?

1 Corinthians 6:19-20 What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost [which is] in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.

1 Peter 2:19,21 (KJV) 19 For this [is] thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully. For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps

2 Corinthians 4:15-18 For all things are for your sakes, that the abundant grace might through the thanksgiving of many redound to the glory of God. For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal. 

Acts 14:22 (NKJV) strengthening the souls of the disciples, exhorting them to continue in the faith, and saying, “We must through many tribulations enter the kingdom of God.”

1 Peter 1:6-7, 9 Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ: Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls. 

Romans 8:17-18 And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together. For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.

 
1 Peter 4:18-19 And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear? Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator.

 
Hebrews 11:24-27 By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter; Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompence of the reward. By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king: for he endured, as seeing him who is invisible. 

Acts 20:22-24 And see, now I go bound in the spirit to Jerusalem, not knowing the things that will happen to me there, except that the Holy Spirit testifies in every city, saying that chains and tribulations await me. But none of these things move me; nor do I count my life dear to myself, so that I may finish my race with joy, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.

I was a fool to think I could live in prosperity without ever suffering and become like Christ. That way of thinking is totally unbiblical.

 
In Christ,

Jenn

Good resource for suffering:
http://bible.org/article/why-christians-suffer

Settling Down

Since we’ve moved, we’ve been working so hard to get everything settled: unpacked, organized, & comfortable. There’s so much about this house we love, but there is also things we don’t like. I’m sure that’s the case for all who move. Sometimes, I miss our old house. We were there 12.5 years. I was thinking about that tonight. Perhaps it just takes awhile to settle down and this place will start to feel like home. 

Immediately a sobering thought stopped me: “This is not my home, nor will it ever be.” Before someone accuses me of being ungrateful for the house which God blessed us, let me explain. Earth is not our home. We are just passing through. I don’t want this place to ever feel like home again. I love my husband and children, but there’s a constant longing to be with Jesus and the Father.

As I was mowing the lawn today, I heard a thought-provoking lyric in my music: “We are here to serve and not to settle down.” That’s from “Living for Heaven” by Phillips, Craig, & Dean. 
To many, “settling down” means having a nice house with a good job, getting married, and raising kids. None of those are why we’re here. We are here to serve God and others. 

This is not our home. Don’t settle down here. Don’t get so comfortable you can’t let go. This is superficial. This life is temporary. We have a true home elsewhere.  Do you long for it? Are you homesick? Take a self check. If that ache isn’t there, you may be holding too tightly to things of this world. Let God open your eyes. Remember He shall have no other gods before Him. 

Waiting to be with The Groom,

Jenn 

Is Your House Empty?

I found this beautiful dollhouse at a garage sale and just had to get it. It didn’t matter that my baby girl was only 6 months old, she’d grow into it! Lol. So, I set it up in the corner with all the adorable furniture. By now, it’s been there for a couple of months just waiting for a little girl to play with it. And while my first thought is still how cute it all is, looking at that empty house got me to thinking. 

How many homes nowadays are like this dollhouse? How many families live in beautiful, comfortable houses full of wonderful furniture surrounded by cutting-edge technology only to not realize how truly empty their houses are? 

It’s the Spirit of God that fills a home. It’s His word and prayer. Then following those come peace, joy, & laughter. Without Jesus first and central, the family suffers. 

I watched the movie, “Courageous,” again yesterday. It does a great job of showing that families can suffer through any kind of heartache: financial, the loss of a loved one, etc. and still be full of peace & laughter. Will you fill your house today with what truly matters? Don’t leave it hollow with things of this world.

Matthew 24:35 “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away.

Recommended Resources

I recently created a page at the top of this blog to list great resources that have been a tremendous influence on our marriage. So much so, that we give these as gifts to couples depending on their situation: engagement, wedding, or hurting. Therefore, I’ve divided the list accordingly. I hope it helps anyone seeking a greater understanding of God’s idea for marriage.

Marriage Takes Three

Here’s two wonderful poems with the same title. The first I’d always heard, but the latter I discovered recently and actually prefer. 

Marriage Takes Three by Perry Tanksley

I once thought marriage took

Just two to make a go,

But now I am convinced

It takes the Lord also.

And not one marriage fails

Where Christ is asked to enter,

As lovers come together

With Jesus at the center.

But marriage seldom thrives,

And homes are incomplete,

Till He is welcomed there

To help avoid defeat.

In homes where Christ is first,

It’s obvious to see,

Those unions really work,

For marriage still takes three.

Marriage Takes Three (Author Unknown)

It’s not enough just two you see, to complete His plan there must be three. 

As Husband and Wife you complete your love, with sacred vows and the Lord above. 

If together you’ll both kneel and pray, with sincere hearts as you end each day, 

And in all you do, if you put Him first, He’ll meet your needs and quench your thirst. 

It’s not enough, just two you see… to complete His plan, it takes all three

A Special Anniversary 

Yesterday, August 8th, marked three years our lives got a reboot. Although he didn’t plan it, JW chose to come back home. That evening, I ran across the back yard barefoot to meet him. I jumped in his arms, so excited to see him. He says he knew then, He couldn’t leave. I had cooked him dinner and wanted him to stay, but I didn’t pressure him. I told him I believed God that he would come back home, so he didn’t have to come back yet if he wasn’t ready. I don’t believe I’ve ever seen someone in such turmoil. Looking back, I now understand the spiritual battle he was fighting. JW was so tired from the fight, he literally was falling asleep upright on the couch. He finally gave in (to God, not me) and stayed home. He knew it was more than just sleeping one night in his own bed. If he chose to stay one night, he’d stay forever. At the time I didn’t understand, but now I know the OW (other woman) had given him the ultimatum. So JW chose to come back home. 
That began the process of restoration, which was difficult and painful. We had to learn to trust God together. I still remember the pain of revelations. JW had to finally cut off all communication with the OW. It was a hard process. Some would ask how I could ever trust my husband again. That part really wasn’t hard. My “trust” was in God, not my husband. I had seen, actually we both saw, how God would reveal things to me when I needed to know. It was actually God, in a dream, that had told me about another woman! So, from that experience, I knew God would let me know anything I needed to know about my husband. JW saw that too. He learned to be completely honest, even if he’d rather conceal some things to spare my feelings, because God would reveal them anyway. 

I’m amazed at all of it, still. It’s like I’m writing about someone else. That’s how different our lives are now. After 3 years, we have a precious little boy who follows right behind his daddy and a beautiful baby girl who’s learning to crawl everywhere. We’re busy making a new house our home. But most importantly, we’re different people. We are a praying family, because we’ve seen what prayer does. We pray about everything, because that’s what scripture says we are to do. When JW is having a frustrating day at work, he asks me to pray. When he has to leave us for work, he prays over us and blesses us. When our toddler is learning to use the potty, we pray with him that God would grant him understanding! Why do we do this? Because God answers! For 10 years we knew we should be a praying couple, but we wouldn’t take the time. Then we lived through the devastation caused from not praying. Now we pray and ask God to protect us and our family. 

Three years ago, God took a broken marriage between two sinners and healed us. He brought life to our marriage. God amazes me. Let God amaze you too. 

Genesis 50:20 (NIV) You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.

The Real Reason for Standing 

Ezekiel 22:30 (KJV) 30 And I sought for a man among them, that should make up the hedge, and stand in the gap before me for the land, that I should not destroy it: but I found none.

Isn’t that the saddest scripture? God is seeking someone to stand up and pray for Israel, to come to its defense just so He can save it, and finds not one!

Just as God’s list of Isreal’s sins is extensive, so is your list of your spouse’s sins. However, God is asking you if you will stand in the gap for him/her or will you let them die in their sins. Before you answer that, consider this:

Matthew 6:14-15 (KJV) For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

I’m going to go out on a limb here, and guess that you aren’t sinless either, especially in your marriage. I’d wager your spouse has an equivalent list to yours. What if none stood in the gap for you? Or worse, what if on Judgment Day God doesn’t forgive your sins, because your hardness toward your spouse only brought unforgiveness? (That statement actually takes my breath away!)

Let me put this in as simple terms as I can: Standing for your marriage is about salvation, yours & your spouse’s! All this heartache came to wake you up. Do you know Jesus?  Does He know you? Every trial we face puts us in the face of Jesus. Will you accept His way?

The first step to standing for your marriage (& the first step to life) is accepting Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. If you haven’t done that, do it now! Follow the plan of salvation at the top of this blog entitled “Romans Road to Salvation.” Please, don’t wait. God’s word tells us that today is the day of salvation, because we aren’t guaranteed the next moment.

Standing for your marriage is extremely important, but the truth is your salvation and the salvation of your family is of greater importance. Give God your heart and life, then let Him take care of the rest!