Divine Joy – In the Face of Persecution

The_Christian_Martyrs_Last_Prayer_by_leon_gerome

 

The following is a short story that I wrote back in 2006. It is fictional and based off of facts and real life events that occurred for many individuals in other countries who stood up to proclaim Christ and live out their faith. As you read through this, my prayer is that you would lift up your hearts to God, praying for those missionaries and peoples in other countries who are persecuted for their faith, and even at times killed for standing up in Christ.

 


                                                                      “Private Svetonius!” the male voice bellowed, awakening from from a fitful slumber. He say up and looked around, disoriented, covered in a cold sweat. His dishwater blonde hair stuck to his forehead in clumps and his tongue drug across the roof of his mouth like sandpaper. Eventually he realized that he had dreamt the voice, but sleep was too hard to find again, it had hidden itself, like a thief in the night. He stood to stretch his legs, wondering what time it was. He reached into the pocket of his trousers for his pocket watch, but realized that they must have taken that too, for it was gone.

He sat back down on the musty smelling mattress and looked around, he had already committed the room layout to memory. It was a long narrow room, having cold steel walls and a cement floor. The door was made of thick metal, with a small window at the top, one he guessed to be no more than a foot wide and six inches in height. The window was just big enough to illuminate the dirt covered floors and the thick cobwebs in his cell. He buried his head in his hand, and did the only two things that there were to do…pray and think.

Ivan Svetonius joined the soviet army when he turned eighteen, longing for adventure, excited to leave behind the boring lifestyle of a farm boy. What he found was more than freedom, more than adventure, he found a Savior who loved him more than life, who offered freedom from sin and this world, adventure as he sought to know Him more and deeper, and a sense of belonging that he had never known before. This Savior had given His life for Ivan and in return, Ivan promised Christ that if given the opportunity he would give his life for Christ as well. He didn’t realize just how much this would change his career in the Soviet Army. The communist were endlessly calling him to headquarters for talks, attempting to “re-educate” him, to talk him out of his faith in Christ.

The last talk that he had was with Major Moisyeu, though Ivan had been interrogated again and again and again by many others, he had never backed down from his faith in Christ. still Moisyeu was certain that he could solve Ivan’s “problem.”

“Svetonius, have you forgotten to whom you work for ?” questioned Moisyeu.

“No, sir. I work for the Soviet Army.” replied Ivan, “but I serve my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, and that takes priority over all else.”

“Oh, is that right ? Is this Jesus the one paying you ? Does He outrank even me ?”

“Yes, sir. My Lord does outrank you, for He is the One who dies to pay for my sins. Not to be disrespectful, but I’ve yet to see you do that for me, or anyone else for that matter. And though He is not paying me currently, my riches are being laid up in heaven even as we speak.”

“I am familiar with the Christian teachings, Svetonius, but what does that have to do with being a soldier ? Do you disagree with the teachings of the glorious red army ?”

“No, Sir.”

“But yet you’ll not accept the principles of scientific atheism upon which our entire Soviet State and Army are based ?”

“I cannot accept what I know to be untrue. I can see how it might be possible for a man to look down upon the earth and be an atheist, but I cannot conceive how he could look up into the heavens and say that there is no God. I cannot agree with this principle. “

“Svetonius, no one can prove the existence of God. Not even priests and pastors agree on this.”

“Sir, they speak of not being able to prove God, but there is no question about knowing Him. I speak with His daily. He is with me in this very room, even as we now speak.”

“So God talks to you ? Hump! I am sorry Svetonius, but your persistence will do nothing for you. However, I have found that men like you often come to your senses with a little discipline.” Major Moisyeu said this while shaking his head in frustration. “You will be placed into a solitary cell for the evening, after taps are played. You will remain in there until you are willing to reconsider all of this talk of gods and heaven.

I hope that you will quickly reconsider and agree to be sensible in this matter. Tomorrow we will plan together for your political “re-education.” You are dismissed”  Moisyeu finished by raising his hand and waving Ivan away.

Moisyeu had expected Ivan to hesitate, to reconsider, to see some sense of doubt or fear in his eyes. Instead, Ivan only nodded his head, squared his shoulders, and walked quietly to the door without a single word.

“Private Svetonius!”

When the soldier turned around, Moisyeu did not see one line of worry, anger or fear on his face. This both surprised and shocked the older man.

“Do not attend dinner with the rest of the men. You are not to eat until further commanded. That is all.”

That night, after the bugle sounded, Ivan was transported to his cell, where he now remained. Ivan began to pray.

“Lord, I place my life in your hands. My heart I give You, Lord, eagerly and entirely. Please take it and make what You will out of it. If it be Your will, help me to make the most of my time here…..” For hours he prayed. Finally, he heard the click of the thick door opening. Light flooded into the room, cutting through the heavy darkness like a knife. Ivan rose, squinting, trying to make out the figure who was standing in the doorway.

“Private Svetonius!” A deep male voice bellowed, a voice that Ivan recognized as Colonel Rouchefoucaulds.

The Colonel walked a little closer, and as Ivan’s eyes adjusted to the light, he could make out the stern features that made up the man’s face. He was middle aged with close cut dark hair, and thick dark eyebrows that made his eyes seem even smaller and more daunting. Ivan was much taller than the man, but the Colonel was built stockier and held himself with pride.

“Have you changed your mind Svetonius ? Are you ready to reconsider this “god” of yours ?”  the Colonel clenched his lips tightly together and furrowed his brows even lower over his eyes as he glared up at Ivan.

“As much as I would love minor comforts, I cannot and will not disown my Savior. No man putting his hand to the plow and looking back is fit for the Kingdom of God. I will never agree to remain silent about my Lord God. “

“Svetonius, I didn’t want to do this,” growled Rouchefoucaulds turning away from Ivan, “but Moisyeu warned me that you might be this stubborn. Tonight you will be transported to a refrigerated cell, where you will remain for twenty-four hours. If by the end of that time you still are not cooperative, the temperature will slowly be dropped until you do decide to cooperate.”

Rouchefoucaulds began to walk out of the room, then paused and turned back to Ivan.

“Oh, and Svetonius, you are to obey that order in summer uniform. That is all.”

After he left, Ivan sat back down on the edge of the worn out mattress, and began to pray again. This time more fervently than ever before. A bright light suddenly filled the room and as he looked up, he saw and Angel of the Lord in front of him, bright and powerful. Ivan’s heart filled with joy and fear.

“Do not be afraid Ivan, for you have found favor with God. The Lord of Hosts sent me to tell you, ‘I am with you, so do not fear them. As they persecuted me, they also persecute you. But be of great courage for I am with you, even to the grace. Take heart, I will keep you strong to the end.’ “

Then, just as quickly as he appeared, the Angel was gone again, leaving Ivan again in the dark, but his joy was like a fire within him, so unspeakable that he could hardly move. The only thing that Ivan could do was to fall on his face on the cold cement floor and praise God. That was where he was found that evening when the guards came to transport him to his new cell.

This new cell was much different than his previous one. As Ivan stood in the dark and cold cell, he could feel the wind from the vent above the door. Exploring the cell, he found only cold steel walls and a freezing cement floor. He wondered how long he could stay alive in this room. He felt weak and dizzy from lack of food. He was so tired, but it was too cold to sleep. It was too cold in this room to do anything at all except pace back and forth to try and stay warm. He tried sitting on the floor, but it was unbearably cold, and he began to realize that pacing back and forth only brought him closer to the vent above the door. Finally, he found that the only position that would work was to stand leaning his forehead against the wall.

Yet through this all, Ivan’s heart stayed light. He was full of joy and peace and he was completely on fire for the Lord.

For the next two years this was Ivan’s life. He was transported from one cell to another and the torture only worsened. At times he was beaten so badly that he was hardly recognizable, and there was once that he was hung upside down on a ceiling fan by his feet and left there for days until he passed out. There were other times when he would be clothed in a special rubber suit and air would be pumped in until he could hardly breathe. Still another attempt to break his faith, he was sat in a room with a few men who pulled out both his fingernails and toenails one by one.

But through all of this torture a miracle occurred, when the torture was at it’s worst, Ivan began to love his torturers. He pictured each torturer as a future Apostle Paul and in his jailers he saw the potential to be like the jailer in Philippi who became a convert. He dreamt of the day when he would be asked, “What must I do to be saved ?”

Finally, when he was about twenty-one, Ivan realized that his time on earth was coming to an end. He knew that communist Russia was not going to put up with him much longer. He was too much of a nuisance and already hundreds of soldiers had come to Christ while witnessing the strong faith that Ivan had in Christ.

Ivan was transported to a solitary cell, where he awaited yet another interrogation. He spent his time in prayer to God, praying that he would be equipped with the right words to speak. He also prayed for every soldier he knew or knew of, he prayed for his family, friends, and most of all, for his tortures. It was finally announced to him that Major Moisyeu was waiting for him in the interrogation room. When Ivan was seated, Moisyeu began to talk.

“Svetonius, we have given you chance after chance to become ‘re-educated’ to our political background, but instead you have become stubborn and have decided that you will not follow our ways. No amount of discipline we have shown you has proven otherwise. But to show you my mercy, I will allow you one last chance to see my mercy, I will ask you again, will you renounce this so called ‘god’ of yours and these simple ideas, or will you pay the ultimate price ?”

Ivan raised his eyes to meet those of Moisyeu, and did the last thing that Moisyeu expected, he smiled, joy shining across his rugged and bruised face.

“Sir, God is my hope and my refuge, my strength, what He wills, I will. I do not care about my own life. The most important thing is that I complete my mission, the word that the Lord Jesus Christ gave me to do – to serve Him with my whole heart, soul and mind, to bring glory to Him in every possible circumstance and to tell as many as possible about Him. I have done all of those things. “

Moisyeu stared at Ivan for a moment, confused. His brow creased in frustration, not understanding how such a young man could give his life for something that he didn’t even see.

“Very well, Svetonius. The choice was yours. Tomorrow you are sentenced to execution by fire. I want you to be an example to everyone in this Army that this is the result of someone who dares disobey the Glorious Red Army.”

Moisyeu stood to leave, then turned back to Ivan and said, “You have strong perseverance, Svetonius. Too bad you let it go to waste on such foolish notions as these. You would have made one heck of a Soldier, son.”  And with that, he turned and left.

That night, Ivan spent his time in prayer, praying for strength for the next day, but also praising God for His gift of words and the strength to stand firm in Christ, even when presented with the knowledge that he was going to die.

The room suddenly filled with a bright light that almost blinded Ivan. He recognized the Angel of the Lord from years before, standing in front of him. For what seemed like hours he and Ivan just stared at each other, and then Ivan fell to the floor on his face. Finally, the Angel spoke;

“I come bringing a message from the Lord of Hosts. ‘You are pressed on every side, but not crushed, perplexed but not abandoned, struck down but not destroyed. I am with you, I will keep you strong to the end. I will you my perfect peace, and joy will fill your soul. My praises will be on your lips to the end. I am with you, do not fear.”

After a long while, Ivan finally lifted his face from the floor and looked around. The Angel was now gone, but Ivan’s heart was full of joy and peace. He began to worship God and praise His Name. The next morning the executioners found Ivan on his face on the floor, hands in the air, praising singing and praising God.

As the guards led Ivan out, everyone there, including fellow Soldier, followed to witness the execution. some were there to cheer, others there to offer support and encouragement. When he reached the place of his execution, he knelt down and began to pray Psalm 31 and Psalm 51, ending with, “Into Thy hand, O Lord, I commit my Spirit. Thou has redeemed me, O most good and merciful God!”

He was jerked up onto his feet from his prayers and tied to a stake with wet ropes. Bundles of sticks piled chin high were placed all around him. Given one last chance to renounce Christ, Ivan replied;

“What error should I renounce ? He whose head is in heaven need not fear to put his feet in the grave. Of this I am certain, that no one has ever died who was not destined by God to do so. Why should I hesitate to go this way when this is the way that God came to me ? For the Gospel I am here with a cheerful disposition and courage, ready to suffer death. What I told with my lips, I am ready to seal with my blood.”

As the fire was lit, Ivan Svetonius began to sing a hymn with such a loud voice that he could be heard over the crackling of the fire. “He shall present my soul unblemished and complete before the glory of His face, with joys divinely great”

Desiring God in Prayer – Do you Want Him ? Part 2

Prayer - Is HE Your Desire ?

****NOTE**** These notes and points are taken from the Sermon by David Platt – Desire – Do We Want Him – See sermon included at the end of this posting. 

In the last post we went over the first two points that Pastor David Platt covered in his sermon about desiring God in Prayer. We saw that the ultimate goal of prayer is to mold out desires into those of God’s and to make our will and desires one with His. Before we continue I would like to again review the passage in Luke 11:2-4 so that the verses are fresh in your memory as we continue the following two points.

If for some reason you missed the first post, here is the link so that you can go back and read what was covered, because it is deep and extremely important :

Desiring God in Prayer – Do You Want HIm ? – Part 1

“And He said to them, “When you pray, say:

‘Father, hallowed be Your name.
Your kingdom come.
 ‘Give us each day our daily bread.
 ‘And forgive us our sins,
For we ourselves also forgive everyone who is indebted to us.
And lead us not into temptation.’”

Luke 11:2-4

                                      3.    Ask God For His Grace – “Forgive Us Our Sins” 

                                                                             There is amazing truth in this point. We often read over this and think, “Yeah, yeah. God forgives my sins” and no one really considers the magnitude of that fact. We have a hearing with God – the Almighty God of the Universe, the One who holds the World in His hands and breathed life into man, we are able, as His Children, to go before Him and seek His grace and mercy. What an awesome thought!

                                                                             The more we walk with God in prayer the more connected with God we become and the more real and literal this fact becomes to us as believers, as children of the Most High. The deeper we come into God, the more we realize our need for His grace as He exposes things in our lives that we never saw before. The awesome thing in all of this is, that as we become closer to Him and He reveals these sins and the wickedness in our lives the more we desire and long to get rid of it because we want to walk the Christ like life and want to be molded to be more like Him.

                                                                              There are two points within this one that I would like to make as it regards the specific way we are to approach God as we seek His forgiveness for sin in our lives.

                                                       1.) We are to experience His grace continually 

                                                                        We are in constant need of forgiveness. There is not a day that goes by that we are not in need of  the continual forgiveness of our Father. It is in this that we are shown that even our best works need to be washed in the blood of Christ because before a righteous King they are but mere filthy rags.

For all of us have become like one who is unclean,
And all our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment;
And all of us wither like a leaf,
And our iniquities, like the wind, take us away.

Isaiah 64:6 

                                                       This is why we are to go before God over and over again, consistently and constantly, asking Him for His forgiveness. We are driven to go before Him because we realize that we are in such deep need to be washed clean by the blood of the lamb. There is no way we can exhaust the mercy of God by going to Him with our sins and failures, that is exactly what He desires in each of us, a humble and contrite spirit that looks to please Him.

The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; A broken and a contrite heart, O God, You will not despise.

Psalm 51:17

If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.

1 Chronicles 7:14 

                                                  We can boldly approach the throne of grace, knowing that we have an audience with the King and that He offers a well of mercy and forgiveness that will never run dry.

Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

Hebrews 4:16

          2.) We are to experience His grace and mercy specifically 

                                                                                                   It can be so easy to go before God in prayer, seeking His mercy, and rather than praying for specific sins we have in our lives, we want to generalize our sins and sum them all up without laying them out one by one before Him. We need to go before God and ask specific forgiveness for the sins that we are aware of as He brings them to our attention. We go before Him and we say the things that we would be horribly ashamed of anyone else to hear or to know, and yet He already does know, and desires that we come to Him and be specific about the sins we seek to have cast away.

                                                                                                  When we first become regenerated in Christ, we experience the knowledge and freedom of knowing that we are completely forgiven and that all of our sins are cast as far as the east from the west and that God remembers them no more. In a sense, it is a general forgiveness. As we grow in grace though, God will begin to point out areas in our hearts and lives that are sinful and need to be changed, it is those thing that we need to be specific in seeking God about and asking Him to remove from our lives. We desire that God would wash the entire cup of it’s filth and not just the outside of the cup.

                                                                                                 We need to go before God seeking Him and His forgiveness as a child before his father because God is there extending his forgiveness and mercy and compassion to us (thought that does not mean that there will not be discipline that may accompany sinful and wicked behaviors).

                                                                                                We also need to realize that unforgiveness is a sin in our hearts and if we cannot forgive those who have wronged us then we cannot truly be forgiven before God because even if we were to go and ask for forgiveness before God and yet still harbor bitterness in our hearts, it is as if we haven’t asked for forgiveness at all because there is still the root of sin in our lives that we are not willing to give up to God. Letting go of unforgiveness means letting go of all grudges, roots of bitterness and desires for revenge and instead seek to make peace and live a life that shines the light of Christ. If we remember how unworthy of forgiveness we were and yet Christ still died for us, then it may help keep our perspective on straight as we seek to kill all sin in our hearts, including that of unforgiveness because we were a million times less worthy of the forgiveness and blood of Christ than some other sinful human being is of our forgiveness.

                                                                                             So let me ask you, in what areas are you harboring bitterness ? Are there areas in your life where you may be keeping a grudge or anger towards another person who has wronged you ? What about retaliation and revenge ? Do you seek to cause another person harm and pain because you have been hurt by them ?

                                                                                             We are called to not only receive His forgiveness, but to radiate and show His forgiveness so much through ourselves that it makes no sense to the lost world around us. The only way to do this is to spend much time in prayer seeking Him, and much more time in confession before God, on our faces, seeking to have all sin destroyed in our hearts, minds and lives. This is a place that many of us need to spend more time camped out in, because this is an area that is so often neglected.

O to grace how great a debtor
Daily I’m constrained to be!
Let Thy goodness, like a fetter,
Bind my wandering heart to Thee.
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
Prone to leave the God I love;
Here’s my heart, O take and seal it,
Seal it for Thy courts above.

(Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing)

    4.   Ask God For His Guidance – “Lead Us Not Into Temptation” 

                                                                                    We are to come to God as a people who are prone to sin and prone to wander into temptation (as the hymn above states). We are those who are prone to get lost far from God and leave behind His love as we foolishly chase down false idols and temporal pleasures of this lost world.

But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But he must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind. For that man ought not to expect that he will receive anything from the Lord,  being a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.

James 1:5-8

                                                                                     We see here in this last point that we are to pray because we need Him, we desperately need Him. We need Him to redirect us and to lead us in a way that honors and glorifies Him. We need to be shown the path of righteousness and Holiness and only God is able to do that, apart from Him we are powerless against temptation and we need the power of Christ to protect and guide us.

                                                                                      It is a hard reality in modern day America, yet one we need to come to admit, WE CANNOT OVERCOME TEMPTATION ON OUR OWN. It is as simple as that. The belief that we are able to overcome temptation on our own goes back to the self sustaining attitude that says “I won’t sin like that!” Whether because of the thinking that we are better or beyond that, or because of the belief that we are strong enough on our own to ward off temptation.

Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall.

1 Corinthians 10:12 

                                                                                          There are many who think that there is no harm in flirting around with sin. They play around with this sin and that sin, thinking that it will never go beyond where it is….not realizing the deadly danger that they are in and the urgent need that they have for the guidance of Christ.

                                                                                        It does not simply end though with our need for guidance throughout temptation, but our need for perseverance in the middle of trials. He is the sustenance needed to continue to seek Him in the midst of trials. It is the same power that gave Christ the strength in the garden of Gethsemane to say; “Not MY will but Yours be done” that will come to our aid and give us the strength to say the exact same thing.

                                                                                       It is easy to say that though, we have all been in the middle of those struggles and trials where we want to throw our hands up to God and ask Him “Why ?” There will be many times in the life of a believer where we will struggle with praying that prayer that says “Your will and not my own, Father.” The beautiful thing is that Christ understands and sympathizes with that. If we remember correctly, Christ too agonized in prayer.

                                                                                       The precious thing is that through prayer and seeking His face, God can lead us there, even when we feel like it is impossible. We can ask Him to take us to that place where we are able to say that and He will bring us to that point where we can truly and earnestly say (and mean) “Your Will Be done and NOT my own.” It is not in the triumph but in the trial where the beauty of God in prayer is so much more real and necessary in our lives. It is in those moments when we lean so deeply upon Him and rest in His grace that He begins to draw us closer and into a deeper and more meaningful relationship with Himself, as we realize He is all we need truly, and that He is enough.

                                                                                     It is interesting if we take a look back at the Puritans during the 16th and 17th centuries how they had such a deep and profound trust in God. It was they that coined what is now known as the “Valley of Vision” prayers. They saw that it was in the middle of the valley that God gives the clearest picture of who He is and how He guides. Puritans are known in history for leavings some of the greatest legacies of prayer and devotion. I am convinced that it is because they were born in a time period in England where they were trying to bring the church back to what Scripture truly taught and the purity of the Word. Due to this, they were persecuted beyond measure, their homes burned down and their leaders tortured, even having their ears literally cut off. Yet in the middle of it all, they realized and knew what it was for God to lead and guide them, even in the middle of the valleys.

                                                So what then, after reading through all 4 points, is our challenge ? What are we supposed to do with all of this information we have learned ? We as true believers in the body of Christ need to be done away with futile, empty senseless and affection less prayer. This means even at the dinner table! If you really take what you have learned in these two messages seriously, then you will know that this type of senselessness misses the very heart of prayer and what God intended it to be to us. Lets let the desire for what He desires be the secret for discovering what it truly means to pray and then – lets see what He does and how He works in our lives and the lives of those around us.

Desiring God in Prayer : Do you Want Him ? – PART 1

Do you Desire God ?

****NOTE**** These notes and points are taken from the Sermon by David Platt – Desire – Do We Want Him – See sermon included at the end of this posting. 

“And He said to them, “When you pray, say:

‘Father, hallowed be Your name.
Your kingdom come.
 ‘Give us each day our daily bread.
 ‘And forgive us our sins,
For we ourselves also forgive everyone who is indebted to us.
And lead us not into temptation.’”

Luke 11:2-4

How many times have we read through this passage in Luke and not even given it a second thought ? We may think; “Oh, yes. That is the Lord’s Prayer” – but often times it does not go far beyond that. Today I would like you to dig deeper into this passage and truly understand the meaning behind what is being said here by Christ and what He is saying about the true format of Prayer.

Let me begin by saying that this passage in Luke is showing us how we should pray and where our desires should be placed. Prayer in the closeness of intimacy with Christ is to ask or request something knowing that only God can fulfill those desires and requests.

  1. Desire For God is the Heart of Prayer 

The point of prayer is to drive us closer into God, deeper into His arms. The point of praying should be because we want God, because we desire Him. We should as true believers have a deep longing and yearning for God because our souls crave Him and there is nothing else on this earth that can satisfy the deepest needs and desires of our heart like He can.

Without this desire, our prayer lives cannot survive. We need this deep intimate desire to draw us closer to Him and to spur us onto wanting a more profound and vulnerable relationship with this God who so sustains and fulfills us like no other can.

2.  Desire For God is the Secret to Prayer 

* Prayer and Desire go hand in hand. There are (in generality) two points that we can use to show how desiring God and prayer go hand in hand.

      1.)   Make Your Wants God’s Wants   

Your main goal, what you seek towards in prayer needs to be the wants and desires of God. You need to have a passion for the things that God has a passion for and a desire for the thing that God has a desire for. Make His wants your wants. In any relationship we can see that intimacy is created by unity of affection – when you each desire the same things and you each have the same yearnings and wants. The same goes of for your relationship and prayer life with God. You need to seek to have your will joined together with His will.

  Then once the above truly becomes what your heart desires it will lead you onto the 2nd point :

        2.)   Ask Whatever You Want    

All too often Christians want to skip the first part of this and jump right into the second part, and then they become frustrated and bitter because God does not seem to be answering their prayers. The problem is that they are forgetting that God is not some magic genie that they can just rub and all of their dreams and wishes would be granted. If that were the case wouldn’t you think that Christianity would be much more widely accepted ? No, the point here is that once you make God’s desires YOUR desires you can ask what you want because what you want will be exactly what He wants and He will answer your requests. Sadly, not many care to know what the desires and wants of God really are because they are radically opposed to the things that many modern day American Christians want and desire.

As I stated above, when coming to God in intimacy, we often come to Him with requests. Luke 11:2-4 shows us 4 primary requests; things that we should be asking God while we are in prayer and conversation with Him. Take note that these things are in line with the above points. When praying the heart and desires of God need to be first and foremost that the front of our minds so that we are setting our eyes on Him and not on ourselves or our circumstances.

    1.     Ask God For His Glory     – (vs. 2 – “Father, Hallowed be Your name”) 

Many times when we read this, we view this as a declaration. Something that we are stating, simply like; “Father Your Name is Hallowed.” But in reality, the point of Jesus saying this here was to point out that this was actually a request. We need to ask that God would make His Name Hallow, not only to you as an individual, but the World around you.

The word Hallow literally means to “sanctify something.”  We as believers are all pretty familiar with the term, Sanctification, but do you really understand what it means to sanctify something ? To sanctify something is the way in which it is made Holy. When we pray, “Lord, Father, Hallowed be Your name” what we ultimately are asking God is that He would cause for His righteous Name to be treated as Holy – to be regarded among every person as Holy.

God is our Sovereign Father. This God who is Sovereign over the ENTIRE Universe calls you child.  This God who calls the stars by name, who has created the mountains and the valleys and seas and the skies – THIS God calls you His own, His son or His daughter. Let that sink in. When you pray to Him, this mighty and awesome Creator, you pray to Him as your dad. How much more intimately should you (would you) pray to Him when you take this into consideration and keeping this at the front of your mind while you pray ?

God is The Holy One. He is completely Unique. He is completely unlike any other. Our prayer should be that God would make Himself know as the One that know one else is like, the one who is Holy – completely set apart from everyone and everything else.

“I will vindicate the holiness of My great name which has been profaned among the nations, which you have profaned in their midst. Then the nations will know that I am the Lord,” declares the Lord God, “when I prove Myself holy among you in their sight.”

                                                                                                                                       Ezekiel 36:23

                                                                                                             “Holy, Holy, Holy, is the Lord of hosts,
                                                                                                                 The whole earth is full of His glory.”

                                                                                                                                                 Isaiah 6:3

 “For this reason You are great, O Lord God; for there is none like You, and there is no God besides You, according to all that we have heard with our ears.” 

                                                                                                                                             2 Samuel 7:22 

God is the Coming King. (Vs 2. “Your Kingdom Come”). Our prayer here should also be that God would bring His Kingdom back to earth. We should have an eagerness and a desire to His coming Kingdom. We should have our eyes set upon Him and should be looking forward to the consummation of that Kingdom. It will be a day when God will finally eradicate all evil from the earth and things will once again be as He intended.

So in this verse we see that the deep point here is that we need to desire that God make Himself known to us. Make Himself known to the World. We must desire that God be known in our lives and to the World as Holy and Great. We need to ask Him to give us that fear of Him that we may treat His name as Holy and Great as it deserves. Our desire needs to be that everyone, everywhere would know the Holiness and the Greatness of the name of God.

We as believers bear this light to the World, we are His way of showing the World His glory and holiness and greatness. We need to remember this as we interact with those around us, especially in the unsaved community. We as believers bear the name of our Father and what we do is a reflection on His name. This should cause us to tremble and seriously think things through before we act in a manner that might trodden upon His Holy and Righteous Name.

So how does this line up with the first two points about desiring that which God desires ? Well it is very evident in scripture that God desires that His name be Hallowed among the Nations, among the World. The whole person of God is inclined towards making His glory known, and because of that, our whole being should be inclined to do the same.

                                                                                                        The Lord is high above all nations;
                                                                                                         His glory is above the heavens.

                                                                                                                                Psalm 113:4 

                                                                                                         

Tell of His glory among the nations,
His wonderful deeds among all the peoples.

                                 Psalm 96:3

2.    Ask God For His Gifts – (Vs. 3 “Give us this day our daily bread”) 

Nope, this is not meaning what you might think. Often times (as I stated above) we like to think of God providing gifts for us in the sense that He is providing us with things that our selfish hearts desire. Rather, let us think about God providing gifts in the context of   Exodus chapter 16 where we see that God provided for the Israelites. They had needs (real and true physical needs, not the empty “needs” like Television and Internet and brand new name brand clothing or big houses and new cards like we think are essential needs in today’s society) and He provided what they needed to remain sustained. So what are the two points that we see here that are key when asking God to supply us with His gifts ?

     1.)   God Satisfies Our Hunger 

Let us ask a simple (almost ignorant) question. Why were the Israelites hungry ? The common response to that would be, because they have a need and essential desire to be fed to live. But instead of simply stopping there, why don’t we dig a little deeper, looking at this in the context that God is truly the creator of everything. WHY were they hungry ? Because that was the way that God had created and designed them (along with all of humanity). God has created within us a hunger that only He can fulfill, for not only in the physical needs but also in the spiritual.

 2.)   God Sustains Our Faith

He humbled you and let you be hungry, and fed you with manna which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that He might make you understand that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by everything that proceeds out of the mouth of the Lord.” ~ Deuteronomy 8:3 

The reason that God has placed that hunger within each of us is so that we would look to Him to be the one to fulfill and supply all of those needs. He has done this so as to teach us to trust Him to give us what we need and to supply the things that will fulfill us. His purpose in this is so that we would look to Him as our provider and seek for Him to bring those provisions to us. That is why so many feel that aching emptiness within them apart from Christ. There is a black hole that God has placed there that only He can fill. You can seek out earthly pleasures as much as you like, but nothing will fulfill that place where God is intended to be.  We have all sorts of longings and desires; for things like, peace, purpose, intimacy – we need to go to God to fulfill and provide for these things because nothing in the world can fill these longings that were divinely placed inside of each one of us.

” All that my eyes desired I did not refuse them. I did not withhold my heart from any pleasure, for my heart was pleased because of all my labor and this was my reward for all my labor. Thus I considered all my activities which my hands had done and the labor which I had exerted, and behold all was vanity and striving after wind and there was no profit under the sun.” 

                                                                                                              Ecclesiastes 2:10-11

What we need to see in this verse is that Jesus is saying that we have a need to pray and to ask God to fulfill these things that He has placed within us all. We need to be ever so careful to guard our hearts and minds against the thinking that we ourselves can be the providers for our own hungers by going to the things of this world to fulfill us. The reason that we become so flippant and casual with prayer is because we believe that we can actually do this on our own. The world has tricked us into thinking that we can provide for our own selves because look at all of the things we seemingly already have provided for ourselves.

It is prayer that brings us back to the realization that God is the only provider and that apart from Him we have absolutely nothing and that nothing we have was gotten because of us but because He has provided it all. We need to seek God in prayer, asking Him to deliver us from the the trap of a “self-sustaining” Christian life. It is through prayer that God will begin to change our hearts to help us realize that we don’t need things, WE NEED GOD!

Lose your job ?  GOD IS GREATER

Unsaved Spouse ?  GOD IS GREATER 

Financial Struggles ? GOD IS GREATER

Poor Health ? GOD IS GREATER

Loneliness ? GOD IS GREATER 

Prodigal Children ? GOD IS GREAT

 Fear ? GOD IS GREATER 

GOD IS ENOUGH! He is the one who satisfies our greatest needs. He is our sustainer and our provider, and if you are regenerated in Christ then you are one of His Children and you can bet that He will provide and care  for you. You simply need to come to the realization that He is enough. Period. God is ALL you NEED!’

GOD IS ALL YOU NEED! 

I am going to leave off here for the day and tomorrow will pick back up on the last two primary requests that are evident in this passage. I pray that you have been as blessed and challenged reading this post as I have been writing it.

Please read the 2nd Part of this post here :

Desiring God in Prayer – Do You Want Him ? – Part 2

In the meantime if you would like to actually listen for yourself to the David Platt sermon that I collected my notes from, I will include it under this post. God bless you dear brethren and I pray that you will spend some serious time with God tonight seeking His face and asking Him to make the desires of His heart, the desires of yours. I would love to hear in the comments below some of the awesome ways that God has shown you that He is enough and that He is all you need, and the ways that He has provided for you and your families. :)

Sweetheart, I love you because….

I Love you Because....

So I finished week two of the “Be My Valentine” challenge and I must say, the more that I do for my husband to tell him that I love him, the more that I want to do, and the more ideas flow in to me! :) I am having so much fun doing this! And then on top of all of this amazing fun, I am starting a new 30 days of encouraging my husband. This to me goes hand in hand with me finding new ways to show my husband that I love him. What better way to show my husband that I love him, then to spend each day telling him and making it evident not only in creative little love notes and messages, but in my words and deeds. :)

The Gift All Husbands Want for Valentines Day

Here is the link from week two of this challenge on the Women Living Well Blog for those of you who are following along or are interested in joining in:

10 Creative Ways to Say I Love You to Your Husband

So here are a few ways this last week that I have said “I love you” to my sweet husband :)

 

 

Mirror Love :)

I actually took another one of our sons bathtub crayons and wrote on our bathroom mirror a little love reminder for my husband. :) He at first thought that I might have wrote this for our son(who is 3 and cannot read yet, lol) Sometimes my husband is a little oblivious to obvious things ;)

Love Letter

Here is a little love letter that I wrote and left in the car for my husband. :) He found it on his way to school. (This time I placed it in a place that he couldn’t miss it, lol)


Love letter

And here is a picture of the back of the love letter that I left him. I put on his favorite lipgloss and left some kisses on the back of the envelope :)

Why I love my husband

Here is something that I am doing everyday up to Valentines day. I posted this on our bedroom door, and each day I put up a new heart with a new reason why I love and appreciate him. It is something that he can see each time he looks at our door – and I hope this shows him a little why I love him so very much (though these will barely scratch the surface!) :)

Why I Love My Son

I also made one for our son – lol, he was starting to feel a little left out of all of the love! ;)

 

These are just a few of the things that I did this past week to let my husband know that I love him and that I appreciate all that he does for us and for our family. I encourage you to join in with me – it is never to late to come up with creative ways to tell your husband that you love him. Remind him of why you married him, why he is so important to you, and why you still are crazy in love with him. I promise, it will make a difference in your marriage. :)

Patience With Little Boys

Patience - Ephesians

I am not a patient person. Not a patient person by any means and having an almost 4 year old little boy does nothing but heighten that.  Is it his fault that I am impatient ? No. There are often times when I will blame him for my impatience though, saying that if he had not done such and such or if he had done this or that then I would not have lost my patience (and often my temper). I know that it is sin, and an area in my life that I need to work on.

Over this past week I have made this a focus of mine. I made it my goal this week to note when I was about to (or when I did) lose my patience, and then go before God in it. I seriously asked myself what the reason was for my loss in patience. In the end, every time I lost my patience, I realized that it was not due to someone else or some outside circumstance, it was because of some issue within my own heart.  I noticed that the more upset or stressed out I was over something, the more impatient I became with my son. I would be short and snappy with him or become easily irritated by things that are natural for boys (like the desire to run around and karate chop everything in sight, lol). This broke my heart. My poor precious little man was not even in sin over anything and I was being so mean and impatient and indifferent to him because of an attitude that I had in my own heart. It hit me hard, what a horrible mother he must think I am, being so cross and rude to him when all he was doing was being a little boy!!! :(

I can only imagine his emotions and feelings as his mom loses her temper and becomes frustrated at him, and he doesn’t even realize why. I am sure that many of you have been there, been in my shoes. Had your days when you were mis-tempered and impatient with your little ones. I am sure that you have had your days when you put your littles to bed and then finally sit down and as you begin to think back you feel a sickening feeling of regret and remorse and conviction at how unkind you had been for the day, maybe not only to your babies, but maybe to your husband as well (I have noticed that this often goes hand in hand).

If this is you beloved, then let me offer you a bit of comfort and encouragement, as well as a bit of a rebuke. If you are in Christ, truly a child of God, then he has equipped you for every good work. That means that God has already equipped you to be a mother and a wife who glorifies Him in everything. He has already given you what you need to be patient and good tempered, all you need to do is seek Him.

“Seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence.” ~ 2 Peter 1:3

“For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.” ~ Ephesians 2:10

I challenge you this week, to get on your face before God. I know that I say that often in my posts, but I truly mean it. Get before God and ask Him to guide you and direct you. Confess to Him your impatience, your ill temper, your anger and anything else sinful that seeks to ensnare you. This is so important, that you go to God and you talk with Him, I can tell you that once I had begun to make an effort to do this throughout my day, my attitude had totally changed. I no longer saw my son as a bother or an irritation, but rather I saw him as a blessing and it began to bring me joy to see him run around and play and laugh. (I also noticed that he was much happier when he noticed that mommy was happier :) )

It is also so important that you make time to be in the word of God. I know that we as moms can be so well meaning, but then we get caught up in the day to day that there are times when we are not in the word of God like we should be, and let me tell you, that makes a huge difference. I have been doing a read your Bible through in a year plan with some ladies in a homeschooling moms facebook group, and let me tell you, I can tell  a complete difference in my day and my attitude when I am in the Word compared to when I am not.So ladies, make time to not only seek the face of God by talking with Him, but by reading His word, his letters to you.

And last, I challenge you to make time for your little boy(s) (or girls :) ). Spend time just playing and talking with them. My son feels so important when mommy actually sits down face to face and holds a conversation with him, he smiles ear to ear and you can tell he feels like he is the only thing that matters to me, and that is so important. If you do not take the time to build relationships with your little ones now, you may not have the chance to when they are older. So play and have fun, actually get to know your kids and what is important to them. And remember motherhood, it is about serving and glorifying God and raising children who seek to serve and to glorify Him as well, in the end that is all that matters.

How do you say “I Love You” to your husband ?

Be-My-Valentine-Week-1-707x1024
“The wise woman builds her house,
but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down.”
~Proverbs 14:1 

After reading a blog challenge from the Women Living Well blog, I decided for the next few weeks to follow along and each day find a new (and hopefully creative) way to say I love you to my husband.

Be My Valentine – Week 1 Challenge

Here was last week’s challenge :

Week 1 Challenge - Take the Initiative!  Look for ways to praise your husband verbally.

Praise him in front of the kids, friends, family, co-workers, on facebook, tweet it – get praise out anyway you can! Try to mention something noteworthy he has done – in his role as provider, father, husband, lover, or friend. If the thought of trying to come up with one terrifies you, then pray right now that God will give you new eyes to see your husband as God does. Then open your mouth and say something kind and uplifting to your husband today and tomorrow and the next day until Valentine’s Day arrives!

Last week went pretty well, though I cannot say I was too creative with the ways that I said I love you to him, LOL. Here are a few of the ways that I told my husband I loved him :

Shower Love

This is one where I wrote a little “I love you” to my hubby so that when he got into the shower he would see it. :) Sorry that it is a little blurry here and there, this is what it looked like when he got out, lol, I think the water wore off parts of it. I just used our sons bathtub crayons to write this out.

I love you folder

Here is another love writing that I did. :) I took one of the folders that my husband uses for his college class and I wrote these little notes on a piece of paper and I taped them inside of his folder. I was thrilled at how cute they were, he on the other hand was not as happy about them. He thought that they were nice, but was a little embarrassed when in his class of 700 students he opened up his folder and got chuckled at by other students…..oh well, I liked my creativity. ;)

Love messages

And here is a picture I sent to him via text message. I just found the image on Google and sent it to him. If you have a husband like mine who is a little electronically challenged when it comes to cell phones, then you may want to make a hint to him to have him check his phone. LOL :)

So these are just a few ways this past week that I let my husband know that I loved him.

I encourage you ladies to join in. Sometimes we can get stuck in a rut in our marriage and we can take for granted the fact that God has blessed us with the precious man that He has. I know that I tell my husband constantly that I love him, but I think that making it a daily effort to do something new and surprising to tell him that I love him and  keeps things fresh. It also tells your husband that you are making a constant effort to show that you love and appreciate him and all that he does, and I know that makes every man feel cherished and special.

So as you follow along, let me know what creative ways you tell your husband that you love him and then at the end of this next week I will post on some more of the ways that I told my husband that I loved him (hopefully a little more creative than this past week, :D )

The Corruption of Self Esteem

 

We live in a culture that is saturated with self-esteem. It has gotten so bad that even the secular world is starting to realize that this is something that has grown out of control. We concern ourselves with how damaged our children’s self-esteem will be if they are told that they are wrong in something or if we correct their mistakes. Instead we are told that our children need to be told that they are right constantly, even when they are wrong, in fear that otherwise we would hurt them and cause them to give up and no longer try. We are worried about telling another person something negative for fear that their self-esteem might be damaged and they they would have a bad imagine about themselves.

When did it matter that we have a good image of ourselves ? Scripture never tells us that we need to have a good self image, but rather it talks to us about how corrupt we are and how there is not good in us. You want to talk about someone who was harsh on “self-esteem” look to the apostle Paul. He was someone who could have cared less about how you viewed yourself, actually it seemed that he preferred that you view yourself as lowly and less than important because Christ was to be the most important thing.

As Christians our focus needs to be on the finished work of Jesus Christ and “self-esteem” removes our focus from Christ and what He has done for us; to ourselves.

Humility = Focus on Jesus Christ 

Self-Esteem = Focus on Self 

I like this quote by Charles H. Spurgeon on this very subject :

You are not mature if you have a high esteem of yourself. He who boasts in himself is but a babe in Christ, if indeed he be in Christ at all. Young Christians may think much of themselves. Growing Christians think themselves nothing. Mature Christians know that they are less than nothing. The more holy we are, the more we mourn our infirmities, and the humbler is our estimate of ourselves.

When you think about it that way, it puts an entirely new perspective on this thing that we call self-esteem. If you go based off of Spurgeons words, then those who are focused on self-esteem are as mere babes in Christ (or sometimes not in Christ at all) where as those who are constantly growing in maturity in Christ are those who have a new found perspective on this thing called self-esteem and they are the ones who realize that Christ is everything and the more we see Him, the less we see in/of ourselves.

“And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.  Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.” ~ 2 Corinthians 12:9

Thinking on this verse, how often do we say that ? Are you truly GLAD to boast in your weaknesses ? Or are you one who is constantly seeking to make yourself “feel better” about those things in your life in which you struggle or don’t do well ? If we follow the example of the apostle Paul, then we know that rather than focusing on how we cannot do something or how weak we are in an area, we would turn to God and praise His name for creating us in the way that He did and then seek to find a way to glorify Him even in the midst of our weaknesses.

“But may it never be that I would boast, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.” ~ Galatians 6:14

Self-esteem does not matter. If you truly look at it, all self-esteem leads to is the corruption of the heart. Brethren, I beseech you to turn away from this wicked thing called self-esteem and to turn to Christ. Allow Him to be your everything and put aside all worldly notions of making yourself first or making yourself feel good. In the end that will fade away and when you are standing before God on judgement day, would you not rather be able to say that Christ was your all and making the most of Him was all that mattered ? Focus then on that my dear brothers and sisters and make that your end goal, seek to do that daily and in everything. Set your mind on Christ and how you can make Him larger and yourself smaller and smaller, for in the end truly, that is ALL that matters, everything else is meaningless and will perish in the flames.

October 31st – Reformation Day

 

So I will start by saying that this is our first year (ever) that we are celebrating Reformation Day. I must admit that it wasn’t until recently that I even knew what Reformation Day WAS (funny as it is that our family has claimed to be reformed for the past couple years, LOL). This is our first year in an actual reformed church as well, so all of this is new to us. I must admit that I quite like the idea of celebrating a holiday that has to do more with God than one that is concerned with gouls, goblins, witches and demons. So, needless to say, I was thrilled and jumped at the idea of starting a tradition with our son where we could celebrate God and where the glory could once again be pointed back to Him.

In this post, I would just simply like to briefly go over what Reformation Day really is, a little of the history behind it and what truly is the purpose in celebrating it as a holiday.

Many of you who have heard of Reformation Day will automatically think of Martin Luther and the 95 Theses that he “nailed: to the door  of a church in Wittenberg, Germany. I say “nailed” because there really is no evidence that he nailed it to the doors (though it sounds really good) besides that of a man who sat under the teaching of Martin Luther. The thing is, the man who claimed that Martin Luther nailed them to the door wasn’t even a student of Martin Luther until a year or two AFTER the 95 thesis was “nailed” to the door. So, we can say that he nailed them to the door, and it makes a really good movie, but can we be 100% sure of it ? No. But we can know that it was common back in that day to nail to the door of the local church petitions and documents that you wanted to be seen and discussed, which is why we can probably safely say that it is likely that Martin Luther did nail the thesis to the door of the church.

A thing that I think some may miss is that really, the Reformation had been in progress for many years, even before Martin Luther. Though I believe that God used Martin Luther to set in motion a great awakening in many, there were many men that helped to build the reformation that do not get as much credit as they should. One such man is John Wycliff, the man who first translated the Bible into Engish. He was alive 200 years before the Reformation, and yet held to the same beliefs and worked hard to spread them – though much of his focus was on keeping to the truth and validity of Scripture and not twisting or distorting it in any way. He is actually known as the “Morning Star of the Reformation”. He so angered and upset men, that even after his death they dug up his remains, burned them to ashes and threw his ashes into a river, in hopes that they could rid themselves of his teaching. That is what you call a man who really spoke the truth of God!

Another thing that most do not realize about Martin Luther, is that he never intended to cause such an explosion with his 95 Theses as he did. Originally, he had only intended the thesis to be used a platform for a discussion and debate. He actually sent the thesis out to many men to be read before he even posted them on the door at Wittenberg. It is evident that what he wanted was a healthy discussion/debate with those in the Roman Catholic church, mainly over the issue of indulgences. This also was not the first thesis that Martin Luther wrote, actually just a month before, Luther wrote a document of 97 thesis, mostly about the nature of man, but that thesis simply did not cause as much friction as his 95 thesis did. This 95 thesis most likely caused so much friction and anger in the Roman Catholic church because #1 – it called out the Roman Catholic church for the heresy that they were in, which they did not want to be made know. #2 – it called the pope out by name. Here are just a few of the ones that call the Pope out :

#86 Again: since the pope’s income to-day is larger than that of the wealthiest of wealthy men, why does he not build this one church of St. Peter with his own money, rather than with the money of indigent believers?

#89 What the pope seeks by indulgences is not money, but rather the salvation of souls; why then does he suspend the letters and indulgences formerly conceded, and still as efficacious as ever?

For those of you who do not know what an indulgence is, it was the Roman Catholic churches way of selling Salvation. They would take advantage of people who were fearful of death and purgatory, and tell them that if they bought these indulgences they were in essence buying their salvation. Most indulgences were for a specific time period and event, and therefore would expire very quickly, thus forcing the people to have to purchase more. But then, the Roman Catholic Church came up with a great idea to sell what they called Jubilee Indulgences, which were a 1 time purchase that you could make to secure your salvation permanently.

It was finally the Jubilee Indulgences that broke the straw on the camels back, so to say, and what drove Martin Luther to write out the 95 Theses. In the end, though the Roman Catholic church was so very rich, because they wanted to build a huge new church, they decided to rob the poor by selling them what they knew was untrue and deception. And thus the frustration that Martin Luther went through in trying to get others to understand that what the Roman Catholic Church was doing was far from biblical and was actually heretical. I don’t think that Luther had any idea how much God would use him in sparking the Reformation and bringing people back to Himself.

So what then is the true purpose of Reformation Day ? Is it all about celebrating Martin Luther and the stand that he took against the Roman Catholic Church ? Well, though that is a small part of it, and it IS good to remember those godly men that paved the way – that is NOT the most important part of the Reformation. If we dig deeper and truly look at this from a biblical standpoint, we will realize that since everything that we do needs to point back to Christ – then that should be where Reformation Day leads us. Not simply in the celebration of a mere man that was used as a tool of God, but in the remembrance of where God has brought us and that He should truly be at the center of our lives.

Sola Scriptura – Scripture Alone
Solus Christus – Christ Alone
Sola Gratia – Grace Alone
Sola Fide – Faith Alone
Soli Deo Gloria – The Glory of God Alone

This is ultimately what the Reformation is all about, and what should be the focus of our hearts and minds as we celebrate this Reformation day with our family and friends. Though it doesn’t mean that you cannot have fun, watching movies about Martin Luther or reading books about great men of the Reformation – but in the midst of it all, let us place Christ in the center and remember that rather than making this a day to celebrate what man has done, know that without God Luther, and any other man, would not have done anything at all. Luther was simply the catalist that God used to share His word, may you and I be the same today and everyday.

God bless you my friends and siblings in Christ!

HAPPY REFORMATION DAY! 

*I am including some links at the bottom of this page where you can read more into what Reformation Day really is and where you can read the 95 theses for yourself*

Reformation Day - http://www.monergism.com/directory/link_category/MP3-Audio–Multimedia/Holiday-Sermons/Reformation-Sunday/

Martin Luther’s 95 Theses - http://www.spurgeon.org/~phil/history/95theses.htm

 

Glorifying God in Your Marriage – Diffusing Arguments and Keys to Communication

 

“The heart of her husband trusts in her,
And he will have no lack of gain.
 She does him good and not evil
All the days of her life.”

Proverbs 31:11-12

So I have started day 1 today of the 30 day challenge by Nancy Leigh Demoss – “30 days of Encouraging Your Husband”. I know that it is something that I really need to work on, and I think that this will give me the grip I need to stay on track and really focus on this over the next month. But as I begin today, I want to share with you ladies some ways that over the past few weeks I have been working on diffusing arguments with my husband and really working to respect and uplift him.

First off, if you haven’t learned already, I have a pretty short fuse. Little things can make me go off, and I rarely think of the consequences before I “blow up” over something. I usually lose my cool and say things I later regret and that cause friction and pain and arguments between the two of us. Later I slap myself in the face and want to pull out my hair, asking myself why I feel the need to cause such snares in my marriage.

What I have been working on (though I am far from perfecting yet) are a few steps that really seem to help me remain humble and pleasing to God no matter what the circumstances . I must admit that these few steps have really prevented a lot of arguments and harsh words that would have been deeply regretted later on.

Number one and most importantly, I pray. I work hard stop everything that I am doing and I pray. Not a simple flippant prayer,  or a one line sentence, but I pray and seek God until my heart attitude is changed. I try hard to not approach my husband until I am ready to go to him out of love and respect, rather than anger and frustration. Now this may not be instantaneous. I have learned over the past few weeks that this may actually take a few days…yep, I said it, A FEW DAYS. But until I am ready to approach him in a way that is glorifying to God and loving and respectful to him as my husband and as my Head, then I need to remain in prayer and keep my mouth SHUT!

Second, I  must choose my words very carefully (this part is much easier if I have already sought God on the situation and He has given me a new perspective on it all and has changed my heart attitude). My husband already faces enough opposition from the world, my goal is to support, encourage and uplift him, not to tear him down and beat him about. My goal as a wife is to be the one to care for him and nurture him and to make our home a place where he is eager to be and hates to leave. If I am cruel and disrespectful all the time to him, what would make me think that he would want to be at home with me ? So when I approach him I work hard to not say cruel or mean things to him or insult him or disrespect him. He is the love of my life, next to God my #1…so I need to talk and communicate to him my feelings and frustrations in such a way that makes him feel loved and respected. This is one of the hardest things for me to do, but as I have found one of the most important as it relates to my husband and our marriage.

Third, I have found that communication is the key. If he never knows how I truly feel, then how can he ever change it ? I mean communication in a calm way, not in the middle of an emotional roller coaster (which I am often prone to do). I try and not talk over the phone about something that is bothering me, because then it makes communication hard because key elements are absent, such as body language and eye contact. He is more prone to know how serious I am about something and really take it into account if I am sitting down one on one with him and looking him in the eyes. He is also more likely to remember what I have said in the future if he has a visual image to remember.

The last thing that I must remember, which is so hard, is that I am created to be his helpmeet and I am to love him unconditionally. There are times when he will say or do or expect things of me that I think are unfair or  possibly even hurtful, but even through all of that, I must love him with a love that overcomes all of that. Often times that will mean overlooking some small offense or thoughtless deed that really isn’t anything big (such as him forgetting to stop at the bank after I have asked him to for 3 days straight) but may be building frustration and stress for me. It is in giving these little things over to God and trusting that God knows best, that I have begun to find the freedom that comes in relying fully upon God in all circumstances and situations. I am not perfect and yet my husband still loves me through all my imperfection, and even more so, my PERFECT God loves me through all my sins and weaknesses, so how much more so should that spur me to love my husband with that same kind of love ?

As I said, I am still a work in progress and have by no means perfected this. I have just noticed huge changes in my marriage as I seek to glorify God truly in everything rather than trying to make things “right” my own ways.

 

Holy Vows

Dedicated to my precious Husband whom I am blessed to be able to spend the rest of my life with! I Love you! Thank you for loving me so much – here is to a great 5 years of being together, 3 of it in marriage! Cannot wait to spend 50 more with you! <3

Cherished are the memories that

brought us to this day

For yesterday was just a dream…

a wish to contemplate

 

A Fantasy where in my mind

a fleeting glimpse I’d see….

A vision of the true desires

I longed for endlessly

 

And when I dreamed, I did not know

the love I’d feel today

the height of my true feelings 

and the  depth they would portray 

 

And if I had one wish today

A simple wish t’would be

is the love that we feel this moment

lasts eternally

 

Reality has merged now

as you stand here by my side

and as I join your hand with mine 

my heart does fill with pride 

 

For as I pledge my love to you

I see in many ways

Reflections of my love for you 

are mirrored in your gaze

 

And by your presence here today 

and for the love we share

I thank you for our yesterdays

that brought us to be here

 

But more than this I vow to you 

my wishes yet to come….

Tomorrows dreams and fantasies

this day that we are one

 

Tomorrow’s an adventure

that we’ll share together now

our futures intertwined forever

through this Holy Vow

 

I promise to remember

in the future years and days

the love I feel for you this moment

….the dreams fulfilled today

 

For in the coming years as we 

move on and reminisce

back to the day I stood with you

and promised with a kiss….

 

That blessed are the days that

I have looked into your eyes

and felt the warmth and love

reflect the essence of our lives  

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