I just decided to go ahead and throw it right on out there in the beginning. I’m NOT a marriage expert. In fact, I probably need as much help in the marriage department as the next person. I got an ‘F’ in marriage the first time around. I was young (21) and dumb and needy and sick. Very sick! I had no business saying I do at that time, but it seemed easier than saying ‘I don’t’. So I did. What a mistake!
Fast forward to me at the ripe old age of 30. I said ‘I do’ again. This time I made a better choice, but still I went into marriage with unrealistic expectations and unexplored issues. Lord, help me, did I have issues! And because we did not seek pre-marital counseling I lived with those expectations and issues for a very long time. I thought my marriage would be like that of my parents, but what never hit me until recently is that Greg and I are not Wayne and Barbara. We have different personalities, needs, expectations, and desires than my parents had. Why that never clicked with me blows my mind, but alas, it did not.
A couple of months ago I was reading a book by Chip Ingram called “Good to Great: 10 Practices Great Christians Have In Common.
One of the chapters in this book is about reading great books. Ingram offered several books that have impacted his life. One of those was a book about communication in marriage. In the moment I read what Ingram wrote about the book, the Holy Spirit urged me to immediately order it, because who doesn’t need better communication in their marriage, right? Communication: Key to Your Marriage by H. Norman Wright is the book, and I will shamelessly give you my affiliate link to the book’s page on Amazon. I want you to order it if you are married or want to be married. Do it now! You will not be sorry.
Friends, this book has rocked my world. It took me two solid weeks to get past the first chapter. Not because the reading is hard, (it is not), but because the material stopped me dead in my tracks and gave me so much to ponder. The first words in Chapter 1 are “Why did you marry?” As if that was not enough, in the same first paragraph Wright asks this question, “What did you expect from marriage?” Two weeks, people! Two weeks it took me to work through those two questions. Then on page 3 I find this:
Commitment is more than maintaining; it is more than continuing to stick it out and suffer with a poor choice of a spouse. Commitment is investing–working to make the relationship grow.
Before you assume I made a poor choice in a spouse, please hear me loud and clear, I DID NOT. Greg is a wonderful husband. He may think he made a poor choice in a spouse, but I clearly out kicked my coverage when I married Greg. What got me from that quote is that all too often husbands and wives just stick it out rather than invest in their marriage. I want to invest in my marriage. I want to up the level of our communication and make our marriage even better. I want the next 22 years to be even better than the past 22 have been.
If I could give every married and planning-to-be-married couple a copy of this book, I would. It is that good, y’all….or maybe I am just that slow of a study when it comes to marital communication. There are some young couples in my sphere of influence who will be walking down the aisle soon and you better bet your sweet bippy that I will be giving them a copy of this book.
This book by Emerson Eggerichs is another one that I recommend and will be giving:
If you feel like you are talking to an alien when you talk to your spouse, if you feel like your husband never listens to you, if you feel like your man never shares his feelings with you, if you just have a desire to have a better marriage, then Communication by Wright is for you. Order it today!
I know there are other wonderful books on marriage and communication out there. I would love to hear your recommendations for books about marriage and/or communication. This is truly one way we can be iron sharpening iron for each other.
NOTE: Affiliate links are present in this post.
I read a lot.
And I am always finding quotes that touch my heart.
And I think to myself, “I need to remember this one or that one.”
Then I promptly forget it….or forget where I saw it.
So, I have begun to accumulate notable quotes in one place for later reference. Now I am hoping I will remember to look at my notable quote document when I am seeking out a quote!!
Today, I want to share with you a couple of the ones I have found in the last few weeks in hope they will speak to your heart and life as well. Feel free to Pin, Share, Tweet, Stumble, or whatever else you can do with them.
This first one really convicted me….I mean CONVICTED ME!
How often do I NOT pay attention to the people in my life. I half-listen to what they say, or I am too busy scrolling through social media to pay attention to them. Worse yet, while they are speaking I am conjuring up in my mind what my response will be to them. Sheesh! I have work I need to do in this area, people!
The second quote comes from the Bible study I am currently doing with my small group. It is Priscilla Shirer’s Armor of God Bible Study. Dear Gussie, I am being challenged and convicted by this study…and it is a good thing.
There is a story that goes with this quote. A sculptor had done a huge sculpture of a horse, I think it was. After it was finished a man came up to him and questioned him about how he was able to create such a beautiful sculpture of a horse out of a large chunk of stone. The sculptor thought a minute and then said that he simply chipped away anything that didn’t look like a horse.
I hope these two quotes give you something to ponder for a few days. Let me know your thoughts about them in the comments. Until Monday, friends.
NOTE: This post contains affiliate links.
Here is a link to the Bible study I referenced above in case you want to grab a copy for yourself.
It all began in 2008. Somewhere…perhaps in a Bible study or a sermon…Romans 12:1-2 floated into my heart like an autumn leaf twirling to the ground. It was not an unfamiliar pair of verses, but neither were they sealed into my memory….yet.
Before long, these verses began popping up everywhere. In a sermon, in whatever Bible study I was doing, devotionals, on the radio…flitter, I fully expected to walk into a bathroom stall somewhere and find them scrawled on the wall. Seriously, it was comical how God was using repetition to force me to pay attention to these verses. The more I heard them, the more I realized that there was a message, a life message, in them for me.
In the eight years since, I have tucked these verses deeply into my heart and made them into an almost daily prayer for my life. I believe they are the key that opens the door to the authentic Christian life. Let’s start with verse 1.
I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. (ESV)
As we think about authentic Christianity, about being a stand-out Christian in a world that tells us to shut-up, what possible help could this verse be? Sacrifice? Holy? It all sounds very antiquated, doesn’t it?
Paul is doing a little bit of what I like to call ‘guilt trippin’ his brethren. He is saying something like this: “Look at what God has done for you. How in the world could you not give your all for Him? It really is what you should do.”
One thing that is important for us to understand is the context in which Paul wrote Romans. In that day there was a prevalent philosophy that said that the soul or spirit was inherently good, while the body was inherently evil. Because the body was considered to be evil and would die eventually, it didn’t matter what you did with or to your body. Your soul/spirit was what mattered. For this reason, many people participated in immorality, believing that as long as their heart/spirit was right, they were good. There was a huge disconnect between the body and the spirit. Might sound a bit like today, huh?
So, back to how this verse impacted me. One day while I was exercising I was deeply impressed by the Holy Spirit to begin praying this verse back to God. So I did.
Lord, I offer my body to you as a living sacrifice. I am yours. Change me. Use me. Make me into whatever you desire.
Now, this is not a prayer to be prayed flippantly, because sacrifices in the Old Testament did not remain alive. So, what I was saying to God is take whatever does not please you and crucify it, kill it, so that all that remains is holy and acceptable to you.
Vance Havner once said that the problem with living sacrifices is that they tend to crawl off the altar. This required an intentional, deliberate act of my will. I had to be willing open the doors of my heart completely to the Holy Spirit, holding nothing back….NOTHING BACK! I had to be willing to allow Him to clean out impure thoughts and selfish desires. I had to be serious about crawling up on that altar and allowing my flesh to be crucified so Jesus could live through me. What Jesus has done in my heart since I began praying this prayer is stunning. He has given me an intense desire to be more and more like Him.
Authentic Christianity requires that we give God the ultimate sacrifice of self….body, mind, and spirit. The world needs to see Christ-followers who are walking out holy lives because they have offered their bodies as living sacrifices for the cause of Christ.
MEDITATION MOMENT: What would you need to do in order to make Romans 12:1 a reality in your life? What is hindering you from offering your body as a living sacrifice? I would love to pray for you in this regard. Feel free to leave a comment or email me at email@example.com.
Have you heard about Journibles? They are a series of beautiful books that offer space for you to write out that specific book of the Bible. I love my Romans Journible. I scribed the entire book of Romans in it. The Word comes alive even more when you write it out. Here is my Amazon affiliate link to the Romans Journible. Order your copy today and begin writing out the book of Romans.
Linking this week with:
Y’all last week was pretty amazing, wasn’t it? We sat as still as flies on the wall as God held out a scroll sealed with seven seals to whomever was worthy to open it. John, in the throne room of God, cried like a baby because no one was found worthy to open the scroll. Today, we continue our journey in Revelation 5 where we discover if anyone was found to be worthy to open the scroll.
Oh, by the way, are you part of the Facebook group for this study? In that group I have linked every post in this series. If you would like to join the group, please send me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and I will send you back a link that you will need to click on in order for me to add you to the group.
Did you download and print the Revelation 5 drawing last week? If you missed it, please go here to get it.
Let’s read all of Revelation 5 today.
1 Then I saw in the right hand of him who was seated on the throne a scroll written within and on the back, sealed with seven seals.
2 And I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, “Who is worthy to open the scroll and break its seals?”
3 And no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth was able to open the scroll or to look into it,
4 and I began to weep loudly because no one was found worthy to open the scroll or to look into it.
5 And one of the elders said to me, “Weep no more; behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has conquered, so that he can open the scroll and its seven seals.”
6 And between the throne and the four living creatures and among the elders I saw a Lamb standing, as though it had been slain, with seven horns and with seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth.
7 And he went and took the scroll from the right hand of him who was seated on the throne.
8 And when he had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each holding a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints.
9 And they sang a new song, saying, “Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation,
10 and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth.”
11 Then I looked, and I heard around the throne and the living creatures and the elders the voice of many angels, numbering myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands,
12 saying with a loud voice, “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing!”
13 And I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all that is in them, saying, “To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever!”
14 And the four living creatures said, “Amen!” and the elders fell down and worshiped.
This passage from Revelation 5 has all the makings of a dramatic scene straight out of Hollywood. There is weeping in heaven because no one was found worthy to open the scroll. Then, suddenly there is silence as a heavenly light shines on One near the throne. The music swells as the Lion of the tribe of Judah, Jesus Christ, steps forward and takes the scroll out of the hand of God. Every eye in the room, every eye on earth and in heaven is on the Lamb who was slain before the foundation of the world.
In a split second the weeping in heaven has turned to rejoicing and praise. Jesus is the undisputed Worthy One. Why is Jesus worthy? We are told in verses 5, 9 and 10. Jesus conquered. What did He conquer? He conquered sin and death by shedding His blood on the cross and paying the ransom that death had placed on each soul who ever breathed earth’s sin-polluted air.
Consider the anthem of praise that is raised to Christ:
“for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation, and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth.”
I could teach from those two verses for quite a while. It is the story of atonement and redemption and sanctification. Jesus did the work of salvation, and because of His work, He is worthy to possess and open the title deed to earth and mankind.
In these verses, Jesus is called by several names. I want to give you Scripture references for each for additional study outside this post, then offer you something marvelous to ponder.
Lion of the tribe of Judah ~ Genesis 49:8-12
Root of David ~ Isaiah 11:1-10 and Revelation 22:15
Lamb standing as though slain ~ Isaiah 53, especially verse 7
Let’s camp for just a moment on the fact that Jesus is the ‘Root of David’. One of my commentaries, The New American Commentary, referenced Matthew 22:41-46 where Jesus asked the Pharisees a question that apparently stumped them. “Whose son is the Christ?”
Every good Jew of that day knew that the Messiah would be the son of David. Yet, Jesus goes on to ask the Pharisees why it is that David, in Psalm 110:1, calls Jesus, “Lord”. Jesus was forcing the Pharisees to consider not only His incarnation, but also His pre-existence. The New American Commentary says this:
“Messiah is at once the root from which David himself arises, and he is the offspring of David through his incarnation. That he is both the Root and the offspring of David is possible because of the Lord’s preexistence.”
Is that not stunning? Have you ever considered that? This would have been heresy to the Pharisees because Jesus was solidifying His Messiah-ness with these words. The fact that this description, Root of David, is used in Revelation 5 is a clarion call to the Jewish heart to believe and receive Jesus before it is too late.
This is a long post because I included the entirety of Revelation 5 in it, so I’m going to wrap it up and encourage you to study the worship portion (verses 9-14) on your own. It is definitely worth your time to consider the worship of Jesus that takes place in heaven.
Now, let’s engage:
- What from our study today encouraged your heart or blessed you?
- As you study Revelation, I hope you will begin to see Israel as the target audience of the book. What have we studied thus far that supports that theory?
- Please share anything that speaks to your heart from the worship portion of chapter 5.
Friendship is a treasure not to be taken for granted, and it is the topic of today’s link-up. I thought it might be fun to offer a couple of great quotes about friendship, so here goes.
I adore Winnie the Pooh, so here is a great quote from a Pooh book.
Friendship is all about entering in to another soul’s world. You and I may not share the same life experiences, but we can take another person’s hand and let them be sure of us. I am so blessed to have many wonderful friendships. I hope these quotes made you smile and think of a person or people whom you consider to be a friend.
We are a topic driven link-up, which means that we link posts that pertain to the topic of the week. Posts that are not on topic will be deleted.
We will offer a month’s worth of topics each week so you can plan and prepare for a post that helps you enter into the conversation. Here are the topics for the next month:
April 20 ~ Friendship
April 27 ~ Pot Luck
May 4 ~ The Funnies
May 11 ~ Mothers
Just a reminder that the link-up goes live on Wednesday morning at 5am and will stay live until the following Monday at 5pm. If you link up at The Loft, please do not link-and-run. We want to create conversation and community, therefore, we ask that if you linkup one post, please visit two others. There are some beautiful people who link-up each week, and visiting their posts is the best way to get to know them.
Now, it it time to get to today’s link-up. Our prompt today is FRIENDSHIP. You will find the linky at the bottom of my post. Enjoy the fellowship at The Loft.
Now it is time to linkup!
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“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12:9 (NIV)
The vast majority of us have heard, and may even be able to quote part, or all, of this verse. In the midst of Paul’s wrestling over some affliction, God tells him that the grace that God gives is enough, it is sufficient, to see Paul through the thorniness of his thorn. This is a magnificent verse that is often quoted by pastors and others who are comforting someone going through a trial. It is full of truth, the hard kind of truth, but truth, nonetheless.
While most of us have heard this verse, do we always live like we are the recipients of lavish grace?
Grace. God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense.
Grace. God giving us what we do not deserve.
Grace. Graciousness. Benefit. Favor. Gift.
Have you ever found yourself saying something like this?
“Lord, I want to change.”
“I need to kick this addiction.”
“I want to be healthier.”
“I spend too much time on the internet.”
“I want to love my husband/wife/children more.”
“I need to be a better friend.”
We all have places in our lives that would benefit from change, yet so many of us never see those changes happen. Why? Could it be that we fail to live fully in the grace that Jesus died to provide us? Perhaps we try to make changes in our own power, rather than appropriating the power of God?
You and I, as Christ-followers, have everything we need to make lasting changes that will help us look more like Jesus to a world that desperately needs Him. Jesus died so that we could live out of grace. His Spirit resides in us to help us make those changes that will transform us to look more like Christ. Maybe it is time we try a new approach to making positive changes in our life?
My dear friend, Arabah Joy, has a new resource available for the first time this week that encourages and enables us to set Grace Goals.
As we go through life, we set goals for all sorts of things: school, job, exercise, food, etc. Why not be intentional about grace just like we are about other things?
The Grace Goals Course helps you, a Christ-follower, set simple goals that will bring about lasting change in your life. It is a goal-setting resource that helps the believer go deep enough spiritually so that the change happens in the heart, as well as the mind.
“Grace is the power of God. It is more than God’s forgiveness when we do wrong…it is God’s enablement to do right. Grace is what has the power to transform a person’s life.”
So, friend, what area of your life needs a change?
I have already begun working through Grace Goals with several areas in mind where I need to see lasting change. Will you join me?
You can sign up for Grace Goals now. The cost is only $15 for the Grace Goals downloadable bundle. In the bundle, Arabah Joy provides a 48 page workbook with 5 mini workshops, as well as printable worksheets. The lessons are concise and thought-provoking. They will help you identify areas that need change and begin working toward that change. In addition, you will have optional access to a private Facebook page for all Grace Goals members where Arabah Joy will be available to interact with you. Beginning December 28th, she will work through the 5 workshop within the Facebook group.
So, what are you waiting for and what have you got to lose? I invite you to join me as we set Grace Goals for deep and lasting change in our life. Click any Grace Goals link in this post for more information or to purchase Grace Goals.
DISCLAIMER: I am an affiliate for the Grace Goals course. If you purchase Grace Goals by clicking on any of the links within this post, I will receive a small commission. It is a small way that I help support my family. Thank you for the love.