Friday, 11 November 2011

Time in Life's Cistern

Not to be irreverent but have you had one of those days (or months or years) when you have said to the Lord, “Why?”

In part this question is driven by the fact that most of us have expectations. We envision that the frog we kissed at the altar will become a prince. Or we expected that the woman we married would be a cross between a mom, a maid and a lingerie model. We were certain that our kids would be better behaved and brighter than any of his/her peers. We never dreamed that we would have unpaid bills, let alone be unemployed for a period of time. Welcome to life or as Joseph knew it, life in the cistern.

You may remember the story in the Book of Genesis (chpts 37-50). Joseph was a very good looking, very self confident young man. He was such a pain in the gluteus maximus that his brothers threw him down a cistern and left him to die. However the brothers had a pang of conscience or more than likely the thought of ill gotten gain overtook them and they rescued Joseph and sold him to a bunch of camel jockeys. Then Joseph gets falsely accused of attempted rape and spends many years in jail. How do you like his life so far?

At some point, if you were Joseph wouldn’t you be asking “Why?”

All we know is that in the end God had a better plan for Joseph’s life and that must be the guiding light for all who call on the name of the Lord. God always has a purpose for what happens in our lives even though from our perspective it feels as though we are at the bottom of a cistern and He has forgotten us. If God is aware of even a sparrow falling to the ground He is well aware of your circumstances.

Whatever your circumstances, regardless of how hopeless they may appear, go to your heavenly Father, ask Him to guide your steps, and to give you peace in the midst of your storm. Go to the Book of Psalms, known as the soul’s medicine chest and seek His comfort.

“The Lord is my light and my salvation – whom shall I fear? ...The Lord is the stronghold of my life – of whom shall I be afraid? … For in the day of trouble he will keep me safe in his dwelling; he will hide me in the shelter of his tabernacle and set me high upon a rock…”
Psalm 27

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

The Thanksgiving Chair

A friend recently sent me a link to a video entitled the “Thanksgiving Chair”

It served as a reminder to me, and I hope to you, of just how thankful we should be. All too often we focus on the negative. We dwell on the expectations that have not been met, the dreams that seem unreachable, and the vision of what we thought it would be like to be married only to realize that it is much different.

Perhaps a change of focus would help. Why not mentally place a thanksgiving chair in each room of your house as a reminder of how good it is to have someone to share your life with. God has placed a special person in your life, one who you would do well to appreciate.


Monday, 7 November 2011

A Look at Forgiveness

It would be more than naïve to think that a marriage which is comprised of the union of two sinners of different genders, with different heredity and environmental backgrounds, and different personalities and different experiences could come together for a lifetime without conflict. The ability to ask for forgiveness and grant forgiveness may be among the most important skills that a couple can master. The Bible has much to say about what forgiveness is, what it is not and why it is so essential personally and relationally.

Key Verses, Passages and Parables:
1. Mark 11:25 says, “And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.”

2. Luke 6:37 says “forgive and you will be forgiven.”

3. The Lord’s Prayer found in Matthew 6:12;14-15 says, “Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors...For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.”

4. Matthew 18: 22 states that there is no limit to the times we must forgive

5. The Parable of the Unmerciful Servant (Matthew 18:22-35)

6. Ephesians 4:32, "Forgive each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you."

The message is clear; we must be willing to forgive others much because we have been forgiven much. If we harbor a grudge it will eventually affect us emotionally and/or physically.

There is no call of Christ more difficult than the call to forgive others as he has forgiven us. The apostle Paul penned:

Dead Sea
Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” Eph.4:32
Unforgiveness is cancer of the soul. When we who are Christians refuse to forgive one another we are like the Dead Sea, i.e. forgiveness flows in but it never goes out.

The only way out of pain, bitterness and resentment is through the door of forgiveness. Ephesians 4:29-31.

29Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. 30And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.