Friday, 20 December 2013

Wealth Unclaimed

Most of us have read a story about someone who lived a very modest life style, if not near the poverty level only to learn upon their death that they were sitting on a fortune.  Sometimes the fortune was not obvious, i.e. a rare painting, etc.  At other times the person hoarded their wealth not connecting the dots between their seemingly arduous life style and the wealth they had accumulated.  Occasionally there is the unclaimed lottery ticket.

What if your partner represents a huge fortune that God has graciously given to you.   Instead of recognizing him/her as the treasure that they truly are, you fail to recognize their value.  In fact you’re more inclined to feel exceedingly poor, at least in an emotional sense.  At times you feel lonely even though you might be surrounded by a husband/wife and children.

There are several things going on if this describes you.  First it would seem that your partner is not meeting your expectations, needs and/or desires.  They are most likely not connecting with you on an emotional and/or physical level.  Secondly your spouse’s irritating mannerisms, their total disregard for your feelings, their annoying habits, and/or their personal form of addiction have drained the love out of your marriage.

How on earth do I have the audacity to refer to such a spouse as a treasure?   It is easy IF you are both born again Christians, because if you are it is merely a matter of re-focusing your priorities, allowing God’s desire for your marriage to prevail.  I am NOT saying this is easy but it is at least possible.  Philippians 4:19 tells us that ”God will supply all of our needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus.”

The vast majority of all of our problems are heart problems stemming from what is inside of us not what is on the outside.  Here is where the born again part fits in.  As descendants of Adam and Eve we are totally incapable of bringing glory to God without the help of the Holy Spirit.  If a person is not born again they do not have the Holy Spirit as a ready resource to make the heart changes that are so necessary.

As born again believers God will use your spouse’s strengths AND weaknesses as an instrument in His hands to grow you to become more like the Son.   This growth is what is referred to as “sanctification”, a process whereby believers continue to grow to become more like the Son throughout their lifetime with the help of the Holy Spirit.

This is why your spouse represents a hidden treasure.  Our purpose on this earth is to glorify God, not to have all of our needs met.  He has given you your spouse as a means by which you can fulfill God’s plan for your life.

 

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

God Has a Plan for Your Life

For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord. They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope (Jeremiah 29:11, NLT)

If you asked me if the Bible, in its original form, was God’s inerrant Word I would say, without hesitation. “absolutely”.  If you asked me whether or not I believed that God would never go back on His promise, I would answer “most assuredly.”  I would be just as quick to acknowledge that He was all knowing, all powerful and the epitome of love.

Having acknowledged the most basic facts that most evangelical, born again Christians would acknowledge I’m forced to go back to the top of this blog and read Jeremiah 29:11.  Do I act one hundred percent of the time as though God has a plan for my life that is born out of His love for me?  Is my behavior consistent with my intellectual assent that He is all powerful, all knowing and that He would never go back on a promise that He has made?

The answer to both questions would be “no”.

How about you?  What do you believe to be true about God AND are you living your life in accordance with what you claim to believe?

And by the way, where does free will enter the picture?  God’s plan for my life is most likely perfect but the same cannot be said for choices I make.  God has that covered, that’s where Romans 8:28 enters the picture.  And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who[a] have been called according to his purpose.”

To connect all this rhetoric to marriage, I can say that over the years I have had numerous partners say, “I never should have married him/her” or “I married the wrong man/woman” 

Because God puts a premium on our free will it is possible that the person you married would not have been God’s choice for you?  However the moment you said “I do” in God’s eyes you are, you are married to the person that God desired that you be married to until death do you part.

In such cases God puts Romans 8:28 into play.  He will use the person that you have chosen to shape you and mold you into the person that He wanted you to be, granted it might be more painful than if you had married His choice for your life.

So the question should never be did I marry the wrong person but am I letting God use this marriage to make me into the person He wants me to be?  Or am I constantly fighting against his plan for my life?

Monday, 16 December 2013

The Ideal Gift

Perhaps Christmas is a time when more than any other time of the year we tend to reflect on what we have or do not have.  For those who truly know Christ as Lord and Savior we realize that we have been given the greatest gift that anyone could ever hope to receive.   It is a gift that will keep on giving into eternity. 

Over the years many of the gifts that we have received have worn out.  In some cases we just become tired of the item or a newer, better version is a coveted replacement.  In some cases we try to figure out how we can gracefully get rid of the gift without hurting the feelings of the giver.

God’s gift seems to grow in value the older I get.  It not only never wears out, it is more valuable to me today than the day I first received it.  There will never be a newer, better version of this gift.  I will never look for a way to discard this gift.

If you are someone who sends out Christmas cards, why not pray for each person and/or family as you address your envelopes.  Consider at least one person who you think may be discouraged, lonely and/or feeling hopeless and pray for them AND call them and just ask how you can help them or just listen to them.

Pray for God to bring someone across your path over the next week with whom you can share God’s precious gift.  Remember He willingly gives it to all who ask.  Revelation 3:20 tells us that Jesus is “standing at the door and knocking.  If anyone hears His voice and opens the door, He will come in…”  What a blessing to be in cahoots with God’s Spirit in helping to dispense the gift of eternal life to someone you know or just meet by “chance”.

This can be a season of frenetic activity, some of which can be stressful even for the most joy filled among us.  Here is where our light can shine.  People watch how we respond to life, and a positive response even in the most trying of times might just be our greatest witness.  Chances are that we will run into more than our share of harried, rude, pushy people over the next week.  How we respond to someone else’s inconsiderate behavior will speak volumes about who we are in Christ.

Finally, if our husband/wife doesn’t see Christ living in us, it makes our professed faith seem rather phony and shallow.  Being cheerful and kind to those outside the family but not inside reeks with insincerity and hypocrisy.