Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Letting Him Lead

"Marriage is not a ritual or an end. It is a long, intricate, intimate dance together and nothing matters more than your own sense of balance and your choice of partner." ~Amy Bloom

Just like a dance, God designed marriage for one person to lead and the other to follow. Although this subject stirs controversy and confusion in many, God's plan is still best! Invite the Holy Spirit to be the music that determines each step you take in your marriage. If God is leading your husband, you can trust your husband to lead you. Pray that your husband will be sensitive to the Holy Spirit's direction, and step into the heartbeat of heaven.

For a little over a year, I have been praying for my husband about some decisions he was facing. During this past season we have faced some stagnancy and needed breakthrough in different areas. I would pray to God for hours and then one day I felt God say, "Let him lead!." (Funny thing is I never expected to hear this!) Sometimes I pray fervently, but forget to listen to the answer. I realized that my stubbornness and tendency to control were part of the problem. God had been leading Adam in a different direction and I had been stepping on his feet! God placed me with an amazing Christian man who has a vision for our lives. Adam hears God's voice. I think a lot of times a wife will cry out to the Lord for a spiritual leader, but cannot recognize that she already has one. We have to be willing to follow. Now my prayer is that God will make me the wife that I need to be for Adam. It is so important to pray the will of God. Not from a place of emotion, though emotion may follow. As soon as I let him lead, we began to see breakthrough and acceleration. The most effective prayers come from a place of spiritual surrender. And the most beautiful dances flow from seamless unity.

If you have troubles letting your husband lead, ask God to show you the root of the problem. I remember watching America's Funniest Home Videos when I was little. The one that stuck out in my mind the most was this couple at the altar on their marriage day. The wife was reciting her vows line by line. The minister got to the part, "Do you promise to love, honor, and obey?" The bride's eyes widened and she furrowed her brow in shocked disbelief. She paused, repeating the last word back to the minister, "Obey?" The whole congregation starting howling laughing. I know in our culture today, this is interpreted as a domineering, out-dated marital notion. However, I believe that your willingness to "obey" your husband reflects a lot about the unity of your marriage. Before you get offended...please follow. If the husband truly loves his wife as Christ loves the church, he is going to do what is in her best interest. From this place of unconditional love and sacrifice, it is easy to"obey" because you are of like mind and spirit. Now don't get me wrong. I believe that each decision should be discussed openly by husband and wife. My point is, if God is leading your husband in a direction on a decision and unity is present, it should be easy to follow. If you have had a father or past relationship in which the male abused his role of leader, there is a wound where trust should be. Ask God to heal that wound. Know that God can be trusted. He is a good God. He loves you, protects you and provides for you.

We should desire our earthly marriage to reflect the heavenly union of Christ to the Bride (His church). Think about the spiritual phases of maturation you go through as Christians. The same verse can elicit a different response depending on your walk with Him. Let's look at the verse , John 14:15: "If you love Me, you will obey what I command." Some will read this verse and think that God just wants to control your life, and that Christianity is nothing more than a set of rules. If you read it this way, you do not see God as a loving Father, but as distant and impersonal dictator. Your relationship with God will be one marked by religion/striving which will breed condemnation. Or perhaps you will resist and rebel. Either way, you will experience frustration and a "spiritual standstill." You must receive a revalatory knowledge of breakthrough truth before you can continue on. Further into your walk, you may read this verse and think, I don't understand, and my will is different, but I love You and choose to obey anyway. At this point in your walk, you trust God as your Lord and Savior. The dance may be formal, but trust is beginninig to emerge. However, in the most beautiful depth of the Christian walk, you read this verse and your desires and His desires become one. As the Bride of Christ, God desires His people to read the verse, "If you love Me, you will obey what I command" with the tacit but tangible words of the Holy Spirit resounding back to you..."because I love you." God asks us to obey Him because He loves us. It is for our best interests and for His glory.

♥If your husband is stepping in beat with the rhythm of the Holy Spirit, as you follow, you will truly be swept off your feet!♥

Friday, March 23, 2012

New Life Inside

A couple of days ago the Lord reminded me of the powerful verse, "This is the day which the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it" (Psalm 118:24). I decided to speak this verse out loud the moment I opened my eyes. An amazing thing happened. My heart swelled with joy and I felt a sense of expectancy about the day. The circumstances were not particularly different than the day before. However, my attitude was strikingly different.

I had to remind myself that we have a choice each day to embrace the mercies of God. Lamentations 3:22-23 says, "The faithful love of the LORD never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is His faithfulness; His mercies begin afresh each morning" (NLT). This morning, I opened up my carton of eggs to make breakfast, and was pleasantly surprised to see Psalm 118:24 printed on the upper lid.

I love how God gives us strategically planted prophetic reminders of His truth. God has new life nestled inside each day for you and your marriage. Perhaps you can only see the outer shell of your spouse's heart. Disappointments, stress, or wounds left untreated can form a hardened exterior around your partner's heart. However, this outer shell is much thinner than you might expect. Determine to crack the shell with relentless unconditional love. Love is inherently patient, so determine to love without time tables. True love does not try to trigger or search for the appropriate response from your partner. This can flow naturally from love, but should not be our goal. Love has no agenda.

The enemy's plan is for you to remain isolated from your spouse. The spirit of offense is architecturally designed to keep an external shell of separation around the new life that God has promised for your marriage. Even when emotions shout otherwise, remember God has strategically placed you by your partner's side to actively shatter those walls. If you allow Him, God will do the same work in you that He wants to do in your spouse. Ezekiel 36:26 says, "And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart." Just as you must choose to rejoice in each day that you are given, you must resolve to choose to love your spouse each day. You cannot do it alone. Ask God to help you to be tender and responsive to your spouse's needs. Beneath the surface, there is a new life filled with greater intimacy.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Sealing up the Cracks

Yesterday, I mentioned to Adam that our bathtub cauking was eroding. This particular bathroom is upstairs and I was concerned that some water could seep through and corrode the sheet rock and the ceiling below. After work, Adam and I headed to the Home Depot to get the needed supplies. I was amazed at the selection. There must have been about twenty different brands of caulking! He also picked up some fresh knife blades to scrape away the old caulking.

I felt in my spirit that God was highlighting a parallel in the supernatural. This is exactly how the enemy intends to infiltrate Christian marriages. A wide open door of entry would be much too obvious. Instead, the enemy must strategically weaken boundaries over time to gain access. Decay is a gradual process, but the results are the same. The internal structure of a relationship will eventually crumble if left ignored.

One important caulking tip is to completely eliminate the old layer before applying a new one. This is an important step in the operation because if you apply new caulking over the old, it will not last very long. In fact, mold will grow back very fast. Many times, spouses will have arguments and make up, but the underlying issues have not been uncovered. Emotional wounds have "memories," and until forgiveness is freely given, complete healing cannot manifest.

The enemy will also use external forces to chip away at the strength of the marriage bond. Massive amounts of stress and pressure can consume a spouse's schedule. This in turn will reduce the quality time that is so needed to build a successful, intimate marriage. Both partners need to make a conscious effort to establish boundaries and protect time together. Priorities are so important for maintaining a healthy balance. If you do not plan your schedule, and set aside time for each other, your schedule will be planned for you. This is a subtle tactic of the enemy. When both spouses are exhausted, it is easy for the enemy to sneak in. Just as you would schedule a dental appointment, schedule time with your spouse together and make sure that nothing interferes with it.

Ask God to show you the weak points of entry in your marriage. The enemy wants to keep them hidden from your sight, so that you will continue to experience stress, strife, and division. God imparts wisdom to those who ask for it. Through His wisdom, He will give you an eternal perspective to prioritize your day from moment to moment.

Psalm 90:12 says, "So teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom." (NKJV)

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Overcoming Undeserving

There are so many times in which I simply feel undeserving of love. I have a tendency to be overly sensitive and even self-centered at times. I am also fiercely idealistic, which can result in unrealistic expectations.

Thank goodness, love IS underserving. There is powerful truth in the Swedish proverb, "Love me when I least deserve it, because that's when I really need it." I feel most loved when Adam loves me in spite of my behavior not because of my behavior. In my weaknesses, in my shortcomings, and in my insecurities, Adam continues to love me faithfully. In the presence of love, walls crumble and fear evaporates. One of my favorite verses is I John 4:18, There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love."

If you ask yourself, "What is your greatest fear?" At its very roots, it is most likely that  you fear that you are "unworthy" or "unlovable." Many times the enemy will try to hold me in the shadows of guilt and condemnation or highlight my weaknesses. He accuses me of being "wretched." But, the best thing I can do is agree with him and say YES! I am wretched, but Christ loves me anyways. The startling contrast between our sin and God's holiness makes love powerful!

The lyrics of "Amazing Grace" are so precious to me:

♪Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch like me....
I once was lost but now am found,
Was blind, but now, I see.♪

♪T'was Grace that taught...
my heart to fear.
And Grace, my fears relieved.
How precious did that Grace appear...
the hour I first believed.♪

♪Through many dangers, toils and snares...
we have already come.
T'was Grace that brought us safe thus far...
and Grace will lead us home.♪

♪The Lord has promised good to me...
His word my hope secures.
He will my shield and portion be...
as long as life endures.♪

♪When we've been here ten thousand years...
bright shining as the sun.
We've no less days to sing God's praise...
then when we've first begun.♪

♫Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch like me....
I once was lost but now am found,
Was blind, but now, I see.♫

Marriage Manna~Always remember, that it is better to love than to be "right!"~

Monday, March 5, 2012


My emailed word of the day is "jubilee." A jubilee means 1. A special anniversary or an event, especially a 50th anniversary (golden anniversary) 2. Rejoicing or celebration

The etymology of the word is Greek, from the Hebrew "yobel," which is a ram's horn trumpet. Traditionally, a jubilee year was announced by blowing a ram's horn. This instrument is used as a prophetic tool to make a divine announcement in the earthly realm. For the believer, the blast of the ram's horn (also known as a shofar) represents the shout of victory over the power of sin and death.

Verses 8-25 of Leviticus describe the year of jubilee.Verses 8-10 read as follows:

8 'And you shall count seven sabbaths of years for yourself, seven times seven years; and the time of the seven sabbaths of years shall be to you forty-nine years. 9 'Then you shall cause the trumpet of the Jubilee to sound on the tenth day of the seventh month; on the Day of Atonement you shall make the trumpet to sound throughout all your land. 10 'And you shall consecrate the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout all the land to its inhabitants. It shall be a Jubilee for you; and each of you shall return to his possession, and each of you shall return to his family."

On the Day of Atonement, two miraculous things happened. All Hebrew slaves were set free, and all land was returned to the original owner or owner's family. This is significant because for more than 80 years before the Exodus, Israelites were bound by slavery in Egypt without freedom and without posessions. Once they crossed over into the land of Canaan, Joshua divided the land among the tribes and their families. This land became a permanent posession that could never depart from the family. If a man became poor, he could sell part of his land temporarily, but it would always revert to him or his descendants in the year of jubilee.

I love how the Old Testament perfectly parallels with the new Testament. Every symbol and sacrament is divinely inspired to underscore God's amazing love for us. Christ died on the cross not to temporarily free us, but to permanently free us. If you are a Christian who still feels bound or captive by the law of condemnation, it is because you have not fully understood that your identity is in Christ alone. The law of condemnation binds us to the slavery of performance. Once you know your identity is fully in Christ Jesus, you can claim your rightful inheritance.

I believe many marriages suffer from a lack of joy and peace because one or both partners are bound by a spirit of condemnation. Your identity is not in what you do, but in who you are through Him. If you or your spouse simply does not feel "good enough," then you cannot fully receive love. Love is the seed that brings forth every desired fruit of the Spirit. Romans 8:1 says, "There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit."

God's perfect atonement through His son Jesus Christ delivers us from indwelling sin. Biblically, the number 50 means jubilee, rest, and deliverance. At the 70th jubilee there were 50 days between the resurrection of Jesus and the glorious manifestation on the day of Penecost. Ask yourself if there is a gap between the promise and the possession. Perhaps you believe in the promises of the Bible, but you aren't experiencing the manifestation in your life or marriage. What fills the gap between the promise and the possession is faith! Ask God to give you a holy expectation, based solely on the finshed work of the cross.

If you long for freedom, rest, and deliverance in your marriage, blow the ram's horn! Declare God's goodness through declarations, sacrificial praise, and thanksgiving in advance and wait on the Lord for His glory and power to manifest.