Thursday, 23 November 2017
Sunday, 19 November 2017
Monday, 29 May 2017
I was reading a new book by a Christian author who pointed out how often we use the language of finance when we talk about relationships. We “value” a friend. We “invest in” a relationship. The author went on to say that we commonly use our love in the same way we use money: to get what we want.
I had to stop and check my own marriage relationship: Do I give/withhold courtesy, attention or affection to/from my husband, depending on whether David’s behavior pleases or upsets me? In all honesty, I had to admit that sometimes my love is conditional toward him. Sometimes I do use love like money.
This is not the way of grace and mercy. This is not Christ’s way. This is not kingdom behavior. God’s love does not depend on my good behavior; there’s no way I can earn his approval or salvation. Jesus gave his life for me, and God accepts me and welcomes me into his family because I trust Christ’s work on my behalf.
Simon the Sorcerer failed to realize that some things in life are priceless. When he saw the powerful effects of the apostles’ prayers, Simon wanted to buy what was in their “bag of tricks”: “Give me also this ability so that everyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit” (Acts 8:19). Peter’s response was to rebuke Simon sternly, saying, “May your money perish with you, because you thought you could buy the gift of God with money!” (verse 20). Simon the Sorcerer hadn’t figured out that the gifts of God are given by God’s grace and goodness alone; they cannot be earned or bought.
I’m afraid my attempts to freely offer love and kindness to others, as Jesus would, will be a lifelong challenge for me. My consumer mentality seems too deeply rooted. But I want to love others without considering what they might think of me or what they might “owe” me. At home, that means choosing to love David through all my actions and attitudes, whether or not I think he’s “earned” my affection.
Many times when one spouse behaves with grace and love toward an undeserving spouse, the spouse reciprocates with a renewed attempt to be gracious and loving, but there are no guarantees. In the end, I must choose to give my love freely, not in an attempt to manipulate my husband or get him to treat me well, but only because I want to please the Lord.
Money can’t buy lasting love, and I don’t want to use my love like money. In the end I’ll be more gratified in receiving David’s love and affection if I know I haven’t manipulated his attention with a bag of tricks or with strategies of conditional love. My goal is to love him freely, the way God has loved me.
Taken from NIV Couples’ Devotional Bible
- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad
Monday, 3 April 2017
(Taken from a devotional reading on YouVersion)
Saturday, 25 February 2017
In my opinion, the biggest life changing question asked in the Bible can be found in Matthew 16:15, Jesus arrives in the region of Caesarea Philippi. He asked who the people thought He was. The disciples said John the Baptist returned, Elijah, Jeremiah or another prophet. Clearly the people thought whoever this Jesus person was He was under the authority of God. The reality was He was not recognised for who He really was, the Son of God and The Saviour of the World.
Jesus then turns to His disciples and in Matthew 16:15 says, "who do you say I am?" At this point Jesus is recognised as Messiah and Son of the living God and on this foundation Jesus said, "I will build my church". This question at this point changed everything, Jesus' suffering on the cross and His resurrection was close and that God's Kingdom was ever closer.
This question is as powerful today as then. "Who do you say Jesus is?" And that's why I struggle to call myself a Christian, as I learn more about Him. Christian for some people is used to describe someone who loves and follows Jesus. For others it is more a label used to describe a life style, a type of person, a type of music, something ticked on a demographic form or a type of insurance. I remember a musician talking about a particular conference and describing it as very 'Christian'. Almost as you would describe the Motorshow being very automotive. The funny thing is, I went to that very conference the following year and ran into the same chap and I have to say it was very 'Christian'. It's very surreal being sold Christian motor insurance!
The point I'm trying to make is that this word Christian seems so far removed from that moment when Jesus asked that question to His disciples, "who do you say I am?" It's not enough to stick a label on ourselves and call ourselves a Christian, but do we know and acknowledge who Jesus is. He wants to have a 'real' relationship with us and see our lives changed so that we can live life to its fullness.
Tuesday, 22 November 2016
Monday, 21 November 2016
I read this devotional today that contains a lot that is perhaps hard to accept but nonetheless seems to get to the heart of grace and faith......
I suppose there has never been a marriage between two honest, self-examining people that at some time has not reached a seemingly irredeemable low point. There have been moments in my own marriage when the wall between my wife and me seemed too high to hurdle, too thick to break. We found it hard to muster hope. It was not easy to be confident that somehow the barriers blocking our oneness could be removed. . . . Too many unhappy spouses claim promises that God never made as their foundation of hope. They trust that if they do all they can, God will change their spouses into the loving Christians they should be. But a reason to live never consists of a guarantee that “Things will get better” or that “God will save your husband and help him stop drinking.” The hope of the Christian is far deeper than a mere change in someone else. The hope of the Christian is inescapably bound up in the grace of God.
It would be easy to quote a few verses from Hebrews (especially 6:18–19), and speak glowingly about the sure hope in Christ that serves as an anchor for our souls. But if you are plagued by chronic despair that results in a “Why bother” attitude, then prayerfully consider the following.
The Lord has not promised to put your marriage together for you. The hope of the Christian is not that one’s spouse will change or that one’s health will improve or that one’s financial situation will become good. God does not promise or rearrange our worlds to suit our longings. He does promise to permit only those events that will further his purpose in our lives. Our responsibility is to respond to life’s events in a manner that pleases the Lord, not to change our spouses into what we want. Even if we respond biblically, we have no guarantee that our spouses will respond in kind. Though they file for divorce or continue to drink or nag all the more, there is reason for us to persevere in obedience.
Certainly if both partners build on the foundation of hope and strive earnestly to live biblically, even the worst marriage can be turned around. Either way, there is reason to hope. This reason is bound up in the grace of God.
In God’s presence, there is never cause for despair. Our spouses may not do what they should to restore our marriage to happy, fulfilling relationships. But if we remain faithful to God, pouring out our emotions before him, renewing our commitment to seek him, trusting him to guide us in our responses, then he will sustain us through our trials and provide rich fellowship with him. There is reason to go on. There is hope. God’s grace is sufficient.
—Dr. Larry Crabb