But at Your Word

How often do we toil all night, like Peter did, and catch no fish?

And how often do we not want to listen to the Lord because we’ve already been toiling so much and we’re worn out from all our striving?

Friends, as we cast all our cares on Him, as we take up our cross and follow Him, as we take His yoke upon our own shoulders and learn from Him, we can be co-laborers with God. Wow!

I pray we would all remember what a great privilege and responsibility it is to be laborers in the Harvest. I pray we would also remember that He is the crew chief, the great Shepherd, the Lord and King over the harvest. He is who tells us where to go and He is ultimately who causes the fruit to grow and the fish to fill the nets.

TWIG

Words of Gold

Yesterday afternoon I enjoyed a “Family Lunch” with many in my church family. At the lunch I was visiting with my new friend, Dean Nicholson. She was sharing how she felt that God’s word was a treasure.

It reminded me of Psalm 119:11 that I have hidden (stored up) God’s word in my heart that I might not sin against him.

As I’m meditating more on this, consider the words of Psalm 19:7-10 (ESV)

“The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul;

the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple;

the precepts of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart;

the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes;

the fear of the LORD is clean, enduring forever;

the rules of the LORD are true, and righteous altogether.

More to be desired are they than gold, even much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and drippings of the honeycomb.

Then I was having some rest time and reading a book by Mark Cahill titled, “The Watchmen.” It is a super encouraging, and convicting, read. He wrote,

“People traveled all across America to get to the West Coast for the Gold Rush, but would you walk two steps over to your bookcase and crack open the eternal Word of God which is more precious than gold?”

Which reminded me of Luke 16:13,

No servant can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.”

How often are we choosing the pursuit of money over the pursuit of God?

To be honest, I don’t think I’m often caught by the money bug. For me, I’m more often caught by the fear of man and by simple selfishness.

Which reminds me of God’s word to the angel of the church in Laodicea, in Revelation 3:15-21

“‘I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth.

For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire, so that you may be rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself and the shame of your nakedness may not be seen, and salve to anoint your eyes, so that you may see.

Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent.

Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me. The one who conquers, I will grant him to sit with me on my throne, as I also conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne.”

I give thanks to God for inviting me to His table and I look forward to that day when I will be honored to sit with Him at His throne, but in the meantime I want to be about my Father’s business of making disciples. And I can only do that if I am faithful to His Word, myself.

If I speak in the tongue of men and of angels (1 Corinthians 13)

If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love …
And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love …
If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love …

For the past 6 weeks, I’ve been teaching our children’s Sunday school class from 1 Corinthians 13.  I pray you would be blessed by these precious children!

Please take the time to SHARE and COMMENT.

My Life as the Bride of Christ – Part 4 of 4

In this series which I’ve titled “My Life as the Bride of Christ,” we’re going to look together at a few things that I believe make the marriage relationship unique and how our relationship with Christ is particularly special because we are His bride.  You can read parts one, two and three by clicking here.

#4. The marriage relationship is devoted and sacrificial.

My husband Bill and I met in April of 1994, were engaged three months later and then married in December of that same year.  In that brief, eight-month time period, Bill became the focus of my life.  He’s what I lived for.  He’s who I wanted to be with.  I stayed up into the wee hours of the morning, talking to him on the phone for hours and hours.  I spent countless hours primping and preparing to spend time with him.  I rearranged my plans to have the most time possible with him.  I wanted to please him and was willing to sacrifice my desires in favor of his.  I spent hours writing him love notes and making him goofy little gifts like a reflective coffee mug that said, “Guess Who I Love?” in paint pen with a big circle that would show HIS face.

Our young love was devoted and sacrificial.

But, somehow, as the months and years wore on, the trials and disappointments of my life took their toll.  I became increasingly selfish and demanding.  He wasn’t doing enough for me.  He wasn’t meeting my needs.  I no longer wanted to share hours upon hours of time with him, because deep roots of bitterness had taken hold of my heart.  My heart grew cold and distant, and I dare say, so did his.

We remained married, but life became more about the checklist of things that had to be done, rather that things that got to be done.  I lost my desire to want to please him.  I no longer cherished and adored this man.  Caring for my marriage became little more than a chore among a long list of chores.

Is that how we see our relationship with God?  Have we grown cold? Bitter? Hardened?

Is our time spent with God one chore among a long list of chores?

Do we hunger for him, as a starving beggar on a lonely road in the wilderness?

Do we thirst for Him, as a parched traveler in a desert land?

Do we crave time with him, as a young bride looks forward to the moment her bridegroom will return home from a hard day at work?

Just as sinful human fathers have given us a wrong impression of our perfect heavenly father, so fallen human marriages today have given us a wrong impression of our perfect heavenly groom.  Jesus Christ, our adoring, sacrificial husband, longs to spend time with us, His spotless bride, for whom He gave His very life.

Remember what the Lord said to His people in Jeremiah 2:2, “I remember the devotion of your youth, your love as a bride, how you followed me in the wilderness, in a land not sown.”  And Revelation 2:4-5a “But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first. Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first. ”

Am I satisfied to just know ABOUT Bill, to study his likes and dislikes, to know his favorite food and sports team, to know facts about him, like when and where he was born and his mother’s maiden name, to know random trivia about him so I can show off how well I know my husband, like what elementary school he went to and how much he weighed when he was 16?  Is that good enough for me?

Or, do I really want to KNOW him?  Intimately.  Personally.  Deeply.  Do I REALLY want to know what grieves his heart?  Do I REALLY want to know what he ACTUALLY thinks about when nobody’s around?

Do I truly want to please him, just because I love him – expecting NOTHING in return?  Sacrificially giving up my own desires in deference to his?

This is not supposed to be a talk about “how to love your husband,” though I’m sure we could all use that one, too.

No. This is a talk about “how to love your GOD.”

Friends, we cannot be satisfied by just knowing about God from a distance.  We cannot stop at knowing “1001 Facts about God and His Word.”  We cannot be satisfied with just being “good bible study girls.”  Remember Hosea 6:6, the Lord desires “steadfast love and not sacrifice, the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings.”

Do we truly desire to PLEASE God BECAUSE we LOVE Him?  Rather than because we think we can (or that we have to) earn His love and approval.

My Jesus loves me so much.  He wants to be with me.  He wants me to arise and come away with Him.  He wants me to willingly choose Him over sleep, over stuff, over other relationships, over the multitude of cares and distractions of the world that want to choke out the fruit-bearing of my life (See Mark 4:18-19)

SO WHAT DOES THAT MEAN FOR US … How does the fact that The marriage relationship is devoted and sacrificial impact our lives?

For me, what this looks like is largely wrapped up in having a committed, set aside time with God, my Savior, Lord, Father and Husband.  Truthfully, the closeness and intimacy and joy of my relationship with God is directly correlated to the quality (and quantity) of time I spend with Him.  Just as my relationship with my earthly husband suffers when we aren’t spending time together, so my relationship with God suffers when I am too busy or tired or distracted or stressed to spend time at His feet.

And might I add here that in those times when your daily life with your husband (or with your God) feels like a grind – DO the things you did at first.  Do it.  Don’t give way to your emotions.  Choose to serve your husband with a cheerful, sacrificial heart even when it’s hard.