Monday, September 24, 2012

The Blessedness of Consecration

By Jennifer R.

One of my favorite hymns of consecration is "Take My Life and Let It Be" by Frances Ridley Havergal. I have recently begun reading the book Kept For the Master's Use: The Life Fully Devoted to God by Havergal, where she takes each couplet of that great hymn and expands on it.

In the first chapter, she changes the word "take" in each couplet and changes it to "keep," making the point that we not only want God to take our lives, but to keep them and use them how He wishes. That is truly the meaning of consecration. She then gives this convicting explanation of what our motivation should be in asking for this:

Consecration is not a religiously selfish thing. If it sinks into that, it ceases to be consecration. We want our lives kept, not that we may feel happy, and be saved the distress consequent on wandering, and get the power with God and man, and all the other privileges linked with it. We shall have all this, because the lower is included in the higher; but our true aim, if the love of Christ constrains us, will be far beyond this.

Not for "me" at all, but "for Jesus"; not for my safety, but for His glory; not for my comfort, but for His joy; not that I may find rest, but that He may see the travail of His soul and be satisfied! Yes, for Him I want to be kept. Kept for His use; Kept to be His witness; kept for His joy! Kept for Him, that in me He may show forth some tiny sparkle of His light and beauty; kept to do His will and His work in His own way; kept (it may be) to suffer for His sake; kept for Him, that He may do just what He wants with me; kept, so that no other lord shall have any more dominion over me, but that Jesus shall have all there is to have - little enough, indeed, but not divided or diminished by any other claim. Is not this, O you who love the Lord - is not this worth living for, worth asking for, worth trusting for? This is consecration, and I cannot begin to tell you the blessedness of it.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Top 10 Steps for Building a True Christian Marriage

By Kim W.

I believe Mike and I have a strong, biblical marriage some days... but even on our good days we sin, and that sin affects our relationship in countless ways. On our worst days, we selfishly seek our own desires and plead to have the other meet our needs... not bringing glory to God and failing miserably to show a watching world (more specifically, our own children) the love of Christ.

The heartbreak in all of this is that we will never have a perfect marriage. It just isn't going to happen, but we can all strive to live out this earthly marriage, by God's grace, in a way that shows that Christ has changed our hearts to love Him, first of all, and to love our husbands in a way that brings God glory. The wonderful news is that God knows we are not going to be perfect in our marriages and in all our strivings. We can never be that perfect picture of God's unfailing love, but we can trust Him, depend on Him, and seek Him to give us everything we need to live biblically. He has unlimited riches of grace to shower upon us, and it is Him that brings about any good that is produced from our marriages. Looking at my own life, that is a miracle!

I recently saw this list of steps for building a true Christian marriage (see link below). As you read this list, ask the Lord to change your heart to love your husband in a way that truly brings God glory, making that the focus of your heart. He will do His perfect will in your life. He is the only One that can!

Top 10 Steps for Building a True Christian Marriage

Monday, September 10, 2012

Be the One

By Becky A.

On the way to Jerusalem, He was passing along between Samaria and Galilee. And as He entered a village, He was met by ten lepers, who stood at a distance and lifted up their voices, saying, "Jesus, Master, have mercy on us." When He saw them He said to them, "Go and show yourselves to the priests." And as they went they were cleansed. Then ONE of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice; and he fell on his face at Jesus' feet, giving Him thanks. Now he was a Samaritan. Then Jesus answered, "Were not ten cleansed? Where are the nine? Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?" And He said to him, "Rise and go your way; your faith has made you well."

In a world of grumbling and complaining, I want to be counted among the One. I want the Lord to open my eyes to see each and every day what He has done for me. There are so many things in my life that vie for my attention - to worry or be anxious about. Why is that voice so much louder than the voice of the blessings I have right in front of me?

Lord, open my eyes to see Your daily gifts to me. Little things like laundry which means You have blessed me with family who are healthy. Thank You for the opportunity to serve them.

Thank You for the chance to homeschool my kids. Today I dread it, but it's my own sinful, selfish, lazy heart. Instead, make me grateful that they are here with me each day.

Thank You for work, for it reminds me that You cursed the ground and not Adam in the garden.

Thank You for the early morning quiet, because it gives me a chance to refuel with You through prayer and Your Word.

Now, Lord, it's easy to be thankful early in the morning, but only because there has been no chaos yet. My kids will wake up soon, and we will start our day of school and chores. I have mounds of laundry to do, and the garage sale stuff is overtaking my home. Tonight I have company coming to the house. In all of the preparation and all of the things and people I will interact with today - in it ALL - make my heart see YOU and Your gifts.

Show me as many things as I can handle seeing today.

And make me grateful.

Like the One.

Monday, September 3, 2012

20 Things I Want to Tell Engaged and Newlywed Women {Really All Married Women}

  1. Marriage is made up of two good forgivers, because every marriage is made up of two sinners. (Romans 3:23)
  2. At some point, you will have to learn that life isn’t all about you. (Philippians 2:3)
  3. Don’t listen to women that tell you that passion fades…it doesn’t have to! (um…all of Song of Solomon)
  4. Don’t give up. Love never fails. (1 Cor. 13)
  5. He wants a kind wife, not a maid or another mother. Be nice. (Galatians 5:22-23)
  6. Give your husband the gift of your respect.  He needs it more than you know. (Ephesians 5:33)
  7. Be mindful of your expectations.
  8. Honor the Lord above all things. (Colossians 3: 17)
  9. Find your worth and security in the Lord, and don’t look to your husband to meet all of your needs.
  10. Be very careful about reading romance novels. They set you up for an unrealistic view of romance.
  11. Real romance is finding that one spot in the crook of his arm to snuggle into, that shared look over the dinner table when the kids are acting crazy, and the way he fixes the leaky sink when he is dog-tired after work.
  12. Love is about relationship.  The more I love my husband, and seek a relationship with him, the less critical and duty-bound I become.  It is similar to my relationship with God.
  13. Be thankful for the husband you have. Accept him as he is, not for what you want him to be.
  14. Don’t compare!! Don’t buy into the game of comparing him with anyone else’s husband.
  15. The Biblically “normal” marriage is filled with joy, connection, laughter, and peace.  It’s not free of hurt feelings and conflict, but they know how to process their pain with one another so that they live more often in a meadow than at the scene of a train wreck.  This is not the average marriage, but it normal – because it is a visible display of Jesus’ relationship with His bride (Ephesians 5:22-33).
  16. Your marriage is a testimony!The #1 evangelistic tool in America (the world) today is a successful marriage, because it’s a living miracle!” – Dr. Joe Aldrich, former president of Multnomah Bible College.
  17. Pray for your marriage. Pray hard.
  18. I’ve heard that is gets better with age.  I have to say in my short {13 year} experience, that is so true.
  19. Where there is God, there is always hope. Even for the most broken marriages. “With God all things are possible.” (Matthew 19:26)
  20. Marriage is commitment and sacrifice. But it’s also the best, most wild ride you will ever have with your best friend.
Originally posted on July 26, 2012 at Grace Full Mama blog.