Tag Archives: marriage

Num. 9; Ps. 45; Song 7; Heb. 7

Yesterday was sunny as I smoothed the sheets and blankets over the bed. First my side, then my husband’s. And as I fluffed and arranged his pillow, I thought of a woman whose husband recently died after 50+ years of marriage. Thought of her making her bed that morning, and of her lingering over the spot where her beloved once lay just a short time before–gone now, for the rest of her days.

Psalm 45 and Song of Solomon 7 speak to me of love and celebration. One of a king and queen.

10 Listen to me, O royal daughter; take to heart what I say.
    Forget your people and your family far away.
11 For your royal husband delights in your beauty;
    honor him, for he is your lord. Psalm 45:10-11 NLT

Another of poetic and binding love.

10 I am my lover’s,
    and he claims me as his own. Song of Solomon 7:10 NLT

Numbers 9 has celebration–of the second Passover. The passing over of death. God makes a way for everyone to celebrate–from the unclean to the foreign.

He makes that way for us still–we who are unclean and foreign.

24 But because Jesus lives forever, his priesthood lasts forever. 25 Therefore he is able, once and forever, to save those who come to God through him. He lives forever to intercede with God on their behalf.

26 He is the kind of high priest we need because he is holy and blameless, unstained by sin. He has been set apart from sinners and has been given the highest place of honor in heaven. 27 Unlike those other high priests, he does not need to offer sacrifices every day. They did this for their own sins first and then for the sins of the people. But Jesus did this once for all when he offered himself as the sacrifice for the people’s sins. 28 The law appointed high priests who were limited by human weakness. But after the law was given, God appointed his Son with an oath, and his Son has been made the perfect High Priest forever. Hebrews 7:24-28 NLT.

Jesus, thank you–thank you for interceding on our behalf, for taking our sin to save us from an eternal death. Thank you for love stories, and faithful brothers and sisters. Thank you that you are with us in suffering.

Courtney (66books365)

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Filed under 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, Hebrews, M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, Numbers, Old Testament, Psalms, Song of Solomon

Nehemiah 4-6; Revelation 17

What are those feeble Jews doing? Will they restore their wall…Can they bring the stones back to life from those heaps of rubble–burned as they are? ~ Nehemiah 4:2

 The story in Nehemiah chapters 4-6 is about rebuilding a wall. By replacing the word “wall” with “marriage” then Nehemiah’s battle is no different than what many married couples face today: opposition from the enemy.  After being married 8 years and doing marriage counseling for 4, I can attest that the enemy uses similar lies against marriages.

In Nehemiah 4:1-2, it’s easy to see that when we obey God’s call to take a stand for our marriages, the enemy will attack us full-force, trying to cause us to doubt our spouses’ intentions and to eventually quit.  Instead, we should follow the words of Nehemiah, “’Don’t be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome, and fight for…your wives and your homes.’ When our enemies heard that we were aware of their plot and that God had frustrated it, we all returned to the wall, each to his own work,” (4:14-15)  When we are aware of the enemy’s schemes, we can more easily fight through it and return to rebuilding and strengthening our marriages.

Father God, I pray that marriages would be strengthened, that couples would stand with each other against their real enemy.  It’s when our spouses are at their weakest that they need our love, encouragement, and support all the more.  Help us all to see past the lies of the enemy and to take a stand for our gift from God: our spouse.

They were all trying to frighten us, thinking, “Their hands will get too weak for the work, and it will not be completed.” But I prayed, “Now strengthen my hands.” ~ Nehemiah 6:9

Heatherpotts5

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1 Chronicles 7, 8, 9; 1 Corinthians 7:20-40

“I want you to live as free of complications as possible. When you’re unmarried, you’re free to concentrate on simply pleasing the Master. Marriage involves you in all the nuts and bolts of domestic life and in wanting to please your spouse, leading to so many more demands on your attention. The time and energy that married people spend on caring for and nurturing each other, the unmarried can spend in becoming whole and holy instruments of God. I’m trying to be helpful and make it as easy as possible for you, not make things harder. All I want is for you to be able to develop a way of life in which you can spend plenty of time together with the Master without a lot of distractions.” 1 Corinthians 7:32-35 (MSG)

This group of verses stood out to me in today’s reading, mainly because I have been struggling in the area of family distractions a lot over the past 2+ years since I got married and birthed my first child. At times, when I am feeling as dry as a desert, I have looked back to my past and yearned for what was – an abundance of time to spend in the Word and to pray for hours at a times, corporate prayer and worship, face to face time with my Almighty, silence to hear the still, small voice, etc. I look back on the closeness I felt with my Father, an intimacy that I miss deeply right now. I remember the lushness of that time as if it was an oasis in the middle of a wilderness.

During that time in my life, I lived out of personal experience and belief more based in tangible knowledge and involvement. It was just me and God. I could wrap my schedule around His little finger and had nothing to take me away from spending as much time as I wanted resting and being filled up with His presence. It was a time when, despite the normal fatigue of living life, I always had the energy to give to others from the abundance that I was constantly walking in.

Recently, I have been living in that place of faith in what is not seen or felt. I have to moment-by-moment choose to trust that God is there looking after me, protecting me, providing for me, and loving me in such a way that He would never leave me nor forsake me. I have to believe that when I complete my day-to-day tasks, honor my husband, and care for my daughter as unto the Lord, it is as incense to the Lord in the same way it was when I had the time to worship for hours playing the guitar and making a joyful noise. And as I pray minute-by-minute, I must have confidence that He will hear and answer my prayers as the prayers of fervent woman who could spend the whole day in the prayer room.

Now…don’t get me wrong…I would never want to give up being married to my loving husband, miss out on watching my beautiful 18 month old explore the world that God created with His words, or not have the opportunity to be anticipating the soon-coming of my second bundle of joy. But, what I hope and pray for is the divine wisdom to figure out the perfect balance of those two worlds – my past and my present – to be in an even deeper relationship with my God in the future.

Holy Spirit, thank you for Your grace and comfort. Please, be with me and guide me. Give me the wisdom I desire in how to carve out time for You in my hectic, exhausting, distracted days. I want more time with You. I want more of You. I want my relationship with You to be increasingly intimate. I want to feel Your tangible presence with me all the time. I want to more and more abide in You and You in me. In  Jesus’ name. Amen.

Blessings – Julie, Stateside

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Psalm 93-95; Philippians 4

I’ve heard it said that the part of the newspaper you read first says a lot about your personality.  For example, if you go straight for the obituaries, you tend to have more stress in your life.  But if you go to the comics first, you tend to have more laughter in your life.  Honestly, I don’t know if there’s any truth to it or what the “experts” would say about those who just read the paper for the coupons.

 

The point of today’s reading has nothing to do with newspapers and everything to do with your focus.  In Psalms 94 and 95, Moses talks about how his focus shaped his anxiety level.  “When anxiety was great within me, your [comfort] brought joy to my soul,” (Psalm 94:19).  “Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the LORD our Maker; for he is our God and we are the people of his pasture, the flock under his care,” (Psalm 95:6-7).

 

Paul said, “I have learned the secret of being content,” (Philippians 4:12).  He didn’t say he was born with it, but rather that he learned it, that he had to work to retrain his focus.  Many times over the course of our lives, we are going to have hard times when our anxiety will be great: in financial struggles, in marital struggles, in struggles with our kids, etc.  In these times of anxiety, where will you train your focus?

 

Father, I thank you for all the times you have delivered me out of my anxiety and into your joy.  You hold me in your hands and keep me close to your heart, promising to never let me go.  I pray that I would always remember that, no matter the circumstances.  In Jesus’ Name I pray, Amen.

HeatherPotts5

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Song of Solomon 4, Song of Solomon 5, Acts 7:22-43

Please read at www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Song%204,5;%20Acts%207:22-43&version=NKJV

Song of Solomon 4            Behold, you are fair, my love! … You have ravished my heart, My sister, my spouse… How fair is your love, …How much better than wine is your love … A fountain of gardens, A well of living waters,

            The Song of Solomon tells of the intimate love God has for His people and their love in response. In the Old Testament, Israel was set apart for God. After the second covenant of Jesus’ Blood, God’s covenant of love is for His Church, the Body of Christ, which contains all followers of the Lord Jesus Christ. (1)   

              Lord God, so often You have shown me immeasurable love within my soul. No one can penetrate my innermost being except You! (Psalm 51:6 ) In this world of fleeting emotions and harmful controllers, You Lord Jesus are the One True Love. You heal me, correct & teach me, protect and bind me to Yourself by Your Word and Your Holy Spirit. You never leave or forsake me because You dwell within me. I will praise You for You are my salvation! (2)

Song of Solomon 5              I have come to my garden, my sister, my spouse; I have gathered my myrrh with my spice… His mouth is most sweet, Yes, he is altogether lovely. This is my beloved, And this is my friend,

            Intimacy with God is for all who trust the Lord God Almighty because of Jesus’ blood covenant. The marriage is consummated by the Lamb of God. Heaven is our paradise home. (6)

              Lord God, You provide all that is needed to live with You in sweet unity. When we seek Your face and righteousness, You reveal Yourself ever more clearly and closely. Your love for me compels me to love and trust You more deeply. The love You give in Spirit and Truth transforms me to be what You desire. Father, I am grateful that You will complete the work You began in me because I want to see Your glory here and in heaven! (3)  (4)

Acts 7:22-43             When forty years had passed, and the Angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire in a bush … the voice of the Lord came to him,  saying, …I have heard their groaning and have come down to deliver them.” … He brought them out, after he had shown wonders and signs in the land of Egypt, and in the Red Sea, and in the wilderness forty years.”

Yet “… our fathers would not obey, but rejected. And in their hearts they turned back to Egypt… offered sacrifices to the idol, and rejoiced in the works of their own hands. Then God turned and gave them up … ‘And I will carry you away beyond Babylon.’

              The Lord Jesus Christ, the Angel of the Lord, brought His people out of slavery, releasing them from evil gods and evil rulers in Egypt. Yet the people rejected God’s mighty cleansing love. Instead they sought idols and “rejoiced in the works of their own hands.” So God brought them what they wanted, bondage again.

             The people wanted painful patterns of sin rather than pure love and freedom for Joy in God. How can this be? How filled with self-hatred is that? This is a daily reality today. Hell is a viable choice. To choose captivity now and for eternity, or to flee self-rule and idolatry in exchange for worship of the One Who is worthy, the Creator and Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.

               The Song of  Solomon displays paradise heaven and sweet communion with God. Acts 7 shows the choice of bondage to sin, separation from God and a bent towards hell. This only magnifies the clarity of daily choices – for heaven or hell? To live with and for God or against God? To live as a lover or as a hater of God?  

              It’s not about me and my pleasures and pleasing me, it’s only about the Lord God Almighty and what brings Him pleasure and glory! God’s goal is to love each person actively, to magnify His Name for the salvation of souls, and for each person’s personal relationship with God based upon the Lord Jesus Christ’s atonement. 

              Which shall it be my dear soul, my heart, my mind, my emotions? Choose this moment Who You shall serve. Choose again, and again. Don’t forget Who drew You in His loving kindness. Who changed You into His image and made You His bride.  Choose to live abiding in the intimacy of God’s Holy Word and Spirit! Rejoice in all things, for the Lord God goes before you for His Good purposes alone! Don’t cause yourself harm, but life everlasting! (5) 

Bible insights –

1          John 15, Revelation 7:9, Romans 9:25

2          Deuteronomy 31:8, Hebrews 13:5, Ephesians 1:13, 1 John 4:4, John 15:1-11, Psalm 50:23, Psalm 118:21, John 7:38, John 4:10-11

3          John 17,  Ephesians 1, Philippians 1:6, 1 Corinthians 9:24

4          Proverbs 18:24, Exodus 33:11, John 3:29, John 15:13-15,  James 2:23, James 4:4, Matthew 12:50, Mark 3:35, Mark 10:29, Hosea 3:1, Revelation 21:2,9, Revelation 22:17, Matthew 25:1-13, Matthew 25:31-46

5          2 Cor 5:17, James 4:4, Psalm 36:7, Jeremiah 31:3, Romans 12:1-2, Philippians 4:4, Exodus 3:2, Romans 8:28

6          John 1:29, 36 ; Revelation 5:6, Revelation 5:12, Revelation 13:8

Crystal (PsalmThirty4) 

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Joshua 11, Psalm 144, Jeremiah 5, Matthew 19

 “For it was of the LORD to harden their hearts… that He might utterly destroy them, … Joshua did to them as the LORD had told him … Thus Joshua took all this land” Joshua 11:20,9,16

 Blessed be the LORD my Rock, Who trains my hands for war, And my fingers for battle—  Psalm 144:1

 “Who then can be saved?” Jesus said to them, “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” Matthew 19:25

http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Josh.%2011;%20Ps.144;%20Jer.%205;%20Matt.%2019&version=NKJV

  Joshua 11                          Where is Your territory in me Lord? Where is my heart hardened against You? Break it now. May my fullness of sin be now (Genesis 15:16) so I am repentant and You have Your Way with me!

Open my eyes to the pain of the casualties of this Spiritual War around me. In my family, neighbors, places I frequent and world. Move me by Your compassion, wisdom and Holy Spirit to be effective in me as You were with Joshua. I shall not fear, for You, my Commander, go before me, and I am to follow You closely!!

Psalm 144                          Lord God Almighty, the Spiritual War is Great. You are “my Rock, Who trains my hands for war, And my fingers for battle”! Reveal Your enemies to me that I will pray fervently, and act obediently in word, attitude, spirit, and action for Your Good purpose in setting captives free for Your Glory alone! (Romans 12:1-2)

“Stretch out Your hand … Rescue me and deliver me” v. 7   By Your Word and Spirit reveal to me all deception, falsehood and hidden sin so that I will not be held captive by it, but will be alert and self-controlled. 1 Peter 5:8 , 2 Corinthians 10:5

I am humbled and gratefully rejoice that “You take knowledge of” me, my God and Lord!! v. 3-4,15

Jeremiah 5                       Spiritual War within God’s people! – God is the Commander-in-Chief of Spiritual War! Beware- no one is immuned to His righteous judgements!

God’s people do not seek, speak, live nor love Truth. “they swear falsely… refused to receive correction… made their faces harder than rock; … refused to return. … For they are not the LORD’s. …They have lied about the LORD,… they committed adultery… their transgressions are many; Their backslidings have increased….  this people has a defiant and rebellious heart; They have revolted and departed… their houses are full of deceit.”  v. 2-3, 10,12,6, 23, 27

How clearly I see this in my country!

Small Snapshot: Yesterday I read in an elderly magazine that people over age 50 are contracting AIDS in great numbers because of fornication. v. 8, Hebrews 13:4 – Lord reveal Your Word to them and soften their hearts to You!! Save them!

God wars against those who do not obey, worship and fear Him. “Shall I not punish them for these things?” says the LORD. “And shall I not avenge Myself on such a nation as this?” v.29, 4-6

God’s Rod of Correction“Behold, I will bring a nation against you from afar,” says the LORD.  “It is a mighty nation, It is an ancient nation, A nation whose language you do not know, Their quiver is like an open tomb; They are all mighty men. And they shall eat up your harvest and your bread, Which your sons and daughters should eat. … shall destroy your fortified cities” v. 15-17   Will this happen to my country!?

God asks “Will you not tremble at My presence”?   

Seeming terribly prophetic in my view, the only repercussion I want for my country is repentance. 2 Chronicles 7:14

 Spiritual War!

 Spiritual War is concrete, real and tangible: The Clash between spiritual rulers, authorities, and powers of this world and in the heavenly realms, of evil against Godly. Ephesians 6:12

Spiritual War is won by being on the Victor’s side: the Lord Jesus Christ. It is won by obedience to God’s Word by God’s Holy Spirit and through prayer. James 5:16, Revelation 12:11, 1 John 5:3, John 14:15,23 

To be on God’s side we must be adopted by the Lord God Almighty, being His child. John 1:12-14, John 3:5-6, 1 Peter 1:23, 2 Cor 5:17. To be God’s child we must surrender our sins and totality to the Lordship of Jesus Christ.

Psalm 51, Romans 5:8, Ephesians 2:13, Hebrews 10:19, Hebrews 13:20 , 1 John 5:6, 1 Timothy 2:5

 Matthew 19                       Spiritual War notes from Jesus:

Spiritual War causes pain to everyone who departs from God and His Word, which is people’s antagonism of God’s Love. James 4:4, Romans 1:18-32, Romans 5:8,10, Colossians 1:21-22

When people do not obey God with His right motives and intent, they are engaging in war against God and His people. When people live for God with His motives and intent, they are on the victory side, whether they see it immediately or not.

Spiritual War points:

Jesus says that marriage God’s Way is Right. Divorce is clothing oneself with violence. God hates it. Malachi 2:16

Children are the causalities in the war of divorce. Jesus wants all children and adults to come to Him. Each person must come as a child, trusting Jesus Christ, in order to enter the Kingdom of God. John 14:6  

Jesus is clear: “If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.”  God says to have no idols before Him (Exodus 20:1-11) and learn from and live with Jesus Christ. (Matthew 11:28-30) 1 John 2:5

The only way this is possible is to by the Lord God Almighty (v. 25-29) – being born again. “He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born… of God.” John 1:12-13

“Who then can be saved?”  But Jesus looked at them and said to them, “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” “And everyone who has left … for My name’s sake, shall receive a hundredfold, and inherit eternal life.” v. 25-29

 Crystal (PsalmThirty4)

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Genesis 24; Nehemiah 13; Matthew 23; Acts 23

“(Isaac) …went out to the field one evening to meditate, and as he looked up, he saw camels approaching. Rebekah also looked up and saw Isaac. She got down from her camel and asked the servant, “Who is that man in the field coming to meet us?”    “He is my master,” the servant answered. So she took her veil and covered herself.  Then the servant told Isaac all he had done. Isaac brought her into the tent of his mother Sarah, and he married Rebekah. So she became his wife, and he loved her; …”    Genesis 24:63-67 ESV


Cold feet.

Those two words have struck dread in the hearts of many an expectant bride and groom. It’s the fear of being left at the altar when one’s fiancé is experiencing the hesitation. It’s the fear of making an ill-advised lifelong commitment when one’s own feet are catching the chill. I have no idea how many prospective brides and grooms have experienced such fears through the years. What I do know is that Isaac didn’t. Neither did his bride Rebekah. They agreed to be married, sight unseen. They did so with a boldness unmatched since Adam and Eve. They did so in faith, knowing their marriage was personally ordained by God.

 

“…You are not to give your daughters in marriage to their sons, nor are you to take their daughters in marriage for your sons or for yourselves. Was it not because of marriages like these that Solomon king of Israel sinned? … Must we hear now that you too are doing all this terrible wickedness and are being unfaithful to our God by marrying foreign women?”  Nehemiah 13:25-27 ESV


So, marriage shows up in two passages today. In Nehemiah we learn that God wants His people to marry from within His people. In Genesis, we see God’s involvement in the individual selection process. Apparently God cares about who we choose to marry.

I was relatively blind to this when I was single, but as always, God was overly gracious to me. Concerning the Nehemiah principle, He made sure that every potential relationship I pursued prior to meeting my future bride barely got off the ground. With Kellie, it was obvious from the start that we were equally yoked spiritually. Concerning the Genesis passage, God granted me what I lacked the wisdom to seek. One Sunday morning the Holy Spirit personally provided to Kellie and me a unique and unmistakable blessing of approval concerning our impending marriage. I don’t remember harboring any doubts beforehand, but I KNOW I never had any afterwards.

It’s an amazing feeling to recite one’s marriage vows before God to someone you know He has specifically approved for you. I wouldn’t wish anything less for anyone.

I’ve listened to too many believers tearfully pray for the salvation of the husband/wife they love.  So many believers have struggled to lead their children to saving faith, trying to overcome the contrary messages (even if only the message of indifference) the children were receiving from their other parent. Believers dating back to Biblical times have stumbled in their walks through the influence of an unsaved spouse. I’m grateful that God, with so little cooperation on my part, led me away from such potential heartache.

The time for today’s application has already passed many of us by. For anyone whose marriage is still future, I see God in these passages extending to you a none-to-subtle invitation to involve Him in your search for a spouse. Call on Him to direct you in His own time to the one He’s chosen for you, and patiently let Him work. You’ll not regret it.

Dear Lord, Creator of all wisdom, bless you for the guidance you have provided me through both your Word and your Spirit, in matters great and small, whether I requested it or not.  Please continually give me the wisdom to seek it out in all matters and at all times.

Michael  (mmattix)

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Filed under Genesis, M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, Nehemiah