This Marriage is From the Lord

When my husband posted in his FB wall that his marriage with me is from The Lord, it was a confession and affirmation of God’s love for him and for me, for bringing us together and keeping us together in marriage. Our marriage story is one that’s not free from blemishes, but one that speaks of redemption and grace.

When we let God write our love story, He orchestrates everything in the same way that Abraham’s servant, Eliezer has found Rebekah for Isaac. No one can refute what God has in store for us. When it is His purpose, no one can oppose.  When we were on our seats last Sunday, listening to the pastor’s sermon about the story of Isaac and Rebekah (our church is on a preaching series, in time for the Love month, entitled ” I’ts NOT that complicated “), I looked at my husband and remember how our fateful debate encounter in our college years led us to a relationship and marriage. We still find ourselves in “passionate arguments” but then I remember that when God brought Jones to me, and I was given to him as his bride, we have dedicated the union to the Lord. Like how Laban and Bethuel replied,

“This is from the LORD; we can say nothing to you one way or the other. Here is Rebekah; take her and go, and let her become the wife of your master’s son, as the LORD has directed.” (Genesis 24:50-51)

Out of all the men in the universe,  He has a certain Jones for me. And I have to be reminded of that everyday, especially when the “loving” part doesn’t come easy as the years roll by. God has loved me deeply (Malachi1:2a) and is patient with me. In the same way that I need to be patient with my husband and he, with me. Patient love requires me to wait upon the Lord in the areas where I seemed to jump at any  opportunity to express my own emotions. How do we do that? We pray so we can subject our will to God’s will. We can capture our thoughts and make them obedient to Christ. And clearly, He will direct all our steps. Whatever He wills, He makes it happen.

What if there was opposition from the very start? Or challenges along the way?  Sometimes it is the price we have to pay for making the wrong decisions. The freedom of choice is a precious gift given by God that sets us apart from all of his creation. When we listen more to ourselves and go before God, we face bad consequences of our actions. But then, in His all-merciful nature, he calls us back to him and be restored to Him so he can make right what we made bad and can turn anything that seemed bad into good for His glory. I have seen His hand moved mightily in our marriage. This nature of God always amazes me for if I have chosen to dwell on my selfish self, I will choose to have others’ faults nailed on the cross rather than my own. Why , it’s so easy to look at the speck in my spouse’s eye!!!

You could be one of those who “liked”( in FB  parlance) my husband’s one-liner post but it was a bold statement that I love from him. It was comforting and reassuring to hear it from my husband, after 14 years of being married – not his ” I love you” for sometimes the utterance can be out of an emotional rush – but his declaration that this marriage is from The Lord and it will last a lifetime as He has directed. And so I speak boldly of the same.

Although Isaac and Rebekah’s story is about waiting (patiently!) upon the Lord for that someone whom God has set apart for you in marriage, married couples are also reminded by this story of God’s covenant with us , always speaking of us, His church as His radiant bride.It is a faithful reminder that God sees all the hurts, pains and joys in each moment of our lives. He doesn’t give up on us, nor in our marriage. If yours has been written on your own and you are striving to seek a happy ending to it, then It is time to let go of that pen and recommit your marriage to the Author, the One who writes from cover to cover, the One who is the beginning and the end. With every stroke, God will guide you as He unfolds another chapter in your life and in your marriage. Like what He is doing with mine.

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“God wrote your love story. Let Him read it to you.” (photo via web)

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Badge of Service

Happy New Year!

In my recent post, I have declared that is going to be year of rejoicing knowing that God’s plans for me and my family are for good, they give us hope and a future, that He is before all things and He holds things together for His greater glory and purpose!

We started the year by joining in our local church’s annual weeklong prayer and fasting. During that week, I prayed ( among others)  that I be more loving in my earthly relationships – starting off with my husband. More so that I am in a new season as a stay-at-home mom, managing and keeping house, and homeschooling our children, it is easy to “feel” that I am doing most of the work at home and the enemy will feed my selfish ego telling me that I need more than I am entitled to. Oh, what a selfish attitude! That is why I prayed that I will be doing things borne out of love ,not of responsibility. For being a faithful steward also means being diligent in doing things, working not for men, but for the Lord.

It is true that the word of God searches your deepest thoughts and strikes through our hearts. It has worked that way for me – all the time. Just this morning, i was reading the following verses ,

Also, teach the older women to live the way those who serve the Lord should live. They should not go around saying bad things about others or be in the habit of drinking too much. They should teach what is good. By doing this they will teach the younger women to love their husbands and children.  They will teach them to be wise and pure, to take care of their homes, to be kind, and to be willing to serve their husbands. Then no one will be able to criticize the teaching God gave us.” – Titus 2:3-5(Easy-to-Read Version)

“..and willing to serve their husbands”! I wrote this in bold letter because it is as if the Lord is echoing it back and forth to my ears.:) He is telling me that all day long, when I thought I start and end the day with “service”, it is not because of the responsibility that He has placed on me as a wife and a mother, but it is because He has given me that gift to be a “living letter”, a message seen in a lifestyle, not only for my husband and children to see but for all of God’s people to see a reflection of His goodness, faithfulness and grace that is working in me – day in and day out! What a joy to be a “serving wife”!

When the temptation to not serve willingly or delightfully is strong, I will remember God’s truths in my life. Why he made me a woman, what I am capable of doing, and what I need most in this life is Him – His grace that sustains me, His love that makes me love others unconditionally, His burden that lightens my own, His act of service shown when he washed His disciples’ feet.

In marriage, I will remember that my willingness to serve my husband is the same as serving the Lord. I read once, that the danger of the Idolatry of Equality is slowly seeping in our marriages because of what the world offers us. I will choose to listen to what God says than what the enemy says – the one who accuses, feeding all lies,  who does nothing but that, day in and day out!

If you are a wife reading this, I am praying with you that God will breathe a fresh air into your life and in your marriage. May that badge of service that you wear not only stay there as a “permanent decoration” ( as what the Presidential Badge of Service suggests), a lifeless memorial of all the acts of service that you have done and will continue to do, but one that is full of life because of the power of  the living God that is in you! Serve HIM!

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                                                                           (photo via wordpress)

Rejoice! It’s a Brand New 2014!

New – defined as “not existing before; made, introduced, or discovered recently or now for the first time.”

When we say New Year then , it means, we will be experiencing things for the first time – not rehashed nor recycled. They are the first of their kind in 2014! When I think about this, my heart beats fast as I have experienced a lot of firsts in 2013 together with my family. The kind that have let out different emotions, more praying, more pruning. My relationship with The Lord, my husband and with my children have grown stronger because of the major events in our lives this year. God has been faithful, always is and forever will be.

He has healed my breast lump and anemia/ mineral deficiency problems.

He has provided for our needs, financial dues, some wants, rest and recreation.

He has brought us to a new place.

He has stepped the brakes on my career in the marketplace (after working for 13 years) so I can be with my husband, together with my children.

He has signaled the start of our homeschooling journey.

In all these changes in my life this year, He has taught me to be more dependent on Him.

When I welcomed 2013, I have declared that this is going to be the year of the Lord’s favor for our family. Indeed, it has been. This is the year of rebuilding, replanting and renewing. We may have experienced some rough times just like how our country has experienced and survived the strongest typhoon that ever hit land, but God has been with us. We were not forsaken, we were fed by the wealth of the nations, and we will continue to share in the double portion of His blessing.

For 2014 , I pray that Christ’s supremacy be above all the things that we have planned and prayed for. When there will be times when I will battle my will with His, may His voice be so loud and clear and I may not be so stubborn as to obey and yield to His good, pleasing and perfect will for me and my family.

May we all have confidence in Jesus Christ, who goes before us in 2014. The one “who is BEFORE all things and in him all things hold together”.

What a joy to know that He has already marked the events and seasons in our lives! So whatever comes our way in 2014, let us say,

“Rejoice in The Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!” 

 

rejoice

 

(photo via flickr.com)

Not A Halloween Story

Every night, of late, we read this book , WWJD “What Would Jesus Do? for kidz” . It is a 3 -year old book in our household but my kids still love reading it .

wwjd

(photo via google books)

Last night was a fitting story for this season. “Is it a Ghost?” was the title of the story of Lazarus being raised from the dead. To sidetrack a bit, if you look around and over time, the market has cashed in on pagan halloween festivities that you can see malls luring kids (and parents alike!) with all sorts of tricks ( because you end up spending) and well, some treats. This is their big sale event before Christmas!  As my kids grow up, they understand the meaning of all these, why all the marketing strategies, and why we don’t celebrate it at all.  We remember our loved ones who have gone ahead of us, which gave us a great time of telling stories about their good deeds and the legacy that they left to their children and the generations to come.

Going back, this is not a story of the dead but of the living.  In our Christian walk,  we lay down our graveclothes as we put on a new one when we celebrate a new life in Jesus.   Jesus declared, ” Unwrap him and let him go.” (John 11:44).  Spooky as it seemed to be, (just like a ‘Thriller’ event), it was realized because Jesus loved Lazarus ( it was recorded that He even wept!) and so that the spectators, (including us!) may see the glory of God and a picture of what it means to be have a new life in Him. (You may read the story here.)  We break away from what binds us, putting away the filthiness of those graveclothes. If there are still things that keep us from completely surrendering our life to Him, a new wardrobe is required! (Oh how women love this!)  Graveclothes belong to the dead, not the living!

There is a great offer, never so cheap, not a one big sale that we can pay it on our own.  Jesus offered his life , our new wardrobe, so that we can be wrapped in Him for eternity.

Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die;” – John 11:25

 

“MARITAL SPIRIT” – Oct 28

Sharing this inspiring post on how we make God -honoring marriages.

A DEVOTED LIFE

“Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since, they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered.”  1 Peter 3:7

When I accompany my wife on a clothes shopping trip, I have an abundance of time.  I seek out the bench or chair, tucked away in some corner to make husbands feel less self-conscious of their surroundings.  While my wife beats every sales rack for the elusive prey of reasonably fitting jeans, I watch people.

You can learn a lot about a person by watching how they treat people.

Particularly revealing is the interaction of couples.  The shock of high divorce rates will no longer be a surprise once you spend a little time in the mall.  I sit in my little observation corner, watch, and shake my head:

I have seen…

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The Justice of God and the Year of His Favor

(My notes and thoughts from the Sunday sermon)

Jesus, on his first sermon in the synagogue in his public ministry quoted the first two verses from Isaiah 61 – (in reference to Him as the Messiah) declaring the Year of the Lord’s favor. In my traditional blog entry every 31st of December, this was what I have declared as we ushered in 2013.  The year 2012 was a year of bondage for us – in finances of our former business endeavor, health and to some extent, to our relationships.  Two more months and we end the year, and God has been miraculously restoring what was lost, rebuilding the ruins, renewing bonds of faithfulness.  We have yet to see the end but as we wait expectantly, we receive a double portion of joy indeed!

Yesterday, in the sermon of the pastor in “The God Nobody Wants ” preaching series (know more about God’s attributes and some resources, here) , he noted that Jesus stopped at the 1st half of the 2nd verse in Isaiah 61. Yes, we have a just God who judges impartially and correctly . He is also the one who brings justice in behalf of His people.  Jesus, when he started talking in that pulpit,  proclaimed the year of the Lord’s favor but didn’t declare vengeance because He took it upon Himself to be the vengeance for us. The justice of God was satisfied, once and for all, when He was hung on the cross and bled for us and for all our sins to be forgiven. Here is a Just God whom nobody wants, yet offers His life selflessly for the love of mankind.

Declare the jubilee!

“The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,
    because the Lord has anointed me
    to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
    to proclaim freedom for the captives
    and release from darkness for the prisoners,[a]
 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor” 

-Isaiah 61:1-2a

Under the Fig Tree

 “How do you know me?” Nathanael asked. Jesus answered, “I saw you while you were still under the fig tree before Philip called you.” 

It is noteworthy that Nathanael could have found shelter from the tremendous heat of the sun under the fig tree which was common in Israel, being called the land of the vines and fig trees. Perhaps to Nathanael and many others like me, to be under the shade of the tree is refreshing. I can smell the scent of the tree, see the leaves sway when winds move in different directions and perhaps occasionally see birds perched on branches, humming their songs. Picture that, and you can doze off easily to dreamland!  Such is the comfort under the shade of the tree. When Jesus told Nathanael he has seen him under the tree, it’s like telling him, ” You’d get a far better shade than that, my friend Nat. Not only will your unbelief be removed, you’d see far greater things, for you have Me!”

We may not understand what we’re feeling but God knows far more than what we desire or our deepest longing. We may be going to many places, running to people, looking for a shade of comfort , but He knows exactly where we have been, what we’re going through and the things that are about to happen in our lives.

Times when we are weary, we know that we can go to Him and draw Living water from the well. He is the Rock that provides safety – even the shadow of His mighty wings will be our refuge! What a powerful God we have!

Weary human, He even said,  ” Come to me and I will give you rest.” What an assurance. We don’t need to go to our own “fig trees” and seek temporary shelter. We have Jesus, who forever is our shelter.

Blessed Sunday, friends!

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photo via commons.wikimedia.org