Opening the Gates of Divine Marriage for 2018

Opening the Gate of Kingdom Marriages. Photo: Manfast.blogspot.com

Opening the Gate of Kingdom Marriages. Photo: Manfast.blogspot.com

During a prayer meeting on the first weekend of the New Year 2018, a friend of mine requested prayer for a marriage partner.  She has prayed this prayer before.  She said one prayer partner had seen gates that were locked and guarded by angels.  She could tell there were kingdom marriages on the other side, lots of them.  And many other marriages as well. We asked God what it would take to unlock the gates.

 

What came to me was the need for Christians to repent for what they once had.  2 Chronicles 7:14 says God cares about what His people are doing, and He listens. He knows what the others are doing.  But what do His people want and ask God to do for them and their society? God had been giving His children to one another in marriage for centuries.  But over the last generation or so, there has been some things that Christians have done in marriage that need to be repented for, in order for God to open the gates again.

 

I felt qualified to pray since I came from a divorced home of Christian leaders.  There was great delay in getting my prayers for a husband answered. Consequently I have wrestled with the question, “Why?” I started with forgiveness of my parents and took it up the family lines from there.  Then I changed the reasons I was asking God for a spouse to be more what He had in mind for my marriage.  This made a huge difference for me and meeting my (now) husband.  As I started to pray for my friend and “this gate,” I started to pray on behalf of where things are statistically with Christian marriages.

 

Here’s what came to mind:

 

1.         I repent for the broken promises of Christians made before God in marriage vows.

2.         I repent for not appreciating the gift that marriage is, and opting for what seemed like easier options than the tough work of making marriage work.

3.         I repent for the impact Christian divorce left for our children and our children’s children.  The decisions to break up marriage leave a legacy to future generations. It sets a pattern in place that only God can heal.

4.         I repent for those who compromised on God’s laws after they were married and tainted marriage before God.

5.         I repent for those who make marriage an idol in society right now.

6.         I repent for those who took an “Easy Out.”  I repent for commitment weakness.

7.         I repent for those who didn’t seek God’s purposes for their marriage and saw their marriage as something that was merely there to meet their needs.

8.         I repent for those who never saw themselves as their spouse’s “helpmate” to carry out God’s purposes for their marriage.

9.         I repent for those who didn’t seek God’s help in making their marriages work.

 

As we repent for these things on behalf of many, it may be a needed step in opening the gates for Kingdom marriages to flourish. May the Lord bless these marriages to be all that God designed them to be.  Let the divine connections flow in 2018.


After the Breaking Point, Fixing it Together

Broken Windows Happen.  Try Fixing Them Together with God. photo credit: kevinspear.com

Broken Windows Happen. Try Fixing Them Together with God. photo credit: kevinspear.com

After something breaks, we have a choice. It could be a broken relationship, a  broken job, or a broken dream.  Something happens and it’s broken.  Now what?  How do we respond?

I heard a sermon recently where a boy came to his Dad in tears. The Dad asked, “Hey, what’s up, buddy?”

The boy answered, “I broke a window.”

The Dad is thinking, “I’m so glad it’s just a broken window.”

The boy was really upset though.  He continued, “That’s not the worst of it. I did it while I was disobeying Mom.  She told me not to play in the garage, and I did it anyway. The ball went through the window and broke it. I feel really awful.”

Ah ha.  Disobedience and a broken window.  The disobedience part was more painful than the actual damage.  This was the part that was breaking him on the inside.  He had a contrite heart.  He didn’t try to blame anyone.  He didn’t try to lie.  He didn’t try to hide it up. He simply called his Dad and told him everything because he didn’t know what to do.  Now it was the Dad’s turn to respond.  The Dad didn’t respond with yelling and screaming.

The Dad said, “I’m glad you told me what happened.  I’m glad you chose to tell the truth.  We’re going to have to deal with the disobedient part.  But together we’re going to fix this.”

That is the heart of Father God. He doesn’t gloss over the disobedience part.  There’s consequence coming.  But there’s also the place to share honestly.  There’s the place to fix the problem together.  The boy didn’t have to tell the father.  The boy could have chosen options that drove them apart.  But coming to the father brought them together.  It didn’t change the fact that there was a broken window that needed repair.  But it did make the Dad and boy a team.  Punishment had to be implemented.  But learning who to call and what to do to fix the broken window also was part of the learning curve.

Some people grow up in loving families and learn how to handle life’s broken windows.  Others of us have to unlearn old responses of denial and avoidance and fix it ourselves before anyone notices. We learned our family members were not our allies.  We forgive, but haven’t learned to trust again. God wants to be our heavenly father.  He stands ready to listen and teach.  He knows what to do.  He quietly says to us, “Together, we can fix this.” It is our choice to turn toward God and become a team.


Getting to Peace in the Kingdom of God

Photo: edwardsaquifer.org  Aquifers are geological formations containing ground water that supplies water for wells and springs.

Photo: edwardsaquifer.org
Aquifers are geological formations containing ground water that supply water for wells and springs.

What is it like to live in the Kingdom of God?  The Kingdom of God isn’t just about having a secure place to go after we die.  Many treat it like a heavenly insurance program.  The benefit program starts here on earth.  It starts now. In Romans 14:17, Paul outlines three major benefit categories.  He writes, “The kingdom of God is…righteous and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.”

The order of these three components matter.  They components build on each other.  The first component achieves right standing with God.  By becoming a member of the Kingdom of God, we have asked God to consider Jesus’ innocent blood as payment for our sins.  Jesus’ choice to make this available to us for all eternity still amazes me.

From this position of right standing before God, we can access His peace.  The peace of God bypasses all logical understanding.  His peace cannot logically be explained.  It’s the gift of confidence He gives.  He guarantees that He makes all things work together for our good and His glory.  This may not seem possible by looking at our circumstances.  Yet, by the very fact that God promises this, and through the stories of other people who have weathered horrific things, we come to believe that peace is possible.  We learn that His peace will take us beyond our feelings and our interpretation of events.  We start to learn and understand His kingly priorities.  We align our priorities with His priorities. This brings a living peace.

We gain more peace by studying God’s word in scripture and letting the promises therein become God’s guarantees for us.  To name a few…

“I will never leave you nor forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6

“My righteous right hand will uphold you” Isaiah 41:10

“You will rest in safety”  Psalm 16:9

“I will be with in trouble; I will deliver him and honor him” Psalm 91:15

After peace, joy follows. Joy must not be confused with happiness.  Joy is the underlying confidence we gain from being members of the Kingdom of God.  No matter the circumstances, joy lives beneath our emotions like an aquifer level of water.  Joy lives beneath the surface of our emotional highs and lows to bring us a steady confidence of God’s commitment to redeem and to restore all things into order for those who call upon His name.

 


Releasing Blessing 4.30.2016

Steps to Releasing God's Blessings

Steps to Releasing God’s Blessings

EXERCISE:  Releasing Blessing

For                                           ,

1.    God sees you as His                                

Precious Child             Valued Saint

Victorious Warrior      Beloved

Faithful Servant          Friend

Overcomer

 

2.  God Wants You to Know He is Your                  

Protector                    King

Burden Carrier            Healer

Provider                      Father

Leader                         Strength

 

3.  God has for you abundant                                                

Grace               Resources                    Love

Forgiveness     Redemption                Peace

Wisdom           Comfort                      Delight

Acceptance     Confidence                 Strength

Joy                   Relationships               Hope

 


Prayers for the Parched: The Divine Exchange

We give God our sin and He gives us righteousness.  Praise God for Divine Exchange. Photo by www.cripplegate.com

We give God our sin and He gives us righteousness. Praise God for Divine Exchange.
Photo by www.cripplegate.com

The Divine Exchange

How blessed is the man whose strength is in You, in whose heart is the highways to Zion!  Passing through the Valley of Baca, they make it a spring; the early rain covers it with blessings. They go from strength to strength, every one of them appears before God in Zion.  O LORD God of hosts, hear my prayer; give ear, O God of Jacob.  Selah. Behold our shield, O God; look upon the face of Your anointed. For the LORD God is a sun and shield; the Lord gives grace and glory; no good thing does He withhold from those who walk uprightly. Psalm 84:5-9, 11

God,

You are a loving God

Your mercy is from everlasting to everlasting

I worship you, Lord for the work you are doing because you area faithful God

You hear our prayers

You answer our prayers

I praise you because you will remember my sins no more

Jesus,

You created a Divine Exchange

You not only took from me my sins on the cross

You also gave me Your righteousness before God

Your righteousness allows me to have peace

Your peace allows me to have joy

Jesus,

You’re a friend who’s closer than a brother

You are strong and you are my strength

You give me rest for my soul

 

 


Redeeming the Cost of Caregiving Warriors – Part 1

God uses the Cost of Caregiving to Turn the Tide of Entitlement and Selfishness

God uses the Cost of Caregiving to Turn the Tide of Entitlement and Selfishness

One of the Spiritual Principles of Caregiving relates to sacrifice. The choice to Caregive is a Call to Arms.  When we choose to be Caregiving Warriors, we are at the forefront of the battle lines against the fleshly desires to escape and pass off the responsibility.  We achieve victory in doing the tough thing that has spiritual impact.

Most people get pulled into caregiving.  My friend Frances didn’t exactly sign up to care for her Mom at the current level of care required.  My friend Donna caregives for her mother, even though she resides in an Assisted Living 2 hours away.  I didn’t sign up to care for my bipolar Mom’s extreme episodes after her residential living arrangement threw up their hands about what to do at certain points of the year.

It is a “price” that is paid that takes people away from several other opportunities of their own choosing.  It’s different than taking care of one’s own child.  Taking care of an adult who theoretically should be able to take care of us doesn’t fit the normal range of life expectations.  All too frequently, that adult never was capable of fulfilling the role of parent we needed them to fill in our lives early on.  Yet, their need arises and no one else steps up to the plate.

It could feel like our time isn’t our own anymore and we can’t “get anything done.” Many of us get called into things we don’t want to do.  We feel we “have to do it.” It feels like a burden and comes with a high cost. Often that cost involves writing checks and creating space in our homes. How many offspring who are single have to take care of a parent and the other married siblings seem to be off the hook? Somehow, we have to find peace about this, because it doesn’t do us any good to live in a state of anger and unforgiveness.  That becomes our problem.  So on top of everything else, we have to figure out how to live in a state of “forgiveness.”  In and of itself, this can be a tough challenge.  It gets complicated when dealing with relatives and years of history and repeat patterns.  God knows.  He will keep us steady though the mess.

Continued in Part 2 of  Redeeming the Cost of Caregiving Warriors


Deciding Where to Put Your Anger

Let Prayer be Part of the Journey from Forgiveness to Health

Let Prayer be Part of the Journey from Forgiveness to Health

The Living Bible translation of Proverbs 19:3 states, “People ruin their lives by their own foolishness and then are angry at the Lord.”  Absolutely true.  People make all kinds of foolish decisions and when the resulting consequences follow, they often get mad at God for the way things are.

If someone doesn’t have a concept of a good God and a bad devil where everything good comes from God and everything bad comes from the devil, then it often leads to conclusions that God has done something to them.  If bad things happen and their world view includes only God, or worse—no God, then they think it’s about trying to stay on God’s good side it doesn’t seem clear on how to do this.  They live with a suspicious relationship to God wondering if they can really trust Him.  If there’s no God, fate determines circumstances.

Anger is a logical response to frustrating events.  The best decision we can make is to realize where that anger ultimately stems from and get mad at the source—our supernatural enemy.  We do this by learning how to “get back” at the enemy, or the enemy at work in people. Jesus says to be kind to people who are our enemies and treat them with respect and pray for our enemies.  These are the things that surprise a person who isn’t expecting such. These are the keys to seeing turnaround.

Realizing that an individual’s behavior stems from listening to bad behavior suggestions doesn’t mean one should continue letting a brute do damage to oneself or someone else again and again and calling it okay or, unbelievably, calling it love.  All experts advise getting away from the brute and realizing how trapped the brute is in their poor behavior and making a wise decision about not putting anyone in known danger.

Having an appropriate attitude offers the middle ground of making wise decisions to set boundaries and not allowing ourselves to hate the person.  Yes, we can not like the behavior.  But pure hatred involves judgment.  As best we can keep our hearts clear by continuing to give that person over to God for God to deal with them as He will.

Being angry at God when He is the one person that can help us in our trials and suffering doesn’t make sense.  As we learn to embrace Him as the powerful God He is who loves us, then we start to see our circumstances turn around.

 


Learning How to Honor a Difficult Parent – Part 4

Learning to Honor Difficult Parents is a Process

Learning to Honor Difficult Parents is a Process

From gratitude, we move gradually move to loving what is good and honorable.  I don’t believe we have to love what isn’t lovable.  We don’t have to honor what isn’t honorable.  Seek God on what He sees as honorable and lovable.  Ask God to give us His love for the person.  I find He doesn’t love any of people’s bad behavior.  But He knows how to love beyond the bad behavior part. He may show us things about our parents we never knew.  Sometimes when he shows us what broke in them, it brings compassion.  Compassion helps fuel the journey of honoring.

 

The Good news about this commandment is that it comes with a promise. “Honor your father and your mother, as the Lord your God commanded you; that your days may be long, and that it may go well with you…”  Deuteronomy 5;16. During difficult circumstances that seem like they will never end, it may not seem like much of a promise.  Yet, the promise talks about “living long in the land the Lord Your God is giving you.”  It indicates a promised land which is something all the people wanted.  It reads like a recipe for a long and good life.  God keeps the promises He makes.  So let’s figure out how to honor or father and mother, no matter how difficult it may seem.

To catch up on the earlier parts of this theme, see Learning How to Honor a Difficult Parent – Part 1 and Learning How to Honor a Difficult Parent – Part 2 and Learning How to Honor a Difficult Parent – Part 3


Learning How to Honor a Difficult Parent – Part 3

Learning to Honor Difficult Parents is a Process

Learning to Honor Difficult Parents is a Process

The third step in the process is gratitude.    It helps to be grateful for the little things.  Let these build till there are larger streams of gratitude.  One man started with the simple fact that he was thankful that his mother didn’t abort him.  It took a long time to come up with other things he was thankful for about his mother.  So start with the basics and build with specifics.

Gratitude gets easier when we stop demanding perfection from our parent and start being thankful for the things we did receive.  Eventually we realize there are things our parents will never be able to fulfill that seem normal for any parent.  Maturity comes when we realize that we may never get our parent to do or be the parent we needed.  If we turn to God and ask Him to fill the gap, we give Him permission to meet our needs.  In doing so, we can collect our needs from various other sources till we are filled.  We can receive healing in healthy community, and sometimes directly from God.  There may always be a longing to get what we need from our parent.  But if we allow other people to accept us, encourage us, nurture us, compliment us, support us, and believe in us, then our needs can get met.  God Himself may meet the need directly.  No parent is perfect.  Allow God to fill in the gap.  His loving and surprising ways bring healing and wholeness.

To Catch Up, see Learning How to Honor a Difficult Parent – Part 1 and Learning How to Honor a Difficult Parent – Part 2

To continue, see Learning How to Honor a Difficult Parent – Part 4


How to Deal with Sin – Part 3

Many people sweep sins under the rug, which is never quite big enough

Many people sweep sins under the rug, which is never quite big enough

Some Christians believe that because Jesus died on the cross for people’s sins, forgiveness is automatic.  They skip the step of taking their specific sin to the cross because it’s already been handled.  Without repentance, there is no forgiveness appropriated.  Forgiveness is available to all who bring their sins to Jesus’ cross, but it is not automatically given out.  It must be asked for to be appropriated.  God graciously lets the innocent blood of Jesus cover our sin.  Then He cleanses us from all unrighteousness. And we enter into a closer and closer relationship with God.  Sin hinders our friendship with God.  We may ignore the sin; God does not.  Sin stops the progression of relationship.  That’s why God designed a provision for our sin:  so we can enter back into relationship with Him.

Psalm 51:6-7 reads with King David speaking for all of us, “Behold You desire truth in the inward parts, and in the hidden part You will make me to know wisdom.  Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean.  Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.  Make me hear joy and gladness.”  Pursue truth about our sin, bring it to Jesus, receive forgiveness.  Enter into the joy and gladness of relationship with God.  Go and sin no more.

Of course, it’s impossible to never sin again. The good news is that there’s something we can do when we do sin.  As Christians, we invite the Holy Spirit to point us in the direction of the path that takes us to Him.  As we journey on this path, we walk with less and less choices for sin in our lives.  In some areas, we can receive complete victory.  Other areas take longer and we walk out the process of becoming less and less cluttered with sin.  The fancy five syllable word is sanctification.  Sanctification is a process.  It’s like cleaning a glass jar filled with black gunk with hot water.  It starts to flush out the black gunk and get clearer and clearer till there is no more black gunk in the jar.

Previous Published:  How to Deal with Sin – Part 1 and How to Deal with Sin – Part 2