Are You a Blessing?

blessed-bejpgIn a recent conversation with a young woman, she expressed her desire to be married and to have a family. She had thought several men might have been the right one, but was now hoping for another prospect. After discussing the subject for a few minutes, she said that she did not understand why God had not given her a husband. She was 28, and still living with her family.

I asked her, “Are you a blessing, where you are?

With some thought, she admitted, “No, I’m not.”

She was not happy with her circumstances and desired to escape her present living conditions.
She realized that if she was not content with what God had given her, she should not expect more.

I asked her to read my post, The Plight of the Discontented Woman. She then agreed that she needed to examine her relationship with the heavenly Father before she could expect anything to change with her circumstances.

God has blessed us with everything that we need for a life of happiness and joy in Him. (2 Peter 1:3) He has given us all things needful in this life and for eternity through His Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. (Romans 8:32) He has created us and redeemed us in Christ, so that we will be a blessing to Him and to others.

ARE YOU BLESSED?
Have you been BLESSED
by the BLESSINGS that are ours in CHRIST?
Are you BLESSED every day
by the GRACE of our LORD JESUS CHRIST?

ARE YOU BLESSED?
Then ~
Be a BLESSING to God and others today.

Dear Father, Thank you for creating and redeeming us in Christ, your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. Let us be content in Him for all of life here as we will be forever.  By the power of your Holy spirit, make us a blessing to you and others today.  In Jesus’ name I pray.  Amen.

Relation Ships

There are three words within the word “relationship” representing three different facets of a relationship.    imagesWe see the word “ship” as the most prominent word. Within the ship are people who relate to each other; and between these there is relation.

There are friendships, fellowships, memberships, partnerships, leaderships; and also relationships of marriage and family; parents with children, etc. In the spiritual realm there is a lordship and worship.

A ship is a means of transportation, a vessel that holds and carries one or more persons from place to place. A ship represents a unity of heart and spirit.   Two people in a ship usually have something in common. In a long lasting relationship the two are of the same mind, with the same desires, the same purpose and the same plans. Their destinations are the same.

Our neighbors have recently booked a passage on a ship for a fall cruise. They will not own the ship but will pay to enter the ship that will take them on a week’s voyage wherever the ship has planned to go. Relationships are not always cruises to beautiful and pleasant shores. But, we pay for these in our commitments to those with whom we are in a relationship. Marriage and family require a covenant vow of our money and time, and all our resources.

 Abandoned Ships
There are relationships that have been abandoned because one has changed his/her mind, plans or destination. One may have entered a different relationship. They are now relating to someone else with whom they have more in common.

Sometimes ships need to be abandoned, when plans and destinations have changed.
An example is when one has become a Christian and is following Christ and the other is not.  If the unbeliever is not interested in the direction that Christ takes us the believer cannot safely continue in the relationship. There cannot be two captains of one ship. The two may still have similar interests, but the lordship changes for one,  charting a different course than the unbeliever.   These relationships usually end on the rocks, sometimes after years of struggle in trying to keep the relationship afloat. Or believers are influenced by the unbelievers to abandon their faith.

Evaluation and Repairs
Marriages may begin to sink because other ships seem more attractive, or one simply loses interest in the one that they are in. Relationships of marriage and family need to be brought into the harbor, for evaluation, repairs and renovations. Others need to accept that the ship is going in a different direction than was planned, seeing the need for change of heart and mind.

While marriages are joint relationships, a partnership so to speak, God’s plans for this relationship requires the husband and father to be in a relationship with Him, so that he may know how to captain the relationship with his wife and family. He must first know the lordship of Christ and submit to this relationship.  Wives in relationship with God are given the plans and the means of submission to His plans under the leadership of the husband.

God’s Word, the manual for repairs of the ship needs to be sought, and obeyed. Both husband and wife need to enter into the relationship of prayer with the heavenly Father to seek His plans, means and power for renewal.

A Lifetime Relationship
In the case of lordship and worship, we have to repent and in faith submit to God’s will if we are to enter into a relationship with Him. He is the captain of all our ships, whatever relationship this may be. This one relationship determines all others for us. A circle of relationships will have the Lord, Jesus Christ at the helm. We can depend on Him to bring us through all the rough waters safely and victoriously to that glorious worship that He has planned for us.

(In Part 2 we will look at the context of a relationship.)

Dear gracious Father, who has booked a life voyage for us that will extend to eternity, please show us your plans. By your Holy Spirit work in our hearts and bring us willingly to embark upon this voyage with you and the family that you have provided for us. Reveal to us the greatest relationship that we will ever enter and experience ~ the relationship that is ours in your dear Son, Jesus Christ, that will bring us together to the shores of Paradise with you. In His name I pray and praise you.  Amen.

Image

Childbirth is a Family Affair

Our granddaughter and her husband brought their first child home from the hospital yesterday. We did not have the privilege of waiting at the hospital for her delivery as we had with our six grandchildren. But, Jerry and I were a part of the event as we were there in spirit. Our daughter called us with updates throughout the time of waiting. With every report Jerry felt the pain in his leg that was amputated.

Ansley’s contractions had started on Monday. From her scheduled appointment she was hoping the time for their daughter’s birth was eminent. But contractions were not close enough. After a visit to the hospital she was sent home to wait. Tuesday passed with more pain, but no signs of time for birthing. She and her husband left the doctor’s office again with an appointment for 5:00 Wednesday morning. If things had not progressed as they hoped they would induce labor in order to take the pressure off the baby.

Tuesday night they did not sleep. Neither did I. I was awake off and on, praying continually for the Lord’s intervention; for mercy for Ansley and for Him to bring this baby into the world in His way, and in His timing.

They were at the hospital Wednesday morning with good news that the baby would be delivered before evening. Our daughter, our son-in-law and Ansley’s three younger sisters were there early to wait with them. Our daughter, remembering the four occasions she had gone through labor, was feeling Ansley’s pain. She wanted to tell her what to do, but she had to back off, and leave the room.

Our first great grandchild was born at 1:00. We were there to see them all at 3:00.

10689595_10205562289161019_3481855181802915142_nDuring this recent episode, when I mentioned the title of this article to my daughter, she reasoned that this is not true for all families.  Our children were born, with no one there but Jerry and me, the hospital staff ~ and the Lord. But family events have become more important as we have gotten older; and our family is learning the importance of sharing these experiences.

Spiritual Birth
Perhaps this sharing of family experiences, in births, marriages, and deaths has a connection with God and His family. Before this world began there was a relationship of love, joy, and peace between God, the Father, His Son, and His Holy Spirit. What they had together they have since the creation been sharing with His family here on earth. They covenanted together to birth a physical world that would soon be in rebellion and in need of a second birth ~ a spiritual birth.

His Spirit that moved across the face of the waters at the beginning of time is the same Spirit that moves in the spirit and heart of man to give new life. A second birth is required for a new start for true life, eternal life.

The same Light that God spoke into the world over darkness is the light of Jesus Christ given to men.

The same love, the same Word that was in the beginning with God was Jesus Christ. This is the seed that is planted in the hearts of men to form a new heart, a new spirit, and a new life. We have this living word in the written word that by His Spirit brings conception and in His timing He brings this deliverance of a new life in and through us.

There is rejoicing in heaven with every new birth. “There is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth. Luke 15:10

 The apostle Paul was a spiritual father in his ministry of the gospel of Christ. In his letter to the Galatians he said, “My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you. Galatians 4:19

It does not happen simply by saying a prayer.  Spiritual birth is in every way a miracle as a natural birth, with the greatest work and labor of love by our Lord, Jesus Christ.  We don’t experience it from a care-free, pain-free experience.  If left to ourselves we would refuse it. But, it is worth the pain and the struggle to be born of His Spirit for eternal life; knowing that we are delivered from the wrath of God, the pain of eternity without Christ.

Laboring for Others
We, who are of Christ, labor with others for the souls of those who will be born into His kingdom. We intercede, we pray fervently, and continually, for this conception and birth to take place in the hearts of our loved ones. But, we cannot make it happen by our own planning. We wait and rejoice in His timing and His way.

When Christ returns we shall all rejoice together for His glorious work on our own behalf and for those of all His family.

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope
through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,
 to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away,
reserved in heaven for you,”
 

1 Peter 1:3-4

Dear heavenly Father, thank you for your plan for perpetual life here on this earth, until you have gathered all into your fold.  Keep us by your own power until that day.  In Jesus’ name I pray.

Three Views of Me

Jerry drove 30 minutes to our daughter’s house after sitting in church two hours. When we got there he took off his prosthesis and sat in his wheelchair for two more hours. As is the routine, he suggested (letting me know that our time together was coming to an end) that we needed to think about leaving for home. Enjoying the time (and honestly not wanting to go) my response was, “I’m thinking about it.”

At first, I didn’t understand why our family laughed. Our responses to each other at home are sometimes humorous , making our circumstances a little easier. We are used to our manner of communication, and laugh with each other.

After Lee said that I was being “sassy” I realized that others have a different view of us than we do. They see and hear differently than we do.

This incident was an example and an illustration for this article that I had wanted to write.

There are three views of me:
1.  how I see myself
2.  how others see me
3.  how God sees me.

I can only see myself if I go to a mirror; 2011-05-15_1645and then I have only one dimension. Either I look at my frontal view; or with another mirror see a back view. There is a strict limitation. When I leave the mirror I cannot see me at all.

Others have a continual and more rounded view when we are with them. They have other angles that we never see. Yet, they are limited to what they see or hear at any one time.

God has the perfect view, from His own creation and power of dimension; not only from the outside, but inside, seeing the heart, and knowing our thoughts, always.

 “For the Lord seeth not as man seeth;
for man looketh on the outward appearance,
but the Lord looketh on the heart.
1 Samuel 16:7

gty_heart_xray_mi_121224_wmain

Seeing What I Need to See

I don’t need to spend more time in front of the mirror. It is not the outside that I need to see.  I see enough of me.

I would do well to ask and to know what others see and hear; and in humility desire
to change what needs to be changed.

The only means of knowing the truth about myself, with the knowledge and power to be what I should be, is to seek the Lord’s view; to pray for and live in humility. This is His working when I daily seek His kingdom and His righteousness through His word and prayer.

Though there is never any intention of being disrespectful to Jerry I realize that how others perceive our relationship may be different than what we want to portray.
The Lord has made it a joy for me to serve Jerry as his wife and caregiver.
Jerry is always gracious to allow me time with the family whenever we can be together. I need to remember that this is a sacrifice for him as he continues to deal with his discomfort and the soreness in his leg.

Dear Father, forgive me for what seems disrespectful to others, although Jerry does not take it that way. Help me to be more aware of how long Jerry has been sitting, and the rest that he needs; to be immediately responsive, instead of just “thinking about it.”   Work in me the humility of Christ that I may be the caregiver that you want me to be; that others may see your working in me ~ for your glory and our joy.
In Jesus’ name I pray.   Amen.

Image Sources:  Baby,  X-ray