Putting on the full armor of God – everyday

My friend LA Marzulli has a great mini-sermon about taking seriously a critical element of the Christian life – putting the full armor of God.  We are living in a fallen world, full of all kinds of influences and attacks, physical, emotional, and spiritual.  Keeping Ephesians 6:13-17 in mind everyday is critical, and having peace in the daily chaos is possible!

Listen to this brief audio- LA Marzulli on putting on the full armor of God (mp3 – 4 min.)

 

 

 

Dad, are we there yet?

We have to do a lot of waiting in this life.  We wait for loved ones to come to the Lord.  We wait for reconciliation.  We wait for God to improve us.  This waiting is is part of God’s way to mature us:

“When you are going to play with me?” “Not yet. Not until I finish this report.” Fifteen seconds later the child asks the same question, this time with a tone of voice that can drive you mad. But the child is in us all. We too look forward to the day when we have learned perseverance before the Lord. It is the older wise man or woman who can take the many hassles of life in stride, without grumbling and complaining, with contentment rather than resignation. God has chosen to inject his character of perseverance and patient waiting into everyday, earthly life. We are patiently waiting for the Lord’s coming. Creation itself is patiently waiting for the time when it will be liberated from bondage (Rom. 8:22).

Welch, Edward T. (2006-11-01). Depression: A Stubborn Darkness (p. 94). New Growth Press. Kindle Edition.

Willful Wanderer- Come Home!

Do you have a prodigal?  Learn about the pattern of the prodigal as described in the word of God from pastor James MacDonald:

Does it make sense to you? Who gets up and walks away from their home, their family, and everything that’s familiar? Who puts everyone who protects and provides for them in the rear view mirror? A prodigal does. Don’t try to figure it out—it doesn’t make sense. Prodigals are not just young people; they can be any age. A prodigal may not leave their parents—they could leave their spouse or their extended family. A prodigal can physically take off or they can just emotionally check out. Hardly a family around escapes the heartbreak of loving a prodigal. If you’re waiting for a prodigal, take heart. You’re not alone and your struggle is not unique. Pastor James MacDonald will pour encouragement in you to keep praying. If you are a prodigal—what’s it gonna take for you to come to the end of yourself? Turn your stubborn heart back to God and come home. Someone is waiting for you.

Willful Wanderer–Come Home! (Audio)

Breaking the illusions we have of others

We have to trust people everyday.  For example, we trust that airline pilots, bus drivers and other auto drivers in traffic will do the right thing.   Beyond this more temporary trust, do we really trust people to never make mistakes or disappoint us?

Our unrealistic expectations – The truth is, many of us have built up unrealistic expectations of people.  When we first meet someone, there is that new excitement of a relationship and we expect him or her to live up to the imagined view we have of them. People, including us, cannot live up to high expectations.  They may feel the crushing pressure we put on them to live up to our illusions.  Also, over time, people inevitably do things that hurt us and we experience the deep pangs of disappointment.

God’s realistic expectations – We know from the word of God that all people, including ourselves, are broken, fallible creatures capable of sin and hurting others.

“The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is? Jeremiah 17:9

Does that mean we should become cynical and bitter towards people?  Not at all.  Christ gave us the model:

Christ understood people, so he did not entrust himself them. But he Loved them.  In John 2:24, as Christ looked over the multitude of people in Jerusalem, it says “But Jesus did not commit himself unto them, because he knew all men.”  What does this mean?   Jesus knew the fickle and sinful hearts of people, so his expectation was realistic.  Jesus decided ahead of time not to have illusion of people.  Yet Jesus loved people so much that he died and suffered beyond what we can ever know to save them.   He was never cynical; he trusted his father God.

Only God can meet your expectations.  Have people let you down?   Then trust the only one who will never let you down – God through Jesus.   Focus on God.  Be grateful and let the Lord fill you with his love and forgiveness.

See  James MacDonald – When it’s hard to trust

 


This Momentary Marriage

Desiring God produced this short documentary about the love story between Ian and Larissa Murphy.

Marriage is not mainly about prospering economically; it is mainly about displaying the covenant-keeping love between Christ and his church. Knowing Christ is more important than making a living. Treasuring Christ is more important than bearing children. Being united to Christ by faith is a greater source of marital success than perfect sex and double-income prosperity.

If we make secondary things primary, they cease to be secondary and become idolatrous. They have their place. But they are not first, and they are not guaranteed. Life is precarious, and even if it is long by human standards, it is short. “What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes” (James 4:14). “Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring” (Prov. 27:1).

So it is with marriage. It is a momentary gift. It may last a lifetime, or it may be snatched away on the honeymoon. Either way, it is short. It may have many bright days, or it may be covered with clouds. If we make secondary things primary, we will be embittered at the sorrows we must face. But if we set our face to make of marriage mainly what God designed it to be, no sorrows and no calamities can stand in our way. Every one of them will be, not an obstacle to success, but a way to succeed. The beauty of the covenant-keeping love between Christ and his church shines brightest when nothing but Christ can sustain it.

—John Piper, This Momentary Marriage  (Crossway, 2009), p. 178.

Visit Ian and Larissa’s blog here.

Don’t take the easy way out

The Lord spoke a strong word tonight via a  sermon he directed me to.  David Wilkerson’s “Standing Steadfast in Christ” spoke about not seeking the easy way out.  As the Lord shows us in scripture through nature, those who choose to avoid conflict, people and the inevitable fires of life will suffer spiritual apathy.  It’s clear my trials at work and at home most be met head on with the grace of Christ.  So “Greater is he that is in you than he that is in the world” combined with the fact Christ will see me through my storms outside and my emotional pains within is absolutely necessary for me to grow.

And growing means not focusing on my own self but on how I can serve Christ and others.  Wilkerson reminds us of Peter, who after he returned to the Lord and the risen Christ told him “Do you love me?  Feed my sheep?”

Lord, help all who read this know that we must face life with your grace to grow and bear fruit for you.  Let us not shrink from the spiritual battles at home and at work, but let us focus on helping the least and the lost of this world, in Jesus name.

Listen to Standing Steadfast in Christ>>

End of Your Loneliness

Loneliness is pervasive and deeply painful for many, no matter if they are divorced or married.  Ironically, the lonely are a great company.  John T. Cacioppo of the University of Chicago found that almost 25% of Americans feel chronically lonely.  Above this authority, God Himself so identified the pain of loneliness it was the first thing in His creation He saw as flawed.  In Genesis 2:18 He says, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.”

Gary Wilkerson of the Springs Church in Colorado says there can be an end to your loneliness.  Listen or watch.

Mourning the Loss of Eden – Looking Forward to Something Better

Songwriter Brandon Heath’s 2011 album Leaving Eden describes a very real thing all of us go through who have suffered the loss of our hopes and dreams at the hand of our own sin and that of others.

We tend to look upon our own losses, such as divorce and separation, as “our own thing” a private pain unique to us.  However, what we need to see is that our loss is a part of the overall human loss suffered at the “ground zero” of sin, when Adam and Eve rebelled against God and had to leave Eden.

Christ, in addressing divorce in Matthew 19 reminds of that broken relationships and divorce was not part of God’s hope for us. Christ says “But it was not this way from the beginning.”

We need to mourn our losses and  move on into forgiveness.  The only way to move on from all this world of pain, brokeness, and heartache is to have a place to go that has the forgiveness we need.  This place is Christ, and as David says in Psalm 9:9 “The LORD also will be a refuge for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble.”  Christ has a plan for you and for all this world to make things right and to restore that which was taken by sin from our lives.  He promises in Isaiah 61:3 to “to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness.”  Ultimately in Christ says “Behold, I am making all things new” Rev 21:5.

 

Brandon-Heath-Leaving-Eden

When the Ship Sinks by David Wilkerson

In “When the Boat Sinks” David Wilkerson talks about when Paul’s ship to Rome sinks.  The Lord will sometimes allow the thing we fear to happen – the divorce, the health crises, the death of a loved one.  Yet like Paul’s ship, the very breakup is a vehicle the Lord uses to spread His salvation.  From Paul’s ship sinking came a series of miracles: no people on the ship died, they all made it safely to shore, and they and many on the island where the ship sank saw miracles of healing in their midst through Paul.

So in our crises, the breakup between with our spouse can result in many testimonies for Jesus as we stand for restoration – no matter how long it takes.

When the Boat Sinks-David Wilkerson (mp3)

God Will Restore All Your Wasted Years by David Wilkerson

You have wasted years.  These may be years spent with the pain and regrets of broken relationships, years wasted in drugs or alcohol, or years wasted where you were far from God and not the husband or wife you should have been.  Within these wasted years your life was eaten up by worms of sin, addiction, sadness, and brokenness.

Joel 1:4 What the locust swarm has left the great locusts have eaten; what the great locusts have left the young locusts have eaten; what the young locusts have left other locusts have eaten.

When you come to Christ and repent, and let Him fill you up with His life, He will more than make up for these wasted years by an ever increasing Love from and for him.  This will fill you up and will flow over to others, including prodigal spouses and broken family relationships.  God can and will restore you and heal your broken relationships!

Joel 2:25 “I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten– the great locust and the young locust, the other locusts and the locust swarm — my great army that I sent among you.

Listen – David Wilkerson-God Will Restore All Your Wasted Years

For more information on David Wilkerson and his ministry please visit World Challenge >>