Monday, February 22, 2010

God's Power Couple

Are you and your spouse a Power Couple? Perhaps when you hear that term you think of Barack and Michelle, Jay-Z and Beyonce or even the Brad and Angelina kind of couples. And while they are certainly powerful couples, they've achieved that status because they possess great financial wealth, political finesse or social status.

Not too long ago, I expressed anniversary well wishes to a dear friend and her husband. She chuckled at the thought of being a "power couple" but my sentiments were most sincere. I had seen them weather many storms in their relationship and come through good and bad times because of the power of the Holy Spirit working in their lives individually and and collectively.

I think God would define Power Couples differently. They would look more like Boaz and Ruth or Abraham and Sarah. God's power couples would be known for the ability to pray together and love unconditionally. They would exude power because of their obedience to God, their powerful personal prayer lives and enduring commitment to each other.

Being a power couple does not happen because you've acquired great wealth or fame but because you have the greatest treasure of all - Jesus Christ. A couple in Christ is extremely powerful and able together to do "exceedingly and abundantly" above all that they ask or think according to the power of God working in their lives.

It's Marriage Mondays ...

Monday, February 8, 2010

How's Your Love Life?

How's your love life? We're not trying to be fresh and get up in your personal affairs, but our desire today is to challenge you to think about how well you demonstrate love to your spouse not just during the Valentine season but every day of the year.

Some will think about intimacy between married persons when I talk about their love life and to some degree the success of your love life in Christ will depend on your intimacy with God. A successful LOVE LIFE depends on an active relationship with Jesus Christ.

I admit it is easy to be deceived to believe that love is solely about hearts, flowers, candy and good sex, but Christians must look to Jesus and His Holy Word for the real meaning of love.

God is love. He embodies it in His love and care for every living creature on this planet and He demonstrated it in selfless action by sacrificing His Son, Jesus, so that we can have eternal life. Our job then is to look like Him and demonstrate His love to this love-starved world.

Consider Ephesians 5:1,2:
"Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly beloved children and live a life of love just as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God." (NIV)

Ephesians 5:1 in the King James version says to "walk in love" and carries the ideal that love should be a lifestyle. Christian can do this with success because "God has poured out His love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom He has given to us." (Romans 5:5, NIV)

A love life then is a challenge to "live a life of love." A life of love is one of sacrifice and sacrifice is often about giving up your rights for the good of others. Isn't that what Jesus did at Calvary? His sacrifice is compared to a fragrance that is sweet in the nose of the one experiencing the smell. When we sacrifice for our marriage it is a sweet-smelling fragrance in the nose of God.

Whew! Can I pause here for a minute? As I (Jo-Ann) examined my love life, I saw that I haven't always put Jim's needs before mine and that I haven't always acted lovingly toward him, even when we aren't disagreeing. I have taken Jim's love for granted more often than I should.

But I praise God for this opportunity to confess my wrongs to Him and be held accountable for godly Christians. God has promised to forgive me and give me another opportunity to get it right. And I will, starting now. How about you?

It's Marriage Mondays . . .

Monday, February 1, 2010

Becoming One

When you got married, did you plan for a wedding or for a marriage? Did you plan for one day or for a lifetime? Did you place much of your focus on preparing your relationship for life's storms or picking out the perfect cake? Sadly, too many couples are marrying for the wrong reasons and focusing their energies and efforts on activities that don't build their marriage.

Reality shows like Whose Wedding Is It? and Say Yes to the Dress demonstrate the modern-day couples' obssession with selecting the right dress and reception location rather than choosing - with God's direction - a mature mate who will love them through life's ups and downs.

Marriage is the becoming of one flesh (Genesis 2:24) and it is a process the Bible says begins with each person forsaking their natural ties with their parents and "cleaving" or dedicating themselves to bonding with one another. Becoming one flesh involves a spouse giving up his (or her) selfish interests for the interest of the other. That process does not occur on the wedding day. Truthfully, even a "married" couple retains the "single" mindset for many years after the wedding date.

Reflecting back on the early years of my marriage, I remember it taking a few years for me to call the items I had purchased prior to the marriage "ours." Talk about having a single mindset!

When Jim and I counsel engaged couples or singles, we advise them to choose their mate wisely. We encourage them to ask the Lord to show them the person who will be willing to let go of their singleness and and work on becoming one and building a marriage that will last.

It literally takes a lifetime of both the husband and the wife giving selflessly of themselves to the other whether they are deserving or not.

God wants us to focus beyond the wedding day. He tells us to focus on the eternal rather than the temporary. Some things for newly-married, engaged and "lifers" to focus on comes in Ephesians 5:22-30:
  • Wives should submit lovingly to their husbands leadership and authority because Christ has given him the responsibility for leadership in the family and the husband is accountable to Christ; (vs. 22-24)
  • Husbands should love their wives as Christ loved the church to the point that he is willing to give up his life that his wife might live; (vs. 25)
  • Husbands should look for opportunities to see his wife grow in her faith and walk with God that God will be pleased; (vs. 26-27)
  • Husbands should love their wives as much as they love themselves - and football, their car, etc. (vs. 28)

It's Marriage Mondays ...