Do You Think Highly of Yourself?

     The Gospel redefines us. One of those ways affects how we come to think of ourselves.  Romans 12:3 tells us, “For by grace  given to me, I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgement, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned.”     This passage is introducing the gifts given to believers for the benefit of the Body of Christ.  But my thoughts ponder how this verse speaks to believers in the area of relationships especially in the relationship of marriage.  I think as husbands or wives our struggles are often rooted in thinking too highly of ourselves in this relationship of two.  When we have this attitude, the results may be —

  • To lord it over the other, to be disrespectful.
  • To not listen or give full attention to.
  • To be unwilling to serve, to patronize, or to speak down to with sarcasm.
  • To not try to please the other, when inconvenient for you.
  • To see your own agenda, work, time, as more important.                                                         Do you see yourself in any of these actions?????

  It is important to see why we may act in these ways toward our husband or wife.  Do I think more highly of myself?  Jesus says love is thinking more highly  of the other. Agape Love  (God’s kind of Love) puts the others needs and desires, before my own. This will move into our daily life in very real ways.

  • Do I sacrifice my time to share my heart and thoughts  toward soul oneness?
  • Do I want to please my spouse in meeting intimate physical needs more than pleasing my own?
  • Do I daily cherish the other and want to make him, not only happy, but fulfilled.

  We are commanded in other scriptures to do this very thing.  Husbands are to lay down their lives for their wives.  Wives are to submit to their husbands. Neither one of these commands can be fulfilled if we are thinking more highly of ourselves than we ought. Marriages work as we work through life situations, conflicts, back grounds, or different personalities.  It takes putting the other first, much humility, unselfishness and agape love.  Is this difficult? Yes, without Christ it is impossible!  But if we are His, His power to live like we ought lives in us. Jesus is our example. He put us before Himself. He literally laid His life down for us.  He made of Himself of no reputation. He thought more of me than Himself…. That is Who lives in us, so we can do this, not perfectly all the time, but shouldn’t it be a goal to live like this in our marriage?

 

Don’t Miss the Miracle

    There is a wonderful story in the second chapter of John about a wedding.  Jesus and His disciples had been invited to a wedding.  This was not just an event of a few hours but could last for several days.  We know the story of how the host had run out of wine and Jesus’ mother, Mary, decided to remedy the problem and she knew just who could do that!  Jesus seems reluctant at first, but gives instructions to the servants to fill the large jars that usually held water meant for washing.  He tells them to fill them to the brim.  They do what He says and the water the servants had poured into the jars becomes fine wine. The host is saved and the wedding continues with finer wine than was served at the beginning. This is the very first miracle performed by our Lord Jesus.

    As I pondered these verses and their applications, I saw how we can apply this story to our marriages.  The points of this application are simple but profound and when put into practice may very well be life changing or maybe we should say marriage changing….

               Invite Jesus to your marriage… every day.

               Do whatever He says do…already written in His Word.

               And do it to the brim…obey completely.

               Quickly obey…no second guessing.

                Then watch for the miracle….when the ordinary becomes a miracle.

 

A King Became a Baby

        My thoughts were recently captured by a phrase I had read.  “Many babies born have become kings but only one King became a Baby.”  The reality of what Jesus did for us, for me, in His incarnation, His coming to our earth, is more than I can take in.  But it is sobering and good to think upon—

He left the throne room for a stable stall.

He left the company of angels for the company of sheep.

He left an unlimited existence for a human body.

He left the environment of holiness for one of sin.

He left the Creator to dwell with the created.

      The words of a Chris Rice song add to these thoughts. “He wrapped our flesh around Him, breathed our air, and walked our sod.”  For Jesus to come to this earth was more than a monumental act. It was pure craziness!  But great love can even cause man to do crazy things and what Great Love the Father had for us that He sent His own Son out of His heaven to a flawed, sinful, dirty, crying, needy people on earth to change us for all eternity…

     So all I can do is to forever thank Him, continually praise Him, and completely give myself to the King who became a Baby!  What about you?????

 

My Rock of Refuge

Be to me a rock of refuge in which to dwell. Psalms 71:3

I am glad that God is my Rock. I need a Rock! I need to know the One who is unmovable, the One who can carry me and all my concerns of life. The Rock that is formidable, sure and steady. It’s weight can hold me and all others who give themselves to it. A Rock that I can cling to when the winds of life are blustery and seas are foaming.
A Rock who offers me it’s clefts where I can retreat and rest and be hidden awhile. A Rock that is impregnable; can stand up to attack and can not be taken by force of the enemy. This Rock is not something that I run to from time to time, but as Psalms 71:3 says He is a “rock in which to dwell”. I can live and make my home in this refuge, in it’s unfailing strength, every day.
When I give myself to His protection I can join the psalmist in Psalms 18:1 in crying out, “I love you fervently and devotedly, O Lord my Strength. The Lord is my Rock, My Fortress, and my Deliverer. My God, my keen and firm strength in whom I will trust and take refuge.” I can break out in praise with the truth of 2 Samuel 22:47, ” The Lord lives, blessed be my Rock and exalted be God, the Rock of my salvation.”
I am also reminded of an old hymn by Fanny Crosby. The refrain sings:

He hideth my soul in the cleft of the Rock,
That shadows a dry thirsty land.
He hideth my soul in the depths of His Love,
And covers me there with His Hand.
And covers me there with His Hand.

Do You Have A Young Soul?

Recently I came across a question that caused me to pause. The question was, “Do you have a young soul?” My thoughts went back to time spent with an elderly friend. I remember looking into her wrinkled face, framed with snow white hair and thinking; she is that same 16 year old girl inside her now aged body that she has always been.
Our bodies change about us as we age but we can in reality have a young soul or youthful spirit. So the question begs to be answered, “What makes us old? What makes us young in our soul?”
Jesus valued childlikeness. In Luke 18:17, He said that “Whoever does not receive the Kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.” We are to hold on to that childlike faith, trust, and dependence in our Lord. It causes us to both enter into relationship with God and continue in fellowship with Him. Childlikeness causes us to run to Him often, lift our arms up to Him so He can reach down and pick us up. It causes us to crawl up into His “lap”, tell Him all our troubles and just be held by His Love.
For you see, a child knows she can not control things, provide for herself, reach the high places or fix her broken things. She runs to her Daddy (Abba) for all this. It is when we think we are in control, or that we can “do it myself” or we fret and worry along the way or are happy with our provisions that our soul begins to grow old. Anger, bitterness, pride and discontent may set in and we are no longer free to trust, able to love or open to be taught.
We are called to become mature and responsible as adults but that does not erase our childlikeness. What maturity or sanctification does is take away the childishness; the “I want my own way tantrum” or that stubborn will that says, “No, I will not obey!” or “I will do it myself”.
Psalms 131: 1-2 speaks to this… “Lord, my heart is not haughty, nor my eyes lofty, neither do I exercise myself in matters too great or in things too wonderful for me. Surely I have calmed and quieted my soul like a weaned child with her mother, like a weaned child is my soul within me (ceased from fretting).”
So calm and quiet yourself as you draw close to your Father. Relax in His arms, trust and believe that all He does is good and rejoice in being His child. Hold on to that childlike faith and the awe and wonder of your life hidden in Christ.

On Loan


                Sometimes something so simple can impact your life in ways you just would not believe.  Shortly after the birth of our firstborn son, I received a note from a friend. One line of that note I remember to this day. She wrote, “We praise God for the loan of Billy into your lives.”  At first I was not sure about these words. My son was mine, wasn’t he?  I had received him as God’s gift to us, hadn’t I? What did she mean by loan?
                As I mulled over these words as a young mother, God revealed the truth of them to my heart.  Though he came from us, and would carry our name, Billy was not ours, Billy was not mine. He was God’s; for God had sovereignly placed him into our lives, our family, our arms, but he was not ours, he was on loan.
              This truth impacted my parenting greatly.  Though  we would endeavor to bring him up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, I knew that God was the true parent.  He loved our son more than we did, and He had a plan for his life that was known only by Himself.  I knew I could always run to my Father to seek His wisdom for each crook and turn of rearing this little boy; and the three who would follow. When I was fearful, God assured me Billy was never out of His sight.  I came to trust that He was a far better parent than I. I was encouraged to do my part to make this child all that God had placed him in my arms to be. 
However, I could not do the heart work but I would do the hard work in training him for HIM.  
            This truth also affected  every stage of parenting.  As he left home to go to college, God was there.  I really did not have to let go of my son because he was always on loan.  This truth was a peaceful blessing through the years of parenting all my children.
            It is when we grasp tightly to the people in our lives that we get into trouble.  For you see, we have little or no control, but we can look to the Loving Controller and let go or at least hold very loosely.
           A loan should be returned with interest.  The investment made should please the Owner. When this child is a man, as mine is now, he must answer to the One who owns him…..and hopefully bring glory to his Maker.