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“…they felt shame…so they covered themselves…and hid among the trees.”   Genesis 3:7-8 

I’m a neat freak wanna be.  Organization does not come naturally for me, so I feel like I’m always striving to get things in order.  I especially want things to be in order when company is coming.  However, by the time I clean the house and get the clutter sorted so it can be put away, I’m usually running out of time, energy, and motivation, and end up stuffing things here and there and putting what’s left in a box to be sorted and put away later.  In fact, if you came to visit, the house would look neat and clean as you walked through it, but I’d be terribly embarassed if you peeked in certain closets, drawers, or cabinets because you’d find all the things that I’d hidden away. 

We’re often like that as people, too.  We do our best to look good on the outside, but on the inside we have things hidden away.  We hide away things from our past, grudges, resentments, jealousies, unresolved issues from difficult situations, hurts, scars, and truths that are easier to keep hidden away than to face. 

We get this tendency honestly as sons and daughters of Adam and Eve.  Right after the creation story in the beginning of Genesis, the first Book of the Bible, we learn about Adam and Eve and their fall from innocence.  What was the first thing they did after they sinned?  Motivated by shame, they hid themselves in the foliage so that God wouldn’t see that they’d done something wrong. (Genesis 3:7-8) What they didn’t realize was that it was no use to try to keep their secrets hidden.  God knew what they had done. 

Adam and Eve were honest when God questioned them.  Although they had consequences to face, God showed them grace by helping them along in their newly created fallen world.  He clothed them and kept them in His care.  Although He banished them from the Garden of Eden, He did not banish them from His heart.  He continued to look after them, provide for them, and even bless them.

Is there something you have hidden away?  Whatever it is, you can step out from the whatever you’re hiding behind and come clean before God.  Just like with Adam and Eve, He already knows whatever it is.  You might be keeping secrets from others, but there are no secrets from Him.  He was gracious and loving with Adam and Eve and He’ll be gracious and loving with you, too.  He will tend to your needs, help you along, and bless you for sharing your heart with him.  Just like with Adam and Eve, there might be consequences, but God is always just and fair, and in the end I’ve always found the consequences to be blessings in disguise. 

Just last week I took my ‘hidden’ behavior of hiding things away to Him in prayer and sought His help in getting our home better organized.  I asked a few others to pray for this, too.  I started each day in prayer, offering the gift of that day back to the Lord and asking Him to help me use my time wisely and to help me know what work needed to be done to accomplish my organizational goals.  I can’t tell you how productive my week has been!  After seven years of accumulating things and not organizing along the way, my work isn’t over yet but I’ve got a good start going! 

Do you know what the driving force is for my desire to get everything in order?  It’s knowing that God has work for me to do.  It’s work that I very much want to do, but I need to get things in order at home so that I can fully devote my time and thoughts to Him. 

What about you?  Are the things that are hidden away in your life holding you back?  If so, I hope you’ll give them to the Lord in prayer so He can help you work through them.  Then you, too, will be able to move forward in life as He wants you to do.  It feels so good to clear out all that is hidden away! 

 

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Like millions of others, I’m an American Idol tv show fan.  This week the performers/contestants worked with world renowned composer Andrew Loyd Weber.  In my opinion, he’s the greatest of contemporary times when it comes to Broadway musicals.  His list of successes includes Jesus Christ Superstar (I watched it over and over at the movies and played the album until it wore thin), Evita, Cats, and Phantom of the Opera – just to name a few that you might be familiar with. 

I expected that performing musical-type songs would be challenging for most of the Idol contestants.  What I expected to be even more challenging – and even intimidating – would be working with theatrical genious extrordinairre (sp?) Andrew Loyd Weber.  I could not have been more wrong.  He was warm, kind, encouraging, open-minded to other’s interpretations of his songs, and even a man of grace.  I was astounded, impressed and completely blown away when he met with them as a group and told them, “I am here to be your servant.”   Whoah!  The Michael Jordan and Tiger Woods of Broadway was there to be THEIR servant!  He professed that his goal was to work with them and help them do their best.   With each performer he took the time and effort to do and say what he could to actually empower them to give their best performances possible. 

After watching this show I found myself thinking, “Wouldn’t it be great to have a personal coach like that for whatever it is that you do?”  You know, if you’re into computers to have Bill Gates take a time-out to work with you.  Or if you aspire to be a world peacemaker to have someone like President Carter be your mentor.  And of course, if you’re into sports, to have the most accomplished coach from your sport to be your personal coach.  You get the idea.  Well, friends, we DO have someone like that! 

Your Heavenly Father loves you more than anyone on this earth can.  He wants you to do well in everything you do and is always there to help bring out the best in you!  In fact, He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to be your personal Lord and Savior, and listen to what Jesus, himself, said to His bff’s (best friends forever): “For even I, the Son of Man, came here not to be served but to serve others, and to give my life as a ransom for many.” (Matthew 20:28 NLT)  Those beloved friends were later astonished, I’m sure, to gather with Jesus for what would be His last meal here on earth, and see him wrap the servant’s apron around his waist so that he could kneel before them to wash each their feet.  Not only did Jesus claim to be their servant, He humbled Himself to show true service to them. 

The Bible defines who a good servant is:  “A faithful, sensible servant is one whom the master can give the responsibility of managing his other household servants and feeding them.”  (Matthew 24:45)  The Bible also quotes God saying the following in reference to Jesus: “Look at my Servant, whom I have chosen.  He is my Beloved, who pleases me…”  (Matthew 12:8)

Jesus served all who sought His service.  He taught, counseled, healed, performed miracles, drove away demons, and even brought the dead back to life.  The acts of service that especially impress me, though, were His acts of listening carefully and patiently to all who came to Him, praying for them, and then doing whatever was needed to empower them and lift them up.  He is there wanting to do the same for you and me, too!  We just have to do what those in the Bible did.  We have to go before Him, share our praises, needs, desires, and concerns; and do so with the faith and belief that He can and will serve us as needed to lift us up and empower us. 

When I have a seemingly impossible day ahead of me, the first thing I do is turn to my Lord in prayer, turning it over to Him, and trusting Him to lead me through my day.  He hasn’t failed me yet.  Every time I do this He serves me by getting me through even better than I had hoped.  When I face a daunting task or something that’s important to me, I go to my Lord in prayer and He serves me by lifting me up and empowering me.  Sometimes He encourages me by discouraging me.  Knowing my thoughts or plans are headed in the wrong directions, He does what it takes to keep me on His intended path or course. 

As I think back to the way Andrew Loyd Weber influenced, encouraged, lovingly discouraged (when needed), and selflessly gave of himself to the Idol contestants for the sake of empowering them and lifting them up, helping them to be their best, I know my Jesus is there doing the same for me and He wants to do the same for you.  I’m so grateful.  Thank you, Lord!

Before I close, even though this pursues a different topic, I feel the need to point out that Mr. Weber is a fine personification of the following verse:

Luke 22:26, “But among you it will be different.  Those who are the greatest among you should take the lowest ranks and the leader should be like the servant.” 

God bless you, Mr. Andrew Loyd Weber, sir. 

Last Friday morning I awoke, just minutes before my alarm was to sound, from a dream in which God convicted me. 

In my dream I was completing a tour of something (seemed museum-like).  It was a tour on which I’d been going along a designated path, kept on the path by white metal railing.  A group of boys (mostly adolescents) were going along, too, and I think my own sons were with me.  As the adult, I was overseeing them, but not interfering with their tour, just making sure they were behaving and going along as was expected. 

At the end of the tour was an exit with a turnstyle.  As I approached the turnstyle I noticed a blind man with no legs propped up against the wall.  Many others were also exiting, but no one was paying any attention to him.  I wanted to acknowledge him so I said hello and mentioned that we (I think I was referring to my sons and I) were completing the tour and had enjoyed it. 
The man responded to me by scolding me harshly, yelling at me to say, “Yes, but you hurried through your time with God!”  Apparently the tour or experience I’d just completed represented my time with God.  I burst into tears at the realization of what he’d just said.  I was convicted.  A young lady rushed over to console me, but I refused her consolations acknowledging that what the man had said was true and it must have been pretty bad if even a blind man could see it….Yes, it must have been pretty bad if even a blind man could see it.

That’s when I woke up, sweaty and crying. 

What an experience that was!  God reached out to me personally in a dream to convict me of not taking enough time for Him.  He, Himself, let me know He wants more time with me! 

As my thoughts swirled, I realized quickly that although I’ve been very prayerful lately, more so than ever before, I haven’t been allowing myself the time I need when studying His word.  I lead a Bible study that covers almost all of Bible in just 32 weeks.  That means I must sit down daily to read chapters at a time of the Bible.  I love this study and am in the process of completing my 5th year of this particular study.  Although I’ve done all of the required reading, I am guilty of hurrying myself through it this year.  Usually I allow myself whatever study time is needed to get through the assigned readings.  This year I didn’t always do that.  God convicted me of this in my dream. 

When sharing this with my Bible study group, a member suggested that the path I referred to in my dream might have represented our study and my role as leader, as I try to keep everyone – including myself – moving forward along the study’s path.  Just yesterday we completed our final regular class of this year – which would relate to exiting and approaching the turnstyle. 

God wasn’t finished with me yet, though.  When I awoke on Sunday morning, planning to get up and get ready for church, He clearly let me know that it would be better for me to ‘do church at home’.  When I can’t go to church (like if kids are sick, I’m sick, etc.) I have church at home by watching In Touch with Dr. Charles Stanley.  My husband and sons were out of town camping, so I stayed home and cozied myself up in front of the tv for an enjoyable, uninterrupted hour with Dr. Stanley.  As you might guess, his message was just what I needed to hear.  He spoke about how to approach the Word so that it can speak to you.  The passages he used were from Nehemiah, verses I studied on my own last summer.  His sermon was the perfect refresher and follow-up to the dream I’d had, reminding me to come to God’s Word expectantly, hopefully, prayerfully, joyfully, with praise, and humbly so that I can hear it or read it with my heart open to receive the message God wants me to hear. 

I’ve had a great year in Bible study, and God has spoken to me, taught and inspired me through the reading of His Word, but God wants more from me.  He lovingly brought this to my attention and then followed up with the perfect message to help me start practicing what Dr. Stanley preached.  To hear Dr. Stanley’s message for yourself or to check out the In Touch Ministry, go to www.intouch.org 

What about you?  Are you pursuing time with God by pursuing His Word?  If so, is it adequate time?  Do you approach the Word, whether you’re listening to it or reading it, with a hopeful and expectant heart that God will reach out to you?  If not, I hope you’ll start reading checking out the Bible, or looking at scriptures every day.  Read daily devotions.  For a free online subscription to Proverbs 31 devotions, go to www.Proverbs31.org.  You can subscribe from their website.  Go to church every week to hear the teaching of God’s Word.  Check out Dr. Stanley’s teachings at the site listed above for In Touch.  Listen to Christian radio stations.  Ask your friends about what they’re studying or what they like.  Maybe you’ll like those things, too!  And of course feel free to contact me here at this site or by my email:  ReneeMyers@carolina.rr.com  I’d love to hear from you.

Better yet, respond to this site to let us know what YOU do to stay in the Word!  I’d love to hear your ideas and I’m sure others would, too.  Just click on the word ‘comments’ below the title of this post.  Thanks and God bless you!

Lord, I am in awe and am amazed.  You, who are Ruler of the Universe, reached out to me personally, despite everything else You’re surely tending to in this world, to let me know that You want me to slow down and spend more time with You.  Thank You for convicting me, for bringing it to my attention that I need to allow whatever time is needed when I sit down to read and study the Bible.  And thank You for leading me to Dr. Stanley’s message so that I could be reminded about how You want me to come to You – how to approach Your Word so that it can speak to me.  Yes, Lord, what is it You want me to hear?  What do You want me to know?  What insights do You want to share with me?  I will keep myself open to You. 

Lord, I don’t share this message and prayer wtih others to boast about how You came to me in a dream.  No!  I share this message so that others can share in Your message, too.  I pray that others will be inspired to seek Your Words and teachings with hopeful, expectant, and prayerful hearts so that they, too, will receive the gifts and rewards You have for them when they come before You.  Lord, I lift these prayers to You in hopes that You will receive glory and honor.  These things I pray  in Jesus’ name, Amen. 

May the words of my mouth and the thoughts of my heart be pleasing to you, O Lord, my rock and redeemer.    – Psalm 19:14

As a former nutritionist, I’ve looked over countless food journals.  Still, today, if you asked for my help with your diet, the first thing I’d ask you to do would be to keep a food journal for a few days. It would show me what your diet is like, your food habits, and food ‘triggers’.  This would help me assess your current diet and know what recommendations to make for the results you’d be seeking.

Here’s a thought…What if we kept a words journal for a few days?  No, I’m not talking about a journal in the usual sense.  I’m talking about a journal where we’d keep track of the words we said.  It would be like keeping a food journal, but instead of listing all the food we eat throughout the day, we’d list all the words we’d said!  Just like food journalists take note of their emotional state/thoughts/feelings at the time food is eaten, we would keep track of our emotional state/thoughts/feelings at the time words came out of our mouths. 

Food journals bear witness to a person’s behaviors, thoughts, and weaknesses.  If I kept a  words journal, it would bear witness to my behaviors, thoughts, and personality weaknesses.  It would bear words of witness as to who I am.

If I kept a words journal, what would it indicate about me?  Would I feel good about the things I’d said?  Would I feel good about myself?  Or would my journal convict me of unpleasant, irritable, impatient, or otherwise not-so-nice verbage? 

In addition to indicating what a person’s diet is like, a food journal also shows what their food patterns are and what ‘food triggers’ they have.   In other words, it shows what food habits a person has and also what types of feelings or situations ‘trigger’ them to depart from good eating habits.  The same could be detected from a words journal.  By studying my words in a journal I could assess the following:

Is there a pattern of times when I’m nicer than at other times?

Does that pattern correlate with time of day?  Situations I’m in? People I’m with? Or my moods?

Are my words pleasing and good most of the time?  Or only some of the time?

What is it that seems to prompt good and nice words?  What seems to prompt mean or unpleasing words?

Do my unpleasing words reflect issues with other people?  Or do they reflect inner feelings that I need to deal with?

Who do I use the nicest words with?  Who receives the worst words?  Can I figure out a reason why? 

Wow.  Can you imagine how enlightening a words journal could be?  I’d suggest that we all keep a words journal for at least three days, but what an arduous task that would be – especially if you talk a lot like me!  As helpful as it would be, it’s not really needed if we remember that we are never alone.  God is always with us.  He’s ever-present and all-knowing.  Consider HIM as a recorder of your words.  Maybe realizing that God ‘journals’ everything about us will help us to reflect on the thoughts above more seriously, respond more intentionally, and use our words more purposefully. If we strive to be pleasing to the Lord, we’ll be pleasing to those around us.

What does the Bible say about words?  PLENTY!!!!  For additional scriptures and related thoughts, see my previous post, YOUR TONGUE: DOES IT WOO OR WOUND? – Archives April 2007.  To research other things the Bible says about words, go to the Dictionary/Concordance in the back of your Bible and look up ‘words’ and related topics.  You can also go to www.BibleGateway.com, enter the word/topic you want to search (“words”, “tongue”), select your preferred Bible version, and be amazed at all the info that comes up.

If you do this, take note of the verses that seem to ‘jump out’ at you.  Is there a theme or pattern to these verses?  If so, God might be trying to speak to you through His Living Word.

Let’s pray.  Dear Lord, I really like the idea of keeping a words journal.  Maybe I should try to keep one even though the task seems daunting.  In the meantime, please reveal to me the things I need to know about the words I speak.  Do they lift others up?  Or cut them down?  Do they promote love and kindness?  Or are they mean and insulting?  Maybe my problem is a lack of spoken words.  Are there things I should say that I’m holding back?  Or is my problem more about the way I say my words than the actual words themselves?  Lord, I want to be pleasing with my words.  At the end of the day I want my words to bear witness of who I am in a way that is pleasing and glorifying to You.  Please help me with these things, Lord.  I share and seek these things in the name of Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior.  Amen. 

We had a lively discussion in Bible study yesterday about how other’s sense of entitlement irritates us.  A huge peeve of mine that illustrates what I’m talking about is that it really bothers me when non-physically handicapped people park in handicap spaces.  My father-in-law was a quadripilegic (sp?) for almost 20 years before he passed away just weeks ago.  In all of those years he was able to drive or at least be a passenger with others.  He NEEDED those parking spaces!  There are many other people who NEED those spaces, too!  However, most often I see people taking up those spaces who are perfectly capable of walking and getting around.  Why do people do this?  My guess is they’re in a hurry or are to lazy to walk any farther than they think they have to.  Others want to park in ‘open’ spaces to protect their expensive vehicles.  In short, these people feel a sense of entitlement to do this! 

Another example is those people who park in the Fire Lanes of public buildings – schools, restaurants, Starbucks, and shopping areas – with signs all around that clearly state, “NO PARKING”.   Just last Fall a member of my son’s football team was injured in a game.  The poor young man was forced to remain on the ground writhing in continual pain for almost 20 minutes because paramedics could not get to him.  PEOPLE WERE PARKED ALL ALONG THE FIRE LANE AND EVEN BLOCKED THE RAMP ACCESS ONTO THE PATH THAT LED DOWN TO THE FOOTBALL FIELD.  The paramedics couldn’t park their truck until the drivers of those cars could be found so that they could move their cars.  In the meantime, paramedics had to find an alternate access – much less convenient – while the injured player was suffering.  Why?  Because others felt entitled to ignore NO PARKING signs to make things easier or more convenient for themselves. 

We also spoke about drivers who are rude, cutting in front of others, plowing right  through 4-way stops when it’s clearly not their turn, and simply disregarding other drivers rights to suit themselves.  I often think that Kindergarten and preschool children would make better drivers than most adults because they know how to be kind to others and take turns in proper order. 

I used to approach people who parked in handicap spaces – in a kind way – to tell them about my father-in-law and how important those spaces are to the folks who really need them.  People always responded respectfully and offered their apologies or an explanation of why they took the spot.  I no longer approach those who I feel  the need to reprimanded for their arrogant acts of entitlement.  I guess I feel entitled to speak against entitlement here, instead.   🙂

The Bible reminds us that, as Christians, we’re called to turn the other cheek, return evil with kindness, and repay wrong-doing with blessings.  (I’ll add the Bible references for that later.  I’m out of time right now.)

So instead of yielding to the arrogant behaviors of others by acting the same way or speaking out of grace and rebuking them, I’ll do my best to do the Christian thing by trying to set better examples with my own actions.  And instead of making myself feel better by admonishing or convicting others (that’s not my job, it’s God’s), I’ll get in the habit of praying for blessings for those people instead. 

Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must put aside your selfish ambition, shoulder your cross, and follow me.  If you try to keep your life for yourself, you will lose it.  But if you give up your life for me, you will find true life.  And how do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul in the process?  Is anything worth more than your own soul?…”       – Matthew 16:24-26

Although I’ve never been a selfish or overly self-centered person, one thing I’ve noticed in recent years since turning my heart over to the Lord is that I’m becoming less and less ‘about me’. 

One of my greatest concerns when I got married (at almost 30 years of age) was about losing my sense of self.  Like others who are combining households and deciding what to keep and what to get rid of, I was uncomfortable with the idea of getting rid of too much of my stuff because I felt I’d be losing some of ‘me’ in the process. 

Becoming a mother had a similar effect on me.  I was thrilled to finally be a mother and loved my son more than I dreamed I could, but I didn’t want being a mom to cause me to lose my own self as a person. 

Then there’s that childish part of me that feels pouty when things go my husband’s way instead of mine, and the “What’s up with that, God?” attitude I feel when life doesn’t go as I hoped, planned or expected. 

That’s why it’s interesting to me to realize that in recent years I’ve been slowly letting go of myself.  I don’t feel the need from days gone by to hang on to things for the sake of holding on to my sense of self.  Frankly, I’m not much about ‘things’ like I used to be. 

Losing my sense of self as a married person?  Being married is the most important aspect of who I am – aside from being a Christian, of course. 

Losing my individuality to being a mom?  Not a problem because it’s not an issue.  Being a mom is part of God’s calling for my life.  It’s a privilege and honor to serve Him by loving, caring for, and raising the children He’s entrusted to my husband and I.

Getting pouty when I don’t get my way or questioning God when life goes in unexpected directions?  Well, ok, I admit I’m still working on these things, but I am much better than I used to be!

So what’s the point of all this?  Today I realized that, slowly but surely, I’ve been letting go of me – and that’s a good thing!  Less of me allows for more of Him, and more of Him makes a better and more satisfied me. 

Lord, Thank you for being patient with me as I’ve learned to live less for me and more for You.  I pray that as I let more and more of ‘me’ go, that more and more of You will fill my heart and soul.  It is through You that I find true joy and satisfaction in my life, being the ‘me’ You want me to be.  In Your precious name I pray.  Amen.

 

Ask and it shall be given to you; seek and you shall find; knock and it shall be opened to you.  For every one who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it shall be opened.    – Matthew 7:7-8

My heart is full of such praise and joy, and the reason is quite simple.  I asked and received. 

Recently I’ve been grappling with questions and frustrations about God’s intended directions for me.  While on Spring Break I took time while I walked along the beach to pray to God.  As I looked out across the great expanse of the ocean, felt refreshing sea breezes, and watched waves wash upon my feet, I recommitted my heart to Him and earnestly sought His will and purpose for me.  James 5:16, The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and wonderful results.

Having missed being in church while we were away, I felt relief being in the presence of the Lord at worship service yesterday.  To my delight, the guest speakers and pastor all spoke about answering callings, reminding us that the Bible calls for EACH of us to be ministers as Christians.  “Yes, Lord.  I’m willing to answer my calling and minister for You, but what IS my calling?” 

Then, this morning, on my way to prayer group, I prayed one more time, admitting my frustration about not knowing what I was supposed to be doing.  Was God not giving me a ‘calling’ because this is time for me to sit out, sit back, and be quiet?  To let others have their season of coming forward to serve while I sought the Lord in other ways?  All I wanted was for His plan to be my plan, but to do that I really needed to know what His plan was!

Then I got to prayer group.  Before we even started to pray, God led our conversation to topics that began answering my prayers and giving me needed perspectives.   Our prayers furthered those thoughts.  Praise!  Then I got home and checked my email for the first time since arriving home from our trip.  I found more answers to my prayers!  You can’t imagine how much this fills my heart with praise and joy!

These things didn’t happen because there is anything special about me or the way I pray.  These things happened because there’s something very special about the God we serve and the Lord I love.  God, our Heavenly Father, knows the desires of our hearts and tends to them when we take delight in Him – especially when we take time to pray to Him.  Psalm 37:4  Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will tend to the desires of your heart.

His own Son, Jesus Christ, our Advocate, tells us to pray in His name, believing that what we ask for we will receive.  Isn’t that something?  Christ, who now sits in heaven at the right hand of the Father, is our Advocate and is willing to intercede for us when we pray in His name!

I have a book that states the following (auther unknown):  Prayer changes things and it changes us.  Today, instead of turning things over in your mind, turn them over to God in prayer.  Instead of worrying about your next decision, decide to let God lead the way.  Don’t limit your prayers to meals or to bedtime.  Pray constantly about things great and small.  God is listening, and He wants to hear from you.  Now.

Dear Heavenly Father, Thank you for hearing my prayers and tending to the desires of my heart, awing me by answering my prayers, and doing so in ways beyond my hopes.  I pray that others will turn to You and do the same, praying about whatever is on on their hearts and minds, so that You can reveal Yourself to them in awesome ways, too.  Lord, I pray these things to You, in the name of Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior; and in the love of the Holy Spirit.  Amen. 

One day…Jesus went to a mountain to pray, and he prayed to God all night.   Luke 6:12

We all need a little break now and then.  Currently my family and I are on Spring Break.  As I write this I’m listening to the sounds of waves crashing onto the beach just yards away from where I sit.  It’s been fun being with our kids on the beach and meeting other families, but it’s also been nice breaking away from all the beach activity to walk along a private beach area where there was no commotion or distraction.  On my  walks I let myself get lost in the beauty and expanse of the ocean and unending sky so that I could break away from the usual busyness of my life to be with my Lord.  What sweet prayer time I had as I walked along the beach – wind blowing, seagulls flying, waves washing ashore, and cool, soft sand meeting each of my steps. 

Jesus had to find time to break away, too.  As He grew in popularity and became more widely known, thousands of people would follow Him wherever He went.  If He tried to get away by boat, crowds would be waiting for him on distant shores.  Not only did large crowds follow him, they often pushed in around him.  And they weren’t just trying to catch a glimpse of Him or get His autograph.  They were seeking Him for healing, teaching, counseling, and to do miracles that would drive away demons and raise the dead to life!  (Events recorded in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.)  Jesus, too, needed to break away.  He had to take breaks from the busyness of His life so that He could connect and commune with His Father. 

Yes, it’s good to break away from that which distracts us from being with God.

 

My son, a 7th grader, informed me this week that his teacher sent homework for the parents.  I was hoping it would be something fun or interesting from literacy.  I knew it wasn’t math or he’d have given it to his father (ha ha).  Eagerly I looked at the papers he’d set before me.  My unsuspecting eyes about popped out of my head when I saw it was a vocabulary test from an in-depth male/female anatomy and reproductive course.  The instructions were for me to match definitions with words; compare my answers to those of my son’s on the back side; discuss any that we marked differently; and then discuss additional terms listed at the bottom of the page.  I won’t list the additional words and terms here, but will say this, “Can you say AWKWARD?!”   I could feel color filling my cheeks just reading the list! We didn’t learn about things like this when I was his age!  Some of it I never studied in school at all – and I certainly never discussed these things with my parents! 

After recovering from the shock of the first assignment, I apprehensively looked at the second assignment.  Ah, now this was a welcome project, and one that seemed easy, too.  We were to answer the following question: 

“If you were to give one piece of marrital advice, what would it be?”

All day I thought about this question trying to come up with something profound.  Despite my best attempts to think of my own clever bit of wisdom, my mind kept coming back to the best piece of marrital advice that had been given to me. 

The advice that’s had the greatest impact on our marriage and, in turn, on our family, was being told that God wants us to prioritize things in the following order:

1) God

2) Marriage

3) Children

4, 5, 6…  Job, extended family, friends, hobbies/activities, all other things….

This advice wasn’t given to me as marrital advice.  It was given to me to help me get right with God – to put my life in proper order.  However, it has served to be the best marriage advice I could receive. 

By the time I finished the anatomy/health science paper and the question about marrital advice, I’d gotten over my initial shock and intimidation and came to appreciate the opportunity this assignment gave me to recognize the education my child is receiving – one that I had not received, but should have.  By participating in this assignment I got to see the other work he’s been doing in class and discovered they’re not not only learning the ‘birds and the bees’ aspects of relationships, but also the human/emotional aspects, as well.  It gave me greater insight into the knowledge and character of my soon-to-be-teen son (turns 13 on April 6), and provided the opportunity for us to talk about these things in a casual, comfortable way.  Most importantly, it allowed me to share with him at an early age the importance of putting God first in all aspects of our lives, especially marriage, and to share with him the importance of keeping all priorities in proper order. 

My husband’s advice was that you should tell your spouse that you love them, unconditionally, at least once every day.  He also thought about stressing the importance of patience in a marriage….hmmmm….what did he mean by that? 

I added a miscellaneous tip:  To keep good humor – it might be needed for those husbands who need patience.    🙂

A Christian book on marriage I saw just a few days ago offered this great piece of advice:  Plan your marriage before planning your wedding.  Excellent advice!

How about you?  What advice on marriage would you give?  Please share it with us by scrolling up to the title of this post and clicking on the word ‘comments’, which appears right below the title.  I’d love to hear from you! 

 God bless you all, and may He bless your marriages, too. 

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