Monday, December 31, 2012

P.S. To Real Life Friday! Love, Hope, Clarity

I blogged a new Real Life Friday! post last week and I pray that anyone who reads it would see Jesus and his sacrificial entry into the messiness of our lives. It is a story of personal struggle used as a vehicle to display God and his rescue mission in the midst of our need and desperation.

For those who read it (here), I thought I would add a post script for a few reasons.

The first reason is to communicate love -

My husband and I love each other very much and we are committed to our marriage like never before. So, it was important to me to have his blessing before writing anything related to our personal lives - specifically our marriage difficulties. Christ has set us both free form the need to pretend we're something we're not. I'm not sure we were fooling anyone anyway :)

The second reason is to communicate Hope -

Our messiness is never out of reach of God's grace. There is no distance we can travel away from God that His grace can't reach. My husband and I both have a relationship with God in Christ. That did not stop our pursuit of sin and disobedience. I was bent on selfishness and self-pity but thankfully God and his furious love for me out-distanced my sin.

This is tremendous good news for rebels! Everyday I am reminded that the grace of God in Christ is all I have and all I need.

The third reason is to Clarify -

We have not "arrived". Our marriage will continue to be messy because we are two sinful messed up people trying to figure it out together. When we have moments of victory we can thank God for his grace to intervene. Yes, God killed our old marriage and gave us newness together but that does not mean we don't still struggle. We look forward to the day when there will be no more tears and no more pain. Until that day we lean on Jesus and his righteousness.

Going through this difficulty has not made us experts, far from it. God has directed our path and for that we are grateful. Our story is about God's grace in the midst of our mess and that's where we continue to put our trust.

My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly trust in Jesus’ Name.

~ Edward Mote

Finally, if you need prayer for your own marriage difficulties please let me know. You can comment anonymously if you'd like. God does not promise a quick fix or overnight solution, but He does promise to be with us in the midst. 


Hope For The Heartbroken

Hope is founded on God's Promises
Is there a promise He has ever broken?
Not one word of all the good promises that the LORD had made to the house of Israel had failed; all came to pass ~ Joshua 21:45

Hope is fueled by God's Providence
Look at what God has done in the midst of joy and suffering!
Deep in unfathomable mines, Of never-failing skill, He treasures up His bright designs, And works His sovereign will. Ye fearful saints, fresh courage take, The clouds ye so much dread, Are big with mercy, and shall break. In blessings on your head. Judge not the Lord by feeble sense, But trust Him for His grace; Behind a frowning providence, He hides a smiling face. ~ William Cowper

Hope is ignited in God's Performance
Our performance is paltry and pale set next to the performances of God.
In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth...Genesis 1

Hope is freely given in God's Perfect Son.
His perfect record is ours. His perfect love is ours.
And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him. Colossians 1:21

Hope came down to rescue the hopeless.
Apart from Christ it's all just wishful thinking.
Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners. 1 Tim. 1

Is this time of year difficult for you?

Why is your heart broken? Failed marriage? Rebellious child? Broken friendship? Empty checking account? Failing health?

Be encouraged.

Hope is a Person, namely Jesus Christ.

He has come to do for you and for me what we cannot do for ourselves. No amount of trying harder, no new year resolution, no creative scheme nor inventive action plan can do what only Christ can -

save you to the uttermost.

set you free from chains that bind you. 

relieve hurts that haunt you.

forgive you finally, fully and forever. 

rescue you from frantic and futile living. 

straighten crooked paths. 

remove fear upon fear. 

Religion never begins with what we do for God. It always starts with what God has done for us, the great and wondrous things that God dreamed of and achieved for us in Christ Jesus. ~ B. Manning

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! 
According to his great mercy, 
he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection 
of Jesus Christ from the dead. 
1 Peter 1:3

Friday, December 28, 2012

Real Life Friday - Our One Year Anniversary

This year ago... five days before husband left.

As in, left me.

It was not a knock down drag out fight. No screaming or throwing things. No outward violent acts...

just  murder in each of our hearts.

Could we see it coming? Yes.

Did we know something was wrong? Yes.

However, neither one of us thought it would be that drastic.

And the LORD came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of man had built.
Gen 11:5

God's amazing grace put back together what had come undone. He killed our old marriage and gave us a new one. I can't explain it any other way - it doesn't make sense when I apply logic.

He bowed the heavens and came down, thick darkness was under his feet. 
Psalm 18:9

Only God's other-worldly ways could do what we mere mortals could never do. How does God reweave the very fabric we are working hard to tear apart?

For the son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost. 
Luke 19:10

I called my husband last Thursday and said "Happy Anniversary". We both new what I meant. It is a day of celebration really. A gift to us in the form of suffering. How can it be that the hardest thing we have ever been through was actually the kindest, most gracious gift God could give us? While God was killing our old marriage and putting to death our idolatry and pride, he was bringing us newness and life.

God really did come down.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God...And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. 
John 1:1,1:14

God descended into the chaos of our lives. God really is here with us. God really does save. God is present in our mess not apart from it. He is Immanuel - God with us.

Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel” (which means, God with us.)
Matthew 1:23

"The Lord has actually taken manhood into union with himself; there is therefore no longer a great gulf fixed, on the contrary, here is a marvelous union; Godhead has entered into marriage bonds with manhood. O my soul, thou dost not stand now like a poor lone orphan wailing across the deep sea after thy Father who has gone far away and cannot hear thee; thou dost not now sob and sigh like an infant left naked and helpless, its Maker having gone too far away to regard its wants or listen to its cries. No, thy Maker has become like thyself. Is that too strong a word to use? He without whom was not anything made that was made is that same Word who tabernacled among us." ~  C.H. Spurgeon

For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me. 
John 6:38

In the midst of my marriage separation, in the midst of your parenting struggles, in the midst of the job loss, the overdue mortgage, the broken down car, the lapsed health insurance, the mean spirited neighbor and angry abusive boss. He is with us - caring and loving and active.

And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God.
Rev 21:3

He is with us - caring and loving and active.

The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.

1 Tim. 1:15a


Monday, December 10, 2012

What Child Is This? God With Us!

He is God, 
but He is God with us. 
He is bone of our bone and flesh of our flesh—a Brother born for adversity. 
And here the most trembling may be at rest. 

God in our nature is a grand prophecy of salvation and bliss for us. Why has He come down to us but that we may come up to Him? Why has He taken our nature in its sorrow, but that we may be made partakers of the Divine Nature in righteousness and holiness? He comes down, not to thrust us lower, but to lift us to heights of perfection and glory!
That Jesus is Man, and yet God, is full of hope and joy for us who believe in Him. 

...It may be that your heart is in such a ferment of grief that you know not what you think, but are like a man at his wits’ end.

...You look up, but the heavens are as brass above your head. 

Your prayers appear to be shut out from God’s ear. You look around you upon the earth and behold, “trouble and darkness, and dimness of anguish.”  Your every hope is slain and your heart is torn asunder with remorse and dread. Every hour you seem to be hurried by an irresistible power into greater darkness, yes, even into the eternal midnight.

In such a case none can give you comfort save Immanuel, God with us! Only God, espousing your cause and bearing your sin, can possibly save you! 

Look, He comes for your salvation! 

Behold, He has come to seek and to save that which was lost! 

God has come down from Heaven and veiled Himself in our flesh that He might be able to save to the uttermost. 

He can save the chief of sinners—he can save you. Come to Jesus, you that have gone furthest into transgression, you that sit down in despondency, you that shut yourselves up in the iron cage of despair. For such as you there shines this star of the first magnitude!

Jesus has appeared to save and He is God and Man in one Person—Man that He may feel our woesGod that He may help us out of them! 

No minister can save you! No priest can save you—you know this right well—but here is One who is able to save to the uttermost, for He is God as well as Man!

The great God is good at a dead lift. When everything else has failed, the lover of Omnipotence can lift a world of sin! Jesus is almighty to save! 

That which in itself is impossibility is possible with God. 
Sin which nothing else can remove is blotted out by the blood of Immanuel. 

Immanuel, our Savior, is God with us—and God with us means difficulty removed and a perfect work accomplished! 

~ C.H. Spurgeon