This weekend my husband and I had the true privilege of being one of a few couples to speak at a Marriage Retreat with our church. Wow! It's amazing how when you say YES to God, He allows you to be part of his amazing plans! He's growing my husband and I in new ways -even just recently through preparing our notes! I keep telling him [my husband], "There's nothing more attractive to a wife than watching her husband grow in the Lord!" I love it! I can't wait to see the intricate ways God will continue to make Himself known in these couples lives over the next few days and weeks and hopefully much longer! I do want to keep praying for them and for us!
Our session was called "Working in Your Fields", and we paralleled a marriage to a garden. In our message, the soil represented our relationship with the Lord and the importance of Him being our foundation, the focus of our marriage. The Seeds were what you sow into your marriage, good or bad, love vs. hatred, communication and honesty vs. neglect and lying. Weeding is kind of obvious- keeping out predators; keeping the enemy from devouring your family! And another important part; tending to the garden God has given you! Spend time with your family! Be thankful for them! Take seriously the responsibility and opportunity that the Lord has given you!
Just a sort of encouragement to you, because you may not have been there for this awesome time. If you have a marriage that looks hopeless, because of sin or suffering or something that the enemy is trying to use against you... have hope! Go to the Lord! Repent if it's sin, and be thankful that God loves you guys and wants to restore what's been broken- plowing up the garden to make it better! On the other hand, if things are going well and you love your spouse with all your heart and have a growing and wonderful relationship, protect your garden! Keep the weeds out and keep planting seeds of love! Ask God for grace to sustain you.
This weekend I'm reminded of God's faithfulness! I've been reading, very slowly, through the Bible for the past couple of months, taking my time to really understand each thing I'm reading. I've picked up on details that I've never noticed before, by reading this way.
I was reading in Exodus and I had so much to discuss with my husband. :) (Those who know me well, know that I always ask questions! I love to learn and I'm just curious!) He doesn't always know the answers either but it's fun to discuss it all with him! Here's an example of what God's been teaching me!
Back in Genesis, God tells Abraham that his descendants will be enslaved for 400 years!Can you imagine?
So...in Exodus, it happens. Abraham had so many relatives that it worried the Egyptians. They knew the Hebrews were more and mightier than they were! It just seems strange to me how they were overtaken by this other people group. And maybe the Hebrews didn't know this would happen. Maybe they did. Didn't they have some sort of history scroll? ha ha Or parchment or stone?(Can't remember what they used in those early days.) They must not have known this would happen or their mighty men would do something to stop it, right? The Egyptians took over and made them slaves. Is it really that easy to be in control of other people?? Well, the Hebrew people were living in Egypt. They weren't Egyptians, so I imagine they were just honored guests that turned into slaves conveniently for the Egyptians. Here they just live normal lives and then the next day (or days), their lives are totally changed, most likely to them it seemed it was for the worse. It says in Ex. 1:14 that the Egyptians "made their lives bitter with hard labor..."But to God, it was in His plans. He was notshocked! He knew that this day would happen, and He knew when the exact day was too!!
Does is seem similar to other times in history when large people groups were taken over or where there was much hopelessness? Jews, again during the holocaust were treated so badly. And as time gets closer to the return of Jesus, sadly, the world is not becoming a better place. It's getting harder and harder for many people! Basic morality is crumbling, life is not thought of as sacred, and families are being persuaded to exchange good for bad. There are fears for jobs, food, homes, and our health and the possibility of not even having any say in your own life and choices. How hopeless is all of that?!
Does God know about this day? Does God know that there are people suffering?
Of course He does! Is He is also calling us to live more simply, wisely and Godly? I think so. I can't imagine life without the hope of Jesus Christ though, I'll tell you that!! In our family right now, we're just pluggin' along but there have been difficult times in the past. God knew about each one of these and He has been SO faithful to take care of us. If you feel worried about things that may come about in your life, or that are already happening; whether it's a loss, pain, money, marriage or worry about your kids- Cry out to Jesus! And know that He knows!! You don't have to be alone, going through something hard. We really shouldn't even be worrying!
"There is hope for the helpless, rest for the weary, and love for the broken heart. There is grace and forgiveness, mercy and healing; He'll meet you wherever you are! Cry out to Jesus!" (Lyrics from Third Day's song: Cry out to Jesus).
I'd just like to encourage anyone who feels like life is too much for them to handle. Actually, I believe it would be if I didn't have the Lord. "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you shall be saved!" You will be! Not saved from heartache in this life, but saved from going through it alone. Forgiven for your own sin ...loved and given another chance. If you already know the Lord, read the Word! Open it up and see what God wants you to know!
In Ex.3:7-8 it says, "And the Lord said, "Surely I have seen the affliction of My people who are in Egypt, and have given heed to their cry because of their taskmasters, for I am aware of their sufferings. So I have come down to deliver them from the power of the Egyptians, and to bring the up from that land to a good and spacious land, to a land flowing with milk and honey..."
A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies. Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value. She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life. She selects wool and flax and works with eager hands. She is like the mercnat ships, bringing her food from afar. She gets up while it is still dark; she provides food for her family and portions for her servant girls. She considers a field and buys it; out of her earnings she plants a vineyard. She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks. She sees that her trading is profitable, and her lamp does not go out at night. In her hand she holds the distaff and grasps the spindle with her fingers. She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy. When it snows, she has no fear for her household; for all of them are clothed in scarlet. She makes coverings for her bed; she is clothed in fine linen and purple. Her husband is respected at the city gate, where he takes his seat among the elders of the land. She makes linen garments and sells them, and supplies the merchants with sashes. She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come. She speaks with wisdom and faithful instruction is on her tongue. She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her; many women do noble things, but you surpass them all. Charm is deceitful and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. Give her the reward she has earned, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate." ~Proverbs31 10-31 NAS