When I Almost Brought My Idol To My Worship

This morning, like nearly every morning, I excitedly poured myself a cup of coffee before hurrying to the couch to get my time in the Word before the start of the day. I looked to the right of my coffee maker to find a little, glistening, plastic box of leftover chocolate chip scones from yesterday's playgroup. I have this rebellious spirit when it comes to "treats". My mind fills with thoughts paralleled to a teenage girl sneaking out her bedroom window. As I reached for one little scone, telling myself that one was the sensible choice, I quickly countered that thought with a more pleasing one:

"Shoot. These two are attached to one another. I could separate them, but let's be real--I'm coming back for a second anyways."

As I left the kitchen and headed for my daily seat with the Lord, He whispered to me, "well, would you look at those little idols your bringing with you to your worship."

Dang it.

My story with food is a long one, but it's also not long at all.

I'm a disordered eater.

The pendulum swings really far with me when it comes to food, so the drawing of my attention to my little accompaniment this morning was nothing short of grace-filled mercy and a reminder of reverence. 

Daughter, you can come to Me with those two little scones and I will love you and speak My truth to you; but I want to ask you one question... to what degree do you revere Me? Enough to choose what I've told you is best for you?

Paul's words rang in my ears and I sat in disbelief of what I was actually about to do. I was about to sit at the feet of my Savior with one (of many) of the things that keeps me from the liberated life He gave me. 

"I can hear some of you saying, "For me, all things are permitted." But face the facts: all things are not beneficial. So you say, "For me, all things are permitted." Here's my response: I will not allow anything to control me." -1 Corinthians 6:12 | the Voice

I can't eat wheat. Or dairy. Or corn.

Will it kill me if I do? No. (Do these words linger in my mind each and every time I face a bakery case filled with delicacies or am given the option of Mexican for dinner? Yes.)

Will it benefit me if I do? No. (Do these words keep me from listening to the rebellious girl inside who just wants to jump out her bedroom window? Rarely.)

Except for today.

In light of Paul's words I'm faced with this question: How many times have I brought my idols with me to my worship?

Maybe it's the idol of comparison, or the idol of perfectionism. How many times have I snuck a quick peek at Instagram during Sunday's sermon or made sure my outfit was on point before heading out to a church event. 

Gotta impress. Gotta feed the monster.

But what if I just went to worship and decided that the idols needed to stay at the door? What if there were an "idol detector" at the door of my worship, blaring at the detection of anything that stood in defense of complete reverence for God?

It's crazy the things you'll notice when God decides you're ready to.

Forgiveness, Jesus. You are far sweeter and tastier than any scone and the sound of your whisper satisfies me deeper than today's treats ever could have. Thanks for saving me from something less-than. Oh, and also, not today, satan.

Their 40-Year Love

Processed with VSCOcam with b1 preset Last Sunday my parents celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary. I had the privilege of helping my mom put together a photo video collage thing for my dad as a gift, to reminisce over all that the past 40 years has blessed them with. As I scanned and scanned and scanned, I felt a stirring in my heart--the last 40 years of their marriage has been made up of a lot of the same kind of days, conversations and feelings that my 5 year marriage has been made up of.

I was brought to last weeks argument with T, or the seasons we've spent apart due to the military.

I was reminded of the adventures we captured on camera in our courtship days and the way he makes me laugh like no one else.

All of this is how it is with my parents, too. They have days where nothing seems to fall into place. Where one says something hurtful to the other. Where life and all it's demands seems to take a major toll on the romance in their marriage. They have days where they laugh till it hurts. Where they feel full and happy. Where they can't wait for the other to come home just so they can simply give them a kiss. There are two consistent factors in a marriage like theirs, regardless of what kind of "day" (or season) it is, and I believe they are the following:

they always show up for one another.

and

they would never choose anyone else.

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When you're young and in love you just expect those feelings to always be there. When someone bursts your bubble and tells you that it won't always be easy, you tell yourself, "yeah, but that's not us. We're solid." Unfortunately, and I can say this because I had that exact sentence run through my head a number of times in the past, the truth is that it is impossible to avoid pain and hurt when putting two broken and sinful people together in the most intimate of relationships. Real depth of love is not found in the early days where little work has been done, but after years and years of digging deep into commitment. Remember when you stand on the surf at the beach, and with each wave that crashes your feet sink a little deeper into the sand? To me it seems sort of like that. You stay put, let the waves hit, and feel yourself growing more and more solid in your footing. And before you know it, you are immovable by the waves because you're far deeper than you were at the start.

My parents were the ones "destined to fail." And on March 22nd they rang in year 40.

Their story, along with so many others, is the kind of story that newly married (or not-so-newly married) should lean into and take note. To remember that you don't just say "i do" on day one, but every single day that you have breath.

He's being a little too selfish for your taste... "I do."

She's being controlling and a bit overbearing... "I do."

We get to live our lives one time, which means we get to live our love one time. So we must choose to love with abandon. And by that I mean choosing to show up for your spouse, day in and day out. Work through the hard stuff together. Celebrate the blessings together. And always, always remember that its choosing your love, one day at a time, that builds a beautiful and lasting legacy.

I can't think of a better way to live.

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Thanks, mom and dad, for leaving us such a beautiful legacy. I'm so thankful for you.

laura b

Swapping Trolls For Truth

My heart has been heavy these days. There has been several little troll-like thieves rummaging through my heart and mind, taking the Truth and leaving in it's place little poisonous mines for me to trip, setting off bombs that seem to take me longer to recover from than I'd like to admit.

Troll #1: Comparison.

Troll #2: Doubt.

Troll #3: Defeatism.

If you were a kid in the late 80's/early 90's than you may have had one (or many like me) of these:

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So cute, right? The little gemstone belly buttons, I mean, come on. That combined with their matching mood-lifting florescent hair is almost enough to make you forget that they are trolls. Weird looking, and really actually creepy, trolls.

Most of the time, as I'm living in little "t" truths, these are the guys managing my mind and heart like a factory. Producing the best of lies so that I might continue my life under the cloak of despair, only living in a sliver of the freedom and redemption that He paid for on Calvary. Because they are cute I don't fight with abandon to get rid of them. But I know they are there and shouldn't be. I know that Truth is being replaced and so I begin to seek it out; to find what has been lost. There's awareness that something is not right.

After piecing together thoughts, Truths and the whispers and booms of the Holy Spirit, it all begins to make sense. Truth, like BIG "T" TRUTH, floods my mind and I immediately feel like this:

 

 (If you watch Sherlock **If you're not you should** then this makes a whole lot of sense to you)

All the clippings, the Truth's, the sightings of reality and original design, coming into alignment. And the trolls are out of the job. They are seen for what they really are. Trolls. Trolls that don't actually have gemstone belly buttons or magical hair. As a matter of fact, their hair is probably the second grossest thing about them.

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Days and revelations like this are why it is so important for us to have fellowship, discipline and, most importantly, regular time with Jesus. Unless we keep pinning up Truths on the walls of our hearts and minds, those trolls will keep working hard at replacing them with lies. And it's so crucial that we have others that we invite in to pin truths up for us when we can't lift our heads to find see them ourselves.

Mediate. Find a passage or two and med-i-tate. Mull. Chew. Sit with it and feel, smell and taste all that it is.

Want to know what I'm chewing on today?

May He keep us centered and devoted to Him, following the life path He has cleared. -1 Kings 8:58

and

You have made known to me the paths of life; You will fill me with joy in Your presence. -Acts 2:28

We always want to know what we can do or take to make our life what we want it to be. Just a quick fix, please, Lord. But today, let's slow down, fire the trolls, and meditate on His Truth. Let's begin to build a fortified wall around these sacred places in us. Brick by brick. Truth by Truth.

Remember, again, that the "today" in this journey is just as important as the "one day".

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Day 40: 40 Days of Praise

Really, that's what we've been doing these past 40 days... Praising. One of the (many) definitions of praise is, "the offering of grateful homage in words or song as an act of worship." Our words have been worship to His ears. Today, Caitlin and I really just want to offer Him praise for ALL that He has done, is doing, and will do. I know we all have stories of His gracious handiwork in our lives through this journey, and tonight we just want to share a few of them with you. So as you read of all He has been doing, let your heart rest in His goodness and give Him praise.

[If you read my blog you know I'm all about anonymity and initials so that's what we are sticking to with these]

"Over the past 40 days of praying for my husband I have experienced great blessing in my own heart as well as in my marriage. Through Laura and Caitlin's posts and beautiful prayers and also through my own time with the Lord, God has shown me different areas to be praying for my husband and specific areas of his life to become more in tune with. My husband and I have had growth in our marriage and our communication which as a result has strengthened and deepened our bond." -K "I'm so glad God put the 40 days of prayer in my path. With a husband that is often gone with work I am always seeking ways to pray over him and his safety. What a blessing it was to dedicate 40 days to just that. While praying, a sense of calm was given to me. I was able to give my worries and concerns for my husband over to my Heavenly Father who knows how to love and protect him so much better than I can. I thank Jesus for using these ladies to speak His truth in my prayer life for my beloved. Prayer is powerful, praying for my husband is a joy, thank you Father for the reminder." -L "I am praising God so much in the area of the man I am married to. It started before the 40 day journey... it started 9 years ago when we got married and I started praying more fervently for him. I've prayed for specific things that I have just seen answered recently - the last few months. NINE years of prayer. It would have been so easy to just stop, give up, and say "to heck with it, Lord! There's no fruit!" And I did get discouraged, many times. But I was reminded over and over by the Lord and women like you, that God IS faithful and He is in the business of answering prayers and changing hearts. I FULLY praise Him for all the work He has done in my husband's heart in the last 3 years! -D "I feel as if my husband and I have grown closer. I talked with him last night, asking him if he felt different since I had been praying for him, and he said he feels better at seeing my emotional needs. We struggled with a lot of spiritual warfare during this journey but I know it's because God was working good in us. My hubs even stepped out last night and decided to make a permanent time every night for us to pray together. Praise God for His work in our hearts!" -Caitlin For me, God has been doing the muscle work of digging these roots down deep into the earth. He moved some mountains after I did this last year, and I feel very much that this journey was all about the roots. I've seen a wisdom and a maturity in my husband that I've not seen before. But it's a maturity of steadfastness. His heart is becoming more and more steadfast in his God. His faith is becoming his own. I have shared emotions with him that I would've been insecure to show before now, allowing him the ability to see the rawness of my heart for my God. While being apart makes communication all the more difficult, we've really done all that we can to share what really matters in our hearts, and a lot of the time that is simply Jesus.

The most exciting thing to me about this day is that it is like that last second that your toes are touching the diving board before you spring off into the sky and fly exhilaratingly into the blue below. This is the springboard--just the beginning. Because the reality is, He has always been working for, seeking out and loving on our husbands and us. He has now gotten our attention and removed the scales from our eyes so we can see how He really works.

So wives, joyously leap off that diving board tonight! Lay your head on your pillow KNOWING that YOUR GOD IS NOT FINISHED! Oh praise Him!

Image-1 (18) "For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wastelands." Isaiah 43:19

Peace and joy to all of your sweet, loving hearts tonight. We have been so blessed going through this journey with you. Until next year.

-Laura and Caitlin

*Remember, these prayers will always be available to you. If you ever feel like you would like to repeat this journey PLEASE don't hesitate! Just obey!*

Day 39: Proclaiming His Faithfulness

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As we wrap up our journey tomorrow I can't help this insatiable need to praise His faithfulness. Whether He has already begun it, or has simply been putting the final touches on a big move, He has been moving and has been faithful these past 39 days. What's so magnificent about our God is that He works far beyond the confines of committed prayer journeys or bible studies or retreat weekends. He's always moving, proving His faithfulness. Things like this are merely an opportunity for us to open our eyes and our hearts to the True God we serve and love.

So let's pray Psalm 146 today, and with all of our hearts proclaim His faithfulness and goodness to us and to our husbands. He's doing a greater work in us and in them than we could ever begin to dream up on our own, and we praise Him for that!

-Laura

 

Hallelujah!

Oh my soul praises You God! All my life long I will praise You, singing songs to You as long as I live. Lord, I will not put my life into the hands of "experts" who know nothing of True life; salvation life. Mere humans don't have what it takes; when they die their projects die with them. Instead, God of Jacob, I get help from You! I put my hope in You and because of that I know real blessing! God, You made the sky and the soil, the sea and all the fish in it. You always do what You say You will. You defend the wronged. You feed the hungry. You free the prisoners. You give sight to the blind and lift up the fallen. God, You love good people and protect strangers. You take the side of the orphans and widows and you make short the work of the wicked. God, You are in charge-- ALWAYS! My God, the God of Zion, is God for good! 

Hallelujah!

(Prayer adapted by me from the Message version of Psalm 146)

Day 38: Humbled Before the King

20140323-211500.jpg "Young men, in the same way be submissive to those who are older. All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because 'God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.' Humble yourselves, therefore, under God's mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares you."

-1 Peter 5:5-7

For awhile now, I've been praying that my husband could find someone to guide him. I know that we are very capable of doing this life thing on our own--of connecting with God, of being saved, and walking the walk. But you know, it's so much better when there is someone who has gone before you and can mentor you in your walk.

But I also know, it's extremely hard to humble ourselves and say yes, I would like advice/help/guidance.

Or at least I find that hard in my walk, so I can only imagine my strong, masculine husband struggling with seeking someone to show him the way.

But God says that when we humble ourselves before Him. When we cast all our anxiety on Him, he will offer us grace and lift us up. I know very well that my husband is capable of many things, and part of the reason I love him is because he dabbles in hobbies, he works hard for our family, he chases his passions, and he loves his God with his whole heart. But I also know that he is human, and his flesh is weak, and his heart is deceitful. Just like me.

And so tonight wives, my prayer is this: That my husband would humble himself before the Lord being willing to accept guidance of those who have gone before him. That not only would he a strong, Christian, masculine mentor enter his life, but that my husband would throw away his pride and humbly accept him. For I know then that God will lift him up in his walk and help him to live that full life.

-Caitlin

Lord above,

I come before you tonight a humble servant--a sinner broken but redeemed by your grace. Father, I cannot thank you enough for this journey you have brought me on. This journey of prayer, of love, of dedication, of joy, of Christ, and of change. You are working wonders in our everyday, and I thank you so much for hearing these prayers. Tonight, God, I come before you once again lifting up my husband. As he walks beside You, I pray for guidance. That you Lord, would not only speak to his heart, but that you would bring someone older, and wiser into his life to offer advice on his journey. So many times I feel he makes decisions on his own and wrestles with what you are calling him towards and tonight I pray that you would help him in those moments. Speak to his heart Lord during his time spent with you, as well as through the council of others. I pray that my husband would also learn to humble himself before you Lord, that he may willing accept this council and throw away his pride. That his humble spirit would be pleasing to you and lead him down a path of righteousness. Lord, may his humility seep out of his spirit in his days so that as he grows older, you would be willing to use him to council others. May he be receptive to what and how you are speaking to him so that his life may be well and full in you. Thank you so much, Father, for his spirit. May it be humble and grace filled as you change him. In your most Holy name I pray, Amen

Day 37: Silence

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We live in a terribly loud world. Radios quietly on in the background, televisions playing in the corner, children talking/yelling/crying/singing... and that's just the audible noise. The "noise" constantly produced by our minds can be deafening at times. Maybe this is why we like to have some static in the background... something to drown out what's really driving us crazy-- our own thoughts.

Here's the thing though; God never intended for us to be in a constant state of noise. While we've been given the gift of music and voice and all of these other things that produce sound we cannot forget the beautiful gift of silence. When we are silent, truly quieting the audible and inaudible in our lives, we can enjoy His presence.

Guys, this is not easy. As I am learning through training this is something that must be practiced, but it's worth all of the effort. I have to believe that, each and every second (literally, second by second) that I have to reel my thoughts in and quiet them in the name of Jesus, that  is one step forward in my journey towards quiet.

"But the Lord is in His holy temple; let all the earth be silent before Him." Habbakuk 2:20

By the victorious death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, we are now His temple. He is IN His holy temple, and we must take time to be silent before Him.

Our husbands have busy lives; working, providing, loving, caring, delighting, fighting... the actions never end, just as ours don't either. But let's ask God to provide them with a space of silence. A place where they can quiet their hearts, even for a moment, to remember that He is in His temple-- in them. Whatever noise may come, whether from sugar-spiked children or the weight of worry, they might be able to draw close to the Father in His temple and enjoy the gift of silence. There is so much waiting for them there.

-Laura

Jesus,

You taught us how to withdraw from the noise; from the crowds and the demands of life. You showed us this often. Thank you for making this a very clear matter of importance in our relationship with you. As you knew you needed to be with your Father, you had to turn from the noise to truly do so. Help myself and my husband to recognize when the radio needs to be turned off. Or when we need to choose some quiet with you over the numbing of the television. Give us the strength to believe that what you can provide in those moments can and will fill us more than any noisy distraction could. Grow us both in the ability to recognize and cherish silence before you for the gift that it really is. Give us grace each and every time we have to bring our busy minds back to quiet, and remind us that there is  nothing but grace there-- no expectation or disappointment--only love. Thank you, Jesus, for giving something as simple as silence so much value! Help us to grow and challenge each other in this practice of being present.

In your most Holy name,

Amen.

Day 35: A Prayer Of Protection

Image-1 (14) In the book of Joshua, we find Joshua bringing the Israelites together once more to renew their covenant. Joshua tells them to choose, once and for all, who they will worship; the God of the universe, the gods of their fathers or the gods of the Amorites. And here is the verse we are all so familiar with: "But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord." (Joshua 24:15)

What I would like to point out is the following verse, one that might not get as much fanfare but brings to light the state of the hearts of the Israelites-- they were not always as aloof as we sometimes might remember them to be.

"Then the people answered, 'Far be it from us to forsake the Lord to serve other gods! It was the Lord our God himself who brought us and our fathers up out of Egypt, from that land of slavery, and performed those great signs before our eyes. He protected us on our entire journey and among all the nations through which we traveled." (vs. 16-17)

Even before Jesus came and brought with Him the new covenant, God actively protected those he loved from the dangers of this world. His protection did not first come with the anointing of the Holy Spirit from Christ's death and resurrection. In John 17 we see Jesus praying for protection over the followers God gave Him during His time on earth. Jesus protected them while He was here, and is now calling upon God to protect them once He has gone. So again, even in the new covenant we see our Mighty God actively protecting those He loves. In verse 13 Jesus clarifies why He is saying the things He's saying... "so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them." He said it that they might hear and believe that the God of the universe will protect them, because His very Son asked Him to.

Today, I pray a prayer of joy and thanksgiving that my Father loves my husband so much that He will never leave him unprotected. That no matter where he may be-- at home under "my protecting arms" (yeah right!) or far from my reach or influence-- God is before him, with him and behind him, keeping him safe and within His merciful and gracious will for his life.

Just think: as desperately as we strive to keep our husbands in our arms, safe, healthy and happy, God desires all the more to see those things manifest in their lives. He just has a different way of achieving that end goal. We must relinquish our desire for control and let God protect and care for his precious sons, knowing full well that He has promised to protect them and keep them safe in His arms.

Our God does not break His promises, dear daughters. Believe Him.

-Laura

Mighty God,

You are the God who has protected Your people for countless years, and You are not about to change now. Thank You for knowing us- our need for reassurance. For knowing that there would be many, many times that we would need to cling to Your promise of protection in the scary times in life. Thank You for not leaving us to fend for ourselves in this dark world, but for supernaturally interceding on our behalf in times when our security in You is threatened. We are never far from You, and the blessing from that is boundless. It continues to pour over our entire lives, each and every day, allowing us to live freely and without fear or worry. God, I lay my husband and his safety and security down. I unclench my fingers and willingly hand it over to You because I know that You love him more. You are even more interested in seeing his life be glorifying to You and so I choose to stop trying to influence it and drive it in the ways I believe are best. God, as he faces dangers in this world, physically and spiritually, I believe that You have already gone before him, allowing what is necessary to glorify You and grow him, and keeping him from anything that will harm him and the purpose You have called him to. God, thank You for loving him so. My soul is blessed and at peace knowing that there is Someone who loves him even more than I. You are Lord over all, and there is nothing that brings You fear. We find such peace in Your presence today.

In Your name, Jesus.

Amen.

Day 34: A Tender Heart

20140319-210649.jpg"Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves." -Philippians 2:1-3

I don't know about you, wives, but my heart rejoices knowing that my husband delights in me. Our story is long and winded, but it's full of God's grace and divine appointments. This year we will celebrate our fourth year of marriage, and in the last few weeks we have stepped out in leading a marriage Bible study where we've had the great joy of mentoring a few newlywed couples.

Oh how God is using our story! The last couple of sessions we have been learning about how a wife feels loved and how her husband can energize her spirit. One of the sticking points for me has been how much I (and we as women) need tenderness.

I know for many facts that my heart itself is a tender thing. When I married my husband, I gave it to him for safe keeping and care. And in these last few years he has done a wonderful job of speaking to me and loving me in the ways I need. But I also know, that he is the one who can hurt me the most without ever meaning too.

I'm not confessing anything here or speaking bad about him as he is wonderful and I love him beyond words--but as we've been learning in our group we are different when it comes to this marriage thing. It's the obvious difference I'm talking about--he is a man and I am a woman--and in God's beautiful entity of marriage we (man and woman) are loved and love differently. In his manhood and in his act of being my husband, the way he reacts to things or even says them in his different way can hurt my heart terribly because I hear them differently.

For that reason, there is much to be done. See, as wives, we are loved with love. But as husbands, they are loved with respect. And in fact, God commands us to this type of love in Ephesians 5:33 So again I say, each man must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband. In that beautiful symbol of marriage, we as Christ bride's respect our husband and Christ, the husband, loves his wife, the church. That husband then, being like-minded in Christ, finds tenderness and compassion to make the joy of his wife complete.

Men are not tender creatures--not naturally anyway--and in the way God has designed them, they are not built to be nurturing, tender creatures. Yet, as God commands them to love their wives, they are to become like-minded in Christ which means taking on tenderness in order to show love.

I don't know about you, but those tender moments my husband expresses either through words or actions, simply melt my heart and propel me through my days. They encourage me to respect him more and show him love in the way he feels it. And when I am loved and I respect him, we go round and round in a energizing circle, encouraging each other in this beautiful thing called marriage.

I could undoubtedly type up our whole Bible study here but I won't. Instead, I challenge you to read Love and Respect by Emerson Eggerich and perhaps join a study on it if you have the chance. And tonight as we pray for our husbands to keep delighting in us, let's offer up a prayer for tenderness as it doesn't come easy for them--but it's something that undoubtedly brings joy to our marriage.

-Caitlin

Heavenly Father,

Tonight I simply continue to offer up thanksgiving for my husband and this journey of marriage you have called us on. Our story has been written by you and in these moments, both good and bad, you are here. You have given us the chance to delight in each other, and to walk alongside each other when the world drags us down. Lord, you have created us so differently, yet so perfectly that the way we fit together speaks only of you. As we learn  how to love one another as each new day passes, may we follow your commands. I ask that you would help me in respecting my husband, in showing him love in the way he needs, and in understanding that though he is different than me he isn't wrong. Help me to offer up forgiveness for those moments that pull at my heart and understand that his love for me does not waiver, but that in fact he is simply loving me in the way he knows how. In that I lift him up to you Father. I ask that you would instill tenderness in his heart for the moments I need it most. Help him to be like-minded with you, showing tenderness and compassion to me in my moments of weakness and brokenness and need for love. Help him to speak to me and to love me with a tender heart, and help me to be patient with him as he learns this way of loving. There are so many things in life that do not come easy to any of us, but Lord you offer to show us how. I pray that he would seek you for guidance as a husband and listen to the whispers of advice you offer him. Teach him to be tender towards me--and teach me to notice.

I ask in your most holy name,

Amen

 

Day 33:To Delight In His Wife

Image-1 (11) "May your fountain be blessed and may you rejoice in the wife of your youth. A loving doe, a graceful deer-- may her breasts satisfy you always, may you ever be captivated by her love." -Proverbs 5:18-19

This topic has been on my heart for awhile now. Life happens, and consequently both man and wife will grow and change from the person they were on that wedding day. In our marriage, I praise God that we have grown and changed. While I adored him then, I love him, respect him, and cherish him more today.

Sometimes life is not so kind, and it will bring with it distractions. My prayer today is that his eyes would be delighted and his heart enriched by the wife sitting before him. That he would be reminded of my charms that won him over in the beginning and be able to see that I am still that young woman who swoons at his love. I would like to simply share a bit of a commentary on this passage and leave you to explore this prayer more on your own with your specific marriage in mind.

Blessings to you, beauties.

-Laura

"Let him that is married take delight in his wife, and let him be very fond of her, not only because she is the wife that he himself has chosen and he ought to be pleased with his own choice, but because she is the wife that God in His providence appointed for him and he ought much more to be pleased with the divine appointment, pleased with her because she is his own. "Let thy fountain be blessed"; think thyself very happy in her, look upon her as a blessed wife, let her have thy blessing, pray daily for her, and then rejoice with her... Mutual delight is the bond of mutual fidelity." - Matthew Henry Commentary On Proverbs 5 (emphasis mine)

Gracious God,

Thank you for choosing the two of us to be together. I love us together. Sometimes it's hard, and requires more effort; other times it is simply divine. Thank you for being in both of those moments, and every one in between. You have a great purpose for this union and I truly believe one of those is to be able to truly delight in one another each and every day that we are together... Even on the not-so-good days. As I lift him up to you and strive to be the wife you ask me to be, I pray that he would see nothing but you in me. I pray, Lord, that his eyes would look upon me with the same love they did the day we promised our love to you and each other. Draw us to one another, more and more, that no distraction of this world would be worth severing the love that we share. Thank you for completing our love , and for always working to show me more of who you are through the man you've partnered me with. He's a blessing to my heart and I promise to be committed to him forever. I vow to love and serve you always by loving and serving him. Create a desire in his heart to do the same.

Jesus, in your Name,

Amen.

Day 28: The Goodness of His Word

Image-1 (9) "With my whole heart I have sought You, inquiring for and of You and yearning for You; Oh , let me not wander or step aside [either in ignorance or willfully] from Your commandments... I will meditate on Your precepts and have respect to Your ways [the paths of life marked out by Your law.] I will delight myself in Your statutes; I will not forget Your word."  -Psalm 119:10,15-16 AMP

I can safely say that as I have brought myself to God's Word, laid my selfish heart and bustling mind before the Lord, and let the words ruminate and change me from the inside, I have experienced an intimacy that I've not found anywhere else. That's the thing about God's Word -- it's the only book that will physically, emotionally and spiritually change you through and through. The thing is, it's not magic. It's not a quick fix, like we westerners like so much. That's the draw of so many books these days. How to get a better husband, how to overcome past hurts, how to find intimacy with the Savior... well, I've got news for you- the answer to everyone one of those things begins in your heart and are found in God's word.

I think this passage in the Amplified version is so beautiful. There's an eagerness there, like a child who delights so purely and unashamedly in the words of their parent. In verse 16, the word "delight" means to blind oneself or to smear eyes shut. Think about a time when your husband might have said to you such loving words that your face flushed and you placed your hands over your eyes because you just couldn't even believe they could be true. You delighted so much in hearing of the adoration he had for you that you had to close your eyes to take it in, even for just a split second. To this day, when T tells me how beautiful he thinks I am, I cannot help but to squeeze my eyes shut to take it in and delight in the reality that it's true. This is how the psalmist delighted in God's word. How cool of a picture is that?

My prayer for my husband and yours today is that they would grow to deeply love the Word of God. There is no fulfillment in anyone else's words but His. May they develop in them a ravenous hunger for His Word and an ability to chew it over and let it seep into the deepest parts of their souls. That the greatest delight in their life would be spending time getting to know Him through His Word.

May you yourselves develop a ravenous hunger for His truth too, dear wives.

-Laura

Father,

Your words are beautiful. Never will there ever be words as life-giving as yours. With them you have presented all of your children the opportunity to delight in how loved they are. It is the loveliest of love letters, the most cherished of laws and the glorious life-changing message of salvation. God, there is such an opportunity to fall deeply in love with you found in those words and today I ask that my husband would see that and grab hold of  it. Lord, continue your relentless pursuit of his heart and allow him to know that love by knowing your word. Show him how to slowly chew it over, allowing his soul to taste every bit of it and to digest it into every fiber of his being that he would be strengthened by it. Allow that strength to prepare him to bring your word out into the world, continuing to build that solid foundation in him. And in the quiet moments when he may feel you are distant, allow that truth to speak loudly, reminding him of how deeply and truly you love him. Breath your life into him, every day, as he carries himself and his sins and burdens to the foot of the cross, and show him the delight he can have in your truth, because you delight in him. Father, we will never be able to thank you enough for the gift you have given us in your word, but forever we will try. We just love you so much, and are so thankful for everything that you are and have done for us. We offer our lives, our marriage and our family to you, Lord. Please Father, be glorified in them all.

For Your name, Jesus.

Amen.

Day 26: He Will Heal And Make Whole

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"'I will bring health and healing to it; I will heal my people and will let them enjoy abundant peace and security,' declares the Lord." Jeremiah 33:6

We have been given the above verse in our Holy Yoga Training to meditate on and bring with us to our mats this week. As it has been ruminating in me these past few days, I've felt a tug to bring it with me in my prayers for my husband.

It's of no coincidence, as our God is crazy Sovereign, that Caitlin's prayer yesterday was that we would be sensitive to the suffering's of their hearts. God, in His sovereignty and mercy, will not leave us without necessary hardship in our lives, and we are not in want of examples of this in scripture. This passage in Jeremiah takes places when God has done some sifting. He has shaken things up because of the people's sinful actions and hearts. They were far from Him and He needed to take action to remind them of who He is and the reality that they must die to these sinful behaviors and serve Him only. He does this to me too. He does this to my husband, and your husband and you. He sifts out the bad in us, in an effort to bring us back to Him, and this is never an enjoyable experience.

Today, I'd like to offer up a prayer of praise for the promise that He has given; that He will heal his heart and mine. That He will bring health and wholeness to our lives. As the Message translation says, He is "going to show them life whole, life brimming with blessings." He is "working a true healing inside and out." Friends, we are never promised that our lives will be without hardship- until the day we see our Savior face to face we will always struggle with the realities of this fallen world, as well as the refining of our Father. But I believe, with every fiber of my being, that there is a way to still experience wholeness, peace, and joy in these things. If we allow Him, He will do a mighty work, inside and out, allowing us to live a restored life. So whatever the hurts of his heart may be-whatever the wounds in his heart may speak- may he know that his God has promised to do a mighty work there, to bring healing and the promise of a life brimming with blessings.

-Laura

Beautiful Father,

Man, what an image you have given us in this- a life brimming with blessings. Jesus, your sacrifice alone should be blessing enough to carry us through this life in sacrifice to you, but you have chosen to give us even more. Thank you for being an active Father, one who takes so much interest in not only our outside actions but our deepest insides too. Lord, you know his deepest insides. You know where he hurts. Holy Spirit, I ask you today to whisper to those areas a promise of hope and healing. Lord, in the quiet of his day, softly remind him that you are there, doing a good work, that will carry him through these days of mountaintops and valleys. I ask that the healing you bring him would be unbreakable- a true healing that would not just patch up but would fill up and make new these hurts of his heart and mind. That they would be impenetrable to the enemy, who would so love to add them to his tiresome playbook of schemes. God, you have given him victory, and so today I thank you that he has such a beautiful opportunity to bask in your healing love and move forward in grace. Begin in him the journey towards wholeness in you, and show me where I can be a blessing and a support to him in it. Use me, Lord, in whatever way you can to carry him when he may feel unable to travel this road on his own. And in all of it continue to remind him to yoke himself, and all of the burdens that come with him, to you, for your yoke is easy and your burden is light. 

Thank you for loving him so much. For your Name I pray.

Amen.

Day 22: For The Bad Days

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"I spread out my hands to you; my soul thirsts for you like a parched land. Answer me quickly, O Lord; my spirit fails. Do not hide your face from me or I will be like those who go down to the pit. Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul. Rescue me from my enemies, O Lord, for I hide myself in you. Teach me to do your will, for you are my God; may your good Spirit lead me on level ground." Psalm 143:6-10

Today T had a bad day "at work" (Seeing as he is deployed, he never really leaves work). If your husband, like mine, has a stressful work environment, sometimes it's hard to remember a time when his work day wasn't crappy. But maybe your husband loves his job, making the bad days all the worse because they rarely happen so they cut a little deeper. Either way, none of us are without our bad days, and people who contribute to the problem... or sometimes are the problem. So today, let's offer up a simple prayer for the bad days. A prayer that they would find refreshment in the morning with the coming of His word and Truth. That they, regardless of any other party involved, will have the strength of the Spirit to go forward on level ground.

He is still God and He is still good even in the bad days.

-Laura

Gracious God,

Thank you for being a God that listens and moves... who works in our favor and for your glory.I lift him up to you knowing that circumstances and people have challenged him and his footing. But Lord, you are faithful. Spirit lead him forward on level ground. Show him how to find rest in you, even in the intense moments. Take his hand and lead him out of himself and into your Truth. I pray Lord that you would rescue him from those who desire to tear him down. There will always be those people... the ones who just long to cause trouble. Lord, you are the One who lifts up his soul, and so I pray that in the midst of "trouble makers" he would know the strength of the Spirit in him to rise above it and choose your way instead. Refresh his heart in your truth as today ends, preparing him for your new mercies tomorrow. God, you are still God in the bad days, and we know that even in these we are growing closer and more intimately with you. Thank you for loving us that much.

In your name, Jesus, I pray.

Amen.

Day 21: Hope in Him

20140306-191018.jpg "What am I doing in the meantime, Lord? Hoping, that's what I'm doing--hoping You'll save me from a rebel life, save me from the contempt of dunces. I'll say no more, I'll shut my mouth, since you, Lord, are behind all this. But I can't take it much longer. When you put us through the fire to purge us from our sin, our dearest idols go up in smoke. Are we also nothing but smoke? Ah, GOD, listen to my prayer, my cry--open your ears. Don't be callous; just look at these tears of mine. I'm a stranger here. I don't know my way--a migrant like my whole family. Give me a break, cut me some slack before it's too late and I'm out of here."

-Psalm 39:7-13, MSG

I don't know about you friends, but I am often drawn to David's cries. Living in this fallen world brings me to my knees, and the Psalms are always a comfort. I understand I am not alone.  I understand there is hope.

I want tonight to be short and sweet, wives. Short in my words and sweet in HIM.

I want us to continue to pray for our husband's hearts, for their minds, and for their souls. May we pray protection over their lives and strength to fight this world. But above all, may we pray for hope--that they will place it in the Lord as they dwell in Him.

-Caitlin

Hear my prayer, O LORD, tonight. Listen to my cry for help. Be not deaf to my weeping. As I come before you tonight, Father, I lift up my husband; I place him in Your hands. Lord, I ask for hope tonight. That as we pray for good, and strength, wellness, and wisdom and we pray away the sins, I want him to take hold of hope and only put it in You. Whatever he is struggling with tonight, whatever he is rejoicing in--hear his heart's cry as You heard David. Keep him together with Your love and truth; don't hold back in your passion. Intervene, Lord, in my husband's life. Move and breathe and speak so that he will hear you. You are our help and our deliverer, O my God, do not delay. We praise You God, and give thanks to You for You are good. Your love endures forever. In your glorious name,

Amen

Prayer adapted from the Psalms

Day 17: The God Of All Comfort

Image-1 (3) "All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort. He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us." 2 Corinthians 1:3-4

Sometimes, being a woman is just plain dumb. Well, the emotional side of being a woman, anyways. I can't help but think that, on my very worst day, T might think the same thing. The emotions of women are dumb sometimes. When I think back to some of my worst days (ahem, the nightmarish months following the birth of our sweet boy) I praise God for showing T how to comfort me through the ways that he himself has been comforted.

Tonight, as I myself wrap up a stellar day of emotional highs and lows, let's pray for our men to have sensitive spirits to our ever-changing emotions. That they would have patience, and know when to speak and when to just listen. And above all of that, to know that this too shall pass. And may we have the sensitivity to show them comfort when it is needed and how it is needed.

Happy Sabbath, dear women. Enjoy some chocolate today in honor of yours truly.

-Laura

Oh Father God,

Your patience is boundless. I can't wrap my mind around it for I have nothing in me that is even worthy of comparison. I am so grateful to you for always showing up to comfort both my husband and myself in our weakest of moments. The doubly beautiful thing about it is that it has allowed us to learn how to then comfort others. Your storehouse never runs dry, you are always there to show us more compassion, more comfort, more patience, more love... allowing us to work beyond ourselves and show those things to others. I pray specifically for that in our marriage today. Please give us both a sensitive heart towards the other. A willingness to put our needs aside for a moment, when the other really just needs a hug. Give each of us the ability to see that those moments where comfort is needed are of much greater value than any task or distraction calling our names. These working-life-out-together moments are what this marriage and this God-glorifying life are all about. Please don't let us forget that. It is when we are able to accept one another in our weakness and show the love that is needed that we give you such glory, which will in turn radiate to those in our lives who will witness our marriage... our relationship... the support that has been foundational because of you. And Lord, even if I'm being irrational in my momentary hormonal hurricane, give him the patience to wait the storm out alongside me, offering your words of kindness and truth that can sometimes stay locked in his heart. Grow and stretch our communication Lord, and open our eyes to see the fruit of it. Thank you for the beautiful, complicated and ever-changing love that we share. May it bring you glory, Lord Jesus.

In your mighty name,

Amen.

Day 15: Relinquish To The Relentless

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8 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. 9 “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. 10 As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, 11 so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire     and achieve the purpose for which I sent it. 12 You will go out in joy     and be led forth in peace; the mountains and hills will burst into song before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands. 13 Instead of the thornbush will grow the juniper, and instead of briers the myrtle will grow. This will be for the Lord’s renown, for an everlasting sign, that will endure forever.” - Isaiah 55: 8-13

God is God. Period. His will will be accomplished regardless of any of our resistance, timidity or reserve. But how much more of a ride could it be if we were to just relinquish to the One who is unyielding? If we let Him have His way with us? As Isaiah 55 states, His word will not return to him empty. It will accomplish what He desires.

Today, can we pray that our husbands would truly understand what's waiting on the other side of their resistance?The Message paraphrases verse 13 in this: "All the trees of the forest will join the procession, exuberant with applause. No more thistles, but giant sequoias, no more thornbushes, but stately pines..." Choosing to believe that what He has could be and is better than what we have chosen for ourselves will produce a different, more bountiful harvest of joy. Like comparing a thistle to a sequoia- who in their right mind would choose the thistle when there's a sequoia waiting for them?

He is chasing after that man today. He wants his heart, and He will not relent until His plan has been fulfilled. May they see, as vulnerable as it might be, that He will not back down because He loves them that much. He knows what He wants to do in them and through them for His glory and purpose.

May you see that today too, dear sisters. He's after you.

-Laura

Mighty God,

You are my strong tower. There is never a moment where you do not know where I am. Even in my weakest of moments when I want to hide my face from you, I find comfort in knowing your love is relentless even then. Father, you love this man. You unabashedly and adamantly love him. You have his heart and in the end, you will have your way with him. But Lord, I pray that he wouldn't wait until the end, but would rise up and choose to answer your calling. That his life wouldn't be a series of Jonah moment's but of moments where he feebly and boldly stands up and goes forward, knowing full well just who the God is that has called him. That, like young David, his knowledge of your might would leave no room for fear of man. God, while your love is tender and merciful it is also absolutely powerful and absolutely strong. Show him that, Lord. Maybe even for the first time, show him the mighty force that is your love, and that it will never back down, no matter how hard he protests. Show him the joyful procession that awaits him, if he would only choose to join in. Your name is praised today, Lord God! May the reality of your love wash over both of us like the wind and rain of a hurricane.

In your holy name I pray.

Amen

If you'd like a great sound track for your day today check out "Relentless" by Hillsong United found here.

Day 14: Time Well Spent

20140227-155401.jpg"Then he taught me, and he said to me,“Take hold of my words with all your heart; keep my commands, and you will live."

-Proverbs 4:4

I believe God has laid a theme on our hearts this week as we lift up our husbands. I was so encouraged by Laura's words yesterday and the scripture she shared that I found myself meditating on them. I woke up this morning with a thought on my mind that stems back to Proverbs chapter 4.

We are diligently praying for our husband's hearts and souls, but I feel it important to pray for their own responsibility during this time too. I do not mean this in a harsh way or that it's up to them to change. In fact, I strongly believe in the power of prayer and that what we as wives are doing during this 40 days is God-ordained, obedient, and one of the truest forms of love we can show our husbands. But as we journey through scripture, I feel this whisper to pray for my husband to immerse himself in God's holy word.

My husband attends a Bible college and will be a minister someday. It's nothing new to him to immerse himself in the study of scripture. But over the last couple of years, a constant comment I hear from him is a worry about God's word becoming just another text for him to study. He analyzes it, breaks it apart, and writes papers about it. But does he simply meditate on it for the pure wisdom and truth it offers?

I know in my own life, having been an English major, there are bouts where I do not want to read anything because I'm so burned out on analyzing. And I openly admit I am not very good when it comes to immersing myself in the word or setting aside time to just read my Bible. But if we are to live this life of holiness--if we are to pray for our husband's to receive wisdom, to walk in him, and to live full and well, then I believe they must root themselves in the word.

God tells us in this chapter (Proverbs 4) to take hold of His word and keep His commands. What follows, for me, is breathtaking: Then you will live. 

To think that one book offers so much truth, wisdom, beauty, grace, peace, life, and freedom  if we only make time to read those words and let God speak to us.

As we pray today wives, I encourage us to lift up our husbands so that they are not only seeking God and desiring to have a heart for Him, but making time to meditate on His precious word, keeping his commands at heart, so they can live.

-Caitlin

Author of our lives,

We come before you today knowing you hold the key to our life. You are our Creator, our Father, our Savior, and You offer so much to us we do not deserve. As this week has brought us closer to You, and as you lead us on this journey of loving our husbands, may we all seek life eternal in You. Your request is simple, really, in that You ask us to let go of this life and be found in You, for only then will we really live. God, we have asked for wisdom and vigilance, for a life lived well and full, for a worthy heart, and a walk of holiness for our husbands. I ask that you would honor our prayers and begin to move in his heart. God, take my husband and mold him into that Godly man you have created him to be. Today, I specifically ask that you would whisper to his heart the importance of setting aside time for You. Convict him, Father, to desperately want to seek your Truth. To set aside time to spend in your word so that You guide his life. May your word, Lord, root itself in his heart. I pray he would take hold of Your commands so that his walk is directed by You. Father, life here is precious but nothing compared to the eternal home You have for us in Glory. Prepare the way for him through Your words Lord. May he treasure them and meditate on them day and night so that his life reflects nothing but You. You promise us the chance to live in you and may we all take that to heart. Help us to desire time in your Truth, God, so that we can begin to live in a peace and a holiness only You offer. Amen

 

 

 

Day 13: A Higher And Deeper Calling

Image-1 (1) "My son, pay attention to what I say; listen closely to my words. Do not let them out of your sight, keep them within your heart; for they are life to those who find them and health to a man's whole body. Above all else, guard your heart for it is the wellspring of life." Proverbs 4:20-23

I'm feeling a bit amped  and I believe it has to do with one or all of the following: the medium light roast with white chocolate I just drank (mmmm), the excitement and spiritual whirling in my heart about Holy Yoga Instructor Training beginning tomorrow (eeeeeeeek!) OR  the Spirit  flipping the switch to all kinds of light bulbs in my head over the passage on my heart today. Whatever is causing it, I ask for your patience and grace as I share... this girl has got some major excitement happening on this side of the screen.

On the subject of what our lives look like and who we live them for there's one thing that comes to mind, specifically with husbands, and men in general, in mind. Something that irritates me beyond belief are the stereotype actions, responses and attitudes that men buy into in our society.

Don't show too much emotion.

Make a joke at someone else's expense to look tougher.

Keep your thoughts, musings and whispers of your heart to yourself.

In a conflict with your wife? Just don't say anything at all. She's just going off and being a woman.

I realize that men are different than women. The "whispers of the heart" is a bit of a stretch, but I for one will say that the moments when T has shared his heart with me are ones that I keep very close. I go back to them often because I believe that is a major facet of the intimacy that God designed in marriage.

I read Proverbs 4 today and if T were here with me, you better believe I'd be preaching from the mountaintops to him on the whole chapter. Wisdom, wisdom, WISDOM! I won't make you read the entire chapter if you don't have time, but I do encourage it. If you can read it in the amplified version, please do.

Verses 14-16 say, "Do not set foot on the path of the wicked or walk in the way of evil men. Avoid it, do not travel on it; turn from it and go your way. For they cannot sleep until they do evil, they are robbed of slumber till they make someone fall." The amplified version says, in verse 16, that they cannot sleep until they have caused trouble or vexation. That word means, "the act of annoying, irritating or vexing." Men are so vexing towards one another! I can't help but wonder if this can leave them fearful of stepping out, taking the right path in each moment they are presented the opportunity, and walking away from people who push them into the stereotypical "man" corners.

So today, can we pray for our men's hearts? That they would take and guard wisdom in their hearts with vigilance? Because I know I've seen my man get backed into that corner far too many times, choosing to fall into the stereotype rather than standing up in wisdom and knowing the value that it has for him in this life.

Be blessed today, beautiful daughters.

-Laura

Lord,

Your wisdom is more valuable than the most precious of jewels, which is why the thought of choosing the labels of this world seems so foolish in comparison. I desperately pray your words of Proverbs 4 over him today. Lord, there are men all around him that buy into the lies and the labels... who can't seem to rest until they have caused unrest in his heart and the hearts of others around him. Please, Father, ignite in him the revelation of the value of your wisdom. Allow him insight into the beautiful reality that you have given him another road, a higher road, that he can travel in each and every instance where someone desires to tear him down. Lord, you have given him the tools, so show him how to guard his heart with vigilance and to step out in bravery. It is in these moments that he can actively choose to live out his life in a worthy manner, honoring you with his speech and his actions. Moment by moment, Spirit, remind him that he has been called higher and deeper than cutting words and "manly" power trips. He has been called to kindness, where more power is found than in any snarky retort ever muttered by the lips of the ensnared. Release in him the freedom that can be felt in acknowledging this truth. God you are so good! May we always remember how much more worth is found in you than any of the emptiness this world has to offer us!

For your glory God!

Amen

If you desire to, here is Chapter 4. Let me know if you feel amped after you let the Spirit settle it in your heart, because I know I sure did.

Proverbs 4 (NIV)

Listen, my sons, to a father’s instruction; pay attention and gain understanding. 2 I give you sound learning, so do not forsake my teaching. 3 For I too was a son to my father, still tender, and cherished by my mother. 4 Then he taught me, and he said to me, “Take hold of my words with all your heart; keep my commands, and you will live. 5 Get wisdom, get understanding; do not forget my words or turn away from them. 6 Do not forsake wisdom, and she will protect you; love her, and she will watch over you. 7 The beginning of wisdom is this: Get[a] wisdom. Though it cost all you have,[b] get understanding. 8 Cherish her, and she will exalt you; embrace her, and she will honor you. 9 She will give you a garland to grace your head and present you with a glorious crown.”

10 Listen, my son, accept what I say, and the years of your life will be many. 11 I instruct you in the way of wisdom and lead you along straight paths. 12 When you walk, your steps will not be hampered; when you run, you will not stumble. 13 Hold on to instruction, do not let it go; guard it well, for it is your life. 14 Do not set foot on the path of the wicked or walk in the way of evildoers. 15 Avoid it, do not travel on it; turn from it and go on your way. 16 For they cannot rest until they do evil; they are robbed of sleep till they make someone stumble. 17 They eat the bread of wickedness and drink the wine of violence.

18 The path of the righteous is like the morning sun, shining ever brighter till the full light of day. 19 But the way of the wicked is like deep darkness; they do not know what makes them stumble.

20 My son, pay attention to what I say; turn your ear to my words. 21 Do not let them out of your sight, keep them within your heart; 22 for they are life to those who find them and health to one’s whole body. 23 Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. 24 Keep your mouth free of perversity; keep corrupt talk far from your lips. 25 Let your eyes look straight ahead; fix your gaze directly before you. 26 Give careful thought to the[c] paths for your feet and be steadfast in all your ways. 27 Do not turn to the right or the left; keep your foot from evil.

And in the Amplified to really just hit it home:

Hear, my sons, the instruction of a father, and pay attention in order to gain and to know intelligent discernment, comprehension, and interpretation [of spiritual matters].

2 For I give you good doctrine [what is to be received]; do not forsake my teaching.

3 When I [Solomon] was a son with my father [David], tender and the only son in the sight of my mother [Bathsheba],

4 He taught me and said to me, Let your heart hold fast my words; keep my commandments and live.

5 Get skillful and godly Wisdom, get understanding (discernment, comprehension, and interpretation); do not forget and do not turn back from the words of my mouth.

6 Forsake not [Wisdom], and she will keep, defend, and protect you; love her, and she will guard you.

7 The beginning of Wisdom is: get Wisdom (skillful and godly Wisdom)! [For skillful and godly Wisdom is the principal thing.] And with all you have gotten, get understanding (discernment, comprehension, and interpretation).

8 Prize Wisdom highly and exalt her, and she will exalt and promote you; she will bring you to honor when you embrace her.

9 She shall give to your head a wreath of gracefulness; a crown of beauty and glory will she deliver to you.

10 Hear, O my son, and receive my sayings, and the years of your life shall be many.

11 I have taught you in the way of skillful and godly Wisdom [which is comprehensive insight into the ways and purposes of God]; I have led you in paths of uprightness.

12 When you walk, your steps shall not be hampered [your path will be clear and open]; and when you run, you shall not stumble.

13 Take firm hold of instruction, do not let go; guard her, for she is your life.

14 Enter not into the path of the wicked, and go not in the way of evil men.

15 Avoid it, do not go on it; turn from it and pass on.

16 For they cannot sleep unless they have caused trouble or vexation; their sleep is taken away unless they have caused someone to fall.

17 For they eat the bread of wickedness and drink the wine of violence.

18 But the path of the [uncompromisingly] just and righteous is like the light of dawn, that shines more and more (brighter and clearer) until [it reaches its full strength and glory in] the perfect day [to be prepared].

19 The way of the wicked is like deep darkness; they do not know over what they stumble.

20 My son, attend to my words; consent and submit to my sayings.

21 Let them not depart from your sight; keep them in the center of your heart.

22 For they are life to those who find them, healing and health to all their flesh.

23 Keep and guard your heart with all vigilance and above all that you guard, for out of it flow the springs of life.

24 Put away from you false and dishonest speech, and willful and contrary talk put far from you.

25 Let your eyes look right on [with fixed purpose], and let your gaze be straight before you.

26 Consider well the path of your feet, and let all your ways be established and ordered aright.

27 Turn not aside to the right hand or to the left; remove your foot from evil.

Day 12: A Worthy Heart

20140225-173135.jpg "So no matter what your task is, work hard. Always do your best as the Lord’s servant, not as man’s." -Colossians 3:23, The Voice

Laura's post yesterday spoke to me so much so that as I have been immersed in the classroom today in lesson plans and grading, and my husband spent his own time on the opposite side of a classroom, learning, I have found myself meditating on how we can be living a life worthy of His calling.

I believe it starts with understanding we are not slaves to man. All that matters to God is that we are living a life worthy of Him--serving Him as our true Master and working from our heart every moment of every day.

For that reason, I want to piggyback on yesterday's post and ask us all to simply mediate on the God-breathed word: "Servants, do what you’re told by your earthly masters. And don’t just do the minimum that will get you by. Do your best. Work from the heart for your real Master, for God, confident that you’ll get paid in full when you come into your inheritance. Keep in mind always that the ultimate Master you’re serving is Christ. The sullen servant who does shoddy work will be held responsible. Being a follower of Jesus doesn’t cover up bad work." -Colossians 3:23, The Messsage

May you feel encouraged by Christ today in all that you do! -Caitlin

Lord,

As we strive to live a life worthy of You, I simply ask that we would earnestly seek you. I lift up my husband today in a simple prayer: that whatever he does Lord--wherever You call him--he would work at it with all his heart to please You and not man. I know that part of his deepest need is to be respected. I ask that he would feel that at home and at work, but in a way that honors You. Instead of seeking a power trip at work or school or home--may he seek Your honor God. May his heart be pulled towards a life worthy of Your calling so that his heart is completely won over to do your work. Help my husband today and in the days to come to see that he is not a slave to man, but instead serves You and You alone. I pray that his heart would honor you in all that he does, speaks, and feels. Capture his heart for you Lord, so that his life can be full and well in You. In your Son's most holy name,

Amen.

Day 11: What Your Life Looks Like

Image-1 "As a prisoner of the Lord, I urge you: Walk as Jesus walked. Live a life that is worthy of the calling he has graciously extended to you." Ephesians 4:1-The Voice

A reality about life and God that I will never understand is that not all will spend eternity in glory with the Lord. There are so many aspects of this that I could get into and begin to ask questions about but that would get me way off the topic at hand... the one on my heart. The fact of the matter is, as we have discussed earlier in this journey, God orchestrated quite a lot to get each of us to this place where we love and worship Him. The clincher is that the degree of which we worship is completely dependent upon us. How much of ourselves that we give to the Lord is our choice, as Caitlin showed us yesterday. But regardless of what and how much we choose to worship the God of the universe, one fact still remains: we have been called. He has anointed us. He has anointed him.  He has placed a seal on my husband, that he may be set apart in this world to do His good work. If your husband is not yet saved, he has still been chosen in that God has placed you very purposefully in his life... To be his help-mate; to show him Jesus. So whether his journey with the Lord has already begun or has yet to, God is at work and desires for all of our lives to be set apart. The way his life, my life, and your life, look to the outsider is each of our own decisions. God will not do the worshiping for us. If he only desired to worship Himself He wouldn't have needed to create us in the first place.

So today, as you pray over him and over yourself, keep this passage in your mind and on your heart: "In the light of all this, here's what I want you to do. While I'm locked up here, a prisoner for the Master, I want you to get out there and walk - better yet, run! - on the road God called you to travel. I don't want any of you sitting around on your hands. I don't want anyone strolling off, down some path that goes nowhere. And mark that you do this with humility and discipline - not in fits and starts, but steadily, pouring yourselves out for each other in acts of love, alert at noticing differences and quick at mending fences." Ephesians 4:1-3 The Message

-Laura

Father,

We both need you so desperately, whether we choose to recognize that or not. Lord I will never understand why you choose some and not others but I am humbled that you have chosen me and that you have chosen my husband. Lord, let our lives be a worthy sacrifice to you. Father, show him when his life is beginning to go down the path that leads nowhere; when it's beginning to look just like everyone else's. Lord, while I thank you for the tools you've given us in our western Christianity, I pray that his faith, and mine as well, would not depend on jumping from one bible study or small group to another, but that it would be a steady pouring out of ourselves to you. Lord, show him how to display the truth of your character through the way he works out his faith in this life. Spirit, nudge him in the moments when you know a difference in attitude or a little extenstion of grace could reveal your heart through his actions or words. And most of all, Father, deeply implant in his heart and mind the magnitude of the calling you have placed on him. That he is not just another face in a sea of believers but that you have set him apart, and because of that his life aught to look different. As I pray this Lord, I confess the ways that I have not been living in a worthy manner too. Please right me where I am wrong, take my hand and show me how. You are worthy, Jesus, and it's in your name I pray these things. Amen.