The mystery of marriage

Re: Verse reading–Ephesians 5:21-33 (day one) 

“This is a profound mystery–but I am talking about Christ and the church.”–v 32.

No.  The mystery of marriage is not how to get your husband to talk when he comes home from work.  It is not what to get your wife for anniversary.  The mystery of marriage is a secret truth ( something that none of us could have seen without the revelation of God) that marriage is shaped after an eternal reality–the love that Christ has for His church.  When God created marriage–one man, one woman together for life in mutual submission to each other–His purpose and plan was to hint at an eternal love story.  Only with this upward reference can marriage be what God intended.  Only as we understand HOLY matrimony is the Lord pleased to bless and protect.  Marriage was never about my happiness, never something that we were free to redefine for our own purpose.  Marriage points to Christ.

The ugly duckling

Re: Verse reading–1 Samuel 16:1-7; Psalm 139 (day seven)

“Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”–1 Samuel 16:7.

News flash!  Man looks at the outward appearance.  If you are tall, thin, strong, good teeth, good hair you have an immediate advantage.  Spirit gram!  God does not do it that way.  “Heart” in the Scripture refers to the inner man.  The center of the soul.  Mind, will and emotions.  What God looks for in a person is not how she looks, but rather what he thinks and desires and feels.  Sometimes even believers forget this truth.  We covet beautiful and talented people only to miss the powerful friendship of the Eternal One as He touches/teaches/chooses/uses people who are beautiful on the inside.  Remember the Hans Christian Andersen story?  One duckling is considered “ugly” because He was actually a swan.  Misjudged at first, admired eventually, what we are (and are becoming) in Christ is all that matters.

Lord Knows

Re: Verse reading–1 Samuel 16:1-7; Psalm 139 (day six)

“You knew me thoroughly, my bones were not hidden from you… Examine me and probe my thoughts! Test me and know my concerns.” Psalm 139:14-15,23

You cannot know, relate to, or love yourself as you ought apart from God. Period. It is not that you are not capable of knowing the ongoings of your heart and mind, it is just that only God can provide proper perspective; he offers you the right view. Left to ourselves we see a distorted picture, a Picasso of the human self. We emphasize some things, and diminish others. We exaggerate; we are dishonest with ourselves. And enamored with what we can see with our eyes, we accommodate the expectations of the world by trying so hard to look the part. We idolize the outside with no consideration for the whole.

David asked God to search him (God needs no invitation), to shed light on who he really was, to offer the right perspective. Are you doing the same? Do you know yourself? Or is the world your guide? Run to Him, consume His Word, take a deep breath of the divine perspective, and you will see Him, and then see yourself. You cannot know yourself without God; anything else is a shallow facade.

He Knows

Re: Verse reading–1 Samuel 16:1-7; Psalm 139 (day five)  v1.  “O Lord, You have searched me and known me.”

Saw a post on Facebook the other day that was very unsettling.  It was a reminder that a hidden tracking setting on my smart phone was recording where, when, and how frequently I spend every moment of my life.  Every move documented and even mapped.  How many people will immediately turn that off after reading this post?

Psalm 139 indicates that God knows those same things and even more about each and every one of us.  Not only in real time, but also from the beginning of time.  For some people, this seems very intrusive, frightening, and intimidating.  Many would look for a way to turn this setting off as well.  Yet, for the Psalmist this truth brings comfort and peace.  There is no threat in this observation, only shelter and refuge.  An understanding of God’s omniscience can bring real and honest dialogue and a willingness to trust.  Do our hearts willingly open and invite God to search and know everything about us?




In Relationship

Re: Verse reading–1 Samuel 16:1-7; Psalm 139 (day four)  If we have a relationship with someone, we have shared experience, we have inside knowledge of how they think or how they will behave.  Psalm 139 describes the intimate relationship we have we our Sovereign, Almighty God.  He knows our thoughts even before we think them…He is present before we arrive…He knows our heart, even when we are confused or misguided.  God is so intimately aware of everything about us because He is our Creator.  He has designed us to be in relationship with Him.  When God looked at David’s heart as a boy, He saw a heart after His own heart.  He could see David’s thoughts and actions before David ever considered them.  What does God see when He looks at our hearts?  Does He see faithfulness?  Does He see obedience?  Does He see reverence? Or does He see pride…selfishness…greed…hatred?  “Where can we hide from your Spirit?  Lead us in the everlasting way!”


Re: Verse reading–1 Samuel 16:1-7; Psalm 139 (day three)

“Do I not hate those who hate you, Lord?” The hardest type of leadership is self-leadership, experts conclude.  You don’t say.  “If only you, God, would slay the wicked!”  That comes easy enough.  Then, a sobering turn: If God is everywhere, he is surely privy to one’s innermost thoughts.  What if those innermost thoughts harbor malice, greed, dishonesty?  Has the psalmist just condemned himself?  He realizes the high probability that his own heart shares the same traits as the hearts of the people he has asked the Lord to annihilate.  Self-leadership demands a fierce moral inventory: God, search me, test me, see me, lead me.  We will never preach God’s forgiveness without the poison of arrogance until we have humbled ourselves enough to become the forgiven.

Bound to Freedom

Re: Verse reading–1 Samuel 16:1-7; Psalm 139 (day two)

“Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence?” Psalm 139:7

Have you ever heard someone speak about a relationship being smothering? Someone might lament that the relationship can be suffocating, and that they need space. So why is the text from Psalm 139 so comforting? Post-modern thought would not support the idea of a relationship that is so comprehensive, and yet the Christian finds great peace in knowing the Lord is already where they have ever thought about going. Consider the third verse to the beloved hymn Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing:

O to grace how great a debtor daily I’m constrained to be!                                                     Let Thy grace, Lord, like a fetter, bind my wand’ring heart to Thee:                                           Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it, prone to leave the God I love;                                                 Here’s my heart, Lord, take and seal it, seal it for Thy courts above.

The second half of the verse answers why such strong language is needed in the first half. Knowing that God is all around us helps us find freedom in yoking ourselves to his perfect will. Left alone we wander, bound to him we are sealed.

(Shameless Dad moment ahead)

A God that knows us, forms us, and knits us together is certainly worthy of our allegiance.


Voluntary vulnerability

Re: Verse reading–1 Samuel 16:1-7; Psalm 139 (day one, week two of a new summer series)

“Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”–1 Samuel 16:7.

It is a statement of fact.  Not a threat or a promise.  God looks at the heart.  He IS looking, this very moment.  “I am the Lord who searches the heart, who tests the inner depths to give to each person according to what he deserves.”Jeremiah 17:10“Able to discern the thoughts and the intentions of the heart.”Hebrews 4:13.  Does it give you the willies to think of it?  I hope not.  The infinitely holy One is also the infinitely merciful One.  David came to a place where He welcomed the searching eye of the trustworthy One.  He prayed, “Search me, O God, and know my heart.”Psalm 139:23.  He became voluntarily vulnerable.  If God already knows my deepest secrets, why shouldn’t I be open and honest with Him? Only good will come from it.


Re: Verse reading–Genesis 1:26-31; Romans 5:1-11 (day Six)
Jesus told the Samaritan woman, “God is seeking worshippers who worship in Spirit and truth.” (John 4:23) We are those worshippers, and not of our own making, but God’s. In Jesus’ death we have forgiveness of sin for all time, but in the resurrected life of Jesus we find our righteousness. In other words God required more than forgiveness for us to be at “peace” with Him; He required a righteousness that forgiveness alone could not provide (Romans 4:25). God transferred the infinite and beautiful righteousness of His resurrected Son onto us, those who by faith rest in the Son. So our slate was not only wiped clean from past and future sin, but our sin was replaced with the righteousness of God’s Son! That jaw-dropping transfer gives us “peace” with God, giving us the privilege to come to God as worshippers.
And by the way, this is no tenuous peace, but a true peace. It is not like King Saul, who changed his relationship with David on a dime. David never knew what Saul he would encounter. An angry Saul? Friendly? Ally? Enemy? Not so with God. The resurrected life of Jesus affords us true everlasting peace with God; we can “boldly approach the throne of grace!” (Hebrews 4:16) God made that happen; He sought after you and made a way!

Past and Present

Re: Verse reading–Genesis 1:26-31; Romans 5:1-11 (day five)

Romans 5:8  “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us”

Ever notice the 2 verb tenses in this verse?  Past (Christ died) and Present (God demonstrates).  Jesus’ death on the cross was a “once and for all” moment, yet God still uses it in the present as a reminder of His never-ending love.  We remember Christ’s death and are immediately filled with a flood of emotions (thankfulness, joy, sorrow).  It is the work of the Holy Spirit that constantly/presently points us to the death of Christ to prove and pour out the Love of God.  God’s past love (Christ’s death) can be understood as a present reality.  As believers we have the privilege each day to remember back and rejoice now in God’s Love.  When we do this, the result is a deep and daily Hope of the Glory of God.