Colossians 3:18-19
Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as it is fit in the Lord. Husbands, love [your] wives, and be not bitter against them.

The Road back to Love and Intimacy

Remember when your romance was as sweet as honey and the love of your life could do no wrong. You adored them, idolized them and wanted to spend every moment together. Many of us, looking back at those younger years, ask ourselves, “what happened to that first love?” We still may love each other, but many couples struggle with the “feelings of love” that are missing. The romance has died way down and now you may find that instead of really loving and cherishing that wonderful man or woman you are struggling to get along with them. The man may feel like the wife is always nagging him, he can never do enough or anything right, she doesn’t respect and honor him. The woman may feel like the husband has become an insensitive jerk that never communicates or works through the problems, he doesn’t meet her needs. Over the years and the cycles of good and bad times, we can accumulate a lot of baggage. If I ask you if you love your husband or your wife, you would quite likely reply, “will of course I do,” but neither one of you may be experiencing the love from one another that you feel and know should be there. We may say we hold no unforgiveness toward one another, but in reality both parties bear scars, wounds, unresolved conflicts and issues that linger in the subconscious ready to rear their ugly heads at the right moment, opportunity or provocation. We find that we fail to often treat each other with the love, dignity and respect that both parties are due in a marriage.
Fifty percent of our marriages fail due to these kind of issues, but how many more are struggling and hurting? We need to return to that place of intimacy and closeness that we once shared, but we can’t until we are able let down the walls we’ve built up and are willing to let go of all the offenses, hurts and bitterness that we carry.
When the Word says, “Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as it is fit in the Lord,” that submission might be just creating a safe place where your husband can share with you. It needs to be a place where you aren’t venting your anger, frustration, criticism and unhappiness, no matter how justified you may feel with those feelings. If you want your husband to communicate and be sensitive to your needs, you have to create an atmosphere of submission where you really want to see, feel and understand his heart. That can be a hard place for a man. He may not be in touch with his feelings the way you are, so be gentle and be patient and above all, be kind.
“Husbands, love your wives, and be not bitter against them.” Husbands can be very confrontational, critical and harsh, but many repress their feelings and emotions. They retreat into that shell of seeming insensitivity and non-communication. Many times it is a response of self-preservation. Often the harder the wife tries to break through that seeming insensitivity with harsh or critical words the more the husband withdrawals. If you want the turtle to stick his head out of the shell you have to stop beating on the shell and make him feel that when he sticks his head out it won’t get bit off. Husbands can hold a lot of things in their hearts that they may not even be fully aware of. Their means of retaliation may be more passive or subtle, but it may be coming from a bitterness that has built up in their hearts against their wives. They, on the other hand, need to really listen to the heart of their wives and make those needs their goals to fulfill. They need to make them feel secure in your love for them and remember them often in the little gifts, the things you do and say. Marriage is a teaching ground for unconditional love and service. It is where we should both be learning to lay down our lives for the other. Love is not always about feeling, but about commitment, covenant and a decision to love your spouse unconditionally even when they don’t derserve it.
Maybe we need to come together as a couple where we can agree that the love of Christ is going to rule and dictate our behavior and response to one another. We need to hold one another, not sexually, but intimately, while we confess our sins, our hurts and failures to one another. We need to truly commit to a willingness to really forgive and hear the other person’s heart. We need an uninterrupted time of reconciliation where we can write down and commit to one another some realistic goals where we will begin to address some of our deepest issues. Keep it simple and not more than we can realistically deal with at one time. Start with just three things each. Then let’s make a date for our next intimate time we can meet with the same right heart and attitude, in the love of Christ to see how we are doing. Again, we need to keep it safe and non-confrontational. This is a team project and we can’t succeed if we only have our own agenda and interest at heart. We can’t expect to mend and restore a broken down barn in a day or even a week, it will take time to restore, just as it took time to deteriorate. We can change the cycle and the direction of our marriages if we will both commit to it and stay with it. We will begin to see our true intimacy and love begin to come alive in our feelings and the way we treat one another. God wants to see our marriages strong and alive with His love. There is a lot of truth to the addage that ‘the family that prays together, stays together’. It is hard to be right with each other when we are not right with God. If we are committed to Christ, then we must also be committed to one another, for we are one flesh. Together let’s build the road back to true love and intimacy like we had in our first love.

Blessings,
#kent

God Breathed

April 2, 2015

2 Timothy 3:16-17
All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

God Breathed

Have you ever thought that as you read the scripture and meditate upon it that you are in effect inhaling what God has breathed? The Holy Spirit that was breathed to inspire the writers of His Word is now inhaled through these words to become the breath of His Spirit within you. We know that without our air we would cease to be. It is necessary to sustain our natural life. God’s Spirit is the air that our spirit man breathes. It is what sustains him and upholds him. Whatever is Spirit purposed and God anointed has been breathed upon by the breath of God.
Have you ever walked down a back alley behind restaurants where food has been thrown out and become putrefied and rotten? It creates an atmosphere where there is a horrible stench in the air. It is not some place that you care to remain, because it is repulsive to your sense of smell. This is the atmosphere and stench that is created by sin and ungodliness. It should be repulsive to our spiritual man. He delights in the atmosphere of worship, praise, the word of God and the fellowship of the saints. This is the air that the spirit man loves to breathe, because in it he smells the sweet incense of the presence of God. It is like breathing in oxygen. It regenerates and empowers that spirit man.
Deuteronomy 9:5 tells us why the Lord brought His people into Canaan to drive out the inhabitants. It was because it had become a stench. Their sin rose up to the nostrils of God and He abhorred the smell of their sinfulness and wickedness. It says, “Not for thy righteousness, or for the uprightness of thine heart, dost thou go to possess their land: but for the wickedness of these nations the LORD thy God doth drive them out from before thee, and that he may perform the word which the LORD sware unto thy fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.” It wasn’t because the people of Israel were so righteous or upright it was so that He might perform His Word which He had promised to their fathers Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. His Word would clear out the stench of sin and renew the atmosphere of His presence in this land of promise. It is His Word that clears the air of our soul. It teaches us, rebukes us, corrects us and trains us in His righteousness and His ways.
Perhaps a scripture that is so descriptive and exemplifies this principle of living and breathing in God’s Word is found in Deuteronomy 30 as Moses describes the blessings and curses of God. We choose the air that we breathe into our spirit man. As we conclude with this passage of scripture, be mindful of how it applies to our lives today and the choices that we make concerning the Word of God.
“When all these blessings and curses I have set before you come upon you and you take them to heart wherever the LORD your God disperses you among the nations, 2 and when you and your children return to the LORD your God and obey him with all your heart and with all your soul according to everything I command you today, 3 then the LORD your God will restore your fortunes and have compassion on you and gather you again from all the nations where he scattered you. 4 Even if you have been banished to the most distant land under the heavens, from there the LORD your God will gather you and bring you back. 5 He will bring you to the land that belonged to your fathers, and you will take possession of it. He will make you more prosperous and numerous than your fathers. 6 The LORD your God will circumcise your hearts and the hearts of your descendants, so that you may love him with all your heart and with all your soul, and live. 7 The LORD your God will put all these curses on your enemies who hate and persecute you. 8 You will again obey the LORD and follow all his commands I am giving you today. 9 Then the LORD your God will make you most prosperous in all the work of your hands and in the fruit of your womb, the young of your livestock and the crops of your land. The LORD will again delight in you and make you prosperous, just as he delighted in your fathers, 10 if you obey the LORD your God and keep his commands and decrees that are written in this Book of the Law and turn to the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul.
11 Now what I am commanding you today is not too difficult for you or beyond your reach. 12 It is not up in heaven, so that you have to ask, “Who will ascend into heaven to get it and proclaim it to us so we may obey it?” 13 Nor is it beyond the sea, so that you have to ask, “Who will cross the sea to get it and proclaim it to us so we may obey it?” 14 No, the word is very near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart so you may obey it.
15 See, I set before you today life and prosperity, death and destruction. 16 For I command you today to love the LORD your God, to walk in his ways, and to keep his commands, decrees and laws; then you will live and increase, and the LORD your God will bless you in the land you are entering to possess.
17 But if your heart turns away and you are not obedient, and if you are drawn away to bow down to other gods and worship them, 18 I declare to you this day that you will certainly be destroyed. You will not live long in the land you are crossing the Jordan to enter and possess.
19 This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the LORD your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the LORD is your life, and he will give you many years in the land he swore to give to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.” Deuteronomy 30

Blessings,
#kent

Matthew 5:14-16
“You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. 15Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.”

Do We Change the Atmosphere?

When light comes into a dark place it brings a change in the atmosphere. It brings illumination. Suddenly we see things more clearly than we did before. Suddenly we see a quality that contrasts with the darkness, but its qualities are so much higher and better. If that were not so we would sit in our dark houses at night rather than turn on the light.
Jesus says we are that light. We are the people that change the atmosphere of our world and our sphere of influence. We are often the only illumination of what people see and perceive to be God. How are we doing with that? Many in the world have looked upon the church and said, “If that is God, I’ll keep my darkness. They may talk different, but their lives are no different.” We, as the body of Christ, can only produce and bring forth what we ourselves are walking in and saturated with. Our lives have so often become shallow muddy wells rather than the artesian rivers of living water that flow from the throne. What we are producing in our atmosphere is a commentary to us on what is, or is not filling our lives. It is not about what we can produce of our own making or our own goodness, it is simply being in such a love relationship with Jesus that the abundance of that love and joy spills out on all who are around us. We want people that are around us to sense and know there is something different about us even before they speak to us. The world is hungry for the reality of Jesus not the facade of it. How sad that we, the people of God, are often God’s own worst enemies when it comes to being His ambassadors to this world. If we are ambassadors then we have to fully represent the values, culture and dynamics of the kingdom that we stand for.
It is sad that many of God’s people are living in defeat and discouragement. That is not God’s will or His best for you. Yes, you may be going through hard times. Even when King David, before he became king, was being pursued by King Saul to take his life, he found his joy in the Lord. In Psalm 103:1-6 David declares, “Praise the LORD, O my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name. 2 Praise the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits- 3 who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, 4 who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, 5 who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s. 6 The LORD works righteousness and justice for all the oppressed.” The secret that David learned was that no matter how dark it looked outside the Son was always shinning in heaven. It was the praise and acknowledgement of God’s goodness, even in the bleakest of times that brought back the joy and confidence of faith to David. He had to encourage his soul to bless the Lord with his spirit man. It wasn’t because he felt like it, but he knew that praise, worship, thanksgiving and the remembrance of God’s Word and promises are what would restore the oil of joy and bring the light of gladness.
Saturate yourself in the oil of the Holy Spirit. Become ignited with the love of God. Change the atmosphere around you by the power of His love and life in and through you. You are the light of the world because He is the light within you. Live out of light!

Blessings,
#kent

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