Friday, August 22, 2008

Freiday Devotional

One Year of Marriage

As many of you know, Amy and I celebrated our one year anniversary last week. It is hard to believe it's been one year already. My fellow friends that have recently been married kept telling me how fast the first year goes by. Guess what, they were not lying. This first year of marriage just flew by like a rocket to the moon.

Another comment made by several of my friends was that they have come to realize just how selfish they were before (and during) being married. I did not think much of these comments, as I considered myself to be pretty selfless. I was always willing to help a friend. And I really did not exert my opinion on too many things and just went with the flow. However, this truth has made itself know through the first year of marriage. I have come to realize just how selfish I am. I do not always want to walk the dog, take out the trash, unload the dishwasher, etc., especially if I'm doing homework, playing video games, or watching a favorite TV show. I want new books, videos, cds, and any other techy-gadget. But I must ask myself during those times, is this an attitude of love? Am I truly loving Amy by having this selfish attitude?

I am reminded of Ephesians 5:25 where Paul states, "Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her...." We husbands are to love our wives, which seems like a "no-brainer," but as you and I well know that is not always the easiest thing to do. Yet, Paul exhorts us to love our wives. He does not give any conditions when it is alright to not love. In fact, he does just the opposite and calls husbands to follow in the likeness of Christ. Christ loves His church as exemplified by His sacrifice on the cross. He gave His life so that those of us who are part of His church may have forgiveness of sins and eternal life. Our love is not based on selfishness, but on selflessness. Christ put the church before Himself. As husbands, we are called to do the same for our wives. Our love should be a sacrificial love. That is my prayer every night, that I would love Amy as Christ loves His church.

This sacrificial love has not been easy to learn. It does not come naturally to me, or to anyone. Yet, that is what Christ has called us to. And for the wives that may be reading this, do not think for a moment that you are exempt from this. For just a few verses later Paul writes, "and the wife must respect her husband" (v. 33). Note again, that Paul does not leave any wiggle room. Wives are to respect their husband to the same extent that husbands are to love their wives. Funny how that all circles 'round. are you treating your wife/husband? What can you do differently to show your love/respect? What should you do differently to show your love/respect? What, if anything, has taken the place of the love/respect for your wife/husband? How can you fix that?

May God's peace and love be upon you.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Friday, August 1, 2008

Freiday Devotional

So You've had a Bad Day

Earlier today I was reminded of a song by the O.C. Supertones entitled "Jury Duty." The song describes one bad day in the life of the singer as he has to be up early for jury duty; gets stuck in traffic; his car stalls out; and he forgets his sister's birthday. Definitely not a good day for him. Well, my day was not as bad, but I could have done without some of it. My car did not stall out, but I did leave the garage-opener in the car, which was of course in the garage. So, I got to work late. While at work, I stamped the wrong date on the due-date-cards. So, I had to go through and stamp them all over again. And to top things off, my foot is swelling and itchy from an ant bite that I received yesterday. As I told my manager at work, "This is Friday! Things like this should happen on Mondays."

I'm sure we can all commiserate about certain days that we'd like to forget, or perhaps even call "do-over!" But, that's not possible and we must continue through with the day we have been handed. The great king of Israel, David, had his fair share of bad days, too. Many of which he expressed in a psalm, such as Psalm 13:

How long, O LORD? Will You forget me forever? How long will You hide Your face from me?
How long shall I take counsel in my soul, Having sorrow in my heart all the day? How long will my enemy be exalted over me?
Consider and answer me, O LORD my God; Enlighten my eyes, or I will sleep the sleep of death,
And my enemy will say, "I have overcome him," And my adversaries will rejoice when I am shaken.
But I have trusted in Your lovingkindness; My heart shall rejoice in Your salvation.
I will sing to the LORD, Because He has dealt bountifully with me.

As one can tell by the words of this Psalm, David was in much distress. He felt that God had forgotten him or was intentionally hiding from him. Because he was not hearing from God, he had to resort to looking inside himself, to his own reason. This, he felt was inadequate. He pleads with God to answer his cries or he will be depressed to the point of death. If that wasn't enough torture, David's enemies were taunting him. If God did not answer, David thought his enemies would be victorious over him. This victory would put David to shame, and in David's mind, God as well.

However bleek it looked for David, he managed to find comfort and solace in remembering God's loyal love. He remembered the past times when God had vindicated him from his enemies. He remembered the saving grace of God's hand. And because of this, he was able to sing praises to the Lord.

How do you handle the tough times in life? Do you moan and gripe to others? Or do you sing praises to the Lord? What troubling issues are you dealing with that you just need to lay before the throne of God? What good things has God done for you recently? What has He done for you in the past? What good things can you focus on during the bad day?

When we have troublesome days, we should focus on the good in life. For God is loving and gracious, and we often quickly forget this when things don't go our way. At those times it may seem like God is far off, but could it be that we are far off from God? Instead of shaking our fists at Him, maybe we should try reaching for Him. For as James 4:8 declares: "Draw near to God and He will draw near to you."

The refrain in the song "Jury Duty" goes on to say: "You know I haven’t had the best of days, but I want to stop and thank you anyway." And with that in mind, may we give thanks for each day that God blesses us with.

PS: In case you were wondering how I got to work today, my lovely and extremely gracious wife left work for a brief moment to come home and open the garage for me. I thank God for her!