There are all sorts of big and small ways to show love to your spouse. One of the easiest, but powerful ways to demonstrate this is to talk about them positively in public. This one reason I am so grateful for Angela. She has to live with my sinful tendencies, my human weaknesses, and my annoying quirks. There is a lot of material from which she could easily draw when talking with her girlfriends or other friends. And yet Angela has always talked well about me in public. It’s a small thing, but it’s a big thing to me. If she has a problem with me, she tells me. But never does she send a message through passive-aggressive shots delivered while in public. I appreciate and love her for that and I try very hard to return the favor.
I’m amazed at how often I hear good, faithful Christian couples undermine each other in public. I hear wives degrade their husband’s character and worth, sometimes in the church parking lot. I cringe every time I hear this because in my mind I can see the strength and confidence of the husband shrink. I also hear husbands rail on their wives in a sort of “can you believe what my wife just did?” kind of manner that tells me how much they really value the wive God has given them.
Angela and I are far from perfect. We have many flaws. But I’m grateful we’ve made this small commitment to each other. It’s hard for two people to walk together in mutual love if one or the other feels degraded. It’s crippling to the kind of long-lasting marital love that reflects the love Christ has for His Church.
In fact, I would bet there is more value to not saying negative things about a spouse than the kind of over-the-top flattery we sometimes display in order to have others commend us. If my wife never said I was “the best husband alive” on Facebook, but committed to not criticizing me in public, I’d be a happy man. And I”m guessing she’d say the same about me. Not tearing her down in public is better than a thousand “smoking hot wife” references on Twitter.
The reason this matters, I think, is because we often reveal our true selves when we’re trying to posture ourselves in front of other people, in a crowd. We reveal our true motivations. And for the other person to observe us sort of using them as fodder for a well-timed quip or cutting remark–this hurts more than we might realize.
So maybe my advice today is pretty simple: speak well of the one you are committed to love. You’ll be surprised how well this cements your bond of love.
I know this is a little long for a blog post but I strongly encourage you to take the few extra minutes to read it. I promise you it will be worth it for it speaks of the “love of Christ which surpasses knowledge” (Eph. 3:19).
Octavius Winslow’s – “The Emotion of Love in Christ.”
The mind has often been sensible of a feeling
Like the eternity of God, we cannot fathom
There is no other solution to the marvellous
Love originated all, explains all, illustrates all.
Love is the interpreter of every Divine mystery.
There is not a circumstance of our Lord’s history
Such is the deep, the vast, the boundless ocean
Nothing short of a divine love could or would have
Who was willing, who was able, to bear that heavy
Oh, think, beloved reader, what the love
Such is the love of Christ!
To have saved us upon such terms…
Was it ever equaled? Where shall we find its parallel?
Love less divine, less strong, less gentle, could
The love of Christ will be the wonder, the study, and
Beloved, nothing shall take the love of Christ from you,
The love of Christ has depths we cannot sound,
Seek to know this love of Christ, though it is so vast
Do not limit your heart experience of Christ’s love, for
As yet, how many of us stand but upon the shore
Bring your heart with….
That infinite sea will flow over all, erase all,
The Lord direct your heart into the love of God!
Christ’s love touching your hard heart, will dissolve it!
Christ’s love touching your cold heart, will warm it!
Christ’s love touching your sinful heart, will purify it!
Christ’s love touching your sorrowful heart, will soothe it!
Christ’s love touching your wandering heart, will draw it back to Himself.
Only bring your heart to Christ’s love!
Believe that He loves you, and just as love begets
"Blessed Jesus! Your love, like Your agonies, is an
"May you experience the love of Christ, though it is so
“Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.” – Romans 5:3-4
Suffering is an undeniable part of being human. Our natural response is at best to survive it and at worst to complain and develop angry and bitter hearts. However as Christians who have been justified through faith in Jesus Christ we not only rejoice in the hope of the glory of God when with glorified bodies we will dwell in the unveiled majesty and splendor of God but we can also rejoice in our sufferings. This is not natural but supernatural grace in which all Christians live and move and have their being. If you have 12 minutes please watch this video below. It is the story of Matthew and Sarah Harms experience of learning to trust God’s goodness and faithfulness through a DEEPLY painful loss. I warn you in advance, you will need a box of tissues, at first to grieve with them but by the end to wipe away tears of hope and joy in God who truly is faithful. Please watch and be encouraged at the hope, grace and strength which God supernaturally provides to all who are trusting his son, the risen Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
Lest I forget Gethsemane;
Lest I forget Thine agony;
Lest I forget Thy love for me,
Lead me to Calvary
– Jennie Evelyn Hussey
“For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.” 1 Corinthians 2:2
Ahaz is a wicked king.
He begins his reign at an early age, being only 20 years old (v. 2).
He reigns for 16 years.
16 years of sheer wickedness.
Listen to how he is described:
- “And he did not do what was right in the eyes of the Lord his God, as his father David had done” (v. 2)
- “He walked in the way of the kings of Israel” (v. 3)
- “He even burned his son as an offering, according to the despicable practices of the nations whom the LORD drove out before the people of Israel” (v. 3)
- This is disturbing. If Ahaz shares in those abominations, will he not share in their judgment?
- “He sacrificed and made offering on the high places and on the hills and under every green tree” (v. 4)
- Notice the third person singular pronoun “He.”
This leads to what is perhaps most alarming about Ahaz – there is no mention of the Davidic covenant. In fact, it has been quite some time since we have read of the Davidic promise in regards to Judah.
Recall Abijah in 1 Kings 15 with me.
Here is another wicked king but there we are told, “Nevertheless, for David’s sake the Lord his God gave him a lamp in Jerusalem by raising up a son to succeed him and by making Jerusalem strong” (v. 4).
Recall Jehoram in 2 kings 8.
He was wicked but we read “Nevertheless, for the sake of his servant David, the Lord was not willing to destroy Judah. He had promised to maintain a lamp for David and his descendents forever” (v. 19).
For Ahaz, instead of being reminded of the Lord’s promise to David we are reminded of the Lord’s driving out of the nations before the Israelites.
Things do not bode well for Judah.
There is a great gathering of darkness in Judah.
At this point we are tempted to wag our heads and put on our “angry, scornful, self-righteous” eyes and glare at Ahaz in disbelief.
Thomas Watson, a Puritan minister of many years ago had this to say:
Take every word as spoken to yourselves. When the word thunders against sin, think thus: ‘God means my sins;’ when it presseth any duty, ‘God intends me in this.’ Many put off Scripture from themselves, as if it only concerned those who lived in the time when it was written; but if you intend to profit by the word, bring it home to yourselves: a medicine will do no good, unless it be applied.
When you read of Ahaz and his sinfulness remember the sovereign God’s description of you:
“As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, 2 in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. 3 All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath” Ephesians 2:1-3
The same evil heart that is in Ahaz is in you.
Given the right circumstances, you are just as capable of doing what Ahaz did.
If you fail to realize that then great is your pride.
When you read of how sinful Ahaz was, remember the words of Paul, “But by the grace of God I am what I am…” (1 Corinthians 15:10).
There is a great darkness gathering in Judah. There is a great darkness gathering in your heart “But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved” (Ephesians 2:4-5).
Did you hear how wicked Ahaz is?
Did you hear how wicked Andrew Manwarren is?
Did you hear how wicked you are?
“We are more wicked than we ever feared yet more loved than we ever hoped.”
Below is a link to “thelopezblog.” It is an invitation to “laugh, cry, and smile” with the Lopez’s and will mostly consist of “stories, reviews, and snapshots of what a day looks like with six children ages 4 and under.” Of interest is their recent adoption of not one baby, but triplets!
Great thoughts here from Jeff over at his anti-itch meditation blog:
The number of friends you have does not show you how loving you are.
It seems we forget that. We define love our way and then use our own measurement tool to determine how loving we are. We look at our results, the number of people who like us, and we draw conclusions as to how loving we are.
If I have more friends than you then, obviously, I am more loving than you are. And if you have more friends than me, well, I better try to love a little harder then, eh?
But love does not always keep friends. “Woe to you, when all people speak well of you” (Luke 6:26). Being accepted by everyone is not a sign of good things.
The proper application is not to go out and be a jerk, however. The proper application goes like this:
Love is honest and brutal, it works out of truth. When you live and share the truth with people it doesn’t always go well. People hate the truth and they’ll hate you for representing truth.
Don’t consider it a strange thing if people hate you, they hated your Savior too. If you are one of the Savior’s kids, there’s no way everyone will like you. No way.
They killed Jesus and He was love personified; never forget that. Love is not friendliness at all costs. Love is the ability to act out of truth because you have a love for the souls of those around you.
I can remember as a child my mom or dad quite often saying to me, “Look at me when I am talking to you!” Now as a father, I find myself repeating this to my daughter! Why is this so important? Because listening must start with looking. That’s when I know I have your attention. That’s when I know you care. Sadly, I’m not always the best example. Sometimes I come home from work and Alexis starts talking to me and I have my eyes glued to my computer saying something like, “Uh-huh, that’s great, Alexis.” When I do this, Alexis gets irritated because I’ve made the computer more important than she is.
But Jesus was different. He looked at people. Paul Miller, from his lesser-known book, Love Walked Among Us, says:
As I studied how Jesus loved, I was surprised by the number of times that Jesus looked at people. Altogether the Gospels mention Jesus looking at people about forty times. I was particularly struck by how often his compassion for people was preceded by his looking (see Mat. 9:6, Mark 10:21, John 19:26-27).
So how do we become more like Jesus? Ironically, Miller continues,
If we know we are loved — that someone is looking at us — then we can give love; then we can look at others.