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Boldness Before God By Dr. Dennis Burke

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God's Plan Is Greater Than Any Storm By Terry Law

DEVOTIONAL

Today's featured devotional...
I suppose you'd expect a man who's been married 30 years to a beautiful, intelligent woman would be able to share with you the intimate secrets to having a perfect marriage.

But I'm going to disappoint you! That's because Kay and I don't have a perfect marriage. She is without a doubt my best friend, and we have a wonderful relationship—but as far as a perfect marriage, well, there's no such thing.

What Kay and I do have is a marriage centered on Christ, specifically focused on glorifying God. We remain committed to each other because we remain committed to Christ and his work within us.

No Easy Road
After three decades in ministry, I've noticed that it's not unusual for couples to float through their first year or two of marriage in a love-blinded bliss.

But, frankly, that didn't happen for Kay and me. Our first two years together were the most difficult. In fact, we were ready to throw in the towel. If we both hadn't been committed to Jesus Christ and we both hadn't agreed that divorce was not an option, we wouldn't have stayed together. It was simply too difficult.

After we were married, Kay and I discovered that, apart from our love for God, we were about as opposite in nature as two people could be. We viewed life from two different angles and argued over just about everything.

I remember Kay's father sat us down the night before we were married and said, "There are five areas where marriages usually have conflict: money, sex, in-laws, children, and communication." He proved to be prophetic: Kay and I went five for five!

The single factor that kept us married in those early years was that we agreed on one thing: divorce would never be an option for us. You can't leave the door open even a little bit, or eventually one of you will try to escape. Slowly, over time, God helped us not only to accept our differences, but to appreciate them.

Through the process, we learned that any successful marriage is built upon the biblical truth that God designed each of us with five purposes in mind: worship, fellowship, discipleship, ministry, and missions.

In other words, until you realize you and your mate were placed together for God's purposes, then your marriage will be difficult, complicated, and exhausting. But once you understand God's plan, your marriage takes on new meaning.

Balancing Biblical Purposes
Here are the five biblical purposes you should keep balanced in your marriage:
  1. You and your spouse were both planned for God's pleasure. A man once asked Jesus, "What's the most important commandment?" Jesus replied, "I can summarize the entire Bible in two statements: Love God, and love other people!" (Matt. 22:36-39). That includes your spouse.

    Life is about relationships, not achievements. You worship God when you love and sacrifice for your spouse (just read through Romans 12 with a view of what its applications would mean to your marriage). That brings pleasure to God, and any time you give pleasure to God, you're worshiping him.
  2. You and your spouse were formed for God's family. God made an incredible promise about the gathering of even just two believers: "For where two or three have gathered together in My name, I am there in their midst" (Matt. 18:20 NAS).

    So if both you and your spouse are believers, God is already in your marriage working to transform the two of you into a purpose driven family unit!

    Your marriage is a lab for learning how to love like Jesus loves. Within marriage, God has created an opportunity for us to develop a true intimacy and authenticity with another human being.

    To go this deep requires genuine, heart-to-heart, gut-level sharing, where you and your spouse get honest about who you are and what's happening in your lives.

    This happens when you both share your hurts, reveal your feelings, confess your failures, disclose your doubts, admit your fears, acknowledge your weaknesses, and ask each other for help and prayer.
This article is used by permission from
Rick Warren's Ministry ToolBox by Rick Warren.
More information available at www.pastors.com.

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The online ministry of cfaith has been helping people discover faith, friends and freedom in the Word since 2000. Cfaith provides a unique and comprehensive collection of faith-building resources for the worldwide faith community.

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