Tuesday, October 14, 2014

To Have and To Hold

        "I, Terrie, take you, David, for my lawfully wedded husband, to have and to hold, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, from this day forward until death do us part. I hereby promise to love, honor, and obey you all the days of my life.

With this ring I thee wed, and with all my worldly goods I thee endow. In sickness and in health, in poverty or in wealth, till death do us part."

On the eve of my 21st birthday I quoted those very words before God, our family, and friends to you.  On that day, the ceremony was a means to an end…I got to be your wife.  I was very serious about being a good wife to you and loving you with all that was in me – but I can’t say that I was exactly “serious” as I said them.

Now that we’ve been married just about 36 years – I understand these vows from the experiences we’ve lived.  If we were to “renew” our vows – this is how I would say them today.

I, Terrie, have had the privilege of being your wife for these past 36 years.  I am thankful for every moment we’ve had each other to hold  - during our times of riches and being poor -our riches, not necessarily financial – but a far greater richness as we’ve shared in God’s blessings;  and in our poor times when having and holding each other was all that we had. 
Having you to hold made the worse times better, and the better times the best times. 
I am thankful that we’ve had each other to hold on to as we enjoyed great health, and when we were faced with sickness; I’m thankful that I’ve had you to hold me during these past couple years of sick times. 
I promised to love you till death do us part when I already loved you as much as I thought possible at the time – but now I realize that the love I felt then could not touch the depths of the love that we share today. 
I promise to continue loving you, honoring you, and yes, even obeying you all the days I have left on this earth – for I know that each day that I live my love for you will only grow stronger.
During the month of October our pastor (my husband) has been preaching on the subject of "Being Faithful in Marriage."  The theme for the year has been "...be thou faithful unto death."  Revelation 2:10.  The verse for the month of October has been, "This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church."  Ephesians 5:32
I gave the "vows" posted above to my husband on Saturday, October 11 for our 36th anniversary which is today, October 14, 2014.  The Lord had burned in my heart the meaning of the words "to have and to hold" that we said in our wedding vows.  On Sunday, October 12, we were having "Marriage Day" at church and I wanted my husband to know what was on my heart.  After my husband received my vows the Lord impressed on his heart that we could share our vow renewal before our church as he taught on the subject of marriage and its meaning.  As we renewed our vows before our church family -  I read the vows that are posted here today.  It was a very tender moment in our service as my husband then in turn also renewed his vows to me.
Marriage is a picture of our relationship with Christ after salvation.  Ephesians 5:21-28 teaches, "Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God. Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.  Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself."
With that in mind, the Lord brought to my attention that the very idea of "to have and to hold" is exactly what He does for us. "And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand. I and my Father are one."  John 10:28-30
Do you see the connection?  When we get saved, we are in the Lord's hand and no one can undo that!  When we get married, we have each other to hold on to during every facet of our lives, and with God's love in the center it will not be undone.  Marriage, as God designed it, is a beautiful picture of two being one - because on our own we are not complete.
Perhaps you are not married and may feel that this has no application to your life today - but you can be the bride of Christ, and have the beauty of a full and loving relationship with Christ - the relationship with Christ is what carries through every step of our life.  This is what the Lord desires for you - He wants you to be His bride; He gave Himself so that you could have eternal life with Him.
Won't you receive His gift of salvation today? 
 "And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely."  Revelation 22:17
Have a wonderful day!

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Lovest Thou Me?

"So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs.  He saith to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my sheep.  He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep.  Verily, verily, I say unto thee, When thou wast young, thou girdedst thyself, and walkedst whither thou wouldest: but when thou shalt be old, thou shalt stretch forth thy hands, and another shall gird thee, and carry thee whither thou wouldest not.  This spake he, signifying by what death he should glorify God. And when he had spoken this, he saith unto him, Follow me.”  John 21:15 – 19

The Scripture quoted above is very familiar passage.  I’ve read it many times and to be honest I’ve never fully understood it.  I’m not trying to say I fully understand it now – because honestly I’m sure there is much more the Lord can teach me through His Word; but, I saw something today that I’ve never considered before.

Remember that Peter was the one disciple that told Jesus that he was willing to lay down his life for Him?  “Simon Peter said unto him, Lord, whither goest thou? Jesus answered him, Whither I go, thou canst not follow me now; but thou shalt follow me afterwards.  Peter said unto him, Lord, why cannot I follow thee now? I will lay down my life for thy sake.  Jesus answered him, Wilt thou lay down thy life for my sake? Verily, verily, I say unto thee, The cock shall not crow, till thou hast denied me thrice.”  John 13:36-38

When Jesus was taken to ultimately be crucified Peter started out strong.  He pulled out his sword and cut off one of the men’s ears – but later when Jesus was indeed captured, Peter did just as Jesus said – he denied Christ three times!  We know that Peter was truly sorry for what he did – he wept bitterly.  

We never see a time that Jesus and Peter discussed what happened – (John 21:15-19)  is the first conversational exchange between Jesus and Peter we see after the Resurrection.  I believe that when Jesus is talking to Peter here He is asking him if he will still say that he loves Jesus with Agape (unconditional) love – Peter then willingly admits that his love has proven to be conditional – when times got tough he denied Christ.  Peter’s heart was breaking as he was admitting his weakness – he was grieved when Jesus asked him 3 times to realize his own weakness – but then He told Peter that ultimately he would give his life to honor the Lord.

Jesus is, without condemning Peter, showing him the consequences of his past proud position.  Peter is humbling himself to the Lord by admitting that he did not prove himself to be all that he had aforetime proclaimed.  And when Jesus is instructing Peter to feed his lambs, the young Christians, and then further instructs Peter to feed His sheep – He is letting Peter know that He is putting His trust in him to be a leader, a teacher, someone that Jesus Himself considers worthy and qualified to care for His own precious lambs and sheep.  The difference between a lamb and a sheep is their age.  A lamb is a sheep that is under a year old, one that has not yet produced any offspring.  A sheep is, well, a sheep. 

Jesus further proceeds to let Peter know that when he was young he was leading his own way – that he was proudly proclaiming what he would and would not do – in the future Peter would indeed stretch forth his hands – showing humility, and would have done to him something that he wouldn’t want to be done – but because of his stand for Christ he would indeed glorify God and lay down his life for Him.

I find this so amazing.  I have read that passage well over 50 times and have never seen that before!  Today, as I came to this realization, I was overcome with God’s amazing grace!  Peter had boldly followed the Lord and thought that he was “all in;” he was sure that he would lay down his life for the Lord – but when it came down to it he denied the Lord and even cursed!  What a horrible realization! 

I am sure that when he saw the Lord he felt shame.  He loved the Lord with his own love and failed.  God, in this short passage, helped Peter to deal with his pride, humble himself before the Lord, and encouraged Peter to know that God wanted to use him.  He let him know that in the end – he wouldn’t fail the Lord.  While God was asking about agape love, and Peter was sadly stating the he could now only admit to philos (brotherly) love, God was telling him that he had something to feed to others.  God let Peter know that while he was unable or not ready to follow the Lord before- he would indeed follow Him in the future.  In John 13 Peter wasn’t ready, in John 21 – Jesus said, “follow me.”  God knows when we’re ready.

So often we feel shame or disappointment in ourselves because we ride waves of highs and lows.  We’re riding high on faith, and then scared when our faith is tried.  I’m reminded that the Bible says, “For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.  Romans 1:17  

Faith to faith…when I read that I think of “believing about this” (whatever the current lesson or situation has taught me) – and then when the next trial comes we gain a new faith.  We need to understand what happens from faith to faith – it is testing, trials, sometimes doubt.  Each test, trial, and lesson gives us a new faith – a new way of “believing about this” than what we previously believed.  Peter believed he was ready to die- but through his testing he realized that Jesus was right – he wasn’t ready.  Then, after he realized his weakness, and admitted his short comings – he grew in faith and was then ready.  What a lesson I have learned from this - and hope that in some small way I can convey to you what God has shown me.

What I see in the Scripture is Peter going from faith to faith.  I see Jesus showing His agape love and Peter showing his philos love.  I see God’s acceptance, forgiveness, encouragement, and greatness.  What a mighty God we serve!  Oh, how I love Jesus and pray you will too.  

Have a wonderful day!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

I Want To Be A Battle Axe

You may ask, why in the world would I want to be a battle axe?  I know the term “battle axe” is used negatively towards the wife. It indicates that the woman is fierce with strong opinions.  This morning in my Bible reading, as I read Jeremiah 51, I decided that I want to be a battle axe!

Every man is brutish by his knowledge; every founder is confounded by the graven image: for his molten image is falsehood, and there is no breath in them. They are vanity, the work of errors: in the time of their visitation they shall perish. The portion of Jacob is not like them; for he is the former of all things: and Israel is the rod of his inheritance: the LORD of hosts is his name. Thou art my battle axe and weapons of war: for with thee will I break in pieces the nations, and with thee will I destroy kingdoms;  And with thee will I break in pieces the horse and his rider; and with thee will I break in pieces the chariot and his rider;  With thee also will I break in pieces man and woman; and with thee will I break in pieces old and young; and with thee will I break in pieces the young man and the maid;  I will also break in pieces with thee the shepherd and his flock; and with thee will I break in pieces the husbandman and his yoke of oxen; and with thee will I break in pieces captains and rulers. And I will render unto Babylon and to all the inhabitants of Chaldea all their evil that they have done in Zion in your sight, saith the LORD.”  Jeremiah 51:17-24

The Lord is telling the portion of Judah that they are His battle axe and 11 times He says, “With thee will I" destroy, break in pieces, and render to all the inhabitants of Chaldea of all their evil.  As I read that I thought of how we are the bride and Christ is the groom, and maybe it’s a stretch – but I thought of how we, as the bride, can, as we’re used of God, destroy evil in this world.  Not by waging war, but by soul winning, by giving the Gospel to a lost and dying world by fulfilling the Great Commission.  God wants for us to do His will.  He said over and over, “with thee will I” accomplish My plan and purpose- my righteousness.

I also thought about how that, as a wife that is a battle axe, I can help my husband.  As a pastor his goal is to be used of God to make a difference in this world, reach the lost, help Christians to grow in grace so that they too can reach the lost – and as his wife I can either help him or deter him.  Every wife is either an asset or a liability to her husband.  As a battle axe, with you, he can conquer the world by fulfilling the role God has for him.

 I want to be a fierce woman that is a warrior when it comes to helping my husband – that is what I was made to do!  I am of the strong opinion that my husband can be used of God to fulfill the vision God has given him! I was made to be a help meet for him so that he can bring glory to God.  The best way I can do that is by being “with him.”  “And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.” Genesis 2:18

So, ladies, are you with me?  Who wants to be a battle axe for the Lord so that it can be said of you, “with thee will I”? 

I hope that many of you will determine to be a battle axe!  Have a wonderful day!

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Sometimes, You Care Too Much To Care!

Last night I was at the grocery store with my daughter picking up dessert.  We had been to the Homecoming where one of my granddaughters, Miss Jaclynn, was one of the princesses; she represented the kindergarten class.  We enjoyed the evening and had promised the kids that we would get a treat after the ceremony – so we were at Safeway picking up good old-fashioned apple pie and of course vanilla ice cream

As we were shopping, I received a phone call from one of my sons.  When I answered the phone all I could hear was crying, inconsolable crying.  At first I thought that it was a “pocket dialed” call, but then I realized that the crying voice was trying to say something.  I continued to say, “Hello” louder, and louder!  I couldn't discern if the crying voice was one of the grand kids or my daughter-in-law…so panic set in!  I immediately feared that something so terrible had happened to one of the kids or my son – so I began to grow more and more concerned…and it was very evident to those around me as my voice grew louder and louder still!  Finally, my son got on the phone and said, “Jaydon, I think Grammie is starting to panic there, I better talk to her.”   Whew! And Praise the Lord! Apparently, our grandson was having a hard time and just wanted to talk to Grammie and Papa so he could feel better. 

As all this was happening I really didn't care how loud I was, and I didn't notice anyone around me, and I really didn't care if they did – it wasn't a thought in my mind at all!  My daughter however was the unfortunate soul that did see and notice everyone staring at her mother…oops! During this whole episode I gave it no thought.  I wasn't embarrassed, and if people looked at me I didn't notice.  My very sweet and loving daughter said nothing about it – that is until we got outside.

When we stepped out of the store she laughingly said, “Mom, do you know how loud you were talking? Here let me show you.  No, wait, I’ll wait till we get in the car because I don’t want to draw attention out here in the parking lot as everyone would hear me!”   When we got in the car, she began to detail how everyone looked at me, the level and tone of my panicked voice, and of course she then embellished the story for my husband's sake by saying how she tried to elude me…but in the end, as I thought about it, I realized that if it were to happen again I would probably do the same thing because honestly –I just didn't care about what those people thought; I care so much more about what could have happened to my family!  I did care that my daughter had to be seen with me during my moment of "panic."  We laughed as she described how the people across the bakery by the deli counter all stopped their conversations to watch me crescendo "hello" with heightened fear!

The truth is when we are enveloped in what we are passionate about; we don’t let minor details of how people look at us, or what they might be thinking deter our passion.  Oh that we would be that way about serving the Lord and reaching the lost!  I am not saying that we should go to grocery stores and yell so that people stare at us like we’re weird on purpose, but, I do think we shouldn't let people’s opinions quiet us from giving out the Gospel or stop us from doing what God wants us to do.  Sometimes we need to be zealous – about good things and we should care so much that we don't care about what people might think.

But it is good to be zealously affected always in a good thing…”  Galatians 4:18

Have a wonderful day!

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Growth From My Garden

This year we planted our largest garden ever in the 35 years we've been married.  In the past we've grown a couple tomato plants, or a few zucchini plants.  One year we even tried growing lettuce – but it has always been in just a small patch in our yard.  Our current garden is pretty good sized compared to anything we've done in the past – it is our whole side yard, which is nearly the size of an average backyard!

It has been fun to see all of the plants grow from seedlings and you just can’t beat the flavor of vine ripened tomatoes!  I am sure our garden has saved us quite a bit as we haven’t had to purchase vegetables and herbs every week!  I have discovered and invented so many new recipes for zucchini – if you’re interested in any of our favorites, let me know and I’ll give you the recipes.
Fresh from our garden

In addition to the wonderful vegetables, I've also gained some first-hand experience and life lessons from my garden.  Some of the obvious lessons of course would be the amount of work, care, and time it takes to have a successful garden.  My husband has done all the physical work of rototilling the ground, planting the seeds, making the rows, and watering.  I have done all the work in preparing the vegetables for us to eat.  Pretty much the way it works in our home – my husband works to earn the money and I use it to purchase what we need to run the home.

What I've learned from our garden is that just doing what you need for the garden to grow is not enough!  See, we can put the seed in good soil, make sure it is placed in the optimum shade or sun, and water it – but that won’t insure that you’ll get the fruit…because of the vermin!  It seems that they attack from all angles!  There are the moles that eat the roots, the squirrels that eat the fruit and the insects that eat the leaves - any or all of these can kill the plant or prevent us from enjoying the fruit.

 The squirrels like the tomatoes and the cantaloupe leaves, the beetles (they disguise themselves to look almost like lady bugs) like the broccoli plants to death!  The cucumbers stress out if they don’t get enough water and turn so bitter that they are not edible!   It seemed that we (my husband really) was constantly fighting off some creep from demolishing our bounty!  I learned a valuable lesson as I pondered the plight of our patch!

As a Christian desiring to be fruit-bearing, I thought about how we as Christians always stress the importance of putting in the right ingredients, but through our garden, I have realized that it is vitally important also to make sure there is proper protection in place to keep the bad stuff out!  In other words, if a Christian goes to church, prays, reads their Bible, but does not also “Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil” as commanded in Ephesians 6:11, there is a good chance there will not be as much good usable fruit as there could have been.

It is not good enough to simply get fat with the good stuff, without arming ourselves against the harmful stuff!  We need both!  We must first fill ourselves with the Word of God, pray for guidance, help, and the fullness of the Holy Spirit…  Believe me, there are enemies on every side trying to rob you of producing the most and best fruit! Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day…"Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil." Proverbs 3:7

Have a wonderful day!