Mediate on His Word to Grow

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My daughter, even from when she was 11 year old, is always processing. She asked, “How is the truth suppressed mom?” Now we are all chewing on her questions! 🙂 We invite you to chew on this too!

We pulled out the Bible to read Romans 1:18. Go ahead, pull it out and go ahead-read it now. You’re going to remember it more if you just click the link and dig into it yourself. 🙂

We talked about how a little tiny bit of sin can begin to suppress the truth, but it can quickly overtake the truth in us. A little bit of unrighteous choices can quickly blur the lines of what’s okay and what’s not. What we don’t realize is just a tiny bit of filth can actually drown out the Truth that has been planted in our hearts. If you read on in Romans, you will see that what started out as tiny landed these people in really awful situations.

Have you allowed a little bit of poison into your life? It’s like yeast… a little bit can take over the entire body.

Here’s what is amazing though, when you allow sin or wickedness in your life, it only suppress the truth in your life – the truth that you know. God’s overall GIANT, big picture Truth can never be suppressed! We only limiting ourselves when we submit to anyone or anything other than God.

We grow when we spend much time meditating on the Word of God. How much you are meditating will determine whether you reap 30, 60, or 100 fold.

What have you allowed a little bit of in your life that you are ready to KICK out today?

One Key to Happiness: Family

Everyone’s searching to belong. We search to belong to a family, a friend circle, or some other sort of group.

I’ve recently started taking back my health. I joined a gym and signed up with a coach. There are like a hundred of us fighting to take back our health. What is incredible is the community and the fellowship with like-minded people. It is ridiculous. We’re all fighting, we’re all standing, and we all encourage each other because we are in the same race. It is awesome.

When people become Christians, they start searching for where they fit within the community of believers. They wonder, “Where do I fit in? Where is the place of community for me? Where am I going to be encouraged and loved? Who will hold up my arms when I’m about to fall into temptation?” We’re striving for the kind of community I have at my gym.

“May God Almighty bless you and make you fruitful and increase your numbers until you become a community of peoples.” (Genesis 28:3 NIV) 

I think we can find what we’re searching for within our own families. The problem today is that families are dysfunctional. Parents don’t stick together. They get a divorce. Strife steps in and tears down the bonds in marriage and families. It tears mother from daughter, father from son, sibling from sibling, and families splinter.

Even in school, what do we do? We promote segregation of the family. You go into your grade, and your siblings go into their grades. You don’t see each other all day long. When you do, the older one probably looks down on the younger ones because they are not the same age. School categorizes everyone by age.

I believe the ultimate community we are all searching for is provided through the family. A family doesn’t need to be perfect; it just needs to be united. I think God set it right there in front of us: “May God Almighty bless you and make you fruitful and increase your numbers until you become a community of peoples” (Genesis 28:3 NIV). Ask people from big families. They have built-in friendships and bonds that small families may not experience.
Pray with me:

I pray today, Father, that the walls we have built up in our families and close friendships would be torn down and we would choose unity over having our own way. I pray that we would be like-minded, that we would be one as Christ is one with God. I pray that we would choose to lay down our life over taking up our platform or grievance against each other. I pray that we would no longer be easily offended by one another and that we would encourage each other every single day. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Inputs, Processes, and Outputs: Marriage and Finances

Let’s talk about inputs, processing, and outputs for our finances. Right now, transparently, our cash flow is pretty tight. So my husband and I are saying our output is tight cash flow. We’ve got to go back and evaluate what we are inputting and what we are processing every month.

Our inputs, our income—is there enough of it? Our processes are our bills, our saving, and our giving. All of those things sucking it out leaves us with a final output result of either money left over or money in debt. It’s the same thing with cash flow. You have to go back and see what is going in, what is coming out, and how you are arriving at the final part. It’s so simple just to look at that.

Sometimes, in our processing, our spending can be a comfort to us. When we have new things, it takes our eyes off the pain or trouble in our lives. It gives us this high, and we feel excited about getting this new thing. Every time we get a new input, it makes us feel good, which leaves us with an output of being cash-flow tight. Does that make sense?

It is the same thing in every area of our life. We are able to look at the inputs, the processes, and the outputs. For example, if my marriage is not in a good place, that is my output. I always use this as the measurement with my husband. Like, “I want a 10/10 marriage. I don’t want a 2 marriage. I don’t want to get old and be like, man, I settled for a 2 marriage my entire life.” So when I recognize that my marriage isn’t a 10, I stop and say, “Hey. I want a 10 marriage. I don’t want a 2 marriage. I want to maintain a 10 for our whole life.”

My husband knows my talk. What we do is look into the input and say, “What’s going on?” and recognize when our marriage starts to slide down out of a 10. It’s generally because we become busy. So we put aside date nights. There are things we used to do but now simply don’t do anymore. In the processing, maybe he is so busy at work that he is not pursuing me like he once did. He is not pursuing his wife in seemingly minor ways—in the kitchen by cleaning up or by calling me during the day. I may be speaking negative words over him, which is making him feel discouraged, so he doesn’t truly want to pursue me.

That is essentially how we process our marriage. What is going on in your thoughts? Can you remember how much your husband cares about you or how much your wife actually believes in you? That is the processing. It’s about forgiving and forgetting and not letting bitterness grow in your heart. It is truly taking control of those opportunities to have negative thoughts against one another or throw each other under the bus when we fail. When we evaluate those inputs and processes in our own marriage, we will end up with an output we want. We will have a 10 marriage.

Should I Get Married?

On December 22, I received a marriage proposal. It was a beautiful and wonderful night. All my family was there to celebrate. I cried. I was in shock! I had no idea. I was so excited! But after the dress was bought and the invitations sent, after the decisions had been made and money had been spent, three weeks before the big day, I made the bold decision to postpone our wedding.
The decision to get married is hard.
I always thought it would be easy.
That head-over-heels-in-love feeling helps you to float over all the hard stuff, all the doubt, all the what-ifs, all the hard questions. 

“Should I marry this person?” is a hard question.
It’s a decision that affects many: my future spouse, my immediate family, future generations, and me. This is a decision that impacts eternity. In light of that realization, how can I not want to make the right decision? 

The right decision.

Wow! It is so easy to get lost in the worldly trap of what if …?”
What-if questions can force you into confusion immediately if you don’t use them wisely.
What if I marry the wrong person?
What if I make the wrong decision?
What if there is someone better out there for me, and I’m settling?
What if I wake up and don’t like the man I married?
What if I get married only to find out that my spouse doesn’t really like me?
What if I can’t meet the needs of my spouse, so he leaves me?
What if I get left by the one to whom I’m entrusting my heart and my life on this earth?
What if I wake up every day and regret my decision?
What if I wake up one day and want out?
What if my life turns out exactly like I dread it will?
What if I’m a terrible wife and mother?
What if I’m the problem?
What if? What if? What if?
My mind is exploding with what-ifs!
The questions run one after another like a sneaky, slimy sickness creeping its way into my body.
Living in the land of what-ifs is not living at all.
Doubt has been my biggest struggle in all of this.
What has it shown me?
At my very core, I don’t trust God fully in every area.
That hurts me to the depths of my soul to admit. But it’s true. I don’t trust God to protect me in a marriage. I want to build my own walls to hedge myself in so I can be my own personal valiant protector. Then if something goes wrong, I will feel safe because I controlled it all. Somehow my fake, self-preserving walls actually give me confidence that I will be okay.
How sad is that?
I have spent a lot of time processing thoughts and feelings about my future spouse and marriage, but the biggest thing that has been revealed is this: 

I don’t really trust God as much as I thought I did.

No wonder making decisions has been so hard! When you can’t trust God with your life, how can you feel confident that you will arrive at the right decision?!

The world tells you to follow your heart, but I have come to realize that I don’t want to follow my heart.
I want to lead my heart.

Leading my heart means that I have to trust God purposefully, overflow with Truth, and base my decisions on the Word of God.
It is easier to follow my heart and get lost in my emotions, but that results in my stability being based on the ups and downs of how I feel. If I were to follow my heart now, what would stop me from following it later if one day I awake to the frustration of not being pursued in my marriage or I believe the lie that I married the wrong man? If I start off a marriage by following my heart, what is to stop me from following my heart right out of my marriage when I am not happy with it?
No, thank you! I will lead my heart.
And that’s HARD, people!
It is easy to think it, a little harder to say it, but much harder to live it out.

Leading my heart means making decisions on purpose every day that align with God’s voice in the silent whispers and agree with His Word. Every day I need to decide that I will not be bound by the fear that desires to hold me back in life. 
I must guard my heart in all that I do and lead my heart in Truth even when I don’t feel like it. Let’s face it, it is easy to give up on standing firm in the Truth when you don’t feel like it. I do it all the time. 
But I’m done! I want to live my life being moved by the Spirit of God instead of basing my decisions on what I feel.
If I start leading my heart now, I can develop that muscle so it will be available for use whenever I need it, again and again. 

The fact is, the decision to marry someone should be hard. I think too many people walk into marriage without really seeing the big picture, but I can see it. I am aware of the enormity of this decision, and quite frankly, it scares me.
At the Bridal fair, as we scanned through the thousands of people in line, we realized that almost 70% of the couples would not even be married in five years!
I believe couples should spend time thinking about the future and really seeking the Lord in prayer to ensure this decision is the right one for them. This decision is weighty. It will carry on into eternity. It is a huge risk to walk into it without stepping over those butterflies and fluttery new-love emotions so you can have deep, meaty discussions and work through your baggage and fears. Why wait until after you are married to ask yourself if this decision was the best one?
My decision to postpone my wedding wasn’t easy, but honestly I think it’s good that I have been wrestling with this to the depths of the fiber of my being. Now I know what I’m signing up for: 

I am making a choice to stand beside someone even when he is at his worst. I am choosing to love someone even when I don’t feel loved in return.
No one going into marriage wants to believe there will be hard days. I have sought the advice of many counselors. I know marriage will be filled with amazing days and some hard times. I don’t want to be unprepared for the bumps or unsure that I married the right person because I know if I don’t prepare, those bumps could be fatal.
I desire to enter marriage fitted with the right armor for any battle that may be in front of us. I dream of being able to stand firm against the real enemy instead of my spouse. I yearn to dig deeper into the Bible instead of falling more in love with worldly reasoning. I aspire to live in overflowing, abundant life instead of settling for even the smallest sickness, for I know that sickness is the beginning of death. I crave unity because I know that even the smallest amount of strife is the beginning of division and division can end in divorce.
Marriage is a battleground because it is a perfect illustration of the way Christ loves the church. He is coming again to swoop up His bride for the most beautiful union! The enemy desires to destroy this image of the relationship between Christ and the church by driving nails of strife into the marriage between a man and a wife.

When we dig deep into our Father’s heart, He will direct our steps to that perfect match for each of us and then supernaturally equip us to live out our marriages in unity, not strife. 

The truth is that we can fight against each other or we can 
stand together and fight for unity!

No one wants to call off a wedding. It is so hard! But sometimes you have to stop working on the temporary—the wedding plans—to focus on what is lasting. I will walk into my marriage with full confidence and no fear.

My prayer is that sharing my painful journey in deciding about marriage will help you. 


Love vs. Lust

Love is blind until the end of time … or until the other person grates on your nerves. Then you will see clearly all of those things that drive you crazy that you skipped over at first. Your vision was kind of hazy in the beginning, before you were able to see clearly. Your love was blind. Blind love does not see any faults, but sooner or later they do come up—and that’s when you hit the rocks.

Marriage gets hard because at first you didn’t scrutinize. Your love was blind, so you bought lies. You only saw what you wanted to see until the lust wore off and all you were left with was the real person underneath.

Lust will blindly accept another’s flaws at the expense of family and friends. Lust will throw others under the bus to defend itself, but in five years, the people who were in lust will be complaining of the very things you noticed and warned them of. You told them; you reminded them; you shared with them; you sent up flags. You told them there may be despair in their future, but they wouldn’t listen. Their ears were clogged. They were blind. They couldn’t see anything but what they wanted to see. 

It’s not faith. No, it’s flesh. It’s not love; it’s lust. Lust hides the flaws because the attraction is so strong. But love deals truthfully with every flaw. It doesn’t hurt others to defend the ones you love. Instead, it works together to find unity in the will of God.

Mountain or a Mole Hill?

I tried to let my marriage be my rock, be my hiding place. Well, guess what happened? It was after I got married, my husband, he just—he wasn’t all that he said was, all that he seemed that he was gonna be. And all of a sudden my hiding place had cracks in it and I was exposed in places I didn’t wanna be. And it brought out emotions I don’t really like. You know, like you hear me saying, “Are you kidding me? Are you serious?” 
As I looked up my mountain, I really didn’t think I like my husband anymore. And I’m stuck to him, and married to him, but I don’t even think I like him. I saw this book and it said, “Maybe marriage is meant to make you holy, not happy.” It didn’t matter how many hours I could’ve gone to marriage counseling, or worked on my marriage, or loved my husband more or done more to meet his needs. You know what, I missed that my number one covenant was with Father God.
I’m getting off track. So basically, the only way to conquer your mountain is from Isaiah , the scripture says, “Not by might, nor by power, but my spirit, says the Lord.” You can spend all day long to listen to people’s advice or try figure out how to build a train around your mountain, how to climb your mountain, how to conquer your mountain then get to the other side and you can do it by your might and by your power, but the only way to conquer your mountain indefinitely, completely, and perfectly is through the spirit of the living God and through Jesus Christ.
Listen to these verses. In Isaiah 41:15 that he said, “Oh you mountain of human obstacles, I will make you a molehill.” Wow. How many times have you heard that saying? Like you’re making a mountain out of a mole hill. Well, God says you have made a mountain. You’ve got a mountain in front of you and he’s gonna turn it around and make it a mole hill. Let’s look through the vision of God at our mountains and let’s see what’s really there. Physically standing in front of us, we might see a mountain. But by God’s spirit, it’s a mole hill.

Longing to Be Fully Known – Marriage

I am married. 

That should tell you something about me. I have good days with my man and not so awesome days with him. It seems as though we go through awesome seasons, but sometimes those seasons can be bumpy! 

Brutal honesty….

A while back, I was pretty PO’d about him basically ignoring me. I am like, “Hey, I am right here. Where are you?” He was busy with some huge projects – understaffed and just trying to do IT all, but “IT” didn’t include his wife. 

And That’s never good. 

If mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy! Can I get a Holla?

I started off hurt, but it grew into frustration. Frustration grew and I became LIVID! 

I started to dwell on all the things that HE DOESN’T do! I forgot all the things that he DOES do. All I could think about what that I was VERY LAST. I became this needy little wife growing more and more angry because he just didn’t see me. 

My flesh was riled and LOUD! My mind on a run away train thinking How long will or can I endure this – is this the right man for me – which is a question you should NEVER ask once you are married, but my own mind can blind me from the Truth…if I don’t take charge over it! 

We have to lead our hearts and guard them because they’re the wellspring of LIFE! If you let your heart lead you around in your marriage, you are going to wind up on a path you may regret. 

I decided that I was going to write out my heart for him to see. As I wrote, God spoke his words on my paper. He revealed to me why I was so crushed in that moment. 

Here it is….

I long to be known. 
I want to be loved and…
Loved Well…
Thought of.
Not assumed, but discovered.
Worth it.
Know what I like – no…Know what I love.
Know the details of my heart.
Care about what I care about.
I don’t just want a celebration.
But one with every detail thought out well
because someone loves me so much
that they took the time to know me.
Known intimately.
Known emotionally.
Everything I love.
The little things.
The details of my heart.
Every detail of my heart
Every tear I withhold – that I would be known.
Everything that breaks my heart
Everything that takes away my breath
Everything that brings a smile to my face – laughter to my heart
Every thought taken captive
Every silent look
Oh to be known.
But God whispered to my heart…

“But you
Beautiful one
Were not created to be known here
This is not your home
The deepest thirst
Greatest need
Cannot be fulfilled by anyone here
I know every detail of your hands
The number of your hairs
Take your eyes off man
to fulfill
the desires only I can quench.
I know every detail.
I treasure you.
I know your heart.
I hold every tear you’ve withheld.
I have seen every heart break.
Everything that takes away your breath…
I know.
I cherish the desires of your heart.
I love you. It’s enough.
You are my bride.
I am your groom.
Prepare your heart
For the wedding day.
Love those here.
But don’t trust them
To do what only
I can do.”
He who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from the LORD. Proverbs 18:22