Thursday, September 21, 2017

Holy Homes-Marriage and Family Day 1 : Jesus is the King we are His subjects

Holy Homes-Marriage and Family Day 1 : Jesus is the King we are His subjects

The fallen family is centered around Adam and Eve and their disobedience to God’s original design for marriage. As soon as Satan convinced Eve to 2nd guess what God really said the original design for marriage was thwarted. I am I spending my life thinking that what Satan has to offer me is better than what God has to offer me? I am I 2nd guessing Gods word to fit my life and my desires instead of moving my life and desires to fit into Gods plan for me? 
Matthew 10:34-39 states God did not come to spread peace, but to bring a sword! To turn families against each other. I cannot help but think of the original sin and how God said there would be pain in child bearing.  Not just the act of giving birth to my children, but in rearing them. Seeing them make the same mistakes I made and being unable to stop it. The pain-both physical and emotional that comes from raising kids and seeing what they go through daily-their struggles, hardships, their pain and suffering. Watching them turn from God instead of embracing Him or going back and forth in their faith. Struggling with the Word or altering it to fit the lifestyle they want to live. Saying what Satan and the world and my flesh offer is more than what God offers to me. It is the sword that pierces me over and again. In this way I relate to what Jesus says here-He does not bring peace. Those that are not in the Him are against Him. Jesus enemies are my enemies. That includes my children, my spouse, my family-my own household.  It comes to a decision I must make daily. Love my family and those in it, but love Jesus MORE than them and ALWAYS take His side. Do not compromise what the Word says to fit my family and keep the peace-stand up for the truth-even when it hurts and is difficult to do. Even when it might cost me the family I love. Are they worth more to me than what God offers me?
34 “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35 For I have come to turn
“‘a man against his father,
    a daughter against her mother,
a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law—
36     a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.’[a]
37 “Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.38 Whoever does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me.39 Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it.
In Matthew 19:1-9 The Pharisees are attempting to trick Jesus on the topic of divorce and remarriage-stating its ok to divorce for any reason and why then is it permitted for adultery?  I am not trying to get on the topic of divorce and remarriage-my point with this one is whoever the topic is discussed its always making the appeal to the LAW-not to the original design God intended for marriage. God’s marriage design was to make one flesh-no divorce-for any reason. WHY? I’ll come back to this later…..My point with this is that it shows us our sin and brokenness. Jesus keeps appealing to “the beginning” and His Fathers design for marriage---not the law that was created for our sin and brokenness as an “out”. My thought to think on “ I am I doing what I am designed to do in my marriage or I am I looking at the law?”
19 When Jesus had finished saying these things, he left Galilee and went into the region of Judea to the other side of the Jordan. Large crowds followed him, and he healed them there.
Some Pharisees came to him to test him. They asked, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any and every reason?”
“Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’[a] and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’[b]So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”
“Why then,” they asked, “did Moses command that a man give his wife a certificate of divorce and send her away?”
Jesus replied, “Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning. I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery.”

In Luke 9: 57-62 Jesus is talking about the cost of following Him. It’s pretty harsh and frankly hard to listen to. This is not my Jesus of peace, love, tenderness, etc that is always betrayed. Let the dead bury their own dead—seriously? Don’t go and say good bye to your family? Are you kidding me? Is this not the family He gave me? That he told me I was 1 with? That He said honor and cherish and not provoke? This is a hard few versus for me to wrap my mind around. Then I have to stop and think about WHO Jesus is. A king has the right to ask his servants to go and do without any back talk, arguing, or excuses. They follow the king with their life in his hands and do not question his authority. That is a worldly king. Little “k”. Jesus is the KING OF KINGS-Its tattooed on His thigh (Revelations) He speaks and it is (creation/Revelations) He is the MY KING- He rules over me. I am His subject. My life is His life. If a ordinary king can ask these things of their subjects and they do it without questions and with respect for his authority and position how much more should Jesus be able to ask these things of me! Its harsh-yes. It’s difficult to hear and read-yes. Its abrasive-yes. Its arrogant even-but He has the right! He is my Savior, my King, my Redeemer, my Maker! How do you not willingly give your life for someone who gave you His already? You created your life to begin with. Who breathed you into existence? Once again I have to ask myself who I am I loyal to? Satan, the flesh, the world and how they all see me or am I loyal to my KING? Who do I really put first in my life? Who is ruling over me every day? I am I choosing Christ even in the sight of rejection of my family? Even if they walk away from me and never want to speak to me, see me and I miss out on their entire life? I am I willing to make that sacrifice? I am I willing to stand firm on what God says in the face of what society is telling me and teaching that is counter to what God says? When I am faced with ostracizing myself from my own flesh and blood? I want desperately to say yes to all of this-because I know it’s the right answer, but if I am being honest with myself it has not been my response when real life hits. It depresses me to know I know what I am supposed to do and say and yet I will chose the easy way to keep the peace, save relationships and stop arguments. I am to be the sword with Christ and instead I am a wet noodle. Gods word is not always easy to hear and obey. But God asks nothing of us that He did not do first. That’s the hard reality.
57 As they were walking along the road, a man said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.”
58 Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.”
59 He said to another man, “Follow me.”
But he replied, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.”
60 Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and proclaim the kingdom of God.”
61 Still another said, “I will follow you, Lord; but first let me go back and say goodbye to my family.”
62 Jesus replied, “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.”
1 John 4: 8 says GOD IS LOVE………I just keep thinking about this in light of what I am reading. I still cannot tie it in, but it keeps coming to my mind as if Christ is trying to remind me of who He is in spite of my struggle with His teaching. This verse just keeps popping into my head over and over again. God is Love.  I love not of this world. A love like I have never known. The very definition of love. Love exists through Him and because of Him. God is Love……. “Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.”

Luke 14:25-35 HATE-has to be the most powerful word one can say to another human being-I hate you. Emotions bubble up inside me just thinking about this word. This is what Jesus calls us to do for everyone that stands against Him. Before you say that is so easy stop and think of your spouse. Your children. Your parents. Best friend. Your grandparents. You are to HATE them if they stand against Christ. That is powerful. The cost of following Jesus and being His disciple is HUGE. It’s not something to randomly do to appease someone else, or because its trendy, expected of you, or it seems right. There is so much a person sacrifices for following Jesus. Its not to be entered into without really weighing the pros and cons. Can I really do it. Can I really give my life.  My salvation was completely FREE yet it costs EVERYTHING at the same time. My life is totally, 100% in the Hand of Christ. It’s like accepting a free airplane ride. The ride costs me nothing, but I am putting my very life in the hands of the pilot. If we arrive safely-great, but if he nose dives the plane into the Atlantic-well that’s not so great. Same with Jesus. The moment I decided to give my life to Him and be his disciple, my life became His and not mine anymore. I pay a daily price. One that is very costly. Salvation is free, but discipleship is costly. I have to make the decision to not only receive Jesus as my Savior, but also to follow his as my Lord.
25 Large crowds were traveling with Jesus, and turning to them he said: 26 “If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple. 27 And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.
28 “Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it? 29 For if you lay the foundation and are not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule you,30 saying, ‘This person began to build and wasn’t able to finish.’
31 “Or suppose a king is about to go to war against another king. Won’t he first sit down and consider whether he is able with ten thousand men to oppose the one coming against him with twenty thousand? 32 If he is not able, he will send a delegation while the other is still a long way off and will ask for terms of peace.33 In the same way, those of you who do not give up everything you have cannot be my disciples.
34 “Salt is good, but if it loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? 35 It is fit neither for the soil nor for the manure pile; it is thrown out.
“Whoever has ears to hear, let them hear.”

When I read scripture like this I just need to remind myself that everything Jesus does is in fulfillment of the Old Testament. Paul calls Jesus the “new Adam” (I Corinthians 15:45). This ties into Genesis and how Adam was made of the earth and goes back to the Earth-totally of this world. Christ however, is from Heaven and will return to Heaven-totally spiritual and life-giving.  The Apostle Paul tells us in his first letter to the church in Corinth, “The first man Adam became a living being; the last Adam, a life-giving spirit. The spiritual did not come first, but the natural, and after that the spiritual. The first man was of the dust of the earth, the second man from heaven. As was the earthly man, so are those who are of the earth; and as is the man from heaven, so also are those who are of heaven. And just as we have borne the likeness of the earthly man, so shall we bear the likeness of the man from heaven” (1 Corinthians 15:45-49).

Paul is here pointing out the difference between two kinds of bodies, i.e., the natural and the spiritual. 
Genesis 2:7speaks of the first man, Adam, becoming a living person. Adam was made from the dust of the ground and given the breath of life from God. Every human being since that time shares the same characteristics. However, the last Adam or the “second/new Adam”—that is, Christ—is a life-giving Spirit. Just as Adam was the first of the human race, so Christ is the first of those who will be raised from the dead to eternal life. Because Christ rose from the dead, He is “a life-giving spirit” who entered into a new form of existence. He is the source of the spiritual life that will result in believers' resurrection. Christ's new glorified human body now suits His new, glorified, spiritual life—just as Adam's human body was suitable to his natural life. When believers are resurrected, God will give them transformed, eternal bodies suited to eternal life. When we give our lives to Christ we are His disciples and seek after life-giving things not earthly things. We have to die to this world so we can have the eternal world we are promised. Jesus fulfillment of OT prophesies. We see this is the Passover, festivals, bread of presence, when Jesus is presented in the temple and Simeon prophecies that Mary ““This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, 35 so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too.” Luke 2: 22-40-remember Matthew 10:34-39---all about the Sword. I love this.
Hebrews 1: All things are held together by the power of His words!
So when I read all the gospels and I think about the picture of Christ that it paints a few words come to my mind: arrogant, truth, authoritative, uncomfortable, dues, hate, difficult. All these things point to the sword that Jesus describes Himself as. Sharp, harsh, unyielding, uncompromising. Then I go and dig into the Epistles and I see the cross and all its promises.
Ephesians 5:22-33-Sumbission of wives to husbands and of husbands to the church-We are called to die to each other. To place the other above and better than ourselves every day, all day. People here the word submit and they think of a person with no opinion, no say, no impact, but that is so far from the truth. We are called to think of our husband as our lord (little l here not LORD) and we are to submit to him. This does not mean we are a punching bag, but  I am to give 100% of myself to my spouse every second of every day. My thoughts should be on how to please him and give him respect. Not on how I can get what I want, or how I can manipulate him, but be equal to him…how can I give 100% of myself to his happiness, joy, success, love, etc. In return he is called to die for me daily. To put 100% of himself into me…loving me, serving me, seeking my happiness, my joy, my success…..There are no winners except Christ. Our marriage should show Christ as the head. We are both submitting to Christ in a different way. My husband is to be the leader of my home. The final say. The one that rears the children with me as his support system, not the other way around.
22 Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.
25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26 to make her holy, cleansing[a] her by the washing with water through the word, 27 and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. 28 In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.29 After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church— 30 for we are members of his body. 31 “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.”[b] 32 This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. 33 However, each one of you also must love his wifeas he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband

Ephesians 6:1 Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.”
Philippians 2: 1-11-Imitating Christ’s Humility Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.
In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:
Who, being in very nature[a] God,
    did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
rather, he made himself nothing
    by taking the very nature[b] of a servant,
    being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
    he humbled himself
    by becoming obedient to death—
        even death on a cross!
Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
    and gave him the name that is above every name,
10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
    in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
11 and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,
    to the glory of God the Father.”

Colossians 3: 12-21: Instructions for the Christian household 12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.
15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. 16 Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. 17 And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
18 Wives, submit yourselves to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.
19 Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them.
20 Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord.
21 Fathers,[a] do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged.

Ephesians 6: 4-How fathers should treat their children- Fathers,[a] do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.
1 Timothy 3: 1-12-Deacon and elder qualifications-the focus is not on the individual, but on how he is in his family. How does he treat his wife? How does he treat his children? How does he run his household? Gods focus should be our focus!
Titus 2:1-5-Teaching and sharing our faith with those that are older and younger than us. We are not married and become perfect spouse-we learn over the years and people who are older than us can impart wisdom on how to be better spouse-how to love your partner better in ways that we may never think of or that might take us 20 years. Use the wisdom of those that have come before you and have been successful. There is a point in every marriage when you will want to give up….learn how people survived those moments and loved each other through them.
“You, however, must teach what is appropriate to sound doctrine. Teach the older men to be temperate, worthy of respect, self-controlled, and sound in faith, in love and in endurance.
Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.”
1 Peter 3: 1-7-Prayers and heard and hindered by how the husband treats his wife. Wives can have a huge impact by being the example, showing love, respect and submission as Christ taught us to.
Wives, in the same way submit yourselves to your own husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, when they see the purity and reverence of your lives.Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to adorn themselves. They submitted themselves to their own husbands, like Sarah, who obeyed Abraham and called him her lord. You are her daughters if you do what is right and do not give way to fear.
Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers.
I read these and cannot help but think of the cross and all that encompasses Jesus. He was all about service and humility. Thinking of everyone as greater than Himself. Humbling Himself as the perfect example of submission to follow. The King that gave up His life for me deserves my allegiance and my life given up for Him. My picture of Christ changes dramatically when I read the epistles. I think of humility, denial, sacrifice, love, honor, truth, obedience, difficult, uncomfortable an painful…….but worth every moment for my King. Christ gave us the perfect example of husbandry and wifery (yes, I make up my own words) that could be painted.



















Thursday, August 10, 2017

Hello, My Love (aka: A Modern Love Story) (Between Two Worlds Book 1)

Hello, My Love (aka: A Modern Love Story) (Between Two Worlds Book 1)

About the Book:

What would Elizabeth Bennet be like if she had been born today? In this modern-day tale inspired by Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, bright, beautiful law student Elise Halverson looks forward to a promising career. The last thing she needs is to fall in love with well-known playboy Greg Thorpe. Besides, he's engaged to be married.

Greg finds Elise so unlike the women he used to date and he’s deeply intrigued. But distrusting the image she has of him, Elise tries to keep away.

Elise’s parents invite Greg to their frequent dinner parties. There, Greg and Elise butt heads. She’s surprised to find that, behind his rich playboy persona, he’s intelligent and engaging. They can’t help feeling drawn to each other.

The night before his wedding, they give in to their mutual attraction. Although Elise expects nothing more from that night, Greg is in for trouble. His jilted fiancée strikes back, intent on revenge.

Two years later Greg and Elise get a second chance but they find that the way to their happy-ever-after is not so easy. For one, Greg is in for a surprise. Then, his former fiancée comes back and trouble returns to haunt Greg and Elise again.

At the core of this women’s fiction is a literary and realistic romance spiced with a twist of mystery. Hello My Love is Book 1 in the series Between Two Worlds, a family saga about three strong women. In three tales of loss, love, second chances, and finding one’s way, they cope with issues contemporary women face.

My Impressions:
When I first got “Hello, My Love”, I expected the typical romance book with all the fluff and stereotypical language you find in most romance books. Needless to say, this is not your typical romance book. I will admit it did take me some time to adapt to the story and get my mind off what I expected and learn to enjoy what was in front of me. Ultimately this book is not a romance novel, but a journey of self-discovery and learning to listen to what you want, versus what is expected of you.

Greg, is pretty much your standard wealthy, bachelor/playboy personality that is engaged to the typical ultra-beauty, graceful, Lori. Elise is the complete opposite of who Greg saw himself with and yet she challenges him in every way possible, building his attraction for her until it reaches a breaking point. 

The book is well written and takes the reader on a few well developed twists that keep you both loving and hating several of the main characters. Like I said at the beginning, this is a slow moving, intricate, layered book of discovery. If you like contemporary romance books, you will enjoy this one. It’s an easy read that is enjoyable, but pretty sultry too. 

About the Author:
Evy Journey, 2015 SPR (Self-Publishing Review) Independent Woman Author awardee, is a writer, a wannabe artist (since she was nine years old), and a flâneuse (feminine form of flâneur). Her pretensions to being a flâneuse means she wishes she lives in Paris where people have perfected the art of aimless roaming. She’s visited Paris, even lived there a few times as a transient; that is, she stayed from two to six months.

She’s a writer because beautiful prose seduces her and existential angst continues to plague her even though such preoccupations have gone out of fashion. She takes occasional refuge by invoking the spirit of Jane Austen and spinning tales of love, loss, and finding one’s way—stories into which she weaves mystery or intrigue. Then, she sets them in various locales.

In a previous life, armed with a Ph.D. and fascinated by the psyche, she researched and shepherded the development of mental health programs. And wrote like an academic. Not a good thing if you want to sound like a normal person. So, in 2012, she began to write fiction (mostly happy fiction) as an antidote.

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from PumpUpYourBooks in exchange for my honest review, which I have given.