Thoughts on Marriage at Year 25

This year my husband and I celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary. I shared some things I had learned about marriage at year Seventeen, Twenty, and Twenty-two. Here are twelve more things I would add to the list.

When your spouse sins against you, remember that you too are a sinner and have sinned. There is no such thing as a little sin. Sin is sin and God views it the same. Just as God has forgiven us, so we should in turn forgive others. The parable of the servant who was forgiven his great debt, but then turned on the servant who owed him a smaller debt is a reminder of this truth (Matthew 18:23-35).

Thinking of others as more important than ourselves. Marriage isn't about me and having my needs met. Marriage gives us an opportunity to honor God by serving our spouse. Don't begrudge meeting your spouse's needs. In serving your spouse, you are serving God.

Unmet expectations. Often we focus on how our needs aren't being met in the way we desire. But if we stop and t…

Being Rebuilt

The Lord appeared to us in the past, saying: 'I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness. I will build you up again, and you. . . will be rebuilt." -Jeremiah 31:3-4
Some events in life might compare to a hammer tap; others feel like a wrecking ball. These are times when it seems the very walls and structures of life have collapsed, and nothing will ever be the same. It may be a health reversal, the loss of a child or spouse, or a sudden financial setback. How are we to live among such ruins, when everything familiar has changed? Jeremiah 31:3-4 offers us hope. God promises Israel - and us - that He will work among the ruins, and do so with loving-kindness. Life may never look as it once did, and the landscape may be changed, but if God is behind the reconstruction, He will bring beauty and purpose where you thought you would never see it again.

Lord Jesus, help me not to spend the rest of my days looking over my shoulder, remembering w…

Be Salty

"You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot." -Matthew 5:13
As followers of Jesus, we are a salty preservative in our culture, infusing godly values into life around us. We've been given the work of restraining evil and advancing good. And just as salt brings out the flavor in food, don't forget to "season" your conversations with Christ when people ask the reason for the hope that you have.

Lord, please don't let me lose my flavor, my edge. You've called me to be salty, to have a distinctive tang and taste that stands our from the empty, tasteless values of the culture. Please don't allow the distractions and trials of my life to wash me out and dilute my testimony. Help me to be the salt You've called me to be.

-From A Spectacle of Glory by Joni Eareckson Tada; p. 71

Perfect Peace

The fruit of that righteousness will be peace; its effect will be quietness and confidence forever. -Isaiah 32:17
The best remedy for pain is one that reduces stress and anxious feelings. Nothing quiets pain better than a body at rest and a soul at peace. God's Word says this will be the result when you pursue right living. Keep in step with the Spirit, practice genuine gratitude, keep the door to prayer cracked open, get into your Bible, and give God's love to others. In short, seek out God and His ways, and the effect will be quietness of mind, heart, body and soul.

-From A Spectacle of Glory by Joni Eareckson Tada; p. 68

All Things

Paul's words seem like a sweet, cool breeze on a sweltering afternoon: "We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose." But what about those two wonderful, perplexing words all things? In his second letter to the Corinthians, Paul lists some of the experiences he includes under that heading. Severe floggings. Staring death in the face. Bloody lashings with a whip. Brutal beatings with rods. Terrifying shipwrecks. Danger from bandits. Heartaches over betrayals and false believers. Exposure, exhaustion, hunger, and thirst (2 Corinthians 11:23-28). And the list goes on.

Most of us could say that our problems pale in light of Paul's list. Yet he could still write, "I know that in all things God works for my good." What's keeping you from believing in God's goodness right now, in the midst of your difficulties, pressures, and disappointments?

Lord, I know that if You worked everyth…

A Call to Holiness More Than Happiness

I recently read Gary Thomas' book Sacred Marriage. The premise of his book is how marriage can help us to deepen our relationship with God. When I read a book like this, I like to journal about it to help me remember what I've read. Here I've written some of the points that stood out to me the most. These barely scratch the surface of what Gary Thomas included in his book, so I definitely encourage you to read it for yourself.

Chapter 1: Marriage is intended to make us holy more than to make us happy. Marriage can help us to grow in our service, obedience, character, pursuit and love of God. It forces us to face character issues we would never have otherwise. Marriage calls us to a new and selfless life.

Chapter 2: Marriage points us to true fulfillment. It helps us draw meaning, purpose and fulfillment from God. If our marriage relationship is right, we won't make severe demands on marriage asking one another to compensate for spiritual emptiness. We experience dissatis…

God's Gifts

"Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God's grace in its various forms." -1 Peter 4:10
Every believer, including children, has at least one spiritual gift (see 1 Corinthians 12:7). Unfortunately, many Christians never identify their spiritual gifts and simply live life as a spectator rather than a participant. God desires His church to be active and growing, with each believer playing an important part in its effective worship and work. Understanding your gifts, therefore, will help you find the best way to serve and eliminate frustrations over trying to do things the way someone else does. Not only will the church be strengthened and unified, but you'll also discover that spiritual gifts are really just Jesus working through your life as you carry on His ministry.

Do you know your spiritual gift(s) in the Lord? As you read Romans 12:3-9, ask God to reveal which gifts He wants to use through your life. Discov…