powerful

SARAH PART 1 – WARRIOR WIFE

Live with the complete confidence toward God that He will take all things in your marriage and work them together for good.  (Rom 8:28)

Heroines inspire greatness in us, we love them.  Especially ones that are spotlighted in our visible world.  Think: Joan of Arcadia, and Leigh Anne Tuohy in The Blind Side.  Even in fiction what woman doesn’t admire Eugenia ‘Skeeter’ Phelan, in The Help.

But in Sarah, we find a different kind of heroine.

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She possessed all the heroic traits, she was:  Tenacious, Daring, Courageous, and Bold, yet they were funnelled in a different direction.  The problem we have with this heroine is that she’s very counter-cultural.

Sarah calls wives to a subversive fight that is played out on an unseen battlefield; her war is in the spiritual realm.  Her success had effects that not only reached beyond the circumstances she was experiencing in her own marriage but also into the generations of her lineage that would give us our Saviour.  Talk about the butterfly effect.  Where would Abraham have landed if she had responded, No, you do this yourself, I won’t help you.  What about the Nation of Israel; what about US!

I love that the complete conversation between Abraham and Sarah wasn’t recorded … some things between a husband and wife are just too intimate for sharing.  Did she argue or belittle Abraham because of his fear?  I doubt that she did.  I think Abraham knew his wife and he knew he could be vulnerable with her.  Notice he didn’t ORDER her to obey …. He requested it.  How much he must have trusted her to make this request.

Tenacious and Daring

Sarah lived her life towards what God would do.  She was a tenacious hunter of demons.  Abraham asked her to trade her safety and well-being for his own.  This takes a daring woman.  Satan came at her through the weakness in Abraham’s flesh:  his fear.

Courageous

Sarah had no guarantee of what was in her future, all she knew was that her husband was asking for her courage.  And in Sarah’s corner we have …

No church

No 10 commandments

No Bible

No spiritual books

No protection

Just her, God and a story handed down from 20 generations ago.  Talk about a determination of faith!

Boldness

Paul talks about times of abasing and abounding, surely this type of struggle in marriage would be one of abasing.  Satan threw his best shot at her and instead of cowering in a victim mentality or protesting about how sinful Abraham’s fear was, she boldly turned, squared herself against Satan and respond positively to Abraham’s request:  HOOYAH

Isn’t she amazing?  I can’t help but get the feeling that Sarah calls to us from the past saying:

“Look at me.  I am a warrior and am ready!”

 

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POSSESSION (part 3) Courage to Possess

Possession Introduction here.  Possession (part 2) here.

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Who am I listening to?

Obstacles are about pushing past fear, and Satan knows this.  That’s why he spends so much time pushing the obstacle to block the blessing.  He knows that the more his voice focuses on the problem of the obstacle, the better chance he has of getting us to fold in fear of that obstacle.  It is simply a matter of time.  But, if we choose faith in  God rather than fear of  the obstacle, we become conquerors instead of victims.

Victim:  Fear of the obstacle

Fear is a parasite that feeds on your strength and releases toxin into your soul.  This toxin clouds your mind so you can’t think straight, and it has one purpose:  to mess with your emotions so that you end up with a victim mentality.
The Israelites learned about fear the hard way, remember?  The only ones who actually made it into Canaan were Joshua and Caleb … all the faithless complainers died (Numbers 13/14).  They were unable to conquer because they listened to the wrong counsel – the victims’ counsel.  It’s easy to recognize a victim mentality because their words always diminish.  The scouts themselves were terrified and the only way they could get the Israelites to embrace victim mentality was to convince them of just how impossible it would be to possess Canaan.  So, they gave a report that would distort the nation’s view of God’s power … the power that would have freed them to conquer as they chose obedience to God’s plan. Listen to the negative words that the spies used to cultivate fear instead of faith:

We can’t attack those people;

they’re way stronger than we are. […]

We scouted out the land from one end to the other—it’s a land that swallows people whole.

Everybody we saw was huge.

Why, we even saw the Nephilim giants.

Alongside them we felt like grasshoppers.

And they looked down on us as if we were grasshoppers.”

(Numbers 13:31-33)

 

This report was not only false – as it was directly opposite to what God had told them – but it was also malicious and designed to injure His reputation in the eyes of everyone.  The scouts slowly glided through the congregation of Israel whispering secretly to rally everyone against Joshua and Caleb.  It wasn’t that they lied, per se, they just capitalized on only one aspect of the situation.  It was slick and Satan’s fingerprint is all over it:  a lie by omission.  They told the truth, just not the whole truth.

Who am I listening to and what are they saying?

Conqueror:  Faith in God

Conquerors are people like David, Jesus and Peter. They have a power perspective not a victim view.  Goliath was a giant but David didn’t focus on that.  There were only a few fish and some bread, not enough for all the people, but Jesus didn’t focus on that.  Walk on water?  Impossible!  But Peter didn’t focus on that. (At least, not at first)  In Peter we see both choices stacked back to back.  At first he is fully engaged in the power perspective:

“Lord, if it is [really] You, Command me to come to You on the water. […] So Peter got out of the boat, and walked on the water.

But then his focus shifts to the victim view:

But then he saw [the effects of] the wind, he was frightened and began to sink […].”

Shifting our focus from faith to fear will always diminish us to failure.
Caleb displayed a power perspective by challenging the Israelites to ignore the spies, “Don’t listen to these guys, it doesn’t matter what the obstacles are, whether we are grasshoppers or not, it’s about who God is!  You are focusing on the wrong thing!  If we remember God and choose His promise … we are able.”   Caleb didn’t deny the truth of who or what the obstacles were, but concentrated on God’s supernatural ability instead of human strength.

Wrap up 

quote in textAll marriages face obstacles. Some are small and benign, and perhaps even laughable after some time has passed; and some are great offences that require everything you have in your soul.  It’s the greatest offences that bring greatest temptation to have our focus snatched away from the blessing and centered on the obstacle.
Listen to the voice you are hearing.  Really listen.  What does it say?
Does it say that your land of milk & honey is not possible because the obstacles and the giants are too big for you to conquer?  … too big for God to conquer?  After you listen to the voices is your attention drawn to the obstacle rather than God’s power and blessing?  How about the intent behind the voice?  Does it sound like the scouts – hopeless, weak and giving up in fear?  Or, does it sound like Caleb’s words – full of hope, strength and promise?
In the final analysis we need to silence the voices of the spies by listening to a Caleb; it is a voice that pushes through feelings of fear, with faith in God.  It says:  Don’t be afraid (John 14:27).  You will be more than OK (Rom 8:37).  Never, never,  NEVER give up. (ok, that one was Winston Churchill, but I believe he paraphrased it from Heb 13:5)

Who am I listening to

and are they a Caleb

encouraging me to courageously possess my land?!

A Journey of 365 Days

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Chris over at Forgiven Wife invited me to share a little deeper regarding a comment in which I had spoken of a 365 Day Journey. Today’s post is that amplification. In her email she wrote something I want to share: The process of change can seem an insurmountable hurdle […]”

This is where I want to jump off from to start.

Indeed it was insurmountable. Although I knew what God had showed me to do, I had no idea how He was going to change me or what I was going to be like at the end of the journey; this was flying blind for sure. I only knew for sure where I was: It was time for something to change. Our marriage had been ravaged; beaten up and bleeding… dying; a barely recognizable corpse. A sorry sight for representation of Christ and His church. Anais Nin captured my day when she wrote, “And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”

 

To continue reading click to The Forgiven Wife.

 

robyn Sig

Are You Timid & Afraid?

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What storm are you encountering … right now … at this very moment?  When your marriage boat set sail on it’s journey everything was on a nice even keel; but now it’s anything but ‘smooth sailin’ and you have no idea where all the rough waters came from.

Does this present storm have you wanting to turn and run away in fear?  How would you respond to Jesus as He asks you:

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The disciples were clambering in a panic from their emotions.  When crisis brings chop into our marriages I think we do the same thing, we end up paralyzed from our emotions and are faced with a huge temptation to focus on the circumstances and all the bad that could happen instead of all the power God has.

Isn’t this always our first wail to God?

make it stop  ~  make it go away  ~  make it be over

– always from our emotions.

I’m like one of the disciples, my default is to scramble to wake up Jesus before it gets too bad … before it gets too tough.  What I’m really asking God to do is to change my circumstances.  The disciples had already witnessed Jesus perform 3 miracles, yet when the storm hit, they still didn’t trust.  I think this is why Jesus was agitated with them and why He calls this “little” faith.  The answer isn’t in God changing the people around us or the circumstances we’re in (as we often ask Him to do), but in Christ alone.  Diligently trusting.  Diligently staying and standing, trusting that God will finish what He started.

~ Diligence is definitely the key  ~

In 2 Peter 1, Peter lays out the track that will lead to a bigger faith that is the close intimate relationship Jesus is looking to have with us.  For this very reason, adding your diligence [to the divine promises], employ every effort in exercising your faith to develop virtue …

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Without diligence faith will stay “little”.  Changed circumstances won’t grow you closer to Jesus.  All this does is keep your faith muscles weak from lack of exercise, which puts you further away from intimate knowledge of Jesus and authentic fellowship with Him. (2 Peter 1:5-8)

Then, when you find your marriage in the middle of a terrible storm, your faith isn’t big enough to allow you the peace needed to stay with it.  Don’t forget, Jesus was asleep during the storm.

Circumstances of the storm

  1. They were fisherman accustom to being on all kinds of water; they knew storms – this one was bad.
  2. They didn’t plan it, or plan for it.  Zero control over it.  And no help from anyone else.
  3. Their response revealed where their faith really was.  Nothing like a good surprise storm to reveal your true level of courage on the open water.

They wanted Jesus to change the circumstances they were in; for Him to stop the storm and for it to be all over.  But Jesus wanted to show them a different way to get on the other side of it.  He wanted them to ride-out the storm by conquering through faith in Him.

Circumstances of a storm in marriage

  1. It doesn’t matter how well you think you know your spouse, people are not static.  We are all healing, growing and changing.  We are all capable of sin because we are sinners.
  2. Offences come in all kinds of shapes, sizes and colours.  We have no control over how Satan is going to try and divide a marriage.  You can guarantee he’s not going to be upfront … he hides and pushes from behind and it feels like you are capsizing.
  3. Nothing like a good spur of the moment crisis to reveal where you really are in your faith.  How I respond to offence will show me just how much of my heart has been molded into the image of Christ.

How do you pray for your spouse when your marriage is confronted with crisis?  This is when our true character of faith emerges.  No rote responses.  No practice runs or plans of eloquent words.

There’s really only 2 choices:

  • Fear:  Pray for the circumstances to change, asking God to remove our hardship and make it easy so that we don’t have to exercise faith.  We want God to take away free choice and change those around us and what they are doing.
  • Faith:  We boldly stand in the confidence that comes from a bigger faith, diligently trusting as God shapes us into conquerors.

Similar to worry, which literally divides your strength in half, fear will eat away at the faith that is needed to sustain you through a storm in your marriage.  It will lead you by the nose as a blind coward that is timid and afraid.  Diligence in faith will drive you to where the real power is:  closer to Christ.

The next time you and your spouse find your placid pond whipped into a frenzy of a storm, try asking yourself:  What am I going to focus on, the storm or Jesus.  It takes work and training to resist the temptation to rush to Jesus with that prayer of, “change everything else,” instead of, “with Your power, change me.”

Martin Luther King, Jr.

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Confession:  In my blogging sometimes I’m more concerned about the messenger (me) than the message (God) … yuk, I know.  Yesterday I had prepared a short post in honour of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday.  I chickened out.  I was worried that people would think I was trying to capitalize on the assassination of a great man, instead of the fact that his teachings can have a profound effect on your life, and moreover in your marriage, if you’ll take to heart what he says.

Foolish, I know.  First, not trusting God – big NoNo there.  But also you readers – I didn’t assume the best in your hearts and for that I’m sorry.

Jan 20/14 score:

Satan ONE / Robyn ZERO

God, “Got my number.”  You know when you are reading your Bible and you can feel that conviction, deep down inside of you?  Well today, I knew.  I knew that God knew – and He knew that I knew, He knew.

Now am I trying to win the favour of men, or of God?  Do I seek to please men?  If I were still seeking popularity with men, I should not be a bond servant of Christ (the Messiah). -Gal 1:10

SO for today, Jan 21/14, “Thank You Lord for Your mercy being new EVERY day and the opportunities to come back around and do it right!”  This is the post I prepared yesterday, may it bless your life and marriage!

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January 20th marks the birth of Martin Luther King, Jr.  I know his main message is that of a civil rights activist but for me, his words became very personal in my marriage.

He talked his message.  He walked his message.  He died for his message.  This is what Christ did.

… and it’s what you and I are called to do.  When we look beyond ourselves and the wants and needs of our flesh, that love and forgiveness that Martin Luther King, Jr. lived , taught and died for will start to trickle into our marriages.  The more we focus on Christ’s life and actions the more we’ll be able to really grasp what it means to die for a cause greater than yourself, just like Martin Luther King, Jr. did.  Before long God will turn that trickle of love into a tidal wave.

MartinLutherKingJr

My mouth … my marriage ~ June 10, 2013

aaaaPRAYER

Thank you Lord that You are faithful and that I can depend on You.  Thank you for calling me into participation with Your Son.

I pray that there will not be just harmony in our marriage, but Your harmony, the one that is perfect harmony.  Make our words in agreement so there will be no division between us.  Build a common understanding between my husband and me in our opinions and judgments.

Father, thank You for my husband.  You hold all things together including our marriage.  Thank You for demonstrating how important our unity and harmony is through Christ’s life and bring to my memory any grievances between us.  Keep us in unity as one so that we will not be divided and our house will not fall; but by Your strength and power we will continue to stand.  Lead us not into temptation and guard both our hearts to be aware of anything that would seek to divide what You have put together.  Amen!

Also Lord, I see that a few of the blogs I follow are posting on sex, I’ll take this as a que from You and pray for extra and abundant blessings on those marriages that are seeking a vigorous and dynamic bedroom life!  First, THANK YOU Lord, what a gift.  I pray that You keep our desire for sex equal and strong between my husband and I.  Build both of us up together to continue to compliment each other!  God, don’t let our bedroom ever become stale or boring but filled with extreme pleasure and always wanting more; make us hungry for each other.  Build us closer and closer bringing more and more vulnerability and the freedom that comes with it.  Continue to use the area of sex to train us both in selfless giving.

 

Reference

1 Corinthians 1:9-10

Matthew 5:22-24

Matthew 12:25

No references for the sex prayer that was just spontaneous.

 

My mouth … my marriage ~ May 29, 2013

aaaaPRAYER

My Father in heaven, remind me that You see all of the thoughts in my heart and the words in my mouth.  Show me Lord, if all the words about my husband were stacked up against each other which would have more power at the end of the week:  my negative words or my positive words.

Thank you for choosing me before the foundation of the world to be shaped in the likeness of Jesus Christ.  Forgive me when I fight You on this and help me to accept that whatever I find myself in – You already know.  Help me take comfort in Your foreknowledge and trust that all things – everything will work to and for Your glory and what is good for me.

I want to work with You Lord, please remind me that the consequence of my words will either keep me trapped or lead me out of darkness into a deeper knowledge of You.  Thank You for giving me the right to choose life or death, teach me to choose life in my words.  Amen!

 

 

 

 

Reference

Psalm 19:14

2 Corinthians 3:18

Ephesians 1:4-5

Romans 8:28-29

2 Peter 1:8-9

Deuteronomy 30:14-15