“’People will insult you and hurt you. They will lie and say all kinds of evil things about you because you follow me. But when they do, you will be blessed. Rejoice and be glad, because you have a great reward waiting for you in heaven. People did the same evil things to the prophets who lived before you.'”- Matthew 5:11 – 12
“This is my prayer for you: that your love will grow more and more; that you will have knowledge and understanding with your love; that you will see the difference between good and bad and will choose the good; that you will be pure and without wrong for the coming of Christ;” – Philippians 1:9 – 10
Sometimes the worship forest is not seen through the praise trees. Seems a weird concept, but stay with me. We praise God. Yay! We should. He is so worthy! He is incredible, so much we can not even fathom it. However, we often can miss the fullness of a lifestyle of worship to God by thinking all that is involved is bunches of praise. It is far more than that. Why? How can this be? Praising God is one aspect of putting Him first in life and walking worthy of His generous gifts and blessings to us- from life itself to an amazing view of nature to someone smiling or holding the door for us. Living worthy of that goes well beyond praising the Praiseworthy One but also obeying Him. Ouch. Really? Yep. We have to not just stay high on the mountain of praise and meander down to the valleys to serve the unserved and love the unloved to show them what they do not see of our Savior through their own misfortunes. Worship involves all that as well as the praise. The forest of worship is a higher calling than tending the trees of praise. Yes, the trees are vital but not everything. We must take what we know of God and our Savior Jesus Christ to a world that needs to see that truth through their own distractions. We must be God to them. That is worship and I aspire to a lift of worship and not just of praise. If we all adopted that desire and acted on it, the world would be changed yet again.
“All who do evil hate the light and will not come to the light, because it will show all the evil things they do. But those who follow the true way come to the light, and it shows that the things they do were done through God.” – John 3:20 – 21
What has worked for me to make my marriage successful and happy is the following list. You may have your own, but this is mine, and I assure you it has been hard earned but tremendously enjoyed once fiduredout and implemented. Here is the list:
1. Choose to become in the closest relationship possible with God. Read the Bible, pray, listen to and watch good teachers, make close friendships with Godly women you respect etc. This is the most important thing ever and works for success in life even if unmarried.
2. Choose to allow your spouse to be imperfect. If they are in sin, point out the sin by explaining its effects on you and the relationship and then let it go. This is enormous. Realize you are not perfect either and so choose to be imperfect together. Work on yourself but realize you are the only one you can ever change.
3. Pray for you and your spouse and your marriage. God can change hearts where we can not but only if the other person allows Him to. You can not push a rope so put the rope down. Pray and then let it go.
4. Forgive every time even if unasked. You are forgiven by God as you humbly ask Him to forgive you every time. You forgive because as we forgive is how we will be forgiven and we want to be forgiven. It is a gift that gives back. Just do it.
5. Remember that you love, honor and cherish your spouse. God gave this person to you. Treasure that. Times will be hard but there are soft times too. Value those moments and really appreciate the curious wonder that is your spouse. Appreciate their Creator through them. Choose to love.
6. Repeat one through five.
You are welcome. It works. Praise God it works!