Separate is Good

From the beginning, God has called for light to be separate from darkness:

“God saw that the light was good and He affirmed and sustained it; and God separated the light from the darkness.”                                 – Genesis 1:4

“For once you were darkness, but now you are Light in the Lord; walk as children of Light:”                                                                             – Ephesians 5:8

As we walk with the Lord and allow Him to change us, we should also allow Him to separate us.  For some reason as Christians we don’t always anticipate the changes that are to come as we walk with Him, but His Word makes it plain:

“Do not participate in the worthless and unproductive deeds of darkness, but instead expose them [by exemplifying personal integrity, moral courage, and godly character];” – Ephesians 5:11

Don’t believe that something is wrong with you because you are separated.  Instead, recognize the blessing and responsibility that comes along with being separated as children of light.  Indeed, it may sometimes appear that you are missing out, but remember that there is much more than meets the natural eye.

Being separated is good.  God separates for His good plans and purposes.  Expect to be separated as you continue to grow in Christ, and realize that most people can’t handle being separated- they need to be with the crowds to feel secure.  

People that forfeit walking with God in exchange for acceptance of the crowds only receive what the crowd can offer.  Don’t shortchange yourself.  As mere humans we’re all in need of something.  Why forfeit the many blessings of the Lord for a temporary sense of security from the crowd?

I love this:

“Am I now trying to win the favor and approval of men, or of God?  Or am I seeking to please someone?  If I were still trying to be popular with men, I would not be a bond servant of Christ.”  – Galatians 1:10

The thing is, most people are not around us because of who we are, but rather they are around us because of what we do.  There have been few people that have stayed close to me as I’ve gone through various changes in my life.  Most people are around us because we are doing what they do.  

Grow beyond needing to be with the crowd.  Grow without fear of being different from those around you.  Don’t settle and conform.  You can do so much more, you can go so much further if you get comfortable being separated.

Be separate.  Separate is good.

Margo 

Will you follow Christ at all costs?

How far are you willing to go for Christ?

Being a follower of Christ, or being a Christian, comes along with much more than prosperity and “name it and claim it.”  Certainly, God is the best ever gift-giver, but walking with Him is about much more than walking in prosperity.

Walking with Christ comes with a lot of pain, rejection, and hurts.  But if we take the time to study Him, His life, and His Word then we can receive it much easier.  He told us out of his own mouth:

“If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you.  If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.”  – John 15:18-19

We must grow to a point of spiritual maturity to expect to be hated, persecuted, and misunderstood.  Jesus was perfect and He experienced persecution.  Why do we think we can avoid it?  His life is to be an encouragement to us.  He handled it and still walked in love as a way to show us how to also handle it.

Walk in love.

Don’t fight back.  Don’t defend yourself.  Don’t even worry about your reputation.

Just follow Christ.

“Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for him: fret not thyself because of him who prospereth in his way, because of the man who bringeth wicked devices to pass.  Cease from anger, and forsake wrath: fret not thyself in any wise to do evil.  For evildoers shall be cut off: but those that wait upon the Lord, they shall inherit the earth.”  – Psalm 37:7-9

We live in a world full of distractions.  There will always be something trying to pull us from Christ, but Christ is what we need most.  Nothing, nothing compares to walking closely with Him. 

Who knows the life that we can live if we let go of everything else and go after Him?

But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.”  – I Corinthians 2:9

So you must ask yourself: Will I follow Christ at all costs or do what everyone else around me is doing?

I have decided that I’m going to live my life.  My life.  Trusting Christ, following Him, keeping my eyes on Him.  He is so much better than anything else this world can offer me.  

I’m not perfect, but I am following Christ no matter the cost.

“Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it to you.”  – John 15:16

Margo

MARRIAGE: 2 YEARS IN

As we celebrate 2 years of marriage today, I pray that I’m able to share from my experience in a way that will encourage you, inspire you, and help you to view marriage in a healthy way.  I can’t discuss marriage without discussing God because God designed marriage.  Even though we live in a world that doesn’t give God the credit and praise that He deserves, I have to give Him all the credit.  It is because of God that I am married and it is because of God that I will stay married.  Why?  Because God has established marriage.  We must remain in God in order to even view marriage the right way and we must remain in Him in order to protect the marriage that He so beautifully designed.

Marriage is growth.  We say that marriage is work, and it is, but that work equates to growth.  I’m in awe at the many ways that God has grown both me and my husband in various ways.  As you work at it, it gets stronger, and things get easier.  Things that were once hard are now easy, things that would cause frustrations are not even relevant.  Why?  Because we work at it and we grow, and our marriage is strengthened.

Marriage is of God.  The decision to marry can be based on nothing but the leading of God.  Before you say I do, you must even push your feelings to the side.  Feelings are fickle and so inconsistent.  You must seek the wise, all-knowing, all-powerful God in order to know His will.  Follow His leading.  God knows best and He knows and wants what’s best for us.  Don’t depend on anything but God in order to decide when, who, and if you should even marry.  Marriage is not always easy,  but when you are in the will of God, nothing can stand against you.  Though weapons may form, they will never prosper if you are doing what God would have you to do.  Trust and follow God above everything else.

“No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn.  This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and their righteousness is of me, saith the Lord.”  – Isaiah 54:17

Marriage is a mirror.  Marriage will show you yourself in ways you will never expect!  There is more wrong with you than you think.  If you think your spouse is always wrong and you are always right then you are deceiving yourself, and it is so easy to lie to yourself.  Resist it.  You must humbly look in the mirror and deal with what you see.  The key is loving each other through the shortcomings.  No one is perfect and never will be, and one spouse is no better than the other.  We are both sinners in need of grace.

“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit.  Rather, in humility value others above yourselves.”  – Philippians 2:3

Marriage is humbling.  Marriage strips you of your independence, your individual thoughts, desires, and plans.  You no longer do as you please, you are now joined with another whom you must consider.  That is humbling, but it is also gratifying.  Just as you are letting go of things to join with another, your spouse is doing the same, and when two people let everything else go and grab on to the Lord and each other it is so beautiful.  It brings an intimacy like no other.  In other words, we’re all we have.  Everything else is extra.  You can’t feel as if your spouse completes you, because you should have been healthy and complete with God before marrying, but you should feel content with your spouse.  A nothing else matters, come what may attitude.

“Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.”  – Philippians 4:11

Marriage is progressive.  God is progressive so the married couple that remains in God will progress in their marriage.  God is far from stagnant and mediocre, therefore, those who walk with Him will be far from stagnant and mediocre.  We should always be working on something in our marriage, and it’s much more important to focus on the spiritual blessings than the physical blessings.  The spiritual will prepare you for the physical.  For example, we should not always be praying for more money or more material items, but instead we should be praying that God grows us up into Christ in every way.  As we continue to grow in Christ we will progress in every other area of our lives.  Our marriage will progress as we progress in our relationship with God.

Marriage is a blessing.  2 years in and I already recognize that my marriage is one of the greatest blessings that I have ever received.  If you prepare yourself for marriage, and walk closely with God in order to protect your marriage, your marriage will bless you in ways that you can’t imagine.

I can honestly admit that within these 2 years of marriage, I’ve felt God’s presence covering us, protecting us, and providing for us since day 1.  I know that He is pleased with us and although the marriage faces attacks in various ways, God has allowed me to see that while others fight against marriage, He fights for marriage.

“The Lord God said, ‘It is not good for the man to be alone.  I will make a helper suitable for him.”  – Genesis 2:18

 

Forgiving is growing

Forgiving those that hurt us is one of the hardest things we have to do in life.  All of us have experienced hurts, yet very few of us truly forgive.  Forgiveness is not easy, but it is so worth it.

1. Forgiving is growing.  In order to forgive you must grow.  Forgiveness will not occur on its own- it is an intentional effort that we must make.  We must grow past our feelings, our hurts, and our natural tendencies.  In order to forgive we must grow.

2. Forgiving is freeing.  Until we forgive we are carrying our hurts around with us.  We wonder why we can’t get very far in life, why our emotions are unhealthy, and why we’re angry.  It’s because we’re toting stuff that can only weigh us down.  Unforgiveness weighs us down. And it won’t let us get very far and surely not very fast, so we will be going nowhere fast.  Forgiveness frees you up, it lightens your load.  Forgiveness frees you so you are able to accomplish all that God has planned for you to accomplish.  Don’t let unforgiveness hold you back.

3. Forgiving is restoring. To forgive is to restore.  Forgiveness restores relationships- it takes away the resentment and anger.  Now, forgiving doesn’t equate to obligation.  Just because you forgive doesn’t mean that you are obligated to walk intimately with someone.  That may come, but forgiving restores the relationship so you are not consumed with the hurt.  Keep in mind that wisdom as well as love comes from God, so as you forgive use wisdom to govern all of your relationships- especially intimate ones.

4. Forgiving is maturing. The weak are unable to forgive.  It takes strength and maturity to forgive, so as you forgive know that you are maturing.  You have enough maturity to even initiate forgiveness, and will continue to mature as you continue to walk through the process of forgiving.  The immature have no desire to forgive.  Know that your ability to forgive correlates with your maturity and growth.  Forgiving is maturing.

5. Forgiving is necessary. If we don’t learn how to forgive we will end up toting a lot of unsettled issues in our heart.  Those heart issues will prevent us from loving, trusting, and growing.  Don’t let unforgiveness prevent you from living your best life. Hurts are apart of life, which is why forgiveness is so necessary. 

Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.”  – Romans 12:21

Consider Jesus: He lived a perfect life.  He came to Earth in humility and love and yet He was persecuted, rejected, and crucified.  He was rejected because of the insecurities in the hearts of men, but He didn’t let that stop Him- He kept on loving.  He went to the cross in love.  Ministering to hearts all along the way.

What do you need to let go of?  Don’t let anything stop you from loving.  Don’t let anything stop you from fulfilling the plans that God has for your life.  Don’t let anything stop you from forgiving.

“Bless them which persecute you: bless, and curse not.” – Romans 12: 14

All Because of Jesus

I have everything I need because Jesus is my Shepherd  (Psalm 23:1).

I have been forgiven of all my sins because Jesus died on the cross (I Peter 3:18).

I’m beautiful because He has given me beauty for ashes (Isaiah 61:3).

I’m gracious because He is gracious toward me (John 13:34).

I love because He first loved me (Romans 5:8).

I forgive because I have been forgiven (Ephesians 4:32).

I don’t get vengeance because He said vengeance is His (Romans 12:19).

I don’t worry about a thing because He said pray about it all (I Thessalonians 5:17).

I give because then I receive (Luke 6:38).

I am patient because everything will work out for my good (Romans 8:28)

I trust because I know His Word is true (Psalm 19:7).

I cry because when I am weak then I am strong  (II Corinthians 12:10).

I’m transparent because I know we’ve all sinned and fallen short (Romans 3:23).

I’m thankful because things have been worse (James 1:2).

I’m hopeful because I know He has good plans for me (Jeremiah 29:11).

I enjoy this day because tomorrow will have its own set of problems  (Matthew 6:34).

I am everything I am because He first saved me (Ephesians 2:8).

I’m obedient to Him because I am His sheep (John 10:27).

Because of the cross I can live life more abundantly (John 10:10).

It’s all because of His grace and loving-kindness toward me. And for that I am grateful.

What a blessed Resurrection Sunday.

Love,

Margo

MARRIAGE: Be who he needs

There is a big difference in being a woman that a man wants and being a woman that a man needs.  If your aim is to be a wife then be confident in being the woman that he needs.  Even though they don’t always tell us, men know in their heart if we are the woman that they want right now vs. the woman that they need.  Most men enjoy being with the woman that they want until they take the huge step of going after what they need- as opposed to what they want.

What we want and what we need are sometimes two very different things, and when it comes to marriage it’s about making a decision to go after what you need as opposed to what you want.  Our wants so often can lead us astray.  We all have times in our life when we want what’s not good for us.  That should be a season, not a lifestyle.  Living a life based on wants won’t bring back the best results in the long run.

Life is about recognizing what we need and making wise decisions to go after it.  We have to grow to a point of not living a life based on wants, and we certainly have to grow past how we feel.  Feelings can be so misleading & they change constantly.  Feelings are unstable and we certainly can’t depend solely on them when it comes to taking the step into marriage.

For me personally, I remember thinking about being old and alone.  I don’t think we’re meant to be alone & I didn’t want that to be my story.  In my youth I sure didn’t need a man- I was INDEPENDENT.  But I knew there would come a time when I would need to consider more.  What do you need to consider?  We are all different and we all have different things to consider.  

Regardless of your situation, take the time to consider what you need as opposed to what you want.

As a woman, don’t sell yourself short and be what he wants right now because the time will come when he will grow and decide to take that step towards what he needs.  

Are you what he needs?  

Be the woman that he needs not what he wants.  Being the needed one is much more valuable.

Wrote with Love,

Margo