Deep Expression: Living complete

“May the Lord lead your hearts into a full understanding and expression of the love of God and the patient endurance that comes from Christ.” 2 Thessalonians 3:5 NLT

My readings today came, not out of one of my devotional/reading plans, but out of the “scripture of the day” on my app. I sat down at the coffee shop, opened up my bible app and there it was. 1 scripture of encouragement. But it was the simplicity of the three-letter word that caught my eye.

“and”

Paul, the writer of this letter to the church in Thessalonica, was trying to convey there is a responsibility with the love of God. It is not either “full understanding” or “expression” but both. They need each other; they are incomplete without the other.

Let me explain my thoughts…

A full understanding is realized when it is expressed. And expression is deepened by a greater understanding.  I think of it this way: You can eat all the protein you want, but without a workout, you may bulk up but not in the way you’d want. On the other side of that, you can have all of the fitness classes and patterns, but if you don’t eat right (or at all), then your fitness will be shallow at best.

Unfortunately I’ve met people who’ve only chosen 1 part of this. I either hear about how deep they are or how active they are.  They’ve chosen to put everything into one part and walk away from the other. The pride displayed is nothing more than an overcompensation for the guilt of not developing the other part.

But the person who lives in both sides has no room for pride to drive them. You learn then you live; you’re living is derived from your learning. It’s like a children’s song that I used to sing called, “Deep and Wide.” You need both. You must deepen yourself with understanding AND you must put it into practice. The world you live in needs you to do both. To leave people with just an understanding that you are a “Christian” is not enough. There needs to be a full expression of the person and character of Jesus.

What does that look like in your community? How does that shape your work day? How does that shape your marriage? Your family?

What next steps can take to develop the side/part of this that, perhaps, you struggle with? What can you do today to deepen your understanding of the heart of God? How can you express clearly what you’ve received from God?

My prayer over myself and you is this: Lord, lead our hearts into a full understanding and expression of love in the places and homes you’ve placed us in.

 

Thanks for letting me ramble…

Static-Filled Marriage: 2 Adjustments to Help Tune-In Your Marriage

From the get-go, I’ll say this: A well-defined picture of marriage is a life-long dedication to making personal and marital adjustments.

I remember the day my parents got a new TV and gave me the old one from the living room.  As a kid, I hit the jackpot. Now you need to get out of you mind anything HD or plasma/flatscreen. This is old-school. Nothing digital. It was a tv that had, what we called STATIC. Static was simply the disturbance in the picture and sound of what we were trying to enjoy.

And because of static, our TVs needed constant “tuning.”  From adjusting the “rabbit ears” to the dial around the channel knob (I’ve got a contingent of younger readers right now who have not idea what I’m talking about).  In fact, around 8:00, a channel would shut down and turn to a pay-per-view for the Red Wings.  What I did, with much finagling and attaching of wire hangers, I would get some semblance of a black and white picture mixed with the radio broadcast to enjoy 80’s Red Wing hockey.

Static was a part of TV when I was growing up. This is what we had to endure back in the 80’s and beyond (I’m only 40). Enjoying television in my room was a constant small adjustments to get the best picture.  Sometimes the modifications depended upon the channel.  Sometimes they depended upon the time of day.  Nevertheless, it was worth it when you got to see the image you were looking for.

Honestly, it’s such a beautiful metaphor for how marriage works.  

God made man in His image.  And I believe that the image of God is so complex that His likeness couldn’t be contained to one person. The beauty of God is scene in marriage; man and woman coming together and showing a tremendous high def picture of the likeness of God.  But it’s a picture that takes a lifetime of adjustments to work on THAT image to display. 

And because we are human, we live a life of making constant adjustments in our personal lives knowing that we need to grow.  Maturity is always needed. We tend to have grace for ourselves because we know we are definitely not a finished product. 

So why can’t we see our marriage in the same way? We have grace for ourselves but expect perfection for our spouse.  Maybe you don’t expect perfection, but perhaps our expectations are so high for our spouses that we’ve already set them up for failure.  Perhaps if we see our spouses with the same amount of grace we give ourselves, we can see the life of our marriage as a journey of constant “tuning.”  I’m talking about small adjustments that will give the best picture of what marriage can look like. Sometimes the modifications depended upon the goal you are striving for.  Sometimes the “tuning” will depend upon the season of life.  Nevertheless, it will be worth it when you got to see the image you are looking for.

Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you. Philippians 4:8-9

What are some simple adjustments to help deal with marital static? 

1 – Confront your mind with truth.  Our minds can get consumed with crap that may or may not be true. Our minds can get consumed with current situations and, on top of that, muddied with assumptions. Philippians 4, Paul tells the local church how to properly fix your mind. When you are pondering on issues that are real and those that are assumption, fix your mind upon that which is true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, and admirable. Confront mindsets (assumptions, unrealistic expectations, bitterness, hurt) with the truth of God’s Word. Fix your mind to it. 

Wrapping your mind around what God says about your life helps bring definition to your situation. God’s word confronts your thoughts with truth. It will take the scrambled picture of your marriage and bring order and color back into it.  

Get a view of how God looks at you.
Get a grasp of how God responds to you.
Get a grip on how God holds you. 
Get a vision of his ridiculous love for you.

I believe the more biblically literate your marriage is, the more growth you’ll experience. Why? Because the more revelation of His image, the more you’ll want to reflect (tune in) your life AND your marriage. This leads me to #2…

2 – Put truth into practice. Don’t leave God’s word on the pages of your bible; live them out personally and maritally.  Once you tune into how God SEES and RESPONDS to you, it empowers you to respond to your spouse. I mean, how can I receive the undeserved favor of God and not show the same amount of grace for my spouse? 

What I love about Paul’s words, “put this into practice” is that he doesn’t give us an ending point.  In other words, we don’t stop “practicing.” We don’t stop tuning, adjusting, working, forgiving, loving, etc.  It’s the beauty of marriage. Work and longevity create the most beautiful high-def masterpiece. A well-defined picture of marriage is a life-long dedication to making personal and marital adjustments. 

Don’t get satisfied with the picture you have now because it will change. You will grow older. Seasons of life change. Atmospheres of life change. Life is about subtle changes and adjustments. In fact, I’ve heard it said that life is 20% of what happens to us and 80% of how we respond. Remember, static is simply the disturbance in the picture and sound of what we were trying to enjoy. Life will give you enough static to deal with. But you can respond to the static by simply…

…confronting your mindset with truth…

…and putting truth into practice.

Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you. Philippians 4:8-9

 

Thanks for letting me ramble…

 

2 Minute Devo Series: Book of Matthew Day 10

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Welcome to our 2 Minute Devos.  This month we’re going through the Book of Matthew.  Take the time to read through the passage of the day and listen to the 2 Minute Devo.

Matthew 9

English Standard Version (ESV)

Jesus Heals a Paralytic

And getting into a boat he crossed over and came to his own city. And behold, some people brought to him a paralytic, lying on a bed. And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Take heart, my son; your sins are forgiven.” And behold, some of the scribes said to themselves, “This man is blaspheming.” But Jesus, knowing[a] their thoughts, said, “Why do you think evil in your hearts? For which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise and walk’? But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—he then said to the paralytic—“Rise, pick up your bed and go home.” And he rose and went home. When the crowds saw it, they were afraid, and they glorified God, who had given such authority to men.

Jesus Calls Matthew

As Jesus passed on from there, he saw a man called Matthew sitting at the tax booth, and he said to him, “Follow me.” And he rose and followed him.

10 And as Jesus[b] reclined at table in the house, behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and were reclining with Jesus and his disciples. 11 And when the Pharisees saw this, they said to his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” 12 But when he heard it, he said, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. 13 Go and learn what this means, ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.’ For I came not to call the righteous,but sinners.”

A Question About Fasting

14 Then the disciples of John came to him, saying, “Why do we and the Pharisees fast,[c] but your disciples do not fast?” 15 And Jesus said to them, “Can the wedding guests mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them? The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast. 16 No one puts a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old garment, for the patch tears away from the garment, and a worse tear is made. 17 Neither is new wine put into old wineskins. If it is, the skins burst and the wine is spilled and the skins are destroyed. But new wine is put into fresh wineskins, and so both are preserved.”

A Girl Restored to Life and a Woman Healed

18 While he was saying these things to them, behold, a ruler came in and knelt before him, saying, “My daughter has just died, but come and lay your hand on her, and she will live.” 19 And Jesus rose and followed him, with his disciples. 20 And behold, a woman who had suffered from a discharge of blood for twelve years came up behind him and touched the fringe of his garment,21 for she said to herself, “If I only touch his garment, I will be made well.” 22 Jesus turned, and seeing her he said, “Take heart, daughter; your faith has made you well.” And instantly[d] the woman was made well. 23 And when Jesus came to the ruler’s house and saw the flute players and the crowd making a commotion, 24 he said, “Go away, for the girl is not dead but sleeping.”And they laughed at him. 25 But when the crowd had been put outside, he went in and took her by the hand, and the girl arose. 26 And the report of this went through all that district.

Jesus Heals Two Blind Men

27 And as Jesus passed on from there, two blind men followed him, crying aloud, “Have mercy on us, Son of David.” 28 When he entered the house, the blind men came to him, and Jesus said to them, “Do you believe that I am able to do this?” They said to him, “Yes, Lord.” 29 Then he touched their eyes, saying, “According to your faith be it done to you.” 30 And their eyes were opened. And Jesus sternly warned them, “See that no one knows about it.” 31 But they went away and spread his fame through all that district.

Jesus Heals a Man Unable to Speak

32 As they were going away, behold, a demon-oppressed man who was mute was brought to him. 33 And when the demon had been cast out, the mute man spoke. And the crowds marveled, saying, “Never was anything like this seen in Israel.” 34 But the Pharisees said, “He casts out demons by the prince of demons.”

The Harvest Is Plentiful, the Laborers Few

35 And Jesus went throughout all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction. 36 When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. 37 Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; 38 therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.”