Tuesday, July 26, 2011

I Need Help

That phrase can mean something as minor as drying the dishes or as major as an immediate crisis. We all need help. Sometimes that help will be more long term while for others it is immediate.

The blessing and challenge of the Christian life is that you are at the beckon call of others. You want to be there when needed but sometimes the challenge comes when you feel overwhelmed and unable to meet those needs. Again, it can be as simple as assisting with a church supper or as difficult as a marital crisis.

Any good relationship is built on dependability. Will you be there when I need you? There is something powerful and freeing when I know that someone cares for me in the little things as well as the big. This is especially to be true in the Church, the body of Christ. There is such a thing as healthy dependency among Christians. We need each other and we rightfully bear each others burdens. I must not only be willing to help but to be helped as well.

There is no more beautiful picture of that kind of love than in a Christian marriage. A place where help is so readily given and received. Yes, we are messed up people and our sin and selfishness all too often get in the way. We use our needs for manipulation rather than growth. We should be helping each other to depend not primarily on what I can give but on what Jesus has given. A good marriage is a giving and receiving marriage. We give because he gave. We help because he has helped us. In his ultimate calling Jesus did what no one else could "help" him do. "The Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many." Matthew 20:28

The more we understand the cross the better we will be as husbands and wives. It will become more second nature to help and be helped because of what he has done for us. Perhaps we have forgotten the depth of what Jesus actually did when he died. And when we do remember we truly become partners in life who love to help each other for all the right reasons.

"The Lord is my strength and my shield; in him my heart trusts, and I am helped..." Psalm 28:7

Now go help your husband or wife.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Just Pray About It

To pray is to depend. It is acknowledging the fact that I am not alone and should not handle life alone. God has designed us to be in relationship with him and thus always in touch with him through prayer.

"Just Pray About It" can be some of the best advice ever given or taken. The Christian life isn't always about finding answers but finding rest. Sometimes prayer is the last place we go when it should be the first. Embarrassingly we tend to treat it as a last resort we go to out of desperation.

It was second nature to Jesus. Whether it was feeding 5,000 or alone in a garden he wanted to be aware of his Father in heaven. He assumed God's loving presence in all he was and did which made it all the more natural. As followers of Jesus we all have that same privilege. The very Spirit of God lives in us as he does his Son.

As the Apostle Paul described some common qualities of believers in Jesus he listed this phrase as well, "...be constant in prayer." Romans 12:12, to just pray about something was not a shallow cliche but part of the very essence of being a follower of Christ. Because of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus we now have full and welcomed access to God's throne.

One obvious application of these thoughts for us who are married is simply this:

When was the last time you prayed for your marriage? Not only that but when was the last time you prayed together?

Could some of the challenges in our marriages be a result of a shallow view of prayer? We tend to live from crisis to crisis rather than faith to faith. Prayer then is that rarely used gift that we only pull off the shelf in times of emergency. Jesus had a mindset of prayer in all things. He prayed before - during and after things in his life.

I wish I did more of that early in my married life. But it's never too late!!

So let me give you the obvious advice if you want to have a God honoring and Christ centered marriage:

"Just Pray About It."