1. Desiring the King more than the Prince.
2. Pure and Holy Passion
3. Our Redeeming God: Hope in ALL Circumstances.
Not to mention we will be studying the Song of Solomon, having live worship, yummy food, a panel of cute godly guys talking about marriage and dating, powerful testimonies of following God vs. following your own emotions and desires for marriage, etc.
I wish I could write all that I am learning and studying on the blog but I am going to save it for the girls. Girls are coming from Ole Miss, South Carolina, Bryan College, UT Knoxville, UTC, just to name a few. I cannot wait to meet and hug each one of them. Stay tuned for pictures and news about the weekend. Pray for God to produce beautiful fruit in the lives of these girls and to bless them with strong Christ-centered marriages. But most importantly my prayer is that they would fall in love with the King of Kings as they wait on Him to send them their Prince.
The backbone verses for the weekend are from Titus...
"For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say "No" to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope-the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good."
Isn't that cool? It is God's grace that teaches us to say "no" to sin. Not the law. Not a heavy hand---It is His grace! When you realize all that Christ has done for you... you WANT to live for Him!! Because of His grace!! Because of realizing how much he loves us. Now, sometimes, we have to obey simply out of faith- not sight. In times like those... when obeying seems like walking out on a gang plank- we have to know God's Word and put our FULL trust in what we cannot see-that we will we either walk on water or Jesus will catch us. But we will not drown if we obey God- NEVER. We will drown if we don't.
Satan can use the smallest of compromises to get what the Bible calls a "foothold" in our lives to slowly begin to destroy us, our testimonies and ultimately hurt all of the innocent people near us. A foothold is any opportunity we hand over for Satan's advantage. Like a rock climber only needing the tiniest ledge to put his foot on to climb and get enough strength to gain momentum.
"...and do not give the devil a foothold." Ephesians 4:27
How I pray that I would represent Jesus Christ accurately. Being set apart. Obeying Him completely and immediately and being willing to be changed by Him. Being EAGER to do what is good.
Tim and I went away for a romantic night. We stayed in a gorgeous hotel in Atlanta. I almost always find amazing deals on Hotwire. We stayed in Buckhead and went out to eat, worked out, had a leisurely brunch, shopped, flirted... it was amazing. We bought Hope her first few outfits. I still shut down when I walk into the girl's section of the store. I am starting very simply. She has nothing so we are starting with the basics. I will never forget shopping for her for the first time with Tim. We didn't buy her anything over-the-top. Just picked out some simple things we both liked and looked confused the whole time doing it. People say, "Is this your first?". I should just say "yes" because it sure feels like I have no idea what I am doing. Please tell me your favorite places to shop for baby girls.
I love Tim so much. He is a gift from God. I did pray and pray and pray and wait and wait and wait but never dreamed marriage could be this good. Our marriage is a refuge. Not that we don't work through things like everyone else but the foundation of both of our lives is built on Jesus Christ so 99% of the time we are on the same page because we are teammates for Christ. Simply 2 sinners seeking to serve Jesus for the rest of our lives out of utter gratitude for all He has done for us.
And, Scripture says that marriage is a picture of Christ's relationship with His Bride, the Church, to the world... we want our marriage to be the best it can possibly be. I heard a teacher say the other day, "If a husband and wife are operating in the roles that God created them to operate in and functioning as God intended them to... they are UNSTOPPABLE." I believe that is true. I have absolutely no problem submitting to Tim because He is submitting to God and seeking God's direction for our family. Because I know that He is seeking God and praying when He makes decisions for our family, it is a no-brainer for me to come underneath His authority-- easily and quickly. I happily submit because it is such a safe place to be. Marriage is easy when two people are seeking to obey God. But, I still want to make our marriage the best it can be so that means asking vulnerable questions like, "How can I be a better wife?", "How can I encourage you more?", "How can I pray for you?" "What are you struggling with?". We have to work on our marriage and safeguard it from the enemy's attacks. I know that Satan wants to destroy our marriage but if we are cutting his avenues of attack off, he fails. Most importantly, if our marriages are securely wrapped by the Holy Spirit, we are unshakable by the attacks of the enemy.
"A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken."
There is much opposition in every believer's life and marriage but there is victory and freedom found in Christ. We have the power to overcome sin, temptation and the attacks of the enemy. But, if we compromise, we give the enemy such an opportunity or that one tiny "foothold" to slowly come in and wreck our lives, testimonies and the lives of the people who we love the most in this world. I am amazed at the destructive power of sin. I am currently walking (screaming, praying, and crying) with one of my close friends after discovering that her husband is not only addicted to pornography but has also had numerous affairs. I feel like I am watching her slowly die of cancer. Even though she had nothing to do with this sin, the cancer has set into not only his life, but now hers.
We have to stop our sin early and we have to hit it with repentance and the chemotherapy of God's Word immediately. If we catch it early, it will save our lives. If we ignore it, it will kill us.
Jesus did not play around when He counseled about sin. He said, "If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off... And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out." (Mark 9). To the woman caught in adultery, He said- "Go and sin no more." (John 8:11). The beautiful part about this is, as Christians, that we do have the power to say "no" to sin. Praise God He ALWAYS gives us a way of escape from the power of sin! We used to be slaves to it but now we have been set free!
"For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin-" Romans 6:6
"But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves to God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life." Romans 6:22
Tim let me sleep in one morning while Lake happily dumped a whole brand new bottle of bubbles in the bathtub. That was fine with me! I got to sleep! :)
Still working on keeping our heads in the game. :) Poor Tim may have a nervous breakdown coaching both of their basketball teams this year. A pastor told him that God would really use coaching little kids... to make him more like Christ and more patient. I believe it. That is hard work!!!
We had to paint over the boys' verses since she will be moving in their old room. I am pretty sure they will be moved to their new room.