Sunday, June 22, 2008

The Week in Review

The preparation for the marriage doesn't end when the wedding activities are over. In fact, the work is just beginning.

Invest in Your Marriage and Reap the Benefits
Marriage & family, God’s Plan

1. The first step in investing in our marriage is to seek our happiness and joy from the right source.
2. The second step in investing in our marriage is seeking our roles through God.
3. The third step is having a forgiving heart.
4. The fourth step is making marriage a priority.
5. The fifth step in praying for one another.

I can only speak for myself, but I have found that often times when things have gone wrong, I would sometimes forget to pray. Oh, I would say, "Lord, look at what is happening to me" or I would tell my friends about the situations. But I really didn't go to God in prayer.

I am thankful for God's grace and how he teaches us what is right for us to do. What I have learned in the 26 years of marriage is that when things are not going as I would want, I should take it to God in prayer, FIRST.
I have found that sometimes my disappointment comes not because things are wrong, but because I have allowed myself to slip in the first step as listed before. I have become disappointed because I have looked to my husband as my source of happiness and joy, and in doing so, I have become disappointed.

So I must go to God in prayer so that he can first get my vision back on the right path. When he does that, then I can pray and ask God that both my husband and myself are doing as he has instructed us to do.

There is something that is also important for us regarding what we invest in our marriages. We need not wait until things go bad before we pray, but instead we should pray daily that God would help our spouses be the husband or wife he has called them to be. We should pray for their strength at work and against the temptations that would come and try to defeat them. We should pray that God would grant them the ability to stand no matter what comes their way.

When you and I invest in our marriage, we do more than just seek what we can get out of it. We seek to invest in our spouses ability to be successful God's way. So let us remember that if we want a good marriage, we need to first seek God for the source of our happiness and joy. We also need to seek God for what his call is for us within our marriage.

We then must have a forgiving heart because our spouses are human and as people we will not always get everything right. We then must put our marriage as a priority and one way to do that is to seek God for the development of our marriage and as individual people. When we do this, we can see our marriages becoming what God planned for them to be.

The Week in Review

Destined for Greatness
(Preached at Langley Avenue Church of God 2/17/08)

Now let’s look at Mary’s life for a few momentsLuke 1:26-38: The Birth of Jesus Foretold In the sixth month, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin's name was Mary. The angel went to her and said, "Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you."
Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. But the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end." "How will this be," Mary asked the angel, "since I am a virgin?" The angel answered, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be barren is in her sixth month. For nothing is impossible with God." "I am the Lord's servant," Mary answered. "May it be to me as you have said." Then the angel left her.
The writer of Luke gives us this recanting of a story about a young virgin girl that has just been given an unusual assignment. We do not have any other information about Mary, but she simply shows up in the telling of this story. The writer, just as the writer of David’s life simply begins to tell the events. Yet Mary did not just appear, but was also on the mind of God before she was yet born. He formed Mary fearfully – with great care. As he formed her he knew he was forming the mother of the savior. Just as he knew in Mary’s womb the savior would be formed. God knows even when the child is yet unborn the greatness he wants to fulfill within. Why do you think the devil wants so much for us to kill the unborn? If he can cut the seed off before it even gets here, he can cut off greatness yet unborn. Mary was a simple and ordinary girl; one Bible dictionary says she was probably a peasant girl. So she wasn’t rich, famous or sought after. There isn’t anything really great mention about her, yet she is being chosen for such a wonderful assignment. She is being called to have strength, character, perseverance, determination and an ability to sacrifice. Her very name means bitter. Mary is being asked to take on a bitter assignment, because she will have to watch her very son crucified for the sins of the world. Mary’s first response was, how can this happen, I don’t know a man?
In other words Mary is asking how can this natural thing, childbirth, happen without help or a man’s intervention? God’s answer through the angel is it will not be a natural thing, but a supernatural thing, because nothing is impossible with God. It will be by my spirit that this is done. When Mary hears all the information, she says let it be done unto your servant. In other words, I surrender myself to you.

Mary shows us something important. Sometimes we cannot see the greatness inside because we are looking at it from the natural. We say, this is great, but what man will help me? I want to go to law school or start a business, but if I can’t get someone to open doors for me, I won’t be able to. God then speaks and says it won’t be by man’s efforts but by my spirit. God wants to do some supernatural things in our lives if we only release ourselves into his hands. He is calling for some young people to be like Mary to say Lord, let your will be done in my life. What he wants to do is plant his spirit in you and allow the Spirits influence to grow you. And when the time comes he will bring forth life. Do you know God wants you, young people (all of us really) to be willing to be sacrifices so that his Spirit can reach someone else? See I cannot reach all the people you can. You are called for that very purpose to reach your friends and peers and those you have contact with. Yeah, some will talk about you, some will ridicule you and others might even think you are a joke, don’t you think there was probably talk about Mary a virgin that was pregnant. That had to be the joke of the village. However, God is looking for some young people to make a commitment right now to live completely for him and accept their unusual assignment to carry his son. He wants you to carry his son to a dying world and when you do, he promises you that he will make you a royal nation. You will become royalty because you are the child of the King. You are a nation of priest that comes to tell the world about God.
Come back next week for the next and final installment of this message.