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The Clothes We Wear

I’m always so amazed when I’m in my closet looking for an outfit when I pass by something I’ve worn before at an event in my life, I’m taken back to that day.

When my eyes set on my wedding gown that’s preserved in a box in my closet, I’m taken back to my wedding day.

When I browse by an ugly sweater I wore to a Christmas party I’m taken back to that day.

When I peruse past a certain dress, I’m taken back to the day of the funeral, the ball, the function I attended.

Why is it every shirt, pair of shoes or dress I wear just by looking at the outfit I’ve worn before, my mind takes me back to that memory of the day of the clothes I’ve worn.

Yet when I put on those clothes I am branded with the memory or feeling associated with those clothes.

My memory is my memory regardless of the clothes I wore, yet I identify myself with them.

The clothes I wore don’t define me.Click To Tweet

The clothes I wear don’t make me who I am.

The clothes I wear don’t make me more important.

They don’t give me more value.

They don’t prove anything.

They are just mere clothes I wear.

So how do I rid myself of these associations?

By putting on a new wardrobe.

Colossians 3:10 MSG, “10 Now you’re dressed in a new wardrobe. Every item of your new way of life is custom-made by the Creator, with his label on it. All the old fashions are now obsolete.”

Paul is telling the Colossians they don’t have to focus on past labels or the old fashions of life. He was teaching them when their focus was on their Creator, on what He had done for them, they were putting on a new wardrobe, a new self one that was free from their past.

Colossians 3:12 MSG

12 So, chosen by God for this new life of love, dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you: compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline.

We have been chosen to live out a life of love and not bound to the mistakes of our past or ugly cycles of defeat. When we clothe ourselves with the loving kindness compassion of Christ we are putting on a new wardrobe, a new self.

So maybe the clothes I wear do define me?

The worldly clothes I wear don’t define me, but the clothing of Christ does.

I love the way Paul teaches because he uses analogies we all can relate to of physical, worldly things and translates them into the spiritual. He even tells the Colossians in (Col. 3:8 MSG), “Don’t lie to one another. You’re done with that old life. It’s like a filthy set of ill-fitting clothes you’ve stripped off and put in the fire.”

We don’t have to revert back to old ways, we don’t have to keep putting on that old wardrobe that keeps us cuddled up to our sins. We can take them off and throw them away for good never returning back to them because of the death and resurrection of Jesus.

Do you have the one stand out garment in your closet, the go-to garment you put it on and everyone recognizes its unique and different?

Paul gives further instructions and tells us about stand out garments.

“13 Be even-tempered, content with second place, quick to forgive an offense. Forgive as quickly and completely as the Master forgave you. 14 And regardless of what else you put on, wear love. It’s your basic, all-purpose garment. Never be without it”. (Colossians 3:13-14 MSG).

No matter what wear love. That is our go to, must have garment.Click To Tweet

When we put on love we are able to be kind, compassionate, humble, and forgive. We are able to leave behind the past allow ourselves to walk into the future filled with hope and freedom.

When we put on love we will be filled with God’s strength and discipline. We don’t have to try with our own strength when we put on love we are free from our sinful tendencies.

When we put away our bad tempers, irritability, meanness, profanity, and dirty talk, and put on love, others in the world will notice and recognize the love and compassion of Christ. And “When Christ (your real life, remember) shows up again on this earth, you’ll show up, too – the real you, the glorious you” (Colossians 3:4 MSG).

What kind of clothes do you wear?

What’s in your wardrobe?

A Prayer- Lord Jesus, help us get rid of anything keeping us in the past, keeping us from you. Help us get rid of our old worldly wardrobes and clothe ourselves with your kindness, humility, strength, discipline and above all else your love, God. I pray we will choose to wear love every day. May it be apart of our everyday lives, our everyday speech and actions. May love be our choice and response above all things, Lord. Help us put on a new wardrobe, one that you have created, never to put on our old wardrobe again. We thank you and praise you Jesus for who you are and what you are able to do. We love you. In Jesus name, Amen.

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The Message and The Miracle

Have you ever gone through a hard time in your life and questioned is God even there? Or does he even care?

Sometimes I’ve caught myself questioning God and his motives when I’m going through hard times. I question God ‘why is this happening to me? Don’t you even care?’ Then he so tenderly reminds me, yes he does care more than I’ll ever know.

In my struggle I realize I’m not the one waiting on God, he’s the one waiting on me. If I just opened my eyes to see what God is trying to show me, His creations are all around me. He has made the heavens, the earth and everything in it. He has already sent Jesus to die for us.

Do I really need him to show me another sign of what he is capable of doing?

My unbelief and doubt aren’t so far off from the Pharisees and the crowd Jesus fed.

The gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, capture the life of Jesus, his ministry, his death, and resurrection. Each gospel captures Jesus’ messages and miracles he performed. Jesus didn’t perform a miracle without there being a deeper message at hand. When a person reads the gospels one will see the pattern of a message then a miracle, a message then a miracle. When we look deeper, we can see this message and miracle pattern in our lives as well.

In the gospel of John 6, Jesus had just performed the miracle of feeding 5,000 people from only 5 loaves of bread and two fish. The crowd was amazed at this miraculous sign that Jesus did. After performing this miracle, Jesus withdrew from the crowd knowing the crowd intended to make him their king. The crowd then went looking for Jesus in Capernaum.

When the crowd finds Jesus, he then says, “I tell you the truth, you are looking for me not because you saw miraculous signs but because you ate the loaves and had your fill. Do not work for food that spoils but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. On him and the Father has placed his seal of approval.” (John 6:26-27)

Jesus knew their hearts already. They weren’t looking for a Messiah, the one who could give them eternal life, they were looking for another miracle.

John 6:30 says, “So they asked him, “What miraculous sign then will you give that we may see it and believe you? What will you do?”

Can you even imagine asking Jesus, ‘what else can you do before we believe you?’ It didn’t matter the crowd had just witnessed Jesus miraculously feed a crowd of 5,000 people with just some loaves of bread and fish, the people wanted more.

The crowd didn’t need more proof of Jesus’ abilities, they needed more faith.Click To Tweet

The same scenario happened with the Pharisees after Jesus fed the four thousand people. Afterward the Pharisees questioned Jesus. They wanted to test him and asked him for a sign from heaven.

Jesus sighed deeply and said, “Why does this generation ask for a miraculous sign? I tell you the truth, no sign will be given to it” (Mark 8:12).

How many times have we been guilty of this as well?

There are signs all around us that God is with us and cares about our struggles, yet we search for God to prove his divine authority by performing miraculous signs.

In both scenarios, Jesus did not perform another miracle when they demanded it because they lacked faith. Their request for a miracle came from unbelief (Mark 8:11 footnote). God doesn’t need to prove his abilities he is able. There is evidence all around us of his divine abilities.

Do we really need more proof or more faith?Click To Tweet
What greater sign do we need from God that he can handle our trials and struggles that he hasn’t already done for us?Click To Tweet

Do we seek God like the Pharisees and crowd does, only searching for the next miracle? Are we missing the point as well?

Our relationship with God goes deeper than him supplying for all of our needs and making sure everything is good in our lives all the time. Our relationship with God is more than just a good feeling that is temporary. Our relationship with God is eternal and everlasting.

Behind every miracle lies a deeper message.Click To Tweet

What do you seek God for? To perform another miracle? Or to be your Messiah who has come to give you life?

Searching for a miracle from God without faith is like a person telling a horse to move without ears. Faith without action is dead. Seeking a miracle without receiving God’s deeper message is like sending Jesus to die for us without the resurrection. The death and resurrection of Jesus is the greatest message and miracle ever.

Jesus’ death would be pointless if there wasn’t a resurrection. Jesus was preparing the hearts of people to have faith in him was going to require believing in the unseen of what God could do.

Matthew 17:20, “Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”

We only need faith the size of a mustard seed for God to move the mountains in our life.Click To Tweet

Do you believe our faith in God leads to life’s biggest miracles?

Do you see the pattern of a message then a miracle in your life?

It’s all about meeting Jesus right where we are. In Him, we have life to the full that is complete and everlasting (John 10:10). Have a blessed week!

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5 P’s To Pray Over Your Marriage

Marriage is one of the biggest blessings in life, yet 40%-50% of marriages end up in divorce.  If marriage is such a blessing, then why do so many marriages fail?  I think there are many factors at play–a person’s background and upbringing, parents who had a loving successful marriage, children, poor role models, trials, dysfunctional habits.  But I think one of the most important factors that help couples STAY together is PRAYER.

A study written by the National Association of Marriage Enhancement stated out of 1156 couples, those who prayed together on a daily basis less than 1% ended in divorce.  The study went even further to analyze what the couples did at home together.   Were they apart of the same denomination?  Did they attend church together?  Did they share the same beliefs and values?  Did they do any worship activities at home?

The study found there was a higher level of marital satisfaction when the couples shared the same religious practices at home which included reading the Bible together.  Unfortunately, despite knowing this information, only 4% of Christian couples pray together on a daily basis.  The important message from the study was if you want a strong marriage that is long-lasting and able to endure trials and hardships, develop a consistent pattern of prayer and reading your Bibles together.

Who is ready to start praying!?!?!?

It all starts with prayer.  Here are 5 P’s to pray over your Marriage.  Make a commitment to pray together for the next 30 days and see what happens.  If you are ready to start reading the Bible together there is a Bible reading plan as well.  Those who pray together stay together.  Those who read their Bibles together become deeply rooted in God’s word.  God’s word then becomes alive and living in their lives.

5 P’s to Pray Over Your Marriage

1.  Prosper

Pray for your marriage to grow, flourish and prosper.  Pray your marriage will bear God’s fruits and grow deeply rooted in his love.  Pray your communication with one another will be effective and prosper.  Pray for unity, peace, and harmony with each other and in your marriage.

Verses to pray, Galatians 5:22, Ephesians 4:3, Ephesians 3:17-21, Colossians 3:13-14.  

2.  Preparation

Pray God will equip and prepare you for what he has in store for you.  Pray for patience along the way, because it will be tested.  Patience prepares us for God’s plans.  Pray for the power of the Holy Spirit to be working within you to dwell richly in your hearts.  Pray for strength and courage to endure and persevere any trials that come your way.  Pray to be in a position of readiness, to be alert and aware of anything getting in the way of God or putting your marriage at risk or in danger.  Ask God to rid our hearts of any arrogance, pride deceit, malice, anger or bitterness (Mark 7:21).  

Pray for God to fill your heart with His desires.  Pray these verses over your marriage, Psalm 37:4, Romans 12:12, Galatians 6:9, Philippians 4:13, Joshua 1:9, Colossians 3:16.

3.  Praiseworthy

Pray your marriage will be a godly example, admirable and meritorious for God.  Pray that you will be gracious towards one another, express gratitude and thankfulness.    Pray you are gentle, kind, patient and forgiving towards one another.  Pray you will see your spouse through God’s eyes and praise your spouse daily.  Pray you will love your spouse the way God loves them.  Pray you will be encouraging towards one another and build each other up (1 Thes. 5:11).

Pray these verses over your marriage, Philippians 4:8, Ephesians 4:32, Galatians 5:22, 1 Thessalonians 5:18, Psalm 115:1-2.

4.  Purpose

Pray your marriage is a godly marriage that shines the light of Jesus (Matthew 5:15-16).  Pray God will be the center of your marriage giving your marriage power and purpose.  Pray you will not get in the way of God’s purpose and plan your lives and marriage.  Pray for God to be Lord over our lives and marriages.  Pray for your husband to allow God to be Lord in His life and be the spiritual leader he has called him to be.  Pray you will give love and respect to one another.  Pray for willing and obedient hearts that allow God’s purpose and plan to become alive in your lives.  Pray you will allow God’s will to be done in your lives and marriage.  Pray God will use your marriage for his greater purpose and plan.

Pray these verses over your marriage Romans 8:28, Psalm 138:8, Matthew 5:15-16, Jeremiah 1:5, Jeremiah 29:11.

5.  Protection

Pray for protection against Satan, lies, doubt, temptations, sin, and discouragement.  Pray the enemy will stay out of your marriage.

Pray the armor of God over your marriage in Ephesians 6:10-20.  Pray your marriage will stand strong in the Lord by putting on the armor of God.  Pray you will not fight against each other but in prayer against the enemy.  Pray you will stand firm in God’s truth by buckling the belt of truth tightly around your waists.  Pray the breastplate of righteousness will guard your hearts.  Pray your feet will be fitted with readiness by putting on the shoes of peace (the gospel).  Pray the shield of faith will be an extra layer of protection that will extinguish the flaming arrows of the evil one.  Pray the helmet of salvation will help protect and guard your minds against doubts, lies, and temptations.  Pray you take the sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God and pray on all occasions with all kinds of prayers to stay alert and keep praying.

Most of all, pray you will stay committed and dedicated to prayer and reading the Bible.  Praying these verses over our marriages gives power and purpose to our marriages.  If you don’t have a Bible, download the YouVersion Bible app to your phone to be able to look up Bible verses.

There is so much more than we could add to our list.  If there is something lacking in our marriages or that we’re struggling with–cover it in prayer.  Maybe both sides struggle with patience or need to communicate better.  Or maybe there needs to be more encouragement towards one another.

It doesn’t matter what our circumstances are or if we are going through a trial.  When we are covered in prayer and in God’s word, nothing can separate us from God’s love (Romans 8:38).  Prayer keeps us protected against the enemy attacking our marriages, keeps us alert to what we need to pay attention to and keeps us in communication with God.

Every marriage will endure trials and hardships.  Is our own strength and love enough to get us through?  No, but God’s strength and love are.  The love of Jesus is the glue that keeps our marriages together and builds us stronger than we ever were before.

When we fail or fall short, God’s grace makes up for our short comings (Romans 6:23).Click To Tweet

Is your marriage worth fighting for?

How do you get through your trials?  Where do you find your hope?

We need the love and strength of Jesus to help our marriages prosper, be prepared, be praiseworthy, be purposeful and protected.

Do you desire a strong, long-lasting marriage that is filled abundantly with God’s eternal blessings?

Those who pray together stay together.Click To Tweet

Marriages are worth fighting for.  I fight my battles with prayer.   

Will you pray and/or read the Bible with your spouse for the next 30 days?  

Pray these verses over your marriage and watch them come alive in your life.  God’s Words and prayer are transformational when they are active and living in our lives.  

Whatever we lack in our lives, we are made complete in God.  In Jesus, we have life and have it to the full (John 10:10)!  In God, we lack nothing.  We don’t need to look for another source to fulfill us when God is in the center of our marriages.  I promise, your faithfulness and patience will reap great rewards than you could ever imagine (Ephesians 3:20)!

Marriages are not meant to defeat us but to fill us abundantly with God’s eternal blessings Click To Tweet

Have a blessed week!

Print out this Free Printable Bookmark to help guide your prayers or print out this post.  Keep this handy in your Bibles so you can reference it when you pray and read.  You can also follow along with the 30 day Bible reading plan to help fill your hearts with God’s Words!

Marriage Prayer-Click to Download PDF

       

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I would love to hear from you! Leave your comments below!

This post was first published on www.alaskachristianwomensministry.com.


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