Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Time to Prepare

Tomorrow is Ash Wednesday. How is 2017 flying by? It feels as if we just took down the Christmas trees, and ran to Target to buy some Valentines gifts for the kids. Now here we are, preparing for Easter. I don’t know if I’m ready to walk the road to the cross with Jesus. I feel like the disciples scrambling when Jesus asked them to “Follow Me”. But Jesus, I still have something left to do. I have a to-do list undone, we can’t be focusing on Easter yet. Time can’t be moving so fast.

But here we are, nonetheless.

For us in the Western world, Ash Wednesday kicks off the season of Lent. The 40 days before Easter (excluding Sundays).  We prepare for Easter in these 40 days by doing a variety of things. Some people give up things (chocolate, wine, facebook). Some people add things (Bible readings, prayer time, meditation). It really doesn’t matter which path you chose. The main goal of Lent is to FOCUS. To focus in on the One who was, who Is, and who is yet to come. This is a time when we try and throw off all that holds us too tightly to this world and FOCUS on God. To see where God is in our lives. To listen to His still voice. To find Him and let Him guide us. To let God in, or back in, as the center of our heart and our lives. We are preparing to meet Him at the cross, to see the victory for our salvation.

So I encourage you to pray about this Lenten season. What is God calling you to do, or not do, during this time of preparation. Come to an Ash Wednesday service. Join in with other believers who are recommitting their lives to Christ on this Easter journey. Ash Wednesday is a time when we are one body preparing ourselves for the hard work of Lent to enjoy the great celebration of Easter.

He is coming my friends. Let’s get ready.

Rev. Michelle

Tuesday, February 14, 2017


"Haven't you read," He replied, "that at the beginning the Creator 'made them male and female,'and said, 'For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh' So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate." Matt. 19: 4-6


A man marries a woman hoping she'll never change…   A woman marries a man sure she CAN change him...  Both are destined for disappointment.

After more than two decades counseling engaged couples, I am fairly certain that romance is a poor impetus for marriage. romance than the Bible.  Fall in love tends to be transient.  It is about the commercially marketable idea of finding our "soul mate" and believing the fantasy that he/she is the one person in the whole world who is just for me -- so I won't have to make any changes or adjustments to my way of thinking and acting.  I suspect this is a firm reason for much of the 50+% divorce rate in our nation.
The Christian marriage is not a fantasy, but a holy union of two complementary types of human beings who see the world differently. This necessitates a continuous process of growth and adjustment.

A Christian marriage should be based on Christian values, not the societal “market” values such as looks, income, et al.  Christian marriage is a conscious decision, forsaking all others. A Christian takes responsibility for the choice he has made.  This is because it is a commitment. Given that men and women are not naturally compatible,

Paul gives great guidance on how to love through our incompatibilities.

Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. I Cor. 13: 4-7


Love suffers long…The word used here describes a person who has been wronged and has it in his power to "get even" --- but resists the temptation. Spouses are often wronged more by each other and have it in their power to "get even." If marriage is not built on a love that suffers long, it won't last.

Kind… Anyone can be critical, and most people are. No one sees our faults more clearly than our spouse. Kindness is keeping  these to him/herself.

love does not envy… Some spouses are resentful of attention paid to their mates. Ideally, we should be our spouse's biggest fan.

love does not parade itself… I heard Alice tell someone once well into our married life together that she still catches her breath when she sees me come into sight. A true Christian lover will likely never feel worthy of his spouse's love.

is not puffed up… marriage is in trouble when one spouse begins to feel more important than the other. Agape love puts the ‘other’ first.

does not behave rudely… It is sad when we are more courteous to strangers than we are to our spouse.

does not seek its own… There is a marital dichotomy: You may insist on your rights/privileges; or you may remember your responsibilities. Here is the truth: marriage is never a "50/50 proposition." It is a "100/0" one all the time. A marriage is in trouble when the partners begin to keep score on each other.

is not provoked… No one has the power to provoke us as effectively as our spouse. Mates who can master their tempers can master anything, even the incompatibility of the sexes.

thinks no evil… The word used here is actually an accounting term. Too many spouses keep "books" on their mate, noting every failure/ deficiency. It is much more effective to be forgetful.

does not rejoice in iniquity… There is no place in marriage to take delight in the mishaps and shortcomings of others, especially our spouse.

rejoices in the truth… We can judge the genuineness of our love for others by the joy we feel for their successes.

bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things… What happens in the familia stays in the familia. Christians should never expose a family member's faults to others.

Paul also said:  Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. Eph. 5: 21

To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly be broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. but in that casket - safe, dark, motionless, airless - it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. The alternative to tragedy, or at least to the risk of tragedy is damnation. The only place outside Heaven where you can be perfectly safe from all the dangers and perturbations of love is Hell.
C. S. Lewis