Undiverted – Part 1

Luke 14:33

Occasionally, God moves big in my life.  I feel Him moving in I am forced to make a response.  God’s Word has just come alive in my hands, and I can either listen and obey, or ignore it and pretend it never happened.  Adam and I have always tried to look for those moments, and obey, but unfortunately… we are sinful people.  We screw up.  Are pastor’s wives allowed to say that?

Well, it’s true.  We don’t always obey.  We don’t always listen.  We don’t always do what we are supposed to do.  This is one of those times.  This time we listened.  This time we want to do what we are supposed to do.  This time we are choosing to obey.  The Bible says that if you love God, obey his commands (John 14:15).

I was recently reading through the Gospels, and it struck me… God isn’t asking for part of my time.  Sounds pretty obvious, huh?  Well, I sometimes miss what is obvious.  I am reading the different calls to discipleship, and I see that when God called Simon, he dropped his nets and went. He left everything.  When Jesus called Matthew, it says he immediately went, turning his back on his previous life.  When Christ called Paul, he gave up everything and did a complete 180 degree turn.

At what point did a simple little prayer for salvation become equal to surrendering your whole life?  At what point did coming to church every so often become the same as taking up your cross to follow?  It doesn’t say, give some… it says take up your cross.  Be willing to suffer the cross.  That’s not a grey area.  However, some part of me still argued, that there was more latitude for me.  That God couldn’t mean everything… and then I saw it.  Luke 14:33, the words in red stated, “In the same way, those of you who do not give up everything you have cannot be my disciples.

I stopped cold, and I realized that this was one of those moments.  Am I giving up everything?  Am I moving towards Christ with all I have? Or am I giving Him my leftovers?  I have a laundry list of excuses for giving everything else the priority over total surrender to Jesus.  One of them is this, you’ll love it… God wants me to be happy.  He wants me to have a full, rich life full of fun experiences.  He wants me to enjoy my life.  He loves me so much that my happiness is a priority for Him.

That’s actually not in the Bible.  I think that I just made that up to allow for the type of lifestyle that allows me to honor myself above God.  I think that I have put myself up on the Throne of my life and I have left God in the median.  This moved me to a point of repentance.  I couldn’t continue this way.  This was one of those moments that demanded a response.  No response in a situation like this… is a response.

So, I am submitting.  I am surrendering.  I am looking to the Gospel to show me the path.  I am looking at the disciples of the Bible and the teachings of Christ to see what my life should look like.  I am opening scripture to be my teacher, and I am following my Lord, Jesus, on this path.  I can’t serve myself.

In the next few weeks as we look at God’s Word, we will discover what it means to live a life that is wholly belonging to Jesus.  I will learn how 12 guys in first century Palestine were able to do more for the cause of Christ than millions of Christian with a technological superstructure can do today. I will be looking for areas in my life that can be surrendered to the Kingdom.  I will understand what it truly means to pour out my life as a drink offering, and run the good race for my King.

This is my purpose… to live a life that is undiverted.

Cherish: The One Word that Changes Everything for your Marriage

A Book Review by Wendy

Book Description:

“Most marriages survive by gritting teeth and holding on. But marriages can and will not only survive but thrive when husbands and wives learn to cherish one another.”

Those are the powerful words of bestselling author Gary Thomas in his newest book—Cherish. And in a world desperate for marriage redemption, it is needed now more than ever.

Thomas shows that although there are a countless number of marriages consisting of two people just going through the motions, there are real ways this pattern can be reversed: when husbands and wives learn to cherish one another in proven, loving, and everyday actions and words.

Through personal stories and real world examples, Thomas proves what husbands and wives can begin doing today to turn their marriage around—even a marriage marred by neglect and disrespect.

So how do you cherish your spouse? Thomas will show you how going out of your way to notice them, appreciate them, honor them, encourage them, and hold them close to your heart will bring hope, light, and life into your marriage.

Review:

This book is a marriage book.  Before you roll your eyes at the number of Christian marriage books on the market, I will tell you that this one is different.  Many marriage books will tell you how to not fight.  They will tell you how to communicate and cooperate.  They will tell you how to make a tough situation manageable.  They will tell you how to make a marriage that lasts.

This book is different.  This book teaches how to make a marriage happy.  This book gives practical application steps that will help your marriage grow from enduring to enthusiastic.  It shows you how to get to the sweet spot of marriage by cherishing your spouse.

It sounds like a cheap word meant for a Valentine’s Day card, but I’ve seen what it looks like.  As a pastor’s wife, I get to know a lot of people.  I see the difference between a marriage that has endured and a marriage that has thrived.  I’ve seen the older couple that still holds hands through the church service, or the wife that leans into the husband during the moment of prayer.

The best example of cherish I’ve seen is a couple in our church that is about to look at hospice care, as cancer takes over.  The doctors have no other treatments, and I see this couple still continue to cherish each other.  He never leaves her side.  He sleeps in a hospital recliner every night.  When you go to visit, he expounds on her grace, virtue, and the gift of their life together. More than that, I’ve seen what a life spent cherishing each other has done to their daughter, as she waits on them both.  This family truly nurtures each other, they love each other, and they cherish each other.  That’s what I want for my family, and I found a way to get there through this book.

Not all books minister to me as this one has.  Within a couple of chapters I was lifted up, convicted, and reassured.  I read through this book in a few hours, and I plan to read it again and again.  Next time, with my husband holding his own copy.  Be deliberate about your marriage, be intentional, cherish.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers < > book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 < > : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”