A Life with Favor

There is such a thing as favor and it is like sunshine on our lives. Favor is when things go well and we are happy. When we experience favor it lifts us from the darkness of discouragement and depression. Favor energizes us and is like gas in our emotional tank and is like oil in the gears to help things go more smoothly. Without favor life can be rough and hard. How do we receive and experience favor in life? Where does favor come from? Favor comes from God and from man.

Psalm 5:12 For it is You who blesses the righteous man, O Lord,
You surround him with favor as with a shield.

The Lord surrounds as with a shield those who receive favor. It is the Lord who blesses the righteous person with favor. Righteousness is walking and living according to God’s ways. The Lord gives His righteousness to those who receive Him and He wants them to display His righteousness to the world so that others might see and learn God’s ways.

Psalm 147:11 The Lord favors those who fear Him, Those who wait for His lovingkindness.

The Lord favors those who fear Him. We are stubborn and don’t often want to do life God’s way. We want to go our own way and the result is much pain and grief. The Lord favors those who wait on His lovingkindness. The opposite of waiting on the Lord is taking matters into our own hands and doing it “our way”. We may get what we want but we will receive sorrow with it. Manipulation is also not waiting on the Lord. Pray and wait for His lovingkindness.

Psalm 44:3 For by their own sword they did not possess the land,
And their own arm did not save them,
But Your right hand and Your arm and the light of Your presence,
For You favored them.

It is not by our strength that we gain victory and receive salvation but it is because He favors us and it is by His strength and His presence that sees us through to victory.

Proverbs 3:3,4 Do not let kindness and truth leave you;
Bind them around your neck,
Write them on the tablet of your heart.
So you will find favor and good repute
In the sight of God and man.

The Lord wants us to learn to walk in His ways. His is kind in all His deeds and all His ways are truth. When we learn to live according to His ways then we will find favor and good repute in the sight of God and man.

Psalm 145:17 The Lord is righteous in all His ways
And kind in all His deeds.

The Lord is good and he wants us to do good. The Lord is truth and He wants us to walk in truth. The Lord is kind and loving and He wants us to be the same. We are secure in life because of His kindness, love and His truth. Truth never changes. Moods, emotions, feelings, likes and dislikes all change but the Lord never changes because He is truth. The more we walk in love and truth the more others will trust us. We will not be in a constant state of change and people will not be anxious when they are around you.

Ecclesiastes 12:13,14 The conclusion, when all has been heard, is: fear God and keep His commandments, because this applies to every person. For God will bring every act to judgment, everything which is hidden, whether it is good or evil.

When we fear God and keep His commandments then we will walk in His love and truth and we will receive favor from God and man. This is the standard by which the Lord will judge all that we do, whether it is good or evil. The standard of good and evil is not what we think of as good or evil but it is according to God’s standards of good and evil.

Ezra 7:10 For Ezra had set his heart to study the law of the Lord and to practice it, and to teach His statutes and ordinances in Israel.

Ezra set his heart to study the word of God and to practice it. The Lord wants us to do the same.

II Timothy 2:15 Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.

The outcome will be the favor of God on your life.

Proverbs 11:27 He who diligently seeks good seeks favor,
But he who seeks evil, evil will come to him.

It is when we diligently seek the Lord that we will find Him and in finding Him we will learn what it means to do good, for only God is good. When we find the Lord then we find life and we receive the favor of God.

Proverbs 8:35 For he who finds me finds life And obtains favor from the Lord.

 

 

 

 

A Life with a Thriving Marriage

The Lord wants your marriage to thrive as much as He wants you to thrive in life. Don’t get discouraged if you feel that your marriage is not where it should be or could be. The Lord is a restorer and there is no marriage beyond His restoring love and power. Where the Lord is, there is hope and where there is hope then things will get better.

Romans 15:13 Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

The Lord has given us a blueprint for marriage. Just as a builder must follow the architect’s blueprint for the building to stand strong so you must follow the Lord’s blueprint for marriage. Everyone strays from His blueprint and that is what it means to “miss the mark” at times. If you will turn to Him then He will help you and restore you. His blueprint is in His Word.

Psalm 19:7,8 The law of the Lord is perfect, restoring the soul;
The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple.
The precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart;
The commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes.

The Lord will restore you through His Spirit and His Word. He will give you wisdom and bring joy once again to your heart and marriage. He will open your eyes and give you enlightenment and insight. He is good and He is loving. He is all powerful but you must follow His instructions and do exactly as He tells you. You are not responsible for your spouse. The Lord is fully capable of changing your spouse. Do not focus on your spouse but ask the Lord what He wants you to do.

Ephesians 5:22-32 Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord.For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, He Himself being the Savior of the body. But as the church is subject to Christ, so also the wives ought to be to their husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her, so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless. So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself; for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also does the church, because we are members of His body. For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and shall be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. This mystery is great; but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the church.

Marriage is a mystery and the mystery is great. Marriage is only between a man and a woman. All other unions are a perversion of God’s design and will ultimately bring grief. God’s design is based on the relationship of Christ and the church, which are all Christians. There is an order in marriage and that order is good. Submission of the wife does not minimize or negate her worth but elevates it. Jesus submitted to the Father even though He was equal to the Father. The church is to submit to Christ. The Father took responsibility for Jesus and Jesus takes responsibility for the church. The wife is to submit and the husband is to love and provide. The wife is to respect and the husband is to lead and protect. If one of the spouse fails to fulfill their responsibility it does not nullify the responsibility of the other spouse. In fact, the best thing for a wayward spouse is for the faithful spouse to continue to be responsible and faithful. If a spouse does not keep their marriage vow to the Lord then it does not negate the marriage vow of the other. Marriage vows can not be broken they can only be “not kept” because they are not vows made to each other but they are vows made to God in the presence of others. Other people are witnesses of the marriage vows that the couple makes to God. The Lord says to keep your vows. You will find that as you are faithful to the Lord then you will see His faithfulness to you.

Ecclesiastes 5:4-7 When you make a vow to God, do not be late in paying it; for He takes no delight in fools. Pay what you vow! It is better that you should not vow than that you should vow and not pay. Do not let your speech cause you to sin and do not say in the presence of the messenger of God that it was a mistake. Why should God be angry on account of your voice and destroy the work of your hands? For in many dreams and in many words there is emptiness. Rather, fear God.

Whatever you do, do not say that it was a mistake that you married your spouse. Pay your vows and let the Lord deal with your spouse. The Lord does not in fools. Get to work in your marriage and fear the Lord by doing what He has called you to do. You will find that the Lord will help you, guide you and strengthen you and you will become more like Him. Your life will be a light to others and a testimony of the Lord. There are many people who struggle in difficult marriages and want to quit but the Lord does not bless quitters but He does bless those who are faithful and honor Him.

 

 

 

 

A Life that Is Prepared for Marriage

The best time to prepare for marriage is before you get married. It is a God given desire to want to get married. However, the more you are prepared for marriage the easier it will be for you. The more mature you are as a person the happier you will be in your marriage and the easier your marriage will be. Marriage will never make anyone happy. If you are not happy before you are married then you will not be happy after you are married. No one can meet the needs in your life that God designed for God alone to meet. Marriage does give you meaning or purpose in life. A mate will never make you feel secure of fill any emptiness in your life. The less expectation that you have for your mate then the less disappointment you will feel. Expectations destroy relationships. The more you learn to look to the Lord for strength, security, love, joy, peace, self control, patience. kindness, goodness, faithfulness and gentleness then the happier you will be and the you will also bring great joy to whomever you marry.

Galatians 5:22-24 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.

Do not use the flesh to attract a mate because then you will seek to use your flesh to keep him. This will bring great insecurity to you because a man’s eyes are never satisfied.

Proverbs 27:20 Sheol and Abaddon are never satisfied, Nor are the eyes of man ever satisfied.

However, it is important to do your best to look your best because man does look on the outward appearance.

I Samuel 16:7 But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”

However, you want the inner beauty of the Lord to be greater than any outward appearance. Your outward appearance is decaying but the inner man is being renewed day by day.

II Corinthians 4:16 Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day.

The Lord will strengthen you through His Spirit in the inner man to become a godly woman who fears the Lord. You must learn to walk in the Spirit on a daily moment by moment basis. This is the greatest preparation for marriage.

Ephesians 3:16 that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man,

Again, a mate will never fulfill you or make you happy. The sooner you learn this lesson the happier you will be. Young ladies have a tendency to live in the “if” or “when ” world. “If I were …” or “if I had …” or “when I …” and the truth of the matter is that the “if” and “when” does not change the contentment of your soul. You must learn to be content in Jesus Christ. He must be your desire. The more you learn to be content in Him then the more content you will be in whatever state He has you, whether married or single.

Psalm 73:25 Whom have I in heaven but You? And besides You, I desire nothing on earth.

Contentment, gratefulness and joy all go together. The greatest gift that you can give to yourself and to others and especially to the person you marry is an attitude of gratitude. No one likes to be around a complainer or someone who is never happy. Someone once said that an unhappy wife is a public rebuke to her husband. Cultivate a grateful spirit and begin now by expressing thanks to your parents and those who have helped you in life. Not only do you quench the Spirit when you do not give thanks but you will quench your husband’s spirit and what he once wanted to do for you he will no longer do because it isn’t “exactly the way you like it”.

Ephesians 5:16-19 Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. Do not quench the Spirit;

Learn to compliment a man. A man longs for praise. The Lord made him this way and most men are starved for praise and they will gravitate to the people who praise them. This is crucial because the Lord made a man to conquer and he needs the praise of his wife to go out and conquer the world in his job. Also, if you do not praise him then other women will. Even if you do praise him other women will still do it. This is one of the ways that an immoral woman gets a man to commit adultery. She flatters him with her tongue. He does not know that it is flattery and the aim of flattery is to manipulate so you want to make sure that he is filled with your praises if you are his wife. Learn now to praise. You can begin by learning to praise your brothers and your brothers in Christ. Look for Christlikeness and then point it out to him how you see the Lord in him.

Proverbs 2:16 To deliver you from the strange woman, From the adulteress who flatters with her words;

Learn to dress in a modest manner so that a godly man will be attracted to you. If you dress in such a way that stimulates a man by stirring up desires that can not be fulfilled righteously then you are a stumbling block. Why should the Lord give you to a godly man who is seeking Him. No, rather, if you dress in a provocative manner then a man who is “all about himself” will be drawn to you and since you dressed in a deceptive manner you will be the one who will end up being deceived. He will deceive you into you believing that he actually cares for you when he does not care for you but loves himself.

Proverbs 23:6,7 Do not eat the bread of a selfish man,
Or desire his delicacies;
For as he thinks within himself, so he is.
He says to you, “Eat and drink!”
But his heart is not with you.

Finally, do dress in a modest manner, as is fitting for one who seeks to please the Lord. Learn to fear the Lord and obey Him. Honor you parents, as the Lord has commanded. If you do not honor your parents then you will struggle with honoring and respecting your husband. The Lord gives the woman to the man, not the man to the woman. You need to ask yourself if you want to serve, desire, submit to and respect a man and consider him more important than yourself. If you are not ready for that then ask the Lord to help you and go to older women who have a good marriage and ask them to teach you. Marriage can be a sweet fellowship and relationship between a man and a woman if it is done God’s way. It is supposed to be a picture of Christ and the church. Just as Christ died for the church, the husband is the love His wife in a sacrificial way and be willing to die for her. In the same way, a wife is to live for her husband (as the church is to live for Christ) and the way that she learns to serve and love Him in this Christlike manner is to die to herself. Marriage is a dying of two selves so that the Lord can raise up one (in body, soul and spirit) to glorify Him.

Ephesians 5:31-33 For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and shall be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.This mystery is great; but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the church. Nevertheless, each individual among you also is to love his own wife even as himself, and the wife must see to it that she respects her husband.

It is a mystery but it is a beautiful mystery and the most intimate relationship on earth when done God’s way. To love and be loved is what we all long for but it is only when we are surrendered to the Lord and learn His ways will we ever know what it means to live in intimate fellowship in marriage.

 

 

A Married Life Filled with Love

There are things that destroy love and there are requirements of love that are essential to lasting love. One of the roots of true love is moral excellence. There must be trust and respect to have true love in a marriage and the prerequisite to love, trust and respect is moral excellence. If you want true love within the marriage then you need to have moral excellence before marriage. Moral excellence is not compromising morally. If someone has moral excellence before marriage then they will almost always have moral excellence after marriage. Immorality is taking something that is not yours to take. A man has no right to any physical affection that he would not have with his sister. Any kind of physical affection has meaning to a female. Until a man takes a woman to be his wife he is to treat her with the same respect that he would treat his sister or mother.

II Peter 1:5-7 Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence, and in your moral excellence, knowledge, and in your knowledge, self-control, and in your self-control, perseverance, and in your perseverance, godliness, and in your godliness, brotherly kindness, and in your brotherly kindness, love.

A good measure of how to treat another one of the opposite sex is if this person married your best friend would there be any awkwardness. You do not know who you will marry so do not speculate or presume. Through presumption comes strife.

Proverbs 13:10a Through pride and presumption come nothing but strife,

A great marriage is when two people become one in every way. Marriage is the only way it is possible for two people to become one spiritually, mentally, emotionally and physically. When there is a violation of God’s ways then it prevents the oneness from happening and that leads to emptiness and frustration. Moral excellence is the requirement for oneness and love, trust and respect is what allows oneness to happen. Oneness spiritually can happen with anyone who is a Christian and so for there to be spiritual oneness in marriage both spouses must be Christians.

II Corinthians 6:14,15 Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness? Or what harmony has Christ with Belial, or what has a believer in common with an unbeliever?

Once there is the common faith in Christ then it is good for there to be attraction of a friendship. This is the oneness of soul. Again, no physical because that is a lack of moral excellence and once there is the physical then the soul aspect becomes secondary. The Lord chose Eve to first be a companion to Adam and a great marriage is great companionship and friendship. In a great marriage there is a great need for clear communication and this is developed through friendship. One of the best ways to see what a person is like is to see how they interact in a group of friends. When a man and a woman spend much time alone together, even on the friendship level, then at least one of them will become emotionally attached and the breaking of the friendship will be painful and especially if there has been any defrauding. Defrauding is communicating that there is more to the relationship than there really is. Defrauding is a lack of moral excellence.

I Thessalonians 4:3-8 For this is the will of God, your sanctification; that is, that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each of you know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor, not in lustful passion, like the Gentiles who do not know God; and that no man transgress and defraud his brother in the matter because the Lord is the avenger in all these things, just as we also told you before and solemnly warned you. For God has not called us for the purpose of impurity, but in sanctification. So, he who rejects this is not rejecting man but the God who gives His Holy Spirit to you.

The third aspect of oneness in a great marriage is the oneness physically. You will be very glad if you wait. There is a peace, comfort, joy, security and great love for the couples who wait until marriage for the physical. It is so great that the Lord says that the man will outshine the sun when he comes out of his bedroom on his wedding night.

Psalm 19:1-5 The heavens are telling of the glory of God;
And their expanse is declaring the work of His hands.
Day to day pours forth speech,
And night to night reveals knowledge.
There is no speech, nor are there words;
Their voice is not heard.
Their line has gone out through all the earth,
And their utterances to the end of the world.
In them He has placed a tent for the sun,
Which is as a bridegroom coming out of his chamber;

A man loses as much as a woman if he compromises before his wedding night. He has made his wife feel guilty and when they are intimate after marriage it will be a reminder to her of her guilt. She will not trust him like she would if he had exercised self control before marriage. Before marriage she may have thought it was love but after marriage she will realize that it was lust. They both lose and will struggle for the oneness that God designed.

A Married Life Overflowing with Love

Everyone who is married longs for there to be true love in the marriage. Love is the sweet fragrance of a great marriage and the if you have love in your marriage then it truly cuts your sorrows in half and doubles your joys. Without love then life and marriage is much harder and eventually can become bitter or lifeless. Love softens the blows that life sometimes brings that are out of our control. Love is the oil in relationships and without it relationships are a grind that can wear us down. Most marriages begin with good intentions but many do not know how to live out the desires and dreams that were there at the beginning.

I John 4:7,8 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love.

God is love and there is no love a part from God. We do not know love a part from the Lord and we can not love a part from the Lord Jesus Christ. There may be duty, obligation or even a selfish love a part from the Lord but there will never be an agape love which is an unselfish, unconditional love apart from Jesus Christ. God came to us through Jesus Christ to show us what true love is and how we can experience it and know it. You must have Christ in your life to love and to be loved. We are untrusting creatures and don’t even know how to receive or give love. When we come into an encounter with Jesus Christ and receive Him then we are loved just the way we are and we can learn to love others just the way they are.

Romans 5:8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

God loves us. Christ died for us when we did not love Him and had turned our back on Him. Jesus Christ loves us just the way we are with an unconditional, agape love. We are complete in Him and do not need the approval of others. He will always have our back and will never turn His back on us. He will never leave us or forsake us, even when it feels as though all others have and we are alone.

Hebrews 13:4,5 Marriage is to be held in honor among all, and the marriage bed is to be undefiled; for fornicators and adulterers God will judge. Make sure that your character is free from the love of money, being content with what you have; for He Himself has said, “I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you,”

We do not need to have the “boastful pride of man” nor do we need to fulfill the lusts of the flesh or the lusts of the eyes when we have Christ. He is our glory and He will never leave us. We do not have to ever be lonely again. Being lonely is not His will and He wants His people to have a home. He wants you to have a home.

Psalm 68:6 God makes a home for the lonely;
He leads out the prisoners into prosperity,
Only the rebellious dwell in a parched land.

Rebellion is simply wanting to go your own way. If you have gone your own way and you are lonely in your marriage then turn to the Lord with all of your heart. He will fill your loneliness and fill you with love for your marriage partner. He will teach you how to love His way.

Galatians 6:9,10 Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary. So then, while we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, and especially to those who are of the household of the faith.

The word “good” means the “highest form of love”. The Lord will show you how to “do good” to your spouse. In due time you will reap if you do not grow weary. He will show you the opportunities to do good. The Lord will teach you.

A Life that Begins Marriage Right

The beginning of marriage starts before you even meet the person that you are to marry. This may sound a little strange but most, if not all, of the problems in marriage are the weeds of the seeds that were planted before marriage. How much easier it is to only plant good plants with good fruit in our marriage rather than to allow the seeds of weeds or plants with bad fruit to be sown. We all reap what we sow.

Galatians 6:7-9 Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary.

There are three enemies of a great marriage. These three enemies will destroy the love that God designed. A great marriage can be the closest experience to heaven if done God’s way. The Lord designed for marriage to be the closest picture of God’s love.

I John 2:15,16 Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world.

The word “lust” literally means desire. When we lust for something then we are simply desiring something that is outside of God’s will. God’s will is perfect and His love is perfect. When we succumb to a lust then we have given in to a desire that is not a part of His will and it will bring destruction to our lives and the lives of those around us. A great marriage is made of two people who have learned to not give in to the lust of the flesh or the lust of the eyes. They also have recognized the deceitfulness and emptiness of the boastful pride of life. These three things will destroy love in a marriage but they must be dealt with in a person’s life before they are married. We take into a marriage who we are. If we have failed in these areas then we are taking into our marriage the seeds of failure that will reap a marriage without true love or respect. You can not keep covered up who you are in your heart.

James 1:12-17 Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him. Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, and He Himself does not tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death. Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren. Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow.

It is through learning to persevere under the trials of life that our character is formed. Blessed in the man or woman and blessed will be their marriage if they have learned before marriage to flee from temptation and to turn to the Lord with all of their heart to receive His grace to do life right. If you can seek Jesus Christ and learn to walk in His ways before marriage then your marriage will be a picture of life rather than death. If you give into your lusts before marriage then you will be greatly tempted after marriage and it is you, yourself who will bring about the death of your marriage. Marriage is a gift from the Lord that He wants to give to His children but it must be done God’s way.

Ecclesiastes 3:14 I know that everything God does will remain forever; there is nothing to add to it and there is nothing to take from it, for God has so worked that men should fear Him.

The Lord is perfect in all His ways and there is nothing to add to it and nothing to take from it. God has so worked that we should fear and honor Him. He is good and His love is perfect. When you do marriage God’s way then you will praise Him for His good and perfect gift.

Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.

It is most important to remember than you can only have a great marriage through Jesus Christ alone. He is the One who designed marriage and He is the One who will give you the strength and wisdom in how to do marriage right. If you did not start marriage right then He will help you if you turn to Him with all of your heart. Where sin, which is giving into lust, abounds His grace and love abounds all the more. There is no life and no marriage that is beyond His grace and mercy.

Romans 5:20b,21 but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, so that, as sin reigned in death, even so grace would reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Just as when sin reigns in a person’s life there will be death when grace reigns in a person’s life then there will be righteousness, or in other words, the life and marriage will be done right with the outcome of life. However, the grace, righteousness and life is only through Jesus Christ.

 

A Life of A Great Marriage

A great marriage is God’s design for His children if it is His will for them to be married. He came that we might have an abundant life and part of that abundant life is an abundant marriage if marriage is a part of that life.

John 10:10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.

It is the devil who comes only to steal, kill and destroy and he will do that not only in your life but in your marriage if you let him. The Bible says to resist the devil and he will flee from you.

James 4:6-8 But He gives a greater grace. Therefore it says, “God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.

The first step to having a great marriage is to realize and acknowledge that you can not do it on your own. We all need God’s grace and the way to get God’s grace and help is to humble yourself before the Lord. He gives grace to the humble. He opposes the proud. Pride says that “I can do it on my own and I can do it my way.” When you humble yourself before the Lord then you are resisting the devil who whispers in your ear that “you have got this and don’t need the Lord”. Cleanse your hands means that you need to take it out of your hands and put it in the hands of the Lord by giving it to Him. Purify your hearts means that you can not be double minded, but single minded by being fully surrendered to the Lord. A double minded person is one who can not decide how to do something. Should they do it “this way or that way”. A pure heart says that you want only to do it God’s way. When we are fully surrendered to the Lord and put our marriage or future marriage in God’s hands then He will show us His ways and give us His grace. God’s ways are God’s wisdom and He will give to all who ask Him if they are not double minded.

James 1:5-8 But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But he must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind. For that man ought not to expect that he will receive anything from the Lord, being a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.

So, the beginning of a great marriage is to ask God for wisdom. Don’t lean on your own understanding but trust in the Lord with all of your heart. Faith is trusting in the Lord and asking Him for wisdom is an expression of that faith. He wants to help you and direct you. His ways are perfect and He is good.

Proverbs 3:5,6 Trust in the Lord with all your heart
And do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He will make your paths straight.

If you will build your marriage on God’s wisdom then it will be firmly established and will be able to endure the storms of life. The days will be filled with all precious and pleasant riches. Your marriage and home will be a refuge to you and all who enter.

Proverbs 24:3,4 By wisdom a house is built,
And by understanding it is established;
And by knowledge the rooms are filled
With all precious and pleasant riches.

 

 

 

A Life with Understanding

The Lord is good and there is nothing twisted in His ways. However, if you do not know Him then you may think that He is not fair or that He may even be twisted in what He does. Not so, He is just and He is good all of the time. This is His nature and who He is. All of the utterances of His mouth are right and there is nothing crooked or perverted in them. Those who have understanding know this.

Proverbs 8:8,9 “All the utterances of my mouth are in righteousness;
There is nothing crooked or perverted in them.
“They are all straightforward to him who understands,
And right to those who find knowledge.

A person who has understanding will come to Him daily and even moment by moment will commune with Him. They will want to live in His presence and will not have to be like the horse or mule that requires something to make them come to God.

Psalm 32:9 Do not be as the horse or as the mule which have no understanding, Whose trappings include bit and bridle to hold them in check, Otherwise they will not come near to you.

The knowledge of the Holy One is understanding and it is sweeter than honey to the soul. There is no comparison to knowing Him and when you learn to live in His presence and in the knowledge of Him then you will truly know that nothing compares with the knowledge of Him.

Proverbs 9:10 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom,
And the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.

The way to get more understanding is to keep his commandments. Many people want to understand His commandments before they do them but actually the obedience comes first and then the understanding. The Lord tells us to “not speak in the hearing of a fool lest he despise the wisdom of our words” so if He tells us to be that way then how much more will He not teach a fool His ways. It is foolish to not obey Him and do what He says.

Psalm 111:10 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; A good understanding have all those who do His commandments; His praise endures forever.

Understanding is what is supposed to characterize the people of God.

Deuteronomy 4:6 So keep and do them, for that is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the peoples who will hear all these statutes and say, ‘Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.’

What characterizes a person who understands and knows the Lord is that they will keep His commandments. To the degree that you keep His commandments is to the degree that you know Him.

I Chronicles 22:12 Only the Lord give you discretion and understanding, and give you charge over Israel, so that you may keep the law of the Lord your God.

To depart from evil is understanding. If you tolerate sin in your life then not only does the Lord not “understand” or excuse it but it is you who does not understand and know Him. How easy it is to say when we sin, “God will understand”. That is a lie from the devil.

Job 28:28 “And to man He said, ‘Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; And to depart from evil is understanding.’”

The Lord loves you and He wants you to depart from evil because He knows that is for your good and for the good of everyone else. The Lord hates evil and wants us to hate it as well. Evil causes grief and He sent His Son to save us from evil. He has compassion on all.

Job 36:5 “Behold, God is mighty but does not despise any; He is mighty in strength of understanding.

Do you know Him and have understanding? Go to the Lord and ask Him for understanding that you might know Him. Read His Word and pray that you might understand it. He loves you and has come to give you light, life and understanding, which is the knowledge of Him. He makes your life sweet and brings life to the spirit and healing to the soul.

Psalm 119:130 The unfolding of Your words gives light; It gives understanding to the simple.

 

A Life of Understanding

A life of understanding is a very exciting life. Could you imagine understanding matters that the world wonders about and yet never come to know? They are ever seeking but never coming to the knowledge of the truth.

Proverbs 3:5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart
And do not lean on your own understanding.

The beginning of true understanding is to not lean on your own understanding. We look and perceive with our eyes and ears. All we can do is observe but not know about the inner workings of many matters in life. When we look to Him then He gives us insight into the “why”. The creator of the universe who made it all not only understands but will give to His children great understanding. For example, “why do men behave the way they do?” We know a man’s wants but what are his needs? The Lord who made men knows them better than anyone and will give you insight. The Bible says that the eyes of man are never satisfied. Once a man’s wants are satisfied then he will often go elsewhere. There are certain things that a man needs and he will generally go, stay and return to where his needs are met. The same is true for all of us. We will go where our needs are met but our wants are constantly changing.

Proverbs 9:10 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, And the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.

If you want to understand then rather than study the desired object get to know the One who is the Creator of all things.

Exodus 35:31 And He has filled him with the Spirit of God, in wisdom, in understanding and in knowledge and in all craftsmanship;

Keeping God’s commandments will give you understanding. Obedience comes before understanding. Often we want to understand and then obey but faith is obeying first and then He rewards us with understanding.

Deuteronomy 4:6 So keep and do them, for that is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the peoples who will hear all these statutes and say, ‘Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.’

God’s Word is what gives understanding.

Psalm 119:130 The unfolding of Your words gives light; It gives understanding to the simple.

The fear of the Lord and understanding go together.

Psalm 111:10 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; A good understanding have all those who do His commandments;

Ask the Lord for understanding. King Solomon asked for understanding and it pleased the Lord so much that He gave him riches, honor and life.

I Kings 3:9 So give Your servant an understanding heart to judge Your people to discern between good and evil. For who is able to judge this great people of Yours?”

He gives understanding and along with understanding comes blessing.

Job 12:13 With Him are wisdom and might; To Him belong counsel and understanding.

To depart from evil is understanding.

Job 28:28 “And to man He said, ‘Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; And to depart from evil is understanding.’ “

Apart from understanding, which is the knowledge of the Lord, we are like the beasts that perish.

Psalm 49:20 Man in his pomp, yet without understanding, Is like the beasts that perish.

One who seeks understanding has a heart to obey the Lord.

Psalm 119:34 Give me understanding, that I may observe Your law And keep it with all my heart.

Do you struggle with confusion? The opposite of confusion is understanding. The Lord says that He is not a God of confusion. When you find yourself saying, “I am so confused,” then stop what you are doing and ask the Lord to give you understanding and seek Him in His Word. He wants to give you the knowledge of Him and show you understanding.

I Corinthians 2:9, 14-16 but just as it is written, Things which eye has not seen and ear has not heard, And which have not entered the heart of man,
All that God has prepared for those who love Him.”

But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised. But he who is spiritual appraises all things, yet he himself is appraised by no one. For who has known the mind of the Lord, that he will instruct Him? But we have the mind of Christ.

The truly spiritual Christian appraises all things yet he himself is appraised by no one. The non Christian, or natural man, does not accept nor understand the things of the Lord.

 

A Life that is Made Great

We can not make ourselves great because there is nothing within us that is good. Greatness comes from doing good and doing what is right and teaching others also. However, there is One who is truly great and He is the One who makes great.

Psalm 18:35 You have also given me the shield of Your salvation,
And Your right hand upholds me;
And Your condescension makes me great.

The word “con” means with and the word “descend” means get down. When God came down to earth to be with men and show them the way of salvation then He made us great by lifting us up out of our despair and hopelessness. The Lord alone is great and He came to restore man to the greatness of being made in the image of God and being called a child of God.

Psalm 138:6 For though the Lord is exalted,
Yet He regards the lowly,
But the haughty He knows from afar.

The Lord has regard for the lowly. He comes to those who realize their desperate need for Him, not just to get them out of the mess they are in today, but for eternal salvation which begins today and continues into all eternity. He came down to lift us up.

John 3:13-15 No one has ascended into heaven, but He who descended from heaven: the Son of Man. As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up; so that whoever believes will in Him have eternal life.

What is the outcome of those who have been made great in this life and restored to a relationship with God? They will want to do good. Doing good works is the fruit of those who have been lifted up and made great.

Ephesians 2:8-10 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.

Good works is what we were created for in Christ Jesus and even these we can not do apart from Him. He has gone before us and prepared them so that all we have to do is walk in them. When we walk with the Lord then He will lead us into these good works. For doing good works is what characterizes the person who has been made great.