Thanking God for One of the Greatest Gifts

God gives us many gifts and blessings throughout our lives.  Starting with the gift of salvation right down to the gift of a beautiful day.  The gift I want to acknowledge and thank the Lord for today, is the gift he gave to me 22 years ago today….my wife.

My wife Holly and I started dating in 1988, we were married in 1992 and now 22 years and 4 kids later, I can look back and say that God’s gift to me was absolutely perfect.  It wasn’t like that shirt you may have received on your birthday that was slightly too big or perhaps the wrong color, but you wore it anyway.  It wasn’t like the video game that you finished in a week and put it back on the shelf never to look at again, it wasn’t like the fancy dinner that you were taken out to to celebrate some event that you enjoyed, but then was gone and forgotten in hours…..no it was like none of those.  It was the gift that has lasted these 22 years, the gift I never grow tired of, the gift that I won’t take back because I outgrew it….no it is the gift that changes,  but gets better as we age, the longer we are married, the stronger we become.

The other side of that, which we often forget to mention, is that we are prepared as a gift to our spouse.  God gave me as a gift to my wife.  I need to be aware of that and make sure that I treat her like someone deserving of a fine gift….and make sure that I am that fine gift.  Oh, none of us are perfect, we all have our flaws, but if we think each day that God gave me to her and her to me as gifts, that God created us for each other.  If we think that way each day, we’ll be conscious of when we are not acting like that fine gift we were meant to be.

When you enter your marriage, one prepared by God, it can do nothing else but succeed.

We received an anniversary card this year that says’ something that truly stands out to me.

Because God has chosen you for each other,
Because you have made Him your partner in marriage as well as in life,
Because your deep faith allows Him to work in your hearts in beautiful, all-knowing ways
Yours is a marriage abundantly blessed with love and joy…

What a great thought to leave on this day. God has chosen us for each other.  We have asked him to be a central part of our marriage.  We are married because God chose us for each other.  Because of our faith that God will help us through the rough spots.  Our marriage is and has been abundantly blessed.

To my wife, Holly, who I know reads my posts……I love you more and more each day.  I thank God for the wonderful gift he gave to me all those years ago and I pray that I can be the gift to you that God intended me to be.   Love ya babe!

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Walk with Jesus

I’m on a vacation this week from work.  We are not going away to the beach or going camping or anything like that.  We’re just hanging out around home and going about life as normal for the most part.  Oh, we’ll take little day trips here and there, take the kids to the zoo, maybe go to the lake for a while to fish….things like that, but no big, headed out of state, vacation.  We’re going to take life as it comes this week.

We live and work in such a high-paced society that even when we are to “relax” on vacation, the pace is still hectic.  We never get a chance to just unwind.  This week I want to unwind and walk with Jesus as he walked with the two men to Emmaus.

At church we’ve been going through a teaching series of “Where have we met Christ in our lives?”, and this week we talked about Luke 24:13-34.  I won’t repeat it all here, go read it, but let me lay out some background for you.  It’s the day of the Resurrection and two of Jesus’ followers are walking to the village of Emmaus, seven miles from Jerusalem.  Jesus appears to them (though they did not recognize him yet as they were so focused on their own problems and disappointments) and begins to walk and talk with them.  These men failed to realize that Christ’s suffering was his path to glory.  So Jesus spends the rest of the time on the walk to teach them Scripture and how it all leads to Jesus.

So let’s step back from this a moment and think about it.  Here are these two guys, one who is not named (the other we find out is named Cleopas) and their only supposed mention in all of the Bible is in the parallel story in Mark 16.  We know nothing about their background, other than they were followers of Jesus before his crucifixion.  They are walking to a small village 7 miles away from where they start.  Jesus appears and they begin to talk with and eventually be taught by Jesus.  How long does it take to walk 7 miles?  Probably a couple hours if walking at a normal speed, but let’s slow that down a bit since they were having a deep conversation, so let’s suppose it takes them 4 hours.

So there was Jesus, on the biggest day of his ministry…..the day he defeated death and he is spending 4 hours talking with two seemingly random people.  Jesus, could have just appeared to them and said “I am Jesus, the son of the living God, resurrected from death to wash away your sins” and the effect would have been the same and taken a lot less time.  He could have been on appearing to more people and those two travelers could have ran back to Jerusalem to spread the good news that much quicker…..but no, Jesus took the time to just talk with them, to walk with them, to teach them.   I think Jesus like’s the relationship.

I’ve often prayed for a quick answer from God, only to have it take a long time.  I’ve often wished that God would just pump all kinds of wisdom into my head and then I’d have all the answers, but it doesn’t work like that does it.  God takes us on a journey, because he likes the relationship we develop with him.  He likes those long conversations we have with him.  He likes being by our side on those slow long walks to Emmaus.

With our hectic and fast-paced lives we lead, we don’t take the time to have long talks or long walks.  We don’t have time to build relationships with people.   We don’t take the time spend long quiet evenings sitting on the porch just taking in all of God’s creation.   If we’re lucky we try to squeeze a few minutes in the morning for a quick prayer or maybe one before bed at night.   We may have a few minutes to read a few verses of the Bible, if we’re lucky and can squeeze it in somewhere.  We don’t have time for those long walks to Emmaus.

Jesus wants a relationship with you.  He’s not about increasing his number of followers just to look at the total headcount.  He wants to look at us when we meet him in heaven and say “Jason, my old friend, you’re home at last.”  or “Denise, our long journey together is finished, we’ve reached our destination.”

I plan this week off from work to take a slow long walk to my Emmaus with Jesus.