Day 21: Original 50 Days of Pray Revisited

Thoughts on Day 21: If in reading my works you haven’t already picked up on it; I believe that no marriage is hopeless. We need to be teaching our children as well as demonstrating to them through our marriages that it is worth fighting for. Never give up on your spouse, we fell out of love is not an excuse but a cop out. There are extreme cases, but outside of those, we need to work at our marriages to keep them alive and fresh.

 

5 March 15

 DAY TWENTY-ONE
Romans 8: 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Ephesians 5 25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.

How much should we love our wives? Ephesians 5:25 states just as much as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her. How much does Christ love his church? Romans 8:38-39 tells us the love that Christ has for His Church.

Let that sink in for a minute. Do you love your wife that much? Wives do you feel that love?

Husbands if you feel that this kind of love is something you can’t offer, you are wrong. Marriage is not marrying the one you love but loving the one you married. Don’t stop working at your increasing the love for your wife.

Wives, if you feel unloved in your marriage, work on bringing love back. Do what ever it takes to rekindle your love, go on dates, turn the TV off, reconnect.

Together you can have this kind of love just like Christ has for the church. He doesn’t give up on the church, nor should you give up on your spouse.

Dear Jesus, we live our lives sometimes as fast-moving trains, we buzz past the problems and miss our stops. But God, we need help slowing down and rekindling the love that You want us to have for each other. The same love that You have for Your Church. Instill that in our hearts today. Amen

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Day 15: Original 50 Days of Pray Revisited

Thoughts of Day 15: I believe every marriage can be rescued. I know that certain circumstances make it feel impossible and sometimes not wise to even consider. Those situations are between you and God. As believers who have a relationship with God, are you fighting for your marriage rather than fighting your marriage?

 

27 Feb 16

DAY FIFTEEN

I was sound asleep, but in my dreams, I was wide awake. Oh, listen! It’s the sound of my lover knocking, calling! “Let me in, dear companion, dearest friend, my dove, consummate lover! I’m soaked with the dampness of the night, drenched with dew, shivering and cold.” “But I’m in my nightgown-do you expect me to get dressed? I’m bathed and in bed-do you want me to get dirty?” But my lover wouldn’t take no for an answer, and the longer he knocked, the more excited I became. I got up to open the door to my lover, sweetly ready to receive him, Desiring and expectant as I turned the door handle. But when I opened the door he was gone. My loved one had tired of waiting and left. And I died inside-oh, I felt so bad! I ran out looking for him But he was nowhere to be found. I called into the darkness-but no answer. The night watchmen found me as they patrolled the streets of the city. They slapped and beat and bruised me, ripping off my clothes, These watchmen, who were supposed to be guarding the city.

I beg you, sisters in Jerusalem- if you find my lover, Please tell him I want him, that I’m heartsick with love for him. (Song of Solomon 5:2-8 MSG)

I wonder if like the story above we are slow to respond to our spouses. When they call out for help or need us do we ignore or make excuses to rush to them? This is what happened above. She was making excuses to why not to answer the door and let her lover in and by the time she finally decided to roll out of bed he was gone. This man knew his lover was home, was expecting her to be excited to see him but alas she wouldn’t answer the door. He probably felt unwanted, neglected and unloved so he went somewhere else to find what he needed.

This is a problem that plagues marriages all over the world especially our continent. Spouses feeling like they are not loved, wanted, or appreciated and they go find it in another. It may start out as just finding another man/woman to comfort them in their loneliness but sin has a funny way of creeping in a destroying what God planned for good.

So today, if you are the one in bed, making excuses not to spend time or run to your lovers’ side. STOP IT. Make your lover feel important, meet their needs, love them, show them you still desire them.

And if you are the one at the door, looking for attention, love, desire, DON’T GIVE UP. Keep trying to connect, love them, make them feel important, show them you have a strong desire to be with them.

Do whatever it takes to reconnect. Pray for your spouse.

Dear Jesus, help us to rekindle the love we have for our spouses. Help us to be persistent in our desire and pursuit of satisfying our lovers. If we are lonely in our marriage help us to speak out and tell our spouse that is how we feel. Better for us Lord be embarrassed with our spouse over little things then let them become huge sins. God be with my spouse today, love him/her and bless them. Let our lives reflect marriage as you intended. Amen

Day 13: Original 50 Days of Pray Revisited

Day 13 Thoughts: Intimacy between Husband and Wife is so important. Just as important as communication, there is a bond that keeps you connected.  I wish I could say this is the cure for all marriages that are falling apart all around me, but I know that it isn’t the fact. Sin has wedged its way into marriage making it become a disposable commodity. But as believers, if you stay connected with Jesus, and focus on your marriage, mentally, physically, sexually and spiritual you will have a marriage that thrives. Whoever said marriage was easy obviously wasn’t married very long.

 

25 Feb 15

DAY THIRTEEN

During the rule of Herod, King of Judea, there was a priest assigned service in the regiment of Abijah. His name was Zachariah. His wife was descended from the daughters of Aaron. Her name was Elizabeth. Together they lived honourably before God, careful in keeping to the ways of the commandments and enjoying a clear conscience before God. But they were childless because Elizabeth could never conceive, and now they were quite old. (Luke 1:5-7 MSG)
When the course of his priestly assignment was completed, he went back home. It wasn’t long before his wife, Elizabeth, conceived. She went off by herself for five months, relishing her pregnancy. “So, this is how God acts to remedy my unfortunate condition!” she said. (Luke 1:23-25 MSG)

Let’s talk about sex. The Bible talks about sex, so why are so ashamed to bring it up. Sex between a married man and woman is a holy thing. God intended sex to be the bond that connects us to our spouse, it not only connects us physically but spiritually.

As we read above Zachariah and Elizabeth were old and could not have kids. But as you read a little further in the chapter it shows that it didn’t stop them from having sex.  It reads they lived honourable before God. He was a priest, and he was intimate with his wife. I can think of many excuses why he or his wife might not have wanted the intimacy in their relationship, or why the passion would be gone; 1) they couldn’t conceive so why have sex, 2) he was a priest and well they shouldn’t live like that, 3) they were old, and old people don’t do that.

They choose to follow God, and live honourable, they took the vow they made to one another seriously and didn’t let the passion die in the bedroom. They didn’t let their age stop them as they understood that the connection sex brings is something honoured by God because they kept the purity of marriage bed holy.

Are you spending quality time with your spouse? Is sex something you enjoy with your spouse on a regular basis, or do you only bring it to the bedroom on special occasions? A healthy sexual relationship with your husband or wife will help centre your marriage, cool your anger and focus your marriages direction. Sex with your spouse, when given freely and not thought of as a chore, will bring you to a place where there will be no desire for another. He/she will be what you long for, and you will put the effort into becoming and amazing partner for them in the marriage bed.

I wonder how many marriages fall apart due to chore sex, and not sex as designed by God.

I pray that today if you are in a marriage and you want to honour God with all you do that you take the time to show your spouse that you are in your relationship 100%. That they are important and you want to connect with them physically and spiritually.

Dear Lord, I know this topic will bring mixed feelings to some, I pray Jesus that who this needs to reach will read it and feel such a burning in their hearts to rekindle the passion for their spouse. Help us to have a desire to have an intimacy with our spouse as you have designed it. Help us who are single to wait to have sex till we are married as to enjoy what You have set aside as amazing for this who commit their lives to one another before You. Please forgive those who may have prematurely had sex before marriage, You forgive all sins and will cleanse all who ask of You. Bless all who read this today. Let our marriages be an example to those who don’t know you. They matter to you so they matter to me. Amen.

Day 10: Original 50 Days of Pray Revisited

Thoughts on Day 10: Over the past 2 years I have seen some marriages fall apart. I think in a four month period I was dealing with four at work alone. I wish that I have the answers and ways to restore all marriages, but the fact remains it is something between them and God. One would hope that Christian marriages would stand the test of time, but even they are breaking which breaks my heart even more. I pray for marriages built on a foundation of faith in Christ, it is never to late for one to restore what has been broken.

22 Feb 16

DAY TEN

Song of Solomon 3 The Message (MSG)

3v 1-4 Restless in bed and sleepless through the night,
I longed for my lover.
I wanted him desperately. His absence was painful.
So I got up, went out and roved the city,
hunting through streets and down alleys.
I wanted my lover in the worst way!
I looked high and low, and didn’t find him.
And then the night watchmen found me
as they patrolled the darkened city.
“Have you seen my dear lost love?” I asked.
No sooner had I left them than I found him,
found my dear lost love.
I threw my arms around him and held him tight,
wouldn’t let him go until I had him home again,
safe at home beside the fire.

If your married do you feel this way when your spouse is away. Do you worry about where he or she maybe? Maybe you and your spouse are going through a troubled time, maybe you might even be going through a time of separation

These verses paint a beautiful picture of Christs love for us. We are restless in this life looking for our lost love, but sometimes we just don’t know who He is. Jesus is waiting to be found. He isn’t that far off, We talked earlier in the challenge about a void in our lives that can only be filled by Jesus. His love can only be accepted never forced upon you.

If you are going through a rough point in your marriage, I challenge you to ask Jesus for a longing for your spouse, ask for a desire to repair what the enemy is working on destroying. Wives, understand and support your husbands in ways that show your support for Christ. Husbands, go all out in your love for your wives, exactly as Christ did for the church –  a love marked by giving, not getting. (Ephesians 5 v 22&25) If you need help, ask for it. Work with your Pastor, seek counselling, find some accountability partners (together and separately) and pray together.

If Jesus can take our messed-up lives and make them complete trust that he can taken your broken marriage and do the same. He can provide you with the longing for your spouse you once had when you were first married.

If you are single and not married I pray that if you know of married couples who are falling apart at the seams that you will pray for restoration. Maybe you have walked away from Jesus, and your life is restless and broken. Seek Jesus out and rest in His arms.

Dear Jesus, take my marriage wherever it may be and strengthen it. If it is falling apart right before my eyes, take hold and repair it. Bring the love I once had for my spouse and rekindle it. May our marriage be a representation of who You are living through us. Take control of our marriage. I trust You are in control. If I have let You out of my life, ignored you and not paid you any attention I ask you to forgive me and come restore my life in your arms. Amen

 

22 Feb 16

DAY TEN
Song of Solomon 3 The Message (MSG)

3v 1-4 Restless in bed and sleepless through the night,
I longed for my lover.
I wanted him desperately. His absence was painful.
So I got up, went out and roved the city,
hunting through streets and down alleys.
I wanted my lover in the worst way!
I looked high and low, and didn’t find him.
And then the night watchmen found me
as they patrolled the darkened city.
“Have you seen my dear lost love?” I asked.
No sooner had I left them than I found him,
found my dear lost love.
I threw my arms around him and held him tight,
wouldn’t let him go until I had him home again,
safe at home beside the fire.

If your married do you feel this way when your spouse is away. Do you worry about where he or she maybe? Maybe you and your spouse are going through a troubled time, maybe you might even be going through a time of separation

These verses paint a beautiful picture of Christ’s love for us. We are restless in this life looking for our lost love, but sometimes we just don’t know who He is. Jesus is waiting to be found. He isn’t that far off, We talked earlier in the challenge about a void in our lives that can only be filled by Jesus. His love can only be accepted never forced upon you.

If you are going through a rough point in your marriage, I challenge you to ask Jesus for a longing for your spouse, ask for a desire to repair what the enemy is working on destroying. Wives, understand and support your husbands in ways that show your support for Christ. Husbands, go all out in your love for your wives, exactly as Christ did for the church –  a love marked by giving, not getting. (Ephesians 5 v 22&25) If you need help, ask for it. Work with your Pastor, seek counselling, find some accountability partners (together and separately) and pray together.

If Jesus can take our messed-up lives and make them complete trust that he can take your broken marriage and do the same. He can provide you with the longing for your spouse you once had when you were first married.

If you are single and not married I pray that if you know of married couples who are falling apart at the seams that you will pray for restoration. Maybe you have walked away from Jesus, and your life is restless and broken. Seek Jesus out and rest in His arms.

Dear Jesus, take my marriage wherever it may be and strengthen it. If it is falling apart right before my eyes, take hold and repair it. Bring the love I once had for my spouse and rekindle it. May our marriage be a representation of who You are living through us. Take control of our marriage. I trust You are in control. If I have let You out of my life, ignored you and not paid you any attention I ask you to forgive me and come restore my life in your arms. I want my marriage to reflect your love. That the world will see that they matter to you and they matter to me. Amen

 

Day 8: Orginal 50 Days of Pray Revisited

DAY EIGHT
Today’s devotional is by Sheldon MacLeod he works at Crandall University as the Assistant Vice President (Students & Enrolment) & Registrar.

Love is one of the things most misunderstood, and taken for granted, within the culture around us. When love approaches marriage, that marriage is increasingly seen as a temporary moment of elation followed by years of drudgery that begins with fingers crossed behind wedding veils and cummerbunds in the faintly inarticulate wish that they’ll be the couple that “makes it”.
When I was in pastoral ministry full time, and even when I’m asked now, performing a wedding ceremony is always filled with mixed emotions for me, but for none of the reasons, one may think obvious. Over the years I have seen the marriage and the promise to God, and their spouse, take a back seat to almost everything else.
Too often the couple pays more attention to the endless details of the wedding than they do the critical preparation for marriage. An inordinate thought is given to the venue and lighting and photography, to the placement of the bridal party, to the little nuisances that will make “their day” special from all others. The world’s values of planning a stunning event creep into the hearts of well-meaning couples who move towards the “big day” like extras on The Walking Dead, staggering through a daze of invitations, floral arrangements, dress and tie colours, venues, meal servings, and where they will seat that awkward uncle. Too often people forget that the big day is followed by a big lifetime of work, and joy, and aggravation, and stress, and blessings, and on and on. Too often people prepare for the big day and forget that the real preparation should both precede and follow the big day, and focus more on life than on the icing on the cake.
This prayer, an adaptation from Dr Louis H. Evans’ Marriage Prayer for Bride and Groom, is a simple yet profound reminder for all of us of the beauty of love. It is an expression for ourselves or for others. It is a prayer for friends to pray excitement, for couples to pray in promise, for the hurting or frustrated to pray in hopefulness, for the broken to pray for restoration, for the single to pray in anticipation. It is a prayer that reminds us of the value of love and the fact that love, in all of its many forms, is a gift from God. It is a reminder that the icing on the cake is actually more about God and another person than it about just the icing on the cake.

Father in Heaven, thank You for this husband, ______, and wife, _______, and their commitment to Christian marriage. As we look ahead, we pray that their future will never lack the convictions that make a marriage strong.
Bless this husband, ______. Bless him as provider and protector. Sustain him in all the pressures that come with the task of stewarding a family. May he so live that his wife may find in him the haven for which the heart of a woman truly longs.
Bless this wife, ______. Give her a tenderness that makes her great, a deep sense of understanding, and a strong faith in You. Give her that inner beauty of a soul that never fades, that eternal youth that is found in holding fast to the things that never age. May she so live that her husband may be pleased to reverence her in the shrine of his heart.
Teach them that marriage is not living for each other. It is two people uniting and joining hands to serve You. Give them a great spiritual purpose in life. May they seek first Your kingdom and Your righteousness, knowing that You will sustain them through all of life’s challenges.
May they minimize each other’s weaknesses and be swift to praise and magnify each other’s strengths. Bless them and develop their characters as they walk together with You. Give them enough hurts to keep them humane, enough failures to keep their hands clenched tightly in Yours, and enough of success to make them sure they walk with You throughout all of their life.
May they never take each other’s love for granted but always experience that breathless wonder that exclaims, “Out of all this world, you have chosen me.” Then, when life is done and the sun is setting, may they be found then as now, still hand in hand, still very proud, still thanking You for each other.
May they travel together as friends and lovers, brother and sister, husband and wife, father and mother, and as servants of Christ until He shall return or until that day when one shall lay the other into the arms of God. This we ask through Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, the Great Lover of our souls. Amen.

Rev. J. Sheldon MacLeod
February 2015

Day 2: Original 50 Days of Pray Revisited

Thought on Day 2, I wrote this on Valentine’s day and the thought of separating one day to show affection is something that has always perplexed me. To make any relationship work we must be prepared to show our love every day. If we are showing love in a real way in our relationships then Valentine’s day will be a day of over the top affection, not a reminder of what you should be doing.

 

Song of Songs 8:6
Place me like a seal over your heart, like a seal on your arm; for love is as strong as death, its jealousy unyielding as the grave. It burns like blazing fire, like a mighty flame.

Today is a day not unlike any other, except in our society we put a label on it saying it is the day of Love. We are called to love every day of the year and to ensure those around us know they are continually loved. Married couples need to take the verse of today, pray it together, seal the love of their spouse securely in their hearts. With this seal in place and the love for each other strong, when the temptation comes to do things that are destructive to your marriage, the seal will protect and guide you away from evil. What is this seal you ask? The Holy Spirit is the seal that binds you together. He will merge your needs and desires with the love of Christ and create a bond that no evil can destroy. The best gift you can give your spouse today is to pray with them and make a conscious decision to seal your hearts with Jesus.

Dear Jesus,
Thank you for another day where we can breathe the air you created. You show yourself in everything in this world. You bring man and woman together to join in marriage. I pray today that Husbands and Wives will join together this very day and ask the Holy Spirit to bond them together with a seal created by you. That all that they do as a couple is motivated by Your will and when evil attempts it trickery that they will fall to their knees as a couple and, walk with You through the trouble. God to you, the glory, honour and praise. Let our love be an example to those around us whose marriages are failing, let them see that there is hope in Jesus for their lives and their marriages. They matter to God and they should matter to us. Amen

Day 23: 50 Days if Change

““You have heard the law that says, ‘A man can divorce his wife by merely giving her a written notice of divorce.’ But I say that a man who divorces his wife, unless she has been unfaithful, causes her to commit adultery. And anyone who marries a divorced woman also commits adultery.”‭‭Matthew‬ ‭5:31-32‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Christianity today has accepted the societies and views on marriage. Marriage has become something that is disposable and divorce needs really no other excuse then I just don’t love them anymore. The church has accepted this. We have failed in this area as we neglect to see the problems as they are happening. Anyone living outside of a relationship with God has no reason to believe otherwise about divorce, but one who has a personal relationship with Jesus should know that the bond they have with their spouse is more then just physical, it is spiritual, mental. It connects them on an unseen level where they are one.

Our failure as a church stems from our lack of discipleship with other believers. Sometimes it isn’t for the lack of trying. We try to connect with bible studies, but we make ourselves to busy to attend. Why do I need to go to that group? I don have time for that. Our priorities are sometimes self centered and  we don’t realize that small groups and discipleship works for all involved. It is there to build up not just the disciples but the leader as well.  Here groups help build accountability and openness to expose problems in our lives and marriages, things we can see and work to correct before the extreme requirement of divorce is even considered. 

Marriage is hard. If you think marriage is easy then your doing it wrong. Taking our spouse for granted, expecting that everything is okay is the road to disaster. You need to engage your spouse, talking with then, asking them how they feel, what they need and want. Sex is a vital part of marriage, it connects you on a level that no one else should have ever done before, or in a perfect world never should again. It is the bond that seals your marriage. His gift of sex was not meant to be used as a weapon or tool. That comes out on special occasions or when needed to get something. It is a desire and longing that should be regular in the marriage. Those outside the church should be envious of your love life with your spouse, as you use it as a way to connect and not a weapon or tool.

I am not writiting this as judging those who may be divorced. My hope is for those reading this whose marriage seem to be rocky, or maybe in the very beginning of divorce. Fight for your marriage, if you are a Christian couple considering divorce I pray that you bring your situation to Jesus. Find some help, your pastor, counselling, accountability partners. If any of those folks recommend divorce, drop me like their hot and find someone else who is willing to show you ways to fight for your marriage. You don’t need that negativity in your life. This does not apply nessecerally if your spouse is making in unsafe to be with, please tell someone and get the help you need.

Fight for your marriage. It is worth it, restoration and forgiveness can be achieved. I have been there. I can attest it can happen.dont do it for the sake of your kids. Do it for the sake of you and your spouse. 

Jesus, you gave us marriage as a gift, we need our spouse. Forgive our society for the ease we have made it to discard our spouses. Forgive us as the church for not being their for the marriages in our churches that have fallen into divorce. We have accept it as the norm, we need to work to help marriages avoid this option. Let our marriages be an example of your love for us. We want to love others how you love them, they matter to you, so the matter to me, Amen.