Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Dare 40

"Where you go, I will go, and where you lodge, I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God, my God." --Ruth 1:16
Love is a covenant. I must say, this blog is difficult to write. Not because I disagree with it. I wholeheartedly believe and know that love is a covenant. It is difficult because a dear friend is going through a divorce. We spoke yesterday and I told her, "You should know...I am praying for reconciliation between you two. That you both will grow closer to Christ and that God will heal your wounds." After telling me her husband was moving closer to Christ and definitely on the right track, her response devastated me and let me know that her mind had been made up. She thanked me for praying for her, but asked that I pray God will grant them both peace with their decision to go through with the divorce. She was seeking after God, enjoying being in His will and living her life the way God wanted her to...but she was no longer going to be married. There was to much pain and she was done being his wife.
"The experience and challenge of loving your mate is something that never comes to an end. Consider your marriage a covenant instead of a contract. Seeing marriage as a contract is like saying to your spouse, 'I take you for me and we'll see if this works out.' But realizing it as a covenant changes it to say, 'I give myself to you and commit to this marriage for life.'" (Kendrick)
There are many differences between a contract and a covenant. A contract is usually a written agreement based on distrust, outlining the conditions and consequences if broken. It is self-serving, and comes with limited liability. A covenant is a verbal commitment based on trust, assuring someone that your promise is unconditional and good for life. It is spoken before God out of love for another. A covenant is intended to be unbreakable.
Please grab your Bible and read through some of God's covenants with His people. Genesis 9:12-17; Genesis 17:1-8; Exodus 19:3-6; 2 Samuel 7:7-16; Hebrews 9:15. Dwell on those Covenants. Realize that God has kept every single one.
"There's good reason why God was the One who initiated covenants with His people. He alone is able to fulfill the demands of His own promises...but the Spirit of God is within you by virtue of your faith in His Son and the grace bestowed upon you in salvation. That means you now can exercise your role as covenant keeper, no matter what may arise to challenge your faithfulness to it...marriage is not a contract with escape clauses and exception wordings. Marriage is a covenant intended to cut off all avenues of retreat or withdrawal. There's nothing in all the world that should sever what God has joined together" (Kendrick).
For thousands of years people have wondered why at times God withholds His blessings from their homes and marriages. "You say, 'for what reason?' Because the Lord has been a witness between you and the wife of your youth, against whom you have dealt treacherously, though she is your companion and your wife by covenant...For I hate divorce, says the lord, the God of Israel, and him who covers his garment with wrong, says the Lord of hosts. So take heed to your spirit, that you do not deal treacherously" Malachi 2:14, 16.
Every marriage is called to be an earthly picture of God's heavenly covenant with His church. To show His unconditional love. John 15 tells us to remain in Jesus' love. Let His words inspire you to be a channel of God's love to your spouse.
Kendrick finished The Love Dare by declaring that love is too holy a treasure to trade in for another, and too powerful a bond to be broken without dire consequences. Amen to that! Take some time to thank God for the good in your marriage, and pray to Him for strengh and love, that you may show Christ to your spouse, even when it seems unbearable. Dare to take hold of your marriage and never let go.
Dare 40: Write out a renewal of your vows and place them in your home. Make it a living testament to the value of marriage in God's eyes and the high honor of being one with your mate.
Dare 39: Love never fails.
Dare 38: Be extravagant.
Dare 37: Pray together.
Dare 36: Read the Bible daily.
Dare 35: Seek guidance in a mentor.
Dare 34: Celebrate godliness.
Dare 33: Complete each other.
Dare 32: Satisfy your spouse's needs.
Dare 31: Spouse=Top Priority of Earthly Relationships.
Dare 30: Be unified.
Dare 29: Express your love.
Dare 28: Sacrifice.
Dare 27: Encourage.
Dare 26: Seek forgiveness.
Dare 25: Forgive freely.
Dare 24: Kill lust.
Dare 23: Love protects.
Dare 22: Love your spouse. Period.
Dare 21: Be satisfied in God.
Dare 20: Commit to love Jesus so you can love your spouse.
Dare 19: Pray for God to change your heart.
Dare 18: Study each other.
Dare 17: Promote intimacy.
Dare 16: Love intercedes.
Dare 15: Honor each other.
Dare 14: Delight in each other.
Dare 13: Fight fair.
Dare 12: Let the other win.
Dare 11: Cherish each other.
Dare 10: Love unconditionally.
Dare 9: Greet well.
Dare 8: Don't be jealous.
Dare 7: Believe the best.
Dare 6: Don't be irritable.
Dare 5: Don't be rude.
Dare 4: Be thoughtful.
Dare 3: Be selfless.
Dare 2: Be kind.
Dare 1: Be patient.
Thank you for going through these dares with me. If you're married, I hope they blessed your marriage as they did mine! If you aren't, I hope you start practicing these dares now so that your marriage will be blessed by a love unimaginable. Just because the dares are over--dare yourself everyday! Love conquers all. Praise Jesus!
--Inspired by Kendrick's, "The Love Dare"

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