Man…Does Jesus love His Women #4 The Samaritan Woman
Thirsty for true Love? Lonely and rejected by family and friends ? Perhaps concerned that your past or present may prohibit you from God’s complete love? God sees you my sister. He is going out of His Way to show you that He is the Way. How do I know?…from spending time with our next sweet sister in our series “Man….Does Jesus Love His Women” which focuses on Jesus’s relationship with women in the Bible. Let us study together our fourth women who is referred in scripture as The Samaritan Woman.
First read slowly John Ch. 4: 4-42.
- What do you think the statement, “He had to pass through Samaria” means?
Actually, he didn’t “have to” pass through Samaria as most Jews bypassed this area. The Samaritans were looked down upon by the Jews and any item they touched would be considered “unclean”. I believe that this was a divine appointment and that Jesus “had to pass through Samaria” because this was God’s will. God (Jesus) knew the Samaritan women would be at the well at noon and made sure he was there as well.
2. Why did she come at Noon? When do the other women come?
Women traditionally came early in the morning to fetch water. Perhaps she went at noon to avoid the other woman in her village? Did they look down on her for her living situation? Jesus knew she would be alone.
3. She is shocked that he would ask for her to touch something he would touch …why?
A Samaritan woman would be considered ritually unclean by the Jews. He had her at “Give me a drink”. Her thoughts probably were, “Who is this Jewish man that is talking to me …trying to get to know me?” He came not to ask for water but to give her what He knew she was thirsty for…….
4. Does she understand what he means by “living water?”
No. She takes him literally and thinks he is talking about a magic well.
5. She is happily surprised that Jesus knows about her five husbands and that the man she is living with is not her husband. How do you think the way Jesus is responding is different than the women in the village? She doesn’t feel condemned as her reaction is excitement and surprise that Jesus “Knows her”. I suspect she feels cared for that Jesus understands the circumstances, knows her heart and takes the time to chat with her.
She questions Jesus on which Mountain is best to worship God…..Does the physical location matter? What kind of worshipers does He seek? Spirit and Truth (John 14:16-17 John 3:5-7)
The Samaritans had their own Temple on Mt. Gerizim to contrast with Mt. Zion in Jerusalem. But Jesus is saying the location of worship doesn’t matter. Worshiping the true God is what is most important. He is seeking our true worshipers and seeks out the Samaritan woman as He is seeking to have relationship with you my sweet sister. Worship begins in our hearts. She no longer lives in confusion as to which mountain to worship on or if she should continue in her sin of living with this man.
She is face to face with the holy God of the universe and now knows what she needs to do.
Now read Isaiah 43:3 as this is an example of how water is used in scripture as an analogy for forgiveness and new life.
Remember not the events of the past, The things of long ago. See, I am doing something new! Now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? In the desert I make a way, In the wasteland, rivers.
She leaves her jar and runs into town to tell them about her encounter with Jesus.
What is the significance of her leaving her jar?
She has found what she was really thirsty for. The Unconditional Love of the Savior of the World.
She has received the gift of the “Living Water” (Isaiah 44:3-5)
She has met Jesus who later in the same gospel answers, “ I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6)
She is often referred to as the First Missionary? Why?
She runs to tell everyone about her encounter. Even those women who rejected her? Yes! She wants to share her joy with all who will listen.
Does a missionary have to travel far? No…it often is the people around us in our ordinary day of fetching water that we can share the good news.
So my sweet sister. The Holy Savior of the World knows your heart. He sees you and knows your struggles. Come to the well and He will quench your thirst.
I end with a quote from the beautiful book, The Better Part by John Martunek
Christ is the Savior of the World, the Messiah, the long-awaited King greater even than Jacob, inheritor of the Promise and father of the twelve tribes of Israel, so he tells this divorcee. He graces the Samaritan woman with one of the richest descriptions of himself and his work that appear in all the Scriptures. Why? Why tell someone so insignificant? Because to him, she wasn’t insignificant at all. He wanted to be known by her, to give her hope, to save her. Ours is a Lord who wishes to shower us with His love, to fill us with the “living waters” of “the spirit and truth,” and to “tell us everything”. This is the God in whom we believe; this is the God we serve.
Are you tired my sweet sister? Weak? Feeling alone and that no one understands what you are facing? Physically drained from the burden of Pain? Or maybe drained from grieving a loss? Are you so weary that it takes extra energy to do normal everyday activities? I have been there my sweet sister and so has our sister we study today.
Our tired sister reached out in faith and she was healed. She traveled 30 miles to touch Jesus despite a twelve year long illness. She traveled alone as she was considered “unclean” because she continued to bleed. I hope and prayer this small study will bring you one step closer on your journey to touching Jesus. May you find healing for your weary heart, body and soul.
Please join me in reading about our sister in Mark 5:25-34
Read this dramatic interaction again slowly as you put yourself in her lonely and desperate shoes.
- What do you think her ailment was? (twelve years of bleeding so she is referred to as the hemorrhaging woman)
During our discussion one thought was perhaps she had fibroids or was in perimenopause? Could her bleeding have been from polyps or colon cancer? This is all speculation as the bible gives no more detail except that she has bleed mysteriously for 12 years.
- How old was the child who was ill in the story surrounded this one? Look up Luke 2:41-52 and see how old Jesus was when he was found in the temple teaching?
Yes! The answer is 12 for both cases. Twelve is the age in Jewish tradition that a young boy becomes a man and is responsible for himself spiritual. More on this to follow. I have found that numbers have great significance and importance in God’s word.
- Do you think Jesus knew who touched him? Why did he ask the question and what did his question give her the choice to do?
Is God all-knowing? Yes…and Jesus is “God with skin” so of course Jesus knew who touched him. He also knew her heart and all her sufferings. The mysterious bleeding and the time, money and dashed hopes she had spent on doctors. How she bore this alone as she was considered in this culture to be “unclean” and if she were to touch someone else they would be considered “unclean” too. She was most likely looked down on as in these times it was believed that her “sin” must have caused this illness. She not only needed physical healing but confirmation that God had not abandoned her and was not punishing her with this ailment. By asking this question, she needed to exercise her faith once again by professing in public what she had done.
- Do you think it took more faith to touch his garment or to profess out loud what she had done?
Absolutely. It took more faith to publicly profess that she had violated “religious law” and put others at risk to becoming “unclean” as well and risk a rebuking or even having the power be taken away. She showed great faith in not running off with her miracle (stealing a miracle) but staying and trusting that Jesus would be kind and loving.
- How did Jesus address Her? The only place in scripture where he used this word to address a woman?
Daughter. Yes.. he called her Daughter. This is huge sister…don’t rush through this.
If he calls her daughter, than he is saying that He is her father. If she is His daughter, she has rights to a royal inheritance as He is the King of Kings. She has the right to come forward and ask for healing. God says in His word, that a Father will give to his children what they need when they come to him. (Luke 11:11)
How thirsty she must have been to hear that she had faith, when she had been judged and looked down upon for so long. And to add insult to injury, she had been blamed for her illness.
Jesus stopped his travels for a woman. An unclean woman who was rejected, alone and considered an outcast.
He not only healed her instantly, but he called her “daughter” in front of her accusers. He saw her heart and let everyone know that it was not her sins that caused the illness but her faith in Jesus Christ that resulted in her healing.
- What might the number 12 have to do with all of this? After twelve years of suffering what may have been happening within her soul?
In Biblical times a young boy is considered to be a man at after the age of 12…think Bar mitzvah. Bar means “son” and mitzvah means “commandment.” So a young Jewish boy who turns 13 (Son of Commandment) is now spiritual responsible to know and follow the commandments. (no longer are his parents responsible for him spiritually.) So after 12 years of growth through suffering, she is now ready to be called not a daughter who still has the weak faith of a child but a daughter who has the strong faith of a woman. She is now a mature womanly daughter who has a deep faith that has been tested and survived. Picture a mature tree that has been through a drought and its roots have gone down deep in the ground searching for water. She persisted and did not give up until she found the living God who came to heal the sick.
Man……does Jesus love his woman.
- Please look up James 4:8
Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.
Look this up and underline it in your bible. Put next to it today’s date.
So my dear sister sister. This is what I hope you gleaned from this study.
- God wants us to draw near to him and reach out with our hands for Jesus.
- God see’s your suffering and notices you. He stops and turns to you and looks in your heart with kindness and compassion.
- Sometimes God doesn’t heal right away as with this woman of 12 years of suffering. Sometimes God waits and “heals our bodies in heaven”.
- She was growing in her faith during this dry desert time. God is more concerned with our spiritual health than our physical health. Our souls will last forever, while our bodies are wasting away in this fallen world.
- Drawing near to Jesus can mean prayer and reading scripture, repenting/going to confession, attending church and spending time with your sweet sisters.
- How to be healthy physically? Eat healthy foods and exercise.
- How to be healthy spiritually? Eat the word of God……the bible and the Eucharist. Exercise your faith as this woman did as she drew near to Jesus.
Pray and ask with faith for Physically healing, but be most concerned is your spiritual healing.
because……………Man……Jesus loves His Women.
Hi Sweet Sister….so glad you could join our discussion as we study another dramatic interaction of Jesus and a woman.
Exposed. She stood alone after being ripped from a bed of passion and placed in front of a crowd of judgmental religious leaders. She was a pawn used to bring down the meek prophet Jesus. Imagine yourself in her place as she stands confused, embarrassed, humiliated and scared to death. Her heart must have raced as her adrenaline rose causing her to seek to “fight or flight”. However, she was as trapped as the man Jesus who was writing in the sand.
This unnamed woman did not seek Jesus out as did contemplative Mary (Woman #1) who sat at Jesus’ feet. She was caught committing Adultery and thrown into a group of religious leaders who were jealous of Jesus and trying to put him into a “no win” position. Let us study another way that:
Man…………………………..does Jesus love His women.
Let’s start at the beginning in the Gospel of John chapter 8: 1-11.
- Where did Jesus go the night before this dramatic interaction? What do you think Jesus was doing there?
He left his disciples to be alone. Perhaps he was praying for wisdom as to the next days’ events? Spending time with His Father God as Mary modeled for us in Chapter 1?
2. Where is the “Man” caught in Adultery? Does the law require the man to be stoned as well?
Read Deuteronomy 22:22-24. Since these leaders and Elders asked for Stoning it appears this woman was a betrothed virgin. So the man should have also been stoned. It is a mystery as to where he was during this confrontation. He certainly was not defending her.
She stands abandoned, betrayed and alone. But is she alone? Are we ever alone as daughters of the King? Have you ever felt accused by others? Attacked and misunderstood? Write down what happened and how you felt.
- What women in the New Testament (she is related to Jesus) could have been stoned?
Yes…his own mother….Mary could have been stoned…should have been stoned (according to the law) if Joseph choose to expose her in the same way.
Since the woman (Mary) was pregnant the child would have died as well.
How would this world be different if Jesus had died in Mary’s womb? How would you and your world be different?
Meditate on this awhile.
God intervened with Angels (messengers from God) to save Mary and the son of God.
Who would intervene for this women….?
- What was Jesus writing in the sand?
A. Names ? Read Jeremiah 17:13 Some scholars believe that he was writing names in the sand….
A medieval tradition was the latin, “ Terra Terra Accusta” which means the earth accuses earth.“Those that turn from the Lord will be written in the dust, because they have forsaken the Lord, the spring of Living water.”
What is the opposite of being written in the dust?
Exodus 32:32 Moses begs the Lord the Lord to forgive the Isrealites or blot his name from the Book of Life. The Lord Replied to Moses, “Whoever has sinned against me I will blot out of my book. In Psalms this is referred to the Book of Life. In Psalm 69: 28 David sings about his enemies and asks, “ May they be blotted out of the book of Life and not be listed with the righteous.”
B. The 10 commandments?
Some scholars believe he may have been writing out the sins of the elders or perhaps the 10 commandments. Exodus 31: 18 “When the Lord finished speaking to Moses on Mount Sinai, he gave him the two tablets of stone inscribed by the finger of God.”
Perhaps Jesus wrote with his finger the commandment, Thou Shalt not Kill. Weren’t they all guilty of this command?
In the book of Luke verse 20 Jesus states “But if I drive out demons by the finger of God, then the Kingdom of God has come upon you.”
What a powerful symbol for the religious leaders to see him writing in the sand. Quietly, the leaders are reminded that the 10 commandments were written by the finger of God. Now, Jesus is writing out commands.
Could he be writing out the two commandments that all the law and prophets hang on? Matthew 22:37
Love the Lord your God with all of your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. Love your neighbor as your self
Were they being loving toward this woman? toward Jesus?
Do you think they realized that the Kingdom of God was upon them?
If Jesus is God made flesh, than is not Jesus the finger of God?
C. Comfort for the frightened woman?
One of the sweet sisters thought perhaps that Jesus was writing out something to comfort the woman. This certainly would align with the kindness and love shown the woman after they all leave.
Perhaps he wrote words similar to those found in Isiah 41:10
“Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed for I am your God. I will strengthen you, I will help you, yes, I will uphold you with my Righteous right hand”.
To counteract the words of her accusers:…..”adultery” “sinner” “harlot” “condemned” etc.
5. What do you think Jesus might have written? _______, __________,________________.
Jesus states, “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.”
Why do you think they all walked away? Why the elders first?
Who is the only one who is without sin? The only one who can forgive sins?
So this passage does not tell us what the woman physically did immediately after her accusers left…….
6. What do you think she must have done if Jesus forgave her and said, “Neither do I condemn you. Go, from now on do not sin any more.”?
Sweet sister….I imagine her falling to her knees in relief and gratitude. Kissing the feet of Jesus and thanking Him for defending her. I believe she repented and decided to turn to Jesus and turn away from sin.
Read Psalm 51….such a beautiful and powerful song of Repentance.
Read slowly over verses 18-19
“For you do not desire sacrifice; a burnt offering you would not accept. My sacrifice is a broken spirit; God, do not spurn a broken, humbled heart.”
Do you need to turn from a sinful choice and turn toward Jesus? Are you “all in” or are you still sitting on the fence? What do you need to leave behind that is preventing you from following even closer to Jesus and his holiness? Will your name be written in the dust as one who turns away from the Lord or will your name be written in the book of Life as one who turns toward the Lord.
He waits patiently for you and I to offer our broken, humbled hearts at his feet.
Man………………………….does Jesus love us women.
Come on in Sweet Sister and sit for a while.
Bring your Bible and an open heart.
Let’s start in Luke 10 38-42.
Jesus visits sisters Mary and Martha and brother Lazarus in their home. This study will focus on Mary and where she chooses to sit.
1. Which sister does and doesn’t do as expected within her culture? ___________
Instead of doing as is culturally expected of a woman (cooking and cleaning) as her sister Martha does…Mary sits at the feet of the Messiah.
Now please turn to Acts. Ch. 22:3 to find out what this means in 1st Century Palestine Judaism to sit at the feet of another.
When Paul makes his defense, he describes sitting at the ______of Gamalie.
Some versions of Bibles use “a student of Gamalie” because in biblical times to say one “sits at the feet” of someone means to be their student.
2. Which woman does Jesus stand up for? ___________________
Don’t rush by this my sweet sister….Mary is not only taking the position of a student, Jesus defends her and tells her that she is making the best choice or “Mary has chosen the better part and it will not be taken from her.”
Now look up Luke 8: 1-3
3. Does Jesus travel with just the 12 disciples? Who are these women? How did they know him? Would this be socially acceptable in 1st century Palestine?
Wow. I had always envisioned Jesus spending all his time with his inner circle…his twelve disciples. The above verse tells another story…that besides Mary (Martha’s sister) there were other women who followed him and had a strong relationship with Jesus.
Lastly, please turn to John 11: 17-44.
Jesus arrives after their brother dies and has been in tomb for 4 days. Both Mary and Martha make the same statement “If you had been here, my brother would not have died”. Martha makes her statements standing up….
4. Where does Mary fall to when she makes her statement?
My Bible reads…..”she fell at his feet”
This was revelation to me sweet sisters.
Falling to His feet is a act of Mary demonstrating that she is a true disciple and will follow Jesus even though he came too late to save her brother.
Her positioning is often seen as an act of surrender of saying with her body, “Thy will be done”.
Culturally though she is affirming that she was his disciple just like his male followers. Sitting once again at his feet must have been a reminder to both her and Jesus that she has “chosen the better part”and was drawing near to him once again.
She proclaims her faith even though she doesn’t understand the “Why’s” of death and the heartache that follows.
Such a heartbreaking scene that truly breaks the heart of Jesus.
How he loves this woman Mary….
He weeps with her.
He snorts with anger. (God hates death….hates what it does to those of us left behind)
This is why Jesus came to earth….to reverse death. To conquer death through his resurrection. Raising Lazereth is a precursor to His own resurrection. For as He tells Martha, I am the resurrection and the Life, who ever believes in me, even if he dies will life, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. (Luke 11:25)
and this Jesus…Loves you my sweet sister. Wants a deep close relationship as he had with Mary….He wants to weep with you…snort at this broken world and how it has hurt you….He wants most of all to be the resurrection in your life and in the lives of your loves ones.
So in conclusion, how should this change our own hearts and lives?
How can we develop this close relationship with our Lord Jesus ? How can our head knowledge grow into Heart knowledge?
When, where and how can you sit at the Master’s feet?_____________
We concluded our study sharing how we spent time to grow our relationship with Jesus.
Geri (a Catholic sweet sister) sharing how she had her coffee and a special chair and started with the Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory be and then reads scripture.
Sue shared charles Spurgeon’s Morning and Evening Daily Devotional a beautiful way to start and end the day.
Amber (Me) reminded the sisters of the free app called first5.org. Sisters who are studying a chapter a day and then a devotional to read and a video on Saturdays. This app from Proverbs 31 was created to encourage us to give God the first minutes of our day.
I also shared how to stay focused using the ACTS method. This includes the four types of prayer in appropriate order: Adoration, Contrition, Thanksgiving and Supplication. This helps me to stay focused as it is so easy to become distracted and writing down God’s attributes, one’s sins, what one is Thankful for and who one is praying for really helps.
Next, I shared how I view spending time in the morning as Having a Date with Jesus and read a poem about this that is on my blog post, “Confessions of a Survivor Addict”.
I will attach these my sweet sisters to the Sweet Sister community page on Facebook. So please join us and share with your Sweet Sisters any ideas on how to keep your date with Jesus.
“Martha, Martha you are anxious and worried about many things…there is need of one thing….Mary has chosen the better part and it will not be taken from her.” Jesus
Have you chosen the better part?
Four years had passed since I’d last seen Annie and her daughter, and as she approached me, my heart froze, halting between joy and trepidation. Children’s laughter filled the air during the annual family carnival hosted by my preschool, but all I could focus on in those few moments was my last interaction with Annie. I was overjoyed to see her, yet I feared our reconnection might be marred by the fact that I had fired her years ago. Was she angry with me? Was she here to confront me about what had happened? How much had changed in the time since I’d last seen her?
Annie had worked in the infant room of my preschool. Not only did she lovingly care for each infant in her classroom, but she cared for her room as a whole. She loved a clean classroom and the order it provided; she meticulously cleaned each item and table, and continuously tidied up to keep the room spotless. Her daughter, Jenna, thrived in the preschool, as well. Jenna’s father had died in a car crash soon after she was born, leaving Annie a young, single mom. We joked how Jenna was Annie’s “Mini-Me” as they looked so much alike. She was a diligent and determined young woman who took great pride in her work and I was glad to have her as an employee.
After a year of teaching in the infant room, Annie was faced with another tragedy. Her best friend suddenly died of an aneurysm and her world spun out of control. Her focus shifted from her classroom as she processed this new grief on top of her older grief. Instead of working through her grief, Annie put her efforts into attempting to numb the pain. Noticing she was struggling, I invited her into my office and tried to encourage her to join a grief group, but she was not yet ready to face her grief head on. She was trying to outrun her pain, and it was wearing on her. She increasingly called out of work, and on the days she did show up her co- teacher ended up doing most of the classroom duties. My heart ached for her, but as the owner of the preschool, my main responsibility had to remain the children, and providing them with the best care possible. I was torn. I had compassion for Annie and her situation, but I also had compassion for the children in her care and her co-teacher. I wrote her name in my prayer journal and prayed for her each morning. I hoped and prayed that she would find healing some way. That she would learn healthy ways to handle her grief. That her weariness would lift. That she would return to us, the focused, caring, diligent teacher we all knew and loved.
Then, another teacher reported Annie had nodded off during the children’s nap time. This is a major violation of my school’s policy. My director brought her into my office to discuss our concern. On a Thursday afternoon, I told her that she needed to make some changes in her personal life and to take Friday off and come back in Monday with a fresh start. I also had to inform her that if it happened again I would need to fire her.
She came back in Monday, and I was hopeful that she had made some positive changes. But a few days later when the children were resting she dozed off again. As the owner and lead supervisor on site, I knew what I “needed” to do, as the safety of the students must come first. However, asking Annie and her daughter to leave was the last thing I “wanted” to do. I invited her in and told her that she needed to leave immediately. Annie was very quiet and did not dispute that she had fallen asleep. She calmly picked up her daughter and left the building. My heart grieved as she walked out the door. The last thing I’d wanted to do was send her off when I knew she was grieving, but I knew it was the right decision for the school. For years, I questioned my decision. I wondered if I had failed her. I wondered what had became of her and Jenna.
And so four years later when she stood before me, I was filled with mixed emotions. I was so happy to see her and her beautiful Mini-Me. I was relieved and overjoyed that they seemed to be doing well. But I couldn’t help but wonder how she was feeling toward me now. I couldn’t help but wonder how my decision had impacted their lives.
As Annie and Jenna approached,
Annie looked me in the eye and said, “Thanks for the wakeup call.”
She wasn’t angry. She didn’t blame me or my staff. She was grateful. We hugged and caught up and she and Jenna returned to the carnival.
I was blessed with the opportunity to rekindle a relationship with Annie and to learn more about what was happening during that time. She confided that she felt her life was falling apart and felt lost. She had settled into a toxic, abusive relationship and had lost the will to fight for herself. Instead of heeding my advice for a grief support group, she continued to let her world spin out of control, staying out late with friends and not getting enough sleep. I learned that Annie struggled with being alone at night and was prescribed medication for anxiety that had made her excessively tired during the day. She shared her sorrow at being fired from the place that she loved so much, but that it served as a much needed wakeup call. Unsettled by being asked to leave, Annie was driven to start fighting for and taking responsibility for her happiness, step by step. She found new friends, a new boyfriend, and a new job as a nanny. Annie told me,
“While you can’t control what happens to you, you can control what happens next. If you want a happy life, live a happy life.”
Annie’s words of gratitude felt like a spring rain after a dry, cold winter wait. I was grateful that my tough decision had positively impacted her life. How many employers have an employee they have fired come back and thank them? I was grateful for the confirmation that sometimes tough love is needed in tough situations. I no longer questioned myself and wondered if I failed her. I rejoiced in knowing that she had taken control not only of her grief, but of her life and her own happiness.
As I shared with my husband my interaction with Annie, we both felt that we would like her to come back and teach in our school. I am a big believer in second chances, and knew in my heart that Annie had more than earned hers. We called her and asked if she would like to come back to work for us. Providentially, the family she was working for was moving to Florida. She used this opportunity to return to our school as a long term substitute. She came back full of joy and energy and the hard work and dedication we had initially seen those years ago. Soon, she was back to being a full time teacher. Her first year back, Annie won Teacher of the Year. She has now been with us for three years and I am grateful to have her.
Who would have thought that letting her go was the wakeup call that would bring her back? Only the God of wakeup calls and second chances.
Dear Sweet Sister,
I heard that you woke up regretting your choices from the night before. I have been there sister ….many times. We try to blame someone else, make justifications and excuses …..and then the agonizing guilt when we finally admit that we made an unholy choice and disappointed our Holy God.
It we truly don’t want to make the same mistake again and grow from this then we do need to feel that pain for a short while. For God loves you and I so much that He wants us to grow in holiness and learn from our mistakes. Name your sin and find a bible verse that deals with it so you will be better prepared next time. (google it:) What should you have done differently? What will you do next time to avoid a similar situation or outcome?
Now the good news………..
Our sin is like a drop of water in the Ocean of God’s Mercy.
Compared to God’s ocean of Love and Mercy, your sin is just a drop. Think of how huge the ocean is…water beyond what your eyes and mind could ever comprehend. Now try to comprehend Mercy and forgiveness that is beyond what we could ever deserve. A forgiveness that erases our sins as if they never existed. So write your sin down and tell God that you are sorry. If you are at the seashore write it in the sand. If you are catholic arrange to receive the sacrament of reconciliation. The key is to acknowledge your sin.
If we acknowledge our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive our sins and cleanse us from every wrongdoing.
1 John 1:9
Do you need to apologize to a friend or family member? make restitution? Even though we are forgiven, sometimes we need to show that we are sorry. Ask God for wisdom and help with this…courage too.
Now rejoice! You are forgiven.
God asked Mother Angelica, as she stood by the ocean after throwing back a drop of water that had landed on her arm….
“Can you find it now ?”
Walk sweet sister as one who has been forgiven much and then offer that same generous mercy to all those around you.
My friend’s sobs echoed over the phone as she shared that her husband didn’t value the “new her,” but instead wanted to keep her back from growing into the vivacious woman I knew her to be. How sad that he couldn’t value growth and put in the effort and grow to love the “new Kelly.” I sat down and wrote this poem after our phone conversation.
A Brand New Marriage
Oh give my husband a brand new wife
One that will serve him lovingly
Give him the helpmate he deserves
And may that “new wife” always be me
Oh give my husband a hot mistress
One that will surprise him lovingly
Give her energy and fresh ideas
And may that “mistress” always be me
Oh give my husband a new best friend
One that will listen lovingly
Give her wisdom to find the good
And may that “best friend” always be me
So how does one protect one’s marriage as we grow individually and through the seasons of Life?
Here are some tidbits of advice that my husband and I have gleamed through the years.
Our priest from Gettysburg College, Father Phil gave us the advice to “keep dating” when he met with us before our marriage. With each season of our marriage, life has changed, and so have our dates. A neighbor babysitter coming over for two hours a week so Dave and I could go out when our children were small, intimate lunches when we started our business, family members who watched the children so we could take a long weekend. Be creative, be proactive, and just do it.
“The best thing you can do for your children is to have a good marriage.”
This was the advice we received when we went to a day-long marriage encounter. This quote helped take away all my guilt about leaving my children to “date” their father or travel with him. The children will grow up and share their own relationships and putting our spouse first is a way to model for them what a thriving marriage looks like.
“A successful marriage is the union of two forgivers.”
– Ruth Graham Bell.
Yes, your partner is not perfect. Yes, they are irritating at times. Yes, they keep hurting you.
This is what Love is about. Forgiving and seeing the overall good in your spouse. May they see the overall good in us. For we are imperfect people, who make mistakes and we can be so irritating to others. Love is a covering. Love does not “keep a record of wrongs,” so when you are angry or hurt or lonely, write down 10 good things about your husband and see if your perspective changes. Keep a record of Rights. What is right about your hubby.
This weekend seek out a way to date your spouse. What are some creative ways that you like to spend with your spouse? Please share them in the comments below.
So yesterday my bathroom scale confirmed what my thighs had been secretly trying to tell me. I had gained back the five pounds I had worked so hard to lose weeks before. I had gone a couple weeks without weighing in and had stopped using the Myfitnesspal app to track my food. In addition, the bible study using the book Made to Crave by Lysa Terkeurst had ended, my exercising had slowed and voila I gained 5 pounds.
Booo! How frustrating. I started to mentally blame my husband and the two pounds of chocolate covered pretzels he bought. “He knows sweets are my weakness. Why is he undermining my progress?”
Ultimately, however, I am responsible for what goes in my mouth. I have free choice, and each day I am making lots of little choices that contribute to whether the needle of the scales moves to the right or left. After all, the point is to be making healthy choices and not focus on a number on a scale when we gauge our physical health. However, in my case the scale gave me a little wake up call that my healthy choices had diminished.
What if there were a spiritual scale that we could step on each day? What would it weigh?
Perhaps the scale we should be most concerned with is the one that measures the size of our hearts.
Jesus said the two greatest commandments were to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind,” and to “Love your neighbor as yourself.” So according to scripture, the amount of Love that fills our hearts is an indicator of our spiritual health.
How are we showing God that we love Him? Are we praising Him in the hard times? Do we spend time worshiping Him? Reading His love letter to us – the word of God? What about how we love others? Do we try to see the good in others? Are we patient and kind when others are not patient and kind to us? Do we forgive quickly?
If my heart and yours were on the spiritual scale today, how would they compare to yesterday?
I have found that seeking to be physically fit and spiritually fit have similar principals. Here are my top 5 ways to becoming spiritually fit:
- Spiritually exercise first thing in the morning.
While physical trainers often advice physically exercising first thing in the morning so your metabolism has a kick start, the same is true for spiritual exercise. Make a commitment to wake up and spend time with Jesus before you look at your phone or check your emails or connect to Facebook. Spend time praying or reading the Bible before checking the headlines – read the Good News before hearing the world’s negative news. Get ready with God before looking in the mirror and getting yourself ready. Give God the best time of your day. If you must look at your phone first thing, try the free app First5.org. I just love receiving a devotional each weekday to look at first thing in the morning.
- “You are what you eat.”
Just as our goal physically is to eat healthy and nutritious foods for our bodies, we should be filling our minds with wholesome music, books, and thoughts, as well. Are you listening to a positive radio station? Are you watching TV shows that are negative or use foul language? Are you letting your friends speak negatively about mutual friends or family members? Instead, redirect the conversation and say something good about the person. Feed your mind with nutritious foods, just as you do your body.
- Exercise with friends.
When working toward a physical fitness goal, it often helps to have an accountability partner. Physical fitness is often influenced by other body conscious people and having a walking buddy or gym partner can help keep us motivated. The same is true for spiritual fitness. We need to spend time with others who are striving for holiness. Find friends who love God and who have His joy and peace; maybe a prayer partner to talk and pray with on the phone, or a small group bible study. We are to be like iron sharpening iron – let’s help each other to be as sharp and fit as possible.
- Make it fun.
Similar to picking an exercise that we enjoy so that we continue (I love to play tennis), we should choose ways to honor Jesus in ways that are enjoyable. Following Jesus should be fun! Watching Him change lives and seeing answered prayer is so cool. Keep a journal to write down all your prayer requests and answered prayers, and spend the beginning of your time in the morning listening to uplifting praise music and singing and thanking God for all that His has done and is and will do. Be excited to spend time with Jesus – shout your praises with a smile on your face and joy in your heart. Have fun praising Him for all the past gifts He has lavished on you and your loved ones.
- Spend a Sabbath day in rest.
Rest is just as important to physical health as exercise. Often, the importance of a good night’s rest is overlooked when pursuing fitness. Just as we need to get quality sleep to improve our bodies, we also need to rest to improve our souls. I love reminding type A people that “even God rested on the seventh day.” Be sure to honor the Sabbath. God created this because He loves us and wants to prevent us from getting physically sick or spiritually flabby. Use the Sabbath as a gift to spend time doing activities to help your soul grow.
Even though our culture focuses on our outer shell, it is our souls that will last forever. Being spiritually fit is eternally more important than being physically fit. May the size of our hearts grow as we seek to be spiritually fit and desire to be more like Jesus each day.