Why Do I Have to Wait?

Don’t worry about the wicked
    or envy those who do wrong.
For like grass, they soon fade away.
    Like spring flowers, they soon wither.
Trust in the Lord and do good.
    Then you will live safely in the land and prosper.
Take delight in the Lord,
    and he will give you your heart’s desires.
Commit everything you do to the Lord.
    Trust him, and he will help you.
He will make your innocence radiate like the dawn,
    and the justice of your cause will shine like the noonday sun.
Be still in the presence of the Lord,
    and wait patiently for him to act.
(Psalm 37, 1-4 NLT).
 
Waiting is active, not passive.  Psalm 37 is one of my favorite passages of scripture. 
The language is full of calls to action:  Trust; Do good; Dwell; Enjoy; Take delight in; Commit and Be still…
 
I’ll never forget a season I went through several years ago. Through a series of disappointments, discouragement began to set in. It felt like everyone was doing well and succeeding except me. My discouragement turned into comparison (which is always self-centered). I even began to judge others.  People who aren’t even doing things right, or pure, or praiseworthy seem to be getting further faster!  In my feelings of defeat, I asked the  Holy Spirit to give me strategy and was led to memorize the entire chapter of Psalm 37.  It took a long time, and it was a daily process.  In order to remember from one day to the next, it ended up being the last thing I muddled through my mind before falling asleep and the first thing I thought about as I woke up.  What happened throughout the process was nothing short of miraculous.  The Words of the Psalm became the truth that began to flow through my veins.  I started to actually believe stanzas like, “Don’t envy those who do wrong, it only leads to harm…”
 
We all know what I feel like to be stuck waiting when we feel like we are ready to move on.  When “those who are evil” thrive and flourish to get ahead and we shrivel on the inside and fall behind and scrape by. 
 
If you are waiting for something, please receive this encouragement as straight from the Lord’s heart to you today.  Life is a gift.  Deeply enjoy every moment you can.  Savor the ordinary.  A cup of coffee.  A meal with friends  A good night’s sleep.  Laughter.  Plant your feet on the ground and take it all in.  Because what you’re doing now will set the stage for your future.  Whatever is in front of you, wherever you’re en route to, commit your way to God.  Make God your navigator.  And say the words out loud:
 
Today is my day to be still in the Lord’s presence.  Sure, waiting is hard, that’s why David’s call in the Psalm is to “wait patiently” for the Lord.  I will not forget that God is with me right now.  I’m not alone.  God is at my side even when I experience disappointment and rejection,  He knows my struggles and meets me. I’m not just waiting for God, I am waiting with God. 
 
We are believing for God’s Presence to be alive within you each moment!
Love
Audrey (for both of us)
 

Don't Look Back

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne” (Hebrews 12:1,2 NLT).

Let’s strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up.  Because we have a race to run!  Let’s ask the Holy Spirit to show us if there is any weight that is slowing us down. I know for me, I had a simple yet profound revelation this morning.  I have been slightly sluggish the last several days, having to be highly intentional when it comes to agreeing with God’s truth, and fighting through some negative emotions that seek to drive my life.  During my first waking moments, I began to pray and align myself with God’s perspective and love for me.

I snuck a quiet moment alone with a cup of coffee. I remembered something my parents told me about five years ago: Don’t look back unless it makes you smile. I’ve always thought it was a great slogan and a sweet outlook on life, but this morning, I took it very literally.  I started to remember: The smiles, the memories and the laughter with friends and family. Then I remembered significant God moments where I felt especially loved and chosen by Jesus.  A shift took place in my own heart, as thankfulness began to run through my entire being.

As I looked back and smiled, thankfulness filled me up, and there was no room left for earthly pleasures or sorrows. And there was definitely no room for fear. It’s all Jesus, my friend.  We aren’t going to be able to run this race with endurance if we are still worshipping the ways of the world. We are invited to a radical, joyful, peace-loving, Holy-Spirit-filled life in Christ.  So, if you feel tripped up in any way, bogged down by circumstances, or afraid for your future, take a look back at what has made you smile the most.  Let thankfulness fill you up and you are going to experience hope – real-honest-hope for the future as you keep your eyes on Jesus, your champion who is the initiates and perfects your faith.

Today is my day to go all-in.  I am going to look back and enjoy the best moments that have made me smile.  I am going to strip off any weight that has slowed me down, and run with endurance.  My eyes are on Jesus and my feet are getting lighter as thankfulness drowns out despair.  Because of the joy awaiting me, I can endure and persevere!

Lots of Love in Jesus,
Audrey

 

 

The Solution for Disappointment

We have all experienced disappointment, there’s nothing we can do to prevent it.  We have had hopes, dreams, wishes and anticipation and then just as the excitement is building, the very thing we were waiting for is gone.  What do we do with that?
 
I have spent years searching for the remedy for disappointment, simply because I don’t want to dwell in disappointment any longer than I need to.  Let’s face it, it’s not enjoyable to live in the state of regret, remorse and confusion, and trying to analyze our losses doesn’t seem to help very much.
 
Many years ago, I came up with what I thought was a pretty great remedy, and that was to simply “respond in the opposite spirit”.  In simple terms, when disappointment hit, I would combat the feelings with the opposite feelings which were…hmmmm, what is the opposite of disappointment?  I came up with “unexpected pleasure”. 
 
That has been my ammunition for many years, and although it sounds good in theory, it hasn’t been very empowering.  How do you “get” unexpected pleasure?  If you seek after something good, it isn’t very unexpected, and it involves effort.  That seems counter-productive for “unexpected pleasure”! 
 
Your greatest expectations have the potential to be your greatest disappointments.
 

As I was reading in Proverbs, I began meditating on this scripture and the revelation hit me:

The cravings of the wicked are only for evil, but righteousness is the core motivation for the lovers of God and it keeps them content and flourishing  (Proverbs 12:12, The Passion Translation).

Bob:  As lovers of God, righteousness is our core motivation, the very thing that energizes us, motivates us and moves us forward.  The simple definition of righteousness is “as it should be”.  Agreement with His character and nature.  Agreement with our position in Him in heavenly places.  

Audrey: Flourish sounds like an unexpected pleasure. So, I paid very close attention to the order.  The lovers of God (you and us) don’t crave evil…no, we are motivated by righteousness (as it should be).  And because of that, we are content (first) and then flourish! (second).
 
When it comes to disappointment, I have been hoping, waiting and wanting to flourish (unexpected pleasure), but contentment comes first.  It’s my missing piece! When I am content…filled up, then I can flourish.
 
It’s like I wanted my cup to overflow (unexpected pleasure)
but it needs to be filled up first (contentment)
 
It’s like I wanted the icing on the cake (unexpected pleasure)
but I need the cake first (contentment)
 
This is empowering! Because you don’t have to wait for contentment, you can choose it right this moment.  Igniting your faith to agree with everything God says about you, and your future and your family is your immediate transition into hope. 
 
Involving His promises in your thoughts, actions and choices release the pleasures of heaven, that come as the reward of faith!  And best of all, faith really pleases God and gives Him pleasure*.
 
Being content is being confident. Confident that any enemy that rises against you is powerless. Confident that any situation that presents itself against you is detoured and directed away from you before it even gets close.  

Don’t wait another minute.  Apply this remedy to any disappointment in your life. Instead of waiting for things to get better, circumstances to change, or that person to change, choose contentment.  Contentment is simply “I agree” with everything God says.  That act of faith satisfied your heart and fills you up.  Then enjoy the overflow when it comes, because unexpected pleasures are coming your way!
 
When you live a life of abandoned love, surrendered before the awe of God, here’s what you’ll experience: Abundant life. Continual protection. Complete satisfaction. (Proverbs 19:23 The Passion Translation).
 
The lovers of God who chase after righteousness will find all their dreams come true: An abundant life drenched with favor and a fountain that overflows with satisfaction (Proverbs 21:21 The Passion Translation).

*Without faith it’s impossible to please God.  (With faith, it’s impossible not to please Him!)
 

His Goodness Invades Your Home

Because of who you are as a child of God, you are positioned to experience heaven on earth.  And because of the truth of your identity, the sound of your voice cuts through the atmosphere like a trumpet as you declare God’s goodness!  

Declare over your home:

“INSTRUCTION” and “COUNSEL” have invaded our home.

Can you use your imagination and paint a picture of what this looks like? They have showed up at the door full of unique and personalized strategy for each loved one.  I can visualize them like messengers of God, speaking life and wisdom to every person that I care about…I am thankful for their assignment!

My relationships are saturated with mercy.  I don’t judge others and remind them what is “wrong” with them, rather I am amazed at how God’s character is being seen in them.  

My children carry on the legacy of love.  

They are vigorous, passionate, beautiful and strong.   

His goodness invades every moment, every circumstance with hope and joy.

Our marriage is saturated with phenomenal love that comes from God.  We have invited him into our marriage, we ask His opinion and His thoughts and ways are our ways!    

THEN take every thought captive!

Not just the bad thoughts – we aren’t going to give room to hopelessness, despair, fear or shame…but take the GOD-THOUGHTS captive!  As you remember random thoughts of kindness, patience, encouragement and gratefulness, act on them! Instead of just “thinking” these thoughts, be practical and tell your loved ones how you feel about them.  Encourage them with the attributes of God that are easily recognizable in them.  

We pray that this short video inspire you with practical strategy as you believe for God’s best for your relationships, for your family and the ones close to you.

And remember, because God’s goodness has invaded your home, your home is a place of tranquility and contentment. Even though it may be busy, it’s a place of rest.  We desire for our home to be called “House of Mercy”.

“Surely, goodness and mercy will follow you all the days of your life, and you will dwell in the house of the Lord forever”.


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Wake Up Smiling

Before you open your eyes or say a word each morning, a few precious moments have the potential to place you on the pathway of peace and hope. Make these seconds count. They are more important than you can even imagine!

Attractive Love

Last week marked a big victory! Audrey is holding an 11-day old baby girl. It was just six months prior that we first met this couple with divorce papers in hand, facing an unwanted reality of an affair resulting in a pregnancy. They had little to no hope but were willing to trust us to lead them to a future they could not see themselves.

After months of hard work, tears and sleepless nights this couple and their now three children are entering a new season of life. There are some tough days yet ahead but they are experiencing grace! They now see the promises and truth of God becoming their reality and it is glorious. That’s attractive love.

“So we are convinced that every detail of our lives is continually woven together to fit into God’s perfect plan of bringing good into our lives, for we are his lovers who have been called to fulfill his designed purpose.” ( Romans 8:28 Passion)

I’m honored to be sharing this story with you. It’s the attractive love of God that transforms one's heart, giving new purpose for life. The reality of the resurrection always has and always will fill the people of God with boldness to obey His word at great cost to themselves, for the good of all persons involved, and to the honor and worship of King Jesus.

“If you cling to your life, you will lose it; but if you give up your life for me, you will find it.” (Matt. 10:39 NLT)

Because of the NEW life we have in Jesus, I want people to be curious about why we’re kind, considerate and gracious. That’s attractive love.

People need to wonder why you value the broken, poor and marginalized and use your finances, life, and time to help them (even if they never change). That’s attractive love. People should marvel that your family is marked by mercy, forgiveness and is a haven of safety and belonging. That’s attractive love.

When you read the gospels, this incredible Jesus wants to give in exchange all he has for all of you. He isn’t asking for a part of your life, He invites you to, “come follow me.” He calls us to lifestyles that would make no sense without the reality of the resurrection. If there’s nothing more coming for us, then why should we risk anything? Why not try to find a way we can follow Jesus and lose nothing?

Our daily solution is to get your eyes off of ourself. Finding the truth of our identity in Christ allows one to make possible reconciliation with others. Following Jesus isn't a set of rules, it's a lifeline out of sin and destruction. The truth of the resurrection is the eternal future that Jesus has secured for us, that He promises for us and that He will bring to pass for us that will cause you to keep giving yourself away. That’s attractive love.

When reading the Bible I attempt to place myself within the story. One of the most impactful scenes is with Peter, one of Jesus’ closest followers. No one was more adamant and outspoken of his love and devotion and yet when confronted about his relationship with Jesus he denied that he ever knew him (Luke 22:54-62). 

No matter the strength of your devotion in a relationship we all need mercy. Jesus knew that it was crucial for Peter to know that He had chosen him. Peter needed to understand that although he had forsaken Jesus, Jesus had not forsaken him (Rom. 8:31-39). God is not asking you to make a promise you cannot keep. God is asking you to believe the promise that only He can keep.

“But Christ proved God’s passionate love for us by dying in our place while we were still lost and ungodly!” (Romans 5:8 Passion).
“Look with wonder at the depth of the Father’s marvelous love that he has lavished on us! He has called us and made us his very own beloved children.” (1John 3:1 Passion)

Thank you. For it is your faithfulness and generous support that helps rescue countless couples in need. Because of you we are able reach more with the true hope of the resurrection found in Jesus!

 

He is Alive therefore we live, 

 
 

Bob and Audrey

Living Without the Madman

Miracle Monday!

Last week we mentioned cherishing your prayer as we lead our 4 day Love Married Life Intensive. Well… faithful, faithful God! 

We enter these intensives knowing the diversity of the couple's backgrounds and the planned schedule for the week but how these ingredients will come together and the outcome is always amazing. We prepare and plan but ultimately it is living surrendered as you trust God to orchestrate and heal the broken hearted.

So today - It’s Miracle Monday, the beginning of yet another week and I’m still basking in the victories won. Thank you, everyone, for your part in helping us fight for marriages and families. 

Allowing space for change is essential when you experience a healed and transformed heart. Everything in your world may feel familiar yet you know you’re not the same. When you choose CHANGE, your future is really a reconditioned or improved version of the past. But when you experience TRANSFORMATION there is an assertion of our actions that are now aligned with Truth that begins to co-labor with God. Hope is ignited and your future can be described and realized as you live free from the constraints of the past.

This profound transformation is seen in the life of the Gadarene Madman as told in (Matthew 8:28-34, Mark 5:1-20, Luke 8:26-37). Upon meeting Jesus, he falls at His feet, and worships Him, and cries out, “What have I to do with You, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I implore You by God that you do not torment me” (Mark 5:6). Jesus mercifully drives out the demons and restores this man completely. He is no longer the Gadarene madman, but we now see him free “sitting and clothed and in his right mind” (Mark 5:15). Those who had herded the swine saw what happened, and they went into the village and reported all of this to the people, and they came and saw, and “were afraid.” They then beg Jesus to leave.

This “madman” played a very key role in the community of the Gadarenes. Jesus has in fact, just annihilated the social order of the village. The entire village functioned by placing their demons on the madman. If he no longer functions in this way, there is no way left of establishing and maintaining cohesion amongst the people. The “glue” of the community is gone. The community cannot function without the madman to blame and to bear the hurts, dysfunctions, wounds etc. of everybody else.

Sadly this happens in our families today. Everyone in a family unit learns to adapt and even be dependent upon the patterns of abuse, not just the one with the identified substance problem. If he (or she) stopped partaking, the entire rest of the family would likely go under a type of withdrawal. In the text of the Gadarene, we see the entire community relating to one another by projecting their own “demons” unto him and living in a relationship of hatred against him.

Not everyone will immediately celebrate you living transformed. What is needed is all that Jesus came to bring, which is that by the power of the Holy Spirit, we move from living in fear and blaming others to living confidently in our true identity found in God. Living rooted in love and learning to live as one who connects and never divides brings love in humility and grace to all who meet you.

This now free Gadarene wanted to travel with Jesus, “but Jesus sent him home, saying, “No, go back to your family, and tell them everything God has done for you.” So he went all through the town proclaiming the great things Jesus had done for him (vs. 38, 39).

I pray for great wisdom as you continue to speak of the great things Jesus has done in your life. And I also pray for healing for your entire clan as you leave the fear dance of codependency and learn to walk in love.

Together in Hope, BOB

Seeking God's Opinion

“A fool is in love with his own opinion,
But wisdom means being teachable” (Proverbs 12:15 TPT)

There are many things I am in love with.  Sunshine. Jesus. My kids. Peace. My Mom and Dad. Smiling. Bob (especially Bob)…but I really do NOT want to be in love with my own opinion.  In fact, I want to learn to listen without wondering what I’m going to say next.  I want to surrender my ideas to the Lord.  I want God’s opinion.  And I want to be gentle and see other’s opinions as a gift to me – offering an opportunity to grow and learn and be rich in wisdom.  

A wise person answers the questions that people are actually asking!  

Yesterday I was with people that I love, and they were pushing each other’s buttons, and because I know some of their history and the buried pain that they carry, I thought I knew the answer and solution to this relationship hiccup!  Too bad I didn’t think ahead before I approached them and told my solution.  Too bad I tried to control the situation from my own strength!  I think you can guess that it didn’t turn out the way I originally dreamed it would. It all ended up “okay” but I learned my lesson (again) that it’s important to be aware of over-helping, and I simply do not want to be in love with my opinion of people of how they can get their hearts healed, and rather patiently bless them on their own journey!

A wise person asks God questions because He loves us with accuracy!

Just as Moses was called a “friend of God” we have the invitation to have an intimate conversation with God and walk and talk with him about the places we get hurt and overwhelmed.  This morning, as I was confessing to God my weakness in this area, I felt the comfort of the Holy Spirit.  If I felt frustrated because I felt I “had an answer” for someone’s hurting heart, and they didn’t want to know about it, can you imagine how He feels?  He has the answer for every single person!  He knows the past, He knows exactly where every person needs unconditional love the most, and He deeply loves all of us.  Yet, He patiently allows us to take our journey, make blunders until we finally ask Him the questions that will lead to our freedom.  

Instead of being frustrated with others not asking the right questions, I choose to be wise and ask God the important questions and surrender to His opinion on a very regular basis.  

Today is my day to hear the Lord’s opinion for the decisions I make, the places I go, and the thoughts that I think.  I am in love with my Heavenly Father who disciplines me because He loves me so much.   I desire His ideas, His ways, and His thoughts.

Love and Hugs,
Audrey

 

P.S.  Our approach to helping marriages is to ask couples the important questions, possibly questions they have never thought about, for the purpose of deep connection.  

We really appreciate your prayers as we begin our 4-day Marriage Intensive this week.  Couples have sacrificed to get here, some as their last hope for their family.  We know that with God, ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE.   Thank you for investing in these families by praying that we will communicate God’s wisdom, hope, and solutions.  We are trusting God to heal broken hearts and relationships like only He can!  (www.lovemarriedlife.com)  #fightforfamilies