Scripture Reading: Colossians 2:6-15
[You have] been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through your faith in the working of God.
Dhini was a three-year-old with milk-chocolate skin, jet-black hair, and brown eyes like saucers. Her new dad and mom brought her from India to their North American home.
Pastor Craig Barnes remembers her arrival: She spoke only a few words of English. A large mole on her shoulder had to be removed before it would become cancerous. A series of complicated surgeries and skin grafts would take years to complete. Further, she had spent most of her life in an orphanage, often left alone. So her motor skills were underdeveloped.
But now she also had two parents madly in love with her, and a church family that had prayed for her a year before they knew her name. Most of all, she had the amazing devotion of God.
Barnes got through most of the baptismal liturgy. But when he came to the part about her being adopted into God’s family and looked up to see Dhini in her father’s arms, and her arms around her daddy, Barnes started crying. No one offered to take over, so the whole congregation worshiped in a teary silent prayer. Eventually, Dhini’s new father poured the water of the covenant over his daughter’s head. The entire congregation was a happy, tearful mess.
We all have issues. But none are so big that God’s holy love can’t cover them.
Father, thank you for adopting us as your children, through the work of your Son, our Brother, the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.
ll That Glitters
June 19, 2014
“Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value.” Proverbs 31:11 (NIV)
The jeweler smiled as my fiancé and I touched the loose diamonds she’d strewn across a square of blue velvet. “So, what’s your budget?” she asked, her tone hopeful.
Bill gulped and answered, “$400.” On a college teacher’s salary, it was all he could afford, but I still winced when he said it. Even all those years ago, $400 meant a very small diamond. Teensy weensy.
Except for the flaws. Those would be huge.
The jeweler guided us to the other end of the counter. “I think we can find something here that will suit you.” Out came another velvet square, but the diamond chips she placed on it nearly disappeared in the nap of the fabric.
Bill listened as she explained clarity and carat weight, while my gaze drifted back to the larger stones still on display. Their many facets caught the bright store lights, winking at me, beckoning me.
Diamonds are forever, I told myself. Surely there must be a way we could swing something larger.
When no solution came to mind, I chose a pretty but petite gemstone and tried my best to be excited.
Bill touched my elbow. “Make sure you’re happy with it, Liz, while I look around.”
I was happy with Bill, no question. The dearest of men, godly and kind. But was I happy with a diminutive diamond? Hmmm.
Here’s the ugly truth: As a single woman, I’d grown accustomed to buying whatever I wanted, even if that meant pulling out my credit card. My frugal fiancé, though, was a cash-and-carry kind of guy.
Still, he did say he wanted me to be happy …
I waited until Bill was out of earshot before I leaned over the counter, waving the jeweler closer. “Could I look at the bigger stones again?”
She placed them in front of me without a word. “I really like this one,” I whispered, eyeing a square-cut beauty. “Suppose Bill gave you a check for $400 and I slipped you a check for the difference?”
She looked at me evenly. “Are you sure that’s how you want to begin this marriage?”
Heat flew to my cheeks. “No, I … uh … guess not.” I quickly turned away, ashamed to have my sins spread out like so many finely cut stones. Greed, deceit, covetousness, pride — oh, it was not a pretty sight.
Then I recalled today’s key verse from Proverbs 31, long committed to memory: “Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value.”
From across the room, I studied Bill — a man who deserved a woman he could trust with his heart and with his wallet — and silently begged his forgiveness for even considering such a thing.
The jeweler was right. That was not how I wanted to begin my married life. Thank goodness I’d just been handed something even more valuable than diamonds: a second chance.
When I turned back to the jeweler, we were both smiling. “You are absolutely right,” I assured her. “The smaller stone will be perfect.” And it was.
Year in and year out, I flashed my ring like it was the Hope Diamond, because for me, that’s what it represented: hope for a marriage built on honesty, not deception, and a forever kind of love that would outshine any sparkling gem.
Now that our silver anniversary has come and gone, Bill — bless his generous heart —recently bought me a new diamond. Square-cut, of course.
If there are flaws, I haven’t noticed them. I’m too busy offering a prayer of thanks for a grace-giving God who overlooks my flaws and polishes me clean every morning.
Lord, thank You for Your gentle, but firm, correction in my life and my marriage. I’m beyond grateful that You enable me to love and respect my husband. Be honored and glorified in our lives. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Philippians 2:3-4, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.” (NIV)
James 3:13, “Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom.” (NIV)
Embrace Grace by Liz Curtis Higgs can help you overcome regret from past choices.
Capture His Heart: Becoming the Godly Wife Your Husband Desires by Lysa TerKeurst
The Surprising Secrets of Highly Happy Marriages by Shaunti Feldhahn
REFLECT AND RESPOND:
Think of a similar situation when you might have veered in the wrong direction. How did the Lord keep you from stumbling?
As you thought about a similar situation, what did that experience teach you about God’s constant guidance and tender care?
In Proverbs 5 we are given a warning…it’s for our sons…but may we never think we are above falling.
Proverbs 5:3-8 says:
3 For the lips of a forbidden woman drip honey,
and her speech is smoother than oil,
4 but in the end she is bitter as wormwood,
sharp as a two-edged sword.
5 Her feet go down to death;
her steps follow the path to Sheol;
6 she does not ponder the path of life;
her ways wander, and she does not know it.
7 And now, O sons, listen to me,
and do not depart from the words of my mouth.
8 Keep your way far from her,
and do not go near the door of her house,
A counselor recently shared with me how many wives struggle with feeling like they are married to the wrong person. Perhaps your husband is less spiritual, outgoing, kind, or romantic than you’d like. So you might imagine, God wants something different for you.
But we must remember our vows – “For Better or Worse.” And sometimes worse happens.
But we also must remember God’s Word says “what God has joined together – let not man separate.” (Mark 10:9)
Once you are married – God wants you married to the person you are married to – that is His will.
It’s in those weak moments, when we are having negative thoughts and feelings towards our husband, that we are most vulnerable to temptation.
Giving into temptation can lead to an affair.
Here are 10 Things to Consider When You Are Tempted to Have an Affair
1.) Beware of old flames – if you poke at an ember, it’s going to ignite a fire.
2.) Draw boundaries on social media. These boundaries will look different for everyone.
I see some couples share Facebook accounts. I think that’s a great idea! I choose to not have male friends on Facebook at all.
I remember when I first started facebook many many years ago. I accepted everyone who requested a friendship for fear that they would know I declined them. I also accepted some friends because I was very curious to see what had happened in their lives in the last 15 years. So I had friendships with both men and women on Facebook…and there were some very awkward moments.
There were moments when men I never talk to at church would start commenting on my status – it felt weird but it’s Facebook and this is what people do, so I accepted it and moved on. It wasn’t until I began to hear of marriages being broken and destroyed by these “innocent” Facebook friendships that I began to question if I should be friends with guys on Facebook.
I chose to delete all my guy friends except family members for my own protection. Am I saying everyone should do this? No – this is going to look different for everyone. But what I am saying is – watch your social media – guard your marriage.
3.) Take note – do you dress to get male attention? Is there a guy – perhaps a neighbor, at the gym, in your workplace, school or church who you think is attractive. Do you find yourself hoping to catch his eye?
Look at Proverbs 5 – keep your way FAR from Him!
4.) Never be alone with a guy you feel attracted to.
5.) Confess your temptation out loud to God.
6.) Tell someone about your temptation – someone who will be FOR your marriage.
7.) Do not be closer to another guy emotionally than you are to your own husband. Emotional affairs usually start before physical affairs.
8.) Are you in an emotional affair right now? Leave. Change phone numbers, workout facilities, jobs, churches – whatever it takes to break off the emotional affair before it escalates.
“But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.”
(James 1:14,15 ESV)
9.) Don’t assume your secret feelings will never be discovered.
Numbers 32:23 speaks of our sin being found out. Often times, what we think is done in secret – no one will ever know. But sin has a way of revealing itself.
10.) Remember, your sin is not just between you and this person. Your sin has a ripple affect. It will affect those around you – it hurts your husband, kids, friendships, and church and even the next generation.
As you read this list – has someone come to mind? Someone you have fantasized about or you know you have impure thoughts about?
Go home. Return to your first love.
“Drink water from your own cistern,
flowing water from your own well.”
Do not wander from God’s wisdom.
Walk with the King,
What advice would you give a woman who is struggling with these feelings?
Does your marriage need prayer today? Share in the comments and let our community pray for you.