Love Everlasting Ministries

Love Everlasting Ministries

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

This is Not My Life: Confessions of a Life-Worn Woman

                “This is not my life.”

“Those are not my children.”

“That is not my husband.”

Have you ever looked around at your life and thought any of these things?  I mean, this isn’t what we signed up for, right?  No one told us the day we walked down that isle or the day we graduated from school or the day we heard our child’s first cry that things would one day take us to the brink of despair.

That’s someone else’s life.  That’s not mine.

But then one day it is.  One day you wake up and all those women whose lives were battered by unfaithful spouses or lost children or sickness or death are suddenly not just remote prayer requests.  No longer can you abstractly look at those sad and torn lives and feel sympathy.  Now you are smack in the middle of empathy.  You’re living it, and the only thing you can do is look around and wonder, “What happened?”

The truth is that if you’ve been an adult woman for longer than three minutes, you will have experienced these emotions, and you’ll experience them more than once.  We were never promised a rose garden in this life, and for the most part, we realize that.

But sometimes it’s not just a weed-infested garden that we find ourselves in the middle of.  It’s a pool of sticky, slimy toxic waste, and we think, “Nope.  This is not my life.”

What are we to do in those moments?  What does a Christian woman do when even getting out of bed seems abundantly out of the question?

I have recently experienced yet another of those seasons in my life as a woman, wife, and mother, and I was struck with these thoughts in rapid succession.  Huddled in the corner of my bedroom, lights off, and curled up so tightly on the floor that my joints ached, the despair caught me almost off-guard.  I wasn’t even crying correctly because I couldn’t breathe well enough to make a sound.  I just rocked and gasped for air.  And then my thoughts changed from “This is not my life” to “I have to fix this!”

Isn’t that the way we are?  That’s how God created us women.  We manage things.  Paul referred to women as the “managers of the house” in Titus 2:5, and managers manage things.  Consequently, our first instincts are to manage our situations.

It only took me a few minutes, however, to realize that I couldn’t manage anyone out of anything this time, and instead of moving from that realization toward Christian resolution, I moved toward anger with God.

“I know You think I’m this strong.  I know You think I can handle this, and I know You said I wouldn’t be given anything more than I could handle, but I’m not this strong!  This is too much!”

Of course, I didn’t actually yell these things out loud, although I have before.  No, this time I screamed with boldness in my head.  I really was confounded by God’s apparent misidentification of my supposed strength.  I needed Him to reconsider.

Have you ever felt this way?  Are you feeling it now?

I am ever amazed at our Father’s grace.  I’m in awe of His constant and abiding love and patience toward us.  He could have yelled back at me right then.  He could have struck me down completely for my irreverence.  That would have been warranted.

However, what He gently did was fill my head with these words:

Debbie, I do not ordain these things in your life to point you to your own strength.  I ordain them to move you toward Mine.

You see, it will forever be our propensity to try and make things about us.  It’s my knee-jerk reaction to bolster my own fortitude and figure things out, and then to be angry when I’m just not strong enough or smart enough or tolerant enough or when I feel forced to do things on my own.  This is unfortunately an anger that when harbored will quickly turn into bitterness.

Indeed there are a lot of bitter women out there, and among them is no small number of bitter Christian women.  Why?  Because we simply aren’t strong enough, and truthfully, that was never God’s point.

Everything is about Him, and these times are meant to bring attention to Him, to His strength, His love, His mercy, His care, His tolerance, His grace, and His perfect plan.

What do we do as Christian women in moments of such complete despair that we can’t even breathe?

I was pouring out to a dear friend in the middle of this—which, by the way, I highly encourage you to do—and she reminded me of exactly what we are to do when we look at the life we now live and wonder how it all went so wrong so quickly.   She reminded me of Psalm 121,

                                                I lift up my eyes to the hills. 
                                                From where does my help come?

                                                My help comes from the Lord,

                                                Who made heaven and earth.

When you are on your bedroom floor and the pain is beyond your ability to bear, you do the only thing you can do, you do the only thing you should do, and you lift up your eyes.

Jesus told us in Matthew 11:28-30,

Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

There are going to be moments in these lives as pilgrims in this foreign land when we are nothing less than confused by the things that happen.  We can become downcast in our souls over the heartache inflicted on us by the ones we love the most, and we will gaze at our circumstances with a sadness that feels insurmountable. 

What do we do?

We lift our tired, tear dimmed eyes toward heaven and unto our Father.  We rest in His divine and loving purposes.  After all, we have a hope that the world does not share, a hope and an assurance that we do not serve a God who is an “absentee Father.”  Our Lord is fully involved in the lives of His children, and He has promised us that He has a plan, a plan that will not harm us but will bring us a hope and a future. (Jeremiah 29:11)  He has promised us that all of our lives are purposed for our good and His glory. (Romans 8:28)

So, my sisters, lift up your eyes to the hills.  From where does your help come?  Your help comes from the Lord, the very Maker of the heavens and the earth.



Thursday, June 26, 2014

Theology Driven Womanhood

I was speaking with someone the other day, and he, when speaking of Christian women, very accurately said, “Theology must drive their uniquely God-ordained lives.”

How true.

However, that is often not the case for Christian women, and that is devastatingly sad to me.  It’s sad, and it’s a tragedy.

Our Christian society has been inundated with “women-centered” curriculum and topics-based conferences, which are good in and of themselves.  We, as Christian women, have probably never before in history had so many resources at our unique disposal that guide us and encourage us in our lives.

As I said, this is all good.

What alarms me is that oftentimes, theology is not the driving force behind most of these resources.  Womanhood is.  They’re driven by questions such as:

·         Who are you as a woman?

·         What kind of woman are you?

·         How do you live as a fulfilled and successful woman/mom/wife?

Of course, Christianity and the role of being a Christian is many times peppered into these topics, but theology…not so much.  What has consequently happened is that womanhood drives our theology, instead of theology driving our womanhood.

The results have been watered down studies or situational encouragement, all with their foundations in what it means to be a woman who happens to be in Christ.  Skimming through any online Christian resource or walking through a physical Christian bookstore, the “Woman’s Studies” section is fraught with books like Coffee with Jesus, or Living a Stress-Free Life, or Friendships of Women.

Now, please don’t misunderstand me here.  I am not bashing these sorts of books.  They are helpful and certainly have their place within the life of a Christian woman.  What I am concerned about, though, is that we have placed the proverbial cart before the horse.  How can I possibly know how to live a stress-free life or have correct friendships, even if the premise of these things is Christ, without having first immersed myself in the doctrine of Jesus Christ?  How can I live practically without first understanding the theology that must drive these things?

I am not a woman who happens to be in Christ.  I am a Christian who happens to be a woman.

I most certainly believe that there are Christian men and there are Christian women, and they are both called to live their lives as Christians in uniquely male and female ways.  God created us differently for a reason, and those reasons most definitely extend to how we live as men and women.  But what I also firmly believe is that there are common, distinctive theological truths that must drive both male and female lives as Christians, and if we try to live either of those paths without the foundation of this theology, we are simply spinning our wheels or even worse, spinning off course.

As I teach many woman’s seminars, workshops, and conferences, one thing I stress long before I teach on whatever woman-centered topic I may be covering is that all Christians—men and women alike—are called to first and foremost be theologians.  Know on Whom you have believed and in what you have believed.  Without that firm foundation, everything shifts uncontrollably, no matter how many times you say the name “Jesus.”

And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand.  And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.” (Matthew 7:26-27)

Too many Christian women are feverishly trying to live their lives in the best way they possibly can, ways that will bring peace and contentment to their families and themselves, but they are doing so to the detriment of knowledge first.  Without the foundation of accurate, God-honoring and God-glorifying doctrine, all of our efforts at living the successful and contented Christian life are ultimately weak and ineffectual.  As John Piper once said,

            “Wimpy theology makes for wimpy women.”

Does theology drive your womanhood, or does your womanhood drive your theology?  Sometimes a deeper consideration of where we begin will result in the success we are looking for in the first place.



Sunday, June 1, 2014

The Measure of our Words

I wish I had a nickel for every time I’ve said something and then heard my 25-year-old son say, “Filter, Mom!”  In truth, remembering to filter what goes on in my head before it comes out of my mouth has always been a struggle for me.  I tend to speak much more than I should in some situations and then not say enough in others.  Often I’ve missed the blessing of hearing what others are saying in both instances.

However, besides the obvious fact that I miss things, what is the ultimate responsibility I have in my words?  Are there consequences far greater than what I may or may not miss?

The truth, of course, is yes.  As believers, we know that God’s Word is very explicit when it comes to the importance in how much we say and when:

When words are many, transgression is not lacking, but whoever restrains his lips is prudent. (Proverbs 10:19)

There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts, but the tongue of the wise brings healing. (Proverbs 12:18)

As I see it, we struggle from both aspects of using our tongues to uplift and edify those around us.  Either we are so busy talking and saying what we think that we don’t measure our words against the situation into which we are thrusting them, or we aren’t saying enough, instead protecting ourselves or our feelings from the inevitable threat of pain in exposing some part of us.

It is vitally important that each of us look at this issue, not only as it pertains to our relationship to our Father, but also how it pertains to the issue of our relationships with each other.  After all, Jesus plainly told His disciples in John 13:35,

            By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.

Yes, we are to display love toward others, but love cannot be trusted if it is not first given in the family, both the immediate family as well as the church family.  It’s very difficult, dare I say impossible, to love our families if we don’t have relationship with them.  Learning to use our words will go a long way to facilitating those relationships and thereby give us ample opportunity to show love.

Relationship requires pretty much one thing—taking one’s self out of center and being willing to place someone else there.  Sometimes that is going to mean putting a muzzle on our mouths, recognizing that saying everything we think is neither loving nor wise.  Even if what we are thinking is correct or valid, love takes the other person’s feelings into account.  Speaking our minds is often the most loving thing to do, but just as often, keeping our thoughts to ourselves is the best way to show love to another. 

On the flip side of that coin, we many times are in protection mode when it comes to communicating.  Having conversation with another person in regards to feelings and accountability requires vulnerability, which consequently means taking the chance that our own feelings may be hurt.  It’s not easy to communicate when we may have to sacrifice the protective barrier so many of us have painstakingly erected around our hearts.

Additionally, sometimes we don’t communicate simply because we don’t think to do so.  We’re too busy, or we’re too devoted to our jobs or our studies.  The truth is that when we fail to build relationship with those we are supposed to care about because we are too busy with anything, then what we are really preoccupied with is self.  Essentially our “busy-ness” is being consumed with self.

We can come up with all sorts of justification for keeping our words to ourselves, but at the end of the day, relationship is nigh impossible without it.  Marriages collapse because of a lack of communication.  Parent/child relationships are non-existent because one or more aren’t talking.  Churches split and friendships are severed when no one communicates.  Even corporations have dissolved when executives don’t communicate with their employees or vice versa.

Relationship requires communication, and communication requires more than two people who are essentially taking turns talking.  James wrote,

Know this, my beloved brothers:  let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness that God requires.

Relationship also requires commitment, commitment to another person and that person’s needs outside of what we perceive as either ours or something more important.  Would Jesus have ever seen Himself as too busy to communicate with those in His family? One situation in particular comes to mind that demonstrates our Savior’s propensity toward relationship over even ministry and His job, for lack of a better term.

Remember when Jesus was teaching His disciples and the ruler came and bid Him come and bring his daughter back from the dead?  Jesus was on His way to raise this dead girl back to life—a fairly important task by any standard.  But when a woman touched His garment who had suffered for twelve years with hemorrhaging, He stopped everything to speak to her. (Matthew 9:18-22)

Even His mission to save and heal and bring life to the dead could not thwart His devotion to relationship with His children. 

If our Savior sees relationship as this important, and communication within relationship as vital, shouldn't we do the same?

Are there people in your life to whom you haven’t selflessly given loving communication?  Is it a spouse or a child or a friend or a fellow brother or sister?  Take the words of the psalmist to heart and meditate on them:

-When you are struggling with saying too much:

Whoever restrains his words has knowledge, and he who has a cool spirit is a man of understanding. (Proverbs 17:27)

-And when you are struggling to remember to say something:

Anxiety in a man’s heart weighs him down, but a good word makes him glad. (Proverbs 12:25)

After all, how can we say we love our family if we don’t know them, and how can we know them if we don’t both talk and listen to them?







Thursday, May 22, 2014

The Plague of Isolation

It’s kind of funny that we live in such a streamlined society where everybody is connected to everybody, and yet for the most part, we are utterly and completely alone.  Even conversations at tables in restaurants these days are neglected in favor of checking your Facebook status or email or texts or Twitter.  I’ve sat and watched two people sit together for dinner and never even look at one another, their attentions fully given to whatever handheld device they own at the time.  It’s never been more hazardous than now to walk down the street for fear of any number of passersby running right into you because they’re looking down at their phone instead of where they are walking.
This plague, though commonplace in mainstream society, has unfortunately permeated our Christian lives, as well.  Some of us may live in extremely populated areas, but for some reason we feel nothing but loneliness and isolation from those around us who share the most amazing gift of all time—Jesus!
I recently traveled to Harare, Zimbabwe, to speak at an Easter conference, and I was overwhelmed with the words so many of the women there spoke to me.  Had they not been speaking Shona, the native language of most of Zimbabwe, the words they were saying would have been exactly the same words I’ve heard over and over again here in America: “I’m so lonely.” 
It’s not that they are alone.  Few of us are ever alone, but the pain of loneliness is rampant among Christians.
How very sad that is.
So I began to ask myself why that is the case.  Why are members of an eternal family, truly those who are now the bride of Christ, suffering from such a condition?  I mean, I can almost understand how unbelievers might feel lonely.  After all, what do they share with others but a constant desire to figure out how to be happy or content or joyful?  We, however, have been given the key to such things, and we share that key with millions of other people, many of whom live right in our neighborhoods.  If not there, at least there are those with whom we attend church or bible study.
Why are so many of us, all over the world, still so lonely?
I’m convinced that it’s not loneliness that has plagued our existences, but isolation.  Most of us have a tendency to isolate ourselves, either in our sadness or our sin.  We might reveal some things, but for the most part, we live under the misapprehension that our suffering or our sin is somehow more extreme or more dire than anyone else’s.  Either that or we delude ourselves into thinking that we don’t want to burden anyone else with our problems, so we keep them to ourselves, simmering just beneath the surface of the smiles we paste on in public.
Consequently, many of us who have reason for the most joy experience pain that is both unnecessary and unwarranted, which is just the way Satan wants it.  If he can convince us of this lie, then what we should be presenting to the unsaved world—peace and joy that surpasses all understanding—is buried beneath a mountain of misery that lives inside of our heads.
This is precisely why we are to be who God intended His children to be, and that is relational.  We are to belong to a body of believers, not so that we fill a square in the account journal of our sanctification, but so that we can build one another up, hold one another accountable, and fellowship together.  We need our brothers and sisters and we need to seek them out.  Living inside of our own heads is exactly what Satan wants because there is no relationship there. 
My heart hurt for the women of Zimbabwe, just like my heart hurts for every woman I meet who suffers from this plague.  It hurt so much that the focus of my work with Love Everlasting Ministries has streamlined and is now going to be finding ways to break the barriers of isolation, primarily through discipleship and relational connection between women all over the world.  This is a plague that should not be, and all of us must do what we can to extinguish it however we can.
What can you do to either break out of this isolation or help others do so?  I pray that all of us seriously consider the ramifications of a body of believers who segregate themselves from every other part of the body in horrible isolation.  Move toward relationship with your brothers and sisters.  After all, heaven isn’t going to be a lonely place.  God meant for us to seek relationship with each other and the beauty that comes with that while we are here on earth.
Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.  And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony….Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. (Colossians 3:12-16)




Saturday, December 21, 2013

The Year I Boycotted Christmas

(To hear this message in its entirety, go to
Christmas has always been my favorite time of year.  I have some absolutely wonderful memories of growing up and spending Christmas with my parents and my siblings.  Mom and Dad always went all out, putting up so many Christmas decorations that it took days to complete.  She would cook and bake and shop, and then all of us would make cookies together.

We had a lot of traditions, but the best one we had was on Christmas morning.  Daddy always got up first, going downstairs to get his coffee and turning on the tree lights.  Mom would follow close behind, cautioning us all the while to stay upstairs until everything was ready.  We had one of those huge 8mm cameras with the light that singed the hair off your eyebrows when it was filming, so we’d always be temporarily blinded upon first entering the living room.  It was so grand!

And then there it would be!  A huge Christmas tree, Bing Crosby singing “Blue Christmas” in the background, and so many beautifully wrapped presents.  We’d start with the stockings, then we’d exchange gifts from each other, then we’d unwrap all of the “Santa” gifts. 

All of these memories are warm and wonderful.  Then once I had children of my own, I tried to foster the same sorts of traditions.  My boys and I would bake cookies, and then we’d decorate and decorate and decorate!  Everyone looked forward to Christmas morning, and then we’d stay in our pajamas all day, enjoying our gifts, eating, and watching “A Christmas Story” over and over again.

Yes, Christmas has always been my favorite time of the year, but I must admit it had always been my favorite time for all the wrong reasons, even though I thought they were the right ones.  As a Christian, I knew that “Jesus is the Reason for the Season.”  I know the real meaning of Christmas, but even in that I had lost track of why I celebrated.  I lost sight of where the meaning was, not so much in whom the meaning existed.

Jeff and I moved away from both of our families once we were married almost 29 years ago.  So, having Christmas at our childhood home had become difficult.  Then, a few years ago while my boys were serving in the Army and the Marines, both of them were in Afghanistan at the same time during Christmas, so neither of them were going to be home.

All of a sudden, Christmas lost all joy for me.  I was empty, and I didn’t want to celebrate at all.  My boys were gone, I was 2000 miles from my parents and my brother and sister and their families.  What was the point?

Right there and then I decided that I wouldn’t put up any decorations, and as a matter of fact, I wanted Jeff to take me somewhere so I didn’t have to be home at all.  Maybe somewhere tropical…I didn’t care, as long as it wasn’t there in my house without my boys and my traditions.  However, we have two dogs, one of which is a Great Dane and the size of a small horse, so traveling with them would be too difficult.  Reluctantly, I acquiesced that staying home was best.

A few days after Thanksgiving that year, a time when I was usually elbow deep in Christmas decorations and shopping, I simply couldn’t get a certain passage of Scripture out of my mind.  You see, I didn’t think I was being belligerent or unreasonable.  Actually, I felt I was being very reasonable.  God was about to remind me that I was certainly not.

The passage that kept coming to mind was from 1 Peter 1:3-5,

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ!  According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.    

Finally I sat down one day and really began to look at these verses, trying to understand why God kept bringing me back to them.  Eventually, I saw Christmas in them, and I was so ashamed of where I had relegated this blessed time of year.
These verses in 1 Peter really do have the real meaning of Christmas contained within them, and even though we might think we have our eyes on the prize, so to speak, any of us can very quickly lose sight of the gift we celebrate even as we understand the Savior who gave us this gift.
I mean, think about the disciples.  Even they lost sight of the prize, and the Prize was standing right in front of them! 
In Luke 10 the apostle describes when Jesus sent out the 72 disciples to go out and preach the Good News.  However, once they returned, they exclaimed in verse 17,

            Lord, even the demons are subject to us in your name!

Jesus quickly re-focused them by saying in verses 18-20,

I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven.  Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall hurt you.  Nevertheless, do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.

The birth of Jesus Christ facilitated for us the most amazing gift we will ever be given, and that is eternity!  That was the first point of my “re-focusing”:  It’s not about the gifts we give and receive to commemorate His birth; it’s about the truly supernatural gift we’ve been given which was facilitated by His birth.  Our focus, my focus, should be on the gift of being born again.

In Ephesians 1:11,

In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will.
Not only have I been given the gift of being born again, but in that gift I have received an inheritance that is imperishable and glorious.  I have been promised the inheritance of fellow heirs with Christ.  Romans 8:16-17 promises,

The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ.
That’s an inheritance worth focusing on!

Then finally, those verses in 1 Peter reminded me of what “home” really is and how I had made it about something completely temporal instead of the eternal one promised to me in Christ Jesus.

There is a beautiful song called “Temporary Home,” by Carrie Underwood.  The chorus of that songs says,
This is my temporary home, it's not where I belong
Windows and rooms that I'm passing through
This is just a stop on the way to where I'm going
I'm not afraid because I know
This is my temporary home.
“Home” is so important to us; it’s always been so important to me.  Why do you think that is?  Why do we put so much emphasis on going home or being home or having a home?

It’s because home is our identity.  It’s our comfort.  It’s who we are and where we know we always belong.

When I became distressed and somewhat depressed at the thought of having no one home for Christmas or in the thought of not going home for Christmas, I lost sight of where my home really is.  If I centered my thoughts on my real home, if I lived every day in light of where I really belong, then Christmas and any other time of year for that matter would only bring me another opportunity to celebrate that.

As believers, this world really is just our temporary home.  It’s not perfect, though God has graciously given us some beautiful things while here.  However, it’s not the end.  It’s not even the beginning.  This home is temporary. 

Jesus said in John 14:2,
In my Father’s house are many rooms.  If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?

This earth is not my home.  This is the place where I am on the way to where I am going.  Why would any of us place our hopes and our dreams and our happiness on something that will pass away?  This is temporary!

How could I not celebrate that Christmas, regardless of who was there or not there, knowing that Jesus Christ came in the flesh, was born of a virgin, died a horrible death and then was raised on the third day so that I would have an eternal home?!  How can we focus on anything above that?

I admonish each of you, then, just as God has admonished me: 

·         Center your hearts on the greatest gift of all time, the gift of being born again,
·         Look to the inheritance that is yours in eternity because of this gift, and
·         Live each day, most especially these days, looking toward and living in the knowledge of our eternal home—heaven.

And put up your decorations, for heaven’s sake!








Thursday, November 7, 2013

Is He Worth It?

(Excerpt of Episode 2 of the Windows of the Heart radio program)

I still remember my wedding day.  I was so excited and nervous about being the new Mrs. Jeff Waterbury.  My husband is a fighter pilot, and I have always been so proud of him.  But more than that, he is my protector and my love and my knight in shining armor.  I remember that day thinking of how wonderful he was, how handsome he was standing at the end of the isle waiting for me!  I could hardly believe it!

 If you are fortunate to be marrying someone wonderful, when that long awaited day comes when you finally say “I do,” you can’t help but think of all the reasons for marrying him.  You see how awesome and loving he is and you feel so lucky that he is marrying you!

I can’t imagine that if I hadn’t known Jeff and spent any time with him that I would have been nearly as excited to be his wife.  It was because I knew him, because I understood how wonderful that man was who was waiting for me at the end of that isle that I anticipated being married to him. 

You see, I found out that Jeff was worth the effort it took to see him.  Over the past 28 or so years, I’ve continued to work at it, looking past the layers of both mine and his imperfections and sin to see him more and more clearly.

If I can be so excited about an earthly marriage to a wonderful, but imperfect man, how much more excited should I be at my engagement to the King of kings!  I am the luckiest human being who ever was and I should be appropriately excited about being His betrothed.

There are so many reasons why we don’t live in this due excitement, but the chief reason is because, as Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 13:12,

            For now we see in a mirror dimly.

We’re squinting and laboring to see our magnificent and glorious Bridegroom, but our fleshly windows are smudged and dirty from the sins and imperfections of this world.  What unfortunately happens all too often is that we simply give up trying to see through it.  We just give in to the foggy perceptions of this life and stop working at seeing through this mirror into the unfathomable happiness that is ours. 

It’s just so hard to see!

As I’ve counseled and taught so many times over the years, seeing Jesus Christ as our Eternal Bridegroom and living in the absolute joy that knowledge brings is a learning process.  Basically we have to unlearn everything we’ve ever learned about what it means to be loved, and re-learn both what true love is as well as who this King is who has chosen us as His bride.

The process is long and it is arduous here on this earth.  I think Jeff won’t mind me saying that it wasn’t long after that wonderful wedding day that it wasn’t so wonderful anymore.  That seemingly perfect man wasn’t so perfect after all, and neither was I.  Our marriage has lasted 28+ years because we determined ourselves to keep looking at one another.  We didn’t give up on knowing who the other was.
Why do we put so much effort into earthly marriages, or not, but give up so easily on the one that is eternal and perfect?  So we see as in a mirror dimly now.  Just because that is true doesn't mean that we stop at the first part of that verse in 1 Corinthians.  The entirety of 13:12 says,

For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face.  Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
It is a process and it is one we have to be committed to if we want the “part” that we know now to be increased, resulting in more joy and contentment as we wait for the “face to face” when we will “know fully.”
Okay, so it’s a process.  Where should we start?  Well, the most logical place is to start with who we are looking at and why He is so worthy of our effort.  It is logical to ask ourselves, “Who is this King of kings?  Who is Jesus Christ, the Most Excellent King?”  After all, getting excited over being the bride has to come as a result of excitement over that Person who wants us!  We must see how amazing and excellent is this King who has chosen us among all others to be His bride.

Jonathon Edwards once wrote about the reason why the children of God will want to grasp the excellency of Christ.  He wrote:

“There is a divine and superlative glory in the excellency of Jesus Christ, an excellency that is of a vastly higher kind and more sublime nature than in other things, and a glory greatly distinguishing them from all that is earthly and temporal.  He that is spiritually enlightened truly apprehends and sees it, or has a sense of it.  He does not merely rationally believe that Christ is glorious, but he has a sense of the gloriousness of Him in his heart.” ("A Divine and Supernatural Light," Jonathon Edwards, 1734)
This is our goal.  We want to gain a sense of the gloriousness of our Bridegroom, our King Jesus, because a sense is really all we can attain while looking through these sin-stained windows.  However, if we don’t look, we will turn away from His unimaginable love in frustration, sadly living outside of that which is already ours.

That is sad indeed.
So, who is this Jesus?  What kind of a king is He who has chosen us to be His?
He is the King that Paul describes in Philippians 2:5-7.  He is the King who

though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. 
He is God.  He was God.  He will always be God.

Not only that, but this God humbled Himself in ways we simply cannot comprehend, all for the sake of His love for us and His obedience to the Father.  That means that He refused to accept the riches and privileges and heavenly glories that come with His being God, all so that He could redeem us, His church.  He did all of this so that our deserved debts would be paid and we could live forever with Him.
He humbled Himself to the point of death, even death on the cross, so that He might present you and me faultless and pure before the Throne of Grace.  Then He may say to us, just as the Bridegroom says to His bride in the Song of Songs 4:7,

            You are altogether beautiful, my love; there is no flaw in you.

Think of it like this:  the king of the richest land in all of the earth has chosen his bride among the poorest and most unlikely of peasants in the land.  He has to ransom her from slavery and the only way he can do this is to give up all that he has as king—all of the honor that goes with his station—and become one of the lowest of the low, and because he loves her so much, he is willing to do that and more.
Now please understand here that Jesus did not empty Himself of His deity in this sacrifice.  He couldn’t do that or He would cease to exist.  If He emptied Himself of being God, which is by His very nature who He is, then He couldn’t be.  He didn’t empty Himself of His deity; He emptied Himself of His rights as that deity.

In John 17 He says He set aside His heavenly glory to come to this sin-stained planet. 
In John 5 He says He set aside His independent authority and acted only as His Father commanded.

He emptied Himself.  He made Himself nothing.  He gave up everything, for a time, so that we could be wed to Him. 

C.S. Lewis said,

“No seed ever fell so far from a tree into so dark and cold a soil as the Son of God did.” (Miracles, C.S. Lewis, 1947)

He did that for us.  What kind of amazing king is that?

Is He worth our effort?  Is this King worth the process and the time and the frustration we often feel to learn about Him and work at seeing Him?

At that I answer, “Yes and Amen!”
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