Saturday, March 15, 2014

A Sinner’s List: Seeking Forgiveness (Insight from Billy Graham, inspired by the Holy Spirit)


Beloved, as I thought about what I would write for this day, being (March 15, 2014) concerning relationships, I really did not know what I would write to finish off a week of relational posts directed to marriage. So, I went into my drafts and found this one, I started some time ago, and like money saved away for a rainy day, is this great wealth of insight from Billy Graham. With that said, I now invite you into my HEART...

Excerpts from Billy Grahams: The Secret of Happiness
(all quotes included here are from pages 78-79 of Enduring Classics of Billy Graham)

Some time ago a policeman asked me what the secret of victorious living was. I told them that there is no magic formula that can be pronounced. If any word could describe it, I would say surrender. The second word I would use would be devotion.

Beloved, concerning marriage, what can we already learn and apply? Without surrender and devotion a victorious marriage can never be. Oh, but how do we actually surrender and devote ourselves in the sanctity of marriage?

Christ is calling Christians today to cleansing, to dedication, to consecration, and to full surrender. It will make the difference between success and failure in our spiritual lives. It will make the difference between being helped and helping others. It will make the difference in our habits, in our prayer life, in our Bible reading, in our giving, in our testimony, and in our church membership. This is the Christians hour of decision!

From the above there is more insight into this surrender and devotion in a marriage. Let me break it down:

  • Cleansing: There is no cleansing like the cleansing act of Christ in your life. Through baptism and through the Word of God. As both saturate your life, your heart, mind, body and soul will not remain filled with filth but made clean by God Himself.
  • Dedication: When you make that glorious decision to dedicate your life to Jesus, you aren’t merely reciting out loud or to yourself the words directed at you from a pastor. No, no, no. Dedicating your life to Him, is just that. Dedicating your entire life to Him, entrusting He will provide, guide and teach you a new way of living.
  • Consecration: To be consecrated to anything, means to be set apart for it, to serve it, and make your entire life about it. Such is the case with consecrating your life to Christ—It becomes all about Him and all you think, all you say and all you do, will be transformed and reserved for His glory alone.

These above three will lead to full surrender to Christ.
The below seven will lead to a healthy and victorious marriage.

  • Spiritual Life: Whatever you do for Christ you and your spouse are equally and intimately involved in it. In this allow your gifts to always be useful and complimentary to and not working against one another.
  • Helping and being helped: Simply put. Be there for each other. Bearing each others burdens and extending great measures of grace, patience and understanding to one another. Do that, and anyone else you help, will experience the love of God through you.
  • Habits (good or bad): Theres no clarifying needed here, however, confession is needed here with a great measure of truth through accountability. Your habits will either benefit one another or always be working against each other. You must decide together what stays and what goes!
  • Prayer life: What is that old saying, The family that prays together stays together? Well, all families begin with a husband and wife, therefore make sure to build up that great intimacy that  praying together will provide. 
  • Reading the Bible: The same as above goes with this, however, I will also add this concerning the above as well. You should make it a priority to spend alone time with God. God speaks to the soul and heart of a husband just as He speaks to the soul and heart of a wife. Your individuality will compliment your togetherness as a married couple.
  • Giving (of time, talents and treasure): Here it is! A trouble area that oftentimes becomes a gray area; an area that gets abandoned and left alone to rot and fester and create division between the dynamic duo of the husband and wife. DO NOT allow this to happen. You must make the decision and the effort to effectively and intentionally discuss what amount of time will be given to what tasks (this includes jobs and careers). What amount of effort will be given to your callings and God-given endeavors. And the great clincher of arguments and divorces, what amount of money you will give to the Church, and any other organizations that are dear to your heart. 
  • Testimony (the life you are living based upon what you have experienced): Our testimonies of what Christ has done for us, does not start and end with words out of our mouths. A testimony is movement. A testimony is alive and active. A testimony is pulsating like the beat of our hearts. Without a solid and thriving testimony, your spiritual life along with your married life will fall apart, become destroyed and ultimately if left unchecked, will die. Testimony will reflect what sort of marriage you have in which will reflect like a bright light held up for all to see, who Christ is. 
  • Attending Church: This is vital to a marriage, and as I was starting to faithfully and accurately write down all I am hearing, something quite important was brought to my attention and made aware to me. Attending Church is not for show and is not something you check off a list. Attending Church will signify the above three. Cleansing, Dedication and Consecration. Therefore, receive the Word of God as this is what was made aware to me concerning husbands and wives:

This is how I want you to conduct yourselves in these matters. If you enter your place of worship and, about to make an offering, you suddenly remember a grudge a friend [your spouse] has against you, abandon your offering, leave immediately, go to this friend and make things right. Then and only then, come back and work things out with God. 
(Matthew 5:23-24 AMP emphasis added by me in italics and brackets)

Beloved, the above is summed up in these terms as I have heard it. You as a spouse separated and possibly heading to divorce cannot attend a place of worship; a Church, and think it is okay and that you are still making time for God. God is concerned with your marriage. He wants it to be reconciled and once it is reconciled, let both, husband and wife, come to worship together; attending Church hand-in-hand and offer that glorious offering to God Himself. The offering of a married couple who seeks Him out to strengthen their marriage then it can bear all things, have hope in all things, remain believing in all things and endure in all things.

Now I come to the finale of this great message from Gods heart, to my heart to all the precious hearts of married couples everywhere. This is a praiseworthy place to begin, if you still find yourself not sure if all the above is possible, and it goes right back to the beginningSurrender and Devotion. And allow this surrender to begin with taking all the sins that you are guilty of and make a list of them. Theres no need to share it with your spouse if you do not want to as it may be difficult even for you to admit it to yourself. Now, once that list however difficult it is to make it, is before you. Confess your sins. One-by-one. Check them off as you confess them to God, remembering and rejoicing in Jesus Christ having the authority to forgive all sins on earth. Receive the Word of God:

If we confess our sins, he [Jesus] is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify [cleanse] us from all unrighteousness.
(1 John 1:9 emphasis added by me in brackets)

This is powerful, and in surrendering to Jesus through the confession of your sins, you will find yourself in a beautiful place of devotion, as you can now ask Him to cleanse you from all those sins you may not be aware of, and to make you more sensitive to the presence of hidden sins in your lifesuch as, wrong motives, wrong attitudes, wrong habits, wrong relationships, wrong priorities. And let this be further devotion between you and your spouse now. Come together and yield every area of your life to the Lord. Every relationship, whether biological, marital, professional and friendship. Yes, yield each other up to Jesus. Yield your careers, your ambitions, your soul, the innermost thoughts and depths of your heart; yield them all to Christ. Hold nothing back. As it has been said, Give it all to Jesus.

Once this is experienced between you and your spouse. Let every member of your body, your eyes, your ears, your hands and your feet. Even those members unseen and yes, even those members we think are of low priority and give them completely and unreservedly to Christ.’ Then according to the Word of God you have taken in here, by faith, believe that God has accepted your surrender and devotion, and I pray, He will make the bond between you and your spouse strong in Gods love. Amen and amen.

As always...YOU ARE LOVED.

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