At Home Date Night- Just Do It!

 When the spies went into Canaan, they came back with a single cluster of grapes so large that they had to carry it on a pole between two of them (Numbers 13). That is a mighty fine bunch of grapes!
We also have firstfruits like none seen or experienced before, in the Holy Spirit. The Spirit in us creates real and vibrant faith, the Spirit comforts us in our weaknesses, the Spirit wells up in us to go and to do His work in the Kingdom. All of which we could never do without the Spirit.
Matthew Henry states in his commentary on the New Testament:
“We, having received such clusters in this wilderness, cannot but long for the full vintage in the heavenly Canaan.”
One of our favorite at home date nights is two wine glasses of red wine, a tiny square of dark chocolate, and some British TV. While this may not be your ideal date night, you can appreciate the idea of relaxing and feeling satisfied in the presence of one another and in His bounty. Date night isn’t just valuable because it’s fun or a break, but it’s valuable because it give us a chance to sit together as one flesh and take a breath and recognize the Spirit working in our lives and moving in our marriage. Our marriage growing is the mirror for the bride growing more and more into the head, which is Christ. Therefore date night isn’t just an extra to be tacked on when we have time, it is the very work of the church.

The table of the Eucharist also beckons us to partake in His fruits in a very real way. It unites us with Him and one another. It gives us a foretaste, and we long for that full vintage found in the New Creation. In longing, we also have assurance, the Spirit is working, growing us, and growing the church. We wait eagerly for the feast. We hunger for it, and for Him, and we will be filled.

*I’d love to see pictures or hear about your at home date night! Tell me about it in the comments or send a picture to ilovemyshepherd.com@gmail.com and I’ll share it in blogs to come. 🙂

My burden for someone else’s marriage- the joy and challenge of church work

What are your sufferings? We all have them.
Even when life is going well, we look around us and there is cancer, disintegration of morality, addictions, false gods and other lies, hurtful words and broken relationships.
The church work family bears these burdens and suffering in a unique way. We have our own sufferings, we bring them to Christ to help us carry the load, and we wonder why life just seems so heavy so much of the time. We forget that often we are bearing the sufferings of those in our care. There are burdens on our heart for someone’s marriage that needs healing, or the member going through treatment; the suffering of the family who has had a miscarriage or the widow living alone. They are wide and varied in our work and in our congregations. And then there is the big one- there is people who do not know Jesus and so little time, who will tell them, how will we tell them? We suffer with the weight of the world on human shoulders frail and weak.
Paul gives us words of encouragement here, as if to say, “Imagine what Christ has in store!” God has a place prepared for us with no more tears, no more sorrow. There is singing and praising all the day around a throne and King worthy of every praise. His glory is so bright and magnificent that the sun is not necessary for light.
God also offers us glimpses of this glory revealed in His Kingdom work here on Earth. We see healing in sickness and hope in sorrow. We get to be messengers of His peace and joy and all the bounty that He offers us in Christ Jesus. We see children grow and faith blossom. We share Jesus over coffee and pray with people as good as strangers, who suddenly become family.
His work is hard and a struggle, a wrestling match between God and world, but His glory- Wow. His glory being revealed and to be revealed- oh, how worth it.


Devotions and the clergy marriage

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom…
Colossians 3:16

I read a study* of over a thousand clergy, only 26% of who reported having a private devotional time in the course of the day.

This led me to wonder how many clergy couples are in the Word together each day. I couldn’t find any studies on this, maybe there are some, but let’s bring it down to the individual level. My husband and I have an on-again-off-again relationship with couple’s devotions. As James writes on another topic…brothers and sisters, this should not be.

Is it any wonder that there is no difference in the trend of divorce among clergy than there is in the laity?

I want my marriage to be more. Many of us want to uphold what marriage should look like, as a representation of Christ and His Beloved Bride, the Church, to the best of our ability. We often fall short. We experience falling short as a couple, in our Christian walk, not just as individuals.

That can weigh heavy too.

Don’t get me wrong. I love my husband, He loves me. We pray together, we worship together (sort of), and we have deep and meaningful theological conversations. But there’s plenty of our marriage that reflects our sin, and mostly our sins of omission. Omitting time together, omitting His word together, omitting compassion for one another.

So, this Lent, we’re going to spend a little extra time doing inserting something, instead of omitting something- intentionally. We’ll set a time to remember grace where we fall short; time to reflect on Christ’s grace in our home; picturing His grace filling our marriage up.

Join us!

Get your spouse and a cup of coffee or a piece of chocolate and dive in.

Our lent devotions will meander slowly through Romans 8, one verse at a time for 40 days. These devotions can take 5 minutes or 30 minutes of your time, depending on the discussion you create while reflecting.

Get the link to the PDF of the devotions at this link!

*http://www.intothyword.org/apps/articles/?articleid=36562