Q. How do we know who God has for us as a partner in life?
A. While there are unfailing guidelines in the Bible to direct us in every step and decision of our Christian pathway, yet there are some things that are only discernable as we walk in nearness to the Lord. The closer you are to someone the more you understand what pleases them. The Bible is not a self-help book. It leaves room for exercise of heart and conscience in matters such as marriage.
One thing is for sure, we are never to become involved with an unbeliever in this way. “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness” (2 Corinthians 6:14)? NEVER date an unbeliever! Also, we read on this subject that we are to marry “in the Lord” (1 Corinthians 7:39). This is more than just marrying a Christian, but one who has the same desires and interest in pleasing the Lord and acknowledging His authority.
“My son, give Me thine heart, and let thine eyes observe My ways” (Proverbs 23:26).
In marketing there is an expression:
Catch the heart and the mind will follow.
In spiritual things, we often say:
Where the heart is the feet will follow.
To sell us products and services the business world tries to grab our heart and mind. To have us following close to the Lord in the path of faith He attracts our hearts to preserve our feet in the right course. Of course in spiritual things the mind must be properly instructed too. This is through the reading of the Bible, God’s Word.
“And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:7).
I was glancing through a book of quotes and sayings some time ago when one especially caught my eye:
Is prayer the pattern of your life, Or a last resort in time of strife?
Something to think about isn’t it? For myself, I must confess that I often use prayer when all else fails, and yet what frustration I could save myself if I would only pray about it first. So often I forget the words of the following verse which reminds us, “Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God” (Philippians 4:6).
As another school or work week begins, don’t forget the wonderful resource that we have in prayer. At the beginning of each day ask for help and direction, and your day will go a lot smoother.
“And they sang praises with gladness, and they bowed their heads and worshipped” (2 Chronicles 29:30).
Singing has always been a way for the people of God to express their appreciation of the person and work of Christ, and their joy in the Lord. It begins with Israel as a redeemed people on the banks of the Red Sea. “Then sang Moses and the children of Israel this song unto the Lord” (Exodus 15:1). It follows right through to the heavenly company of redeemed in a future day of glory. “And they sung a new song” (Revelation 5:9).
What better time to sing praises than at the meeting in which we remember the Lord’s death. The gladness we feel because He died in our place should show in our singing. As you remember the cross of Calvary, the cost to the Lord Jesus, what He suffered before and on the cross, the three hours of absolute loneliness as He paid the price for sin, it should cause you to bow your heart in genuine worship. Remember Him today with a thankful heart, and a song of praise on your lips.
Weary, a group of Christians arrived in an Indonesian village known for occult practices. They were given food, but wondered whether it might be poisoned. The atmosphere was tense. They decided that since the Lord had given them a commission to witness for Him and eat whatever was set before them, they should simply trust Him.
After the meal one of the villagers entered and announced: “Your food has been poisoned by our witch doctor, and you will all be dead by sunrise.” The Christians knelt to pray. They asked God to preserve them and to speak to the people there who were under the power of evil through their fear of magicians and demons, and Satan’s bondage.
At about 4am, a man appeared out of the darkness. In a state of agitation and fear he cast himself at the feet of the Christians, shouting: “Save me! I am the witch doctor, and I know you will not be dead by sunrise. I am the one who will die. The curse has turned on me. Tell me what I must do to be saved.” They gave him the answer: “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved” (Acts 16:31). Today there are thousands of Christians living in that district.
“What profit is it that we have kept His ordinance?” (Malachi 3:14).
There are some tasks which appear to be nothing other than labor in vain. Sweeping up the leaves in autumn, or the snow in winter while both are still falling, may appear futile. As soon as one lot of leaves has been cleared, more quickly fall. We must remember however that unless we clear the paths they will become blocked. So repetitive work is not necessarily needless. If a room is not dusted regularly, the dust accumulates.
Have you never felt that your work and worship is mere repetition? Does it not at times seem a wearisome performance? We need to pray that we may be kept from a lifeless monotonous round, that there may be life and joy in our worship of God and in our service in His name.
“Serve the Lord with gladness,” says the Psalmist in Psalm 100:2. “In all labor there is profit,” says Solomon in Proverbs 14:23. And Paul wrote, “Ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord” (1 Corinthians 15:58).
Judas will be forever remembered as a traitor, and the betrayer of the Lord Jesus. “Judas, which betrayed Him” (Matthew 26:25). He was also the treasurer for the disciples as indicated by the statement, “Judas had the bag” (John 13:25). He is called “the son of perdition” (John 17:13).
It is serious to think that Judas walked with the Lord and the other eleven apostles for over three years, and it never changed his heart. He heard the same words, saw the same miracles, was treated with the same love, but remained a hardened sinner to the end of his days, and left himself open as a candidate for Satan to enter into him and use him as the instrument to carry out the awful deed of betrayal. Afterwards he hung himself because of remorse but there was certainly no repentance. “Judas by transgression fell, that he might go to his own place” (Acts 1:25). In other words, he went to a lost eternity! After his death he was replaced by Matthias as mentioned in Acts 1:26.
The life of Judas Iscariot is a warning to anyone who would pass as a follower of Christ and not be real, but simply a pretender or professor. The truth will come out in the end.
How Naomi’s heart must have rejoiced as “Ruth clave unto her.” Orpah kissed and departed. Judas kissed and betrayed his master. We need to distinguish between kissing and cleaving. It is possible to give great outward demonstration of affection, yet there may be no depth in it.
The cleaving love of Ruth accompanied by her passionate words of love and loyalty meant so much more than the demonstrative kiss of Orpah who returned to her own people and gods.
Kissing may be lip service and no more, a token acknowledgement without heart affection. May it not be so between Christ and us.
May we rather pray:
“Keep us Lord, oh keep us cleaving
To Thyself and still believing.
In this way our love will be revealed and revived.
What a staggering thought it is that He who knows us best loves us most. The more we know of some people the less we like them, and the less likely we are to love them, apart from the grace of God enabling us.
When we think of the love of Jesus we must think of a love which is never false, never changing, but stedfast and true.
“Ere He called me well He knew
What a heart like mine would do.”
That He should love us who are so unlovely must, and should, ever amaze us.
His wounded hands, feet and side provide unchallengeable proof of a love which surpasses our understanding but, thank God, does not pass our knowing.
Paul knew this, for he wrote, “The Son of God, who loved me, and gave Himself for me” (Galatians 2:20). Can you say this?