I remember when the movie Fireproof first came out. My friend Lori told me about the hushed quiet that settled over the theater as the credits rolled. Then my husband and I watched it, and we felt it too. Like a blanket of Spirit dew.
Sometimes you just know when God is all over something.
If there is anything today the enemy is trying to wreck, to undo, to confuse and twist and just plain destroy – it’s marriage. It’s God’s very first answer to the very first problem: when man was alone.
About a month ago, I was talking to the Lord about grace, and I saw a picture of a tree. The trunk stood out as the center of all that branched out. The branch was the home and everything that happened there. I thought He was teaching me about grace in the home, but as usual – God’s vision was bigger.
As I began to pray and think on this picture gift, I was chosen to join the launch team for a new curriculum entitled Story of Marriage by John and Lisa Bevere.
As I began to read their new book, my spirit perked up at the mention of a tree. They were given a picture as well, and in this case the rings of the branch represented the years of marriage.
And for those who are listening with Spirit ears, you are already thinking ahead…tree of life, the fruit we bear, yeah – He is speaking here.
It really does all start in the heart of the home. The difference we make. The sermon we live.
And at the core of the home is the original plan of God: the union of one man and one woman to advance His kingdom forward.
I began to realize that often believers spend most of our lives – in action and thought – focusing on the roots and the branches. We know to be rooted in Christ, and then fumble along in grace as we live that out. It seems then, that we move on to the branches. Our dreams, our spheres of influence, our jobs, ….ALL THE THINGS. Mostly, we focus on our personal lives with Christ (on the good days) and then – honestly, our personal desires.
And because life happens and we stay busy, we fight for a date night every now and then. Oh, we know our marriage is central. We’ve heard the sermon. We say God, first, mate second. But the trunk gets very little attention.
We spend hours studying or reading for pleasure, school, sermon prep…even how to raise kids. When was the last time we invested in learning about marriage?
What if every branch – the length and breadth and health and reach – was determined by the strength of the trunk. And what if, when we were made one with our spouse, even the roots of our individual lives intertwined in such a way that our personal faith and everything we harvest for the kingdom is affected by the unity of the trunk’s core.
“Every marriage holds the promise of a harvest yet unrealized.”
So often we keep running hard after “our” calling. Meaning to spur on our spouse, while they do “their” thing. What would it look like if we really became ONE? In heart and vision and passion. What would come of the Matthew 18:19 principle if spouses joined forces in prayer for the same things at the same time every day? What if we laid down our personal dreams for a bigger one?
What if unity in the church – that seemingly unreachable hope we all keep grasping for – really started with unity in our homes?
What if renewed marriages could renew churches, and then cities and then nations with the GLORY OF GOD?
Yeah – UNITY – it brings blessing. The running over kind. (Psalm 133)
It’s not an easy call: unity. It’s not an easy task: self-less living. It’s why so many marriages are closing the book on hope today. Here is the good news –
He can always write a new story.
John and Lisa are candid about theirs….and the words of hope that can change a marriage.
Vision: The book will invite you to close your natural eyes and look into the supernatural, where the dreams of God for you are bigger than you’ve ever hoped to believe. Favorite quote here:
“Your natural circumstances will ultimately be determined by your spiritual vision, and marriage is no exception.”
Honor: If your life lacks blessing and multiplication, John and Lisa will challenge you to see what happens when you focus on honoring your spouse.
Redemption: In no other book or marriage material have I seen practical prayers like this. Forgiveness, wholeness, healing from past sins – ALL waiting for your lips to believe in prayer. I’d seen prayers to rebuke generational curses, but never a prayer to separate from soul ties that either marriage partner made with another person prior to the marriage through emotional or physical connection.
Service: The truth ringing throughout the book….it’s a Christ-given principle. All authority is given that we might serve others…and the lower we bend, the higher He takes us. When service infiltrates your marriage, there is nowhere to go but up.
Purpose: Just like Moses and the exodus, it’s not all about our call and our lives. “God’s will always includes the generations to come.” Our covenant is about more than faithfulness or even our own godly offspring. Your marriage is bigger than you think. Can you believe for more?
Many have broken marriages today. Many let the failed relationships of the past define their future. This is not the heart of God. He is about making all things NEW.
There are words of hope here – in this message, for those in broken places. John and Lisa speak gentle truth and loving promises from God. God can redeem your story. He can rewrite the chapters of your life.
I’ll be coming back to this book, again and again, for a breath of fresh air and renewed purpose. Join me in seeking the heart of God for the most important earthly relationship you will ever have.
For those who are single, God’s plan is just as BIG for you! When he joins two people in marriage, they become one…but we all share His call to advance His kingdom for the next generations. Be encouraged in His love and His unique call for each season. He is faithful.