Wedding Vows: Short and Sweet

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I know that it’s hard for a lot of men to write their own wedding vows.  I also know that most women want their husband to write his own wedding vows.  Lucky for all of God’s children, He already knew all of this and wrote some in the Bible for all the men to be able to go off of.  How stinkin’ sweet of our Heavenly Father!  

Where are these vows, you ask?  Well, these gems of scripture are found in Hosea 2:19-20

“I will take you to be My wife forever.
I will take you to be My wife in righteousness, justice, love, and compassion.
I will take you to be My wife in faithfulness, and you will know Yahweh.”

In this passage from the Bible God is talking about His people, Israel.  He is talking about renewing His covenant with them, despite their unfaithfulness to them.  Why?  Because God loves His people.  And He forgives.  And He loves faithfully.  

Now, if a husband loves his wife according to the Bible, he will love her as much as Jesus loves the Church (i.e. as much as God loves His people).  Thus, these vows should work quite nicely — and it should be what marriage should always embody:  a forever kind of love, a righteous love, a relationship rooted in justice, compassion, faithfulness, and God at the center.  

There you go, bachelors out there!  Here are some vows sure to make your Christian wife-to-be swoon.  

You’re welcome.  🙂

 

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One of My Favorite Promises of God: His Vengeance on Those Who Hurt Me

Righteousness:  According to Google, it can be defined as “the quality of being morally right or justifiable.”

Anger:  According to Google, it is defined as “a strong feeling of annoyance, displeasure, or hostility.”

Now, how about righteous anger?
One could logically deduce from the above definitions that righteous anger could be described as a morally right or justifiable feeling of hostility, annoyance, or displeasure.  Right?

Okay, now confession time:  I try really hard to not get angry with people.  I associate anger, most times, with rage or with a more lingering feeling of hostility.  I usually resign any displeasure, annoyance, or hostility to the term of “aggravating” rather than “angering.”  I say I’m annoyed with someone instead of angry with them.  But honestly, it’s pretty much all the same in my world.

I hate being angry at someone.  It steals away some of my joy, and I really don’t like a thief.  It takes a lot to make me truly angry.  I understand the warning against being “quick to anger” very well, trust me.  But sometimes, things just build and build until I can no longer deny that I am authentically angry.

One of those times is right now.  I am authentically angry at a certain person who fed me full of lies.  When someone tells you something different than what God does, you should NEVER believe them.  I can offer that advice from experience.  When you admire and trust someone because of their intelligence and the good face they put on, it’s easy to blindly follow their lead.  Don’t do that.  I am authentically angry at someone who ripped a little part of me away, and then pretended it was no big deal.  It is a big deal.

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But as angry as I am, I can only imagine how angry my Heavenly Father is at this same person for how they have treated His daughter.  Ever seen a father who is angry at a guy for hurting his daughter?  Okay, now same situation only the father is God, the ultimate Judge and Ruler.  His wrath has swallowed up nations.  God’s anger is righteous anger.

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On that note, it’s now hard for me to go around wanting to be hostile.  I’m a firm believer in being efficient, effective, and giving the job to the person best qualified for it.  Needless to say, the one who can give the best justice is the Judge.  The one who can execute the best revenge is my Heavenly Father.  The one who can bring truth through the lies is the One who IS Truth.  Obviously, my anger is no match for the wrath of God.  So, I give up the hostility to God so that He can be my revenge.  He’s better at it, anyway.

“Friends, do not avenge yourselves; instead, leave room for His wrath.  For it is written: Vengeance belongs to Me; I will repay, says the Lord.”  – Romans 12:19

Dear Mystery Man — Wise Men Respect Their Mommas

This is actually my nephew and my stepsister, but it shows a picture of love and respect from a boy to a woman he is growing up learning from and respecting at his right hand.

This is actually my nephew and my stepsister, but it shows a picture of love and respect from a boy to a woman he is growing up learning from and respecting at his right hand.

Being an unmarried 22 year-old woman, of course I have this idea in my head of what kind of man I want to say “I do” to one day.  How this man should be, in my opinion, changes a lot.  At one time I thought I wanted a man who liked to dress up all the time, but the more I wear heels around the more I realize I want a man just as happy with his jeans and tee as he is with a suit and tie.  At one time I thought this mystery husband should always be hilarious, making me laugh every moment.  But again, I have changed my mind.  I sure want a man who can make me giggle and laugh, but he also needs to know when to be serious and when to take me seriously.  I could go on about the changes I have made, but instead let’s switch gears to the additions and the concrete.

I have always wanted a man who loved the Lord first and foremost.  There should be nothing (not even me) that he loves more than his Lord and Savior, Jesus.  I refuse to ever change or modify this “must-have” in my mystery husband.

As I dig deeper into the Word and gain more insight into life that comes with growing up, I keep finding more things that biblically make sense to add into what my mystery husband should be like.  It’s quite wonderful that I don’t have to come up with these “must-have” or “should-have” qualities on my own, I just have to find ’em in God’s Word.  After all, every father does raise his daughter with some idea of the man he will one day be willing to give her to.  God is no different.  He’s such a good Daddy.

As I was reading in God’s Word today, I was reading in 1 Kings about King Solomon.  Now if you grew up in Sunday school like I did, you already know the story of Solomon and what he is famously known as: the wisest man in history.  I don’t know about you, but I sure wish I could’ve met Solomon and learned from him.  People filled with wisdom, especially wisdom straight from God as with Solomon, are always intriguing to me.
Anyway,  I came to 1 Kings 2:19 and it hit me: since I want a wise man to call my husband one day, I’m going to have to find one who loves his momma and respects her.  That is what wise men do.  If you’re a little confused at how I can make such a definitive statement, then keep on reading.  I’m about to explain it.
In 1 Kings 2:19, Bathsheba comes to King Solomon to ask him something.  Now, King Solomon was quite the royal being the newly anointed king and the son of King David.  So this Bathsheba comes to him as he is on his throne — so, you know, at his workplace — and wants to talk to him.  This Bathsheba is his mother.   (Making more sense now?  I hope so!)
King Solomon could’ve dismissed Bathsheba with as much as a “Mom, I’m at work.  I’m busy.  We can talk later.”  But he didn’t.  No, when Solomon saw his mother approaching him, he stood up to greet her.  What a respectful son!  I love when a man will stand up when a lady walks into a room.  Solomon further demonstrates his respect and love for his mother by bowing to her.  The King bowed to his mother.   That’s a big deal.  The King is the one who others bow to, not the one who bows to others.  Yet, we see here the wisest man on Earth bowing to his mother as a sign of respect.  Precious, just simply precious!  As a final and beautiful act of respect for his momma, King Solomon sits back on his throne as his mother sits down on a throne he had placed for her there at his right hand.   He didn’t make her stand to approach his kingship.  He didn’t have some fold-out chair or stool brought before him so she could chat.  No, he had a throne for her to sit in.  Notice the placement of the throne, too.  It wasn’t placed in front or behind or way off to the side of his.  He had his mother’s throne placed at his right hand because that’s how he treated her — as his right hand woman.   Wow!

Now, I’m not a mother but to all you mommas out there: isn’t that what you want to see your son(s) grow up to be like?  Mommas are sure important — and a real man will treat them that way.

To the momma that I will one day call my mother-in-law:  your son is going to treat you like Solomon treated Bathsheba.  You will always have a place of honor in his life, one that I will never try to take the place of.  Additionally, I will probably often admire the respect that my husband (your son) has for you because I know he will teach any son(s) that we may have to grow up treating me like that.  What a precious circle, right?   Future mother-in-law, wherever you are and whomever you are, thank-you for raising up a man who treats his mother with respect.   Thank-you for raising up a wise man that I will be able to call my husband.

To my future/mystery husband:  You will be a wise man.  You will be a wise man who, like King Solomon, respects and loves his momma.   You are always allowed and, in fact, you are required to make sure that your mother always feels loved, heard, and taken care of.  I know in-laws are often stresses on marriages, but ours won’t be.  Your love and respect for your mother (your father, too) is going to be contagious and I’ll follow suit.  On an ending note, I’d just like to say to you — thank-you for being a biblical picture of respect.  It means a lot, truly it does.

“So Bathsheba went to King Solomon to speak to him about Adonijah.  The king stood up to greet her, bowed to her, sat down on his throne, and had a throne placed for the king’s mother.  So she sat down at his right hand.”   – 1 Kings 2:19 (HCSB)

Freedom: Certainly So.

Freedom is best lived when you're cared for.

Freedom is best lived when you’re cared for.

I am a freedom lover.  (Not to be confused with liberal — I am not all that liberal.)  I cherish the freedom that living in America has afforded me my whole life.  I can say my oppositions to whomever and whatever I so choose at any given time.  I can make my likes and loves known, even if not a single person really cares.  (Who really wants to know how much I enjoy salsa this week?  The answer is slim to none.)  I have the freedom to move about from state to state, city to city, home to home.  I have the freedom to select any career path and pursue it.  Then, if I change my mind I can start all over.  I have the freedom to shop wherever I want.  I have the freedom to love whomever I want.  I have the freedom to laugh, to smile, and to cry whenever and wherever.  I have the freedom to live in a way that allows me to choose what I want.  America is the land of the free.  That’s something hard to argue against.

However, as much as I love America and my freedom that comes with being blessed to be an American citizen, I love my freedom in the Lord even more.  The Lord my God said in Jeremiah 15:11, “The Lord said: I will certainly set you free and care for you.  I will certainly intercede for you in a time of trouble, in your time of distress, with the enemy.”

Let that sink in for a moment.  God says He will do three things for you here:
1. He will set you free.
2. He will care for you.
3. He will intercede for you.

Now, if you have been brought up in church or attend church now, you have probably heard the sermon about how God set us free from our bondage to sin through the sacrifice of His Son Jesus Christ.  The consuming, merciful, forgiving love of Christ is what broke our chains.  He is what rescues us from slavery to sin, and all that encompasses.  So, there is God’s first promise:  He sets us free.

This second point is where I sometimes skew the promise.  It seems that I constantly am begging God to care for me.  I am constantly asking Him to please, please, please do this or do that or take care of me in this situation or that one.  It gets to where it almost seems as if I don’t believe His promise that He will care for me and am trying to convince Him to make that promise over and over again.  I don’t need to convince the Lord my God of anything, and certainly not of something He promised long ago.   He doesn’t just set us free and wish us well.  He sets us free and takes care of us.  It’s like taking care of a baby deer for so long that it doesn’t know anything different than captivity, then just letting it go in the middle of a forest.  It would be lost.  It wouldn’t understand how to find food or interact with other animals.  God doesn’t just drop us off in a forest of the unfamiliar and let us attempt to figure it out on our own.  He promises to care for us, as lost as we may seem to be in our new, unparalleled freedom that we find in Him.

God promises, also, to intercede for us.  I don’t know about you, but I’m not a big fan of confrontation in my own life.  I don’t particularly like being involved in drama, either.  However, if a loved one of mine needs me, I will intercede for them as best as I know how.  God does this to us as our loving, caring, merciful Father — and on a much, much bigger scale.  God intercedes on our behalf against the enemy, which is Satan and sin.  What I find particular comfort in is the part where God says He will intercede for us in our distress.  I have a bad habit of getting stressed about most things.  A big test?  Stressed.  Friends fighting?  Stressed.  Sick family members?  Stressed.  Lost loved ones?  Stressed.  Over obligated schedule?  Stressed.  The list goes on and on.  Additionally, I let people hurt me at their discretion.  I’m one of those people who internalize pain and keep loving and giving despite that hurt.  God sees that and He steps in on my behalf in that distress.  God promises to intercede for me when I am in distress, which I take to mean He will take that distress and turn it into peace — if I keep my faith and hope in Him, that is.

Freedom is a beautiful, precious thing.  To capitalize on freedom, seek God.  Take Him at His word from Jeremiah 15:11.  For remember, He is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8).  Let Him care for you.  Let Him intercede in life for you.   Let Him fill you with peace.

According to Moshe Dayan, “Freedom is the oxygen of the soul.”  So, let your soul breathe in deep.  Breathe in God.  He is the One with the breath of life, after all.