Can your Marriage Survive Adultery – Amazing Testimony You Must See

This remarkable and life-changing story has been featured on The Today Show, I Am Second, Focus on the Family’s Tim Tebow commercial, Family Life with Dennis Rainey, Life Today, and more. They appeared on The Discovery Channel’s feature “Unfaithful” on April 4, 2010.

They have also published a book called I-do-Again.  You can read a sample chapter by clicking here.

The book has a daily guidebook for couples.  You can read a sample chapter by clicking here. 

What the Bible Says About Beauty and Appearance

Psalm 139:14

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.

What it means: You are created in the image of God, and God doesn’t make junk! Like a snowflake, every person is unique. No two are the same. God sees you as a masterpiece; and when you look in the mirror, He wants you to “know that full well.” Try this beauty tip: Every morning when you look in the mirror, say Psalm 139:14 and smile. You might even tape the verse on your mirror as a reminder!

1 Samuel 16:7

But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.”

What it means: The world focuses on what people look like on the outside. God focuses on what people look like on the inside. Do you put more time and effort into being pretty on the outside or the inside? As you get older, you will meet Christian girls who spend more time trying to find the perfect outfit, get the perfect tan, find the perfect lip gloss, and have the perfect body. While there’s nothing wrong with wanting to look pretty, we need to make sure it’s in balance. God would rather see us work on becoming drop-dead gorgeous on the inside. You know, the kind of girl who talks to Him on a regular basis (prayer) and reads her Bible.

Proverbs 31:3

Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.

What it means: Beauty fades with age, so if you are more concerned with your outer appearance, you will be unhappy when the wrinkles come and the number on the scale goes up. In fact, did you know that your body may show the beginning signs of aging as early as age twenty? That is why God wants us to “fear” Him. That doesn’t mean to be afraid of Him but rather to be in awe of Him and all that He has done. Let me put it to you this way. If you stand two girls next to each other and one is Miss Teen USA whose beauty is limited to physical beauty, and the other young lady is a more average-looking girl who loves the Lord more than anything, she is the more beautiful girl in the eyes of God.

1 Peter 3:3-4

Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.

What it means: This does not mean it’s wrong to braid your hair or wear nice clothes and jewelry. The verse was written to warn women not to follow the customs of some of the Egyptian women who, during that time period, spent hours and hours working on their hair, makeup, and finding the perfect outfit. God would rather see women work on becoming beautiful on the inside — the kind of beauty that lasts forever.

1 Timothy 4:8

Physical exercise has some value, but spiritual exercise is much more important, for it promises a reward in both this life and the next.

What it means: Exercising and staying in shape is a good thing, but God expects us to stay in shape spiritually by reading our Bibles, praying, and going to church on a regular basis. In other words, there will be plenty of people who put their time and effort into staying in shape but who are out of shape spiritually. If they don’t know Jesus Christ, their perfect bodies won’t get them through the gates of heaven.

Source: Focus on the family
Used by permission. Excerpts taken from 5 Conversations You Must Have with Your Daughter by Vicki Courtney c. 2008 B&H Publishing Group.

Jesus was accused, mistreated and hated – But how did He react?

In reflecting on Jesus I can only imagine all the stuff he had to deal with.  Every single day He was followed by multitudes of people.

Just think for a moment of them pulling at him, tearing at His clothes, calling out to Him, screaming at Him, trying to catch up with Him.  Imagine the complaints and arguments between the disciples.

What was His attitude though?

He chose an attitude of total abandonment to His Heavenly Father’s demands, nothing more.  God’s sole purpose in sending Jesus was to bridge the gap between mankind and God.  To establish a new covenant, a direct road for us to enter into His presence and be forgiven from our filth, be restored and be sent out to accomplish His will.

But it is important to note that Jesus never forces His way upon us. He is not like a thief that breaks into our home and holds us at gunpoint until we do what He says.  No my dear friends, He doesn’t force us into His will with brutality and scorn. With one prayer to the Father Jesus could have forced millions of people into submission. But we do not see this picture of Jesus.  Instead, He wants us to knock at the door of His heart. When we do that, He is there for us and will lovingly help us and forgive us when we seek him in true repentance. Are you knocking at His heart today?

When we knock He answers.  Which takes me to consider how Jesus handled things, how was His attitude?  From reading the bible, it is obvious to me that His attitude reflected complete submission to His Father’s will even as He carried out the difficult task of offering up His body as a living sacrifice.  Even though He was rejected, accused misinterpreted and spat on, His attitude never changed, it was an attitude of love and submission to His Fathers will.

It is amazing how many lessons we have to learn about Jesus but today, I reflected on His attitude and His love towards us.  I know that in my life; I have to repent daily as I don’t always exhibit His holy attitude.  The world and all its garbage sometimes takes a foothold on my heart and instead of acting out Jesus I act out junkBut God wants us to act out Jesus not junk.

Even when Jesus was bothered or correcting someone He did only as His Father had instructed Him.  His attitude was not selfish, demanding or prideful.  He acted only as God told Him because He knew exactly what the Father wanted him to do.
Why?

Well because He prayed daily and often had to leave the crowds, the noise and the craziness to sit silently at His Fathers feet for instruction.

How often do we sit at His feet?  How often are we lost in His presence, crying out to Him for forgiveness and direction?

We can’t expect to be like Jesus, to have His holy attitude if we don’t spend time with Him in prayer.

We will always have trouble in our life and difficult circumstances and people that test our very commitment to God, but we must always seek to obey His calling and adjust our attitude to His instruction.

This message is not an easy one to swallow, I know.

I am choking right now at God’s amazing revelation in my life. I know that it is not easy to be continually refined and cleansed from impurity.

The fire burns as we pass through it, but the finished piece shines like a golden vessel ready to be filled with the precious will of the Father.

How is your attitude today towards others? 
Do you believe that God has a purpose in every situation He brings your way? 
Do you need an attitude adjustment so you can start acting out Jesus instead of junk?

My prayer for us:

May we be dependent on the Lord as a nursing child depends on his mother.  May His words never depart from our heart and may the Glory of the Father be evident in our life today and forever!  ©

God Bless you! – Mariana

Thoughts from Suffering

These past few months have been so intense.  We have endured so many trials both in our life and in the lives of our close friends, its been exhausting.  From health to finances, homelessness and miscarriage.  The rain has beaten down hard on all of our faces and its left us weak.

With all that has been happening its easy to slip into depression, freak out and call it quits.  When life beats us down, its only normal to feel broken, lost and confused.  But as I look up towards heaven through all my tears and sadness, I know that He hears me.  He sees our faith and He knows our pain.  I don’t completely understand why He allows us to suffer so much.  It crushes me to see people that I love go through so much pain.

At times it frustrates me and I struggle to understand why sickness happens to our family and to those around me.  But at the same time, I know that God has a plan in all of this mess, although I don’t understand it.

Going through this period of spiritual and physical suffering has reinforced the belief that we suffer so we can carry the crucified Christ in our hearts and be sensitive to a hurting world.  When we suffer we carry Christ and His love with greater intensity.

So if you are going through a difficult time that has sucked up all your energy and faith, don’t loose heart.  Please don’t loose focus on Him, the resurrected Christ who knows your suffering and is walking with you.  He can carry you through the difficult stony paths if you let Him just like a father carries a tired child.

One of my favorite bible teachers put it this way: “Before God changes our circumstances, He wants to change our hearts.  If our circumstances change for the better, but we remain the same, then we will become worse.  Gods purpose in providence is not to make us comfortable, but to make us conformable, “conformed to the image of His Son” (Rom 8:29).  Christlike character is the divine goal for each of His children.”  Warren W. Wiersbe

Scripture reminds us in 2 Corinthians chapter 4 that “We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be made visible in our bodies…..So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.”

Amen – Lots of Love – Mariana  ©


Is there jealousy and envy among us?

It’s happened to everyone, myself included.  You’re out working very hard on a specific project.  You might be the lead cook at a ministry for homeless people or the lead person in charge of a huge project management assignment.  Maybe you are leading a study for disabled people because you yourself were disabled and God has spoken to you about sharing your experience with others in the same position.  If you’re a mom or dad, maybe you are in charge of an important area at your child’s school.

So there you are, doing your work, minding your own business.  The day could not be better.  Then, out of nowhere comes someone else, whose qualifications surpass yours, or maybe you have come to the conclusion that they have no qualifications but they exhibit a certain character of radiance and charm that draws people to them and that infuriates you. 

They buzz around you with ideas and suggestions.  They have many plans and show great enthusiasm in helping you in your efforts.

You may not be aware but your superior be it God and or man has sent this person to assist you and take on some of your responsibilities. 

Your face gets red, your blood boils and you feel like saying: “What the heck.  Who is this person and why do they want to take away the little bit that God has given me to administer.  I am qualified, I have done this for years and I will not accept help or stupid ideas from them even if they have more experience than me or are showing true charisma, I will not accept an ounce of help.  This is my job, my ministry, my study, my restaurant my swimming class etc… Its mine all mine and that’s that.”

Okay I know I made it seem really extreme but unfortunately this is the dark, ungodly reaction that many of us have experienced in our lifetime.  The problem is we refuse to accept that we have thought or are thinking in this way. Yet the truth is that on more than one occasion everyone has felt extreme jealousy and seen someone’s helping hand as competition. 

We have a sense of entitlement and believe that if we allow others to participate in helping us, we will loose the praise of men, we will fall behind the scenes and another person will shine instead of us.  This angers us and we go back and forth rationalizing with our “sin infested” minds that what we are thinking is correct.  Ultimately we push the help that God has sent us away because we run a “one man show” and there is no room for anyone else. 

Unfortunately this is not the heart that God desires.  This type of attitude only pushes us away from doing Gods work on this earth. It also creates a wall between us and people, which after time damages relationships.

The bible is very clear about this in the following scriptures:

Who among you is wise and understanding? Let him show by his good behavior his deeds in the gentleness of wisdom. But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your heart, do not be arrogant and so lie against the truth.  This wisdom is not that which comes down from above, but is earthly, natural, demonic.  For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every evil thing.  James 3:13-16

Therefore, putting aside all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander, like newborn babies, long for the pure milk of the word, so that by it you may grow in respect to salvation…  1 Peter 2:1-3

How can we argue with these 2 scriptures?  It’s very clear.  Further more; to do the will of the Father as Jesus taught in the New Testament is a work for EVERYONE not just for a few chosen people.  I must add however that God does choose certain people at certain times for His plan to be fulfilled but that’s another topic I will discuss in a future post.

If we have received salvation as a gift from God, repented from our sins and allowed Gods Holy Spirit to work in us, then we can’t take on the world by ourselves.  That is not what God designed or what He intended. 

We, the bride of Christ, also known as the body of believers must work together for the purpose God has given us.  We cannot work against each other, being hateful, envious critically destructive or jealous.  We are one body and have to work in submission one to another. “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.” Ephesians 5:21

We respect and love one another under Godly submission because we are called to do the same with God first and then with our fellow brothers and sisters.  So if God decides or our manager decides or the director decides to send someone to help us, we must accept it with humility and grace.  We may not be happy at first; but that is when we need to kneel down and pray for God to remove any evil thought or demonic wisdom from our brain and our heart. 

If we don’t do this on a daily basis we are setting our self up for a fall.  If pride, jealousy, anger, envy, deceit, selfish ambition, arrogance, lying and many other sins are not recognized and confessed immediately they begin to build a dangerous cover around our hearts that blocks Gods shinning love and grace from entering.  It’s like when people eat poorly and their arteries get clogged.  Once an artery is clogged, the blood can no longer flow freely and the person suffers a heart attack that sometimes can be fatal. 

When we have sin that we do not confess and we keep it in our hearts and minds, it blocks the flow of Gods precious Holy Spirit from working in us and through us.  And in most cases it leads to a definite death of the soul. 

Do you have jealousy or envy right now in your heart? 

Cry out to God and ask Him to reveal to you the things or people in your life that are causing this reaction in you.  Ask God to remove the jealousy and envy and fill you with His spirit so you can see others as He sees them.

The road to perfection in Christ is not an easy one and we all fall short but He that is in us is greater than he that lives in the world, so we can say with confidence: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me!”

Amen and Amen ~~ Mariana ©

Hidden Nuggets in Scripture – Do you know how to study your bible?

I don’t know about you, but in our home we take bible studying very serious.  Its not something we do when we are tired or only on Sundays.  When we study we often can get lost in one scripture for hours.  You might say: “How is that possible?”

Say for instance that we are studying the verse in 1 John 4:7-8 that says: “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God.  Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.”

Seems pretty simple, easy to understand, nothing else to keep in mind right?   However, if we look at how the Greek language is structured we will find that there are four Greek words for love. They are agape, phileo, storge, and eros. Three of them appear in the Bible.

In this verse when it says love, its using the word agape which is Gods love for us.  An unconditional love.  This type of love is expressed because of what it does, not because of how it feels.  Very different from phileo which denotes a strong emotional connection.

Now just to churn your brain a little and show you something you have probably never considered before, lets look at John 21:15-17, just 3 chapters after Peter denies Jesus 3 times.  We know this story, its Jesus asking Peter if he loves Him.

So whats the big deal about all of this?  Its simply fascinating, just read along.

In verses 15-17 Jesus asks Peter 3 times, do you (Peter) love (agape) me.  And three times Peter answers Yes Lord you know that I (phileo) you.

I believe that Jesus is testing Peter and asking him again and again so Peter can determine the depth of his love for Jesus.  Is Peter willing to agape Jesus which implies unconditional non selfish, sacrificial love to the point of suffering if need be?   Is he going to deny Jesus again?  I am sure that after this encounter with Jesus, Peter had a thing or six to think about if you know what I mean.

So to sum all of this up: if we want to accurately understand the Bible, it is important that we examine closely what we are reading so we can better apply it to our life.  Often because of misunderstandings in scripture, people manipulate and misinterpret what was written.  That’s why its important for every christian, man, woman and child to learn the scriptures and pray for Gods discernment and understanding.

I hope with the examples I wrote above you will be inspired to dissect your bible piece by piece and grow in the knowledge of the Lord.   In the coming weeks I am going to list some really good resources I have used since I came to Christ almost 20 years ago, so make sure you check back soon under the Bible Study Resources section. For now I will leave you with one really cool tool you can access online by going to http://biblos.com/

Please be sure to post your comments and let me know if this post was helpful for you.

Lots of Love – Mariana

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My Love Affair with Lemon – Mom Confessions

I know, I know, the title is catchy isn’t it?  I don’t know what to say, I just love lemons.  I made my self a hot cup of organic Herbal Tea and I could not help but squeeze the lights out of my poor lemon until every single drop of sourness and vitamin C was in my cup. It does not hurt to say that lemons contain high amounts of vitamin C more so then limes, so if you have a cold its a good idea to brew some tea and use a lemon or two, sweeten with some raw honey or coconut sugar and your good to go.

Lemon in my opinion puts the pizzazz on any lame dish, gives your cup of tea the final touch of excellence, makes seafood dishes pop and on a hot summer day a good old glass of lemonade quenches the wickedest of thirsts.

And there my friend is the juice of the matter, the silver lining, the hidden nugget of gold.  In analyzing my love for lemons I came to the realization that for a great part of my life I have had a love affair with my favored lemon.  Let me explain.

When life seems perfect, peace permeates my soul, laughter fills the air and the sun is shining, it is not too long before the clouds roll in, the lighting starts and I am soaking wet.  My peace has, on more than one occasion taken a detour and left me.  The laughter has turned to tears and that big thing called the sun, well, it has hidden it’s face from me and left me with cloudy dark days.  Some of those days filled with bitterness, depression, anxiety, fear and pain.

In those brief moments I have questioned God’s perfect plan, cried out to Him in anger, lost faith, lost hope and laid there, in the rain.  Soaking wet, shivering, cold and afraid.

And then the days, weeks and months go by and when I least expected it; I saw a glimpse of sunlight.  Flooded gardens with dead flowers began to bloom again, laughter and joy returned and the experience I endured while in the dark valley has served me for a higher purpose.
In my trials and suffering,
in the times of bitterness and despair,
fruit has blossomed.
And I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that,
those sour lemons were placed in my life to compliment Gods beautiful creation,
me,
his beloved daughter.

These have been the moments I have had a love affair with Lemon.

As the fruit we all know and love, compliments a great dish or savory drink, so do God’s trials and times of suffering in our life.  If it weren’t for the lemons in our life we would be cold, selfish, ungodly people.  Unable to show compassion, mercy and grace.

It is not always easy to live through constant trials when you are serving the Lord, but don’t loose hope my friend.  When you least expect it, you will see that in the death your soul has experienced, His life has been resurrected in you!

Praise God for Lemons!!!

Lots of Love – Mariana

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