A Week Of Firsts

Turning 50

This last week has held two different firsts in my life. The first was that I turned 50. That did not really seem like that much to me. It is just a natural part of life. I have been bald on top since I was 17, so that did not mean much to me. And I have had some grey hair for several years already, nothing new either.

Getting older has never bothered me in any way. I guess having eight wonderful children has kept me young, even though I am getting older and slowing down. I can no longer run as fast, or as long as I used to be able to.

The other first for me this week did have a major impact on me. My oldest daughter got married and I had to be the one to give her away.

I am not one to cry very easy or at every little thing that comes my way. Although there have been movies that have brought tears to my eyes, and I am not ashamed or afraid to cry, when needed.

Over the last few months, since she got engaged, I have been ready for this wedding to happen. I never cried or was sad about it. I was very excited that she was getting married. It never bothered me that she would be leaving the house now, after 23 years.

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However, Saturday, when I began to walk my daughter down the aisle, the emotions started to overwhelm me. It was tears of joy, but tears none-the-less.

One of the things I had to do, as part of the ceremony, was to stand up in front of everyone and pray for her new marriage. She and her husband held hands, the pastor had his hands on them also, and I put my hands on top of hers when I prayed.

I have spoken in front of many people, many times over the years. I have also acted and sang in front of hundreds of people. I have even been the pastor over a wedding and over a funeral. Never once have I been afraid, or unable to speak, till that day.

As I was getting ready to speak, my mind went blank for the first time ever, another first in this past week. What I planned to say completely left me speechless. When I tried to speak, I had to really force the words to come out of my mouth. At that moment, my heart was overwhelmed at what was happening. It was overwhelmed with joy and pride. I also knew the value of the prayer that I was getting ready to pray. It was to be a blessing upon the new marriage.

I knew that the man she was marrying was the one God had for her. If I were to list everything that I would want in a man to marry her, he had it all, and then some. Over the last ten years, I have watched him grow up and become a great man of God. He has a heart to pray for and be a witness to anyone and everyone, anytime and every time. He has a servant’s heart to serve any person in need, no matter the cost to himself. He came from a family that serves God with all of their hearts, souls, minds, and strengths.

My daughter had desired to be married since before she graduated high school. She had continually prayed to God for the one that she was to marry. She constantly asked God where that man was and when would she get him. Although my daughter and her husband had grown up together, for most of that time, they were not together or even considering each other. God, however, was building both of them up to be who each one needed the other to be. They are the perfect helpmates for each other.

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As I prayed that prayer of blessing upon them, I knew that God is going to bless their marriage and ministry together. I am looking forward to the ministry that God will do through them, now that they are together in marriage. Both have great ministries of their own, but now together they will work together building God’s kingdom for His glory and honor.

I did pray a blessing over them. God filled me with His overwhelming peace of His Holy Spirit to say the words I prayed. As I prayed, I also had tears of joy welling up in my eyes. Afterwards, my wife was very surprised, because that is not something normal for me.

While I was watching the wedding, and watching it again on video, because it was recorded, I had the same feelings I had when I married my wife 25 years ago. I knew then that my wife was the one God had for me beyond any shadow of doubt. And I still know that to this day with no doubts. As I knew my wife was the one for me, I knew that this man was the one for my daughter. I also know that they will keep God at the center of their lives and their marriage.

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For those who are still single and want to get married, keep your eyes focused on God. He will bring the right person to you at the right time. Wait on His perfect timing.

For those of you who are married, also keep your eyes focused on God. Keep your marriage centered on pleasing God and He will do great things in and through your marriage.

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Staying in the center of God’s will, will always have many firsts in it, but God will strengthen you to do whatever comes your way or make it through whatever comes your way..

 

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Isaiah 62:5 God Rejoices Over You

As a young man marries a young woman, so will your Builder marry you; as a bridegroom rejoices over his bride, so will your God rejoice over you. Isaiah 62:5

Isaiah is telling the people that God rejoices over the city of Jerusalem. Even though He had it destroyed for a time, God was in the process of rebuilding it. Jerusalem is portrayed as a bride, and God is seen as the bridegroom, even though God had built Jerusalem.

God was excited at the thought of marrying His bride–Jerusalem, just as a young man is excited and rejoices when he is about to marry his bride.

Jesus expanded the love of God and the term of bride to include more than just the Israelites and Jerusalem. Those terms now include every person who believes in Jesus, which is the church.

In life, many people do not believe that any person, much less God, could possibly love them enough to want to marry them. They see their own faults and cannot believe anyone would want them, including God. People in this world often see themselves as a dirty, worthless, un-loveable person.

Many women see themselves in that way, and often wonder or don’t even believe that someone can really love them, or would want to marry them. There are also many men who feel the same way about themselves. They go through life feeling as though no woman would ever love them enough to marry them.

While this happens in the physical world between men and women, it also happens in the spiritual world with God. People feel God cannot love them or want them because of all the bad things that they have done in their past.

This is not true. Israel had a lot of bad faults and had walked away from God, yet God still loved Israel.

Regardless of what you have done in the past, you can be made clean by the blood of Jesus. You are able to put on the spotless, white robe that He provides.

God made you and knows all your faults, even better than you do, yet, God wants you as His bride. He rejoices over the thought of having you as His bride, just as a young man rejoices over his bride when he is ready to get married.

Look forward to that wedding day in heaven. Rejoice with God as He rejoices with you. Get yourself ready for that wedding.

I pray today that you will allow Jesus to clean up your life; that you will be prepared to be married to God; that you will know God’s great love for you; and that you will rejoice with God in your relationship with Him.

Matthew 22:14 Many Invited

“For many are invited, but few are chosen.” Matthew 22:14

Jesus made a statement that is difficult for some to accept. How can a loving God invite many, but only choose a few? Why would He not chose everyone?

Look at the parable that this statement comes from. It is about a king who was putting on a wedding. People who were of “good” standing were invited. These were the influential business people. Every one of them came up with an excuse as to not be there for the wedding.

The king then goes out to the streets and invites the common, “low-life” people to the wedding. These people do not have the proper clothing for such a wedding. The king is willing to provide the needed clothing.

At the wedding there was a man who was there that did not have on the proper clothing. The king kicks him out of the wedding ceremony.

The king had invited many people to the wedding, but only those who were properly dressed were allowed in. Those who were not properly dressed were not allowed in.

God sent Jesus to save every person in the world. Every person is called to be a child of God. Every person has a chance to be saved and get into heaven, but the only ones who will actually be saved and get into heaven are those who believe and follow Jesus.

In yourself, you are not dressed to get into heaven. You are dressed in sin and filthy rags. You have on the clothing of the world. Even with all the good works you do, you are still in dirty, raggedy clothing.

Only the righteous clothing of Jesus can cloth you correctly. When you believe in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, you can be clothed with His righteousness.

When you have on Jesus, God sees Jesus in you and will allow you to be saved and get into heaven. Any other clothing is disrespectful to God and will not be allowed into heaven.

Make sure that your life is clothed with Jesus. Live, act, and talk like Jesus did. Put on His righteousness and be saved. Make sure you are ready for the great wedding when Jesus returns for His bride–the church, which you are a part of.

I pray today that God will reveal ways to be more like Jesus; that you will put on the righteousness of Jesus; that you will trust Jesus alone for your salvation; and that you will allow God to dress you for heaven.

Revelation 19:6-7 Hallelujah

“Then I heard what sounded like a great multitude, like the roar of rushing waters and like loud peals of thunder, shouting: Hallelujah! For our Lord God Almighty reigns. Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready.” Revelation 19:6-7

The final end is getting closer. The battle over sin and the devil is almost completely over. John hears in heaven an extremely large group of people shouting praises to God.

The purpose of their praise is that they know that God reigns. They tell everyone to rejoice and be glad in that piece of information.

Imagine how loud that must have sounded. Think back to when you have heard a thunder-storm outside that is just over your house. Remember how loud that thunder sounded when it cracked the sky and how it shook the house. That is how loud these people were. Or if you have ever been in the super bowl stadium and one football team wins the game, how loud it is with the cheering of the people.

Just as excited as a person is when their team wins the super bowl, believers in Jesus should be excited about God’s rule and reign on this earth. Are you showing that excitement in your life today? Are you letting the whole world know that God reigns today?

Along with this excitement is that the bride has made herself ready for the marriage. The bride is the church. You, as a believer in Jesus, are a part of that church. You must also make yourself ready.

For a wedding the bride works at being ready for that special moment. She will get her hair down special, have the perfect dress, put on the correct makeup, make sure everyone knows their parts, and make sure the music is correct and everyone is in place. She wants the wedding to be perfect.

As a believer, you must make sure everything is ready also in your life. Are you believing in Jesus with your whole heart? Are you doing all you can to fulfill His command to be a witness? Have you turned away from all sin? Be ready for His return and the big wedding.

I pray that today God will help you to be clothed and ready for Jesus; that you will be filled with the excitement of knowing God reigns; that God will reveal to you how much He really reigns in this life; that you will rejoice and be glad in God; and that you will shout hallelujah so that the whole world will know.