Praying for the Father of Your Children

 [a] Praise the Lord!
Blessed is the man who fears the Lord,
    who greatly delights in his commandments!
His offspring will be mighty in the land;
    the generation of the upright will be blessed.
Wealth and riches are in his house,
    and his righteousness endures forever.

Psalm 112:1-3, ESV

My husband and I have this “game” that we play: “Tell me something you love about me” where we list a quality that we admire about each other. Since we have been married for ten years now, I’m sure we have repeated some of the answers, but I always try to come up with something new or something that may pertain to our current season of life.

Without hesitation, I replied, “I love that you are a hard-worker.” He is always working hard to provide for our family and help me take care of things around the house (I have never mowed a lawn in my life!). I am thankful for that quality of his because this man is anything but lazy. Yet, if I am being honest, because my love language is quality time, it sometimes can get under my skin that he has trouble slowing down and resting. 

Most men (and women) have a drive to work, work, work and find pleasure in accomplishment and productivity and a longing to provide for their family, but I think it is important to find a balance between work and rest, much like we see how God rested on the seventh day in creation. 

God has given us wives to our husbands (and vice versa), so it is important to pray for them in this area so that they do not become exhausted both physically and mentally. But more important than praying for them to find balance and rest, their walk with the Lord is of upmost priority. Apart from God’s grace we are all limited, so we need to make sure we are leaning upon the Lord and looking to Him for wisdom and strength for everything we put our hand to. We see in Psalm 112 the benefits of a man who fears the Lord:

“Praise the Lord! Blessed is the man who fears the Lord, who greatly delights in his commandments! His offspring will be mighty in the land; the generation of the upright will be blessed. Wealth and riches are in his house, and his righteousness endures forever”

Psalm 112:1-3, ESV

A man who seeks the Lord and trusts in His word is a reason for praise. God calls this man and his children blessed. This isn’t a passage about “getting rich quick,” but we see that in addition to the blessings of God’s peace, joy, and love in our life, God provides and blesses us materially as well. As a father’s love for God grows, and he leads his children in God’s righteous ways, his children will want to imitate their dad and follow in his footsteps. Much more than teaching them how to work hard and use the gifts that God has given them, a father with a fear for the Lord and a hunger for God’s word is one of the best treasures he could give them. As women, we should pray for the men in our life, especially when they have children, that we would learn how to find a balance of work and rest, but most of all, a desire to seek God first in all things.

Father, we pray for the men in our lives. If the father of our children does not know you, we pray that You would draw him to Yourself and that He would have a hunger for Your word. We pray that He would learn the importance of rest so that he can be restored. We ask that he would lean upon Your grace in all that You have called him to do. We thank You that You are a faithful Father who always provideshttp://emilyrosemassey.com/2020/06/praying-for-the-father-of-your-children/ for our needs. We pray that the father of our children always looks to you first for wisdom and strength as he learns how to walk in your righteous ways and leads his children in the admonition of You. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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Waiting for the One with the One

In December 2019, my husband and I celebrated ten years of marriage. We spent a few nights in New York City for our special 10 year wedding anniversary trip. Since we have two young children, it was the first time we had been away alone in three and a half years. It was much needed to be sure! Our time together brought back so many memories of when we first met, and I loved every minute of it.

As I reflected on the last ten years with the man God gave me, I enjoyed reminiscing of the special time in my life when I found “the One”…

…Or really when “the One” found me, since it all occurred around the same time frame.

With a theater degree in my back pocket, and the blueprint of my move to LA before my eyes, I most definitely wasn’t looking for my husband back then or even cared if he ever found me.

Because bitter disappointments were around every corner, I tried to drown out any desire of marriage with as many distractions as possible: parties, one-night stands, over-involvement in extracurricular activities and clubs, and the most of important of them all, my career plans as an actress in Los Angeles.

That all came to a screeching halt when I came face to face with my true destiny—the realization that I was a daughter of the King of Kings and He was not going to allow this prodigal to run away from Him any longer.

Broken, full of pride, and desperately lonely, He found me in my mess.

I left all of the distractions behind and began to surrender my entire life to the Lord, seeking His face and eager to truly know Him in a deeper way than I ever had before. The longer I spent time with God in times of prayer, worship, reading His Word, and fellowshipping with other believers at church, I began to fully understand the depths of God’s great love for me and that satisfied my soul more than . 

I think so many have been hurt and disappointed in relationships and the cares of life like I was. It wasn’t until I began to wholeheartedly focus on my relationship with Christ that I began to see that His view for marriage was much greater than just two people coming together and pledging their love for one another. Marriage points us to Christ and His love for us.

If we don’t have a clear understanding of who Jesus is to us and how He gave His life up for us, our perception of our future mate and marriage is going to be extremely out of focus.

The apostle Paul explains to husbands and wives in Ephesians 5:22-33 exactly how marriage reflects Christ’s sacrificial love for us.

“Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body. Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish. So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself, for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church. For we are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones. ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.’ This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church. Nevertheless let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.”

NKJV

This passage of scripture paints a beautiful picture of who God believes we should wait for when it comes to entering a lasting marriage relationship. Marriage here on earth is God’s way of showing us how much Jesus loves His Church and how much The Father loves the world. The love shown between a husband and wife is a direct reflection of God’s love for them.

Are you truly accepting that love? Is it penetrating the very depths of our soul or is it just head knowledge?

Are you embracing God’s limitless, unconditional love or are you chasing after all other pleasures and empty relationships wondering if you are going to find love and happiness?

If you are running after all of the cares of this world, then I urge you to stop. Stop, and wait. Not alone, but with “the One.” Seeking after truly knowing “the One.” The One who created marriage and the One who says that you are treasured and loved in His eyes above all. He knows what He’s doing.

Because “the One” created you and your “one.”

So enjoy the wait with Him.

Looking back on ten wonderfully beautiful years of marriage, I’m so glad that I did.

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Unconnect to Reconnect

“Good morning, sweetheart,” I hear my wonderful husband whisper to me as my eyes struggle to open. I grab my cell phone and begin to scroll through my notifications from the night before.

“I love you.”

“I love you too,” I mumble as I continue to fix my attention on my cell phone, an inanimate object that didn’t hold me as I fell asleep last night, instead of this sweet man that is standing in front of me that God has given to me. My husband lovingly snatched my cellphone from my hand and looked at me straight in the eyes, longing for me to share a moment with him before he went off to work that day. The sad thing is, this isn’t the first and only time I have done this to him or others for that matter.

Now, I know that I’m not the only one who has grabbed their cellphone first thing in the morning or stared at the screen during dinner with a friend, so I have to ask:

When did we get so consumed with technology that we’ve allowed it to capture our complete attention more than an actual human being?

When I had this interaction with my husband, I realize how all he wanted was a little attention before he started his day. Imagine how God must feel when we not only choose other people before Him, but THINGS.

I want to dig even deeper and ask is this dependency on electronics and technology also affecting our relationship with the Lord?

Matthew 6:33 asks us to seek the Lord FIRST.

“But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.”

KJV

That means putting Him first in our lives at all times, even the first few moments of our day. He is the One who graciously woke us up, gave us the breath in our lungs, and provided us another opportunity to live another day. He deserves our devotion the moment our eyes pop open, even if it is a mere “thank you, God” before our feet even hit the floor.

As we live in the great information age, we are bombarded with opportunities to fill our time and our minds with so many things that can so easily replace our time of fellowship with the Lord.

Information available to us, literally at our fingertips, at all times, is wonderful gift, but that mobile device that we carry around in our purses and pockets can also be a mobile distraction that follows us everywhere we go.

Although our cellphones, tablets, iPods, laptops, etc are not evil, I do believe we need to be cautious as to how much time we are devoting to them. We need to be aware of where we are directing our focus. We need to be attentive of what is capturing our attention.

Perhaps you may not have an issue with technology distracting you from the Lord- good for you! Stay strong and be an accountability partner for those around you who are easily pulled away from the things of God because of the ever-increasing information age.

But if you are like me (a stay-at-home/work-from-home mom) and you are finding yourself with limited time to spend with Jesus in prayer and the Word, I challenge you to ask the Lord if there is something you can arrange in your schedule to allow better time management. Also, ask Him if He would like for you to fast (technology, that is) something that could be causing division between you and Him.

Devote specific time every day to spend some quiet time in fellowship with God and reading your Bible, without your cellphone or iPad within reach- turn them off during that time and perhaps put a timer on the most-used apps that you access throughout your day.

Be thankful for the benefits of the tools and global connections that technology brings us, but don’t allow technology to rob you of your connection to Jesus. 

Let’s un-connect for a while, refocus, and reconnect with the Lord!

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Longing for the whole Truth!

Today, I’m simply here to just write.

Vent, I guess you could say…

…gracefully vent.

*Sigh*

I’m going through something right now. Actually, my husband and I are both going through something right now.

Little by little, we have been placed in situations of surrender and letting go of things we were holding onto for security and comfort and learning how to fully trust God alone.

The house.

The furniture.

The freedom of being a stay-at-home mom to then take on a side job to help out some friends.

And now our place of Sunday worship.

Over the last several months, everything that has been the foundation of our faith has been challenged, and we are left unlearning a lot of things once again. We are searching out the scriptures to discover why we believe what we believe. And what we have discovered is that we don’t believe, or agree with, much of what we have been taught.

Needless to say, it’s been challenging…

…especially for my husband, Paul, since he sat under the same teaching for 20 plus years of his life (almost 25), and after we left the church he grew up at in 2010, we were led to a church whose pastor also sat under that very same teaching for years.

When you hear the same teaching for 20 plus years of your life and you trust your pastor more than God, you embrace what you are being told as truth.

And sometimes as the only truth.

But there’s a problem with that- we need to find truth in the Word of God alone and not necessarily an interpretation of what you are being told is truth. It becomes a danger because we never line up what is being said from the pulpit with what the Word of God really says. We should trust the Holy Spirit to be our teacher. We cannot just embrace everything that proceeds out of the pastor’s mouth because, honestly, he should know more than us, right?

Sadly, this happens more often than not in the churches of America. Many people do not read their Bible, and we put all the responsibility on the pastor to feed us, teach us, guide us. His job is to definitely help us learn, but most importantly, encourage us and equip us to go home and study out what we just heard. He was never supposed to walk out our walk with God for us.

A scripture taken out of context and twisted to fit our methods, principles, main points, and often, our fleshly desires, has been genetically modified, my friends. #SayNoToGMO

We can’t just embrace everything we hear from people. It must line up with the totality of God’s Word, what is called the whole counsel of God. Not just one scripture…the WHOLE THING! Much of what is heard on a Sunday morning is out of context. We have experienced this first hand, and the Lord had to reveal it to us the more we studied out His Word for ourselves!

I don’t write all of this as a jab at any pastor or man/woman of God in particular, I’m just simply expressing where we are in our walk. We have been disappointed countless times by numerous teachers of God’s Word, whether those we have sat under, or those we have listened to through the information super-highway.

We aren’t giving up on the Church. Although we are disappointed, we aren’t surprised. The Word of God explains to us that this is going to happen in the Last Days. And clearly, we are in the Last Days!

My husband is responsible for our family. I am responsible for my own heart and what my son hears and has sown into his heart until he is old enough to guard his own heart.

Above all, we must always judge what we are hearing, even if it is coming from the pulpit.

Don’t allow people to tell you that you are not supposed to judge…

…that’s a real popular topic among believers and non-believers alike.

Jesus tells us:

“Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.”

John 7:24, NKJV

What is “righteous judgment?”

“Judgment” in Greek in this particular verse means “the concept of determining the correctness of a matter.”

Use the word of God to discern what is false and what is unrighteous (Hebrews 4:12).

“If anyone teaches a different doctrine and does not agree with the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ and the teaching that accords with godliness, he is puffed up with conceit and understands nothing. He has an unhealthy craving for controversy and for quarrels about words, which produce envy, dissension, slander, evil suspicions, and constant friction among people who are depraved in mind and deprived of the truth, imagining that godliness is a means of gain.”

1 Timothy 6:3-5, ESV

Let the Word of God light your way, every single step. The Holy Spirit will guide you into all truth and peace.

I’m holding onto the Word, who is also Jesus, the Word made flesh! He’s our only hope in these times of testing and times of deception we all face!

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