Week 4- #RelationshipGoals
Your marriage (future marriage) will be as good as you choose for it to be!
What are some ways you and your spouse drive each other crazy? If you’re single, what’s a personal trait that can drive other people crazy?!
How have your relationships—whether romantic or platonic—changed over time?
Some Pharisees came to him to test him. They asked, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any and every reason?” 4 “Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ 5 and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’? 6 So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”
2 Timothy 2:13
…if we are faithless, he remains faithful, for he cannot disown himself.
There are three different approaches to marriage: casual, contractual, and covenantal. Which kind of approach to marriage did you experience while growing up?
What do you think causes couples to seek casual and contractual approaches to marriage, rather than covenantal?
Read 2 Timothy 2:13. How can God's example of faithfulness help you find restoration in your relationships?
What’s your biggest takeaway from the entire Relationship Goals series?
What’s the most covenant-keeping thing you can do for your relationships this week?
Father, thank You for always remaining faithful. We know that we can count on You to support us and walk with us through every high and low we face in life. Guide us in showing this faithfulness to others in the coming weeks. In the name of Jesus we pray, amen.!
DAILY QUIET TIME GUIDE
HOW TO HAVE A DAILY QUIET TIME
The QT Guide is designed to help you MOVE with God through Bible Reading, reflection and prayer. It can be completed in about 9 minutes.
UPWARD: 1⁄2 Minute Preparing Your Heart:Invest the first 30 seconds preparing your heart. You might pray, “Lord, cleanse my heart so You can speak to me through the Scriptures. Make my mind alert, my soul active, and my heart responsive. Surround me with Your presence during this time.
FORWARD: 4 Minutes Listening To God:Take the next four minutes to read the Bible. Your greatest need is to hear a word from God. Allow the Word to strike fire in your heart. Meet the Author!
INWARD: 2 1/2 Minutes Talking To God (Prayer):After God has spoken through His Book, then speak to Him in prayer.
OUTWARD: 2 Minutes Preparing your Action:Ask yourself this question: How can I take today’s Quiet Time and put it into action throughout my day?
When the sun had gone down and it was dark, behold, a smoking fire pot and a flaming torch passed between these pieces. On that day the LORD made a covenant with Abram, saying, “To your offspring I give this land…”
In the dead of night, while Abram lay somewhere between waking and dreaming, God made a promise that changed the course of history. But promise is too light a word… It doesn’t carry the weight that it does in this event. In today’s verse, God made a covenant with Abram that showed him how deadly serious he was about making good on his word.
Here’s what was going on. Just a few verses earlier, God asked Abram to bring, “a heifer three years old, a female goat three years old, a ram three years old, a turtledove, and a young pigeon” (Genesis 15:9). Then, all the animals except the birds were cut in half (Genesis 15:10) and laid on the ground. There was a path between the bodies and the fire pot and flaming torch floated over it. Just like at the burning bush (Exodus 3:2), on Mt. Sinai (Exodus 19:18), and on Mt. Carmel (1 Kings 18:16–45), the flames and smoke represent God’s presence.
Now imagine this scene. Orange light from the flaming torch flickers across the animals split in two on either side. The smoldering pot floats between them. And in this act, God himself is saying: “Abram, if I don’t keep my covenant with you, let what was done to these animals be done to me.” God’s nature is faithful. His word always comes to pass. He is so serious about keeping his promises he would take such bold action in front of Abram. However, this covenant is kept and fulfilled in the books of Exodus and Joshua.
We know how radical God is about keeping his promises, because he did give up his own life on the cross nearly 2,000 years ago. The God we serve determines the disciples we will be. Our God is faithful, so we can be faithful as well.
Adapted From: http://shortdailydevotions.com
But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. 12 Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses.
1 Timothy 6:11-12
Stop me if you’ve heard this one before. An atheist and a casual Christian walk into a church … to get married. Ah, yes. The fairy-tale romance. Boy meets girl. Boy marries girl. Boy and girl cheat on each other. God is ignored. Nine years after they declared before God and family, “’Til death do us part,” it’s clear to both of them that they aren’t going to make it. That was Mandi and me. But God had other plans for us. Mandi started attending our church and it wasn’t long before I joined her. That’s when our lives were quite literally changed forever. We decided that if God was who He said He was, He could make our marriage work. It did take work. There were hard conversations, confessions, and tears. But we were reminded through God’s Word that “the two had become one.”
We might not have taken our vows seriously when we married, but God did. We were reminded through 1 Timothy to “Fight the good fight for the true faith. Hold tightly to the eternal life to which God has called you, which you have declared so well before many witnesses.” So, we kept fighting and held tightly to Jesus, trusting Him to restore our marriage. It hasn’t been easy, and to reference day one of this Bible Plan, there was a whole lot of “in-between.”
God didn’t just make our marriage work. He made it thrive. So much so that on July 15, 2011, 10 years after we declared our vows to a God we didn’t really know, we had the honor of renewing our vows to the living God who revealed His love for us, redeemed us, and was pleased with our marriage.
All relationships, and definitely all marriages, will face challenges. Money comes and goes. Family gets sick. Careers and parenting get hard. But God remains the same—yesterday, today, and tomorrow. Regardless of where you find yourself today, trust in God to honor His covenant with you and to support your covenant with your spouse. He will always remain faithful.
Adapted From: http://bible.com
Now the leaders of the people lived in Jerusalem. And the rest of the people cast lots to bring one out of ten to live in Jerusalem the holy city, while nine out of ten remained in the other towns. And the people blessed all the men who willingly offered to live in Jerusalem.
How do we lead lives of consistency as Christians in this busy, fast paced, ever changing world? To begin with, we live out this consistency exactly where God has placed us. We’re needed in our community as a church. There are people with real needs all around us. What if we sacrificed our lives on a daily basis; celebrating what God has done in us, by serving others and sharing the good news of Jesus? What if we intentionally stepped into our city and tried to make a difference?
In Nehemiah 11, we see a people that, immediately after rededicating their lives to the Lord and renewing their covenant with Him in chapter 10, stayed consistent and began taking steps to fulfill their commitment by moving into Jerusalem. This wasn’t an easy or safe task, but one that showed their devotion to God, which they declared in the previous chapter.
What we learn from this is that leading lives of consistency isn’t a one-time thing; not once a month, not weekly, but hourly and even second by second. We are called to sacrifice for God’s mission and to be an example (of Jesus) to others consistently. It is easy to say you want to be more constant with your walk with Jesus after a great night of worship, but it is another to live it out in your daily life.
Adapted From: http://shortdailydevotions.org
You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. 7 Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. 8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Emotional needs can be every bit as acute as physical ones. That’s because the Lord has hardwired into human beings the desire for love, acceptance, and a sense of safety. These necessities are what cause us to seek out friendships, marriage, and, ultimately, a relationship with God. And at the root of all of our “heart needs” is the longing to feel valued.
Without a solid sense of self-worth, a person cannot fully receive love and acceptance. Nor can he feel safe or at rest. The uncertain man projects onto family and friends the God-sized job of proving his value. From them, he seeks constant verbal assurance and displays of their loyalty. The problem is that no human can be an inexhaustible emotional resource.
Inevitably, basing worth on people’s judgments and acts of love can have a “yo-yo” effect on self-image—it’s down, it’s up, it’s down again. Besides, no one can build an adequate collection of good opinions to substitute for God’s faithfulness and dedication to us. On the cross, Jesus Christ gave the only accurate measure of our significance: He considered every single person worth dying for. We can’t buy or earn God’s unconditional love. It is ours to receive with an open heart. Jesus’ sacrifice stands as proof that we are of infinite value to the Sovereign of the universe.
God desires to be our unlimited emotional resource. In fact, if our self-worth is based upon anything but Him, then it is unstable. A rock-solid self-image is rooted in the recognition of who we are in Christ—beloved, redeemed, and holy children. Nothing changes His opinion.
Adapted From: http://intouch.org
Come, let us tell of the LORD’S greatness; let us exalt his name together.
When Nehemiah, captive in Babylon, heard the news that the walls of Jerusalem had been broken down, he prayed, “O Lord, God of heaven, the great and awesome God who keeps his covenant of unfailing love with those who love him and obey his commands, listen to my prayer!” (Nehemiah 1:5–6 NLT).
First Nehemiah acknowledged the greatness of God. That is how Jesus taught us to pray, in what is called the Lord’s Prayer. He said, “Pray like this: Our Father in heaven, may your name be kept holy. May your Kingdom come soon. May your will be done on earth, as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:9–10 NLT).
Before you start giving God your list of requests, first stop and contemplate His glory. When you do, your list will change. As you get a better idea of how big God is, you will realize that He is bigger than your problems. So start by acknowledging the greatness of God.
It’s true that prayer changes things, but it’s also true that prayer changes you. And sometimes prayer changes you, and then you change things. Consider the way God changed Nehemiah and then Nehemiah changed things. If you want God to answer your prayer, then you have to be willing to be part of the answer. So don’t just pray about a problem. Ask yourself what role you can play in it.
If we learn nothing else from the Book of Nehemiah, we learn this: Whenever we face walls that are falling down in our lives, whether it’s in our own lives or in the lives of our family or in our jobs or somewhere else, the first place to go is to God in prayer. The first thing we need to do is to ask God for help.
Adapted From: http://harvest.org
One of the best ways to fight temptation and grow in your daily walk with Jesus is to memorize His Word. Begin to commit His words to your memory this week.
Memorizing may be as simple as repeating the passage aloud 10 times each day or writing it 5 times each day. It may be that you place a 3x5 card on your mirror to remind you each day. Whatever it takes you won’t be let down with His Word in your mind and heart. Consider this…
…if we are faithless, he remains faithful, for he cannot disown himself.
2 Timothy 2:13