Our family is in a time of change, as many of you are. The purpose of change is growth. The Bible tells us many times that we should rejoice in the changes, both easy and difficult, because the Lord is using them to mature us. God brings about change for our good.
Satan, on the other hand, wants to use change to divide us. Many people in the process of divorce say simply, "We've grown apart." I've now been married over 17 years, and what I have come to realize is that statement is truly saying, "We lacked the vision, the desire, the wisdom, or the selflessness required to change together." And Satan capitalized on it.
I have a few strategies and simple truths to remember for going through changes that I have found keep us pretty solid.
1. My vision is for us to come out the other side closer to each other and to the Lord than we were when we started.
2. Grace, grace, and more grace. Ask for it and give it. Moods, tones, and patience will waiver. Don't take it personally. Offer grace.
3. Ask forgiveness. No one else is responsible for the waivering of my moods, tones, and patience. I am responsible for those things, and I am responsible for repair work when they are damaging.
4. Remember I won't get everything I think I want.
5. I don't know the purpose or the destiny, so I better stay really close to the One who does.
6. I cannot pray for my family enough, not that they will do what I think they should, but that we will serve God as a unit embracing the work God does in us as individuals.
This morning I am praying scripture from Philippians 2 over us. Since I know so many who are fighting for their families or simply desiring to walk through change with wisdom and power, I am sharing my prayer with you.
Father, thank you for the gift of salvation that unites us with Christ. Thank you for all the promises that are yes and amen in Him. Thank you that you have promised godly change in our lives as a result of being united with your Son through the blood shed for us on the cross, through His death and resurrection. Thank you for the encouragement you've given us. Thank you for the comfort from His love and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit that leads us into all truth and works in us according to your will and purpose to bring about your glory and life eternal within us. Thank you for the tenderness and compassion you pour out on us. You are the perfect Father, and you pour out only good things. The circumstances and changes in our lives are for our good, to give us hope and a future, and we know this because all good and perfect gifts come from you. You cannot do evil, but rather you make ways for us to escape the evil one and the temptation he lays before us. Thank you, Lord God.
Father, complete our joy by making us like-minded. Show us your vision that we can be in agreement with you. Give us your heart for each other and for your world. Show Rob, Anna, Robert, and me how we can love and minister to each other and to those around us. Increase in us your love. Work in us that we would become one in Spirit and purpose. If we are acting out of selfishness or vain conceit, show us. Lead us to repentance. Do not let the enemy have a foothold in our lives, but show us how we can love with abandon as you do. Gives us hearts that serve humbly. Show us how to love others as you do. Love others through us. Help us to consider others better than ourselves, and when our flesh rises up and wants the easy road, the cushy road, or the convenient road, convict us and nag us until we turn from the ways of the world and flesh and turn to your ways. In your ways is life, and we want to be life givers.
Father, forgive us for being concerned about self, what we will get out of things, and whether things are "fair" or "equal". Forgive us for being so short-sighted and small-minded that we don't realize or we refuse to see that when others excel and are blessed, so are we. Show us how to bless others and encourage them to do great things for you. Show us how we can be part of the equipping that enables them to accomplish all you have declared over you. There is no greater joy than to see your children being all you desire them to be. Remind us of that because we easily forget.
Give us your heart, and help us to remember Jesus' joy came in serving you with abandon and making a difference in the lives of others, not in living the convenient or easy life. Put into us the desire to be like Him in every way, to give without expecting anything back. Father God, help us to remember all we have is really yours. Our time, our money, our mouths, our hands, our bodies, our very lives. Show us how to use YOUR resources for YOUR glory. Help us to remember investing in others takes time--time TVs, computers, various escapisms steal. Convict us where we waste time, money, gifts. Show us how to be the best stewards of your resources we can. Show us how to invest in the peopl in our families and to those around us.
Thank you for being the One who goes before us and behind us. Thank you for leading us through the changes and leading us back to your way when we wander off into our selfishness and small-sighted ambition. Forgive us for the ways we've sinned against you and each other. Lead us in the ways everlasting for your name's sake, and to you be all glory, power, and honor forever.