"Love is Jesus Christ"
"While we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly."
It is our prayer that you gave strong consideration to the challenge for Day 19 and gave your heart and life to Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. If you did, then the verses quoted from 1 John 4 will come alive for you. "If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in him and he in God." (vs. 15) This is a time for rejoicing, for salvation is of God Who gives freedom from the enslavement and penalty of sin through His forgiveness - and peace for your soul because of that redemption. I like to use the word "rescue". As a result, "since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another".
Perhaps, you find yourself in a prison - not a physical one but one of circumstances, with fear holding the key. Perhaps you have taken the challenge, and asked Jesus to take that key to unlock that cell door to your heart. You are now free. His grace demonstrated by His death on the cross made it possible - and with faith you are now free to love as He has loved you. He was willing to love you even though you didn't deserve it, even when you didn't love back. He was able to see all your flaws and imperfections and still choose to love you ... This means you now share this same love with your wife. You can love even when you're not loved in return ... True love is found in Christ alone. And after you have received His gift of new life by accepting His death in your place and His forgiveness for your sins, you are finally ready to live the challenge.
Ask God today to change your heart, so that you can love your wife like He loves you. Ask Him to increase your love for your wife and give this love to her abundantly.
Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:7,8)
For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 6:23)
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith - and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God - not by works, so that no one can boast. (Ephesians 2:8,9)
He Himself bore our sins in His body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by His wounds you have been healed. (1 Peter 2:24)
This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down His life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. And this is His command: to believe in the name of His Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as He commanded us. (1 John 3:16, 23)
"Then He spoke a parable to them, that men always ought to pray and not lose heart, saying: "There was in a certain city a judge who did not fear God nor regard man. Now there was a widow in that city; and she came to him, saying, 'Get justice for me from my adversary.' And he would not for a while; but afterward he said within himself, 'Though I do not fear God nor regard man, yet because this widow troubles me I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me'."
We live in an "instant" world. We don't want to wait one minute for the pop-tart to toast, so we pop it in the microwave for 10 seconds. Even as believers we often view our relationship with God as something like a cosmic vending machine. We forget God's timing and divine providence are always perfect. A major part of obeying God is not giving up, even when faith is not rewarded instantly.
Jesus teaches us the value of persistence and patience through the story of a widow who went to a wicked judge. The judge, either too busy or disinterested in the case, told her to "Go away!" She firmly declared, "No, I am not leaving until you do what I am asking of you." Finally, because of her tenacity, the judge agreed to hear her case. After telling this story, Jesus said, "Then the Lord said, 'Hear what the unjust judge said. And shall God not avenge His own elect who cry out day and night to Him, though He bears long with them?'" (Luke 18:6-7)
As we endeavor to accomplish the vision that God is placing before us, persistence and patience are vital. Stay on the journey! Don't give up! Keep seeking. Keep asking. Keep knocking. As you stand in prayer and faith, you will see God's purpose fulfilled through your marriage.
Prayer: Holy Father, give me the kind of tenacity and boldness that this woman had. Forgive me for growing weary and giving up. Give me a tireless determination to impact this journey to save our marriage. In Jesus' Name, Amen. Scripture For Today: Hebrews 10:19-25 ... Think about one or two people who have spurred you on toward knowing Christ in a more intimate way. Take time to thank God for these people and write each person a thank you note.