No Fear in Love|By Tori Savoy

In just a few days, I will celebrate two years of marriage to my high school sweetheart. As I sit and reflect not only on the two years of marriage but the last 9 years we have spent together, I cannot help but thank God for each and every day.

Everyone asked after the first few months of marriage, have you had your first big fight yet? Has he gotten on your nerves?

Actually, no. A few disagreements maybe, but nothing that has kept us in a bad mood for more than a few minutes.

Some may say I lucked up with a great marriage or found my perfect match. However, fear tells me another story. Fear tells me to wait around every corner for hell to break loose in my marriage.

Marriage has always been the most terrifying thing to me. I grew up surrounded by unsuccessful marriages. Even the ones that did not end in divorce, were nothing but a prison for the two.

“Marriage is for life,” I heard growing up in church. What if I ended up trapped in a marriage that was miserable when I thought I would love this person forever?

God had to heal me a lot before my wedding day in order for me to consider committing my life to Brandon. There was no doubting I loved him. I was just afraid for so long of that love ending.

However, God placed some godly marriages in my life just when I needed it most. He restored hope that marriage could be something beautiful. In these marriages, I saw perseverance through the hard times, and love that did not waver through the decades.

So on March 25, 2017, I took a step out in faith and said “yes” to my best friend. I put on the white dress and walked down the aisle to the promise of God waiting for me at the end of it. As I said my vows, I felt an overwhelming peace. I felt gratitude that God had sent this man into my life to show me what real love was like. To this date, choosing to do life with him has been the best decision I have made (aside from giving my life to Christ).

Although my hope in marriage was restored, the devil still likes to bring back that fear. He tells me I am not good enough for my husband, and one day he will decide to leave me. I sometimes strive to be a better wife out of fear of losing him rather than my love for him.

The enemy attacks the things that are good in life and keeps you from embracing the memories to be had in the here and now.

Every time I become crippled by my fear, God reminds me of the beautiful marriages he placed in the latter part of my life. He has promised to make this marriage beautiful from beginning to end. So when the devil’s lies come, I hold on to the promises of God.

“And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” Philippians‬ ‭1:6‬ ‭(ESV)‬‬

When the devil says, “Work harder to keep your husband”,

God says “Work less and let me carry the weight”.

“The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be silent.” ‭‭Exodus‬ ‭14:14‬ (‭ESV)‬‬

When the devil says, “Your marriage will only be happy for a season”,

God says, “I renew your marriage daily and make it new”.

“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” ‭‭Lamentations‬ ‭3:22-23‬ (‭ESV‬‬)

When the devil says, “Your husband may want to leave you for better looking woman”,

God says, “you were created for such a time as this”.

Fear cripples us temporarily, but God’s words are eternal.

Marriage will definitely have its challenges. This I am sure of. However, I also know God’s word stands, and the challenges will not end my marriage. We will walk through life’s challenges with our love still intact.

“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you.” Isaiah‬ ‭43:2‬ ‭(ESV)‬‬

If you find yourself fearful of marriage and love because of the world around you, just know that God is writing your love story. Do not let the lies of the devil distract you from the beauty of what love can be when a relationship is centered around Christ. We need a generation of individuals ready to fight for the sake of love and marriage, not cowering in fear as the devil would have us. Because when two people choose to love like God intended, powerful things unfold.

“Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken.” Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 (ESV)

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Love Affair| By Jasmine Beard

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I am a child of God. He is my dad, and I am His beloved.

I often see myself sitting on the lap of my Heavenly Father. I appear as a toddler. He tells me secrets, makes me giggle, and dances with me. In this picture, I see that I find satisfaction in the Father alone, and the joy I have is solely because of Him.

I gave my life to Christ 10 years ago. I remember being blown away by the love of the Father. I wondered how and why he would want someone like me. His love didn’t make sense. It was incomprehensible, and I could not compare His love to anyone or anything. I was on a beautiful love journey with my daddy.

But somewhere along the way I got lost.

He became the God I knew and had knowledge of, instead of the God I gleefully giggled with and simply delighted in.

He became routine. He became church. He became my religion.

I read my bible, prayed everyday, never missed a day of church, told everyone I knew about this love I knew – this love I had so much knowledge of.

Still somewhere along the way I missed it. I missed the gaze of my father. I missed why I was even running.

God whispered this into my heart,

“Little one slow down. As you run, don’t forget to look at me and gaze into my eyes and keep that gaze.”

“Don’t run for me, run with me.”

Just like Martha I had forgotten what was important.

Luke 10:39-42(TPT) says,

39 Mary sat down attentively before the Master, absorbing every revelation he shared.

40 But Martha became exasperated by finishing the numerous household chores in preparation for her guests, so she interrupted Jesus and said, “Lord, don’t you think it’s unfair that my sister left me to do all the work by myself? You should tell her to get up and help me.”

41 The Lord answered her, “Martha, my beloved Martha. Why are you upset and troubled, pulled away by all these many distractions? Are they really that important?

42 Mary has discovered the one thing most important by choosing to sit at my feet. She is undistracted, and I won’t take this privilege from her.”

But isn’t God in the works? Didn’t He realize Martha had to get those chores done? I mean, what would her guests think of her? She had to perfect and prepare her home, right?

Wrong.

With that way of thinking, God’s children are sucked into the lie that we have to do for God. We forget the truth that we are to live in a love affair with God all of our life until eternity.

Religion says the romance and fire of a young Christian goes away with age and maturity means less excitement.

Love tells us that our love with God deepens and our fire burns brighter for God over time.

“If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don’t love, I’m nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate. If I speak God’s Word with power, revealing all his mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, “Jump,” and it jumps, but I don’t love, I’m nothing.” -1 Corinthians 13:1-2 (MSG)

Works are great, but if it is not motivated by the love of God, it is meaningless – just like chasing the wind. as Solomon would say.

Today, let our pursuit of Christianity be motivated by falling in love with God. Instead of focusing on what we can do for Him, may our desire be to sit on His lap and let Him speak sweet whispers in our ear that make us giggle, and allow him to romance us.

“Love the Lord your God, and love one another. Love one another as he loves. Love with strength and purpose and passion and no matter what comes against you. Don’t weaken. Stand against the darkness, and love. That’s the way back into Eden. That’s the way back to life.” -Francine Rivers, Redeeming Love

Always the Bridesmaid, Never the Bride| By Jasmine Beard

andre-hunter-263233-unsplashPerfectly primped hair, floor length gowns, blooming flowers, and a beautiful couple at the altar – this scene is all too familiar to me. Over the past five years I have attended countless weddings and even stood in a couple.

Ahhh the life of a bridesmaid! Last year I had the privilege of standing in two of my friends’ weddings. I was over the moon for them and could not wait for their big day.Through my elation and shower planning for my friends, I thought to myself, “when will it be my turn?”

I thought to myself, “Lord, I’ve done it your way, when will I receive what you’ve promised me?”

Have you ever prayed for something and the Holy Spirit whispered a word of encouragement to you and a promise of the very thing you prayed for?

Maybe you’ve said similar things to God. But what if I told you the very thing you’re waiting for is not the prize at all?

That a husband is not a reward for purity, and a baby is not a reward for a godly marriage.

Shocker I know! You see in our carnal nature we think because of our righteousness we deserve certain things. But the Bible tells us that our righteousness is like filthy rags before the Lord.

“But we are all like an unclean thing, And all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; We all fade as a leaf, And our iniquities, like the wind, Have taken us away.” Isaiah 64:6 NKJV

As we tap our foot in impatience and complain about the things we do not have, God is waiting.

Waiting for you to notice him.

Waiting for you to remember him.

“…I  will never leave you nor forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5 NKJV

In a season of waiting, remember that God has not left you. He has not forgotten you. He hears you and He cares about the prayers you whisper because you’re too embarrassed to pray out loud.

As a bride sets her eyes on her handsome groom, choose today to set your eyes on God instead of the very thing you are waiting for.

When you set your eyes on the God who lives outside of time and space, the wait doesn’t seem long at all.

Trust Him and wait expectantly for your promise and most importantly keep your gaze on the best Promise Maker and Promise Keeper.