Friends for Life Part II

Steve Arterburn

David and Jonathan were committed to being channels of life to one another–which is amazing since under most circumstances these two would have been archrivals!

Do you remember their story?  Jonathan was the son of King Saul–the heir to the throne.  David was a young shepherd boy–chosen by God to take King Saul’s place as king.  This wasn’t because Jonathan lacked the character to be king but because his father Saul didn’t love or trust God.  On the contrary, when you read about Jonathan you will see in particular a man of great character. He wanted to honor his father.  Yet he loved his friend David.

How could such a friendship evolve or survive?  Their friendship was born of the fact that both Jonathan and David love the Lord.  Both trusted in God’s goodness.  So when life became complicated–like when Saul was trying to hunt down David and kill him–both David and Jonathan trusted in the Lord and his promises.  Only through the gift of spiritual friendship–a friendship rooted in God’s love and wisdom–could this be possible.

David and Jonathan made a covenant to under gird and support their friendship.  We aren’t given the specifics of the covenant, but it certainly included their commitment to God and to each other.  If you haven’t already, I hope you’ll consider taking steps to initiate this sort of friendship.

David

Steve Arterburn

We know more about the spiritual life of David than probably any other person in the Bible.  The extensive record of his life and the Psalms he wrote show us that he studied and meditated upon God’s word, he fasted, and that his entire life was yielded to God’s service.  

Two things he did stand out to me:  he worshiped and he prayed.  These spiritual exercises renewed David’s spirit over and over again.

For example, David’s first role in the king’s court was as a musician.  His ministry of worship touched Saul’s heart, as it has untold millions of others since David lived.  His worship is so powerful because it’s a natural, unforced mixture of David’s heart (when he was up and when he was down) with an unwavering faith in a gracious, almighty God.  

His prayers often begin with an honest confession of anger, despair, or frustration.  He didn’t hide his feelings from God and he didn’t pretend that he was ‘super-spiritual.’  Spiritual renewal flows from the freedom to be totally honest with God.  Psalm 145 is a good example of what I’m talking about.  Read Psalm 145 and you will see David’s progression from anxiety and distress to faith filled assurance and confidence.

When you consider the worship and prayer in David’s life, you soon recognize that being someone after God’s own heart doesn’t mean you never fall’it means when you fall, you look to God to restore your spirit, and you fall to your knees in worship and prayer.  

Understanding Your Wife’s Heart: Part 8

The Wife of an EMB Attendee

Bearing The Pain of my Husbands Sexual Sin

Today I was overwhelmed with despair. The multitude of failed attempts to overcome his sins, the vastness of the temptations that surround him, how could I ever trust him, find any peace or live with a man who would most likely continue to fail me. Tears flooding, strength zapped. What was God trying to teach me? What good was I doing in my current state? I was not a witness of Christ’s love or strength, and definitely not of His forgiveness!

Yet my sorrow must have a lesson for me, what am I not learning?

“I bore all this pain, this despair” I heard Christ whispering in my ear. “I already have felt your grief, your hopelessness – why do you wish to bear it too?” “I not only felt and suffered for your husband’s sins but also suffered the ramifications it has had on you?” “Do you hear me, are you listening?” “Give me your suffering, I can bear it, for I already have, Jesus said to me.” “Do not take on this burden, for it is not yours to bear.”

I could barely grasp what God was saying. Was he telling me I didn’t need to suffer the consequence of my husband’s sins? How far, how many of these consequences would Christ take-on for me, (literally remove from me); my sense of abandonment & despair, my poor self-esteem, my loss of power and peace?

I had always known that God took away my sins and could give me joy when my sins were forgiven. But this was different. Could he take on the aftermath: the pain, humiliation, and despondence that I was suffering from my husband’s sins?

Why wouldn’t He, I asked myself? Do I deserve this? Is this my lot in life for making poor choices? No! No! I heard screaming in my heart, God wants me to be at peace in all circumstances.

DO YOU KNOW SO LITTLE ABOUT MY LOVE, Jesus said? Did I abandon Daniel in the lion’s den? Did I not comfort Paul when he was in prison? Was I not there when Saul pursued David and sought to kill him? God wants to comfort me! God wants to bear my agony! God wants to give me hope when I feel hopeless!

Is it pride or ignorance, I asked Jesus? Has pride or a lack of knowing who you are kept me from this truth? I must continually dwell on your sacrificial love. I must seek with my whole heart, mind and soul to know you better, as if it were the very air I breathe, the substance that keeps me alive. For you my God, are my substance, my only source for true peace.

Oh, how the devil wishes to keep me down, keep me from knowing you fully! What sufferings have I bore needlessly!

How do I claim this prize, this peace, Jesus? It is so vast and hard to comprehend; can I retain it, draw from its power when I am feeling desperate? Help me God, I don’t even know what powers you have for me to use, let alone know how to use them! Don’t let me forget this lesson; that YOU, JESUS, WANT TO BEAR MY PAIN WHEN OTHERS HURT ME, AND REPLACE IT WITH YOUR PEACE AND POWER!

Men, after attending Every Man’s Battle, we strongly encourage you to attend our marriage program at our New Life Weekend
This weekend will help your marriage to heal from the wounds of
impurity and will especially help your wife with questions that she
still may have.