Your call

Lest you think we are the hunky dory couple with the Ephesians 5 marriage — everything going as it should –– think again. Each day requires new faith. There is no marking time. Faith for Tuesday doesn’t secure Wednesday’s challenges. I was up late last night and Marti fired off  a message to me before she went to bed after a stressful day. Some of you might find courage for your own walk in these words as well.

“I suggest, my dear John, that we declare right now in front of our brothers and sisters, I suggest we declare that we are God’s gift to us –– that I am God’s gift to you, and you to me.

“Embrace the truth, passionately. We must put our arms around us. We eat and drink what we each put before us. So often, we have rejected each other, pointing out the flaws (me verbally, and you in your conversations within your head) instead of focusing on the hope that lies ahead.

“Improve our lot by conveying a deep appreciation for what God has given, and when improvement is the result, proclaim it as from the Lord. Everyone wants to be appreciated; everyone wants to have valued placed on them. Who wouldn’t want more from God?

“Bringing the kingdom of God to our marriage is our privilege. We can bless our marriage, embrace it, and bring to bear the power of God on the areas that require miracles. Once the kingdom is in place, it is bound to expand into our children, our neighbors, our community, and into our Catch Citizens worldwide. I do not think it is the reverse.

“The key is to move forward.

“In Ephesians 5, I am commanded to give value to you, ‘Women submit yourself unto your husbands, as are you.’ But more importantly, you are to give yourself to me, ‘Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; that he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing by the word, that he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loves his wife loves himself.’”

“Here is what I think: I think we need to restructure from God’s perspective what we are to be doing, with me coming with as much expectation to you as I would to Christ, and you greeting me, prepared to die for me as Christ did for you.

“No more chatting. Either join this marriage, embrace it, improve on it, and when miracles arise, give praise to the Lord for His work through you… or don’t. It is your call, husband.”

I’m picking up my call, Marti. Before these witnesses: I accept.

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9 Responses to Your call

  1. Mark S. says:

    I’l only add to Marti’s wonderful message, that I luv you Pastor John & Marti…

  2. Oooo. I like that. May I send that to my husband? We both need that message, me the most, I’m afraid.

  3. Meaghan-Margaret Evans says:

    This takes my breath away!
    Yeshua will come.

  4. Don Flewelling says:

    Married… and engaged! Paul Coughlin would be pleased with her challenge…
    however… Marti issues an invitation with an ulimatum:
    “Here is what I think: I think we need to restructure from God’s perspective what we are to be doing, with me coming with as much expectation to you as I would to Christ, and you greeting me, prepared to die for me as Christ did for you.
    “No more chatting. Either join this marriage, embrace it, improve on it, and when miracles arise, give praise to the Lord for His work through you… or don’t. It is your call, husband.”

    I hope that she hasn’t set her expectations to high… or she’ll be back with another challenge in a few weeks because of her disappointment. A failure of some small measure on your part is all it will take to set her off. Women have trained us to respond by shutting down and never really expressing our feelings. ( see David Murrow’s piece on this: http://churchformen.com/teaching-in-the-church/why-men-dont-share-feelings-part-1/ )

    Maybe I’m reading too much between the lines, and I don’t really know Marti very well, but I hope that this restructuring she seeks is not a situation where she expects you to perfectly lead like Jesus every moment of every day without fail.

    And if she is really restructuring herself in the process then I hope she doesn’t reject the restructuring (herself) just because you misstepped somewhere along the way. This is another one of those commitments that is not a 50/50 situation… it will need to be 100/100%.

    I have appreciated your words over the years… so very often!
    Thanks Brother!
    Don

  5. Murray and Lenae says:

    Wow thank you. Such an ongoing process for all of us.

  6. Mark Delaney says:

    Wow…..I’m so glad to see that you two are real people….with real problems…..No ‘shiny happy people’ thing goin’ on here…..no happy, slappy, clappy, ;;;Jesus is my Savior now everything is just perfect false spirituality in this house…..Your marriage seems ….actually….healthy……the spirituality that you display is……well…….uhm……messy…….I just love how you both are so honest, transparent, loving, willing to wrestle with the devil kind of folks.

  7. Toni says:

    I appreciate the honesty and the challenge of Marti’s words to herself as well as you, John. Love and Respect by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs…..some of the best material out there on marriage. Women need love and men need to be respected by their wives. We each have to make 100% commitment to make a marriage work…..and in our 40 years of marriage, the number one person I need to continually challenge end check in behavior,is MYSELF. If we each to that…..meeting each others needs and therefore having a good marriage is not so very hard to achieve…..it just takes continual vigilance, work and commitment to each deal with ourselves before the Lord, walk in the power of the Holy Spirit and keep short accounts with one another. . But what great experience or anything worthwhile doesn’t take effort!

  8. This all seems a little humiliating. It is raw and honest.
    I’ve read through it a couple times and it leaves me a bit unsettled. Not sure what I think about it,
    I see truth in the words but the words feel to me anxiety ridden and desperate.
    It’s nice you are gifts to each other except it sounds like the gift sucks.
    I guess we all want to move forward so good luck with that.

  9. Toni says:

    Couple typo corrections: I appreciate the honesty and the challenge of Marti’s words to herself as well as you, John. Love and Respect by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs…..some of the best material out there on marriage. Women need to be and feel loved and men need to be respected by their wives. We each have to make 100% commitment to make a marriage work…..and in our 40 years of marriage, the number one person I need to continually challenge and check in behavior,is MYSELF. If we each do that…..then meeting each others needs, and therefore having a good marriage is not so very hard to achieve…..it just takes continual vigilance, work and commitment to each deal with ourselves before the Lord, walk in the power of the Holy Spirit and keep short accounts with one another. . But what great experience or anything worthwhile doesn’t take effort!

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