How to develop actual love for the Lord

Many Christians are familiar with the verses in Matthew 22:37-38 where Jesus is asked about the greatest commandment.   Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment.

Well, I’ve been asked lately about how to develop this actual love for God.  You see, it’s very difficult to truly love someone you’ve never experienced.  You and I must experience the Lord’s power and love for ourselves in order to truly fall in love with Him.  Otherwise, we have head knowledge from the Bible, but no heart knowledge!

Looking back at my own journey with Christ, I realized that I’ve grown to truly love Him as I earnestly sought His help through prayer and then saw Him answer those prayers in loving and powerful ways. I experienced God!

So I urge you to begin seeking the Lord with your whole heart.  Come to Him with your deepest needs, but make sure you’ve done your best to obey Him first.  After all, God says in James 5:16 that the “prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective”.  So, in other words, God powerfully responds to the person who truly seeks to obey His commands and follow His promptings.  After you’ve done all you can do to obey the Lord, pray earnestly for His help.  When He shows up, take notice!  God just connected with you and allowed you to experience His love, power and help!  Now, you have heart knowledge of the Lord!

— or view this topic as a short VIDEO HERE

The good news during trials and dark valleys

None of us welcomes emotional pain and heartbreak.  Yet, on this earth, we know we will encounter trials and pain. Often, that pain is experienced in our marriage.  We can get really frustrated that God doesn’t seem to be answering our prayer to “fix” our marriage or husband!   But Jesus never promised he would take away all our problems during our temporary stay on earth.  In fact, he said in John 16:33 “in this world you will have trouble.”  Fantastic.

However, if you look closely, you will discover two rays of sunshine in the midst of your darkest hours.  First, Jesus finishes that verse in John 16:33 by saying, “But take heart!  I have overcome the world“.  That is a great reminder that though we will have temporary troubles here, Jesus has prepared an eternal destination for us that will be completely free of heartbreak and suffering.  It will be glorious beyond our imagination!

Secondly, and here’s the point I really wanted to make….it is at the time of our biggest heartbreak that we often experience God’s presence in a way we’ve never known before.  When we choose to cry out to him and seek him during our time of grief and suffering, he promises to come close.  Very close.  Psalm 34:18 says “The Lord is close to the broken-hearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit“.  If you’re in the middle of a really difficult time in your marriage, don’t miss the opportunity to draw close to God and encounter his love, compassion and comfort at a spectacular level!

Do you no longer feel “in love” with your husband?

Have you lost that “in love” feeling with your husband?  Are you feeling like there should be more in your relationship?  There could be some major problems in your marriage that need to be addressed.  However, it could be that you’ve fallen prey to the notion that your relationship with your husband should resemble the thrill of new romance portrayed in chick flicks and romance novels.

Now, don’t get me wrong.  I love watching a good romantic movie like The Proposal with Sandra Bullock.  I enjoy reading Christian romance novels.  However…you and I have to be so careful that we don’t start subconsciously thinking our marriages should have that constant thrill of new romance.  That’s unrealistic.  There is no way we’re going to be “twitterpated” (like Thumper in the Bambi movie) all the time!  Also, our husbands couldn’t possibly be as breathtaking as the men portrayed in the romantic comedies or as perfect as the men in the Christian romance novels!  It’s all a beautiful delusion from the enemy who wants to destroy your marriage.   I guess we shouldn’t be surprised.  The Bible says in 2 Corinthians 11:14 “Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light

And here’s one more caution.  Did you realize that many romantic comedies actually promote a woman leaving the man she’s with to find the “true soul mate” awaiting her?  Yikes!  We get so involved with the romance story that we don’t even notice this is the case!  Think of Scarlett O’Hara in Gone With The Wind.  She pines away for the man who’s already married to someone else.  In Sleepless In Seattle, Meg Ryan’s character is engaged but feels there must be someone better out there.  The list goes on and on.  So, let’s be careful to avoid unrealistic expectations of our men and our marriages.

How to trade counterfeit comfort for real comfort

We all inevitably hit rough patches in our marriages.  In fact, there will likely be moments when you think “Why did I even marry this man?!”  He may break a little piece of your heart when he forgets your anniversary, or is overly harsh with the kids, or develops a habit of satisfying himself while viewing pornography instead of making love to you.  At these moments, you need comfort for your broken heart.

It’s our tendency to reach for something easy and tangible as a source of comfort.  You might try to find some joy in buying lots of new clothes.  I might turn to excessive food.  But neither one of those choices truly comforts us.  They actually lead to additional grief in the long run!  Instead, both you and I need to train ourselves to run to God at those heart-breaking moments.  He is waiting with open arms.  Plus, Jesus knows what it feels like to suffer grief, betrayal, and a broken heart.

I love these two verses of comfort.  Psalm 103:2-4 “Praise the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits; who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion”.  And Psalm 34:18 “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit”.  Meditate on those 2 verses and ask God to come close to you.  He will, and I believe you will experience the warmth of his love!

— or view this topic as a 3 minute VIDEO HERE

Beware of this subtle trap for wives and moms

I’m rather slow to learn some lessons in life and as a wife.  One of the things I wish I had realized earlier is that it is entirely too easy for a mom to get so focused on nurturing her children that she subconsciously pushes her husband aside.  In fact, in my first marriage, I remember thinking to myself…”My husband is an adult so he can take care of himself.  It’s my kids who really need my attention.”  Not good thinking!

Of course, moms need to take care of their children’s needs and we do need to spend time nurturing and disciplining them.  However, our children can become idols in our life. When our world revolves around our kids’ successes and failures…and on their activities and their schedule…well then we’ve made our children into idols.  When anyone or anything besides God becomes our focus in life, then it has become our idol and our god.  One of the big 10 commandments addresses this!  Exodus 20:3 “You shall have no other gods before me.”

 One of the casualties of this idolizing of our kids is our husbands.  The bizarre thing is that the very children we were determined to protect end up severely wounded as mom and dad become distant, begin to argue, and often end up divorcing each other.  Don’t let this happen to you.  Be intentional about spending quality time with both your husband and your children.  Even more important than that, spend quality time with God.  He must truly be your number one focus in life!

3 ways to fall back in love with your husband

It’s so easy for a married couple to become more like roommates than lovers!  Once the excitement of the wedding and honeymoon fade away, the everyday stresses like finances, children, housework, etc. can start to suck that warm and fuzzy feeling right out of your marriage!  Well, here are 3 things that will help to rekindle that loving feeling:

1)  Start to do the things you used to do when you were dating.  In the Bible’s book of Revelation, the church in Ephesus received this rebuke, “Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken the love you had at first.”   That church needed to get back to doing the things that kept them in close fellowship with Christ, and we need to do the same things in our marriage.  Did you go to the movies?  Did you go out to dinner once a week? Did you go snowboarding in the winter or hiking in the summer?  Then, carve out some time to have that kind of fun with your husband now!

2)  Kiss your husband with passion (like you used to)!  Seriously.  Give it a try and see if some sparks start to fly.

3)  List at least 7 good things about your husband.  Philippians 4:8 says “whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.”     So, think of as many positive things about your husband as you can.  Write them down.  Look at that list every day.  As you do so, your heart will become warmer toward him.

If your heart is growing cold toward him…

I know what it’s like for a wife’s heart to grow hard and cold toward her husband.  I let that happen in my first marriage of 18 years…a marriage that ended in divorce.  Don’t let that happen to you.  Your marriage and your family are worth fighting for!

In my experience, the reason a wife’s heart grows cold usually comes down to two things.  She has not established firm, clear boundaries on disrespectful or destructive behavior…or she has expected her husband to make her happy and blames him for failing to do so.  Could one of these reasons apply to you?

Boundaries:  It is Biblical to lovingly confront someone who is sinning against you and establish boundaries in that relationship…with the goal being that the person will repent and be welcomed back into full relationship.  Read Matthew 18:15-17 to learn what Jesus has to say about this.  Also keep in mind Galatians 6:1, which says. “Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently.”

Expectations:  If you expect your husband to make you happy, realize you have an unrealistic expectation!  The only one who you can trust 100% to bring you fulfillment, joy, and perfect love is….the Lord!  Make the relationship with Him your top priority, and once you feel secure in that relationship, your heart will likely become softer and more compassionate toward your husband.