FAITH BLOG

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EZEKIEL AND MARRIAGE

Ezekiel is a difficult book to read and who would think to look for an example of marriage in it ~ I certainly didn’t begin the book with that in mind. Ezekiel was a priest that God chose to use as a prophet too. When you get to chapter 24 you read that he is married.

God tells him in verses 15-27 that He, God, is about to take the ‘delight of his eyes’ away from him, in a stroke. God further instructs him that he is not to mourn or weep for her. He may sigh, but not aloud. He is to dress, go about his day. This would be unusual and would be noticed by the Israelites. God intends to use this event in Ezekiel’s life to be a sign to the Israelites and a warning they should know that God is the Lord. In verse 25, God reveals that He is about to take away from the Israelites their stronghold, their joy, glory, the delight of their eyes and their soul’s desire.

This passage intrigued me in several ways. To understand some of its many applications, I looked up the word ‘delight’. The definition as a noun is to have a feeling of extreme pleasure or satisfaction or to be a source of such feeling. As a verb, it means to give pleasure to; to make the most of said pleasure; to hold spellbound - to enchant, enthrall or enrapture. Thus, there are two responsibilities associated with the word delight. One is that you choose to make the most of the pleasure your spouse brings to you, physically, mentally, emotionally … you focus on what is pleasing to you. The other is that you are intentional to give pleasure, be pleasing, physically, mentally and emotionally to your spouse. If we are a spouse, we hold responsibility in both ways. We are without excuse either way.

Several questions came to mind. What must it have been like for Ezekiel? Scripture says Ezekiel spoke to the people in the morning and in the evening his wife died. We do not know if God revealed to him ‘when’ this would take place. Notice his actions, he went to speak to the people as usual—obeying his call from the Lord. Did he tell his wife? How much more did he delight in her? Did he? Were his words any different to his wife? How much did Ezekiel love the Lord, fear the Lord, worship Him so as to humble himself to God’s calling and plan for his life in such a way? In verse 18, it reads the next morning after his wife died, he did what he was commanded.

As I thought about all these things I was struck by several questions. What kind of spouse am I being to my husband? Am I more focused on how pleasing ‘he’ is being to me than I am about pleasing God by pleasing my husband? Do I hold my relationship with a humble heart so as to submit myself to God’s plan, grateful for each day the Lord gives me? There is also the lesson to be learned in the general theme of the book—God was going to discipline the Israelites because of their disobedience. God expects us to behave towards our spouses in a way that is pleasing to him first and foremost as His children and in a way that is pleasing towards our spouse because we are one in Him. Do I fear, love and worship God so much that I obey him and his call to me as a wife no matter what? Do you?

There is a lot to learn from Ezekiel. I pray the impressions God has laid upon my heart will not be wasted and I will bring glory and pleasure to God more with each passing day. I pray that we all will.

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JOY & SORROW ~ TWO SIDES OF A COIN

Christmas brings many thoughts and feelings for me. One of my earliest memories of Christmas was lying under a tree my mom ‘made’ of blue and white dry cleaner bags, placed strategically on a frame of chicken wire my dad shaped into a tree. She then placed a single light on the inside of the tree. I remember sitting under that tree as a five-year-old and feeling so peaceful as I sat and just looked at the glowing tree. I remember feeling the love of God for me. I love Christmas. I love decorating my home. I love collecting nativities (I have a bunch of them!). I place the nativities all around my house. My tree has several nativity ornaments. I love Christmas, the beauty, the smells, the family time… I could go on…

I love Christmas because Jesus came. I love Jesus. His coming brings peace, joy, redemption and salvation. I am so grateful for Jesus. That is the JOY of Christmas. Where does the sorrow come in? Well the sorrow is the reminder of the fact that I am broken. I drink from broken cisterns. I fall short of God’s glory every day. It depresses me. I get weary. Wow, could I relate when I read the two extremes of emotions in Lamentations 3:19-23 today.

I remember my affliction and my wandering, the bitterness and the gall. I well remember them, and my soul is downcast within me. Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion; therefore, I will wait for him.”

Jeremiah also penned in 31:3 the Lord appeared to him from far away (in the past). I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore, I have continued my faithfulness to you. (italics mine).

Perhaps as you read this blog, you think: this sounds depressing, I’m glad my husband/wife isn’t this way…

It is difficult for Manuel. The battle is real for him too. It is two extremes I battle daily, but they are most felt during Christmas.

I realized two things today as I read Lamentations. Just as joy and sorrow are two sides of a coin, the two sides in marriage are husband and wife. While I’d like to focus on Manuel’s side and measure how well he loves me when I’m in a lamented state, I should rather focus on me - what am I remembering? Jeremiah remembered God’s great love, God’s unfailing compassion, God’s never-ending mercies. This I must remember and then I must ask myself, where is your hope? How well am I loving Manuel, regardless of what is going on? I told God, for better or for worse, I’d love Manuel and be committed to him.

What are the battles of your soul, that might even create battles in your marriage? As your Christmas season begins, I pray for peace and joy for you. I pray that in the daily joy and sorrow we’d remember God’s great love and faithfulness, His unfailing compassion and His mercies that are new everyday in Jesus Christ - and I pray we’d love our spouses as Christ loves us. The Lord is our portion, let us wait for HIM!

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