How Big is God?

Our Daily Bread

The Maker of the Moon

[The Lord said,] “I will be their God and they will be my people.”….Jeremiah 31:33

After astronauts set the Eagle down in the Sea of Tranquility, Neil Armstrong said, “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” He was the first human to walk on the surface of the moon. Other space travelers followed, including the commander of the last Apollo mission, Gene Cernan. “There I was, and there you are, the Earth—dynamic, overwhelming, and I felt . . . it was just too beautiful to happen by accident,” Cernan said. “There has to be somebody bigger than you and bigger than me.” Even from their unique view in deep space, these men understood their smallness in comparison to the vastness of the universe.

The prophet Jeremiah also considered the immensity of God as Creator and Sustainer of the earth and beyond. The Maker of all promised to reveal Himself intimately as He offered His people love, forgiveness, and hope (Jeremiah 31:33-34). Jeremiah affirms God’s enormity as He who “appoints the sun to shine by day, who decrees the moon and stars to shine by night” (v. 35). Our Creator and Lord Almighty will reign above all as He works to redeem all of His people (vv. 36-37).

We’ll never finish exploring the immeasurable vastness of the heavens and depths of the earth’s foundations. But we can stand in awe at the complexity of the universe and trust the maker of the moon—and everything else.
By Xochitl Dixon

REFLECT & PRAY: Creator and Sustainer of all, thanks for inviting us to know You and trust You today and forever.

Credit: Our Daily Bread

New Normal

What’s normal for the two of you today? I think it is interesting that I have said so many times, “I know I need to slow down.” Yet, I never did. Nancy and I always spend a lot of time together, but much of it is on the go.

During the past couple of months, we have probably spent more quality time together than at any time in our marriage. A lot of our “go to” places and things have been unavailable. Our normal has changed and I think we have too. It has given us a chance to stop and evaluate our lives together. Coming out of this era of our lives, we want our new “new normal” to be a blending of our old normal and our Covid-19 normal. I think we will be more selective of what we say “yes” to. I think we will be much more aware of when our lives are getting out of balance. I think we have gotten our priorities where they need to be. What about you? Your One Thing today is to take time together to define your new, new normal!

Today’s One Thing: Today, take time together to define your new “new normal!”

DON’T JUST SURVIVE! – Your Marriage Was Meant To Thrive!

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Corona Survival Guide for Couples

The Ten Commandments of Communication
“Pastor, after six years of marriage, I need a reminder of the Ten Commandments of Communication. That might keep us from attacking each other.”
“Pastor, maybe sometimes you can go over communication rules with my husband and me. I think that would be good for us.”

Those two messages showed up on my phone just one day apart. I wasn’t surprised. As the coronavirus continues to affect our lives, our communication skills become even more critical. Increased pressure and heightened stress put the Christian quality of our words to the test. I think that’s why these wise Christians reached out for help. They wanted to get back to the basics, to push “reset” on their conversational patterns so that their words would speak life and not death. “The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit” (Proverbs 18:21).

Could you use that help too? Whether you’re hoping to lovingly communicate with your spouse, your kids, or the people on the other side of the screen, these Ten Commandments of Communication are a great place to start. I encourage you to read them over, pray about each one, and then prioritize one or two that you would like to work on this week.
May God draw you closer together as you do!

1. You shall not try to “win.”—Our natural/sinful reaction to any argument is to win at all costs. Therefore, mentally remind yourself that this conversation is about loving, not winning. “What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight” (James 4:1,2).

2. You shall never say, “Never.”—In our desire to win an argument, we often lie. How so? We use words like always and never. “You always say that!” “You never think about what I do.” “You always bring that up!” Unfortunately, these are blatant exaggerations that only make the other person defensive (Exodus 20:16).

3. You shall not interrupt.—When we want to win an argument, we feel the need to interrupt each other. We want to negate the other person’s point by jumping in with our version of the truth. But love is patient and is willing to wait (1 Corinthians 13:4).

4. You shall pick your battles.—Sharing every single thing that bothers you is the quickest way to become a constant critic and a nag. Cast all your troubles on God but choose which troubles to share with your spouse. “Sin is not ended by multiplying words” (Proverbs 10:19).

5. You shall resist OCD (Obsessive Comparison Disorder).—When we are criticized, our hearts obsessively compare our behavior to our spouse’s. Is he serving me? Is she always grateful for what I do? Why doesn’t he remember the stuff that I do right? Did she forget the time that I . . . ? Sadly, OCD is a guaranteed way to continue the crazy cycle, miss your spouse’s point, and make your marriage worse. Instead, listen, empathize, and ask, “What can I do to help?” (Philippians 2:3,4).

6. You shall stick to the subject.—Our hearts hate being called out. Therefore, they desperately search for any other subject to redirect the conversation (“Well, you’re not so perfect either!” “You bring this up after the day I had?”). There might be times to address other issues, but this is not one of them. Focus on the subject that’s troubling your spouse, and you both will be happier faster.

7. You shall not text (or watch the game or play video games or scroll on your phone . . .) and talk.—Love gives its full attention to another. Since no one likes being half listened to, God wants us to give our full attention to our spouse. Consider saying, “Let me finish up this text, and then I’ll give you my full attention.”

6. You shall repeat thy spouse’s point.—When we want to win an argument, we are waiting for a pause so we can jump in and throw a few verbal punches. Don’t! Instead, make sure to repeat, in your own words, the point that was just made. Don’t add your opinion. Don’t agree or disagree. Just prove that you were listening and you understand exactly what your spouse is feeling.

9. You shall admit thy sins.—In order to “win,” we have to justify our wrongs. “I exaggerated because you . . . I interrupted because what you said wasn’t true . . .” etc. But that only fuels a crazy cycle of hurting each other. Instead, admit, with no strings attached, your sins. You’ll be surprised how often your confession prompts theirs. And even if it doesn’t, it’s the righteous thing to do.

10. You shall argue at the foot of the cross.—Bringing Jesus’ love into any conversation changes everything. Look up and see the Savior who speaks patiently and graciously to you at your worst moments. Then look out at your spouse. That will give you the humility to speak as a fellow sinner, instead of a holier-than-thou saint (Hebrews 12:1,2).

Credit: Time of Grace, Mike Novotny

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