He and She, In His Image

Then God said, “Let us make man* in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”So God created man in his own image,in the image of God he created him;male and female he created them.And God blessed them. Genesis 1:26-28a

A Christ-centered marriage between a husband and wife is not only the foundation to a successful home, but to a successful culture, a successful world. In today’s views that can’t be a more close-minded, intolerant statement, but an era’s point of view cannot make right wrong, regardless of how unpopular and seemingly unaccepted the truth is. God is higher than man, and therefore His Word superior to man’s opinion. No matter what the date might be, His Word is unchanging… eternal.

If you believe the Bible is God’s inspired message to us, than this passage of scripture leaves no doubt or confusion as to why marriage is preserved for a man and woman. …in the image of God He created him, male and female he created them.  When a man and woman are joined together in holy matrimony, they are as close to the reflection of God as any human being can be. God does not tell us he created man alone in his image. He created man and woman in his image. If it is not a man and a woman in a marriage, the whole of that marriage is missing out on character traits of the Creator. Only together are a man and a woman fulfilling the representation of the likeness of God.  Man has been given character traits that are reflective of God, but not every character trait. Woman has been given character traits of God, but not every character trait. They must join like a well designed puzzle in order to complete the likeness. How much easier it is to understand why God does not ever want the marriage torn apart. It is as if a picture of the character of God is being ripped in half.

Let’s cling to the Truth of God’s Word and not be confused or influenced by the times we live in. Marriage is to be lived out with a male and female, given over to the authority of Christ, being sanctified and perfected until death do we part. When that biblical model is lived out, life will go well. Then there is hope for the generation born from this model, as they are trained up in the way they should go, learning to live under the greatest command to love God with all their heart, soul and mind, and learning to love their neighbors as themselves. As Christians, we are to do our part in our world, regardless of what the world around us chooses to do. Our choice to live a biblically disciplined life, to work through the common trials of marriage and to raise up a godly generation will be the greatest testimony to the character of God. We cannot be perfect or sinless, but we can, as a married couple, be complete in the eyes of God, and He will sustain us and equip us to live as witnesses to His Character.

Prayer: Lord God, you are holy and perfect, and often times my marriage is very far from that. Please help my spouse and I to be more dedicated, devoted examples of your love, your justice, your mercy and grace, your holiness and perfection in our marriage. Not by our strength, but by the strength that comes through Christ in us. Help us to be witnesses to the world and bless us and give us the grace to raise up a generation who will honor you with their lives. We ask this in Jesus name. Amen.

Sharon Cannavo

Watching on The Best Friday

imageLuke 23: [44] *It was now about the sixth hour,* and there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour,* [45] while the sun’s light failed. And *the curtain of the temple was torn in two. [46] Then Jesus, *calling out with a loud voice, said, “Father, *into your hands I *commit my spirit!” And having said this *he breathed his last. [47] Now *when the centurion saw what had taken place, *he praised God, saying, “Certainly this man was innocent!” [48] And all the crowds that had assembled for this spectacle, when they saw what had taken place, returned home *beating their breasts. [49] And all *his acquaintances and *the women who had followed him from Galilee *stood at a distance watching these things.

Today we commemorate the death of Jesus. Every time I read the above passage, I can’t help but imagine myself, standing and watching as, we see in vs 49, all His acquaintances were doing. I’ve often wondered, were they hopelessly stunned? Were they shocked? Were they numb, similar to the way I felt the day my mom passed, realizing I would no longer hear her voice, count on her words of wisdom or encouragement, or feel her hug again while on this earth? But as I contemplated the grief and hopelessness of these possibilities, it suddenly dawned on me, they were watching! They were not walking away, heading for home while beating their breast as all the crowds were doing! They were watching! When we watch, we expect! I, as suddenly, felt so encouraged. Maybe they were not completely overcome; maybe they were counting on the teachings of Christ, that He would overcome death and rise (Lk 9:21-22; Lk 9:44-45; Lk 18:31-34)! And maybe they stood watching, expecting to see Him conquer death, and miraculously climb down from that instrument of torture! In each teaching before His crucifixion, Jesus explained that it would be 3 days, but as it says in Lk 18:34: “they understood none of these things. *This saying was hidden from them, and they did not grasp what was said.” Perhaps as they stood there with each other, dealing with the devastated dreams they had of seeing Jesus sitting on an actual throne, ruling as king of the Jews, and bringing them and their families that promised peace, they were transitioning in their hope. Perhaps they were remembering bits and pieces of His teachings that were previously masked as a result of their own determination to see their own plan for Christ fulfilled. Of course they were still wrong. Christ would be faithful to the plan and to the words He had spoken, and He would not rise until the 3 days had passed, but I still think this is encouraging! We are like sheep, stubborn, and certainly not too bright when held up to the omniscience of God. But God is faithful, long suffering, patient, and loving (to say the least in light of the fact that he had just sacrificed His own Son for our forgiveness of sins and our reconciliation to Him). He so knows our shortcomings! And He so loves us despite them, equipping us with the faith to believe!

The acquaintances of Jesus had every reason to “watch”! Their problem…they simply did not watch long enough. I am taking note of this today. As I spend this day reflecting on what Christ did for me on the cross, I am making a fresh commitment to Him as my Ruler and King. I am asking for the wisdom of His Holy Spirit, to hear His words and His plan for my life clearly, untainted by my plans. I will spend my days watching and expecting, with a new determination to be patient to see His plan fulfilled. So much of life can cause me to become anxious, to stress, to think that His promised return is slow to come. In a sense, I stand and decide, since He is not climbing off the cross, that His promises aren’t being fulfilled. But of course, and praise Jesus, I am wrong. And again, Christ will be faithful to the plan and to the words He has spoken, and He will accomplish all things, His thrilling return for those of us who are reconciled to Him (Lk 21:25-28). So to all, on this extremely Good Friday, bow your knee to the only King and Maranatha! Come, Lord Jesus! Come!

Jesus, beloved and true;
Yearning and wondering when
You’ll be coming back again,
Under all I say and do,
Just longing, dear Lord, for you.
Some glad day, all watching past,
Some glad day, all watching past,
You will come for me at last;
Then I’ll see you, hear your voice,
Be with you, with you rejoice;
How the sweet hope thrills me through,
Sets me longing, dear Lord, for you.

(Poem extracted from Streams in the Dessert, Daily Devotional, March 29th)

Sharon Cannavo

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