All About Grace

Peter came up to the Lord and asked, “How many times should I forgive someone….?” Jesus answered: “Not just seven times, but 77 times.” – Matthew 18:21-22 (CEV)

marriage

“Enough. I give up.” This was all I could think of, while I was on a bus on the way to my church’s Sunday worship service. My husband and I couldn’t settle some differences and I was really offended, upset and on the brink of quitting on my marriage.

Seven years were too much. I made up my mind and I was already thinking of an annulment. I didn’t have the money for it, but at least, I thought I might as well strive to make things legal. It was as though I had reached a certain level of emotional stability that I would no longer feel hurt no matter what happens.

As I started to consider some options on what I am going to do with my then five-year-old daughter, I still managed to pray and ask God to intervene in our situation.

It was time to get off from the bus. Alone by myself, I walked in to our worship service. The church bulletin was handed to me by one of the ushers. I couldn’t believe what I just read—that Sunday’s preaching topic was on “Holiness.” I quietly said to myself, “How appropriate for my husband…. He should have been here with me.”

After a series of songs by the worship team, our pastor came up the stage and welcomed everyone. He proceeded with his preaching, “…I was actually supposed to preach on ‘Holiness’ this morning, but the Lord impressed on me earlier to speak on ‘Grace’ instead…” He went on to articulate, “Grace is about forgiving…77 times…it is limitless…. It is about peace-making…. Grace is about not giving up….”

The message, which I thought should have been for my husband, turned out to be absolutely for me. It stabbed and softened my stubborn heart. Dumbfounded on my seat, I had no choice but to cry and repent of my legalism and self-righteousness.

I went home humbled and ready for peace, forgiveness and reconciliation. Well, the rest is history. Until now I couldn’t help but be amazed with how God’s has intervened in my marriage relationship. He has erased words such as I give upenough… and annulment from my vocabulary.

The lesson I learned: God is able to save and restore our marriage to the extent that we allow Him to be the center of our relationship. Above all, our God is a gracious God. We are able to receive and extend His grace only for as long as we let Him reign in our hearts.

Who dominates your heart and marriage relationship?

Advertisements

He Knows Your Name

READ: Isaiah 43:1-10

Have you ever wondered why you are called by your name? Or maybe you were like me who would rather be called with another nickname or pet name. I never really liked my given name until my wedding preparation.

I still couldn’t believe it that I would be getting married— and that I would soon be a bride and a wife. So I said to the Lord, “Please encourage me and give me more confirmations…”

One time while working in the office, I just found myself browsing a Vine’s Dictionary. I was wondering if I could find my name there. I had actually been a little disturbed with the definition of my name. Greek Mythology defines Nympha as a seductive goddess of beauty. Hoping to find a better definition in the Vine’s, I turned the pages and read. To my surprise, Nympha, in its original Hebrew meaning, means “bride” or “young wife.”

Whew! Not only was I so glad with the redeemed meaning of my name. I also thanked God for confirming that it was His will for me to get married and be a bride and a young wife.

But now, thus says the LORD, who created you,

O Jacob, and He who formed you,

O Israel: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you;

I have called you by your name; you are Mine.”

— Isaiah 43:1 (NKJ)

His Ways are Higher

READ: Jeremiah 29:13-14

I fell in love with the Oriental culture and its people. No wonder a Korean friend and I smoothly embarked into a special relationship that was hoped to end up in marriage. After less than 8 months, however, he broke up with me due to a third party that was no one but God. It was like the end of the world to me and I felt like dying and quitting ministry. My hope livened up, though, for our reconciliation. I kept on praying, “Lord bring him back…. I don’t want a Filipino…. I only want him … not a Filipino Lord….”

I just didn’t know that God’s answer to my prayer would come sooner than expected. That was in a Sunday service when the pastor read a passage in Acts 3. Verse 22 specifically caught my attention: “The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your own people; you must listen to everything he tells you” (emphasis mine).

With such an impression that was contradictory to my heart’s desire, I managed to say to myself that it couldn’t be from the Lord. But I had yet to be dumbfounded.

Two of our frontier staff came back from the field to spend a few weeks in the YWAM Zamboanga Center. Joel, who was one of the two, was telling me of a number of his dreams that had come to pass. So I asked, “Why is it that most of your dreams are coming true?” His answer: “Because my name is Joel— prophet Joel.”

Incidentally Joel is a Filipino, so again I tried to rebuke silently, “In Jesus’ name! It couldn’t be Joel!” I realized, though, I had to repent for using the name of Jesus in vain. It turned out my “spiritual warfare strategy” just didn’t work— Joel is now my husband and we’ve been married for 10 years now.

As the heavens are higher than the earth, 

so are my ways higher than your ways

and my thoughts than your thoughts.

– Isaiah 55:9 (NIV)