August 19, Saturday

Today’s AMI Devotional is written by Mei Lan Thallman who serves at Grace Covenant Church, Philadelphia. Her husband Pastor Kirt and Mei Lan are proud parents of Nate (14) and Naomi (12).

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHTS FOR TODAY

Bucking NO More

Ephesians 5:21-33 (NIV)

21 Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. 22 Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. 25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26 to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, 27 and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. 28 In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church— 30 for we are members of his body.31 “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” 32 This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. 33 However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.

Bucking Horse Summer is a prime time for weddings. This year we’ve received six wedding invitations and have been to three already. Over six years of shepherding the young adult congregation at GCC, we have walked many dating couples through dating and premarital counseling, and have ultimately been a part of their wedding date.I always cry tears of joy and celebration at these weddings, recalling each couples’ unique struggles and journeys that have brought them to this sacred moment of making a lifelong commitment to each other as husband and wife.

My husband and I celebrated our 21st year anniversary this June. Floods of memories brought me back to that special day, but the one that stood out the most to me was God’s transforming power in my life as a bride. The pastor who married us in Taiwan knew both of us very well—he was our pastor, Kirt’s mentor as a seminary intern, and my boss (I served two years under him as church secretary). In our marriage sermon, he described me as a bucking horse whose natural tendency is to buck and kick at my husband’s attempt to lead me. As funny as I must admit this illustration was, our pastor spoke out of love, wisdom and prophetic insight. For many years in my marriage I unwisely resisted, challenged and rebelled against my husband’s leadership, rather than cooperate with his love for me to lead us before the Lord.

By God’s unrelenting grace and love, and much credit to my husband’s persevering trust and commitment to Christ, they never gave up on me nor did they allow me to stay in my dysfunctional and destructive old self, thought and behavior patterns. They stood by my side through my darkest moments and gave me the courage to face and overcome past brokenness. Together they loved me to love life abundantly and encouraged me continually to becoming the woman God created me to be. I am far from reaching perfection, but I am proud to testify before the world that my God is not through with me yet. I am His work in progress, until I meet him in eternity. Whether you are single or married, male or female, Jesus is your beloved and he is committed 100% to your sanctification of becoming his radiant bride. Please don’t buck his work by resisting his lordship. Surrender to his love and care for you. He is your trustworthy bridegroom.

Prayer: Dear Lord Jesus, thank you for being our Bridegroom by your unrelenting sacrifice on our behalf; for teaching us how to love and submit by your example to the Father; and for showing us that true freedom and ultimate fulfillment is found under your lordship, protection, provision and unchanging truth. Help us to faithfully cooperate with your sanctifying work in our lives as your radiant bride to the world around us.

Bible Reading for Today: Isaiah 6-7

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