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Wednesday, April 22, 2015

At the End of the Day... Covenants

I thought a lot about covenants over the weekend.  At one point I had a conversation with someone about the new neighborhood that we discovered near the High School in the little town of Apex that looked very appealing to us.  I explained to this individual that we had just renewed our contract at the apartments for another year but had the option to buy out of it if necessary.  I had made sure to note that this particular contract had a clause in it that allowed us to break the agreement if a special opportunity came up!
I also realized that there are a couple of other contracts - or covenants - that I entered into that definitely do not have a “buy out” clause in them.  That thought is what brought up the whole idea of my current blog theme of “At the End of the Day.”  With a face set like flint, one of the greatest lessons I have learned since our return from Oklahoma in 2009, is that at the end of the day I am responsible to two people, my wife Piper and Papa God!
I entered into a covenant with both of these individuals a long time ago, and I am not about to allow a rough patch in our lives to cause me to break those agreements… which in reality… are covenants sealed with blood!  This may not always be popular or an enjoyable subject matter, but to me and many others, it is a bond that should not… and in my book… will not be broken!  Jesus spilled His blood for you and me on Calvary and brought it into the very Holy of Holies in heaven sealing our redemption and our position in Christ.  My wife and I sealed our marriage with the shedding of blood on the evening of July 12, 1975. 
That aspect of the marriage covenant isn’t spoken of too much anymore but that doesn’t lessen the importance that we and I believe Papa God places on it.  I remember some wonderful black and white photographs in a book that we sold in the photography store I worked at from 2002 – 2004 that captured the tradition in some European countries where the mother of the bride would triumphantly hang the honeymoon sheets from the window of the highest building in the village to visually prove the consummation of the marriage covenant.   I am very thankful that my mother in law didn’t think about that and surprise us at the Sea Ranch Lodge on the northern coast of Sonoma County, California!
Since 2009 and the diagnosis of my wife’s situation, my kids and I have been bombarded with many opinions, suggestions and some vehement accusations concerning my care for my wife.  But like I previously mentioned, after the initial reactions of shock, frustration, confusion and hurt, I quickly learned that the only ones that I needed to please was God and His directives to us and my beloved wife!  It became quite evident that most of the “input” from those whom I have to believe had good intentions, was based on shaky, or in many cases, false information!  It became clear to me that these folks did not really know us and were basing their attempts to help (?) on their own experiences and not on ours!
Years ago I remember hearing a popular Christian pastor who speaks a lot on financial matters, talking about the miracle surrounding his wife’s healing from disease.  He mentioned that one of the lessons he learned early on was that he could do without the denomination that he belonged to because they did not believe it was God’s will to heal anymore, but that he couldn’t do without his wife!  I think at that moment he realized the same thing that I finally did!
At the end of the day, I am only responsible to following the Lord’s loving directions for me in the care and healing of my wife… and not to people’s suggestions that would send me in a different direction than what He has instructed us, in agreement with His Word and His Spirit, to do!
And you know… I think the same thing is true for every Christian.  At the end of the day… we are responsible to Him.  As I read from the end of the four Gospels and the beginning of the book of Acts this morning, I realized that the Apostle Peter is a very good example of this.  After totally failing in his commitment to the Lord during the events leading up to Calvary, the Lord met with him privately, shed His grace on Peter and reinstated him to a leadership role in the early church. (see Luke 24:34)
Following Jesus’ assentation into heaven, Peter put aside any personal fears he might have had as well as any accusations, criticism and/or suggestions he may have received from the other disciples and became their undisputed leader and the public face of the fledgling new movement.  He clearly understood that at the end of the day, he was responsible to God.
Now I definitely do not have the bold outspoken personality of Peter (I would align myself closer to the Apostle John who was quieter, softer and more emotional!) but I have learned to stand firm and confident as I fulfill my covenant responsibilities toward my wife and Papa God!  Like I said… these are covenants that I will not break!  How about you?  What covenants have you entered into?  How serious are you about not breaking them?  Is it time to get it right and set your face to meet the responsibilities you signed up for… or sealed in blood?  Think about it…
Have a great day.  Stay in tune and responsible to His Word and keep asking yourself… “What covenants am I expecting to keep today?”

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