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Blog  //  Devotionals, Stories, News and more...

Marriage Catalyst

A Growing Relationship with God is the Catalyst for Building a Great Marriage.       
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Saturday, March 16, 2013 Posted by Marcel Sanchez | 0 comments

The Hour of Darkness


So also the chief priests, with the scribes and elders, mocked him, saying,
“He saved others; he cannot save himself.” (Matthew 27:41-42)

It was an unusually dark hour. Marked by unbelief, torture and defeat, it was a time of great sorrow. For the disciples, it was a time that would almost stand still. It was the hour of darkness. The final chapter on the life and ministry of Jesus was coming to an abrupt ending. It was the moment many of the religious leaders hoped for. It was their hour of triumph. Victory was near. Total conquest was certain. It was almost time to celebrate. The religious leaders could almost taste this great achievement in the palate of their soul. This self-proclaimed Rabbi and Messiah would finally get what he deserved for blaspheming their God—death.

The death of Jesus would come about deceitfully, forcefully and violently. It would give evidence to the great presence of evil and lack of true spirituality in the hearts of men. The cross was the symbol for death. When someone hung on a cross they did not survive. No matter how strong a person was there was no escaping the fury of the cross. The cross meant the death of a criminal.

It was assumed that those who died on the cross were guilty of the charges made against them. The cross was one of the cruelest forms of death known to mankind. It was not something anyone hoped to find within his or her future. It was built for a criminal, but on it hung our Savior and King. The Pharisees were correct in their conclusion. Jesus was unable to simultaneously save his life and save us from our sins. It was either one or the other. If he saved his life from the punishment of our sins, we would be lost today. We would remain in spiritual darkness. Jesus voluntarily offered his life as a permanent sacrifice for your sins. The hour of darkness was difficult, but temporary. The resurrection was glorious and eternal.

Looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. (Hebrews 12:2)

Read: Open your Bible and read Matthew 27:41-54

Reflect: Prayerfully consider the following: How would my life be today if I remained in darkness? What areas of my old self need to die for Christ to live?

Respond: In prayer, ask, “Lord, what do I need to change starting today as a result of these truths? What action steps should I take?”

Thursday, September 13, 2012 Posted by Marcel Sanchez | 0 comments

Un Dios y Salvador Eterno


En el principio ya existía la Palabra. (Juan 1:1, RVC)


Imagínese no tener que preocuparse por activar una alarma ó llegar a tiempo para su próxima cita.  Imagínese si usted pudiera dibujar un cuadro de su vida sin ninguna limitación de tiempo.  ¿Que haría usted diferente si su vida no fuera gobernaba por las leyes del tiempo?  ¿Cuál nueva aventura pondría en el calendario?

Solamente tenemos 24 horas cada día para completarlo todo.  Tenemos que aprovechar cada momento para llevar a cabo el plan de Dios de reconciliar a todo hombre a Él (2 Pedro 3:9).  Ahora imagínese estar vivo antes de que el concepto del tiempo empezara.  Piense en lo que pudiera suceder si usted viviera en un ambiente perfecto.  Este lugar nunca envejece ni es afectado por condiciones externas. Es un lugar eternamente joven. ¿Se pueden imaginar esto?

Antes de llegar a esta tierra, Jesús vivió en un ambiente semejante. ¿Sabía usted que Jesús es la Eterna Palabra de Dios?  Dios es uno, pero existe en tres personas diferentes, Padre, Hijo y Espíritu Santo.  Deuteronomio 6:4 dice,
Oye, Israel: el Señor nuestro Dios, el Señor es uno” (RVC).  Cada uno funciona en una harmonía perfecta.

La Palabra de Dios es la representación hablada de la persona de Dios (Juan 1:1).  Aunque es una persona distinta, Jesús comparte Su naturaleza divina con el Padre y el Espíritu Santo.  Aguardando la esperanza bienaventurada y la manifestación gloriosa de nuestro gran Dios y Salvador Jesucristo (Tito 2:13, RVR 1960).  Jesús es la representación exacta de Dios (Col. 1:15-20).  El Espíritu Santo existe como una persona distinta.  El sirve un propósito especifico.


Repasa:
Abre su Biblia y lea Colosenses 1:15-20

Reflexiona:
En oración, considere lo siguiente:

¿Por qué es posible que Jesús puede mantener toda su vida en harmonía cuando los desafíos de la vida llegan sin aviso
?

Escriben tres características de la persona de Jesús
1.________________
2.________________
3.________________

Cuando dejamos que el Señor reine en cada área de su vida, ¿en cuales áreas de su vida se rehúsa a someterse?


Responde: En oración, pregúntese, “Señor, ¿que tengo que cambiar en luz de estas verdades? ¿Cuáles pasos debo tomar?”

Thursday, September 13, 2012 Posted by Marcel Sanchez | 0 comments

A Timeless God and Savior


   In the beginning was the Word. (John 1:1, ESV)

Imagine not having to worry about setting your alarm clock or being on time for your next appointment.  Picture what your life would be like if you lived without any time limitations whatsoever.  What would you do differently if your life were not governed by the laws of time? What new adventures would you plan?  This may be hard to imagine right?

We only have 24 hours each day to get everything done.  We simply have to make the best use of each moment to advance God’s plan of reconciling all men to Himself through Jesus Christ (2 Peter 3:9). Now imagine being alive before time, as we know it ever existed.  Think about what would happen if you lived in a perfect environment.  It never aged nor was it governed by time or subject to negative environmental factors.  Can you picture the beauty of such a place?

Prior to His arrival on earth, Jesus lived in such an environment.  Did you know that Jesus Christ is the Eternal Word of God?  God is one, but exists in three distinct persons, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one (Deuteronomy 6:4, ESV).  They each function in perfect harmony.  The Word of God was the spoken representation of God’s person (John 1:1).

Although a distinct person, Jesus shares His divine attributes with the Father.  While we wait for the blessed hope—the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ (Titus 2:13, NIV).  Jesus is the exact representation of God Himself (Colossians 1:15-20).  The Holy Spirit also shares within this divine nature.  He exists as a separate person and serves a unique purpose within the divine trinity.

Read:
Open your Bible and read Colossians 1:15-20

Reflect:
Prayerfully consider the following: Why would Jesus be able to hold your life together when multiple challenges arrive without any warning?

List three characteristics regarding the person of Jesus:
1.______________________________ 
2.______________________________ 
3.______________________________

When it comes to allowing God’s Word to rule in every area of your life, which areas do you findyourself still resisting?


Respond: In prayer, ask, “Lord, what do I need to change starting today as a result of these truths?  What action steps should I take?”

 

Saturday, December 31, 2011 Posted by Marcel Sanchez | 0 comments

Simple Thanks


 Luke 17:11-19, ESV

11 On the way to Jerusalem he {Jesus} was passing along between Samaria and Galilee.  12 And as he entered a village, he was met by ten lepers, who stood at a distance 13 and lifted up their voices, saying, "Jesus, Master, have mercy on us."  14 When he saw them he said to them, "Go and show yourselves to the priests."  And as they went they were cleansed.  15 Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice; 16 and he fell on his face at Jesus’ feet, giving him thanks.  Now he was a Samaritan. 
17 Then Jesus answered, "Were not ten cleansed?  Where are the nine?  18 Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?"  19And he said to him, "Rise and go your way; your faith has made you well."

 

There are a variety of gloves that we use for different reasons.  Some of us, when we wash the dishes we put on dishwashing gloves to protect our hands in the event that a glass breaks unexpectedly or to protect our arms from getting dirty.  We don’t want any new cuts and we certainly don’t like it when our hands get greasy and dirty.  We want to keep glass and grease at a safe distance.  We want to be protected, we want to remain clean. 

When we start working in the yard we find gardening gloves to keep our hands free from dirt.  It’s a pain when dirt gets into your nails.  It takes considerable time to remove all of the dirt and we rather not spend our evening in front on the TV removing dirt from our nails.  We also want to be protected from thorns and or stickers that we may find in the dirt. 

After living in Miami and Miramar for several years one never knows what they might discover when digging ditches or fixing their sprinkler system.  Florida is filled with all kinds of sharp surprises such as construction debris and “fill” used to elevate the land.  These things hurt, but a good pair of gloves will protect us from unnecessary pain.  We want to keep dirt and sharp objects such as stickers and thorns at a safe distance.  We want to be protected, we want to remain clean. 

Before the paramedics begin to work on people who are injured in an accident they take out their medical gloves.  They do this to protect themselves and others from infections, contamination and disease.  They want to protect the patient and they also want to protect themselves.  They want to keep all infections, diseases and potential contaminations at a safe distance.  They want to be protected, they want to remain clean.

In the same way, some of us live our lives with these two ideas:  I want to be protected…I want to be clean.  We keep a safe distance from God.  We don’t want Him to get too close.  We keep him away from our marriage and other important relationships.  We are strong enough to handle our own spirituality.  We are spiritual in our own way and we believe we don’t have to go to church every weekend to prove it. 

After all, we don’t want to get “weird” or start doing things that make others ask more questions.  We want to protect our heart and remain in “complete control.”  We don’t want to get dirty with any form of religion.  We have lived through several bad experiences and examples of what happens when people start down this road.  We want to protect our heart and we want to remain clean.

We find ourselves alone.  It’s not because people haven’t tried to help or get to know us.  It’s that we have created walls, high walls, impossible for others to climb over.  We don’t want to hear about the problems faced by others.  We have more than enough problems to deal with. 

We’re not sure if people would love us unconditionally if they knew what was in our heart.  We’re not sure if they would remain friends with us if they knew the things we’ve done.  So we limit our transparency.  We disclose only the superficial.   We don’t want to be criticized or judged.  We want to protect our heart and we want to remain clean.

What is the connection between protecting our heart, remaining clean and giving thanks?  Carefully read through Luke 17:11-19 several times and connect with us over the next few weeks to find out.  You can subscribe to the Marriage Catalyst Blog through our RSS feed on the top of this page to receive our next update. 

Marcel
www.MarriageCatalyst.com

 

 

Friday, November 25, 2011 Posted by Marcel Sanchez | 0 comments

You are now FREE to serve in love


For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery… For you were called to freedom, brothers.  Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.  For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: "You shall love your neighbor as yourself."  (Galatians 5:1, 13-14, ESV)

You are free to live as God designed you to live.  We are no longer a slave or a prisoner of our past.  The Word of God reminds us that we are servants of Jesus Christ.  This one word should be characteristic of every believer.  It speaks to the attitude we are supposed to have.  It means that we are to completely submit to His will.  We are here to serve His people, the church.  We are here to serve others so that they might come to know our Savior by the things that we do.  And we are certainly here to love and serve our spouse as God intended.

According to Bible scholars, the two most common words in the New Testament for “serve,” “servant,” or “serving” are douleo and diakoneoDouleo literally means to be a slave, to serve, to obey, to submit.  Diakoneo was used to describe someone who served tables.  I loved working as a waiter/bus boy here in Miami during my younger years.  It really taught me what it meant to serve people.  Serving customers from many different countries gave me a great understanding of what serving was all about.  

Diakoneo meant to minister to someone, to serve them.  The idea is that you provide for the physical and material needs of others.  If we are going to serve others effectively, including our spouse, we must first completely submit to God’s will for our lives.  The way you serve your spouse is a measurement of your love for them.  If you want to build a great marriage and fall more in love with your spouse, start serving them without reservations.    

In Christ, you have a comprehensive freedom.  You have been freed from the power of sin—the past.  You are now free from the penalty of sin—the present.  One day you will be free from the presence of sin—the future.  So you can begin to serve your spouse and others without carrying unnecessary weights to slow you down.  Experiencing freedom the way God intended comes from walking in the Spirit.  You learn to love and serve your spouse through the overflow of your love and service to God.  

God’s Spirit teaches us how to live by divine design.  As you meditate on God’s Word and remain sensitive to the Holy Spirit, He will teach you how to serve and minister to your spouse.  Moreover, He is the one who helps you do the same with others.  Concentrate on knowing God and loving God more and He will take care of teaching you how to love and serve in the most fruitful way possible.  Loving God and loving your spouse freely is very powerful.  Remember, we live in freedom by faith through our Lord Jesus—the source of our freedom.

Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.  Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God.  (Romans 5:1-2, ESV)

What we have to keep in mind is that freedom must be practiced before it can be realized.  Creating good habits to grow your marriage through serving your spouse is smart, very smart.  More than just staying married, you and I want our marriage to last forever, until God separates us.  This holy desire is realized as we practice love in action.  The last three chapters of our book, Marriage Catalyst and Matrimonio por Diseno (http://www.marriagecatalyst.com/Grow-Your-Marriage/Explore-Resources.html) focus on creating habits to build a happy marriage, a great marriage.  Creating habits to protect, direct and grow your marriage begins with a heart of service.  This is not automatic.  We have to practice at serving our spouse.  It’s not only about the quality of our service that counts it’s the quantity of our service too.    

Don’t miss this next point.  You are free to love, minister, and serve your spouse and others without reservations (John 13:1-20).  In Christ, we are free to love others as we love ourselves (Galatians 5:14).  The quality of the way you serve others, including your spouse, reflects the quantity of your love for them.  Gene Getz once wrote, “If we loved one another more, we would serve one another better.”  He was right on the money.  The more I love God the better I will serve Him.  The more I love my wife the better I will serve her.  The more I love my children the better I will serve them.  And the more I love those who are struggling in their marriage and contemplating separation and or divorce, the better I will serve them.  My love for others is measured in part through my service.  When I commit my life to serving others I will realize my true purpose for living.  Jesus reminds us of this important truth.  

For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.
(Matthew 16:25, ESV)

Find someone who can benefit from your life’s experiences and start serving them in love.  You may ask, “But how can I do this?”  First of all, get to know their challenges.  What are people having a hard time figuring out on their own?  What seems to be a constant challenge for them to face on their own?  Use your education, skills, abilities, resources and contacts as tools to help them succeed.  By the way, this also applies to your marriage.  Leverage all that you have to help your spouse be all that God designed them to be.  You were designed to be a source of help for your spouse.  Yes, you are the one!  Become a problem solver, a solutions provider for your relationship.  This is why serving your wife or serving your husband is so important.  Many answers for marriage problems can be found when serving one another is already integrated into the environment of your marriage.  

At the heart of serving others, including your spouse, is faith working through love.  Gene Getz reminds us, “As believers we are to give ourselves totally to one another in the most devoted sense.”  Are you giving yourself completely over to your spouse?  If you are, this surrender will marked by unselfish service.  It will be marked by enthusiastically serving his or her needs on a regular basis.  Spontaneity, creativity and consistency will all be part of the equation.  

As we bring this devotional to a close let’s focus on one final point to consider as it related to our freedom to love and freedom to serve.  Your obedience to God’s Word energizes your freedom.  This simple, yet powerful statement is worth writing down.  True freedom is found when you completely submit yourself to God’s Word in every area of your life.  For you to effectively love God and serve Him, you must obey Him.  For you to effectively love your spouse and serve them, you must submit to and follow God’s Word in every area of your life.  Gene Getz once again reminds us, “It is truth applied that really sets me free.”  You are now FREE to serve others, including your spouse in love.

Saturday, October 22, 2011 Posted by Marcel Sanchez | 0 comments

The New Marriage Catalyst Website is Now Live!


We are humbled and excited to announce the release of our new Marriage Catalyst website.  The purpose of this website is to serve as a tool to help couples grow in their marriage and build thriving marriages.  The Marriage Catalyst website will help you plan more effectively for your next marriage conference or marriage seminar. 

The website will make available a variety of resources such as the Marriage Catalyst hard cover book, Marriage Catalyst 12-Session DVD Study and our Spanish hard cover book for couples, Matrimonio por Diseño.  It will allow you to download marriage videos, promotional videos for your conference and checklists to make planning your event a good experience. 

We look forward to serving you and your ministry!

Marcel Sanchez, Founder
Marriage Catalyst
www.MarriageCatalyst.com