Tag Archives: Spouse

Healthy Relationships

Healthy Relationships

Proverbs 18:24 A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.

Friends are people we know and trust to be friendly.  Kindness is not only demonstrated in kind actions, but also in words, and the attitudes conveyed to our friends.

Proverbs 27:6 Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.

Friends are people we know and trust to be honest; even to the point of challenging and correcting us in a gentle and loving manner whenever that is needed.

Trust is the most basic requirement for a sincere, genuine, and healthy relationship with someone.  A husband who cannot trust his wife or a wife who does not trust her husband will be experiencing troubles in marriage that stem from trust issues.

Trust is something that is earned over time; but can be erased in a moment.  Trust is something we see in each healthy relationship of life.  If there is no trust, then the relationship is based on pretense, fakery, or fabricated reputation.

If a person does not trust the boss, the relationship is not what it could be.  If the boss does not trust the employee, the relationship is not what it should be.  If a parent does not trust he teacher, the student will pick up on that and the classroom relationship will not be what it should be.

The same is true in church.  The pastor trusts the deacons and the deacons trust the pastor.  Their relationship with each other and the relationship of the leadership with the church and church with the leadership also must be premised – on trust.

Sometimes people do not trust others simply because of past experiences.  Even if nothing wrong or sinful has happened in the new relationship. For example, I had a man tell me one time that “He did not trust any preacher.”  His past experiences, that were bad experiences, led him to the conclusion that all preachers were evil.  How could a person with that conclusion hope to learn, grow, attend church services, and develop healthy relationships?

I was not offended by this man’s statement – but as a preacher, I knew I would not have the chance to earn the trust of that man.  The relationship would be tainted and confused from the very start.

That is how some people see other genders.  Have you heard someone say something like “All men are evil pigs?” or “I can’t stand women?”  One or several bad experiences have been allowed to control how the person perceives about half the population!  That way of thinking makes no common or Biblical sense.

If you are hoping to marry someone and have had previous bad dating, or even marriage experience, be sure that those things do not influence your new relationship.  Let trust develop.  Grow in relationship with your new or soon to be spouse.

Starting a new job or another school year?  The boss and the teacher, the employee and the student should be respected and until trust is lost – it is best to develop a healthy relationship built on trust.   Thank God – trust may never be lost! You may have a healthy relationship the rest of your life.

Not trusting others is a personal defensive mechanism focused on preserving our pride and protecting our ego from future possible harm.  It is a natural human reaction.  However, not trusting is based on fear.  Fear is not something that we are to live by.  The Bible says to “Live by faith!”  Replace the fear and the accompanying trust issues with Faith in God!

2 Timothy 1:7 teaches, For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.

  • Fear causes us to doubt the power of God.
  • Fear causes us to forget the love of God.
  • Fear causes us to not think clearly.

We fear when we are not in control.  We fear when we lose our influence.  We fear when we are not sure what is going on.  HAVE FAITH IN GOD!

  • God will take care of the marriage when we trust and obey Him.
  • God will take care of the workplace and classroom.
  • God will take care of His church. We belong to Him!

God will take care of you and your relationships can become healthy when your faith in God is greater than your faith in fear and distrust.  Ask the Lord to help each relationship to be built on trust.  Without trust – you don’t really have a relationship anyway!

 

 

 

 

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8 Ways to Love Your Spouse

8 Ways to Love Your Spouse

I like the Reese hearts and the Russel Stover Chocolates.  My wife likes the chocolates and the red roses too.  Each Valentines day we are all reminded about the special relationships many of us are called by God to enjoy – marriage.  A happy and healthy marriage is possible!

If you and your spouse are having issues, do not wait to get help.  Please call me or another Christian counselor today.  Statistically I read some time ago that couples about to divorce wait 6 years too late to get counseling help.  Good news – your marriage perspective can change overnight with a little positive encouragement from a Christian counselor.

For today’s devotional, here are 8 Bible passages that when applied, can demonstrate love towards your spouse.

  1. Stay physically and emotionally faithful to your spouse alone.  This was declared on your wedding day.  Proverbs 5:15 Drink waters out of thine own cistern, and running waters out of thine own well.
  2. Celebrate spiritual, financial, educational, and relational victories. Throw a party for two, go out for coffee, or make a special meal. Ecclesiastes 4:9 Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour.
  3. Be Happy. Happiness is not conditional on circumstances but on the attitude. Happiness is a choice.  Ecclesiastes 9:9 Live joyfully with the wife whom thou lovest all the days of the life of thy vanity, which he hath given thee under the sun, all the days of thy vanity: for that is thy portion in this life, and in thy labour which thou takest under the sun.
  4. Blend everything you do and have together. Feelings, faith, friends, finances, etc. All these things should be combined. Matthew 19:6 Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.
  5. Choose to make the spiritually right decision. One of you is probably more spiritual than the other.  While the man should lovingly serve with Biblical leadership in the home, it is not always the case. Choose to have a positive, edifying spirit that will build up the other in the things of God. 1 Corinthians 7:14 For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband: else were your children unclean; but now are they holy.
  6. Modify expectations while not letting any disappointments change you. He made a mess.  She was not ready for intimacy.  Don’t let circumstances become sources of bitterness.  Colossians 3:18-19 Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as it is fit in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives, and be not bitter against them.
  7. Understand each other. Know how the other thinks. Know the likes and dislikes.  This is something of a challenge!  1 Peter 3:7 Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.
  8. Value and treasure the person God gave to you. God gave you a special gift to have as a companion in life.  While some people are called to “singleness” the Lord gave you a “help meet.”  Treasure this gift with all of your heart.  Proverb 18:22 Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing, and obtaineth favour of the LORD.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Did You Think To Pray?

Did You Think To Pray?

Mine eye mourneth by reason of affliction: LORD, I have called daily upon thee, I have stretched out my hands unto thee.  Psalm 88:9

We pray when we are in trouble.  It is easy to turn our thoughts to Heaven when we have a big problem or a predicament that we are in.  For most people, the first time they fervently pray is when hey are in trouble.  Affliction drove the psalmist to pray every single day.  He actively sought the Lord lifting up “holy hands” to God, begging for His deliverance, guidance, and help.

What if we learned to pray before the big problem comes?  How would an active prayer life before the trouble arises help us navigate the storms of life?  It think it would make a big difference.  Charles Haddon Spurgeon, the “Prince of preachers” said “All the Christian virtues are locked up in the word prayer.”

The daily discipline of open communication with God, asking and receiving, better known as prayer, can change your life. There are several ways prayer affects not only the situation, but the one doing the praying.

Prayer calms the soul.  Prayer creates a connection with God. Prayer confirms our relationship with God the Father through His Son Jesus.  Make it a daily practice to spend time with God in prayer.

I leave you with the words of Mary Kidder in her hymn “Did You Think to Pray?”

  1. Ere you left your room this morning,
    Did you think to pray?
    In the name of Christ our Savior,
    Did you sue for loving favor,
    As a shield today?

Refrain:
Oh, how praying rests the weary!
Prayer will change the night to day;
So when life seems dark and dreary,
Don’t forget to pray.

  1. When you met with great temptation,
    Did you think to pray?
    By His dying love and merit,
    Did you claim the Holy Spirit
    As your guide and stay? [Refrain]
  2. When your heart was filled with anger,
    Did you think to pray?
    Did you plead for grace, my brother,
    That you might forgive another
    Who had crossed your way? [Refrain]
  3. When sore trials came upon you,
    Did you think to pray?
    When your soul was bowed in sorrow,
    Balm of Gilead did you borrow
    At the gates of day?

 

 

Elevate Your Head

Elevate Your Head

And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.  Colossians 1:18

This sounds like medical advice, but it is also a practical reality of our humanity.  As humans we tend to elevate your physical heads.  Think of this for a moment.  Our head (comprised of everything above our neck) is held high when we walk.  We hold our head up above our body when we are seated.  Even lying down in bed, we use a pillow to elevate our head above the rest of our body.  Reasons for the head being above the body are practical and range from health, function, blood flow, balance, and protection of the head and brain.

With even greater care than our body places on holding up our physical head, we are to lift up the head of the Church.  Jesus is the head of believers and must be elevated above individual Christians.  Our thoughts, opinions, and goals must be subservient to the Lord.  In a way, our thoughts, opinions and goals must be formed by Jesus rather than ourselves.

Our human nature screams and rebels at placing someone else above us in authority and power.  Submitting to God and yielding to His Word and Holy Spirit is how we elevate Jesus above ourselves.  We can take it personally and choose to rebel and side with our sin nature, or we can willingly submit with humility to the Lord.

When you find yourself in a conflict with a spouse, it could be that you are elevating yourself above what the Lord would have you do or say.  When you are disappointed or even angry with someone or something at church, it could be that you are placing your will above the will of God.  When the workplace seems troublesome, it could be that your expectations are not the expectations that the Lord has for your work.

Who is the head of your life?  If you are making “all the calls” for your life, then you are missing the point of Colossians 1:18.  Let Jesus have the Preeminence in your life.  Because Jesus rose from the dead; He is worthy of being the head of our lives.

Jesus does not want to be an important part of your life.  Jesus wants to be the preeminent part of your life- your head.  Consult God’s Word.  Pray.  Seek counsel of your pastor.  Place God above all your choices and lifestyle decisions.   Follow the leader.  When we lift up Jesus instead of ourselves, our lives then honor the Lord and He has room to work incredible miracles in our lives.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Will I Ever Get Married?

“Will I Ever Get Married?”

The Emotional Well-Being of Singles (From the book: “How Do You Feel Today?”)

IMG 1378

‘In Sunday school they were teaching how God created everything, including human beings. Little Johnny, a child in the kindergarten class, seemed especially intent when they told him how Eve was created out of one of Adam’s ribs. Later in the week, his mother noticed him lying down as though he were ill, and said, “Johnny, what’s the matter?”  Johnny said, “I don’t feel well, I think I’m having a wife.”’ (Ministry 127)

It is the dream of most boys and girls to be married one day.  Children play “house” with their dolls, Legos, and other toys.  Families where love, acceptance, and proper discipline are found are homes where this desire is nurtured, and how to be a good spouse is modeled and taught.

As children grow into their teens, their minds and bodies become increasingly aware of the opposite gender.  Parents, please be sure to give instruction, and follow up with that instruction for healthy thinking concerning the goal of courting/dating (marriage), and how to remain pure.

Dr. Jim Schettler says: “It is better to wait and know it, than to date and blow it.”  Dating is not just a pastime or entertainment proposition:  emotions of the heart are not to be toyed or played around with.  Date with intention. The goal of dating or courting is to determine if marriage is God’s intention for you and the other person.

Not everyone is called to be married.  Paul challenges some of the believers in Corinth to give their lives solely to the Lord so that they could “attend upon the Lord without distraction.”  The “Gift of Singleness” is found in I Corinthians 7.  The Lord has equipped some people so well that they may not need a helpmeet, and their service to the Lord may be just as effective or more so because of their marital status.  For example, there have been unmarried men who serve in mission fields where one cannot take a family.  Verse 33 (I Cor. 7) states: “But he that is married careth for the things that are of the world, how he may please his wife.”  If you have a burning desire for marriage, ask the Lord to bring the person He for you into your life.  1 Corinthians 7:2 informs us: “Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband.”  It is better to get married than to “play house” with another adult and act like you are married.  Many people are in sinful relationships today, when God is calling them to legitimize their relationship.

What are some qualities I should work on while waiting for marriage?  This is a great question!  In Genesis 24, we read about Isaac and Rebekah.  Here are two people who desired to someday be married, but were not pushing or rushing to marriage.  They were consistent to work on their personal and spiritual qualities that would later help their marriage.

Genesis 24:62-67 tells this marriage story.  “And Isaac came from the way of the well Lahairoi; for he dwelt in the south country.  And Isaac went out to meditate in the field at the eventide: and he lifted up his eyes, and saw, and, behold, the camels were coming.  And Rebekah lifted up her eyes, and when she saw Isaac, she lighted off the camel.  For she had said unto the servant, What man is this that walketh in the field to meet us?  And the servant had said, It is my master: therefore she took a vail, and covered herself.  And the servant told Isaac all things that he had done.  And Isaac brought her into his mother Sarah’s tent, and took Rebekah, and she became his wife; and he loved her: and Isaac was comforted after his mother’s death.”

As Isaac was waiting to be married, two main qualities stand out:  Isaac was hard-working and was involved in healthy worship of the Lord.  We can also discover qualities Rebekah possessed as a single person that later enabled her to be a good wife:  Rebekah was considerate of others and she was modestly clothed.  Let’s look at each of these qualities…

Hard Working.  Some people work at their play, play at their work, worship their sleep, and sleep in their worship.  Isaac was not like that.  Isaac was in the fields working when he first saw the love of his life.  He was consistent in the tasks of the family business in herding sheep and digging wells.  He was not like the Prodigal Son who, in the New Testament, went and spent all he had on “riotous living.”  Isaac was working, serving, and being faithful to his jobs and daily obligations.

Healthy Worship.  Did you notice how Isaac was meditating in the evening?  The word meditate involves musing and praying.  As his thoughts were turned to the Lord, the Lord answered his prayer for a wife.  While meditating, he heard some people traveling his way. He looked up from his moments with the Lord and saw his father’s servant coming back from the journey to search for a bride for Isaac.  Abraham was encouraging Isaac to be married and sent this servant to find a bride of the same faith to be the wife of Isaac.  Our custom today may be different, but the direction of whom to marry is not.  By God’s grace, determine today to only date or marry a person who is a Christian actively growing and serving the Lord.  Proverbs 18:22 encourages, “Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing, and obtaineth favour of the LORD.”  This word find does not necessarily imply looking and searching, but rather to “come upon.”  Some young people are so infatuated with the idea of a date or the prospect of getting married that they force an effort to “find” a spouse.   It would be better to work on being who God wants you to be than to look for a person to marry.  As you trust the Lord, He will bring that person into your life.

You don’t want to date just anyone – there should be more qualifications besides being the opposite gender. “One of the most famous naval battles of history was the Battles of Actium, fought September 2, 31 B.C., between the fleets of Mark Anthony and Cleopatra on one side, and the fleet of Octavian, afterward Augustus Ceasar, on the other.  In the midst of the engagement, the war galley of Cleopatra withdrew from the battle, and the infatuated Anthony deserted his fleet to follow the Queen of the Nile. Thus, Anthony relinquished his great leadership for a vain woman.” (Encyclopedia of 15,000 Illustrations: Signs of the Times)

Isaac was actively working on his relationship with the Lord.  Before texting, sending an e-mail, or calling that significant other you may be interested in, have you met with God?  Make sure worshipping the Lord is at the top of your priority list.  Had Isaac been a rebel to the Lord or run after a life of sin, the story would have been much different.  Abraham had brought Isaac up to fear God and serve Him.  You may or may not have a Christian family background, but you can determine to have a Christian family if the Lord gives you a spouse.

Consideration of Others.  The first glimpse we get of Rebekah is a beautiful one.  She is helping a total stranger by drawing water from the well.  She not only gives water to Abraham’s servant Eliezer, but she also draws water and gives it to the camels.  This is no small task! Camels drink a lot of water!  She had a genuine servant’s heart to be so considerate of this man and his animals.  (Read all of Genesis 24 to learn more of this story.)  She went above and beyond what most people would have done.

Most people could grow in this area of consideration. Do you do just barely enough to get by, or do you go the extra mile to serve?  This characteristic says much about your determination to succeed and what it would take you to quit.  Some people fulfill the least expectation and then expect terrific results.  Rebekah exceeded expectations yet did not expect anything in return for herself.  After the servant Eliezer sees the Lord has blessed his journey and answered his prayers, he gives Rebekah earrings and bracelets.  Nearly every girl loves receiving beautiful jewelry, and Rebekah was no different.

Later, Eliezer gives the family treasures and gifts, giving a sort of dowry to display his credibility and proving the groom Isaac was a hard worker and man of ability and substance.   Showing wealth was not the goal, but proving that Isaac was prepared for marriage was important.  Proverbs 24:27 elaborates on this:  “Prepare thy work without, and make it fit for thyself in the field; and afterwards build thine house.”  If a man cannot hold down a job, he may not be ready for marriage.  If a girl does not know how to show consideration and service to others, she may not be ready for marriage.

Selfishness rooted in pride has destroyed many marriages.  Rebekah was definitely not selfish but totally considerate of others.  “Be the right one rather than looking for the right one.”

Modest Clothing.  Before Isaac and Rebekah met, Rebekah covered her face with a veil.  Even today, the wedding veil is a symbol of modesty.   When she knew the man walking towards her was the man she was to marry, she covered herself up more.  This would be a strange proposition to most people today.  The world shouts to take clothes off, yet God says to show respect for yourself and your future spouse by remaining covered.  Modest clothing and a spirit of purity are needed in our families, churches, and society today.

Rebekah was showing Isaac that she treasured their relationship and was looking forward to sharing a pure life with him.  This action of covering also suggests that she was not one to flirt or take relationships lightly.   I heard one young preacher say: “If you are not for sale, don’t advertise.”  That is good advice, particularly for young women and their clothing choices.  Respect yourself.  Respect your future relationship.  Isaac could trust Rebekah in marriage because she was trustworthy before they were married.

Has God called you to marriage?  One day, He may bring your path across the path of another and show you that this is the one to marry.  Until that day comes, work at being the Christian God wants you to be, developing these Godly characteristics in your life.  Having these 4 characteristics will help you to have stable emotional well-being.

In my life, the Lord blessed the desire for marriage only after I stopped “looking” for a wife.  When I buckled down to what the Lord had called me to, the Lord brought my wonderful wife into my life.   Let Psalm 37:4 be true in your life: “Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.”  Marriage is such an important God-given institution.  It can make your life grand or make your life a disaster if entered into flippantly.  Be patient, wait on the Lord, and seek His will.