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20 entries from April 2008

The Ultimate Odd Couple

He does the laundry.....
.....I mow the lawn

He loves the beach.....
.....I crave the mountains

He wants room service.....
.....Give me camping

Tall            Short
Shy            Not
Brainiac      Blonde
Spicy          Mild
In love          In love

When I turned my life over to Jesus, he promised me a life journey filled with adventure, growth, triumph, a few defeats and love.

He gave me my husband.

And….the journey has never been boring!!! With so many oddities in our house we cannot help but laugh with each other, grow together, rise to the challenges as a team and fall more deeply in love. Never boring and I am having a ball!

I am celebrating my husband and thanking the Lord for the many ways this man amazes me. Be blessed and happy Thursday, Lynn

For more Thankful Thursday blessings, visit Iris at Sting My Heart.

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The Meaning of Love

HeartclothAfter looking at John, I’m finding my interest sparked now by Peter. We know Peter denied Christ three times, then in John 21, Jesus asks if Peter loves him three times. I love the symbolism here, and again, God brings more than one purpose to light.

Just as Peter denied Christ three time, Jesus gives Peter the chance to “choose” him three times thereby reaffirming Peter’s place in relationship to God’s kingdom and also to Christ himself.

If we dig a little deeper though into the Greek meaning behind the words, two different words are used for love.

The first time Christ asks Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?” he uses agape, which portrays love as volitional (a choice) and self-sacrificing. Peter answers him, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.” But he uses phileo which means a brotherly type of love with common interests.

The second time Christ asks Peter this question, he again uses the agape form (“Do you truly love me?”). And again, Peter answers the same, using the phileo form of love.

Finally, a third time, Jesus asks Peter, “Do you love me?” Only this time he too uses the phileo form of love and in a sense he’s asking Peter, “Are you really my friend?” Peter didn’t quite seem to catch on to what was going on, and though hurt, he affirms his love for Christ in the same form he had the previous two times, phileo.

I almost wonder if Peter was afraid to confess such devotion. Had he really had time to process that the man he’d once professed was the Messiah, then denied, then watched crucified had really come back to life? He and the other disciples had gone from the mountain top experience of being in the presence of the Son of God on a daily basis, to seeing what they perceived as all their hopes broken just as Christ’s body had been. Perhaps Peter struggled with his belief, or more importantly was afraid to hope.

Phileo love is a relatively easy place to be. We can love someone who likes the same things we do, thinks the same way we do, and especially shares the same beliefs we do. But in the unequally yoked marriage, this form of love doesn’t work for long. (And I believe this is true for marriage in general.) We aren’t in such a mutual relationship. Our spouse doesn’t share our same beliefs and thus the grounds for the phileo form of love can quickly turn into bitter resentment.

So what’s the key? Why does Christ call us to an agape form of love? A love based upon a decision, not a feeling? A love that is self-sacrificing and not self-serving?

The main difference between the two is where you are in the equation. What’s you’re motivation? Philoe implies affiliation for mutual benefit. Agape is a commitment without expectation of anything in return. You’re either smack dab in the middle of it, looking to satisfy your own needs through mutual affiliation, or your not even looking to yourself but have turned your eyes upward and decided to love that person no matter the cost.

Just like Christ did for us…

By the time Peter wrote the letters of 1Peter 1-3, his love for Jesus had become agape. He was a man totally sold out for Christ. Perhaps walking with his Savior and being empowered by the Holy Spirit enabled him to overcome whatever reservations remained in his human heart.

My guess is Peter made the choice to love as Christ asked him too, and then trusted Jesus to supply the ability to do so. And perhaps what Jesus was really asking Peter that fateful day, was not do you love me, but do you choose to love me?

He asks us this too. And I say, “I do.”

Praying and believing,
Dineen

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GREEN

Today I want to share an email letter I received from one of my dear friends. Her heart for God and His creation is apparent. The timing of this letter is perfect as Tuesday was Earth Day. Be Blessed, Lynn

HAPPY EARTH DAY FRIENDS!! LET’S GO GREEN!!!


"In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth... God saw all that he had made, and it was very good." (Genesis 1:1, 31)

What better way than to begin my letter to you, my friends about an important Day and time in our Earth’s life. For several years I have made conscience efforts to change the way my family and I treat our Earth. After all it is the only longest living evidence of what our Lord our God has made for his children to inhabit. Knowing this day when we acknowledge and make ourselves aware of the value of our Earth, I have been thinking of what I would write to my children and to you about this year’s Earth Day. Therefore, this year I did something different.

I sat quietly and listened. I listened to the winds that have been blowing, to sounds of the leaves on the trees in my back yard, to water draining down the drains of my lawn, to the birds chirping to one another, to dogs barking at the wind and ultimately I believe in the wind I heard our Creator’s voice. His voice was showing me everything he had created and that yes indeed it was all good!

"If you follow my statutes and keep my commandments and observe them faithfully, I will give you your rains in their season, and the land shall yield its produce, and the trees of the field shall yield their fruit." (Leviticus 26:3-4)

So what can I do? Is what I am already doing enough? I hope we are asking ourselves these questions. I hope what I model to my children by the way I live and take care of our own little parcel of Earth they will learn to carry on these habits. Habits which I hope will help save the Earth for future generations.

Gradually over the last three years, I have switched all the lights in my house to CFLs – thank goodness CFLS come in all sizes and shapes now. So even my Dining Room chandelier has CFLs. I switched to Earth-friendly cleaning products by companies such as Shaklee, Seventh Generation and now even Clorox offers an Earth friendly product line. Using detergents that are high in concentration is a great way to save on the impact to our Earth. It helps cut down on the number of plastic containers that will end up in our landfills. These containers do not decompose.

Also, last year our newest addition to our routine at home has been two new trash containers in our home. Our family makes a conscience habit of separating our trash in the house by recycling. We have a can for paper, plastic, tin, foam and anything marked with a recycling symbol and number on it. Another can is for pop cans and bottles. The third can is for waste that we can’t recycle.

This year the newest thing I discovered is recycling my shopping bags. I know.... What a guilt I used to get about always throwing away these plastic bags. As a super busy mom I just didn’t have the time or forethought to put reusable shopping bags in my car to take to the store. Better still, I began to purchase reusable shopping bags. And, I remember to put them in my car to reuse and reuse.

"If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land." (2 Chronicles 7:13-14)
"The earth dries up and withers, the world languishes and withers, the heavens languish together with the earth. The earth lies polluted under its inhabitants; for they have transgressed laws, violated the statutes, broken the everlasting covenant. Therefore a curse devours the earth; its inhabitants suffer for their guilt." (Isaiah 24:4-6)

It is up to us to teach our children how to save our Earth and give their grandchildren a safe and healthy Earth to live on. Our Lord our God has given us his commandments bazillions of years ago in the Bible reminding us to take care of the Earth and if we don’t, there would be consequences. Let’s just equate it to the Father telling us to Clean Up our Rooms or else! ;-) Isn’t that what we tell our kids?

There are so many ways we can make a difference to help make our Earth a better place to live and last for generations to come. I suggest starting slow. Do something that you know can be comfortable and easy for your family. Even if it is just shopping for products that have an earth-friendly sticker on them, organics for instance. Or maybe you just recycle your grocery bags? Heck screw in just a couple of CFLs. Chris and I have noticed in the three years we have been using them, we have saved almost $100 on our electric bill.

Well, I know this is a lengthy letter and I apologize. But I care about you and I want us to always be together on this beautiful planet. I hope you will consider what I have written and if you would like me to help you get started on ways to make a difference, let me know. I have many more ideas and ways that we use here at our home that I am sure we can find that one thing you can do to help save our Earth. :-)

I love you guys and God Bless our Happy Earth!

HAPPY EARTH DAY!!

Kerilyn

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Thankful Thursday

Luke 18:16 (NIV) Jesus called the children to him and said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.

I spent four days this past weekend with 85 middle school kids. These are kids who are 11, 12, and 13 years old and start middle school as chubby faced babies. They depart three short years later with facial hair, curves, and attitude. Imported_photos_00099_2

I am sure you remember these years. Kids find themselves struggling with self-esteem issues, sorting out the social pecking order. They discover their bodies are growing an inch a month and the schoolwork is just plain hard.

Ten chaperones, the band director, and the school principal traveled to San Francisco where the kids participated in a competition with bands from the west. I made a discovery on this trip. I discovered there are really great kids in Middle School.

Middle School kids often get a bad rap but my experience proved different. Sure there were a few ornery knuckleheads and some girls who could talk and talk and talk. Did I say they could talk…. I mean all night long and then they wanted to text all day.Imported_photos_00125

But these kids pull it together to wear concert dresses, tuxedos and behave better than many adults. 85 kids playing every sort of instrument in perfect time was a glory to behold and a wonder to hear.

Our band director is an amazing man. Thanks Mr. H.Imported_photos_00156


The kids took home BOTH first place trophies and out scored every band in the two-day competition, including High School bands.

I am praising the Lord for kids, especially Middle School Kids. Jesus could see their innocence and potential. So do I.

Matthew 18:10 (NIV) "See that you do not look down on one of these little ones. For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven."
Mark 10:13-16 (NIV) People were bringing little children to Jesus to have him touch them, but the disciples rebuked them. 14When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. 15I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it." 16And he took the children in his arms, put his hands on them and blessed them.
Imported_photos_00121

Have a blessed Thursday. Thank you for sharing this triump with my daughter and me. Be Blessed, Lynn

For more Thankful Thursday blessings, visit Iris at Sting My Heart.

Imported_photos_00141

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More about John...

591856_modern_stained_glassThe next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, "Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! This is the one I meant when I said, 'A man who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.' I myself did not know him, but the reason I came baptizing with water was that he might be revealed to Israel." John 1:29-31 (NIV)

The next day John was there again with two of his disciples. When he saw Jesus passing by, he said, "Look, the Lamb of God!"

When the two disciples heard him say this, they followed Jesus. Turning around, Jesus saw them following and asked, "What do you want?"

They said, "Rabbi" (which means Teacher), "where are you staying?"

"Come," he replied, "and you will see."

So they went and saw where he was staying, and spent that day with him. It was about the tenth hour.

Andrew, Simon Peter's brother, was one of the two who heard what John had said and who had followed Jesus. The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him, "We have found the Messiah" (that is, the Christ). And he brought him to Jesus.

Jesus looked at him and said, "You are Simon son of John. You will be called Cephas" (which, when translated, is Peter). — John 1:35-42 (NIV)

Several of you let me know that Sunday’s post really challenged you. I think that’s what God had in mind, because like you, it truly challenged me. Yet I find John is still walking around in my head, as if his story still needs to be told. Or perhaps the writer in me is just trying to understand a character not well defined in the Bible.

What struck me from the above verses was how the two disciples following John left him and followed Jesus. One of whom was Peter, the one who Jesus planned to build his church upon. Again the picture shows John’s mission of preparing things for Jesus. He enlisted these two men for the Messiah’s cause and then released them to the Lord he’d faithfully served.

But did he wonder? Did he watch these two men go with Jesus and long to go with them? Did he wonder why he wasn’t destined to be one of the twelve—a confidant and friend to the long awaited One?

After all, he’d spent his whole life preparing for this time, didn’t he? At least as far as what we’re told in the Bible, his life course was set from the womb. And as we know from God’s Word in Psalm 139, even before that.

We could argue that John didn’t wish or long to be a part of this select group, because his calling was as necessary as the disciples. He had his place, his roll to play in a most important story. But I can’t help thinking that some small and very human part of him wanted to be included, to be like the rest. To fit into this elite crowd, instead of walking a seemingly lonely path to his death.

How often have we found ourselves in this very same position? Wishing we were some place else. Comparing our position with others and longing for the same circumstances. Watching couples at church, and aching to know, even just for a moment, what it feels like to have your spouse at your side, worshipping the one true God. Longing to know what it’s like to pray with your spouse over the issues you’re both facing together. Desperate for your children to see you both united by a common faith.

Maybe John did feel left out at times and maybe he did wish he could be one of the disciples instead of missing all the action with Jesus while he sat in a prison. But he must have overcome these feelings and doubts, because even when it meant risking everything, he did what he’d been sent to do. He spoke the truth and stayed his course.

The path of the unequally yoked is one of the hardest I’ve ever had to walk and am still walking. It’s easy to get lost in wishes, wonderments and longings, and miss the big picture. John may not have had the glory of the twelve, but he proved himself faithful and never wavered in his service. He may have had doubts, but he didn’t run away or give up.

Perhaps his resolve and strength came from having the Holy Spirit. John wasn’t set on his mission and left to flounder, just as we aren’t either. Jesus sent reassurance to John, letting him know his cause was just and complete. And he praised John for what he’d done.

And in those glimpses I catch the reality of John. He didn’t come to serve men but to serve Christ. In the end, it didn’t matter how he fit in or what he did or didn’t have. He fulfilled his calling to prepare the way for Jesus. As simple as that.

John kept his eyes on Jesus. He knew it wasn’t about him but about the mighty God he served. And that’s where I find inspiration. John’s story wasn’t about him, it was about Jesus.

And preparing the way.

Praying, believing, and preparing…
Dineen

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Romance Novel

Contributor at:

Do you have a dream, an aspiration which is so fantastic that only God could achieve it? Join me at Laced With Grace today and let's dream together.

Be Blessed, Lynn

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Weekend Devotion—What about John?

591856_modern_stained_glassThey came to John and said to him, "Rabbi, that man who was with you on the other side of the Jordan—the one you testified about—well, he is baptizing, and everyone is going to him."

To this John replied, "A man can receive only what is given him from heaven. You yourselves can testify that I said, 'I am not the Christ but am sent ahead of him.' The bride belongs to the bridegroom. The friend who attends the bridegroom waits and listens for him, and is full of joy when he hears the bridegroom's voice. That joy is mine, and it is now complete. He must become greater; I must become less." — John 3:26-30

John the Baptist has been on my mind this week. I wonder what he felt when he saw Jesus with the Twelve. Did he wish to be one of those chosen men, constantly in the presence of the Son of God? Did he look longingly at this group, wondering why he'd been set apart? Or did he actually have the better job?

Even as an unborn baby, John seemed to know what his life was about and for. In utero, he "leaped for joy" at the sound of Mary's voice. (Luke1:44) Before he was even born, his path was set—what he would eat, how he'd dress, and what his mission would be. He was even filled with the Holy Spirit from birth.

But still...did he wonder, question, or sometimes even desire to switch places with one of the disciples? Or was he completely at peace with his place in preparing the way for Jesus?

Perhaps the answer in his words, "He must become greater; I must become less." Even when sitting in prison John never doubted the coming of the Messiah. He may have sent his men question Jesus if he was the one, but knew to expect someone. (Matt. 11:2-3)

Lately, I've come to see myself in a similar position. You could say I'm like John to my husband, preparing for the day when Jesus does come and lay claim on my husband's life. At times God seems to reveal my mission on a daily basis, bit by bit. Other times, he gives me a sense of the role I now play in my husband's life B.C. (before Christ) and will play A.C. (after Christ).

One thing's certain though. This is my mission. I know without a doubt that God has placed me here for this time and this reason, to be instrumental in my husband's salvation.

May I be so bold as to say, you are too? Has God placed you exactly where you are to "prepare the way" for Jesus?

Are you ready to be like John?

Praying and believing,
Dineen

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Lessons from the Campground

Happy Friday!

I am away this weekend, traveling with my daughter and her Middle School Band. We are competing in San Francisco. I am one of about 10 chaperones who will be on a buss for a total of 16 hours with about 60 middle school boys and girls. I am scared!!! Can any one say a prayer??? *grin*

I want to share a post with you today that I originally shared at Christian Women Online about a year ago. Our family goes camping a few times a year. Each time I am delighted that God travels with us and never fails to provide me with a life message. To follow is one experience I will never forget. I hope you enjoy,

Better Than Reality TV

Friday afternoon we arrived at the campground. We bailed out of the car and began to unload the gear; sleeping bags, cook stove, food bins, and the most dreaded piece of camping equipment known to marriage, the tent.

This year we brought with us a brand new tent, still in the box. I spied the beast lying on the ground, knowing what must ensue. Looking around I was relived to see the campground was empty with the exception of a retired couple sitting quietly in their lawn chairs in front of their trailer about 100 feet away.

I approached the box, cut the tape and out slid the biggest pile of nylon and connect-the-sticks I have ever seen. The contraption sleeps ten. Why a family of three needs a tent this size, I still cannot explain.

Dragging the tent around on the site, I called to my husband for help. Thus the event commenced; the raising of the tent. This is a hotly contested battle of wit and patience between a husband and a wife. If television wanted a truly unrefined reality show, Raise the Tent, would win hands down. Two minutes into the set up, orders were shouted, my husband was obviously blind to the logic of my instructions. This became readily apparent from the look on his face.

A retort from my frustrated spouse was foreseeable. The sound level increased. I glanced over at older couple who sat smiling at their reading materials, afraid to look up for fear they would break into hysterics.

Precisely at this moment in all tent-raising events, children mysteriously disappear. My daughter retreated to the creek, suddenly captivated with the rocks at the bottom.

I lowered my voice but the yelling continued in what I call, snake whisper. It is still yelling just at a hissing level. I am sure some of you can relate. The older couple is no longer watching covertly, they sit mesmerized by our show activity.

Finally the Holy Spirit became fed up and tapped upon my heart. He reminded me I no longer needed to be in control. In the midst of our squabbling I saw my husband, a gift from God. I saw a man who has made me a better woman. The bickering diminished and the tent went up quickly.

My husband and I are spiritually mismatched in our marriage and although my husband has yet to discover the truth of Christ for himself, Christ is alive and active in our marriage. Christ’s supernatural power brings us through the arguing, disagreements, and tent construction. I look back upon my marriage journey and see Christ standing with us. He has been working through my nonbelieving husband to smooth my rough edges of selfishness and desire to control.

My spouse and I are the ultimate odd couple. Our back grounds and beliefs are vastly different, which makes our marriage, our happy and fulfilling marriage, a miracle.

Handholding

An hour later, I sat at the picnic table waiting for our friends who were joining us to settle into their campsite. Their daughter wandered over for a chat. I asked her, “Did your mom and dad getting everything set up?”

She replied, “Yes, but yelling was involved.”

I laughed out loud knowing God was alive and well in the next campsite!

1 Peter 3:1-4 (The Message) The same goes for you wives: Be good wives to your husbands, responsive to their needs. There are husbands who, indifferent as they are to any words about God, will be captivated by your life of holy beauty. What matters is not your outer appearance—the styling of your hair, the jewelry you wear, the cut of your clothes—but your inner disposition.

May the God of the Universe be with you this weekend and at every campsight you visit this summer. Be blessed, Lynn

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To Our Readers...

Img_0169Today I would like to dedicate this post to our readers. You've given Lynn and I the privilege of sharing our lives with you, and you've even allowed us to step in the gap with prayers and encouragement for many of you as well. When I think of what God is doing, how He's allowed us to participate in this ministry, I'm so humbled.

There's no mistaking God's great purpose. Paul even speaks of this in 2 Corinthians 1:3-7

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows. If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer. And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort.

It's such a huge undertaking to reach out and touch another person's life, to encourage, uplift and edify. To share something so painful, and to be rewarded by seeing another person comforted—their burden eased just a bit.

To be a witness to hope restored, faith strengthened...God glorified.

So I'm thanking you all today, for speaking into my life and allowing me to speak into yours. It is truly an honor. This ministry is so vital. Lynn and I are blessed to be a part of it and a part of your lives.

We are so blessed...by you.

Praying and believing,
Dineen

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When Your Best Isn't Good Enough

I had concluded I was a hindrance to my husband. I was not serving the Lord with all of my heart because I was torn between honoring my husband and obeying the Holy Spirit moving with in me.

Simple choice? Sounds simple, but wasn’t. You see my husband and me were like fire and kerosene…EXPLOSIVE. Have you every heard the analogy if you smack a horse in the face every time he walks up to you, then when you want to ride and go to put the bridle on him he will resist and run away? That is the way we were. He could give me a look or have that “tone” in his voice and I would automatically go into a defense mode.

I would start quoting scriptures to him to “prove” that he was failing as a father, husband, and a man. He wanted no part of my “religion.” It was so bad that we would go days and weeks with out talking. We could pass each other in the house and turn our backs so there would not be any eye contact. Yes we even had separate bedrooms. I did not have a marriage…I had a glimpse of hell.

Why did I stay? The Lord would not give me peace in leaving. I would pray that God would place a godly man in my life so that we could be united as one to serve Him. My co-workers had no idea I was married. This is how separate we were.

I tried so hard to be that godly wife that wins her husband to the Lord but I had no clue as to how badly I was failing. I was constantly putting him down, telling him all of the wrong things he was doing comparing him to that “perfect” godly husband in my mind. He could not live up to that. No one can!

God dealt with me about being a godly wife and I wanted to please God, but the harder I tried, the more mistakes I made, and my heart grew colder toward my husband. My faith grew weak. I knew God could save him, but I was a Martha. Martha knew the Lord could have saved Lazarus if he had been there but when it came time to roll the stone away from the grave she said, “Surely he will smell.” She lacked the faith that the Lord could raise him from the dead (John 11: 20-22, 39). I lacked the faith. Therefore, after 25 years of marriage I sat him down and told him I could no longer live this way.

In January 2008, my New Years resolution was to leave my husband. I was tired of the fighting and feeling so alone. Satan was using my loneliness to tempt me into sin. No matter if we were together or apart I wanted him saved. I explained to him that the time had come that I needed to move on…I had given up. More than that I had allowed Satan to tempt me and never saw it coming.

I started packing, preparing to leave. Through the whole process I continued to pray for my husband but most of all myself because deep with in me I knew my place was with my husband but I refused to allow those emotions to surface. I was “afraid” of the pain I would endure if I continued to stay. I wanted to search for that “godly man” to share my life.

On the 27th day of January my husband walks in to my bedroom and asks me if I would like him to drive to Church. I wanted to make a big fuss and say I’m glad you see how much you need the Lord. God closed my mouth and all I said was, “that would be nice.” He has been by my side in Church ever since. I praise God for that.

1Peter 4:11 If any man speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus.

I was not glorifying God with my attitude toward my husband. I was doing what I “thought” to be right but my best still failed. When I took me out of it, and let God have it, my prayers were answered, and today, my husband’s name is written down in Heaven.

AngelaNascroll

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Weekend Devotion by Guest Contributor - Amy

2 Kings 6:16-17
"Don't be afraid," the prophet answered. "Those who are with us are more than those who are with them." And Elisha prayed, "O LORD, open his eyes so he may see." Then the LORD opened the servant's eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.

There are daily spiritual battles going on in our lives and in the lives of our loved ones. We see things with physical eyes but we don't see what's going on spiritually - God is there!

For many years I struggled with my husband's lack of passion in his Christian walk with God. It seemed that I was thriving but he just wasn't interested. We were two different people living two different lives - we were like chalk and cheese spiritually. He went from being this totally on-fire man for God to someone who used swear words daily, he developed an anger problem, we were on the verge of divorce last year until God stopped me in my tracks and said "Amy! You’ve done what you can - now step back and let me do my job.”

Those words from God were SO strong that I immediately just shut my mouth and didn't mention another spiritual thing to him until two months later my husband approached me and said how God had been chasing him and how he'd been ignoring Him but he couldn't continue doing it any longer. Oh, that was a day of rejoicing for me!

It was a HUGE lesson though. Just because I couldn't see or hear what God was doing in my husband's life doesn't mean nothing was happening. God knows our struggles and He knows our hearts - He knows us so intimately and way better than we know ourselves after all He created us. There's a saying that goes "read between the lines". That's often the way it is between the physical world and the spiritual world. Just because you don't see it doesn't mean it's not happening. It is very important to let God fight our battles for us after all He CAN do anything and His ways are higher than our ways.

Amy

Visit my blog @ petticoat-lane.co.nz/home

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Breakthrough Praying for Breakthrough Living

The Conclusion

Rejoicing

"We must begin to believe that God, in the mystery of prayer, has entrusted us with a force that can move the Heavenly world, and can bring its power down to earth." Andrew Murray

Today is the last post in this series. Can you believe we started this journey on January 11th? We covered a ton of thoughts and discovered the real power we have as believers in Jesus when we pray.

I could probably write for the rest of my life and still not scratch the surface of all that we know and can practice in prayer. This series did not have time to look at spiritual warfare in prayer. However, last year we did a study in Ephesians 6. Are we at War? (read it here)

We also have not covered praying specifically for lost loved ones and how to partner with Christ in the salvation experience. I hope to work on this in a few weeks.

There are so many aspects of prayer that I am just discovering. Recently the crowd at 1Peter3Living began to fast and pray together. Miraculous work in the spiritual realm took place because we were obedient to fasting and prayer. When I get my mind and spirit around all that happens when you fast, I will share it with you.

Today I depart from this series and leave with you my thoughts on prayer. I also want to thank all of you who tuned in each Friday to learn more about praying. Your words of encouragement were priceless. Your thoughts and experiences in your own prayer life were amazing and helpful.

What I know about prayer is this:

  • God hears every word.
  • Pray with belief.
  • Never give up. Never surrender. Persistent prayer is priceless.
  • Pray with Jesus by your side. (Read this visual if you have not read it before. It will change your perception of how you pray before the throne of God.)
  • Powerful prayers are those spoken within God’s will.
  • Learn to listen to God. You can recognize His voice and answers to prayer.
  • Interceding for others is powerful and productive.
  • and finally, more of you Lord, less of me.

    Every Monday the Lord brings new people or at least new or repeated requests before me. I pray faithfully for each request each morning for seven days. May I pray for you? I would be deeply honored to bring you before the throne of the Most High and ask for His hand to move in your life. Leave me your prayer request. I take each one very seriously and I promise you this. God will hear about your life.

    Thank you for stopping in here today. I am humbled you would spend your valuable time with me. Be Blessed, Lynn

    To view this entire series, click here.

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    Thankful Thursday

    I hail from an extremely large family. I have relatives that are young and old, and even ancient. My grandmothers have gray hair and red hair, brown, blonde, blue, and even shades of pastels. I have kin who live on every continent of our world. I am blessed with brothers and sisters who are tall and skinny, short and stout, loud and quiet and everywhere in between.

    I am sure you have figured out that my large family has one Father. We are united in a common bond of love and friendship I am unable to explain to “outsiders.”

    There is an instant trust among us. A kindred spirit of hope. A heart filled with concern over one another. I am amazed at how the family bond extends through out our church. It expands in our online community.

    Today I received an email from one of my sisters who lives in China. We met through this blog and have been friends now for almost a year. I have prayed for her and she has prayed for me. We share a genuine love and concern for one another and each other’s family. Yet, we have never met face to face.

    The email today was filled with notes about her job and her future husband whom she has yet to meet. She told me about a new Christian friend she met and shared fellowship. She also told me that she is unable to log on to this website anymore because the government has blocked her access in China. She said it is likely due to the approaching Olympics.

    Politics aside here. I am fascinated by this friendship, this gift, of meeting one of God’s precious children who lives on the other side of the world.

    I am delighted each time I am able to interact with each of you. You are a gift and family to me. I am thrilled to share the hope we have in Jesus when you visit here or when I stop at your place.

    I have shared coffee (virtual) with many of you. I pray for so many and so many of you pray for me. You would not find this kind of selflessness, encouragement, support or love in any other place but the family of God.

    O Lord, I give you thanks for this amazing family. Each and every one of them. Lord, there are times I can look across the isle of the grocery store and know the woman standing on the other side is a Christian. Thank you for the unique connection we share, Your Holy Spirit. It unites us as one. Lord, what a fantastic family you have. I am humbled to be called your child. In Jesus name, Amen.

    For more Thankful Thursday blessings, visit Iris at Sting My Heart.


    Contentment

    813780_thumbs_upHave you ever had one of those weeks where you notice a common theme? The subject of a devotional, an email that comes over your favorite prayer loop, Sunday’s sermon, this weeks subject at your small group Bible study…

    Those are the times I pay close attention, because I know God has something teach or show me. This has happened over the last week and the subject has been about contentment.

    Paul touches on this subject very clearly in Philippians 4:11-13:

    I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength.

    At first glance, it’s easy to assign material needs to these verses, and you would be correct. But Paul addresses a deeper level in the latter part of verse 12—“being content in any and every situation.”

    On daily basis, we struggle with this issue in our unequally yoked marriages. How do we find contentment in the midst of conflict? How do we reach the point of saying like Paul did, “I am content in my situation?”

    First, there’s one fallacy in the questions I posed above. If you’ll notice my emphasis is on “we.” Yet if you look at verse 13, Paul gives us the answer to those “how” questions.

    We are not capable of finding this contentment alone. Paul gives all the credit to Jesus, totally and completely. He recognized his own limitations and believed completely in Christ to make up for what he lacked. And more.

    But the true, underlying theme here goes even deeper than contentment and is true in any situation, no matter what it may be. And I can say this with certainty. Keeping our eyes on God is the key—to contentment, to peace, to hope, to perseverance.

    He’s our one and only answer to everything we need. And more.

    Praying and believing,
    Dineen

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    Marriage Monday - Happiness or Holiness

    1st Monday Every Month at Chrysalis
    Want this button?
    By majority vote, our topic this Monday will be, "Marriage: For Happiness or Holiness?”

    This is not a trick question. It’s an opportunity to share your wisdom, Scriptural knowledge, experience, quotes, or other insights you might have.—e-Mom @ Chrysalis.

    When I read the topic for this month, the first thing I thought was, this is a trick question.

    I began to think about the subject and was drawn to the word “happiness.” I can’t help thinking about how women enter marriage. The wedding day is the culmination of months of effort focused mainly on the bride. Her knight in shinning armor arrives at the church to whisk her away and they live happily ever after.

    However, as Florence Littauer says, “After Every Wedding Comes a Marriage.”

    Okay, I was one of those brides and today, after 16 years of marriage, is a great day to ask, Marriage: For Happiness? For Holiness?

    My answer: A resounding, YES!

    I am blown away by the brilliance of our God. His purposes are served in every holy way through the intimate relationship of marriage.

    Genesis 2:20b-24 But for Adam no suitable helper was found. So the LORD God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man's ribs and closed up the place with flesh. Then the LORD God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man. The man said, "This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called 'woman,' for she was taken out of man."

    For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.

    In God’s wisdom he places together two people to travel life together. In God’s hilarity he places together two people who are created vastly different, knowing it will take a lifetime to understand each other and to fully reach our individual potential and our potential as a couple.

    It is in the journey where God crafts our spirit. God works through our spouse to grind away the edges of harshness and selfishness in our character. It is the years of living together where our Lord cuts away our shallow beliefs and pettiness. It is only through the commitment of marriage would we allow ourselves to be smelted into fine silver.

    I believe in marriage. It is a sacred and blessed union designed by God, to serve His purposes. God designed marriage as the vessel to build up holy and happy people who love Him and each other.

    I believe my marriage to a nonbeliever is serving God’s purposes. I have shared in the past that my relationship with Jesus is strong and vibrant today because my unbelieving spouse asked me the hard questions about God. Compelled to answer these tough questions, I searched the scriptures and fell in love with Jesus over and again. My faith deepened and my prayer life became powerful.

    Next to Jesus, my marriage is the most important relationship I will experience on this earth.

    So the answer to the question, “Marriage for: Happiness” is yes and so much more. I am blessed with a remarkable relationship where I share intimacy, trust, humor, friendship, failure, hurts, weakness, strengths, and a love I didn’t know I could feel. I look ahead to the years of growing old together. I smile because I know happiness and contentment will be our companions.

    I see my marriage as a tool of the Silversmith.

    Refining Silver

    Malachi 3:3 says: "He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver".
    This verse puzzled some women in a Bible study and they wondered what this statement meant about the character and nature of God. One of the women offered to find out the process of refining silver and get back to the group at their next Bible Study.

    That week, the woman called a silversmith and made an appointment to watch him at work. She didn't mention anything about the reason for her interest beyond her curiosity about the process of refining silver.

    As she watched the silversmith, he held a piece of silver over the fire and let it heat up. He explained that in refining silver, one needed to hold the silver in the middle of the fire where the flames were hottest as to burn away all the impurities. The woman thought about God holding us in such a hot spot then she thought again about the verse that says: "He sits as a refiner and purifier of silver."

    She asked the silversmith if it was true that he had to sit there in front of the fire the whole time the silver was being refined. The silversmith answered that yes, he not only had to sit there holding the silver, but he had to keep his eyes on the silver the entire time it was in the fire. If the silver was left a moment too long in the flames, it would be destroyed!

    The woman was silent for a moment. Then she asked the silversmith, "How do you know when the silver is fully refined?" He smiled at her and answered, "Oh, that's easy - when I see my image in it."

    O Lord, see your reflection in our marriages!

    Be Blessed, Lynn

    For more Marriage Monday, visit Chrysalis.

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    Weekend Devotion — God of Peace

    947913_tombstones_2_2For God is not a God of disorder but of peace. — 1 Corinthians 14:33

    Paul made this statement in his letter to the church in Corinth to make a point. The original Greek word "akatastasia" means confound, confusion, instability, or tumult. The worship services there had become disorganized and their motivations had turned more self-centered than God-centered. Paul gave specific instructions to guide them back to order and peace.

    Yet this statement epitomizes God's character as well. He truly is a God of peace and desires the same in the lives of his children. As unequally yoked spouses, we often find we live in frequent states of confusion and even instability. Frequently we walk a fine line between our unbelieving spouse and maintaining our faith. This is part of the territory—something we must come to accept and deal with, but thankfully not alone. Even in these situations, God desires us to have peace.

    The key is to keep our lives God-centered. Then we too can have peace, even in the midst of turbulent and troubled waters. We can always find our peace in Him.

    Praying and believing,
    Dineen

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    Thankful Thursday

    I always love to read Thankful Thursday posts. I try to visit as many participants as possible each week. I thrill to read comments from women about their husbands.

    When I find myself frustrated in my unequally yoked marriage, I turn my heart to thankfulness. Giving thanks for my husband can cure a bad attitude every time.

    Today, I am thankful for my husband.

    He has put up with me for 16 years….need I say more?
    He is kind
    He is bright…. (I mean scary bright)
    He is tall, dark and blue eyed
    He is faithful……to me, his children, his parents, his employer, his friends
    He loves my cooking….
    He thrills at my touch
    He is my man

    I am a thankful woman.

    Have a blessed day. What are you thankful for?

    For more Thankful Thursday blessings, visit Iris at Sting My Heart.


    Be Sure

    55446_catch_the_lightThe Bible defines faith as “being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” (Heb. 11:1) This verse has always had special meaning for me. I’ve studied the flow of each word, and the nuances of its meaning. I’ve embraced its truth within my spirit where its lies deeply affirmed. And now I’m coming to see a new perspective from this verse I’ve called “friend” for so long.

    I’ve always placed substantial weight on the last part, “certain of what we do not see.” Faith isn’t tangible. Perhaps this is the biggest hurdle to the unbeliever, to have faith in something that can’t be proven by science, by men. Faith, in and of itself, isn’t provable either. It just is.

    Many of you know of the journey I’m on, that God shared his plan for my husband’s salvation with me almost seven years ago. That time is almost here, possibly within days, yet I’m somewhat astonished to find myself doubting.

    Why?

    Is it because I can’t see anything happening? I’ve believed this promise from God for so long. Never doubted. Even when questioned and asked, “What if it doesn’t happen?” I couldn’t answer because the thought had never entered my mind. I just knew.

    But my certainty, which has been in place since before I expected to see anything, has become uncertainty in the face of those very same circumstances. Such a paradox!

    Are you laughing at me yet? (It’s okay. I am!)

    Now moving to the first part—“being sure of what we hope for.” I know what I hope for. I’ve hoped all along for my husband’s salvation. That’s a definite! And I know God desires this even more than I do.

    Then my “aha” moment struck. “Being sure” of what I hope for didn’t mean being sure of what I wanted. It’s not like a mother asking a petulant and indecisive child, “Are you sure that’s what you want?”

    It means knowing without a doubt that the very thing or “what” you hope for is meant to be, is ordained in God’s will.

    In the light of this revelation, I understood my doubting. God gave me that sureness seven years ago. I’d simply lost sight of it. And in that loss, I’d also lost my certainty.

    However, (yes, there is a turning point here) today my certainty returned thanks to the prayers of many wonderful and supportive friends who committed to praying for me and my husband yesterday during a set three hour period. A gift I will be eternally grateful for, and I suspect my husband will too.

    I believe their prayers are what renewed my certainty and released me from the doubts the enemy had cleverly placed. I believe their prayers are still working in conjunction with God’s will to bring about his plan set in place seven years ago, and before that even. I believe, my husband will be saved.

    No, I’m sure of it.

    Praying and BELIEVING!
    Dineen

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    Great Opportunities

    Would you like to:
    • Get more out of life?
    • Overcome obstacles?
    • Find clarity in your life’s purpose?
    • Obtain true life balance?
    • Realize your full potential?
    • Increase your productivity?
    • Take advantage of your strengths?

    If you answered yes to any of the above, then coaching is for you. The coaching relationship assists us in accomplishing all of the above because we all need encouragement, accountability, an objective viewpoint and a sounding board from time to time. Coaching provides a safe environment, enabling us to step outside of our comfort zones to generate and implement ideas that we have never tried before. We all need that nudge from time to time in all areas of our lives to become all that we were created to be. A coach will provide that nudge.
    Many of you know that I am a contributor at Laced With Grace. Last month the devotional site offered a great contest to the readers. Again in April, there is another fantastic opportunity. Stop over for a read.

    Once again, Christian Women Online, in conjunction with Art Bookbindery, is sponsoring the “Her Life Reflected,” writing contest. We are looking for essays that tell us how your mother, or a mother that you know has reflected the heart of our Heavenly Father in her life. The winning essay will be one that is both written well, and of most importance, one that reflects God as being the central focus of one's life.

    I am blessed to be a former contributor at Christian Women Online. The ministry of Darlene and CWO inspires and encourages me. Thank you Darlene! Stop in and read about the contest.

    There are a few things going on in April. Hope you have time to participate in both. Be Blessed, Lynn

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