Previous month:
April 2008
Next month:
June 2008

16 entries from May 2008

Are You Weary?

I want to build a house up on this mountain
Way up high where the peaceful waters flow
To quench my thirsty soul
Up on the mountain
- Steven Curtis Chapman (The Mountain)

You've had a long weary day, dinner's done, everyone's eaten, your husband is watching sports on the tv, children are doing their homework, there's been no time for you and you feel like everyone just wants wants wants!

Sound familiar! Yep it's a common thing for us wives and mothers isn't it?

What do you do when you're thirsty? You drink!
What do you do when you're tired? You sleep!
What do you do when you need help? You go to God!

Matthew 6:6
But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen.


God is our almighty counselor, helper, friend, heavenly Father - he's everything! Take some time for you. Go somewhere quiet - it may be you find your garden restful, or close the door in your bedroom pull out your bible and just say nothing. Rest in God's peacefulness. Ask Him what He would like you to read from His word. There's a reason Jesus said the above verse - you can't concentrate or think when there's a multitude of distractions going on. Ask your husband if he can watch the children for a few minutes, if he can't set them up with a game or some homework, put a DVD, video or music on.

You don't need hours and hours of this - even 10 minutes is enough to refresh our busy souls. Looking after you means you're looking after your family.

Amy

Visit my blog Home With Amy.

*****

Share your voice, heart and love in the comments. 

THRIVE in your Spiritually Mismatched Marriage and raise your children to faith. Our books are filled with practical experience and Biblical advice. -click or tap the photo-

SUM Books 4


This Message Is Hereby Posted!

Perhaps it is just me but over the last two weeks I have been in a struggle against evil. I think this weird period began a few weeks ago when the Supreme Court of California overturned the voter approved constitution of marriage between one man and one woman. Four people who sit on this board of judges overruled millions of Californians. How does stuff like this happen?

Struggles with old habits with my unbelieving spouse and a million other issues pounced upon me leaving me feeling defeated. I am not alone. Several of you have written to me who are also struggling in your marriages, finances, death, cancer, fear.......

So, this message is hereby now posted:

To All Evil:

You are hereby now put on notice. I am back, praying with a vengeance. I believe in a Holy, perfect and loving God. The One. The Only. God of the Universe. God Almighty.

To all evil: This God is for me and will never leave me, nor forsake me. He is my shield, my strength. He ONLY wants what is good for me and never evil. He is watching my back, side, and front. He hears ever word I utter so you better be very afraid because I am about to pray down millions of angels upon this earth.

I will be asking for protection and God's holy power to triumph over our circumstances. To change our lives to live in victory. We will shout to everyone we know that it is GOD who rescues, who lifts us up to new adventures and new heights of love and relationships.

I will proclaim to my dying breath that God is real, all-powerful, able to over come all evil. God can and will rescue marriages, save us from depression, alcohol, heartbreak, drugs, video games, hatred, anger, bitterness and unforgiveness.

To all evil: Not only will my God rescue me and all of my friends. He will give us our dreams just because I am asking and because God delights in us. So today be very, very afraid. We will not back down. We will not surrender. We will stand at this moment and say, "We serve the Lord Most High. We always will. Nothing you do to us will ever tear us away from our Jesus."

To all my friends: Believe today we are turning a corner. There ARE changes ahead which will delight us, make us laugh and giggle. There are dreams to be fulfilled and God stands ready to listen and work in our lives. Let's watch and see now what He does.

O, Lord our God. Today we will not be afraid or defeated. Wrap your love around us so tight that we feel 10 feel tall. Nothing can touch us, hurt us, or defeat us. Lord, lead us in YOUR ways and let us surrender our selfishness. Father we trust in you through the transforming love and the powerful, life saving blood of Jesus. It is in His name we ask for your power in our lives. Dispatch those angels now Lord and let us stand ready to do your work. In Jesus name. Amen.

I am thankful for prayer. Be blessed, Lynn

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


Subtle Stealing

Mark 13:22 For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform signs and miracles to deceive the elect if that were possible.

I am going to tell you a story about a dear Christian friend of mine. I am certain not everyone will see this story as I see it. That is okay. I am compelled to share it with you. See if you can find the truth in it. The story to follow is based on actual events.

The details of this drama begin in the summer of 2004. My friend, let's call her Leece, is sure that God has finally answered her prayers. Leece has petitioned the King for months about moving away from her home of thirty years. She is certain this is the day God wants her to list her home for sale and move.

The next day the For Sale sign is posted and sways nicely in the afternoon breeze. It sways and sways and sways for over six months. Doubt steps in and the drama intensifies. Leece begins to ask herself, Did I really hear from God? I was so sure He told me it was finally my time to move. He wants me to start a new season of my life? Why won't my house sell if this is God's will?

This very day, Doubt is joined by Seduction. Seduction telephones Leece. Ya know, Seduction cooes to Leece, "You just need a little extra luck. I'm sure that your house will sell." Seduction motioned to her best friend, Deceit to listen in on the call. Seduction continues, "Leece, I must share with you a miracle, my friend sold her house in one day. Listen to how she did it."

"Hi Leece," Deceit gushed with enthusiasm. "The secret to selling your home is not a good real estate agent, nor location, nor price and especially not prayer. All you need is a four inch plastic statue. You buy this little guy, bury him in your front yard, wait a day and Voila." Deceit and Seduction are grinning with glee across the room at one another. Leece reasons with herself, surely they can't be wrong about this. They are my life-long friends. What harm could there be in a little extra good luck.

A quick visit to the store, a shovel, and the deed is done. The house sells the next week. WOW! Leece quietly tells her circle of friends of her great fortune and how they too can sell their homes quick.

Quite a story isn't it? I love this sweet woman. When she told me this story I was completely surprised how she was deceived into placing an idol in her front yard instead of asking God to sell her home. For her it was a good luck charm but my spirit was grieved knowing the enemy (the idol) received the praise for the quick sale.

Now read the end of the story. The escrow becomes a nightmare. The buyers backout after Leece's moving van arrives to pack everything. The pool pump breaks, she is vandalized, the water heater must be replaced, and the house sits on the market for another six months. Most regrettably there is no money for a new home out of state.

How subtly Satan lurks to draw in even God's chosen.

Lord God, Make us keenly aware of Deceit and Seduction. The enemy waits to exploit our every weakness, our doubts our fears. His efforts are relentless. But we are not afraid! O Lord, let Leece's story be a cautionary reminder that even God's elect can be deceived. Lord, I ask for spiritual perception for every woman who reads this story. Point out any area in our lives where we are deceived and free us from that snare. In Jesus, All-powerful name, Amen.

PS. The statue is now part of a large waste refuse somewhere in the Midwest. Leece sold her home after much prayer and now lives in a wonderful new town where she is starring in a new drama entitled: God, I surrender all.

Originally Posted at: Laced With Grace.

*****

Share your voice, heart and love in the comments. 

THRIVE in your Spiritually Mismatched Marriage and raise your children to faith. Our books are filled with practical experience and Biblical advice. -click or tap the photo-

SUM Books 4


What is Indecent?

I have sat down three different times to write this post. Writing about what is indecent is difficult for several reasons.

First, it is likely I will tread on some extremely controversial issues. Second, I worry these flammable topics will heap unnecessary guilt onto some of us. I know I struggle with this in my own marriage. There are practices in which the Bible states clearly are sinful and my husband does not subscribe to those views.

This is all too common in an unequally yoked marriage. I know many of you struggle with differing worldviews and moral dilemmas. This discord has proven to be one of the most difficult areas in my own marriage.

Let me return to sitting down three different times to write. Each time as I searched God’s word for scripture, I was taken immediately to Romans. Here is what I am to share with you today:

I searched Biblegateway.com looking for the word, indecent: Three Scriptures returned.

The first: Deuteronomy 23:14 For the LORD your God moves about in your camp to protect you and to deliver your enemies to you. Your camp must be holy, so that he will not see among you anything indecent and turn away from you.

This scripture started this journey. I should tell you that as I write these series of posts, I am also completely surprised where God leads. I am always amazed too! You won’t believe where this one is going. Find out at the end.

The second scripture was about Old Testament divorce.

The third is Romans 1:27

Beginning in verse 26. Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. 27In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion.

28Furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done. 29They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, 30slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; 31they are senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless. 32Although they know God's righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.

What is indecent? Sexual sin.

Before we go down that road and I DO intend to post on this, I want to share a story with you.

I am convinced that what is in our home absolutely matters in the spiritual realm. I will give you a personal example.

Several years ago I visited a close relative. I remember walking into this home and immediately I was drawn to this face. It was a sculpture of a head. About five inches tall and wide. It was round, painted white and the face was detailed in black. There was nothing unusually scary about this face but immediately I got the willies. It was some kind of an evil representation. I still feel uneasy just thinking about it. I was impressed that this home was under its control.

On the flip side, I am also convinced that we have angels who regularly are present in our homes. I am certain I saw one in the wee hours of the morning several years ago. With this said, I know that our homes must be rid of items that are offensive to God.

I know, I know, easier said than done in our unequal matrimony. My husband has a tiny replica of an Indian mausoleum which sits on his office desk. It bugs me. But he sees no harm in it. This is one battle I am not going to fight today. However, if he came home and hung a writing from Buddha on the wall, I would freak-out and we would have emotional strong discussions over it.

Because I have demonstrated consistent love and an ongoing commitment to my faith, my husband would not dishonor me with a Buddha wall hanging today. However, always little things continue to enter our home. Mostly they are mine and they say: This is the day the Lord has made let us rejoice and be glad in it.

Question: Do you think there are such things as modern day household idols?
Do you think God is offended to find them in homes?
Would he refuse to abide in a home with these idols?

In April, 2007 I wrote a story for Laced With Grace about a modern day idol that ended up in a Christians yard. This Christian is one of my closest family members. I was shocked to see how easily Satan slipped an idol into her home. I will post this true story here tomorrow.

Next post in this series: Pornography. Is it indecent? After all it doesn’t harm anyone, does it? I have been researching this topic. You are going to be shocked… or not…. I was.

I have some fantastic information, a timely interview, perhaps even an open Q&A with a qualified Psychologist.

Let me leave you with this:

Every second - $3,075.64 is being spent on pornography
Every second - 28,258 Internet users are viewing pornography
Every second - 372 Internet users are typing adult search terms into search engines
Every 39 minutes: a new pornographic video is being created in the United States

Be blessed and remember, we can make a difference in our homes. We have the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. Lynn

*****

Share your voice, heart and love in the comments. 

THRIVE in your Spiritually Mismatched Marriage and raise your children to faith. Our books are filled with practical experience and Biblical advice. -click or tap the photo-

SUM Books 4


Discouragement

859675_book____3This past Sunday I went with my daughter to her church for the first time. When we walked in, I felt comfortable right away. I enjoyed the worship immensely, but it was the sermon that truly had me near tears.

The pastor* spoke about being discouraged, especially if you’re a perfectionist and disappointed because things just haven’t worked out like you expected. I almost jumped out of my seat and yelled, “That’s me!”

Almost.

The past few weeks have been rough and overall, it’s been a challenging year. Hearing him speak these words right to my heart captured my complete attention. I knew I was struggling, but to hear what from so clearly defined was like a cup of cool water to my parched lips. From that point on I had no doubts God intended me to hear this message.

The pastor shared five wise principles to remember in discouraging times:

1. Remember the righteous rise again.

“For though a righteous man falls seven times, he rises again, but the wicked are brought down by calamity.” — Proverbs 24:16

This spoke to me of the hope God instills in us through his Son. As God’s children, we may get knocked and beaten down, but we don’t give up because we know He who is in us is greater than he who is in the world. We cling to the promises of God.

2. Remember friends can help us up.

“A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.” — Proverbs 17:17

I believe relationships are key to our spiritual walk, yet so many of us are too busy to cultivate these friendships. God is all about relationship, and He uses our marriages and friendships to teach us more about him. Without brothers and sisters in Christ, we walk a lonely path. This is what Paul meant when he encouraged the followers to keep meeting. We need one another to stay on track. Church isn’t about following a rule, earning our way into God’s good graces, or getting our spiritual fix for the week. It’s about connecting and worship. We need this!

3. Remember the Word of God never fails.

“Every word of God is flawless; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him.” — Proverbs 30:5

Without God’s Word, we are literally walking in the dark. So often I hear things in movies that are supposedly from the Bible, but often they’re not. They’re either a complete fallacy or a close variation of the truth. And the enemy does this as well! How can we distinguish the truth from something that’s just slightly off center?

And here is where I recognized something I needed to do more. When I’m discouraged, I need to run to God in prayer and to his Word, even though I may not want to. Anything else will leave my stuck in my discouragement. God is our best refuge.

4. Remember victory is the Lord’s.

“The horse is made ready for the day of battle, but victory rests with the Lord.” — Proverbs 21:31

God is the one who brings us through. We can’t be victorious without him. He is the one who will equip us for battle and give us success. Right now I’m clinging to this as well, especially when those prayers aren’t answered as I hoped. I don’t know all the details—I only know what I see. And here is where trusting God is essential. Can we trust Him even when he doesn’t seem to hear us? Can we still believe He is good even when circumstances make no sense whatsoever?

5. Remember where the real power lies.

“If you falter in times of trouble how small is your strength!” — Proverbs 24:10

I loved the picture the pastor painted here. He said if our situation has knocked us down and we stay down, we’re drawing our strength from the wrong place. When we are weak, He is strong. He can pick us up, but we have to call out to him and believe He is there and will help. Again, even as I type this, I’m struggling to believe it. Yet what else can I cling to? If God is not good, then there is no point in hoping. That I can’t accept. A dear woman on the 1Peter3Living loop dubbed me the queen of hope. I refuse to relinquish my title.

James 1: 2 tells us to “consider it pure joy when we face trials of many kinds.” These principles can help us do that. I’ve committed myself to study this lesson through the week so I can rediscover this joy.

And I’m claiming this promise from Isaiah 41:10:

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Lord, I pray you would be with all of us walking in discouragement. Forgive us our unbelief and help us to believe! You, Lord, are good, and You have only our best interests at heart. Help us to remember this even when our circumstances cry out a completely different message. Lord, restore to us the joy of your salvation. Help us back to our feet and be our strength, Father. I beg You, please, reveal your presence to us in some small way as a form of reassurance that you are truly with us. Uphold us with your mighty and righteous right hand so that we may overcome this evil tool of the enemy—discouragement.

In Christ’s Holy and Powerful Name,
Amen!

Praying and believing,
Dineen

*Special thanks to Pastor Tim Wood of Evergreen Valley Church, San Jose, CA


*****

Share your voice, heart and love in the comments. 

THRIVE in your Spiritually Mismatched Marriage and raise your children to faith. Our books are filled with practical experience and Biblical advice. -click or tap the photo-

SUM Books 4


Laced With Grace - What A Mess

Proverbs 31:28a Her children arise and call her blessed;

I don’t know about you but I read this scripture and want to laugh. If you asked my kids about this passage and their mom, you would need to wait 30 minutes while they have hysterics on the floor. Then they would say: ... Hop over to Laced With Grace and find out.

Stop over at Laced With Grace for What a Mess.
I struggle with feelings of failure. Do you?

Contributor at:


*****

Share your voice, heart and love in the comments. 

THRIVE in your Spiritually Mismatched Marriage and raise your children to faith. Our books are filled with practical experience and Biblical advice. -click or tap the photo-

SUM Books 4


What's In Your Camp? The Holy Spirit?

  • Do our physical surrounding impact the spiritual realm?
  • Is it possible to change your surroundings in a peaceful and loving way when your home is divided because of faith?
  • Can you think of one item that must go?
  • Does this scripture still apply to us today and does it matter to God what is in our home?
  • How do we welcome the Holy Spirit into our home?

    I love to ask questions. You probably know that about me. What I love even more is your answers. All of you who have been reading this series have had thought provoking and insightful answers. I encourage you to read the past posts and the answers. Click here for Part I.

    Deuteronomy 23:14 (New International Version) For the LORD your God moves about in your camp to protect you and to deliver your enemies to you. Your camp must be holy, so that he will not see among you anything indecent and turn away from you.

    I have a story to tell. Three years into our marriage I heard the call of my Savior from a distance. I, the Prodigal, ran home to my Father and I dragged my husband along kicking and shouting.

    I remember one of our very first conflicts which arose over faith. I placed a small knick-knack on a table in our house. This tiny item instituted a shouting match over faith. I think the knick-knack was an angel and there was a scripture verse written on it. My husband was outraged. He was offended that I brought this “thing” into our house and told me he was completely embarrassed by the display.

    I remember this exchange because I was completely taken back by his anger. However, this tiny knick-knack was the beginning of a transformation of our home (camp).

    The scripture in Deuteronomy drew me to the importance of our surroundings. Specifically, I believe it applies to our home where we spend the majority of our time. Welcoming the Holy Spirit into our home begins with us. Even in a spiritually divided home we have the Holy Spirit dwelling in us.

    Daily I ask the Lord for a fresh anointing of the Holy Spirit. When I am filled, our home is filled.

    Fast forward, 16 years. Now look at this picture. Scripture_2These scripture references hang in my kitchen above the window. Slow, every so slowly, my husband’s hostility diminished. What is important to know is I didn’t place these items in our home to create tension or out of disrespect for my husband. It is my consistent love for Jesus and that living water flowing from me, which softened my husband’s heart.

    Today knick-knacks fill my home and my husband could care less. You will find books, angels, bible verses, and crosses. Last year my husband gave me a framed original page from a Gutenberg Bible. God has a way of changing people. This guy, who once freaked over a tiny angel, purchased a somewhat-costly single page of a bible for me to hang on the wall. It cracks me up.

    If you walked through my home, you would call me a Jesus freak. I am.

    Over the years my husband has accepted my faith. He no longer sees it as a threat. Living and loving Jesus consistently is the key. This is the hope I want you to cling to when your spouse sees your faith with skepticism and hostility.

    We welcome the Holy Spirit into our home because He lives within us. Evidence of His presence flows from the living waters we simply can’t contain. Our enthusiasm and love leak out of us in every direction which often shows up in the knick-knacks around our house.

    Next Friday: What grieves the Holy Spirit in our camp? Let’ talk about those indecent things.

    Thank you for stopping in today. What are your thoughts about the “stuff” in our homes?

    Be Blessed, Lynn

  • *****

    Share your voice, heart and love in the comments. 

    THRIVE in your Spiritually Mismatched Marriage and raise your children to faith. Our books are filled with practical experience and Biblical advice. -click or tap the photo-

    SUM Books 4


    Thankful Thursday -

    Pressed Down and Shaken Together

    Luke 6:38 (New International Version) Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you."

    I opened up my daily Bible this morning to today’s date, May 14th. Scratched in my handwriting at the top of the page was this: Launched unequally yoked website today, 2006.

    What is poignant about this date is it is also my birthday. God has seen fit to give me another year. Thinking about the year ahead, I am praying for only one thing:

    A closer walk with Jesus.

    Everything else will fall into place.

    I thank the Lord for those of you who stop in hear to read. Some of you have been reading here for two years now. Wow, does the time fly.

    I am thankful for my husband who has encouraged me to write about our life, hoping our experiences will help others.

    On this birthday of this site and this blonde, I thank our Lord and our God for the friendships I have formed here. I thank Him for allowing me to serve. I thank Him for my family, health for another year, a home, and a life pressed down, shaken together and running over, and pouring into my lap.

    Praising you Lord!

    Be blessed, Lynn

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


    Called to Wait

    491591_28601912_2Waiting. It's the one thing we all are called to do at some point in our faith journeys and most likely, more than once. Sometimes these are small blips on the radar—waiting to see if God will open the door to a new job, ministry, or relationship.

    Other times these periods define our very existence, as if everything you do revolves around this one person or event—the test results you're dreading, finally reaching your dream, or your spouse accepting Christ.

    At times we feel like we're in a holding pattern, like an airplane waiting to land. Others are there circling too, commiserating and understanding full well what you're going through.

    Right now, this defines my life. Three main areas are currently "on hold." And these are major areas to do with children, marriage and career. Honestly, being patient has never been so hard.

    But I'm discovering a remedy to these waiting blues. Once again God is connecting the dots for me to contentment and trust.

    23 Yet I am always with you;
    you hold me by my right hand.

    24 You guide me with your counsel,
    and afterward you will take me into glory.

    25 Whom have I in heaven but you?
    And earth has nothing I desire besides you.

    26 My flesh and my heart may fail,
    but God is the strength of my heart
    and my portion forever.

    —Psalm 73:23-26

    I've written this Scripture down on an index card (bright yellow this time). I keep it right by my computer screen because I need to read it several times a day right now. The first line reminds me that I'm not alone. God is with me, he knows my struggle—intimately. That gives me comfort.

    The next line (24) holds the promise of his involvement in my circumstances now and those to come, right until my death and reunion with him. Again, this gives me comfort. God is the one in control, and he has the big picture. I can trust him because he wants what's best for me.

    Verse 25 is a stark reminder of what we can really claim in this world. Nothing lasts nor will last except God's love for us. In the big picture when we set our minds on an eternal perspective, God is the only reality that remains. Nothing we have, need, want, desire, or pursue on this earthly plain can be transfered to the next except our relationship with God and with our brothers and sisters in Christ.

    The last line is what I'm praying for—for God to be enough for me right here and now, as I wait. This is the perspective I desperately need and desire. In him I know I'll find the strength I need to persevere through the waiting time. But I want more. I want my perspective to be completely on God, to remember that every time I strain against this place I'm in it's because I've forgotten one simple truth.

    God is all I need. With this perspective, everything else falls into place.

    Be my enough, Lord, be my enough.

    Praying and believing,
    Dineen

    *****

    Share your voice, heart and love in the comments. 

    THRIVE in your Spiritually Mismatched Marriage and raise your children to faith. Our books are filled with practical experience and Biblical advice. -click or tap the photo-

    SUM Books 4


    Life.... Interrupted

    Welcome All My Friends:

    All of us here at Spiritually Unequal Marriage want to thank Nancy Kennedy for joining us Friday and sharing her insights. The interview was fantastic. You can read it below. Scroll Down

    Also, if you are tuning into to catch the next segment of What’s In Your Camp, forgive me. I am a bit under the weather and have been unable to get it written. I will post on this interesting subject again on Friday.

    What do you think?

    Deuteronomy 23:14 (New International Version) For the LORD your God moves about in your camp to protect you and to deliver your enemies to you. Your camp must be holy, so that he will not see among you anything indecent and turn away from you.

    Does this scripture still apply to us today and does it matter to God what is in our home?

    Stop in again Friday for more thoughts about our camps.

    Be Blessed, Lynn

    *****

    Share your voice, heart and love in the comments. 

    THRIVE in your Spiritually Mismatched Marriage and raise your children to faith. Our books are filled with practical experience and Biblical advice. -click or tap the photo-

    SUM Books 4


    Welcome Nancy Kennedy

    I am thrilled once again to have Nancy Kennedy as a guest here at Spiritually Unequal Marriage. Nancy kindly provided an interview back in September, 2006. (Click here to read the past interview)

    If you have been a reader here for very long you probably know that Nancy’s book, When He Doesn’t Believe, Help and Encouragement for Women Who feel Alone in Their Faith, was the first book I read in the early years of my unequally yoked marriage. This book was a balm to my spirit and gave me hope for the first time for my marriage. I owe Nancy a debt of gratitude. Thank you Nancy!!

    I have also recommended this book to everyone who asks me for resources, it is included in our library, and I have mailed at least a dozen copies to readers here at SUM. If you have not read it yet, find a copy. Nancy’s style of writing and her personal stories will inspire you. Nancypic

    Nancy, thank you for joining us here today. Your love for Jesus and your husband is an inspiration to many. I am one of them. The audience and I thank you for making yourself available to share your insights with us.

    Nancy, lets begin with a few basics.

    How long have you and Barry been married now? [Nancy Kennedy] 33 years May 3.

    Do you still consider yourselves unequally yoked? If not, what happened? [Nancy Kennedy] Yes and no. In 2006 Barry had open-heart surgery, which went beyond a mere quadruple bypass. God met him in the days prior to his surgery and now I know that he knows Jesus as Savior. In many ways he has changed and we pray together before dinner every night and he enjoys sermons, but he doesn't love church. He comes occasionally, so mostly I still go alone. I have that assurance of his eternity, but there still isn't all the fun stuff like going to church together as I had always hoped there would be.

    Nancy, this gives so many of us hope and the ability to persevere through the years. So, tell us what you working on now? [Nancy Kennedy] I'm not working on any books at the moment and I'm not sure when or if I'll do another. I write a weekly faith column for the newspaper where I'm on staff and it goes in about a dozen other papers. I also post it as a blog on MySpace, which people can access from my Web site (www.nancykennedybooks.net) Plus, I have a monthly blog, "Walk With Me," at TodaysChristianWoman.com..

    I have read your blog at TCW and have enjoyed your wit and wisdom immensely.

    Nancy, I want to take this opportunity to gain your perspective about some of the tough issues we face as well as your words of wisdom to thrive in an unequally yoked marriage.

    What scripture text has been instrumental in your marriage and why? [Nancy Kennedy] Ephesians 3:20 -- "God is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work in us." I tend toward skepticism. I don't have great faith and because I spent nearly three decades praying for my husband's salvation, I was sure it would happen "when pigs fly." But that scripture kept haunting me, and every time I'd want to give up, I would remember "immeasurably more" and my hope would be renewed.

    How do you handle tithing? [Nancy Kennedy] I tithe what my husband agrees upon. He's a generous guy, probably more generous than I am, but writing out a check to put in the offering plate is a touchy subject for a lot of men. I always advise women to abide by their husband's wishes in this department. God doesn't "need" our money and His grace covers our lack.

    Throughout your marriage how did you manage to be the spiritual leader of your home/children? [Nancy Kennedy] I think because I have daughters it was easier than if I had sons. For many men, Jesus is for girls. My husband has always been a great encourager of me taking the girls to church. You're right, this is a tough question and I think every situation is unique. Even so, there's a basic principle that Christians are to teach their children at all times about the faith and pray at all times. A lot of times you can appeal to your husband's sense of morality: "The Christian faith inspires people to be their best, to be law-abiding citizens," etc. I think men are just afraid that their kids will be weird.

    How has your relationship with Christ impacted your marriage through the years? [Nancy Kennedy] It's kept me from leaving, not that I've ever had a real reason to. But marriage is hard, even a good marriage. During those times of temptation, when I've wondered what if I had a Christian husband, I haven't gone any farther than wondering because I knew that God had called me to be Barry Kennedy's wife, to be a missionary in my home, to be Christ's hands and heart. During a particularly difficult time when my husband was depressed and he wanted me to leave him, saying I deserved better and that he wanted me to find a Christian husband (with his blessing), I wouldn't. As he came out of his depression, he remembered that -- that I wouldn't leave. He used to be angry -- "You won't leave because of all that Christian bull****!" But then he said, "You didn't leave because you're a Christian, and you really do love me." Unless you're being abused or abandoned, don't leave. God is able to do immeasurably more!

    Today, how do you handle disagreements that arise over faith with your husband? [Nancy Kennedy] There really aren't any disagreements. But whenever I talk to people who have disagreements with Christianity I put the blame on God! I tell people, "Look, God is God. It's His universe and He makes the rules. If you were God, you could make the rules, but you're not." With a husband, you might say, "This is what I believe and I have my reasons. If you want to talk about it without fighting, I'm willing to. But I don't want to fight. I want to be your wife and live with you in peace." Then you let God change his mind. That's the bottom line to everything--God is the one who changes hearts and minds.

    As you look back through the years of your marriage, what would you have done differently or sooner? [Nancy Kennedy] I would not be so "doormat-y." I used to think that being submissive meant swallowing my opinions and not voicing my strong opposition to things. For example, my husband used to stay out really late with his friends. I let it go for 10 years before I said anything! Finally I told him, "I don't like it when you're gone and stay out so late. I love you and want you home." I thought that was taking a huge risk! But it turned out that Barry figured I didn't care, that's why I never said anything. I also wouldn't have been so naggy and played "us against him" -- like we were somehow above or more advanced than he was because we're Christians and he's not. That's so easy to do and so destructive and not God-honoring. We may be saved sinners, but we're still sinners.

    In your many years of living unequally yoked, what words of encouragement or advice would you share? [Nancy Kennedy] Relax! God is God and you are not. It's His salvation. He does the work of changing hearts and minds. No person comes to Him except the Spirit draws and we aren't the Spirit. Also, it's been my observation that men come to faith differently than women do and almost always as a direct result of another man's ministry or influence. Wives influence husbands tremendously, but rarely are used to lead a man to Christ. My best advice: When you realize that God is God and you are not, you will find rest. Also, when you think that God's not doing anything, He is--you just can't see it and He's not done doing it. He never says "Oops;" nothing ever takes Him by surprise. Nothing is out of His control, even if/when everything looks out of control. And He is able to do immeasurably more than your wildest dreams.

    Nancy, God bless you. Your humble heart and willingness to share has helped many. We love you!!!

    Lord, place your hand upon Nancy and bless her and Barry. Father, we give you thanks for her willingness to serve your kingdom. We know Lord that you look upon her and say, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”

    Nancy, as readers of your book, we say “Thank you!”

    64344: When He Doesn"t Believe: Help and Encouragement for Women Who Feel Alone in Their Faith When He Doesn't Believe: Help and Encouragement for Women Who Feel Alone in Their Faith
    By Nancy Kennedy
    527290: Girl on a Swing Girl on a Swing
    48481: Between Two Loves: 90 Devotions for Women Whose Husbands Don"t Share Their Faith Between Two Loves: 90 Devotions for Women Whose Husbands Don't Share Their Faith
    527670: Lipstick Grace Lipstick Grace

    For More of Nancy's books go to her website http://www.nancykennedybooks.net/

    *****

    Share your voice, heart and love in the comments. 

    THRIVE in your Spiritually Mismatched Marriage and raise your children to faith. Our books are filled with practical experience and Biblical advice. -click or tap the photo-

    SUM Books 4


    Thankful Thursday - Motherhood

    BabyWhen I was a teen-aged girl, I remember telling my mother I would never have kids or dogs when I became an adult. I can still see my Mom trying to conceal her mirth over this pronouncement. I moved out and married shortly thereafter and within three years I had both.

    The Lord knew I needed the lessons and the rich blessings of motherhood. He gave me both a boy and a girl. My son is 25 years old today and my daughter 12 going on 13 in a month. What I have learned as a mother is a priceless treasure from the Lord above.

    I understand what unconditional love is.
    How our Father weeps for those who are prodigal.
    I know how to forgive and forget.
    Self-centeredness is not an option.
    It is better to give than receive.
    Money does not make one happy but the hug and a kiss from a dirty and tired cherub is priceless.

    And, this is just the beginning of the list....

    What have you learned from your Mom or as a Mother?

    Praising the Lord for Mothers. Happy Mother’s Day, Sunday, May 11th!

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

    *****

    Share your voice, heart and love in the comments. 

    THRIVE in your Spiritually Mismatched Marriage and raise your children to faith. Our books are filled with practical experience and Biblical advice. -click or tap the photo-

    SUM Books 4


    On the Personal Side...

    352pxdisc_golf_in_basketSomething pretty amazing happened to me this weekend. I thought I'd share a slice of "my life according to me" with the intent of showing how awesome God is. Frankly, I'm still blown away by it all. So from the beginning...

    The backstory...
    My sweet hubby is an avid disc golf player. Absolutely loves the sport. He plays every Sunday and at least one weekend a month in competitions set all over the state of California. So, last week he mentioned he wanted to go to watch the pros play in Santa Cruz on Sunday.

    The tantalizing dialogue...
    Hubby shoves his hands into his pockets and takes his notorious slouchy stance. "So I'm thinking I'll go Sunday to watch the pros play."

    I smile. I'm thinking how this guy just can't go a weekend without a disc golf fix. "I'd go with you if it wasn't communion Sunday."

    He looks at me and slides into his goofy smile, brows raised and eyes pleading. "Will you go with me?"

    Call me stuck between a communion wafer and an 9 inch plastic disc! What should I do? "Let me think about it."

    The dilemma...
    I'd told hubby a long time ago that anytime he wanted me to miss church (within reason) to be with him, I would. And I can count on one hand how many times he's asked me in ten years.

    Friday evening, I emailed my fantastic buds on the 1Peter3Living loop and laid out my case. Any other Sunday, I would have said, "Sure!" But I'd missed communion four months in a row due to a set of circumstances too weird and boring to put in this post. I sensed in my heart I needed to go, but I was unsure about what God would think about me missing another communion. I prayed and asked God to keep it all in his hands. I'd do whatever he wanted me to.

    The solution...
    Later that night, hubby asks me, "What did you decide?"

    I hesitate, only because I hadn't had time to get any answers from my buds. My mind races through the possibilities. I'll find some other way to take communion. "Yes, I want to go."

    Hubby squats by my chair and says, "I thought we'd go Saturday instead and make a whole day of it. How's that sound?"

    How's that sound? Like God working his magic! "Sounds wonderful!"

    The conclusion...
    We had an awesome day together Saturday, watching the players. I even had the opportunity to follow some of the women's pro players and see them in action. Hubby and I had a nice dinner on the wharf, then a leisurely drive home.

    Sunday morning I attended what had to be one of the most meaningful communion Sunday's we've had at our church in a long time. Our elders and their wives stood at the front of the church, ready to pray with any who had need. James 5:14 in action.

    The "wow" factor...
    I knew God would understand my dilemma on Friday. This was one situation though that didn't present an answer I could figure out. I wanted my decision to honor God and my husband, so I put my circumstances into God's most capable hands.

    BUT, I never expected this—to not only honor them both, but to also spend a wonderful day with my husband, alone and away from worries and cares. A time for us to just enjoy one another. God gave me a solution to my predicament and MORE!!!

    And all I did was trust him. I aligned my heart with God's and left it up to him, and he surprised me.

    No, he wowed me!

    Praying and believing,
    Dineen

    *****

    Share your voice, heart and love in the comments. 

    THRIVE in your Spiritually Mismatched Marriage and raise your children to faith. Our books are filled with practical experience and Biblical advice. -click or tap the photo-

    SUM Books 4


    What is in Your Camp?

    ANNOUNCEMENT: This Friday, May 9th, I have a special guest paying a visit to Spiritually Unequal Marriage. Please, please, please plan to stop in here for this neat surprise. You will not be disappointed.

    Hmmmmm. Do we have a camp? Does God move around in it? Does our camp, if we have one, need to be holy? If there is something indecent in our “camp” would he turn away? Does this verse apply to the year 2008? Does this verse apply to me? What does it all mean?

    Deuteronomy 23:14 (New International Version) For the LORD your God moves about in your camp to protect you and to deliver your enemies to you. Your camp must be holy, so that he will not see among you anything indecent and turn away from you.

    Wow, what a wise and Godly group of friends you are. The comments on Friday’s post were awesome. To read the first post in this series and the comments, click here.

    The question today is; how do we welcome the Holy Spirit into our spiritually divided home?

    I want to focus on this scripture verse in Deuteronomy, in the Old Testament. I found this scripture interesting, applicable to me, and profoundly intentional for all of us who live in a spiritually mismatched home.

    Let me explain. First, let’s cover the basics about the Holy Spirit. Jesus said the following:

    John 7:37-39 (New International Version) On the last and greatest day of the Feast, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, "If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him." By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified.

    John 14: 15-17
    Jesus Promises the Holy Spirit
    "If you love me, you will obey what I command. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever— the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.

    In these passages we recognize the differences between the Old Testament era and the New Testament Age, The Age of Christ. The profound difference is the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.

    These passages make it clear that our bodies are a dwelling place of the Holy Spirit. Those of you who answered that your “camp” is your body/spirit, you were absolutely right. However, I also believe that our “camp,” which is referred to in Deuteronomy, is our physical home. The Bible is filled with passages about the Holy Spirit and how it works in and among our lives. If you would like a full scripture reference, email me and I would be glad to send you some scriptures for study.

    But let’s keep moving to what the Lord has been telling me about our homes.

    If you remember from last week, I told you the Lord has been pounding this verse into my head. The thoughts which keep surfacing when I ask God about this verse follow.

    In fact, our physical home, an apartment, a condo, a room, or a house is our camp. I am not excluding our bodies, or our relationships, our families, or church. But for this post, the Lord is specific with me. Our camp is our home.

    With that said, the Lord assures me that He does move about in our home. The Holy Spirit, angels, and God, Himself can and will be present in our home. And just as it mattered 4,000 years ago, when the Lord moved about in the camp of the Israelites, it matters what is in our camp – home.

    The commands in this chapter of Deuteronomy actually are addressing cleanliness in the camp, primarily human waist. But as I read this verse and thought upon it, I was impressed to take an inventory of my home.

    If Jesus knocked upon my door this minute and walked in, what would He see? Now remember this is God. He can see through walls, closed drawers, locked cabinets. What would He see? This question is weightier for those of us living in an unequally yoked home. We aren’t always going to agree with things our spouse might bring home.

    I know this is a tough assignment. This question is especially difficult because our spouses don't share our Biblical values. For me personally, I have struggled with this in the past. For example, some of the books my spouse chooses are in my view, how do I say this…. not right…

    As a believer in an unequally yoked marriage how does this verse apply to our home and our marriage?

    Okay I am long winded. I will post again on this subject next Monday, May 12th, same time, same place.

    We are going to take an inventory of our homes and discuss what might be considered indecent. We are also going to talk about the spiritual realm and how it affects our home and how we affect it. Fascinating stuff.

    This week, take a walk around your house with Jesus. What bothers you? My question to you for this week is:

  • Do our physical surrounding impact the spiritual realm?
  • Is it possible change your surroundings in a peaceful and loving way in a divided home?
  • Can you think of one item that must go?

    Thanks for your thoughts. It is my prayer that the Lord speaks through these words to grow us in our relationship with Him and grow us in our marriage. The best is yet to come as we discover the many ways to welcome the Holy Spirit into our home.

    ALSO, today is Marriage Monday. Stop over at Chrysalis. Our topic this Monday will be, "The Crazy Way We Met." Here's your opportunity to share the dramatic (or dull!) opening moments of your dating relationship. Remember, the details of your story may be ancient history to you, but to us—it's news!

    I am anticipating your great answers and your thoughts about this study. We all are going to learn something profound. Be blessed, Lynn

  • *****

    Share your voice, heart and love in the comments. 

    THRIVE in your Spiritually Mismatched Marriage and raise your children to faith. Our books are filled with practical experience and Biblical advice. -click or tap the photo-

    SUM Books 4


    Weekend Devotion - The 23rd Psalm

    BibleIf you're like me, you've heard the 23rd Psalm so often, your eyes kind of glaze over when you hear it. Yet it's one of the most popular Psalms. This little gem came up one day in my Bible reading, so I asked God to show me a deeper meaning. Now why was I surprised that He did?

    1 The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want.

    The Lord is my provider. He takes care of all my needs. Like a true sheppard, He even anticipates needs I'm not aware of.

    2 He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters,

    His way is always the best. This is where I will find rest.

    3 he restores my soul.

    He alone is my source of peace. The Hebrew word for restores is shuwb (pronounced shoob), and it has a long list of meanings. The ones that really stood out to me were to return, come or go back; to restore, refresh, or repair.

    He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake.

    I am designed to glorify Him. The Hebrew word for sake is ma'an (pronounced mah'an) and means on account of, for the purpose of, to the intent that, in order to, or to the end that. This is my sole reason for existence. Like a vase in its completed form is a reflection of the potters skill and vision. I, the vessel, reveal God's glory. He created me for this reason.

    4 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me;

    Trials are guaranteed no matter how much money we have or how perfect our lives may seem at any one time. There is no such thing as a stress free life while we're on this earth. But we can take comfort in knowing Christ has walked, is walking, and will walk every step of the way with us.

    your rod and your staff, they comfort me.

    God's authority gives us security and freedom. This can be a difficult one to understand. I'm just discovering its meaning myself, but I'm finding this freedom that exists under God's authority to be truly desirable. It's like a protective shield that allows me to be safe and protected as long as I'm under his authority. When I'm not, I'm answering to another "commander"—either my own will or the enemy's. Then I'm in bondage, a slave to sin, and not free.

    5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.

    He is stronger than anything I will ever face. The Hebrew word for table is shulchan (pronounced shool-khawn) and means of king's table, private use, or sacred uses. Right in the face of my enemies, He's working for my benefit, and not just any table, but a king's table, a feast. He's already preparing for the victory celebration, because He knows Who who will win.

    You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.

    I love the Hebrew word for overflows. R@vayah (pronounced revawyaw) means saturated. He not only pours out His blessings on us, He saturates us with them.

    6 Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life,

    This is a benefit of God's love. It's not saying we will have an easy life, but we will have goodness and love in our lives. The Hebrew word for follow is radaph (pronounced rawdaf) and means to be behind, follow after, pursue, pursecute, run after, chase, or attend closely upon. (There are more but this post is already long enough!)

    God doesn't just trail behind us like a faithful dog. He pursues us, intent to give us His love and goodness. He is passionate about us, jealous for us to experience all He is and has to give. That's powerful.

    and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.

    My eternity is secure in Him. The Hebrew word for dwell is yashab (prononced yawshab) and means to remain, still, abide, to be set, stay, have one's abode, or to be inhabited. One meaning even goes as far as to marry (give a dwelling to). We are truly the bride of Christ and our future is set. No matter what lies or temptations the enemy flings at us, he can't change this. Our eternal homes are there waiting for us to inhabit them, like a wedding present.
    I won't look at the 23rd Psalm as boring ever again. It's meaning is much richer than I ever realized. But isn't God's Word like that? Deep and interconnected on so many levels. This is what makes the Bible timeless. Like Hebrew 4:12 says:

    For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.

    Timeless.

    Bible photo by Tanya McConnell

    *****

    Share your voice, heart and love in the comments. 

    THRIVE in your Spiritually Mismatched Marriage and raise your children to faith. Our books are filled with practical experience and Biblical advice. -click or tap the photo-

    SUM Books 4


    A Tiny, Obscure Verse but Whao!

    Do you remember about seven or eight years ago Bruce Wilkinson wrote a small book titled, The Prayer of Jabez? (I still don’t know how to pronounce this guy’s name Jaabezz or Jĕbez. Can some one help me?)

    What is fascinating to me about this book was that Bruce uncovered this tiny obscure couple of verses buried in, of all places, 1 Chronicles.

    1 Chronicles 4:9 Jabez was more honorable than his brothers. His mother had named him Jabez, saying, "I gave birth to him in pain." 10 Jabez cried out to the God of Israel, "Oh, that you would bless me and enlarge my territory! Let your hand be with me, and keep me from harm so that I will be free from pain." And God granted his request.

    Okay, now I admit that in my yearly reading I might have skipped through some of those chapters verses. Sounding out the names of these guys was enough to fry my brain.

    1 Chronicles 1:20-13 Joktan begat Almodad, and Sheleph, and Hazarmaveth, and Jerah, Hadoram also, and Uzal, and Diklah, and Ebal, and Abimael, and Sheba,

    Heck, I don’t think I knew what begat meant for years. *just kiddin’ around*

    Yawn!

    But in this odd book where the Israelites’ lineage is recorded, Bruce discovered a treasure. I love that about the word of God. I find it exciting to read a scripture verse that feels new or fresh. For some reason its like the first time I have read it and it becomes alive. I know this has happened to you too.

    Well, On April 3rd I was reading in the book of Deuteronomy. This is another book of rules, regs and stuff, yawn. However, I had a Bruce moment. I discovered a verse I never remember reading before. This little verse will not let me go. I have thought upon it and thought upon it and thought some more.

    Lightbulb_2
    Light bulb moment!

    I realize God wants this verse to be relevant to me. God’s word, even the Old Testament, is relevant today.

    So I was wondering if the Lord wanted me to share it with you. Guess what? That is when I posted the poll with several subjects. I hope you were able to vote.

    Which of the following topics would you like to read more about?
    Tithing in a spiritually divided home. 27%
    Spiritual leadership in a spiritually divided home. 45%
    Praying at meals in a spiritually divided home. 21%
    Welcoming the Holy Spirit into your spiritually divided home. 48%

    If you see the results, you my friends, also want to learn about this as well. It was a close call and I do plan to post on all of these subjects in the future, as they are difficult issues for all of us in unequally yoked marriages.

    But today we are going to learn about welcoming the Holy Spirit into our spiritually divided home.

    What I have on my heart to share is just some thoughts that came from thinking about this little ole verse. Why is it in the Bible. Why is it important? WHY IS GOD POUNDING IT INTO MY HEAD?

    So here we go….

    Deuteronomy 23:14 (New International Version) For the LORD your God moves about in your camp to protect you and to deliver your enemies to you. Your camp must be holy, so that he will not see among you anything indecent and turn away from you.

    Hmmmmm. Do we have a camp? Does God move around in it? Does our camp, if we have one, need to be holy? If there is something indecent in our “camp” would he turn away? Does this verse apply to the year 2008? Does this verse apply to me? What does it all mean?

    Ooooooooo, good questions. Well at least I thought they were. I have been talking with the Lord about this verse now for 28 days. And, I am going to share thoughts with you Monday… Same time…. Same place…. Please tune in..

    Now for today…. There is not a right or wrong answer. So my question to you is, Do you have a camp? What is it? Let’s start with that and we will talk more about it Monday. Leave me your thoughts. I am thrilled to hear your perspective. Be Blessed, Lynn

    *****

    Share your voice, heart and love in the comments. 

    THRIVE in your Spiritually Mismatched Marriage and raise your children to faith. Our books are filled with practical experience and Biblical advice. -click or tap the photo-

    SUM Books 4