Previous month:
June 2008
Next month:
August 2008

20 entries from July 2008

Thankful Thursday - Relationships

Iris has set the thankful theme this week: Relationships

Wow, if you really think about it, when we leave this earth all we can take with us is our relationships and the memories of this life. I am convinced the relationships we are building today are significant to our eternity.

My relationship with my husband: Has revealed a tiny glimpse of the intimacy we will enjoy in heaven.
My relationship with my children: Has brought understanding of unconditional love.
Relationship with my friends: Honesty, forgiveness, cooperation, support, love The list is long.

Each of these relationships are part of God's sovereign plan and I am so thankful.

And most important, my relationship with Jesus: He is my rock. He is my hope. He is my redemption. He is my future.

2 Thessalonians 2:16 May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope,



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

The Judgment of Others

900907_dilemaI spoke with a friend at church Sunday who is also unequally yoked, and she brought up an issue I think we all run into at one point or another. As unequally yoked spouses, what can we do to cross the faith barrier to connect with our unbelieving spouses? And in so doing, how do we handle the judgments we sometimes receive from other believers.

We’ve talked in the past about how our actions speak louder than words. Sometimes the actions God call us to can look questionable in the eyes of others. I’ve recently joined my husband in playing an online video game that some would consider the “wrong influence.” Is it my first choice of activities? No, but it’s something my husband enjoys and joining him sends the message that I want to spend time with him, and I’m willing to do it on his terms (without sinning, of course) to show my love and acceptance of him.

I knew going into this that other Christians I know would not approve, but I moved this direction out of obedience. This was something God put on my heart to do. Let me cover some key points here:

1. God gave me the freedom to do this in order to connect to my husband. Had I not had this clarity and reassurance, I would not have gone this direction. I made sure God approved first.

2. This isn’t something addictive in my husband’s life, nor potentially addictive to me. Therefore, I wasn’t sinning against God. I believe things like this, whether they are a sin for an individual, must also be determined on an individual basis. What may be a sin for me isn’t a sin for you. And vice versa. For example, I know I struggle with the sin of gluttony, so for me to overindulge in an oversized piece of cheesecake is a sin. For you, this may be a rare treat that you’ve chosen to enjoy, but you could get up and walk away at any time. The point here is, the motivation and whether that force holds you in bondage.

3. Sometimes what we know is the right course of action may displease others. As Paul says, we can’t please others and still please God. Our job/joy is to be obedient to God, not the whims and opinions of others who may or may not understand our situations.

Sometimes these situations can bring unfair judgments upon us by other Christians. I ran into this when I didn’t force my teenagers to go to church. For a believing couple who is united in going to church, this works for them. They’re modeling the importance of church in the lives of a believer. But in an unequally yoked marriage, this sends an entirely different message to the unbeliever. The dynamics are completely different.

In this situation I had to completely trust God to move in my daughters’ lives and be the best Godly influence to them on a daily basis. Not only did I honor God in this but I also honored an agreement I’d made with my husband years back. When our girls were small, he agreed to let me take the girls to church if I agreed that in the end, our girls would make their own choice.

Did God come through? You bet he did! My oldest daughter attends her own church and even told her dad recently that she couldn’t miss church Sunday because she’d missed the Sunday before. What a testimony she had that day! And my youngest daughter is very strong in her belief in God and Jesus, and even witnesses to her online friends about God’s love. So you see, sometimes we will receive judgment, but we must remain true to God in our obedience. I promise you, God won’t let you down.

“There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the one who is able to save and destroy. But you—who are you to judge your neighbor?” — James 4:12(NIV)

Let me close with one final thought. When we are in a situation where a fellow Christian wrongly judges us, be very careful not to fall under the same sin. We can easily judge them for their offense and then we are just as guilty.

This takes us back to point three, that we are to please God, not others. We can leave the judgment of others to God for correction, and believe me, he will see and handle it. Trust him to do so, and move forward in obedience to him.

Amazingly, God will use our active obedience to not only witness to our spouses, but to inspire and encourage those on the sidelines watching as well.

Going forth boldly!
Dineen

Photo by Zoran Ozetsky

http://www.dezignia.com

*****

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-

Footer w drop shadow


Would you Change Churches?

I have spending a significant amount of time thinking about church. I am one of the thousands of spouses who pray in hope that my husband will want to attend church.

In our early years, of course, this prayer was completely self-centered. I wanted my man to become a Christian because my life would be simpler. Also, I didn’t want to go to church by myself. Can anyone relate?

I can recall my husband standing in our church sanctuary last year. The band was playing – loudly— and my husband was embroiled in the “hostile” stance. Hands on hips, elbows jutting out, and a look of exasperation on his face as he stared forward. No singing, no participation. He was mad.

I probably coerced the guy into attendance that morning. I looked over at him and could feel the anger emanating from him. Tears sprang into my eyes. I was so upset because he was mad. The morning was a total loss.

Half way through the service my husband could tell I was hurt. We muddled through the motions and left. On the ride home, in a teary voice but honest voice, I released him from attending church and I honestly meant it.

That was the day I completely stopped influencing him into church.

However, I STILL deeply desire my husband to attend church. My reasons are different today than in my selfish years. However, he remains at home on Sundays while I head off for services.

I began asking myself the usual questions. Why doesn’t he like church? If I attended another church, would he go? What makes church attractive to men?

I read the following in Today’s Christian Woman magazine last week:Menrockclimb


Wish your spouse spent Sunday mornings with you? Choose a church with these men-friendly characteristics.

  • Large congregation
  • No denominational affiliation
  • Strict scriptural adherence
  • Young multiracial crowd
  • Authoritative, male pastor
  • Informal dress
  • Modern technology
  • Fun services

    -adapted from How Women Help Men Find God by David Murrow (Thomas Nelson)

    Hmmmmm. This prompts the question, would I be willing to change churches for my spouse’s spiritual growth?

    Your thoughts? Hugs~ 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-

    Footer w drop shadow


    What's in the Mail? -

    Weekend Devotion

    Recently I joined a prison ministry called Soaring Spirits and became a "Rose.” A Rose is assigned a female inmate who is attending Christian seminars through the Soaring Spirits ministry and commits to sending a card of encouragement each month. Today as I was writing my card, I felt led to write a scripture verse on the outside of the envelope. That got my thinking juices flowing or perhaps it was simply the Holy Spirit speaking to my heart. Why don't I write scripture verses on all the mail I send? I mean, who knows how many people see the outside of an envelope before it is delivered. We know that many people in the post office systems see them. We know the people in businesses who hand out the mail see them, right down to the final recipient and in this case, we know that a lot of prison staff see them as well. God promises us that His Word will not return void.

    I would like to challenge you to begin writing a scripture verse on every letter/bill you send out. You might just decide to use the same salvation verses repeatedly or you might pray that God will lead you in what verse to write, since He knows who will see it and the state of their hearts toward Him. If you aren't into verbal witnessing, this is an easy way to get the Word out! Someone asked me recently where on the letter I write them, I had to admit I get carried away. I write one across the bottom of the letter and two more on the back all with a salvation theme.

    If every letter or bill mailed out carried the Word of God on the outside or a note such as, God desires a relationship with you, I have no doubt the Holy Spirit will use them to convict. ~Denise~

    Denise Dodson resides in Missouri, has a daughter with her second husband of 7.5 yrs. Her five children span three decades ranging in ages 2.5 to 30 including 7+ grandchildren.

    *****

    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-

    Footer w drop shadow


    She Wasn't Pretty!

    It was Friday morning. The alarm buzzed an awful warning that another jam-packed day awaited. The lumpy hotel mattress and over-large stuffed pillow contributed to the pounding headache which was beating in rhythm with the blaring alarm.

    This was day 12 of our travels. I rubbed my eyes stumbled over the discarded bedspread piled on the floor to put the coffee maker in motion.

    Crabby doesn’t begin to convey my mood. I was mad to be up so early - again. Mad because my family packed too much into an already tight schedule - again. Mad because the coffee maker only makes one cup at a time - AGAIN. Sheesh!

    I was a four-letter word – UGLY!

    I deserved to be ugly. I earned this bad mood. After all, this family reunion stuff was not my idea. Why did we need to leave this early? Why was the coffee taking so long? Why have I gained 10 pounds! Sheesh, AGAIN!

    It was day 12 of our travels and I took my headache, wimpy coffee and my bible out on the patio to read.

    Colossians 1:29 (New International Version) To this end I labor, struggling with all his energy, which so powerfully works in me.

    God was having none of it!

    He said, “Not on my watch.”

    “Lynn, hear me and know this: I can change your life. I can change your day and I can CERTAINLY change your mood.”

    It was not by my energy or effort I would face the day. I am a testimony to God’s power to live beyond my physical limitations, to overcome my circumstances and to live life to the full. I have the privilege to be different from the world. I serve the Living God!

    Are you in a bad mood? Read this: Galatians 5:22

    I am trusting in the Living God. Have a wonderful day. 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-

    Footer w drop shadow


    Thankful Thursday

    Hebrews 4:12 NIV 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.

    The Word of God.

    There is power in His word.

    There are promises in His word.Bible2_2


    Eternity is in His word.

    John 1:1 Message The Word Became Flesh - In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

    I read His word every morning. It does not escape me, this privilege. We have his word on paper, in print, on the computer, in our hearts.

    It transforms, protects, heals, and offers hope, redemption, and life.

    Thank you Lord for your divine Word.

    Be Blessed, Lynn

    Biblebillboard




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

    When Our World Shakes

    575316_falling_dominoesOur human nature makes us naturally resistant to change. And we tend to view any kind of shake up with a negative eye. It makes sense…naturally.

    So how do we shift our viewpoint from the natural to the eternal when God is shaking up our lives? If we’re to believe God is sovereign and nothing occurs without his approval, then he’s allowed whatever situation we are currently struggling with to occur.

    I think this is one of the most difficult areas for us as Christians to accept and understand. Trust me, I know! Recently God showed me three areas that are very critical to understanding these times of shake up.

    1. God’s ways are not ours. I think this was and is the most difficult area for me. I love God so much, I can’t stand the thought of anything making him look less than perfect. But sometimes what may seem to be imperfect, unfair and unexplainable is really part of a bigger plan we are incapable of understanding. I can accept this but to explain it to someone who doesn’t believe—that’s where it can get sticky. Which then brings me to point two.

    2. It’s not about us. So often we treat these situations as if they’re meant to torture and punish us alone. I know I tend to jump this way in my thinking. But in actuality it could be God growing someone else closer to the image of his Son, which may mean some sacrifice on our part. This is so true of our unbelieving and faith struggling spouses. And this connects to point three.

    3. God is growing us closer to the image of his Son, which again will mean some sacrifice, but usually of the stuff that shouldn’t be there anyway. This is what I consider the real “shaking” time. God’s working on us to shed all that self-centered, worldly stuff to leave the just the “God stuff.”

    Take a look at this verse:

    At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, "Once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens." The words "once more" indicate the removing of what can be shaken—that is, created things—so that what cannot be shaken may remain. Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our "God is a consuming fire." — Hebrews 12:26-29 (NIV)

    Our time here on earth is preparation for our transition to heaven. So it makes sense that these times of “shaking” would reflect what’s to come—the final shaking to reveal the kingdom of God and his Son’s return.

    So my goal is to change my thinking to view these times of upheaval as times to learn and grow. Instead of asking for God to take it away, I want to ask what God wants me to learn and how I can be obedient in my situation.

    Seems like a daunting task, but God tells us in his Word that we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us. I won’t be perfect, that’s for sure. But it’s a goal worth reaching for.

    Praying and believing,
    Dineen

    *Photo by Sam LeVan

    *****

    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-

    Footer w drop shadow


    Fantasy Football and God

    Say What?

    Many of you who have been readers at Spiritually Unequal Marriage for some time know I hear from God while in the bathroom. Many times I am buck nakid’ in the shower and sometimes I am in the closet getting dressed. Today I was blow-drying my hair…. Guess what the Lord prompted me to do?

    Join a Fantasy Football Team. Nfl

    I can tell you NEVER in a million years did this idea come from my own thoughts. It was God.

    WHAT A HOOT!

    Why, you ask?

    My husband has been part of a neighborhood team for several years. He has a blast goofing around with his fantasy team and braggin’ about his wins to the neighbors. Side Note: Poor guy incurs more losses than wins but has a ton of fun anyway.

    This is recreational fun. It fulfills a great need in my husband and I want to share in the experience. In 2007 I reviewed the book, His Needs, Her Needs by Willard F. Harley, Jr. This book covers the five most important needs of a man in marriage and a woman in marriage. Recreational Companionship is an important need for a man. Click here to read this series.

    When I walked into my husband’s home office and told him I wanted to participate, he got the funniest grin on his face. He said, “Okay, but do you understand you have to draft a team?”

    I like football. However, I barely understand the rules and usually only watch it on television when my beloved Denver Bronocs are playing. So taking on a fantasy team is a big commitment. But, oh so worth it.Denver_broncos_logo

    My husband is trilled!

    He grinned and said, “I will call the Commissioner and see if we can get you in.”

    Then my husband got worried. A) I have God on my side. B) I have another secret weapon. My son. When it comes to sports, he is the best read, knowledgeable man I know. Hee hee.

    Woo Hoo! There will be a blonde winner at the end of this season!!!

    I can’t wait to share the camaraderie with my husband and our neighbors, guys and gals are in this league.

    Now help me with two things.

    1) I need a team name.

    2) Purposely look for a new way to enjoy recreational companionship with your spouse this fall. Write me and tell me what it is.

    Go Bronocs!!! Be Blessed, Lynn

    PS. Boo, Raiders!

    *****

    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-

    Footer w drop shadow


    Weekend Devotion — For All the Strivers Out There

    55446_catch_the_light"Cease striving and know that I am God." — Psalm 46:10

    I have this Scripture written on an index card right now. (Yes, a pink one!) I need this verse so badly. See, I'm a perfectionist by nature and very performance driven. This verse tells me I don't have to be. It tells me that God loves me as much now as he did before I gave my life to him. He loves me no more and no less. I don't have to perform to earn or keep his love. All I have to do is live for him. And that makes me want to please him with my life.

    Dear Lord, thank you for being You—perfect, mighty, strong, and loving. There aren't enough or adequate words to express how awesome and wonderful you are. Help us to live our lives to please you, and don't let us forget for moment, just how much You love us. In Christ's Precious Name, amen.

    *****

    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-

    Footer w drop shadow


    Don’t Save Your Spouse….

    .....Save yourself....

    Over the past couple of days I have had a little trip down memory lane. I am wondering if you would also travel down this lane with me. I have posted in months prior about my feeble attempts to save my husband. As if Jesus needed my help, thank you very much.

    I have tried all kinds of loony things to get my man to become a Christian. Really stupid stuff like:

  • Strategically placing 3x5 cards containing scripture verses around the house. Near the kitchen sink. On the table near the television. How about in the bathroom… Sheesh, the poor guy had no privacy.

  • How about this one: Coercing, manipulating and pressuring him to go to church with me. For the kid's sake, for my sake, for the dog’s sake……for heaven sake!

  • Pressuring him to attend a “couples” function. This always went over like a lead balloon.

    I realize as believers we can’t help ourselves. Our hearts are in the right place as we try to point our mate to Christ but my experience over the long haul is this: I was the stumbling block in my husband’s journey. I am so glad Jesus finally became fed up and pushed me out of His way. Seeds were sown and now I wait and pray expectantly!

    I would love to hear your stories from your trip down this particular memory lane. What loony things have you done to try to win your spouse to Christ?

    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-

    Footer w drop shadow


    Thankful Thursday - What is a Bovine?

    Twenty-five years… It’s been a long time….


    Abbfam
    My daughter and I returned this week from a 15-day road trip. What trip it was!!! We drove from California to Nevada, visited with my son and long-time friend Becky. Then we set out for Southern Utah to visit my Dad’s ranch. A week later, on to Colorado and three stops in various places west, central and south with a culmination finally in a small town in the southeastern part of the state.

    I hugged cousins I hadn’t seen in more than 25 years. We had fantastic adventures and several once-in-a lifetime experiences:

  • Throwing candy to kids from a float in the July 4th parade.Ropepond
  • Flying into a fishing hole from a real rope swing.
  • Visiting Coral Sand Dunes
  • Riding ATV all over the hillsides looking for Anastasias Indian relics and arrowheads.
  • Swimming in a hot springs and actually drinking that disgusting water because it is suppose to be good for you (Glenwood Hot Springs).
  • Riding in a swather. For you city folk, a swather cuts hay.
  • Chasing, toads, horses, bovine (new word in my vocabulary for cow), dogs, ducks….. AsissyAswather

    What a blast! We loved on family, prayed for their health and happiness and mostly for their lives to experience the love of Jesus Christ.

    Thank you Lord for providing for the gas.

    I paid $4.41 per gallon when I left on July 1st.

    Thank you Lord for family. Thank you for allowing my daughter and me to see so much of this amazing world you have created.

    Be Blessed! LynnAzion
    Amazing
    AhorseAsisnme_2





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


  • Unified by Circumstances

    659006_together_2I had the wonderful opportunity to speak and share with a group of ladies Monday evening as part of the Daughters of Sarah ministry at Riverslake Church in Bakersfield, CA. We all share a common bond—being unequally yoked. Again, I'm amazed at how just knowing we're not alone can minister to the ache in our hearts. Awesome proof of Romans 8:28 in how God can bring good from our circumstances. He wastes nothing!

    I loved how one of their ministry leaders (three awesome ladies—Kimberly, Marlene, and Becky) described the group as the club everyone wants to graduate from. I know we all do. What a wondrous day to imagine not needing such a ministry, but in the meantime we have a calling to fulfill.

    Speaking to these ladies was such an honor. My prayer was to just serve, to just be the conduit God used to encourage and restore hope. I wish I could reach out to all our readers and hug each one of you and encourage you to keep praying and believing.

    As I shared with these dear ladies (who put up with this newbie speaker!), we are called "to be the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing." (2 Cor. 2:15)

    It's a big job and probably one of the most difficult we will ever do, but so much is at stake! If you're not part of a ministry or small group designed specifically for the unequally yoked, I would like to encourage you to pray and ask God to show you other women (or men if you're male) in your church who are unequally yoked. They may be thinking they're completely alone and how wonderful if someone reached out to them. Meet for coffee once a week, or study a book together (click here for recommended books). There's also a wonderful online community at 1Peter3Living.

    The point is, don't stay alone, because you're not. God is with you, and he will put the people and resources in your life to support and encourage you along this journey. Just ask him to show you.

    And Lynn and I consider it a privilege to be along this journey with you. You minister to us as well and bless us with your comments. We're in this journey with you, united by our unequally yoked circumstances.

    Together we can stand strong for however long God needs us to be a fragrant presence to our spouses.

    Praying and believing with YOU,
    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-

    Footer w drop shadow


    Abide

    Weekend Devotion

    Many of you, my sweet friends, have written to Dineen and me in the past several weeks telling us of such terrible heartbreak. Marriages in crisis are just one of the enormous issues filling my prayers.

    Today I want to give you this message from the Word- The, I AM.


    Philippians 4:13

    I can do everything through him who gives me strength.

    John 15:5b

    Apart from me you can do nothing.


    Let these words soak deep into your heart, mind, and soul. Hear them with a new spirit and let them dwell in you. They bring peace.

    Biblehands_edited2_2

    Abide in Him!

    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-

    Footer w drop shadow


    What's In Your Camp?

    This scripture started it all:

    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.

    If you remember I began this journey back in April and we have looked at what is indecent in our camp and can those indecent items –attitudes- be a cause for the Lord to turn away from us.

    Part I
    Part II
    Part III
    Part IV
    Idol story – Subtle Stealing
    Part V
    (Click to read previous posts)

    A couple of posts back I told you we would explore something indecent which is prevalent today and has very easy access to our homes; pornography. I have been researching this subject and have asked the psychologist I work with here at Spiritually Unequal Marriage a few questions.

    Interview with Rebecca Saville:
    R_sunset_bkgrnd_2

    Lynn: I am thrilled to Welcome Rebecca to Spiritually Unequal Marriage again to continue our conversation about pornography.

    Rebecca Saville has a Masters in Social Work and has been a counselor for 14 years. She is a deeply committed Christian and a mother of three. She has been married to a Navy Chaplain for 18 years. Interview with Rebecca Saville:

    Part III

    Lynn: Is it possible to become free from pornography?

    Rebecca: A third person must be involved to help recover the marriage by uncovering the reasons for his sexual immorality. There must be a Covenant to work together on this problem that is pulling you apart. The wife must work through forgiveness and express appropriate sexuality. There are computer guards that protect against the internet invading your home like Net Nanny.

    There are marriage courses like “I Promise” which are effective in guiding through a restoration process. There are books and online resources. There is no acceptable level of porn. Just like an alcoholic cannot drink just one. After one drink he immediately reverts to the level of need before he stopped drinking. In the same way engaging in pornography is progressive; the appetite becomes insatiable.

    Imagine a hula-hoop around you; inside your hoop you are responsible for your own thoughts, feelings, actions, and decisions. Your husband has his own hoop where he is responsible for his thoughts, feelings, actions, and decisions. Impurity is a habit that he chooses, not a sickness, not an imbalance. Therefore, if your man knows your deep desire for him to be free of sexual sin, then you need to allow him to work on the change. You will not be able to coerce, bribe, or seduce him into changing; that’s his decision. You may provide an incentive.

    For some of you, the problem is so bad that you may choose to leave until he is working seriously on his addiction. He may not make the choice you want him to, but you can’t be responsible for his actions . . . only for your own. There is hope. There’s lots of help through counseling, support groups, churches. He’s got to do battle which requires sacrifice, intensity, and honor. Men climb out of the precipice and find victory.

    I have found online resources to help you learn more and how to cope if you are living with this issue in marriage. Check out:

    Bebroken.com
    Troubledwith.com

    Lord, God, on our knees we ask you to stir, in the hearts of our men, a mighty character. Lord, give them strength when temptation arises. Stir within them a desire to be men of honor. In Jesus name, Amen.

    Be Blessed, Lynn

    Next Friday we will start a new topic. As I type these words and am open to the leading of the Holy Spirit. I can't wait to see where the Lord leads us. Hugs!!!

    *****

    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-

    Footer w drop shadow


    Showing Christ

    994404_love_letterIf I could tell my husband one thing today, I would tell him I love him.

    If I could speak special words to him today, I would speak of my love for him.

    If I could show him who I love most, I would show him Christ.


    How do we show Christ? How do we convey with actions what we’d like to say with words? How can we show Christ and not just speak of him?

    For the unequally yoked, this is our greatest challenge, isn’t it? More often than not, it’s our actions that speak of our faith more effectively than our words. I came across these Scriptures today in 2 Corinthians 3:2-3:

    You yourselves are our letter, written on our hearts, known and read by everybody. You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.

    I love the imagery Paul uses here. He speaks of showing ourselves as a message from Christ so undeniable that we leave a permanent impression on the hearts of those we meet. Or love.

    That’s a tall order to fulfill by far, but Paul makes another point clear here. It is not by our efforts that we do this. If it were, we would be the ones taking credit for another’s Salvation. Even to the point of saying we, our own efforts, had saved them.

    No, Paul refers directly to the Spirit of the living God. The Holy Spirit is the ink, the markings, the unforgettable and undeniable presence of God, made visible with his Son through us. We are simply the parchment, a willing and ready surface for the Holy Spirit to make his mark.

    I find such comfort and inspiration in that. Comfort in the sense that it isn’t up to us to know what to say or how to say it. God has equipped us with his Holy Spirit to do that for us. We need only listen and obey. To be willing vessels for God to use in reaching our unbelieving loved ones.

    And inspiring to know that God can use us in such a noble fashion. He doesn’t need to, He chooses to. He could do this all on his own, but He’s selected us to be those letters of Christ to our unbelieving spouses right here and now.

    So I ask, what is your message to your unbelieving spouse? What words can you show through your actions today? Are you willing to let the Holy Spirit make his mark on you for the benefit of your unbelieving loved one?

    Precious Father, use us as your parchment. Make us love letters to our unbelieving spouses. Show us how to show You, Jesus. Lord, help us to be willing instruments, in the image of Jesus, to bring your message of love and grace to the world. Jesus, you are the ultimate love letter and we are so grateful for You. In your Holy and Precious Name we pray, amen.

    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-

    Footer w drop shadow


    Marriage Monday — It's back!

    1st Monday Every Month at Chrysalis

    Marriage Monday is back!
    This week is an open topic and since Lynn is on vacation, this little mousey (Dineen) gets to play!
    So I've chosen a topic I'm betting you can relate to.

    We Have a Failure to Communicate

    839305_angerHave you ever had a conversation with your spouse that turned into an argument? (I know, stupid question. Maybe I should ask who hasn’t.)

    I will confess, the one thing I have bragged about my marriage in the past is our ability to communicate. We’ve always been talkers, sharers, and pretty good listeners. But for the first time in our twenty years of marriage, I’m noticing a new pattern.

    Miscommunication.

    Now, as a woman, I will say I’ve had times where I thought I’d made my meaning clear, then realized after the fact that my dear husband heard a different thing. I’ve learned the hard way that the poor guy can’t read my mind.

    But this is different. The tables have turned. Several times of late he’s communicated something, which I then responded to. To my utter surprise, he’s come back, frustrated that I’ve not understood his meaning. Then he proceeds to say what he meant.

    Truly, I’m standing there with my mouth hanging open, wondering on earth how he thought I could have figured that out. Really, honest, and for true!

    Friends, God really does have a sense of humor. I believe God is using this to show me how easily our words can be misinterpreted and how important it is to say what we mean. And exactly what we mean. Because if this is how I’ve bewildered my poor hubby over the years, then I’m determined not do that to him again!

    Communication is important in a marriage. Good communication is vital. Choosing our words intentionally and thoughtfully could mean the difference between a conversation and an argument.

    And God has give one particular juicy tidbit to guide us in our communication.

    Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ. — Ephesians 4:15

    God calls us to apply love to all aspects of our lives, including our speech. And in doing so, how wonderful to know we bring ourselves closer to Christ.

    Praying and believing,
    Dineen


    For more Marriage Monday, visit Chrysalis.

    *****

    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-

    Footer w drop shadow


    Weekend Devotion — The Three Legs of Perseverance

    CuppyConsider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. — James 1:2-4 (NIV)

    I'm a firm believer that God uses his creation to teach us things. He once taught me about how strongholds are born by using a weed in disguise. Really.

    So I'm not surprised that he's teaching me about perseverance through our cat Buttercup. Several months ago Cuppy, as we call her, developed a tumor on her right shoulder. We thought at first it was a simple infection and the vet drained it, yet it came back quickly. Our vet then tried to remove most of the tumor and testing confirmed what we feared. Cancer.

    Unfortunately, the cancer was so aggressive, the incision wouldn't heal and the cancer came back. We turned to a wonderful group of vet specialists for guidance and help, fearing the worst. That our sweet kitty would have to be put down.

    They gave us another viable alternative. Amputation. Since she was still in good health but suffering with this weeping wound, the best answer was to remove the entire leg and shoulder. Tests and x-rays confirmed she was a good candidate for such a procedure.

    It's been a little over two weeks since her surgery, and I am in awe of this little animal's perseverance. By the next day she was getting around fine (with a cone protector!) and even navigated a tunnel we have running to a litter box in the garage. (We have four cats. There's no way that litter box would work in our cozy home.) She jumps easily to windowsills and has no trouble running (she looks like a bunny now). It's as if nothing changed to her. She's still the same kitty. We see her as different. However, she acts the same as she did with four legs. Amazing...

    Every time I look at this cat, I am flooded with a multitude of feelings. Relief, gratitude, joy...and each time I am more clearly convinced God's hand was in all of this (her astounding recovery), and convicted he's using this tiny animal to teach me about perseverance.

    Even as I write this I am understanding more. Namely, like Cuppy's three persevering legs, perseverance has three critical elements.

    Trust. To persevere, we must trust God implicitly with our futures, even when things look their bleakest. Trust gives us the strength to continue and helps alleviate our doubts.

    Faith. We must believe that God is good and wants good for us. His good—not the world's. Sometimes his best may not look good initially, especially in the eyes of the world. Yet his Word tells us over and over again who God is and what his character is like. He is incapable of evil. God's truth tells us he is with us in our trials and that he's allowed them for some purpose, for our good.

    Obedience. It's not always easy to hang in there when things get rough. To use a cliché, we often want to jump out of the frying pan and into the fire. It's a good analogy though, because if we do that, we often make our lives more complicated and difficult. There's peace in abiding in God's plan and will for us. Even in the rough times. Obedience is a very integral part to perseverance, because if we were to take the easy way out (or what we perceive to be easier) we will lose out on a greater blessing and freedom.

    For us who are unequally yoked, perseverance is a daily way of life. No matter how we've come to our situations, God has a plan and a purpose for us, right where we are. Though not easy, I believe in God's plan for my situation and marriage. I trust him completely to know what's best in this process of saving my wonderful husband, and I'm determined to remain obedient in whatever God calls me (which at the moment is more about changing me than him).

    Like Cuppy, I want to persevere and overcome. I want to learn and grow stronger in my faith, trust, and belief in God. I want to see this to the end and receive God's blessing. And see my hubby come to faith.

    So I'm persevering. I hope you are too.
    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-

    Footer w drop shadow


    What is in Your Camp? It can be Destructive!

    This scripture started it all:

    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.

    If you remember I began this journey back in April and we have looked at what is indecent in our camp and can those indecent items –attitudes- be a cause for the Lord to turn away from us.

    Part I
    Part II
    Part III
    Part IV
    Idol story – Subtle Stealing
    Part V
    (Click to read previous posts)

    A couple of posts back I told you we would explore something indecent which is prevalent today and has very easy access to our homes; pornography. I have been researching this subject and have asked the psychologist I work with here at Spiritually Unequal Marriage a few questions.

    Interview with Rebecca Saville:
    R_sunset_bkgrnd_2

    Lynn: I am thrilled to Welcome Rebecca to Spiritually Unequal Marriage again to continue our conversation about pornography.

    Rebecca Saville has a Masters in Social Work and has been a counselor for 14 years. She is a deeply committed Christian and a mother of three. She has been married to a Navy Chaplain for 18 years. Interview with Rebecca Saville:

    Lynn: Can pornography be destructive and if so, how?

    Rebecca: Summarizing an article at Focus on the Family entitled “Pornography and Your Marriage: The secret sin harms marital satisfaction,” John Buri writes about a large number of couples whose marriages are harmed by pornography. As a result of using pornography men often become critical of their wives’ appearance and ability to perform sexually. Men who use pornography grow dissatisfied with their wives’ appearance, emotionally distant from their wives, and sex becomes less frequent and less satisfying. As a result of using pornography men often become critical of their wives’ appearance and ability to perform sexually.

    A husband said: “I guess deep down I knew using pornography wasn’t right, but I kept telling myself that it wasn’t hurting anyone or at least no one else but me. Now I am beginning to see that my love, respect, and affection for my wife have been slipping away.” Pornography is in fact a sin that harms the most intimate of relationships — marriage.

    Researchers showed men pictures and movies of physically attractive women, and then asked them to judge the attractiveness of other women. After viewing these airbrushed images, the men judged other women much more critically. This was termed “the contrast effect.” After repeated exposure to such materials, men judged their wives as less satisfying, less attractive, and less desirable. They also reported feeling less love for their wives and lower commitment to them.

    Therefore, even if a man doesn’t have the priority of obeying God in his requirement of sexual purity, he can see how using pornography degrades his wife and diminishes the marital relationship to the point that it may become unrecoverable.

    Sometimes husbands may say X-rated movies can enhance their sex life and try to bring his wife into watching in order to “increase her sexuality.” Viewing pornography and X-rated movies does not strengthen your sex life—it hurts it. This is the beginning of a gateway into live adultery. When he has the epinephrine rush in his bloodstream with the image of another woman on the screen, the barrier decreases between the woman he lives with and a woman he does not. Sexual activity goes from personally intimate with a wife to non-personal with any picture or any person. It creates an insatiable desire. In order to obtain more of a high, more faces and more bodies and more places and higher risk are engaged. More is not enough. When will he be satisfied?

    The sexual desire can go beyond another consenting adult into child pornography. There is the excitement of doing illegal acts to innocent children. If you suspect your husband has sexual interest in your children, by all means, protect the children first and foremost—you are a mother first in that situation and a wife second.

    Next Friday: What can we do to help our spouse become free from porn?

    I have found online resources to help you learn more. Check out:

    Bebroken.com
    Troubledwith.com

    Lord, God, on our knees we ask you to stir, in the hearts of our men, a mighty character. Lord, give them strength when temptation arises. Stir within them a desire to be men of honor. In Jesus name, Amen.

    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-

    Footer w drop shadow


    Letting Go...Again

    55446_catch_the_lightI did it again. I took back something I had given over to God. And it took losing my peace, joy, and confidence to realize it.

    I don't like getting angry at God, and I can think of only one other time I've been angry with him. Now I can count two times, unfortunately. So much had gone wrong in such a short amount of time. Didn't God hear my prayers? And why was the very thing he'd called me to do so difficult and near impossible, no matter how hard I tried?

    Nothing made sense.

    After an evening of ranting at him about the unfairness of it all, I woke this morning still agitated. My morning quiet time started unsettled and caused me to despair. My peace was gone! The one place I could find solace brought me nothing. The more I sensed this, the more I wanted to pour out to him. I felt so dirty and just wanted to be clean again.

    I set my devotionals aside and began to pray. I had a lot of confessing to do, I realized.

    If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. — 1 John 1:9 (NIV)

    God cleansed me, righted my spirit. Peace slowly returned and my mind became controlled again. My will finally submitted to his. Now I could listen.

    And God spoke. "Are you ready to give it over to me now?"

    When had I taken it back? I hadn't even noticed, but at those words, I knew I had. (He's God. If he says I took it back, I took it back!)

    I don't think I've ever been so desperate to give something to God and be free of it. I handed it over, and the floodgates opened a teeny bit. I still have some ground to cover in the trust issue for this one area, but I'd like to think I learned a valuable lesson today.

    We cannot succeed without God. I'd tried to accomplish what he asked without him and fell flat on my face. I didn't intend to go it alone. It just kind of happened. From now on I will check to be sure I'm following him before I go forward. One step at a time.

    I leave you with this verse. It is a treasure I'm trying to crack open. To embrace its full meaning.

    Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, — Ephesians 3:20

    God working in me...I think I like his way better than mine.

    Praying and trusting more...
    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-

    Footer w drop shadow


    The Water Drop Experiment!

    Wd2_2
    I opened up my email this morning, read this passage of scripture, and felt the Holy Spirit open up an area of my life which needs cleaning. This is what I read:

    Colossians 4:6 (NIV) Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.

    The Holy Spirit hit me smack dab in the face with this thought, Lynn, it is time to control your tongue and I want you to begin with just one person. Immediately a single name came to mind.....(guess who it was?)

    The original post, 30 days ago, The Water Drop Experiment began at Laced With Grace (click here)
    The fantastic conclusion, The Water Drop Experiment - Jesus Works! is also posted at Laced With Grace (click here)

    Jesus Works! Glory, Hallelujah, Amen

    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-

    Footer w drop shadow