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22 entries from March 2009

The Question of the Ages

859675_book___In Judges 6:13, Gideon asks God the question of the ages. "But sir," Gideon replied, "if the Lord is with us, why has all this happened to us?"

If we haven't asked it as some point in our lives, even as Christians, we've most definitely wondered about it. Why does God let bad things happen to his people? And if you've walked this journey of faith for any length of time, you've come to understand God uses all these times in our lives to refine us and those around us. But when the fire gets hot, we doubt, question, and even become angry.

If you read further, Gideon reminds God of his past rescues of the Israelites. Gideon wants to know what happened to that God of all the wonders passed down through the generations. We do that too, don't we? We look back at the past and see where God's hand was evident. Then when we don't see Him working immediately in our present circumstances, we fear God has abaondoned us, just as the Israelites and Gideon believed.

But even then, God doesn't defend himself. He simply tells Gideon to save Israel and says, "Am I not sending you now?" God doesn't go into a list of reasons, recounting all the ways the Israelites rejected Him by turning to false gods. He stays in the here and now, reminding Gideon He was right there—right now.

Gideon may not have gotten the answer he wanted to explain the past, but he got a more important response—God's reassurance that He was with Gideon in the midst of what was about to happen.

We may never understand completely why God allows certain difficulties in our lives, but we can go boldly forward in the reassurance that He is with us, always working for our benefit, even in our unequally yoked marriages.

No matter how you got there, God is right there with you. Maybe you just couldn't see him beyond the scope of your situation. But like Gideon, God is asking us to look beyond those circumstances and see Him standing there, where He's always been.

Praying and believing,
Dineen

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What About the Kids?

My daughter AND my husband attended church with me yesterday. As the pastor stepped up to begin his message, he picked up a rope. He then asked one of the guys seated up front to take the other end of the rope and start walking out of the sanctuary.

This yellow rope began to stretch out across the entire room. The guy holding the rope left the room, started walking down the long hallway, and proceeded to walk to exit the front door. All the while the pastor hung on to the other end of the rope. The rope finally tightened. The pastor then pointed out a small piece of blue tape, no bigger than an inch, wrapped around the end of the rope he held in his hand.

This demonstration was an analogy of time and eternity. The long rope represented eternity. The piece of tape, our lifetime, 80 or 90 years for some.

Then pastor then asked, “Are you living for the dot or are you living for the line?”

At that moment my daughter nudged me, looked into my eyes, and whispered, “Mom, you are living for the line.”

“You are too Sweetie.” I smiled back at her.

This exchange further confirmed my thoughts of Spiritual Leadership which I posted about on Friday.

Most of us living in an unequally yoked marriage deeply desire our spouse to be a spiritual leader of our kids. However, our unbelieving spouse abdicates this part of parenting to us, the believer. Listen to me now. It is okay and right and good for you to accept the spiritual leadership for the family.

I think I struggled over this for a long time. I would hear messages from church and other sources telling me not to overstep my husband’s leadership in the home. It was confusing. What should I do? What shouldn't I do.

What I know for sure is this. If you are the only believer in the home, then God has commissioned you to lead your kids. In fact, He is desperate for you to train your children.

Proverbs 22:6 Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.

Don’t wait for your husband to come to Christ. Don’t wait for your husband to be motivated. Don’t worry that you may usurp your husband’s authority in this area. When and if your husband is ready to handle prayer and teaching, he will tell you.

When it comes to training up our children, the best thing you can do is live our faith out in front of them. I have said this before but I share it again. Let your children find you reading your Bible. Let your children stumble into the kitchen one morning and see you kneeling in prayer.

Seize every opportunity given to you. When a teaching moment arrives, use it. Don’t let it slip away.

These teaching moments occur in the most unexpected ways with my daughter. I find myself imparting scripture in a way she understands and that applies to the issues in her life. Often we talk about self-esteem. That is a common issue for middle schoolers. I am ready to share scriptures and to reassure her about who she is in Jesus. I remind her that her identity is in Christ.

My daughter feels safe to ask me about faith matters and she really listens even if it appears she doesn’t. I often get the middle school “eye-roll’ or on occasion or she will say to me, “Mom, you’re on another rant.” Which means I’m preachin’ it and she has heard it before. But, I know the truth sinks in. I pray like crazy the opportunities I have to share truth will protect her from the Prodigal years in which I traveled.

Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. — Deuteronomy 11:18–19

Handsmotherand child

This scripture is all about seizing the day and taking every opportunity to share wisdom with our kids. Then we must cling to the passage in Proverbs … when they are OLD….. he/she will not turn from it.

As I smiled at my daughter in church yesterday, I realized she "gets it." She is living for the line. How cool is that?

Let your leadership be authentic, gentle, and founded in the love of Jesus and you can’t go wrong. In fact, it could be your son or your daughter who will ultimately influence your spouse toward Jesus.

Have a blessed week. Lynn

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Weekend Devotion — Developing a Persistent Love

In keeping with our theme this week of "not giving up," Lynn and I thought this devotional by Rick Warren was great! We hope it blesses you as it did us.
Praying and believing,
Dineen

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Developing a Persistent Love
by Rick Warren

"Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance" (1 Corinthians 13:7 NLT).

Love can be absolutely exhausting. Don't let anyone fool you. The kind of love that really makes a difference in this world will zap everything out of you.

Sometimes you just don't feel like you have any more love to give. Maybe you're in a people-intensive job—such as teacher, salesman, or waitress—and you come home and think, "I just can't face another need, another problem, or another heartache." So you just shut down.

Or you need to show love to a particular person who is demanding, selfish, and never returns your love. And you just think to yourself, "I'm done. No more."

While that's perfectly natural and perfectly human, it's not the high standard of love that God calls us to in the Bible. The Bible says, in 1 Corinthians 13:7, "Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance" (NLT). Love never gives up.

How can you have that kind of persistent love for another person? You get refueled.

When my kids were young, I remember taking the family to a nearby air show. It was so impressive to see how they would hook up a tanker to a jet in flight to refuel. I'll never forget that. Can you imagine a jet saying, "I don't need to refuel"? That would be silly! The jet would crash and burn. In a long distance flight, a jet has to refuel.

So do you. To show the kind of persistent love that God wants you to show, you have to refuel your love tank. Look around at society, and you'll see it's littered with debris from relationships that have crashed and burned because they didn't refuel their love.

How do you refuel your love tank? You start by letting God love you. "We love because he first loved us" (1 John 4:19 NIV). When you're worn out, tired, and can't imagine showing love to anyone else, remember that God loved you so much he sent his Son to die for you.

Now that's real fuel. That's what keeps you going when you want to quit.


Rick Warren is the founding pastor of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif., one of America’s largest and best-known churches. In addition, Rick is author of the New York Times bestseller The Purpose Driven Life and The Purpose Driven Church.

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Spiritual Leadership and the Heebie Jeebies

Jesus said: Luke 6:41 “And why worry about a speck in your friend’s eye when you have a log in your own? 42 How can you think of saying, ‘Friend, let me help you get rid of that speck in your eye,’ when you can’t see past the log in your own eye? Hypocrite! First get rid of the log in your own eye; then you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend’s eye.”

Why, do we constantly feel the need to change our spouse?

Okay, perhaps it’s only me, but I don’t think I am alone. Often in my conversations with believers I discover that we, women, want our husbands to be the… -spiritual leader of the household.

Shudder…

Those few words can give me the heebie jeebies. Spiritual expectations create a ton of unhappiness in our married relationship. Okay, I know I have probably offended you. Stay with me here. Let me state that it is correct thinking and Biblical to desire our man to be the spiritual leader of our family. I get it, really.

Where I see this go terribly wrong is what we as women “think” that leadership should look like. Do the words family devotions and leading prayer nightly and Bible discussions with the kids and, and, and… ring a bell? Yikes!

I know there are a few men out there that bring these qualities and activities to the home. They are actually rare from all my years in talking with Christian women. If you have a man like this, kneel down right now and give thanks to God.

For the rest of us. Relax.

Why do you wait for your husband to lead devotions? Where did this expectation come from?

I would submit to you that men practice their faith differently than women.

Allow your husband to be who he is.

I know this, if my husband became an on fire believer tomorrow, he would never be comfortable enough to lead family devotions, and it would probably take him years just to pray out loud. I am okay with it. It doesn’t mean he would not be the spiritual leader of our home.

What Jesus calls us to see is our man’s fruit. Not just the man-(woman)-made suggestions of practicing faith. Take a step back. What is the fruit? What is in his heart for what is in the heart come out of the mouth. Look at his character. God cares so much for our character and a little less about leading family devotions.

Jesus said: Luke 6: 43 “A good tree can’t produce bad fruit, and a bad tree can’t produce good fruit. 44 A tree is identified by its fruit. Figs are never gathered from thornbushes, and grapes are not picked from bramble bushes. 45 A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart. What you say flows from what is in your heart.”

Perhaps this was a tough post. Perhaps you don’t agree. That’s is okay. I hope however, it causes you to think about the good fruit in your man today. Give him a break for the things he may not do and give him a hug for the fruit that is evident. Have a blessed Friday, Lynn

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Thankful Thursday - Random

It's Thankful Thursday once again. Can you believe we have been meeting here for a month already? I have been richly blessed to recieve your thankful hearts here on Thursday. Remember during the month of April, we will all be meeting at Laurie's place, Women Taking a Stand.

This week I am thankful for a bunch of random stuff.

* Spring flowers

* I planted my vegtable garden this week

* God's Word. It is the only source or real joy in this life.

* Friendships

* My husband

* My kids

* My church

What are you thankful for this week? I hope to be over to visit you soon. Also, tickets have gone on sale for A Woman Inspired Conference. I hope you can meet me there on Wednesday, April 8th at 9:30 PST. Have a blessed week. Praising the Lord today, Lynn

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What's Your Story?

859675_book___ For the last two days I've read the story of Zechariah and his prophecy at the end of Luke 1. As a writer of fiction too, I tend to put myself in these stories and imagine the scene, the character motivations, and what those around them must have thought. Well, my writer brain wound up stuck in this story for two days!

First of all, I got a chuckle out of the people signing at Zechariah to ask what he wanted his son named. The man was mute, not deaf. (Hee hee...) But how real to life is that? It's like someone speaking really loud to a person who doesn't understand English. Like the higher volume will help them suddenly understand the language.

But what really ran deep with me in this story was the time line. For thousands of years, the Jews lived with the Messianic prophecies as something that would happen in the future. They didn't know when. Then Zechariah comes along and puts a definite time frame on something so profound as the Messiah's coming.

I thought of those there for John's circumcision, listening to this priest speak of his son going before the Messiah to prepare the way. Not only did he speak great things about John, but he put a very real and tangible time to when their long awaited "horn of salvation" was coming.

Yet thirty years would pass before Jesus entered his ministry. Did those who witnessed the loosening of Zechariah's tongue and prophecy begin to doubt and wonder as the years passed? As John grew up, did his father's words fall to the wayside for some? Or were they confirmed with each passing day? (And if Elizabeth and Mary were cousins, why didn't Jesus and John meet sooner? The questions are unending!)

My point is, these people had to wait a long time to see if what Zechariah said would really come true. Did they wait expectantly? Or did they begin to doubt?

As I've said before, waiting is a big part of the unequally yoked marriage. As the years pass, it's easy to doubt, to let our prayers lag, and to lose hope. Yet even in this, God gives us examples of people waiting like in Zechariah's story and so many more. These are stories rich in faith and perseverance. Stories of people who didn't give up, even against insurmountable odds.

They are our predecessors and examples of some of the greatest callings recorded. And I can't think of a greater calling than praying without ceasing for the salvation of a loved one.

Even when the odds seem stacked against us, we know our God is a God of Hope and a Keeper of Promises. And with that we can make our own stories of perseverance and faith.

Praying and believing,
Dineen

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Chronicles of the Donovan Clan -
Didn't See THIS Comin'.

When do we give up hope?

Most of you know my husband became unemployed like millions of others in January. Unemployment can really shake a man up. It’s a blow to the psyche.

My husband’s shake-up propelled him to attend church with me back then. He astonished me further when he joined me during Wednesday evening Life Group discussions. However, my man’s fervor to investigate Christianity has vanished. In fact, his church attendance has dwindled and he has completely quit Wednesday evenings.

As I type these words, I am puzzled. What happened? What didn’t happen? How could his interest fade this quickly? What did I do wrong? Didn’t do right?

Of late, I have pondered these difficult questions: Will he ever be saved? Am I a fool to hope? How should I pray? His salvation or for my endurance? -- Just keepin’ it real here.

I may become discouraged about the timeline which I perceive as taking way to long. I may fail to pray faithfully. I may fail to model Jesus in my marriage. I might break down and lose hope for a moment.

 But…..

I am not a quitter. God is not a quitter!

I read a commentary last week that states; the whole Old Testament is about failures who didn’t quit. God can use a failure, but a quitter is someone He can’t use. God can use a failure. ~Robby Dawkins

Let those words sink in. God doesn’t care that I am not a perfect wife. He knows I struggle with snacking in the evening. He knows I will cut someone off in traffic. He knows I won’t always model the fruits of the spirit. He knows I will fail… (sometimes - daily hourly)

Our faithful King, picks me up, dusts me off and says, “That was another great lesson you learned, Lynn.” My thoughts are not your thoughts. My timing is not your timing. I have called you to trust. I have called you to pray. I have called you to never quit. Trust me and remember I have your best interests at heart.”

2 Corinthians 12:9 But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me.

We may fail sometimes, but we are not quitters. God never quits on us! God’s grace is sufficient! Be Blessed, Lynn

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Marriage: Contract or Covenant?

28239619Today is the last day of The Love Dare. If you've followed us over at 1Peter3Living, then congratulations for journeying through 40 days of dares. If you've read the book, or are reading it, on your own, congrats to you too for investing in your marriage.

As I think back over the last 40 days, three points in this book stand out for me. One, love is a choice. Lately God is showing me the strength in choice. I talked about this in last week's devotional.

The second is that you must lead your heart, not let it lead you. So true. We simply need look at the world to see what happens when the heart leads. In the secular world, we tend to think the heart only capable of good and therefore a good judge, but those of us revealed in the light of God know full well how the heart can also be deceitful and selfish.

The third is that marriage is a covenant, not a contract. This goes much deeper because a contract can be broken by mutual consent, where as a covenant is meant to be unbreakable. God is our greatest example of a covenant keeper. Look at his promises to Noah, Abraham, Moses, David, and His ultimate covenant with us made through the blood of his Son.

We are called to these same standards in marriage, and God freely gives us his strength to do so. But it always seems to come back to making a choice.

What's your choice?

Praying and believing,
Dineen

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Most Unusual Birthday Gift

I remember a chat I had with Rebecca Saville, Psychologist and contributor here at Spiritually Unequal Marriage, several moths ago. We were talking about men and women and about how we view change in our marriage relationship in very different ways. She said this:

A woman marries a man thinking she can change him.

A man marries a woman thinking she will never change.

-They’re both wrong.

Most of us learn the reality of this truth the hard way. I know I did.

I write frequently about change and releasing unrealistic expectations. Most of you know my personal story and how my marriage changed when I allowed Jesus to change me first.

However changing doesn't always have to be about us. It is not wrong to want our spouse to change in some areas, especially to have a heart-change and become a believer. There are opportunities where we can gently “coach” our mate.

I want to share a story with you about one of my good friends who created real change in her marriage.

 _____

He worked long and crazy hours, traveling in a large metropolitan area to different job sites. His day-planner included numerous appointments and some socializing which often took him over an hour’s travel away from home on busy California freeways. His job required him to work frequently after the dinner hour.

In his haste to meet with clients and get everything done in the day, he didn’t come through the door until after she was almost frantic with worry. As the hours between 5 p.m. and when he arrived home ticked away, she worried about an accident on the job site or possibly on the freeway. She rarely knew when to expect him home for dinner. He never thought to call her to release her from worry and give her a time when he might arrive home. She could rarely reach him by phone to still her fretting.

They argued about the situation frequently. Promises were made but were later broken and the cycle went on like this for a while.

They both loved each other deeply but this one area of contention between them began to grow bitterness. She was angry he never called to say when he would be home. He was angry she didn’t trust him and felt he didn’t need to check in like a child.

One day on her birthday as they sat over a wonderful candle light dinner, she gently yet firmly explained her hurt. Then she said to him, “I want a phone call for my birthday. The only thing, the best gift you could ever give me, is a phone call by five o’clock.”

He gave her this gift. The best and easiest gift he had ever given her.

Since that day he telephones every day at five and to her delight and further still, he also calls her during lunch just to check in and say, “Hi, I love you.”

______

Would you be willing to give up a new sweater or earrings? Could you ask for a similar gift like this for your birthday, Mother’s Day or Christmas?

As you consider what gift you might ask of your spouse, be very careful that your request is simple and doable. Make sure your gift request is not manipulative or motivated out of spite or sheer selfishness. Consider carefully, prayerfully how your spouse would consider your request and is it something that truly is worth this rare opportunity.

Be Blessed, Lynn

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Thankful Thursday - We Are Free!

Isaiah 61

The Year of the LORD's Favor

1 The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners

We serve a God of miracles.

In the past week, I have watched as God changed the lives of friends for eternity. I have witnessed marriages revived and on the road to healing. I have witnessed those held captive by lies - set free.

I am praising Jesus for He has come to bind up the brokenhearted, proclaim freedom for the captives, and release the prisoners from darkness.

How has Jesus freed you?

I can’t wait to read your posts about your struggle and your freedom. Girls, someone will read your story and they too will be SET FREE! Be Blessed, Lynn

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My Life with a Non-believer by Leslie Miller

Yesterday when I asked my daughter what I should write about this week, she offered to write it for me. So, without further ado, my precious (15 and still recovering) daughter Leslie...


Leslie Growing up with a mother who is Christian and a father who is an atheist isn't always easy. I always look at him and think in my mind, "How can he not be Christian?" He's always kind to others and handles things with grace. He barely ever looses his temper.

It was and still is hard for me to understand why he isn't a believer. My mother handles this with such grace, it amazes me. She has told me before that it's not always easy, but she will not stop trying because she loves him.

I never really talk to my dad about it. I don't like to make him uncomfortable. I do show him that I am a believer and have faith. One way I show him this is if I'm having a hard time, and he says everything will be fine, I answer back, "I know it will be fine, because God has my back and won't let anything happen to me." Whenever i say something like that he just smiles or says, "Ok." I look at him and in my mind, I'm screaming, "How can he not believe? How can he turn his back to God?"

I look at my mother and it always goes through my mind that she must be so strong to be able to handle this and to always have faith. My mother is my role model when it comes to having faith. My father is my role model when it comes to handling situations. I pray every night that God will turn my father to him.

I admit there are times when I feel like God's not listening or refuses to help me. I know this all a lie and that he will always help me. But when I see my father, I get mad in my heart that God hasn't done anything yet. I love my dad so much, I cant bare to see him pass away without knowing Christ.

I just need to stand strong along side my mother and help support her through hard times when it comes to my father. I know one day he will turn his face to Christ and realize that he cannot live without him. When that day comes, I will turn my face to heaven and cry out, "Holy is the Lord and glory to His almighty power."  

*    *    *    *
That's my girl, one of God's precious gifts to me.
Praying and believing,
Dineen

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Great Marriage Quotes

Ya'll are wise. Have I told you that lately? Well, you amaze me. Your advice and wisdom with regard to the Affair post last week was spot on! Heart+in+book

Today, I need some more of your mental power. Mostly, I need some of your Holy Spirit inspired advice. I am working on my speaking outline for A Woman Inspired Conference. I thought it would be fun to add some quotes and some words of wisdom. I can’t think of a better place to find inspiration than from you…

So, please have mercy on my blonde brain and share your wisdom about marriage. Share a quote about marriage that inspires you or that shares Biblical truth. What is the best piece of advice you’ve been given about marriage. Or, tell me what God has taught you about this amazing relationship, marriage.

I can’t wait! I want to share your wisdom. Is that okay? Have a blessed week. Lynn

One of my favorite quotes:

A good marriage is the union of two forgivers. ~Ruth Graham

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Weekend Devotion — God's Power

859675_book___ For God is working you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases Him. — Philippians 2:13

I have this verse written on a bright green Post-It note stuck on my computer. I pray it at least once a day because I want this dearly, especially in a couple areas of my life in which I struggle. This verse speaks to me of God's ability to bring change in our hearts to accomplish what we can't alone.

It's speaks to me of God's tremendous grace that even in the things we struggle with in stubbornness and disobedience, we can go to him for help. In fact, we have to in order to really accomplish anything. If we could do this stuff on our own power, then Jesus never needed to die.

Sobering thought. And a comforting one. I know how weak I am, and I fail so often. I can choose to beat myself up over it, then try and fail again. OR, I can run to God and pray without ceasing to overcome these areas.

The key here I'm discovering is making the CHOICE. We can wallow in whatever pit, mire, or mud hole we're currently stuck in, or we can choose to embrace God's empowering Holy Spirit and choose to do whatever He leads us to do.

What issue are you grappling with today? Do you need to make a choice? What does relying on God's strength and not our own mean to you?

Have a blessed weekend!
Praying and believing,
Dineen

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An Affair? Facebook?

Do you think you could never have an affair?

I know this question appears outlandish. However, I want to tell you a story.

FACEBOOK: Write On my wall: Facebook

Hi Tina, I found you through our High school link in Facebook. Wow, your picture is gorgeous! How are you doing? What are you doing? I am settled in well with my medical practice. Yes, I went to med school in California and returned here to practice. I can’t wait to hear from you. Boy, did we have great fun at the football games. Write me.

HIS WALL: Hi, Wow, I am so glad you found me. I knew you would end up in med school. I am doing great. I was thrilled you wrote me. I always wondered what you were doing. I sometimes think about what life would have been if we had stayed together. You know, I honestly have missed you. I am kinda going through a tough time in my marriage and to see you name and message made me feel some happiness. I have a ton of fond memories of us in high school. Wow, would I love to see you again. Tell me more about yourself. Write me.

HER WALL: I am so sorry to hear you are in a tough place. I am also in a lonely place. I divorced last year. Man, it was ugly. I knew all along I missed out on the right girl, you. Hey, how about I give you a call and let’s catch up some more?

WARNING… WARNING…. WARNING….

Okay, my friends, this is how it happens. A casual online conversation with an old friend of the opposite sex. Facebook is a new phenomenon that is reconnecting people.

So can you tell me what went wrong here? What was Tina’s first mistake? What was her second? What should she have done?

DO YOU THINK THIS SCENARIO IS A REAL ISSUE? Be Blessed, Lynn

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Thankful Thursday - Epic Story

When we trust our lives to the hand and pen of an unseen but ever-present God, He will write our lives into “His story” and every last one of them will turn out to be a great read. With a grand ending. -Beth Moore

We are living, out loud, the grandest drama ever. Real-life far exceeds anything Hollywood will ever dream up.

Living for Jesus Christ is exhilarating, challenging, difficult, rewarding, awesome, and certainly NEVER boring.

Jeremiah 1:5 5 "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations."

Our destiny is not left to chance. Our lives are vital. We are all players in this grand drama, penned before time began. I am thankful I serve the Master Author.

What is He writing in your life today? What are you thankful for this Thursday? Be Blessed, Lynn

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God's Pursuit

959631_fruits One of my daily devotionals talked today of how God sought Adam and Even in the garden after they had eaten of the tree of knowledge. I've read that many times before but never thought about beyond what Adam and Eve had done.

They hid, ashamed of their nakedness and afraid to face God. Have you ever read that and wished they'd just told God what happened instead of hiding? I guess if faced with the great "I Am," I'd hide too.

Then God shows up (as if he ever really left) and calls to them. "Where are you?" (Genesis 3)

I'm thinking God knew exactly where they were, and what they had done. He's omniscient, after all. But here's where this devotional commentary had something new to add.

Despite Adam and Eve's decision to sin, God still sought their presence. He didn't just strike them dead, wipe his hands, and walk away (float, disappear, go up in a blaze of fire...). No, he still wanted fellowship with his creation, even if it was now forever blemished.

God pursued Adam and Eve even while in their sin. Sound familiar? God's Word is so picturesque of his character and consistency. Even in the Old Testament we see God's constant pursuit of us and his willingness to do what it took to catch us. Even to sacrificing his Son.

As unequally yoked spouses, we can take great comfort in this, knowing God is pursuing our unbelieving spouses with the same passion and determination. We may not see it, but that doesn't meant it's not happening.

And we can praise and thank God for such dedication to our loved ones.

Praying and believing,
Dineen

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I Have Smelly Feet

I have typed then deleted this post several times. I hesitate to share the story I am about to tell. It is personal and intimate and it may make you feel uncomfortable.

But for the first time a portion of scripture became alive to me. I experienced what Jesus experienced. I hope I can share this story and convey it properly, in a way that honors Christ and not me. I hope by the end that you will catch a glimpse of yourself through the eyes of Jesus......

Would you allow me to serve you. I would be so humbly honored if you would. Join me at Laced With Grace. Be Blessed, Lynn

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Weekend Devotion — Knowing God

1129177_leaf_with_water_drops From now on if you listen obediently to the commandments that I am commanding you today, love God, your God, and serve him with everything you have within you, he'll take charge of sending the rain at the right time .... Deuteronomy 11:13-14 (MSG)

God is all about timing. He knows the big picture, so of course he knows when to send the rain. God made this promise to the Israelites in regards to their crops, telling them if they obey, he would send what they needed to flourish.

And He asks us to do our part by being obedient and to trust him. 

That's not always easy though, is it? We're impatient creatures all to used to getting what we want when we want it. Waiting has almost become a bad word in today's culture. Fast food, fast service, speed dating...our society is all about getting whatever we want as fast as we can.

But God calls us to a different path. Waiting is a big part of his plan. Look at Abraham, Moses, and Joseph. These men did a whole lot of waiting and often in unpleasant conditions. If we have to stand in a line more than five minutes, we feel we've been mistreated.

One of my favorite verses in the Bible is "Be still and know that I am God" (Psalm 46:10). Even here he calls us to a waiting position, one in which we can truly appreciate his omniscience. Knowing God is believing he will give us what we need. Knowing God is trusting him to work in whatever situation we're struggling with. Knowing God is believing that no matter what He's completely in control.

Knowing God is to also know that we are loved and cared for more deeply than we can even imagine.

Praying and believing,
Dineen

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Thankful Thursday

Wisdom

Welcome to Thankful Thursday. I will be co-hosting this event along with Laurie from Women Taking A Stand. Find Thankful Thursday here in March. In April we will head over to Laurie’s.

On this Thankful Thursday, I give thanks to the Lord for Iris. Iris from Grace Alone has hosted this important event for years. She thoughtfully put together post after post, each week to encourage us and to help us focus on the blessings the Lord pours into our lives.

Iris, this time away is part of the Lord’s plan for your life. I can’t wait to see what he has in store for you. I am so thankful for you and your friendship. BIG HUGS!

This morning my mother telephoned me. I was barely awake. I picked up the phone slightly worried because she never calls very early. I have a terrible cold so I could barely croak out, “Hello.”

“I’ve found my scripture verse.” She said excitedly. My mom had been searching the scriptures last night for a verse about wisdom.

Proverbs 9:10a The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom.

Great verse, Mom.

This Thankful Thursday I praise the Lord for wisdom.

  • Wisdom from the Bible to live lives that are filled with joy and purpose.
  • The wisdom of prayer to take our lives before the creator of the universe.
  • The wisdom of the Holy Spirit who nudges us to pursue a new direction or perceive something from God's perspective.

What are you thankful for this Thursday? Have a blessed day. Please take time to visit a few other posts and leave a word of encouragement. Be Blessed, Lynn

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A Bumpy Ride

PikesPeak I just got back from a trip to Colorado. On the way there, I experienced the "rocky-ride" due to turbulence from flying over the Rocky Mountains. I planned for this on the way home so as to avoid an upset stomach.

Unfortunately, what I didn't expect was a bumpy ride back into San Jose because of a storm front. (I'm still waiting for my stomach to catch up. I think it took a nosedive somewhere over Nevada.)

Isn't marriage like that too sometimes? Past experience helps us anticipate the bumps of the future, but what about those unexpected roller coaster rides that take us totally by surprise? A health issue, a financial crisis, infidelity...

In the past I've firmly believed that there's a solution to any problem we are faced with—we simply need to find that answer and implement it. (Are you laughing at me yet?) Truly, I really do believe this, especially when we, as believers, are empowered by the Holy Spirit. We can affect change. And usually that change starts within ourselves.

However, I recently hit one of those bumps that I couldn't fix in any way. As Lynn and I have mentioned in previous posts, we're working through The Love Dare on the 1Peter3Living Yahoo group. One of the dares was to ask our spouse what three things irritate or annoy them. Not an easy task but a necessary one. I suspected what my sweet hubby's reluctant answer might be, but didn't anticipate the "bump" this would cause in my own personal outlook.

That bump? My faith.

Let me say first that it was not easy for him to share this. And he was very gentle and kind about it and keeping in context to how it overlapped onto him. Yet hearing this set a string of emotions into play that hit me the next day. I felt crushed. I felt rejected. I felt unaccepted. Again, let me emphasize my husband in no way intended to cause hurt, but I was faced with a mountain I didn't know how to get over. 

Leave it to God to bring the answer though. A precious best friend gave me a perspective I'd not considered. She reminded me that though I saw my faith as an integral part of who I was, he didn't. My sweet hubby saw them as two very separate things. It wasn't me he was rejecting, just my beliefs. (Even sharing this with you here continues to be a healing salve, one I hope will also bring comfort to you. 2 Corinthians 1, right?)

One thing I did learn in this, and I will confess I do still struggle with because I am a recovering control freak and a fixer, is the reality that I can in no way fix this. I can't change myself to make the problem go away because that would mean walking away from God. I can't do that, nor would God want me to. And I can't change my husband. He's entirely in God's hands. I can however, be more sensitive to my husband's needs and desire to share in areas of our joint lives, and not assume he's separated from it. 

As difficult as this was, it did show me that there are times that we can't change a situation, no matter how much we may want to. We have to trust God to work in the circumstances to affect change, and leave the future firmly in his most capable hands.

And ever faithful, God has reminded me of this over and over again with Hebrews 12:2, "Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith."

When the doubts come sneaking in, when the day brings "bumps" I didn't plan for, and when I find myself fixating on what I can't change, I will remember that verse and turn my eyes upward. Hope you will too.

Praying and believing,
Dineen

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The Soap Cup and a Rapture -
Marriage Monday

I pulled into the garage this afternoon after visiting the Farmer’s Market and snagging a frozen vanilla yogurt cone from Golden Spoon. The temperature outside was a magnificent 84˚. My daughter tagged along. We chatting about everything and nothing.

As the garage door rolled up I spied my husband in the laundry room which is actually a hallway from the garage to the house. Okay, I admit it. My guy is a treasure. He does the laundry….. Every week…..

Can I get an Amen!

My teenager and I walked into the small room.

“Wait!” my husband insisted. “I have been waiting for you to get home.”

I shot a sideways glance at Caitie, wondering, What in the world????? Which prompted my obvious response, “Whyyyyyyyy” I spoke slowly, cautiously. Wondering if I might be facing trouble. Naw, I couldn’t be in the doghouse. After all, I remembered to bring home a Mint Chocolate and Cappuccino yogurt just for him.

“I’m going blind.” He spurts out.

“Say What?”

“I dropped the laundry soap cup. I heard it bounce once. Then…..It disappeared into thin air.” His hands flew up with flair as he spoke. “Help me find it. I have been looking for ten minutes. I need both sets of your eyes.”

I am not kidding when I tell you the three of us looked like chickens pecking in dirt. Our heads were bent, checking behind the door, under the cabinet, behind the washer and dryer. To no avail.

After another 10 minutes and three people with cricks in their necks the soap cup was officially gone. I looked at my husband. “I can’t believe the three of us can’t find a soap cup in this tiny room.” I stated flatly - truly perplexed as to how it could simply disappear.

He looked at me with a grin on his face and mumbled, “It’s been raptured.”

I busted out laughing!

My daughter joined in. She laughed and said in her teen sarcasm, “Dad, what? Did the cup become a Christian?”

We all roared. My family is a hoot.

This silly exchange wasn’t disrespectful. It was a moment where I can see the glory of our marriage through the eyes of the Lord. In years past the mere mention of faith matters brought tension and usually a fight.

Not today. My man has come to respect my faith and even delight in my beliefs in the rapture, heaven, and Jesus. (My friends, I think my guy is not far from the cross.) Even better, I am able to relax and not worry about my husband’s faith journey, nor take offense if he tells me the soap cup raptured out of this world *grin*.

We are a happy couple.

The glory of our marriage is the very presence of a glorious God at work and evident every. single. day in our lives.

Be Blessed, Lynn

For more Marriage Monday, Please visit A Pair of Bartlett’s.

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Do Your Prayers Do Any Good?

by: Amy Forbes

Do you ever wonder whether your prayers for your spouse are doing any good? Are they effective? Is God hearing you?

Here are some tips from "What happens when Women pray" by Evelyn Christenson:

Plug into God's power - don't plan just pray! If we could learn to pray first and plan afterward how different our homes, our churches, our Christian women's clubs, our bible studies etc whatever we are doing for Christ would be so different. Maybe we are planning in one direction and God's will is in another direction.

Hindrances to prayer - "If I cherish evil in my heart, the Lord will not hear me" Psalm 66:18. God didn't release us to pray for other needs until we had cleaned up our own lives by confessing our sins first. We prayed and prayed and God kept bringing sins to our minds. God kept bringing our wrong priorities, thoughts, reactions and attitudes to our minds. Some of our sins were divided moties, pretence and pride but if we are living in sin and liking it, if we are keeping it there God dies wo'nt hear us.

Praying in one accord - "For where two or three come together in My name there I am with them" Matt 18:20. If you are praying with a group of people the method is praying in one accord. That is achieved by praying aloud about only one subject at at time wth one person praying at at time instead of planning other prayers in advance. How much more power there is in prayer when the participants are praying together.

The Five S's - "An when you pray do not keep babbling like pagans for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them for your Father knows what you need before you ask him" Matt 6:7-8 These make more sense and are more effective: a. subject by subject

b. short prayers

c. simple prayers

d. be specific

e. have silent periods to listen to God

Praying in God's will - "This is the assurance we have in approaching God that if we ask anything according to His will He hears us" 1John 5:14-15 There's a difference in praying for what our will and praying for God's will. How often have you prayed for something or someone and the situation has turned out completely different?

Commitment in prayer - "So then those who suffer according to God's will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good"- 1Peter4:19 Is your God an all-wise Father who knows the end from the beginning, who knows all the causes and all the outcomes and who never makes a mistake? We must pray for something that seems very good to us but God knows the "what ifs" in our lives. He knows the calamities that might occur if He answered our prayers in the way we think best. He also knows about all our difficult situations and wants to turn them into something good.

Where to pray - "When you pray go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father who is unseen. Then your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you" - Matt 6:6 Do you have a secret place for private prayer, a certain corner, a chair or a room set apart where you can spend time alone with God? Going away to pray in secret is perhaps the most vital type of prayer in which we engage. When to pray - "Pray continually" - 1Thessalonians 5:17 When you're with a person you love there need not be a bit of conversation in order for you to experience real communication.

Praying without ceasing is like that. It's turning the dial of our communication system with God to "on" making possible a two way conversation with Him at anytime. To whom we pray - "Come near to God and He will come near to you" - James 4:8 Before we are ready to start praying we need to wait upon God until we know we have established communication with Him. This is a time of quiet when we are shutting out every thought and distraction around us. There is no talking ot God, just a complete mental coming to Him and then He will come near to us.

Forgiveness through prayer - "And forgive us our sins just as we have forgiven those who have sinned against us"- Matt 6:12 Christ says that if we don't forgive others our Father will not forgive us. If He does not our sins will keep Him from hearing our prayers.

The results of prayer - "Without faith it is impossible to please God because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him" - Hebrews 11:6 What happens when we pray? Things do happen. We do not drop our prayes into a bottomless pit. We send them up to a heavenly Father who in His time, in His way, according to His will answeres them down here on earth.

I hope these tips and ideas help you in your quest to pray. If you'd like to get a copy of this book you can do so from amazon.com. Visit my blog Home With Amy.

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