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21 entries from April 2009

Thankful Thursday - God Broke My Heart

Wow, another week has passed by and it forgot to take me with it… (thanks Patsy Clairmont) …and here we are again to give thanks to our Lord for the great gifts we have.

Over the weekend the Donovan Clan watched the critically acclaimed movie, Slumdog Millionaire. I was moved to tears. It is harsh to watch but it’s reality.

I turned off the television and gave thanks to God for the missionaries from Sunridge Community Church, and the mission team leaders, Simon and Kimette Reeves. The Reeves’ heart broke several years ago over the horrendous conditions of orphans in India.

Out of that broken heart was born, India’s KidsIndiaskids A mission that supports two orphanages that help feed, shelter and educate the children at Jacobs Well Children’s Home and Mercy Children’s Home in Manipur, India. They will be traveling there in July to expand the orphanage and save a few more children.

Watch the movie and pray. I did! Now I wish I was going to travel with the team this summer. You can bet I will be praying up a storm over them come July.

One person CAN make a difference in this world. It may be only one person’s world but it can be changed forever none-the-less. I am thankful God calls each of us to one area where our heart breaks. I am thankful the Lord compels us to make life on earth a little better for someone else.

God broke my heart for anyone living in an unequally yoked marriage. I am deeply thankful that He did.

What is God breaking your heart over this Thankful Thursday? Be blessed, Lynn

For more Thankful Thursday, Visit, Laurie at Women Taking a Stand.

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What about Tithing?

For the next several Tuesdays we will be answering the questions left on last week's Open Forum. And we love your questions! So please feel free to ask more.

This week's question is from Amanda:

788824_dollar_bill"I would love to hear how you handle giving (financially) in a SUM. I don't think it would be accurate to say that my husband is an unbeliever exactly, but he is less inclined than I am to dedicate this life to living for God. The biggest struggle we have is regarding tithing and offerings- he generally feels that the 10% is an arbitrary number that has no bearing on modern life. Any thoughts on how to handle this is greatly appreciated!"


Lynn's Answer: Tithing: This is a controversial issue in any marriage but this is one area where unequally yoked couples tend to be at odds frequently. What does the Bible say about tithing? Let’s take a look.

Actually the Bible has much to say about money. Jesus taught us to use our money to influence friends.

Luke 16:9 (NIV) I tell you, use worldly wealth to gain friends for yourselves, so that when it is gone, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings. 10"Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much. 11So if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches? 12And if you have not been trustworthy with someone else's property, who will give you property of your own?

He also said, Luke 12:48b (NIV) From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.

There are many scriptures in the Old Testament which address tithing. Look in the first book of the Bible, Genesis: And blessed be God Most High, who delivered your enemies into your hand." Then Abram gave him (Melchizedek, king of Salem) a tenth of everything. Chapter 14:20.

But I want you to remember, we live in the new Age. The age of grace given to us by Christ Jesus. We are no longer subject to the law.

With that said, the following scripture is what speaks to me about tithing:

2 Corinthians 9:7 (NIV) Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.

So how does this play out in real-life with our spouse. From my own marriage I can tell you that my husband can get worked up about tithing. Because of the years of televangelists pleading for money then misappropriating it, my husband has a jaded view of “giving to the church.” Can I get an AMEN?

And honestly, I can understand why he might feel that way. I have been careful not to push tithing as an issue in our marriage. I give a small portion of our income. Very small. So small that it does not create discord in our relationship. Do I feel bad about this or desire to give more? YES! However, I trust God to see my heart. He knows what I would like to do. More importantly He does not want tithing to become one more issue to drive my husband away from Jesus.

So, I give of my time. I volunteer in ministry. A lot! But not so much that I neglect our home, or him or our daughter. God honors this in our life.

What God really wants is not our money. He wants our heart. First and foremost. Period. The End.

Look at the scriptures below and discover what God really wants. Hint, it is not your checkbook. Be Blessed, Lynn

Revelation 19:7 Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready.

Psalm 29:2 Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name; worship the LORD in the splendor of his holiness.

Matthew 22:37 Jesus replied: " 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.'


Dineen's Answer: Tithing is a very difficult issue to settle clearly, and I think Lynn's advice above is sound and the Scripture references are perfect. What I'm about to share is what worked for me.

About 12 years ago, the tithing issue came up big time in my marriage. I'd just recommitted my life to Christ and had joined a church I adored. And my precious hubby had made the decision for atheism. Talk about a couple going in opposite directions!

The tithing issue weighed heavily on my heart though. I wanted to do our part and worried what it would mean if we didn't. At the time I was reading a book called The Wonderful Spirit Filled Life by Charles Stanley. He tells you do this exercise where you write whatever decision you're grappling with on a note card or piece of paper. Then find a quiet place to pray uninterrupted. Ask God to make you absolutely neutral in this decision. Once you've prayed, tear it up, acknowledging your willingness to become neutral and continue praying until you are convinced you're neutral about it.

I wrote on a card that I would ask my husband what he felt we could tithe each month and that I would accept whatever he said. Once I'd prayed and felt I'd reached this place of neutrality, I went to my husband and asked what we could do. He told me a figure. Amazingly, I was fine with it. And though it was not the 10% I thought we were supposed to give, it was more than I'd hoped for. Every year since, I've asked my husband what he feels we can handle, and that's been the commitment ever since.

No, it's not 10%, but I know I'm honoring God and my husband by doing it this way, and that I can give in other ways as well, like using my graphic design skills and programs to do the church newsletter.

And as time has progressed, I've found that I'm the one tested in this. For example, roughly three years ago I started doing freelance graphic design work again. From the start I made the decision to tithe 10% of the extra money I earned. And my hubby was fine with it.

My income has slowly but steadily increased. When we've needed the money, the work has come in. When God had something more important for me to do, like take care of  my daughter when she was diagnosed with a brain tumor, the work literally stopped until the very last week of her treatment. I was faithful, therefor so was God. And you'll notice this had to do with me, not my husband.

So, Amanda, if we were sitting down with a nice cup of coffee and some girl-talk, I would tell you not to worry about the amount but the heart and motivation behind it. God wants us to tithe our resources happily as a way of giving thanks, and a reminder that we what have—money, skills, resources—are from his hand anyway. Ask your husband what he's comfortable with and honor it. That way he's not grumbling and neither are you. Then let God do the rest.

Praying and believing,
Dineen


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What Personality was Jesus?

Did you take the personality test? Scroll down and read Friday's post.

On Friday many of us did and I was thrilled to hear from you. I think it was cool that you also figured out the personality of your spouse. Having that knowledge sure can help as we interact with them.

So, what personality was Jesus? Well, he was completely human and yet God, so we would find Christ in the center. He is likely the most balanced human being there ever was. What a relief. That means He “gets” us.

All of us!

I know many of you have taken personality quizzes before. Here are some of the examples:

Lion is also Choleric, red, Type A

Otter is also Sanguine, yellow, type B

Beaver is also Phlegmatic, blue and type C

Golden Retriever is Melancholic, green and type D

What I want to point out now is that your personality traits contribute to who you are. But, you can override some of the negative traits and change through the power of Jesus. I am exhibit A of this truth. Let me explain.

Lionroar Ten years ago, I was a rigid, Type A, banking executive. I was responsible for a large staff of multiple branches, a giant commercial loan portfolio, and a hefty client list of whom almost all were men. Okay, so my Type A personality probably was helpful to make decisions and accomplish goals. But I sure was rigid and probably a pain to get along with. However, God in His infinite wisdom decided to teach me about REAL living.

He picked me up and moved me to California. I became a stay-at-home mom and wife. He then took me further to become a friend to women. I now serve in Women’s ministry at church and I serve many women through Spiritually Unequal Marriage. (Guys too)

Can I tell you how much- way--- out of my comfort zone and life experience this was for me. But, I learned to move from my demanding, type A, personality, to a friend who didn’t need to be in control or make all the decisions.

I am telling you…. It was an EXTREME personality makeover.

The success of this makeover was confirmed to me as I sat in the church staff meeting last week. As I told the staff members that I am a “WAY RED” personality, the response was. “Wow, Lynn you must really hide that because I just don’t see it in you.” I am deeply thankful the Lord loves me so much that He will not leave me unchanged. Still, you should know I am a giant work-in-progress.

I am sharing this story to encourage you. God desires to re-craft us in the image of Jesus. Jesus is at the center of the personality scale and He is moving us in that direction as well.

Today I understand and appreciate so much about other personalities. More than I ever did.

What I find humorous about personalities is God gave me a husband who is a Type C. (Do water and oil mix?) What a hoot. God works through the different characteristic of my man to accomplish many purposes. Such as, humility, understanding, and an appreciation to see things from a different perspective and but mostly I have gained patience!!

How is God working through the different personalities with whom you live and work, Is He using them to perfect a good work in you?

Notice different personalities in your life this week at home, at work, and at church. It will soften your heart and grow your love, even your love for the un-lovely in our lives.

Have a great week. Be Blessed, Lynn

PS. Dineen is a Golden Retriever/ Beaver. No wonder we work so well together and complement each other. Hugs…

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Wekend Devotion — Worldly Wisdom Takes a Blow

Images For it is written: "I will destroy the wisdom of the wise; the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate." Where is the wise man? Where is the scholar? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? — 1Corinthians 1:19-20

I know there's been a lot of discussion on the web about Susan Boyle over the last week or so, and I'm sure you've heard about her one way or another. As I watched this clip on U-Tube, the above verses came to mind. Here was this woman who by worldly standards didn't measure up, yet she blew everyone away with her outstanding voice. To watch this dear woman confound the judges and the audience was truly a delight. That was a God moment for me, one in which his presence is subtle yet deep in meaning.

I applaud Susan Boyle not only for her voice, but alos for proving the world wrong. And wow, what a voice indeed! Don't you just love it when God uses things like this to show us we really don't have things figured out like we think?

Praying and believing,
Dineen

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Do You Have Personality?

I was invited to attend at church staff meeting this week. During the meeting we took a personality test. I found the test to be quite revealing and actually immensely helpful. When you understand how your spouse, church volunteer, or co-worker operates, you can work together with increased effectiveness. I was fascinated while listening to our Missions Pastor talk about how she purposely forms missions teams based upon their personalities. She consciously matches complementary personalities to room together and canvas together. The teams are highly effective.

The personality test I want you to take is based on a book written by Gary Smalley. I found it already in a PDF form, on-line. So, click on the link below take the test. Then come back. It is short. I promise.

Personality Test

Now this is where I just crack up... Think of the four personality styles in terms of their use of an instruction booklet:

  • The Lion discards the booklet altogether.
  • The Otter can't even find the handbook (and wouldn't read it anyway)!
  • The Golden Retriever reads the handbook from cover to cover.
  • The beaver probably wrote detailed additions to the booklet and corrected any mistakes.

Okay, So what personality are you? What personality is your spouse?

What personality am I? Can you guess? What about Dineen? What was Jesus?

We have all been uniquely created by God with a personality all our own. We can strive to do what we do best using the talents and temperaments God has given us. We should also strive, with love and understanding, to accept others for the way they are, first identifying their personality styles and then recognizing their needs. We can all work together if we are willing to accept our own limitations and utilize other people's strengths.This is especially true in our marriages.

We also must be willing to recognize that all personality styles have a downside. No one personality style is the best, even thought we may relate best with those most like us. God created us uniquely to be used as a body, functioning in harmony.

 

Be Blessed

In the near future: I am currently preparing for a new series that Spiritually Unequal Marriage has yet to tackle. I am waiting for some research material to arrive by mail. As soon as it is here, we will get started. I hope next week.

Give this test to your husband. See how you are alike and where you are likely to have clashes. If you want to know what personality your small children are, buy the book and read it with them. They cheer for the animal that matches their personality. God Bless.

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Thankful Thursday - Another Front Row Seat

Today was a day of change. I watched as a portion of the Bible was lived out before my very eyes... in living color. (Titus 2)

Today I stepped down from leading my small group Bible study for our last six-week segment. Taking my place is a brand new leader, Heidi. She is a younger woman and loves Jesus. It is now her turn to step out in faith and begin to teach others.

I never thought of myself as a woman who would lead or disciple a younger woman. Who knew?

God did and in His wisdom He placed Heidi and I together for this very purpose…..And it is wonderful to move aside and watch the Lord shine His light upon a young woman who was scared and nervous today but oh, so willing to lead because she loves Jesus. The gals in the study loved her.

I am thankful the Lord allowed me to see His word in action and deeply humbled He allowed me to be part of His plan. (I love having a Front Row Seat)

The funny thing is…. I think it's me, who still needs years of shepherding…. I hang on every word and soak up every minute I have to talk with an older Christian woman. I am richer for it and profoundly blessed.

God is so good. His ways are always the best and His Word proves to be fulfilling, joy-filled and absolutely true, day-in, day-out! Hallelujah!

What are you thankful for today? Find more at Women Taking A Stand with Laurie.

Be Blessed, Lynn

Also, meet me here Friday as we are going to take a short personality test. You are going to find out more about yourself, your spouse and others. Then we will discover together how that knowledge can help you thrive in your marriage, your relationships with your kids as well as how to match people together in service at church or in the workplace. Stay tuned.

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Open Forum

SUMButton Spiritually Unequal Marriage is fast approaching the end of our third year. I bet Lynn is shaking her head in disbelief right now. I went back through the posts to see the very first one! Hee hee...May 1st.

Personally, I can't believe it's been almost two years since I joined in the "fun" here at SUM. Wow! Thank you, Lynn! This ministry has meant to world to me—to us both. To be able to offer comfort, encouragement, and hope...and to have received it as well...

Okay, okay, before I get all mushy, or you think I'm leaving or something, I have an idea. I'm proposing a bit of an open forum today. If you have a question or a subject that you want to see addressed or want to explore further, leave it in the comments. Lynn and I will pray over each one and do our best to share our wisdom, give direction, or even just offer our prayers.

Come on now, don't be shy. We want to know what you're thinking about, struggling with, worrying over, and wondering about. And being in a spiritually mismatched marriage isn't easy. This blog is here to serve, and what better way than for us to ask you, our precious readers, what you need answers about. We'll do our best, and God will do the rest.

He's really good at that, you know?

Praying and believing,
Dineen

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Herding cats = Middle School Band

Good Monday Morning to Everyone:

This post is a departure from the norm. But, I just had to share some fun moments from the Donovan Clan.

Over the weekend I was one of about 14 adults who chaperoned my teen-daughter’s middle school band competition. We traveled with about 80 students, five hours by bus from California to Las Vegas.

Oi Veh!

Have you heard the expression…. Herding cats?

Running_cats

From the minute we arrived, our weekend was a non-stop, action-packed, thrillride……literally.

We caught the live show, Tournament of Kings, a mid-evil tournament where you eat with your hands - nothing new to middle schoolers, we pounded on the tables and cheered for our favorite Knight in shinning armor. Ours was Spain.

On Saturday the kids were brilliant with their performance and took home top honors over all the bands in the festival. Later we spent hours at an amusement park…. Now I really am a dizzy blonde…( I loved the disk ride.)

Side Note: I played laser tag for the very first time. What a hoot. My son and daughter were both after me the entire time. Sheesh, so much for family loyalty. Gang, I still have a few firsts in me. So I am now pondering skydiving….. hmmmmmm

The band Director, Mr. H., is one of the best directors this side of the Mississippi and ranks up there with Mr. Holland. The kids adore him... Did I say adore?? They love him and respect him immensely. So do I.

The other parents were awesome and fun and funny and so patient. They were patient with their herd of cats… So, after trying to keep up with 80 middle school kids we are all tired. By the way, the kids are tired too but oh, so happy.

WE HAD A BLAST!!

So Congratulations, Temecula Middle School Bobcat Band. You ROCK!

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Love the hall monitor, Mrs. Donovan...

Oh, and read Christine Fonseca's take on the cat hearding at her blog, Musings of Christine Fonseca.

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Weekend Devotion — The 99

760972_lamb Then Jesus told them this parable: "Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Does he not leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, 'Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.' I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent." — Luke 15:3-7

I've always loved this verse because it shows such devotion on our Shepherd's part. Yet recently I've come to look at it in another way. (Don't you love it when God shows you another side?)

Now this may seem obvious, but if you're reading this and know Jesus personally, we're one of those 99. You're probably nodding and saying "duh." Bare with me. The full reality of this just hit me through experience. I don't know about you, but to see someone come to Christ or to even just read about it brings me to tears.

I feel joy. Complete happiness. I want to rejoice.

Now I'm pretty sure that's not just me. I believe that's part of our unity in the Holy Spirit. We, the 99, are rejoicing with heaven over that one lost sheep coming home because of our connection through God's Spirit. Not only that. We remember what it was like to be lost once and what it felt like when Jesus rescued us. How can we not rejoice at the one who's just been found? And saved.

Many of you reading this have a lost sheep who needs to be found. I do. But how wonderful to know that the same Shepherd who found us is seeking our loved one too.

Praying and believing,
Dineen

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God is at Great Risk

A friend of mine passed me a book hoping my husband would pick it up and read it. Oh, how I wish my man would read some of the many, many books I have purchased for him over the years.

I bet every one of us in a spiritually mismatched marriage has hoped the same thing at one time or another… Can I get an AMEN.. Oh well, one day perhaps. But for now I am really enjoying reading them.

The book I am currently reading is, Letters from a Skeptic by Gregory and Edward Boyd. This book is a collection of letters passed between father and son. Dad is an atheist and son is a believer in seminary studies.

The son invites his Dad to ask him any questions about his faith and promises to give an open and honest account. The questions/objections put forth by the Father are some of the same arguments my husband voices to me. The son answers brilliantly and on an intellectual level as to keep his father engaged. This is great stuff.

As I was reading however, a thought struck me which I hadn’t processed before.

God, Himself risked a great deal in creating the world.

Wow! Now I want to share a small excerpt from both letters and I hope you are moved by just how deep and personal is our God and how He risks His heart for us.

Letter 3 From Dad:

I have another nagging question. One has to question the wisdom of a Creator who would wager so much for freedom. (The last letter addressed freedom and freewill of mankind) Is it all worth it? To create a world in which madmen like Hitler or Stalin can use their freedom to take away the freedom –and the lives- of millions of others is, quite frankly, very poor management. If He values freedom so much, why the hell did God make it so tenuous that the will of one could destroy the freedom of millions?

Lynn Note: I can assure you my husband would ask something quite similar.

Response From Son (minor portion taken from his letter- paraphrased): The fact that we humans have such an incredible amount of potential for evil is indicative of the fact that we also have an incredible amount of potential for good. There are Hitlers and Stalins. But there are also Wallenbergs, Mother Teresas and Martin Luther King Jrs. I don’t see how you could have the latter without at least risking the possibility of the former. If we have the potential to oppress or slay millions, it’s because we also have the potential to liberate and love millions.

So is it worth it?

Love hurts. It hurts to love a wayward child, for example. But if a person never loved, he’d never suffer. Then again, he’d never really live. God is in this same position, only on a cosmic scale. To refuse to create a world where love was possible because the risk was too great seems to be beneath God. Love is really the only reason worth creating. It’s not freedom for the sake of freedom that God values –it’s love. Freedom is simply the only possible means to this end. God, Himself risks a great deal in creating the world.

Lynn note: When I read this last sentence I was stunned. I guess I have never considered the great risk our God takes when he loves each human that is born. I never considered the heartache He feels so deeply when we use our freedom to reject Him. The author continues in his book to tell the story of Hosea. How God portrays Himself as one who is married to and deeply in love with a wife who will not be faithful.

I pray you have time to open your Bible today and read this story. Feel the heartache and the risk God is willing to take to create a world where we have an unlimited capacity to love and where He can love us without limit.

Be Blessed, Lynn

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Thankful Thursday

I just listened to the recording of my talk from the conference last week. All I can say is --I sound weird. No, I actually sound like my sister. Have you ever noticed that you never sound like what you “think” you should sound like?

One thing I know for sure, I would definitely use a mic and headphones next time. It was difficult to hear and the sound quality wasn’t as good as those who used the headset. So, for all of you who stayed tuned in to listen through the entire thing. A BIG thank you.

I am so thankful I had a chance to share my story.

I am so thankful God selected me for the privilege of marriage.

I am so thankful my husband is great with computers. He is going to completely rebuild mine this weekend while I am out of town.

Which leads me to…. I am thankful to be traveling with 85 middle school kids to Las Vegas for a band competition….. I think….

The Lord is good indeed.

I am a thankful and humble servant. For more Thankful Thursday, Visit Laurie at Women Taking a Stand. Be Blessed, Lynn

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What are you fighting for?

Jesus_interrupted_home Last week Stephen Colbert hosted author Bart Ehrman on his show, featuring his latest book Jesus Interrupted. I watched this show with my hubby because it's one of his favorites, yet we ended up in a debate regarding the validity of the Bible.

Let me say first that this author who's described as "one of the world's leading authorities on the Bible" by PRNewswire was actually an Evangelical Christian as a teen. He now professes to be agnostic. I will also say watching this man, who supposedly "dispelled the notion held by
millions of Americans that the Bible is an infallible document," voice his opinions about the Bible as if they were fact rankled me greatly. But, we are all entitled to our opinion. (If interested in watching this clip, click here. Then click on the third picture under "All New Video")

My purpose in this post is not to trash Professor Ehrman (nor his book—I haven't personally read it), but instead to talk about how we uphold our trust and beliefs in a God we can't prove exists (not by worldly standards at least) to our unbelieving loved ones. This is a very tricky area. And if you're married to a guy (or gal) like mine, who's extremely intelligent (near genius) and very scientifically minded, you probably feel like you lose most of the battles. I know I do.

However, I do believe we have a way to at least arm ourselves, and that's to know the Bible. To spend time not only reading it but studying it as well. As believers, we can know and understand how the Bible can be accurate and living because we experience God. To someone who doesn't have a relationship with Christ, this sounds weak and contrived.

After watching this show, I found myself "debating" with my husband about the accuracy of the Bible, and how other religions believe their religious books are just as accurate. So what's the difference? They're all valid then according the one following that religion? (A summary of his position.) One thought I did have later is that Christianity seems to be the only faith that gives hope not based upon our own saving efforts but the true transforming and saving power of God. In other words, we don't have to earn our eternity.

I did my best to point out differences, but I will say I truly dislike this kind of dialogue, because I know nothing I can say will make a difference. Yet I still had to defend the Word I love so much and the God who wrote it. Because therein lies the truth, that as believers we have full confidence and belief in the Bible as God's Word, and full trust that He would not allow men (or women) to change or diminish its meaning. But again, this means nothing to an unbeliever.

However, I did find my constant reading and pursuit of God's Word, participation in Bible studies, and a general curiosity to understand more of the culture and customs present in the rich stories of the Bible helped me to some extent. To talk with a man as intelligent as my husband, I have to speak intelligently.

So, my question to you is, how do you "defend" your faith, the Bible, and your beliefs? What are you fighting for?

Praying and believing,
Dineen

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The Social Dynamics of Uniquely Yoked!

I woke on Sunday morning with an old Hymn on my lips. Literally, I awoke singing…. He arose. He arose. Hallelujah, Christ arose…

How does that happen?

I mean it was really cool. But how on Easter morning do I wake with an old hymn in my soul? Hmmmm I don’t think I have heard that hymn for over 20 years. Aren't you facinated with how the spirit world works?

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The Donovan Clan had a busy weekend. What was interesting to me is how the social thing plays out in an unequally yoked marriage.

On Saturday we spent time with some friends from the neighborhood. Sunday afternoon we visited our new friends from our Church life group and later that day, we stopped at the home of friends from the neighborhood.

Some were believers, some were not. We had a great time but it was interesting to watch the different dynamics and how my husband and I interact with one another and the social dynamics of the crowd. 

So, this has led me to ask; How do we handle social events when we are married to an unbeliever?

This is an area which is difficult to navigate. What happens when our spouse wants to head to the bar for the afternoon and wants us to go? Is this necessarily bad? What happens when we ask our spouse to attend a “church” function in which they are not comfortable? How do we navigate this very real and challenging area of social obligation? How do we balance our need for social activity?

What are your thoughts? Share with me a situation where you had to navigate a challenging social event. What did you do?

Have a blessed week, Lynn

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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-

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New Beginnings

966855_sacred_page_3 Part of the heart message of Christ’s ministry is new beginnings. One of our greatest benefits in salvation is that everyday is a chance start over. We’re human, and we will undoubtedly mess up—daily even. But we have a God who loved so much that he took care of that, too.

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead… — 1 Peter 1:3

"Go, stand in the temple courts," he said, "and tell the people the full message of this new life."
— Acts 5:20

Are yesterday’s failures, disappointments, and discouragements keeping you from embracing the joy of His salvation—God’s greatest gift to us? (Psalm 51:12) Guess what? Tomorrow’s a brand new day. Even the very next moment is an opportunity to change direction and start again. As long as our heart’s desire is Christ, we have unlimited chances to try again. Those failures in the past were simply practice and learning tools.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! — 2 Corinthians 5:17

So many of us have struggled greatly in the last year through trials and hardships. Many of us still are. I can’t help but think that as Easter comes, God’s calling us to renew our faith in him and grab hold of new beginnings in our lives, from the smallest to the greatest. In Him we are eternally new!

We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. — Romans 6:4

HE IS RISEN!
HE IS RISEN INDEED!


Praying and beliving,
Dineen

To read more Resurrection reflections, please visit Laced With Grace.

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Remembering Good Friday

John 12: 24-25 Listen carefully: Unless a grain of wheat is buried in the ground, dead to the world, it is never any more than a grain of wheat. But if it is buried, it sprouts and reproduces itself many times over. In the same way, anyone who holds on to life just as it is destroys that life. But if you let it go, reckless in your love, you'll have it forever, real and eternal. ~The Message

In this passage Jesus is speaking to his disciples and He is speaking to us. He uses a wheat seed as Crosses an example to foretell His death by crucifixion which we remember today, Good Friday. Jesus explains how a solitary seed, which is useless and lifeless, will spring forth in new life once buried in the ground. It, in turn, will produce a great number of seeds.

Christ’s teaching reaches deeper as He calls us to consider what we are holding onto in this life. He asks us to consider what we treasure. Is it something which destroys the soul? Finally, He calls us to love recklessly. He calls us to let go of the world and hold on to life - real life - lived for Jesus.

Jesus died and rose again that we may live, forever, real and eternal. On this day when we reflect on Good Friday and the ultimate sacrifice, Jesus hanging on a cross, let us also remember…


SUNDAY IS COMING!

 

Family Activity:

You will need:

1 small flowerpot for each participant

1 package of radish seeds

Potting soil Prepare each pot by filling ¾ full of potting soil.

Pass out three seeds for each pot. Follow the planting and watering directions on the package of seeds. Seeds are abundant in most stores this time of year. Radish seeds germinate quickly.

Select a family member to read: John 12:24-25

Follow with: Just as this radish seed is dead. Jesus was once dead. He was buried in the earth just like this dead seed. But, after three days he came back to life. It’s kind of like these dead seeds. They will burst from the soil in a short time with new life.

Read the resurrection story: Matthew 28:1-6

God bless you and I pray this Easter will fill you with a profound sense of Christ's vast love! Be Blessed, Lynn

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Yellow Pages and a Prayer

I want to welcome everyone who is popping in from A Woman Inspired Conference. Thank you for taking time from your busy schedule to stop over here.

During the conference I shared how God used a prayer and the yellow pages to orchestrate the sensational. My husband prayed for salvation with Joe, the contractor, while standing on the driveway in front of our home. I wish I could share a photo with you. The image is burned in my mind.

After Joe, the contractor left our home my head was reeling… Did what I just witness really happen? I needed time to process it all. Girls, I processed all night long. I couldn’t sleep and I prayed like crazy.

The next morning arrived and I tentatively approached my man and asked, “What really happened to you out there yesterday?”

My husband told me he was taken off-guard by the impromptu prayer meetin'. He said he was not ready to make that commitment.

Now this is where I tell you I am okay. I wasn't devastated to hear this from my husband. I have a peace about it. God has been teaching me a lot about trusting Him.

Following this short conversation we then began to talk about our old dog. He was very ill at the time and we were struggling with certain decisions that were before us.

During this conversation my husband says to me, "I prayed and asked God about what to do."

I said, "What?"

He tells me in a matter of fact way, "I talk to God."

"You do?" I am shocked.

"I talk to God but not like you. I don't write things down."

I say, "Honey, could you be closer than I think?"

He says, "yes."

Girls, I am along for the ride, just taking in the moment. I am leaning on our Savior and blessed by watching God work in our home. My husband is not there yet but he is still on the journey. It is a very long journey (years and years for those of you who need encouragement, hang in there). I am patient and will wait.

I will wait along with you and I will NEVER STOP PRAYING FOR THIS MAN.

Have an amazing day and I pray the full impact of Easter overwhelms you with joy today.

I want to thank the organizers of A Woman Inspired for allowing me to honor Jesus through sharing the miracles He has done in our lives. Be Blessed, Lynn

Also, please say hello to the co-writer here at Spiritually Unequal Marriage, Dineen Miller. Today she is sharing a devotion at Laced With Grace.

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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-

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What kind of people are you?

1133022_strong_shoot "This is the meaning of the parable: The seed is the word of God. Those along the path are the ones who hear, and then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved. Those on the rock are the ones who receive the word with joy when they hear it, but they have no root. They believe for a while, but in the time of testing they fall away. The seed that fell among thorns stands for those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by life's worries, riches and pleasures, and they do not mature. But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop." — Luke 8:11-15 (NIV)

Last Friday I read Luke 8: 11-15. God kept me in verse 12 for two days. Specifically this part: "so that they may not believe and be saved." When God holds me in one place, I know he's revealing something to me, but this one was very subtle and definitely referred to my sweet hubby.

By Saturday, I understood that God was showing me what kind of "people" my guy was. He'd heard the Word as a child and a teenager, the seeds had been scattered on his path, but somewhere along the line, the enemy came and snatched them away.

What fascinates me is how the following verses describe four kinds of people. (Special thanks to my Life Application Bible for more understanding as well.)

Path people: Like my husband, these are the ones who never benefit from the seeds taking root. The seeds never had a chance to take root, because the enemy swooped in and plucked them up like a hungry bird devouring everything in sight.

Rock people: These are the people who whose seeds start to grow, but the trials of life uproot them. Since they never had a firm foundation of soil (commitment, trust and obedience), these seeds never had a chance to survive this kind of testing. The poor little guys have a brief burst of growth, and then the first wind or storm to come along takes them out.

Thorn patch people: The worries, riches and pleasures of the world choke out the seeds in these people. The seeds start to grow, but all those thorns steal the stuff they need to grow—sunlight, nutrients, oxygen. Without these necessary sustainers, life (joy, peace, faith) simply dies out.

Good soil people: These are the people who truly produce fruit. Their foundation of soil is fertile and ready. The seeds scattered here take deep root and keep producing over and over again. And because of that establishment (faith), they persevere through all weather conditions.

So in summary, you can look at it this way:

Path people—the enemy steals the seeds
Rock people—trials stunt or stop growth
Thorn patch people—stuck in the world
Good soil people—produces fruit

By Sunday I understood the why of what God showed me—how to pray for my husband. I could see his unbelief in a new light, and pray for any of those lingering seeds hidden in a nook or cranny to take root. That even snippets of Scripture would come back as evidence of God's presence and pursuit of him.

No matter how our loved ones got to where they are, we know we are to persevere in prayer. But sometimes knowing the cause can help us know how to fight and pray.

What kind of "person" is your unbelieving spouse or loved one? What kind of "person" are you?

Praying and believing,
Dineen

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A Shaghetti Western

Marriage Monday

e-Mom of Chrysalis Is hosting Marriage Monday.

Our topic: "Friendship in Christian Marriage." How do you and your husband celebrate your friendship together. Scripture teaches us to phileo our husbands (Titus 2:4). This is a human brotherly kind of affection and love. For most men, phileo translates into side-by-side companionship. What do you two love to do together that fosters good feelings between you?

Hop over to Chrysalis to read more Marriage Monday.

I have spent a number of hours thinking about this topic. Friendship is a word that can encapsulate a vast number of meanings. I couldn’t put my finger on exactly what defines a friendship. It can change over time. Friendships differ with each individual.

So, of course, I asked my man. “How would you describe our married friendship?”

Now, I need to tell you that asking my man this question, this particular week, was dangerous.

Most of you know that on Wednesday I will be a speaker at A Woman Inspired. I will be speaking about Marriage. What you may not know is that every time I prepare to speak about this topic, my marriage becomes victim of attack. The enemy wants nothing more than to destroy our “uniquely yoked” marriage.

With this said, you can bet there has been some “tension” in our relationship last week. However, we survived the crankiness, okay, my crankiness… *grin* The Lord is faithful indeed and His angels stood guard over our home and marriage.

Back to the story. I asked my husband, “How would you describe our friendship?”

He was standing next to me and shot me a sideways glance. Girls, you know this look. This is where he is afraid to answer. Sort of like when we ask him, “Do I look fat?” ~Deer in headlights!

I started to grin, then the hilarity of the situation got the best of me and I busted out in giggles. He was grinning too. I KNEW what he was thinking.

I turned to face him smiling, ear-to-ear, “You think married friendship is like an old Clint Eastwood movie, The Good, the Bad and the Ugly. Don’t you.”  queue: whistle -- (woo-eee, woo-eee, woooo...wah, wha wha)  

I could tell by the look on his face I was exactly right. I said, “You have only seen the bad and the ugly lately, right?” He just smiled.

Oh, girls I grabbed that man and hugged him with vigor. He puts up with an awful lot at times.

This exchange is what married friendship is all about. I can be bad, I am often ugly, and he still loves me. I am safe to be the authentic me, good, bad, ugly. He is safe to be the same.

I can’t leave God out of this equation because without the life-changing power at work in me as well as working in and around my unbelieving spouse, our marriage would not be a safe place to land.

Our marriage mostly lives in the “good” part of that old Spaghetti Western. But on those days when the bad and ugly are present, we know our friendship will triumph because it is deep, lasting and honest. Our life-long friendship is rich because the Lord is alive and well in the midst of the Donovan home.

Be blessed, Lynn

1st Monday Every Month at Chrysalis

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Men's Brains - Women's Brains

Now we finally know!

Next week at A Woman Inspired Conference, I will be talking about the "Ultimate Odd Couple" - The Donovans. I wish I could include this video because it sure explains A LOT! It is hilarious. Enjoy! Be Blessed, Lynn


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Laced With Grace

Easter-giveaway_small

The LWG team thought to celebrate our Lord’s Resurrection with a special giveaway. The package includes a Veggie Tale DVD, Resurrection Eggs, a journal, the novel ‘Fireproof‘, and Max Lucado’s ‘Facing your Giants’ (Paperback book and MP3 Sermon Series).

To Enter: Leave a comment on a devotion that is being published in the up-coming week (Today, April 3rd), You do not have to have a blog to enter the LWG Giveaway, but a valid email address so we can contact you. The winner will be announced on Palm Sunday, April 5th 2009.

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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-

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Thankful Thursday - Complete, Refined, Over and

It's Thankful Thursday! Remember during the month of April, we will all be meeting at Laurie's place, Women Taking a Stand.

My friends, have I appeared to be stressed out this past week? Well, I guess I was and didn't really know how much.

But, everything is finished now... And God is so very good.

Today I am floating on a big-white-fluffy-cloud of God's Grace.

I am thankful for so much.

I have received so many phone calls and emails from all of you. All of you have spill Jesus out all over me. Oh, and please know this.... I will do the same for you when you are stressed. I love you... So very much, Be blessed, Lynn

 

I can't wait to share what our extrodinary God has done in the lives of two ordinary people. See you April 8th at 11:30 CTS.

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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-

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