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22 entries from November 2010

The Purpose of Trials

311125_forest_path_i Recently I’ve been writing about the trials of life. Specifically those that don’t seem to end. I thought the subject closed but God has put upon my heart the need to share the next level or stage of trials in our lives. Namely, their purpose.

To review, in “The Unending Trials” I shared the calling God puts in our lives in regard to these trials. He’s molding and sometimes rebuilding us through these challenges.

In the post “Thankful for Trials?” I explored four key points to moving from a place of despair to thankfulness for our trials. These truths are so important and crucial to persevering through trials that don’t seem to end. Take another look at them below, and then we’re going to take a look at some key truths we need to trust God’s purpose in them.

1. God is good. First John 4 is all about God’s character and that He IS love. Therefore his motivations for allowing trials in our lives are good as well. He’s literally not capable of a bad motivation. That’s the one thing God simply can’t do.

2. God is in control. All our trials have God’s seal of approval. That one can be hard to swallow, but understanding the first truth I pointed out helps a lot. The story of Job is a great representation of this truth. Everything has to go before God first. If He allows a trial or challenge in our life, He has a reason. And like Job, we may not understand what it’s all about. God simply asks that we trust Him and trust that He has a purpose for it all.

3. God is an equipper. To look at the Bible as a whole is to see a story spanning hundreds of years with a universal message. God loves his children and does not abandon them. He doesn’t just allow a trial in our life and then leave us to fend for ourselves. God has already given us his strength through his Holy Spirit. It’s right there. We just have to make sure we’re functioning in that strength and not our own. That means we need to spend time with God in order to stay close to Him and the source of that strength.

4. God is a redeemer. The amazing thing about all our trials is that God redeems everything. He doesn’t allow them in our lives without a reason. He has a purpose and a plan for each one. Sometimes the focus is on us, other times it’s to do with another person in our lives, like a spouse or a child. He uses them to refine our faith, teach us more about His character, and to bring us closer to understanding what sacrificial love is all about. He brings us closer to the image of his Son, Jesus.

These truths are foundational to our trust in God and acceptance of His plan for our lives and the lives of those around us. It’s easy to only focus on ourselves and forget that the lives AND spiritual journeys of those we love are also interconnected with our own. Sometimes we don’t realize that the trial we are enduring with a loved one is critical to their spiritual maturity or even their salvation.

Let’s take a look at James 1:2-4:

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

First of all, Paul is asking the believers to have an attitude of joy. He then justifies his direction with explaining the purpose of our trials. He speaks of perseverance, which in the original Greek translation, hupomone, also means patience.

He further expounds the purpose of trials in our lives as the means to our maturity—to complete our spiritual growth and to equip us so that we lack nothing. If we read between the lines, Paul is saying that without our trials, we are incomplete. Our faith will stagnate. This is his reasoning for the joy, because in our trials our faith matures and equips us not only for this life but for the next one as well.

Our journey through this life is preparation for our heavenly lives where we will be reunited with our Creator. That takes preparation and growth. The amazing part is that God desires this so that we can enjoy and experience Him more fully. Can we wrap our brains around this? That our faith and our trials are intimately linked? Trials are necessary for our faith to mature and for our relationship with God to grow.

This is God’s keen purpose in our trials, and when we hold His perspective in those times of difficulty and challenge, we can know that we are accomplishing through God’s strength and presence far more than we can see or even imagine.

Praying and believing,
Dineen

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Baptism is Happy and Sad

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Yesterday as I sat during church, I watched as five individuals gave their testimony and were baptized. I’m nearly always moved to tears when I watch someone become baptized. I pray with diligence as they go under the water, asking the Lord to protect them from the enemy and to grow them up in the ways of the Lord. As they rise from the water, I clap and I whisper words of praise and join the angels who are celebrating one more broken and lost person finds their way home.

At the same time, I find I’m can be overwhelmed with a deep sadness.

It’s such a bizarre roller-coaster moment. I truly am happy for these who obey Christ in water baptism but I grieve because that still small part of my heart deeply longs to see my husband participate in the believer’s baptism. What I find difficult is that I’m still battling this feeling of sadness in spite of all the distance I have come in my walk with God.

Why do I still have moments of deep sadness? Why after a few hours and I’ve returned home, I’m angry and short-tempered with my spouse. Why do I take it out on him knowing he is clueless as to why I’m behaving like a grouch?

I’ve spent a lot of time asking God about this today. What is frustrating, puzzling and yet reassuring and absolutely true of our Lord is this:

He says to me, “Lynn, there is still much I still need to teach you. Your husband’s salvation is at hand and will be according to My perfect timing. I do not delay to hurt you but only to make you so much more than you thought possible. Your waiting and longing heart is serving my purposes for your life and as well as your husband.

I know you feel sad that he is not at your side in church but you also know I will make you strong enough to walk this difficult path. I will never leave you nor forsake you. One day my daughter, you will see and understand the why of it all.

And, it will leave you breathless.”

So to you my friends, I know so many of you are in a difficult place and are also sad and waiting on the Lord. And although I have made giant strides through Christ to thriving in my marriage, I also don’t forget the real pain, sadness and all other emotions you feel.

Now let me tell you something you may need to hear today. It’s from the Lord:

“My Chosen One. There is still much I still need to teach you. Your spouse’s salvation is at hand and will be according to My perfect timing. I do not delay to hurt you but only to make you so much more than you thought possible. Your waiting and longing heart is serving my purposes for your life and as well as your spouse.

I know you feel sad that your mate is not at your side in church but you also know I will make you strong enough to walk this difficult path. I will never leave you nor forsake you. One day my child, you will see and understand the why of it all.

And, it will leave you breathless.”

~The Lord

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Facebook Ruins Marriage

Facebook ruins marriage.

I’m sure you saw in the news a few weeks ago a Pastor in New Jersey gained national attention when he told his staff to close their Facbook accounts.

The gist of this requirement was his experience that in his marital counseling efforts, many marriages ended because of Facebook. A married spouse would find an old flame online, they began to chat and then ultimately began an affair.

Well this incident with the pastor opened up some fascinating and interesting conversation around our house, with my teen-daughter, my husband and a few of my friends.

So my question; Is Facebook a danger to marriages? Should we close down our account? Now don’t be shy, add your voice because I can tell you, this is a very real issue. We received many Google search hits on an article I wrote about this very issue a year ago.

So, what say you?

Can’t wait to hear your thoughts. Hugs, Lynn

Original Article: An affair? Facbook?

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How Do We Help our Unbelieving Spouse see Jesus this Christmas?

With Thanksgiving behind us, I find we are already in the rush toward Christmas.

Before we know what happened, Christmas day will be upon us. So, let's think about what intentional efforts we can make to make our Christmas celebration a time of witness to our unbelieving family members.

For me personally, this is an exceptional challenge. I'm so busy with preperations, buying gifts, wrapping, our church Christmas Dessert and all manner of stuff that I have little brain power left when my husband's family arrives and to be purposeful in our home for Jesus.  I always feel like I could have done better.

So let's share some ideas on how to bring Christ into focus this time of year in your spiritually mismatched home. Do we invite the family to church on Christmas Eve? Do you read the Christmas story? Do you display a manger?

Looking forward to hearing your ideas. I will be checking in to add to our conversation. Be blessed, Lynn

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Holy-day?

I was in the grocery store today, picking up some last minute items for our Thanksgiving dinner and heard an announcement over the intercom. The woman speaking about an in-store promotion had an accent that made the word "holiday" sound like "holy day."

This made me pause and think. What a precious thought to bring this Thanksgiving to God as a "holy day." To be thankful just for Him.

I hope and pray your "holy day" is especially blessed.

Praying and believing,
Dineen

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Thanksgiving Week

Today I am on my way to Colorado to spend the week with my mom and sister's family. Look for my travel updates, the fun stories I uncover along the way and the grace of God I see in lives of others on Twitter and Facebook. And because Dineen's mother is visiting this week, we think we would like to shake things up a bit and depart from our regular posting schedule.

We may post here three or four times a day about giving thanks or sharing thanks or perhaps, we will remain quiet.

However we both agree that we truly have heart's and lives that are abundant and filled with the gifts of God. We are thankful and give the Lord, Almighty all honor and glory for the great things He has done and provided in the last 12 months.

We also know that so many of you also feel the same way. So we are asking you to honor the Lord with us and share what you are thankful for. It can be for things like your home, or a fuzzy blanket, the baptism of one of your children. Perhaps you glimpsed God or came to understand Him in a new and powerful way. 

You give God glory when you praise Him. Praise Him this season and watch Him show up. We will be checking in and adding to this conversation of praise this week. Have a blessed Thanksgiving. 

If you are unequally yoked, take heart. Make Thanksgiving a joy and a day where your faith is present. Take the hands of those around your table and you say grace this Thursday.

Be blessed, Lynn and Dineen.

Everythingfromyou






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Weekend Devo — Thankful for YOU!

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Dear Friends,

Lynn and I are so blessed to be a part of your lives and Thanksgiving is a great time to tell you that. We are continually humbled that God uses us and you to create an amazing community to help a very specific need. We are honored that you invite us to share in your lives and so inspired and blessed by your comments.

It is a privilege for us to be on this journey with you. So, let us take this opportunity to tell you thank you. Thank you for allowing us to be here serving you. Thank you for interacting with us and others. Thank you for sharing your own wisdom and journey with the S.U.M. community.

We pray your Thanksgiving is blessed with the richness that comes from knowing we are part of a holy and heavenly family that will one day be united with our Savior. We pray your day is blessed with the love of family and friends. We pray your Thanksgiving is full of thankfullness for whatever God is doing in your lives.

No matter where we are, let us be thankful for God. He is mighty, present and strong. We are not alone in this journey.

Praying and believing with you!
Dineen

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The Rock Shouts Out

I have often wondered about a simple sentence in Luke 19. 

Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Jesus, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples!” “I tell you,” he replied, “if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.”

I have always wondered how rocks could possibly shout praises to God. I thought about how strange it would be to see rocks speaking out as a witness for God.

Well, I have now witnessed this in living color. Don't ever doubt God's Word because it is true. It is True. It is true.

Read my account of this passage coming to life in 2010 at Laced With Grace: The Rock Shouts Out.

Have a blessed day. I will see you over there. Lynn

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In November we are meeting up with Laurie of Women Taking A Stand and then over to Grace Alone in December and back here in January.

It's Thankful Thursday and as Thanksgiving Day is one week away, I have many random thanks to credit to our Lord.

  • Turkey and stuffing. Yum and eee.
  • A trip to Colorado. I hope it snows. It was 80 degrees here in Southern California today. I miss the cold weather this time of year.
  • I will be spoiled by my mother for an entire week. Sleeping in, eating out, going to the movies. Shopping. Going to the movies some more. I love the movies better than shopping.
  • A 5K on Thanksgiving Day. So thankful that I am healthy and can run.
  • Our book, Winning Him Without Words. This is our love offering to Jesus.
  • The privilege to pray for all of you who need hope for your spiritually mismatched marriage.
  • My husband, my hero.
  • My daughter, Caitie and my son Brad and his girlfriend, Jenna. All of you teach me so much about love.
  • My dog. He's cute.
  • Bible Study. ~Breaking Free concluded today. It was a humble privilege to watch as women found freedom from a life-time of crippling bondage. (Satan, you are put on notice, there is more freedom ahead for God's children.)
  • Dineen Miller. My BFF and writing buddy.
  • My friends here at SUM and 1P3. You enrich my life beyond description.

I could go on and on. I must tell you about the One that makes all these riches possible.

Jesus Christ.

He is the reason I live and breathe. I worship Him. I love Him. 

Be blessed and Happy TT, Lynn

PS. If you have ever wondered if the Rocks cry out..... Then stop back tomorrow because I saw it happen for real and I will tell you this unbelievable story. Hugs, Lynn

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Thankful for Trials?

LWG I wrote a post over at Laced With Grace about thankfulness in our trials and share four key truths that are vital to having a thankful attitude. I hope and pray these truths will continue to encourage you as we approach Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Praying and believing with you!
Dineen

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The Unending Trials

IStock_000010779625XSmall One of the heaviest burdens we carry for ourselves and others are those that don’t seem to end. These days we all have some area that continues to challenge us. We pray for healing, release, whatever seems needed, in the hopes that God will rush in and save the day.

Sometimes things get better, then something happens to plunge us to the depths again. You cry out to God to bring resolution, healing, whatever, yet nothing seems to change. We struggle with our faith, with our perception of God in our lives and his plan, we struggle, struggle, struggle...

We even despair, wondering why God doesn’t seem to hear our prayers. These are the trials that take the most from us emotionally, spiritually, and even physically.

Coming to a place of trust and acceptance is a great challenge, and I think we have to do it over and over again. God has a reason for not just stepping in and making a situation better or removing it completely, but believing that and trusting that his reasons are good is not always easy. The truth that keeps me going is that God is good. He is not capable of bad motivations. That's the one thing He’s incapable of. So if that's true, and it is, then our ongoing trials have purpose and meaning too.

Recently, God showed me that sometimes parts of our lives have to be torn down in order to rebuild something much better. And often those parts He wants to remove aren’t healthy anyway. Yet we tend to cling to what we know, preferring the familiar over change or growing pains.

And it is painful and heartbreaking at times. I know my own stubborn nature wants to protest and keep the status quo rather than face this kind of pain—the kind that tells us it must get worse before it can get better.

Our spirits know it’s necessary. That’s the way God designed us, that if we’re to truly walk in his plan for our lives, we must allow Him to prune and refine us.

The thing is, we can know all this is true, but at the darkest moment of testing, we consider the cost. We stop and look, examine and estimate, decide and choose. Can we go on?

I confess one of these times hit me recently. Very unexpectedly, I might add. I think that was part of God purpose in allowing it, to show me I wasn’t as secure in my faith as I thought. For a nearly a day I labored over what God was calling me to do.

What I faced was appalling to me in that moment. Yet the more I examined the true depths of the issue, the more I realized the heart of the matter was internal. My heart needed some changes in order to go on. I met with God in his Word and prayer, and He began to heal what I could not and bring acceptance to what I had initially resisted.

In the end, I had a choice, and God left it to me to choose. I could choose living in all that God wants to accomplish in and through me, or I could walk away. Sometimes we just have to choose to do the hard stuff, and it sure helps knowing we’re choosing God in the same breath—to be obedient, to serve a higher calling than our own human nature. To know we’re not making the trip alone and on our own.

God asks a lot of us sometimes. More than we can imagine ever accomplishing or enduring. But whatever He asks, He will equip us to move forward. He doesn’t ask if we have the strength to do it, because He knows we don’t, not without Him. He asks us to trust Him more deeply than we have before and leave the rest to Him.

Again, not easy but very much worth the journey.

Praying and believing,
Dineen

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Romantic God

Nicole1 (2) Today, I have a treat. Nicole Neri wrote a post on her blog that I believe will speak to many of us. I know it touched me. Nicole is sharing it with us here today. I am delighted to welcome one of our wonderful readers  as a guest contributor. I pray you are moved by her words and you see God the way she discovered Him.

Welcome Nicole. And Thank you!

Romance

I’ve always been a HUGE romance lover. I love cheesy chic movies, stories of romance, weddings, unending love… - I think I’ve watched the Notebook one too many times. And oh the dreams as a child I would have. As far as I can remember I dreamt of y wedding day, my prince and our fairy tale life together. My poor husband had no idea the unrealistic ideals I had placed on him. Our story too started off very picture perfect - high school sweethearts, Romeo – Juliet drama in college, yet a perfect proposal and top it off with a lavish wedding. We had a scored high so far on my fairytale planned life. However fast-forward three years, two kids, and a huge mortgage my lala land was gone. I wasn’t prepared to find myself crying in the middle of the night feeling very un-loved. I had a three month old and a two-year old. Louie was working 60+ hour weeks and romance was nowhere to be found. I remember sobbing on the floor. (I’m sure the lack of sleep and hormone level changes weren’t helping:) At one point I woke poor Louie out of his much-needed sleep to just sit there and cry and ask him, “Do you still love me?” He just stared at me in a daze and told me to try to go to sleep.

The next day I remember watching Oprah – she was advertising a book called “How to Remodel your Man”. Surely this will work I thought I will teach him how to be romantic again! After all I had read her book ”A New Earth” the previous year when my Uncle had died and it seemed to help cope with the pain and fear I had experienced.

So the next day I headed to the library in search of my next Oprah book to fix my romantically deficient marriage. They didn’t have the book, but another book popped up on the library catalog that sounded good – “You can have the marriage you’ve always wanted.” Perfect I thought I looked up the call number and found myself in the Christian marriage aisle-whatever works I thought. While there I grabbed a few more books that looked good, “For women only” and “10 commandments of marriage” to name a few. I started reading them and they had a lot of great practical advice. Like maybe for example my husband did love me and that’s why he was working so hard, Duh! Maybe I should put time aside to be with him. Maybe I should tell him what I need instead of expect him to read my mind – and on and on. Our communication started changing and the more I read the more I started understanding how a healthy marriage works. I started visiting that section of the library regularly. Slowly the reality started sinking in that it wasn’t my husband that needed to change but me! But I still had that deep longing for romance hidden and tucked away in my heart.

At that same time, I was playing in a handbell choir. I thought it would be fun to play music again and get out once a week. The only annoying thing was that every few months they we would have to play in church at 8:00! I rarely went to church and never that early. Then one Sunday that we were playing, I read that the message was going to be on – “A New Earth.” I was so excited I loved that book – it was all about Jesus and Buddah and energy and it had helped me so much. I couldn’t wait to hear what he had to say:) As he began the sermon, I perked up ready to listen. But I quickly I felt like a deer in headlights – The pastor started preaching against the book and how so many people were falling for its’ lie! What? Can you say that again? I was in shock. I went home feeling confused and stunned – I had been reading these great Christian books that were working, but I was also was reading these great new age books like the Power of Now and they seemed to be working too. What’s a brain to do? So I decided I needed to figure this out for myself and dug out my old confirmation Bible and started reading it at night, before bed.

As I read the Bible, I followed some reading tracks in the front that were recommended. I read about what Jesus did and what He said and it was all very interesting. I felt like I was actually getting to know the guy. I continued to read my marriage books, and I also had started reading a book I found at the neighbors called “Captivating”. It was a fun easy read and I was enjoying it late one night - until I got to the chapter that changed everything. It was about how Jesus wants to be your lover? Lover um Freaky? Did I read that right I thought? Then I read a part from Hosea quoted from the Bible and I couldn’t believe my eyes – Immediately I went into the other room and got my Bible to make sure it actually was there – I hadn’t read anything like this before. But sure enough there it was…

“Therefore I will wall her in with thorn bushes; I will wall her in so that she cannot find her way. She will chase after her lovers but not find them. Therefore I am now going to allure her; I will lead her into the desert and speak tenderly to her…” -Hosea 2:6-7

As I read it aloud, my whole body felt warm and I started sobbing. This historical figure/distant God all of a sudden became an alive, intimate present person sitting with me in the room. As I read the passage over and over in belief, I knew He was saying – all this time you’ve been searching, striving, thinking that this New Age religion or imaginary romance would cure a hole that only I could fill, I am what you dream of - Would you let me be the great love of your life?

My response - ”You had me at hello.”


BIO: 

My name is Nicole Neri and I have been married to my high-school sweetheart for six years. I taught Junior High for two years before I became a stay at home mom. We now have a 5-year-old son and 3-year-old daughter, Brandon and Brooke. Four years into my marriage I heard God knocking on my heart and I opened the door. That was when I reluctantly enrolled at Unequally Yoked University.

Although I’ve experienced deep growth I’ve anxiously awaited my graduation date. I’ve envisioned many far off kingdom adventures working side by side with my husband sharing the love of Christ. But recently I’ve embraced God’s whisper- He’s your kingdom adventure and you get to work side by side with me!

I live on a quiet street in a low-excitement suburb of Chicago - yet daily I get to partner with the Spirit and shine the light of Christ - it's anything but dull! ~Nicole

Thank you Nicole. I am also praying for your graduation. Hugging you, Lynn

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A Tablecloth of Thanks

If you missed our broadcast and it's likely you did... technical difficulties. I recorded a shortened version. See it below. 

Leave me a comment and let me know if your family will start your own tablecloth.

 

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The Intentional Marriage - A Tablecloth of Thanks

Welcome to our Monthly Broadcast, The Intentional Marriage.

Friday, November 12th 11:30 a.m. Eastern 10:30a.m. Central, 9:30 Mountain, and 8:30 Pacific.

Please tune in and join me as I’m going to share one of my most precious holiday traditions. A Tablecloth of Thanks

It’s never too late to start a new tradition in your home, especially one which brings honor to the Lord. I have a story to share and some photos. I also want to give you a chance to share some of your holiday traditions or giggles.

Join our meme today and share a Thanksgiving holiday tradition from your home or share a funny holiday hiccup.

I will share with you that like many newly married young women, I didn’t realize the turkey was stuffed with bagged giblets. Yep, I cook the turkey with the plastic bag and the giblets still inside. We ate it anyway.

Also, three years ago, I set the oven on fire when I moved the giant bird around. I freaked out. My husband came running. The house was crazy, people were yelling, crying and freaking… Perhaps it was only me doing the yelling, crying and freaking. My calm man put the flames out and to this day, I don’t know how he did it because we didn’t own a fire extinguisher.

The next morning I rose before dawn and went shopping at The Home Depot. NO NOT FOR CHRISTMAS… For a fire extinguisher. And now, every year BEFORE I bake the turkey, I check to make sure the extinguisher is charged and ready.

Sheesh!

 

What’s your fun story or tradition? I can’t wait to read your post.

Link up and I will be over to share some of your fond memories from your home.

To join the program live: Click here.

To join chat, please come early and join Stickam. Friend me, Intentional Marriage. (click here)

I would love to hear your thoughts and have you share in our morning program. Okay, I am really excited to talk about all the Lord has given me to share with you. He loves us so much. Giving Him thanks can change everything.

Tune in, Lynn

 

 

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Milk or Solid Food?

IStock_000013074149XSmall On Friday, Lynn will host the next edition of The Intentional Marriage over at CWATV.com. (I hope you’ll tune in and participate in the meme.) As you know by the title of our program, we talk a lot about being intentional in our marriages. And last week, I wrote about thinking of our marriages as training for deeper intimacy with God.

The idea behind an “intentional marriage” is to be an active participant, not passive—being intentional about spending time together, doing things together, and praying for your spouse regularly. It’s about putting your marriage in the forefront of your thoughts and life, not in the background as an afterthought. I hope that makes sense.

This past weekend I made another connection along those lines that I want to share with you. My women’s ministry group at church is just finishing the DeeperStill Bible study Faithful, Abundant, True by Kay Author, Priscilla Shirer, and Beth Moore. The last day of this study (led by Beth Moore) spoke about walking in the Spirit on purpose. With intention. Then this morning, one of my devotionals covered Hebrews 5. Take a look at verses 11-14:

We have much to say about this, but it is hard to make it clear to you because you no longer try to understand. In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.

Paul is admonishing the believers for becoming passive in their faith training. They’ve neglected building upon the first foundations of their faith to become mature believers and have even regressed to a state of infancy of their beliefs. They are no longer intentional about their faith or God. They’ve become passive.

Have you ever noticed how you wind up drifting away from your spouse when you don’t spend time together and make time to talk and interact—on purpose, not just out of necessity? Have you noticed how you drift away from God when you forget to pray or wind up so busy you don’t keep that appointed time to meet with Him?

Do you see the connection? Our marriages are an earthly representation of our relationship to Christ, as his bride. When we see our marriages as a training ground of being intentional in a relationship, we are learning what it means to be intentional in our relationship with God.

Just as we have to be intentional in our marriages in order to grow closer to our spouse and mature the relationship, we need to do the same thing in our relationship with God to mature spiritually.

We can’t keep living on milk. Sometimes we have to take a hefty bite of the solid stuff and chew on it for a while to learn and grow in our marriages and our faith. Even when it seems scary, too hard, or just too much work.

Remaining in infancy keeps us from fully experiencing who God is, who our spouses are, and what our marriages and faith lives can become. We miss out on the tasty stuff.

I know this faith walk isn’t easy. Sometimes God calls us to trust Him in whole new ways and calls us to difficult tasks and directions. Not to starve or punish us, but to feed us with His best.

Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good. — 1Peter 2:2-3

Praying and believing,
Dineen

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Thanksgiving... and Spiritually Mismatched

Thanksgiving is fast approaching in America. I love the holidays and Thanksgiving dinner is a family tradition that brings me great joy. 

I will tell you that in the early years of our marriage, I would set myself up for such high expectations that my husband would assume the spiritual leadership of our home and over our table and offer grace before we ate.

He never did. I remember I would find myself feeling a little depressed at the end of day. I bet some of you have also been in this place.

What can we do now to be better prepared for Thanksgiving this month. I am sharing a story over at the Internet Cafe today that might bring you hope. Join me there today for Spiritually Mismatched at Thanksgiving.

***THIS FRIDAY**** Join me for our online TV show, The Intentional Marriage. I will share with you one of my most precious holiday traditions. It has even inspired my unbelieving spouse to give “thanks” at Thanksgiving time.

Show times 11:30 Eastern, 10:30 Central, 9:30 Mountain, 8:30 Pacific a.m. I will post the direct link here on Friday. Also join our meme and let's share some of our holiday funny stories. Something silly that happened, a mistake or misstep that cause you to laugh. any fun story about the holidays.

Have a blessed week. I will see you over at the Cafe. Hugs, Lynn

 


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Prayer in an Unequally Yoked Home

With Thanksgiving in mind, let's talk about giving thanks at the dinner table.

John 6:11 Then Jesus took the loaves, gave thanks to God, and passed them out to the people. Afterward he did the same with the fish. And they all ate until they were full.

Christ models praying before a meal in this passage of scripture He is offering thanks to God. Prayer at the dinner table in the home of a spiritually mismatched couple can be complex. Prayer before dinner can create a tangible tension or even a flash point for an argument. So how can a believer follow the example of Christ without launching WWIII in the home?

Prayer at the Dinner table – What do we do?

I have found that humility is the best way to approach prayer. Without humility, prayer can become a battlefield in the home of a mismatched marriage. A battlefield in the home, over dinner and about God, is exactly what the enemy wants. Don’t go there.

Maprahand If my spouse is willing to wait quietly while I give thanks, then I pray aloud. I say a short, sincere prayer. On other occasions when I since impatience or hostility toward prayer at dinner, I simply bow my head and pray silently. I never use prayer to make a statement about my faith and the lack of his. I don't look to see if he was watching me pray. I simply pray before I pick up my fork and then move along with dinner and family conversation.

Remember unbelieving spouses constantly have their counterfeit radar running. Spouses covertly admire our faithfulness to our belief so be authentic, be consistent, and stay in a right relationship with Christ.

Giving thanks for our meals honors God as our provider. Praying before meals, humbles our spirit. It allows us a moment to focus on God, and to remember that He is present in our daily lives.

Be blessed this day!!! Lynn

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Politics is the New Bullying

Politics is the new Bullying

Last week our country suffered under full assault from the mudslinging, contentious and outright mean barrage of campaign commercials. As I watched with repulse on one specific evening I felt a smack in the face with a blaringly obvious irony. Let me explain.

A week, prior to the election, I planted myself on the couch to watch a national news broadcast. At the top of the broadcast, the main stories were ticked off as a teaser. On this particular evening, the first story slated intended to detail the nastiness of the political campaigns and the commercials that stream, non-stop, during the two weeks leading to the election. A few other stories were touted and then the end of the broadcast would be specifically dedicated to the story of our nation’s growing problem of bullying in our public schools.

I watched the broadcast unfold and could only think to myself, “Am I the only one that sees the irony here?”

California was ground zero for some of the worst campaign vilification in the nation. The media flashed these “attack ads” (their label not mine) displaying political candidates spewing slanderous words about their opponent. All the talking heads fed off the negativity and the entire two weeks felt like soul torture. Attack ads

Well on this particular newscast, I watched this top story of attack ads and then a few Viagra commercials. Finally, the story arrived at the end of the broadcast of epidemic badgering and bullying on school campuses. Children taunting other kids at school with hateful, hurtful words that then left the campus and continued their hatefulness using email and the ever-dangerous texting. Almost all school-aged kids have either been a bully or have been the recipient of a bullying or have been party to both.

I have a teenager so I know just how destructive bullying is to the young psyche. For crying out loud, harsh words also hurt grownups. So as I watched the stories on this particular night my mind screamed:

Our children are learning bullying from the adults.

The pundits appear baffled by the increase in the severity and the frequency of childhood bullying in our nation. But, HELLO. They are watching it 24/7 in their very own home. And it’s the adults who are the perpetrators. Television and video games glamorize adult bad behavior and it just seemed to me as I watched the broadcast this night that the political ads are the pinnacle of public bullying. Our children are not only barraged by the media, they also are likely to experience it at home with their siblings and even their parents.

So what can we learn and teach our children from this irony.

1) We as adults must set the example. We can’t change the news but we can TURN IT OFF. I will share with you that in the past I was a news program junkie. I think I watched about three to four hours of news programing a day. TOXIC. I look back at that period and realize I was pouring lethal trash into my soul. Garbage instead of what was noble, pure, praiseworthy (Philippians 4:8) What lesson do you think your child would receive if you jumped off the couch, switched of the TV and said, “That is garbage and I won’t watch it.” Lead by example…. Not by words.

2) Find the remote and keep it close in hand. Mute, fast-forward and ignore the trash.

3) Take advantage of the “teachable moments” the election brings. Your kids will be voters soon. Teach them how to discover the truth. Show them how to select a candidate. Instruct them on what you look for and why you vote.

4) Vote. I will let you in on a little joke around our neighborhood. A few years ago while at a BBQ someone asked my husband and I, “So, do your votes cancel each other out?” I replied without hesitation, “You bet they do.” I said it proudly. Living in California, my Biblical views aren’t always popular but I vote for what I believe. I’m part of the process and my vote matters even if it’s only an example to my daughter.

5) Grasp every opportunity you have to praise your kids when they choose to be kind. Also, share with them stories and observations you have made where other kids were hurt by words and what likely happened to that child’s heart. Ask them how they would feel.

So much ugliness can transpire in a campaign season. Our nation divides and the enemy gloats. However, we need to remind our kids and ourselves that the important virtues in life are love, joy, peace, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. These are the character traits that, in the end, people admire and will eventually win others over. And more importantly, they are qualities which are pleasing to God.

Be blessed, Lynn

Philippians 4:8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

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Thankful Thursday

November are meeting up with Laurie of Women Taking A Stand and then over to Grace Alone in December and back here in January.

I'm so thankful for the opportunity to be a mom. This past week my daughter debut in the lead female role in her High School play. She performs three more time with Saturday night as the closing. My husband's family will be here to watch. 

I am thankful to have a daughter who loves Jesus. I'm thankful she is a young woman with her own passions and is discovering her talents and abilities.

So, let me put Hollywood on notice. There is one young woman who can act and be a Christian at the same time. So look out! *grin*

Well done kiddo! You amaze me. Hugs, Mom

 

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Marriage for Training?

IStock_000000759332XSmall I read an excellent post by Kevin Adams over at Wake Up My Faith, entitled “Marriage—God’s Seat of the Pants Training Ground.” If you have some time, read his post. It’s a little long but worth the read.

I love how God spoke to Kevin and flat out said marriage was preparation for intimacy with Him. What would happen if we looked at our spiritually mismatched marriages in light of that truth?

We’ve spent a lot of time here talking about what’s at stake for our unbelieving spouses, right? How we are the first and foremost representation of Christ in their lives, for the most part. And I’ve used the story of Esther as an amazing representation of how we are put in place specifically to accomplish a great purpose. “For such a time as this…”

But what about that preparation part for deeper intimacy with God? It made me think and travel a few bunny trails as to how God intends our unique and challenging marriages for intimacy with Him.

In reading Kevin’s post I realized that so many of the needs I’d looked to my husband to fulfill earlier in our marriage are now being met by God. Those days of feeling like I have given more water than a rock and have absolutely nothing left to give have dwindled dramatically.

I’m learning to rely on God’s strength more (out of necessity) and to seek God when I feel weak. He’s called me to serve and love my husband in more ways than ever, to love unconditionally. And in the midst of all that, I’m noticing how God has taken care of my needs in amazing ways.

We live in a society that teaches us to look out for ourselves. I’ve done that in the past and I never did find what I truly needed. Nor did I find satisfaction.

It's truly an amazing thing that happens when we put others first through the power and direction of Christ. Only then does it work, and only then are our own needs so wonderfully and unexpectedly met.

Praying and believing,
Dineen

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It’s Marriage Monday: Financial Contentment in Marriage

With the recession still affecting so many among us, and the expenses of the holidays just ahead, let's take a few minutes to encourage one another on Monday Nov. 1 2010. This month our general group topic is, “Financial Contentment in Marriage.”

We all know that the topic of money can be a negatively charged issue between married couples. The following four title options give you the opportunity to view your finances in a positive light. Choose one title, and let the Spirit lead you where He wants you to go.

1. Our Holiday Spending Plan

2. Why the Recession has Strengthened our Marriage

3. Money Management Tips from the Bible

4. How We Recovered from a Big $$$ Mistake

I've selected #2: Why the Recession has Strengthened our Marriage

If you have been a reader here at Spiritually Unequal Marriage for some time, you likely remember that in January 2009 my husband lost his job. He was unemployed for nearly the entire year. It was in December the Lord blessed him with a new opportunity.

The road of unemployment was frightening, emotional, amazing, and astounding. I personally came to understand who Jehovah Jireh, God our Provider, really is. I discovered so much about God’s faithfulness. I uncovered faith at a depth I didn’t think possible.

My husband also grew in many ways. He discovered what tenacity looked like searching for employment. He grew in character, wisdom, strength, maturity and even moved closer to the Cross of Christ. A journey I still believe is in motion.

Some marriages can’t survive financial crisis and I have to say this was our first experience with this type of issue in our lives. I didn’t know what the outcome would be back in January 09. Today I glance back and thank the Lord for all the changes brought in our lives because of this struggle.

Together we discovered: 

  • We could live on little.
  • We loved to sit on the porch swing in the afternoon together and take in nature.
  • We found comfort in each other when the bills arrived.
  • Our daughter learned to budget.
  • We loved one another in sickness and in health, rich or poorer...
  • We discovered talents and wisdom in each other we didn't know we possessed.
  • We could weather the storm.
  • We discovered our marriage is blessed.

There is so much more that God taught the both of us and I’m still today in awe of it all.

On this Marriage Monday I want to say one thing. I love my husband. I couldn’t be prouder of this man. He is my hero.

Be blessed, Lynn

I’m looking forward to reading more posts over at Chrysalis. It’s Marriage Monday, join us.

PS. Next Friday on November 12th. I will be sharing one of my most favorite Thanksgiving traditions. Please stop in to watch our show at 11:30 Eastern and 8:30 Pacific. I will be sharing, A Tablecloth of Thanks. (Read about it here.)

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