A Great Marriage Doesn’t Just Happen

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You want a great marriage – one that is loving, encouraging, consoling, affectionate and compassionate.  One that feels like you’re in it together.

A marriage like this doesn’t just happen.  You must be intentional about it.

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Make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose.  Philippians 2:3

In this passage, Paul is writing to the Philippians about oneness in the church. The same principles in Philippians 2:3-4 can also bring oneness in your marriage. Here we go!

  • Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit.
  • Regard your spouse as more important than yourself.
  • Look out for the interests of your spouse – not just your own.

Once self is off the throne, you are ready to ACT.

AAttitude of humility 

An attitude of humility is a choice – not a feeling. It does not grasp for equality. It is not self-serving.  Instead, it serves the other.

C-Courage to ask

Courage is required when you humbly ask for what you want.  The ask is about you – what you need or want.  It is not about your spouse and how they are falling short in some way. The ask is spoken with truth, love and kindness. It is not a demand or an expected behavior. The ask is honoring and respectful. The ask is vulnerable.

T-Trust God

Trust God with your ask.  The bigger the ask, the more trust is needed. Pray about your attitude.  Pray about your ask.  Pray about the results.  Trust God to work in you and through you and for you. I promise you He will in His time and in His way.

I love sharing my personal experiences with these marriage-changing principles when I speak to other women.  I tell them about the time I threw every shoe I owned at Dan.  Then I tell them how I learned to do marriage God’s way, instead of my own. God’s way is the best way.  It always is.

 

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He Can’t Read Your Mind!

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You see dirty dishes piled high, baskets full of laundry (some clean and some dirty- and you’re just hoping you can tell the difference), stinky kids who need baths, bills to be paid, and kids’ homework that hasn’t even been looked at yet.

He sees TV!

You see groceries you bought two days ago still sitting on the counter and a dog staring at you waiting to go for a walk. And don’t even talk about the dog poop you see in the backyard!

He sees TV!

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And you are left thinking things like this (although probably not this genteel):

  • “What is the matter with him?”
  • “Is he blind?”
  • “Can’t he see how busy I am?”
  • “Why doesn’t he get off that stupid couch and help out around here?”

You see a lazy good-for-nothing husband!

He sees TV!

As a wife of 40+ years, let me tell you a secret:

He doesn’t see it and he can’t read your mind!

I know this is hard to believe and accept.  It actually seems incredible. But it’s true!

The sooner you believe your husband doesn’t ‘see’ like you, the sooner you can start taking steps to make your marriage better. If you can’t accept this truth, your frustration and bitterness is only going to increase until you finally explode. And when you explode, your husband will be shocked and wonder where ‘that’ came from. And then he will be bitter against you. And thus it begins – the road of bitterness that leads to more distance, anger and emotional separation.

A couple of preliminary steps to take:

  1. First, take a good look at yourself. What do you see? Do you see frustration and anger? Do you see jealousy and bitterness? Do you see distance growing?
  2. Second, ask yourself what it is that you really want. Do you want help? Or perhaps there’s more to it than that. Perhaps you want to know that he really cares about you?

After you’ve answered these questions honestly, you will be ready to take the next steps toward a better more intimate marriage. And isn’t that what we all want?

(To be continued…)

Oh and by the way, it’s probably a very good thing that he can’t read your mind! Just sayin’!

 

 

 

Get in the Chase!

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There’s nothing like a good chase.  Your senses spring into action! You feel alive!

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Brynlee and Ellasyn came over for a visit. They love to play chase and our living room is ideal because there are several circular options when determining the route of escape. As I chased them, they giggled and squealed with excitement. And I found myself laughing out loud with them.

What are you chasing? You are chasing something. Maybe it is money, pleasure, love, acceptance, fun, security, health, a dream, recognition, or applause.

Do you want an exciting fulfilling chase?  Chase love!  I Corinthians 14:1

Quit trying to figure out what you should be doing and start loving the ones you’re with!

Love meets the need of another. Do you see a need? Chase it!

7 Excuses to Stay Seated

  1. I’m too tired.
  2. I’m too busy.
  3. I’m just one person.
  4. I don’t have adequate resources.
  5. I need some down time.
  6. I don’t know which need to chase.
  7. I don’t really care about this.

3 Steps to Enter the Chase

  1. Commit to the chase.
  2. Stand up and take the first step.
  3. Chase whole-heartedly.

4 Truths About the Chase

  1. You will not be able to meet every need you see.
  2. You will not be able to meet the entire need.
  3. You will have to set priorities.
  4. You will have to set boundaries.

3 Results of the Chase

  1.  The chase will exhilarate you.
  2.  The chase will exhaust you.
  3. The chase will enrich you.

Experience the thrill of a full-out chase!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

White T-shirts?

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I thought my husband’s t-shirts were bright white until I bought some new ones. When I held the t-shirts up side-by-side, it was easy to see which ones were truly white.

t-shirt-1271443_1280I just attended a Christian conference with a group of ladies from my church. As I listened to the speakers, I felt disappointed. While some things the speakers said were awesome, other things were downright awful. I didn’t want to be critical. I wanted everything to be great.  But critical thinking is not optional – especially in the world we live in today.

Acts 17:11 tells us about a group of people who lived in Berea who eagerly listened to the apostles. After they finished listening, they spent time examining the Scriptures to see if the apostles’ teaching agreed with the Scriptures. The Bible calls these people noble-minded. They were eager and willing to learn. They were open-minded.

I want you to be noble-minded. I want you to be eager and willing to learn. I want you to be open minded. I want you to examine the Bible to see if what you have accepted as ‘truth’ is actually true. I want you to have critical thinking.

Every day you are bombarded with ‘truth’.  ‘Truth’ comes in many forms from many sources – people with power and authority, experts,TV, family, friends, social media, research, books and the list goes on and on.  But is their ‘truth’ true?

Just because ‘truth’ comes from someone with good intentions doesn’t mean it is good or true.

The only reliable standard of truth that never changes is God’s Word.  Hold up your ‘truth’ to the light of God’s Word and see how it compares. Does it still look  true?

Critical thinking matters because your ‘truth’ will determine how you do life.

 

Is it Really Worship?

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I am headed to the Women of Faith event in Philadelphia this weekend.  I’m so excited to have some dedicated time for worship – a dedicated time to present myself before the Lord so He can do His work in my heart – the work that only He can do.

Many believe worship is what happens at church, especially during the music time. Maybe it is and maybe it isn’t.

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You can sing and pray and it is worship.  You can also sing and pray and it is not worship.

Paul urges believers to worship by presenting themselves for renewal and transformation. Worship is about your heart.

Romans 12:1-2  Therefore, I urge you, brethren, my the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.  And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.

Worship is acknowledging before God that everything you are and everything you have is from Him, through Him and to Him. It is an embracing of His grace and His mercies.  It is a heart felt response for all He has done and continues to do for you. It is a response that can only result in the presenting of yourself to Him. Romans 11:33-36

When you present yourself to Him, you are acknowledging that just as you could not save yourself, you can not live the Christian life without His direct involvement in your daily life.  You are presenting yourself to Him so He can renew your mind and change the way you think about things.  You are presenting yourself to Him so He can transform you and change you.  You are presenting yourself to Him so you can live according to His will instead of your own.  You are presenting yourself to Him because you know His will is what is good and acceptable and pleasing – not only to Him, but also to you.

So I urge you to worship Him.  Do life with Jesus every day.  Present yourself to Him everyday. Worship belongs to God and God alone.

Romans 11:36  To Him be the glory forever.  Amen.

 

 

Agitated and Stirred Up

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Agitated? Stirred up?  Feeling like all is not well?

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I Peter 3:4 talks about having a gentle and tranquil spirit. We all know that when we have a gentle and tranquil spirit, it is much better for us personally and it’s much much better for the people around us.

What causes our spirit to be agitated?  We think it is circumstances but it’s not.

I Peter 3:5-6 gives us insight into what causes us to be agitated. It tells us about Sarah and other holy women who adorned themselves with a gentle and tranquil spirit.  It tells us they were able to have this kind of a spirit because of two things.

  1. They were not afraid.
  2. They hoped in God.

I love that Sarah is mentioned. It gives me hope. If you remember Sarah, she was so agitated at one point in her life that she concocted one of the dumbest ideas ever to help God out with His promise. She offered her handmaid, Hagar, to her husband so they could have the promised child.  Whoa!  Not so gentle and tranquil!  But somewhere along her journey, she became unafraid as she learned to hope in God.

If you’re feeling agitated today, ask yourself these two questions.

  1. What am I afraid of?
  2. Have I lost hope?

Remember God is always with you.  Give Him your fears.  Hope in God. Tell Him what you want. He may not give you everything you want but He will be with you always. Believe that He is good. Believe He will always give you what is best. Let His peace rule in your heart and in your thoughts. Philippians 4:5-7

 

 

 

 

Love on Purpose

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God is love. God so loved the world. God so loved you. God gave Himself. God loves on purpose.  John 3:16, 1 John 4

God’s love for you:

  • Is patient and long suffering.
  • Is kind and abounds with acts of goodness that are useful.
  • Does what is best for you.
  • Isn’t conceited and boastful.
  • Doesn’t keep score, especially of your offenses.
  • Rejoices with the truth.
  • Bears all things.
  • Believes all things.
  • Hopes all things.
  • Endures all things.
  • Never fails.

There is one way and only one way to love as God loves.  And that is to allow God to love you as only He can.  As you genuinely experience His love, you will find yourself responding in love.  You will come to believe you are worthy of His love – not because you have earned it but because He has chosen you. His love will fill the gaping holes in your heart.

As you become rooted and grounded in His love for you, you will start to see others as worthy of His love, too – not because they have earned it but because He has loved them, too.  And this changes everything.  Loving for the sake of loving.  Loving on purpose.

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I want you to love on purpose.  The first thing you must do if you want to love on purpose is to be honest with yourself about your current love life.

A few years ago, I got brutally honest with myself.  I said I loved God, yet I wasn’t even spending time with Him in His Word every day.  I wasn’t passionate about doing life with Him.  Yes, I was going to church and doing what Christians do. My goodness, I was the pastor’s wife. Yet my heart was not hot for God.

I prayed, “Father, I know you love me. Your love for me has never changed. I love you, too. But I want to love you more. I want to need you like a plant needs water.”

All I can say is be careful what you pray.  LOL  The Lord brought a series of circumstances my way that caused me to rely on Him for love more than I ever had before. Although the pain was deep, I wouldn’t go back and unpray my prayer.  Today, I spend time with Him in His Word just about every day – not because I should but because I need to.  I like the me doing life with Him much more than the me doing life on my own.

I choose to be loved on purpose so that I can love on purpose.  I dare you to pray the same prayer.

 

Live on Purpose

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I thank God for you and I pray for you.  I want you to live life on purpose.  I want you to live life in such a way that it pleases God and pleases you.

Yet when I look around, I seldom see this type of living.

I see women jumping from one seemingly urgent task to the next.  I see women exhausted and spent.  I see women barely keeping it all together.  I see women trying to do and be everything.  I see women who feel like they have to justify why it is okay to sit down for a few minutes and do nothing.  I see women doing life but not living life on purpose.

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I want to encourage you to do life on purpose.  Why are you here?  What are you suppose to be doing?  What is your purpose?  If you can’t do it all, what should you do?  What should you let go?   How do you make your choices?  What guides you?  Do you feel like you are enough?  Who do you go to when you have a tough decision to make?  Do you feel like you are living your life in a way that pleases God?  How do you know?  What are you basing your opinions on?

The first step to living life on purpose is to acknowledge that you were made by God for God.

All things  have been created through Him (God) and for Him (God).  Colossians 1:16

That includes you.  Have you ever thought about God’s purpose for you?  He has one specifically designed for you – it even includes the number of days you will live.  If you find this hard to  believe, read Psalm 139:1-18.  It will delight your heart.

 

A Needless Death

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Needless_Alley_-_geograph.org.uk_-_1282956August already!  How is your summer going?  Have you been doing life with Jesus?

When you hear that question, what do you think about?

When you hear that question, how do you feel about yourself?

Do you understand what it means to do life with Jesus?  Perhaps it is a new thought for you.  Perhaps you have questions about it.  Perhaps you carry a lot of baggage about it.

One of the very first things we need to realize about doing life with Jesus, is that it is about believing.  It is about faith.  If we get faith right, we get life right.

The Christian life is lived the very way it begins.  It starts with faith and it is lived by faith.

We begin the Christian life when we hear the gospel truth about Christ and believe it.  The moment we believe, we receive the Spirit of Christ.  We have new life by faith.

We live the Christian life the very same way.  We hear God’s truth about some area of our life and we believe it.  The moment we believe the truth, we receive the enabling work of His Spirit.  We are able to live in a new way by faith.

Just as we cannot earn our own way to heaven, neither can we live the Christian life on our own. To think we can is pure arrogance.  It suggests that Christ died needlessly. Galatians 2:21

When we live as though it all depends on us, we are declaring that Christ died needlessly.

We begin the Christian life when we rely on the work of Christ to save us.

We continue the Christian life when we rely on the working of Christ and His Spirit within us to transform us.

Declare your need of Christ – not just for salvation but for all of life.  Depend on Him. Do life with Him.

 

Teach Us to Pray

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As I tucked Brynlee into bed, I asked, “Do you want Mimi to pray with you?”

My granddaughter hesitated at first, and then she said, “Mimi, you can pray.”  As soon as I finished my simple prayer, Brynlee said, “I can pray, too.”

“Okay,” I said as I closed my eyes waiting for her to pray.

Then I heard her little voice say, “No, Mimi.  You say it and then I will say it.”

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On a particular day after watching Jesus pray, one of the disciples asked, “Lord, teach us to pray.”  Luke 11:1-13

Moms & dads, are you teaching your kids how to pray?  Your kids are watching you just like the disciples were watching Jesus. And you know they don’t miss a trick! So teach them how to do life with Jesus by talking to Him throughout the day.  Let them see you pray.

Maybe you don’t know how to pray. Start where you are.  Like the disciple, ask Jesus to teach you how to pray.

As moms and dads, we delight in giving good gifts to our children.  Our Heavenly Father delights even more in giving good gifts to us. So today, boldly ask your Heavenly Father to teach you how to pray.  And as you learn, teach the same things to the little ones that He has entrusted into your care.

On a side note, be ready to learn from your kids.  As I was praying and Brynlee was repeating after me, I evidently said something I had already said.  Brynlee stopped me and said, “Uh, Mimi, you already said that.”  Oh my!  I had to stop and ask myself, if I was praying thoughtfully or out of habit.

“Lord, teach us to pray.”