February 28, 2016

Marriage on Lent Day #14


New info: I am excited to announce that I have testimony's from several couples that are willing to share how God has redeemed their marriages. Look for those to be sprinkled in through the next couple of weeks.

I am hoping you will join us on our 40 day journey of praying for the marriage's of those around us. My sweet friend told me once, "wedding problems are always a spiritual battle," and so with our prayers to the Father, they will be our weapons to fight with God for the hearts and unions of those around us. So get your list and join us in prayer.  The guest posts will bless those who are praying and also those of us who are married or know married people. I love that each post is very different. Get ready for some wonderful encouragement and powerful thoughts and prayers. Enjoy these blessings. 

Many thanks to Richard Beck for his guest post here today.
 http://experimentaltheology.blogspot.com



Message from the Heart

I'd like to talk about the role of satan in marriages and the nature of satanic attack.

In Hebrew "satan" means "accuser." And when you look at the activity of Satan in the bible that is his main activity: bringing accusation. We see this in Job 1.16-12, 2.1-7, in Zech. 3.1-4 and particularly in Rev. 12.10:

Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say:

“Now have come the salvation and the power

and the kingdom of our God,

and the authority of his Messiah.

For the accuser of our brothers and sisters,

who accuses them before our God day and night,

has been hurled down.

Revelation 12.10 echos Jesus' statement in Luke 10.18: "I saw Satan fall from heaven like lightning."  The Voice of Accusation speaking against us has been cast out of heaven and it is replaced with the intercession of the Holy Spirit. This is a voice not of accusation and prosecution, but of a Voice of Advocacy as Jesus describes in John 14.16-17, 26; 15.26; 16.7.

The point I'd like to make in all this is that the Holy Spirit is poured out on the followers of Jesus. In John 20.19-23 Jesus appears in the midst of his disciples and brings the word of "Peace." Jesus then breathes on his disciples saying "receive the Holy Spirit." Peace--rather than satanic accusation--is the word the church carries into the world. In the midst of the church the peace of the Holy Spirit reigns. The satanic accusations against us have been expelled, exorcised, and cast out of heaven.

And yet, Satan continues to prowl our world, our churches and our marriages. The Voice of Accusation continues to break into our lives. Even worse, we are more than happy to do the devil's work. We bring, day in and day out, accusations against each other: Criticism, judgment, complaint, indictment, and accusation. We become satan. I become your satan and you become my satan. We bring accusations against each other. And because of this we don't experience the peace of the Holy Spirit. Instead of peace we create conflict, jealousy, rivalry, envy. When we become satan we hurt and injure each other, physically and emotionally.

So that's my question for marriages this Lenten season: How are you playing the satan in your marriage? How are you the satan for your husband or wife? How do you bring accusation, judgment, criticism and complaint?

When the Voice of Accusation reigns in our marriages our marriages are experiencing satanic attack. When the Voice of Accusation reigns our marriages are demonically possessed. But I don't mean this in any supernatural or spooky way. We are the satan! We are the ones who bring the satanic into our marriages through our words of judgment, complaint and criticism.


But Jesus calls us to be people of the Spirit, people who replace satanic words with words of peace, reconciliation, forgiveness and mercy.


So that's the question I'd like to put before you this Lent.


Are you the voice of the Spirit or of Satan--peace or accusation--in your marriage?

Prayer for Marriages
Dear Father,

May you help me expel satan from my marriage by replacing my words of judgment, accusation, criticism, and complaint with the words of the Holy Spirit, words of forgiveness, peace, mercy and reconciliation.

Amen

Marriage on Lent Day #13


I am hoping you will join us on our 40 day journey of praying for the marriage's of those around us. My sweet friend told me once, "wedding problems are always a spiritual battle," with our prayers to the Father, they will be our weapons to fight with God for the hearts and unions of those around us. So get your list and join us in prayer.  The guest posts will bless those who are praying and also those of us who are married or know married people. I love that each post is very different. Get ready for some wonderful encouragement and powerful thoughts and prayers. Enjoy these blessings.


Many thanks to Jenny Goode for her guest post today.

Prayer
Lord,  Thank you for the beautiful gift of marriage. Help us to never take for granted the person who has committed to love us. Help us to be loveable ourselves. Search our hearts Lord and reveal to us the things that we do, we see, we say, and that we think are used as Satan’s attempt to divide us. Help us to be ever thoughtful about our actions and purposeful in our commitment to our spouse. In Jesus’ holy name, Amen.

Message from the Heart
We celebrated our Fifteenth Wedding Anniversary in July. We were happy to celebrate, but saddened at that same time as we witnessed friends whose marriage seemed “bulletproof” get rocked to the core. And in subsequent months since, other friends have confided struggles of their own.  All married for lengthy periods of time, all people who love the Lord, and their spouses. And in the beauty of the 15th Anniversary moment, it hit me, there’s no magic anniversary or event in which any of us will have “arrived” in a “marriage safe zone.” Our marriages require ongoing commitment and effort.

The Casting Crowns song, “Slow Fade” lyrics below make me think of the many things that slowly creep into the union between husband and wife –a job, a friend, internet pornography, resentment over disrespect,  … we’ve known it to be so many things that started out seemingly nonthreatening or isolated incidents that grew into issues that led to broken vows and hearts.

The journey from your mind to your hands
Is shorter than you're thinking
Be careful if you think you stand
You just might be sinking

It's a slow fade when you give yourself away
It's a slow fade when black and white have turned to gray
Thoughts invade, choices are made, a price will be paid
When you give yourself away
People never crumble in a day
Daddies never crumble in a day
Families never crumble in a day

Scripture
“And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ” - Philippians 1:9-10

Marriage on Lent Day #12




I am hoping you will join us on our 40 day journey of praying for the marriage's of those around us. My sweet friend told me once, "wedding problems are always a spiritual battle," and so with our prayers to the Father, they will be our weapons to fight with God for the hearts and unions of those around us. So get your list and join us in prayer.  The guest posts will bless those who are praying and also those of us who are married or know married people. I love that each post is very different. Get ready for some wonderful encouragement and powerful thoughts and prayers. Enjoy these blessings.
Many thanks to Dee Ann Andrews for today's post.

A DAILY MORNING PRAYER FOR OUR MARRIAGE

Abba Father, thank you for this new day of life you have given us. We thank you for all the blessings You have so blessed us with because we know that ALL good things in this life come from you.  We come to You now asking You to be present and to guide us in all we do as a couple in this marriage.  Help us this day to seek to serve You more by serving each other, in love.

Give us the sense of Your presence with us, because we so often falter and worry and feel so insecure about the struggles we are in and become overwhelmed.  Help us to realize that this moment – today – is all that we are promised, so may we take a deep breath and then walk with You moment by moment through this day, trusting You to work things out for us, according to Your will. We trust you to do this because of your promises to us through Jesus Christ. In His Name we pray. Amen

THOUGHTS FROM THE HEART ON MARRIAGE

These thoughts on marriage are very personal from us, Tom and me, to you.  When I asked him what he thought was the number one most important factor in a good marriage, he said – not love, as I was expecting him to say – but “trust.” He continued, “What I mean is that I trust you to always have my best interests at heart and you trust me to always have your best interests at heart.” You can love each other very deeply, but if you do not trust each other, then you have real work cut out to each change yourselves to be a trustworthy partner.

OUR FAVORITE SCRIPTURES WE OFFER AS A BLESSING

Trust is all tied up in love, itself, which is so well described for us in one of our favorite passages, I Corinthians 13. Read this passage together and to yourselves as many times as day as you need to do so, to think before you act, and then act in the ways of love! Always! We had this passage read at our wedding and printed out on parchment paper to give each of our guests, because it is our guideline for living a Christian life, in marriage and in all things.


THE WAY OF LOVE

I Corinthians
14:1                 Follow the way of love  
13:8                 For love never fails . . .

13:4                 Be patient and kind,
                             Envy not,
                             And do not boast.
13:5                Never be proud,           
                             or rude,           
                             and seek not your own.

                       Do not easily be angered
                       And keep no record of wrongs
13:6                For love does not delight
                            In evil
                            But rejoices in truth.

13:7               Always protect,
                      Always trust,
                      Always hope,
                      And always persevere.

13:13             Faith will become sight,
                      Hope will become promise,
                      There remains only love.


J. B. Phillips translation

One more passage we chose to have read in our wedding is a charge not only for women, but for both of you to cling to each other always until the end of this life shall separate you. It is taken from the book of Ruth, as follows:

But Ruth replied, “Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. 17 Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the LORD deal with me, be it ever so severely, if even death separates you and me.”

At the end of each day, pray together and with your children, if you are so blessed, thanking God for bringing you safely through the day, no matter what life problems remain, and asking for rest and sleep through the night.

May the Lord richly bless and keep each of you who read these words.

February 21, 2016

Marriage on Lent Day #11

 


I am hoping you will join us on our 40 day journey of praying for the marriage's of those around us. My sweet friend told me once, "wedding problems are always a spiritual battle," with our prayers to the Father, they will be our weapons to fight with God for the hearts and unions of those around us. So get your list and join us in prayer.  The guest posts will bless those who are praying and also those of us who are married or know married people. I love that each post is very different. Get ready for some wonderful encouragement and powerful thoughts and prayers. Enjoy these blessings.

Thank you to Cheri Casciola for today's post.

Scripture:
Hebrews 12:1-2    “… since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith…”

Message:
Stop your day. Stop the noise. Just stop. Go outside and look up. Do you see the clouds that God has placed in the heavens? Do you see the cloud of witnesses of those who have gone on before you? Adam and Eve. Abraham and Sarah. Mary and Joseph to name a few. Listen. Be still and listen. Can you hear them cheering you on to complete the race. To not only finish, but finish strong! Marriage is worth every effort.  Just as Christ, our groom, is preparing the holy matrimony for our souls unto Him, we in turn must continue to strive for the holy matrimony of the maturity of our faith with the one we said “I do.”

Prayer:
Lord Creator of Marriages and all holy unions, We come humbly before You now to give our sincerest gratitude of the beauty that is marriage. We ask in the words of David for specific actions to be placed upon our marriages: Be our shield – hedge - showers of blessings – strength – cleft – redemption. We thank You for all marriage being sanctified and honorable to You – that You made man for woman and woman for man in such a perfect union. Go before us as our Protector. May we ever turn to You for holy guidance. We are grateful for the clouds that were placed above us as reminders to look up – to look up to You. And to know that You are there for those who seek Your face. We adore you Father and long for the wedding supper in the place called eternity. Only in the HaShem of Yeshua. Omaine.

Marriage on Lent Day #10

I am hoping you will join us on our 40 day journey of praying for the marriage's of those around us. My sweet friend told me once, "wedding problems are always a spiritual battle," and so with our prayers to the Father, they will be our weapons to fight with God for the hearts and unions of those around us. So get your list and join us in prayer.  The guest posts will bless those who are praying and also those of us who are married or know married people. I love that each post is very different. Get ready for some wonderful encouragement and powerful thoughts and prayers. Enjoy these blessings.

Many thanks to Karen Bordner for her guest post today. 

Thought from the Heart
In 1960, Walt Disney produced a movie that has helped me in my daily life. It may sound silly but that movie was Pollyanna. It was a sweet movie about a little girl who always played “The Glad Game.” Even though her parents had died and she was sent to live with her rich aunt, she always found something to be “glad” about!  Many, in her new life, had a negative outlook on life in general. Through her process of being glad, she helped others see the positive side of things that might not be so “positive” and in this process, changed lives.

In marriage, as in all relationships, there are lots of things that happen, good and bad. Our view toward these things can help determine the outcome of our entire world in our homes. There are lots of times, every single day, that can get to us all. Just waking up to the alarm clock,  burning your finger on a curling iron and rushing around trying to get yourself and your family ready for the day , clean and with a good breakfast, can help our day go uphill or downhill from there. The tone in our responses to our day can, as well. The sound in our voices, and how we respond to simple and complex things, in our daily conversations can impact us. Be sensitive in your responses. Show that you care. Say things the way you want people to say things to you. Be glad. Find the good in your spouse and children. Dwell on the good. Be glad. Help make the tone in your home happy and musical rather than tiresome. Create a place that your spouse and children will want to come home to. Be glad. Daily. 

Scripture  
I know many will want to write I Corinthians 13 as one of their scriptures to bless marriages. It truly is a wonderful scripture on love. I would just like to write the first verse, in reference to my little journal writing… If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.
 
Prayer for Marriages 
Dear God, As we pray for our own marriages and the ones on our list, help us to trust You daily. Help us to be examples of love, daily. Help us to love the good in our spouses and to continually look for more good. Help us to love the good in our children and to continually look for more good. Help us to become a favorite song to our spouse and not a loud gong. Help us to show our love in our daily speech. Help us to be glad! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Marriage on Lent Day #9


I am hoping you will join us on our 40 day journey of praying for the marriage's of those around us. My sweet friend told me once, "wedding problems are always a spiritual battle," and so with our prayers to the Father, they will be our weapons to fight with God for the hearts and unions of those around us. So get your list and join us in prayer.  The guest posts will bless those who are praying and also those of us who are married or know married people. I love that each post is very different. Get ready for some wonderful encouragement and powerful thoughts and prayers. Enjoy these blessings.

Many thanks to Rob Marcelain from Abilene, Tx for today's guest post.

Thought from the heart on Marriage
I think an important trait to continue to work on in our marriages is a spirit of adventure. Keep looking for new things you don't know about your spouse, your children, your job and your world around you. It will help fight the trap that you already know all there is to know, and become complacent. If you are exploring new things with your spouse it will keep it fresh and new like when you were dating and first fell in love. If you explore new things at work and in the world, and you are unable to have your spouse and family at your side while it is happening, it will give you new things to talk about. I believe we can too often lose the idea that we can live an adventure and the best adventures are shared.

Scripture
One of my favorite verses, because it pretty much spells it out for me, is 1 Thes. 5:16-18 NLT
"Always be joyful. Keep on praying. No matter what happens, always be thankful, for this is God's will for you who belong to Christ Jesus. "        


Prayer for Marriages
Dear Lord, please help us draw into the adventure you are calling us to. May we trust and live for you with abandon. May we believe and see that all good things come from you and you alone. Thank you for the spouses you have blessed us with. Dear Lord, may we have the wisdom, strength and courage to encourage our spouses to be all that you created them to be. Together may we live in your purpose, strength and joy.
In the name of Jesus,
Amen.     

February 19, 2016

Marriage on Lent Day #8



Thanks to Teri Boone for her guest post today.


Message from the Heart 
As I reflect on my marriage of 28 years, there are many years of happiness and many years I would rather sweep under the rug and never look at again.  Marriage is hard work.  PERIOD.    I received some advice from my mother-in-law many years ago and it was something like this.  “If you hang on for the ride, it does get better and it does get easier”.  I can honestly say, it does get better and it does get easier.  I think we too often forget, God also commands it.  Matthew 19:9, “And I say to you: whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery”.

My grandparents were married for 71 years.  I’ve never seen two people love each other more but to hear about their struggles and what they had to endure for 71 years together, makes me so proud.  I’m proud of the legacy they have left our family.  When you think about it, marriage wasn’t easier 71 years ago, they just knew what God commanded them and they believed it.  They lived it.

No marriage is perfect.  No man or woman is perfect.  There will be arguments, disagreements, tension, stress, worry, anger, money problems and the list can go on and on.  God can help your marriage if you allow him.  Sometimes we have to give in and realize we can’t fix our problems by ourselves.  We have to swallow our pride and ask for help.  It’s hard.  I know – because I’ve been there.  But, it helped my marriage and it helped us move forward.

I encourage you not to give up so easily.  Seek help.  It’s so worth it.  Not only will you please God but you will be amazed at how much happier you can be as a couple.  WE have big shoes to fill  - 71 years is a long time!  I believe God will continue to bless my marriage and continue to bless our family through our marriage. 

Mark 10:9, “Therefore what God has joined together, let no man separate”.

Marriage on Lent Day #7



I am hoping you will join us on our 40 day journey of praying for the marriage's of those around us. My sweet friend told me once, "wedding problems are always a spiritual battle," with our prayers to the Father, they will be our weapons to fight with God for the hearts and unions of those around us. So get your list and join us in prayer.  The guest posts will bless those who are praying and also those of us who are married or know married people. I love that each post is very different. Get ready for some wonderful encouragement and powerful thoughts and prayers. Enjoy these blessings.

Many thanks to James Boone for today's guest post.

This is only my opinion of how I see a Marriage:

Marriage is not a race to see who wins, nor is it a competition. Marriage is a journey with two people to form one couple. This can only truly be accomplished if you understand what Marriage IS and what it is NOT.

What Marriage is NOT:

1. We view everything in life as a competition, and most of it is somewhat of a competition, however Marriage is NOT.
2. Marriage is NOT a RACE.
3. Marriage is NOT easy.
4. Marriage is NOT always fun and games.
5. Marriage is NOT always getting your way.
6. Marriage is NOT being judgmental.
7. Marriage is NOT unrealistic expectations.
8. Marriage is NOT a chance.
9. Marriage is NOT ________ .


What Marriage IS:

1. Marriage IS a STRUGGLE.
2. Marriage IS great.
3. Marriage IS hard.
4. Marriage IS an accomplishment.
5. Marriage IS rewarding.
6. Marriage IS satisfying.
7. Marriage IS understanding.
8. Marriage IS joyful.
9. Marriage IS being accepting of the other.
10. Marriage IS happiness.
11. Marriage IS a choice.
12. Marriage IS an opportunity.
13. Marriage IS gratifying.
14. Marriage IS bliss.

"Two people can't truly exist without Struggles, let alone exist with one you love, success comes from the STRUGGLES." ......James Boone.

"The reason people find it so hard to be happy is that they always see the PAST better than it was, the PRESENT better than it is, and the FUTURE less resolved than it will be." .....Marcel Pagnol

Marriage on Lent Day #6


I am hoping you will join us on our 40 day journey of praying for the marriage's of those around us. My sweet friend told me once, "wedding problems are always a spiritual battle," with our prayers to the Father, they will be our weapons to fight with God for the hearts and unions of those around us. So get your list and join us in prayer.  The guest posts will bless those who are praying and also those of us who are married or know married people. I love that each post is very different. Get ready for some wonderful encouragement and powerful thoughts and prayers. Enjoy these blessings.

Thank you to Stephen Corbett, Abilene, TX for his guest post today.

Scripture
"Love your neighbor as you love yourself."  Jesus, in Mark 12:31

Message from the Heart
The "Golden Rule" is applicable to all of our relationships, but it takes on a new meaning when we substitute the word spouse for the word neighbor.  Imagine what marriages would look like if husbands and wives lived out the words, "Love your spouse as you love yourself."

In most troubled marriages I've known, either the husband or the wife - or both, if I'm being honest - love themselves more than they love their spouse.  It's a recipe for disaster.  When a husband loves himself more than he loves his wife, he excuses his selfish attitude and behavior while heaping demands on his wife to meet all his needs.  When a wife loves herself more than she loves her husband, she places expectations on her husband to treat her well, yet feels entitled to treat her him however she wants.  The result is a downward relational spiral, where needs are not met and love is not shared... and eventually the couple hits rock bottom.

On the flip side, in most marriages that I consider exemplary and healthy, both the husband and the wife are clearly more interested in actively loving their spouse than they are in being served, or treated well, or having their needs met.  Those husbands and wives who set their sites on loving rather than being loved create an upward-trending, perpetual-motion love-machine, where each partner is increasingly valued, honored, encouraged... and loved more deeply year after year.

Prayer for Marriages
Father, Creator of love, Exemplar of selfless love,
Bless me, that my heart's desire would be to lift up my spouse and love her as she wishes to be loved.
Soften my heart, that I would love my spouse selflessly and sacrificially, as Christ modeled.
Remove from me the desire to get my way.  Remove from me the expectation that my spouse meet all my needs perfectly.
Strengthen me today and in the days that follow, that I might reach out to my spouse and make the first move.
Amen

February 15, 2016

Marriage on Lent Day #5


I am hoping you will join us on our 40 day journey of praying for the marriage's of those around us. My sweet friend told me once, "wedding problems are always a spiritual battle," and so with our prayers to the Father, they will be our weapons to fight with God for the hearts and unions of those around us. So get your list and join us in prayer.  The guest posts will bless those who are praying and also those of us who are married or know married people. I love that each post is very different. Get ready for some wonderful encouragement and powerful thoughts and prayers. Enjoy these blessings.


Thank you to Cathy Messecar for her guest post today.


LOVE SHINE
By Cathy Messecar

Scripture
So Jacob served seven years to get Rachel, but they seemed like only a few days to him because of his love for her.
Genesis 29:20


Message from the Heart
    When I least expect the textbook on life opens, and an acquaintance does something that knocks the wind out of one of my bad habits. I recently had the pleasure of learning a better way of communicating with my husband because of such an occurrence.
     Through our business, we met a couple who speaks more kindly to each other than any married couple we have met. Their names are Buck and Jan Graham. When they interact and address each other by pet names, the tone of their speech is filled with admiration. My husband and I love to hear either of them call the other “Precious."
     Recently in our home my husband asked me, "What's that noise?" The ringer on our business phone was turned off, and I heard the answering machine recording a message. He’d heard the sound many times before, but our hearing isn’t what it used to be. The volume is up on everything, and yet we are hearing less.
     My reply, "It's the answering machine," was less than cordial. Immediately, I regretted the tone of “you-should-know-what-that-sound-is.”
     I thought about married couples falling into language ruts, especially of replying with a grumble or flippant answer to mates. Climbing out of the bad-habit trench and getting back on the grassy terrain of pleasant words and nuances can often be difficult.
      Later I apologized to David and said, "I'd like to be more like the Grahams. They're always so nice to each other." My intentions were good, but before long I once again gave David an answer with an attitude. He looked at me with a smile and said, "Thank you, Precious." Laughter rippled up my throat and erupted in a full blown smile.
     Since that moment when either of our words to each other is curt, one of us will address the other during our conversation with the name "Precious." It's a gentle reminder of the love pact we made long ago to honor each other.
     Jesus encouraged his followers to allow his love to shine through the windows of their everyday lives: "You are the light of the world . . . Let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven"(Matthew 6: 14-16).
     Thank you Buck and Jan, for letting the brilliance of your love shine.


Prayer for Marriages
Father, thank you for designing marriage. Will you garden in my heart today? Loosen my root bound self-centeredness. Please mist the parched patches of indifference. For my friends, bring lasting growth to newlyweds and to longtime married lovers. In the name of the Bridegroom. Amen.

An excerpt from The Stained Glass Pickup: Glimpses of God’s Uncommon Wisdom www.leafwoodpublishers.com/ by Cathy Messecar, author and speaker, married for 45 years. www.cathymessecar.com

Marriage on Lent Day #4


I am hoping you will join us on our 40 day journey of praying for the marriage's of those around us. My sweet friend told me once, "wedding problems are always a spiritual battle," and so with our prayers to the Father, they will be our weapons to fight with God for the hearts and unions of those around us. So get your list and join us in prayer.  The guest posts will bless those who are praying and also those of us who are married or know married people. I love that each post is very different. Get ready for some wonderful encouragement and powerful thoughts and prayers. Enjoy these blessings.
 
Much thanks to Sue Rhineheimer for her guest post here today.
(I grew up in Arizona at the Tri-City Church of Christ, Sue was our preacher's wife. She blessed our family beyond measure. She was also my mom's best friend.)

Message from the Heart 
Woman was an extraordinary creation.  Her creation was straight from the hand of God.  However, she was not made from directly from the dust, as was Adam.  Woman was formed from the rib of Adam, as a part of him, but separate from him. She was made to be his helper and companion, and assist him in life’s work.

“For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united with his wife, and they will become one flesh” (Genesis 2:24).  Repeated by Jesus in Matthew 19:6 when he was questioned about divorce, He went on to explain “therefore what God has joined together let not man separate” (Matthew 19:6).

The institution of marriage is the foundation providing stability to the home, the nation, and ultimately the world.  If the marriage can be destroyed, then the family, the nation, and the world can also be destroyed; a very good reason to keep our marriages strong.

But there is another reason that Satan, the liar from the beginning, works so hard to destroy marriages.  Marriage is a picture of the relationship of Christ and His church. Paul ends his description of marriage in Ephesians 5:24-32 by saying in clear words, “I am talking about Christ and the church”!  He is showing the relationship Christ has to the church by painting the beautiful and loving picture of marriage.

Just as Eve was born from the pierced side of Adam as he slept, the church was born from pierced side of Christ as He died on a Roman cross. The radiant and glorious church was brought forth with blood and water. The church, as the Bride of Christ is worth His very life. He shed His blood to bring it into existence.

Our marriages must be cherished so we as Christians can impress the world of the sacrificial and enduring love of Christ.  As Christ nurtures the church, He shows husbands how to care for and nurture his wife. As the church brings glory to Christ, a wife is shown how to bring glory to her husband and aid him in his life’s work. Just as a husband and wife are one flesh, Christ and His church are also one. His spiritual and eternal love for us is pictured everyday in the sacrificial and enduring love of our own marriages.

Being aware of this beautiful symbol of Christ and His church, we must do all we can to cherish marriage in our own lives and in those of our family and friends. Satan’s desire is that this picture of Christ and His church be corrupted and destroyed. Thus he directs ongoing and vicious attacks against our homes.  But we must never allow him to enter into this scene for marriage is a living and ongoing example of Christ and His church.

Prayer for Marriages
“Lord, help us to protect and cherish the marriages in our world today.  Help us to use our marriages to point the world to the tender and loving relationship that Christ has offered to all who will come.  Help us to keep our own marriages strong and to give real support to the marriages of our friends and family.   We pray this is the name of our loving and gracious husband-redeemer, Jesus Christ.”

Taken from:  Windows into Eternity, 2005, by Sue Rhineheimer

February 14, 2016

Marriage on Lent Day #3



I am hoping you will join us on our 40 day journey of praying for the marriage's of those around us. My sweet friend told me once, "wedding problems are always a spiritual battle," and so with our prayers to the Father, they will be our weapons to fight with God for the hearts and unions of those around us. So get your list and join us in prayer.  The guest posts will bless those who are praying and also those of us who are married or know married people. I love that each post is very different. Get ready for some wonderful encouragement and powerful thoughts and prayers. Enjoy these blessings.

Much thanks to Lisa Carroll for her guest post here today. 


Message from the Heart
Busyness can destroy relationships.  Looking back at our 33 years of marriage, the most difficult time for Donnie and me was in the 7-10 year range.  We became so busy in youth work and the rearing of 4 young children that we began dwelling on the "urgent" and not the "important."  It took a jolt  for us - a move to Colorado - to restore our marriage and our family. (Colorado seemed SO far away at the time - this was before cell phones and easy internet access.)
As we pray today, let's pray for couples that are trapped.  Trapped in the snare of busyiness.  May G_d intervene in some way to rescue them (us).  Intervention comes in many forms, and some are not easy or pretty, but the jolt of intervention is powerful...and sometimes we all need a wakeup call.

 Prayer for Marriage's using Scripture i.e. The Psalms
Music is a way to "pray without ceasing."  If you are like me, I can get a tune stuck in my head for hours, so why not dwell on a Psalm or hymn?  One of my favorites is Psalm 51.  I know two versions of this great Psalm, which was a song of lament for David after committing adultery.  If you'd like, choose one and pray through it on behalf of your own marriage or that of another.  (When praying for someone specifically, I find it helpful to replace "me" with a name.)

One version is by Keith Green, and goes like this: 

Create in me a clean heart, oh God
And renew a right spirit within me
Create in me a clean heart, oh God
And renew a right spirit within me

Cast me not away from Thy presence, oh Lord
And take not Thy holy spirit from me
Restore unto me the joy of Thy salvation
And renew a right spirit within me

The other version is older, and was written by Keith Lancaster of Acappella.

Create in me a clean heart, oh God.
Let me be like you in all your ways.
Give me your strength; teach me your songs.
Shelter me in the shadow of your wings.

For we are your righteousness.
If we die to ourselves and live through your death.
We shall be born again to be blessed in your love.

February 13, 2016

Marriage on Lent Day #2


I am hoping you will join us on our 40 day journey of praying for the marriage's of those around us. My sweet friend told me once, "wedding problems are always a spiritual battle," and so with our prayers to the Father, they will be our weapons to fight with God for the hearts and unions of those around us. So get your list and join us in prayer.  The guest posts will bless those who are praying and also those of us who are married or know married people. I love that each post is very different. Get ready for some wonderful encouragement and powerful thoughts and prayers. Enjoy these blessings.

Much thanks to Mark and Jana Hanner for their guest post here today. 


Prayer for Marriages
Lord, thank You that You created man and woman...unique and special. Thank You for Your plan that two shall become one. Please give us strength and understanding to build our marriage with You as our foundation, using Your example of unselfish love. Thank You for Your wisdom in creating a "helpmeet" to walk beside us in our journey.

Today, as Your child, Lord, give me the wisdom to find the kind word--to make my spouse laugh--to make them glad they chose me. I want my spouse to know how much I cherish them. Help me to show them they are a treasure from You.

In Your precious Son's name, who gives us the hope of Glory, Amen

Messages from the Heart
As we ponder a charge to married couples, several key thoughts keep coming forward:

A. Control your tongue. Men, remember that harsh words will bruise deeply. God wired ladies with tender hearts.

B. Be unselfish. So many of our fights are about "me" and "I want my way".

C. Stay the course. Be committed. Marriage is tough. It takes a conscious, daily effort. But the rewards are awesome!!

D. Don't spouse bash. We committed early in our marriage to try and never speak ugly to others about our spouse. Ladies, it's easy to husband bash at Bunco when everyone else is doing it. Choose instead to use kind words.

Scripture
We love the Proverbs.

Proverbs 4:20-27

My son, pay attention to what I say; listen closely to my words. Do not let them out of your sight, keep them within your heart; for they are life to those who find them and health to a man's whole body. Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life. Put away perversity from your mouth; keep corrupt talk far from your lips. Let your eyes look straight ahead, fix your gaze directly before you. Make level paths for your feet and take only ways that are firm. Do not swerve to the right or the left, keep your foot from evil.


Marriage On Lent Day #1


Today is Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent. I am hoping you will join us on our 40 day journey of praying for the marriage's of those around us. My sweet friend told me once, "wedding problems are always a spiritual battle," and so with our prayers to the Father, they will be our weapons to fight with God for the hearts and unions of those around us. So get your list and join us in prayer. Here is our first contribution to the blog in this series. The guest posts will bless those who are praying and also those of us who are married or know married people. I love that each post is very different. Get ready for some wonderful encouragement and powerful thoughts and prayers. Enjoy these blessings.

Much thanks to David Conner of Abilene, TX  for his guest post here today.

Prayer for Marriage's
Father, thank you for your ultimate example of reconciliation. Thank you for not giving up on us in our sin but instead sending your son into the mess to rise victorious as the final sacrifice. Father please reveal to those in their own personal mess' that you are on your throne and that you have already gone before us and you have chosen life for each of us. And not just average ordinary life, but ABUNDANT life! Right now I claim this promise for those struggling to find you and know you in their relationships. We claim the power of prayer over the works of satan and bind him in the power of your name. All praise and glory be unto the lamb that was slain, through Jesus' powerful name we claim these things. Amen.

Message from the Heart
Through the ups and downs of marriage in both the good times and bad it has always helped me to remember that when we put the needs of others ahead of our own desires, amazing things happen. This sounds so simple but it is so profound. It is a daily decision, just like our Christian walk, to set aside our selfish desires and choose to live for others.

Scripture
Philippians 2:3-8
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.
In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:

Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness and being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself
    by becoming obedient to death—
        even death on a cross!


Lenten Eve - Get Your Prayer Lists Ready...





Tomorrow is Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent. You might not know about our 40 Days of Prayer for Marriage's. You can find the first two posts here and here. If you are participating have you gotten your list ready of your friends and family you are going to pray for?

What started as a deletion of a compilation of scriptures that I had made up ended up being the avenue to God reminding me that there was lots of good wisdom in my circle and this series would be BLESSED by their words and hearts. I have been so blessed from reading the submissions I have received already and anticipate receiving many more. I love that no two are alike, each one is a gift.

So starting tomorrow, we will have a guest post from someone each day (except Sundays) for the 40 Days of Lent, Lord willing. I am SO excited about this. If I don't have enough submissions then I will fill in here and there.

Jesus wandered the desert fasting for 40 days. Lent is a time that we remember that sacrifice and also make sacrifices of our own to till the soil of our hearts to allow God to transform us closer to the image of Christ. Lent is not just about taking away, but importantly about filling that time of sacrifice, whether it is a sacrifice of fasting from a meal, fasting from Facebook, fasting from television, fasting from Starbucks then giving the $ we saved to the poor. We can take the space we have opened up to pray, read scripture, serve others, write letters to shut-ins, practice hospitality...the list goes on.

I see faces and tears when I think about praying for other's marriages. Real faces, real tears, real confusion, real hopelessness. I am going to add praying for others marriages to my daily routine, I am carrying those precious hearts in my heart and lifting them to the Father for Him to tend. I pray you will join me in this 40 Days of Prayer. I beg you to join me. Allow God to bless you while you bless others.

A couple years ago I might have felt apathy if I read a post like this. However, I have seen God work miracles in the hearts of his people, and brought marriages from the edge of a grave to a place of celebration, I am a believer. In the words from scripture, "I do believe, help me overcome my unbelief," have become second nature to me. I pray that you will believe with me, and ask God to help you overcome any unbelief and let's get prayin' ; )

See you for tomorrow's guest post by David Connor. All is gift.