MARRIAGE MYTHS (3)

May … God … give you a spirit of unity. Romans 15:5 NlV

We’re not in love any more. Did you hear about the woman who ran a newspaper ad that said, “Husband wanted”? She got lots of responses, all saying the same thing: “You can have mine!” Seriously, if negativity and bitterness are eroding your marriage it’s time to make some changes by:

(1) Remembering your history. Chances are you started out as good friends. So ask yourself how you’d treat your best friend if you were having relationship issues. Not by being critical and defensive, right? What initially attracted you to one another anyhow? When did you fall in love? How did you act when things were good? Recall and rehearse your best moments.

(2) Keeping your thoughts focused on what God can do. Zero in on your mate’s best qualities, then start believing that God can turn your relationship around. Remember, you have more ability than you realize to change your perception of your partner. So concentrate on all the things in your marriage that are “of good report” (Php 4:8).

(3) Building thoughtful behavior back into your relationship. List some of the things you know would make your spouse happy. Be specific. For example, hugging your husband when he comes home from work after a hard day, or helping your wife with the laundry. Show you care! Inject consideration back into your relationship.

(4) Seeing your partner through God’s eyes. Trying to love others like God loves you is a good rule for an your relationships, not just marriage. And if you don’t love yourself, start by remembering what God says about you: that you’re blessed … loved … valued … and wonderfully made.

Taken from the Best of Word for Today, 2007



MARRIAGE MYTHS (2)

May … God … give you a spirit of unity. Romans 15:5 NIV

We’re just not compatible. Marital disagreements fall into 5 categories: money, sex, in-laws, kids, and household responsibilities. Too many couples think if they argue about these things they’re automatically headed for divorce. No, conflict doesn’t kill relationships. What’s important is how you deal with it, not the fact that it exists. One woman said, “My husband hates confrontation so when problems arose in our marriage he just walked away. I went ballistic and nothing got settled.

Eventually we learned to talk about handling our disagreements; he can’t walk away and I can’t get hysterical. It works … now we work together to resolve problems.” Anger is just part of your emotional make-up; God didn’t make a mistake when He included it. But He wants you to handle it right (Mt 16:15). Being upset doesn’t give you license to yell and slam doors. Solomon said, “A fool gives full vent to his anger…a wise man keeps himself under control” (Pr 29: 11 NIV). Hasty words hurt, and they can’t be taken back. David said, “In your anger do not sin … search your hearts … be silent” (Ps 4:4 NIV). In other words, think, listen, and calm down before you react. And never resort to name-calling (See Mt 5:22); it serves no purpose but to intentionally hurt the other person.

We live in a culture of lawsuits and revenge, but a marriage built on retaliation is headed for trouble. God said “Don’t insist on getting even … I’ll take care of it” (Ro 12: 19). You can become physically and emotionally sick by hanging on to bitterness. So release it and ask God to fill your heart with His love. He’ll do it!

Taken from the Best of Word for Today, 2007



MARRIAGE MYTHS (1)

May … God … give you a spirit of unity.  Romans 15:5 NIV

Many couples struggling with “curable” issues, have bought into 4 common marriage myths. For the next few days let’s look at each of them:

If I try, I can change my partner. Give it up! If you think following the “right” plan, struggling harder and refusing to give up will change them, think again. The Bible says, “Do not think you are better than you are” (Ro 12:3 NCV). The truth is, you can only work on yourself. Once you change your steps in the marriage dance, your mate will begin to adjust theirs. Plus, by identifying and working on your own shortcomings you’ll gain credibility with your mate, and create an environment that’s conducive to change. Now, here are some things you Call do:

(a) Praise the qualities you admire most (remember when you were dating?) and build on them. Anytime you see positive change, recognize and encourage it.

(b) Don’t let things escalate. Make a habit of asking, “Is there anything on your mind we haven’t talked about lately?” The Bible says don’t go to bed angry (See Eph 4:26), so deal with things before they lead to hard feelings and cause strife.

(c) Try to be more understanding. When people don’t feel understood, they dig in their heels and resist change.

(d) Lessen your dependence on your mate. Remember, no one can meet all your needs all the time. You need friends to talk to and share activities with.

(e) Above all, be patient; neither of you is perfect. Ask God to “give you a spirit of unity.” And bear in mind that self-control is the result of God’s indwelling Spirit, not just human effort (See Gal 5:23 NIV).

Taken from the Best of Word for Today, 2007



A FATHER’S MEMORY

The righteous man walks in … integrity; blessed … are his children after him. Proverbs 20:7 AMP

Max Lucado writes: “Today’s my first [Father’s Day] without a father. For 31 years I had one of the best, but now he’s … buried under an oak tree in a west Texas cemetery. Strange he isn’t here … because he was always available. His words were nothing novel; his achievements, though admirable, were nothing extraordinary. But his presence was. Because he was there, life went smoothly … the future was secure … and my growing up was what God intended. He taught me how to shave and how to pray. Helped me memorize verses for Sunday school, taught me that wrong should be punished … and that rightness has its own reward. He modeled. . .the elusive balance between ambition and self-acceptance. I knew if I ever needed him he’d be there. Like a warm fireplace. Maybe that’s why this Father’s Day’s a bit chilly. The fire’s gone out. The winds of age swallowed his splendid flame leaving only golden embers. But

there’s a strange thing about those embers, stir them … and the flame will dance … and knock just enough chill out of the air to remind me that he’s still .. present.” Compare that to an interview with actor Gene Hackman who recalls: “I was just 13, but that Saturday morning is still vivid. I was playing down the street… when I saw my father drive by and give me a light wave. Somehow I knew that gesture meant he was going away forever. To this day the memory’s a ghost that never seems to fade.” Solomon said, “The righteous man walks in integrity … blessed are his children after him.” Attention father! What memories will your kids have when you’re gone?



WHEN WE PRAY-GOD WORKS!

Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. Mark 11 :24 NIV

Two thngs about prayer are truly amazing: (1) God listens when we pray. “If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer” (See Mk 11:24). You may not have much clout anywhere else, but when you pray God listens. (2) We seldom pray. We have the greatest privilege imaginable-access to the control center of the Universe-yet we rarely use it. And our lack of prayer surprises God. Through the prophet Ezekiel He lamented: “I sought for a man among them who would … stand in the gap before Me on behalf of the land, that [ should not destroy it; but I found no one” (Eze 22:30 NKJV). Upon learning that Sodom and Gornorrah were going to be destroyed, Abraham didn’t rush to warn the cities. No, he chose to “[remain] standing before the Lord” (Ge 18:22 NIV). When God said the golden calf warranted a nationwide death penalty for Israel, Moses interceded and saved them. One translation of Exodus 32: II says, “Moses soothed the face of his God.” An obscure priest by the name of Phinehas begged God not to send the plague, and it was checked. (See Ps 106:30 NIV). You say “Why place such a premium on prayer?” Simple. Because when we work, we work. But when we pray, God works! Scripture attaches breathtaking power to prayer. “When two of you get together on anything … and make a prayer of it, my Father in heaven goes into action” (Mt 18:19 TM). Does any other activity promise such results? Did God call us to preach without ceasing? Or have committee meetings without ceasing? No, but He did call us to “pray without ceasing.”



KNOWING YOUR SPEED LIMIT!

It is not good to have zeal without knowledge, nor be hasty and miss the way. Proverbs 19:2 NIV

A lot of us drive like the speed limits are just suggestions! No, they’re there for a reason-our protection.

Ignore them and you crash! The same is true about your life. Do you take work home, stay up late after the kids go to bed and your mate’s asleep? Are you skipping meals to catch up on paperwork that keeps replenishing itself like weeds along a hillside? Do you drive to meetings checking your Blackberry, drinking coffee and talking on your cell phone? Isn’t it crazy to run a portable office while driving at 65 m.p.h. down the highway? Some seasons are busier than others. Occasionally opportunities come along that require extra time and attention but you can’t expect yourself to always travel at warp speed.

You’re mortal and fragile with physical, emotional and spiritual needs. You aren’t a robot, a computer or an engine that can be operated at the flip of a switch. Even these mechanical devices, if you don’t keep them fueled and maintained eventually fail. So, how do you discover and maintain your speed limit?

By knowing yourself inside out. Pay attention to your body’s signals-to your responses to the demands that you (and others) place on you. When your body is tired to the point of distraction, rest. That’s what God did! And don’t forget your soul-you’ll gain more strength, wisdom and perspective by spending time each day with God than by all your blowin’ and goin’. The Bible says: “They that wait upon the Lord shall

renew their strength” (Isa 40: 31). Try it; it works!

Taken from the Best of Word for Today, 2007



OVERCOMING (2)

My power works best in your weakness. 2 Corinthians 12:9 NLT

At 19 months, Helen Keller contracted the illness that eventually left her without hearing and sight. Back then those labeled “deaf and dumb,” were classified as idiots. But Helen’s parents didn’t agree. They hired teacher Anne Sullivan to work with her and eventually she learned to read and write using Braille. Amazingly, in 1904 she graduated with honors from Radcliffe College, then devoted her life to helping others. Philanthropist Andrew Carnegie paid her an annual income; writers Mark Twain and Robert Louis Stevenson praised her, and almost every President of her day invited her to The White House. Even though Helen died in 1968 her legacy of courage lives on. When asked if there was anything worse than being blind, Helen replied, “Yes, having sight but no vision.” At 12 Thomas Edison developed such severe hearing loss that his teachers recommended he be taken out of school. Instead Edison used his handicap to drown out distractions and focus on his work. As a result the boy who was labeled “a slow learner” gave the world over 1,000 inventions, including the light bulb, the phonograph and the motion camera.

Who gets to define “normal” anyway? Is it being short versus tall, or rich versus poor? The truth is, God’s given all of us unique abilities that He expects us to explore. And interestingly, the real handicaps don’t belong to those who are born with physical and mental challenges. No, they belong to the 80- called normal people who’ve accepted lethargy and limitation as part of life. God said, “My power works best in your weakness,” so you can let your difficulties impede or inspire you. Which will it be?



OVERCOMING (1)

Despite all these things. Romans 8:37 NLT

Composer Gian Carlo Menotti said, “Hell begins the day God grants us a vision of … the gifts we’ve wasted, of all we might have done but we didn’t do.” Wilma Rudolph, who won 3 gold medals at the 1960 Olympics would agree. What she accomplished isn’t as impressive as what she overcame. As a child “Willie” contracted polio and couldn’t walk without braces. Then at age 13 she regained the use of her legs and went on to become the fastest woman alive. But her challenges weren’t just physical. One of 22 children born to a poor black family, she inspired us by transcending poverty and racial animosity. She said, ‘U/ can’t’ has never been in my vocabulary,” At age 2, Scott Hamilton, another famous olympian skater, stopped growing because of a childhood illness that almost killed him. But his parents encouraged his rehabilitation by teaching him to skate-and the rest is history! In 1976 when Brad Parks was injured in an accident that left him in a wheelchair, he strengthened his rum by whacking tennis balls against his garage door. Three years later he formed the National Foundation of Wheelchair Tennis. Paul said, “Despite all these things … victory is ours through Christ.” Rick Warren writes: “Why does God use our weaknesses? Because when he does, he gets all the glory. If God only used your strengths, others would look at you and be jealous … or discouraged. But when God uses you in spite of your weaknesses … they realize ‘God could use me too!’ Your weaknesses aren’t an accident. God … allowed them for the purpose of demonstrating his power through you.”

Taken from the Best of Word for Today, 2007



OVERCOMING (1)

Composer Gian Carlo Menotti said, “Hell begins the day God grants us a vision of … the gifts we’ve wasted, of all we might have done but we didn’t do.” Wilma Rudolph, who won 3 gold medals at the 1960 Olympics would agree. What she accomplished isn’t as impressive as what she overcame. As a child “Willie” contracted polio and couldn’t walk without braces. Then at age 13 she regained the use of her legs and went on to become the fastest woman alive. But her challenges weren’t just physical. One of 22 children born to a poor black family, she inspired us by transcending poverty and racial animosity. She said, ‘U/ can’t’ has never been in my vocabulary,” At age 2, Scott Hamilton, another famous olympian skater, stopped growing because of a childhood illness that almost killed him. But his parents encouraged his rehabilitation by teaching him to skate-and the rest is history! In 1976 when Brad Parks was injured in an accident that left him in a wheelchair, he strengthened his rum by whacking tennis balls against his garage door. Three years later he formed the National Foundation of Wheelchair Tennis. Paul said, “Despite all these things … victory is ours through Christ.” Rick Warren writes: “Why does God use our weaknesses? Because when he does, he gets all the glory. If God only used your strengths, others would look at you and be jealous … or discouraged. But when God uses you in spite of your weaknesses … they realize ‘God could use me too!’ Your weaknesses aren’t an accident. God … allowed them for the purpose of demonstrating his power through you.”

Taken from the Best of Word for Today, 2007



“SPINNING” THE TRUTH

Love should always make us tell the truth. Ephesians 4:15 CEV

How do you think Paul, “the apostle of grace,” would have handled the following inquiry: “Dear Paul: We’re thinking about hiring Alexander the coppersmith to manage our company, and because you know him well we’d appreciate your opinion?” Knowing the problems Alexander had caused him in the past (1 Ti 1:18-20; 2Ti 4:14-15), how would Paul respond? Or how about this one: “Dear Abraham: Lot has applied for a loan to expand his cattle ranch on the land he inherited from you in the Jordan Valley near Sodom. So we’re writing to ask you for a character reference?” Would Abraham, who was well aware of his nephew’s shady business practices (Ge 13: II-B), be evasive and “fudge” the facts to keep peace in the family? It’s doubtful. Or what about this one: “Dear John: We need a mature Christian to fill a slot on our church board. Based on your dealings with Diotrephes, do you think he’s the right person?” John knew the trouble Diotrephes had already caused and his need for power and control (See 3 Jn 9-10). But

would he hedge and take the path of least resistance? Probably not; knowing John he’d be honest and let the chips fall where they may.

So, what would you do? Remember, the Bible says that love should always make us tell the truth. following Christ means being honest when it would be easier to prevaricate and spin. Hopefully you’d find the courage to be straightforward and gracious. Yes, gracious! Why? Because being asked for your input doesn’t give you a right to resurrect another’s mistakes and publicly embarrass them. The Bible says, “Let your conversation be gracious and effective” (Co14:6 NLT).

Taken from the Best of Word for Today, 2007




 

Leave a Reply