Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Is Your Marriage a Priority?

Dr. Gary and Barbara Rosberg
source: Crosswalk

Is your family out of order? Does your spouse come first, or do your kids take the number one spot? Do you even know which should be the top priority in your family? We're here to tell you -- whether your family is traditional or blended, your marriage has to take priority over your kids.

We know that's not an easy sell for most people. But you have to realize that children need to know that their parents love not only them, but each other.  Their sense of security grows as they see parents loving each other.  To put your marriage on hold for 18 years -- or even 1 year -- while you raise children is not only detrimental to your marriage, it is devastating to your children.  When the parental team breaks down, children become the biggest losers.  They lose their family, which is where they build their sense of security.  When children don't feel secure, their whole world seems to unravel.  No amount of baseball, dance, piano lessons, or toys can make up for that kind of loss. 
Research shows that marriage takes a hit when you have kids.  According to an analysis of 90 studies involving 31,000 married people, the drop in marital satisfaction after the first baby's birth is a staggering 42% larger among the current generation of parents than their predecessors.  Satisfaction dips even lower -- though only slightly -- with each successive child.  Studies also suggest that one-third to one-half of new-parent couples experience as much marital distress as couples already in therapy for marital difficulties. [1] 
So if you can't seem to prioritize your marriage or spend money on dates for it for your kids!  And if you're not sure how to start, we're going to coach you with practical ways to be couple-focused rather than child-focused!  
Expectations today are high on parents. It's not enough to raise a nice kid; she's got to be ahead of the developmental curve and involved in arts and athletic activities, too. Moms exhaust themselves trying to keep up with the kids and dads feel the pressure to be more involved in their kids' lives. Well-meaning couples think, "After the kids are gone, we'll get to be a couple again."  But by the time the kids are off to college, so much distance has crept in that couples hardly know each other...and divorce becomes more and more appealing. 
Recent research has shown that when the family unit falls apart, so do the kids.  Children from broken homes have a higher rate of academic problems, promiscuity, teen pregnancy, alcohol and drug abuse, emotional and behavior problems, violence, suicide, and poverty as an adult. [1]  If you are thinking that you are doing the best for your child when you put your spouse on the back burner and your kids as number one, you are sorely mistaken.  The best way to protect your children from these things is to keep your marriage together.  If you want to be the best parents you can be work to become the best couple you can be
One of the major components of strengthening your marriage team is to make sure you spend enough time together.  Now we know that many of you already are coming up with a list of excuses as to why you cannot find the time to spend with each other.  We're here to tell you--you can.  Healthy couples don't "find" the time to be together, they "make" time to be together.  You may have convinced yourself that you simply don't have enough time to schedule each other into your day, but that's not accurate.  You have the time to do whatever you want to do.  And if you don't spend the time with your spouse, you'll fill the time with something less important.
Parents need private time to continue to feel as though they are not only parents but also partners.  If you are always pushing your spouse aside for time with the kids, you may want to consider what you're teaching your children.  By the way you treat your spouse, are you modeling for your children how you hope they will treat their future spouses?  Probably not.  Spending time with your spouse not only draws the two of you closer together, but it also teaches your children that marriage has to be our number one human relationship. 
So we want to challenge you to take some time out to talk with your spouse about how you two can make your marriage a priority. Pull out your calendars and see when you can set aside time for just the two of you. Try setting a regular date night. Even if it's just once a month, that can be so refreshing for your relationship! Get your babysitter ready ahead of time, and figure out what you'd like to do. You can take turns choosing the "date" each month. If you need some ideas, check out our book, 40 Unforgettable Dates with Your Mate. It includes some great ideas for planning a date specifically for your spouse and to meet your spouse's love needs! So, start today and make your marriage a priority by setting aside time alone for you and your mate!


[1] Lauren Picker, "And Now, The Hard Part," Newsweek (25 April 2005): 46-48

[1] Dr. Debbie Cherry, Child-Proofing Your Marriage (Colorado Springs, CO: Life Journey/Cook Communications, 2004)

Portions of this article were adapted from "The Great Marriage Q&A Book," Copyright 2006 and "40 Unforgettable Dates with Your Mate," Copyright 2002 by Dr. Gary and Barbara Rosberg, all rights reserved.  Published by Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.,  To order this resource or to find our more about Dr. Gary and Barb -- Your Marriage Coaches, visit or call 1-888-608-COACH.  


Married over 30 years, the parents of two adult daughters and five grandchildren, Dr. Gary and Barb Rosberg, your marriage coaches, have a unique blend of insight and wisdom that touch people of all ages. Together with Gary's 25,000 hours of counseling experience and Barbara's gift of encouragement and biblical teaching, they are equipping thousands of families across the nation through their interactive daily radio program, conferences, and marriage and family resources. 

7 Foods for Strong Bones

Good Eats Rich in Calcium and Vitamin D
By Jill Weisenberger, MS, RD, CDE
source: lifescript

If you think brittle bones are just for old people, you've got a lot to bone up on. True, osteoporosis usually affects women after age 50, but bone mass starts to deplete in your 30s. If you're a teenager, a grandmother or any age in between, a good diet will lower your chances of developing a weak and fragile skeleton. Strong bones take more than the occasional glass of milk. Here are seven foods that are surprisingly good for your skeleton…

1. Pumpkin Seeds and Brazil Nuts
When you think of bone-building minerals, you probably think of calcium. Our bones are largely made of calcium, but other minerals form a strong frame, too. In fact, 50% of the body's magnesium resides in our bones. Research shows that a low magnesium intake is linked to bone fragility and calcium loss, most likely because poor magnesium status alters calcium metabolism. 

Nuts and seeds of all types are good sources of magnesium, but pumpkin seeds and Brazil nuts outshine the rest. Definitely eat up for your bones, but don't overdo it: Nuts are a high-fat, high-calorie snack. Limit your serving to just one ounce – about 1/4 cup – per day.

A few ways to go a little nuts:

Pre-measure a 1-ounce portion to take to work for an afternoon pick-me-up.

Sprinkle a tablespoon or two onto your mixed green salad.

Toss some with green beans or sautéed spinach.
2. Walnuts
These nuts – rich in alpha linolenic acid (ALA), an omega-3 fatty acid – deserve their own category. Bones aren't a hard, brittle skeleton like many people think. Actually, they're living organs with live cells and body fluids. Every day, bone cells break down and build back up. That's how they remain strong and repair after a break.

A January 2007 Nutrition Journal study suggests that the ALA in walnuts protects your skeleton by decreasing the rate of bone breakdown while keeping bone formation at a constant level. So grab a small handful of walnuts for a snack or sprinkle a couple tablespoons into your oatmeal. Other foods with ALA include: flaxseed oil, ground flaxseeds, walnut oil, soybeans, soybean oil, and canola oil.
3. Tap Water
Bet you couldn't have guessed this one. Famed for its role in dental health, fluoride is also a component of your bones and adds to their density. Many communities add this mineral to their drinking water to help prevent dental decay. If you drink only bottled water, you may not be getting adequate fluoride to protect your teeth or your bones. 

4. Leafy Greens
Make green your new favorite color. Your salads and steamed greens are packed with bone-building nutrients, particularly calcium, magnesium and vitamin K. 

Vitamin K is critical in the formation of bone proteins. Research shows that too little of this fat-soluble vitamin increases your risk of hip fracture, but eating enough vitamin K decreases urinary calcium losses. One cup of raw or a half-cup of cooked greens provides several times the recommended intake of 90 micrograms per day.

Here are a few ways to sneak some extra green in today:

Add lettuce to your sandwiches. Even iceberg lettuce has vitamin K.

Slip spinach leaves between layers of noodles in homemade lasagna.

Start your dinner with a salad of spinach or mixed greens.

Have something unusual for dinner. Look for dandelion greens or Swiss chard.
5. Beans: Pintos, Black Beans, White Beans, Kidney Beans
Have beans for supper tonight. You'll get another good boost of magnesium and even some calcium. The U.S. Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends at least 2 1/2 cups of beans and other legumes (peas, lentils) weekly. If you're a bean eater, you might also reduce your risk of cancer, heart disease and obesity. Problem is, most people don't know what to do with them. Here are a few ideas to get you started.

In the beginning of the week, open and rinse a can of beans, and store them in your refrigerator. Each night, toss a heaping spoonful into your mixed green salad.

Top nachos with red beans.

Mix any canned bean into vegetable soups.

Add black beans or kidney beans to pasta salads.

Instead of coleslaw or potato salad, bring a bean salad to your next potluck supper.

6. Salmon
Calcium may be the chief bone-forming mineral, but it's nothing without its sidekick vitamin D, which is necessary for calcium absorption. A small serving of salmon – just 3 1/2 ounces – gives you 90% of the daily recommended amount of vitamin D. As with low intakes of vitamin K, vitamin D deficiency is linked to hip fracture. In one scientific review by the American Medical Association, 50% of women with osteoporosis who were hospitalized for hip fracture had signs of vitamin D deficiency. 

If you want a double-whammy of bone-building nutrients, don't just look to fresh fish. Canned salmon provides vitamin D as well as a good dose of calcium… as long as you eat the bones. (Don't worry, they're soft.) 

7. Milk
Okay, not so surprising. But since milk is the most likely source of both calcium and vitamin D, it's worthy of attention. Many of us forget about milk once we outgrow our crazy straws and strawberry powder, but bones don't stop developing in our teens. We can add bone mass even in our 20s, but only if we consume adequate amounts of these nutritional elements. 

Once we reach menopause, our bones lose calcium more rapidly than at any other time due to a loss of estrogen. Here again, calcium and vitamin D can help delay the loss of bone mass.

Milk is a good source of vitamin D because it is fortified, but cheese, yogurt and ice cream are generally not fortified and contain very little vitamin D. Choose nonfat or 1% milk. Avoid the others because of their saturated fat and cholesterol content. Pour a nice cold glass and enjoy – with or without a cookie. (See related article: How to Spot Good Fats from Bad Fats)

More Dos and Don'ts for Strong Bones

Do eat your fruits and veggies.
You've been told this over and over, but it's worth repeating. Higher intakes are associated with greater bone mineral density. Researchers can't say exactly why, but fruits and vegetables are loaded with an array of nutrients that have been studied for their potential role in building strong bones.

Do learn to love exercise.
Get at least 30 minutes of physical activity each day. Weight-bearing exercises like running, dancing and lifting weights stress your bones in a good way. This signals your body to make more bone cells.

Don't drink to excess.
Alcohol can inhibit the formation of new bone cells.

Don't drink cola often, even diet and decaffeinated.
Regular cola drinkers have lower bone mineral density than women who rarely drink cola.

Don't smoke.
The more you smoke, the greater your risk of a fracture.

Don't worry about caffeine… if you get enough calcium.
Caffeine does cause you to lose more calcium in your urine for one to three hours after ingestion, but your 24-hour calcium loss shouldn't be any greater than if you didn't have caffeine. Drinking more than two or three cups of coffee per day is associated with bone loss in postmenopausal women when their calcium intake is inadequate. Aim for 1,200 milligrams (mg) of calcium daily – the equivalent of four cups of milk or yogurt – if you've already hit menopause. Otherwise, 1,000 mg should do.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

What Type Of People Will God Bring Your Way?

source: Joyce Pillay
thanks helpmeet! 


  • He is not going to send another you. If you are waiting for Him to send someone who lines up 100% with your way of thinking, understanding, talents and abilities, you may be waiting a long time. He already has someone in our church like that - you. God gives us unique people who add to our ministry. They are people who have talents that we don't have. They add flavor to the church and giftedness to our ministry. Appreciate the fact that God has sent you someone very unlike yourself.



  • Some will have talents you have no understanding of. You may not have a bit of understanding of computers and the Lord may send you a computer programmer. Don't feel inadequate around this person. Thank God for him and put his giftedness to work.



  • He is going to give you people of various educational backgrounds. Should the Lord send you a Doctor, don't feel dumb around him...Ask him questions, learn from him...find him a place in the body to minister. If he sends you an attorney, thank the Lord, don't feel intimidated, let him educate you on a few things as you expound to him the laws of God and allow his knowledge of the law be a blessing to your church.



  • He going to bring you people with more time and energy than you have. They might have more energy and time to invest in a project, let them go for it. Don't put the breaks on something just because you can't be there. Tell them what you want to happen and put them in charge of it. Turn them loose, there is no telling what can happen for the sake of the Church when you are not around.



  • He's going to give you people who have great ideas and vision. You are not the only one who has good ideas. Let them bring something to the table. Let them express themselves. Listen to them. It is entirely possible that they may know more about something than you do. That is a gift to your ministry.



  • He is going to give you people with resources. Some of these resources may be money, people relationships, education, etc. Teach them how to use those resources in ways that best serve the Kingdom.





  • He's going to give you what you ask for. "Ask and it shall be given." However, when He gives it, it may be covered up with sin and worldliness. It's up to you to find the diamond in the rough.

Where to Look for Leadership in Your Church

Where To Look For Leadership In Your Church  
thansk helpmeet!
source: Joyce Pillay


  One of the biggest problems in many of our churches is a lack of leadership. Where do you find people who have leadership abilities?



"You don't have to bring in a hireling to find leadership in your church...the person you are looking for might be sitting right there in those pews. "



People who have displayed faithfulness in small things. He might be the usher who is constantly faithful to the duties of ushering. Don't leave that person doing the same thing for 30 years because they do it so well. Move them into areas of leadership.



Look for people who worship well and who love their pastor. You might think they have no leadership ability, and they may not. But their love for God and their Pastor will give them the zeal they will need to learn how to lead from you.



Look for people who serve in some leadership capacity in the community or on their job. Yes this may be secular leadership, but it is leadership nonetheless. Use this type of leadership sparingly at first. Teach them to buffer their secular wisdom with the grace and wisdom of God.

Look at the youth.
Young people are easily trained and are pliable. Given a Pastor's guidance and trust a young person will rise to the occasion. Considering the future of your church? Work with the young people. Bring them into leadership, their heart will be close to their pastor. If you are willing to spend some time and patients here, you will have people you have trained and mentored from very early stages of their development.


A Few Things To Know About People Before You Use Them In Ministry

thanks helpmeet!

Subject: Re: [helpmeets2006] Am I Really Qualified for Ministry
From : Joyce Pillay


Dear Ladies, this was sent to me a little while ago, not sure who did...I experience the similar thing... everything I touch seem to have been a disaster. You see sometimes we don't believe in ourselves, we continue hearing the enemy speaking lies... If you are placed in an area, you are not called out. You will sense it, the best part of it is that you have learned something from that point, by which you take forward with you is love and people skills. You also gain wisdom, you tend to mature, but most of all you will eventually find your field... sometimes it may sound like you wasted time and energy, I don't think so, because we have to wait a long time to find your niche market, thru those times The Lord is preparing and making you ready for greater work, your attitude has changed, your time has come, to do what you love so much to do. Work is a solid tasks, we will continue to grumble and be undecided, the little things, we do, and in due time, He will take us away from that to the next level in ministry. It could be the other way around those that at the top may have to come down, and start from the bottle to get back to the top. 


I am waiting on the Lord to open doors across the nations, but IF it is not His will, then I will be content to continue in the place I am, If He was, to tell me to get back to just doing ministry in my home, neighbors, friends and family members, and to give up the bigger picture which I have for myself, I will sense that was never meant to be, but I have gained enormous wisdom from Him, when I take a back seat, and allow Him to be in the driving seat.


 with much love

Joyce Pillay




  A Few Things To Know About People Before You Use Them In Ministry.

They are not perfect. It's true that if you wait for people to become perfect, you may be waiting a long time. There is nothing wrong with exercising your own faith and begin using people before they are 100% ready to be used.


They will need your help. Don't expect them to know all that you know. Sit down with them and one on one, explain to them how to do what it is you want them to do. Give them details of what you expect and guidelines on how to do it.


They need someone to tell them they can do it. Most of the people who come into our churches have been beaten down by the world. They need someone to believe in them. The very fact that you believe in them will cause them to do things for God that they never thought they were capable of.


They will make mistakes. You've made yours, let them make theirs. Give them room for grace and forgiveness. Let them know that a mistake is not necessarily an end, but rather a place to learn.


They are not mind readers. Don't expect them to just know what it is you want them to know. Talk to them. Communicate it to them. Send them memos, emails and leave messages.

They want to succeed. Nobody wants to fail. Give them every chance to succeed. Don't give them a job that is way over their head. Give them small tasks at first and work them into the ministry you want them to have.



They want to please God and their Pastor. When they have done well..."Tell Them!" Remember, they are not getting paid to do what it is they are doing. They are volunteering for one reason...they want to please their God and their Pastor. They are doing what it s because they want to please you. Let them know when they succeed in doing that.

They can be a huge blessing to your ministry. If you will begin seeing people as potential there is no limit to the effects of your ministry. Empower them to come alongside you. When you do, you lift yourself up higher. Don't be afraid to give people room to grow. When they do, it will be to your benefit.

They don't want to block for someone who constantly drops the ball. Don't get people all pumped up and then drop the ball. Once momentum is built up, KEEP IT GOING! Follow Through!



Tuesday, December 04, 2007

good resource: Four Slippery Steps to Adultery

Nancy C. Anderson


At work and church, in our neighborhoods and during our daily activities we all encounter people of the opposite sex who are attractive.  That's not the problem.  Our selfish choices after the attraction create the problem. Adultery has a progression and most people (even Christians) take these steps before they slide down the slippery slope.


I know, because I chose this path when I left my husband for a coworker named Jake.  I know the lies I told myself, the selfish decisions that broke my husband's heart and the sins I committed.  I also know the healing and restoration that took place when I confessed, broke off the affair, and found forgiveness from my husband and God.  Although I have healed, there are scars that remain, even 25 years later, so I pray you will learn from my mistakes as you consider these progressive elements of adultery.


An Unguarded Mind

This is the "What if....." stage where your thoughts begin to grow unchecked.  Asking yourself questions like I wonder if he thinks I'm attractive?  or thinking I hope she sits near me during the meeting.


Perhaps you try to manipulate your schedule or activities to create more opportunities for contact. Nothing inappropriate has happened yet, but you think about the possibilities. If you allow this to continue, your emotions will grow, the fantasies will take root, and you'll think about the other person in romantic or sexual situations.


Solution:  If an inappropriate thought pops into your head, do NOT allow it to linger. Quickly remove yourself from any tempting situations. Follow the advice in Proverbs 7: 25 "Don't let your desires get out of hand: don't let yourself think about her." Look up Philipianians 4:8 and learn how God want us to think.



An Unguarded Heart  

This is the stage where your emotions run wild and you begin to lie to yourself. (In my case, I told myself I deserve to be happy.)  You may start to build emotional bonds with the other person by creating excuses to spend time together.  You may try to increase the positive contact and do things to please him or her. Example: If he mentions that he likes red: you may be tempted to wear a red dress or if she talks about a favorite flower, you may want to bring her one.


Solution:  Ask the Lord to help you get control of your emotions and to give you a clean heart, which seeks after Him. "Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded." (James 4: 8)


Consider the negative consequences if this flirtation continues: your spouse's pain, loss of respect from children, friends, and relatives, and financial losses. You may need to confess your temptation to your spouse or a trusted friend who will hold you accountable because dark secrets have less power when you bring them into the light.



An Unguarded Mouth

This step includes verbal flirtations and taking the relationship beyond theory into reality. Perhaps you begin by offering or responding to personal compliments such as, "You are the perfect match for me" or" When I'm with you, the rest of my life fades away."


Knowing that compliments are like magnets, you begin to form an attraction and create a verbal intimacy that includes whispers, code words, pet names, and intimate secrets.  This can also include flirtatious or sensual/sexual email conversations and instant messages


The next verbal step is to talk about the "what if's."  For example, "If I weren't married, you'd be my soul mate.  "I wish I'd met you before I got married."  Jake and I used to play this fantasy game: "If we could run away together, where would we go?"


Then the negative words about your current mate begin:

  • "My husband treats me like a maid and never compliments me."
  • "My wife just treats me like a paycheck and I'm not attracted to her anymore."   
  • "My wife/husband and I are just roommates and if it weren't for the kids, I'd have left years ago."


Solution: Focus on the good things in your marriage and try to compliment your mate at least once a day.  Be aware that any emails or IMs you send are not really private. If you would be ashamed to have your pastor or mother read it, don't type it.   "Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth." (or keyboard) (Eph 4:29)  


An Unguarded Body

This is the step where emotional adultery becomes physical.  Some people think that only intercourse defines adultery, but I strongly disagree.  If you have intimate, sensual contact, with someone other than your spouse, it is a breach of your marriage vows. Ask yourself, if my actions were photographed, would they condemn me?  


I know how exciting the forbidden kiss is and how electrifying the stolen, passionate caress is but also know how costly they are because I almost lost everything including my marriage.  I walked away from my relationship with Christ as I chose to follow my selfish heart into sin.  But I, like the prodigal son, came to my senses as I ran back to the Lord and He welcomed me home. Then I begged my husband's forgiveness, broke off all contact with Jake, and rebuilt my marriage. Ron and I now help couples see that no marriage is beyond God's ability to heal.  For our full story read Avoiding the Greener Grass Syndrome: How to Grow Affair Proof Hedges Around Your Marriage 


Solution: If you've already crossed the line, stop all contact with the other person, confess your sin, ask for God's forgiveness, and follow the instruction in Romans 12:1 "Present your bodies as a living sacrifice to God." Then read and comply with 2 Corinthians 7:1 "Since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God".   


PRAYER: Oh Lord, purify my mind, my heart, my mouth, and my body, I want to be a clean vessel, always ready for your use, available to serve your purposes. Deliver me from evil as I flee temptation and run to the shelter of your outstretched arms. I want to be holy and set apart for you Lord.  Help me to stand strong and bring honor to you and my family. Through the power of Jesus' name, I ask these things, Amen.


Ron and Nancy C. Anderson conduct seminars and retreats to encourage and equip couples to grow HEDGES around their hearts.  The Andersons have been featured in national media such as Montel Williams, The 700 Club, and FamilyLife Today with Dennis Rainey. For more information about Nancy's book, Avoiding the Greener Grass Syndrome, or to inquire about Ron and Nancy speaking at your event, their website is:

Saturday, November 17, 2007

How to Turn Thanksgiving into Thanksliving

Adrian Rogers
Love Worth Finding

"Oh that men would praise the Lord for His goodness and for His wonderful works to the children of men and let them sacrifice the sacrifices of thanksgiving."


Now, if you don't mind writing in your Bible would you underscore those phrases right there, "the sacrifices of thanksgiving" and "declare His works with rejoicing."


Now, it has been said that talk is cheap. We thank the Lord and we say Lord, we're so thankful, we're so grateful for all that you've done for us. Well, do you know what we need to do? We need to turn Thanksgiving into Thanks-living. That is, to offer to God the sacrifices of thanksgiving.


Now, if we're thankful it really ought to show in our lives, and by the way, I don't believe that there's any other sin quite like the sin of ingratitude. Shakespeare said, "How sharper than a serpent's tooth it is to have a thankless child." Those of you who have loved and labored and invested much in the health and lives of your children know how grieved you are when your children do not seem to appreciate or to be thankful for the sacrifices that parents have made. Mothers who have gone down in the valley of the shadow of death to bring these precious children into this world and dads who have labored long and hard, what a sacrifice.

And I think Shakespeare was right. The poet Milton, the blind poet, he said that a person with an ungrateful spirit only has one vice, he said because all of the rest of his vices are virtues compared to ingratitude. Every other sin is a virtue compared to the sin of ingratitude.


How terrible not to be grateful to God, and yet in America all around we can find those who are grumbly hateful rather than humbly grateful. Well, how can we translate our Thanksgiving today into Thanks-living? Well, we're to offer to God what the bible calls the "sacrifices of thanksgiving."


Now, over in First Peter chapter two, don't turn to it, but First Peter chapter two tells of those of us who are saved are priests. You're looking at a Baptist priest. Have you ever seen a Baptist priest before? I'm a Baptist priest, and you're a priest. Now, I don't walk into my collar, I back into my collar, but I'm still a Baptist priest, and you are a priest. All of those of us who are saved are priests of God, and every priest ought to be able to offer sacrifices to the Lord. Peter tells us that because we're priests, we're to offer up spiritual sacrifices.


I've gone through God's word and I've found five spiritual sacrifices, sacrifices that you can offer all this week and the rest of your life as unto the Lord. I'm going to call them today the sacrifices of Thanksgiving and I want you to make a little checklist, maybe put it in your bible and see, "Am I continually offering to the Lord these five spiritual sacrifices that we're going to call today the sacrifices of Thanksgiving?" because I want say again that talk is cheap.


You can say, "Oh we're thankful and eat a big meal and watch football." Now, folks, it ought to go a little further than that. You ought to have more in your Thanksgiving than stuffing yourself and then becoming a couch potato. You need to do something else besides that in order to show how thankful to God you are.


We're going to do a little Bible searching. Let's turn first of all to Romans chapter twelve, and I want to talk to you about presenting yourself as a sacrifice. Romans chapter twelve, there is what I'm going to call the sacrifice of your very person, of yourself.


Look if you will in verses one and two. "I beseech you therefore brethren by the mercies of God that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice wholly, acceptable unto God which is your reasonable service, and be not conformed to this world but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind that ye may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God."


Now, notice in verse one he talks about a living sacrifice. All the way through, we're going to be talking about that word sacrifice, ok? Now, the very first sacrifice that we're going to offer is what we call a living sacrifice, which is your body. Now, why should I do that? Well, notice what the apostle Paul says, I beseech you therefore brethren. It's almost as if he's on his knees in front of you and who was speaking when Paul spoke? God was speaking. Now, often we talk about our prayer to God, this is God's prayer to man. Have you ever thought about God praying to you? That's what He's doing, he's saying I beseech you, I plead with you.


Now, if the Lord Jesus were to come and get in front of you and fold His hands and look up in your face and say I beg you do this, would you do it? Would you do it? If the Lord were to get on His knees in front of you and pray to you and ask you to do something? That's what He's doing right here, the Lord is beseeching you.


Here's the reason for it, "By the mercies of God," on the basis of what God has done for you. Why should I give my body to Him? Because He gave His body for me. He uffered, bled and died upon that cross and when we drove those nails into His hands his quivering heart was saying I love you, I love you. Those nails were my sins and my hard heart was the hammer that drove those nails into the palms of Jesus, and yet He suffered and bled and died for our sins.


All of Romans, chapter one right on up to chapter twelve, tells us about the mercies of God, and then the apostle Paul says, "I beseech you therefore brethren because of the mercies of God, because of God's goodness that you present your bodies to him." You see, drops of grief can never repay the debt of love I look, I owe, here Lord, I give myself away, 'tis all that I can do.



Now, that's the reason for it, and what is the requirement of it? How must I give myself of him? Well, let me suggest three ways as this Thanksgiving season you want to present a living sacrifice to the Lord.


Well, the very first thing I want to say is that you must do it voluntarily. Nobody can make you do it. You see the words "ye present." Do you see the word "present?" That's the word for a man joining an army voluntarily. Now, there are two ways to get in the Army. You can go down and present yourself or they can draft you, huh? Now, He's talking here about a voluntary, a volunteer.


There's nobody can make you do this. You must do it willingly. So, that's the first thing. You must willingly say here Lord, of my own free will I present myself. Have you done that? Have you just laid yourself upon the altar?

Now, secondly not only must you do it willingly, but you must do it completely, now that you present your body as a living sacrifice, wholly. Now that word W H 0 L L Y is akin to our word W H 0 L E, which means complete, that you give yourself completely. Have you done this? Completely?


You see, look, a sacrifice doesn't have any more plans of it's own, a sacrifice will be slain. We're to die to the old way. My wife, my children, my home, my car, my vacation, my future, my bank account, my ambitions, they all belong to the Lord. Have you done that? Have you just said, here Lord, I give myself away, 'tis all that I can do, I do it completely, I do it voluntarily and, dear friend, not only was it voluntary, not only was it complete, but let me tell you something else about a sacrifice.


Now, there was the Old Testament animal sacrifice. The New Testament sacrifice is compared to that.


The Old Testament animal sacrifice, after it was slain it was bound to the altar. The bible says bind the sacrifice to the altar. Do you know why it was bound to the altar? Because it would tend to slide off.


Have you ever picked up a piece of freshly killed meat? It's slippery, it's slippery, and so there were two flesh hooks and those flesh hooks would bind that sacrifice to the altar. Have you ever made a commitment to the Lord and then tend to slide off the altar? Have you? I have many times. I mean, I've told the Lord, I have bowed and declared and said, "Lord, that's the last time I'll ever do that," or I've said, "Lord, from now on I'm going to do this everyday. God, you can count on me," and I just kind of slide off the altar. Do you ever slide off the altar? You see, look, we need to be bound to the altar if we're going to have a living sacrifice.


The priest had two flesh hooks. Let me mention two flesh hooks that will keep you bound to the altar. Number one is devotion, your love for Jesus, and number two is discipline. Those are the two flesh hooks that will keep you on the altar, devotion and discipline, devotion and discipline. One is not a substitute for the other, but together they'll keep you bound to that altar so that you will stay locked in place, a living sacrifice, by devotion and discipline, staying there giving yourself to the Lord. Offer yourself this Thanksgiving to the LORD and say, "Lord, before I give you anything else I give you myself completely."


You know, a lot of us don't want to be bound to the altar. I'll guarantee you we don't. That's the reason some men don't get married. They don't want to get bound down to marriage, huh? Sure, they want to stay free, they want to be loose. That's the reason why some folks won't join a church.


Did you know we have folks here this morning when they ought to come and join this church? Do you know why they won't join the church? They love to drop in and visit but they don't want the responsibility of church membership.


That's the reason why some people won't teach a class. Some of you have the gift of teaching but you say, "You know pastor, we've a cottage over thus and such a place, we don't want to get bound down." You know, that's the reason why some folks won't make a pledge to the building program.


They say, "Well now kook, I just don't believe in making commitment. Hahaha, they're married, they've got a mortgage on the house, a mortgage on the car, they don't believe in making commitments. What they mean is they believe in making commitments to everybody else except for Jesus.


They just don't want to make a commitment to the most important thing. You know, I'll give as the spirit moves but I just don't want to be bound down, huh? Hey, I think it's pretty good to be bound down. I think it's pretty good to get devotion and discipline and say I am giving myself and I am making a commitment.


Alright now, let me mention another kind of a sacrifice. Remember we're talking about the sacrifices of thanksgiving. First of all, your person. Now, right behind that should come the sacrifice of your praise.



Turn with me to Hebrews chapter thirteen, Hebrews chapter thirteen and look if you will in verse fifteen. "By him therefore" and the him refers to Jesus, "By him therefore let us offer up the sacrifice of praise." Underscore it, "the sacrifice of praise." Have you ever thought of your praise as being a sacrifice?


The sacrifice of praise to God continually. That is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks unto His name. This is a wonderful, wonderful sacrifice.


Folks, when you offer the sacrifice of praise, I'm going to tell you something that may amaze you. God had rather have your praise than your money. Your praise is of more value to God than whatever you put in the offering plate this morning, that is, if it is genuine praise.

I found a verse that proves that. Psalm sixty-nine, verses thirty and thirty-one, don't turn to it, let me read it to you. "I will praise the name of God with a song and will magnify Him with thanksgiving. This also shall please the Lord better than an ox or a bullock that have thorns and hooves."


Do you know how much an ox was worth in this day? That would be like your going and saying, "I'm going to give my car. I 'm going to give my Cadillac. I'm going to give my Oldsmobile." An ox was extremely valuable. A man who had an ox was a wealthy man, but God says here that your praise, your psalm of thanksgiving will please the Lord more than your material gifts.


Now, I want to tell you that praise is no substitute for your material gifts, and we're going to see that later on, but I'm saying this morning, if you could only understand how important your praise is and your praise ought to be a way of life.


Look at our verse again, verse fifteen. "By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God." What's that next word? Continually, continually. Listen to me. You do not come to church to praise the Lord. You're to bring your praise with you to church. You don't commence your praise here. You continue your praise here. You are to praise the Lord continually, and the reason that some of us do such a poor job of praising God when we come to church to praise him corporately is we have been praising him privately.


Psalm 34, verse one. "I will bless the Lord at all times. His praise shall continually be in my mouth." And we're to come to the Lord's house today and just worship the Lord, and we're to worship Him, not grudgingly. Nobody ought to have to beg us to sing. Brother Whitmire, it ought to break your heart that you should have to stand before a congregation of people who are suppose to be saved and know Jesus and plead with them to worship, beg them to sing. No wonder the songwriter said, "Let those refuse to sing who never knew our God," That you should have to be coerced to sing. The bible says in Psalm 119:108 "Accept, I beseech thee, the free will offerings of my mouth." The free will offerings of my mouth. God help us to offer to him the sacrifice of praise.


Now, there's a third sacrifice I want to mention. First of all, remember we give our bodies as a living sacrifice, that's our person. Secondly there's the offering to God, the sacrifice of praise, that's just the fruit of our lips, continually. It means more, ladies and gentleman, than your giving your wealth. It is to give your worship to our great God.


Now, here's the third thing and very closely akin to our praise but not exactly the same is our prayer, our prayer. That's the third sacrifice of Thanksgiving, and that is our prayer--our person, our praise and now our prayer.


Let me give you the verse, are you ready for it? Psalm 141:2. Listen to it, listen to it, "Let my prayer be set forth before thee as incense." Now, if you again don't mind marking your bible, underscore the word incense, "and the lifting of my hands as the evening sacrifice." There's our word sacrifice again. In all of these scriptures we have the word sacrifice. Psalm 141:2. "The lifting of my hands as the evening sacrifice."


Now, your prayer is to be like two things. Number one, it is to be like incense, and number two, it is to be like the evening sacrifice. Now, what does this mean? What is incense? Incense is perfume that, in order for that perfume to be released, it has to be put on the fire. It is burned, and as it is burned, the aroma is perfume that just goes up in smoke.


Now, your prayer ─ the Bible tells us in Revelation chapter five that the prayers, that incense is the prayer of the saints. Incense in the Old Testament that ascends, that sweet smelling smoke that goes up is like our prayer that goes up to God.


The Old Testament Jews worshipped in the tabernacle, and if you were to walk in the front door of the tabernacle, you would come into the tabernacle. And as you approach the tabernacle there in that outer court is a great altar made of brass that was called the brazen altar. There was a fire in that altar, and that fire was kindled from heaven.


Now, it's very important that you understand this. Aaron, the high priest and others, they didn't strike a match and light that fire. Of course, they had no matches, but they couldn't light it with fire from any other fire or lightening or anything else. That fire had to be kindled from heaven. It was holy fire from that brass altar.



Now, you come in, it was on that altar that the animals were burned and consumed that pictured Jesus dying for our sins, that fire from heaven pictures the wrath of God, the holy wrath of God against sin. Then you walk into that tabernacle and in that tabernacle on one side would be a beautiful candelabra. On the other side would be a table with bread on it, called show bread that the priest would eat. And the altar pictures Christ, our sacrifice, the show bread pictures Christ our sustenance that we feed on Him, and then over here the candelabra pictures Christ our sight. Christ our sacrifice, Christ our sustenance, Christ our sight, and then we come to another altar which was a golden altar.

Now, this golden altar is right in front of a curtain and behind that curtain is the Holy of holies. The golden altar was the altar of incense. As the priest would come in morning and evening to trim the lamps, he would first go and he would offer incense upon that golden altar.


But now, let me tell you, that the fire in the golden altar was kindled by fire from the brazen altar. It's very important you understand this, that the priest always had to make certain that the fire that was in this altar was the fire that was in that altar, and the fire in that altar was fire from heaven. Now, he would come in with this incense, which was especially concocted for God alone and he would burn it. Now, of course if there were no fire in the altar, no incense would rise to God. If there was strange fire in the altar, now what the bible calls strange fire was fire that God did not ignite. If there was strange fire there would be swift judgment for offering to God something with strange fire, that is, fire that God did not ignite it. You say, pastor, what is all of that about?


Our aim is to get on in to the Holy of holies. Now, remember the Holy of holies is where God is. That's where the Shekinah glory of God is, right in that Holy of holies, and in that Holy of holies is where we have communion with God. It is in that Holy of holies where the, the glory of God, the Shekinah glory of God was.


Now, if this brazen altar is Christ our sacrifice, and this candlestick is Christ our sight, and this show bread is Christ our sustenance, and this is prayer is Christ our supplication, that prayer that ascends to God, that just makes way so we go into the Holy of holies with Christ our satisfaction. Do you understand?


Where we know the Lord, where we meet the Lord, where we are satisfied and the deepest longings of our heart are met, but friend, you cannot come into the holiest of holies unless you come to the altar of incense which is prayer. But wait a minute, you cannot come to the altar of incense unless you come to the brazen altar.


Don't try to alter prayer that is not prayer based on the blood of Jesus Christ. OK, we enter into the holiness by the blood of Jesus Christ, and don't try to offer any prayer that does not have in it the fire of God's sacrifice and God's holiness, and then when I come to him I can burn incense to him if that incense is based upon the blood of Jesus Christ. But the bible says if I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me. Friend, you have no basis to come to God, except by the blood, and when you come by the blood and then you come to that golden altar and you begin to pray like sweet perfume, that prayer goes to God, and that my dear friend, the Bible calls a sacrifice.


You are a priest. You are a priest. Did you offer any incense this morning? Morning and evening the priest would go into the tabernacle to trim the lamps. Have you been in there yet? I mean, you say that you love God. You say that you belong to Him. You say that you are a priest. Have you offered the sacrifice of prayer? That's a sacrifice, not just coming to God to get things done. Oh, friend, listen to our verse again. What a beautiful verse it is. Psalm 141:2, "Let thy prayer be set before thee as incense and the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice."


Isn't that beautiful? Ha, the lifting of my hands is the evening sacrifice. Oh, God, just as that Old Testament priest would go in there the evening to trim the lambs, oh God, I want to go in. I want to enter into that Holy of holies, and God, I want to just lift my hands, spread my hands to you as, dear Lord, the evening sacrifice. Incense with strange fire was judged, incense with no fire is useless, that fire pictures what Jesus did for us on the cross.


All right, now, let me mention the fourth sacrifice. The first one, what was it? Our bodies, that's our person, the second, our praise, the fruit of our lips. The third, our prayer, the fourth of these spiritual sacrifices is our possessions.


Now, don't think because something is spiritual that it is has to be immaterial. We are to give our possession. Now, you're in Hebrews chapter thirteen and we read verse fifteen that speaks of the sacrifice of praise. Now, Hebrews chapter thirteen, turn back to it, yes, we've already left it, turn back to it. Hebrews chapter thirteen and verse sixteen, let's look at it. "But to do good and communicate forget not, for with such sacrifices God is well pleased." There again he uses the word sacrifice. Now, remember we're to offer the sacrifices of Thanksgiving, OK?


Now, look at it again. "With such sacrifices God is well pleased." What does the word communicate mean anyway? Does it mean to write letters to someone? Does it mean to call someone on the telephone? Well, the old King James says to communicate, so I looked it up last night in four different translations, four other translations than the King James.


       One translation gives this word communicate to distribute, the other gives it to share. Another gives it to be generous, the other gives it to be liberal. So to distribute, the share, to be generous, to have a liberal spirit, that's what it means to communicate, not just to talk to people.


It means to take our material possessions, the things that God has given us, and when we come to church or when we give by whatever means or whatever mode, when we give, it is to be a spiritual sacrifice. The apostle Paul received a missionary gift from the church at Philippi, and he wrote back and said in Philippians chapter four, verse eight, "The gifts that were sent from you were a sacrifice acceptable, well pleasing to God."


And so, today you want to show your thanksgiving, show it in your giving. Does your giving really show what you think of God? It really does whether you think it or not. You know, there are some folks who come to church on Sunday and they give God a tip. They give God the crumbs. They give God the leftovers.



Do you know what a lot of folks do? I mean, they literally do this. They have their budget, they get the budget out and they say alright, we've got so much for the house payment. We've got to pay that. So much for the utilities, we have to pay that. So much for the car payment, we've got to pay that. So much for Sears, we've got to pay that. That much for so and so, let's throw Goldsmiths in, everybody can have a chance. And Dillard's, I'll quit right here, and we've got to pay that. And so we've got all these things we have to pay. Then there's, you know, tuition and these things, and they say now what's left? What's left?


Do we have anything to give God? What's left? Hey folks, do you know what you ought to do? Before you write a check to anybody or anything else, you ought to make a gift to Jesus first. Do you know what the Bible says? "Honor the Lord with the first fruits of thy increase." First fruits, not what's left. Don't give God the crumbs. Don't give God the leftovers.

Don't see if there's anything left for God. That's the problem, listen friend. God doesn't want a place in your life. Everybody says give God a place in your life. He doesn't want it.


Well, you say yes, you're right; give Him a promise in your life. He doesn't want a promise. He demands pre-imminence, pre-imminence. You're to honor the Lord with your substance and with the first fruits of all thine increase.


I was reading in Malachi, chapter one, verse eight, and this is what the Lord said to the people of his day, "You offer the blind for sacrifice, and if you offer the blind for a sacrifice, is it not evil? And if ye offer the lame and the sick, is it not evil? Offer it not unto thy governor. Would he be pleased with thee or accept thy person, saith the Lord of hosts." Do you know what they were doing? They were saying well, we've got make an offering to the Lord. We've got an old blind calf over here. Let's give that blind calf, and we've got a sick goat. That goat is not going to live anyway. Let's bring it down to the priest, and let the priest kill it. Malachi said you're offering blind animals and crippled animals to God. Why don't you take it over here and give it to the governor and see if the governor will accept it.


You know there are people─ we give to God things we wouldn't give to one another for Christmas presents or birthday presents. Try God.


Now, folks listen, we don't just give to the church because the church needs it. We don't give to a cause. It's a sacrifice to God. Friend, if there were not a need in this world, and if we just took the money that was given on Sunday and burned it up, I mean, just put in a furnace and burned it up; it'd still be a blessing just to come and give it. Do you believe that? I do.


That's what they did with the Old Testament sacrifices, they burned them up. They burned them up. They weren't giving to a need, they were giving to God. It was put on an altar and it was consumed. It didn't serve any utilitarian purpose. We just gave it because we wanted to give it to a great God as a sacrifice of His goodness to us. We need to get out of this thing saying, "Well, I don't know whether I agree with that." Me either, I don't think I'm going to give to this cause. Friend, we're giving to God. We're giving to God. It's a sacrifice to our great God, and "every man that giveth as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give, not grudgingly or of necessity." That is, you're not giving to a cause. You're not giving because somebody has made you do it, not giving grudgingly, or of necessity, "for God loveth a cheerful giver."


One last thing and I'll be finished. Not only is there the sacrifice of our possessions, one last of these five thanksgiving sacrifices, the sacrifices of thanksgiving, there is finally the sacrifice of a broken and a contrite spirit, which I want to call the sacrifice of purity.


Would you turn to Psalm 51 here for just a moment, and by the way, all of these sacrifices are based on, first of all, of what He has done for us and we just turn around and we'll do back for Him because of what He has done for us. We first love Him because He loved us. We give to Him because He first gave unto us and of Thine own have we given unto Thee.


Now, look if you will in Psalm 51:17. "The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise." That's the last of these five sacrifices I want to suggest this thanksgiving. Do you have that sacrifice of a broken and a contrite spirit? Why do I call it the sacrifice of purity? Because David had sinned and what was it that broke David's heart? His sin against God. You see, God was so good, notice in Psalm fifty one, verse one. "Have mercy upon me, Oh God, according to thy loving kindness, according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions." Do you know what it was that led David to a broken spirit? Do you know what it was?


It was not David's badness, it was God's goodness, God's goodness. The Bible tells us over in the book of Romans that it is the goodness of God that leads us to repentance, not the badness of man. God is so good.


How can we sin against such love? How can you this Thanksgiving sin against one who suffered, bled and died for you? If you say you love Him, then get rid of the sin that breaks His heart, get rid of it, a broken and a contrite spirit.


Oh friend, I said that our sins were the nails that nailed Him to that tree and our hard hearts, the hammers that drove those nails, are broken in a contrite spirit thou wilt not despise. We sin in our churches ─ some Sunday mornings acting like we've done God a favor when we get here, haughty, unbent, unbroken. Oh how we ought to bow down before our great God and just say, "Oh God, in brokenness and humility, I offer, dear God, tears of repentance, and Lord, purity of life before you, and my sacrifice of Thanksgiving. Lord, you're going to see in my life dear God, there will be no unconfessed, unrepented of sin in my life."


Don't you believe, listen to me, don't you believe if the Bible says we're to offer to God the sacrifices of Thanksgiving that ought to improve our person, it ought to include our prayer, it ought to include praise, it ought to include our possessions, and it ought to include a pure life? Just say Lord, this is what I'm going to render unto the Lord for all His benefits toward me.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Fwd: How to Resolve the Four Kinds of Marital Conflict

Kathy Collard Miller, D. Larry Miller
Larry Richards, Ph.D, Authors
source: Crosswalk
ROMANS 12:17–21 Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God's wrath, for it is written: "It is mine to avenge; I will repay," says the Lord. On the contrary: "If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head." Do not be overcome by evil, but over­come evil with good.

Conflict often makes our beloved seem like an enemy. We can easily begin to think, "It's me against you!" when we're supposed to be on the same side. Yet when we start picking a fight with our spouse and, in effect, try to take vengeance by getting our own way, we're certainly not trusting God to fulfill his promise to work in someone's life. If we're supposed to give food and water to our enemy, then let's resolve our conflicts with our best friend--our mate! Here's how to identify the four main kinds of conflict and what to do about them:  

1. Faults and Weaknesses. Everyone has faults. Faults aren't sins. Faults could be based in the weaknesses of your spouse's personality. A person who seems to talk too much is a gregarious kind of person. You may judge that she talks too much, but that's because you may not talk much at all. She is most likely thinking you don't talk enough. This is not a conflict about sin; rather, it is a lack of com­passion and understanding about who God created your spouse to be.


If your conflict comes from trying to change your spouse, remember that only God can change someone. It isn't your job. Don't allow conflict to separate you emotionally because of his fault or weakness. At the same time, you can gently point out how too much talking prevents both of you from contributing to the conversation. Speaking "peaceably" means invit­ing a dialogue--not haranguing your spouse for what you perceive is wrong. Ask God to make any changes that he wants. Believe it or not, he might not plan to change that person at this time, and you can relax and eliminate the conflict knowing that he has his perfect timing.


2. Unintended Emotional Injury. When someone hurts your feelings and he didn't intend to (although we might think he did), we can easily fall into the trap of blaming and taking it personally. Each person thinks he is right.


It's important to express your hurt by saying something like, "I know you didn't intend to hurt me, but I felt . . . [and share your feelings]." Give your spouse the benefit of the doubt. He loves you, and most of the time, what you think is meant to hurt you isn't intended that way. It was most likely a misunderstanding, or he inadvertently touched on something that is a wound within you, possibly even from childhood.



Acknowledging the underlying causes of why this "triggers" you is essen­tial. Most often, things from our childhood are at the root. For instance, a wife was neglected by her father, and so any slight by her husband takes her back emotionally (without her knowing it) to those longings of want­ing her daddy to love her. Because of this trigger, she will need to take responsibility for her own reaction. The person who inadvertently hurt his or her spouse can remember this: "The purposes of a man's heart are deep waters, but a man of understanding draws them out" (Proverbs 20:5). God wants you to compassionately invite your spouse to address her hurt and possibly her wound from the past.


The "offending" spouse will need to walk "peaceably" by not reacting in kind with anger or hurt. By keeping your cool, you will cover the situation with a calming balm. Proverbs 15:1 urges us, "A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger."


3. Preferences. During your courtship, you most likely appreciated the differences that completed you as a couple. If one of you is outgoing and friendly, the other person is most likely more reserved. You liked how your spouse made friends easily so that you didn't have to put out so much effort. But now that difference has made him or her into an enemy. You may feel that he is so friendly with everyone else that he ignores you.


Living peaceably means recognizing that a preference isn't sinful. Just because you think one way doesn't mean your spouse's opposite thinking is wrong--it's just different. Different isn't wrong. Your conflict is based in thinking that there's only one way to think about something or do some­thing. But look at Proverbs 27:14: "If a man loudly blesses his neighbor early in the morning, it will be taken as a curse." If because you're an early riser you think it's pretty close to a sin to sleep in late, the Bible says you're cursing your friend. Some things just aren't in a sin category.


If your spouse thinks strongly about something, then it may be even more of a conflict if you feel that you're going to be forced to abide by your spouse's preferences. That's why you need to try to feel his passion or pref­erence. That doesn't mean you need to change your preference, just under­stand how much it means to him. You may both choose to do your "own thing" separately if one person doesn't enjoy the desired activity, but leave room for both of you to do what you want at some point. Or take turns. If your conflict is about where to go on vacation, decide that one year you will go to the lake and the next year you will go to the mountains. Or find a place that has both a lake and a mountain.


If you feel that your own preferences aren't ever honored, first look at the word ever. Is that really true? Or is your spouse giving in on some things thinking she is pleasing you, except that particular thing isn't that impor­tant to you so you don't give her credit for her effort? But when you say "You never let me" or "We don't ever," your spouse may point out some­thing that she thought she was doing for you but you hadn't noticed because it's not your important preference. This is why it's important to communicate what's valuable to you. And if your spouse tells you you're not really hearing what she says, listen! Really listen and try to feel her passion. Understand that just as your activity is important to you, so also is her activity to her.


4. Sin. When your spouse sins, he can certainly seem like the enemy. Yet Romans 12:17–21 tells us we have a choice whether to live peaceably with our enemy. That doesn't mean overlooking his sin or doing nothing about it, but it does mean having an attitude of good that isn't overcome by evil. And most of the time in conflict, evil means being angry. Being angry means that you're trying to be in control instead of allowing God to be, and that won't get you the result you want. Yes, you'll still need to call your spouse's attention to the sin. If it's horrible and terribly painful, like adultery, and your spouse refuses to remove himself from the sin, then you may need to separate legally. (Go to the chapter on adultery for further infor­mation.) But most of the time, we're dealing with sin that is griev­ous but not liable to end the marriage. What then can we do?


God calls us to righteousness if we are the offended party. This is not a self-righteous, I'm-better-than-you attitude, but a humble heart like the one 1 Peter 3:8–9 describes: "Finally, all of you, live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble. Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing."


Compassion means thinking, "I could do something like that, and even if I haven't, I've done something equally bad or pretty close." Sin is sin. Regardless of the degree of sin that we have committed, we've all fallen short. We all stand on equal ground before a holy God who has forgiven us. In those moments, Galatians 6:1–2 is a good reminder: "Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted. Bear one another's burdens, and so ful.ll the law of Christ" (NKJV). We could have done the same thing if we were tempted in the same way.


Compassion also means forgiving our mate, but forgiving doesn't mean we're saying the sin didn't happen or that he or she shouldn't suffer the consequences of sin. But it means releasing our anger and our need to take revenge. Then set up a plan for accountability and strength for your spouse to turn from the sin so that the two of you can be reconciled.

How Others See It
Henry Cloud and John Townsend


Agree on a follow-up plan. "If I notice something again, how do you want me to help you? What do you want me to do?" This way you become a team member to deal with the problem and not a police officer. You might want to talk to him about bringing other resources to the problem as well, such as friends to hold him accountable. The important issue is that you are together as a team to fight the reoccurrence.



Becky and Roger Tirabassi give seven motivators for forgiving others:  

  1. To forgive someone benefits you.
  2. To forgive doesn't mean you allow the person to continue to hurt you in the same way.
  3. Most people don't intentionally try to hurt you.
  4. God wants us to forgive others.
  5. It won't be long before you will need to be forgiven.
  6. Forgiveness becomes easier when you look for similar behavior in your life.
  7. Forgiveness is not a feeling. It is a decision!


Excerpted from
  What's in the Bible for Couples © 2007 by Kathy Collard Miller, D. Larry Miller, and Larry Richards, Ph.D.  Copyright © 2007; ISBN 9780764203848

Used by permission of Bethany House Publishers.  Used by permission. Unauthorized duplication prohibited.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Quotes: future

"Show me someone who doesn't dream about the future and I'll show you someone who doesn't know where they are going"

"I look to the future because that's where I'm going to spend the rest of my life."  GB
 "My interest is in the future  because I am going to spend the rest of my life there" Charles F. Kettering

(American engineer, inventor of the electric starter, 1876-1958)

"For tomorrow belongs to the people who prepare for it today"

African Proverb


"When it comes to the future, there are three kinds of people:

those who let it happen,

those who make it happen,

and those who wonder what happened."   JMR


Crowns Awaiting God's Children

Hey helpmeets,


We're placing this in our bulletin next sunday. Thought i'd share it in case you would have a use for it :)



For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things DONE IN THE BODY, according to what He has done, whether good or bad." (2 Corinthians 5:10)

Most Christians really do not realize the seriousness of this verse - that we are all going to have to give an account to Jesus for everything that we have ever done down here on this earth - all of the good with all of the bad.

"... and each one will receive His own reward ACCORDING TO HIS OWN LABOR." (1 Corinthians 3:8)

This verse is telling us that the rewards given to us by God will be totally dependent on what we accomplish for Him while living down here on this earth.

"And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to everyone ACCORDING TO HIS WORK." (Revelation 22:12)

"... I am He who searches the minds and hearts. And I will give to each one of you ACCORDING TO YOUR WORKS." (Revelation 2:23)


Crowns Awaiting God's Children: How many will you have?

1. Crown of Righteousness: for love of Christ's Return

given to all who have loved His appearing, who have lived a good and righteous life for God on earth.

2 Tim 4:7-8
"I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the CROWN OF RIGHTEOUSNESS, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing." (2 Timothy 4:7-8)

2. Incorruptible Crown: the crown of self-denial

given to those focused on finishing the race. 1 Cor. 9:24-27

"Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it. And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things.  Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an IMPERISHABLE CROWN. Therefore I run thus: not with uncertainty. Thus I fight: not as one who beats the air. But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified." (1 Corinthians 9:24-27)

3. Crown of Life: the martyr's crown

given to those who undergo severe hardship, testing, tribulation and/or physical death on His behalf. Rev2:10
"Do not fear any of those things which you are about to suffer. Indeed, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and you will have tribulation ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the CROWN OF LIFE." (Revelation 2:10)

4. Crown of Rejoicing: the soul-winner's crown

given to those who have been instrumental in getting other people saved. 1 Thess 2:19,20
"For what is our hope, or joy, or CROWN OF REJOICING? Is it not even you in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at His coming? For you are our glory and joy." (1 Thessalonians 2:19-20)

5. Crown of Glory: the undershepherd's crown

given to the elders of the church to "shepherd" the flock of God. Shepherds lead the flock into the ways and knowledge of God. They are teachers. These could be the Sunday school teachers, the pastors and ministers who teach the Word of God in their ministries or people appointed by God into the office of a teacher. 1 Peter 5:1-45. 5. Crown of Glory: the undershepherd's crown

"The elders who are among you I exhort, I who am a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that will be revealed.

SHEPHERD THE FLOCK OF GOD which is among you, serving as overseers, not by constraint but willingly, not for dishonest gain but eagerly; nor as being lords over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock; and when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the CROWN OF GLORY that does not fade away." (1 Peter 5:1-4)


for the complete discussion: