A Good Marriage – Common Ground

Winning is not the ultimate prize of life; it is the manner in which we finish the race that counts the most. It is often the last straggler across the finish line that receives the most attention, because they persevered to the very end.

 

Winning an argument is not necessary to feel validated either. We can concede that we are wrong, if indeed we are, without any shame or recrimination.

 

We have a viewpoint that differs from our employer’s, friend’s, neighbor’s, child’s, parent’s or spouse’s perspective; but no less right or wrong than theirs.

 

There is nothing heroic about destroying a marriage, because we soon realize that we were acting as pawns on Satan’s game board, playing right into his hands and wreaking havoc for generations to come.

 

If both parties in a disagreement are willing to bear with one another and to lay our life down for each other, there is always a way to peacefully resolve all issues and to avoid fighting and drama.

 

Neither of us is the enemy, we are simply fellow sojourners in this life with equal rights and privileges in the family of God. Quickly apologizing from the heart for any hurt we cause during a disagreement goes a long way in keeping unity in our relations.

 

Repairing our relationships is so much more mature than rending them in half and going our separate ways – leaving a trail of broken hearts and lives behind us. A trained counselor can help us to negotiate our differences.

 

Seeking wisdom from God’s Word and His Spirit during times of prayer can also help us to breach any gaps in our unity. We negotiate until we find common ground on which to stand.

 

Prayer:

Father God, You remind us not to separate what You bind together. You admonish us not to break any vow that we make, but to honor our commitment to one another with charity, patience and kindness. You want us to work together to find an equitable solution to any conflicts in our marriage, as well as in our affiliations at work and in Your Body.

 

Give us Your wisdom to maintain peace and to show Your agape love to those who wound us; to turn the other cheeks and to bear with one another’s idiosyncrasies and foibles. Give us patience to love one another as Christ loves the church; so we can represent living sacrifices as a testimony to an unbelieving world.

 

Thought for the Day:

There is nothing heroic in winning at the cost of someone else’s expense; but in laying down our life and serving one another with the love of our Father toward us.

 

Seeking and Finding God

Only by coming to God can we experience His true light within us. It is impossible to have a relationship with God without first repenting of our sins and asking Jesus Christ to be our Savior and King.

 

If we seek God, we shall find Him. If we knock, He will open a door for us. If we ask Him to abide within us, He will answer us.

 

If we are convicted of our sin and pray a prayer, it is valid only if we are truly converted. Otherwise, we simply said a prayer with no lasting spiritual fruit.

 

We know we are converted if we experience a hunger for holiness and God’s truth. There is a change in our life that leads to repentance and gradual spiritual maturity.

 

Justification transfers our sin onto the cross of Christ and the righteousness of Christ into our spirit. God’s Spirit begins His sanctifying process in our soul and teaches us that we are a new creation (Romans 8:29).

 

God sets us free from the destructiveness of sin (Romans 6:22) and calls us to walk worthy of our new name and the calling into His family that we receive (Ephesians 4:1).

 

He implores us to take the narrow road and to forsake the broad road in life (Matthew 7:13-14). We submit to God’s will as a living sacrifice and a spiritual act of worship, holy and acceptable to God (Romans 12:1).

 

Prayer:

Father God, as we mature in Christ, we trust You more and completely surrender to Your call on each moment. Remind us to listen when we pray, as well as to praise and make our requests known to You. We do not reap the full benefit of prayer if we do not sit still and contemplate You as the God of our life (Psalm 46:10).

 

Prevent us from being pulled from Your presence by the lies and temptations of the flesh, the world and the devil. We love You with our whole heart, soul, mind and strength (Mark 12:30). We draw near to You, knowing that You will also draw near to us (James 4:7).

 

Thought for the Day:

All the riches in the world, which are desirable and sought after, are not even close to comparing to the gift of Christ in our life. – Job 28:15; Psalm 19:10, 119:127

 

A Happy Marriage – Simplifying Life

Happily ever after is a misnomer. Marriage is tough by any standards. Some marriages are better than others, but we all struggle with disagreements from time to time. Let’s face it, we even frequently argue with our self.

 

Arguing is not really a negative issue. It is how we argue that makes it a problem. We can mildly disagree, vehemently disagree or destructively disagree. These destructive fights tear the fabric of our marriage, which affects our society as a whole.

 

Family life is stressful at best and almost impossible at its worst. We allow our children to be involved in more activities than they can bear, which puts a strain on the whole family.

 

Attempting to watch 4 different ball games played by 4 different children at 4 different gyms or parks all played at the same time is an example of the crazy conflicts that can stress us out.

 

The best rule of thumb is to sign up our children for one extra-curricular activity at a time, and to make sure that their schedules do not conflict. If they are interested in various hobbies and venues, this will be so much easier.

 

The financial strain on marriages today is enough to break the back of the strongest couple. With both partners working fulltime, the stress of homemaking and child rearing is also daunting, especially if everyone needs their own room, TV and smart phone.

 

Simplifying life can be overwhelming, but will drastically reduce the amount of stress on the family. With a more fluid schedule, we have more time to enjoy each other’s company.

 

Spending time together allows relationships to evolve on the same level and in more mutually satisfying ways. We weather the shifting winds of life as a family rather than alone.

 

Staying healthy emotionally, mentally, physically and spiritually demands that we follow God’s will for our individual and corporate life. He has a perfect plan that sustains us through troubled waters and allows these trials to strengthen rather than to dissolve our relationships.

 

Prayer:

Father God, remind us that the only way to achieve lasting peace and joy in our life is to follow Your Spirit’s direction each moment of the day. As we increase our intimacy with You, our intimacy with others improves as well. Teach us to keep our focus on our own fallacies and idiosyncrasies rather than allowing our spouse’s issues to take precedence in our mind.

 

Remind us that we tend to blow their faults out of proportion unless we humbly compare them with our own flaws. Please change us from the inside out; keep us healthy in body, soul and spirit; strengthen us as individuals, a family and a society. Allow us to be that shining beacon of light to help others avoid the jagged rocks on the coastline of life. Help us to continually work on changing one aspect of our life at a time that will improve our relationships.

 

Thought for the Day:

As we take a searching moral inventory and decide what will make us more fulfilled as a Christian and as an individual, we will strengthen our personal life, our marriage and our family unit, and insure that we can better respond to the grace of God in the midst of every conflict.

 

 

Not of This World

Our God is so awesome, mighty in power, gentle in mercy, constant in grace, consuming in His love for us and faithful beyond measure. We can trust in Him with our whole heart and depend on His intimate involvement in our life.

 

God never, ever leaves or forsakes us (Deuteronomy 31:6; Hebrews 13:5). His three personalities are all-encompassing (Isaiah 7:14; John 10:29; Matthew 12:32). God is our Creator and Heavenly Daddy; Jesus is the Trinity in the flesh who died on the cross to exhibit the Father’s love; the Spirit promotes Jesus and His words (John 3::8, 14:6, 26; Luke 24:49; Acts 16:7).

 

Through believing on Jesus we are constructed into the temple of the entire godhead of the Trinity (Romans 8:15; 1 Corinthians 3:16, 12:13). The Trinity is our Father, our Brother and our continual comfort and guide (Mark 1:10-11).

 

The Trinity’s presence in our life nourishes us to grow in godliness, to consecrate our life to Him and to do the work He created us to do (Ephesians 2:10). The Trinity draws us into unity with the Godhead (John 6:44, 10:30, 14:10-13).

 

We are raised from sin’s degradation to walk in a new life in order to share in the glory of the Trinity through a consecrated and holy life (John 17:22; Romans 8:11). We let His light in us shine, so that people look at us and are drawn to believe in and trust in the Trinity for their salvation as well.

 

Vacation homes, worldly hobbies, time shares, multiple cruises in a year, smart phones for every family member, TVs in every room, expensive clothing stores, excessive clothing accessories and jewels, a car for every driver in the family, etc. keep us in bondage to this world and limit our participation in activities that promote the Kingdom of God.

 

We are not of this world, we do not rely on our human nature or characteristics, and we do not develop plans and goals for this life. We only live here to build up the Kingdom of God while it is still day, because the night is coming when no one may get saved (John 9:4).

 

Prayer:

Father God, break our heart with what breaks Yours, give us a Kingdom mind and focus in this life and make the fact that we are not of this world a reality in our life (Romans 12:2; John 17:16). Help us to stop focusing on building our nest in this world and to change our attention to furthering Your Kingdom.

 

Remind us that Christ is our whole life and that we no longer live, but Christ lives in and through us (Colossians 3:3-4; Galatians 2:20). Draw us into a more intimate relationship with You, so that we are not sidetracked by the lies and schemes of the devil to get our focus on this world rather than on Your Kingdom.

 

Thought for the Day:

We develop a Kingdom mindset and allow God’s Spirit to draw our attention to the presence of God within us, which is our only true source of comfort and joy, rather than on the riches and trappings of this world.

 

 

A Good Marriage – The Little Foxes that Spoil the Vine

Over the years of marriage, we recognize who our partner is and what they are not. We also develop a better understanding of our self and why we respond to people and events the way we do.

 

We come to identify what triggers negative reactions in one another, so we can avoid these issues whenever possible. We make concentrated efforts on working together to find mutually acceptable plans when our original personal preferences conflict.

 

We also fearlessly attack our personal issues and give the Holy Spirit full reign in our life, so that He can transform us with the mind of Christ. One way to recognize our faults is to pay attention to what our spouse complains about – do we procrastinate, withhold affection, watch too much TV, neglect to help one another with projects or daily chores?

 

Small adjustments in our schedule or habits will make a big difference in marital bliss and harmony. We can learn one another’s love language and show each other love in ways that will fulfill our mate’s needs and allow them to feel nurtured and cherished.

 

This will erase the small irritations which eventually erupt into major disharmony – the little foxes that spoil the vine (Song of Solomon 2:15). Do we expect too much from one another, forgetting that we are only human?

 

Do we greet one another as we would our best friend, or do we take one another for granted? We all appreciate being greeted with enthusiasm as someone who is highly cherished.

 

Do we agree to disagree or do we always feel like we are right and our partner is wrong? Do we need to have the last word, or do we stop talking when we have made our point?

 

No one like to live with condemnation, condescension, griping or constant belittlement. It is so good and pleasant when we dwell together in harmony (Psalm 133:1). This unity draws us closer to one another and makes us want to spend more time together.

Prayer:

Father God, teach us to recap once we calm down after a disagreement. Help us to honestly relate how we felt during the “fight” and what thoughts were going through our mind that we did not take the time to articulate. These thoughts fueled our emotional response during our discussion, and our spouse deserves to understand why we reacted as we did to their comment, behavior or reply.

 

Remind us to seek You in all of our decisions and discussions; not to rely on our own understanding, but to allow You to direction our thoughts, words and actions. Help us to be led by Your Spirit rather than to react in our flesh; but if we do act carnally, encourage us to ask for forgiveness from one another and to calmly discuss the situation until we find an equitable solution.

 

Thought for the Day:

Looking into each other’s eyes during a discussion enables us to see within the windows of each other’s soul; speaking honestly about how our partner’s words and actions make us feel will help us to understand one another better too and to make our interactions more intimate and productive. – Matthew 6:22-23

 

Emotional and Mental Health – Christ Triumphs over Evil

Rather than to allow our mental and emotional health to gain its influence from the world, the flesh or the devil, we can glean as we read from God’s Word and adopt its Biblical principles and concepts as our own.

 

Writing verses on 3×5 cards and carrying them around with us enables us to focus on scripture while waiting at traffic lights, retail lines at the check-out, doctor’s offices, school pick-up lanes to retrieve our children, etc.

 

Rather than to fume about wasted time, we constructively focus on the Word of God, which is life to our spirit and soul. As we set our mind on things above, we grow in our faith, hope and love, and we increase our intimacy with our Lord.

 

Our trials in life give us the perfect opportunity for God to prove His love and sustaining power to us, it draws us together as a couple, a family and as the Body of Christ, if we pray together for our needs.

 

We are all falsely accused, misunderstood, and people make incorrect assumptions about us and our motives. Yet, evil will not triumph over us, because Christ in us is greater than Satan and the people in this world (Ecclesiastes 3:17, 12:14).

 

God will right all the wrongs when our righteous King takes His throne to rule and reign for eternity. There will be no more tears or sorrow; no more emotional of mental distress; only peace and joy for eternity.

 

Prayer:

Father God, You give us respect in our city, when we support one another as Your Body, and when we walk in Your ways (Proverbs 31:23). Yet, at other times, people around us hate You, and then hate us because we love You (Psalm 31:11-13).

 

We do not need to please people or lead people to You; we simply need to share Your ospel with whomever will listen; allow Your Spirit to do a work in their heart; and then, let our light shine in such a way that our family, friends, associates and neighbors will see our good works and glorify You (Galatians 1:10; 1 Peter 2:12; Matthew 5:16).

 

Thought for the Day:

When we choose to walk in God’s rest and peace, we are paving the way for difficult, evil people to encounter the Prince of Peace Himself, because He abides within us; so we can choose peace over worry and walk in serenity instead or unrest and anxiety.

 

 

The Lord Preserves His Faithful

The Lord preserves His faithful, those who love Him and keep His commandments (Psalm 31:23). He does not want us to obey for His sake as much as He does for our own sake.

 

We avoid so many troubles and trials when we do things His way. After all, Father really does know best. He created us for His purpose and when we walk in His will, our life proceeds so much more smoothly and effortlessly.

 

Our soul finds rest in God alone. He is our only rock and salvation, our fortress that prevents life from shaking our faith. We have strong courage to face life’s issues, because God strengthens our heart as we hope in Him (Psalm 31:23, 62:1).

 

God is our hiding place and He preserves us in trouble by encompassing us with songs of deliverance (Psalm 32:7). Whenever we are afraid, we can trust in Him (Psalm 53:3).

 

Yet, He allows the proud and arrogant who refuse to believe in Jesus for salvation to reap the results of their choices – even to the point of eternity in the fires of damnation (John 3:18; Psalm 31:23).

 

We are crucified with Christ and share in His death to sin, even though we still live on this earth. Christ lives in us and we live by His faith in us (Galatians 2:20). We are dead to this world and our life is hidden with Christ in God (Colossians 3:1-3).

 

As we delight our self in the Lord, God puts His desires in our heart (Psalm 37:4). We make the effort it takes to clear our heart and mind of things of this world, and instead to love the Lord with all of our heart.

 

We walk in His ways, keep His commandments and cling only to Him. He orders our steps and He delights when we walk in His will (Psalm 37:23). Even if we fall in spirit, soul or body, we shall not be entirely cast down, or cast out of His Kingdom, because God holds us in His hand (Psalm 37:24).

 

Prayer:

Father God, thank You for giving us the opportunity to be risen with Christ and for helping us to seek and set our affections and desires only on heavenly, eternal aspects (Colossians 3:1-3). You make our steps firm, when You delight in our thoughts, words and deeds.

 

Always keep us in the center of Your will; not drawn away by our fleshly desires, but kept on the straight and narrow road, designed to protect us by its simple parameters. Allow us to hear Your still small voice whispering “this is the way, walk you in it.” We always want You to delight in us, and in our ways; so You will keep our steps firm and our footing sure (Psalm 37:23).

 

Thought for the Day:

God’s river of salvation protects us in any fiery trial, and He alone is worthy of all of our trust.