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.

 

 

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God in the Details

God does not often show Himself strong for us during a trial. Initially, this hurts our feelings and causes us to doubt His love for us. However, God’s love is exactly what prevents Him from rescuing us from life’s hurts and challenges.

 

God is teaching us that this life is inconsequential in His larger scheme of the ages. His goal in our life is to transform our body, soul and spirit from this humble, earthly state into conformity with His glorious eternal plan for us.

 

He also shows us that all things, even our health, finances, comfort, suffering, family and life are subject to Him (Philippians 3:20-21). As His Spirit sanctifies us, we learn to submit to His will and to surrender our entire life to His wisdom and direction.

 

This give us hope in God, rather than despair from overwhelming circumstances, thoughts and feelings. He is constantly at work in our life, planting seeds for a miracle in all of our trials.

 

We just have to patiently wait for Him to reveal them to us. He longs for us to trust in Him alone, and to desire His will instead of our own goals and plans.

 

We eventually learn that our suffering in this world cannot be compared to the glory of living in God’s presence both now and throughout eternity (Romans 8:18).

 

Hardships are merely temporary and fleeting, especially as we keep our eyes on Christ and the prize of our inheritance of the Kingdom of God (Acts 17:11; 1 Peter 4:12-13; James 1:1-13).

 

Prayer:

Father God, help us to meditate on the truth that You are in complete control of everything in this world. Allow this fact to penetrate deep within our soul – our thoughts, choices and feelings – so that we learn to trust You and not our human reasoning throughout every moment of our day. We do not need to understand Your thoughts, because they are so much more profound than our thoughts (Isaiah 55:8-9).

 

You simply ask us to remain open and willing to submit to and accept Your will and ways – even in the trials. You renew our human spirit by making Your truths known to us. We are created in Your image (Colossians 3:10), we have Your mind (1 Corinthians 2:16), and by Your Spirit we learn to walk as You would walk in our shoes (1 John 2:20).

 

Thought for the Day:

As the reality of the fact that our life is hidden with Christ in God becomes more of a reality every day, we draw away from the world, the flesh and the devil and find our true joy only in service to our King Jesus. – Romans 12:2

 

 

Emotional and Mental Health-Freedom from Negative Emotions

Journaling is a lost art form and mental health tool. It takes many avenues of expression and can be a variety of sizes and styles. Whatever fits the personality and needs of the journalist.

 

This is a method of documenting the events in our life and dealing with pent up thoughts and emotions. When we do not express our thoughts in words to a mentor or on paper in a journal, they will erupt from our soul at inopportune times.

 

Sit in a quiet place and journal all of your thoughts and feelings. In doing this, you are emptying yourself of yourself.

 

Do not talk, sing, pray, watch TV, listen to music or answer your phone…just listen to your soul – your thoughts and feelings – and wait on the Lord to come and fill you with His comforting Holy Spirit.

 

It may take hours…it may take days…it may take weeks or months as it took me to get to the root of the issues which plague our soul. This all depends on how much inner and outer clutter is in our life.

 

We cannot be discouraged if we are not successful when we start journaling. It takes time to develop a new habit. Just remember that tomorrow is the first day of the rest of our life and our God is the God of second chances.

 

As we continue to journal each and every day, it will not take long to get to the root of the issues causing us unrest. Then we can follow the Serenity Principle and either deal with the issue(s) or place it in God’s capable hands to resolve in His timing and way.

 

Once we finish with our journal and go about our day, we can stop what we are doing at the first sign of unrest in our soul or spirit- even if we just duck into the bathroom for a few minutes.

 

Taking time to pray allows God to reveal the source of these negative thoughts and emotions. Then, once God shows us the origin of our anxiety, anger or other negative emotion, we can repent or ask for God’s help.

 

He may lead us to forgive, to change our focus about the situation or to serve the person, which is hurting us. It also helps to switch our focus to an eternal perspective and set boundaries around anything from this temporal world, which is causing us trouble.

 

Does our issue really matter in the overall scheme of eternity? If not, we can let it go and let God teach us to think like He does about the issue.

 

Prayer:

Father God, we ask You to give us Your wisdom to know what situations we can change, and which to leave in Your skillful hands. Give us the strength to deal with the issues that You reveal are our responsibility. Then help us to turn the rest over to You.

 

Help us to develop an attitude of acceptance about them. If we cannot change them, then we can praise You for them, in them, and through them, even for the negative things. By doing this, we end up walking in complete serenity and in the dynamic power of Your Holy Spirit.

 

Thought for the Day:

What is it in your life that is causing you a problem right now?  Can you do something about it? Then, do it! If not, then change your focus and give the problem to God.

 

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

 

The Tyranny of Control

“Control Freaks” develop this habit out of fear and a desire to stay safe. They were deeply wounded at one time by physical, verbal and mental abuse. They were not given a “say-so” in the decisions made that affected their life.

 

Therefore, they decided to take control as soon as they got older. Now they are hyper-vigilant and over-reacting in their approach to life. They believe that “their” way is the only safe way; and therefore, the best way to do things and to make decisions.

 

They vehemently fight against anyone or thing that threatens their carefully choreographed routine in life. They hide behind anger in order to stay in control and to feel safe.

 

Most wounded people will adopt a mindset of attempting to control everything about the people in their life too – even when another’s decisions have no real effect on their life.

 

Our only hope of salvation from this demonic plague of fear, self-preservation and control is to realize that God has a perfect plan for our life. No matter what terrors we experience, God is with us in the midst of them, and worthy of all of our praise.

 

We can trust God with our life. No matter what terrors we experience, God is with us in the midst of them. His presence sustains us and provides for us. He is worthy of all of our praise.

 

With our confidence in God’s faithfulness, we speak up only when someone’s decision has an immediate bearing on our life, and we allow others reap the consequences of their own decisions. We mind our own business and pray for others.

 

We have our confidence in God alone, and that gives us peace and calm regardless of circumstances. We never insist on our own way, but we do insist on finding a Plan C when we and the significant people in our life cannot agree on their Plan A or our Plan B.

 

If they are unwilling to compromise their plans with us, then we give them the freedom to make their decisions; but then we prayerfully and calmly make our own decisions in order to keep our self safe from reaping the consequences of their decisions.

 

God has a perfect will for our life. We find it by praying without ceasing; we walk in it by walking in the Spirit, so we do not succumb to the idiosyncrasies and neurosis of our flesh (Galatians 5:15-25); and then, we reap the rewards of a life, which is faithful to His love and His will.

 

Prayer:

Father God, it is not natural for us humans to obey You or to rely on You from the depth of our heart. Our emotions are fickle and shallow at best. Yet, if we obey Your Biblical mandates, we prove that we love You and are willing to walk in Your ways.

 

If we surrender our will, desires, dreams and goals to Your Spirit’s direction, and live in Your will each moment of our day, we live a fulfilled, spiritual and successful life. We will prosper mentally, emotionally, financially and physically as well (John 14:15).

 

Thought for the Day:

There is healing from this unresolved trauma in the presence of God and our Savior Jesus Christ; this world is dysfunctional and trials are inescapable, but surrendering the pain of the past to the Trinity for healing is the only way to get completely free from its tyranny in our life.

 

Life-Changing Verses – Part 2 – Verse to Live By

God gives us a very simple plan for life. He created us for a special purpose before we were even born, starting with our salvation through Christ. We do not earn salvation by our works of righteousness. According to His mercy He saved us by cleansing us with regeneration.

 

God renews us by giving us His Spirit (Ephesians 2:8-10). Our Father God loved us while we were still sinners (Romans 5:7-9). He sees our whole life without the parameters of time or the constraints of mortality. God is eternal and views all of our years on earth from an eternal perspective.

 

We are crucified with Christ, but we still live on this earth; yet it is not us, but Christ who is living in and through us. And the life we now live in this human body, we live by the faith of God’s Son who loves us – enough to die for us (Galatians 2:20).

 

We receive God’s Spirit, which has nothing to do with our human effort, talents or hard work; and neither can we sanctify or perfect our soul through any work of our own (Galatians 3:1-3).

 

Our walk with God is a life-long process of growing in intimacy with Him, and enjoying the daily fellowship of almighty God. There is nothing that we cannot do as long as we are following His perfect will for us (Philippians 4:13).

 

If we submit to God and resist the devil, Satan is obligated to flee from us (James 4:7). He may gain permission from God to throw some type of trial in our path, but Christ in us is greater and more powerful than Satan could ever hope to be (1 John 4:4).

 

Prayer:

Father God, there are so many verses that stand out to us as we read Your Word, highlighted by Your Spirit in order to enlighten us and improve our brief life (James 4:14) on this earth. Thank You for giving us Your fullness as a free gift (Romans 3:23, 6:23; Ephesians 3:16-19, Amplified Bible). We give You all of the praise and honor due to Your name.

 

Because of Your mercy, we live our life free from the twisted duplicity of Satan’s lies, and we relish the fact of our freedom in Christ. You make us whole and heal our physical, mental, emotional and spiritual diseases. You strengthen us from the inside out and You pour Your love and grace over us like a fountain of mercy. We love You with our whole spirit, soul and body, even into eternity.

 

Thought for the Day:

As we earnestly seek the Lord and thirst after Him to the point of fainting in this dry and weary land in which we live, He is our sanctuary – full of power and glory, the lover of our soul, which is better than life itself, and He satisfies our soul with His constant love; therefore, we continually praise Him with joyful lips and a mouth full of praises. – Psalm 63:1-11