Disposable People – Part 2 – Advantages of Staying Married

There are many advantages to staying together with our first love. The first benefit is for our children. The continuity of the family is a basic human need.

Children are encouraged that their own marriage will make it through the tough times, just like their parents did. Otherwise, they will develop a disposable mentality as well.

Staying married contributes to overall emotional, mental, spiritual, financial and physical health. It reduces the stress of starting over and the effects of grief, which divorce adds to our life.

Dating new people, while fun in some cases, is risky because everyone has baggage of some sort, visible and invisible. In a second marriage, we often spend more time with our spouse’s children than our own.

Therefore, do not get careless in your marriage; relax, but look, speak and act attractively for one another. Continue dating each other, even when the children come along. Enjoy your mate’s company.

When we and our spouse disagree, we can find a third alternative, on which we can both agree. If there is a seemingly unsolvable issue, get counseling to find an agreeable path.

We may need to take a break, to put a brief time or distance between each other in order to gain a new perspective on our relationship.

A separation for the purpose of reconciliation gives us a chance to talk about our disagreements with the freedom of having a safe place to go if tempers flare or we feel frustrated or unsafe.

We may find that we miss our spouse, the security they give to our life and little joys they bring to our everyday experiences, their laughter and support.

We can both agree to change habits which cause friction in our relationship. We can gain a better understanding of our spouse by talking intimately about each other’s honest feelings, needs and desires.

Forgiveness helps us to rekindle the love we once felt for each other. We will grow to admire, encourage, appreciate, cherish and serve one another all the days of our life, and we will stay together until death parts us.

Prayer:
Father God, remind us that our marriage vows were made to You as well as to our spouse. Prompt us to pray with our spouse, because You help us to resolve our issues. If we take turns praying, each partner praying one sentence at a time, this prevents much of the frustration of praying together. Teach us to pause and listen to You speak to us as we pray too.

Help us to bear one another’s burdens, to be long suffering with each other’s shortcomings, to encourage and build each other up and to enjoy one another’s company. Remind us why we fell in love in the first place and help us to keep the eternal flame of agape love burning.

Thought for the Day:
Love each other deeply, because love covers a multitude of sins. – 1 Peter 4:8

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Pleasing Our Father

As parents we often have unrealistic goals for all of our children. We want each one of them to succeed in scholarship, sports, social status and personal relationships.

We may want them to succeed in an area in which we failed or were not allowed to participate. This activity may not even interest them by any stretch of the imagination; however, we push them to excel where we could not.

However, no two people are ever alike. God created each of us with our own bent toward the gifts and talents, which He equipped us with in order to walk in His will (Ephesians 2:10).

To force our child to play ball rather than to follow the desire to read, to read and listen to classical music in place of playing in a rock band, or to sculpt and draw instead of butting heads with a quarterback is thwarting God’s purpose for their life.

We may have an ancestral home or family business that we cannot wait to share with our progeny, when in reality God is calling them to the far reaches of the world as missionaries.

Our dream may include our child studying as a doctor or lawyer, in order to have the financial means for their family that we were not able to provide for ours.

However, our children are just on loan to us from our Heavenly Father and His will for them is much better than our desires for them will ever be.

God does call us as faithful stewards over our children’s lives, to train them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord (Ephesians 6:4), to give them a solid foundation in God’s Word (Deuteronomy 11:19) and to teach them by our example to walk in God’s Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23).

Prayer:
Father God, You do not care about how much we do for You, because You desire that we walk in Your Spirit. You do not want us to depend on our good works to earn a place in heaven, because You already reserved a place for us through Christ’s sacrifice.

In order to please You, all we need to do is have faith in Your faithfulness (Hebrews 11:6). You created us with a purpose and desire for nothing more from us or our children than to walk in Your will for our life.

Thought for the Day:
As children of our Father God, we please Him by obeying His Word in total surrender to His will for our life.

God’s Truth Sets Us Free

Vain imaginations and idle thoughts will drive us to distraction. They cause stress and come straight from the pit of hell (2 Corinthians 10:5; Romans 1:21; Genesis 6:5; 1Chronicles 28:9).

If we listen to negative self-talk long enough, we start to believe it is true. We listen to Satan’s lies and this ruins our relationships with God and other people (John 8:44).

Satan’s lies demean, belittle, undermine and accuse us (Revelation 12:10). They keep us in bondage and debilitate us in our endeavors to serve God with our life.

Satan attempts to keep us in bondage to his lies. The only way to overcome Satan’s debilitating talk is to counter his lies with God’s Truth and Word. (www.theophostic.com)

Then, we can walk in God’s Spirit and believe only what God says about us. By His mercy and because of His love, God takes away the shame and misery caused by our sins (Titus 3:5; Ephesians 2:4).

He calls us to the ministry of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:11-21). We do not count anyone’s sin against them, but we bring to them a word of loving understanding and mercy, without compromising God’s Word (2 Corinthians 5:19).

Prayer:
Father God, teach us to take our thoughts captive and to make them obedient to Christ rather than the devil (2 Corinthians 10:5). Give us the victory over sin and death by our relationship with our Lord, Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 15:57).

Remind us to follow Your will for our life rather than following the mold, into which Satan or someone else in our life attempts to squeeze us. Help us to walk in Your will for us each and every moment of every day (Ephesians 2:10).

Thought for the Day:
God’s Truth always sets us free. – John 8:32

Healing Relationships – Part 3

Any time that we give power over our self-worth to another person, rather than to God alone, we are making that person an idol in our life.

As we discover our healthy self-worth in Christ, based on knowing His Word and how He feels about us, then we can follow the Holy Spirit’s direction in forming safe relationships.

We will still experience negative feelings, such as hurt, fear, anger, loneliness, etc. These feelings are an integral part of life, and they come with the human experience.

It is impossible to love without opening our self up to be hurt. When we choose to love someone, we are giving him/her the power to love us and to look to us to be loved.

However, we can love without also giving them the power to hurt us or to allow their words and actions to cause us to feel insecure, angry or frightened.

When someone’s words or behavior trigger a negative reaction in us, this is a sign that something is very wrong. We can take that negative emotion to God and ask Him to reveal the origin of this sensitivity in us.

There may be an unresolved conflict from our past, which is still very much alive in our subconscious mind; or it may rise from some current situation that is causing this negative feeling. ( http://www.theophostic.com )

Once we submit to God’s healing, these slights and rejection no longer have the power to devastate us like they used to, because we have a spiritual perspective now.

God helps us to resolve our negative feelings, and we have peace within once again. At the same time, we can keep communication open between our self and others.

We can even mention, in a non-accusatory manner, that their behavior or words triggered a fearful or hurtful reaction in us. However, we do not have to attack them or cause a negative reaction in them, just because we are hurt.

Prayer:
Father God, it is so difficult to heal emotionally once we are in a caustic relationship. Our mate expects us to act as we always do. They feel threatened and confused as we start to change.

Remind us to share with them what we are learning and how we are changing, so they will not be surprised by any sudden transformation in our behavior. Create in both of us a clean heart that lives only to serve You in this life.

Thought for the Day:
The best motivation for mutual change in a relationship is to realize that change gives us a better connection.

For more information on our identity in Christ read:
http://fulfilledchristianlife.blogspot.com/2015/02/normal-0-our-identity-in-christ-alone.html

Rebounding Does Not Always Mean to Bounce Back

The practice of rebounding occurs during basketball, but also during dating. It is used to describe a new relationship, which occurs by ricocheting from the door slamming on a past relationship. The person who is rebounding falls for one of the first people to give them attention after their divorce, and they quickly form a commitment without consulting the Lord.

This is tragic. In new relationships, we should take our time and seek the Lord’s will in them. We need to pay attention to every red flag that pops up during our interaction with this new person. It is far better to live alone than to shackle oneself to someone, which is not God’s will for us (Proverbs 21:9, 25:24; Proverbs 17:1). We need to spend quality and quantity of time with any new person.

Carnal attraction is the main reason many people choose a mate; yet, this wanes with familiarity. If we do not develop a friendship and a genuine caring connection, our new relationship may not weather life’s storms either. We will end up in another bad situation and heading for divorce court all over again.

Instead, use your time as a single person to minister as the Lord directs, join group activities to cultivate new friendships and work in church ministries to meet people who share your common bond of faith. If God wants you married, He will bring along a new mate in His timing. He may take longer than you would like, because He wants to work out issues in your personality and soul, which need healing first.

Prayer:
Father God, sometimes divorce is inevitable, especially in cases of infidelity or if our partner is determined to leave us. Please help us to focus on our relationship with You in our times of grief and solitude. Remind us that watching romantic movies and reading novels will reinforce our feelings of loneliness. Keep us from rebounding or using addictions to fill the void in our life. The deeper we delve into Your Word, Your people and Your ministries, the less lonely we will feel and the more Your joy will fill our heart. Joy and contentment in You will ease our feelings of isolation and disappointment.

Thought for the Day:
Listening to Christian worship and hanging out with the Body of Christ, as we focus on God’s will for our life, will help to fill our soul with God’s peace, joy and love.

For further reading, check out:
http://www.focusonthefamily.com/faith/christian_singles/being_single_and_faithful/reentering_the_dating_scene_after_divorce.aspx

Reacting to Life

When we are attacked for our choices and feelings, we must fight with spiritual weapons, not carnal, human ones. Our warfare is not against a person, but against the spiritual powers, which operate behind the scenes and through people. Realizing who the real enemy is enables us to fight with the spiritual weapons the Lord gives us (2 Corinthians 10:4).

My father reacted to life as a bipolar, rage-aholic. In my younger years, I compliantly did as I was told; but with age, I learned his behavior and I stood up for myself. I used anger to protect my interests when anyone made a decision that affected me, or when they did not listen to my feelings or my needs, discounted or ignored me, or did not take me seriously.

After I surrendered my life to Christ, I still used anger to make people take me seriously. What I did not realize is that anger is not God’s way (James 1:20). Anger manipulated me into acting as a tool of the devil. He discouraged and wounded people through my outbursts of anger. The root of any issue goes deeper than human decisions, personalities, schedules and life choices.

With time, I learned to gain the person’s undivided attention and to express very firmly that my needs are either not negotiable, or that an alternate decision needs to be made that I am comfortable with. This is an effective method if the other person is spirit-led and listens to my needs, does not discount or ignore me, and takes me seriously.

Otherwise, I make it very clear, without anger, that I am upset about the decision being made; and I will make alternative decisions, which will provide for my needs. Divorce is never an option, and quitting a job before securing another one is not advisable. However, we can protect our self from another person’s upsetting decisions and behavior, by getting counseling and by using a time of separation to work out the opposing issues needing reconciliation.

Prayer,
Father God, remind us that we are all living in spiritual warfare (1 Peter 5:8). If Satan can use some decision to split a relationship, he will do it. Your Word tells us to turn the other cheek and to go the extra mile (Mt. 5:39); but after we do this, we often need to take a stand. Help us to journal our feelings, to pray about the situation, to ask You to intervene on our behalf and then to try to communicate our needs once again. Remind us that a period of separation for the purpose of reconciliation allows both parties to live apart for a time, to get counseling and to find a way to resolve the issue, which is causing them grief.

Thought for the Day:
Put the devil to flight and preserve your marriage and other relationships by preferring one another, never insisting on your own way, laying down both sets of preferences and finding a third alternative with which you can both live happily. – James 4:7

God’s Plans in Our Losses

Living life as a good person does not guarantee our earthly success or our place in eternity (Galatians 3:21). Beliefs founded on humanistic philosophy may change our life and give us temporary relief, but it does not last for eternity. Only the Word and Will of God are entirely righteous and true (Psalm 19:9). God is patient with our unbelief, because He does not want anyone to die in their sin (2 Peter 3:9).

He walks with us through every valley and gives us His joy as our strength (Psalm 23; Nehemiah 8:10). For instance, after 22 years of marriage, the love of my life decided that he could no longer live with my Italian emotionalism. A wall of constant misunderstandings stood between us, so he determined that there was no option for us but divorce. I was shocked and in disbelief; yet, I did not want to live where I was not loved.

God proved that He has a perfect plan and purpose for us all (Ephesians 2:10). He led me to relocate and to attend divorce recovery classes in two different churches in order to heal from my loss. I learned that God still had plans for me, which did not include my former husband. One day when I least expected it, in a crowded Books-a-Million bookstore, I divinely met a pastor whose wife recently decided to end their union too.

Now, after 20 years of marriage to this wonderful man who dwells with me with understanding (1 Peter 3:7), I can see from hindsight that in both of our lives God used these devastating, negative circumstances for our good (Romans 8:28). In this new union, we appreciate each other’s gifts and character as we serve God together. We truly cherish one another, even with all of our idiosyncrasies (Ephesians 4:12-16).

Prayer:
Father God, we may be hesitant to put our total faith in You, but You always prove that Your ways will bring us ultimate fulfillment. We are so grateful that we can trust You to work out for our good every circumstance, no matter how devastating it is (Romans 8:28). You help us to grieve the loss of our relationships, health, wealth and material possessions. Although, crying may last through many nights, Your joy always comes in the morning (Psalm 30:5).

Thought for the Day:
We can trust in God’s ways, even when they do not coincide with our view of the perfect life, because His ways are always perfect, even when we experience trials, heartache, loss and devastation.
– Psalm 18:30; 2 Sam 22:31; Deuteronomy 32:4