Marriage · Refreshment in marriage

Three Things You Can Do Today To Improve You Marriage

improve Your Marriage

Like any relationship, marriage can get into a rut.  It sounds the same as when you hit those rumble strips on the interstate.  It’s irritating, and it makes you move over, but often it’s not long before you hear that roar again.  Why?  Because you’re kind of daydreaming your way through your marriage.

It’s easy to “fall asleep at the wheel” and not make the efforts in your relationship that you used to make when things were new and fresh.  But I have good news for you today!  If you’re still breathing and your husband also has breath, things can change TODAY!  Let me make three simple suggestions – all that are doable today and cost nothing except your intentionality!

  1. SMILE DAILY (use your lips and your eyes to smile!)
    When he walks in the door.  Smile.
    While you’re listening to him.  Smile.
    When you’re telling him about your day.  Smile.
    When you see him across the room.  Smile.
    It’s easier to be too busy to even look up at one another.  It’s easier to furrow our brows and scowl.  SMILE instead.
    A merry heart doeth good like a medicine.  Proverbs 17:22
  2. MAKE MORE DEPOSITS INTO YOUR MARRIAGE THAN WITHDRAWALS EACH DAY
    Deposit a compliment instead of criticism.  Instead of fussing about the negative thing you’re thinking about, give a compliment of something in which he made you proud.
    Deposit help instead of looking to receive help. I believe husbands should help their wife, but what would happen if we volunteered to run an errand, lift a load, or do a chore for him?  Would we look like Christ in our sacrifice?
    Deposit affection instead of pulling away physically and emotionally.  Put away that cold shoulder, little peck, or icy back.  Pull the wall down with the warmth of your affection.  
    Romans 12:10  Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another.
  3. PRAY FOR YOUR HUSBAND FOR AT LEAST FIVE MINUTES EVERY DAY.
    Pray about the things that irritate you.
    Pray about the weaknesses in your relationship.
    Pray for his burdens, pressures and obligations.
    Pray for your hearts to be knit together stronger than ever.
    Luke 18:1 – Men (women) aught always to pray and not to faint.

Dear wife, I’m convinced that if we would practice these three initiatives DAILY we would have happy husbands, which would equal happy wives, and that boils down to a happy marriage!  Try it and tell me about your results!

Refresh your marriage TODAY!

Prayer · Wife's Role

Fifteen Things To Pray For Your Husband

Time to study and pray before the retreat began.

Hey friend, did you pray for your husband today?

“Well, of course!” you say,

but how specifically did you pray? It’s easy to pray for his safety and spiritual growth, but beyond that, we might not really know what to ask the Lord to do for him and in him.

Today I’m sharing a list of 15 things to pray for your husband, with Scripture verses to use as your prayer guide. For instance, as you pray that your husband lives in accordance to God’s plan for his life, according to Ephesians 4, you could pray,

Lord, as Paul, a prisoner of the Lord prayed that those at Ephesus would walk worthy of the vocation to which they’d been called, please help Dale to walk a life worthy of his calling to the ministry, to his calling as a husband, a father and a grandfather. May he serve with lowliness, meekness and longsuffering. Help him to forbear with others with Christlike love.

Praying in this way is powerful, because we are praying in God’s will from His Word. Here’s the whole list of requests and Scripture passages ~

Praying for your husband

  1. That he lives in accordance with God’s plan for his life (Ephesians 4:1-2)
  2. That he would lean on Christ in his trials (Psalm 46:1)
  3. That he would be a man of integrity.  (Prov 11:3)
  4. That he would not fall to temptation.  (I Cor. 10:13)
  5. That he would be a man of prayer.  (I Thess. 5:17)
  6. That he would be a man of discernment.  (Phil 1:9,10)
  7. That he would love like Christ.  (Eph 5:22-23)
  8. That he would grasp his purpose in Christ.  (Rom 8:28)
  9. That he would trust the Lord to be his strength (Ps 28:7)
  10. That he would be surrounded by godly men.  (Prov 13:20)
  11. That he would grow spiritually.  (II Peter 3:17, 18)
  12. That he would have a humble, teachable spirit (Proverbs 15:33)
  13. That he would be quick to forgive (Ephesians 4:32)
  14. That he would guard His Heart (Proverbs 4:23)
  15. That he would continue to lead and that God would be glorified in your marriage (Ephesians 5:25-29)

Wouldn’t you want someone to pray specifically like that for you? It might even be a really good idea to show the list to your husband and let him know how you’re praying. What a sacrifice of love for your mate!

Print off this page and keep it in your prayer journal or Bible so it will be at your fingertips.

Refresh the heart of your husband with your prayers,

Appetizer · Easy recipe · Fast meal · Fish

Mock Sushi Appetizer

May be an image of food and indoor

It’s crazy how our taste buds “grow up” as we do, isn’t it? I feel like I’ve ventured out a whole lot more in recent years, enjoying more spice than I ever would have tolerated. My husband has definitely branched out in his food choices. He grew up on the basic meat and potatoes diet, and then he married a girl who loves to try new recipes each week! He’s been so accommodating and has willingly tried everything I put on the table.

One area we’ve both grown to appreciate is sushi – him even more so than me. I love the fish – I don’t always love the additions. Knowing his love for sushi, I decided to venture out and try an easy “sushi” kind of appetizer for our Valentine’s dinner. Wow! We both LOVED it!

This recipe is from one of my favorite food blogs – Skinny Taste. She calls this a Spicy California Shrimp Stack. It’s not wrapped in the sushi paper – instead, you pile each ingredient into a measuring cup, pack it in, then flip it over onto the plate. It’s then topped with a drizzle of soy sauce and Sriracha Mayo. If you don’t have Sriracha, don’t worry – I used hot sauce in its place and it was delicious!

May be an image of food and indoor

My stacks aren’t quite as pretty as hers, but my measuring cups aren’t straight sides – they’re sloped, so my are more like “domes” than stacks! It didn’t change the taste, and that’s all that matters!! Here’s the simple recipe and instructions I found on her site:

Spicy California Shrimp Stack – From Skinny Taste

  • 1 1/3 cups cooked brown rice – I usually always make extra and keep it in the freezer. So handy!
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 8 ounces cooked shrimp, peeled and tails removed
  • 1 cup diced cucumber, about 1 small
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh chives
  • 1/2 cup mashed avocado, about 1 medium
  • 4 teaspoons sesame seeds
  • 4 teaspoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 4 teaspoons mayonnaise – I used light mayo
  • 1 teaspoon sriracha sauce – I used hot sauce

Directions:

  • Cook rice according to package directions, omitting salt and oil.  When rice is done, add rice vinegar and stir.  Evenly spread rice on a sheet pan to cool.
  • Cut shrimp into 1-inch cubes. In a small bowl, combine cucumber and chives. In another small bowl, combine mayonnaise and sriracha sauce.
  • Using a 1 cup dry measuring cup, layer ¼ cup cucumber, then 2 tablespoon of avocado, then ¼ of the shrimp, and 1/3 cup rice.
  •  Carefully turn the cup upside down to turn the stack out onto a plate, lightly tapping the bottom of the cup if necessary.  Sprinkle with Furikake and drizzle with 1 teaspoon soy sauce and sriracha mayonnaise.
  •  Repeat with remaining ingredients.

This was a great appetizer, but would be a wonderful lunch, too! I’m still dreaming about the way it tasted with that spicy mayo on top. Mmmm. I can’t wait to make it again!

Are you a sushi eater? If you like shrimp cocktail, I think you’ll love this recipe!

What food do you eat today that you wouldn’t have eaten in years past?

Discipleship · Mentoring

A Favorite Tool for Building Girls

The right tool can help accomplish a task with skill and precision! The right knife to cut bread easily, a food processor that can grate a block of cheese in seconds, and good pans that allow you to cook without the food scorching or sticking are all SO helpful.

While the right tools are essential in the kitchen, they are also needed to disciple women and girls! Let me explain ~

I have a precious 12-year old neighbor girl who trusted Christ after Bible Club at my house a few years back. Because she doesn’t attend church, I’ve been so burdened to help her grow in Christ. As she will soon be entering her teen years, I wanted to help her to learn to make right choices, based on God’s Word. How would I do that?

Then I learned about a book, by Dana Gresh written especially for girls! The book is called, Lies Girls Believe. As I looked through its pages, I knew that this book could serve as just the right tool to help me teach her about God’s Word.

Image result for lies girls believe and the truth that sets them free

We are all faced with the lies of this world. Young girls are especially vulnerable. They hear things like,

  • God is not enough!
  • I have to be pretty or popular to be valuable.
  • There are things I could do that would make God stop loving me.
  • My parents just don’t get me.
  • Being a mom or homemaker isn’t important.
  • I don’t need to talk to my mom about stuff going on in my life.

These are just some of the lies that are addressed in the book. I was impressed with how relevant the topics were to my young friend’s life. The illustrations shared in the book were from real girls in real situations in which girls can truly relate.

Image result for lies girls believe and the truth that sets them free

I’m sharing this in case you have a daughter between 10-12, or you know a girl that age – a niece, a granddaughter, a girl at church, or in your neighborhood. Who will share TRUTH with her if you don’t?

Are you frightened you won’t know what to do? Well, just like we learn how to use those kitchen tools, you can learn to disciple a young girl! To be honest, I was a little afraid, too! I was afraid she wouldn’t open up, or that I wouldn’t know what to say, but as in anything we do for the Lord, He gives strength and wisdom to accomplish the task!

Let me share with you how I structured my time as we went through the book:

  • I kept communication open with her mom. Some of the topics were sensitive and I always wanted to give her mom a heads-up (like when we were going to discuss her menstrual cycle).
  • I made it casual. In the summertime, we sat out on the back porch. In the winter, we were in the living room on the sofa, in our sock feet with the fire burning.
  • I offered a beverage and sometimes a snack or dessert (depending on the time of day we were able to meet.) Girls love chocolate for the most part, so I often just had snack-sized candy bars or small cookies out so she could indulge, if she wanted to.
  • I stayed flexible. Between school and sporting events, she’s busy, so I tried to open up my week to work whenever she was available.
  • I had her read the illustrations about Zoe, the “main character,” who helped us learn each week’s lesson. We would go back and forth reading the chapter out loud. I would have things underlined or marked in my book ahead of time, so I’d remember parts where I wanted to stop and ask her questions.
Image result for lies girls believe and the truth that sets them free
  • I tried to be very transparent. In the chapter where we discussed the lie It’s okay to be boy-crazy! I honestly shared with her that I had believed that as a teen. I told her my regrets in doing so. I also shared with her how I sought God’s will after high school and how God directed my life. I shared my salvation testimony, and many other examples from my own life.
  • Sometimes we would do an activity together to illustrate the lesson. One week when talking about watching shows with just a little bit of cursing or sinful lifestyles, we made No-Bake Cookies together. I had a container of bleach on the counter and suggested that we pour in just a tablespoon of the bleach into the ingredients “just to see what would happen.” Of course I had no intention of doing so, but when we discussed our lesson while enjoying our cookies, I reminded her that “just a little bit of cursing” in a movie was as dangerous for us as the bleach would have been. I think she got the point!
    On the week we discussed friends, we crafted a card for her to give to her friend.
  • I ended the book by doing something special together. On the night of the final chapter, I took her to dinner and gave her several restaurant options. Each restaurant was a place where there was an extensive menu. After she’d chosen the place and then ordered her dinner, I told her that just like she had to make a choice for our restaurant and for her dinner, she would have to choose Truth for the rest of her life. We reiterated again how she would do that.

As of this week, we’re finished with the study, but she will continue to be in my regular prayers. I will text her occasionally to ask her how she’s doing with digging into God’s Word for Truth. And oh, will I miss seeing her so frequently! (We’ve discussed doing another study perhaps this summer.) But I’m also seeking another girl with whom I could do this study.

Who might you invest in by using this simple, but powerful tool? This is a wonderful use of your time and your testimony. Unlike my food processor or knives, this is a tool that will give eternal results!

What questions or fears do you have about discipling a young girl?

Refresh the life of a pre-teen and pour your life into hers!

Coronavirus · God's character · God's Love · trust

Trusting My Father

This life has lots of hard questions –

Why is Covid still lingering?
Why hasn’t God taken it away?
Is He powerful enough to do so?

Last week I shared one answer to those questions. Today I want to give one more…

We won’t always understand God’s reasons for what He’s doing. Sometimes God is silent.  I think of Job’s trial when God asked him in Job 38 ~

Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if thou hast understanding. Hast thou perceived the breadth of the earth? declare if thou knowest it all.19 Where is the way where light dwelleth? and as for darkness, where is the place thereof,

At those times (and there are lots of them in Scripture and in our lives), we simply trust God. How can we trust Him?  We come to know Him.

My dad didn’t owe me an explanation; he was father!  He did what was best for me.  Sometimes he did indeed surprise me by stopping into that custard stand, but there were more times when he drove right on by.

On a much higher plane, when we come to know Who God is in the pages of His Word, we will learn that whether He does what we want, or if He does something we don’t understand, we can trust Him! We wouldn’t complain or shake our finger in God’s face if we could understand that He was protecting us from danger, or preparing us for something even more difficult in the future.  

The Egyptians who chased after the Israelites didn’t have the blessing of the pillar of fire or the cloud to guide them; it was darkness to them.  God will reveal Himself to those that seek Him, but scoffers and accusers stumble in their darkness.

Today when I think of someone when I have ice cream you know who it is? It’s my dad! What a giver of good gifts. But God is even greater! Can God stop the virus? Of course.  Why hasn’t He yet?  I don’t know, but HE does, and I trust His character to do what is best for me.

Friend, you may be wondering why God is allowing some other kind of trial to go on in your life, you may have a question about His ways, but the answers shared above all apply. Open your Bible. See His character and trust Him as your Father who loves you more than you can ever imagine.

Refresh your trust in a loving, providential and righteous God.

Denise