eternal · Family life · home · Husband · joy · Marriage · memories · Refreshment · refreshment at home · Refreshment in marriage · Speech

Ten Stress-Reducers for Marriage

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For my Family Friday post today, I’m going to share my husband’s great thoughts from his message series of Putting Hope in Your Marriage.  These are practical for every marriage – stress or no stress!

  1. Refresh daily with God’s Word.  Only His Word can help YOU be what you need to be.
  2. Always put your spouse first.  This requires humility…see point #1!
  3. Build together time into your schedule.  If you don’t put it in, it likely won’t happen.
  4. Learn to say “NO.” This means you’re saying, “Yes” to more important things!
  5. Cut out ministries that are burdensome and stale.  If you’re plugging away at a ministry at church with no heart, it’s better to give it up and get refreshed.  This will also allow you time to pour into your marriage, which is your FIRST ministry!
  6. Serve together!  Aquila and Priscilla served as a husband/wife team.  Where could you serve with your spouse rather than away from him?
  7. Communicate clearly and respectfully. Don’t use your words to punish!
  8. Plan ahead. The anticipation of a fun date or time together is half the fun to me!  If you plan it ahead of time, it will help you get through the stress-filled days of life!
  9. Be “touchy.” Hold hands, hug, love with touch.  It’s amazing what a loving hug will do after a hard time, isn’t it?!
  10. Trust God.  That means trust Him together.  Stop together and pray about that stress.  Read a passage of Scripture to your husband that encouraged your heart in the midst of your difficult day.

Thank the Lord for a marriage that can give one another hope in stressful times!  Add some encouragement to your spouse today!

I’m excitedly heading to Michigan today for a Ladies’ Retreat!  It’s cold and snowy up there, but I’m looking so forward to sharing time in God’s Word together!  His Word is like an oasis in the midst of a blizzard, but I’m packing lots of warm layers anyway!!!  I pray you have a refreshing weekend!

Refresh your marriage with hope!

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eternal · salvation

I Was The Reason Jesus Suffered

 

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About eight years ago, I got the call most citizens dread – Jury Duty.  Not only was I called in for my turn to serve, I happened to be called in to serve on the Grand Jury.  I wasn’t really sure what my responsibilities would be, but they definitely let us know when we reported in.

One item on our “To-Do” list was to tour the local prisons.  It was pretty creepy, to be honest. Being stared at by inmates wearing orange jumpsuits was a bit unnerving.  But I also realized that our jails are pretty “cushy” in comparison to years ago.  With basketball courts and televisions, I was surprised at what luxuries they really had.

When you visit the Holy Land and walk in the steps of Christ as He was on the way to Calvary to die for the sins of the world, you are shown the judgment halls where He was questioned and tried -nothing like the prison cells I visited!  Even these preliminary places were dismal and frightening.

After His trial, He was taken to Caiaphas’ house where there were cells underground.

No light.

Dampness.

Filth.

Cold.

Solitude.

Here He was beaten and left alone.  Matthew 25:56 reminds us that Then all the disciples forsook him, and fled.

While our group was down in this cell, we sang,

Man of sorrows what a name
for the Son of God, who came
ruined sinners to reclaim:
Hallelujah, what a Savior!

2 Bearing shame and scoffing rude,
in my place condemned he stood,
sealed my pardon with his blood:
Hallelujah, what a Savior!

3 Guilty, helpless, lost were we;
blameless Lamb of God was he,
sacrificed to set us free:
Hallelujah, what a Savior!

4 He was lifted up to die;
“It is finished” was his cry;
now in heaven exalted high:
Hallelujah, what a Savior!

5 When he comes, our glorious King,
all his ransomed home to bring,
then anew this song we’ll sing:
Hallelujah, what a Savior!

To stand and try to sing that song through the emotion of all Christ did for us, was overwhelming, to say the least.  I watched as one man standing near me buried his face in his hands and wept, unashamedly.  I think we all did.  It was so much to take in that Christ endured THIS and much more for me – no, because of me!

I wiped my tears, and we headed out of that cold, damp cell.  I stepped up and out into…

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the beautiful, warm sunshine!  The picture above was my immediate view.  A rose.  I wept again.  I was going free.  I was in the warmth of sunshine.  I could see the beauty of this creation – His creation.  But Jesus, the Rose of Sharon, chose to suffer.  He chose to allow the soldiers to beat Him.  He chose to lay His life down so that I could be free.  Free from sin.  Free from death and hell.

What amazing love!  What a Savior!  How I praise His name.

I’ve shared this before, but I love this song that sums it all up so beautifully…

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Caiaphas’ House

It would all be for naught if we do not receive His sacrifice for our sins.  You must receive His free gift of salvation as the only means to have your sins forgive and to go to heaven.  He did it all. He died for you, my friend.  He loves you.  You, too, were the reason He suffered.

Have you trusted in Christ as your Savior?  When was the last time you really considered all He suffered on your behalf?  When was the last time you thanked Him, really thanked Him for dying on the cross for you?  You’re free if you know Christ; aren’t you GLAD?!

Rejoicing in my Savior,

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children · eternal · evangelism · salvation

Family Friday – A Mom’s Greatest Privilege

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January is a busy birthday month for our family. Our son-in-law celebrated his a couple weeks ago. My husband’s is on the 22nd.  Today we celebrate my mom’s 80th!!   What a blessing she is with her love for the Lord, her family and her home.She has been a blessing to all that know her, and I am thankful to call her my mom!   Happy Birthday, Mom!

Our oldest daughter, Whitney celebrated a special birthday last week – it was her 28th spiritual birthday. When she was three and a half she trusted Christ as her Savior. You may be thinking, “Three and a half? How could a child that young understand how to be saved?” I don’t know how the Lord works in a sinner’s heart, but I know that He does.

From the moment she was born, we told her of God’s love, of Jesus dying on the cross, that sin was what we say or do that doesn’t please God, etc. One evening after she’d been listening to a Patch the Pirate tape about a little boy trusting Christ as his Savior, she told me she wanted to do that too. I wasn’t sure how much she understood, but after talking with her, I knew she wouldn’t be satisfied until she prayed. Her prayer was simple and sincere, trusting as a child can.

As she grew up I didn’t want to keep reminding her of her decision at that early age. If there was ever a doubt in her heart, I wanted her to feel free to make it sure. However, she never doubted what God did for her on that day!

Our responsibility and privilege as moms is to keep telling our children about the Lord, His love and Christ’s sacrifice for them in terms they can understand. We do it as Deuteronomy 6:4-7 admonishes us – while we sit, when we rise, when we lie down, when we get up. This means all through the day in the activities you find yourself doing, make it a natural part of your conversation to talk about the Lord.

Ask the Lord to help you make spiritual applications using the snow, bath bubbles, gardening – whatever you’re doing. It will be a natural conversation, not something that is forced, and when your child understands and is ready to receive Christ, it will probably be at one of those very informal times. When both of my girls trusted Christ, we were at home, doing things we do each day. The Lord may touch your child’s heart when they are at church, but your home can also be the sanctuary in which they are saved.

One year Whitney wrote me on her spiritual birthday and said,

“Thank you for introducing me to Jesus.”

I read that and wept, as I also do at this moment. Is there any privilege any greater than that? She and her sister are two treasures that by God’s grace I get to take to heaven with me! How sweet eternity will be!

To all you young moms – just keep telling the story. Tell it. Sing it. Share it. You may have another birthday at your house as a result!

How old were you when you got saved?

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Christmas · eternal · Family life · Women's roles

How to Stop Wifely Christmas Grumbles

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In a favorite episode of Andy Griffith, Aunt Bea goes out of town for a few days.  While she’s away, Andy and Opie TRASH the house while living their bachelor days in her absence.  When Andy tries to make Opie understand that their mess might be upsetting to Aunt Bea, Opie recalls the words he’s heard his great aunt say, and  what he thought she might say when she returns to find the disaster –

Land sakes alive!  Look at this mess; just look at it!  If it weren’t for me, this house wouldn’t be fit to live in!

Most wives can probably relate in some way to that scenario.  We dust, shine, mop, vacuum, and pick up – only to have to do it all again after the family has “lived” in it for a day!

But then we add into our busy worlds one word – HOLIDAYS -and we find ourselves with even more responsibilities than Dollywood has Christmas lights!  It can be really easy to fall into the “Aunt Bea” mode and mumble under our breath and complain about the holiday tasks that fall into our already full laps.

Our mumbling might include statements like:

I have to shop for the gifts, purchase the gifts and wrap them.

If I don’t schedule a time for our annual Christmas card picture, it never would happen!  Then I have to address the cards, seal them. and get them to the Post office.

I have eight different kinds of cookies to bake because everyone will expect them, and of course no one helps make them or clean up the mess, but they sure are there to eat them!

Then, of course, I have to buy the gifts and wrap the gifts!

If I left the tree decorating to my family it never would get done either!

Let’s face it – the whole Christmas celebration is up to me and I’m about worn out!!!!

It’s about that time that you can hear, instead of words, the honking sound, like Snoopy’s teacher:

 

No one wants to listen because of the terrible “sqwaking” that’s coming from our lips.

How do I know?

I’ve been there.

I’ve sqwaked.”

I’ve complained.

I was wrong.

Okay, so much of the doing of Christmas is up to us as the female in the home, but the attitude and heart with which it is done can make it either sweet or spoiled. How might we spoil it?

  1. Negative talk about our husband.  This is simply wrong.  He is the head of the home and is to be honored. Eph 5:33  Would we rather take on that responsibility?  I wouldn’t!  That’s a load every single day – not just at Christmas.  Let’s let our husband lead, and let’s you and I help make him the best leader by lending a hand with all our feminine ways.  That includes:
  • Planning
  • Cooking
  • Baking
  • Purchasing
  • Decorating
  • Wrapping

2.  Not doing our work to glorify God.  I Cor. 10:31  If we work ourselves to death and do it with a wrong attitude we shouldn’t be expected to be rewarded in heaven.  We got our reward – everyone’s pity (and maybe their distance from us, too!).  Let’s do all we do as unto the Lord.  Oh, that we would make our efforts like the precious gifts brought to the Christ child by the wise kings!

3.  Having an ungrateful heart.  A thankful spirit will be grateful for the:

  • Family we have to serve – I know some wives who have gone to heaven this past year.  Their families will be missing them this Christmas.  You and I are here; let’s make our families glad!
  • Health with which we can serve – This can be taken in an instant.  Be thankful you can walk, work, and think!
  • Provision for the cards, gifts and foods to prepare – Everything we have is a gift from God, and we have far more than most!
  • Reason we are celebrating!!!  Don’t lose the focus of this celebration; it’s all about Christ!

Maybe we need to do as I suggested yesterday and simplify our Christmas; make it a little easier on ourselves!  Our families would probably be fine with a little less decor, baked goods and gifts if it would mean we are sweeter and more fun to be near!

Have you been muttering under your breath?  Ask God to forgive you, then when you get up off your knees, ask your family’s forgiveness, too.  Start the day over with

  1. No more husband bashing,
  2. Work that glorifies God.
  3. A thankful heart.

Watch and  see what a difference it will make in your Christmas preparations!

Who’s with me?  

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Christian Life · eternal

Don’t Regret Today

I wrote this post four years ago, but its message is relevant today. Tell me if you agree.

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“We were going  to do this”, and “We planned to do that, but it just never happened!” 

Have you found yourself saying that about things you had thought you might do this December?  I opened my Bible to Proverbs 27 and the first verse I read this morning was,

Boast not thyself of to morrow; for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth.
 
I found myself nodding my head vehemently and thinking, “Boy, that’s the truth!”
 
Just yesterday, I got up feeling well and thought I’d tackled a bunch of projects.  Things were going well until about 10am when my bones started hurting.  My fingers ached, my ribs hurt, then a headache began about the time the cough started.  Oh no, the dreaded flu!  I was down all day and night.  Gone were the things I’d hoped to do.  At this point I didn’t even care that…

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Christian growth · eternal · Life,

Time for a Check Up

You put on your favorite jeans and notice that you have to take a really deep breath in to get them to button up.  An alarm goes off in your head telling you that a couple pounds need to come off!  So, you turn down dessert, say “no” to your coffee treats, and eat salad for lunch for the next week or two. You make another trip into the closet to try the jeans on again and you smile as they button up just fine.

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That little exercise is necessary, if you don’t want to have to buy the next size up in clothes, and you’re going to stay the same healthy weight. It’s a “check-up” that can pay off, if you pay attention.  It’s up to you, isn’t it?  No one is going to tap you on the shoulder and tell you not to eat potato chips and chocolate bars.  We do it for ourselves, if we want to stay fit and healthy.

What about spiritual check-ups?  How do you know when you need to lean away from the worldly influences and lean in harder to what will contribute to your spiritual health?  Reading and hearing God’s Word is one way we determine that, and I pray that even this blog and its simple posts will serve to push you a little closer each week to the God who made you and loves you.

That said, let’s try to “button up your spiritual jeans,” if you will.

  • Do you have an appetite and longing for God’s Word, or is it a duty you’re checking off each day?
  • Are you spending time truly interceding in prayer for your burdens and for others’?
  • Do you love to be in God’s house, or are you making excuses to avoid attending?
  • Are you serving the Lord faithfully at your church and with a right heart (not out of duty or with a critical spirit)?
  • Are you regularly seeking opportunities to share the Gospel with others?
  • Are you spending more time reading/listening to, and watching things that are of no spiritual benefit than you are things that will encourage your walk with God?
  • Are your friends and close companions pushing you closer to the Lord?
  • Are you aware of your sin – mental, attitudes, actions and words?  Do you feel the Spirit of God convict you when you sin?
  • Is your heart and attitude pleasing to God today?

These are questions that I ask myself regularly.  I am reminded that, just like a day or two of eating poorly, it only takes a day or two of disregarding spiritual things to get me away from where I should be – where I want to be, and where God wants me to be.  It’s then that I refocus and I:

  1. Confess the areas the Spirit of God points out to me.
  2. Ask for the Lord’s help to turn away from the things that pull me away from being close to my Savior.
  3. Make changes and say “no” to myself.

Mind you, these things don’t get me to heaven – I have an assurance of that based on God’s Word, that when I called on Him, He saved me from sin, eternal death and hell. But as His child, when I feed on spiritual food, I live out the truly fulfilling, joyful life of a child of God! That’s even better than fitting back into my jeans!

So, have you done some checking up on your spiritual life?  If you don’t have a relationship with God, that’s the starting place!  Here’s a great video that can explain what that means.
I’m so thankful to be a Christian – it’s the joy and delight of my heart!  How about you?  Are you enjoying your Christian life today?  If not, it may be because you need to do a little checking up on your spiritual waistline.

With love,

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eternal · God's character · Olympics

He’s On Our Team!

During the Olympic games we watch for those stars and stripes-studded athletes.  We cheer them on because, after all, they belong to us!  They’re Americans and so are we!  When Katie Ledecky won her swimming gold medals we cry out, “We won!”  She’s on our team, so she made each U.S. citizen a winner!

Psalm 48:14 says,

This God is our God for ever and ever; He will be our guide even unto death.

This God – the God of the universe, the God of might, the God Who answers prayer, the God Who saves and redeems us, the God who loves and forgives, and yes, the God who will care for us even up through the moment of our death – He isn’t just A God, no, He is our God!  He created us to have a relationship with Him.  We don’t have to point down to the Olympic pool and say, “See, there He is!”  No, He is near.  He is present.  He is walking with us, involved in our lives, talking to us.  He is our God.

Have you drawn near to Him today and acknowledged His presence?  Have you picked up His autograph (His Word) and treasured it in your heart today?

We can be even more “proud” that this God is our God than that an olympic winner is on our team.  One day their medals will fade and their glory will wane, but this God is for ever and ever!!  He will be ours that long, too!

Happy Monday!

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