5 Thoughts On Developing A Lasting Marriage

June is the month of weddings and I wanted to give a little advice.  Here are my five thoughts on developing a long-lasting marriage.

  • Don’t expect your spouse to be the same year after year.  We all grow and change.  I’ve been married to the same man for over 40 years.  Neither of us is the same as we were then.  It’s been rather fun to meet a new person, who shares my bed and house, every few years.
  • Never stop talking, laughing and crying, together!  Life is tough.  There’s no way around that. Weathering the storms and celebrating the high points is all part of it.
  • Always (!!!) support one another.  Let no one say anything about your spouse that is demeaning, degrading or discrediting.  Stand up for one another!
  • Marriage is not a game!  Scorekeeping is unacceptable.  If you’re feeling that your spouse is not keeping up their end of the bargain.  Tell them.  Talk it out.  None of us have billboards on our foreheads that tell the other what we’re thinking.  Most of the time all you have to do is ask.  Try it!
  • Be kind, thoughtful, forgiving and loving.  Long marriages sometimes evolve into taking advantage of the love you have for one another.  We’re all going to do and say dumb things from time to time.  Get over it and get on with it.

Here’s a then and now picture.  Enjoy!

Blessings to you and yours!

Marie

Recently, this post was sent to me on my FB page.  It is so true of our marriage and I hope of yours, too!

For all of you so eager to call it quits and throw in the towel on your relationships because everything isn’t “perfect”…here is some food for thought. Lifelong commitment is not what most people think it is. It’s not waking up every morning to make breakfast and eat together. It’s not cuddling in bed until both of you fall asleep, peacefully, at night. It’s not a clean home filled with laughter and lovemaking, every day. It’s someone who steals all the covers (and snores!). It’s slammed doors and a few harsh words, at times. It’s stubbornly disagreeing and giving each other the silent treatment until your hearts heal…and, then…FORGIVENESS! It’s coming home to the same person, every day, that you know LOVES and CARES about you in spite of (and because of) who you are. It’s laughing about the one time you accidentally did something stupid. It’s about dirty laundry and unmade beds WITHOUT finger pointing. It’s about helping each other with the hard work of life! It’s about swallowing the nagging words instead of saying them out loud. It’s about eating the cheapest and easiest meal you can make and sitting down together late to eat because you both had a crazy day. It’s when you have an emotional breakdown and your Love lays with you and holds you and tells you everything is going to be okay…and you BELIEVE them. It’s about still loving someone even though, sometimes, you make them absolutely insane. Living with the person you love is not perfect
…sometimes it’s hard, but it’s amazing and comforting and one of the BEST things you’ll ever experience!

(This article is from Hopewell Baptist Church page on Facebook.)

 

 

Praying the Jesus Way

 

In Matthew 6 Jesus gives us a model for our prayers and a few pointers on the how to do it.  In verses 5-8 He wants His followers to pray in a way that draws them close to God the Father without making a show of it like the hypocrites.  Then He gives the ideal place for it to happen, a place that is secluded.  By shutting the door He shows that there should be no outside influence.  He also said don’t be constantly repeating your words and going on and on.  You see God already knows what we’re praying for so keep it short and focused.

The perfect model is then given in verses 9-13:

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Each of the 6 points of this prayer lead us to total focus on the One who hears and answers.

  1. Focus on God and praise Him–Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be Your name.  
  2. Focus on God’s plan and purpose–Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done
  3. Focus on what you need–Give us this day our daily bread
  4. Focus on forgiveness for yourself and for others–Forgive us our debts (trespasses/sins) and we forgive our debtors (those who trespass/sin against us).
  5. Focus on God’s guidance in daily challenges
  6. Focus on giving God total control–For Thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory

Verses 14-15 are extremely important!  We must forgive others if we expect to be forgiven by God.  It’s pretty clear isn’t it?

Blessings to you and yours!

Marie

Why I’ve Given Up On Forgiving Myself

 

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Whenever I read or hear someone saying, but you have to forgive yourself, I ask, why. There is absolutely nowhere in the Bible that says forgive yourself.

We are told to forgive others but never ourselves. (Matthew 6:12b) Why? Because we are not God. We cannot judge ourselves. Only God knows the reasons or motives behind our actions.

God chooses not to remember our sins. He doesn’t forget them He just doesn’t want to remember them. Perhaps that’s what God wants us to do. Move on, get over it, quit rolling it around in our minds…just forget it. If we are dredging up the past in our thoughts, we are recommitting the sin. Yes, that is Biblical. Take a look at what God says about lusting in Matthew 5:28. Basically, even if you’re thinking it, you’re doing it. Look at Proverbs 4:23. Your life is shaped by your thoughts.

Another way to look at this concept is through the eyes of one who is forgiven. Do you believe that you are forgiven? Do you understand that when Jesus went to the cross He took every one of our sins on Himself? Aren’t you basically saying His death doesn’t matter?

The evil one loves this thought pattern. When we minimize what Jesus did by saying I must forgive myself, satan has a door to enter our thoughts. The second we try to make forgiving about our own ability we have made ourselves God, or at least tried to.

Paul says in Romans 8:1, there is no more condemning for those who believe in Jesus. If you believe that is true, then there is no reason to be concerned with forgiving yourself. Jesus already did the hard work. We are cleansed, washed clean and totally forgiven because of His never-ending grace. We’ve got to get over this need to do it ourselves. He did it! Let that be it!

I must add, however, that we cannot assume that we can go on sinning. It should be our greatest desire never to sin again. Even though we have been ‘made new’ we are probably going to fall into the sin pit again. The Bible is quite clear on the process at that point… Ask for forgiveness from the One and Only… Accept His loving response (Go and sin no more-John 4:1-42)…Do not return to that sin in thought, word or deed… Move on, walk away, give it up…

Heavenly Father, it is my greatest desire not to sin against You in thought, word, or deed. Yet I do. Forgive my bent to thoughts, words, and actions that do not reflect You to the world around me. Help me to listen for the ‘voice’ of the Spirt in everything I think, do, and say. Teach me Your word so that I will know what You want. Make it so in Jesus name.

Blessings to you and yours!

Marie

I have been greatly honored to write this article for Blogs for Christian Women.  Click on the highlighted words and see what others are writing about it.

 

If My People

praying-1319101_960_720One of my favorite scriptures is 2 Chronicles 7:14.  It calms my heart every time I hear a new report of violence, shooting, terrorism, election rhetoric, job loss, sickness… I fully believe that God can do what He says He can do.  In this verse, He gives us the privilege of knowing what He will do if we follow His command.

If my people, who are called by My name, will humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.

We are His people, called by His name.  He wants us to humble ourselves, to remember that we are not God.  We cannot do anything without Him.

We are to pray.  That’s the one thing He desires most by those called His.  He wants us to communicate with Him.  He really doesn’t care how.  He simply wants to hear from us.

We are to seek His face.  Every nuance of facial expression tells the listener what the speaker intends.  Since all scripture is God’s (2 Timothy 3:16) it stands to reason that He wants us to know His word.  Unless we know His word we cannot know what is sinful or in the words of this verse, wicked.

Once these are part of our life fabric we can expect some really powerful things to happen.  Remember, God can do what He says He can do.

First, He will hear us.  Is your prayer for healing…He hears it.  Is your prayer for no more violence…He hears it.  Is your prayer for forgiveness…He hears it.  No matter what our prayer is, if we are humble, turn away from our sins, and seek His guidance HE HEARS IT!

Second, He will forgive our wickedness, our sins, any way we fall short.  It really doesn’t matter to Him how big or small our sin is, He can and will forgive it.

Then, He says, “(I) will heal their land.”  With our country in the condition it’s in, with families falling apart, with trust at an all-time low, with…  He will heal this land.

It’s definitely time to get on our knees, to humble ourselves, and to pray (fervently) for his forgiveness and healing.  He, alone, can do what no human can.  He, alone, can forgive.  We can totally trust Him.  He loves us!

Blessings to you and yours!

Marie

church-768613_960_720Check out this beautiful song that uses the words of this scripture.  (Just click on the picture.)

 

Search Me

bible-1089930__180Search me, O God, and know my heart;  test me and know my anxious thoughts.  See if there is any offensive (wicked) way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.   Psalm 139:23-24

When was the last time you dedicated time to searching your heart for offense and wickedness?  What would happen if we were to do that on a regular basis?   If you’re ready to do a little (a lot of) soul searching read on.

Many times our anxious thoughts come from an unforgiving heart.  If we are refusing to forgive, for any reason, that is offensive to God.

bible-216962__180For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.  But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.  Matthew 6:14-15

Did you notice verse 15.  If I (you) do not forgive others He will not forgive me (you). Those are powerful words.  I can’t bear the thought of not being forgiven, can you?

Are there situations and issues in your life that you think are unfair and you are unwilling to forgive those who have harmed you?  Of course, there are.  Everyone has them.  There are people and actions that seem, or really are, unfair and out of our control at the time they happen.  What should we be doing about that?  Let God have total control of all that happens to us, against, for us, without us…   Give it to God!   Ask Him to make you totally aware of any anger, bitterness, resentment, or envy you are harboring against anyone.  Only when the burden is given to Him can we move forward and forgive.

bible-102684_960_720Create in me a clean heart, oh God, and renew a right spirit in me.  Psalm 51:10

Blessings to you and yours!

Marie

 

God’s To-Do List

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What if God kept a list?  A ‘to-do’ list of sorts?  I’m sure if He did he would have every name of every person that has ever been.  Let’s clear this up.  God does NOT keep a list.  Both the Old and New Testament attest to that.

“But I, yes I, am the one
    who takes care of your sins—that’s what I do.
    I don’t keep a list of your sins.”   Isaiah 43:25

Love never gives up.
Love cares more for others than for self.
Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have.
Love doesn’t strut,
Doesn’t have a swelled head,
Doesn’t force itself on others,
Isn’t always “me first,”
Doesn’t fly off the handle,
Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others,
Doesn’t revel when others grovel,
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
Puts up with anything,
Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best,
Never looks back,
But keeps going to the end.     1 Corinthians 13:5-7 

But what if He did keep a list?  Might it look like this?

Adam     Loved & Forgiven

Eve     Loved & Forgiven

Jael     Loved & Forgiven (Judges 4:21)

David     Loved & Forgiven

Daniel     Loved & Forgiven

The Disciples of Jesus     Loved & Forgiven

The Woman at the Well     Loved & Forgiven

Everyone     Loved

All Believers     Loved & Forgiven

Did you catch that?  Everyone is loved by God.  His heart is broken by those who refuse to believe.  Those who will not recognize they are sinners…  Those who simply say there is no God…   Those who say I am more important, intelligent, talented…than the Great I AM…

Even though God does not keep lists, He loves and wants to forgive every person.  He will!  All we need to do is ask.

Abba, Father, give me a heart to reach out to those who do not know You.  Grant me the ability to know when I should share Your love and what I should share of Your Message.  Let me love like You and forgive with total forgetfulness.  Make it so in the Precious Name of Jesus, my Lord and Savior.

Abba’s Child | Book Review

Abba's ChildDo you wonder about God’s personal love for us?  Do you have a background of little to no love as a child and have always been searching for it?  Are you a perfectionist with thoughts of I’m just not good enough?  This book might be for you.

God’s love (and grace) has nothing to do with not living up to your own or other’s expectations.  It is simple in its complexity.  It has little, to nothing, to do with you/me and everything to do with the One who forgave every complex bit of ourselves on the cross.  We are so wrapped up in what we think is expected that we choose to lay the burden on others and of course the media.  He loves us and He wants us to converse (i.e., pray) with Him without judging ourselves or letting others judge us.

This book is really about understanding the characteristics that are not particularly valued in our society.  Love, gentleness, lowliness, humility, sharing, tenderness, caring and more.  We have grown up thinking self-sufficiency is of the utmost importance not realizing that the far more important concept (to use an overused cliché) is to ‘let go and let God’.

Forgiveness is another of the characteristics that is not valued.  The book goes into great detail on this subject.  It is impossible to be considered Abba’s Child if we do not learn to forgive.  Whether it is a personal affront, abuse, a legacy of racism, or any other sin against us Jesus says to forgive just like we would be expected to be forgiven.

Abba’s Child is an excellent study in understanding how love, grace, and forgiveness work together.  I highly recommend this book.  It should be read by and on the bookshelves of every believer.

One last thought…Let yourselves be loved!

A copy of this book was provided for me by Tyndale Blog Review Network/NavPress.  No other remuneration was received.  The thoughts and ideas in this review are entirely my own and are based totally on the book.  If you click on the book picture it will take you to NavPress where you can purchase the book. (I am not an affiliate of this company and receive nothing from them for this option.)

God’s Plan Works

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“I’m convinced: You can do anything and everything.  Nothing and No one can upset Your plans.  Job 42:2

Are you as convinced as Job that God can do what He says He can do?  I wonder then, why do so many of us who say we believe not trust Him on this?

God had just taken Job to task for trying to explain His motives and actions.  Now, I don’t know about you, but if God appeared to me in a whirlwind or tornado or giant storm I would be listening closely.  Job and his friends were trying to explain the catastrophe of Job’s current life.  God simply  set them straight by asking if they really thought they knew what they were talking about.

Jeremiah gives the same message to the Exiles in 29:11.  I know you know that verse.   God is telling them that He has a plan and it is not to harm them.  In Job’s case God was not causing the harm, the evil one was.  God’s plan was still in place.  He restored Job’s fortune and gave him more children.  He will do the same for everyone if we ask.  Job had to ask for forgiveness because he was trying to say he knew more than God.  The Israelites had to ask for for forgiveness before they were allowed to return to their homeland. (Check out Jeremiah 29:12-13)

All we need to do is trust God to do what He has already planned for us.

Almightly God, help us see that we are not always right in our thoughts of what You are doing.  Help us know that Your plan is already in motion, that it is perfect in every way, and that You know what You are doing.  Open our minds to Your leading.  Make it so in Jesus Name.

This post can also be found in Pondering and Prayer.

Blessings to you and yours!

Marie

Quit Gloating

Have you heard this? “I knew that would happen!” “S/he got what s/he deserved!” “Told ya!” There’s a word for enjoying another person’s consequences.  Epicaricacy means ‘delight in another person’s misfortune’.

God has plenty to say about this and when that happens we can know where He stands on the issue and what He wants us to do about it.  So let’s dig in…

Do not gloat when your enemy falls

God knows everything, every thought, every moment of our lives.  He knows what we’ve done, said, or thought.  You cannot hide from Him.  Sure, we know when someone has failed or worse, sinned.  God says, “Let Me handle it!”  The writer, Solomon, is saying that if we dish out disapproval  He will turn toward us instead of the person it’s aimed at.  Trust me, I’d rather have someone fail miserably than have God point His finger at me.

If I have rejoiced at my enemy's misfortune...

Job 31 is a list of the ways Job could have sinned and hidden in it is the verse above.  Read the whole chapter and you’ll discover that Job understood, totally, what God wanted him to do and he practised it.  He was not a gloating, self-centered person.  He had a very clear picture of what God wanted and he followed through.

Since God chose you to be the holy people whom He loves

And so, what does God want of us?  We are to be merciful.  We are to choose kindness and gentleness.  We are to model patience.  We are to forgive like God has.

Marie

Epic Grace — Book Review

A recent conversation I had with God went something like this…

Marie: Where are the blessings You promised?

God: All around you, Marie!  My grace is enough.

EpicGraceAnd then, in my mailbox, came this book to review for Tynedale House Publishers.   Now is that God, or what?

Every chapter of this book peeled away a layer of my sin and disobedience, revealing more of Gods love, forgiveness, and grace.  To be more precise…Epic Grace.  Through personal life experiences Kurt Bubna leads the reader to a greater understanding of grace.  Proving, without question, that forgiveness is a one on one issue.  Gods ability to love and extend grace is beyond our puny minds comprehension.  Yet, He continues to do just that.

Epic Grace, in each succeeding chapter, opened the door a little further into understanding that there is no life experience, good or bad, that is not surrounded by the Grace of God.  Personal stories, that often matched my own personal experiences, abound in this collection.  Bubna shows the direct relationship between the purpose God has for us and the relationship He wants with us.  I found myself ROTFL (rolling on the floor laughing) at some of his anecdotes and my heart breaking with compassion and empathy at others.

I highly recommend this book to anyone who is desiring a closer relationship with our Lord.  As you read and relate to Kurt Bubna’s life walk I guarantee it will leave your concepts of God’s incredible love, grace, and forgiveness, changed.

Blessings to you and yours!

Marie

FTC disclaimer: Tyndale House Publishers provided a copy of this book for the express purpose of public review.