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7 Arrows for Bible Reading – Gospel Coalition

The seven arrows of Bible reading were an attempt at developing a tool for proper hermeneutics to power these relationships. We did not want our people to simply talk about the Bible. We wanted them to understand the Bible and know how to apply it to their lives. Each cluster would read a predetermined passage of Scripture and discuss it using these seven arrows.

The goal was for the clusters to start by summarizing the main point of the passage as succinctly as possible, ideally in one sentence.

5 Things Your Habits Say About You – Relevant

Behavioural therapists and others who study human behaviour will tell you there’s only one difference between those who succeed and those who don’t. “It’s all about their habits,” they say.

1. They reveal what you value least—and most.
2. They reveal where you spend your time.
3. They reveal the state of your mental health.
4. They reveal the state of your spiritual health.
5. They reveal the state of your physical health.

EVERYONE IN YOUR LIFE WANTS ONE THING FROM YOU by John Michael Morgan

No one ever talks about it but it’s there. Intensely burning within every person on the planet regardless of their age, sex, race, status, or job. Everyone wants it and they want it from you.

I’m talking about RECOGNITION.

Everyone wants to be recognized and acknowledged. This is why a simple smile, making eye contact, or just saying “hello” to a passing stranger matters. It matters because it matters to them!

Because of this desire we all have, you can motivate and influence those around you by simply giving someone recognition. When someone feels acceptance, recognition, and appreciation from you they are more likely to support you, help you, or anything else that you’d like them to do.

Questions to Ask When Preparing for Marriage by John Piper

Preparing for Marriage: Help for Christian Couples is a new ebook from Desiring God aimed at aiding couples – whether dating and considering marriage, or engaged and preparing for marriage – to get to know each other better in some of life’s most significant matters, and be more fit to discern God’s leading for their lives.

Along with the questions contained in this blog post, we’ve packaged three additional resources from John Piper in hopes of enriching such important preparation.

Lifestyle

  • Own a home or not? Why?
  • What kind of neighborhood? Why?
  • How many cars? New? Used?
  • View of money in general. How much to the church?
  • How do you make money decisions?
  • Where will you buy clothes: Department store? Thrift store? In between? Why?

Don’t You Want Your Daughters to be in Love on their Wedding Day? by Gary Thomas

If the main reason you’re getting married is because you’re “in love,” what happens when the infatuation fades and you don’t feel that same “in love”? What’s going to keep you in the marriage then?

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10 Simple Things You Can Do Today That Will Make You Happier, Backed By Science

1. Exercise more – 7 minutes might be enough

2. Sleep more – you’ll be less sensitive to negative emotions

3. Move closer to work – a short commute is worth more than a big house

4. Spend time with friends and family – don’t regret it on your deathbed

5. Go outside – happiness is maximized at 13.9°C

6. Help others – 100 hours a year is the magical number

7. Practice smiling – it can alleviate pain

8. Plan a trip – but don’t take one

9. Meditate- rewire your brain for happiness – Pray!

10. Practice gratitude – increase both happiness and life satisfaction

How to be a Great Wife

I believe every married woman wants to be the best wife she can be, but it’s hard to have a clear picture of what that really means or looks like.

The media seems to bombard women with conflicting messages about what the “ideal woman” is all about. One moment you’re being told to starve yourself and spend all your time in the gym and salon so you can always look like an airbrushed model on the cover of a magazine. The next moment your role model is a CEO mom who is making millions and still “having it all” by being a wife and mommy too. You flip the channel again and you’re told that an ideal wife makes her own clothes and home schools her 20 kids.

1. Give respect to your husband.

2. Create a positive tone in the home.

3. Fall in love…with God!

How to be a Great Husband

We men tend to get our priorities out of whack sometimes. We can be passionately devoted to our work, our hobbies and our favorite sports teams and still neglect the priorities that should matter most.

We need to “Man Up” and love our wives and kids the way they deserve to be loved. I’m not just writing this to you, but i’m writing this as a guy who needs a daily reminder of all these things myself! Here’s how we do it…

1. Love your wife passionately and selflessly.

2. Protect your wife.

3. Stop acting like a kid.

4. Communicate.

5. Create romance outside the bedroom.

Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.  Viktor E. Frankl

In that space between what is said and done, there is that moment.
That moment where our tempers can flare, our hearts can be crushed, our thoughts scattered with confusion and misunderstanding.
In that moment words can rush to our mind, dancing on the tips of our tongue,  threatening to spill over like a dam in a thunderstorm.
In that moment we need to breathe,  breathe, breathe.
Pause.
Consider.
Choose.
In that moment we should still time and look, really look, into the eyes of the person we’re about to unleash reactive words upon.
This is a person we love. We respect.  We care about.
Hurried words and actions spoken in the flare of anger, the crush of disappointment and haze of miscommunication rarely come out in the way we intend.
So take care.
Tame the tongue.
Still the heart.
Choose wisely.

This would be cool with some of my grandparents' old post cards or snapshots.

7 Ways for Women to Find Soul Friends – Lisa Jo Baker

Soul friends pay attention to what you’re saying, not to what time the clock says it is.

Soul friends listen as long as it takes to make you feel heard.

Soul friends aren’t in a hurry to get to the point or to check you off the list.

 

How do I tell my story? – Suzie Eller

There’s power in sharing our stories.

Do you feel God leading you to tell someone?

It can be a fearful thing. What if no one listens?

What if some of the details are harsh?

What if it’s not that exciting?

What if communicating isn’t my thing?

All of these are questions I’ve asked myself as a God-girl with a story.

Do you know what freed me?

I finally owned my story.

 

The Moment that Saved My Marriage – 

A few years ago, my husband Art and I hit a rough place financially. Some investments we’d made went bad and we lost nearly our entire life savings. I was knee deep in caring for three small children at the time and hadn’t a clue that financial danger was looming on the horizon.

That is, until Art came home and the look on his face spoke of utter defeat. How could we have lost so much? He’d been wise with our finances. He’d done his research. He was a faithful saver. I stood stunned in our foyer that day, as Art told me the news.

There were many different directions my reaction could have gone in the minutes that followed. I was upset. When Art first talked of making these particular investments, I shared with him that I didn’t have a good feeling about it. But, in the end, I let him make the final decision.

So many times in my marriage, I’ve chosen the wrong words — words that were tainted with bitterness, words that were emotionally toxic. But I’m so thankful the Lord had been working on preparing my heart for this moment, and instead of reacting immediately with what would have been a disastrous response, I paused. I allowed the Holy Spirit a few seconds to interrupt my natural flesh feelings.

 

SERVANT LEADERSHIP AND STRATEGIC THINKING

We are servants first.

Without understanding your identity as a servant, leaders (myself included) can use the “important but not urgent” category as an excuse to isolate themselves and be unapproachable and unavailable to the teams they serve alongside.

Much of ministry to people is unplanned.

My friend Darrin Patrick has said, “The most impactful conversations happen at the most inconvenient times.” Some of the best interactions are not on the calendar. Some of the most holy moments are opportunities disguised as interruptions. Without that understanding, leaders (like myself) can loathe the urgent, and those great opportunities would be missed.

If you approach the matrix with the foundation that you are a servant and that God works in the midst of the urgent, then the matrix can be very helpful. After all, it is possible to be both a strategic leader and a servant leader. One does not need to negate the other.

Exactly how I feel every-time I have a coffee: Time to get stuff done.

 

 

An Open Letter to All the People Writing (And Sharing) Open Letters About What’s Wrong with The Church

If you want to build community or grow in intimacy, just show up. Squeeze their hands. See their hearts. Pray for them. Ask about their stories. Hear the countless ways their hearts have been broken by the world and healed by God as they have walked with Jesus longer than we’ve been alive.

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23 Things That Love Is

  • LOVE IS… being willing to have your life complicated by the needs and struggles of others without impatience or anger.
  • LOVE IS… actively fighting the temptation to be critical and judgmental toward another while looking for ways to encourage and praise.
  • LOVE IS… making a daily commitment to resist the needless moments of conflict that come from pointing out and responding to minor offenses.
  • LOVE IS… being lovingly honest and humbly approachable in times of misunderstanding.
  • LOVE IS… being more committed to unity and understanding than you are to winning, accusing, or being right.

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How to Make the Most of Your Bible Study

We are pulled in many directions: work, family, ministry, fitness and many other activities tug at our schedules. The more we are tugged, the more we have to work to guard the time we give to personal study of our Bibles. When we are at last able to sit down to read, we want every precious minute to count. Whether we have 15 minutes or two hours, we want our efforts to yield the most benefit possible. But how can we make the most of the time we have to read and study?

Some of my favourite reads from around the net this week:

Understanding Identity & Calling

In other words, your identity is what makes you uniquely you. It encompasses the characteristics, strengths, weaknesses, gifts and other traits you possess. Your understanding of these aspects may unfold over time, but they are constant. No matter what you are doing, these elements are with you. Identity is who you are.

Calling, on the other hand, refers more to what you do. The dictionary defines it as “vocation, profession, or trade; a call or summons; a strong impulse or inclination.” It is a particular path or series of actions.

Perhaps it seems like I’m splitting hairs here, but I believe the distinction in these two terms is significant, and that understanding the difference can alleviate some pressure. Contrary to what many may think, your calling—what you are supposed to do—changes and shifts with various seasons of your life. Your identity—who you are—is a constant.

 

 

10 Ways to Graciously Say No When You Feel Pressured to Say Yes – Lysa Terkeurst

Now lean in and let me whisper something I’m trying desperately to teach myself,

No isn’t a cuss word.

It doesn’t have to be hurtful. You will survive and so will they.

Saying no is not a rejection. It’s a necessary protection of your Best Yes answers.

 

 

 

STANDING NAKED IN A FIELD – Melissa Hawks

And I could breathe but I was also reminded of the story of Jonathan and David in Scripture. They were true heart friends. Theirs is a friend love so strong they made covenant with one another three times. It began with standing vulnerable before one another. They actually stripped and Jonathan gave David his robe and weapons. He was saying, “I trust you completely. I will lay down my sword and be naked before you knowing that you will honor me.” Let’s take out the physical representation of that and just think about it from a metaphorical standpoint.

Do you have people in your life that you can stand before emotionally naked, lay down your defenses, and say, “I trust your heart to care for mine?” We need that. I Samuel 18:1 talks about David and Jonathan having an immediate bond, how their souls were knit together. I think there are some people you will meet and have that bond with quickly. You will fall for their heart and then stay for all their other pieces. I Samuel 20:16-17 talks about the second time they made this commitment. It says they swore their love to one another. This isn’t everyone. Learning who to trust with your heart and vulnerability is an important part of growing up. It is learning who your people are.

It is part of finding home.

 

 

 

8 Leadership Principles from my first 90 days at Saddleback – 

Relationships are key to organizational influence.  They help you grab the real values of an organization. Relationships help you understand how things REALLY get done. They help you feel at home, like you’re a part of a family. They help you learn what people do intuitively that needs to be made known. Relationships help you move further, faster.

Slightest touches make your heart skip a beat..

10 HABITS OF COUPLES IN STRONG AND HEALTHY RELATIONSHIPS

What makes for a healthy romantic relationship differs from couple to couple. Forming a trusting and positive partnership takes effort and time. And unfortunately, it doesn’t just happen overnight. For any relationship to grow strong and stay strong, you need to put in some work. Below are some habits that will create and maintain a happy and healthy twosome.

 

 

 

Cultivate a Christ-Centered Marriage

“I came to a point where I realized I didn’t do relationships God’s way. My way didn’t work. Before I got married I realized that Christ should be Lord of my life, including my relationships,” he remembers. Even still, he said his expectations of marriage were unrealistic, and realized that he and his wife had difficulties communicating.

Now, the Ingrams have been married for 32 years and their marriage has never been stronger. “I’m more in love with my wife and more deeply satisfied in marriage than ever. I long for that for other people.” He teaches that the benefits of a good marriage go beyond the man and woman involved. The couple’s children also feel more secure and often make better mate choices for themselves.

“The greatest thing you can ever do for your children is to love your spouse. They need to feel safe. How they respond to the opposite sex is often based on how their parents related to each other. Kids model what they see in us, whether or not we realize it.”

He says the key ingredient to a strong, lasting marriage is loyalty to Jesus Christ. “When two people are in a Christ-centered marriage, they are saying they are not going to allow anyone to take His place in their lives. When you let another person take God’s place, it ruins the relationship,” he explained. “God designed marriage where He wants to be the center. When Heis, good things happen.”

 

 

 

God’s Design for Marriage

It’s easy to think that only “other people” get divorced. That your own marriage is somehow immune to heartache, infidelity and fights over who gets the house, the car, the dog. After all, how many of us would walk down the aisle if we believed our relationships would end up in divorce court?

Truth is, no relationship comes with a lifetime guarantee. Even men and women who grew up in stable homes, who attend church and consider themselves Christians, who promise “until death do us part,” can have it all fall apart.

As Christians, we know that applying biblical principles to marriage will give us a stronger foundation than those of our unbelieving friends and neighbors. We know this, but what are we doing about it? In other words, what makes a marriage “Christian”?

According to author Gary Thomas, we’re not asking the right questions. What if your relationship isn’t as much about you and your spouse as it is about you and God?

Instead of asking why we have struggles in the first place, the more important issue is how we deal with them.

 

 

 

5 Ways to Pray Boldly For Your Marriage – Lysa Terkeurst 

“Sweetheart, there is only one day where marriage naturally looks like the storybooks. It’s this day. This day, your wedding day, is where every hour has been arranged and planned to be beautiful and special. And as you wave goodbye to this one day, realize what happens from here is all about choices.

Choose to understand that love isn’t always a feeling. Many days love will be a choice. It’s a choice to press through and learn to enjoy the fragile blend of both the bliss and disappointments of two people learning to become a family.

Stunning Sparkly Gown- Photo via Clara Richardson via Snippet and Ink

“Marriage isn’t about finding the right person. It’s about becoming the right person.”

If you ask anyone who is married for advice on marriage you’ll get a multitude of answers and responses, because everyone is unique and their experience and practice of marriage is so different and personal.

So this is my list and helps me shape the marriage I am in.

1. Marriage is God’s tool to refine us

Real love is an unconditional commitment to an imperfect person.  We are all sinners, forgiven by grace and growing to be more like Christ.  God intentionally and on purposes refines and sanctifies us through difficult situations and circumstances, like gold in a fire.  

Read the rest of this entry »

Here are some of my favourite (aka inspiring, informative, challenging and relevant!) reads from around the net this week:

 

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Evangelizing to People Who Have Heard it All Before

5 ways to share your faith without shoving it down people’s throats.

Within a society where people know the gist of what Christianity teaches but words such as “converts,” “evangelism” and “proselytize” are increasingly associated with religious zealots, abusive cults and violent terrorism, it’s becoming more difficult to communicate faith-based ideas without being offensive or perceived as a close-minded bigot.

Historically, evangelism has sometimes been used as a weapon to hurt, shame, guilt and induce fear. Its longtime associations with obnoxious street preachers, sleazy televangelists and corrupt organizations make it even less appealing to the public—and to Christians themselves.

 

 

7 Ways to Become An Indispensable Youth Leader – Pastors.com

It has been said that “nobody is indispensable” and, to a degree, that is a true statement. But I can tell you that, as a former pastor and current leader of a youth ministry organization (with 20+ employees), there are certain staff losses that hit the church or ministry harder than others. Losing these kinds of employees leaves a bigger hole in the ministry because they have made themselves more and more indispensable through working harder, smarter and longer.

This brand of youth leader is the last to get cut when finances go south in a church. Indispensable staff members (no matter what their position) have worked hard in the good times so it makes them almost impossible to let go in the bad times. And firing? Forget it! Unless there is some moral issue, you find a way to keep these employees happy. Why? Because they are working hard and producing results!

 

 

The Issue Is Never The Issue – Going To The Source

It’s only until we’ve allowed God to take His place in our hearts and lives that we can then look past the complaints from/about each other, or the lack of connection – all the little, daily issues we face being married.

We can’t look to our marriage/spouse to fulfill or complete us – they were not designed to be our “salvation.” Christ is the only way.

When our security is in the Lord, through spending devoted, undistracted, daily time with Him – only then can we truly love our spouse, and be loved by them.

 

 

9 Things Everyone Should Do When Reading the Bible : A few simple habits to build into your Bible reading

Amid the hours of serious Bible study, I treasured this advice. Sometimes, we read to study and understand and wrestle with the truth. But sometimes, we read to make our hearts happy. “Delight yourself in the Lord,” for “your words are sweeter to me than honey.”

1. The difference between preparing and not preparing is MASSIVE.
Apart from knowing the songs and learning the lyrics, setting aside time to prepare my heart before God is the most important thing – it allows the Holy Spirit to speak, puts a verse on my heart, and gives me ideas.

6. Don’t strive when you lead, but don’t step back either.
Lead with the authority that has been given to you. Yes, there is a spiritual weight to the platform, which includes the responsibility we have to lead people to Jesus, but lead confidently knowing you’ve been given the platform and entrusted by your pastors.

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Dear Kids: Why Wait till Marriage — What No One Tells You & What I Wish Someone Had Told Me – Ann Voskamp

Your skin is the outer layer of your soul.

Your skin and your soul are one in ways that Hollywood and MTV and the mall won’t ever tell you.

Your skin and your soul are profoundly connected and this is a profoundly beautiful thing. There is no shame in this —  only the glory of God who made your body art to reflect your soul.

So contrary to what hook-up culture may be touting in the back halls of high schools and behind the closed doors of university dorm rooms — there’s nothing casual about giving away your soul.

The union of two bodies is nothing less than the union of two souls.

Physical oneness is a holy God-created ceremony to express nothing less than a soul oneness.

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21 Key Learnings from Andy Stanley and the Drive Conference

1. We don’t tailor content of our services for unchurched people, but we do tailor the experience. This is such a huge and important distinction. Opening up your service to the unchurched doesn’t mean dumbing it down.

2. Nothing should offend people in your weekend services except the Gospel. Often people get turned away not because of Christ, but because of people’s bad attitudes or strange preferences for certain kinds of music or culture.

3. A parking team is not about ‘parking’ guests, it’s about welcoming them. Even if you don’t have a “parking problem”, your welcome should start when your guests pull into the parking lot. Greet them personally and help them start their experience well.

4. Everyone has an approach to their weekend services. If there is a conflict between your goal and your approach, your approach always wins. Everyone has a template for their weekend services. If your template and approach aren’t getting you to your goal, change it.

5. If you start (a message or event) with common emotions and common experiences, not everybody agrees with your point, but everybody follows you there. Brilliant.

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The Best Jobs For Every Personality Type

Does your job fit your personality?

The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) personality test, measuring preferences like introversion and extroversion, has been part of business culture for decades. Today about 80% of the Fortune 500 and 89 of Fortune 100 companies use it to analyse the personalities of employees, in an effort to get them in the right roles and help them succeed.

While the list below is in no way definitive — and personality preferences can be flexible over time — it may serve as a helpful guide for understanding yourself and what sort of personalities gravitate toward certain jobs.

Best Jobs For Personality Infographic

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