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Thursday, September 29, 2011

Relish Life

While studying the book of Ecclesiastes in "Solo" an uncommon devotional by The Message I got really fired up.
Ecclesiastes 9:7-10 is basically a "go for all the gusto you can get WITH GOD" assignment. The past couple months I've been focusing on praying for young married couples and I think they will find this wisdom (most likely from Solomon) a great pick me up for their marriage

Seize life! eat bread with gusto,
Drink wine with a robust heart.
Oh yes-God takes pleasure in your pleasure!
Dress festively every morning.
Don't skimp on colors and scarves.
each and every day of your precarious life.
Each day is God's gift. It's all you get in exchange for the hard work of staying alive.
Make the most of each one!
Whatever turns up, grab it and do it. And heartily!
This is your last and only chance at it,
For there's neither work to do nor thoughts to think in the company of the dead,
where you're most certainly headed.

How are you going to use the gift of today?

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Be Contagious-Pass it on!

No sooner had I started praying for a group of married couples than the Lord gave me the word “contagious”. Yesterday, at the drug store and grocery store they kept announcing that they were offering free flu shots. Maybe my brain was reflecting back to that and how spouses share germs! God was going elsewhere with the word though and urging me to challenge you to pray that our marriages would be contagious, in a positive manner, to others. A call for us to pass on the joy we find in our marriages to others and to find ourselves speaking positively about our spouses in public. So here is our assignment this week.

Think of a character trait you admire about your spouse and leave them a note in their car, on the bathroom mirror, in the refrigerator, etc, thanking God for placing that trait in your spouse. Acknowledge a specific occurrence when that trait was put into action in a very simple way.

Here are some examples.

Honestly (An over spent the budget, broke something, a misunderstanding, a desire, a regret, a sin issue needing prayer.)

Faithfulness (Not having an affair, working day after day, going to church weekly)

Teachability (Learning to operate appliances, technology, the lawn more, maybe a special dietary need, how to play a sport, taking a class, doing Bible Study, etc.)

Forgiveness (That’s an easy one!)

Compassion (Rubbing your tired back, caring for children or the elderly, giving to the less fortunate.)

Sincerity (A time they really listened with their heart)

Selflessness (Sacrificing personal desires, wants or time.)

Sense of humor (Laughing over something that you could easily cry over or get angry about. Coming home from work in costume! Telling a good joke!)

Therefore encourage one another and build up one another, just as you also are doing. 1 Thessalonians 5:11

Willing to Die

This photo is of our daughter and her new husband falling backward off a bench towards our creek! They were all smiles despite the incident!
Willing to Die
The phone call came from a young man who was engaged and wavering in whether his upcoming marriage was a good thing. Fortunately, this couple had been in godly premarital counseling for several months. The groom to be was attending a session where the pastor asked the young man if he was willing to die for this woman. He couldn't say he was, which led to other considerations and eventually the wedding was called off.

That is a tough one. I am not certain my husband was ready to die for me 33 years ago! In doing a quick search I found verses on being willing to lay down our lives for our friends and our brethren, but not specifically our spouses. Hmm, guess they should fall into both of those categories! :)

C.S. Lewis once said, "Love is not an affectionate feeling, but a steady wish for the loved person's ultimate good as far as it can be obtained."

Here is a great prayer for our marriages from Philippians 1:6:
Father, Your love is perfect. Your love is pure. Oh, that we could love and be loved like the example you have laid out before us in Christ. By faith and believing in the power of perseverance obtainable through the Holy Spirit, we pray that He who has begun a good work in our marriages will carry it on to completion. May our marriages be pleasing in Your sight.
In Jesus' Name, Amen


A faithful man shall abound with blessings.

Proverbs 28:20

Considers these commitments others have written as vows.

(Taken from Quiet Times for Couples by H. Norman Wright)

My commitment to you is to listen to your concerns each day for the purpose of having the kind of marriage we both want.

I realize that our love will change. I will work to maintain a high level of romance, courtship, and love in our relationship.

I pledge myself to confront problems when they arise and not retreat like a turtle into my shell.

I commit myself to you in times of joy and in times of problems. We will tackle and share our problems together.

I promise that I will never be too busy to look at the flowers with you.

I will respect your beliefs and capabilities that are different from mine and will not attempt to make you into a revised edition of me.

I will be open an honest with no secrets, and I desire you to be the same with me.

I will reflect the Word of God in my relationship with you.