Category: Spirituality

Starting Over

Would you like to put the past behind you and start over? I’m talking about in your marriage. Many couples have so much pain from past failures that they have a hard time moving ahead. Time alone, will not heal hurts. Healing comes when we are willing to confess our failures and change our behavior. Some of us would like to leave out the confession part and just focus on being different in the future. However, confession is essential to the healing process. Even God requires confession before He forgives. I John 1:9 “If we confess our sins, God is faithful and just to forgive us our sins.” Confession means that we admit to our spouse that what we did is wrong. We accept responsibility for our failure and request forgiveness.

Holiness, Happiness, and Marriage

You may have heard the question before: Did God design marriage for our happiness or for our holiness?

My answer would be, “Yes, He did!”

Let me explain.

We tend to think of holiness as something that has to do with being good, staying in line, and doing the right things. But when we understand principles of covenant, we realize that “keeping all the rules” is an inadequate description of holiness.

Holiness is the essence of a fully honored relationship. Holiness is a covenant term which describes both the complete, undefiled union of marriage, as well as the complete, undefiled union of the Godhead.

Continue reading article by Tami Myer >>

Do They Really Love God?

Why do Christians sometimes criticize each other? Recently I heard a man say, “I don’t understand these people who spend all of their time in church singing praise songs. If they really loved God, why don’t they work in the soup kitchen. I think God must get sick of their singing the same old songs week after week and never doing anything to show their love by serving others.” This man does not understand that people express their love to God in different ways, because they have different love languages. If Acts of Service is your love language, then, yes, you work in the soup kitchen. If Receiving Gifts is your love language, then you show your love to God by giving. While Quality Time people love God best by having extended daily quiet times.

Sexual Healing

One of the realities in contemporary society is that many couples come to marriage with previous sexual experience, either with each other, or with other partners. The commonly held idea is that sexual experience before marriage better prepares you for marriage. All of the research indicates otherwise. In fact, the divorce rate is twice as high among those who have been sexually active before marriage. The Christian answer is the confession of wrongdoing and genuinely forgiving each other for past failures. The scars of the past may remain, but the scars serve as a reminder of the grace and love of God. When God forgives us, He no longer holds it against us. We in turn, forgive each other.

A Man’s Life does not Consist in the Abundance of His Posessions

In today’s world, many people are suffering from the pain of debt. Others are troubled with the upheavals of the financial markets. Let me remind you of the words of Jesus: “A man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” If you understand that truth it will change your life forever. Real satisfaction is found not in money, but in loving relationships with God, our spouse, children and friends. Loving relationships are our greatest assets. Most of us could live with less money, and may of necessity have to do so. But, if that helps us focus on relationships, then we still come out winners. Why not have a family ‘soup’ night – eat only soup and crackers and thank God that you are alive and together.

Listening our Way to Love

Ask any group of people, such as friends or co-workers, “When do you feel loved?” and the answer will likely include something about listening. When people listen, we feel worthwhile and valued. Listening is hard when trying to start a love relationship, because we’d rather try to impress. Yet listening is one of the strongest ways to say, “I love you.”

Jesus’ example in this startles us. Why the God-man with all the answers would wait to hear our questions is provocative. But that’s just what Jesus did with the woman at the well. Though he knows immediately the answer to her need, he asks a question, listens, and waits for her response (see John 4). Why? Perhaps it is because, in knowing all things, he understands that his listening heart will be partly responsible for her healing.

Continue reading article by Marty Trammell and Rich Rollins >>

How to Love the Unlovely

Q: Gary, I’ve heard you say that we are to “love the unlovely” as Jesus did. But since Jesus is God and perfect, He can do anything! How are lowly people expected to do what only God can do?

Gary: Well the scriptures say that the love of God is poured out in our hearts by the Holy spirit, and that’s how a Christian can love an unlovely person. You’re exactly right: by nature, we are not lovers. We are self-centered and self-righteous. But by God’s help, we can be his agents of expressing his love to an unlovely person.

Q&A: Is it Possible to be Forgiven?

Q: Gary, my spouse is having a hard time forgiving me after years for hurtful depression from me. Is it possible to be forgiven?

Gary: Forgiveness is always a possibility, but so is resentment. The biblical pattern, though, is always to forgive. When people express to us an apology for a pain they caused us, we must be ready to forgive. That’s the model of God, and that’s to be our model. On the other hand, we can’t demand forgiveness. We can’t make our spouse forgive us. You can say, “Honey, I understand and I see how difficult it may be for you to forgive me with all the pain I’ve caused you through the years, but I hope you do forgive me because I want to have a good life with you in the future.”

Q&A: A husband trying to come together with his wife on choosing a church.

Q: Gary, my wife and I attend separate churches because of our differing opinions of what a “good” church is. It feels awkward sometime, but I just don’t know how to come together on this.

Gary: I have known couples that have gone to separate churches for over thirty years. I don’t, however, think it is the healthiest thing. Sometimes, one individual is so “married” to a particular church that they are unwilling to budge at all and this becomes inevitable.

It’s much healthier for your marriage to find a place you can go together. My suggestion is to challenge your spouse to visit another church with you, at least once every month or two—not her church, not your church. By doing this you open the possibility of finding a church you both feel good about.

Q&A: A Common Idea of God

Q: Is it really important for you and your partner to have at least a common idea of God before getting married?

Gary: What you believe about God affects everything else in life. You see, if you believe that the biblical God exists, and that he is the creator of the universe and of life, that affects everything because the Old and New Testament scriptures tell us how to live life and what is most meaningful in life. However, if you discount that concept of God, or you’re not sure what you believe about God, that too will affect the way you live your life because you’re not inclined to take seriously the teachings of Jesus. Take time to dig deeply and find out whether you and your prospective spouse have a spiritual foundation on which to build a healthy marriage.

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