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Posts tagged ‘ABBA’

Ron Phillips: The Cost of Grace.


a raging river

The movie A River Runs Through It is narrated by Norman, one of the main characters. He makes this statement about his father, a minister:

“My father was very sure about certain matters pertaining to the universe. To him, all good things – trout as well as eternal salvation – came by grace; and grace comes by art; and art does not come easy.”

While we rightly view grace as a free gift, grace always costs someone something.

As Norman said, grace comes by art, but art costs the artist years of practice and preparation.

Grace releases an indebted person from their debt, but costs the lender the debt forgiven.

Grace sets us free from sin and death, but cost Jesus the pain, humiliation, and death of the Cross.

The grace God offers cost us nothing, but cost Jesus everything.

But, He did it all because He wants to spend eternity with you.

THAT is a priceless grace worth sharing.

Written by Ron Phillips

Ron Phillips is senior pastor of Abba’s House in Chattanooga, Tenn. His weekly television and daily radio programs are broadcast worldwide and available on the Internet. He is a sought-after speaker and the author of numerous books, including the four-part Foundations on the Holy Spirit, Our Invisible Allies and his latest, A God-Sized Future.

For the original article, visit theheartofabba.com.

 

Suspicious Objects Teach Israelis Not to be ‘Stupid’.


Israeli school
Students at the Orot Etzion Girls School in Efrat began their second day of school with an evacuation due to a bomb scare. (Jonathan Feldstein)

As summer vacation drew to a close, one afternoon I found myself sitting with my eight-year-old son, watching cartoons on TV and taking a break from playing outside. I have no idea what cartoon he was watching, and admittedly was not paying much attention to it, checking emails instead, but my son was paying close attention, and I learned a lot from this.

“That kid’s stupid, right Abba?” he asked.

With him being the sixth kid, we are beyond the “stupid is not a nice word,” age. So, rather than focusing on his language, I was puzzled what he was talking about. “What kid are you talking about?” thinking he meant a real person. “Where?”

“That one, on TV,” he answered without hesitation.

For an instant, I thought he might have been suffering from too much heat, talking about a cartoon character on TV and assessing it to be stupid. “What do you mean? Why is he stupid?” I asked, curious and puzzled.

“He opened that box,’ using the Hebrew phrase for ‘suspicious object.’ If it were a bomb he could have been killed.”

Immediately I understood what my son was talking about. He learned something just by living in Israel, something I never remember teaching him. Any abandoned object could be a “suspicious object” and any “suspicious object” could be a bomb.

Israelis know this intuitively from no shortage of incidents, especially before suicide bombers began using their bodies as suspicious objects, where explosives have been left masked in things as large as duffle bags near a bus station, to as small and mundane as coke can on the street.

The response to finding an ownerless suspicious object is to call security that will arrive immediately, cordon off an area, and use various high tech robotic means to assess the nature of the object, blowing it up if needed. Certainly, what my son learned and shared with me, albeit indirectly, is that one never opens and explores a suspicious object independently. In his mind, and from his worldview, doing so was stupid. It’s hard to argue with.

Although the cartoon he was watching was dubbed in Hebrew, it was an American cartoon. I tried to explain that to him and that in America, people don’t think as much about suspicious objects as we do in Israel. I’m not sure he understood, but it seemed to satisfy him enough at the moment. Mostly, I was proud that he knows what a suspicious object is, and what to do.

This is the same son who, two years earlier, came home from school after a national earthquake drill to share with me the difference between what one does in case of an earthquake, in case of a rocket attack or in case of a terrorist in the school. I’d never thought I’d raise kids to be so “sophisticated” so young, but am glad that they know what to do, as much as one can be prepared, if any of these incidents occur.

It’s one of the mixed blessings about living in Israel. Balancing the challenges of raising children with very real threats around us, and the awareness that this is far too normal, so they need to be aware of their environment in a way much different than in most of the rest of the world.

I remember when studying in Israel in the 1980s there was no shortage of road closures, buses evacuated, and bags being checked going into grocery stores all because of, or to prevent, suspicious objects from exploding. Even toy dolls in the wrong place at the wrong time became suspect. In that era, terrorists also sabotaged Israeli exports not only to harm people, but also to terrorize countries that imported Israeli products.

While the advent of suicide terrorists changed the dynamic in untold ways, leaving more than 1,600 Israelis killed a decade ago mostly from suicide terrorists, the concern over suspicious objects still permeates Israeli society. Mostly these create an inconvenience, like the times I’ve sat in traffic for hours waiting for sappers to clear an area. We still have bags checked while walking into grocery stores, malls and the like, and cars checked driving into most public parking areas.

But sometimes these suspicious objects are actually dangerous—like the suitcase that exploded outside a crowded bus stop in Jerusalem a few years ago, killing a Christian tourist from Britain and injuring many others. I’ll never forget the story of the woman I helped to a bus in the north to come to Jerusalem. She forgot to retrieve her small suitcase from the cargo space beneath the bus, so it was treated as a suspicious object and blown up.

This year, on the second day of school, I was dropping off my kids and noticed a lot of traffic and security people leaving my neighborhood. I didn’t give it a second thought. Police often help out directing traffic and making sure that kids arrive safely the first week of school.

But coming back into my neighborhood, traffic was worse than ever before. The mayor was outside informing people in all the vehicles waiting that a suspicious object had been found in the school at the corner—my daughter’s school—the one at which I dropped her off 10 minutes earlier.

My heart skipped a beat and I knew it was one of those “Only in Israel” moments. I knew that authorities had everything in control, kids were outside waiting patiently under supervision of teachers, administrators and army and police. But still, it was unsettling to think of a school being targeted.

An hour later, an automated message went out to all the residents of our neighborhood, on our cell phones and home phones—all clear. As much as my heart skipped a beat an hour earlier, I breathed a huge sigh of relief. A neighbor witnessed and filmed the scene when the suspicious object was detonated, a very inauspicious way to start the school year.

This is the same week that Israeli security uncovered a plan by two young Palestinian Arabs connected to Hamas to use their working in a popular Jerusalem mall to plant a bomb just for such an attack.  Other than this underscoring our reality here, it is ironic because one of the reasons given for relative lack of security at this mall is that its’ stores and restaurants are popular with Arabs and Jews, and many Arab work there as well.  Surely, the thinking goes, they wouldn’t kill their own. But one doesn’t have to look too far for the plethora of examples where that’s in fact commonplace.

Part of living among neighbors who don’t accept our right to be here, and who sanctify death over life, is an ongoing apprehension that a forgotten backpack in a school yard on the second day of class could be a bomb. We are also aware that anything not even related to us in one of our neighboring countries could spill over and threaten Israeli lives, or escalate to an all-out battle.

But the alternatives, not to live here, or not to live period, are not acceptable. So, we will continue to live here, teach our kids to be aware of their environment, learn with them from these lessons, pray and be grateful for God’s continued protection, and always choose and sanctify life.

Note: This column also appeared in a recent online edition of the Jerusalem Post.

Source: CHARISMA MAGAZINE/ STANDING WITH ISRAEL.

Jonathan Feldstein is the director of Heart to Heart, a unique virtual blood donation program to bless Israel and save lives in Israel. Born and educated in the U.S., Feldstein emigrated to Israel in 2004. He is married and the father of six. Throughout his life and career, he has been blessed by the calling to fellowship with Christian supporters of Israel and shares experiences of living as an Orthodox Jew in Israel. He writes a weekly column for Charisma’s Standing With Israel.

When Father’s Day Hurts Your Heart.


Cindi McMenamin

If the thought of Father’s Day brings a sting to your heart, you are not alone.

As I was interviewing women while writing my book, When a Woman Overcomes Life’s Hurts, I discovered that the “Daddy wound” is very prevalent among women. Little girls who experienced abandonment, rejection, abuse or indifference from their fathers can tend to carry that pain with them throughout their lives.

If  you are one who has never experienced the love of a father, or has been disappointed through unmet expectations or even hurt deeply by your father, you don’t have to remain “stuck” in that place of heartache from year to year. You can free your heart from unmet expectations, pain and regret, as Stephanie, and countless other women have done.

Stephanie’s father left her mother and abandoned the family when she was about five years old. Then after he remarried and became a step-parent to his second wife’s children, Stephanie’s father started arranging for her and her sister to have weekend visits with him.

“While growing up, it was a rough relationship,” Stephanie said. “I was mad at him, and he constantly put both my sister and me second to his new wife and children. From what I can remember, our conversations and visits were always hostile. I was very angry at him. As I became an adult I would get off the phone with him and cry or be really upset. I let myself be hurt by his empty promises to see me more or call more often to stay in touch.”

But Stephanie had to free her heart from unmet expectations and resentment that was keeping her from moving forward in life.  Today she knows joy and peace when it comes to her dad because she took a journey of forgiveness that you can take, too.

1. Forgive your father for the ways he has hurt you or not measured up. 

We all have expectations of what we wanted from our dads. And when we realize they are human, and therefore sinners, just like us, we can extend grace for the ways they’ve fallen short, just has God has extended it toward us. Stephanie says: “It wasn’t until I became a Christian that I realized I needed to forgive my dad. I wrote him a letter and said I was finally putting all this behind me. I forgave him for walking out on our family and told him I would like to have a closer relationship with him. He called and said he was shocked that I had held on to the pain of the divorce for so long. He thought I had let that go a long time ago. I was totally shocked to hear him say that! Apparently he hadn’t noticed my anger through the years, or hadn’t given it that much thought.” It was then that Stephanie realized her Dad might never respond to her the way she had hoped. It was then she had to take the second step of forgiving her dad.

2. Face the fact that he may never become the dad you had hoped for.  

Stephanie said her dad continues to hurt her in ways he probably doesn’t even realize. “He still makes the same empty promises and says hurtful things, but ever since I’ve forgiven him, God has given me peace.” As Stephanie learned, when you forgive someone, it doesn’t mean your relationship with that person will be fully restored. It just means that you will have peace for having extended forgiveness and you will be able to move forward with life.

“I was hoping for a healed relationship, but that hasn’t happened, and it doesn’t affect me as much as it used to,” she said. “It still hurts, but I’m able to let it go and walk away calm. I’m at as much peace as one can be with the fact that I will always come as an afterthought with my dad.”

Stephanie can say that, and still walk tall as a confident woman, because she knows who her real“Daddy” is. She knows she is loved and cherished by her Heavenly Father who wants to more than make up for what she never experienced with her earthly father. That was key to her being able to experience peace, in spite of her father’s continued behavior.

3. Focus on God to fill the “Daddy void” in your life. 

Scripture says we are all, by nature, children of wrath (Ephesians 2:1-3), but God found a way toadopt us as His own.  I used to envy adopted children because they could not say they were “accidents” or unplanned when it came to being in their family. Their adoptive parents wanted them so much they found a way to get them. Our Heavenly Father did the same for us. Romans 5:8 says “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” And Romans 8:15 says we have been given the spirit of adoption, through that death and resurrection that Christ endured on our behalf. That means you weren’t an unplanned or unwanted child. Even if you feel no one on earth really wanted you, God did. And He found a way to make you His own.

Scripture doesn’t just say we can call God our Father. The Bible tells us we have been given the right, through our adoption, to call Him “Daddy.”

Again, Romans 8:15 tells us we are given the spirit of adoption and “by him we cry ‘Abba, Father.’” The English word that is most close in meaning to the Aramaic word “Abba” is “Papa” or “Daddy.” Jesus used this affectionate, loving term for His Father when He prayed “Abba” or “Daddy” in the Garden of Gethsemane shortly before He was arrested and crucified. In crying out “Abba” Jesus showed His dependence on Daddy while He was facing His impending death. We can call upon our Heavenly Daddy or “Papa” as personally as God’s own loving Son, Jesus, did. That is a privilege. That is affection. And that is love between a Daddy and His daughter.

Won’t you release your heart through forgiveness and then let your Heavenly Father fill that hole in your heart this Father’s Day?

Cindi McMenamin is a pastor’s wife, mother, national speaker, and author of a dozen books, including Letting God Meet Your Emotional NeedsWhen a Woman Overcomes Life’s Hurts, andWhen God Pursues a Woman’s Heart. For more on her books, ministry, and free resources to strengthen your soul, marriage, and walk with God, see her website: www.StrengthForTheSoul.com.  

Publication date: June 7, 2013

Unlocking The Heavenless Abundance Upon Our Lives.


Jehovah Nissi, I join my brothers and sisters in agreement, we praise You for all that You Alone did for us throughout last week, we reverence, magnify, adore and worship You in Jesus Name. Amen, Amen and Amen.

Jehovah Shammah, we commit this week into Your Able Hands, we crave for Your  ever abiding powerful presence in every areas of our lives and we bury our will in this week into Your will and we pray that Your perfect will shall be made manifest in us and through us throughout this week, we ask this in Jesus Name. Amen, Amen and Amen.

Lord Jesus, we fall at Your feet and we pray for Your mercy upon every areas of our lives, Lord, we can´t stand Your wrath but we can stand Your mercy and we ask Thee to look down upon us through Your mercy, Great Purger, purge us with hyssop and wash us through the Precious Blood of Jesus, that w may be clean and worthy enough to glorify You in Jesus Name. Amen, Amen and Amen.

Giver Of Divine Power, Abba, like Paul and Silas, called upon You with their chains in the prison yards, we are calling upon You today, we long for Your divine power like that of the old, Great Filler, fill us with Your Unstoppable power to expose every wickedness in high places, to set the captives free, to retake every territories stolen by the enemy back to You and shine Your Light throughout the whole world to Your glory, we pray in Jesus Name. Amen, Amen and Amen.

Ultimate God, we beseech Thee to endow us with immeasurable grace, grace that will equip us to grow more and more in maturity in our relationship with You and to live a fulfilled and remarkable life to Your glory, grace that will cause us to move under the sanction of the Holy Ghost and move mountains to Your glory and grace that will unlock the heaven´s inheritance for us and honour us with His divine anointing that will cause us to be unstoppable, unmoveable, unreachable and untouchable by the works of the enemies, for His Light of protection, we protect and preserve us for the rest of our days, we ask and pray this in Jesus Name. Amen, Amen, Amen, Amen, Amen, Amen, Amen, Hallelujah and Hosanna to Our Gracious God.

Praying For Grace To continue To Battle The Enemy For The Lost Souls.


Lord Jesus, Our High Priest, I join my brothers and sisters in one accord, we praise, exalt and magify You for interceding for us every moment at the Father´s throne and we humbly surrender every of our requests, needs, and concern to You, and we reverence You for listening and we worship You for answering every of our prayers and we beseech Thee to keep us close to You, we pray in Jesus Name. Amen, Amen and Amen.

Great Lover,  Abba, we must confess that it is the magnitude of Your love, that prepares and motivates us to war against the enemy on constant basis for the souls of the lost and we thank You for giving us the privilege to love You, for it is our love for You that compels us to bring others to Your plan of redepmtion, delivering of their souls and ushering them into Your package of salvation and eternal life, we worship in Jesus Name. Amen, Amen and Amen.

Abba Father, we desire to continue growing in our relationship with You and our relationship with You is the focus of our lives and knowing You love us and desire to be with us empowers us to work to fulfill Your Great commission, we pray in Jesus Name. Amen, Amen and Amen.

Great Releaser, Lord, we long for greater release of Your fresh fire upon every areas of our lives, we pray That the fire of the Holy Ghost will purify us daily, prepare us and  Great Giver, give us fresh passion for You on daily basis for the rest of our  days, this is our sincere prayer this day, as we pray in Jesus Name. Amen, Amen, Amen, Amen, Amen, Amen, Amen, Hallelujah and Hosanna to The Lord, Our Banner, Shield and Buckler.

Praying For Grace That Will Usher Us Into His Arena Of Divine Surprises.


Almighty Father, i join my brothers and sisters in agreement, we adore You for Your grace, anointing power, wisdom and divine strength that You endow on us throughout last week, we praise You for sparing, preserving and protecting our lives throughout last week, we adore You for providing for us far more than, we require in abundance from Your everflowing abundance from above, we worship You, Lord in Jesus Name. Amen, Amen and Amen.

Great Sustainer, O Lord, we magnify You for finding us worthy to live and to be counted among the living, we are not better than those in the mortuary neither are we righteous than those in the hospitals, Adonai, we exalt You for favouring us with good health, we pray in Jesus Name. Amen, Amen and Amen.

God Of Surprises, King of glory and Great Ordainer, Abba, we beseech Thee to embarrass us with Your divine surprises in this last week of May,  O Lord surprise us with immeasurable and uncontrollable miracles, testimonies, divine signs and wonders and may we experience Your divine overflow in every areas of our lives for our betterments to Your glory, we ask this through Jesus Christ, Our Lord and Saviour. Amen, Amen and Amen.

God Of Jabez, we pray Thee to hear the cries of Your people and change their stories to glorify Yourself, God of Joseph, we beseech Thee to honour Your people in every of their Egypts this week, God of Daniel, we call upon You to be with Your people in every of their dens this week, answer their prayers and promote them in every lands that You Alone, has given to them, God of Elijah, we desire that in this week, every prophets of baal challenging Your authority in our lives, Lord, put them to shame, may humiliation be their portion forever in Jesus Name. Amen and God of Paul and Silas, we beseech Thee to send earthquake in every prison yards that Your people are been held captive, set them free forever to Your glory , as we pray in Jesus Mighty Delivering, Blessing and Rewarding Name. Amen, Amen, Amen, Amen, Amen, Amen and Amen.

Praying For Grace To Always Remember His Love For Us.


Great Leader, Lord Jesus, I join my brothers and sisters in one accord, we pray for unmerited grace to follow You, Our Redeemer, Saviour and Comforter, we beseech Thee to always lead us to the Father and we desire that Your Spirit will guide and direct us into all truth and we will listen to the voice of the Good Shepherd and we will let the Life of Master Jesus flow through us by His Spirit and as long as we live, we will study and mediate on the Life and ministry of Jesus in the Gospels and may we have more and more intimate relationship with Him for the rest of our days, as we pray in Jesus Name. Amen, Amen and Amen.

Most Gracious Father, we pray Thee to give us grace to fully understand Who You are and we beseech Thee to open our eyes to who we are in You and we pray Thee to bring in divine lasting renewal  to our spirits affecting everyone we encounter, we ask this through Jesus Christ, Our Lord. Amen, Amen and Amen.

Jehovah Shammah, Abba, we must confess that nothing compares in life to the fact that You utterly and unconditionally love us and as long as we remember Your love, we are fully persuaded that we will succeed, prosper, be empowered, be fulfilled, be fruitful, honoured, uplifted and promoted before You, we worship in Jesus Name. Amen, Amen and Amen.

Great Maker, we proclaim that we are yielded clays in Your Hands and Great Shaper, we pray Thee to shape us into whatever vessels, You desire to be poured out for Your purposes and we are Yours, O Lord, Thou art the Potter and we are the clay, we pray in Jesus Name. Amen, Amen, Amen, Amen, Amen, Amen, Amen, A tremendous hallelujah and victorious Hosanna to the Lord.

 

7 Thoughts that Will Change Your Marriage.


Today I want to share with you 7 thoughts that, if we really understood them, could transform your marriage.

1. God is your Father-in-Law

We like to think of God as our Father, our Daddy, our Abba. That’s all very true. God is our Father, and He does love us, and care for us, and listen to our prayers, and want the best for us. He is going to bat for us.

But do you realize that God is also our Father-in-law?

He’s also your husband’s Father. And that means that He really cares about your husband, and He really loves your husband, and He listens to your husband’s heart cry as well. I imagine that one day, I’m going to stand before God, and He’s going to gently talk to me about Keith. He’ll say, “what did you do to care for my son? How did you love my son?”

I so desperately hope that God will be pleased with the way I treated His son.

I once read a quote from author Sally Clarkson, who asked, “what if the greatest act of worship you could do today is to love your husband?” And it very well could be. God loves your husband, and He planned for your husband to have someone to help him, to encourage him, to inspire him, to love him. God wants someone to appreciate your husband, and to urge him on in faith and in love. And that someone, that He has especially prepared for the task, is you.

2. I Can’t Change Him; I Can Only Change Me.

Has this thought ever entered your head: “I’d be happy if only he’d…” or “I’ll be happy as soon as he….” If you can fill in the blank, you may have a problem.

What you’re really saying is, “I won’t be happy until he….” You’re making a decision to place your happiness and your sense of peace outside of yourself and into someone else’s hands. You’re waiting for him to change.

The problem with that is that you can’t make anybody else change. Magazine covers don’t believe this; they’re filled with articles like, “7 Ways to Make Your Man More Romantic” or “How To Get Him to Help Around the House” or whatever else it may be. They’re focusing on you making him into the kind of person you want to be.

But that attitude is poison for a marriage. When you give  your husband the idea: ” you are making me unsatisfied. You are failing me,” he will tend to retreat. He’d rather do things in his area of competence.

What if you’re really unhappy with the way things are? I understand. But nagging and withholding affection and becoming bitter cannot bring about positive change in a marriage. Here’s what can: changing yourself. You can change how you choose to react to him. You can change how you organize the house if you feel that too much is being asked of you. You can get more hobbies if you find yourself relying too much on your husband for adult conversation. (I cover all of this, and more, in my book To Love, Honor and Vacuum).

When you change, you also change the dynamic in the marriage, and that, in and of itself, may bring change in how he reacts to you, too. But insisting that he become someone else will only make you miserable.

3. What if Marriage is Meant for Holiness more than Happiness?

When you walked down that aisle, chances are you were thinking, “this is the man who will make me happy for the rest of my life.” That’s why we get married! We find someone that we feel happy with.

What happens, though, when you’ve been married for a while and you find you have different ideas on how to spend your free time, or your money? You have different ideas on showing each other love, on what sex means, or on how much you each should do around the house. And you feel unloved and unappreciated.

Does that mean the marriage is bad? Absolutely not! That’s quite natural. We all have different expectations going into marriage. But perhaps God didn’t make marriage to make us happy; as Gary Thomas says in Sacred Marriage, maybe it’s God’s best vehicle to make us holy. For a marriage to work, we each need to meet the other person’s needs. As we do that, the marriage becomes stronger, we become better people, and you may just find that happiness after all.

4. You will Never Drift Together; You will Only Ever Drift Apart.

A few years ago I read about an experiment off of the coast of Brazil. They dropped two bottles into the ocean off of a boat at exactly the same time. The bottles had messages in them–contact this phone number for a reward. One bottle washed up on the coast of Ecuador 100 days later (it went north west). The other bottle went across the Atlantic Ocean, around Africa, and washed up on Tanzania a year later. They started in the same place; they ended up half a world way.

We work the same way. Unless we consciously try to stay close together, we will drift. Drifting is natural; if you want to stop the drift, you have to be intentional.

Most couples stop doing things together as soon as they’re married. Don’t. Now’s the time that you have to be even more intentional about staying close. Do things together–anything–everyday. Make sure you laugh. Find hobbies. Talk. Just be together, or you will find yourselves half a world apart without even realizing how it happened.

5. The Marriage Comes Before the Kids.

As soon as children are born they take so much of our attention and energy. They’re needy, they’re demanding, and they’re ever so lovable. But don’t ever make the mistake of prioritizing them over the marriage.

The fact that you have kids means that your marriage matters more, not less, because now other people are counting on you. And what kids need more than anything else is stability. When their parents’ relationship is strong, they are free to grow, and explore, and learn without worry.

Your children are only given to you for a time, and yes, you have to love them. But the marriage relationship is the one that will endure until death. Children will move on; you sure don’t want your spouse to. So nurture the marriage first, even once kids come. It’s important–especially to them.

6. If You Win a Battle, You Often Lose the War.

Here’s one I still struggle with: I like to win fights. I think at heart it’s because I have rejection issues, and if Keith is upset at me, my goal is to prove to him why he’s completely and totally wrong. After all, if he sees that he has no reason to be upset, then why would he leave? (For the record, Keith would never leave, but I think this is what goes on in my subconscious).

I’m also a very good debater. I listen really well during fights–but I listen for loopholes so that I can blow his argument to shreds. It doesn’t matter if he’s just talking about how he feels; I can prove he’s wrong.

For the first few years I’m sure I won every fight. But it didn’t seem to be working. Keith was retreating inside himself, and I couldn’t hear his heart anymore. And over the years I’ve learned that you can win the battle but lose the war. When you keep winning, you sometimes drive someone away, because if one person wins and one person loses, you both lose. A relationship is about two people feeling loved, appreciated, and accepted. If you constantly push down someone’s feelings, you’re destroying that relationship–even if technically you are in the right.

So now I’ve learned sometimes just to listen and acknowledge his feelings, and then just shut up. I’ve learned that we need to find the win-win, not the win-lose.

7. I Can Determine My Thoughts

Did you know we aren’t slave to our thoughts? We can change them.

During my pregnancy with our second child we found out that he had a severe heart defect (he later passed away at a month of age). All through that pregnancy I was a wreck. Someone, I can’t even remember who now, suggested that I start a gratitude journal, writing five things that I was thankful for everyday, even if that day was bad.

And I did.

I even wrote it when Christopher was in the hospital. Here’s one day:

  • Feeding Christopher. Getting to hold him, away from the tubes, and give him his bottle. His eyes opened while he ate!
  • Becca wanting to cuddle that night
  • A beautiful sunset as we were walking home
  • The way Christopher fought the nurse when she tried to give him his medicine. He hates it! I love that he shows spunk
  • Having a friend drop off spaghetti for us

He went into surgery three days later. Those were some of the hardest days of my life, and yet everyday I focused on what to be grateful for, because I knew at the end of the day I’d have to make a list. And so I found myself searching for things to be grateful for. In fact, most days I remember having to choose the five best, not search for five, because I had spent the day trying to think of little blessings.

Marriage works the same way. When you are looking for things to praise, you will find things to praise. When you are looking for things to be grateful for, you will find things to be grateful for. So if you’ve been in a funk, always noticing the negative, let me give you this challenge: everyday, tell your husband one thing that you’re thankful for about him. And write down five. (you can tell him all five if you want!). But make it a practice to be grateful, and you will find your attitude changing.

There you go: seven thoughts that will change a marriage. There’s so much more, of course, that goes into a great marriage, and I’ve written a ton about sex and conflict resolution and friendship and more. But our thoughts determine our actions. Get our thoughts in line, and it’s easier for those other things to also fall into place!

Post first published at To Love, Honor and Vacuum. Used with permission.

By Sheila Wray Gregoire

Sheila Wray Gregoire is a marriage blogger, speaker, writer, and mom. The author of seven books, including The Good Girl’s Guide to Great Sex, she loves encouraging women to strive for the kind of real intimacy in marriage that God designed. When she’s not blogging at To Love, Honor and Vacuum, you can find her on FacebookTwitter, and Pinterest!

Publication date: May 1, 2013

Praying For His Strength To Always Carry Us To Our Destinations.


Our Shield and Our Buckler, Abba Father, I join my brothers and sisters in agreement and we thank and reverence You and we proclaim that Your love protects our hearts from yielding to temptations and O Lord even in the dry, barren seasons of our lives, our hearts, souls and bodies  desires only to be matured in You and to be all that You want us to be, this is our sincere prayer this day, as we pray in Jesus Name. Amen, Amen and Amen.

Giver Of Immeasurable Grace, O Lord, we pray Thee to endow us with grace that will equip and prepare us as worthy, holy and pure vessels, O Lord for we do not want to move until You move and we either do not want to go forth into battle grounds unprepared and we  beseech Thee to equip us to possess every lands predestined for us  to Your glory and to hear Your voice clearly, we ask this through Jesus Christ, Our Lord. Amen, Amen and Amen.

Lord Jesus, we pray Thee to teach us to fly and push us out of every nests that we have constructed to keep us from risking our faith and trusting You and Jehovah Shammah, in every seasons of our lives, that we can´t go any longer, we pray Thee to carry us as You have always done to our various destinations, for we know and we fully believe, trust and count on Your strength, for we know and we are fully persuaded that Your strength will never let us fall, because You are Alpha and Omega, The Beginning and The End and The Unchangeable God, we pray In Jesus Name. Amen, Amen, Amen, Amen, Amen, Amen and Amen.

{ Day 111 }.


For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God‘s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory. —Romans 8:15-1

What best motivates a child to want to be like his parents? Is it affirmation and respect, or fear of rejection and guilt? The same principle is true in the spiritual realm. Using wrong motivations to encourage believers to pursue intimacy with Christ—manipulation, fear, or guilt—may seem to obtain quick results, but those results do not last. Even spiritual disciplines such as prayer, fasting, and Bible study, which are vital, can often result in legalism, pride, insecurity, or morbid introspection if pursued with the wrong motivation. Our spirits cry for more of Him when we begin to grasp the implications of being adopted as His children.

{ PRAYER STARTER }

Father, all that You are cause me to want to be more and more like You. Show me how to become more like You each day of my life.

The knowledge of God’s deep affection and of our
full acceptance as His beloved children is the best
motivation for consistent spiritual growth.

By MIKE BICKLE.

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