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Posts tagged ‘relationship’

Caring for human good…


By Pastor Bobby Schuller

“If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing…And now these three remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love.”
1 Corinthians 13:3,13

Remember these words: Emotions make great slaves but terrible masters. Are the emotions of your life – especially the emotion of love – mastering you? Do they govern your life? Are you a total slave to your emotions? Or, do you transcend your emotions and make decisions that cause your emotions to follow you?

The first step to controlling the emotion of love is to know that love, primarily, is an action. When you put your hand on someone’s shoulder and say, “Can I pray for you?” Or, when you say to someone, “Hey, can I give you a glass of water or something to eat?” When you help out the poor, when you help those who are struggling, when you see somebody working in the cubicle next to you and you say, “How you doing?” and he says “Fine,'” but you can tell he’s not, and you say, “No, really. How are you?” That’s love. When you live with grace and forgiveness for those you around you, that is love. Men, when you buy flowers for your wives, and women, when you bake cinnamon rolls for your husbands, that’s love.

Love is an action. It’s what you do for people. Love is something you can have for a complete stranger, because love is care for human good. So, if you say to a person, “I love you,” that means you care about their wellbeing even though you don’t even know them.

Prayer: Dear Lord, I relinquish the mastering of my emotions to you. I no longer want to be a slave to them, but to be a servant only of you. Take my feelings of love for others and help me to stabilize those emotions through actions of love. Amen.

Devotion: Have your emotions ever felt out of control? What happened to stabilize them? Did God play a part?

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How to Correct Myths about Men.


 

Whitney Hopler

Editor’s Note: The following is a report on the practical applications of Julie Gorman’s new book What I Wish My Mother Had Told Me about Men (Authentic Publishers, 2013).

Do you wish you could enjoy closer relationships with the men in your life – such as your husband or boyfriend, father, son, brother, or coworkers – but keep stumbling into misunderstandings and mistakes that prevent you from moving closer to them?

If so, you may believe some common myths about men that can distort your relationships with them. Replacing those myths with biblical truths will set you free to experience the kind of relationships that God intends for you to enjoy with men. Here’s how to do so:

Correct the myth that “A man will validate my worth.” No matter how much attention or affection men may give you, it will never be enough to fulfill you. No matter how the men in your life may disappoint you, you can always count on God to love you completely and unconditionally. Don’t base your sense of worth on the unreliable opinions of fallen human beings. Instead, base your worth on the fact that God has made you one of His beloved children. Honestly ask yourself questions such as: “Is my happiness contingent upon a man?” “Do I care more about a man’s opinion of me than I do about God’s?” “Do I allow a man to define my worth, or do I listen to who God says I am?” and “Have I compromised my faith in order to pursue a man?” After you identify lies you’ve believed, ask the Holy Spirit to renew your mind and study verses in the Bible that relate to how God values you. Fully embrace who God says you are, and derive your confidence from that truth.

Correct the myth that “A man will rescue me.” Expecting a man to rescue you from your unmet needs is unrealistic, because no man has the power to do so. Rather than pursuing security and hope through men, pursue it by deepening your relationship with God, who alone has the power to meet your deepest needs. Ask yourself questions like: “Am I content with my life, or am I ruled with a consuming desire for a man to rescue me from my current situations, fears, financial troubles, or emotional needs?” “Is my security determined by God, or is it contingent on my relationships?” and “From where does my hope originate?” Rather than trying to convince or manipulate men to meet your needs, pray about your needs and trust God to meet each one according to what’s really best for you.

Correct the myth that “A man will never let me down.” Realize that men will inevitably disappoint you, because they’re fallen human beings. But if you look to God (who alone is perfect) to meet your needs, you won’t be disappointed. Ask yourself questions such as: “What expectations do I maintain?” “Are my expectations realistic?” and “What happens when men fail to meet my expectations?” Don’t pressure men with unrealistic expectations; give the men in your life forgiveness and grace. Build your life firmly in God’s love so that, when imperfect men let you down, you can find what you need in God’s perfect love for you.

Correct the myth that “Men only want one thing.” Although it may sometimes seem that men are primarily interested in the physical release that sex gives them, the truth is that they also want the intimate spiritual and emotional connection that comes with sex as God designed it. If you’re single, ask yourself if you’re using your sexuality to entice men to for selfish purposes. If you’re married, ask yourself if you’ve reduced sex with your husband to just a duty, or if you’re giving sex your full attention, so that it enhances the union between your soul and your husband’s soul as God intends it to do.

Correct the myth that “I can change him.” You can’t change another person; only God has the power to change someone else. So don’t waste time and energy trying to change the men in your life. Instead, pray for them, encourage them, and trust God to keep working in their lives for the best. Never compromise your own values to please a man; instead, live to please God and relinquish any relationships with men that are dishonoring to God.

Correct the myth that “I can control him.” Resist the temptation to try to control your husband or boyfriend, because doing so undermines the respect God wants you to have for him and damages your relationship. Ask yourself questions such as: “Do I try to control my man and influence him to do, say, and think what I want?” and “Do I trust God, or do I sometimes rely on my own devices to protect and shield my life?” Decide to give your hopes and dreams for your romantic relationship to God, and trust Him to influence your man in ways you never could yourself.

Correct the myth that “It’s all his fault.” When you encounter problems in your relationships with men, do you blame the men for those problems, or do you take responsibility for your own part in the difficulties you face? Ask yourself questions such as: “Do I spend more time concentrating on what men do wrong than what they do right?” Choose to love the men in your life as God loves you: unconditionally.

Correct the myth that “All men are perverts.” If men have sinned against you sexually in some way, ask God to help you see them from His perspective: as fallen people in need of mercy and forgiveness. Ask God to help you heal from damage caused by sexual sin, and to empower you to forgive men who have hurt you.

Correct the myth that “Men are the enemy.” Keep in mind that, even though men may make many mistakes, they also have redeeming qualities. Choose to evaluate the men in your life based on their best moments, rather than their worst.

Correct the myth that “A man will satisfy the longing of my soul.” If you elevate your relationships with men over your relationship with God, you’ll suffer heartache, because God alone has the power to satisfy your soul’s deepest longing. Ask yourself questions such as: “Who do I go to when I need affirmation, comfort, or direction?” and “Do I embrace the fact that God loves me passionately and unconditionally?” Devote yourself wholeheartedly to God as your first love, and enjoy cultivating deeper intimacy with Him every day.

Adapted from What I Wish my Mother Had Told Me about Men: 12 Secrets toward Greater Intimacy, copyright 2013 by Julie Gorman. Published by Authentic Publishers, a division of Authentic Media, Inc., Franklin, Tn., www.authenticpublishers.com.

Julie Gorman is the founder of For Your Inspiration, a faith-based organization committed to strengthening the pillars common to every woman’s life. She writes, produces, and hosts FYI’s weekly national broadcast, and is certified by Dr. John C. Maxwell as an executive coach, trainer, and speaker. Julie, who graduated Summa Cum Laude from Central Bible College, is a prolific blogger and writer, with articles appearing in Proverbs 31 Magazine, Max Lucado’s online community Faithful Feet, Evangel, Light and Life, and several other publications. She and her husband, Greg, and their three children make their home in southern Florida.

Whitney Hopler, who has served as a Crosswalk.com contributing writer for many years, is author of the Christian novel Dream Factory, which is set during Hollywood’s golden age. Visit her website at: whitneyhopler.naiwe.com.

Publication date: December 27, 2013

6 Ways Your Marriage Can Thrive in a Busy Season.


Man and wife
Does busyness pull you and your spouse apart or make you closer?

I’ve come to the conclusion that more often than not, we find ourselves in a busy season of life. There is always a new assignment at work, another child’s dance recital to attend, another book to read, a new trip to take, another practice to drive the kids to, another meal to cook, another day of yard work, and now Christmas. The list goes on and on.

So how can our marriages not only survive but thrive in these seasons? Here are six ways your marriage can thrive even through the busiest times of life:

1. Set aside a little time throughout the day. Our days often have a couple minute-long breaks here and there. So instead of checking your Twitter feed, posting on Facebook or staring off into space, make those moments count. Send a quick email or text, or make a phone call to your spouse just to let them know you are thinking about them. It’s a simple way to interact frequently and consistently without taking too much time out of your schedule.

2. Be busy together. If you find that your wife has committed to serving at school next week, serve with her. If your husband is coaching your daughter’s soccer team, volunteer to help coach with him. You may not be able to get rid of the obligations in your life, but you can certainly thrive in the busyness if you go through it together. This may even turn out to be a sweet opportunity for you to grow as a couple as you learn to interact in a new way and in a new place.

3. Leave notes around the house. You may not have hours to spend with your spouse each day, but you can take a few minutes in the morning or at night to jot down a quick love note and stick it somewhere you know your spouse will see it—on the bathroom mirror, on the kitchen counter or even on the steering wheel in the car. This will be a creative reminder of your love in the midst of the craziness of life.

4. Plan dates in advance. Planning ahead will always help you spend time wisely in your marriage. If you know you have a date set for next Saturday, you each will work to get things done for that special night. So sit down with your spouse in advance and pick a night you know will work for both of you. Then calendar it as a very important appointment.

5. Say “no” more. It’s sometimes easier to say yes when someone asks you to do something with or for them than it is to say no. It’s OK to say no more often, even to good things, so that you can focus your energy and attention on your spouse.

6. Leave more margin on your calendar. If you don’t block out time on your calendar each day where you don’t schedule anything, it will fill up by default. Leave room for the unexpected—the child who needs to be picked up, the call to get the A/C repaired, the friend who needs help—so that your focus can be fully on your spouse when you’re together.

What are some ways in which you and your spouse have worked to keep your marriage thriving in the busy seasons of life? I’d love to hear your suggestions in a comment below.

Source: CHARISMA MAGAZINE/ NEW MAN.

MARK MERRILL/FAMILY FIRST

Mark Merrill is the president of Family FirstFor the original article, visit markmerrill.com.

5 Ways to Resolve the Blame Game in Your Marriage.


Spouse argument
Do you often play the blame game with your spouse? (Stock Free Images)

It’s easy to blame your spouse for your marriage issues when you think you’re doing everything possible to make it great. The real question is, “Are you?”

Chances are you are both responsible for your marriage issues. Now, stay with me here.

My wife and I struggled for years when it came to our marriage issues. Especially when it came to God.

Sunday morning is a great example. We would wake up Sunday and ask if church was on the schedule or not. I’d deflect and ask what time it started. She’d deflect and ask what else was going on that day.

In short, we would “excuse” ourselves out of going to church. There we would lie in bed, not helping our marriage and slowly destroying it. And what was it for?

As a changed husband looking back, I had to ask myself some hard questions. There may be some hard questions you need to be asking in your marriage too. How could I have approached situations differently? Was I really being the spiritual leader? Was I really loving my wife by giving in to laziness and fear?

What questions require honest answers in your marriage?

Let’s look at a few more scenarios.

You want to lead in your marriage, but instead of getting or asking for help, you hope the regular Sunday morning message at church will hold the answers you seek. Maybe.

So, things are really rough in your marriage and the only thing you do is pray. I am a firm believer in prayer, but I also believe that God has given certain people specific tools to use and help marriages grow. Don’t stop praying, but get off your butt and get some help from a counselor, mentor or pastor.

Say you’re dating this wonderful girl and you’re thinking about marriage. That’s great, but the problem is you live together and continue to have sex. Whose fault is it? I’ll say it’s both partners’ fault. My advice to the men is to step up and stop. Don’t wait for her to stop. Be honest with her and let her know your heart. Wait for marriage. Trust me, it’s possible and it’s worth it.

So, how can you lead? How can you stop blaming your spouse for all the issues and start taking responsibility in an effective and safe way?

Here are five questions you need to ask yourself:

1. Am I honestly doing everything I can to lead?

2. Have I communicated my feelings honestly to my spouse?

3. Have I honestly been praying about the situation on a daily basis and seeking God’s direction (not my own)?

4. Have I honestly and maturely discussed the situation with a church elder, pastor, friend, mentor or marriage counselor?

5. How long have I been passing the blame on to my spouse, when the issue is really mine to take care of?

Carefully consider the questions above, and start making big changes in your marriage or relationship today. That’s right; don’t wait any longer!

Have you experienced this in your marriage or relationship? What are some ways you and your spouse effectively communicate with each other and throw water down on the blame game fire?

Source: CHARISMA MAGAZINE/ NEW MAN.

Manturity is a blog built on establishing spiritual maturity in today’s man. The goal is to assist men in building better marriages and help them in grow in maturity and explore different aspects of manhood.Manturity.com features new weekly blog posts, daily social media updates and a powerful resources page. Stay up to date with the Manturity blog communities on Facebook and Twitter.

For the original article, visit manturity.com.

Kenny Luck: Stop the Self-Gratification.


Kenny Luck
Kenny Luck (Facebook)

Admit it. You masturbate. Either in the past or recently—heck, maybe this morning. All men, married or single, young or old, struggle with this self-indulgence.

While it would be easy to get caught in the debate of whether or not it’s a sin (and I believe it is), let me suggest that, in my own journey as a God’s man, the reward of saving my sexual appetite for my wife is so worth waiting for.

But that’s easier said than done, especially with culture flaunting the female body and shoving sexuality in our faces. The temptation to “relieve” yourself with a helpful hand puts men smack dab in the middle of a battle for the mind.

We justify it. “Well, it’s not in the Bible.” Or “I only fantasize about my wife.” Or “God made us in His image, so He gets it.” Or “As long as I’m not having premarital sex or cheating on my wife, it’s OK.”

I know. I know. I’ve heard these and other justifications before.

But the Bible teaches us to evaluate our behaviors with the outcomes they bring. It’s the law of the harvest: “That which a man sows, he also reaps.” So, what do you reap from masturbating—even while fantasizing about your wife?

I believe you reap a substitute for God’s intended plan while training yourself to listen to your body over the Spirit and trusting your own action instead of waiting for God’s plan for a wonderful wife.

The negative outcomes of masturbation are:

1. It creates distance from God. I’ve never heard any man tell me it draws him closer to God.

2. It impacts the way you view women, or your wife, as objects of gratification versus someone with whom you’re in a relationship where sex is a result of intimacy.

3. It’s addicting. Habitual masturbation is hard to stop. The chemicals released in the brain from having an orgasm are the same being released when doing cocaine or heroin.

4. It’s a slippery slope, meaning masturbation can lead to other behaviors that do not glorify God, namely porn, experimenting with pre-marital sex, cheating on your wife and learning how to hide something, allowing masturbation to become an idol.

5. It can produce false intimacy that the body and brain can wind up preferring over the real thing.

6. It short-circuits character and spiritual development in the areas of self-control, faith and patience.

So, if you are struggling with masturbation, ask yourself:

  • Does it move me closer to God?
  • Does it move me closer to my goals to be God’s man?
  • Will it improve my relationship with women and my wife?
  • Will it improve my ministry to other people?
  • Does it glorify God?

If you are striving to know God and love Him with all your heart, mind, soul and strength, then take your hand off your boy toy and allow your focus to reap a much higher reward. If you truly trust God, His plan and that sex within marriage is, can be or is going to be the absolute (mind-blowing) best ever, then stop masturbating.

Here are a few suggestions if you want help.

Tips to Quitting

  1. Make a strong decision to no longer stop short of God’s plan.
  2. Make a strong commitment to honesty with yourself, God and others.
  3. Find strong accountability that’s open and honest with another man or men.
  4. Replace the false intimacy with a strong passion to be God’s man that involves your time, energy and money.

Trust me on this one. Masturbation is only a consolation. But sex in marriage is a fascination!

Source: CHARISMA MAGAZINE / NEW MAN.

KENNY LUCK/EVERY MAN MINISTRIES

Kenny Luck, founder of Every Man Ministries and the men’s pastor at Saddleback Church, provides biblically oriented teaching and leadership for men and pastors seeking relevant, timely material that battle cultural, worldly concepts threatening men and God’s men. Follow Kenny and Every Man Ministries now on FacebookTwitter (@everyMM) and YouTube.

For the original article, visit everymanministries.com.

Why Marriage is the Biggest Challenge Men Face.


How healthy is your marriage?
How healthy is your marriage? (Stock Free Images)

Four of the biggest recurring challenges men face are marriage, work, health, and money. These are the four areas where most of us will experience our toughest long-term circumstances and problems.

In this excerpt from Patrick Morley’s book, How God Makes Men, see how God employs the principle of a greater good to make men of us in these areas.

Marriage

This is what I believe is the single biggest problem men as a group face today—bigger than all their other problems combined. Their marriages are not working as God designed. What can we learn from Joseph that God can use to make us into the husbands He created us to be?

For our marriages, the message is stay the course. Trust that God does have a purpose and that He is always at work in your life and in your relationship. You may be in a marriage that seems beyond help. I say “seems” because no marriage is beyond the hope of reconstruction by the strong arm of God. Nothing that has happened in your marriage has surprised God. If we learn anything from Joseph, it’s that nothing is beyond His redeeming power.

Consider Charles. All Charles did was work. His wife’s heart grew stone cold toward him. He retaliated by thinking about how happy he could be with other women and planning a divorce. This went on for a long time. Yet he knew divorce was not God’s plan for marriage. Then one day, while he was driving in his car, God supernaturally gave him a deep, unquenchable love for his wife. And the following week God changed his wife’s heart too.

God changed what seemed like irresolvable differences into a greater good–both for them and for others. Today Charles boldly helps other men save their marriages by telling the story of how God intervened in his marriage.

Men routinely ask me how to resolve marriage tensions. A man whose marriage was hanging by a thread asked, “What should I do?”

I asked him, “What do you want to do?”

“I want to make it work!”

“Do you want to be absolutely loyal to God?”

Yes, more than anything.”

Then I said what I always say: “You can’t, but Jesus in you can; so put your faith in Him, not what you see, and give it a few years.” Give it a few years–that’s the school of Joseph talking.

Once I saw a research report claiming that five years after they were divorced, a majority of people wish they would have worked harder to make their marriages work. In fact, an analysis of the National Survey of Families and Households revealed that 86 percent of unhappily married couples who did stick it out found that five years later their marriages were happier.

So if happiness is what you want, stick it out and give it a few more years. Adjust your expectations. Family systems scholar Edwin Friedman stated, “In reality, no human marriage gets a rating of more than 70%.” The happiness that working through your problems will bring far exceeds the shadow of happiness that divorce might bring. Most divorced men I’ve met have attested that the negative impacts of divorce, especially on their children, seem to go on forever. Besides, you’re not the only one whose happiness is at stake.

However, if your wife pulls out anyway, and you are on your own, you can use that time to stand strong and reveal the power and glory of God. You can continue to live in absolute loyalty to Jesus Christ by putting your faith in Him and keeping yourself morally pure until you remarry, or even remarry her. Over a dozen men in our Friday morning Bible study have done just that. Because they stayed true, God brought them back together again with their divorced or separated wives. And it didn’t hurt to have a small group of men to meet with on a weekly basis.

Of course, no one can guarantee any specific outcome for your relationship with your wife. What we do learn from Joseph, however, is that you can trust God’s Word that nothing has happened to you by human decision–yours or hers–apart from what is permitted by His will. And what God allows He will also use to put His power on display. What God wants from you now is the absolute loyalty that can come only from putting your faith in Jesus Christ. Remain faithful, and God will use your seemingly dead-end marriage to reveal His glory through a greater good. So stay the course.

Source: CHARISMA MAGAZINE/ NEW MAN.

Patrick Morley is founder and CEO of Man in the Mirror. After building one of Florida’s 100 largest privately held companies, in 1991, he founded Man in the Mirror, a nonprofit organization to help men find meaning and purpose in life. Dr. Morley is the best-selling author of The Man in the Mirror, No Man Left Behind, Dad in the Mirror, and A Man’s Guide to the Spiritual Disciplines.

3 Truths to Remember to Avoid the ‘If, Then’ Marriage Cycle.


Marriage cycle
(MarkMerrill.com)

Does this sound familiar to you?

“Honey, if you would just plan fun things for us to do,then I would spend more time with you.”

If you would spend more time with me, then I wouldn’t be so cranky.”

If you weren’t so cranky, then I would plan fun things for us to do.”

And around and around it goes. The endless cycle seen above is what I’ve come to call the “If, Then” marriage cycle. All too often, we find ourselves saying to our spouses, “If you would just do this, then I would do that.” It’s conditional love, which is really not love at all because true love is unconditional.

To save you and your spouse from becoming trapped in the “If, Then” marriage cycle, here are three truths to remember:

1. Love is not 50/50; it’s 100/100. Giving half the effort to your marriage will never cut it. Having the mindset that once you do your part, it’s up to your spouse to do the rest doesn’t work well in marriage. It’s important that both husband and wife are each giving 100 percent of themselves to the relationship.

2. Love sacrificially, not superficially. There will be times when you are tired and don’t want to do the dishes or help the kids with homework or are too busy to leave your spouse an encouraging note on the counter. But love is about making sacrifices. So break the “If, Then” marriage cycle by loving your spouse through practical, daily, sacrificial actions.

3. Love is not a transaction; it’s an action. It’s vital for both husband and wife to change their mindset from what they can get to what they can give. So try giving of your time, your thoughts or your talents without the expectation of getting something back. Do it simply because you love your spouse, not because you want a favor in return.

What are some “if, then” challenges that you and your spouse struggle with, and how do you move past those struggles? Please leave a comment below.

Source: CHARISMA MAGAZINE / NEW MAN.

Mark Merrill is the president of Family FirstFor the original article, visit markmerrill.com.

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