Welcome to Mondays @ Soul Survival. Each week I feature a book that I consider a valuable resource.
This week’s selection is Preparing for Marriage by David Boehi, Brent Nelson, Jeff Schulte & Lloyd Shadrach, published by Family Life Ministries.
You know how it goes. We meet. Fall in love. Get married. And live happily ever after.
At least that’s what we all expect. No one marries expecting to be a divorce statistic, but sadly, the rate of divorce isn’t all that different among Christian couples than it is with unbelievers.
That shouldn’t be the case and it doesn’t have to be, but it takes preparation. Preparation that is often neglected in the midst of choosing caterers and venues. Many couples spend months, even longer, preparing for a wedding and little, if any, time preparing to be married!
My husband and I taught a preparing for marriage class for a number of years. After using various materials, we found this book and the couples who currently teach the class still use it.
The book is a combination book and workbook. The best way to use it, is for each person to complete a chapter or project on their own, then to spend some time discussing it together. It can be worked through by a couple on their own or with a mentor couple. It can also be used as a small group or classroom study.
Theology … we tend to think it’s for pastors and teachers or, maybe, students in seminary or Bible college, but not for moms and dads, office workers, storekeepers, and others of us who work in stores and offices and homes every day.
But as you’ll learn from Brad Hambrick’s book, we all have a theology, including our ideas about God’s attributes. How does our understanding of God’s character affect how we view the events of our lives, especially the hard ones and how do we arrive at our view of God, sometimes, without even realizing it?
One portrayal of how we do theology is provided by breathing: inhale, process, and exhale. We inhale information, experiences, relationships, hopes, dreams, opportunities, tragedies, successes, failures, and an incredible number of mundane moments. These pieces are then processed by personal evaluations as good, bad, pleasant, unpleasant, painful, pleasurable, significant, noticed, or unnoticed. Finally, we exhale beliefs, correlations of cause and effect, life principles, optimistic or pessimistic expectations, and ideas about God (i.e., whoever or whatever we believe to be “in charge” of it all).
Think about some of the formative events of your life, the good and the bad. These major memories have the greatest impact on our core beliefs, our theology.
As you reflect on these formative life events, the hard or negative ones will fit into one of two categories: sin or suffering. Sin encompasses those actions, beliefs, and emotions that are contrary to God’s Word or character. Suffering includes the tragic and deteriorative effects of living in a fallen world, as well as the consequences of other’s sin against you.
The guiding principle of this entire study is simply: Our battle from and against sin and suffering is first and foremost a battle toward and for God.
With this said, our concept of God, resulting from the theological breathing discussed above, greatly influences how we read the Bible. If we believe that God is a cosmic cop, we read the Bible fearfully wanting to know the things for which God will “pull us over” and for which he will “let us go”—the equivalent of the “how far over the speed limit can you drive and get away with it” debate. If we believe that God is a heavenly grandfather, then we read the Bible to find out what good ideas he has and how to stay on his good side to get the extra treats of his approval.
This devotional study can help us identify the connections between our sins and struggles and our understanding of God. It can help us identify those attributes we need to understand better. Doing so will help us trust, enjoy and emulate Him more and better. When we have a wrong view of God, Brad says: Continue reading →
Welcome to Mondays @ Soul Survival. Each week I feature a book (or in this case a booklet) that I consider a valuable resource. This week’s selection is HELP! I want to Change by Jim Newheiser.
“Why can’t I change? Have you ever asked this? Maybe you want more discipline in your eating habits. Or perhaps you struggle to keep your spending under control or maintain daily Bible reading and prayer. Change is hard, and our attempts often result in failure.”
So begins the description of this powerful little booklet by Jim Newheiser. Pastor Newheiser has been a biblical counselor for over twenty years. He’s a fellow with ACBC (the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors), a pastor at Grace Bible Church in Escondido, California and the director of IBCD (the Institute for Biblecal Counseling & Discipleship). He knows how hard change can be. Continue reading →
Is there really one verse that could change your marriage forever? Could it change other relationships, as well? I believe there is!
First, let me say that knowing this verse won’t change your marriage. Even memorizing this verse won’t change your marriage. Using it like a club over your mate, definitely, won’t change your marriage … not even praying it will do it!
Don’t misunderstand me. I believe in praying the Scriptures and this verse (actually two verses to be more precise) would be a great passage to pray for your marriage and other relationships, but it can’t stop there.
And I believe it’s important to know the Word of God. The Scriptures were given by God, in part, to teach us how to have good relationships, beginning with our relationship with God Himself.
16 All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness;17 so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work. (2 Tim. 3.16-17, NASB)
It not only teaches us, but it reproves us … shows us where we’re going wrong, corrects us … shows us how to get it right, and trains us so we can make godly living a lifestyle.
I, also, believe this would be a great verse to share with your spouse as something the two of you could work on together, though, we need to be sure we’re taking the logs out of our own eyes before we try to tell someone else where they’re going wrong (Matt. 7.3-5).
I believe in memorizing Scripture. Psalm 119.11 says, “Your word I have treasured in my heart, that I may not sin against You.” Continue reading →
Divorce, separation, adulterous or unhealthy relationships and break-ups of every kind … who hasn’t experienced the hurt of losing someone or had the need to break off a relationship.
You may be the one who was deserted by someone who said they would never leave you. Sometimes the pain is worsened by the knowledge that your former spouse committed adultery, emotionally or physically.
Or you may be the one breaking off a relationship that you know needs to end, but the sadness seems unbearable. In some cases, you may be the one who went outside of your marriage, either committing full blown adultery or by getting involved in some other inappropriate relationship. While you know the relationship was wrong, how do you get rid of those “lovin’ feelings”?
Or maybe you haven’t personally experienced that kind of hurt or struggle, but you know someone who has. Lou’s book may be just the answer.
From the introduction:
“Will this ache in my heart ever go away?”
As a professional counselor, I’ve been asked that question a hundred times in dozens of ways. If you are reading this book, chances are that you (or someone you love) have been asking this question, too. When a romantic relationship ends, the confluence of potentially depressing emotions can wreak havoc in the lives of those involved. This is especially true for the person who didn’t want the relationship to end. But for the Christian, there is a very good answer to this oft-asked question.
Yes! Your pain will go away in time.
For a Christian who knows and is willing to do what the Bible says, the heartache will be healed. And the more of God’s Word a person implements, the sooner the anguish will stop. If you are the one who is hurting, there are specific things you can do to ease the pain and help yourself get back to the way you were before the breakup.
This book was originally titled, Losing that Lovin’ Feeling and contains thirty-one short chapters, each one based on a song title, to help you or someone else, “lose those lamentable ‘lovin’ feelings’ as quickly and righteously as possible.”
There are chapters like “How Can I Mend My Broken Heart?,” “How Do Fools Fall in Love?,” “Can’t I Stop Loving You?,” “Why Are You Lonesome Tonight?,” “What Good Comes to the Brokenhearted?,” “Won’t Be Cruel,” and “Someday Your Prince Will Come.” Each one is designed to address some aspect of the strong and painful emotions involved when relationships are broken. Continue reading →