“Are you losing that loving feeling?” December 12

 

Are you losing that loving feeling?Are you losing that loving feeling? Has “red hot love” turned to “not tonight, honey”? Has passion given way to dirty socks on the floor, too many bills, and too little romance? There is a way to regain that feeling!

 

Today’s Readings:
Joel 1-3
Psalm 140.6-13
Proverbs 29.24
Revelation 2.1-29

 

Are you losing that loving feeling?

 

Revelation 2.1-29:

Remember, Repent & Do

 

Here in chapter 2 we have both encouragement and warnings to four key churches in Asia (modern day Turkey): Ephesus (vss. 1-7), Smyrna (vss. 8-11), Pergamos (vss. 12-17), and Thyatira (vss. 18-29).

His comments to the church at Ephesus can also be applied to our personal lives and relationships, especially in marriage. He says in part:

1 “To the angel of the church of Ephesus write,
‘These things says He who holds the seven stars in His right hand, who walks in the midst of the seven golden lampstands. 2 “I know your works, your labor, your patience, and that you cannot bear those who are evil. And you have tested those who say they are apostles and are not, and have found them liars; 3 and you have persevered and have patience, and have labored for My name’s sake and have not become weary. 4 Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love. 5 Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place—unless you repent.

Notice that Jesus started with encouragement, rather than criticism. He told them the things that He had seen that they were doing right. We should be careful to do the same in our relationships with our spouses and others.

 

Falling Out of Love

 

In marriage counseling and in conversations with many who are struggling in their marriages I’ve often heard, “I love him, but I’m just not ‘in love’ with him” or “We have just fallen out of love.”

Maybe that’s you or someone you know. Maybe you believe you have really tried to make it work, but the feelings just aren’t there. Notice Jesus, through the Apostle John, says, “I know your works …” Jesus sees the effort you have put into making things work.

But then He goes on to say, “I have this against you, that you have left your first love.” He doesn’t just say, “I understand. If you don’t have that ‘loving feeling’ any more, you can’t help it.” No, He provides the answer, “Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works …” one translation says, “…do the works you did before.”

When we first fall in love with someone, we think about them all the time. We tell ourselves good things about them. We think about how much we want to be with them. We focus on all their good points. We take time to talk and build our relationship.

On the other hand, when “life” starts to enter in and we realize he leaves his dirty socks everywhere and would rather watch football than have a meaningful conversation or that she criticizes your driving and is not always hot for romance, we start to tell ourselves other things. And guess what? Our feelings begin to change, as well.

The answer is the same in our individual relationships as it was for the Ephesians in their relationship with Christ, “remember …, repent …, and do …”  Continue reading

Blended Families Part 15: Helping Children Adjust + LINKUP

 

Blended Families Part 15: Helping Children Adjust - Today we'll discuss how to help your children and step-children adjust to blended family life and some of the issues that may need to be addressed.

I so sorry the linkup is late. My mom fell a couple of weeks ago and broke her hip. I’m staying with her for a while and just got her home from rehab yesterday. Please keep her in your prayers, not just for her healing, but for her to come to know the Lord.

Blended Families Part 15: Helping Children Adjust

 

Over the last two weeks in “Blended Families Part 13: Differences Between Households” and “Blended Families Part 14: Overcoming Evil,” we have been looking at ways to deal with the different rules and expectations between your household and that of your ex in a God-honoring way. We, also, looked at how to evaluate whether or not to address any particular situation and how to respond when you ex isn’t willing to work on issues. Last week we talked about ways to live in peace and solve problems. Today and next week, we’ll discuss how to help your children and step-children adjust to blended family life and some of the issues that may need to be addressed.

Click here for previous posts in this series.

 

The Challenge for All Families

 

When asked about the greatest commandment, Jesus replied:

37 “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself’” (Matt. 22.37-39 NLT).

This can be challenging in all families as people live with one another day after day, seeing each other in the best and worst of circumstances. It’s especially challenging as we seek to blend two families into one.

Yet, no where is it more important that we, especially parents, live out these commands. We won’t do it perfectly, but we can do it humbly and imperfectly, by relying on God’s grace. Doing so is important to our children’s view of Christianity.

 

Loving Though They Didn’t Choose

 

While their parents chose a partner, children are called to love people with whom they didn’t choose to live. In the process, their hearts are exposed as they’re forced to share, submit to parental authority, to give, and to love. And while all families face change from time to time, children in a blended families often face sudden and drastic change.

Some of the changes might be:

  • Birth order
  • Position of priority with the biological parent
  • The need to share a room
  • Moving
  • A change of school
  • A change of neighbors
  • Loss of contact with extended family

And we could add many more.

 

Two Major Pitfalls

 

Parents in blended families can easily fall into one or both of two major pitfalls.

The first is to get focused merely on outward behavior without addressing the heart. Parents may come up with a rule for everything. The focus becomes all about complying with those house rules. Of course, some rules are OK, but focusing on compliance without dealing with heart issues creates little pharisees, at best.

Children learn to live in that economy. They learn how to get what they want by keeping the rules and, often, learn to manipulate by showing the right amount of penitence over bad behavior. Then when they’re out from under their parents’ authority, they begin to live out of the thoughts and motives that were in their hearts all along. They go away to collage or leave home and quit doing what’s right.  Continue reading