Marriage Made in Heaven? Part 5 “Weaving” + LINKUP

 

 

Marriage Made in Heaven? Part 5 "Cleaving" - Previously, we've looked at an overview of marriage and have been discussing the three components of marriage God laid out in Genesis 2.24 and other places in Scripture: leaving, cleaving, and what we're calling "weaving," growing in a one-flesh relationship. Today we'll focus on "weaving."Previously, we’ve looked at an overview of marriage and have been discussing the three components of marriage God laid out in Genesis 2.24 and other places in Scripture: leaving, cleaving, and what we’re calling “weaving,” growing in a one-flesh relationship. Today we’ll focus on “weaving.”

Welcome to Mondays @ Soul Survival.

The term “a marriage made in heaven,” may bring to mind different images, feelings, and expectations, but wherever you are, I believe this series has something for you.

 

Marriage: Made in Heaven? “Weaving”

 

Let’s look at our foundational Scripture once again:

Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh (Gen. 2.24).

The three key components mentioned here are all critical to a God-honoring marriage.

Two weeks ago I focused on leaving. Briefly, it means we no longer depend on our parents emotionally, financially, or relationally. It means what they want or expect does not take priority over our spouse’s wishes and it means not running to them with every problem.

Last week, we talked about cleaving, including what it means when we say that marriage is a covenant relationship. God designed marriage to be a permanent relationship between one man and one woman for life.

Today we’ll talk about weaving, two becoming one.

This one-flesh relationship includes the sexual aspect of marriage, but it is much more. Wayne Mack in his book Strengthening Your Marriage says, “Marriage is a total commitment and a total sharing of the total person with another person until death.”

The marriage act should be a symbol of a more complete oneness. Weaving our lives together means becoming one-flesh relationally, socially, and financially, as well as, physically.

Couples should share everything, including: thoughts, ideas, dreams, abilities, problems, fears, concerns, successes, and failures. Ecclesiastes 4 says:

Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor. 10 For if either of them falls, the one will lift up his companion. But woe to the one who falls when there is not another to lift him up.11 Furthermore, if two lie down together they keep warm, but how can one be warm alone? 12 And if one can overpower him who is alone, two can resist him. A cord of three strands is not quickly torn apart.

That’s not to say a person isn’t complete unless they’re married. If God has called you to singleness or a season of singleness, you are complete in Him. But when God said it was not good that man should be alone (Gen. 2.18), it referred to this idea of making up for what is lacking in each other.

Weaving our lives together is a picture of unity and deep intimacy, but it doesn’t mean we’re the same.

I’m always amazed at how God often brings together two people who are opposites in many ways. One will be a morning person and the other a night owl. One will be frugal and the other more spontaneous about spending. One may be outgoing and the other more of an introvert.

This can cause sparks as we’re learning to weave our lives together, but instead of expecting our spouses to be just like us, we should learn to appreciate each other’s differences. We should learn from and strengthen one another.

 

What Hinders Unity?

 

Genesis 2.25 says, “And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.” But as soon as they sinned, they “realized they were naked” and they tried to hide themselves (Gen. 3.7). This was more than just physical nakedness. It was vulnerability. They saw themselves in their fallen state. As soon as they sinned they wanted to cover up from God and, ultimately, from each other.

Sin still keeps us from the transparency and intimacy God designed for marriage. In our sin nature, we are self-protective and prideful, rather than open and honest. But the walls we build to protect ourselves keeps us from the intimacy we desire. We end up cheating ourselves.

Other sins like bitterness and unforgiveness, harshness, selfishness, stubbornness, anger, impatience, and unwholesome speech prevent us from unity and intimacy, too.  Continue reading

Marriage: Made in Heaven? Part 4 “Cleaving” + LINKUP

 

Marriage: Made in Heaven? Part 4 "Cleaving" - The word "cleave" in <a class="bible-gateway" href="http://biblegateway.com/passage/?search=%26quot%3BGenesis&version=NIV" onclick="biblegwlinkpop(this.href,'"Genesis',800,950);return false;" target="_blank">"Genesis</a> means to cling or adhere; to abide fast; to be joined together." It means we are to stick like glue to each other. We're to cling to each other in sickness and in health; for richer or for poorer; for better or for worse. We're to stick together in joy and sorrow, good times and bad.We’ve all heard the phrase “a marriage made in heaven,” but it may bring to mind different thoughts and images. Perhaps, in your case, it’s of your parents’ marriage and whether it was a good one or a contentious one. Perhaps, it’s your own marriage and of the thoughts, dreams, commitments, even preconceptions, you had when you married.

Perhaps, it’s the thing to which you look forward or the one over which you’ve become discouraged. Wherever you are, I believe this series will have something for you. If your marriage is a good one, hopefully, you can fine tune some things and if you’re single, I pray you’ll take away truths that will help you in any future marriage or help you minister to others who are married. So, I hope you’ll tune in each week for this study, “A Marriage Made in Heaven?”

Welcome to Mondays @ Soul Survival.

 

Marriage: Made in Heaven? “Cleaving”

 

In week one I talked a little about God’s plan for marriage and how when Adam and Eve sinned and disobeyed God, it not only damaged their relationships with God, but with each other.

In week two I shared my own testimony of marriage, divorce, remarriage, and God’s grace. If you missed it, I hope you’ll check it out.

Last week I started talking about one of God’s clearest and most definitive statement on marriage. It appears four times (Gen. 2.24; Matt. 19.5; Mk. 10.7-8; Eph. 5.31) in His inspired Word (once in the Old Testament, three times in the New, once before the fall, and three times after). It was and is God’s plan and purpose for marriage in a nutshell.

Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh (Gen. 2.24).

Often, when a couple is struggling in their marriage, it can be traced back to a failure to follow this blueprint in one or more of these areas. So what are the components of God’s divine plan for marriage listed in this verse?

As I said last week the key words are “leave,” “joined,” and “one flesh.” The word “joined” was translated “cleave” in the old King James Version and we’re calling the idea of becoming one flesh, “weaving.” So we are to leave, to cleave, and to weave our lives together.

Last week I focused on leaving. Briefly, it means we no longer depend on our parents emotionally, financially, or relationally. It means what they want or expect does not take priority over your spouse’s wishes and it means not running to them with every problem.

Today we’ll spend more time on what it means “to cleave.” Continue reading

Marriage: Made in Heaven? “Leaving, Cleaving & Weaving” + LINKUP

 

Marriage: Made in Heaven? "Leaving, Cleaving & Weaving" -

We’ve all heard the phrase “a marriage made in heaven,” but it may bring to mind different thoughts and images. Perhaps, in your case, it’s of your parents’ marriage and whether it was a good one or a contentious one. Perhaps, it’s your own marriage and of the thoughts, dreams, commitments, even preconceptions, you had when you married.

Perhaps, it’s the thing to which you look forward or the one over which you’ve become discouraged. Wherever you are, I believe this series will have something for you. If your marriage is a good one, hopefully, you can fine tune some things and if you’re single, I pray you’ll take away truths that will help you in any future marriage or help you minister to others who are married. So, I hope you’ll tune in each week for this study, “A Marriage Made in Heaven?”

Welcome to Mondays @ Soul Survival.

 

Marriage: Made in Heaven? “Leaving, Cleaving & Weaving

 

Last week I shared my own testimony of marriage, divorce, remarriage, and God’s grace. If you missed it, I hope you’ll check it out.

The previous week I talked a little about God’s plan for marriage and how when Adam and Eve sinned and disobeyed God, it not only damaged their relationships with God, but with each other.

Today we’ll zero in on, arguably, God’s clearest and most definitive statement on marriage. It’s the one statement about marriage that God makes four times (Gen. 2.24; Matt. 19.5; Mk. 10.7-8; Eph. 5.31) in the Bible.

He said it once in the Old Testament, three times in the New, once before the fall, and three times after. It was and is God’s plan and purpose for marriage in a nutshell.

Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh (Gen. 2.24).

As a counselor, I can tell you, more often than not, when a couple is struggling in their marriage, it can be traced back to a failure to follow this blueprint in one or more areas. So what are the components of God’s divine plan for marriage in this verse?

The key words are “leave,” “joined,” and “one flesh.” You’ll probably remember that the word “joined” was translated “cleave” in the old King James Version. And we might call the idea of becoming one flesh, “weaving.” So we are to leave, to cleave, and to weave our lives together.  Continue reading

Marriage: Made in Heaven? “My Story” + LINKUP

 

Marriage: Made in Heaven? "My Story" - How God took two broken lives and four divorces and did what only He can do.

We’ve all heard the phrase “a marriage made in heaven,” but it may bring to mind different thoughts and images. Perhaps, in your case, it’s of your parents’ marriage and whether it was a good one or a contentious one. Perhaps, it’s your own marriage and of the thoughts, dreams, commitments, even preconceptions, you had when you married. Perhaps, it’s the thing to which you look forward or the one over which you’ve become discouraged. Wherever you are, I believe this series will have something for you. So, whether you’re single or you’ve been married 50+ years, I hope you’ll tune in each week for this study, “A Marriage Made in Heaven?”

 

Welcome to Mondays @ Soul Survival. If you’re new here, either to the LINKUP or you’ve come for this series on marriage, I look forward to learning together and growing in the ability to be the husband or wife God has called us to be and to have the kind of marriages that bring glory to Him. And if you’re single, I pray you’ll take away truths that will help you in any future marriage or help you minister to others who are married.

 

Last week I talked about the fact that marriage was created in the heart of God (Gen. 2.18-25), but that many marriages, even Christian marriages, fall far short of God’s design. I said that because God created marriage, we need to look at what He has to say about it, if we’re going to enjoy it as He intended.

We, also, need to understand what went wrong in the garden and how Adam and Eve’s decision to go against God’s command and eat the fruit had an immediate effect on all of life, including their marriage.

Today I’d like to share some of “my story” and how my story is really God’s story of redemption and grace.

 

Marriage: Made in Heaven? “My Story”

 

My story starts in Maine, actually Dover, New Hampshire, because the small down where my parents lived didn’t have a hospital of it’s own.

My grandparents were hard-working, “salt of the earth” people. My maternal grandparents were good, moral people, but not “church-goers” as they might have said.

My paternal grandfather died of cancer when I was a year old. My grandmother was raised in a Christian home, but didn’t always reflect Christ-likeness to others in the family. I say that only because it had a profound effect on my mother’s view of Christianity.

But I’m profoundly grateful that when my grandmother visited us once or twice a year, she took me with her to church. Seeds were planted. In fact, I remember praying a prayer to accept Jesus when I was about 12-years old.

While I do believe that God was working and drawing me to Himself at that time, I’m not sure if it was a genuine conversion. Only He knows, but I do know that He has had His hand on me.

Mom married my dad, who was five years older, three days out of high school. Their marriage was tumultuous from the beginning. I asked her about it once and whether or not she saw “red flags” before they were married. She said, “It’s just what you did. You graduated, then you got married.”

But my mother was a good mother. She was very devoted to her three children. I think she resigned herself to making us her life early on. She never worked outside the home while we were growing up. Somewhere along the line she decided that she’d stick it out “for the kids,” at least until we were all grown. When my youngest brother graduated from high school, she left.

My parents’ marriage was characterized by drinking and partying, mostly on my dad’s part, and arguments from which my mother tried to protect us.

My dad, in spite of it all, loved his kids. I don’t remember ever seeing him angry or mean, even when he was drinking. But, addictions are inherently selfish in nature and his cost his family in many ways.

Even so, I don’t remember ever feeling I had a bad childhood. I do remember wanting something different for my life.

Consequently, I married the first time at seventeen. Neither of us had any clue about God’s design for marriage. Like my mom, I focused on my children, but unlike her, I decided I would leave as soon as I could support myself. The marriage lasted less than seven years.

The next few years were a struggle: to make ends meet, to have any energy left for my two kids, and to see where my life was going.

I, eventually, got involved with an older man, in part, because I was just tired. This time, there were “red flags” all over the place, but I rationalized them all away. I left again after seven years of his drinking and infidelity. But he was a person who didn’t “lose.” It took me almost three years to get a divorce. Years that included his stalking me, drunken break-ins, threats to burn the house down with the kids and me in it, and on one occasion, kidnapping our young son.  Continue reading

“Marriage: Made in Heaven?” + LINKUP

 

Welcome to Mondays @ Soul Survival. If you’re new here, either to the LINKUP or you’ve come for the new series on marriage, I look forward to learning together and growing in the ability to be the husband or wife God has called us to be and to have the kind of marriages that bring glory to Him. And if you’re single, I pray you’ll take away truths that will help you in any future marriage or help you minister to others who are married.

 

“Marriage Made in Heaven?”

 

We’ve all heard the phrase “a marriage made in heaven,” but it may bring to mind different thoughts and images. Perhaps, in your case, it’s of your parents’ marriage and whether it was a good one or a contentious one. Perhaps, it’s your own marriage and of the thoughts, dreams, commitments, even preconceptions, you had when you married. Perhaps, it’s the thing to which you look forward or the one over which you’ve become discouraged. Wherever you are, I believe this series will have something for you. So, whether you’re single or you’ve been married 50+ years, I hope you’ll tune in each week for this study, “A Marriage Made in Heaven?”

 

Was Marriage “Made” in Heaven?

 

Where did we get the institution of marriage? Did it start in one particular civilization? Is it the creation of government or prehistoric social engineers?

We have to go back to the beginning, to the book of Genesis to find that answer.

18 And the Lord God said, “It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him.” 19 Out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the air, and brought them to Adam to see what he would call them. And whatever Adam called each living creature, that was its name. 20 So Adam gave names to all cattle, to the birds of the air, and to every beast of the field. But for Adam there was not found a helper comparable to him.

21 And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall on Adam, and he slept; and He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh in its place. 22 Then the rib which the Lord God had taken from man He made into a woman, and He brought her to the man.

23 And Adam said:

“This is now bone of my bones
And flesh of my flesh;
She shall be called Woman,
Because she was taken out of Man.”

24 Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.

25 And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.

God said it was not good that man should be alone and He knew that nothing else in creation could take the place of two human beings in a relationship like the one shared within the Trinity itself.

So, He created a woman that was taken out of man. Then He called them to a “one flesh” relationship. He made two from one and then called the man and the woman to have a relationship that makes them one again.

Marriage was “made in heaven” or perhaps, more accurately, in the heart of God. But many marriages, even Christian marriages, fall far short of God’s design.  Continue reading

Blended Families Part 16: 4 Rules of Communication + LINKUP

Hi Everyone, I apologize. Some code must be corrupted in this post. I have tried everything to eliminate it. Removing photos, redoing things. Nothing seems to help. But the linkup is working.

 

Last week in Blended Families Part 15: Helping Children Adjust we talked about the two major pitfalls into which parents in blended families fall: either becoming overly focused on the children’s outward behavior or turning their children into victims. Today we’re going to talk about biblical communication and God’s methodology for change.

Some children in blended families adjust quickly and easily, but others struggle with fear, worry, anger, and loyalty conflicts.

Children may be angry about losing their position in the family, losing the dream of their original family being restored, unwanted changes, jealousy toward new step-siblings or any number of other things.

One of the most important skills in overcoming anger and building good relationships is learning how to communicate in a loving, God-honoring way. Ephesians 4 contains some of the clearest passages on the subject of communication. The principles can be summed up in 4 easy to understand “rules” that you can apply and teach your children.

 

4 Rules of Communication

 

  • Be honest.
  • Keep current.
  • Attack the problem, not the person.
  • Act, don’t react.

 

Be Honest.

 

Ephesians 4.25 says:

Therefore, putting away lying, Let each one of you speak truth with his neighbor,” for we are members of one another.

Sounds simple enough, but being honest is more that just not telling a lie. It’s, also, more than blurting out the unadulterated truth. It involves being open and transparent in a loving way.

The first part of being honest is to communicate. “Let each of you speak …”

The second part is to speak truth. It’s not enough to just “not lie.” We must also speak truth.

For example: If, after you and your husband agreed not to make any unnecessary purchases, you put those shoes you wanted on your credit card, slipped them into the house when you’re husband wasn’t home, and simply never brought it up, you may not have lied, but your weren’t being honest either.

Our children need to understand the same principle. Instead of just punishing them for not telling you about a bad grade, sit down and explain why it’s wrong from God’s Word. Let them know that you struggle with living God’s way, too. Use it as an opportunity to teach them how much we need His help to live His way. Turn it into a gospel moment.

Whether they listen attentively or roll their eyes, you’re planting seeds.

So we and our children are to speak and to speak truth, but we must also learn to speak the truth in love. Ephesians 4.15 says:

[B]ut, speaking the truth in love, [we] may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ.

For example: If your child grew up learning to make his bed and keep his room reasonably neat and now shares a room with a step-sibling who doesn’t seem to know what a clothes hanger or a hamper is, the answer isn’t to tell his sibling he’s a slob.

Instead, help him learn to pray (another gospel moment) and ask God for wisdom about talking to his brother. It could be something like, “Hey, I’m not crazy about cleaning the room either. I used to resent it when my mom made me stay home until I did. But I learned it’s easier to just get it over with. It looks better when my friends come to hang out, too. Can I give you a hand?”

So rule #1 is: “Be honest.” Speak. Speak the truth. Speak the truth in love.  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

Blended Families Part 14: Overcoming Evil + LINKUP

 

Blended Families Part 14: Overcoming Evil - Last week in "Blended Families Part 13: Differences Between Households," we began 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 looked at how to evaluate whether or not to make an issue out of any situation and began talking about how to respond when you ex isn't willing to work on issues. This week we'll discuss more ways we can seek to live in peace and solve problems.

Blended Families Part 14: Overcoming Evil

 

Last week in “Blended Families Part 13: Differences Between Households,” we began 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 looked at how to evaluate whether or not to address any situation and began talking about how to respond when you ex isn’t willing to work on issues. This week we’ll discuss more ways we can seek to live in peace and solve problems.

Click here for previous posts in this series.

Last week I left off with the question, “What if, after all your planning and attempts to handle a particular situation wisely and well, your ex is not willing to work with you or solve the problem?”

I said your first reaction might be to return evil for evil or at least to withhold any good. I encouraged you to remember that is not a God-honoring option (Rom. 12.17-21), that God will not allow you to be in any situation that you cannot handle in a righteous way (1 Cor. 10.13), and that He promises to use every situation for your good and His glory by helping us become more like Christ (Rom. 8.28-29).

Now let’s look at that Romans 12 passage again:

17 Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. 18 If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. 19 Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. 20 Therefore

“If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
If he is thirsty, give him a drink;
For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.”

21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

This passage instructs us to do all that we can to live at peace with others. There’s no exception for former spouses. It also says that we are not to seek revenge or return evil for evil. And unless an ex or the new spouse is doing something illegal (in which case we need to involve the proper authorities), we are to overcome evil with good.

Returning evil with evil comes naturally and returning evil with good feels awkward, at first. And there are, usually, well-meaning friends and family members telling us to do the opposite. But this is an opportunity to determine to live in ways that are pleasing to God (2 Cor. 5.9), rather than ourselves or others.

What are some ways we can overcome evil with good?

 

Returning Evil with Good

 

Ways to return evil with good:

  • Take your children shopping to buy Christmas or birthday gifts for your ex and his or her spouse.
  • Be flexible with visitation.
  • Allow him or her to have the children for a holiday or another special day.
  • Acknowledge them and, possibly, sit with them at events in which your children participate.
  • Invite them to your child’s birthday celebration, graduation party, or other special event.
  • Send cookies or some other treat when the children visit.
  • Speak well of them to others.
  • Meet a need (send a meal when someone is sick, etc.).
  • Buy birthday or special occasion gifts for your children’s step-siblings.
  • Pray for them.

Brainstorm other ideas and share them in the comments section.

 

As Much as It Depends on You

 

Notice verse 18 says, “If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men.” We are to do our part and leave the results with God. We’re not to quit because our efforts aren’t appreciated, fret about it, or expect something in return.

Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him;
Do not fret because of him who prospers in his way,
Because of the man who brings wicked schemes to pass.
Cease from anger, and forsake wrath;
Do not fret—it only causes harm (Ps. 27.7-8).

When we do something only to get a certain result, our motives are wrong. Our desire should be to please God (2 Cor. 5.9), not to get our ex-spouse to change. Things may change, but if that’s our primary motivation, we’ll quit if we don’t get the result we desire.

We, also, need to have a biblical view of success. We’re successful when we obey God. If we’re right with God in our attitudes and actions we can have peace and joy whether or not our circumstances change.

“As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love. 10 If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love. 11 “These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full (Jn. 10.9-11).

A note of caution: While we should apply these principles, we always need to remember that our current spouse is our priority. Don’t pour time and energy into your relationship with your ex that rightfully belongs to your spouse and be careful to include him or her in your plans to overcome evil with good.

 

Prepare for Life in a Sin-Cursed World

 

We live in a sin-cursed world and we need to know that people will sin against us.

14 But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you are blessed. “And do not be afraid of their threats, nor be troubled.” 15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear; 16 having a good conscience, that when they defame you as evildoers, those who revile your good conduct in Christ may be ashamed. 17 For it is better, if it is the will of God, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil (1 Pet. 3.14-17).

So we need to prepare for it. My husband told me once that every day as he prays, he chooses in advance to forgive anyone who sins against him. We need to plan to forgive and extend grace to others whether or not they deserve it. It’s the way God deals with us. We, also, need to plan how to overcome evil with good. Even when we know we should, it won’t just happen.

One of the hardest times to do it is when we believe our children are being hurt by the other parent’s inconsiderate or sinful behavior. For example, it’s your ex’s week-end to have the kids, but he or she never shows up.  Continue reading

2017: Why Read through the Bible in a Year? + FREE Devotional

 

Why read through the Bible in a year? - 2017: Why read through the Bible in a year? Could it put you in the path of Jesus in a new way? How can you stay on track if you've tried and quit before?

 

Why Read through the Bible in a Year?

 

Before you know it the New Year will be here. I hope your New Year’s plans include reading through the Bible in a year in 2017. Reading, studying, meditating on and obeying God’s Word should be our lifelong adventure.

No matter how much you have gotten out of your reading in the Scriptures this year, you will get abundantly more during the next and the next and the next!  Continue reading

Blended Families Part 13: Differences Between Households + LINKUP

 

blended-16

Blended Families Part 13: Differences Between Households

 

If you missed last week’s post on the importance of seeking forgiveness for your part in any conflict, I would encourage you to read it. It’s so important that we do our part to live at peace with everyone, including our ex-spouses.

This week in “Blended Families Part 13: Differences Between Households,” we’ll look at how to deal with the different rules and expectations between your house and that of your ex. We’ll also talk about how God can use it all for good.

Click here for previous posts in this series.

 

Different Rules & Expectations

 

Struggles over different rules and expectations from one household to another are some of the biggest and most frequent problems blended families and single divorced families face. If you’ve been divorced for any length of time, you’ve probably faced challenges in this area.

While parents may feel very strongly about their own rules, differences are not necessarily sinful, or even wrong, they are just different. If something is clearly immoral or illegal, you should involve the proper authorities. Otherwise, you should seek to accept one another’s differences.

Surprisingly, children can adjust to differing sets of rules. And since Philippians 2.3-4 says that we are to prefer others rather than ourselves, it’s wrong to insist that our rules be followed at the other parent’s home.

 

So on a practical level, how do you deal with differences in a God-honoring way?

 

Suppose you ask you son to turn off the TV and do his homework and he responds, “Dad lets me watch TV first.” You can just gently and firmly say, “That’s at dad’s house, now turn off the TV and do your homework.” No commentary needed.

Your ability to do it in a way that glorifies God will depend on your thinking. If you immediately think, “I can’t believe my ex is that irresponsible!” or “Why doesn’t he respect my rules?” it will show up in your attitude both with your son and your ex.

1 Corinthians 13.7 says, “love believes all things.” It might be better translated “love believes the best.” You can choose to believe the best about your ex. Watching TV first doesn’t mean he doesn’t care about your son’s homework, it just means he’s handling things differently.

We also have to learn to recognize the difference between our rules and God’s commandments. While you may think doing homework first is wiser, it’s your rule, not God’s commandment.  Continue reading