Dangers of Discontentment

Dangers of Discontentment

Discontentment is one of the enemy's favorite tools. Remember in Genesis 3? Satan approached the sinless woman in the perfect world God had created just for her and her husband. She had everything she could ever possibly need, but he convinced her by planting a seed of doubt that the one thing she couldn't have (because God was protecting her) was the one thing she couldn't live without. Even though in reality that one thing God kept from her would kill her, break her world, strain her relationship with God and her husband, and create a legacy of brokenness for her children.

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Maybe it's time for a Divorce

I was browsing facebook this morning and saw a link to a blog that caught my attention. The link was posted by a fellow co-worker. The title: "Why I'm Getting A Divorce in 2014" divorce

Divorce, really?

Umm...hello, we work for an organization dedicated to teaching biblical values for marriage and family. We are working to fight against divorce and the devastation it brings. So of course it caught my eye! How could my co-worker be advocating for divorce? I was more than a little concerned. Until I read the actual blog. It's by a pastor who, by his own admission, seems to have a pretty serious problem with his iPhone 5. He's declared that he will be "divorcing" this device, which he refers to as "her" (sounds a little like a movie soon to be released). He shared how "she" is interfering with his important relationships and being a distraction from his priorities in other ways. Now I don't know how far he really intends to go with the whole divorce thing - will he just get a "dumb" phone instead? Is he going to delete all his apps, or maybe turn off his data plan? There were no specifics. But it got me thinking.

I'm not really a big fan of using the word "divorce" in the context he did, but I guess if his "relationship" with his phone has become that much of a problem, then maybe something as radical as a divorce is necessary.

In every marriage, we are either drifting toward isolation or intentionally striving toward oneness with our mate. The drift is natural, inevitable. Then add in the pressures of life, job requirements, disagreements, financial struggles, or just those "simple", even "harmless" seeming every day distractions, and it's no wonder so many marriages are struggling or falling apart.

Scripture teaches us to be on our guard against the infiltration of the enemy. In Galatians 5, the Apostle Paul teaches that "a little leaven ruins the whole loaf." You might think leaven (yeast) is a good thing - it makes bread rise - makes it fluffy  and tasty! Who wants flat bread, right? But throughout scripture, leaven represents the unwanted influence of the world - the ruining of God's chosen people, the pervasive invasion of that which is good. The Apostle Paul wrote "that kind of influence did not come from the one who called you."

Cut it off!

Jesus was even more graphic about how to deal with anything that would distract us from God's purpose for our lives. In Matthew 18 and other passages, Jesus tells us to cut off our hand if it "causes us to sin" or to pluck out our eye if it "offends us." And His reasoning behind that? It's better to enter heaven missing a body part than go to hell with all appendages intact (my version).

So, as I enter 2014, I think now would be an excellent time to take stock of my life and look for anything that could be a hindrance to my most important relationships - with Christ, with my wife, with my family. Maybe it is time for a divorce from THAT which could ensnare my soul so that I can be more free to love and serve those I really care about.

How about you?

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...unless you TRY

It's easy to give up.

Deep down, and sometimes right up on the surface, isn't that what we really want to do?

Don't you just want to quit?

Quit fighting?

Quit hoping?

Quit standing?

Quit trying?

Of course you want to.  We all go through difficulties in life, and at some point along the way, the thought goes through our mind that it would be easier to just give up.

try

Sometimes I find myself wondering why we think this way.  What will be easier about running away or "moving on?"  Life doesn't get easier just because you give up on something.  Do you know what really happens when you give up?

You feel better.

Sometimes.

Sometimes you don't even get that benefit from running away.

I think about it, and I think this desire in us to give up--believing that life will be easier--it is the same reason that an addict continues using.  Bear with me here.  Addicts turn to drugs, alcohol, or sex because they want something to be easier.  They want to feel better.  They want to forget about their problems.  Correct?

But isn't that exactly what we do when we want to quit the very thing that is causing us pain in our lives?  For many, we're talking about standing for broken marriages.  You think you'll feel better if you just give up your stand and move on with your life.  You want to give in to the desire, the pull towards living by what you want to feel, instead of by what will really give you peace.

But what if you're wrong?

What if, by not trying, you never see the blessing, or the ultimate reward that comes from remaining steadfast in your stand?

While I am not a great lover of music by Pink, she has several songs that lyrically I cannot stay away from.  Amidst the worldy outlook, they speak to me.  The song below draws on the side of pain that some of you are on now.  You've been hurt; you've been cheated on; you've been abandoned.  But I believe that you can take something deeper from the chorus of this song.  You can see it through the eyes of perseverance and what it takes to get through these difficult times in your life.  It may be painful, true. 

But you won't die.

This--while it feels anything but--is NOT the end of your life as you know it.

It can be just the beginning.

I know that there is a lot of pain that you may feel listening to this song, but I hope that you to see that you can interpret it differently.  I don't want you to think for a second that I condone adultery or addiction, or living a life of causing pain to others.  What I want you to take from this is that it is the very essence of who we are- as sinners.  What Pink meant to be a song about being cheated on and pressing through it anyway, she hit the nail on the head when she said:

"Funny how the heart can be deceiving

More than just a couple times

Why do we fall in love so easy

Even when it's not right"

Has your heart ever been deceived, just as your prodigal's has?  I'm not talking about adultery or addiction, though this certainly applies to some of us, myself included.

What about by food?

Or unmet desires?

What do you fall in love with?

The idea of love?  The desire for the perfect life, the perfect marriage, the perfect job?

There are a lot of things that we fall in love with that aren't right.

I fell in love so easy, with a person, though I knew it wasn't right.  While it is tragic and sin is sin, her words ring so true.  The heart IS deceiving.  Time and time again.  We fall in love with things or people or desires.  Even when they are not right for us.

I can promise you that where God's hand is involved, if you press on through the pain, climb the mountain and come through on the other side, you'll be grateful.  And you'll see that the worst moments in your life were simply stepping stones into the better life that God has planned for you.  He will not let your pain be wasted.  He will carry you through it and the blessings will outweigh all the pain and heartache.

But you will never know this, unless you press on.

Unless you keep fighting.

Unless you keep standing.

Unless you try.

I know it's hard. 

Right now, while you are in the midst of your pain and what may be the most difficult period of your life, it is so tempting to give up.

What I want to propose is that it won't solve anything.  It won't bring you happiness, or the fulfillment you are looking for.  That can only be found in God.

Even if giving up makes you feel better temporarily, something about it just doesn't seem right.  It isn't right.  I know, from experience.  I only thought I was happy.  For seven years!  But it wasn't real.  Giving up didn't make things easier.  It just provoked more anxiety and fear in me, not to mention the heaviest weight of all: guilt and shame.

If I hadn't stood while my husband battled his addiction to pornography early in our marriage, and if I hadn't fought to recover from living the later years of our marriage steeped in adultery, I wouldn't have learned what I have today.  And while tough life lessons have certainly been learned, what I am really talking about is the reward that is on the other side.  The blessings that come through persevering.

Through trying.

What I couldn't see or even imagine, when my marriage was buried under rubble, was the immense joy and redemption that was waiting for me.  Jason Gray writes,

"On the other side

Where it's easier to see the way His hand provides

Just in time to save the day

And I realize the mountains I was scared to climb

Aren't as big as I thought they were

When I'm on the other side."

Great getaways to get to change your life, marriage and family, whether your marriage is thriving or barely surviving:

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We're linking up with some AMAZING bloggers…check out the links at the bottom right of the page.

Intentionally Yours is a 501(c)3 (pending) organization committed to sharing God's truth, hope and vision for marriage until every home is a godly home. Will you partner with us in this mission? Thank you for your support!

People Pleasing Syndrome

"It was a one-eyed, one-horned, flyin' purple people eater (One-eyed, one-horned, flyin' purple people eater) A one-eyed, one-horned, flyin' purple people eater... Sure looks strange to me (One eye?)" Several months ago I was walking around my home sulking with tears in my eyes, and I began to change the lyrics to that 1958 classic around just a bit. I found myself singing them out loud, “SHE was a one eyed, one horned, flyin’ purple people pleaser, One eyed, one horned, flyin’ purple people pleaser… And I was directing those words straight at me!  Yes, I have finally admitted it. There have been times that I have been guilty of  wallering in the pit of  what I call the People Pleasing Syndrome.

People Pleasing Syndrome

I don’t know why it was so hard for me to write this devotion. It is the one thing about myself that is so absolutely irritating to me. I have seen it cause fear, attack my self esteem, produce anxiety and unnecessary worry and just being candid, I have seen in the past where I allowed it to bring about sin in my life. Yes, I said SIN! When you believe man’s opinion of yourself over God’s opinion, and you seek to please people more than God, my friend that is just plain SIN.  There goes my hot pink painted toes again. I just stepped all over them and Honeychild, I am gonna need a pedicure!

Can you relate to not being able to say “no” to commitments, committees, volunteer projects…. because you don’t want to cause any conflict or you don’t want them to think badly about you? And then you've allowed all those priorities to interfere with your time with God, your spouse and your family?

I reflect back and shamefully there have been times in my past when I even permitted people pleasing to alter my personality.  I am sure that I have looked one eyed and one horned and every shade of purple!  I remember in particular several years ago, gathering at a restaurant  table with a group of what I would call influential and popular ladies in the community, sharing the fake laugh, listening to their profanity and flirtatious remarks, yet seeking their approval and trying so hard to fit in with the 'in' crowd, ignoring all along that God did not want me to be in that SIN and that place to start with!

I look back and I have even changed things in my life to suit man’s agenda. I was ignoring what the Holy Spirit had planned for my life! For too long, I was enslaved to it, feeding off of the approval and affirmation that I received from others. I have actually tossed and turned in the bed at night filled with anxiety. “Why doesn’t she like me, what can I do to change it, what do they think of me, what does this person think or that person think…" It was not until I began to cry out to God and say Father God, I need you to heal me of this disease, this desire to please others, instead of pleasing YOU, that I was able to break free!

I am Beverly Weeks. I am fearfully and wonderfully made. I am funny, I have a big trunk, an extra belly roll and a few sprigs of gray on the top. I am spontaneous, creative, have been known to stick my foot in my mouth. I mess up and have been known to cry out to God in rage and fall to my knees and seek forgiveness and I refuse to live nothing less than what my GOD has in store for me!

Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.  Galatians 1:10

 

Great getaways to get to change your life, marriage and family, whether your marriage is thriving or barely surviving:

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We're linking up with Yes They Are All Ours, Becoming His Eve, Marriage Mondays, Matrimonial Monday, Time Warp Wife, The Better Mom, Messy Marriage, Wifey Wednesday, and No Ordinary Blog Hop!

Intentionally Yours is a 501(c)3 (pending) organization committed to sharing God's truth, hope and vision for marriage until every home is a godly home. Will you partner with us in this mission? Thank you for your support!

Burning Idols

burning idols

I was reading a story today about an Asian woman that was going to a church in secret to learn more about Jesus. The more she learned, the more she felt the invitation from God to follow Him. She accepted the invitation and immediately knew that she had to get rid of the idols and false gods in her house. Her house was full of clay statues and art work with these false gods. These false gods were a part of her life from the time she was born. Together, she and the church gathered all of these items from her house and brought them to the “secret” church. That night…the small group of believers had their service while these false gods burned in the trash can. What a sweet aroma that must have been to this new believer in Christ.

burning idols

When reading the Old Testament we hear God telling His people to turn away from their false gods and turn to Him.

Deuteronomy 4:23 “Be careful not to forget the covenant of the Lord your God that He made with you; do not make for yourselves an idol in the form of anything the Lord your God has forbidden.”

I believe the burning of these false gods, in the story above, was more than appropriate. Read the next verse in Deuteronomy. “For the Lord your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God.” Deut 4:24

It is easy to read about this woman in Asia, and the people of the Old Testament and ignorantly say, “I don’t have any false gods.” But, in America we have gods that look a little different. Well, this isn’t just in America, this is an epidemic all over the world. These gods or idols are “possessions and positions”.

“We can’t fathom a Christian on the other side of the world believing that a wooden god can save them, but we have no problem believing that religion, money, possessions, food, fame, sex, sports, statues, and success can satisfy us. Do we actually think we have fewer idols to let go of in our repentance?” - David Platt

The truth is that we have just as many idols as the woman in Asia. We may not be able to physically burn ours in a fire, but I do have an idea. Almost two years ago, Bethany and I were in our backyard sitting around a fire pit. We weren’t talking, we were just spending time together in silence. I had recently been hit by the 70mph Mack Truck in the face, called “JESUS”, and I had an idea. I went inside and found whatever I could use to write on and throw into the fire. The one thing about fire is that if it is hot enough, it will burn up pretty much anything thrown in. I found some old paper plates and began writing, “lies, deception, money, greed, double-life, lust…etc”. I wrote anything and everything that I felt had a foothold on my life. Bethany joined in as well, and we began burning these things and watched them disappear.

I will always remember that night because it was a symbol of what God had done in my life. The thing about getting hit by a Mack Truck is, if it’s going 70mph, you aren’t going to look the same after you get hit. The Mack Truck named “JESUS” hit me, and I didn’t look the same anymore.

A verse that I underlined in my Bible two years ago was part of my Bible study yesterday. It described me and my life. I was deceived by Satan. I claimed to be a follower of Christ, but my actions and life didn’t prove it.

“The ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.” Matthew 3:10

I claimed to be a Christian, but had no fruit to show for it. I felt the blade from the ax of God at my roots. Do you claim to be a Christian, but look just like the “world”? Repent today, write down the idols, the “possessions and positions” that lead your life and burn them.

Have a wonderful day friends, and be different, be a light for Christ.

Bert

 

 

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