Monday, February 28, 2011

Do You Know with Certainty?

Today's post is dedicated to one of my dear mentors, Maggie Chapman.

Today, February 28th is her 35th wedding anniversary. And today at 12:05 am, her precious husband, Bob, breathed his last. He has gone home to be with Jesus. Bob valiantly fought prostate cancer. These last few months have been very difficult.

A little over a week ago, I was visiting Bob - knowing it would be one of my last times seeing him this side of heaven. And he told me he wanted to hold on to February 28th, but was not sure if he could. (Let me briefly share the conversation...)

Me: "35 years of wonderful bliss?"
Bob: (To my surprise) "No, it hasn't been 35 of bliss..." turning to Maggie with a gleam in his eye. "But definitely 25 years of wedded bliss."
Me: "Why? What happened the first 10 years?" (Before you call me Noisy Nelly, please understand, I know them well enough to ask the question.)
Bob: "Because I did not know Jesus those first 10 years. And I was not as good to her as I should have been. But she never gave up on me."

You see, Maggie prayed, and prayed, and persevered in prayer some more for her Bob. When finally in 1988 he waived the white flag and begrudgingly went to Bible study. One month later, he realized he was a sinner, needing a savior. At 51 years of age, Bob accepted Christ as Savior. His life was truly transformed. BC (before Christ), Bob was a man who chased wealth, position, prestige and toys. His motto was, "he who dies with the most toys, wins!"

However, this was not the way Bob ended his life. Soon after 1988, Bob realized that the Bible was the real deal. It wasn't a decoration on a table; it wasn't a book picked up only on Sunday - but it became his Manual for Living; Life's Instruction book. He lived the words found in
Deuteronomy 32:47
They (the words of Scripture) are not just idle words for you - they are you life.

The Bible became his life. His relationship with Jesus Christ became the most important relationship in his life. He exchanged the zeal for more material possessions to zeal for more of Jesus. On his death-bed he boldly proclaimed that the second part of his life was far better than the first half of his life. He had found the Meaning of Life - Jesus!

Why am I sharing his story with you? I hope their brief story can encourage you:

1. If you are a believer and your husband is not - be encouraged by Maggie's story. Pray for your husband. No one is not too sinful for God to reach. Think about Saul/Paul... Think about Rahab. She was a prostitute. Yet we see drops of her blood in the genealogy of Christ. (Matt.1)

Nothing is too hard for our God. Persevere in prayer for your man. Believe God for the man He created your husband to be. Do you realize what a miracle it was for Bob to accept Christ at the age of 51??? Pray. If you are not praying for your man, who is?

2. When you reach the end of you life, can you say with certainty that you will be in heaven?

Can you remember when you became a Christian? Do you remember the transaction that occurred when you confessed that you were a sinner in need of saving? Have you invited Jesus to live in your life?

If your only testimony is that you "joined the church when you were..." or "I was baptized when I was..." I gently ask you to make sure of your salvation.

Joining a church or becoming baptized; sprinkled or christened - does not save us. These are to be outward professions of an inner decision we've made. A personal decision - an intentional act of the will - of inviting Jesus into your life is what saves us.

My sweet Maggie KNOWS that her Bob is in heaven. And she knows with certainty that she'll be joining him one day. As will I...

Do you know with certainty? If not, take a spiritual inventory. If you need to, feel free to contact me. I'd be happy to talk to you about this and pray with you -

Don't let another day go by without knowing with certainty.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Being Wise About Temptation

1 Corinthians 7:3-5

The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband.
The wife's body does not belong to her alone but also to her husband. In the same way, the husband's body does not belong to him alone but also to his wife.
Do not deprive each other except by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you.

I must admit, the first time I read this Scripture (years ago), the hair stood up on the back of my neck. It sounded oppressive to me. I wanted to omit this portion of Scripture from the Bible. My logic was that this was for a past culture - certainly not for today's woman.

Over the years as I've grown to know the character of God, my thinking has changed. It was meant for today's woman and her marriage. God is our loving heavenly Father. No matter what your earthly father has been to you, God has our best interests at heart. He only wants what is best for us. He NEVER wants to oppress us or make us feel less than who we really are - daughters of the King. Princesses of the Most High God. Scripture also says we are dearly loved.

In this passage, God is giving us the recipe for a successful marriage - sex being forefront and center. And building on what we studied yesterday, He's showing us the IMPORTANCE of intimacy in our marriages. Notice the warning, "Satan will tempt" your husband if you are depriving him. So let me ask you...

Do you hold sex over your husband as a power play? That if he's good enough or helpful enough or deserving - you'll reward him?

Oh girlfriend, we have to be shrewd and smart. Wise - not unwise. The "tempter" is real. Satan wants your marriage to fail. Satan wants to tempt your man with any hot babe that walks by. We become shrewd and smart by making ourselves available to our husband on a regular basis. By not depriving him. By learning his "needs" schedule and accommodating him with what we can handle.
So I have to ask the question - don't forget - I'm all about life change - not warm/fuzzes.
What's the need schedule???
This is important. Find it and stick to it. Don't purposefully deprive him.

Whew, I'm glad this week is over!

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

It's a Command!

What does God say about the subject of sex? Where does steamy passion fit into the marriage relationship? And how do we even have time for it?

Let's go to our Manual for Living - our Bibles - to see what God has to say about a subject we cannot escape.

Genesis 1:27-28
God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. God blessed them and said to them, "Be fruitful and increase in number..." (italics mine)
(v31) God saw all that He had made and it was very good.

God's first command to men and women was to be fruitful and multiply. In other words, God was saying, "have sex, enjoy each other! Out of that pleasure, bring children."

God have never viewed sex as something dirty or taboo. (Our culture has made it that way.) It was to be a pure act with a holy purpose: that purpose sometimes brings children. But more importantly it was a way to demonstrate love and bonding, a deep relationship of friendship and companionship.

Sex was God's idea. He invented it and and gave it to us as a gift. Sex is meant to be a sacred gift to a husband and wife in the bonds of marriage. Notice the timing of where "sex" is in Scripture. It originated BEFORE Satan and sin entered the world. (Genesis 3) It's the culture that we live in that has taken a sacred gift and made it vile and dirty.

Secondly: (is that a word?)

I believe God is telling us through Scripture that sex needs to be a priority in our marriages. God knew how He had wired Adam (man), we discussed this yesterday. He knew how He had wired Eve (women).

I think God is trying to teach us something big here. Since it's the first thing He COMMANDS a married couple to do - perhaps its the antidote to many of the problems we see in marriages today. Think about it...

Is it a priority in your marriage? Or is it an after thought?
Maybe if he's 'working' it', you'll consider it.
Do you only engage when you "feel like it?"
If you have small children, you may NEVER feel like it. If you get up early in the morning - you may never FEEL like it.

Have you ever thought of making it a matter of prayer? "Sex, a matter of prayer?" you ask. Yes!!! Pray for the desire; pray for the energy to instigate; pray God will help you to make it a priority. God has COMMANDED US to make it a priority... Don't forget Jesus' words:

John 16:23
"I tell you the truth, my Father will give you whatever you ask in my name."
When we pray according to God's will - the answer's YES! He'll give us these things!

More tomorrow...

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

He Really is From Venus

All too often when we get married, we tend to think we're marrying someone like our best girlfriend. When in actuality - we're marrying someone from another planet.

Sit back for a moment and imagine you are traveling to a foreign country. You've been given a job assignment to live for a period of time in a home where your host speaks another language.

When you first arrive, you might begin pointing and making hand motions as a way to communicate. But if you continue this for long, you'll soon feel isolated because you'll never know what the other people you're living with are thinking and feeling. You can recognize a smile or a frown, but your relationship can never be meaningful and satisfying until you learn their language.

This is true of our marriages. We leave our home and families where we've been comfortable in our native tongue. We enter into a new country and culture when we marry. We've had a lovely visit with this man who is our husband and he's made every effort to speak our language while we dated but once we're married, we're expected to learn his language. We can speak woman perfectly well, but if we want an exciting, vibrant relationship with our husbands we've got to learn to speak his native tongue.

God designed men and women physiologically differently. According to James Dobson in Bringing up Boys, hormones are an integral part.

With women, estrogen is released. We're relational beings. We love to talk, spend quality time, hug, and kiss. We're typically nurturers, caregivers and keepers of the home.

Men are testosterone driven. They are typically risk-takers, hunters, builders, providers. With this rush of testosterone, God designed our husbands with a need for a release. Dare I say, on a regular basis.

Like it or not, this is their native language. If we want to live together in harmony, it is a MUST that we understand what is of utmost importance to them. Therefore it needs to become important to us. Sex is physiologically driven. It affects their behavior, the way the think, the way they react, the way they process conversation even their decision making...

Sweet friend, they are not our best girlfriend. They are our husbands. People, from Venus -

Monday, February 21, 2011

Going "'There"

James 1:22
Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.

I had lunch with a friend last week. Except this friend is not your average girlfriend-lunch-date. She is one of my teachers. One of my advisers and mentors. Her name is Suzi McDuffee. I love her and I greatly value what she has to say.

Suzi began our time together by encouraging me (as she often does), by sharing she was enjoying my blog posts. And then, in moment of deafening silence - she confirmed what I already knew deep down. "But I hope you're going 'there'."

"I don't want to go 'there'," I said in my best whiny voice. "For heavens sake, my mom reads these blogs."

But in her wise, reaffirming voice, she said, "you must go 'there'. Every women needs to hear it -including your mom. No one else is talking about it - you need to."

So what is the "there" we're talking about?
'There' is: intimacy with your husband. A.K.A: sex.

If you could have been a fly on the wall, you would have blushed while listening to our conversation. Suzi had so many great thoughts. As any good student, I whipped out a piece of paper and began taking notes.

This week or however long it takes, I'll share much of what we talked about. I think you're going to be surprised, encouraged and challenged by what you'll learn.

The question is:
Once confronted with biblical truth - will you be a doer, not just a hearer? This blog is about changing our thinking and about obedience to God's Word.
Please don't take this the wrong way, but I don't write these each day to give you warm/fuzzes. In fact, this is a subject that I'd rather run away from, but God is asking me to take it public. So in obedience, as I say "yes" to God -

Will you in turn be willing to say "yes" to Him as well? Do we love the Lord enough to do what He's asking us to do - regardless of our feelings?

If your answer is yes, put on your seat belt and tune in - because we're going 'there'!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Do Not Grow Weary

Whew, I don't know about you, but I need some encouragement after these last few posts. I personally want to know that if no one else is noticing - that Someone - the One that truly matters - God Himself is noticing all this dying to self, submitting and serving stuff.

Galatians 5:9
"Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up."

Two weeks into trying things God's way in 2003, I began whining to Him, "when is it going to be my turn to be served?" Looking back, I sounded like a 2 year old-

Slowly, over time, as I persevered with these daily pills - God began to open my eyes to my husband's response. He was noticing. And in return, he was beginning to serve me in his own way. He would wash my car and fill it up with gas. (A huge favor when you have a suburban, a baby and 2 year old.) He would encourage me on Saturday's or Sunday's to get out - to have "Tara time". He still does all of these things plus much more.

In obedience to God's Word, I can honestly say after all these years, my husband and I have a lifestyle of serving each other. Most of the time, we put the other before ourselves. This makes for a very loving and peaceful home.

Keep in mind - it started with one - one who was desperate for change - and GOT IT - as she began doing it God's way.

So if this serving, submitting and dying-to-self stuff is all new, take heart. Do not become weary in doing good, you will reap a harvest if you do not give up.

And if your husband is not noticing yet, I want to encourage you with an excerpt from my Bible Study, Establishing a Vibrant Quiet Time and Prayer Time:

Hagar, in Genesis 13, gives God the name, El Roi. In Hebrew, El Roi means the God who sees me.

God sees you too. Know with all of your being that God sees you:

  • when no one else cares to look.
  • He sees through the smile we wear, though we're a crumbled mess on the inside.
  • He sees when we have a lump in our throat and are fighting back tears.
  • He sees when we've been wronged.
  • He sees when we are trusting Him and our circumstances get worse.
  • He sees our hurt when we're mistreated.
  • He sees when our heart is broken and we are doing everything we can to hold it together.
  • He sees when we are stretched financially and emotionally and are barely hanging on by a thread.
  • He sees when we serve Him tirelessly, yet no one else notices or seems to care.
  • He sees when we choose to forgive others that have wronged us.
  • He sees ever tear we shed.

Dear sister, God sees. He is the God who sees us. Do not become weary and give up. At the proper time, you will reap a harvest.

I hope you are encouraged today-

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011


Sweet Girlfriend, it's a long one today. I enter today's post with a heavy heart and very prayerfully. This is an emotional, gut-wrenching subject. But it's real world. And I hear of it often. Though my husband has never betrayed me nor me him, (and I pray it never happens), I have seen betrayal first-hand in marriages close to me.

Please remember I am not a Christian counselor or psychologist. I'm just a 30 something (almost 40 something) woman who loves Jesus - who's discovered from life experience that this Bible stuff - actually works.

Do you remember the first day I started posting this month's theme? I wrote that I would only share what God has taught me personally. Therefore, I'm going to keep a very complex subject as simple as possible.

Jesus understands what it's like to be betrayed. John 13:2-3, tells us that Jesus knew what was on Judas' heart. In fact, after Jesus willingly washed Judas' feet, He stated:

"The one who shares my food has turned against me..."
(v18) NLT

So the question is: Do we still serve our husbands (or others) who have hurt us; or betrayed us?

1. Have you been deeply hurt by your husband? Are you still holding onto the bitterness and the anger? Is this keeping you from loving him? Is it keeping you from demonstrating your love?

I've been deeply hurt before. And more and more I "played the tape" over and over again in my mind, bitterness was taking root. That particular morning in my quiet time, I heard the Lord speak into the depths of my wounded heart, "Do you want Me to fix this or do you want to fix this? If you want me to fix this, forgive him and love him. Don't forget, I've forgiven you of the many things you've done to me. If you hang on to unforgiveness - My hands are off."

Do I need to say any more? When we hang onto to unforgiveness, we shut God out. Do you think you can work out your situation better than God can? Jesus demonstrated His love for His disciples by washing their feet. He was setting precedent for how to overcome evil. (Again, His economy, so different from ours. Our economy says, this jerk can kiss my feet and maybe if he does it well enough, I'll be nice.) Not God's way-

2. Have you experienced the ultimate betrayal? A breach of your covenant vows?

I hate to say this, but there's Biblical grounds for divorce when this happens. HOWEVER, divorce is never God's way and He wants to do immeasurably more than you can ask or imagine. He is able to take what Satan intended for harm and work it out for good.

When your man is repentant; and God is working in your heart to have mercy and grace - God will give you the power to forgive. (You have to work with Him.) He can supernaturally RESTORE your marriage, if you do things His way.

Often, you may need Christian counseling. And certainly, much work will need to take place for healthy restoration. But restoration can come. One element of restoration is certain: you must CHOOSE forgiveness. Forgiveness is not a feeling or an emotion, but a choice. Do you hold his behavior over him? Do you continually remind him of his betrayal and how hurt you are? (I think it's supernatural not to do these things.) HOWEVER:

I have seen first hand the following promises come to fruition:

1. "I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten." Joel 2:25

Girlfriend, that is good news! WRITE IT DOWN. Make this Scripture your daily prayer.

2. At the wedding in Cana, Jesus turned the water into wine. The second half of the wedding was better than the first, as the host replied:

"Everyone brings out the choice wine first... but you have saved the best till now."

Jesus can miraculously work in your marriage, just as He did at the wedding in Cana. He can make the later half so much sweeter and better than the first half! It is nothing short of a miracle.

I don't want to make light of this subject. But I have learned that our God is still in the business of miracles. He is a BIG GOD. His mercies are new everyday. Greater is He Who is in YOU, than he who is in the world.

Keep in mind:

There is one common denominator in these marriages (I've witnessed) whose 2nd half is sweeter than the 1st:
These women make spending time with Jesus EACH DAY a priority. He is their Life-line.
They would tell you themselves, that if it were not for Jesus, things would not have turned out the way it did.

How could they? He's the One who gives us the ability to do the supernatural - to LOVE and to demonstrate love to the unloveable.

Love you friend,

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Wash His Feet

John 13:6
"He came to Simon Peter, who said to Him, "Lord, are you going to wash my feet?"
(italics mine)

What is the lowliest task in your home? In other words, what is the one chore that no one wants to do? It's the one that everyone ignores, hoping someone else will do it. That it'll magically just disappear.

If we stepped inside a time capsule to the event of John 13, I would imagine that this is what the disciples were doing. The roads were dusty and dirty, so can you imagine how disgusting their feet were? Typically a servant would be available to wash the dirt and grime from their feet. However, on this particular day, there were no servants to do this lowly task.

Were the disciples looking around at each other - hoping someone would volunteer? Was it the white elephant in the room? Where they secretly thinking John should do it since he was the youngest? Or were they pridefully thinking, "there's no way I'm doing that. "

Knowing their thoughts, Jesus volunteered to do what no one else wanted to do.

What is the job in your home that no one else wants to do? The lowliest task in my home is "poop-patrol". Yep, its walking through the front yard and picking up Jake poop. If someone didn't do it, we'd be overrun with it.

Please note that Jesus made the first move. "...He got up from the meal, took off His outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around His waist." Do you often wait for your husband to make the first move before you begrudgingly do it? Or do you complain about it until your husband finally does it so that you'll shut your mouth?

Jesus made the first move. And remember - if there was ever a time for the boys to step up and serve - this was it. And they didn't.

Also note that Jesus went the extra mile. "...He washed their feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around Him." He could have washed them and let them to drip dry (which I would have done!). But He went the extra mile and dried their feet. He went the extra mile in serving these prideful men - one of whom - would betray Him.

Never once did He say, "can I get a thank you?" Nor do we see that He continually reminded them of what He did for them. What an example for all of us.

So, what is the lowliest task in your home? I've shared over and over again that this must become a lifestyle - not just a one-time thing. The lowliest task will change from season to season. When I first started, it was picking up raccoon trash. Now it's picking up dog-poop. Click up to my picture - do I look like someone who enjoys picking up elimination?

I don't, but I joyfully do it. All the while making a list of the many things my husband does for me and our family. When I consider his list, poop-patrol isn't quite so bad!

Tomorrow: Betrayal

Monday, February 14, 2011

John 13:5
He poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples' feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around Him.

Our focus this month has been "loving our men." Our goal is to have Christ-centered, strong, healthy marriages. Brokenness is epidemic in our culture. If your marriage is broken or just simply needs a few tweaks here and there - I hope these messages have been clear and easily applicable. Let's recap our medication:
  1. Death to self - Death in me, brings (supernatural) life into him and our marriage.
  2. Submission - We learned the difference between Biblical submission vs cultural submission.

We've also learned that these pills are not meant for one-time application - but are daily vitamins. Prayer and spending time with Jesus each day is what makes them palpable. Let's move to the 3rd pill:

Pill #3: Serving him

When you have princess mentality, like I used to, this one's tough. We see that in John 13:1-6 that it was "just before the Passover Feast. Jesus knew that the time had come..."

What "time" had come? The time had come for Jesus to be:

  • Betrayed
  • His best friend would deny knowing Him-
  • He'd be tortured and flogged;
  • The nails; the hammer; the cross
  • He'd become sin - for you and for me-
  • His Father would turn away from Him.
  • Death-

If there was EVER a time for Jesus to be served - this was the time! If there was ever a time for Him to feel sorry for Himself or zone out into space or want to left alone -this was the moment.

Do you ever have the mentality that because of all you do in the home, you should be served? I do! If you are a mom or a wife - your plate is full. See if you see yourself in any of these statements:

  • "All I do all day is take care of these children. When he gets home, it's his turn."
  • "I'm the one who cooks, cleans, takes the kids to school and does their homework with them."
  • "I'm also the one who pays the bills; balances the family budget; cuts the coupons and takes the dog to the vet..."
  • "I'm the one who does mounds of laundry each day plus cooks, cleans and gets everyone to where they are supposed to be."
  • "I hold down a full time job + all of these things..."
  • "I'm the one who just gave birth and have 1 or 2 or 3+ others to deal with..."
  • "I'm the one who gave the kids a bath the last 4 nights - it's his turn."

If you hear yourself in any of these statements - think about Jesus' example. Jesus' day was about to get really bad - and He knew it. Yet He chose to spend His final hours serving those closest to Him.

Be willing to serve your husband. Resist taking score of all you've done and what he hasn't done. Be willing to go the extra mile each day.

How can you serve your husband today? What small things can you do to make his life easier? Are you willing to make it a lifestyle?

As it becomes a lifestyle, you'll be amazed at how it comes back TEN FOLD in the sweetest AND most unexpected ways!

Tomorrow: The Lowly Tasks -

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Are You Praying for Your Man?

James 5:16
The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.

Let's recap:
Pill #1: Death to self
Pill #2: Submission
Prayer: it's what makes these pills palpable...
I'll never forget the day in 2003, when I heard what seemed to be the audible voice of God. (I promise, I did not hear the actual voice of God.) But there were words spoken loud and clear into the depths of my heart. It was undeniable Who's voice it was because they were words I did not want to hear.

I had just finished one of my "change him" prayer sessions. On that particular day, I heard: "No, it's you that needs to change."


Since then, God has totally transformed how I pray for my husband. My prayers used to be all about me; and how I wanted God to change Tim to suit my wants and needs.

Yesterday, I harped on the importance of fervently praying for your husband. Today, I thought I'd share how God changed those self-centered prayers - to heaven hearing - God moving mountains-answering prayers. Why are they mountain moving prayers? Because God taught me to pray scripture over my husband. I have the full list in my prayer Journal. It's available on my website. Here are a few marriage prayer prompts:
  • Help me to accept him the way he is; knowing only YOU can change him into the man YOU have purposed him to be. (2 Cor. 3:18)

  • Where love has run out, create new love. (John 2:1-11)

  • Help me to submit to my husband's authority as unto YOU! (Eph. 5:22)

  • Bring unity between us so that we can be in unity about everything. (Romans 15:5-6)

  • Make us a team, overlooking each other's faults and weaknesses for the greater good of the marriage. (1 Cor. 1:10)

  • That we would only have eyes for each other. (Eph. 5:3)

  • Help us to be quick to forgive. (Eph. 4:32)

  • Remind me not to keep a list of the negatives, but only the positives. (Phil. 4:8)

Ways that God has taught me to pray for him:

  • That he would learn to love you with all of his heart, all his soul, mind and strength... (Mark 12:30-31)

  • That he would receive YOUR wisdom to lead our family physically, emotionally and spiritually. (Eph. 1:17-19)

  • That he would seek YOU daily. (Psalm 119:1-2)

  • That he would not conform to the world. (Romans 12:1-2)

  • That he would stand firm in the Lord. (Eph 6:10)

  • That you would protect his eyes and ears from any vile thing. (Psalm 101:3)

  • That YOU would bless his work and show him daily to honor YOU in the way he lives. (Psalm 90:16-17; Daniel 6)

  • That YOU would develop strong relationships with other godly men. (Eph. 4:24-25)

  • That YOU would give him a desire to teach and model a godly lifestyle for our children. (Deut. 6; Psalm 78:5-7)

I could go on and on.

Do you pray for your husband on a regular basis? If not, why? Is it because you are quite certain, he's probably not praying for you? Are you too busy? Or is it that you just don't know where to start?

I encourage you to pick a day of the week and cover your man and marriage in prayer. The prayer prompts above, are a great starting point. And then make sure that everyday, you continue to utter several sentences of prayer over him.

We live in an evil world. If you aren't praying for him, WHO IS?

Happy Valentines Weekend... Pill #3 comes next week -

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Warning, Warning, Warning!

1 Peter 3:1-2
Wives, in the same way be submissive to your husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words but by the behavior of their wives, when they see the purity and reverence of your lives. (emphasis mine.)

Yesterday I had lunch with an old friend. Just being with this girlfriend, prompted my mind to a conversation we had a few years ago. There's something VERY important that you need to know about submission.

Several summers ago, I facilitated a Bible study on marriage. Submission, of course, was one of the hot topics. This girlfriend and one of her BFF's were there each week - engaged and fully prepared.

A year or so after the study, this friend contacted me about her BFF. The BFF had a husband who did not behave like a married man. Yet instead of putting her foot down, she remained silent, feeling like she was doing the right thing. She would say to my friend, "You'd be proud of me today. I didn't say a word."

My dear friend was exasperated with her BFF and called me for clarification on submission. I honestly didn't know how to answer her. I told her I needed to pray about it. So I took it to the Lord in prayer and asked Him for clarification. I asked Him where did my friend's friend go wrong? Her heart was right - so why were her circumstances continually spiraling out of control?

Jesus put John 15:5 in my heart that morning:
I am the Vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can nothing.

My friend's friend was no longer attached to the Vine - Jesus. After Bible study that summer, she wandered far from her Lord.

When we are not attached to Him, meaning:
  • we're neglecting our Quiet Time,
  • Perhaps we are going to church but our hearts are not engaged and
  • we're not enjoying fellowship with like-minded believers, etc...

We will not bear fruit in our marriages or in any other areas of our life. It is then that our submission is for nothing. And then we become how the world perceives submission: doormats.


If we desire a fruitful; Christ-centered, loving marriage - WE MUST STAY ON THE VINE. Sitting beside the Vine is not enough. We must be attached. We must make our relationship with Jesus a priority. We must be about obeying Him in every area of our life. And we must fervently pray for our husbands daily.

Personally, I rely on the "voice behind me saying, 'this is the way; walk in it."' (Isa. 30:21). This is how I know whether to speak up or shut-up. When I'm detached from the Vine - that precious voice becomes increasingly silent to my world- filled ears.

So don't miss Peter's closing thoughts about submission (from above.) "...when they see the purity and reverence of your lives." Purity and reverence are not things we can manufacture on our own. It comes from spending time on the Vine!

On a personal note:
Several of you have contacted me and have shared how these messages have impacted your life. Your words of encouragement mean the world. It's all Jesus! I'm doing my best to stay connected to the Vine. Pray for me.
Love you,

Monday, February 7, 2011

The Word that Makes us Cringe...

Ephesians 5:22-23

Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church...

Pill #2 - Submission
Deep Therapy!

I can think of no other word in the English language that makes a woman cringe more than the word, submission. And trust me, I was one of them. However, one of the things I've learned is that submission is a very misunderstood concept. And as I have come to know the character of God - He would NEVER throw women under the bus - let me explain.

I first started attending Bible study in 1994. My mother prayed for years that I'd develop a hunger for Jesus and I finally said yes to going. Just a few short months prior my wedding date, I came home and told my mom that "this Jesus stuff wasn't too bad." But then I defiantly told her, "but if they think I'm going to submit to Tim - they're crazy!" (I had no idea who 'they' were! I guess I thought God was the Bible study teachers.)

But then disaster, depression and discouragement descended in 2003. And I was desperate for God to intervene. My husband was apathetic towards my Jesus. And he was remote and emotionally distant from me. (Who could blame him?)

Around this time I was learning "die to self", (last week's post). I also started learning something else of enormous magnitude: to stop trying to change my husband. To pray for him and let the Lord change him.

The power for change was found in submission. Listen to Peter's words on the subject:

Wives, in the same way be submissive to your husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words but by the behavior of their wives, when they see the purity and reverence of your lives." (1 Peter 3:1-2)

If you want to go to the beach on vacation and your husband wants to go to the mountains. Tell him why you want to go the beach. Tell him all your thoughts about it - don't hold back. However, after listening to you, if he still insists on the mountains - the mountains it is.

God is a God of order. He has an order for the seasons, for the government and even for the family. His order for the family is for the husband to be the head of the home. A wise woman once told me that "two heads will make a monster!" Oh, how right she was.

I used to think submission was for the weak - oh, was I wrong! Submission is not being a doormat. Submission is not subservience. Submission is not your husband taking advantage of you.

Submission is God's pattern for drawing your husband's heart to Himself. And then to you and to the family. Submission is for the woman who is strong - not weak. It's power under the control of the Holy Spirit.

Don't miss that small phrase in the Ephesians passage, "as to the Lord." When you choose to submit to your husband (and it's a choice!), you are submitting to the Lord. So if submission is still too yucky a pill to take - swallow it knowing that it is unto the Lord you are submitting.

Do you see the power? Submission is medication for a broken marriage. It's the medication for strengthening what you have. It's the medication for a Christ-centered home. It's God's plan for the home and as a wife, it's very empowering. If I have to submit - the ultimate decisions fall on him, not me. That's freeing!

Question: If you were to ask your husband who the head of your home is - what would his answer be?

Would love to hear your thoughts today. If you are a subscriber, click on the title of the blog: The Word that Makes us Cringe..." Scroll down to the bottom and you can leave your thoughts.

I want to hear from you!

What a Man Wants-

Ephesians 5:33
Each one of you must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.

What is the one thing a man wants more than anything else? (Even more than sex...) The Answer: RESPECT! (What man wants to sleep with his wife who shows him no respect?)

God created every man to desire respect. Therefore, we, who are wives, are COMMANDED to respect our husbands.

Isn't it interesting God doesn't command us to "love our husbands?" I firmly believe as women, that's what we want. We were wired for love and security. What good is thriving romance riddled in insecurity? In my mind, the two go hand in hand. But men are different. And God is telling us in His Word, our manuals for living, that based on the way men are wired - they desire respect more than love, sex, security, etc...

I once heard one of my favorite authors, Nancy Cobb, co-writer of the Politically Incorrect Wife, say that when a man holds the title "husband," they are to be treated with respect. Not that they always behave in a way that deserves it - but in our behavior and thinking - we are to respect them - simply because they hold the title: husband. This may be a new thought for you, but keep in mind: We will not be accountable to God for our husband's actions, but we will be accountable to God for our actions.

The Bible also says,
"A wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down." Proverbs 14:1

Do you want to build your house? Do you want "life" poured into your marriage? Respect is one of the keys to building your house. To changing the tone in your home and reversing the tide of possible destruction.

Build up your husband with your words; your actions; even by the way you refer to him with your girlfriends. Never talk badly about your husband to other people. (This is disrespectful and the Lord sees it.)

Also, don't tear him down with:
  • your tone of voice (oh, how our voice tones can be so demeaning);
  • your words (resist talking to him like you would your children - you are not his mother, but his wife);
  • your facial expressions; the roll of your eyes etc... With every roll of the eyes, you are tearing down your house.

Today's to do: Ask the Lord to show you ways that you are not showing respect for your husband. Do you demean him by the way you refer to him? Do you embarrass him publicly? Do you put him down in front of others? Do you treat him like one of your children? Do you nag him constantly? Be willing to apologize; Repent and start fresh today. There's power in apologies and repentance.

Remember, just as dying to self, this can't be a one-time seasonal change if you want meaningful change in your marriage. Respecting your husband daily needs to become a lifestyle in order to be impactful. Put aside your feelings, make a choice to doing it God's way; and leave the consequences to Jesus. You won't be sorry!

Tomorrow: The dreaded medication: submission.

Are you willing to show up for tomorrow's post? If so, come see the POWER unleashed by having a biblical understanding of what this means and how it works. I would not teach on it if it were not amazingly empowering and impactful!

Love you sweet friend - keep pressing on!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

What if He's Wrong?

Genesis 12:11-13
As Abraham was about to enter Egypt, he said to his wife Sarah, "I know what a beautiful woman you are.
When the Egyptians see you, they will say, 'This is his wife.' They they will kill me but let you live.
Say you are my sister, so that I will be treated well for your sake and my life will be spared because of you."

After yesterday's post, I wonder how many of you have come back?! Death to self is not easy. I'll give you a few ways to make it easier in a few days. But today, I hope to give you assurance - Biblical assurance before we move on to "Pill #2." You may want to pull out your Bible for today's lesson. I'll be referring to Genesis 12:11-20.

So after you've held your tongue or perhaps you've respectfully disagreed with a decision he's about to make - what do you do? What if you know with all your heart - he's wrong? Do you tell him, "When you blow it, don't say I didn't tell you so." Or do you fight to end?

Though it's rare, there have been times that I totally thought my husband was wrong and I told him so. (respectfully) The first time this happened, I was beside myself with frustration. Yet pay attention to what the Lord said and how He told me... Often He'll speak to us in the midst of everyday activities.

I was in the middle of giving my children a bath - this was back when I was learning death to self. And all of a sudden, Sarah and Abraham popped into my mind. (Today's reading.) In my opinion, Abraham threw Sarah under the bus to save his sorry rear-end. She was placed in Pharaoh's castle and was left completely vulnerable to whatever anybody wanted to do to her.

Yet if you keep reading, God supernaturally protected Sarah. (v17-20) Sarah died to self as it related to Abraham. Sarah submitted to Abraham's wishes. (Don't start throwing cyber tomatoes at me. We'll talk about this in a few days as well.) All the while, he was dead wrong in taking them to Egypt and having her lie about her true identity.

Let this encourage you as it did me so many years ago. In fact, I can testify that during that time period, God supernaturally protected us and delivered us. Every time I wanted to say, "I told you so," I replaced it with, "Lord, I trust you to give him wisdom." I also made it a matter of daily prayer. God honored this. There is no doubt in my mind, that God was good to Tim for my sake. (v16) Sounds egotistical - but it's there! Read it.

So when he's wrong, dear sister, take it to Jesus. Resist the temptation to sing the "I told you so" song. What God does for one (me), He is willing to do for another (you).

Die to self and leave the consequences to Jesus. This is truly when we start walking by faith and not by sight.

Happy Dying!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Death to Self

John 12:24
Unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.

Does your marriage need life breathed into it?

John 12:24 may be your answer. When Jesus gave these words to His disciples, He was describing His death on the cross. His death and resurrection would produce eternal life to those who accept Him as Savior. Death would bring life.

The same principle applies today. And truly it makes no sense logically. But in God's economy, it works. Jesus is explaining that there is a gaining through losing. 2 Corinthians 4:11-12 gives us more on this subject:
"For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus' sake, so that His life may be revealed in our mortal body. So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you."

During January of 2003, I was at my wits end. I had a 7 month old and a 2 year old. I loved being at home with them, but I was weary. And then when my husband would leave to play golf on Saturday's for hours at a time - I thought I'd die. I had bought into the worlds definition of what a wife should be:
  • the strong leader and voice in your family;
  • your way is the only way - especially when it comes to children; and
  • your husband should treating you like a fairy tale princess.

Well, no one gave my husband this memo. And the way I behaved during this season of our marriage - it's no wonder he ran from me every chance he got.

I'm only skimming the surface here, but, now looking back, I wouldn't change this period of time for anything - because it's when I began to learn that God was real. Oh, I was a believer. But I merely went through the motions of religion. No real relationship. I can even remember being so desperate for change, that one of my thoughts were, "I ought to try this Jesus stuff to see if it'll work."

The pill of death to self was first thing I learned. So what does death to self look like? It comes in many forms, but here are a few:

  • Holding your tongue and not having to have the last word-
  • Not treating him like he's stupid when he does bone-headed things-
  • Not insisting on your way all the time-
  • Encouraging him to do the things that he loves to do - even when it cost you -

Instead of standing with my hands on my hips and demanding to know when he'd be home from the golf course, I intentionally replaced it with a loving, "have a good time dear." (This approach brought him home much quicker than the other?) It almost killed me to say it the first time - but each time, it got easier and easier. For the first few months, I'd repeat over and over again in my head, "death in me, brings life in him; death in me brings life in him." Say it!

As of today, after years of making death to self a life-style, not a seasonal change in behavior, my marriage is healthy. In fact, I find I love and respect him more and more through experiencing daily death. My husband rarely plays golf anymore, in fact, I've started encouraging him to play. (Tim, this is perfect balance. No need to change anything- he reads these blogs each day.)

The fruit of death to self is being treated like the queen of the castle - because each day - I intentionally make him king. This "Jesus stuff" does work.

So back to the original question - do you need life breathed into your marriage? Do you believe that God is big enough and strong enough to do it? Then cooperate with Him and die to selfishness each day. You may not see results immediately, but you will eventually. It's a spiritual principle that never changes: Death in you will bring life in him and into your marriage.

Let me hear your successes!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Life Happens

John 12:24
I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.

Today has turned out to be busier than I ever planned. I led Bible study this morning; had a meeting with my accountant at noon; and am speaking tonight at Green Pines Baptist. I've also managed to pick-up my children from school and am doing homework with them before I have to get ready for tonight.

Since I don't have time to elaberate today- I'm giving you the Scripture. Can you guess the pill? POST WHAT YOU THINK THE PILL IS!

It works. It's powerful. And as predicted, I got took a healthy dose of it earlier today. (God's so sweet to let me live what I teach!)

I'll elaborate tomorrow - God willing. It's a MUCH slower day. Feel free to jump on the site anytime if you are a subscriber - to get the full teaching.

Love you friend. Sorry for the delay. But life happens:)