Friday, September 23, 2016

Work On Your Marriage Problems Instead Of Running From Them!

The family unit is the glue that holds any human society together. And marriage is the foundation of the family. If marriage loses its value, then that society is in danger of collapse. Marriage and family are God’s plan to pass values and morality from one generation to the next. As goes the family, so goes the nation.
In our nation, we have more couples living together without marriage (yes, the Bible calls this fornication) and having children than ever before. Divorce is rampant. And in recent years, the very idea of marriage being a relationship solely between a man and a woman has been challenged. We are a nation in great danger. Our moral fabric is coming apart!
You and I can make a difference! How? By making an unqualified commitment to remain loyal and faithful in our marriage for life. Too many believers have an “escape clause” in their heads if problems in the marriage arise. Before Susan and I were married 37 years ago, we made a verbal commitment that the word divorce would not come out of our mouths as a threat when dealing with problems that we would have. Looking back now, that was a really great idea. It forced us to deal with our problems when they arose instead of bailing out on the relationship.
Here’s the bottom line. It is the will of God for you remain married for life to your present spouse. Having said that, understand that there are basically two God sanctioned reasons for divorce in the scriptures. Only two. And if the problems a couple have don’t fit those two, then they should seek to work together to solve them. Every marriage will have some problems because we humans are imperfect. We just have to be willing to work on ourselves and change!
The two God sanctioned reasons for divorce are 1) adultery - But I tell you, whoever dismisses and repudiates and divorces his wife, except on the grounds of unfaithfulness (sexual immorality), causes her to commit adultery, and whoever marries a woman who has been divorced commits adultery (Matthew 5:32) and 2) desertion by the unbelieving party - But if the unbeliever departs, let him depart; a brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases. But God has called us to peace (1 Corinthians 7:15). This second God sanctioned reason also covers spousal abuse and neglect.
Other than these two reasons, generally speaking, stay married! Work your problems out. The Holy Spirit and the Word are God’s two problem solvers. If we’re really committed to Jesus, these two friends will help us find answers to the problems life brings. The Holy Spirit knows you, and the Word of God will change you. All it takes is a committed will.
If you’re already divorced, walk in the grace of God! God forgives and cleanses our past. Yes, there are innocent victims of divorce. The Father doesn’t hold guilty a person who has a spouse who chooses to go their own way and forsake God’s plan. If you’re experienced this, let the mercy and grace of the Father mend your heart. And walk in forgiveness.

If you’re struggling in your marriage, here is a suggestion. First, go to God in prayer and humble yourself. We can never change another person, we can only change ourselves. And marriage problems are people problems. And you are one of the people in that marriage! Ask God to show you what you are doing to hinder your relationship with your spouse. Psalm 139:23-24 encourages us to open ourselves up for God to examine our motives, and then be willing to repent and make changes where we are wrong. Think about it, if you really deal with yourself and the problems you create by what you do or how you respond to your spouse, that’s fifty percent of the problem situations in your marriage being worked on! Half (maybe more!) of the problems Susan and I have had are me!

Don’t try to change your spouse. That not your responsibility. You and how you act and what you do are your responsibility.
Pray for your spouse daily. Here’s a great prayer. Father, help me be the best spouse my husband or wife could possibly have! Help me to be what he or she needs!  Don’t pray, Lord, change my spouse. Pray, Lord, change me!
There is so much to say here. We’ll address the issue of marriage and the problems that creep in again tomorrow.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

10 Ingredients To A Healthy Marriage

Today, Susan and I have been married 37 wonderful years! It’s a milestone in this day where so many marriages end in divorce. Here are 10 ingredients in our relationship that have helped us over the years.
1. Accept your spouse the way they are without trying to change them. Susan and I are so different! And that’s a good thing. If both of us were like me, we’d explode! Years ago, the Father dealt with me about comparing Susan to this image of a perfect wife I had in my mind (men will sometimes even compare their expectations of their wife with their mother’s example). I learned to accept Susan for who she is, and just lover her. That changed us!
2. Walk in agape love. While phileo love (friendship) is the reason you marry someone, agape (God’s love) is the oil that keeps your relationship running smoothly. Agape doesn’t take account of the evil done to it, doesn’t pay attention to a suffered wrong. All of us will fail at times. And this agape will cover the multitude of mistakes! Agape treats the other person as if they had never done anything wrong! It doesn’t bring up the past.
3. Date each other. Susan and I usually take a night a week to “date.” We’ll go out to eat, rent a movie, go to the mall, etc. And we’ll just talk about whatever.
4. Verbalize your love. You can’t wear I love you out! We tell each other several time a day. And we hug and kiss and show affection every day. One thing I picked up from Ken and Lynette Hagin when they were here last week is that they give each other a quick kiss after they prayer over their meal. Kenneth got that from his daddy. Keep the flame alive!
5. Give each other some space. Susan needs her time for her woman stuff! I need my space for my man stuff! Give each other some liberty to take time for person hobbies and friendships.
6. Allow differences without anger. Two people living in the same house coming from different families are at times going to disagree. That’s not a bad thing unless you let uncontrolled anger enter the picture. I think that if you never disagree, you’re not being honest about issues! Allow for differences in views.
7. Don’t go to bed angry. Each day, clear the air of the day’s conversations and differences. Love forgives, accepts, and forgets. Eph 4:26 reveals, Be angry, and do not sin: do not let the sun go down on your wrath.
8. Keep your physical relationship strong. Sexuality is a part of human life. God’s answer to the sex desires He places in us is marriage! Hebrews 13:4 reads, Marriage is honorable among all, and the bed undefiled; but fornicators and adulterers God will judge. Keep this area of life private. It should never be discussed with others. As your marriage ages, and children and busy careers enter the picture, it’s important to make private time with each other happen.
9. Pray for your spouse daily. Instead of praying, Lord change my spouse, pray Lord, help me be the best spouse my mate could possibly have. He me be what (he or she) needs.
10. Above all, just be a good Christian! IF you do, you’ll honor your mate, you’ll be responsible for your actions and words, and you’ll humble yourself and admit when you’re wrong! And you’ll love and respect your spouse.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

How To Deal With Disappointment

Hope deferred makes the heart sick, But when the desire comes, it is a tree of life
(Proverbs 13:12).
Anyone who has ambition will face disappointments. Ambition is not a bad thing. Ambition is a desire to achieve something. God takes the self-centeredness out of our ambition and turns ambition into useful kingdom purposes.
So out of godly ambition, when we set goals and they are not fulfilled, we get disappointed. It’s a normal human reaction to be disappointed when a desire isn’t fulfilled. But we must guard against disappointment turning into discouragement. The slippery slope is disappointment, discouragement, and then depression.
Bring dreams often bring larger challenges! Those who succeed in life are not the ones who never fail. In fact, to succeed, you may fail more often than others who sit back inactive. Those who succeed in their endeavors are the ones who refuse to quit. They may face disappointments, but they get up and try again. Abraham Lincoln was a failure for years as a politician, but through faithful plodding left a legacy. Thomas Edison failed thousands of times looking for the right filament for the light bulb, but his one success changed the world.
Get accustomed to disappointment if you’re going to succeed. Remember, a righteous man falls seven times and rises up again (Proverbs 24:16). Turn disappointment into prayer, praise and thanksgiving. Never allow disappointment to stop you!
Elijah became disappointed right after the victory over the prophets of Baal when God by fire sovereignly consumed his water soaked sacrifice. After this great feat, Elijah outran Ahab’s chariot when he heard that Jezebel wanted him killed. Elijah allowed himself to become disappointed, discouraged, and depressed, as he thought on the idolatry of Israel and how few godly prophets there were to lead the nation back to God. And Elijah’s discouragement and depression cost him his ministry.
When God spoke to him after he found him hiding in a cave, he gave Elijah instructions to anoint Elisha to take his place in ministry! God cannot use discouraged people! And God will find someone else to perform a task if the person he has chosen to do it sinks into discouragement! (You can read about all of this in 1 Kings 17 through 19).
Refuse to allow present disappointments to discourage you! When you face a setback, take a step back, and reassess your plans. Take disappointment and turn it into an appointment with the Father in prayer! Tell Him what bothers you, cast the care of the disappointment on Him, and get up and go again!

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Start Walking By Faith With Small Things

Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses (1 Timothy 6:12).
Faith is so important in our lives, for without it we just won’t be able to receive from the Lord. The necessity of faith is mentioned often in the New Testament and was clearly demonstrated by Jesus in His earthly ministry.
We are admonished over and over to walk by faith and not by sight or feelings. It’s important to be practical with yourself when approaching the subject of faith and how to integrate it into your life. The key to growing faith is to build faith up daily by meditation in the Word of God and by putting it into practice in the daily affairs of life.
One statement that I make regularly in teaching on this subject is that faith is for what you don’t yet physically have but has been promised to you by the Lord. Jesus said that we are to believe we receive the answer to our prayer before we tangibly see it in manifestation. If we do this then the answer will materialize (Mark 11:24).
An important point in this is to start small with your faith. Start believing for a raise on your job. Believe God to heal an ache in your body that you’ve experienced for a while. Believe you receive healing from a headache, from a cold, from a stomach virus, from a skin rash or from warts. Believe God for a certain amount of money to pay a bill or to give into a ministry. Ask God for opportunities today to minister to others. Believe you receive a parking space in a full and busy parking lot (I do this every time I park at a hospital particularly). The idea here is to start small with small things with your faith. When it comes to pass, then your confidence in exercising faith will increase, and you’ll gradually be able to believe for greater things.
Jerry Savelle came to the first Bible school that I attended in my hometown in the 1970’s. He taught us on faith and encouraged us students to believe God for small things. He made an impression on me when he told us that he believed God for a new pen, or for a pair of socks, a new suit, or a new pair of shoes. He exercised his faith for everything in his life, even the small things. This made a lasting impression on me and helped me to understand that if I’m going to live a faith lifestyle, then I’m going to have to start in the small things.
Faith is built up a little at a time. Jesus said, For the earth brings forth fruit of herself; first the blade, then the ear, after that the full corn in the ear (Mark 4:28). A corn stalk starts as a seed, grows into a tall plant, then bears fruit. That’s the way faith works. It starts small and increases in size and strength.
Make a decision that you will be a person who chooses to walk by faith. Begin today to exercise your faith in the small things in life. If you do, then when crisis time comes, or when someone need you in an emergency, you’ll be prepared to exercise your faith. If you wait to get faith when you need it, you’ll be at a great disadvantage. Do your homework now for the tests that will come in your future. Remember that all things are possible with God, and all things are possible to him who believes.

Monday, September 19, 2016

God's Presence Is Like A Purifying Fire!

But who can endure the day of His coming? And who can stand when He appears? For He is like a refiner's fire And like launderer's' soap (Malachi 3:2).
God is Holy; set apart from all of creation; perfect from flaw and blemish; total purity. He revealed Himself in a burning bush to Moses. Then again on top of Mount Sinai He revealed Himself in lightning and thunder. Ezekiel saw the Lord and He appeared as a Being of fire. Yes, our God is a consuming fire!
Fire speaks of purity. Fire purifies precious metal. Fire cleanses germs from the surgeon’s instruments. The fire of God will purify a sin tainted life.
We’re baptized in the Holy Spirit and Fire. If allowed, this fire from the Father will melt away and dissolve impurity from the life of the believer. It works only as the believer applies the Word to his daily conduct and willfully chooses to walk away from the old lifestyle and embrace his new life. How can a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed according to Your word (Psalm 119:9). Your word I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against You (Psalm 119:11).
Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God (2 Corinthians 7:1). Holiness starts in our hearts. We must choose to be like Him in thought and conduct. We must embrace the mind of Christ before we exhibit the character of Christ. As Paul said in Romans 6, we must reckon ourselves dead to sin and alive unto God through the Lord Jesus.
Peter encourages us to walk in this holiness. But as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, "Be holy, for I am holy (1 Peter 1:15-16).
The good news is that the holiness of God has been placed in our spirits by the Holy Spirit. But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God — and righteousness and sanctification and redemption (1 Corinthians 1:30). The word sanctification and holiness come from the same Greek word. So you can see in this verse that God’s holiness is already in you if you’re in Christ!
We must choose to allow this holiness to come alive in us. You will only walk in holiness by personal choice. Cry out for the fire of God to penetrate your mind, your emotions, your will, and your body. Ask Him to work His holiness into every part of you. Make a choice today to carefully guard what you hear and see.
All around us the enemy has polluted the world with his enticements to lust and selfishness. We will only walk in holiness by making daily choices to turn away from every single fleshly allurement. Ask the Father for His penetrating fire to protect you.
Then refuse flesh encouraging TV shows, movies, magazines, internet filth and music all day, everyday.
On a very practical note, I have found that if I’ll spend quality time in the Word and prayer then I will be filled with desires for God and not the flesh. Attention determines desire. Praying in the spirit will also intensify the spirit of holiness in you. An hour of praying in tongues a day can be the catalyst for great life change!
Pray for the fire of God to consume you every day!  

Friday, September 16, 2016

Don’t Quit - God Will Finish What He Started In You!

And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns (Phil 1:6 – NLT).
This verse has been a great encouragement to me over the years. Discouragement and disappoint affect us all at times. At one point in my life, it seemed as though all that the Lord had done in my life was for nothing. The enemy attacked me with discouragement as I looked back at where I had been and then looked at where I was at that time in my walk with the Lord. My goals had not been realized. My plans had been hampered by circumstances beyond my control.
I’ve found that the toughest times in life can actually be the times of greatest spiritual growth. As fire tempers metal, difficulties have a way of bringing the dross, the negative things that hinder life, to the surface in us. And then the Father in His gentle, loving way begins the process of ministering life and changing us.
The Holy Spirit is the earnest or down payment of our inheritance. When the Father brought you into His family, He placed a down payment within you. The indwelling Holy Spirit is the guarantee that He will finish what He started.
Listen to Him speak to you today:
The Lord will perfect that which concerns me; Your mercy, O Lord, endures forever; Do not forsake the works of Your hands (Psalm 138:8).  
The path of the righteous is like the first gleam of dawn, shining ever brighter till the full light of day (Proverbs 4:18 - NIV).
Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure (Philippians 2:12-13).
But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord (2 Corinthians 3:18).

There has never been the slightest doubt in my mind that the God who started this great work in you would keep at it and bring it to a flourishing finish on the very day Christ Jesus appears (Philippians 1:6 - The Message).

The Lord is well able to finish what He started in you. Don’t give up while in process!

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Feed Your Faith And Starve Your Doubts Every Day!

And He said to them, be careful what you are hearing. The measure of thought and study you give to the truth you hear will be the measure of virtue and knowledge that comes back to you — and more besides will be given to you who hear (Mark 4:24 –Amplified).
We are bombarded these days with so much negativity everywhere we turn. In fact, the only way I know to escape the constant negative drip is to just turn away on purpose! It’s essential for you and I to take plenty of time each day to feed our faith. Faith rises when we feed, or slowly read and meditate on the Word of God. Don’t just read, but feed or meditate on the Word. Chew it up. That is, read it slowly, or say it slowly over and over. Take a verse and just repeat it to yourself over and over again. That’s how you meditate. When you can, speak the Word out loud.
Faith doesn’t come by praying or fasting. It only comes by ingesting the Word. What we have faith in will be determined by what we feed on in the days ahead. Let’s make sure that we have a personal answer from the Word for the unbelief and negativity that abounds from media sources.
Jesus told us to let the Word live big in us: If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you (John 15:7). Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, "If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free (John 8:31-32). Jesus answered and said to him, "If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him (John 14:23).
Paul tells us to let the Word be our constant meditation. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord (Colossians 3:16).
Here’s a thought: If we’re not being absorbed in what the Father has already said to us in the Word, why would He even take time to speak something to our spirit by the Holy Spirit? If we’ll listen to, be occupied with, and obey what He’s already said to us in the Word, then we’ll be in a position for Him to speak to us by His Spirit in these dangerous days. But if we ignore what He’s spoken in the Word, then there will be no additional help available! That’s not an option I’m willing to live with!
Let’s take time today to feed our faith and starve our doubts.