Wednesday, July 1, 2009

When It's All On The Line - Part 2

I must say that I am not a basketball fan at all. I just don't understand it. However, I do love the slam dunk contests. They are so fun to watch. I am terrible at basketball so to see these guys do amazing tricks and get the ball in the basket is too cool.

When I was in high school a group of friends, who very much loved basketball, were watching the greatest dunks of all time on ESPN. I will never forget watching Spud Webb dunk. The guy is 5' 7' and can seriously dunk a basketball in a regulation size hoop! I would later find out he won the slam dunk competition in 1986. Talk about your accomplishments!

Of course you can imagine the "rebounding" he had to do in life. Not being able to play in school because he was too short. Get looked over even after he showed what he was capable of due to his size. Realizing the dream of being in the pro's only to be let go. Here's a guy who kept coming back no matter what was happening.

I think one of the greatest stories was how he trained a fellow "short" basketball player of 5'9' (Nate Robinson) to win the slam dunk contest 20 years later. Who knows if Nate watched highlights of Spud and gained an attitude of "If he can do it. I can do it".

Spud's story is what it's all about.
1. Slam dunking the ball against all odds because you're in it to win it.
2. Having an attitude that keeps driving you to succeed without feeling sorry for yourself.
3. Rebounding to win in life.
4. Passing on what you know to others so they can make a difference as well.

What are you ready to "slam dunk" in your life? What are you ready to rebound from? What are some stories that encourage you when you feel like giving up? Are you ready to win in life?

"To win the contest you must deny yourselves many things that would keep you from doing your best. An athlete goes to all this trouble just to win a blue ribbon or a silver cup, but we do it for a heavenly reward that never disappears". 1 Corinthians 9:25 TLB

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

When It's All On The Line

Father’s Day has always been special to me. Since the death of my father it has become bittersweet. I am so thankful for the 25 years I had with him. My dad was my whole world and the one who always showed me unconditional love no matter what the circumstance. Thinking of my father only brings back good memories.

I think it would be important to add that my dad, no matter what I think about him, was not perfect. He had faults because he was human. Fatherhood is not about being a perfect father. There is no such thing. My dad was just perfect for me. I would love for each dad to always remember that you are going to make mistakes, but it is how you handle those mistakes that matters. It is never too late to say you are sorry, to start making a difference, or to simply “show up”. Love keeps no record of wrong. I have kept no record of any faults my dad may have had. They are forgotten by the love he always showed me and the fact that he was never too proud to say he was sorry.

For others, Father’s Day is just a reminder of the father you never knew or don’t have a relationship with. It can be a time of heartbreak. My prayers are with you. I urge you to celebrate Father’s Day with your heavenly father. The one who will never leave you nor forsake you. The one who gave His life for you. He loves you that much and He can fill any void that you may have.

So how can you be a better father? What are you going to do today that will bring blessings for future generations? Pastor Scott has already given you a couple ways:

1. Lay up the Word of God in your heart. Check the spiritual climate in your home. What are you going to start doing today to lay up blessings for your children?

2. Leave an inheritance. What inheritance are you leaving your family? This is not just about money. Will you leave an inheritance of the knowledge of the Lord so that your future generations will serve God?

3. Watch for the pick off. Are you watching for the pick off? If the Bible tells us that Satan comes to steal, kill, and destroy are we on the lookout for these things? It shouldn’t come as a surprise to us. We need to be prepared.

I hope that every dad had a wonderful Father’s Day!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The Sickness Within - Bitterness

As Pastor Scott spoke this last Sunday, I was reminded of a poem by Gerard Kelly. It is a powerful statement about the freedom and power and possibility of forgiveness.

I Choose to Forgive

"Though the cuffs of my jeans are muddied from the dirt you dragged me through,I choose to forgive.

Though the nails of my fingers are bloodied from the fighting you forced me to do, I choose to forgive.

Though no book or belief I have studied can make sense of the path you pursue, I choose to forgive.

Though the walls of my heart are broken and the center of my self is black-bruised by the lash of the lies you've spoken and the wound of the words that you've used, though I huddle, a tear-trembling tragedy stripped of the power to trustblocked off from all who might help me by the guilt that came wrapped in your lust, I choose to forgive.

And this act alone breaks the cycle.
This act alonerights the wrong.
This act alone ends the evil.
This act alone makes me strong, heals blind hatred with soft sight, kicks the darkness into light.

I choose to forgive."

Bitterness is a prison that holds us hostage to pain and the shame. While we think it protects us from pain, it really just intensifies and solidifies our hurt, turning our pain into a cancer that infects all our relationships. Bitterness prevents us from trusting, from risking, from reaching out for help. And it walls us off from God, barring Him from turning our pain into His purpose. All things cannot work for good (Romans 8:28) when God's healing grace cannot penetrate our bitterness.

Forgiveness really does "kick the darkness into light." I see that image so clearly, God's healing light pouring into the areas once filled by bitterness and pain, filling our hurting souls with Him who is the Light.

Kay Stringham - Mid Week Minder Team

Friday, June 12, 2009

The Sickness Within - Control

I really felt for Pastor Scott on Sunday when he said he wasn't going to reveal any more stories about himself. When writing the blogs I feel the same way. Being a controlling Christian is such an oxymoron and sometimes I feel like the biggest moron. Think about it, as a Christian we are confessing that God is in control of EVERYTHING. Yet we still try to control what we fear instead of giving it to God.

So we know we have to do 3 things to lose our issues of control:

1. Surrender our fears.
2. Surrender the details.
3. Surrender our lives.

What is it that you fear? What are you so afraid of? I know so many times whatever I feared turned out to be nothing. In my mind I had made the circumstances, or possible circumstances, to be way more that what they were. I was truly making mountains out of mole hills. So much of what we fear isn't based on anything we've experienced. We say things like "what if" or "maybe", "just preparing for the worst". Instead of saying things like this so we can try and control the outcome that hasn't happened yet, why don't we start quoting the "Fear not's" in the Bible? There is one for every day of the year. That should keep us busy.

Do you worry about the details? I do. Ironically, I am not even a detail oriented person. I'm the person that notices a year later when you move the furniture around. Even still, when it comes to how my prayers might be answered, I wonder if the details have been thought through. One day when I was reading my Bible the Lord spoke to me about how He is in the details. I was reading about the Ark of the Covenant and how the Lord was instructing the Israelites to make it. I am not a handy person, so I usually get lost when reading the instructions. That is when it hit me. God totally blows my mind when He starts explaining the details to me. If you ever wonder if God is thinking about the details just start reading the Bible. All through the Bible the Lord is concerned with every detail. Trust that God has the answers, especially when you don't.

Have you surrendered your life? That's what serving God is all about. Dying to yourself daily to live for Him. Realizing that God is always in control. Knowing that He reigns over everything and that He is not surprised by anything. When could we have ever said that about ourselves?

Melissa Smith - Mid Week Minder Team

Thursday, June 4, 2009

The Sickness Within - Pride

When I was a little girl I saw an Alfred Hitchcock episode about a couple who believed they were so attractive that mirrors covered every inch of their walls, enabling them to enjoy their own beautiful reflections every minute of the day. They couldn't see anyone but themselves, no one else existed. And of course, they haunted the home after their death by still appearing in the mirrors, admiring their images forever. I was scared of mirrors for years!

Pride is like that. It looks in a mirror and admires only itself. No one else can be seen.

Paul, in Romans 12:3 cautions his readers to "not to think of himself more highly than he ought." Pride is that exaggerated opinion of one's importance that Paul is speaking of. Scripture tells us that God "opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble." (James 4:6) Our pride can truly put us in a prison of our own making, keeping us from experiencing God's grace and favor.

Humility, on the other hand, is having a modest opinion of one's worth; it is acknowledging that I need God. Pride keeps us from admitting our need for God. If I believe that I alone am responsible for the good things in my life...I earned them, I deserve them, I am entitled to them, I made them.....then what do I need God for?

C.S. Lewis, the great Christian philosopher said, "A proud man is always looking down on things and people; and, of course, as long as you're looking down, you can't see something that's above you." Pride keeps me from acknowledging that God is God and I am not.

Pride is haughty. It says, "I am better than other people. I deserve more. Because of my intellect, my beauty, my education, my success, I stand above others." Humility says everything I have is from God, including my smarts, my looks, my abilities and talents. They are His gifts, not my accomplishments.

Pride is a prison, preventing me from meaningful and deep relationships. It keeps me from admitting that I truly need other people. It prevents me from apologizing. Pride is not tender or sweet. It is a wall of mirrors that prevents me from seeing another's viewpoint. Pride can never admit it is wrong. Maybe that's why Paul says, "love is not proud." (1 Corinthians 13:4)

Humility listens and hears. It is gentle and kind. It sees another's point of view. It compromises and sacrifices. It opens doors to heal old hurtful relationships and it always looking for an opportunityunity to bless.

Pride and its twin, arrogance, easily excuse wrong. No one can tell pride what to do. And pride feels entitled. It excuses sin, by saying, "I deserve this."

Humility submits to God, knowing that our behavior, as well as our attitudes, reflect the God we love. It's not all about me. There is a bigger picture.

And even if we do acknowledge our need for God in some way, pride masks our faults and keeps us from letting the Holy Spirit show us those areas that He wants to alter with His gentle prodding.

Humility says, "Show me the error of my ways. Reveal those things that don't please God. Mold me into your image."

As we reflect on Pastor Scott's sermon, let's remember that God is always willing to guide and teach, to correct and help....if we will admit we really need Him.

Pride is the mask of one's own faults.

A proud man is always looking down on things and people; and, of course, as long as you're looking down, you can't see something that's above you. C. S. Lewis a high or inordinate opinion of one's own dignity, importance, merit, or superiority, whether as cherished in the mind or as displayed in bearing, conduct, etc.

True humility is a matter of knowing that we need God's forgiving grace in our lives.

Romans 12:3 (Amplified Bible)3For by the grace (unmerited favor of God) given to me I warn everyone among you not to estimate and think of himself more highly than he ought [not to have an exaggerated opinion of his own importance], but to rate his ability with sober judgment, each according to the degree of faith apportioned by God to him.

Psalm 25:9 He guides the humble in what is right and teaches them his way

Kay Stringham - Mid Week Minder Team

Thursday, May 28, 2009

The Sickness Within - Envy

Who hasn’t been envious at some point in time? Pastor Scott was correct in saying it starts when we’re young. I remember my dad comparing being envious to feeling sorry for yourself. He always taught me that no matter how bad you have it, someone else has it worse. And no matter how much you have someone will always have more.

When I was young the big show to watch to find out how “the other half” lived was Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous. Now everywhere you turn you are trying to be sold a life that you should want. Even MTV has a show targeted towards kids called Teen Cribs. When I see that kind of stuff on TV it really makes me ill. I am truly happy for them. The adults and teens have some really cool stuff. I would rather that they do a show about teens giving to worthy causes, or using what they have to make someone else besides themselves happy. No one is privileged just for their own purposes.

I do believe that a time when people can get envious, who don’t normally struggle with envy, is when it seems that someone else is receiving the prayer request they have been praying for. I know that I have had to check myself in this area. I can remember vividly seeing a woman in church and wanting something she had. I didn’t really know her, I just knew of her. I had no idea the life struggles she had been through and was currently going through when I thought her life must be perfect. A year later I did get to know her and found out I didn’t want her life. It wasn’t that she was a fake or putting on a face for church. Her life wasn’t without heartache she just chose not to feel sorry for herself and put her faith in God.

Isn’t that the greatest thing about God? He can give you peace in the midst of the storm that others don’t even realize you’re facing. He can put a smile on your face when the world says cry. He restores you inside and out.

Do you struggle with envy? Have you identified an area of your life that you didn’t even realize had envy? Remember that envy is unearthly, unspiritual, and of the devil. Talk about your triple threats! The challenge for those who struggle in this area to:

Not compare yourself to others.
Celebrate the blessings in someone else’s life instead of being resentful.
Embrace God’s goodness in your life instead of ignoring it.
Be thankful right now, wherever you are at. If you are reading this you have a computer, which means you have electricity. You have the opportunity to blog about what your read, which means you have freedom of speech. That’s a lot to be thankful for!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

The Sickness Within - Anger

Was anyone else as guilty as I am about anger issues on Sunday? Like Pastor Scott said, "You can be a Spewer or Stewer". Which one are you?

I think I might be the worst kind. I was once a "stewer", keeping all records of any wrong doing. Then I became a "spewer". I no longer kept a record of wrong doing. Instead I became the shotgun Pastor Scott referred to. I just blew up all over the place and if I stayed around long enough then I would pick up the pieces later. I might be a better comparison to a cannonball than a shotgun.

I think the first step is really admitting you have a problem. I can't tell you how long I've been a "spewer", but my family could. I really can't remember the beginning of it because I didn't realize I even had a problem. The last couple years my husband and children confronted me on it and I have been working so hard to control my temper. Although, I am far from perfect at least they are able to talk and tease me about it now.

For me the scariest part of my actions is that I am trying to raise two children. Do I really want them to grow up and be like me or even marry someone like me? No! However, if this is what they grow up with, they will begin to think my actions are "normal". I may be able to hide my temper from some people and you might be able to as well, but you cannot hide it from your family and especially your children.

Pastor Scott says often, "The question is not whether or not you are being watched. It is whether or not you should be followed". I want to be followed as a Godly woman. I don't want to be followed as someone who has control issues, but can't control her own temper. We have to admit our faults and work on our weaknesses. "The LORD is compassionate and gracious; slow to anger, abounding in love." Psalms 103:8

I pray that God will continue to work on us all. I pray that we take this kind of wrong anger and turn it into sanctified anger that leads us to do righteous acts. I pray that we may all become more like Him.

Melissa - Mid Week Minder Team

Monday, May 18, 2009

Mom's Rock!

I thought Pastor Scott did an excellent job on Sunday thanking moms for all we do. The cookies the children handed out were great! Mother's Day was a good day. Yet I know for some, Mother's Day is the saddest day of the year.

I just wanted to say to all the women out there who are struggling to have a child we have not forgotten you and neither has Jesus. Many times in the Bible it tells the story of a woman who cannot have children. I think of Samuel's mom who cried out and prayed so intensely that the priest thought she was drunk. So many times God made the impossible possible and he is still doing the same miracles today. If you don't believe me you need to speak to an awesome lady in our church named Brandi Saunders. She and her twin sons are proof that there is not a day of miracles only a God of miracles.

There is another group of ladies that I wanted to reach out to and that is those mothers who have lost a child. Our thoughts and prayers are with you as well. I won't claim to know the pain you have faced, but my God does. He gave His only child for us. He watched His child be mocked, abused, and tortured so that we could spend eternity with Him. My God knows every tear you've cried and He can give you the peace you need and the strength to face every day.

No matter where you are in the journey of motherhood there is a theme that Pastor Scott gave on Sunday and that is not to become bitter. Whatever you are going through, if you become bitter you open yourself up to a world of hurt. However, if you can focus on God rather than your troubles, God is so faithful to give you the peace that passes all understanding. Bitterness will rob you of the joy of the Lord which is your strength, and as a mom you need all your strength. Give your burdens and cast your cares on the Lord daily.

Melissa - Mid Week Minder Team

Friday, May 8, 2009

Hope for Your Finances

Well it just figures that I miss the Sunday where M&M’s were handed out! Seriously though, what a great message with awesome testimonies. Truly there is nothing too difficult for my God.

I certainly will not add to what Pastor Scott said as I am no expert. I will encourage anyone who has not made the commitment to give to start today. God is waiting to show you what He can do with so little. It is more than what He can do for you with the 90% you have left. It is about what can be accomplished for His kingdom even though He asks for so little.

I often wonder how my tithe will serve the kingdom from week to week. Will my 10% and missions money make it possible to bring someone to the Lord, or clothe and feed someone, make it possible for someone to have a Bible, or travel around the world to help someone I don’t know and will never meet about the love of Jesus Christ? I have heard some compare tithing to paying the electricity bill. I would say to them, “Would you want to go without electricity in your own home for one day?”, so why should the church go without it? The fact is if that is all my tithe went to it would be worth it. With the power of electricity our church can have the lights on to invite people in, and the sound works so people can hear us praise in the streets. We provide a cool place in the summer and a warm place in the winter for a couple of hours to those who would otherwise not have an escape.

I also want to offer encouragement to those who are faithful in giving yet may be struggling right now in your finances. We have all heard the story of Job, but I am also encouraged by the story of the woman in 2 Kings. Her story begins in chapter 4, but I will write about what happened to her in chapter 8. The Lord called a famine in Israel and Elisha told the woman to take her family and move to another country. When the famine ended 7 years later the king gave her land back to her plus the value of any crops harvested during her absence. The king ordered that everything she lost be restored to her. How many of us long to have our finances restored by the Lord?

I myself cling to this story. I am reminded that the Lord doesn’t just “make things better”. He restores. He gives what doesn’t seem possible. Do not forget His faithfulness to you in the past. Do not forget what He has already done in your life. I have to remind myself that if the Lord never blessed me again, if He never answered another prayer, He is still worthy of all my praise for everything He has already given me and everything He has delivered me from. This place is not my home.

But those who wait for the Lord [who expect, look for, and hope in Him] shall change and renew their strength and power; they shall lift their wings and mount up [close to God] as eagles [mount up to the sun]; they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint or become tired. Isaiah 40:31 (Amplified Bible)

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Hope

There is no doubt that your faith has been tested, thus you have had times when it was hard to hope for anything let alone something good. The feeling of hopelessness to me is just being numb. Going through your daily routine, but not expecting anything. It is as if you are just going through the motions. You want to feel something, but you can’t even begin to feel the “normal” emotions of whatever you are going through. You may not even be able to cry anymore. You just become cold and lifeless.

In the 80’s a movie came out that to me is the perfect visual example of what happens when you stop hoping. The name of the movie is called “The Neverending Story”. In the story the mythical characters are troubled by “the Nothing”. The characters are doing life as usual, but the Nothing is destroying their world. They don’t know why it’s happening or how to stop it. In the end we find the Nothing was the lack of hopes and dreams that their world needed to survive. The more they stopped hoping and dreaming the bigger the Nothing became. It fed off their hopelessness. I won’t give away the conclusion in case anyone wants to see it, but it does have a good lesson to be learned.

Just like the characters in the movie, we need hope to survive. We need to believe that the Lord hears and cares about our hopes and dreams because He does. Once we give up and stop hoping we are sentencing ourselves to the worst that life has to offer. God never intended you to live that kind of life. “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly”. John 10:10 NKJV

Maybe you have given up because the promise that the Lord has given you hasn’t come to pass. Has it been months or even years that you have been waiting on the promise? Don’t stop hoping or believing now. I know that it can be discouraging to wait, but if anything is worth the wait isn’t it a promise from God? In the Bible we read in chapters of life changing miracles and promises that take place over just a couple flips of a page. It is important to remember that these people we read about didn’t have their prayers or promises answered overnight. My bible doesn’t say how long Joseph was in jail, but it does say it was two years later that the wine taster told Pharaoh of Joseph’s gift of interpreting dreams.

The fact is we have all been given a promise. The promise that Jesus has gone to prepare a place for you, a promise of His return, and a promise of eternal life with Him. No matter what you are going through right now I challenge you to say “My God is able!” When you don’t know what to pray, say “My God is able!” When the circumstances seem unchangeable cry out, “My God is able!” Say “My God is able” whenever you are faced with something that is beyond your control. When someone comes to you with a prayer request or need tell them “My God is able”. Thank God that His ways are not our ways and He can make a way when there doesn’t seem to be a way. Remember God is thinking the best for your life even when you are thinking of the worst.

The challenge this week is to start dreaming and hoping again. Can you imagine what your children would be like if they stopped dreaming? You would do everything you could to encourage them to hope and dream because you know that life doesn’t have any meaning without it. Just because you are not a child anymore doesn’t mean that this rule doesn’t apply to you. You are a child of God. Have the faith of a child and dream like one!

“Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see.” Hebrews 11:1 (NLT)

Saturday, April 25, 2009

A Marriage That Works

I can't remember the last time I was so excited about being in church with my husband. I was all smiles and school girl giddy this past Sunday. I had been waiting all week for the vow renewal. I was just as excited as on my wedding day. On my wedding day I wasn't nervous at all. I remember thinking, "How am I going to get through my own wedding without crying?" In reality I didn't cry at all. I was smiling and laughing just like I was on Sunday. I was also just as anxious to kiss Mark on Sunday as I was 12 years ago! Although this time was much easier without my dad looking on.

I think the reason I experienced such excitement (and still do) was that Mark has always shown me the Agape love that Pastor Scott talked about. Mark was my best friend, but we never dated. When we met I was not serving the Lord and I was not a nice person to put it mildly. Mark loved me anyway and saw past all my faults. Literally at the time he fell in love with me my family struggled to like me. They always loved me because I was family, but because of my actions I can't blame them for not liking me. Only two men in my life have loved me like this, my dad and my husband.

This kind of love can only come from the Lord. He is Love. When you love others with Agape love you are being Jesus in the flesh to them. When you love someone unconditionally you are showing them God does the same. When I gave my life back to the Lord I received His forgiveness because that is the example my dad had shown me all my life. It has been said that the relationship you have with your earthly father can shape the relationship you have with your heavenly father. For example, if you feel like your earthly father only loved you when you did something he approved of then you will feel the same about God. You will see God as someone who loves you with conditions. This is totally wrong.

When we get married it is "for better or worse". When we accept Jesus as our personal savior we become part of the bride of Christ. Jesus already made the decision to you and I to love us "for better or worse" on the cross. When we accept Him we are making the same commitment back. Not that God could ever be worse, but that no matter our situation we make the commitment to love, honor, serve, and obey Him, for better or worse, for richer or poor, in sickness and in health until death or His return.

God has an Agape love for you. A love that is unconditional, a love that waits for you no matter how often you have rejected Him, a love that nailed Him to the cross for you. Whether you are married or not you need God's Agape love and you need to show it to others. Many of us can remember a time in our lives when someone showed us this kind of love though we did nothing to deserve it.

  • Is there someone in your life right now you are struggling to love without conditions?
  • Do you know someone who could be transformed by this kind of love?
  • Does your husband, wife, mother, father, son, daughter, etc. know that your love is totally unconditional because God's love for them is the same?
  • What greater gift could you give someone than telling them of God's love and how you love them the same?


Melissa - Mid Week Minder Team

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Freedom

Well there is nothing that I could add to the testimonies given on Easter, except “How awesome is our God”!

Every testimony this past Sunday seemed to have a common thread of hopelessness. Each person couldn’t have survived without the hope that comes with freedom given by the Lord. I love that our God seems to work best when we give up on everything and when everyone has counted us out. I believe it is here that He can really “show off”.

God’s freedom from the grave is our ticket to free us from whatever burden is holding us back. No matter where we are right now God is waiting for us to ask to be free. He is waiting to show us what only He can do. Do you want to be the next to share your testimony of what God has done in your life? Your testimony isn’t something to haunt you. You don’t need to be ashamed. It is a symbol of your freedom.

“For on that day thorns and thistles, sin, death, and decay - the things that overcame the world against its will at God’s command - will all disappear, and the world around us will share in the glorious freedom from sin which God’s children enjoy.” Romans 8:20-21

Melissa - Mid Week Minder Team

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Fireproof Your Marriage - Part 4

Forgiveness

Are you going to let Satan outwit you, or are you going to forgive someone? How often do we forget that unforgiveness opens the door for Satan in your life? I don't know about you, but I have enough struggles in my life and I don't need Satan creeping in the backdoor.

Pastor Scott gave us 7 ways to forgive:
1. Make a decision to forgive.
2. Say the words - at least to yourself.
3. When you forgive, do just that - forgive.
4. Forgive completely.
5. Forgive repeatedly.
6. Remember that forgiving doesn't mean forgetting.
7. Remember that forgiveness doesn't mean trusting.

Forgiveness is free. It cannot be earned. We cannot confuse forgiveness with trust. Trust can't be given it must be earned. They are not the same. Just because you may struggle to trust someone doesn't mean you have the right to with hold forgiveness towards them.

Let us never forget that the Lord forgave us before we ever asked and is faithful to continue forgiving when we do ask. Pay it forward and forgive others the way the Lord forgave you.

Remember, Jesus taught us in the Lords Prayer to pray..."forgive us our sin "as" we forgive others..."

Another way to translate this is...

"forgive me 'Just like' I forgive others"
"forgive me 'with the same attitude' as I forgive others"
"forgive me 'with the same urgency' as I forgive others"


Melissa - Mid Week Minder Team

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Fireproof Your Marriage - Part 3

TEMPTATION....what's yours? We all have them and we all need to be real about what they are. There is no shame in being tempted, even Jesus was tempted. If you're not being tempted from time to time you're not breathing (or are not being honest). Temptations can grow into problems that consume more and more of our lives and cause crises when we allow them the time and access to our minds and bodies.

Pastor Scott talked about men and their struggles on Sunday, and touched a little on the struggles that women face. I won't elaborate any on men's struggles, since I've never been one, but I wanted to add a couple things about women. I believe that one of the greatest struggles women face comes from what I call "fantasy thinking." The fantasies can come from romance novels, soap operas, watching certain TV shows, etc. We begin to try to live out the lives of these fiction characters and expect the same from those around us. This is a recipe for disaster!

We also need to choose our friends carefully. There is a common saying among women (often older women teach it to the younger ones) that goes like this, "The first time you marry for love, and the second time you marry for money." This saying illustrates the need to be careful of who we are sharing our thoughts and feelings with. Men are not the only ones that can put destructive thoughts in your mind. This is why it is so important to have Godly women friends.

It is so important for us to remember that no matter the temptation we are facing someone else has faced it, you are not going to be tempted by something you don't have the power to resist and there is always a way out. I tell my children not to do certain things and go certain places, but if they do I will be their way out. They can call on me and I will come get them.

Maybe you have already been infected by a parasite. But you are not too far gone for the Lord to heal you! The Lord's mercies are new every day. Ask forgiveness from the Lord and forgiveness is yours. Then make the necessary changes to your life to keep moving forward. There is a famous baseball player (Josh Hamilton who came back from addictions to drugs and alcohol) that feels like he can't face his temptations by himself. So when he is on the road he takes a trusted friend with him to help battle his temptations. Everyone should find someone or a group that holds them accountable. We all need accountability.

In every sport you are always taught that the best defense is a good offense, and facing temptation is no different. To defend against temptation be prayed up, filled up with the Holy Spirit, and read your Bible. This won't stop all temptations, but you will be able to resist them!

Melissa - Mid Week Minder Team

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Fireproof Your Marriage - Part 2

This past week we learned about the seasons of a marriage. There is the season of romance, reality and rebuilding. Personally I feel like my marriage can go through all these seasons in a single week! I think two of the most important lessons I have learned over the years are:

1. Love is not a feeling it is an action.
2. Love keeps no record of wrong.

Drs. Les & Leslie Parrot have done research on how couples argue. They have found that they are able to determine whether or not a couple will stay together based on how they handle conflict. I don’t have all the details to give you, but one of the most destructive things someone can do is keep a record of what you have done wrong so they can use it against you later. I have been totally guilty of this in my own marriage and only my husband could truly explain how hurtful and frustrating it is to have your own wife keep a log of every mistake you make. I can tell you that since I have really tried to stop doing this the way we argue has completely changed, and in fact we argue much less. When an issue arises we are able to focus on the issue and not something that happened last week or last year. After the issue is resolved we’re done. No hurt feelings, no going to separate parts of the house, no need to go to bed angry.

Love as an action is much more powerful than love as a feeling. Think about it…How many feelings do you go through in a day? I don’t want my husband to “feel” like loving me when it’s convenient. I want to “be” loved through his actions all the time. If you have children, the same is true. Children have the ability to take everything out of you, but the action of loving them couldn’t be more important. I tell my own kids that when they do certain things I don’t like. However, no matter what they do or have done it could never take away my love.

For those of you who may not be married or have children, you could be in a season with a parent or friend. I know I went through every season with my parents and fortunately now I’m in the season of romance with my mom. My love and respect for her is like nothing I’ve ever experienced. At this point in my life I find myself hanging on her every word.

As always Jesus is the greatest example. Jesus’ actions of love are never ending and He keeps no record of any sin in my life and reminds me I have no right to keep record of anyone else’s.

John 15:12-14 (NIV) My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Fireproof Your Marriage - Part 1

We talked about submitting to our spouses and God this past Sunday.  It is important to remember that submitting is not a bad word.  We have turned submission into a one way street and many see submitting as being weak.  I can recall being in a family members wedding (over 10 years ago) and the person performing the ceremony asked what vows they wanted to use, to which they replied “Is there more than one option?”  There was an option that we all were shocked at.  The “pastor” said that most women were requesting to take out the part of the vows where we agree to “obey” our husbands.  This is a definite problem.

Have you been submitting to your spouse this week?  More importantly are submitting to God?  Have you been lining yourself up under your spouse and God?  Have you given up any rights this week to submit to your loved one?  Are you showing your husband respect or your wife love?  Showing respect and love can be easy or it can be very difficult.  It is easy when you ask the other person how they receive love or respect.  It is very difficult when you guess how they should respond to your respect or love.  Take the easy route and ask!

I remember so much confusion when I first got married.  I thought I was being very respectful, and he thought I was very disrespectful.  The problem is that I was showing my husband the respect I showed my own father.  Although both men in my life deserved and required respect from me, they wanted it in very different ways.  If I would have simply asked my husband how I could show him respect I could have saved myself a lot of frustration.

Maybe you aren’t married.  This series still applies to you.  We all have to submit to God.  We must all learn to submit to God’s will.  There will come a time in every believer’s life that God will ask you to submit to His will.  God may ask you to do something that is completely foreign to you, that is bigger than you think you can handle, or makes completely no sense to you.  At this point you will need to submit to the One who knows exactly where you are, what you are going through, and has a plan for your life.

Submitting can be hard at first, especially if someone has taken advantage of you in the past.  Know that God loves you and will never hurt you.  When you submit to the will of God you will be at peace.  When you submit to your spouse you will get the love and respect that you need.  What rights will you give up this week to show your loved one and God that you are ready to submit?