Co-Parenting, Children, Authority Figures, Church Folks & More: The Remainder of My Notes that I Didn't Get to from Fearless Conference
I recently spoke at the FEARLESS CONFERENCE for Gracious Women Ministry at Wheaton Christian Church in Wheaton, IL. I was asked to speak on relationships, including but not limited to blended families and finding love again, and I wasn't able to get to a good amount of my notes. I told the ladies that I would put the remainder on my blog so they could come back to it.
We started with a short teaching on love and righteousness and the need for both if we want healthy relationships. We were able to cover friendships, marriage and divorce. Below, please see: co-parenting, finding love again, blended families/step-parents, children, parents, authority figures, and church folks.
If there are children involved and dad is involved, you will have to co-parent.
Things you may encounter:
Different parenting philosophies. You will almost always have different parenting philosophies. Try to work out these differences, and a plan BEFORE the co-parenting and visits begin.
For those with especially difficult or controlling baby-daddies: Don’t take their threats seriously, don’t threaten & ignore their criticisms. KEEP YOUR COOL. It almost always blows over, especially if they don’t have money for legal counsel.
Love him like a brother in Christ! He’s hurting too (he just shows it differently).
SET BOUNDARIES!! You divorced because boundaries were either not set or not kept. In order for the cycle not to repeat, you must change what you allow – because now you’re in a position to do so.
FINDING LOVE AGAIN
There’s no magical formula to finding love again: you don’t need to “deserve it” or be “successful” or have some spiritual, soulical and natural checklist completed...
DO: Be seeking God’s will for your life, always pursuing wholeness, serving others selflessly, and the big one: LEARN LOVE LIKE YOU NEVER HAVE BEFORE!!! Be READY to love SACRIFICIALLY! Then God can send you someone who’s got a great purpose
BLENDED FAMILY/STEP PARENTS
If we have children and are married to a man who is their stepfather:
Give him all of the respect due a father concerning your household.
*The same goes for stepmom if there is no biological mother present.
If you are the stepmom in a blended family:
I just want to exhort in a few areas that I often see parents stress about unnecessarily:
2 most important jobs as a parent: That they FEEL unconditionally loved EVERY DAY no matter what, and to train them.
Ephesians 6:2-3 “Honor your father and mother,” which is the first commandment with promise: 3 “that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth.”
This is a beautiful promise! Hold onto it tightly! (NT scripture verifies that it’s still valid under the New Covenant)
If you are a child v. 1 Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.
Ephesians 6:5-8 Bondservants, be obedient to those who are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in sincerity of heart, as to Christ; 6 not with eye service, as men-pleasers, but as bondservants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart, 7 with goodwill doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men, 8 knowing that whatever good anyone does, he will receive the same from the Lord, whether he is a slave or free.
1 Tim. 6:1 Let as many bondservants as are under the yoke count their own masters worthy of all honor, so that the name of God and His doctrine may not be blasphemed.
Honor them. Do what they asked, because they asked. Not because they deserve your respect (and not in fear and trembling of THEM), but because of a reverent and worshipful fear of the Lord. Because God asked you to. Because you love God and honor HIM, so you’ll bless and glorify His name. And do it with a happy heart that is a BLESSING to your boss, ministry leader, whatever authority figure you’re serving – lose the ‘tude and do all things in love and honor as unto the Lord.
CHURCH FOLKS (Ugh…church folks…right? No! Wrong!)
1 Cor. 12:27 says we’re the body of Christ. . If Jesus is the head, what is the church? His body. Jesus’ body is still Jesus.
Luke 6:35-36 But love your enemies, do good, and lend, [a]hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For He is kind to the unthankful and evil. 36 Therefore be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful.
Apply that to HATERS also, in and out of the Church…
v. 37-38 “Judge not, and you shall not be judged. Condemn not, and you shall not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. 38 Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.”
This is for all relationships: In and out of the church, friends, enemies, marriage, even with our children, and parents.
Let’s keep reading, this time back to our brothers and sisters in Christ:
v. 41-42 And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not perceive the plank in your own eye? 42 Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me remove the speck that is in your eye,’ when you yourself do not see the plank that is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck that is in your brother’s eye.
LOVING WELL OUR BROTHERS IN CHRIST:
Everyone is in some stage of their Christian development. When we concern ourselves with our own (planks), we can get to the levels where we see that our Christianity is no longer about us, but about others. What is it that they need? How can I love and serve them? Then we see that Christian relationship is not about judgement or pointing out the flaws of others. It’s about lifting others higher, about loving discipleship, and helping to restore them to a position of righteousness and wholeness in Christ.
The following is my personal research on what the Bible really says about divorce and remarriage. In the body of Christ, we unfortunately have many divorced brothers and sisters, and even Pastors and other leaders in the church. At first glance, the scriptures seem to condemn divorce, and even accuse the remarried Christian of the greater sin of adultery. As a body, we ignore it because it’s so common, all the while knowing, subconsciously, what we’ve read about it in the gospels and 1 Corinthians. In my research, I have found that divorcing your spouse and marrying another is not adultery, nor is divorce prohibited by Jesus, as many Christians believe from their reading of the Bible. Through proper translation, background and interpretation, I seek to educate readers on the biblical truths concerning divorce and remarriage.
BACKGROUND - MY PERSONAL STORY
When I met my wonderful husband, I was a divorcee with two beautiful boys. Without going into great detail, I will say that my first marriage was very rough. I entered into it at 19 years old, thinking I was marrying a man of God, and over four years later I was a shell of a woman with two children to care for. I genuinely felt like I was rescued from that marriage (by God) and countless experiences have confirmed to me that I did the right thing by ending it. About four more years passed and I met David – a truly wonderful person and a man who seeks to love me as Christ loves the Church. What is even more important is that we both agreed early on that our relationship was to glorify God and raise the standard for godly relationships. As stated in our Relationship Mission Statement (which we created four months into the relationship), the number one reason we wanted to be married was to “be a more powerful force for the Kingdom of God!” Time after time our relationship has been confirmed and affirmed, by God, by others, and by the fruit it has produced. That’s why when I was confronted with this issue, head on, I had a problem with it. Something wasn’t right. I NEEDED to do further study.
Several years into my marriage to David, I felt God leading me to teach women, single and married, how to be better wives. For an entire year, I had monthly meetings with a group of ladies (all ages), teaching from and further developing a curriculum that I had created. Much of this was from the difficult lessons I learned, striving to be my best in my first marriage, but more was from the grace and revelation that God had given me to be a great wife to David.
I credit my husband’s unwavering positive confession that he’s spoken over me since the beginning, always referring to me as an AMAZING wife, and giving me the space to grow without scorn or judgement. His pure love is powerful, and it has freed me to be able to receive revelation from God on this topic. At the end of a year, God led me again: This time to write the book, How to Win Him and Keep Him Happy: Secrets to Becoming an Amazing Wife. A website, some social media outlets, and speaking engagements were, of course, to follow, but what was of significance to this particular research was a video I posted online about “Healing and Remarriage.” For the next detail, it’s important to mention that I am a minister, and everything I am mentioning here is from a Christian perspective.
The public may comment on most YouTube videos and since mine focused on the healing I received from the Lord, mine were getting a lot of comments from the Christian community. Most were very positive and appreciative, but two comments in particular were of concern. One very “helpful” person laid out for me, in detail, the only ways in which I was allowed to be divorced or remarried, and let me know that if my marriage did not fall into one of these categories, I was essentially committing adultery with my husband. Another cut straight to the point and told me I was going to hell. Of course I dismissed the latter because they obviously did not have a revelation of the saving and sanctifying grace of God. That “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from ALL unrighteousness.” The former, however, was the catalyst to my research.
I can no longer find their comment, but they quoted one of the synoptic gospels, which, as it pertains to my research, are all very similar. “But I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except on the ground of sexual immorality, makes her commit adultery, and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.” Woah. Now I had remembered skimming this in the past, and perhaps even consciously saying to myself, “Well, it’s covered in the blood. I’ve repented for any wrongdoing in my previous marriage and situation.” But now I was a marriage author, and presenting myself as an authority on the topic. While qualified to teach what I was teaching, and possessing special revelation for marriage and wifehood, I STILL needed an answer for this, because no-doubt it would come up again. This accusation against me was just a catalyst to search deeper.
But my heart didn’t convict me. I was so sure that I was in the center of God’s will in my marriage and that I was exactly where I needed to be in life’s journey – my destiny, which INCLUDED my husband – that I knew there was no way that God would have me in a situation that was causing myself or my husband to perpetually commit adultery! This, I believe, is where your faith and your intimacy with God is tested. When you have an intimate relationship with God and know His nature, you will differentiate from His voice and someone else’s. “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.” I “ran away” from the input of this stranger (as opposed to running away from God, thinking He’s condemning me), because I know the character of my God so well. I know Him as a loving and merciful God, and He would never trick me or lead me astray. I read these words about divorce in my Bible, but I couldn’t connect them with my wonderful, merciful Lord, so I decided to seek more information. And what I found out was very interesting…
Because I believe in honoring your elders and their wisdom, I first went to the highly respected, Pastor Daryl Barnett, that used to serve as a Pastor in our church. His revelation on marriage may be unmatched. It is known that he dedicates much of his study time on this topic, and he is widely respected on the matter. I messaged him, explaining my quandary, and he responded with, “Sure I can help, just give me a call. You’re in the clear!” I was glad to hear that and that my instincts were correct. During the call, he explained some things about translation, God’s will for His people, and how ministers never seem to want to study this issue out entirely, by going back to the original Greek and Hebrew for answers. This laid the foundation for my research and motivated me to study more, and when I got the chance to research this for a paper, I jumped on it!
The Common Argument
Currently, most English versions of the Bible translate the few verses we find concerning the dissolution of marriage in the New Testament similarly. Texts on this topic are found in Matthew, Mark, Luke, and 1 Corinthians – Not in John. Matthew and John are the only two of the gospel writers who were part of the first twelve disciples, and therefore the only two that would have been present when Jesus was speaking on the matter. Based on these facts, and because there is nothing concerning this in John, we will be treating only the text found in Matthew. In the interest of brevity, I will not be addressing 1 Corinthians, but I invite you to take an additional look at it after reading my research, as well as Mark 10:2-12 (which only adds a sentence about the disciples asking Jesus about what He said), Luke 16:18, and Matthew 5:31-32 at your leisure, and you will find that everything I show you here lines up with these scriptures as well, including any original Greek translation. We will first take a look at the scripture (Matt. 19:3-9), in the most common English translation, as this is the starting point from which I will assume most of us are familiar.
***This is the beginning of a mini-book. There was too much content for a blog post. For the rest of this FREE content (& all of the research), click button below.
**When finished reading in its entirety, please comment below and share if helpful!
 1 John 1:9 (English Standard Version).
 Matthew 5:32 (English Standard Version).
 John 10:27 (English Standard Version).
MEN! Want to easily romance your wife (or your "lady")? It EASY! Read on for
THE #1 KEY TO EASILY ROMANCING YOUR WIFE.
Be considerate. That's it. It seems so simple, right? It really is, however it may be a bit more complicated than you're thinking. There is more than meets the eye with being considerate.
Let's start with 2 things that "considerate" is NOT:
1. Being considerate is not the same as "caring." Caring, although important, is really just concern - which does often result in action - about another. For example, someone can care endlessly about how another is doing after the loss of a loved one, but if they wanted space and alone time to grieve and the "caring" person insisted on spending the whole day with them, this wouldn't be very considerate, now would it? A considerate AND caring person would want to give the friend what ever it is that THEY need for their process, whether it be space, time, or company - not just what THEY think the recipient should have, but what that person wants and needs for their own unique personality and situation.
...Which brings me to my next point...
2. Being considerate is NOT doing "unto others what you would want them to do to you." Now, you could argue that it is, in the way that you would want to TREAT them as you would want to be treated (because you would want to be treated with what I like to call "considerosity"). But specifically what you would want to be DONE unto you, is unique to YOU. If you are CONSIDERATE, you are always finding out what the other needs/wants and trying to meet THEIR need (within reason, of course).
So you want to romance the most important person in your life? BE CONSIDERATE TO HER. Do what SHE WANTS, treat her how SHE LIKES, complete the tasks that SHE HAS ASKED FOR, take her to places & events that SHE WANTS TO GO TO, and even talk about the subjects that SHE WANTS TO TALK ABOUT.
Not sure exactly what she wants? ASK HER. She will love it, because it will make her feel important, valued, and loved! And be ready to stifle any critical reaction or judgement when she tells you what it is she wants/likes, because chances are, you won't agree. Remember, this is not about you or your opinions. This is about HER. Romancing her is as easy as selflessly just giving her what she's asked for. It's not rocket science, but it does take a bit of effort.
To avoid having your efforts criticized (and consequently feeling like the whole act was futile), try this: before you complete the task that she was asking you to do, ask her HOW SHE WANTS IT DONE. I don't believe in a "point system" for love, but if I did, this would earn HUGE POINTS for you! How would you do this? Shoot her a text and say, "Hey when I come home from work today I planned on hanging that picture you had asked me to hang for you. Is there any particular way you'd like this done?" Not only are you setting an expectation that you will be completing a task that's important to her, but you've created anticipation, AND shown her that you love and respect her enough to ask HOW.
Another example of asking HOW she wants it is if you're planning a date she's been asking for. You might say, "I know you've been wanting me to plan a date for us, and I'm about to start. I don't want to give away all the juicy details, but is there anything in particular that you've been wanting to do? I know you mentioned a tour… Were you thinking of a Segway tour? Or a particular type? I've seen architectural tours and even cupcake tours. I want to do what YOU want to do!"
Now she's excited - and it's because YOU'RE... SO... CONSIDERATE...!
THIS is ROMANCE... and it's EASY!
So many of us want all of the promises of God - the healing, the peace, the prospering life, soul and finances, the wholeness and feeling of fulfillment & satisfaction (that we see others have), the power - but we are not seeing it in our lives.
We are tempted to ask God "Why?"
But God says, "How can I give you all of Me, when you're not giving Me all of YOU?"
The more of you that you give God, the more He can act in your life. You need to "fit" Him, and there's only so much space available. In order to make room for one thing (God) you must give up another ("doing you"). Give him every crack and crevice like the pieces of a puzzle: if you start removing pieces that are there, there are spaces left.
We often only make the spaces for God that we want Him to have, but God wants ALL of your pieces - He wants the whole puzzle board. He wants the good stuff, the ministry, the love and forgiveness, but He also wants the hurt and pain, the insecurities (especially the insecurities), the difficult situations, the easy ones, your finances, your choices - for school, career, relationships, even meal choices for some of us!
Don't hold out on God. Give Him all the parts of you - hidden and exposed, and watch those things that you've prayed for Him to handle for you be taken care of, fall off, or flourish (whatever is the appropriate need).
He is God. Trust Him fully and completely. And when you feel your faith wavering, remind yourself (and Him) by saying (out loud), "I trust You, Lord." It's that simple. Romans 10 tells us that faith comes by HEARING... If we want to build our faith to trust God, then hear yourself tell yourself that you do. Only when we fully trust God can we truly give Him our all.
So... you want ALL of God? Then give Him ALL of YOU.
Psalm 139 (the WHOLE thing!)
So many of you have seen the video of my husband speaking on forgiveness, and talking about how we had recently found out that some folks were talking about us - especially me. ?
I admit: it was hard. But my hubby came through for me with such great encouragement that I couldn't keep it to myself. I asked him permission to copy and paste, then post the text messages he sent to me on my blog. I wanted them to serve as an awesome example of how a godly spouse responds with encouragement when someone has been talking about their husband/wife. Of course he said yes!
I have broken up each individual text message so you can see exactly how his texts came through to my phone - this was so much life to me!? ? This is what the Bible means when it says that husbands are to wash their wives with water by the word (of God). Eph. 5:26.
See below for personal, private texts from my hubby, and an awesome example of spousal support...
Hey boo I just want to let you know that you are the BEST woman that I know. Astoundingly loving, amazingly positive, breathtakingly beautiful, and so pure in heart ❤️
That's the way I see you and many others see you. You are an amazing wife and a virtuous woman! You always have been, and you will continue to be. The enemy wants to poison you with the wrong opinions of a few. But you know who you are, I know who you are, and hundreds more know who you are. Many women and young ladies have said to me on multiple occasions, "I want to be like your wife."
YOU ARE GODLY! And that is the light of Christ. That's what you have. It draws people, and then you show them who God is. That's what I love about you. You have challenged me in our ten years just by being so good-hearted and loving no matter what. That's what JESUS was like.
Some people want you to become what you were not meant to be. But I like what I see from you because you are EVERYTHING that God meant for you to be. I am honored to call you my wife! You amaze me every day. I love your heart and I love you!
YOU ARE B E A U T I F U L!!
I love you!!! As we grow and our reach grows, it's important to remind ourselves of who we were. And that is the same person we still are. Just wiser and more patient lol. It's challenging not to let the opinions of others (good or bad) change us. Too much of the good and that could lead to the temptation of pride. I'm glad that we are challenged with these things so we can take a clear look at ourselves and make sure that we are everything that God wants us to be.
Some people don't like spinach. Some don't like cake. In 2017, I’m telling people, "I f I'm not your flavor, you don't have to choose me. Just keep it movin!"
*Mic drop* ?
I'm seeing now, because you are an amazing wife, and you claim to be as well, the enemy is going to come after your confession... he wants you to stop saying it, and stop believing it.
We have to say daily over you
You are an amazing, godly and virtuous woman and wife!
I just got a revelation!
If the enemy can't get you to do wrong, he will make up stories about wrongdoing and put you in it!
Just look at Joseph and how he was accused of sleeping with Photip. wife. That was actually a testament to his integrity. The devil couldn't get him to do wrong so he made up wrongdoing. And the scripture actually says that she tried to come on to him over and over and he kept denying. So finally she made something up. WOW...that will preach.
And it says that Joseph was handsome and attractive.
You wouldn’t believe the number of complaints I get from women about their husbands, for being normal, faulted human beings. Many times we are willing to accept imperfections and faults, even sins, from our spouse, but not if they’re ones that we don’t identify with, ourselves.
The philosophy might look like, “Of course my husband is not going to be perfect! I’m aware of that. He just can never lie to me.” Well, what if lying is the sin he struggles with? What if it’s the weakness he faces? You may think it’s okay to gossip and say negative things about other people, and would actually be just fine with him doing the same, but his lies are unacceptable? Is one sin greater than the next? This is a powerful concept, because it not only makes us take a look at ourselves, and our own ways, but it causes us to have to accept the very different faults of others.
It is biblical for us, as the body of Christ, to strengthen one another if we are weak or if we fall. I have had numerous women come to me about their husband’s lies. They are fed up and don’t want to deal with it anymore, but I ask, “have you considered the cause?” In the beginning of the marriage, what kind of consequences did they face when they mustered the courage to “fess up” to the truth? Were they punished for the truth, and then repeatedly punished until they were literally trained to lie? Or perhaps it was their childhood. When they got in trouble for doing the wrong thing, was the consequence abusive or unbearable for them? Now don’t misunderstand me. Lying is absolutely not okay, and this behavior should be corrected, but these are things that we should know about our significant other. If a lie keeps one safe, they are more likely to do it. The definition of this “safety” can be different for different people, based on their greatest emotional needs. Safety for one man is acceptance and approval. For another, it might be a peaceful home and family life. Each and every one of us are so different, but we need to be willing to understand and accept our differences, and continue to respect each other as men and women of God, despite our many flaws.
Lying is just one example of a flaw or weakness that you may not directly identify with, but I can promise you, there are many others, you may encounter throughout your marriage. To name a few, there’s also laziness, impatience, harshness (or rough speaking), the tendency to be late, overly critical, judgmental, a workaholic, and even not caring enough about his appearance can really irk some women. This is where the relationship and what is expected of you can get complicated. However, if you can catch the revelation of love, and master it, you can have a healthy, biblical, thriving marriage.
This is especially key for women, because we are awesome. Because of our awesomeness, we can tend to be a bit harder on our men. However, if you can use this God-given power of awesomeness to give you the strength to put the following principles into action, you will be able to respect your man appropriately and cover him with God’s perfect love.
PHASE 1: The Paradigm Shift
Just like so many parents, when I look at my children I want so much for them to be happy. It’s inherent, it’s a God-given desire, and it’s healthy. That feeling of desiring happiness for my babies, however, is trumped for my burning desire to raise them to be godly men and women for the Lord. Halloween, and many other of our western culture’s traditions can get tricky. That’s why we should treat them with sensitivity and care. If you’ve read the article, by David N. Taylor (linked below) about the origins of Halloween (if you haven’t, you SHOULD. Really… Go now. It’s much more important than what I have to say), you probably immediately wanted to take a strong stance against Halloween. As a matter of fact, I remember when our boys were 8 & 9 years old and we gave them the article to read for themselves. It was the first year I personally had been enlightened about Halloween’s origin, and was honestly concerned about the reaction my own boys would have after finding out that we were no longer going to observe the holiday. I only hoped that they would understand so this would feel more like a "family stand," rather than some kind of "surprise discipline." After finishing reading the article, my second son (8 years old at the time), blown away by what he had just ingested, looked up from his paper, and slowly and dramatically said, “Why… would ANYONE…celebrate… Halloween?” My husband and I breathed a huge sigh of relief as a new season seemed to sweep the atmosphere. We no longer participated in Halloween, and it was an enthusiastic decision for the whole family. Now don’t misunderstand: If our children hadn’t come to the right conclusion themselves, we would’ve done it for them, but it would’ve been more difficult, and a bit bitter. We are so thankful to God that He had prepared their hearts to receive the revelation that Halloween is literally and boldly celebrating death, satan and all that is evil.
PHASE 2: What now?
So now what? Do we stay inside our house, turn off all the lights, and hide from the trick-or-treaters, hoping not to get egged? Do we leave treats outside in a bowl to appease the tricksters, while refusing to encourage and affirm their own celebrating? What do we do? We began a family tradition. I personally can’t see why every other child in school should be able to have candy in their lunch at school, but ours are left without, because of their strong Christian beliefs. Every October 31st, our children get candy, and they get plenty. We usually do a candy hunt throughout the house (and perhaps outside, weather permitting), but occasionally we might do something a bit more creative. Secondly, I believe in FUN. Instead of locking ourselves inside of our house, we go bowling! We have a great family time! We leave just in time to miss the first trick-or-treaters, and then return after the last ones are finished. They bring a couple handfuls of candy, and after they eat dinner (at the bowling alley), they enjoy their candy. Every year our children look forward to bowling. I remember last year, my second oldest was asking me about our bowling weeks ahead of time. It’s a family tradition, and we all look forward to it… Just like they used to look forward to trick-or-treating!
Perhaps your family may choose something different. Some great resources are: Groupon - They have an array of family friendly activities that you can enjoy at deeply discounted prices, and usually sell their tickets in multiples; also, those coupon books that you can usually buy from school fundraisers often have coupons to lots of fun places like museums, Legoland, and other family attractions.
But does this glorify God? Absolutely! We are a ministry family and a lot of our time is spent ministering to and being a blessing to other people and families, but we are very aware that our FIRST ministry is our family. Our children are the most important souls to me, and my husband and I are very careful to breed in them a desire for the things of God, as opposed to resentment for them. I don’t want my children to feel that because they love the Lord, they are "left out of all the fun." That’s why it is important for children and youth to see and experience godly fun (If you have children, ages 13-19, you can check out our events page on our youth ministry website: www.gohardforchrist.com). We create our own fun, and as a result, our children have a good taste in their mouth for the things of God. As we minister to our own family on October 31st, OUR family is glorifying God.
You may want to take a more active approach, however. The Word tells us to be a light to others, and this may be just the day for your family to take a perfect opportunity! Perhaps you would like to answer your door, give out candy with tracks or stickers attached, inviting them to a church, a Christian website, or even to say the prayer of salvation. Some families offer prayer with their candy, and win souls to Christ just because they DID answer the door on that night. What an awesome way to glorify God and demonstrate His power on a night that is traditionally dedicated to evil! If you want to show the devil that he has LOST the battle, get folks healed and saved on “Halloween.” Another approach, instead of a traditional party, might be a service day: Invite a group of children or youth to meet at a designated spot. Make sure you have plenty of adult chaperones, and then (preferably while it is still daylight), perform a service to the community. Clean up a neighborhood, pick up trash, help the elderly, even do some yard work, and don’t forget to offer prayer and salvation to those you run into along the way… Then, when all is finished, have everyone meet for hot cocoa or cider and doughnuts. Make sure to send them home with candy. You blessed others while being a light and showing young people what life is really about: loving your neighbor as yourself (Mk. 12:31).
PHASE 3: The Reward
God sees that you are sacrificing for Him. He knew it wouldn’t always be easy to go against the grain. That’s why he felt it necessary to include Rom. 12:2 in His Word: He tells us NOT to be conformed to this World. He is proud and pleased at your decision to prove what is "...that good, acceptable and perfect will of God.” There is reward for obedience. It is the key to your blessing. When you obey God and His Word, you unlock His blessing in your life (Deut. 28:1-14). So get blessed: Say “Halloween, Schmalloween!”
Everyone gasped in horror at the news that Brad cheated on Angelina. “How could he? She’s so beautiful!” “Oh. I loved them. I’m so sad!” “How can I continue to believe in love when my FAVORITE couple has been torn apart?!” We loved Brangelina. We wanted them to work. We even loved the common bond they shared through their many children, biological and adopted (which made it even more beautiful).
But he cheated.
How was she to know he’d cheat? “Wait! If Brad would cheat on Angelina, would my man cheat on me? How will I know if my man is going to cheat?”
Truth is, you can’t know.
But there are some things you can do:
1. Don’t marry a cheater. If your man (or woman) has never been with a person they didn’t cheat on, guess what: They’ve got a heart problem. I remember when Eric Benet cheated on Halle Berry, and NO ONE could believe it! “How could he cheat on one of the most beautiful women in the world?” I remember a co-worker of mine and I were marveling at this idea, and a very wise man responded to us with, “Any man’ll cheat if his heart ain’t right.” Ahhhh, the wisdom! If there’s a heart issue there, and ESPECIALLY if your relationship with the person began with them cheating on someone else to “be with” you, how can you expect something different? A real heart change needs to happen – from the inside, and not just to please you – before new behaviors will ensue.
If no heart change… one day… maybe not now, maybe not next week… maybe, as in Brad’s case, almost 12 years later… but one day… that crooked place that was lying deep in their heart will show up.
2. Don’t be an accuser. Our confession is powerful, and although many of us don’t like to admit it, other people do have influence on us. The Bible tells us that bad company corrupts good morals (1 Cor. 15:33 ESV). We often get the picture of a gang of mischievous kids hanging out with our child, trying to influence them to do drugs or steal. The fact is, the “bad company” doesn’t always have to be participating in the bad behavior. The bad behavior could be the sin of speaking negative things over you.
When we marry someone, we give them the position of “most influential (human) person” in our lives. If this person is consistently telling us we are a cheater, or accusing us of cheating, what fruit do you think those seeds will produce? If you don’t want your spouse to cheat on you (and I hope none of us do), don’t call them a cheater. This is called speaking curses over someone, and it can fall into the category of witchcraft. Call them faithful, trustworthy, honest and loving (to you). Doing this is speaking blessings over your spouse. You are confessing what you WANT over them, as opposed to what you don’t want.
John King wrote a book called “Deliverance for the Rebellious Child,” and talked about a time when his son just seemed like he COULD NOT do right… Minister King started speaking blessings over his child, telling him, “God has blessed you and had great plans for your future” (King 51). Even when he was sneaking out of the house, getting arrested, and doing drugs, he was saying what God said about his son, and not what the enemy wanted him to say. And do you know what? His son is a man of God today, helping others in their walk with God!
You have two choices: Convince your spouse that they are faithful and trustworthy, or convince them that they are a cheater. They will be affected by YOUR words. Which one do you want your spouse to be?
3. Don’t give them a reason. Whether we like it or not, we can push our spouse to cheat. The strongest of men (and women) may resist, but they will also be sad, hurting, and starving for love in their particular area of need. Two of the very basic needs of a man in marriage are sex and respect. If, as a wife, you are starving him of sex, he’s going to be hungry. This is not just a physical need. Your willingness to give your body to him tells him that he’s worth giving to: that he’s worthwhile. It makes him feel valued, which is an extremely important need for anyone. Even if he’s not getting love, respect, or feelings of value from his workmates, his career, or any of his outside associations, when you show him physical intimacy, it can be a therapeutic release for him. Nothing else matters, because he has (what translates to him as) the love of a good woman. When you grasp this revelation, the song “Sexual Healing” may never have the same meaning to you again.
In addition to a lack of sex, a lack of respect from his wife can make a man feel less-than, devalued, and emasculated. There is absolutely no excuse for someone to cheat. It is wrong, and their own decision, and they are fully responsible for their actions, HOWEVER, when your spouse feels that you have a low (or no) regard for them, and someone else “out there” thinks very highly of them, it is hard not to notice. They can associate good feelings with another person. Someone once said, “It is not how you feel about someone that makes you fall in them love with them, but how you feel about yourself when you’re around them.” This is a very powerful concept, even with its philosophical flaws. Strong feelings can develop for someone that makes you feel wonderful, builds you up, and ultimately increases your self-esteem. Yes, a good spouse wouldn’t even entertain these conversations. They would see the temptation and quickly cut it off, but when someone is starving, they gravitate toward food.
Ladies (and men), don’t let someone else feed your spouse. Keep them full. There is nothing bad that can come of you failing to point out all of their flaws and weaknesses. Your spouse needs your support, your admiration, and your love.
And he deserves it…whether he deserves it, or not. ;)
(A short excerpt from my book, How to Win Him and Keep Him Happy: Secrets to Becoming an AMAZING Wife)
Do not complain to him about the problem. Tell him once. He probably already knows anyway. My husband once told me that after I have told him something for the third time (pointed it out once, reminded him twice), it was nagging. I have held on to that since that time because I don’t want to make my husband feel as if I think he is too incompetent to get my message the first (or even second) time. Now, if I decide to tell him something a third time, I am making a conscious decision to make him feel NAGGED. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want that reputation. I want my husband to feel that everything I say is important, and if I use up my opportunities on complaining, degrading, or repeating my concerns about him, eventually I will dilute the importance of my words, in his opinion. As a result, he will start to listen less closely, rendering my opinions less and less important and impactful to him. In the end, I will lose his respect.
After you have stated your concern once or twice, and he doesn’t change, pray for him, believing that he will change, forgiving and staying in faith for your husband. You will see change. God can change the heart of a king.
Have you ever given someone the apology you thought they were looking for, and you felt like it just wasn't good enough? Well first, we can't leave out the possibility that it just plain wasn't. Above all, apologies should be sincere. But sometimes, we just plain don't mean it. Sometimes, we are simply trying to be the "bigger person," and giving someone else what it seems they need. Whatever the situation, we all find ourselves having to deliver apologies, weather great or small, on a regular basis. In this blog, we are going to talk about the art of the apology.
6 Things to Consider When Apologizing:
First and foremost, we must consider our audience. We can all agree that everyone is different, and different people have different needs. If you've come to a place where you feel that you need to humbly apologize for something, the hope is that you are also humble enough to apologize in a way that might best work for the recipient of your apology. Do they want to see remorse? Would they like you to offer some kind of recompense or to make up for what you've done? Or would they like it direct, short, and to the point, with no extra words? Try some different apology methodology out on your loved ones, and see for yourself which ones get the best responses.
Secondly, we must consider the trespass. Be sure that your apology is appropriate for the wrong done. You wouldn't grovel and cry if you were apologizing for spilling someone's drink. That would just earn you a reputation for being dramatic. Likewise, you also would not give a simple, "Sorry bout that," or "I'm sorry, okay? Geesh!" For cheating on your spouse. The gravity and seriousness of the apology should match the gravity and seriousness of the error.
Third, consider the relationship. If you're apologizing to family, friends, acquaintances, strangers, and especially co-worker's or bosses, they should all look different, and be completely appropriate for the relationship.
Fourth, consider the mode of apology, and it's appropriateness. Don't apologize for something truly hurtful by text, don't call someone to apologize for having already taken too much of their time (you should be able to see the irony here), and do NOT show up in person to apologize to an ex that has filed a restraining order against you. There is a proper mode of apology for all situations. For many, you have options. But there are certainly times when some of these options are out of the question.
Fifth, don't consider these okay: Some things that you should never do when apologizing are to take it back by using the word "but" in the same sentence as the apology - Leave this word out completely. Also, shifting blame is a big no-no. It nulls the apology as much as your big "but" does. You cannot say, "I apologize for eating your burrito. You told me you weren't hungry, so you made it seem like you didn't want it." If you truly want to apologize for this, you can say, "I apologize for eating your burrito. I should've asked if you wanted it before just taking it." Lastly, any kind of low key shade is not okay. You can't apologize for misunderstanding someone while implying that it was because they're a terrible communicator. This just doesn't work.
The last thing I want you to remember while apologizing is to lower your expectations (or better yet, lose them all together). You are doing this out of love, yes? Love for others, love for God, and love for doing the right thing. If they don't immediately forgive you, or worse, they react negatively to your apology, it's got to be okay. You're apologizing to apologize. Not to be forgiven. Don't try and force someone else to react the way you think they should. Their reaction is their decision. Your decision was to apologize. Stand by it, regardless of the recipient's behavior.
The main message that You should receive from this blog is that apologies are not that simple. They are an act of love, even if you did the wrong thing to begin with. Your apology should be well thought out, loving, absolutely free, and above all, considerate.
Finally, I leave you with this. If you want to reap forgiveness, sow seeds of forgiveness. "For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you" (Matt. 6:14, NIV).
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