Friday, June 28, 2013

Do You Pray With Your Spouse?

“Couples who pray together, stay together”
 Study after study has shown that the old adage is true.
 Couples that pray together daily have a significantly lower divorce rate.
But, at least for me and my husband, this has been one of the most difficult things to do on a regular, daily basis.

I realize that much of this is due to our individual upbringings. My husband was raised in a very dysfunctional and less than Spirit-filled home. I very much doubt that there was ever family prayer, let alone, his parents praying together. The fact that he is willing to pray with me is a blessing! I grew up in a very structured Christian home. My mom was the spiritual leader, but I always felt that she longed for my father to take that role. He never did. 

Throughout our 26 years of marriage, I have attempted to start both family and couples prayer time at home. Usually it starts out awkwardly. Eventually, we just pray less and less together, till we completely stop altogether. I don't think it's ever intentional to totally stop praying, but the daily activites of life distracts us, we get discouraged, or we just forget. I will admit, on a few occasions, when I've been upset with my husband, that I have avoided praying with him. Those are the most difficult times for me to pray. 
Lately, though, we have been more diligent in making it a habit to pray before bed each night. We take turns, every other night, so each can get a little break from leading in prayer. Surprisingly and joyfully, there seemed to be a bit of a breakthrough the other night. The prayers seemed to flow more easily and we found ourselves talking on a more intimate level, following our prayer time. I'm not saying it's always going to go so easily, but it was refreshing to finally feel more at ease, for once. It made it worth all of the effort we have put into committing to praying as much as possible on a regular basis.
Benefits of praying together:

- Prayer Promotes Unity

-  Prayer Promotes Emotional Intimacy 

- Prayer Invites God Into Your Relationship 

- Prayer improves relationships

source: Focus on the Family
Below are some articles/posts and materials that may benefit anyone who desires to improve their prayer life as a couple.
 The Alabaster Jar
 Blog post by Jolene Engle, "Why I Used to Hate Praying With My Husband"

This and several other books on prayer for married couples are available. Go Here for more information.

Go HERE for ideas, as you start to pray with your spouse.
  photo prayer_zps2b3e26d0.jpg

HERE is an article to read, if you have a spouse that refuses to pray with you.

Do you pray with your spouse?
Why or why not? I would love to hear back from you! 
Just leave a comment at the bottom of this post.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Capture and Savor Each Moment

"I'm convinced that the whole world is better when we,
as individuals,
capture and savor each moment as the gift that it is,
embrace the challenge or joy of it,
and thereby transform it
with the magic of creative posibility.
Life, for the most part, is what we make of it.
We have been given a responsibility
to live it fully, joyfully, completely,
and richly
in whatever span of time God grants us
on this earth."
(Luci Swindoll)

Continuing to count my blessings, one by one at   "Multitude on Mondays".
1,381 - The moments I find to take a picture almost every day of God's creation.
1,382 - Enjoying all the different animals that I get to see daily, now that we are living on a lake.
1,383 - Fishing has been good.
1,384 - The weather has been, for the most part, really nice, too!
1,385 - Learning to not let daily occurrences get me down, but, just like the Luci Swindoll quote above, remember that "Life, for the most part, is what we make of it."
1,386 - Watching my dog chase the neighborhood squirrel up a tree, and then the squirrel getting bold and chattering down at him.

1,387 - It almost looks like they are carrying on a conversation (maybe more of an argument)!

1,388 - Finally, my dog hears me calling him and gives up the fight to "get the squirrel." Looks like the squirrel won! LOL!!

1,389 - A wonderful new coffee shop opening up near my house!!
1,390 - We FINALLY officially can drive our new pontoon boat out on the water! We purchased it before Memorial Day, but have had many issues! I definitely learned patience the past few weeks!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Love, Joy, Peace

"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,"
Galatians 5:22
 I remember singing a song in Sunday School as a child. The song is called "Peace Like a River." Do you remember that song? It's simple, with just a few change in words with each verse. I guess that's why they sang it in the children's programs. 
But I started thinking about what it means to have:
Peace like a river,
Love like an ocean,
Joy like a fountain  

When I think of a river, I think about the sound of water, slowly flowing over the rocks. I think of how the sunlight glistens on the current. Even the thought gives me a relaxed and unhurried feeling. What a wonderful description of what true peacefulness is like!

Love, God's love, is endless and deep! So is the ocean! Another great correlation of two different, but similar things. I also think of how in the storm, the ocean can be rough and scary, but God's love covers all, and in Him we have nothing to fear!

And joy!!! When I think of a fountain, spraying and spouting up and out, I think of how it makes me smile and want to jump into it! The water from a fountain will spray drops of water on those close to it and it feels so refreshing on a hot, humid day!!
 The joy God puts in our hearts is like that...full and refreshing! Those around someone who is joyful can't help but find it contagious and uplifting.

The animated video below is a unique version of the song.
May you enjoy the words and visuals!!  

As you go about your week, consider that out of all of the Fruits of the Spirit, the first three listed are
May you seek and find all of these and be blessed!
Continuing to count my blessings, one by one at   "Multitude on Mondays".

1,370 - Getting a cappuccino maker; the excitement coming from my son!!
1,371 - A day out in the boat with my two favorite guys.

1,372 - A delicious pizza for supper.
1,373 - Watching my two sweet dogs taking in the sights as we ride around the lake in our boat.

1,374 - Watching my son go fishing. He hasn't wanted to fish in years!
 1,375 - Hmmm. . .This may be the reason. (Love his expression!)

1,376 - A quiet, peaceful couple of days.
1,377 - That the Lord is teaching me to be more full of peace, love, and joy!
1,378 - My hubby, initiating prayer time together in the evenings!
1,379 - Wonderful memories of children's songs sung.
1,380 - 

Monday, June 3, 2013

"Cultivating Contentment" - Do Not Complain

Yes, we have all done it from time to time. Things don’t go our way and we are complaining about this and whining about that. We make excuses. Yet the Bible clearly says that complaining is a sin. It shows an attitude that you are ungrateful and bitter. It often tests God’s patience.

 1 Corinthians 10:10 - And do not grumble, as some of them did—and were killed by the destroying angel. (NIV)

Our ladies Bible study group has been studying the book, "Cultivating Contentment" by Thomas Nelson. Our recent focus has been on complaining and what God says about it. Here are some excerpts from the book.

". . .in the morning you will see the Glory of God. Yes, he’s listened to your complaints against him. You haven’t been complaining against us, you know, but against God.” Exodus 16:7
  • When we lash out because we don't like our lives, our complaints are heard in heaven. In a sense, we are telling God He's not doing things right, and we want Him to d things our way.

After reading this, I had to ask myself, "Am I testing God, whenever I complain?"
"You must not test the Lord your God as you did when you complained. . ." Deut. 6:16 NLT

So once more the people complained against Moses. “Give us water to drink!” they demanded.
“Quiet!” Moses replied. “Why are you complaining against me? And why are you testing the Lord?” Exodus 17:2 NLT
  • Selfish, ungrateful, forgetful, cantankerous, rebellious, argumentative. . .
  • How could (can) God's children complain?  We are His chosen ones. He knows us. He loves us. Look at all He has done for us! He cares for us. He died for us. He has given us an eternal hope! No matter what inconvenience we face on this earth, we are assured of living "happily ever after".
  • The complaining we exhibit reveals the childishness of our hearts.
Things will go wrong in our lives. A pop quiz. A long term paper. A break up. A fight with a friend. These things happen. We can spend our time complaining, taking our eyes off of God, or we can find a way to make things better. We can remember all the other things God has provided. Not only will we be happier, but we will be a positive Christian example to everyone around us.

Ephesians 4:29 - "Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen." (NIV)
 I'm reminded, once again, even complaining about the small things that irritate me in life show my lack of trust and maturity in my relationship with God.

Continuing to count my blessings, one by one at  
1,356 - A beautiful, warm, sunny spring day.
1,357 - My knee feeling good enough to walk some trails with my friend.
1,358 - The sweet aroma of a field full of wild phlox.
1,359 - The pretty lavender color, spread across a field in the middle of the woods.
1,360 - God leads and directs our paths...
"Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path."
– Psalm 119:105 (NIV
1,361 -  An entwined, knotty tree, with many branches that form a frame for the wild phlox...God's perfect frame of His beauty!
1,362 - The goodness of God, as he reminds me, over and over, of His great love and how He blesses me every day!
1,363 -  The beauty and stoic look of a blue heron, standing on my neighbor's pier.

1,364 - Even when I'm feeling frustrated by other's unkindness or untruthfulness, that God provides me with patience and a kind spirit to the other person.
1,365 - A Cardinal, stopping briefly at the feeder to look my way.
1,366 - Finally getting to see my sweet, 2 month old great-niece!!
1,367 - The peacefulness of a sleeping baby.
1,368 - My aunt, the little one's great, great-aunt, also getting to see her for the first time!
1,369 - Adorable expressions!
May you find many blessings, through Christ, in the coming week!