Why R.C. Sproul Believes Every Concerned American Should Read This Book

The Other Worldview

A cataclysmic change has occurred over the past few decades: our culture as a whole has switched worldviews. Today’s predominate worldview has abandoned the distinction between God and his creation, instead asserting that everything is essentially one. What should Christians think about this?

In his new book, The Other Worldview, Peter Jones explains the difference between what he calls “Oneism” and “Twoism.” He exposes the pagan roots of Oneism, and he traces its spread and influence throughout Western culture. Most importantly, he shows us why Oneism is incapable of saving anyone or truly changing the world for the better.

Pre-order The Other Worldview today.

 

 

 

R.C. Sproul so strongly supports the message of The Other Worldview that he wrote the foreword to the book.

Here’s an excerpt of what he had to say about it:

We have seen the noonday sun reveal the destruction of the sanctity of life, the sanctity of marriage, the sanctity of sex, and the sanctity of the sacred itself. The culture is not merely post-Christian and postmodern. It has become not only neopagan, but neo-barbarian.

Ideas have consequences. The ideas of the New Age, of our age, have their roots in ancient Gnosticism. That particular philosophy embraced a form of pantheism or monism: God is ‘the One’—the sum of everything. All is God, and God is all.

Of course if everything is God, then nothing is God. The very word ‘God’ can point to nothing individuated from everything. It becomes a meaningless, unintelligible word.

Peter Jones has labored to show the distinction and impact of a zeitgeist of Oneism (monism) versus Twoism (duality). The Twoism of which Dr. Jones speaks is not an ancient form of dualism which embraced equal and opposite forces of good and evil. No, it is a cosmic duality that sees—sharply and vividly—the distinction between creature and Creator, and the relationship between the two.

This is not a simple problem of arithmetic wherein we learn to count from one to two. These numbers have suffixes. The suffix -ism is added to the one and the two. The suffix -ism adds to a simple number an entire worldview or philosophical standpoint embraced by either.

Dr. Jones provides for us a clear map. This map traces the historical paths, the philosophical routes, and the cultural lanes that have brought us to the Age of Aquarius. It is a must-read for every concerned American—and especially for every Christian who weeps at the graveside of his culture.

The Other Worldview is currently available for pre-order, and you can get it on sale for $9.99.

Pre-order today and save!

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A Prayer for Those Serving

While My Soldier Serves

This Memorial Day, as we take time to reflect and remember the fallen, those serving, and the loved ones left behind, Vyrso is offering a prayer for joy in a soldier’s time abroad.

You can find many prayers for soldiers, including this one in the ebook While My Soldier Serves: Prayers for Those with Loved Ones in the Military.

Dear Lord, I know my loved one is experiencing things I can’t even imagine. Just the phrase “horrors of war” strikes such fear in my heart for him. My prayer today is that he can look beyond his circumstances and find joy. Not the stuff that’s fleeting but a deep abiding feeling that will carry him through the dark times.

Let him see the love we have for him here at home. Give him the certainty that what he’s doing is for a greater good, even if at times it seems pointless. Show him that his sacrifice has meaning.

Let him see You at work around him. Surround him with friends and buddies. Let them laugh together, and spend time cutting up and, yes, even playing. Show him glimpses of the difference he’s making in this world.

Surprise him with meaningful communication from home. Show him that he’s not forgotten and instead is missed and already celebrated for the hero he is.

Lord, only You can accomplish these things, and although it scares me to ask, I believe You can do this. I know You love my loved one even more than I do, and You will honor this plea. Amen

“You give him blessings forever; You cheer him with joy in Your presence.”—Psalm 21:6 HCSB

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Excerpted from While My Soldier Serves by Edie Melson © 2015. Published by Worthy Publishing, a division of Worthy Media, Inc., Brentwood, TN. www.worthypublishing.com. Used by permission. Tell us what you thought of this excerpt on Twitter: #SoldierServes @WorthyPub

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Heartfelt: An Interview with Dr. Joneal Kirby (Part 2)

Dr. Joneal Kirby

Today we are continuing our exclusive two-part interview with Dr. Joneal Kirby, author of the new ebook Heartfelt: A Woman’s Guide to Creating Meaningful Friendships, recently released by Worthy Publishing. Heartfelt takes a look at the importance of inter-generational relationships for women in the church, and how women can begin to develop deep friendships with other women.

In Heartfelt, you write that the ultimate goal of the book is for the reader, “to understand what it means to be vulnerable and relational, so the wise women in your life can reach into your heart and help you.” What are some major roadblocks that stop women from being truly vulnerable with one another?

This is the evil one’s great trap for women. “Don’t be real. Hide who you really are. Because no one will like the authentic, natural person you are.” Women begin this hiding as girls, early as pre-adolescence and it hits hard in the middle school years and we continue to become good at wearing masks as we mature into adults. In addition to society, Church has not been a safe place for many of us. The expectation of “being good” “doing good” “be on your best behavior” that children hear about church life is unfortunately one that many churches reinforce in their social culture.

A lot of Christian women don’t think it’s a smart move to really share feelings, struggles, hurts, pains, and sins. We wear our masks to the church building and don’t really get it that we are all needing the Cross!  None of us have any special favors from God. His mercy and forgiveness is for all.

Churches need to create intimate spaces, small groups – safe prayer groups, Bible study sessions, counseling and conversation groups – where their members know they are loved on, cared for, befriended and it is safe to be real with your struggles, hurts, doubts, fears, worries, mess-ups and mistakes. Safe places for healing of all the hurts, bad habits and kooky hang-ups that every human being alive lives with!

And women need to be led in this and be leaders in this movement of vulnerability and authenticity. There’s no place for gossip, back-biting, racism, husband/wife/mom-bashing in God’s Kingdom. [Click to Tweet!] We need to love ourselves – and one another – as sinners who are dead without that Cross.

In your personal life, how have you been impacted by cross-generational relationships between women? 

My personal history of godly women speaking into my life began in my own family through the influence of my grandmothers, who were both faith-filled, precious women. I was very close to my maternal grandmother and loved hearing her sing the old hymns and cannot remember a time when her Bible wasn’t open in her house. My mother is my greatest example of walking out a Christian life. I still want to be like her when I grow up!

I was doubly blessed because I had them and then when I married right out of college, God gave me some of the most wonderful friends who were 10-20 years older than I was. These women were part of the church my husband and I joined right after our wedding and we moved to a new town to new jobs. As a young woman in my twenties, I spent a great deal of time in these “older” women’s homes and just hanging out with them and their families. They were willing, lovely friends to me.

Perhaps the memory  I cherish most of these dozen women is remembering they were the ones who encouraged me to teach my first women’s Bible study (even tutoring me through the prep) and my first speaking engagement at a women’s conference was created by them.

Some younger women struggle to have authentic relationships with older women in their church communities. Do you have any specific advice to offer to encourage these young women in their journey?

First pray for a relationship with an older, wiser godly woman in your church or community.

Then seek out getting to know them personally. Ask with a humble heart for help with a particular challenge you are having for some wisdom and advice. This will allow you to hear this woman’s heart to see if she is one you can learn from and grow through a relationship with. If she has never been a mentor and isn’t sure what that looks like, suggest you study together, either a Bible study book or a book on mentoring, like Heartfelt. Do not assume because a woman seems shy, or busy, or uninterested that she is. She may be feeling like you. She may even think you don’t like her!

Older women may also find it hard to connect with the younger women in their congregation. What suggestions do you have for older women looking to build relationships with younger women in their church?

Get to know the younger women. Become a friend. Ask to help with their children. Or to take them to lunch or dinner as a “mom’s day out” event. Have a personal Bible study with a few of them in your home. Bringing them into your most personal space – your home –immediately sets a friendly tone.

Hospitality in your home says without words, “I like you. I want to be your friend. I accept you and want you here with me.”  Begin a small group women’s Bible study with some women your age and a few younger women. Start a Heartfelt Friends ministry in your church—you’ll share this message soon with hundreds of women who have a heart for deep meaningful connections!

Towards the end of Heartfelt, you admit to the reader that, “Mentoring is not always easy, but it should always be intentional”. In what ways can women seek to intentionally mentor one another?

Seek this ministry with prayer and an open heart. Mentoring costs. It means you are going to get to know people who are not like you. It means you will spend some time with someone other than your best friends and closest family. Approach mentoring as you would any other service in the Kingdom- with hands and hearts open to God’s leading. Seek His purpose and passion and plan for your life’s work. [Click to Tweet!] Telling your story of God’s love, sharing your salvation story, telling of how your marriage survived because you didn’t give up and God didn’t give up on you, strengthens a younger struggling wife.

Seek out a younger woman. Notice someone struggling. You don’t have to have a counseling degree. Or even be great at anything! Just love on her. Care for her. Be her friend. And pay attention as God gives you opportunities to teach, train, guide and nourish her soul.

Do you see any new opportunities around the horizon for the Heartfelt ministries?

Many. My phone, email, and snail mail are full and ripe with opportunities to go and share about Titus 2 mentoring. I am so thankful for this blessing. I am totally convinced God has prepared me and this ministry for such a time as this.

I am hearing a hunger for relationships that matter among the women of God like I have never before. And the acceptance by church leaders for women’s ministry programs is greater than it has ever been. Many vital, dynamic churches are searching for quality plans to help their women to grow in the Lord and to deepen their relationships in the church.

What’s next for you? 

I feel a call on my life and my Kingdom service to speak and teach how to live out this scripture for the rest of my days. So I am planning a speaking schedule to Conferences, traveling where I am asked to train churches, and building a team of leaders to help continue building a legacy of generational faith passing ministries.

I have ten years of Bible studies I’ve prepared for use by women’s small groups I hope to have published in the next few years. I also host a daily radio program and if God opens doors in more communities for this ministry I will be blessed to continue this.

My love for marriage ministry will never diminish and my husband and I are planning soon to launch a new format of marriage conferences with Alan and Lisa Robertson. I trust God will tell me if there’s more he wants me to do.

Oh, and I plan to play with my grandkids a lot. And teach them a lot about Jesus.

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Get Dr. Joneal Kirby’s ebook, Heartfelt: A Woman’s Guide to Creating Meaningful Friendships, and check out great new titles from Worthy Publishing today. 

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Heartfelt: An Interview with Dr. Joneal Kirby (Part 1)

Dr. Joneal Kirby

Today we will be sharing the first of a two-part interview with Dr. Joneal Kirby, author of the new ebook Heartfelt: A Woman’s Guide to Creating Meaningful Friendships, recently released by Worthy Publishing. Heartfelt takes a look at the importance of inter-generational relationships for women in the church, and how women can begin to develop deep friendships with other women.

 

You have an impressive resume of accomplishments—your books and career in counseling have made a huge impact on thousands of women. Tell us more about the everyday you.

I am blessed to enjoy a close relationship with all of my children. They are busy, faith-filled, godly people. And God has blessed them with amazing mates and children. I am so proud of them and who they are and am humbled by the fact they are so much more than I ever was at their young ages.

My husband and I are the closest of friends and we have worked hard to build a lifetime love in our marriage. We certainly do not do it perfectly and some days not even well. But we love Jesus Christ and embraced on our wedding day that our love for Christ would always be the foundation of our covenant love. I think our marriage is even stronger and healthier because we have done marriage ministry together for almost 20 years. That will keep you on your toes!

My husband and I enjoy 40 years of marriage, 130 acres of rolling hills and woods which we share with our daughter and her husband and children, and are planning on staying healthy and strong so we can do our marriage ministry together and I can continue traveling to teach women’s ministry workshops.

Were there any major life events that inspired you to write your book, Heartfelt: A Woman’s Guide to Creating Meaningful Friendships?

I’ve been doing women’s ministry for over 30 years. I wrote and developed our women’s ministry, now known as Heartfelt Friends, then it was Heart to Home, in 2003 just for my church. I knew we needed some way to connect the bright, eager, growing and yet less mature young women in our church with the vitality, faithfulness, and wisdom of our older women.

Titus 2 created a fire and passion in me to carry out verses 3-5 in our church. I wrote a program, a PowerPoint and a training manual that I could take with me and for the last 12 years, I’ve traveled all over the country teaching in churches and workshops and conferences.

Missy Robertson and Kay Robertson, of Duck Dynasty, are members of our church and have participated in Heartfelt Friends since the beginning. Missy Robertson and Kay decided to have a women’s conference, then at this women’s conference we’d have the opportunity to share our women’s ministry. In the planning days of the conference, the ministry and I attracted the interest of Worthy Publishing and together we shaped and wrote Heartfelt.

Heartfelt challenges readers to either join or create a Titus 2 ministry—why is it important for women to learn to open up their homes and hearts and experience a Titus 2 ministry?

There is nothing that builds closeness, unity, fellowship, intimacy and true loving feelings like having folks in your home.

Women crave these kind of deep connections and relationships, but we do not have time in our busy lives to do this routinely without a PLAN! A program with consistency, guidelines, structure, and intentionality helps everyone to get this scripture out of their heads and hearts and into their hands. It’s important that church leaders take this plan seriously, just as they do their children’s ministries, men’s ministries, leadership trainings and other discipling programs in their churches.

We need this program to encourage the passing of faith from the older generation to the younger. We older people need the energy, courage and openness of the younger people to help us stay focused and passionate for God. We need these cross- generational relationships like we need air! [Click to Tweet!]

Why do you think so few women follow the calling in Titus 2:3-5, to teach what is good and to train young women to love and follow the Lord? What can church communities do to make sure this calling is not forgotten?

I have asked this question hundreds of times. In fact, I just asked it to a group of women last night when I was training them to become Titus 2 Mentors. There are probably one hundred answers to it also. What I believe some of the main causes for reluctance or avoidance of being a Titus 2 woman is a lack of understanding of what it means and what that would look like if you did it in the year 2015.

We no longer live as we did in America for hundreds of years when we lived in communities that were stable and consistent and which included much of your own family. Women are not spending the majority of their day thinking, planning and focusing on their families and their homes as women had done for centuries. The church has been fairly silent, I believe, on how to intersect the life of the modern woman with the Biblical tradition in a way that makes sense to an entire generation.

That’s why I believe having a structured plan for churches to implement is so needed. It’s more than helpful. It’s a program and a functional way to teach mentoring the younger generations in faith and family.

I know these facts: Women want to serve. Women want relationships. Women want to learn of God together. Women want to support one another. [Click to Tweet!] But most, I’ve found, do not have any way of doing this in a routine, organized, intentional way. That’s why I believe Heartfelt feels so nice and hits a tender spot in women’s hearts when they learn of its message and its method.

You include stories from Missy and Kay Robertson, in what ways have they been involved in Heartfelt ministries?

I have been so blessed to minister with Kay for about twenty years to many young women in our church and community.

Kay is a terrific Heart Mom and has been doing mentoring before the word was ever mentioned in a church setting. She has a deep love for helping anyone who is hurting. She is a genuine, caring friend to many and she has supported our ministry and me since the beginning of Heart to Home.

Missy has grown up at our church and in our Titus 2 mentoring program. She was a young wife, young mom, with 3 children when she started coming to our small groups. Missy has been in my group several times over the years, and her love and commitment to soaking up the wisdom of the “senior saints” is very deep and true.

I am very grateful for Missy and Kay’s love of Titus 2 ministry and beyond blessed by their love and support over the years. We are very close friends and have served in our church together in many different ways.

———

Get Dr. Joneal Kirby’s ebook, Heartfelt: A Woman’s Guide to Creating Meaningful Friendships, and check out great new titles from Worthy Publishing today. Check back tomorrow for part two of our interview with Dr. Joneal Kirby.

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Excerpt from Elizabeth George's "A Woman After God's Own Heart"

A Woman After God's Own Heart

Elizabeth George is a Christian writer, teacher, and popular public speaker. She has written over 21 books mainly aimed at Christian women, focusing on Christian living and personal Bible study.  Her titles are geared to help women remain focused on God’s truths for them along with real-life applications.  

Check out this excerpt from the chapter “A Heart that Loves—Part 1,” in Elizabeth Geoerge’s title, A Woman After God’s Own Heart. Through May 30, you can get this ebook plus 17 more devotionals and study guides from Elizabeth George in the Elizabeth George Bundle for $69.99 and save 65%!

How can a wife nurture a heart of love, a heart prepared to support her husband in practical ways “until death us do part”?

Decide to make your husband your Number One human relationship—Our relationship with our husband is meant to be more important than the relationships we enjoy with our parents, friends, a good neighbor, a brother or sister, a best friend, and even our children—and the way we use our time should reflect that ranking.

I learned a lot about this kind of decision while reading a book written by a mother and her married daughter, Jill Briscoe and Judy Golz. Right before her daughter was married, Jill sat her down and told her that once she was married, she couldn’t come running home and she was no longer to be dependent on her parents for anything.

Then the daughter wrote: “When [Greg and I] were first married, I almost automatically reached for the telephone whenever I had a certain problem or very good news to share. Usually before I finished dialing your number, Mom, I realized what I was doing, and I made sure Greg knew about it first before calling you.”

Judy also asked her mother, “Do you remember the time Greg and I had a newly married tiff and I called you in tears? The first thing you said to me was, ‘Judy, does Greg know you are calling me?’”

I say, “Bravo!” to this mother who voluntarily stepped out of a Number One relationship with her daughter and showed her the way to make her husband her new Number One human relationship! After all, God said that we are to “leave and cleave”—to leave our parents and cleave to our mate (Genesis 2:24). When parents are overly involved in a child’s marriage, problems can arise.

In Building a Great Marriage, author Anne Ortlund suggests that couples consider signing an agreement that spells out the status between marriage partners and parents. She suggests the wording might go something like this: “I am no longer accountable to obey my parents. I am freed from that authority, to be bound, joyfully and securely, to my mate.” A pastor I know includes vows for the parents during the wedding ceremony: They basically vow to stay out of the new couple’s marriage!

Whenever I counsel a young married woman, I enthusiastically encourage her to talk to her mother and mother-in-law about recipes, skills, crafts, interests, the Bible, and spiritual growth. But I am emphatic when I say not to talk to either woman about her husband. (And that works the other way, too. Mothers and mothers-in-law shouldn’t be discussing their husbands with their daughters and daughters-in-law.)

To make your husband Number One will take some work as you deal with drop-in parents, learn not to plan things with either set of parents (or anyone else for that matter) without asking Mr. Number One first, and handle expectations (“Of course you’ll be spending Christmas with us?. . .Or coming over every Sunday?. . .Or calling every day?”). Your husband is to be Number One in your life (after God)—and he needs to know it. [Click to tweet!] And everyone else needs to know it too.

Begin to choose your husband over all other human relationships—Again, this includes your children. Two psychologists stated, “The point at which many marriages jump the track is in over-investing in children and under-investing in the marriage.”

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Elizabeth George’s ebook, A Woman After God’s Own Heart is available with 17 other titles that focus on spiritual growth as a woman, wife, and mother in the Elizabeth George Bundle—on sale for $69.99 through May 30

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Free Ebook: Incomparable

Incomparable by Andrew Wilson

Daily we strive to grow in our walk with the Lord, and daily we can be overwhelmed by the amazing love and incredible grace of God. Andrew Wilson took time to study the Word and began to explore the being of God, the names of God, God’s trinitarian nature, and the attributes of God, resulting in his ebook, Incomparable: Explorations in the Character of God.

For a limited time you can get Incomparable: Explorations in the Character of God for free!

There are so many names and characteristics for God, often times making it difficult to fully comprehend who God is and how his characteristics all work together. Wilson takes time to fully navigate each name, each attribute, each characteristic in order to help us more fully comprehend who God is and what that means for us.

 

Wilson writes in Incomparable, on God’s unchanging nature:

“Almost everything about you is changing right now, even as you sit completely still. Your body is changing, as every second you produce twenty-five million cells, and your brain processes one hundred million new pieces of information. Your location is changing at a rate of sixty-six thousand miles per hour, along with the rest of the large lump of rock we call the earth. This rock is itself changing all the time, with the earth’s crust moving continuously, continents changing shape, and Mount Everest growing five centimeters every year. The sun, probably the largest and most steady object you know anything about, is changing rather more dramatically: It is now fifty million tons lighter than it was when you started reading this paragraph. Everything changes. Except God.[Click to Tweet!]“

Continue on your great journey of growing in your faith and discovering more about the extraordinary character of God by adding this free ebook to your library. You’ll be able to explore 60 names and descriptions of our creator, find profound Biblical insights that will enrich your faith, and connect truth to your daily life.

Get Incomparable for free through tomorrow, May 5. Once you buy this great ebook, you’ll be able to open and read it right out of your Vyrso app!

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Introducing the Elizabeth George Bundle!

Don’t let the busyness of life hinder your relationship with the Lord [Click to Tweet!], instead find inspiration and encouragement as you pursue God. This ebook bundle is centered on specific themes to inspire all women and the women you know, no matter what stage of life they’re in, to get back into the Word and pursue God.

Elizabeth George Bundle 

Elizabeth George Bundle

Through May 30, get 18 ebooks by Elizabeth George, worth over $200, on sale for only $69.99. The Elizabeth George bundle includes titles that focus on spiritual growth as a woman, wife, and mother. It comes loaded with devotionals and study guides all geared toward helping women find practical, real-life truths.

You’ll find the following ebooks in this bundle:

-A Mom After God’s Own Heart plus the devotional, and growth and study guide

-One Minute Inspirations for Women

-A Wife After God’s Own Heart plus the growth and study guide

-A Woman After God’s Own Heart plus the daily devotional

-A Woman Who Reflects the Heart of Jesus plus the growth and study guide

-A Woman’s Daily Walk with God

-A Woman’s Guide to Making Right Choices

-A Woman’s Walk with God

-Following God with All Your Heart plus the growth and study guide

-Loving God with All Your Mind plus the interactive workbook, and growth and study guide

Save 65% when you get the Elizabeth George Bundle for only $69.99!

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Interview: Lysa Terkeurst on Faithlife Today and The Best Yes

Managing our time, stress levels, and spiritual health usually can be boiled down to two words—”yes” and “no.” So how do we make wise decisions on a daily basis? Lysa Terkeurst, president of Proverbs 31 Ministries, explores this question and how to find “space for our souls” in her ebook, The Best Yes: Making Wise Decisions in the Midst of Endless Demands

Check out this episode of Faithlife Today and hear from Lysa Terkeurst on her ministry and her new ebook, The Best Yes:

In this interview, Terkeurst imparts a small, but effective, piece of wisdom on how to spend quality time with God on a daily basis—“Give God, who should be first, the first five minutes of our day.” [Click to tweet!] Terkeurst illustrates this with her morning routine—when her alarm goes off in the morning, she spends the first five minutes of her day reading the Bible rather than scrolling through social media on her phone.

Terkeurst’s new release, The Best Yes, is all about “learning to find and play the role God wants most for you to play, not the ones you feel pressured into playing for the sake of others or even our sense of accomplishment and worth.”

How can you start giving God the first five minutes of you day? How can you begin to combat “busy” and spend more time with God? Check out Lysa Terkeurst’s The Best Yes on Vyrso!

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See more interviews and lectures with authors, speakers, and scholars on Faithlife Today, a new video series showcasing powerful insights, biblical inspiration, exclusive interviews, and more—all from your friends at Faithlife.

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Continuing in Relationship because of Christ

Everyday Grace

Today’s guest post is written by Jessica Thompson,  author of Everyday Grace: Infusing All Your Relationships with the Love of Jesus, and co-author of Give Them Grace. She has been married for 18 years and has three kids, ranging from nine to fourteen years old.

“If you want love, give love. If you want friends, be friendly. If you’d like to feel understood, try being more understanding. It’s a simple practice that works.”

Seemingly good advice for the one looking for relationship. I would venture to say everyone would agree with that statement. I know I have said something very similar to my children as they have bemoaned the fact that they don’t have many friends. I have preached that to my own heart. And yet, there is a man who wrecks that entire paradigm.

This man lived unselfishly every single day of his life. He always chose to love others, perfectly. He also chose to serve others, completely. He never thought about what was best for him. He lived to please his Father. He considered himself a servant to all. There was no task too dirty or too menial for him. He was known to wash the feet of those who were about to betray and deny him. He gave to those he knew would show no gratitude. He loved without ever thinking of what would be given in return. He truly understood all that others went through without ever being understood. He gave love unceasingly and was met with hate and mistrust. I am sure you have guessed at this point that I am talking about our Redeemer, our sweet Savior, our Christ.

We are all sinners and bound to hurt and to be hurt, and, because of this, we desire to protect ourselves. I don’t want to be hurt and I hate hurting others. It makes me think the easiest thing is just to hide myself away, lock my heart up, never get close enough to anybody to hurt them or to let them hurt me.

But then I look at what lengths God has gone to be in relationship with me. I look at Christ living every single day of his life in relationship without ever sinning and yet constantly being sinned against, and my heart is broken. My self-protective tendencies are shattered. For in Christ, I have all the relationship I need and all the relationship I have ever longed for. [Click to tweet!]

Even as I type this on a dreary Monday morning, I can look back at the three hours I have been awake and I can see that I have sinned against everyone with whom I have come in contact. They may not have known what was in my heart, but if they did they would have been devastated. If I stay with that thought I can become increasingly inward focused and fall back into self-preservation. But then the Holy Spirit lifts my eyes, and I see my Perfect Righteousness sitting at the right hand of the Father. I see the Father lovingly looking at his Son, and I know that look is for me as well because I am in Christ by faith. All the love and acceptance that Jesus earned is now mine. I am a relationship screw-up, and yet he has forgiven me.
Beloved, because of this forgiveness, because of this Messiah who knows the hurt of relationship, because of this God who would suffer when the relationship with his Son was broken, because of the Holy Spirit who reminds us of our Father’s steadfast love for us, we can continue in relationship.

We can love out of the overflow of love that has been bestowed on us. We can forgive out of the forgiveness that has washed our lives completely. We can give when it feels like there is nothing left to give. When there is no desire to give, we can remember that we have already been given all that we need.

Perhaps the quote at the beginning should read, “If you want love, remember you have it. If you want friends, remember your position in Christ. If you would like to feel understood, see Christ your High Priest sympathizing with you in every weakness. It’s a difficult practice, but you have help.”

 

Don’t miss Jessica Thompson’s new ebook, Everyday Grace: Infusing All Your Relationships with the Love of Jesus, for more on navigating relationships with the love of Christ!

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5 Ways to Help Support a Couple in Crisis: Advice from Kathi Lipp

Happy Habits for Every Couple

Today’s guest post is written by Kathi Lipp, a national speaker and author of Clutter Free: Quick and Easy Steps to Simplify Your SpaceThe Husband Project, and many others. Kathi and her husband, Roger, have co-authored the new ebook Happy Habits for Every Couple: 21 Days to a Better Relationship, a 21-day plan to help couples put love and laughter back into their marriages. 

Even before we wrote a marriage book, Roger and I had, what we felt was, more than an average number of people come to one or both of us and say, “My marriage is in trouble.”

From, “I think my husband is having an affair,” to “We just don’t like spending time together anymore,” the pleas were along different lines, but always heartbreaking. I can’t think of many things harder than when someone you love is in a hurting marriage.

But then comes the really practical questions of what can I do? How do I support my friend, but also support their marriage?

It would be easy to just agree, “Yep—he’s a dog!” or “I don’t know how you stay with her after the way she’s behaved.” But as someone who has gone through the pain of divorce, I know that there is very little relief to be found in breaking up a marriage. Our goal, always, should be reconciliation.

Here are a few guidelines that we’ve come up with as a couple to support our friends during the hardest parts of marriage:

1. Don’t Take Sides—yet. It is so easy to jump on someone’s bandwagon— especially when they are hurting. But after too many times of listening to the other side of the story and realizing that maybe I didn’t have all the facts, I now hold back judgement. It’s very hard to back pedal when you’ve already declared sides.

2. Meet and meet again. One of the main things your friend needs from you is the ministry of presence.  When marriage is hard, one of the overwhelming feelings most people have is loneliness. Just by being present, going to coffee, and talking about some normal things that are not so painful, you can love them and help restore their equilibrium.

3. Pray. Pray with them. Pray on your own. And let them know that you are praying for them. Even if your friend can’t find it within themselves to pray, you can be a powerful, strong stretcher-bearer in the gap.

4. Encourage healthy habits. She doesn’t feel like being nice. He doesn’t feel like bringing her flowers. She doesn’t want to be intimate. He doesn’t want to visit her mom. Challenge them to do it anyway. Your friend will never regret trying too hard.

5. Counseling is not a last resort. I used to recommend counseling when nothing else worked. Now, I’ve got a quick trigger finger when it comes to recommending professional counseling. The early intervention of a trained professional can save a couple from a lot of unnecessary, hurtful words, as well as wasted time.

And finally, let me say thank you. When marriage gets hard, lots of people don’t know what to do, so they stop showing up in their friend’s lives. Thank you, as someone who had been in that hard place and needed the support of people who knew how to share God’s love in tangible ways.

Don’t miss Kathi and Roger Lipp’s latest release, Happy Habits for Every Couple: 21 Days to a Better Relationship, on Vyrso now!

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