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Archive for the month “May, 2014”

Positive Prayer Makes Strong Relationships (by Rick Warren)

 

“And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ — to the glory and praise of God.” (Philippians 1:9-11 NIV)

I want you to think of somebody who irritates you — maybe somebody you’ve got a strained relationship with or who just rubs you the wrong way. I have two questions for you: One, do you pray for that person? Or do you just complain and grumble and nag and nitpick? If you prayed more, you’d have a lot less to grumble, complain, nag, and nitpick about. It’s your decision.

Does nagging work? No. Does prayer work? Yes. So why do you do more of the thing that doesn’t work than does?

Paul says in Philippians 1:4, “Whenever I pray, I make my requests for all of you with joy” (NLT).

Paul didn’t just pray for people in his life; he prayed with joy!

There are things in other people’s lives that you’d like to change. You don’t want to change yourself; you want them to change. We always want to change other people. But you can’t!

You can, however, pray, and let God do his work in other people.

Positive praying is more effective than positive thinking. All the positive thinking in the world isn’t going to change your husband or your wife or your child or your friend or your situation. Positive thinking can change you, but it won’t change somebody else. But positive prayer can make a difference in someone else.

Do you want to know the quickest way to change a bad relationship to a good one? Start praying for the other person! It will change you, and it can change the other person.

Paul even told us how to pray for others: “And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ — to the glory and praise of God” (Philippians 1:9-11 NIV).

From these verses, we can learn to pray for the people in our lives in four ways:

Pray that they will grow in love: “And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight.”

Pray that they will make wise choices: “… so that you may be able to discern what is best …”

Pray that they will live with integrity: “… and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ …”

Pray that they will become like Jesus: “… filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ — to the glory and praise of God.”

Pray these for yourself and anyone else in your life, and watch how God turns around the relationship you thought had no hope or that needed to be revived.

8 Things Healthy Couples Don’t Do (Ruthie Dean)

8 Things Healthy Couples Don’t Do (taken from Relevant Magazine)

A few habits to avoid to keep your relationship healthy.

Last week, I saw a woman slam the car door in her husband’s face and storm off inside the grocery store. Then there was the couple sitting next to me, the man staring at his phone the entire time his wife shared with him her concerns about one of their children. I saw someone post a rant on Facebook about their spouse that ended with, “MEN!”

Relationships are hard, and we’ve probably all done something similar to the examples above. But that doesn’t excuse the cavalier mistakes we sometimes allow for in our romantic relationships. Dating and especially marriage relationships can be tools for showing Christ’s love—to the other person and to those around you. Too often, we take our spouses for granted and forget that good relationships don’t just happen. They take work.

It’s often harder to see the good relationships, because they aren’t out slamming doors and stomping around and airing grievances on social media.

Here are eight things healthy couples don’t do:

1. Post Negatively About Each Other on Social Media

12-year-olds post negatively about their boyfriends or girlfriends on social media. It’s a catty way to get attention and vent, when the emotionally healthy response is to talk your grievances over with your spouse when the time is right. Don’t fall into the trap of getting others on your side, on social media or otherwise, because healthy marriages only have one side.

DON’T FALL INTO THE TRAP OF GETTING OTHERS ON YOUR SIDE, BECAUSE HEALTHY MARRIAGES ONLY HAVE ONE SIDE.

2. Make Their Career a Priority Rather Than Their Relationship

Yes, career is important. But as you are being pulled in every direction imaginable, something will get less attention, less time. Something in your life will have to be sacrificed. Your goal is to make sure that “something” isn’t your relationship. You can always find another job, but you only have one chance to make it work with the love of your life.

3. Have All Their ‘Together-Time’ With Technology

Of course there will be plenty of times that you’re together and using technology, but healthy couples know how to put down their phones and computers and turn off the TV to spend quality time together. Healthy couples don’t check Twitter on dinner dates. My husband and I have a rule that we put our phones upstairs each night after work so our dinner or together-time is not interrupted.

4. Avoid Hard Subjects

Relationships are about intimacy. If you can’t talk about the hard subjects, then your intimacy factor is off. There are seasons of marriage that are easy, and other seasons where you must make difficult decisions together. Nothing should be off-limits between the two of you, and conversations should always be approached with an abundance of grace and kindness.

5. Punish One Another

Punishing one another often comes out in the silent treatment or withholding sex or affection. Healthy couples know when it’s good to take a break from a disagreement, but also know how to come back together and find a resolution.

6. Withhold Forgiveness

Relationships run on forgiveness. You can’t have a healthy relationship without abundant forgiveness. The best relationships forgive quickly and frequently. Living with another person will always bring conflict and hurt feelings; the trick is knowing how to handle it. Forgive, and ask for forgiveness.

7. Say ‘Yes’ to Everything

Healthy couples have good boundaries—with family, with friends and with each other. If I’ve had a long week at work and my husband asks me to rally and go out with friends on Friday, whose fault is it if I get mad at him on the way home because I didn’t want to go in the first place? Mine. Healthy couples know their limits, know how to ask for help, and understand that “no” is a complete sentence.

8. Throw In the Towel

Healthy couples don’t give up when things are hard, even when things are really hard. If your spouse is important to you, you can get through this. Quitting is never an option for healthy couples.

When Grace Descends…. (by Phillip Yancy)

The following is an excerpt taken from Philip Yancy’s book, “What’s So Amazing About Grace.”

___________

Bill Moyers’ documentary film on the hymn “Amazing Grace” includes a scene filmed in Wembley Stadium in London. Various musical groups, mostly rock bands, had gathered together in celebration of the changes in South Africa, and for some reason the promoters scheduled an opera singer, Jessye Norman, as the closing act.

The film cuts back and forth between scenes of the unruly crowd in the stadium and Jessye Norman being interviewed. For twelve hours groups like Guns ‘n Roses have blasted the crowd through banks of speakers, riling up fans already high on booze and dope. The crowd yells for more curtain calls, and the rock groups oblige. Meanwhile, Jessye Norman sits in her dressing room discussing “Amazing Grace” with Moyers.

Finally, the time comes for her to sing. A single circle of light follows Norman, a majestic African-American woman wearing a flowing African dashiki, as she strolls on stage. No backup band, no musical instruments, just Jessye. The crowd stirs, restless. Few recognize the opera diva. A voice yells for more Guns ‘n Roses. Others take up the cry. The scene is getting ugly.

Alone, a cappella, Jessye Norman begins to sing, very slowly: Amazing grace, how sweet the sound That saved a wretch like me! I once was lost but now am found — Was blind, but now I see.

A remarkable thing happens in Wembley Stadium that night. Seventy- thousand raucous fans fall silent before her aria of grace.

By the time Norman reaches the second verse, “‘Twas grace that taught my heart to fear, And grace my fears relieved …,” the soprano has the crowd in her hands.

By the time she reaches the third verse, “‘Tis grace has brought me safe this far, And grace will lead me home,” several thousand fans are singing along, digging far back in nearly lost memories for words they heard long ago.

When we’ve been there ten thousand years, Bright shining as the sun We’ve no less days to sing God’s praise Than when we first begun.

Jessye Norman later confessed she had no idea what power descended on Wembley Stadium that night. I think I know. The world thirsts for grace. When grace descends, the world falls silent before it.

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