Dreamin’ & Bucket Lists

images-3

I think we’re meant to dream. God designed us to have dreams and he puts desires on our hearts. It’s interesting to look back a few years ago when I was so consumed with work and the next promotion that I somehow stopped dreaming.  Abraham and Sarah dreamt of having a child and leaving a legacy. Joseph dreamt of freedom and being reunited with his family. Ruth dreamt of finding love again. The Bible is full of stories of people who had dreams.

My new boss is an avid reader and is always passing books on. The first one he handed to me was called The Dream Manager by Matthew Kelly and it’s a very interesting read. It helped get my creative juices going and I began to make my dream list or my bucket list. There are so many wonderful things to dream about and ways to categorize them.

I broke my dreams down into the following categories:

  1. Travel
  2. Relational
  3. Spiritual
  4. Adventure
  5. Creative/Legacy
  6. Career
  7. Physical
  8. Financial

I confess that travel was by far my largest category; I love exploring new places and meeting new people. Some categories overlap, for example: I want to go on an international mission trip, which is both travel and spiritual. I took 15 minutes and let myself dream without any editing. I didn’t hold back on the reality or odds of achieving my dreams; I just dreamed and I felt more alive than I have in a long time.

I found this website: https://bucketlist.org/featured/ which allows me to create my own “dream board” for free and browse other peoples’ dreams. It also gave me appreciation for how much God has blessed me already. Some of the things I’d done or seen were someone else’s wish. In a time when I’ve been struggling with contentment, God helped remind me that He’d been fulfilling my dreams for years and would continue to do so. Some of my dreams changed and evolved but I’ve never been dreamless.

What are your dreams? What dreams has He fulfilled for you? We’d love to hear about them so please, please share! You never know who you’ll inspire by sharing! ❤

Marriage Talks – Keeping God at the Center – Caleb & Martha’s Story

Y’all I am so excited to share the third in the series “Marriage Talks – Keeping God at the Center.”  I wanted to find married couples who would share a bit of their story with us and give advice. The idea behind this series is to get a real look at real relationships and to provide lessons and information for people who want to keep God at the center of their relationships. In a world that promotes and admires teen pregnancies and not getting married, I want to share a message about why it matters to have Him in your relationship.

This interview is with Caleb and Martha. Caleb was one of the elders at my church in South Korea and they are both life group leaders. They are a wonderful couple who provide insight and a family atmosphere for a lot of us who were on our own. Their knowledge of the Bible was amazing and challenged some of my thoughts. I am so excited that they were willing to share with us. I hope you all enjoy their love story. ❤

13493609_524866082859_92798513_o-2

 

  1. Tell me about yourselves. 

We are Caleb and Martha Button. We are both in our early thirties. We’ve just celebrated our 7th wedding anniversary. We have a 21-month-old daughter named Ivy and a very small dog named Mumford. We have been living in South Korea and working as English Teachers since the beginning of 2010. Caleb is also the campus pastor at the international church we are part of. -Martha

  1. How did you two meet?

We met at Bible College – sort of. I had already graduated, but I was still working on campus at one of the schools extension ministries. As a student, he became friends with many of my friends that were still students and we ended up hanging out together a lot with our mutual friends. -Martha

  1. Tell me about how you set boundaries when you were dating

As for setting boundaries while we were dating, well for the most part we had a general set of boundaries that we verbalized and that were in place. We set those boundaries and to be honest while never completely throwing the boundaries out the window, we sometimes did a poor job of keeping those parameters. If I could go back and change our process I would. This is what I’d recommend to young couples, especially young couples who are already engaged, because some how it gets even harder: 1st.) Don’t just role your eyes and shrug off the warnings and advice you’ve heard from your parents or older Christians, providing the advice is coming from a godly source it is more than likely filled with biblical and practical knowledge from experience. 2nd.) Satan absolutely knows your weak points, he will absolutely exploit them, and absolutely will try to isolate you in whatever way he can to render you “ineffective” for Christ (even if that is only in your mind) So, set clear boundaries, have a game plan, don’t be foolish and think that somehow you will be the one couple that has supreme power of restraint. Because you don’t and you won’t. Further, have a strong understanding of why you are putting those boundaries in place, is it simply to appear holy or is it to TRULY be Holy, and to honor and love God through your obedience. Include God in your relationship, and although it can (though it shouldn’t) be more intimidating, include close Christian friends or family to be part of your safety net and your accountability. As I said before Satan LOVES to isolate Christians. SO, don’t be isolated, physically or figuratively speaking. 3rd.) And I believe this to be very important, please understand that while we should always seek to honor God, as individuals, as dating, engaged or married couples, that we will sometimes fail, because we are human, and we do not always walk with God the way we should. If one or both of you has failed to honor God in a previous relationship, if you fail in your current relationship, do not loose hope. Do not fear that all is lost and that God is done with you. All is not lost and God is not finished with you. In short confess, repent, rest in God’s forgiveness and move forward in a way that will honor God. **Verses related to this final point: Psalm 103:8-14, 1John 1:9, Romans 6:1-4 -Caleb

  1. What are some lessons you learned while dating?

I am not sure that I remember learning any specific “lesson” while dating, but lessons have been learned in retrospect so I’ll start there. 1st.) Don’t think that you are above failure 2nd.) Don’t think that you are above reproach. 3rd.) If a family member of your significant other has an issue with you, don’t flippantly blow it off, rather prayerfully and introspectively consider the “grievance” and if you in the end feel no conviction, then providing you are walking with God as you should, most likely the other person is being overly sensitive (or something) But, on the chance that through God’s Word and the Holy Spirit along with your introspective thoughts you are convicted of a certain thing, well then by all means, do not be stubborn and resistant, but rather confess, repent and be made right. -Caleb

  1. How did you know this person was “the one”?

“The One”… To give a bit of background, this is what I knew about myself and my circumstances, and this is who I was at 22 and to a degree who I am a decade later. Pragmatic and Prayerful… I knew I did not have the “gift” of singleness and celibacy, I knew for me personally it would be better for me to find a spouse sooner rather than later, though if God had other plans I knew/know He would have sustained me. So I looked at what I knew of myself and I looked at my social circle. I thought (more or less) I currently know/ am acquainted with and approximately 300 young, single, Christian women. I thought very pragmatically, this could very well be the largest “pool” of “potential spouses” (spouse) that I will have in my lifetime. For the sake of pseudo brevity I will say that a pragmatic approach lead me to consider Martha and then many hours and weeks and months of prayer and council followed. In short Martha and I attended the same church and had a handful of the same friends, we were in the same “circle” for all intents and purposes. But a year in prayer was spent before I spoke with her about how I felt and what I hoped for. (Side note, honestly don’t bother dating someone unless you are under the belief that you could/intend to marry that person, while God may have other plans, Marriage is a God Created Institution while dating is something very man made. In most western cultures we have done away with arranged marriages and thus dating has evolved, but biblically speaking the God Created and Ordained fulfillment of this type of Relationship is Marriage and not dating. Ok that is the start of something not remotely brief so I will stop there) to draw conclusion to this answer, Martha was very opposed to my declarations for the next 8 months or so. Strangely it wasn’t until the end of that time period when I felt that for some reason God had lead me on this nearly 2 year journey of growing and diminishing hope only to finally, close the door fully and completely in my face. I remember thinking and telling my best friend and roommate, “yea it’s over, there is no chance, I know that now, God has shown me the door is closed”! I accepted that, I sadly but willingly released my final specks of hope to God and said, “Okay, I will move on, I will see what you have for me, whatever that is.” Interestingly and “ironically” within just hours of this, God completely changed Martha’s heart and mind. Fast track a month later, after Martha was assured she was not crazy and that God had intervened, she confesses her changed heart and changed mind. This was met with nearly uncontrollable laughter (on my part) because I was “over it” I had closed the door in my heart and made peace with God concerning Martha. I think my reaction must have been both similar and dissimilar to the reaction Sarah had to God’s promise of a son in her old age found in Genesis 18. Sarah maybe laughed in disbelief, maybe in the irony of the promise. I think I laughed similarly yet my laughter was also with joy knowing that such a thing could only happen by the hands of God.

For us God was so clearly in our story, that there was no other explanation. “Dating” for us really was only a cultural formality, so family and friends would not be completely freaked out, we got “officially engaged” within 6 months and married 8 months later. -Caleb

  1. What tips do you have for the single person? The dating couple? The engaged couple? The newly married couple?

For the Single Person: Don’t ever believe the lie whether internal or external that a relationship/marriage is your “cure all”, your road to “true happiness”. Hint: IT’S NOT! But, accepting where and what God has for you and being obedient to Him, yes, that will give you peace and joy, but don’t confuse that with cotton candy and kittens or an easy problem free life, there not the same. Don’t bemoan your singleness, give your singleness fully into the hands of God, make the absolute most of your singleness realizing that in it’s restraints there are great freedoms you have, freedom to serve God in a way that only single people can, freedom to travel, explore and “do” in a way that only single people can. Seize your day, NO, Seize God’s Day for you, and be a good steward of it. I read recently in some article about having a healthy marriage, or something (and I don’t remember it’s author or title) but I remember this quote “the grass is not greener on the other side, it’s greener where you water it”! (Mic Drop) 

For the Dating Couple: You should be convinced or at very least feel confident that you could and want to marry the person you are with. If not, what on earth are you doing? Don’t play games; don’t try to convince yourself that dating is found in the bible. Hint: IT’S NOT! Understand that you don’t have to be dating a person to know whether or not that person is a godly individual that you could/would marry. Basically I don’t recommend, “dating”, but I understand in most western cultures that if you go from friendship to marriage directly you might blow most folks minds. Just understand that the qualities about a person that make them a suitable or unsuitable match can be determined in a non-dating environment/relationship. Again, don’t bother dating unless you are serious, because if you’re not, then what are you really doing? Understand that, sex and sexual behavior are meant for marriage. Now your body and mind might say otherwise, but you’ll have a hard time justifying that using the bible. Thank God that He is gracious and if you have had sex or are having sex or sexual behavior outside of/ before marriage, well God isn’t about to strike you dead or send you to hell. But, that’s not an excuse to abuse God’s grace. Help yourselves by not putting yourselves in precarious situations, set guidelines for yourself, and not the kind that dance on the edge of what may or may not be acceptable, because if you’re that close, let’s be real, are you really going to stop, and even if you do, it’s more stress than it’s worth. Keep God at the forefront of your relationship and have accountability partners. Guys get a close Christian brother in Christ and girls a close Christian sister in Christ to help keep you accountable.

For the Engaged Couple: Don’t wish the time away. It’s easy to, you want so desperately to be connected with this person on the next level (marriage) and it’s easy to wish the time away. Hint: that wish won’t come true… Also, you can miss entirely what God is trying to teach you in the season that you are in. The reality is that we go through all sorts of seasons in our lives, some easy, some comfortable, some difficult, tiresome, loathsome, you get the idea. Don’t wish seasons away, God has something in store for you in each season, ask Him what He wants from you and for you in this season and be obedient to that. You’ll never regret being patient and leaning on God, you’ll never regret having joy and time reflect, you’ll never regret being obedient to God’s Word and the Spirits leading. But, I can almost guarantee you’ll regret time you wasted wishing for the impossible or being bitter, angry or anxious over a season that you wish you could skip. As you prepare for marriage, lay yourself fully before God, put God at the forefront of your life as an individual, and as a couple. Shifting gears slightly, don’t have a long engagement if you can help it. Don’t break the bank or go into debt over your wedding, trust me you can have an amazing wedding and look great for only a few thousand dollars (we did it, and know plenty of others who have too) don’t let setbacks “ruin” anything for you. Plan early and get it out of the way, don’t wait. Go through a pre-marriage counseling course with a solid pastor. Don’t be surprised if people don’t RSVP, RSVP late, show up uninvited or any other number of things, just roll with it. Remember that your wedding day, while special, is only ONE DAY! Don’t let it become an idol…

For the Newly Married Couple: Keep God First. Have Fun. Be Spontaneous. Remember it’s ok to live like paupers if that’s where you are for now… Be patient with each other. Pray with each other and for each other. Talk about what you like and don’t like, but be loving and gracious in doing so, understanding that this is all new territory for both of you. Initiate good habit sequence… Don’t be hermits, be in Church, in Small Groups, have people over to your house or apartment. Be open and honest. Get rest, eat well, and exercise. Have a great time spending loads of time together, but don’t be afraid of alone time and don’t seclude yourselves either. Obviously you’ll need a bit of time to adjust and get settled at first, but once the dust settles… If you want to keep babies at bay, have a birth control plan and stick to it. Be smart about birth control, do your research… For the newly weds and beyond (mostly for the men, but for some women also) don’t make sex an idol. Men understand that your wives are different than you and their needs and desires will undoubtedly be different. Wives, likewise remember the same thing… Don’t be selfish and understand that sometimes for the sake of your spouse you may need to refrain or on the other side be willing to engage for the other’s sake. Don’t ever use sex as a way to manipulate the other. Don’t be afraid to be open and honest about what you like and don’t like, about what you want or don’t want etc. Be patient, be kind, be loving, and remember that this is a gift from God, it is not a “right” and it is not God/ a god… Don’t confuse porn or cinematic love sequences for anything normal, or to be esteemed or striven towards… Put all that out of your mind. If you’re married, and it’s only the two of you, and you both like it/ are willing, then it’s good, and God is pleased. Otherwise it’s not and God isn’t… Keep God first, even before your new and wonderful spouse… -Caleb

  1. How does keeping God as the center of your relationship work?

Keeping God at the center of your relationship is a choice. It’s something that you must strive towards. It won’t magically or accidentally happen. If God isn’t at the forefront of your own life as an individual He won’t be at the forefront/center of your marriage relationship. Be in Church, be in the Word, and be in prayer. Share and be open. Allow God to mold you and shape you both as individuals and as a couple. Don’t reject God’s leading even if it takes you someplace you never imagined or even somewhere you simply don’t want to go. Love and obedience is a choice, it is also work. So choose and work towards it together. –Caleb

  1. How do you think godly relationships differ from what the world promotes?

Godly relationships differ from what the world promotes because they are, well, Godly. The ultimate focus and goal is glorifying the Lord and doing His will and that influences all aspects of the relationship. As far as marriage relationships are concerned: anybody – believers or non – can make a decision to be committed to their relationship. I think a big difference in Godly relationships is that we know we have the responsibility of representing Christ’s sacrificial love for His bride, the church and the church’s submission to the authority of Him. A Godly marriage is to be a visual example of that relationship and that responsibility goes far deeper than the world’s commitment. –Martha

  1. Can each of you share one thing you wish you’d known sooner?

I feel like overall, I had realistic expectations of the reality of marriage, but maybe I wish I would have known that no matter one’s level of optimism, “life” can still seep in through the cracks, and that’s ok. When the “honeymoon is over” and the newness of the relationship has grown, evolved and matured into something different, when expectations aren’t met and when you’re coming to terms with the fact that what you envisioned for you futures isn’t what’s happening, when all you’ve got is the Lord and each other and you don’t have enough energy for cheerfulness or optimism, that’s ok. Because it’s still enough, and you don’t always have to be happy or happy about it. -Martha

I wish I knew or understood better that marriage is in many ways no different than “life”. In that I wish I understood that marriage like life will probably by in large be much different than what you expected. I wish I knew that earlier, I wish that I had also learned earlier and less painfully to be flexible and most importantly to relinquish myself, my hopes and dreams to God. Life in general and marriage are in many ways no different. If you come to a place where you relinquish yourself, your hopes, dreams and desires to God, and say “God send me where you may, and do with me what you will”, you’ll find that in the after math of broken dreams your heart will mend and God will show you His plan is far superior to what yours ever was. This is equally true in and out of married life, for the single person or the couple. -Caleb

  1. Share your favorite scripture.

There are so many scriptures that I find close to my heart, and that have played some large roll in the shaping of who I am today, as a son of God, as a husband, as a father, as a friend, as a pastor, as a teacher… One that jumps in my mind though is Psalm 103. The entire chapter is incredible, but I am very partial to verses 8-14. -Caleb

2nd Corinthians 3:5, I think it’s applicable not only for marriage, but also for any other area of life… -Martha

 

I hope y’all enjoyed today’s story. There is a lot of great information and advice in it! If you or someone you know would be interested in sharing their story, let me know. Hope everyone is having a great week! ❤

Tear Down the Walls

How’s your prayer life? I keep hearing or seeing “prayer” popping up everywhere. I have to admit that my prayer life is not where it could be. In fact, I sometimes rush through my prayer time because I’m tired or not interested. I watched War Room and felt so inspired at Ms. Clara’s prayer life and the passion she has for it. I tried making a war binder thinking that it would be better than my prayer journal but it fell flat. I’ve had to learn to let go of the expectations and just focus on talking with Him but I’ve also learned that since this is a weaker area I need to pay attention and learn more about prayer. I’m reading Fervent by Priscilla Shirer and am learning how to pray strategically because we all have areas of prayer that we can improve upon.

I was talking with a friend the other day about how walls keep popping up and preventing us from doing certain things. Road blocks. Fears. Walls. Whatever you label them, they could just be ways the enemy is deterring you from accomplishing certain things. One of the walls I faced was when I felt convicted to get baptized. I had been baptized as an infant but felt called to proclaim my faith as an adult. As soon as I committed to the baptism, I felt dreadful and anxious. I didn’t want to share my testimony or get baptized in the ocean. I felt blocked in some regards but excited in other ways.

So what’s the point? My point is that the enemy studies us. He knows what buttons to push. He throws up walls and waters our seeds of self-doubt. The enemy wants us paralyzed and distracted from the things we could be doing. He wants us to think that we’re not worthy. He wants us to settle. What would your life look like if you were 100% confident? Take the step and walk out in faith (this is assuming that what you want to do aligns with scripture). Don’t let the enemy stop you in your tracks. God is with you so anything is possible! Tear down the walls and climb your mountain!

IMG_2726

What’s holding you back? We’d love to pray for you specifically. What are your dreams? We hope y’all are having a wonderful Monday! As always, we love hearing from you! ❤

Keep Fighting the Good Fight

“Fight the good fight of faith.” – 1 Timothy 6:12

Life can be brutal and tough. It can be challenging and exhausting. It can seem like it’s just one thing after another – like you can never catch a break. I’ve been there and I can relate. It can be a struggle to see God in those moments but I promise He is there. If you’re not going currently going through a tough season, the odds are someone close to you is. It’s important to remember that we all need a helping hand at some point.

You don’t forget how people make you feel. When you’re down or struggling, sometimes all it takes is a person’s kind action to turn your day around. Sometimes God puts a person in our life at just the right moment to give you a bit more encouragement to get you through the day.

I can remember one of my darkest seasons, a text from a friend at the right time turned my day around. It brought me from tears to laughter. Sometimes the attitude change came from a complete stranger. I remember being impatient and frustrated at the store because I still had a million things on my to do list. The cashier’s great attitude turned mine around. I found myself laughing and just being in the minute.

We don’t need to go 1000 miles a minute. Some things aren’t going to get done when or the way you want them. It’s not the end of the world. Things are going to go wrong and we need each other. Sometimes you’re the one who needs the helping hand and sometimes you’re the one who needs to lend a hand. It can be with your time, your money, your energy, your advice or just being a shoulder to lean on. In a time where hatred, intolerance and apathy is running rampant, be the person Christ has called us to be. Sometimes fighting the good fight is done in seemingly small ways.

Let me know how we can help you keep fighting the good fight. As always, we love hearing from you. ❤ 

Standing Strong against Compromise

“Spiritual death happens one compromise at a time.”

The mind is an amazing thing. We can easily convince ourselves or rationalize certain behaviors. We know right from wrong but what about the gray areas? Nowhere in the Bible am I commanded to have quiet time with the Lord but I know what a difference it makes in my life. If I don’t spend time with the Lord, it impacts my entire week. We compromise in so many things, thinking that it’s not a big deal.

We justify our behavior. We date someone that we know isn’t a believer because “it’s not a big deal”. We drink too much one time that results in bad decisions or more alcohol filled nights. One kiss leads to another. Satan loves these moments. He whispers in our ears and suggests that we follow through with the thought. He tells us that God doesn’t care about whatever behavior.

It’s a step onto a slippery slope that can lead to falling. The thing about compromise is it in can be a sneaky and gradual downward spiral. Compromise isn’t something that God appreciates. Jesus didn’t compromise when He was tempted. He didn’t just say “no”; He responded with scripture to combat the temptation.

How can you stand firm against compromise or temptation?

  1. Spend time in His Word – read and study scripture so that you can be prepared. Memorize some verses to help you.
  2. Pray – Talk to God about the things that tempt you most. As for His help and guidance.
  3. Talk with godly friends and share your struggles with them. Ask them to keep you accountable and to pray for you when you’re struggling.
  4. Get plugged in with your church – join a group (life group/Bible Study, etc.). This will help keep you connected and focused on God.
  5. Remember there’s always a way out.

“No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.” – 1 Corinthians 10:13

 

Stand firm and don’t compromise your faith. We hope y’all are having a great week. We love hearing from you! ❤

Marriage Talks – Keeping God at the Center – Hannah’s Story

Y’all I am so excited to share the second in the series “Marriage Talks – Keeping God at the Center.”  I wanted to find married couples who would share a bit of their story with us and give advice. The idea behind this series is to get a real look at real relationships and to provide lessons and information for people who want to keep God at the center of their relationships. In a world that promotes and admires teen pregnancies and not getting married, I want to share a message about why it matters to have Him in your relationship.

This interview is with Hannah, who was my life group leader in South Korea. Her supportive and thoughtful nature made it easy for me to confide in her and learn from her. She was a rock for me during my time there and I just admire her so much! I am so excited that she was willing to share with us. I hope you all enjoy Hannah’s story. ❤

Tell me about yourselves

My name is Hannah Disbrow, I am 32 years old from South Carolina. I’ve been married to Traylor for 6 years and just had our first daughter in 2014.

How did you two meet?

We met through a mutual friend who had gone to school with both of us. She knew both of our hearts for international missions and said we should meet.

What did you do when you realized you had feelings for the other?

I was attracted to Traylor from the beginning, but my feelings for him developed a little more slowly due to the fact that we lived over an hour apart. Once I was able to see him serving in action, those feeling intensified.

Tell me your love story.

Our friend knew I had been overseas several times and as Traylor told her he was heading on a missions trip to Guatemala for the summer, she mentioned to both of us that we needed to meet each other. Since we lived over an hour apart, our correspondence began over messages and emails. We met for the first time in person as a church function at Traylor’s church, and it was really awkward. We still laugh about it to this day, but we continued talking over messages after that initial meeting. Once we were able to have a little one on one time, our connection grew and our time together became more frequent. We cherished the time together because it was typically only on the weekends, and we had to make it intentional. By the summer, we had developed feelings for one another, but both knew our desires to serve overseas at some point, and decided to serve alongside each other in Guatemala for several weeks. It was a beautiful experienced that “sealed the deal” so to speak, and allowed us to visualize a life together in marriage. We saw first hand what it would look like to live out the gospel as a couple.

Tell me about how you set boundaries when you were dating.

Since we lived far apart, when I came to visit him, I stayed with his mom, to make sure we always had someone home in the house, especially at night. We spent a lot of time outdoors, around groups of people and talked openly about the boundaries we wanted to set.

What were some lessons learned during dating?

I think we learned to really make the time you spend together count. Do all kinds of things together to get a full, rounded idea of who the other person is. Observe one another in how they act with their own families, how they treat others. Do things in groups with each other’s friends and serve with one another in some capacity.

How did you know this person was “the one”?

In Guatemala, we both were able to see one another in both beautiful and stressful situations. We saw the Lord work in both of us as we worked together. Seeing that solidified our hearts and we realized we could have more impact for the gospel together than apart.

What tips do you have for the single person? The dating couple? The engaged couple? The newly married couple?

I think the most important thing is to always remember that God is working in your life no matter what stage you are in. He can do incredible things with the freedom and time you have as a single person. He will also reveal so much about His nature and character through marriage and allow you to experience His perfect love when marriage is done right. In all stages, God can bless us and sanctify us.

How does keeping God as the center of your relationship work?

It sounds cliché, but it’s as simple as making the Lord a priority together and individually. In order for me to love Traylor the way I should, I must first love the Lord with all my heart, mind and soul. As I draw closer to the Lord, my selfishness disappears and my heart is able to love Traylor well. When I draw close to the Lord and trust Him with my heart, I am also trusting the Lord to work through Traylor. In submitting to Traylor, I am therefore submitting to the Lord’s provision to use Traylor to lead our marriage.

How do you think godly relationships differ from what the world promotes?

The world often focuses on our individual needs. When our needs are met and we are satisfied with our partner in a relationship, then we can be happy. But, Jesus teaches us to love and serve one another.

Can each one of you share one thing you wish you’d known sooner?

Talk about your gifts and love languages together while you are dating. It’s so important to know how you are gifted and how you can be used in the church. It’s also so important to know how you feel loved and are able to love your spouse in a way they see and feel loved.

Share your favorite scripture.

“The LORD will fulfill his purpose for me; your steadfast love, O LORD, endures forever. Do not forsake the work of your hands.” Psalm 138:8

Let us know what you think or if you’re interested in sharing your advice and perspective as a guest blogger. As always, we love hearing from you! ❤

The Enemy Lies

The enemy loves to tell us lies. He enjoys giving us half-truths that hurt us and prevent us from doing what we can. He learns our weaknesses, our soft spots and uses them to whisper in our ears. We hear things like:

  • “You will never be good enough.”
  • “No one is going to love you.”
  • “God will never forgive you.”
  • “It’s just this one time.”
  • “Why does it matter anyway.”
  • “Don’t talk to her about it; vent about it with a friend.”
  • “Remember that one time when you really screwed up?”

Those are the voices of Satan. He loves to put us down and hurt us. He likes reminding us of our pasts. He wants to divide us, especially those in the church. He loves to separate us. He thrives on our insecurities. He desires our paralysis from fear and feelings of unworthiness and inadequacy. He’s pretty clever and he sometimes uses other people or even ourselves to do his biding. Take heart – he’s wrong!

  • You are good enough through Christ who purified us.
  • The one who rode in and rescued you from the death of sin already loves you.
  • God has already forgiven you and will never bring it up to you.
  • One time is all it takes; be strong and run from the temptation.
  • Everything we do matters to our Father.
  • Don’t be the division that spreads discord but put your “big girl (or boy) panties on” and respectfully hash it out.
  • Don’t worry about your past – God can use it for good, if you let Him. Remember, “every saint has a past and every sinner has a future.”

Peter, “Mr. Rock of the Church” gave Jesus the cold shoulder and pretended like he’d never even heard the name. “Jesus? Nah – doesn’t ring a bell. Oh yea…that crazy prophet. I’m not one of His disciples. You’re crazy.”

David, “a man after God’s own heart” coveted his neighbor’s wife, had an affair, got her pregnant, tried to manipulate the circumstances and then ultimately killed a good guy to hide his own poor decision. “No one will ever know if I just get rid of him. Then I’ll be happy with Babs as my wife. I’m the king, there might be rumors but who’s going to call me out on it? I’ll just be extra good this year.”

Paul, “Super Apostle” started out as a terrorist who actively sought to exterminate people because of their religious beliefs. “If they look like they’d even think about following this Jesus nonsense, I want them executed. Additionally, I’d like to be videoconferenced in for the execution. The more, the merrier.”

Rahab, “great-great-great something grandmother to Jesus” betrayed her country and lied to her king, leading to the massacre of her town folks. “Nope, no spies here. Look, there they go. When you guys come back over the border, save me and my family.”

Ruth, “Ms. Naomi Follower, went in to the men’s quarters and laid at a man’s feet in an attempt to convince him to marry her. “Oh hey, Boaz. (flutter eyelashes here).

“Jonah, “Mr. Prophet” ran away from God because he didn’t like the assignment he was given. “Yea, God, I’m on that and will have that assignment completed in a couple of days. Oh darn, I caught the wrong boat. What do you mean I’m going in the complete opposite direction? My bad.”

My point is that the Bible is littered with examples of people who had struggles. They made mistakes and had pasts. They messed up but that wasn’t the end of their story. Peter is today considered the rock of the church. Paul is admired for his work in spreading the gospel. Ruth is a great example of persevering and trusting in God to provide. David is considered to be “God’s man” with a heart like His. Rahab is held up as an example of faith in action. Jonah is a prophet who’s message saved a city.

Don’t play into the enemies’ hands. Read the Word and repel His lies. Look to the cross. You’re here because your story isn’t over yet. If you let Him, God will use you in huge ways!

We hope you all have a wonderful weekend! I will try to get on track with the posts next week! As always, we love hearing from you! ❤

God is Absolute

“Always”

“Never say never”

“Forever”

“You shouldn’t use those blanket absolute statements like never or always because they’re not true.”

The majority of us have probably used some kind of absolute term, like never or alway . I love to say “I’m never wrong” but alas, that’s a lie. In our humanness we aren’t able to be absolute in anything and it can be frustrating. People who are “never late” sometimes are late. People who are “always there for us” sometimes aren’t. In our humanness we let each other down and that can hurt us or anger us. But guess what?

We can talk about our God in absolute terms. He is always good. He is never evil. He is always there for us. He is never late. He is always loving. He is with us forever and beyond. He is the absolute and supreme rule. He is never wrong. He is always faithful. The best part is that He always wants a relationship with us. He will never let us down or forget to show up. He is amazing.

I’ll be honest though – I sometimes struggle with thinking of God in absolute terms. It’s beyond my experience. I’ve never had anyone be perfect (see what I did there?) so it can be difficult to recognize it in God. Some days, I feel as if I am waiting for him to let me down. In the past when negative things have happened in my life, my first thoughts were “oh great, God messed up. I really needed Him to help prevent ___ from happening or to let ____ come through but He didn’t show up.” I act as if God fell asleep at the wheel and forgot about me but that’s not the case. The reality is God is absolute and He knows what’s going on. Yes, negative things occur in our life but God knows what’s going on – He didn’t forget you. He’s working things out according to His plan and it’s for your best (though it might not feel like it at the time). Trust in Him and remember that He is always good and always there for You. He loves you no matter what’s going on.

“For the Lord is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations.”

– Psalm 100:5 ESV (emphasis mine)

I hope that you’re week is going well but if its not remember that you are not alone. As always, we love hearing from you so let us know if you have any comments, suggestions or prayer requests. ❤

Give it to God

Sometimes life is just crazy and hectic and overwhelming. My daily to do list is so long that it will be August before it’s completed. I rush through the day just trying to get things done. I have a timetable and get anxious and irritable as I focus on checking off the next item on my list.

Some days my quiet time with God is just an item on my checklist. It’s something else that needs to get done. That means I need an attitude adjustment and look at my time with God differently.

The God of the Universe; the Creator of Heaven and Earth; the Almighty wants me to spend time with Him. He wants to hear from me and all about my worries and plans and dreams. He wants to hear everything. His desire is to be our best friend. Think about that. The one who has all the answers wants me to approach Him. Why do we seek counsel from family and friends first and ignore the Him?

Take a moment and just pause. Set a timer if you have to but make sure you stop and talk to Him. You can talk to Him about anything you want or need to. He’s listening. Always. Give it to God

“Casting all anxieties on him, because he cares for you.” – 1 Peter 5:7

*Sorry for the short posts – this week is one of those hectic ones. ❤

Let the Little Children Come

“Then little children were brought to Jesus for him to place his hands on them and pray for them. But the disciples rebuked those who brought them. Jesus said, ‘Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.’ When he had placed his hands on them, he went on from there.” ~ Matthew 19:13-15 (NIV)

Just yesterday, I finished my last day at my academy and at this very moment, I am reminiscing the times with my students. In the beginning, I was definitely awkward and inconsistent with the way I treated the students. On the other hand, I think God had equipped me with a lot of patience, strength, tolerance, and kindness.

When I first started teaching, it was definitely a learning experience. I tried to be as patient and as kind as possible. But children can be…many things. Even though they would tell me they were bored in my class or they didn’t like me, when I saw their beautiful, dark eyes, my heart melted. The last time I had seen such innocence and radiance was when my siblings were children. How is it that a child can radiate something indescribable that an adult can’t? When I see their eyes, to me, it is like I am looking at the eyes of God.

I sometime wonder how Jesus would treat my most difficult students. I often ask myself the question: what would Jesus do? Of course He disciplines but is also merciful. He can get angry but He is also loving. Furthermore, of course it’s hard to be Christ-like to a child that has no respect for you. One time, I even considered if these kids were God’s because of how difficult they were to control or discipline. But they are all His children. Even us difficult adults.

The way Jesus wanted to place His hands on the children can be similar as me respecting them even if they don’t respect me. They are not my children, they are His.

How do you handle difficult people? As always, we love hearing from you. ❤