Romantically Challenged Support Group, Part 2

Let’s continue to look at how we can be a more romantic spouse.

Make a Big Deal of Special Days. This means saying, “Happy Birthday,” or “Happy Anniversary” on the days they actually occurred. The other day, someone I know talked to their spouse three times on the phone before realizing that it was their birthday. Ouch! I understand that you may not celebrate it that day but it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do something or at the very least, say something. Let me say, too, that forgetfulness is not an excuse. With electronic calendars, reminder apps, smartphones, and computers, there’s plenty of ways to keep track of these special days.

Anticipate Your Spouse’s Needs. Gentlemen, especially, don’t wait until your wife has to drop hints (which we often miss) to do something for her. It’s amazing how many arguments can be eliminated by simply meeting our spouse’s needs. I love how David’s mighty men risked their lives just to get him water from a well in Bethlehem. Pay attention during conversations and learn to anticipate what your spouse may need or want.

The other day I got a big kiss from my wife that surprised me. I simply filled out her supplement container. I had a few extra minutes and decided to do something she typically does for both of us. Guess what, if I keep getting surprised that way, I’m looking for more needs to meet!

Learn How Your Spouse Wants To Be Loved. This may sound strange but not everyone enjoys being loved the same way. I suppose the best way to describe this is by citing Dr. Gary Chapman’s Book, The Five Love Languages. For years I rebelled against this book because I thought it was hogwash that you could box in the way you express your love. After being married a few years, I decided to read it again. And boy, was I wrong! The premise of the book it this: there are love languages each person usually speak and it is how they desire to receive love. The love languages are physical touch, acts of service, words of affirmation, gifts, and quality time. Each person likes for love to be expressed to them specifically in one or a combination of these languages. Which brings me back to the point of learning how your spouse wants to be loved. One of the best ways to know is to observe how he/she expresses love. If he loves to demonstrate affection through physical contact, more than likely he wants it reciprocated in the same manner. If she loves to give gifts, then she probably enjoys receiving them, too. The exception to these rules is if they have discovered your love language and is seeking to express their love to you. Talk about it and learn how you want love expressed in your marriage.

 

Eye Contact and Full Attention. When your spouse is speaking to you (especially when it’s a serious conversation), turn off the TV, put down the phone or tablet, and give him/her your undivided attention. One of the surest ways to manifest this is through eye contact. Look into your spouse’s eyes. Think about it, what’s more romantic? A husband gazing into his wife’s eye and saying, “I love you.” Or a husband watching TV or playing Temple Run and saying to his wife, “I love you.” We live in such a multimedia, multi-sensory world that we don’t take the time to just slow down and focus. Don’t be so A.D.D when your spouse is speaking to you. Frankly, many couples have drifted apart due to a lack of focus and full attention. On date nights or late night conversations, stare into their eyes and give full attention.

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Planning a Family Day

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When I graduated from Bible college, I served on staff at Liberty Baptist Church in Las Vegas, Nevada. My pastor at the time, Dave Teis, taught me much about what it means to serve the Lord with my family. He and his wife spent many hours with us to prepare us for life in ministry. What we observed, however,  taught us so much more than what they said.

Every Monday was Pastor Teis’ day off. I learned quickly how much he valued that day off when I decided to call him one Monday to simply ask, “If there’s anything I can do for him.” A noble question, for sure. But when asked on the wrong day, well, let just say I never interrupted his day off again! Continue reading

Undercover Christians

UNDERCOVER CHRISTIANI recently read an article that cited,

“One out of five non-Christians in North America doesn’t know any Christians.” 

The research was performed by Gordon-Conwell’s Center for the Study of Global Christianity. The article was published by Christianity Today. Basically, 13,447,000 of the North American populations claims that they do not personally know any Christians.

In a country that claims to be a Christian nation, it’s amazing that there are people in our communities that do not know a single believer. The article states that some of it is due to immigration. A leader in the Southern Baptist Convention’s North American Missions Board claims that Christians, “hide in our own evangelical ghetto, we send our kids to Christian schools, we go to churches that would only be welcoming to people that think like us.”

Whether you agree or disagree with the statistics or statements of the article from Christianity Today, the question must be asked, “Do unbelievers around you know that you’re a Christian?”

“Well, it never came up in conversation.”

“It’s really none of their business.”

“Religion is a personal matter.”

“I can’t impose my beliefs on other people.”

Some religious statistics claim that almost 80 percent of the adult population in the United States claim to be Christians. If so, we have a lot of “Undercover Christians” today!

America’s fascination with covert operations and spy games has heavily permeated the thinking of many Christians. We still live in nation where we can freely worship and freely share the Gospel. You may argue that our liberties are being taken away and you are most likely right. But that doesn’t excuse you from sharing Christ today and identifying yourself as a Christian. Instead of bellyaching about the “coming persecution,” why don’t you consistently preach the Gospel instead?

Take a quick evaluation. Do ALL your neighbors know you’re a Christian? Do ALL your co-workers know that you’re a child of God? The family who has seen you before salvation, and after accepting Christ, do they know that Jesus is your Saviour?

Think about it, if of the 13 million people who don’t know a Christian is introduced to one who genuinely lives for Christ, just a fraction gets saved… let’s say 10 percent… that’s 1.3 million Gospel presentations. And let’s just say that 10 percent of those accept Christ. That’s 130,000 names written down in glory!

So can I encourage you to take of the disguise and come out of the shadows? Jesus did say, “Let you light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”

Who Should Be On You Prayer List? Part 2

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Last week we noticed how incomplete most of our prayer lists are. I know that it’s easy to forget about authorities, anemics, and antagonists because we don’t often think about them. And when we do think about them, the last thing we want to do is to pray for them! I’m guilty and if you’re honest, so are you.

It is God’s will for us to pray for these people. Think about it, they could be the agent of change God wants to use in bringing this country back to Him. And whether they are or not, we have been commanded to pray for all men (see 1 Timothy 2:1). 

If you made the additions to your prayer list last week, you’re off to a good start. But you’re not finished yet. Here’s two more people groups that should be added to your prayer list.

Analyzers

In any productive meeting, there must an opportunity to ask questions. But there’s always that one who overanalyzes everything. Question after question flies out of their mouth and before you know it, you’re doubting the proposal you made at the beginning of the meeting!

I’m not talking about someone who is prudent. I’m talking about the one who says, “It’s a good land, flowing with milk and honey, but… there giants out there!” 

William Carey said, “Expect great things from God. Attempt great things for God.” Nothing great will ever be accomplished from the bench! Likewise, people can’t see victories when they’re simply sitting around! Unfortunately, the same people who aren’t doing anything think it’s their ministry to tell the pastor or other Christians what they ought to do. 

I know your prayer list is getting longer but we need to pray for analyzers. Their lack of faith can bring your spirit down. They can cause divisions in a church. At the very least, they are missing out on the very best God has for them. 

When Nicodemus questioned Jesus’ requirement for seeing the kingdom (How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born?), He was patient and responded with an explanation rather than humiliation. 

Paul commands the Thessalonians to “be patient toward all men.” Is there a better way than prayer to demonstrate patience towards others? Let’s pray for those who continually doubt God’s work. 

Abusers

I must be honest, this is the hardest one for me. If you hurt me, my flesh wants to hurt you back. That’s my natural reaction. But again, prayer is a spiritual matter, which should be done in a spiritual manner with spiritual methods. 

As Jesus hung on the cross, He prayed, “Father, forgive them…” Who’s “them?” The soldiers who scourged his body, drove the nails through his hands and feet, forced the crown of thorns on his head- Jesus prayed for them!

Peter challenges us with this:

For even hereunto were ye called:because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps:” 1 Peter 2:21 

You want to be like Christ? Pray and forgive. Can you imagine a day going by without anyone being murdered? A day when everyone smiles at each other on the freeway? A church service where everyone smiles and greets others with love? It can happen if you start praying now for those who have given you pain in this life.

I’m sure there are others you can add to the list. One thing’s for sure, you’ll never run out of people to pray for! No wonder Paul could say, “pray without ceasing.” Now, you and I don’t have an excuse! It’s time to complete the prayer list.

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Let’s be honest, it’s easy to pray for our families, friends, churches, pastors, missionaries, other Christians, and even ourselves. We would hardly hesitate at the chance to intercede for these people and would undoubtedly include them in our prayer list. 

But today, I want to challenge you to complete your prayer list. That’s right! I just alluded to the incompleteness of your prayer list. More than likely, you’re missing some, if not all, these groups of people I’m about to share with you. You don’t mean to do it. We only did what was natural and, ah, there lies the problem!

Prayer is not a natural duty, it is a spiritual matter and should be approached in a spiritual manner with  scriptural methods. So who’s missing from your prayer list?

Authorities

I know what you’re thinking. But I do pray for my pastor, my boss, my husband, my parents, etc. But what about your local government leaders? What about the supreme court judges? Police officers? Federal authorities? President Obama? Vice-President Biden? God doesn’t call you to agree with them; He commands you to pray for them!

“I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour;” 1 Timothy 2:1-3

Anemics

These are the Christians who are not active and they’ve come up with ready reasons why they are not active in Christ’s work. I love praying for a missions team conducting a VBS in Mexico or a teaching staff who’ve dedicated their lives to imparting God-given wisdom to students. But a Christian who sits, sulk, and sours- forget about it! Better yet, a Christian who will go directly against what God has said? You’re not making my prayer list! Until I see what Jesus did for Peter prior to His betrayal:

“And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not:and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.” Luke 22:31-32

Wow! Jesus, even knowing what was to come, still prayed for Peter. Who am I not to pray for a brother or sister in Christ who I deem to possess an anemic faith? Imagine what can happen if we all rallied in prayer… 

Antagonists

It’s not a secret- we are living in a time when hostility towards Christianity is the norm. My heart breaks when I think about what our country will become if she continues to turn her back on God. I don’t even want to think about the America my children will grow up in.

When it seems as if countries like Russia and Kenya provide more freedom to live out your Christian faith, I must admit, it’s hard to pray for those who openly and vehemently oppose my Saviour and the Scriptures. But listen to what Jesus says:

And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not:and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren;” Matthew 5:44

Next week, I’ll share two more people groups that should be on your prayer list. But for now, you’ll probably have to add a few pages to your prayer journal. I challenge you to pray fervently for your authorities (all of them), anemic Christians, and the antagonistic towards our faith. I promise, your life will change if you do!

 

Good Habits to Develop – Part 5, Striving Together

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The problem with the label independent, fundamental Baptist is that many often emphasize the “independent” rather than the “fundamental.” This mindset often leads to an isolationist-type ministry, acting like the depressed Elijah as he moaned about being the “only one” still serving God. Elijah made it possible for a statement to be both depressing and arrogant. What an accomplishment!

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