If we were to ask you, "What's more important in marriage, feelings or actions?" you would likely reply, "Actions, of course." That's because mature adults who think rationally, know we can't always trust our feelings. In fact I (Steve) have learned that it's a rare occurrence when I can trust my feelings. I believe that's because my feelings are often "ME-focused" and not "others," or "CINDY-focused." If left to my own tendencies it would be all about me "feeling good." It's also true that our actions can sometimes be motivated by our feelings. This is where we need to "test" the motives behind our actions.
Zig Ziglar, in his book, "Courtship After Marriage" discusses this very point. And while the story he tells deals with a couple on the verge of divorce, I believe we can ALL learn a lesson from it:
"Don Hawkins, who spent almost 20 years in the pastorate, tells a story of the time a couple from his church came to see him --as a last stop before seeing their respective lawyers about a divorce. It seems the husband had become involved in an affair. His wife became angry and decided to retaliate in kind. According to Don, tension was electric. The husband sat on one side of
the room hurling accusations. The wife sat on the other side, cold as ice, but occasionally blasting away with fireball-type epithets at him. Don suggested to this couple that they go back to the point in time when they were in love. To which the man replied, 'But I don't love her anymore.' Don said to the man, 'You do respect the Bible, don't you?' 'Yes,' he replied. 'Well, Scripture says, 'Love Your Wife.' "Yes, but we're not living together as husband and wife. We have separate
bedrooms." "Oh, you're living in rooms next to each other?" "That's right," said the husband. "Well, Scripture has a word for you, Love Your Neighbor." The man retorted, "I don't feel like she's a neighbor. We relate to each other more like enemies."
To which Don replied enthusiastically, "that's great. I have good news for you. Scripture covers that base as well. It says, "Love Your Enemies." Both husband and wife told Don, "but we just don't feel like loving each other, and we certainly wouldn't want to be hypocritical, would we?" "Don said, 'Why don't we suspend the discussion of hypocrisy for a week?
Let me encourage you to go back to treating each other like you loved each other.' "To the husband he said, 'You call her from work." To the wife he said,"You have a nice meal prepared." And to both he said, "Speak kind words to each other, even try to show some physical affection with an occasional hug or touch of the hands. Let's see what happens in a week's time."
The following week, the couple returned to Don's office. He was surprised to note that instead of taking seats on the opposite side of the office, both sat down on the same couch. Turning to the husband, Don asked, "What's the deal?" To which the wife replied, "He's been nicer to me than he has since we were married 10 years ago." Smiling, the husband said, "I guess you CAN love your enemy." Now, I don't want to mislead you. As Don shared this with me, he was careful to point out that this couple's problems didn't just disappear overnight or vanish like a fog in the morning sun. There was a lot of hard work to do to resolve the conflicts, anger, bitterness, and hurt that had built up over years of marital neglect. Yet by turning to the kind of
actions they practiced for each other in the beginning, by starting the courtship process over - they became motivated to work on their marriage relationship."
As I read this message and reflected on some of my past behavior, the phrase, "marital neglect" is the term that jumped out at me because I (Steve) have been guilty of that so many times in our almost 40 years of marriage. It's not that I "intended" to neglect Cindy, but at the same time my "intentionality" in showing her loving actions had at times waned. In other words, I became lazy. It's easy for all of us to fall into that trap. That's why we believe that if we decide NOW to implement (or re-implement) loving actions into our marriages it is not only going to improve our relationships now, but it will also help us regain the proper focus and help to heal past hurts. If you don't have a spouse who will work with you on showing love to you
through actions, keep in mind that you are not responsible for your spouse's actions, but you are for your own.
Look at the birds in the air. They don't plant or harvest or store food in barns, but your heavenly Father feeds them. Mat 6:26
Consider the earth! Our globe's weight has been estimated at six sextillion tons (a six with twenty-one zeroes). Yet it is precisely tilted at twenty-three degrees; any more or any less and our seasons would be lost in a melted polar flood. Though our globe revolves at the rate of one-thousand miles per hour or twenty-five thousand miles per day or nine million miles per year, none of us tumbles into orbit…
As you stand … observing God's workshop, let me pose a few questions. If he is able to place the stars in their sockets and suspend the sky like a curtain, do you think it is remotely possible that God is able to guide your life? If your God is mighty enough to ignite the sun, could it be that he is mighty enough to light your path? If he cares enough about the planet Saturn to give it rings or Venus to make it sparkle, is there an outside chance that he cares enough about you to meet your needs?
The Great House of God (Max Lucado)
‘n Ou spoorwegman het op ‘n byeenkoms tot bekering gekom,, en is gevra om te bid. Hy het ‘n oomblik geaarsel, en toe eerbiedig met ‘n bewende maar helder stem gesê:
“O, Here, noudat ek die vlag gestryk het, bid ek U, neem my voete van die ruwe spoorbaan af en plaas hulle veilig bo-op die trein van redding. Laat wysheid my handlamp wees en die Bybel my hooflig. Laat die trein gekoppel wees met die sterk skakel van liefde. En, Hemelse Vader, hou alle wissels gesluit wat na sylyne uitdraai, en veral die wat lei na ‘n doodloopspoor.
O, Here, as dit U wil is, laat elke sinjaal langs die lyne die witlig van hoop vertoon sodat ek die lewensreis kan aflê sonder om stil te hou. En, Here, laat die tien gebooie my rooster wees. En wanneer ek die reis volgens roostertyd afgelê het en in die groot donker stasie van die dood ingetrek het, mag die Superintendent van die heelal sê: “Mooi so, goeie en getroue dienaar, kom teken die betaalstaat en ontvang jou loon van ewige geluksaligheid.”
A married lady was expecting a birthday gift from her husband.
For many months she had admired a beautiful diamond ring in a showroom, knowing her husband could afford it, she told him that was all she wanted.
As her birthday approached, this lady awaited signs that her husband had purchased the diamond ring.
Finally, on the morning of her birthday, her husband called her into his study.
Her husband told her how proud he was to have such a good wife, and told her how much he loved her.
He handed her a beautiful wrapped gift box. Curious, the wife opened the box and found a lovely leather-bound Bible with the wife's name embossed in gold.
Angrily, she raised her voice to her husband and said, 'With all your money you give me a Bible?' And stormed out of the house, leaving her husband.
Many years passed and the lady was very successful in business. She managed to settle for a more beautiful house and a wonderful family, but realized her ex-husband was very old, and thought perhaps she should go to visit him. She had not seen him for many years but before she could make arrangements, she received a telegram telling her that her ex-husband had passed away and willed all of his possessions to her. She needed to come back immediately and take care of things. When she arrived at her ex-husband's house, sudden sadness and regret filled her heart. She began to search through her ex-husband's important papers and saw the still new Bible just as she had left it years before. With tears, she opened the Bible and began to turn the pages. Her ex-husband had carefully underlined a verse, Matt 7:11, 'And if you, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more shall your Heavenly Father, who is in heaven, give what is good to those who ask Him?'
As she read those words, a tiny package dropped from the back of the Bible. It had a diamond ring, with her name engraved on it -- the same diamond ring which she saw at the showroom.
On the tag was the date of her birth, and the words 'LUV U ALWAYS'.
How many times do we miss God's blessings, because they are not packaged as we expected?
'The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched.
They must be felt with the heart.'
Have a great day!
I sought the Lord, and He heard me, and delivered me from all my fears. Psalm 34:4
In his first inaugural speech in 1933, Franklin D. Roosevelt, the newly elected president of the US, addressed a nation that was still reeling from the Great Depression. Hoping to ignite a more optimistic outlook regarding that economic crisis, he declared, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself!”
Fear often shows up in our lives when we are at risk of losing something—our wealth, health, reputation, position, safety, family, friends. It reveals our innate desire to protect the things in life that are important to us, rather than fully entrusting them to God’s care and control. When fear takes over, it cripples us emotionally and saps us spiritually. We’re afraid to tell others about Christ, to extend our lives and resources for the benefit of others, or to venture into new territory. A fearful spirit is more vulnerable to the enemy, who tempts us to compromise biblical convictions and to take matters into our own hands.
The remedy for fear, of course, is trust in our Creator. Only when we trust the reality of God’s presence, power, protection, and provision for our lives can we share the joy of the psalmist, who said, “I sought the Lord, and He heard me, and delivered me from all my fears” (Ps. 34:4).
Day by day and with each passing moment,
Strength I find to meet my trials here;
Trusting in my Father’s wise bestowment,
I’ve no cause for worry or for fear. —Berg
I want to speak about fear today; what does the word fear mean?
A DISTRESSING EMOTION AROUSED BY A REAL OR IMAGING THREAT
When a spirit of fear comes over us, it disrupts our life, drains our spiritual strength and clouds our judgment. The Bible says in 2 Timothy 1:7: “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”
In fact, God says, Fear not” 360 in the Bible because He wants us to rely
on Him when fearful times come. Let’s look at the effects fear has:
When the evening news reports, economics collapse, crime and natural disasters, it can ignite anxiety. You may think, “Am I next on the list?”…fear invades
Maybe you’ve experienced loss, thought failure was inevitable, or felt frozen and unable to take the next step in your life…fear paralyses
You may be going through a storm and it looks like there is no way out; you panic, worry and fret at the same time almost feeling like you are losing your mind…fear steals
Jesus died to remove fear from our midst.
“Peace I leave with you, my peace I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” (John 14:27)
“There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear because fear has to do with punishment.” (1 John 4:18)
Jesus said that the storms of life will be present but we do have to let fear ravage our lives; we can trust in God. The Bible says in many places that God is on the side of those who love Him and obey His commands, decrees and precepts. The Bible says that is God is on your side, who then can be against you. The Bible also says that those who are with us are more than those who are against us. And furthermore it says: He that lives in me (God that is) is greater than
he (the devil) that lives in the world.
Friends we have a way to withstand fear when it comes against us…trust that whatever God says, He will do.
"A dream you dream alone is only a dream. A dream you dream together is reality." ~ John Lennon
"We don't accomplish anything in this world alone...and whatever happens is the result of the whole tapestry of one's life and all the weavings of individual threads from one to another that creates something." ~ Sandra Day O'Connor
"Loneliness is the first thing which God's eye named not good." ~ John Milton
"We cannot live only for ourselves. A thousand fibers connect us with our fellow men; and among those fibers, as sympathetic threads, our actions run as causes, and they come back to us as effects." ~ Herman Melville