Marriage, Postmarital, Uncategorized

Marriage, It’s a Team Effort

God loves teams.  The very first team was the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.   Adam and Eve were created to be a team of two and then as children were born, a family team.  God encouraged teams to help Moses of tens, hundreds and thousands.  Jesus had a team of twelve and an even closer team of three.  Many of us love team sports.  Teams work together for a common goal through common values, common methods and a common plan.

When a team begins to fight with or pick on one another, they defeat themselves.   Something I call the Terrell Owens Syndrome is when a team member begins to see himself as more valuable than his teammates.  These types of thoughts eventually lead him to feeling superior by thinking the team needs him, but he doesn’t need the team.  Team members watch each other’s backs. (Think Michael Oher when he was learning the game of football portrayed in the movie Blind Side.)   All teams have their internal differences, but they cannot hold on to these or use them against team members or they will eventually defeat themselves.

If your marriage were a professional doubles tennis team, what would need to change in order for you to be in sync on the court?  If you were a professional dance team, how would you anticipate your partner’s next move in order to move with him?  Surely two minds are better than one and couples who have successfully incorporated common values, methods and plans will realize a greater sense of team.

Encouragement, Prayer

Are You Overconfident in Your “Sinlessness?” III

For over 15 years I worked in the area of marriage and family counseling.  I loved the willingness of the counselee’s to receive God’s principles of relationship in marriage and in family, which would frequently extend to work, local church, etc.  Often the issue was history or a fear of the future.  During that time, I came across some powerful written prayers and recently found myself praying through them once again.  Below are just two paragraphs of those prayers, consider making these words your prayer as we each deal with our own confession of sinfulness.

Dear Heavenly Father, I acknowledge that there is only one true and living God, who exists as the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.  I recognize Christ Jesus as the Son of the Living God, the Word that became flesh and dwelt among us.  Jesus, You are worthy to receive glory and honor and power, for You have created all things and in You, all things have their being.  Father God, You have proven Your love for me, because when I was still in sin and rebellion, Your Son, died for me.  Jesus, You forgave me all my sins and redeemed me from the kingdom of darkness.  All charges that were against me have been nailed to the cross and cancelled; therefore, the devil has nothing with which to accuse me.  I can do nothing apart from You, Jesus, and I declare my dependence on You.

 Father, I choose to give up all attempts to run my own life, putting no confidence in my flesh and I now submit to You.  I trust myself to Your care, as much as I can at this time.  Holy Spirit please reveal to me every area of my life that has been given over to the enemy.  I chose to crucify my flesh and walk by Your guidance, Holy Spirit, not giving in to the desires of my flesh.  I will present my body as an instrument of righteousness, a living and holy sacrifice, which is my spiritual duty.  I choose to humble myself and ask You to guide me to all truth and empower me to live above sin, in Jesus’ name.  Amen.


Are You Overconfident in Your “Sinlessness?” II

Recently I have been finishing up reading through the New Testament.  It was actually the book of First John that provoked the topic of “sinlessness” in my life and for this blog.  John, in the first chapter writes, “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.”  I just sat there thinking, “Am I deceiving myself in any way?”  And then I wondered just how much personal soul/heart searching am I actively involved in?  Verse ten then adds, “If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives.”  That’s a scary thought…

I know theologically my sins were forgiven on the cross over 2000 years ago: past, present and future.  It is by the grace of our Lord that we now walk in forgiveness.  That grace, however, does not grant me permission to freely sin.  But, I also know my potential.  I am imperfect.  I am in the world.  I am saved by grace.  These are important things to be reminded of, i.e., our humanness.  Thanks be to God I John also tells us this truth:  We know that anyone born of God does not continue to sin, the one who was born of God keeps him safe, and the evil one cannot harm him.  We know that we are children of God, and that the whole world is under the control of the evil one.  We know also that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true.  And we are in him who is true – even in his Son Jesus Christ. 


Are You Overconfident in Your “Sinlessness?”

Have you robbed a bank or committed adultery lately?  Have you committed murder or been arrested for a DUI?  Do you lie to your boss about the hours you work or help yourself to the petty cash kept on hand?  These are all examples of “big” or obvious sins and when you and I walk through life for a long time not committing any of these acts but reading about others who do, we can become numb to our own sinfulness.  I know I can.  We might even be lulled into thinking we’re actually a pretty good, sin-free believer.

But wait just a minute.  Has everything you’ve said recently been 100% the truth without minimizing or exaggeration?  Have you stolen from your employer by checking your Facebook account three or four times a day?  Did you correct the store clerk when he made a mistake in your favor?  Have you thought any thoughts today that are less than honorable?  Sin is falling short of God’s ideal and desire for us and unless we actually catch that shortcoming and repent of our wrongdoing we are overconfident in ourself.  Remember that overconfident disciple who said he would never deny his Lord and a few short hours later claimed to not even know Him?  Jesus gave His life for the obvious and the not so obvious sin.  “Lord, help us to see both and respond to You quickly.”

The word of God is living and active.  Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing souls and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.  (Hebrews 4: 12, 16)  Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other… (James 5:16)