Encouragement Makes A Difference in Marriage

Thought: How embarrassing! We were bowling with friends and our families. I was showing off dance moves because I was hitting spares and strikes. On my tenth frame, I was tied in first place and was certain I was going to win. As I took control of my steps and approached the foul line to release my ball, I miss stepped and my entire body falls forward encroaching inside the lane. Game Over! Read more

What Motivates You to Give Thanks?

Scripture: “In everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18  

Thought: Thanksgiving is “a prayer expressing gratitude.” One of the beautiful things about the Thanksgiving holiday is that it motivates us to give a specific time to reflect on the wonderful blessings we all enjoy. While we may not have as many things as other people have, we can all be thankful for friends and family who love us and the life God has given us. As I look back and gratefully recount His faithfulness in my life, my confidence in Him grows. God provided what I needed, guided me through confusing situations, and delivered me from difficulty, hopelessness and temptation. As in Job, I didn’t always understand the tribulation, but I trusted His promise, He wouldn’t abandon me and He knew what He was doing. In all things, it is good to give thanks to the Lord. Thanksgiving is the perfect time to show your gratitude to your loved ones as well as thank God for the divine blessings He has showered upon you.

Action: No matter our situation we can be thankful for what God has done with us this past year and for what He promises to do for us this coming year. Glorify Him in everything. What is your thanksgiving blessing? Restoration, family, health, job, relationships, unconditional love, freedom, forgiveness, second chance, recovery? Celebrate this festive occasion by giving thanks to everyone who’s been there for you, and express your gratitude to Our Almighty God with Thanksgiving prayers.

Prayer: Lord, in everything I give you thanks. I lift my hands in praise for all that you have done for me. Thank you for the splendor of your whole creation, for the beauty of this world, for the wonder of life, and for the mystery of your love. Thank you for the blessing of my family and friends, and for the loving care which surrounds me every day. I also thank you for those disappointments and failures that led me to acknowledge my dependence upon Your mercies alone. Thank you for the men and women who have sacrificed their lives to serve and make this country strong, they are models and an inspiration of your sacrificial love. Give me strength to live another day serving you and not to turn coward when difficulties transpire. Help me not to lose faith in other people but strengthen me and keep me sweet and sound of heart, in spite of ingratitude and meanness. Help me to keep my heart clean, and to live honestly and fearlessly that no outward failure can dishearten me or take away my joy and gladness with You. Open wide the eyes of my heart that I may see good in all things and all people. Bless me with new vision of Your truth and give me the cup of strength to those that are hurting. May I see where you are calling me to share random acts of kindness, Your love to give away. Above all Father, thank you for your Son Jesus Christ, for the truth of his Word and the example of his life, for his steadfast obedience, which he overcame temptation, for his suffering and dying on the cross, through which he overcame death; and for his rising to life again, in which we are raised to the life of your kingdom. Thank you for the free gift of your Spirit, for my salvation. In the name of Our Strong Deliverer, Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, I pray with thanksgiving. Amen.

When Anger Separates Family Members

Here’s How to Reconnect

Do you have a family member you no longer see or talk to? It could be a brother, sister, grown child, cousin, parent, in-law, aunt or uncle. Maybe it was something he/she said or something you did, but no matter the cause, there is a sense of loss.  Read more

Maturity, Go the Extra Mile?

Scripture: Read Ephesians 5: 25-30 …a sacrificial, purifying, and steadfast love.

 Thought: Who’s the More Mature One in Your Marriage? Going the extra mile isn’t always easy. It might look reasonable and mature. But our flesh doesn’t always enjoy doing reasonable mature things. To get better in this area, it’s important to recognize:

  1. I am not the only one going the extra mile. Sometimes couples can take on a “victim attitude”. They recognize their individual sacrifices but completely fail to see where the other person continually steps up. For example in our marriage, I am the planner. It’s easy to get lost in my little details and all the things “I make happen”…and fail to see everything my husband does (especially because he carries his burdens and sacrifices with much more maturity and self-respect). I have realized it comes down to caring differently, not caring less.
  1. What is important to me? Strong couples dream Still the person with more clarity and passion in one area will sometimes need to step out of the boat first. I used to think that just because we share a common dream meant we have to devote the same amount of time and passion to get the dream accomplished. But that’s not always the case. Right now my husband has more free time than I do. I am able to devote more time to the things we need. In the past, I’d make a lot of noise (mostly mental) about his seeming absence and “day dreaming.” But as I’ve learned to listen to his heart, I’ve come to appreciate the proficiency of teamwork, leaning shoulder 2 shoulder and collaborating. Being a good team player means establishing what we care about and then moving on it… even if I am the first one.
  1. We are gifted differently. Sometimes it’s not that one spouse doesn’t want to do something or that they wouldn’t want to be a certain way. It’s just they are wired differently.What the other spouse likes will never be a natural fit for them. Our temperaments are different. God has a plan for your life that involves using your marriage partner to bring your life into balance and pull you towards the center to make you more like Jesus.  We must learn to be grateful for our spouses, just as they are and be willing to extend the same grace we ourselves received.

Action: Marriage is like a mirror, a reflection of the person we truly are. Not the person we wish we could be. Going the extra mile is all about the character of the person walking that mile. Someone said that “prayer changes things.” I know it changes me, because it’s not about me, it’s about the best interest of my spouse. Take the first step and do a duty for your spouse wash or fuel the car, excuse her from grocery shopping, allow him/her to sleep in, start the dream project and don’t mention it. Instead of playing a victim or raising a conflict, talk to Our Father.

Prayer: Dear God, help me to enjoy life with my spouse and submit to each other with sacrificial, purifying, and steadfast love. Grant me courage each day to invest in my marriage, accept the things I cannot change, and wisdom to hear my spouse’s heart. Change me God, help me put you and others first before I put my desires ahead of anything or anyone. In Jesus Name I pray, Amen.

What’s Your Story?

I was pregnant with my third child, when I was baptized. I had given my life to the Lord in 1982. Prior to asking Jesus in my heart, and after 3 yrs of marriage, I wanted a divorce. Do you have a story about your marriage to share? [mk_contact_form style=”modern” skin=”dark” email=”#”]
My husband worked too many hours and was never home. When he was home, he wanted his beer and t.v. He was old fashion. He brought home the money and was king of his home. He expected me to do all the rest. I don’t need to describe my long list of duties as a wife, mother, and daughter-in-law. I’ll just say, I worked long hours too. I wanted more from my marriage and thought I could find something better. I wanted freedom.
Three key principles were missing from my marriage: Boundaries,
Forgiveness, Commitment. Before stepping into the wilderness of darkness God gave me hope with a promise from His word. Galatians 3:20.
Whats your story about when Jesus walked with you? Your story will encourage us. Leave us a comment at www.drjamesgjohnson.org.

Betrayal: When Will The Trust Return?

Scripture: “In everything give thanks, for this is God’s will concerning you.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18

Thought: One night Greg didn’t come home after work. Four o’clock in the morning, Charlotte received a knock on the door. As she opened the door, her heart dropped and she felt like she was going to get sick. A police officer was there to report they had just arrested her husband for breaking and entering with attempted assault. “Oh, my gosh, what has he done”, she thought. Her husband was an alcoholic. There were many nights that she stayed awake waiting for him to come home when she knew he was out on a binge. She worried, “Will he take a cab and make it home safe?” But, breaking an entering with attempted assault, she never imagined he had another woman or would try to hurt someone. When he was sober, he was a quiet, gentle man, who worked hard everyday to support his family. This particular night, he made it home safely in a cab, but after he got out of the cab and started to walk towards the apartment, he fell on the sidewalk and passed out. When he awoke, he stumbled with his keys to open the door, he thought it was his door, but actually, it was a neighbor on the other side of the apartment complex. Greg had gotten lost. When the resident surprised him by swinging open the door to see who was trying to break into their house at three o’clock in the morning, Greg raised his fist to defend who he thought was the intruder in his house. The Bible tells us If you don’t have the gratitude attitude, you cannot possibly be in God’s will (no matter what other great things you are doing).

We are to give thanks because it is God’s will concerning us IN everything. He doesn’t say FOR everything. No, that’s not what we are asked to do. We are not expected to give thanks for what’s happening in the middle of every negative situation. However, we do thankfully acknowledge that our God is in control of our destinies. Greg was released from jail the next afternoon after a hefty fine and charged with a felony. Charlotte cried out to Our Father during her despair and thanked Him that His Will would be done. Within the week, Greg had entered into a rehabilitation center for alcoholics and has been sober for fifteen years. It took Greg falling to his knees before he would surrender. Charlotte gave God thanks IN her difficult time and she forgave Greg for his weakness, pain, and burden he caused the family. God restored her trust, and delivered her with a transformed husband.

Action: Is there something in your marriage where you have been disappointed from a failed promise, or betrayed by your beloved? IN the challenging time, be the mature one, pray and forgive, then give thanks to Our Father who knows it all and will not betray you.

Prayer: Lord, in everything I give you thanks. I confess the anger and resentment I have carried towards _____  for __________________ . I am weak and heavy burdened, my trust has been betrayed and I don’t know if I can trust again. I surrender all to you and pray that my heart will not be hardened, but that our marriage may be restored. In Jesus Name, Amen.

It’s Not Be Right, But Find Right – Criticism

Scripture: “Let those who have never sinned, throw the first stones!” John 8:7; “Stop judging others, and you will not be judged.” Matthew 7:1; “If you serve Christ with this attitude, you will please God, and other people will approve of you too.” Romans 14:18

Thought: Infamy, there was a time I use to belittle my husband and children with disapproval. Criticism I felt it was “my job” to draw to their attention the mistake they were making because it wasn’t the choice I would make or think it would be God’s way. I learned that I was only hurting myself and pushing them away because they didn’t feel they could measure up. There is a time and place for healthy criticism, when another person is living in open sin or engaging in a life style that is not right. It is then that criticism can be healing or redemptive, if it is truly constructive criticism. But for the most part, criticism demeans, degrades or humiliates another, often to make the other critical person look better. Depreciating another to make a point or make ourselves look better is sinful, particularly when the devaluing robs the other of a sense of self worth. Constructive criticism should always be a welcome and wholesome gift if given in a spirit of love. But we have no right to give hurting criticism of another, because this is trying to be a judge over that person, and God alone is our judge. Remember you are not God and should not try to do His work for Him. It’s not about being right, its about finding what’s right, good and uplifting for Father God. Believe God for the great answers to prayer.

Action: Before criticizing your spouse, take an inventory of your own sins and shortcomings so that you can approach each other with understanding and humility. And likewise, if you listen to constructive criticism, you will be at home with the wise. Take time to pray before you speak.

Prayer: Lord, I will ask, seek and knock. I ask for Your help to be constructive with love if You are calling me to act for your glory. I seek Your wisdom when I speak so I may choose Your words, and I knock on your door to show me what is rightfully Your will. Show me Father if my motives are pure before I speak. Amen

Sex in Marriage

Scripture: “Let the husband fulfill his duty to his wife, and likewise also the wife to her husband. Read more

Always Choose Love

Scripture: “Give honor to marriage and remain faithful to one another in marriage.” Hebrews 13:4 Read more

Bless Your Spouse

Scripture: Read Romans 14:19 “So then, let us pursue the things which make for peace and the building up of one another.”

Thought: Blessing your spouse is to speak well of him or her. You can speak well of your spouse to others and you can speak well to your spouse through compliments, words of encouragement, and the small courtesies of life, (which tend to fade after the days of courtship). Blessing your spouse also involves building each other up. Here are a few suggestions from the late Dr. Ed Wheat in his book Love Life.
1. Make a conscious decision never to be critical of your spouse in thought, word, or deed. This should be a decision backed up by action until it becomes a habit that you would not change even if you could.
2. Spend time connecting with your spouse so you can develop sensitivity to the area in which your spouse may feel they lack. Discover creative ways to build your spouse up in those weak areas.
3. Spend time thinking daily of positive qualities and behavior patterns you admire and appreciate in your spouse. Make a list and thank God for these.
4. Consistently verbalize praise and appreciation, and do this in a specific and generous manner.
5. Recognize what your spouse does, but also who your spouse is. Let him or her know that you respect them for what they have accomplished.

Action: How do you bless your spouse and build each other up? Which of Dr. Wheat’s suggestions are presently true in your marriage? Which ones need to be implemented? Take some time today to share a positive quality you see in your spouse. Then with a gratitude attitude, thank the Lord for your spouse.

Prayer: Lord, in everything I give you thanks. You brought _________ into my life to be my spouse. Please remind me not to take him/her for granted, but help me to take captive the thoughts You would have me see and hear to be a blessing to my spouse today.