My Hiding Place

  1. I so enjoy the feeding of my soul with the Word and Presence of God.  The result is:  He makes slow changes in me.  Kind of like a crock pot. I am filled with God’s Spirit Who produces in me Holy Character of loving others without agendas, joy which is inner contentment, peace, rest, kindness meaning I value others, the goodness of pure motives, faithfulness, gentleness, and self discipline.  He is producing that in me.  This is process is called maturing in my inner man. Practising by intention the Presence Of God in my life on a daily basis.  Learning to hear His Voice, and then releasing control to His Spirit daily. Pausing the Rhythym of my life intentionally so I can hear the quiet whisper with my Heavenly Father. The world might call it meditation or mindfulness. We as Followers of Yahweh, Jesus followers, really had the secret 5,000 years ago because the One who “in the beginning created the Heavens and the Earth” also came to walk with us in the garden of Eden simply because He loves us.  This same God,  even after our early parents Adam & Eve violated His Person by sinning, called out “where are you”. His Heart broken by our sin. The very core values of the Holy Divine Nature reflected in “The Law of God” was assaulted, violated and betrayed by His own creation. And yet daily still He comes. Daily if we tune our inner ear to hear, he still calls, “where are you?”  Often it is only just a whisper.

Here is a quote from a book I have been reading “Whisper” by Mark Batterson. It is so good and has touched my spirit.

A Hiding Place
“Have you ever tried to quiet a loud room? Attempting to yell above the crowd usually doesn’t work, does it? It’s far more effective to shush the crowd with a shhh. That’s the method God employs. His whisper quiets us, calms us, stills us. That’s why chronic noise may be the greatest impediment to our spiritual growth. When our lives get loud, with noise filling every frequency, we lose our sense of being. We run the risk of turning into human doings rather than human beings. And when our schedules get busy, we lose our sense of balance, which (in my physical body) is a function of the inner ear. (In my spiritual life its a function of my inner man)

Can I go out on a limb?
Your life is too loud.
Your schedule is too busy.

That’s how and why and when we forget that God is God. And it takes very little to distract us. The solution? Stillness. Or more specifically, His still small voice.

Silence is anything but passive waiting. It’s proactive listening. And each day God’s voice gets a little louder in our      lives until He’s all we can hear.

If you want to hear the heart of God, silence is key. If you want the Spirit of God to fill you, be still.

The psalmists referred to God as their refuge, their fortress, and their ever-present help in time of need. But my favorite descriptor might be the “hiding place.” Did you know that God is singing songs of deliverance all around you all the time? You can’t hear them because they’re outside your range of hearing, but you’re surrounded by a sonic shield. Those songs of deliverance are powerful enough to break any bondage, overcome any addiction, and solve any problem.

I’m not sure what problem you need to solve or what issue you need to resolve, but my prayer is that you’ll learn to discern God’s voice. When you do, His songs of deliverance can set you free! Quit hiding from God. Hide yourself in Him.

What is one “noise” you could cut out from your day or your schedule this week so you might be able to hear God’s whispers to you more clearly?”

*italics mine

May this encourage and strengthen you as it has me. Take some time to learn and practise the rhythm of God’s Restfulness. Develop the intentionality of putting Him back daily in your inner life and listen for Him to deliver you. Go now, live this moment, this day, this week in His Spirit of shalom, His wholeness, completeness, restoration, renewal… His peace.

 

 

 

Helping an Addicted Spouse

This article was so good I just had to reprint.

How to Help Your Spouse through Addiction Recovery

by Dr. David B. Hawkins

Sadly, studies indicate there is little correlation between what we believe and our actions. This–the absence of integrity–is no more critical than in marriage, where we promise to do one thing and then do another. Integrity is required for a healthy marriage, not to mention healthy relationships in all aspects of our lives.
Integrity requires that our actions match our words. It requires that we do what we say we’re going to do. It requires honesty, determination and solid performance.
Jess is a man who has battled pornography addiction for years. Forty years old and a musician on his church worship team, Jess is viewed by many as a strong leader and Godly man. However, sitting in the pews watching her husband, his wife Olivia is not as impressed.
“How can I respect my husband,” she said recently, “when I know he slips in watching pornography every couple of months? I am ready to divorce him because I can’t trust him.”
Jess sat by and listened, obviously considering what his wife said.
“I don’t want you to divorce me,” he said solemnly. “I want you to give me another chance.”
“But I’ve already given you dozens of chances,” she said, voicing righteous indignation. “I don’t want our children growing up in a home filled with that stuff.”
Jess continued to plead his case, indicating that he had every intention to stay away from pornography. In the middle of his protests, however, Olivia asked a very tough question:
“What is going to be different this time, Jess? You’ve promised time and again and nothing really changes. I know your heart is to remain pure, but you don’t follow through. I don’t see you working any program. I can’t see how anything can change. Good intentions aren’t enough for my anymore. I need integrity!”
With that I suggested to both Jess and Olivia that we critically look at Jess’ life and explore where his weaknesses were. I suggested we talk about what a solid Recovery program would look like so that actions could match intentions.
Here are some of the ideas we discussed:
First, Recovery means working a solid program.Recovery and Integrity is, by any account, tough business. Any addiction, whether we’re talking about drugs, alcohol, sex, food or gambling, to name a few, recovery must include a sophisticated and comprehensive program. You must hate your addiction and love the Lord and Recovery.
Second, Recovery means solid support. Recovery and Integrity cannot be done alone. For as much as we want to be a strong individualist, Recovery and Integrity are lived out in community. Whether you participate in Celebrate Recovery, AA, NA or other program, get support.
Scripture teaches, “Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.” (Ecclesiastes 4:12)
Third, Recovery means solid accountability and transparency. Scripture teaches us that sin hides in the darkness and therefore Recovery means being so connected that others know what we are doing in the secret places of our lives. With others looking over our shoulders, we are less likely to be tempted by sin and more able to live a life of integrity. “Do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but instead expose them… But all things become visible when they are exposed by the light, for everything becomes visible in the light.” (Ephesians 5:11-12)
Fourth, Recovery means solid counseling. Any solid Recovery plan includes wise counsel. We must have wise people available and ready to speak into our lives. We must be receptive to this wise counsel and be ready to follow it. We need to follow the counsel of these wise and perhaps even confrontational people.
Finally, Recovery means solid Bible Study, prayer and fellowship. Lives of integrity are infused with the Word of God. Scripture is “alive and active” and able to transform us. As we dwell upon the Word, our thoughts and lives will be changed. We dare not lean on our own abilities, but rather on the strength of God.
We’d love to hear from you. What has helped you live a life of integrity? What has worked in your marriage to restore balance and healthy connection? Please send responses to me at drdavid@marriagerecoverycenter.comand also read more about The Marriage Recovery Centeron our website. You’ll find videos and podcasts on emotionally destructive marriages, codependency and affair-proofing your marriage.
Publication date: July 12, 2016

Be a Man of Excitement and Mystery

Scripture: “The husband must fulfill his duty to his wife, and likewise also the wife to her husband. The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does; and likewise also the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does.” 1 Corinthians 7:3-4

Thought: Boredom in the bedroom is bad for the marriage. Sex is a lot more than just sharing your body—it’s a journey of intimacy. Figuring out boundaries together gives you great opportunities to seek the Lord’s wisdom, and to learn how to love each other more deeply. God created sex to be fulfilling for both men and women on many different levels. I believe God gave us the incredible experience of sexual pleasure so that married couples can experience what it means to feel like “the finest fruits are at our door, new delights as well as old, which I have saved for you, my lover” (Song of Solomon 7:13) Guys, sex begins in the kitchen, not the bedroom. Be a man of excitement and mystery!
1. Don’t take each other for granted, compliment your spouse. Be specific, instead of saying “You look nice,” say something like “I love the way that dress shows off your curves.”
2. Use physical touch every day. Kiss each other goodbye in the morning, embrace when you meet again, and give each other massages to unwind from a long day.
3. Make small changes to spice up your sex life. Ladies, buy some lacy lingerie that makes you feel attractive and that you know your man will like. Men, light some candles to make your bedroom into a more sex-friendly environment.
4. Send a naughty text. Tell your partner how excited you are to see him or her, reminisce on the last time you spent a night together, or send a sexy selfie. Messages like these can really get your partner fired up!
5. Make each other laugh. Being able to laugh and have a sense of humor can help you cope with the inevitable ups and downs of sharing life together. Tickle each other, wrestle playfully, get tickets to a live comedy show, host a game night with friends, or cozy up in front of a good comedy film.
6. Manage stress. Stress is a normal part of life, but chronic stress causes a spike in hormone that can reduce the desire for physical intimacy. This can cause damage to your relationship. Spend more time doing things that you enjoy. Life can’t be all work and no play; devote at least one day each week to doing what you love.

Action: Sometimes the best thing for a relationship is to stop analyzing the imperfections and simply let go and enjoy one another. Remember that every person, and every relationship, has its flaws. What is important is how your spouse makes you feel and that he or she treats you with respect. Lighten up and just enjoy the ride! Have some adventurous sex!

Prayer: Father, I want to put you first in every area of my marriage and this means first in our sexual intimacy with one another. Lord, it’s not about me, it’s about pleasing my spouse, teach me to be adventurous, open, accepting and putting a smile on your face.

Are You Protecting Your Marriage?

Scripture: “The heart is more deceitful than all else and is desperately sick; who can understand it?” Jeremiah 17:9 AND
“Watch over your heart with all diligence, For from it flow the springs of life.” Proverbs 4:23

Thought: I will never forget when, many years ago, I traveled once a month to market the business I was working for. I would leave my husband for a week, and be on the road, away from home, while meeting new people, attending business meetings and dinner engagements with prospective buyers. There were ALWAYS temptations because of the worldly pressure, wealth and fame. Adultery is not normal in my world and unacceptable in my marriage. Nevertheless, my boss invited me to participate in deceit. I was told, I could” move to “the top of the company, if I slept my way to the top.” No one would know the truth but the man, God and myself.

When we are loyal, we reflect our faithfulness to God. When we are disloyal, we reflect the betrayal of Satan. We live in a fallen world—one that is increasingly indifferent to sexual sin. If we want to live and lead with intention, we can’t be naive. I boldly, yet simply with confidence replied, “If I have to sleep my way to the top and not earn it by my own merit, than I don’t need to be at the top with this company.” We must recognize the temptation adultery poses and protect ourselves accordingly. Nothing will destroy our influence and gifts faster than an affair.

My husband and I have policies in place to avoid danger and to protect our marriage:
 Pray together. We are invested in the relationship we have and we pray together before we leave the house. If you want your marriage to grow and flourish, you must invest in it. This means investing time—dreaming, laughing, listening, praying and crying together.
 Using old-fashioned, common sense. We set boundaries; Do not go out to eat alone with someone of the opposite sex; Do not travel anywhere alone with someone of the opposite sex, not to the library, a museum, or a business meeting. Do not flirt with someone of the opposite sex. Speak often and lovingly of each other, when out in public and around others.
 Consider what is at stake. Put the temptation in perspective. If Jesus walked in, would I be proud or embarrassed with my decision? How do I want others to remember me? What last impression do I want to leave as a legacy?

Action: Marriage is not merely between husband and wife; it embraces a partnership with God.
I truly believe with God all things are possible. Marriages that have not allowed God to be apart of the equation are truly missing out. He’s your biggest fan, and if anyone wants you to succeed and be happy, it is God! So don’t make your life even harder, allow Him to help! Character matters. We must take responsibility for our own actions. Our Father God is counting on us to use the Holy Spirit as our discernment. I believe God will rescue me from anything I ask for. I believe in Him for great things. Are you protecting your marriage?

If your marriage has fallen short or failed, know that God still adores you. His grace overflows upon you. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways, acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.” Proverbs 3: 3.

Prayer: Lord, I will ask, seek and knock. My desire is to fight for my marriage in all situations. I pray for your intervention at all times, so I may remain loyal to You and my husband. If we have a fight, please replace anger with love, and pain with forgiveness. Please restore peace to our relationship. It can happen. Give us rest knowing that Your power is made perfect in our weakness.

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.

A Parents Job

Scripture: “You must commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these commandments I am giving you. Repeat them again and again to your children. Talk about them when you are at home, and when you are away on a journey, when you are lying down, and when you are getting up again.” Deuteronomy 6:6-7

Thought: I took my job seriously as a mom and I taught basic spiritual principles to my children. I wanted them to learn that their actions revealed their value system and God’s commandments. What they do will show what they really believe. “A good person produces good deeds from a good heart, and an evil person produces evil deeds from an evil heart. Whatever is in your heart determines what you say.” Luke 6:45. It was my job to parent my children in the way God commanded me to when he entrusted His children to be mine to raise. A couple of stories that my adult children recently shared with me as a memory that left a legacy in their life was one day we were grocery shopping and my son found $20 on the floor. We really could have used that money and easily walked away without drawing attention. BUT, my children were observing with thoughts of intent questions. After explaining our choices, we did the right thing and took the money to customer service. Shortly after we got home, we received a call from the lady that dropped the money, thanking us for being honest people. That was her grocery money for the week from social security. I felt proud; it’s my job to set an example for my children. “Don’t let anyone think less of you because you are young. Be an example to all believers in what you teach, in the way you live, in your love, your faith, your purity.” 1 Timothy 4:12. Another rule in our house was, no sibling fights and “tattle tails”. When it happened they knew right away that they would both be disciplined; sit next to each other until one was ready to make the first move to apologize, but first they had to wear the “Get Along” t-shirt.

Action: Don’t tell your children, “Do as I say, not as I do”. Instead, teach your children to do what you do. Are you setting a good example for your children and grand-children? It is impossible to give away what you don’t have. Live by spiritual principles and leave a legacy of your life for your children that will honor God. Put God First, it’s about our children. “Children are a gift from the Lord; they are a reward from Him.” Psalm 127:3

Prayer: Lord, it’s not about me, it’s about being obedient to you. Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path. (Ps. 119:105) Please help me to be disciplined as a role model to your children that you’ve entrusted to me. Amen

Encourage with a Smile

Scripture: “When they were discouraged, I smiled at them. My look of approval was precious to them.” Job 29:24 (NLT)

Thought: I like to catch my husband’s attention and then give him a BIG smile for many reasons. This is my way of showing him encouragement, approval, and a love message. Recently, he received “not so happy” news from his doctor; he needed to change his eating habits or else…. He quickly became quite discouraged when he realized how much he had to give up. There were no words of comfort during this time; we both knew what steps needed to be taken. I threw him one of my zzzsmiles that everything was going to be okay and I was in the race with him.

When strength fails and we grow weary and discouraged, we need someone to come alongside us, show understanding, cheer us up, and inspire us to have hope and the strength and commitment to move on. Encouragers bring a beautiful gift and often a spiritual gift when they bring renewal through encouragement.

Action: God created every human to need and seek encouragement. Lori Ferguson from Encourage your Spouse shares that an Encourager Inspires with HOPE, Fortifies with FAITH, Fosters with LOVE, Uplifts with PRAYER, and Supports with ACTION. Marriage is preserved by God’s grace and we need to learn to pass it on. Prayer is the best encouragement tool and actions build encouragement. If you could ask your spouse to encourage you in any area of your life, what would it be?

Prayer: Lord, I ask, for encouragement to seek and believe in YOU for great things. I stand and knock at your door and ask for help to daily encourage my spouse, build him/her up, and stand strong beside him/her in good times and bad. Grant me the courage to act, even if with just “service with a smile”.

Sex in Marriage

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

Marriage Transformation

Scripture: “For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures.” Romans 1:21-23
Thought: After seventeen years of marriage, Beth had learned to settle for second place in her marriage. Between careers, children, social engagements and in-law demands, Rod and Beth often neglect their relationship. She was too exhausted to take an interest in her health and appearance like she had for the first ten years. Rod became a workaholic and this affair with his job created a crisis in their marriage. The two eventually became disengaged, and their fantasy of marriage dissolved to a mediocre life growing further apart through the years. Because of their value system and belief in God, Rod and Beth resigned to hanging in with an increasingly lifeless marriage. This was not a simple matter for them or their children. The very fact that their ideas about love were based on assumptions meant that they never thought through true love in the first place; they just accepted the distance and stereotyped their marriage as many of their friends, “they just didn’t have magic in their love any longer because of life changes.” Rod and Beth’s belief system reflected their reality in their marriage. Rod and Beth did not glorify their marriage as God designed; instead they entered into a vow of fantasy and did not have grateful attitudes for the two hearts He joined together. In Romans 1: 21 – The heathens neither thanked God for His benefits, nor glorified Him for His divine perfection. But they became useless; like the idols Rod and Beth worshiped their, careers, children, social engagements and in-law demands. For the true God, they substituted other idols. Is your marriage oriented vertically with God relationship at the head or are your priorities horizontal in a world’s value system?
Action: A family that prays together stays together. Bring back the “AWE” in your marriage, show affection, be warm and encourage one another. Allow God to transform your marriage union into a connection of love, respect, romance, and spiritual oneness. Nurture your spiritual growth by praying for your spouse and your relationship daily, engage in bible studies together, flirt and laugh with one another. Think about renewing your marriage vows. Vow renewal ceremonies are often more meaningful than the wedding. Renewing your vows will move you toward spiritual intimacy and transform your marriage.
Prayer: Father, I am thankful for the husband/wife you’ve given me. I’ve allowed my life to evolve around the worldly system becoming ungodly to you and my spouse. Help me to mirror your love in my heart with affection, warmth and encouragement. My desire is to have a second chance to renew our marriage vows with the understanding of your true love.