Giving up “Me-ness for We-ness”
Marriage is ordained by God! It was meant to be a Covenant relationship sanctioned by a Covenant God! A Covenant is a sacred vow witnessed by God! For Christians it is the most solemn agreement that one can make between a man and woman! A Covenant requires sacrifice it represents the merging of two lives. The “two becoming one.” This does not mean one gives up their own personal identity. Two strong hearts join together as One! They cleave together not out of neediness, but because of an undying Love & Commitment and the desire to have a loving complimenting companion!
Many marriages are dissolving for a plethora of reasons! Many are and have been “unequally yoked” from the very beginning. Many have embraced worldly concepts and the idea of “what is good for me” takes precedent. It is important to continue to ignite the flames of love, honor, comittment, communication, respect, passion and understanding! Many couples allow marriage to become a secondary priority and treat it accordingly. Slowly, but surely they begin to allow their needs to be met outside the marriage as well! Many have allowed manipulation and deception to embed itself in the relationship that only smothers intimacy! Many have behaved so repulsively towards one another that respect and sensitivity have been cast into the sea of unforgiveness! Many have allowed domestic violence and abuse of all sorts! Many are bound by compulsion and ambivalence that only serves to vamp the very life out of one another… Instead of building a healthy home environment. They build a marital nest of confusion, turbulence, pain and unhappiness. Marriage was never meant to be a competition of wills nor a degrading of one another’s character. Divorce comes about because of the hardness of the heart. Divorce is leaving many casualties!
Life presents many challenges as well as Celebrations! Marriage is about learning how to commit to someone who you can learn to be transparent with. To build and share an ongoing growing, loving, lasting mutually satisfying physical, emotional and spiritual relationship. To nurture, one another and give each other healthy space as well. To have one another’s best interest at heart. To celebrate and encourage each other through the challenges that life presents from time to time. To together live your lives to please God an allow him to use you to spread that love to others! Just think how life would be if this was really the case! God really has a marvelous workable plan for marriage! Instead, God’s design for marriage is constantly being pushed to the background! Too many instead embrace infidelity and alternative sexual relationships and listen to bad ungodly, unscriptural advice…..
If you are at a place in life and you know that your marriage is not all that it is meant to be… Or if you are having an affair either emotional or physical … Or if you never really thought about the vows you made or the seriousness of marriage…. Or if you have let anything and everyone come between you and your spouse… Know it will not just get better on its own. Marriage like anything else of value takes work! You must do something, don’t continue to live in a mystic haze of unhappiness! Repent! Which simply means to CHANGE it! Keep in mind you can only change yourself! Think about it! Had you ever really thought about it; God totally knows what’s up? You are not fooling Him! Start by giving the courtesy that you extend to your friends, coworkers, acquaintances, lover, strangers or whoever else to the one who you supposedly committed to Love, Honor, Trust and……
Again, and I think it is worth repeating that divorce comes about because the hardening of the heart. Here is what the WORD of God says: “And He answered and said to them, “What did Moses command you?” They said, “Moses permitted a man to write a certificate of divorce, and to dismiss her.” And JESUS answered and said to them, “Because of the hardness of your heart he wrote this precept. But from the beginning of the Creation, GOD made them male and female. For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh; so they are not longer two, but one flesh. There fore what GOD has joined together, let Not man separate…” Mark 10
Take some time and really think about where you are going in your marriage? Have you taken a detour? Pray this prayer or pray your own prayer if you are seeking restoration for your marriage! It is your heart that the Lord is concerned with! Not how you make things appear to others. Embrace the powerfulness of TRUTH! It is here you will discover the TRUE LOVE that can only come from being connected to God! Life is precious! You can never ever really be happy when you jump from relationship to relationship without dissolving the former conflict. It just builds up and gains momentum and at some point those issues will appear again. Learn to allow the LORD to purge you from all that Baggage! Give yourself the gift of breaking the cycle of dysfunctional and sometimes generational unhappy relationships. COME OUT OF DENIAL!!! It’s never too late! Commence to commit to discover and learn healthier relational dynamics then actually implement them in your own marriage NOW! Pledge to committing to the building of a lasting, secure, committed, satisfying, realistic, rewarding, marriage where Love, Respect and mutual concern take the helm. And let “Jesus take the Wheel!” Begin to give up “Me-ness for We-ness!
We first want to say Thank You for being our God and our Father! We Thank You Lord, that we have You to come to at anytime, anywhere and in any and every situation. Lord we Thank You for Your precious Son Jesus Christ who sacrificed His life that we may live life to its fullest. Lord, we come in the name of Jesus asking that you would open the pathway for healing for ________ (name of spouse and his wife ( husband) and restore their marriage. As your servant Lord I come realizing that you know what the needs are here. Without saying Lord you alone know what is going on, and all that has ever happened!
Lord GOD, I pray that you will allow healing and reconciliation to take place. That whatever hurts or disappointments they have experienced can be mended through the power of your undying eternal Love and your precious HOLY SPIRIT! We realize Father that they cannot change anything that has happened. But, they can go forth together keeping, renewing and once again honoring their vows. Father we realize that much spiritual warfare is about them. We realize that it wants to divide and separate them. We ask Lord that they invite you into the messiness to bring about order! Lord we realize that ALL of your promises are true. We ask that you endow them with the necessary strength and wisdom to endure.
Father, WE ASK that you would knit their hearts closely together and allow nothing else to come between them. Lord we ask that they both take personal inventory, repent and seek forgiveness for any wrong doing. We pray that they extend love and patience to one another and that the lines of communication, sensitivity as well as understanding are once again opened. We ask that you will allow all the pain, hurt suffering and disappointment to begin to subside. Lord we ask that forgiveness is welcomed by each of them. Lord we ask that you would allow your JOY to flow once again from heart to heart between them. Father, we ask that you direct them as they seek you first in building trust, transparency and both physical and emotional intimacy. Father we pray peace over their household. Lord we Thank You for being who You are and we realize that ALL the power, ALL the honor and ALL the glory belongs to You now and forever, and for this we give you the PRAISE. In the WONDERFUL name of JESUS ….…
Food for thought “Before” and “After” you say I DO.
Pornography is one of the most prevalent social problems we are facing today. There is a great concern in regards to the rate pornography is growing within the Christian Community. It is happening from the pulpit to the pew. The number of individuals and families that have been directly or indirectly impacted is rapidly growing. The issue continues to snowball because to some degree, on many levels it is initially accepted. In some instances it is considered to be a passing fad or on the other hand it is simply ignored. Pornography is dangerous and erodes the moral fiber of one’s character. If you know someone who is involved in pornography please don’t wait, encourage them to get help now! Since it is so readily accessible it can overtake and often consume the life of those who partake in it. Pornography is really quite selfish. It can impair and shatter the life and self esteem of the addict’s spouse and robs the relationship of trust, loyalty, significance and security. It also can cause a carnal spirit to hover over the household which invites much spiritual warfare.
The internet has a plethora of pornographic sites that are launched every day. The images seduce the captive audience of one or more into an underground world of self-indulgent decadence. Seeking fulfillment in strip clubs, compulsive eating and or cyber club. There is much research available to substantiate that it is a growing addiction phenomenon for many. Here are some questions to ask or think about. If you can answer yes to any of these you need to really get help.
1.Do you keep secrets about your sexual or romantic activities from those who are important to you? Do you lead a double life?
2.Have your needs driven you to have sex in places or situations or with people you would not normally choose?
3.Do you find yourself looking for sexually arousing articles or scenes in newspapers, magazines, internet or other media?
4.Do you find that romantic or sexual fantasies interfere with your relationships or are preventing you from facing problems?
5.Do you frequently want to get away from a sex partner after having sex? Do you frequently feel remorse, shame, or guilt after a sexual encounter?
6.Do you feel shame about your body or your sexuality?
7.Does each new relationship continue to have the same destructive patterns which prompted you to leave the last relationship?
8.Is it taking more variety and frequency of sexual and romantic activities than previously to bring the same levels of excitement and relief?
9.Does your pursuit of sex or romantic relationships interfere with your spiritual beliefs or development?
10.Do your sexual activities include the risk, threat, or reality of disease, pregnancy, coercion, or violence?
11.Has your sexual or romantic behavior ever left you feeling hopeless?
12.Are you unable to properly relate to your spouse and there is a physical void in the relationship?
Recently in the news it was announced that we have many teens who are now starting to do what is called “SEXTEXTING.” For too long the subjects of adultery, fornication, immorality, infidelity, incest, same sex relationships, sex outside of marriage….. have merely slid under the Christian radar. This is getting to be a little frightening. This should send us all a clear warning! The porn addict spends endless hours absorbing images of an unrealistic unattainable idealistic fantasy via the internet or videos. It is a billion dollar industry. Unknowingly these images have become their little god. Which really is a form of idolatry. It impacts not only the addict but the family as well just like any other addiction. There are many deeper unresolved issues here. Quite often something that happened in childhood has resurfaced in the addicts mind. The emotional pain has fermented and pornography becomes a destructive outlet. Dealing with someone who has an addictive personality can be overwhelming and or quite devastating. You are really often dealing with an out of control child encased in an adult body. They want what they want, when they want it. It is difficult for them to delay self gratification. They will do whatever it takes to satisfy their insatiable desire. It is often difficult for them to see that they are so unreasonably demanding and controlling. An intervention is constructive, warranted and often necessary in order to begin the path to recovery.
Talking about sexual issues openly will help dispel a lot of the rumors, myths and inappropriate behavior that has gone on and on… Education is key. No one really often wants to really come out and discuss or say; what God has to say, for fear of being perceived as too religious or judgmental. If you are a believer, one surely knows that absolutely nothing happens anywhere or at anytime that God is not aware of. For example let’s look at I Samuel 1. Eli who was a priest had two sons Hophni & Phinehas whose behaviors were simply outright outrageous. They were disobedient, humiliated and slept with the women who came to the Tabernacle for help. The Bible says they were wicked, “corrupt sons who did not know the Lord.” They were warned as to what would happen. They twisted their privileges in order to satisfy their flesh. Eli did not discipline his sons properly. When he tried to correct them they totally disrespected him. They displayed that same disrespect towards God… They had established a pattern of sexual abuse that needed to be broken. But look, on the other hand Hannah had dedicated her first born son Samuel to the Lord! Samuel came up in the very same household along with Eli’s sons. Hannah had brought him to Eli to be his spiritual mentor. Samuel at a very young age ministered before the Lord and grew spiritually. Despite what was going on about Samuel, the Lord intervened and he grew in “stature, and in favor both with the Lord and men.” (For more details of this narrative read I Samuel 1-3) What a contrast.
If you want to break a cycle of abuse, dysfunction or addiction, you have to do something differently rather than what you are already doing. If your “helping is not helping then you are not helping.” Addiction needs to be replaced with a healthy productive activity. It is important that we help subsequent generations not to fall prey to these destructive behaviors. DON’T continue to sweep things under the rug. If you have a problem deal with it! The enemy always tries to subvert and corrupt what God intends. Know that the enemy wants to destroy your testimony and weaken your effectiveness for the LORD!
Absolutely nothing gets by God!
Sexual sin is not a new problem. There is power in the blood of Jesus! Please really begin to ask and seek the Lord’s direction “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not to your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your path.” All of God’s Word is true! Less seminars, workshops, programs and more practical application of God’s Word implemented within our daily lives. All too often when issues arise God’s way for resolve is totally disregarded. Less excuses such as “Nobody’s perfect.” Yes, this is a truism; but God tells us to continue to strive for His perfection! Perfection according to Webster means: 1: the quality or state of being perfect: as a: freedom from fault or defect : flawlessness b:maturity c: the quality or state of being saintly 2 a: an exemplification of supreme excellence b: an unsurpassable degree of accuracy or excellence 3: the act or process of perfecting. God’s perfection brings wholeness! In Him we can become complete! God would not tell us to do something if it were not possible. To be a Christian means to commit to live in the WAY that pleases God!
God really is able! Marriage and the family were created by God from the very beginning. It was originally designed so that He would be the central theme of our existence. Since He created us He really does know what is best. He gave us healthy boundaries so we could learn discipline. So remember what He says in Jude: “But, dear friends, remember what the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ foretold. They said to you, “In the last times there will be scoffers who will follow their own ungodly desires.” These are the men who will divide you, who follow mere natural instincts and do not have the Spirit…
God intended that your physical sexual needs were to be met within the confines of the “undefiled marriage bed.” Otherwise it is like “fire outside of the fireplace.” God loves you so much that He allows you the freedom to choose. It is evident that many choose to do “their own thing.” But, are the consequences really worth it? Think about it! Everywhere you are He is, everything you do or have done, He knows! There is a very significant security available to you when you choose to make His will and WAY your primary concern! Repentance is possible but first one must recognize that there is sin. Sin is missing the mark. Acknowledge any sin in your life! Take some time to get refocused. A conscious that is sensitive to God is precious. You can be set free from any addiction! God has called us to live differently. He has given us healthy boundaries in order to properly satisfy any personal needs which can be experienced within the sanctity of marriage regardless of how young or old you are! He can and WILL fill that void!
God always has a better way but too often the ways of the world have taken His place. Healing and restoration are possible. Set some time aside and be honest with yourself! Stop giving away parts of yourself! Take some time for a spiritual cleansing. Seeking Him through His Word one really can find rest and peace for the wearied soul. God has left us a marvelous wealth of knowledge and examples within His Word to help us to avoid the pitfalls and consequences of partaking in fulfilling the lusts of the flesh. Read the writings of the Song of Solomon its beauty and honesty shows a balanced contrast to the sexual perversions of this age. Begin being consistently accountable to someone for your actions and developing self control which is part of the Fruit of His Spirit. Someone who has healthy boundaries and knows the importance of not walking in the flesh but walking in the Spirit! Prayer and fasting are valuable tools. You can rededicate your life to sexual purity. You really and truly can experience a growing healthy attainable self esteem as a result of walking closer to the Lord.
I realize that this subject will not win a popularity contest. It may even cause a few jaws to drop. But at this point I have come to the conclusion that it is much more important “what GOD knows rather than what people think.” This is NOT about arrogance but about being confident in the TRUTH of GOD’S WORD! Especially when you know that He knows there is “no secret agenda.” My intentions are to shed Light where the darkness continues to keep the people of God and those in the world trapped in its snare. Sex outside of marriage has gotten out of control! Christ lived a sinless life to overcome sin in the flesh for ALL of us! He died a painful death on the cross for us so we could live differently. Too many are more concerned about protocol rather than who to call. GOD TRULY IS ABLE! Help Me Lift His Holy Name! To God Be The Glory!
In a recent Christian Counseling quarterly publication I receive every single article discussed sexual problems. This really confirmed that the problems of this nature are definitely prevalent within the Christian Community. Many shy away from discussing issues that are of a sexual nature. It is quite evident that a plethora of the problems we are experiencing are rooted in improper sexual misconduct.
The Bible has a lot to say about sexual relationships. One of the main problems is that sex is more often than not practiced outside of the sanctity of marriage. God has said it is only within the marriage bed that sex is “undefiled.” Many have indulged in adultery and homosexuality and defiled the marriage bed.
It is of no secret that time after time we see many men and women who fall prey to the pitfalls of sexual misconduct. Not fully realizing that sex outside of marriage is like “fire outside of the fireplace.” It’s dangerous! It will burn your house down! You are setting your self up for disappointment. You see sex outside the confines of marriage simply means; I am not fully committed to you. I need to be with you to see if we are physically compatible. I’ve been hurt before so I don’t really want to get too serious. Or my spouse and I don’t have a satisfying relationship so I’m really glad you are there for me. Or “I need you baby” if you love me you will do this for me? There are so many more scenarios as well… Of course you have not uttered this in words. In the above cases your actions speak louder than words. Many simply do not really know what marriage is all about!
I receive many questions in regards to sexual problems. Many are trapped because they have no where to turn. Many women just don’t want to be alone so they offer themselves sexually, yet are physically unsatisfied. Many have been conditioned ignorantly to use sex as a tool to manipulate. Women who are used for sexual purposes are often thought of as mere objects. Many have been sexually abused causing them to feel low self worth. Many have been taught that sex is no big deal. Everybody has sex and it does not matter if you are married or not. Especially if you are past a certain age or you have already been married. Or if you are not having sex something is wrong with you. You are not normal. But that is not the Christian perspective! You see God gives specific directions. The Bible says “for this cause shall a man leave His Father and Mother and cleave to His wife and they shall become one flesh.”
Sex outside the confines of marriage is dangerous emotionally. Why? It sets you up for possible problems that may not be apparent until much later? This is regardless of how young or old you may be…There is a deeper meaning to sex than the physical exchange. A bonding takes place. There is a magnetic chemical exchange. Within the confines of marriage a miraculous spiritual transaction is taking place! Did you know that scripture tells us “whatever you join yourself to becomes a part of you?” Deep down you must know and feel that something is wrong, but you just can’t put your finger on it. It also shows a lack of discipline. Some people just don’t practice good moral boundaries. They will sleep with anybody! Married or not married! Others have been erroneously taught that it really does not matter. If it feels right we are not hurting anybody! From a Biblical standpoint just know you are outside the will of God! Anytime you choose to operate outside of God’s boundaries you can expect some trouble.
Think about this for a moment. Did you know that if no one practiced sex outside of marriage there would be no one to cheat with? Fewer broken homes! Fewer STD’s! Fewer Abortions! Fewer marriages ending in divorces where people are unable to reconcile their differences! It’s hard to imagine! God has given us His Word to protect us! He has even told us that there is “no temptation common to man that He has not prepared a way of escape.”
A committed married monogamous relationship is the only way that God honors a sexual relationship! He has provided and ordained marriage. You see God has designed marriage as the only proper way a man and woman can fulfill their natural sexual desires. He is not the designer of any other method. If you have been taught or thought otherwise you are fooled. I don’t care what Mommy, Daddy, Grandpa, Grandma, Aunt, Uncle, Friend, Doctor or Foe has said there are consequences! You see it is time out for living in the dark. Especially if you have confessed to be a Christian! It is time to stand up and speak out for what God has said is right.
Let’s HELP this next generation; these teenagers of this 21st century “where anything goes” and begin giving them better morale role models! Let’s open up the lines of communication so they can validate their feelings! Give them a phone and tell them “to call you anytime they NEED you” Let’s HELP them so they do not feel that they have to give parts of themselves away in order to be accepted! Give them more “hugs” less criticism and more compassion and understanding. Less bickering and fighting and more constructive ways to resolve conflict! Just think if it is hard for adults it is even harder for teenagers…
When I went to seminary I was somewhat disappointed, but not surprised that the same problems existed. I learned that sexual misconduct is practiced on many levels. It did not matter that my views were misconstrued as prudish because I know better! Good boundaries should be exercised when you know someone is weak in certain areas. Many Christians have been side tracked by indulging in sexual sin. The Spirit of God is quenched when you operate in a carnal mode. Many operate by using a spirit of seducement which is not of GOD! Remember this is a Spiritual battle. Many honestly don’t realize how they water down the effectiveness of their testimony.
I have seen that people are a lot more interested in talking about people who have a problem with material possessions. Usually the one who really has the problem is fixated on what someone else has. How big their house is or what kind of vehicle they drive? Or how often they travel here or there? It was not Solomon’s material possessions that got him in trouble. It was His sex life! How he ever managed 300 wives and 700 concubines is news to me. Well you see in actuality he didn’t; it is what really destroyed him. In Ecclesiastes 12:13 &14 Solomon says “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter; Fear God, and keep His commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.” For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.” Sex is not something to play with, don’t be deceived by thinking other wise. The employment of improper sex in your life will ultimately lead to some type of dysfunction or some other problem.
I remember jokingly telling my husband years ago that we were going to be looked at, as “there goes that married heterosexual couple.” I am thankful to say God has blessed us with three decades of commitment. This is why I know that by His grace it is possible. We live in a time when 55- 60% of marriages are ending in divorce! This is why I understand that we live in difficult times. The spiritual warfare will do every thing it can to promote and construct distorted views of marriage as favorable. Many couples choose to live together. Many marry and don’t really know what they are getting into! Many marry and have mutual relationships outside of marriage.
Couples are pulled in many directions because of the pulls of sexual freedom. Just know it is a seducing spirit that wants to deceive you. Birth of illicit pleasure can often lead to death of a marriage. If you are married and you know something is not right, please take inventory. Don’t bury your head in the sand like an ostrich! The problem won’t just go away. Don’t front it. Be more concerned about what God thinks! Find out what God has to say about marriage. Begin to take whatever steps are necessary to take back control of your life. Proverbs tells us that you cannot “take fire into your bosom and not be burned.” Earnestly repent and stop indulging in sinful behavior. Run quickly from anyone who comforts you in sexual sin! They will love you to death (which is not love at all) if you have been playing with fire please stop! You will actually feel a lot better when you get things right with God. Remember His blood can cleanse you from all unrighteousness! Just know God is a forgiving God!
Men and women vary in their priorities in the area of sexual needs. Men in general have intercourse higher on their lists of priorities. For instance it may be the number one preference for a man. It may be the second or fourth for the woman. Her first need may be affection. His second may be financial security. You see many often confuse their needs. Affection does not have to always end up in a sexual encounter.
When you properly practice sex within the confines of marriage you can experience true spiritual and sexual fulfillment in harmony. A proper sexual relationship is like “epoxy!” When the two adhesive components come together they form a permanent bond that technically should be very difficult to break. I use this illustration because it visually represents “what God has joined together let not man put asunder.” It is a healthy bond that few really understand. Love always protects it does not suffocate! Begin developing a relationship where you can mutually get your needs met. When you are truly fulfilled you will have no need or desire to indulge in extra marital affairs. You will also have great security knowing that you are honoring God in your relationship!
Sex is a taboo discussion for many. Old wife fables have hindered more than a few marriages. Abuse and cruel punishment rather than discipline have left many scarred. Addicted and coeds with shame! It is often erroneously thought that people who talk about sex have some underlying problem. It is not the talking about sex that is the problem. It is when people misuse or abuse it outside the confines of marriage. It was serious enough that Jesus told the Pharisees that they committed adultery by their thoughts! God is not a God of darkness. Read this passage and allow His Light to illuminate your mind;
“My son. Keep your father’s commands and do not forsake your mother’s teaching. Bind them upon your heart forever; fasten them around your neck. When you walk, they will guide you; when you sleep they will watch over you; when you awake, they will speak to you. For these commands are a lamp, this teaching is a light, and the corrections of discipline are the way of life. Keeping you from the immoral woman. From the smooth tongue of the wayward wife. Do not lust in your heart after her beauty or let her captivate you with her eyes, for the prostitute reduces you to a loaf of bread, and the adulteress preys upon your very life. Can a man scoop fire into his lap without his clothes being burned? Can a man walk on hot coals without his feet being scorched? So is he who sleeps with another’s man wife’ no one who touches her will go unpunished. Men do not despise a thief if he steals to satisfy his hunger when he is starving. Yet if he is caught, he must pay sevenfold. Though it costs him all the wealth of his house. But a man who commits adultery lacks judgement; whoever does so destroys himself. Blows and disgrace are his lit, and his shame will never be wiped away…” Proverbs 6 NIV.
Sex is a dangerous thing to play with. Did you know you actually give up your power? “SEX outside of marriage is what kryptonite is to Superman; it weaknes you!!! You are also operating outside the will of God! It is harder to say “no” than to give in. If you ever give in you must take responsibility for your actions. Abstinence is the proper birth control method that God honors! Repentance actually means to be remorseful for your actions to the extent you don’t repeat them! Proverbs tells us to “TRUST in the Lord with all thine heart and lean not to thy own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge HIM and HE WILL direct thy path ” Proverbs 3 When He says all thy ways He means just that!
God’s Word is our guide for proper successful living. He knows what is best for us! Just know that you are not alone! You can choose to do things God’s way or you can do things the world’s way. Just be ready for the consequences. God’s way gives you PEACE in the midst of a troubled world. Just know living God’s way comes with much persecution an mistreatment. But it’s worth every bit of it! ”THE TRUTH WILL SET YOU FREE!” Every time you choose God’s way you exercise and strengthen His Miraculous Spiritual Power in your life! We as Christians have an ethical and moral responsibility as His children. God says if you truly LOVE Him; YOU WILL KEEP HIS COMMANDMENTS!
God has instilled in all of us a desire for relationship. But we must realize that our true security and significance can only be unearthed and experienced in a relationship with Him. When we embark upon the quest for a partner, we must keep in mind God's principles. One of the main problems occuring in marriage is “being unequally yoked”. One common denominator that is essential for a successful relationship; God must be Lord of both lives! Light and darkness can not have true fellowship. How can a Godly woman expect an unbelieving husband to be subject to God. How can a Godly man expect an unbelieving wife to be subject to God as well. Submission is a humble compliant act. It means submitting to the authority of another. God is a God of order. The husband submits to God. The husband and wife in turn submit to one another. The goal of marriage is to experience the spiritual and physical oneness God has deemed attainable.
In marriage both partners must be willing to give up selfishness for the sake of the relationship, as well as forsaking all others. God does not want us to have a joyless experience. Jesus died so we might relish “the abundant life”, abundant means plentiful, overflowing. He wants our lives to overflow with the fruits of His spirit. They are: Love, Joy, Peace, Long-Suffering, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, and Self-control. Galations 5:22-24 (NKJV). The scriptures says “Wives, submit to your own husbands as to the Lord. For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church: and He is the Savior of the body. Therefore just as the church is subject to Christ so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for it, that He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the Word, that He might present it to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that it should be holy and without blemish. So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church.” Ephesians 5:22-29 (KJV) To walk in the spirit is to be controlled by the spirit. It is the infilling of the Spirit we must pray for over and over and over again. When a wife submits to her own husband as to the Lord the Lord’s order is established in the marital relationship. But remember the husband must be subject to the Lord. When we are walking in the Spirit this type of relationship is possible. God has provided us with a formula for a fulfilling marriage. We must learn to trust that he really knows what is best for us. Now, step out on faith.
We must ask ourselves are we ready for marriage? Are we prepared to relinquish our selfishness? Are we ready to put the other partner’s well being first? Are we willing to share? Better yet are we willing to remain faithful and to partake in the joys as well as long-suffering that life often offers? Are we truly ready to spend the remainder of our life with this person? If you can answer yes to these questions, it is quite possible you are ready?
In this 21st century more than 55% of marriages end in divorce. Divorce is taking too many casualties! It is important to take some time and really ponder if you really want to make a lifetime commitment! Divorce and infidelity are raging a battle against marriage! Don’t let your vows just be mere words!
Marriage is the oldest institution there is. God created it to be Beautiful and last for a lifetime! Think long and hard before you presumptuously commit to Marriage. Planning for a wedding is so very exciting! It should be a wonderful magnificent, memorable and breathtaking grand occasion whether its large or small! All too often it is the idea of all the exciting Showers, Parties, Celebrations and activities that many have come to enjoy rather the marriage itself! A committed marriage takes a lot of work, it does not just happen! Make sure that you have thought about the future as well. I have found more often than not the last thing a couple wants to hear while planning to marry is are you sure?
Marriage between a man and a woman is the ultimate commitment of Love! Because of the alarming number of marriages ending in divorce and resulting in infidelity, I wrote this quick easy read premarital guide that takes less than a half an hour to read! Look and listen to the news! I have heard too many couples say “I never thought about that?” If I only would have known! You do not want a life of heartache! First know you cannot change this person you want to marry! Ask you self; Do you want to wake up to this person every morning for the rest of your life? Are you willing to work through life’s challenges and do what is best for the marriage? Are you ready to close the door on all other sexual partners? Each marriage is totally different. But the same basic principles are true! Together you have the opportunity to build a unique relationship that mutually suits your temperaments! Think long and hard? Take some SERIOUS time and really think about if you are ready to say yes to a lifetime commitment! If you are I wish you a Loving, eventful, committed, lifelong, happy, God-centered marriage, “What God has joined together let not man put asunder.”
Counselor & Counseling
Gary Collins has written a comprehensive counseling guide to assist Christian leaders. The author commences each chapter presenting a case history and biblical information to assist the reader with a biblical perspective of the discussion at hand. It is a valuable resource guide for professionals, pastors, individuals as well as students. It has a plethora of information for those who desire a greater understanding in regards to human behavior. It lucratively incorporates a biblical perspective that is quite necessary for those who desire to be “Christian Counselors”.
In the second chapter of his book the author discusses, “The Counselor and Counseling” He states; “Counseling can be gratifying work, but it doesn’t take long for most of us to discover that this also can be emotionally draining, difficult work.” I find this to be a true statement. Whenever you attempt to help someone you must always be aware of your motives. This will help you to keep abreast of your role. As a counselor one must also be aware of their limitations. It is advisable to inform the counselee of your role up front. This will provide the counselee with the opportunity to make their own decision to further engage in counseling. This also positions them in a posture to initiate control in their personal decision making process during counseling. There is a tendency in dealing with certain personalities that transference readily begins to formulate with the counselor. If not addressed they will relinquish and shift control to you. Understanding the nature of compulsive or addictive personalities will assist you in not becoming bogged down. This can also result in feeling drained. There is a great deal of emotional energy that is expended during counseling. The Christian Counselor has a responsibility to present and adhere to biblical ethics. We do not have the power to change anyone. We are to present viable options to assist one in their quest for emotional resolve. I believe that the counselee always has the right to choose even if it is contrary to what I think? God always allows us the right to choose.
The author states “It always is difficult to evaluate your own motives. Perhaps this is especially true when we examine our reasons for doing counseling. A sincere desire to help people is a valid reason for becoming a counselor.” God is aware of our motives. I believe for one to be an efficient counselor they must be certain that it is a “calling from the Lord” and not just a job. Prayer and continual personal Bible study is a necessary tool for the Christian Counselor. This well help you to keep healthy boundaries with your counselee. As a counselor we must be friendly but we should not seek to fulfill our own personal needs. The responsible counselor realizes that their counselee has a need for a professional relationship. The Counselor will help them pinpoint the problem locale and seek to assist in alleviating immediate areas of stress. Although the counselor must be friendly and compassionate they must remain objective. A friend is not always the best person to counsel professionally.
The author talks about varying counseling dynamics such as, the need to control or rescue the counselee. Both of these are dynamics that need to be examined. I personally believe as stated earlier in the counselee’s right to make their own decisions. Rescuing is equally dangerous because we can in fact create an environment where we become part of the problem rather than the solution. Rescuing results in dependency. Dependency results in enabling. The healthy counseling environment should never resort to manipulation. In some cases it is not until you further investigate that one discovers dependency tendencies. Some problem areas may be systemic and need the attention of a specialist. A ready willingness to refer the counselee should be embraced. Again the priority is to help the counselee. A competent counselor should make a conscious decision to keep the environment safe for both the counselor and counselee. I believe the Christian Counselor must be committed to Godly principles. The author states, “Counseling sessions are not likely to be effective if the counselor has a need to manipulate others, to atone for guilt, to please some authority figure, to express hostility, to resolve sexual conflicts, or to prove that he or she is intellectually capable, spiritually mature, and psychologically stable.” When the counselor examines and applies Godly principles this will keep them in check of who is in charge and where their obligation resides. The counselor must always seek to resolve any of their personal behavior issues; but not in the context of a session with their counselee. “Healing ultimately comes from God and a counselor is one of the many instruments used to facilitate the process.
As counselors we should ask ourselves “Why do we counsel?” The author states “Emotional over involvement can cause the counselor to lose objectivity, and this in turn reduces counseling effectiveness” I agree. As a Counselor we are to be involved. We should also be compassionate but not to the degree we loose our objectivity. We do this when we discipline ourselves to incorporate proper time constraints and practice proper guidelines. It is most helpful to let them know that you are a person with shortcomings as well. When I don’t have an answer I just simply tell them “I don’t know.” Then suggest perhaps either or both of us could further investigate information that would enhance and enlighten. I have adopted and freely share the thought “We are all becoming. We never arrive. Life is a continual growing process and when we have learned what the lord wants us to learn we ultimately go home to Him!” Again this is why the scriptures are so important when we desire to counsel. I firmly believe that counseling is a “Ministry”. The scriptures tell us that Jesus is a “Wonderful Counselor.” He is our only perfect example! I agree with the author that expresses “we are His agents doing His work, representing Him. His Holy Spirit is our Comforter and Guide and will lead us to deliver those He has brought to us for help.”
I believe that the Holy Spirit will alert you when a counselee may not have the proper intent. The author states “Regretfully this does not always happen. Some counselees have a conscious or unconscious desire to manipulate, frustrate, or not cooperate. This is a difficult discovery for the counselor who wants to succeed and whose success chiefly comes when people change.” People will often mistake meekness for weakness. They will misinterpret your desire to help. They can see this as an opportunity to manipulate you. That is why you must know that your intentions as a Counselor are honorable. (I learned a great deal working with the homeless.) Quite often there are those who can not financially afford counseling. I have found it important that they realize the value of my time even when it is a very minimal fee or pro bono arrangement. This is not to put myself in a superior position. It is because I have learned that there are those who will “help themselves to you, if you let them.” People do not respect what they do not value. This is why we must always keep and reinforce healthy boundaries. Counseling is often a plea for attention. I have a known case that taught me a very valuable lesson. In my attempt to mentor and counsel I had a scenario that almost got out of hand. It became quite clear to me that this person was trying to control me. They became very demanding. I calmly told them that it would not be a good idea to continue. That they needed help beyond my capacity to help them. I did find out that this person had extensive psychological problems. They appeared to be very sweet. This person initially approached me. They also attended my church. Keep in mind I had learned a great deal of information about this person in counseling. I had also committed not to share anything about them or anyone else unless they resulted to violent or suicidal behavior. They decided that they were going to make my worship environment a difficult place for me. To some degree they were successful. The church was already in an uproar for a number of reasons. However, I stayed before the Lord in prayer. I could not go to the pastor because she had his ear. I later learned she had a lot of information on many members including the pastor. She was an expert at manipulation. To make a long story short I have learned that people will believe almost anything; even in an environment that is supposed to be spiritual. You must continually pray for direction. When your helping is not helping you need to know when to refer them. I have a sign in the office that says “Character is who you are when nobody but God is watching.”
As a Counselor we must uphold Godly principles. We must not support or condone improper morals or conduct. We must learn to balance counseling, prayer, meditation and our personal life in order to prevent burnout. This is true of any profession for a Christian. I make a sincere attempt to help those who the Lord puts in my path. I continue to evaluate, read, take classes, attend workshops and listen to tapes that help my continued growth and education. I take very seriously my responsibility to minister via counseling. I will not compromise my commitment to the Lord or jeopardize the peace He has given me. My partner and spouse are my supporter and encourager. He helps keep me grounded. Collins concludes the chapter stating, “The Bible describes Jesus Christ as the Wonderful Counselor. He is the counselor’s counselor –ever available to encourage, direct and give wisdom to human people helpers.” It is my belief that all Scripture is the infallible Word of God! God is awesome! “To much is given much is required.” God does not entrust us with anything that we are not able to handle. When we finish our life’s quest we have to answer to God! God holds us accountable for our actions. A proper relationship with God is crucial in maintaining an effective counseling ministry.