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Archive for the ‘1 Corinthians’ Category

Therefore I run thus: not with uncertainty. Thus I fight: not as one who beats the air. 1 Corinthians 9:26 (NKJV)

 

Gina Vivinetto[i] remind us to be kind to ourselves and suggests several ways you can be kind to yourself, and feel better:

  1. Change your passwords. Making occasional changes to our routine can be very helpful to get off the doldrums that may set it. As an interesting experience, if you want to build more gratitude into your day, make your password something for which you are thankful.
  2. Do a brain spill. If you tend to stress over unfinished tasks, try keeping a pad of paper next to your bed and to jot down a “brain spill.” As Davis-Laack explains, “Whatever you’re stewing about, put it on paper. This simple strategy relaxes your brain so it can focus on other tasks.”
  3. Treat yourself as well as you treat your BFF. Sometimes we are nicer to others than we are to ourselves. The next time you’re upset or hurting, stop and ask yourself, “What if I had a good friend who was going through a similar situation?” How would you would treat that friend? What emotional tone would you use with that person?  Once you answer, be as soft and gentle and caring with yourself as you would be with your friend.”
  4. Write a sweet letter to yourself. As Kristin Neff, author of Self-Compassion: The Proven Power of Being Kind to Yourself writes, “Research shows if you write a self-compassionate letter to yourself for seven days in a row you reduce your depression for three months and increase happiness for six months.” Save those letters and read them again whenever you are feeling down.
  5. Try a self-compassion break. Neff suggests you give yourself a warm, comfortable hug and repeat these three phrases to yourself: (1) This is a moment of suffering. (2) Suffering is a part of life and (3) May I be kind to myself. As she explains, “Gentle, non-judgmental acknowledgement of our own pain has a calming effect.”

Take care of and be kind to yourself so you can be kind to those around you.

 

Father God, plant your compassion in my heart so that it may sprout out to others and to myself.

[i] http://www.today.com/kindness/gratitude-you-too-11-simple-ways-be-kind-yourself-t52666

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A complete single

But I say to the unmarried and to the widows: It is good for them if they remain even as I am; 1 Corinthians 7:8 (NKJV)

 

Christopher, a young, divorced man told David Lapp[i], “You have to be a secure person, a full person.”  Christopher loved to drink and party, but vowed that he would be a functioning alcoholic.  His wife, Cammi, always said that she would change him, but when it came to alcohol and partying, nobody was about to change him…alcoholism tore his marriage apart.

When Lapp interviewed Christopher, he had been divorced from Cammi for about a year, but after attending Alcoholic Anonymous he “found God.”  As he reflected on his past, he thinks that both he and Cammi entered marriage with deep insecurities. He also thinks that they moved too fast in their relationship: they had sex soon after meeting each other, which, “fueled our relationship to continue.”

As he reflects on his marriage and divorce, he believes that you need to be emotionally “complete” as a person before you enter marriage.  As he says, “You have to be a secure person, a full person. I think really you have to have God in your life and you have to live that life.”

We know that marriage brings a number of benefits in its train – better health, sex, and finances, among others.  The question is, what are the limits of those benefits, particularly for people with traumatic childhood experiences?  According to the Adverse Childhood Experiences Study of over 17,000 people, almost two-thirds of participants reported at least one “adverse childhood experience,” like physical abuse, a household member’s mental illness, or parental separation or divorce (the study identifies ten). More than one in five people reported at least three adverse experiences.

If we are the result of our upbringing, you need to pay attention to such things like your and your future spouse’s physical and mental health, your faith, character and personality, your finances, and so much more.  In other words, be sure you are a healthy and complete person.

 

Father God, help me be a complete person instead of looking to be complete in marriage, by somebody else.

[i] http://family-studies.org/for-marriage-to-work-you-have-to-be-a-secure-person/?utm_source=IFS+Main+List&utm_campaign=32b7a47f24-Newsletter_103&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_c06b05f1ff-32b7a47f24-104541745

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Media Marriage

Let the husband render to his wife the affection due her, and likewise also the wife to her husband. 1 Corinthians 7:3 (NKJV)

 

Jeffrey Dew[i] is an Associate Professor at Utah State University says that the more husbands use social media, the worse both they and their wives feel about their marriage.  The changes in electronic mass media over the past 25 years have been truly amazing.  And because media has become much more interactive and personalized it increases the potential to connect individuals and families more easily and rapidly than ever before.

Drew and his colleague Sarah Tulane conducted a study of more than 1300 married couples that investigated how spouses’ use of television, video games, and social networking websites were associated with their reports of marital quality.  They found that the more husbands used social media websites, the worse both they and their wives felt about their marriage.  To be more specific, women whose husbands spent more time on social media reported lower levels of marital happiness.  At the same time, the more husbands used social networking websites, the more conflict and the higher the level of perceived divorce likelihood reported by both wives and husbands.

One of the questions the researchers had to ask is why husbands’ use of social networking websites is related to their reports of marital quality, but wives’ use is not?  Dew and Tulane believe that it has to do with gendered social norms.  Since research suggests that women use communication to build their relationships more than men do, social media might simply be another way women communicate and connect with others.  Playing video games was only a problem when spouses differed in the amount of time they spent on it.

Finally, when it came to watching television, wives reported being less happy in their marriage the more husbands reported watching television.  This may be a reason why excessive sports watching creates so much conflict in some marriage.

One thing is for sure, as technology continues to evolve, its relationship to couples’ relationship quality will, too.

 

Father, may we not allow anything, technology or people, interfere with our relationship in a negative way.

[i] http://family-studies.org/does-media-use-matter-for-marital-quality/?utm_source=IFS+Main+List&utm_campaign=32b7a47f24-Newsletter_103&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_c06b05f1ff-32b7a47f24-104541745

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Let’s talk about porn – 3

Waiting for the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ, 8who will also confirm you to the end, that you may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Cor. 1:7-8 NKJV)

Joshua Kansiewicz, senior associate pastor of East Coast International Church in Lynn, Massachusetts,[i] gives us four essentials that must be part of this conversation if we are going to make room for the power of the Holy Spirit to conquer this sin in our lives: Filter ourselves, assess the damage, confess to a leader or mentor, and finally:

Use All The Resources You Need.   Through the power of Jesus, there is hope that you can find healing as you struggle with pornography! The good news is that you don’t have to take this journey all by yourself.  Many others, men and women, have traveled it before you.  Here are some resources that others traveling on this road have found helpful:

Books

  • Healing the Wounds of Sexual Addiction by Mark Laaser
  • Wired for Intimacy by William M. Struthers
  • Facing the Shadow by Patrick Carnes (This is a secular resource, but many Christians have found it to be helpful)
  • Omar Miranda***

Websites

  • x3watch.com – offers non-invasive, free filtering software
  • safeeyes.com – offers filtering software
  • freedomeveryday.org – offers resources such as local groups and workbooks for men and women struggling with sexual addiction
  • faithfulandtrue.com – offers access to workshops, books and a podcast by Dr. Mark Laaser

Father God, help me as I struggle to be free from the sin that has entangled me.

[i] https://vitalmagazine.com/Home/Article/Let-s-Talk-About-Porn/

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And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing. 1 Corinthians 13:3 (NKJV)

If we would come across an exercise program that would tell us that in only three minutes a day we could remain in good health, and shape, we would probably be excited and eager to do it.  Well. Leslie Becker-Phelps[i], who writes for WebMD says that we can have get closer in our relationship with our spouse and learn more about them with a simple three-minute exercise.  It can help you get in touch with what is important to you, as well as to learn what’s important to the other person.

While the exercise itself doesn’t take a long time, it would be best if you do it when you can be together without time pressures. Begin by relaxing with each other for a while.  Don’t feel like you have to push through the exercise so you can get onto your next task.  Once you’re ready, here’s the exercise, as described by Becker-Phelps:

  • Sit in chairs facing each other so that you can make eye contact through the exercise.
  • Set a timer for 3 minutes. (You can set it for 5 minutes if you are really ambitious)
  • One of you will say, “Tell me what you love.”
  • The other person will share their response. (Allow the response to emerge from within you rather than searching for an answer. It might help for you to repeat the request to yourself.)
  • Then start over again – in the same roles – with the first person asking, “Tell me what you love” and the other person answering. Repeat this until the timer sounds.
  • Close your eyes and sit quietly together for a moment.
  • Briefly share thoughts with each other about this experience.
  • Reset the timer and do the exercise with your roles switched.

We will continue with the rest of the exercise tomorrow, so you have time to rehearse these instructions and prepare for the rest.

Father God, help us to achieve and maintain the closeness we need.

[i] http://blogs.webmd.com/art-of-relationships/2015/10/get-closer-with-this-simple-exercise.html?ecd=wnl_sxr_101015&ctr=wnl-sxr-101015_nsl-promo-3_title&mb=K2VcbkxhrhREAZ5zC2UpheHnVev1imbCHYS8QQY8uqo%3d

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Now to the married I command, yet not I but the Lord: A wife is not to depart from her husband. 1 Corinthians 7:10 (NKJV)

As we see so many representations of marriage both in print and on the screens, we may ask ourselves how our marriage compares to them; we may even become a bit discouraged.  Laura Waldvogel,[i] suggests we remember three more things:

Your marriage is your marriage. It does not help you to compare your marriage to your parents’, your friends’, or your favorite celebrity’s marriage. What works for their marriage isn’t necessarily the same for yours any more than what they did not do will cause you the same problems.  If you wish to compare your marriage to anything, compare it against itself.  Talk to your spouse about where your marriage was a year ago and where it is today.  An annual marriage checkup is a healthy way to see progress and growth.

The grass is always greener on the other side. We all have the tendency to want what we don’t have.  In social media we often see our friends’ vacation photos, their posts of love, fun, and excitement and somehow we grow dissatisfied with our life or family because we don’t enjoy all those wonderful things they are.  But those same friends are probably not posting status updates about their constant money squabbles or the fact that her husband is not a great listener or the challenges they have with their children.  Remember, we all have areas of strength in our relationships, and we all have areas where we could improve.  You’d do better to acknowledge both, and take any challenges and imperfections as opportunities for growth.

Real relationships have ups, downs, and lots of in-betweens. Everyone has issues, challenges and problems as well as moments worth celebrating and sharing, whether they are posted to Facebook or not.  We need to be able to ignore a lot of the stories of celebrity couples as intended to grab people’s attention and thus sell their story, and not compare our relationship to theirs or anybody else’s.   Thank God for all the good times, ask for His help during the hard times, and commit yourself and your marriage for all times.

Father God, thank you for our marriage.  Keep us together for a lifetime of love and happiness.

[i] https://blog.prepare-enrich.com/2015/09/marriage-media-5-things-to-remember/

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So then he who gives her in marriage does well, but he who does not give her in marriage does better. 1 Corinthians 7:38 (NKJV)

 

The last two questions that philosopher and author of ‘Existentialism and Romantic Love’, Skye Cleary,[i] suggests German philosopher Friedrich Wilhelm would have you consider before you get marry are:

  1. What are your expectations of the marriage? Unrealistic expectations become burdens. “Supposing she loves me, how burdensome she would become to me in the long run! And supposing she does not love me, how really burdensome she would become to me in the long run! – It is only a question of two different kinds of burdensomeness – therefore let us get married!” Daybreak

Here’s a very important thought for serious consideration: “I know that to the mind of a man infatuated with love and thoughts of marriage these questions will be brushed away as though they were of no consequence. But these things should be duly considered, for they have a bearing upon your future life.”[ii]

  1. If you decide to divorce, will you be mature about it?

While God does not like divorce, and it is not best for your children, if you decide to separate be sure to act kindly, lovingly, and maturely.  “And better vow breaking than vow bending and vow pretending! A woman once said to me: ‘Sure, I broke my wedding vows, but first my wedding vows broke – me!’” – Thus Spoke Zarathustra

Among many comments, Ellen White wrote the following:  “Time and labor and prayer and patience and faith and a godly life might work a reform. To live with one who has broken the marriage vows and is covered all over with the disgrace and shame of guilty love, and realizes it not, is an eating canker to the soul; and yet a divorce is a lifelong, heartfelt sore. God pity the innocent party! Marriage should be considered well before contracted.”[iii]

As Cleary concludes, “Nietzsche loved love and thought highly of marriage. Yet, he worried about love’s intoxicating and delusional nature and encourages lovers to balance passion with reason by ensuring that marriage is a strong and meaningful choice.”

Father God, may I consider these questions seriously and carefully.

[i] http://www.huffingtonpost.com/skye-cleary/10-essential-questions-to_b_7699300.html

[ii] Ibid., p. 46

[iii] Ibid., p. 346

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