Sunday, July 28, 2013

A True-Blue Marriage is A Treasure

Hebrews 13:4 Give honor to marriage, and remain faithful to one another in marriage.  God will surely judge people who are immoral and those who commit adultery.
Almost every little girl hopes to grow up, marry the man of her dreams and live happily ever after.  Today, popular culture tells us that if we aren’t happy, just get out and move on to the next one, or find someone outside of your marriage who will supplement by giving you what you need.  Adultery is devastating not only to the marriage, but it hurts everyone it touches. 
God tells us that he wants us to be a living sacrifice in our marriages by focusing on our husbands and honoring them.  Marriage can be a beautiful thing.   One aspect of that is how God can take two different people and help them become one when both are willing to be molded by Him. The contributors on this post have 179 combined years of being married. Here are a few things we have learned by experience and mistakes about keeping honor and remaining faithful in marriage.
  How to Discover the Treasure in Your Marriage 
·         Be selfless
       A strong and happy marriage is a great witness to God’s love.  In I Corinthians chapter 13, God defines love as patient, kind, and never failing.  If we are to love our husbands as God desires, we must not be selfish.   
·         Remain faithful
Being faithful to your husband doesn’t just apply to sex.  It means standing by your man no matter what comes. We are all going to have ups and downs.
·         Communicate
We, women, love to talk, but a strong relationship requires two people listening to each other.  You learn nothing by speaking all the time.  Take time to continue dating each other.  We,wives, generally make the plans, so plan a date night with your man. 
·         Show honor in your speech
 There is a difference between gentle joking amongst girlfriends about married life and criticizing our husbands.  Gentle joking is okay, as long as everyone knows you’re joking.  Imagine how you would feel if your husband spoke about you in a manner that was hurtful or unbecoming to his friends. 
·         Build him up
When we build up our husbands with encouragement, we build up our whole household.   Ruth Bell Graham, wife of Billy Graham, said, “It’s my job to love and respect Billy; it’s God’s job to make him good. God called you not to make your husband good, but to make him happy.”
How to Discover The Man You Can Treasure 
·         Be certain
You will meet many men during the course of your life.  Before you get married, be sure he is the one that you are determined to stay faithful to both sexually and emotionally.  Don’t find a love you can live with, find one that you can’t live without.
·         Know your value
A man who makes you feel anything less than smart, confident, and comfortable with who you are is not worth your time.  He isn’t the one for you.
·         Include God
Your identity is never found in a man- it is who you are in Christ (and that alone) that matters.  A man’s relationship with God will tell you a lot about the type of person he is.
·         Slow down
Take your time to find the right one.  Don’t just rush into relationship after relationship like shopping for shoes:  trying every style on, wearing them for a while and then getting a new pair.  Guard your hearts and your purity. Being promiscuous will hinder your progress even further.
·         Believe
Carry the torch of believing in true love and marriage.  Pray that God will close the door on any unhealthy relationship, and quietly bring you the husband that He has chosen for you knowing that He knows best.  Believe it!
Of course, not every marriage is a happy one.  There are many who are lonely, abused, cheated on, and just generally unhappy.   Ask God to cover your marriage with grace and forgiveness to heal wounds.  If you are being abused, please seek help. God doesn’t want any of His children in that situation.
If you are in a struggling marriage, and need prayer, please email your request to  We will pray for you.
Passages to Ponder:
2 Corinthians 6:14- Don’t team up with those who are unbelievers.  How can righteousness be a partner with wickedness?  How can light live with darkness?
I Thessalonians 5:11- So encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing.
Proverbs 14:1- A wise woman builds her home, but a foolish woman tears it down with her own hands.
Conributors:  Karen Bromby, Monica Brown, Kathy Derda, Jodi Dunbar, Jamie Leary, Kim McClure, Kristy Tolley and Chaminie Wheeler




Monday, July 22, 2013

Cultivate Contentment

Proverbs 14:30 “A peaceful heart leads to a healthy body; jealousy is like cancer in the bones”
I know several people who are currently being affected by cancer.  Some of these people are living with the disease themselves, while others feel the effects because they are watching a loved one fight it.  If you ask any of these people, if they would choose to continue in their current state, or to be healthy, the answer would resoundingly be for good health.  This passage compares jealousy to cancer in the bones, and says that peace is a healthier option for our hearts.  The definition of peace is “freedom from disquieting thoughts or emotions”.  Cancer in the bones eats away at the very thing that holds you up, which will eventually make you crumble and fall.  There is no freedom in that. 
Cancer is formed by just one microscopic bad cell.  Often we have no idea that it is within us until it grows so large that we start seeing the symptoms.  Jealousy can be the same way.  It has the ability to create unsettled, bitter people riddled with doubt and insecurity.   On the flip side, true peace comes from God, and peace reigns when I am content.  Contentment, however, does not just present itself to us, rather we have to strive for it and cultivate it. Being content is a choice. Be willing to accept your circumstances no matter what they are, and you might be surprised to find that by nurturing that one microscopic good thought, contentment can be formed.
The dictionary says that contentment is being mentally or emotionally satisfied with the way things are.  Doesn’t that sound good?  Yet, the world teaches us to acquire, accumulate, and achieve beyond our current blessings.  The hard truth is that pining for things beyond what we have is an affront to God, who cares for us with unbridled generosity. Note that the definition doesn’t mention anything material or physical, but instead it focuses on emotions and mental capacities.  The apostle Paul went through times when he had plenty, and times when he had nothing.  He went through times of freedom and he went through times of imprisonment.  He went through times of persecution, and he went through times when he was doing the persecuting.  He talks of how he found contentment in Philippians Chapter 4.  In verse 8, he says to fix your thoughts on things that are true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, and admirable, things that are excellent and worthy of praise.  This reinforces the idea that contentment  is an emotional matter.
 We have to make a choice.  Are we going to let that microscopic bad cell of jealousy grow, or are we going to cultivate thoughts that lead to peace and contentment? 
How can I cultivate contentment in my life?
·         Keep my eyes fixed on God
·         Calm and quiet myself
·         Make gratitude for what I’ve been given a number one priority in my day.
·         Give thanks and praise for what I have (it’s a lot when you think about it)
Passages to Ponder:
Psalms 37:7- Be still in the presence of the Lord, and wait patiently for Him to act.  Don’t worry about evil people who prosper or fret about their wicked schemes.
Psalms 131:1-Lord, my heart is not proud; my eyes are not haughty. I don’t concern myself with matters too great or too awesome for me to grasp.
I Thessalonians 5:18- Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.
Contributors:  Karen Bromby, Tammy Holtzapfel, and Kim McClure

Sunday, July 14, 2013

A Godly Girl in a Material World

I John 2:15-16 “Do not love this world nor the things it offers you, for when you love the world, you do not have the love of the Father in you.  For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions.  These are not from the Father, but are from the world.”

How can we live in this world and be godly girls?  He doesn’t want us to live in a bubble.    While it would make life a lot easier if we were constantly surrounded by people who share our beliefs, we would be missing out on showing the love of Christ to people.  To do this, our thoughts, beliefs, and actions need to align with His. So, what does this look like?
                Let’s take what this passage states is worldly and compare it to what God wants:
·         A craving for physical pleasure- This includes the need to fulfill physical desires, and wanting your own way.  In contrast, God values self-control.  Needing to fulfill physical desires, and wanting your own way are traits that remind me of children. Little children don’t know that things like having ice cream for dinner isn’t good for you.  When you try to tell them, they throw a fit because they want their own way.  We are children of God, and He gives us knowledge through His word to see what is good for us and what isn’t.  We might not like what it says and throw a fit because we don’t like it, but He’s our Father and knows what is best for us.   A lot of people have the philosophy that whatever you do is okay as long as it “feels good”. This is in direct contrast to what God says.  We need to be able to control ourselves among things that tempt us physically.
  • A craving for everything we see- This includes wanting everything for yourself.  In contrast, God values a spirit of generosity.  In other words, we aren’t to be selfish.  Look up the word “selfish” in the thesaurus and you will see synonyms such as:  egotistical, narcissistic and self-obsessed.  If you overheard someone describing you and they used those words, how would you feel?  I certainly don’t want God to use them when he describes me.  There is a lot to be seen and wanted in this world.  The key word is “love”.  Do we love these things?  When you love something, you want to spend every moment with it.  You allow it to shape who you are.  If you love a material thing more than you love God, this thing will cause you to stumble. Having nice things isn’t a problem, the problem is our hearts. Has the desire to have this thing become more important to you than your desire to seek God?
·         Pride in our achievements and possessions- This includes wanting to appear important, and getting more and more stuff.  In contrast, God values a commitment to humble service.  All things that we have and accomplish are His. He gives us each talents so that we can use them for His glory.  He wants us to dream BIG, but He doesn’t want us to get so caught up in it that we become obsessed with how we look to others.  We applaud our children for great report cards or an outstanding performance, and this is okay.  We want our children to do well, but we need to teach them to have a humble heart when they are recognized for their talent.  It can be tough to keep the balance between healthy self-confidence and being prideful.  It’s important to let our children know that we believe in them, and teach them to do what’s right by setting an example with our own lives as we recognize that our gifts and talents have been given to us for His purpose, not for something to boast about.
           Every day, we have a choice to make.  Will we serve ourselves today, or will we serve God?  This isn’t always an easy decision.  The enemy is sneaky.  He has found ways to smoothly invade many Christian circles by twisting the values of the people involved.  The world and all that it holds and promises will eventually disappoint you, but Jesus Christ will never disappoint. A walk with God is all or nothing.  Are you all in?  Do your actions reflect the things that the world values, or the things that God values?  Think about it.
Passages to ponder:
  • I Peter 4:10-  God has given each of you a gift from His great variety of spiritual gifts.  Use them well to serve one another.

  • James 4:4-  You adulterers!  Don’t you realize that friendship with the world makes you an enemy of God?  I say it again:  If you want to be a friend of the world, you make yourself an enemy of God.

  • Romans 12:2-  Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think.  Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.

Contributors:  Kathy Derda, Jodi Dunbar, Tammy Holtzapfel, Jamie Leary, Kim McClure and Marla     McDonald




Sunday, July 7, 2013

Standing Strong in A Storm

Nahum 1:7 The Lord is good, a strong refuge when trouble comes.  He is close to those who trust Him.

Have you ever been outside when a storm comes? Sometimes, we are warned that a storm is coming, and sometimes they pop up out of nowhere.  Whether you are prepared or unprepared, the natural thing to do is seek refuge:  somewhere where you are sheltered and protected.  Life throws storms at us too, and God can be your refuge. He will protect you and keep you safe if you seek Him.    When a child is frightened, they need Mom or Dad.  Same philosophy with our Heavenly Father, we desire to be wrapped up in His love and protection when we feel scared.
God doesn’t promise us that problems won’t come, or that He will immediately solve them when they do.  We are unfinished products.  He is still working on us, and as storms come and go, remember that God is the author and finisher of our fate.  Let go and let God take over.  Stop trying to get to the end before He’s ready to show it to you.  The recent tornadoes in Oklahoma come to mind. People said that the storm only lasted about five minutes, but it seemed like an eternity.  At times it seems we will never reach the end, but every temptation, and every storm is a chance to choose to spiritually unhook or hold on.  Faith is to spiritual strength as bread is to physical strength.  If you’ve ever gardened and put a seedling out to grow, it might have wilted at first, experiencing shock from being in a new environment.  However, with time, water, some TLC, and a stake to hold it up, it grew stronger.  The stem naturally thickened and stood up to the elements on its own.  It’s the same with us. Prayer, God’s word, comfort from good friends and accepting help from others will help us stand. 
There are many blessings that occur during storms if we are open and willing to look for them. Here are two true stories from contributors, Marla and Lori.
 The hardest thing about a storm is our “loss of control”.  You literally cannot control the winds, amount of rain, when the sun is going to come out, etc.  When I had breast cancer, I had no control over my body.  It was as if it had turned on me, but our Lord and Savior has control of everything.  When I was sick, I knew it would all work out with a peace that came from God.  It can seem like it lasts an eternity, but we must remember that God is on an eternal time clock which is a lot longer than the 24 hour clock that we live with.  His concern is eternal life, and shaping us to be more like Him.  I also experienced a bad storm while I watched my mother struggle with leukemia for six years, forcing my sister and I to make the decision to finally let her go to Heaven.  It was extremely hard, but her favorite verse in the midst was Psalm 46:10, “Be still and know that I am God.”  He already knows how it will end.   My mom was in and out of the hospital for years, but she showed faith more from that state than she ever did when she was healthy.  She attested to that, and she always said that she knew the Lord was using her, and it would all be okay in the end.  My sister and I had my mom’s support cut off and we literally held her as she passed.   I look back and don’t even know how we did it, but God gave us peace beyond all understanding.
Some days, I feel trapped in the storm after our fire.  I haven’t gotten past it yet.  I need to go sit on a beach for a month to grieve all we lost in our fire, but with four kids, there is no time to grieve.  During the year right after our fire, I felt incredibly close to God.  Life was simple.  We were living with everything borrowed down to the towels.  We had 6 chairs, 6 place settings, 6 seats at the table, and very few toys so we had to be creative in our activities with the kids.  My husband and I had agreed that the kids would not see the house until it had been gutted.  We both have images in our minds that we will never be able to get rid of and we didn’t want them to have those images too.  I was 5 months pregnant with kid #4 when the fire happened.  My oldest saw me in the house while the kitchen was on fire, and I was trying to find her.  I wish I could remove those images from her mind.  After our fire, I sent my baby to live with my in-laws in Florida for a while.  It was the hardest thing I’ve had to do as a mother.  When I sent her there, we had no immediate plans of when or how we would get her back.  We didn’t have family in our area, and we had to go to the house pretty much every day in the middle of winter, plus she had some pretty serious food allergies at that time that made feeding her in the hotel very difficult.  That’s when we decided that the safest place for her was with Grandma and Grandpa.  My mother-in-law helped my oldest daughter understand storms with this, “Everyone loves roses, right?  We all hope when we start our day, all we get are the roses, but sometimes we get poked with the thorns.  Every day has more roses than thorns.”  It has been incredibly fitting for all of us.
When we’re in the midst of a storm that doesn’t seem to have an end, what can we do?
  •   Pray for peace.  Ask other praying friends to pray for you too.  This helps take your eyes off of yourself, and lift them to seek God instead.  When we can see past ourselves, we remember that we are not alone and strangely enough, the problem seems smaller.
·         Go to the Bible.  We can find answers to every problem in God’s Word.  Choose to go there instead of throwing that pity party.  Pity parties stir up feelings of anger and resentment that God hasn’t fixed the problem.  These feelings can over take you and cause you to feel alienated, forgotten, and alone.  Those feelings do not come from God.  Fill your mind with His word and command the enemy to flee when you feel that way.
·         Hang on! The storm will eventually subside.  Praise God during the bumpy ride.  This helps remind us that we are part of His plan.  It is only through God’s grace and power that praise in the midst of a storm is even possible.  That is the ultimate proof that He is right there with you in the thick of it, that you are NOT alone, and that He is your refuge.
·         Don’t get so wrapped up in the turmoil of a situation that you forget to talk to God about it. Start your day in prayer, and even when the day doesn’t go as you had hoped, tell Him how you really feel. He can take it.
·         Talk to a trusted friend, sibling, or parent.  Just knowing that they are there for support can be a point of refuge.  Knowing you have people who choose to ride the storm out with you is something to be thankful for.
·         Create a box with strips of paper, containing scripture to give you comfort as you face each day.  Pull a strip out of the box every day and post it on your mirror as you get ready in the morning.
·         Listen to a song that touches your heart, calms your nerves, lifts your spirits and says what you need to say and what you need to hear.  “Praise You in This Storm” by Casting Crowns is a great recommendation.
Passages to Ponder this week:
·         Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding.  Seek His will in all you do, and He will show you which path to take.
·         Isaiah 41:10 Don’t be afraid for I am with you.  Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you and help you.  I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.
·         Isaiah 43:19 For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun!  Do you not see it?  I will make a pathway through the wilderness.  I will create rivers in the dry wasteland.
·         Philippians 4:6-7 Don’t worry about anything; instead pray about everything.  Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done.  Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand.  His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.
If you are in the midst of a storm, and need help finding refuge, we want to pray for you.  Send us an email at and you will be prayed for.  If you have other verses that might be helpful, share them in the comment section below, or if this post spoke to you and you want to share, please comment there too. Let’s encourage each other.
Contributors:  Lori Bowser, Karen Bromby, Monica Brown, Kathy Derda, Maria Kucharczuk, Jamie Leary, Kim McClure, Marla McDonald, and Kristy Tolley