How to Let the Offense Go and Talk Yourself Happy

A great article written by Kristi Watts that was posted on Devotional Daily – it

Recently, I was in a situation in which someone I trusted betrayed me. At a point in my life when I needed help the most and longed to surround myself with safe people, this person not only lied to my face but also took something from me that wasn’t theirs to take. I was so angry that I found myself fantasizing about getting revenge. I allowed my mind to mull over the offense, festering within my heart a deep resentment toward this person. When I wasn’t thinking about the offense, I was talking about the offense. And the more I talked about it, the more my words fed the anger within my soul. My words kept the offense alive and before I knew it, I was becoming angry, resentful, and bitter.

Every one of us has a story about someone who has wronged us.

The events and circumstance may vary, but the pain of being betrayed feels the same. The hurt from the disappointment and the anger from the injustice of it all can make up the perfect storm for a joyless life. In fact, take a moment and think about your own story of when someone deeply offended you. How did you deal with it? Were you able to let it roll off your back and move on — joyfully walking in true freedom and forgiveness? Or did you find yourself tripped up and trapped by the weight of the burden of it all? Well, if your answer is the latter, I get it. So, keep on reading.

Listen, there are few guarantees in life. Taxes, death, and someone offending us are just a few. The bottom line is this: How do we manage it? The offenses, that is. And not just manage it, but truly let them go? Well, I believe the answer is in the how. How do we fully release it so that we can experience genuine freedom, peace, and joy?

The great news is that God gives us the answer to these questions in his Word and lays it out beautifully.

First, we must recognize that talking about the offense keeps the offense alive. Scripture reminds us about the power of our words:

Death and life are in the power of the tongue. — Proverbs 18:21

Words have the power to create, fuel, ignite, and influence how we see, think, and believe. In fact, our very own words can either fuel our faith in relation to the Word of God or they can dampen our faith when we speak out of our negative emotions. The good of life only comes by speaking the good of God’s Word into our lives. The key is recognizing the power of our words. If we can’t speak positively about a person or a situation, then maybe we should stop speaking about it — period. After all, 99.9 percent of the time when we speak negatively about something, we inevitably feel negatively about it. To shut things down, sometimes it’s best to shut things up. As in, shut our mouths.

Second, we’ve got to suck it up and pray for those who have offended us. And not just that — we must use our words to bless them. I’m not making this up, Scripture says so.

Bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. — Luke 6:28

Most of us would agree that it is a thousand times easier to cuss someone out (and yes, it counts if you go off on someone in your head) than to pray for that person. But God wants us to open our mouths and bless the offender. As my mother says, “Do it until you feel it.” Besides, it’s not about whether or not we “feel” like it, it’s about obeying the Word of God. Because here’s the cool part:

Somehow, some way, when we use our words to bless people as well as to pray for them, God supernaturally allows us to see them as He sees them and to love them as He loves them.

And even more important, he allows us to forgive them as God has forgiven us. Why? Because only God knows why people do what they do. Everyone has a backstory. So even when we don’t know their story, we must trust God in the process. It’s choosing to love and forgive the offenders right where they are — just like we desire others to do for us. Just saying.

And finally, sometimes it’s as simple as making the choice to say, “I’m choosing to let go of the offense. I’m going to release it right now. I’m going to hand the offense and the offender over to the Lord and choose not to go back to that negative place by picking it back up again.” Sounds good, right? But what if you say those words with your mouth yet your mind continues to hold onto the offense by replaying it over and over again. This is when you step aside by pulling out the big guns. It’s in those hard places that you’ve got to allow the power of the Holy Spirit to take over. Remember, when we’re weak, He is strong. The greatest part about walking with the Lord is knowing that Jesus Christ is more than capable of handling any situation: anytime, anywhere, and anyhow He chooses to do so.

Allow the power of the Holy Spirit to do the work for you by giving the burden over to Him. When the task is too difficult to bear, it’s as simple as praying, “Lord, will You forgive this person through me? Whatever You need, God will give it to You!” In fact, He’s even given you His mind. Scripture says,

We have the mind of Christ. — 1 Corinthians 2:16

So when those old offenses try to play themselves out in your mind, say, “I cast down every imagination and take every thought captive” (2 Corinthians 10:5), reminding yourself that you have “the mind of Christ.” He’s given you the power to think as He thinks, to know as He knows, and to forgive as He forgives. As He releases all our offenses toward Him into the sea of forgetfulness, we can do the same for others.

So today, take it, speak it, and live it — and talk yourself happy!

 

Lesson from Abigail

Do you remember the story of Abigail and David?

Abigail was married to Nabal.  He was a king.  David was an outlaw who requested help from Nabal.  Nabal refused.  David decided to take what he needed by force.  He was willing to kill for what he needed.  Abigail went to David apologized for Nabal’s behavior.  She spoke to David’s good side.  David changed his mind.  Abigail saved her children.  David went on to be a great king.

Our words have the power to lift each other up…or the power to crush each other.  We need to speak to each others and our children’s potential.  We need to speak to each others Christ like potential…speaking life and hope.  It’s more than just speaking the words.  We need to serve and love each other.   God didn’t just say things…He backed it up by sending His Son to die for our sins.  We need to live in a Christ like manner…to make things better.

With our relationships…we need to stop waiting on them to get better.  We need to say…I will speak life…hope…possibility into our relationships; and then we need to get out of the way, understand that it is not perfect and trust the God will handle the rest.  It’s not easy.  It won’t be easy.  Why doesn’t God make it easy?  God wants us to be close to Him.  He is with us.  We need to be with Him.  And through Him…our relationships with each other and our children improve.

Top Five Sexual Needs

Hi Guys….

We’ve written about sex in marriage before…..mostly through articles from various sources.  I am going to share another article from Jimmy Evans from Marriage Builder Weekly:

Dear Paul,

God created men and women, and God created sex. But he created us with different sexual needs. Friends of ours, Dr. Gary and Barb Rosberg, wrote a book called The Five Sex Needs of Men and Women that detailed these differences.

In researching their book, the Rosbergs interviewed around a thousand Christian couples about their sex lives. The results of these surveys are very revealing. According to their findings, here are the top five sexual needs for married men and women.

A man’s first need is mutual satisfaction. Sixty-seven percent of men said, “I want my wife to be satisfied.” Women need to understand that their husbands want them not only to participate in sex but also to enjoy it. This is tied to a man’s self-esteem. He wants to be a good lover.

A woman’s first need is affirmation. She wants to be appreciated before sex and be told she is beautiful. During sex, she wants to be affirmed by her husband. Like him, she wants to know she is a great lover.

The second need for both men and women is connection. A husband wants to feel as though his wife is focused on him and paying attention. In the same way, women want more than just a physical act that takes care of their needs. They want a total connection of body, mind, and spirit.

A man’s third sexual need is responsiveness. He wants his wife to be interested in sex and to say yes to it. This doesn’t mean she can’t say no or turn down sex. But a wife should realize that constant unresponsiveness to sex feels to the husband as rejection.

A woman’s third sexual need is non-sexual touch. This is hard for some men to understand, but women want soft and tender touch—outside the bedroom. Women don’t want to be groped. Nor do they want every touch to be a prelude to sex. But the more non-sexual affection a husband provides, the more sexual his wife becomes.

A man’s fourth sexual need is initiation by his wife. He wants her to initiate verbal affection, physical affection, and sexual affection. When sex is the woman’s idea, it means everything to him.

A woman’s fourth sexual need is spiritual intimacy. A typical wife wants her husband to be the spiritual leader of their home, to pray with her and connect with her on a spiritual level. This means most of what is sexually important to a woman happens before she gets in bed.

A man’s fifth sexual need is affirmation. Like the first need of the wife, a husband wants to be appreciated, respected, and honored. He wants to feel like he is not being taken for granted.

A woman’s fifth sexual need is romance. This means pursuing her by meeting unspoken needs. It shows her that she is valued and on his heart. Romance tells the wife that her husband is thinking about her—even when he doesn’t have to be.

Men and women are different by God’s design. Husbands and wives are not the same, and both have particular needs related to sex. Understanding those needs is key to a healthy, intimate, and successful sex life.

Two Factors for Great Sex

Hi Guys….

We’ve written about sex in marriage before…..mostly through articles from various sources.  I am going to share an article from Jimmy Evans from Marriage Builder Weekly:

Good sex is always intentional. A husband and wife may be naturally attracted to each other, but that doesn’t mean a healthy sexual relationship will happen automatically. Passion ebbs and flows in a relationship. Romance comes and goes. The honeymoon ends, and when that happens, a couple has to work at it.

Sex is more than just physical effort. The physical element may be obvious, but sex also has spiritual and emotional factors.

The spiritual component of sex: God created sex, which makes it a spiritual act as well as a physical act. Sex requires intimacy, and the greatest type of intimacy is spiritual intimacy.

That surprises some people, but research suggests that the most sexually satisfied people in the world are married Christians. That’s because, for Christians, marriage is more than just a piece of paper. It is an act of the spirit of God.

Many people look at marriage as a type of contract, in which people protect their rights and limit their responsibilities. But the Bible describes marriage as a covenant. Covenant means “to cut,” and in the Bible, a covenant always required a sacrifice. Unlike a contract, it surrenders our rights and assumes responsibilities.

That’s why a covenant is permanent until death. That’s why we promise to stay married for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer, in sickness or in health.

Biblically, every covenant has a seal and sign, and God created sex to be the seal and sign for the covenant of marriage. We seal that covenant by consummating a marriage. Throughout the married relationship, sexual intimacy is the fullest expression of that sacrificial covenant.

That’s the reason the best sex occurs when spouses put each other’s interests ahead of their own. A sacrificial attitude leads to amazing sex.

The emotional component of sex: Emotional connection between a husband and wife is also essential to a healthy sexual relationship. That relationship can become strong through emotional validation.

I once spoke to a man who was complaining to me about the lack of intimacy in his marriage. He mentioned something his wife has recently said to him. I asked how he responded. “I just laughed at her,” he said.

In other words, he didn’t validate anything she had to say. Even if he didn’t quite understand what she needed from him, he should have listened and acknowledged that her words were important. Even if he didn’t agree, he needed to validate how she felt.

Women need verbal affection. They need to know that they are being heard. Instead, this woman walked away hurt because her husband refused to see things from her perspective.

And he wondered why they had problems with intimacy! I told him that he needed to be responsive to her outside the bedroom if he wanted her to be responsive to him inside the bedroom.

Husbands and wives need to sit down with each other on a regular basis and open up with each other. Share. Listen. Talk about how you feel. Become a safe place for each other to become vulnerable. That emotional connection is crucial to sexual intimacy.

Great sex isn’t just two bodies rubbing together. Between a husband and wife, sex is a physical act that reflects a spiritual covenant and an emotional connection. That’s how God created it—and he designed it to be spectacular.

Don’t Stop Short

God may call us to so some big things in our lives, but being obedient to God in the little things He calls us to do on a daily basis is critical.  Too often we fail to or skip over the importance of the little things because they seem so insignificant.  Or sometime we are not sure that we can pull them off, so we end up stopping short of where we know God wants us to go.

The little things we fail to do or fail to see – and the result is less than we planned.  The little things we fail to do can make us come up short of where we wanted to be.  How many victories are we missing because we fail to do the little things or because we unknowingly stopped short of success?  Success could be right around the corner, but you stop walking and never get to that corner.

Little things done consistently from the heart regardless of the situation around you will have deeper and greater impact.   God has an assignment…and plan for your marriage.  It is filled with purpose.  Complete the task.  Press through any obstacle.  Don’t stop short.

Staying the course. Staying strong

Every marriage has seasons of disappointment, frustration, and grind.  Sometimes we bring it on ourselves with bad choices or careless mistakes.  Other times, we’re blindsided by an unforeseen catastrophe.  It’s easy to point fingers during those times.  It’s easy to shut down, stop talking, and internalize bitterness or shame.  But, those moments–when our hearts are broken and we have thousands of words left unspoken–are the very moments that we need to lean into our spouse the most.

This world tells us that love is a feeling that can come and go.  If this is true, then love will fail us every time.  And, it will never be enough to hold a marriage together.  But, this is NOT at all how God defines love.  The Bible tells us that true love is unconditional.  It doesn’t keep a record of wrongs.  It protects us.  It heals us.

God’s true love can never fail us…even so there may be moments we feel like giving up on our spouse and ending our marriage.  Why is this?  We don’t foresee the healing in our future.  We don’t want to put in the work and take the time to get to the root issues.  We’d rather just start over.

But, what we fail to see is that marriage is a lasting commitment that we will always carry with us, regardless of whether or not we move on.  God designed it this way.  It’s not something we can just shake off and forget.

When we marry, we pledge to give every part of ourselves to our spouse.  And, we trust him/her to do the same.  In our world today, this is frowned upon because it means we have to be completely vulnerable and put our hearts on the line.  This is the beautiful mystery of marriage.  When both partners do this to the best of their ability–being naked souls before one another, holding nothing back–there is an incredible, intimate union that forms.  And, the more we pursue God and one another, the tighter the bond becomes.

I think most of us go into our marriages wanting this amazing union with our partner.  But, life gets in the way, and we forget to be intentional with our time.  Our marriage gets put on the back burner, but this is counter to what God wants for our marriage and family.

Our spouse deserves our time and attention every single day–whether or not he/she has earned it.  We give it to them because we love him/her, and we’re devoted to making this marriage thrive.

There will be times when we don’t feel like giving our spouse our time and attention:

when we feel like we’re just roommates,

when we feel like he/she isn’t giving us what we want,

when we don’t feel attracted to our spouse anymore,

when the thought of talking with him/her is exhausting,

when it feels like we can’t do anything right,

when we wonder if the marriage was a mistake,

when we decide to stay together “just for the kids,”

when we aren’t sure if we can trust him/her anymore,

when we’ve fallen out of love with our spouse,

when we have a secret that we’re not sure we can ever share with our spouse, and

when we hate being married, but don’t know what to do about it.

These situations can be hurtful, confusing, and potential devastating to our marriage; however they are not a reason to give up.

We must be willing to fight for our marriage.  It certainly takes both the husband and wife to make it work.

Do those things you enjoyed doing together when you were dating.

Go to that place you’ve always wanted to go together.

Go see a Christian marriage counselor to help you learn how to have a healthier relationship.

Attend a couple’s retreat to strengthen your marriage.

Surround yourself with couples whose marriages are strong.

Pray together every day, and ask God to soften your hearts towards one another.

Increase the physical affection in your relationship, and make love often.

Share what’s on your heart.  Be honest and open.  Don’t have secrets of any kind that you keep from one another.

Remember–as a husband and wife, you have vowed to be each others partner, lover, best friend, cheerleader, accountability, and person to lean on when the other is weak. Marriage is a beautiful, lifelong partnership when we allow to be.  But, we can’t give up when it gets hard.  We must press on.  Let’s not wonder how things could have been.  Let’s do something to make it great.

5 Ways to Make Your Marriage Stronger

We like sharing good articles. Here’s is one that was posted on Kirk Cameron’s website:

By Ashleigh Slater

I once tried to convince my husband Ted that we should apply for The Amazing Race together. I envisioned the ultimate couple’s retreat: world travel, dedicated time away and an array of team-building “activities.”

Ted didn’t exactly jump at the idea.

Looking back, it’s good he didn’t encourage me. If cast, I’d most likely have gotten us lost (being the horrible navigator that I am) and in a fight in some foreign country on national television.

While we’ll never be teammates on the show, I love what The Amazing Race reminds me of when it comes to marriage. I find that most couples who win are for each other. They work together in order to succeed. And I believe that’s vital for a strong relationship.

So how can a couple better embrace marriage as a team? Here are five great ways.

  1. Get on the same page.

Ted and I have discussed what we want the next few years to hold for us. For example, we want to pay off debt and be more purposeful when it comes to romance. What about you? Are you and your spouse on the same page when it comes to future hopes and dreams?

One way you can do so is to brainstorm together. Grab some paper and pens. Individually make lists of what you desire the future to hold for you.

Next, come together and discuss your lists. What items are common? Which are unique? What are some practical ways you can work together to accomplish these things?

  1. Enjoy something new.

I used to not like Thai food. Now it’s one of my favorite cuisines. What brought about this change? I decided to share in Ted’s “joy” of it despite my dislike. As a result, I discovered I’d eaten at the wrong Thai places in the past.

This taught me the importance of stepping out of my comfort zone and trying things that Ted likes, even if I’m convinced I won’t like them. These experiences have not only enriched me as an individual, but they’ve gone far in helping Ted and me grow together.

You can do the same. Maybe it’s not Thai food. Maybe it’s not food at all. Perhaps it’s a vacation spot or a hiking trail. Whether you end up with a new favorite or not, I guarantee you’ll find your relational bond strengthened just because you decided to lay your own comfort aside and share in the other’s joy.

  1. Choose lightheartedness.

We ended 2014 with much coughing and sneezing. A week before Christmas, we were hit by an upper respiratory infection that lingered… and lingered.

Do you know what we did? Laugh. We chose to hear the chorus of coughs that resounded through our house not as an inconvenience that threatened to ruin our holidays, but as part of our end-of-the-year story. A chapter that we decided would be marked by chicken noodle soup and movie nights rather than frustration.

Decide together to approach life with a sense of lightheartedness. While this points to the ability to laugh together, don’t stop there. Also choose to practice a lightheartedness that comes from a heart that’s not weighed down by grudges.

If you’ve kept a list of the ways your spouse has failed, disappointed, or hurt you in the past, determine to let these things go — either personally or, if they’re deeper issues, through the help of a trusted counselor — and decide that you won’t keep a “record of wrongs.” That instead, you’ll strive to not be so easily offended and to do your best to overlook offenses.

  1. Make peace with the past.

Last year, Ted’s blood pressure skyrocketed into dangerous levels. His doctor struggled to bring it down. His meds were increased and he underwent a number of tests. During this time, one of our daughters started breaking out in an inexplicable rash that resulted in multiple trips to the allergist and I had to have several moles removed. It was stressful to say the least.

Can you relate? Maybe the last few years have been rough on your marriage as a result of financial issues, health challenges, or relational struggles. While it’s likely you’ll have to face some of these issues again, determine to make peace with these events. What I mean by that is this: Decide together to see these challenges not just as annoyances, but as opportunities for growth, both individually and as a couple.

What’s one way you can do this?

Sit down together and reflect. Talk about how the struggles wore on you, and also how they made you stronger. Resolve that in the future, you’ll try to face difficulties with an “us vs. the problem” attitude instead of a “me vs. you” mentality.

  1. Fight as allies.

For us, conflict over the years has been inevitable. It’s never been about whether we will fight, but about how and when we fight. We’ve learned that in order to maintain that “us vs. the problem” attitude rather than the “me vs. you” mentality, we’ve had to determine to fight as allies, not as enemies. This means doing our best to work through conflict in a way that serves to unite us and benefit the long-term health of our marriage.

How can you do the same in your relationship?

The next time you find yourself in a heated argument, consider temporarily stepping away from the conflict to give yourself room to calm down and think through the fight. As you do, make an effort to attempt to understand where your loved one is coming from. Also, be sure to consider those things for which you need to offer an apology. Taking responsibility for your part in a fight can go far in facilitating reconciliation and strengthening your team.

As couples we don’t have to win or even be on The Amazing Race to show that we’re a strong team. Decide that no matter what challenges you may face, that you’re in them together.