The Benefits of Living Together

Posted by on May 28, 2014 in Articles, Interviews & Articles | 0 comments

Around Christmas time, I was walking Star–my dog–and stopped to talk to my neighbor. I told him how excited I was that this was going to be my second Christmas with Marc. His immediate question was, “So when are you getting married?” Shocked, I said that we were already married. His next reaction was priceless. “Good. As it should be.” Wait, what? Why is it that we presume all young adults who are living together aren’t married? Maybe because less and less people delay marriage until they’re in their upper 20′s and early 30′s. Maybe because young adults in church look (and act) no different from those not in church. I apologize if this is offending anyone or stirring up needless drama. This really is the first time I’ve written on the topic–and this time I’m not wussing out. It is not my aim to judge or condemn anyone, but to pose the distinct question: What does it really look like to do life together in a healthy way? I’m not just talking about living together inside or outside the context of marriage. I’m talking about Acts 2 where the believers lived together and had everything in common (Acts 2:44). Whether you’re single, married, divorced, or living with roommates or parents–it’s a question I find myself asking quite often, especially in the first year of my marriage. I’m totally stealing this from The Sacred Search, a new book by Gary Thomas. In it he says, “God made you a sexual being but commands you to restrict sexual activity to marriage (1 Cor. 6:15-20; 7:36-38; 1 Thess. 4:3-7). At a certain point, for some of you it will become overwhelming difficult, to the point of courting temptation, to delay the marriage that will allow a holy expression of sexual activity” (The Sacred Search, page 84). When Marc and I got married I was scared. Terrified. It is by the grace of God I waited until marriage for sex, and also for living together. It wasn’t because God made me or my parents forbid it, but because I truly desired to have a physically, emotionally, and spiritually healthy marriage from the start. When I say there are benefits to living together it’s because I’ve lived them. Not because I’m making you see my point or telling you what to do. I can only tell you what I am experiencing and what I’m experiencing has been nothing short of a miracle. It wasn’t until I got married that I realized how unhealthy I was living. Through Marc, God showed me it was the way I was living that was causing me pain–and I didn’t even know it. I was living at my...

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Of Dogs and Men

Posted by on Feb 5, 2014 in Articles, Interviews & Articles | 0 comments

So today was a pretty rough day. One of those I’ll remember for a long time.  My son and I put our dog in the car and we took the long drive to the vet. Today would be Hammy’s last day Hamlet is my big black Great Dane. Named for Shakespeare’s Prince of Denmark…(He’s Danish, get it?. It’s a stretch, sure, but tongue-in-cheek enough for me.) If you know me at all, you’ve likely heard a “Hammy story”. If you’ve come to my house, you’ve been leaned on, sat on, and loved on by the big oaf. You’re barked at as an intruder on the way in, but you leave as a friend. He’s protected us. He watched over my little boy when he took his bath.  He barked when we wrestled. He cuddled on the couch. He snored. And he provided big warm hugs on bad days (nothing beats a hug from a big dog!).  He’s been a huge blessing to our family. I really do love that dog. If you don’t get it, you’ll think I’m pretty silly. If you do, this will all make perfect sense. So there my son and I sat on the floor of the veterinarian’s office.  I’d just received my last kiss.  The final shot was administered and we watched as life left him.  The vet and his assistant respectfully left, and I held my dog, and held my boy, and we cried and cried and cried.  The pain in my chest threatened to burst my heart, but instead it overflowed through hot tears down my face. Exhausted, I sat back.  I looked at Hammy.  I tried to reason with myself.  “He’s just a dog!”  But a greater emotion shouted back: YOU LOVE HIM! Then it hit me.  I think this is why God gave us dogs in the first place. To love and care for something less than us, and to come to a significant realization: This is how God loves us.  We are so much less than Him.  I mean, we’re just people, created, fallen, sinful. And He is Almighty God. Creator. Savior.  But He loves us. I considered that when one of us turns from Him, shuts Him out, walks away…that it hurts him.  Not that we can do Him damage, but that he feels that aching pain in His heart for a lost soul.  To risk losing every last one of us was too much!  To die for us, little us, insignificant us…was an easy choice.  I imagine the angels said, “But they’re just people!” I think that if I could take on Hammy’s pain to keep him going away forever, I might consider doing just that.  Reason...

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How To Move On With Your Life

Posted by on Oct 28, 2013 in Articles, Interviews & Articles | 0 comments

One of the toughest questions to answer is how to move on with your life. Why? Because it’s both personal and painful. Unfortunately, it’s a question no one else can answer but you. I’ll never forget a few years back when I sat in my church’s counseling office. I had booked an appointment last minute because my life at that time was in major crisis mode. I never knew when I was going to have a panic attack or how long it would last. But, I remember her vividly. The lady whom I didn’t like or care for much. She was just someone who could see me at the last minute. Not to mention, I didn’t have to pay her an arm and a leg for counseling appointments. It was during our last visit that she told me, “I think you should go back on your anxiety medication and stay on it for the rest of your life!” Or maybe she said “for a long time.” I don’t really remember much after that. She scared the crap out of me. Her words hung over me like a death sentence. *** Recently, I woke up. It was as if a light bulb suddenly went off inside my mind, and I yelled at the top of my lungs. “I reject those words spoken over me by her.” I said those words of freedom loudly and resolutely. It was one of those rare moments of freedom I’ve experienced since that fateful day at the counselors office, and I didn’t want to let the moment go. I want to be free of my anxiety. I want to let go of my past. I want to move on with my life. Don’t get me wrong. I’ve been on anxiety medication before–a few times in fact. It helped me when nothing else did. What I appreciated about my nurse practitioner is that she took the time to listen to me. She didn’t just tell me there was nothing (or everything) wrong with me. When she diagnosed me with Generalized Anxiety Disorder as a young 20-something–it felt nice to finally know what the heck was wrong with me! But. But anxiety medication was never prescribed as a forever pill. It was meant for a temporary fix to help me through my moment of crisis (and I’ve had a lot). *** I’m excited that I am ready to share my story! In my new book, Forgiving Others, Forgiving Me I share the good, the bad, and the ugly about forgiveness and how it took me a really long time to forgive myself. I am no longer hiding. I am a giant mosaic of brokenness, and I’m finally okay with it. I know...

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BIBLICAL PRINCIPLES FOR A STRONG FOUNDATION— Women’s Design

Posted by on Jul 31, 2013 in Building Relationships, Catalog, Christian Living, Discipleship | 0 comments

BUYPerfect Bound, BW, 108 pages See more books of same category: Christian Living Author: Craig Caster The greatest gift we receive through our salvation is the ability to have fellowship with God: to have an intimate, daily relationship with Him.  This is what Jesus prayed for in the John, chapter 17.  This intimate relationship with Jesus is called “abiding in Him”.  As we abide in Him, God gives us the ability to obey Him and do His will (John 15:4-5).     Designed for both small group studies and one-on-one discipleship training, this workbook covers such topics as: •  Who is Jesus Christ? •  How to have intimacy with Christ •  Our transformation through trials •  Spiritual growth and maturity •  Forgiveness and reconciliation •  Spiritual warfare •  Our eternal destiny This devotional will help you develop a daily devotional time, to set aside time to hear from God through His Word (the bible), and to teach you about your faith—the important doctrines and beliefs of Christianity, and God’s wonderful promises to us as His children. Family Discipleship Ministries is a non-profit ministry established in 1994 to support, educate and train the body of Christ to serve the institution of the family. Thousands of Christians have completed their Biblical training classes in marriage, parenting, discipleship and dating relationships. BIBLICAL PRINCIPLES FOR A STRONG FOUNDATION— Young Women’s Design BIBLICAL PRINCIPLES FOR A STRONG FOUNDATION— Men’s Design BIBLICAL PRINCIPLES FOR A STRONG FOUNDATION— Young Men’s...

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BIBLICAL PRINCIPLES FOR A STRONG FOUNDATION— Young Men’s Design

Posted by on Jul 31, 2013 in Building Relationships, Catalog, Christian Living, Discipleship | 0 comments

BUY Perfect Bound, BW, 108 pages See more books of same category: Christian Living Author: Craig Caster The greatest gift we receive through our salvation is the ability to have fellowship with God: to have an intimate, daily relationship with Him.  This is what Jesus prayed for in the John, chapter 17.  This intimate relationship with Jesus is called “abiding in Him”.  As we abide in Him, God gives us the ability to obey Him and do His will (John 15:4-5). Designed for both small group studies and one-on-one discipleship training, this workbook covers such topics as: •  Who is Jesus Christ? •  How to have intimacy with Christ •  Our transformation through trials •  Spiritual growth and maturity •  Forgiveness and reconciliation •  Spiritual warfare •  Our eternal destiny This devotional will help you develop a daily devotional time, to set aside time to hear from God through His Word (the bible), and to teach you about your faith—the important doctrines and beliefs of Christianity, and God’s wonderful promises to us as His children. Family Discipleship Ministries is a non-profit ministry established in 1994 to support, educate and train the body of Christ to serve the institution of the family. Thousands of Christians have completed their Biblical training classes in marriage, parenting, discipleship and dating relationships. BIBLICAL PRINCIPLES FOR A STRONG FOUNDATION— Men’s Design BIBLICAL PRINCIPLES FOR A STRONG FOUNDATION— Women’s Design BIBLICAL PRINCIPLES FOR A STRONG FOUNDATION— Young Women’s...

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