Monday, June 23, 2014

Long Happy Marriages

Q.  You have written many times about marriages that are in trouble; about couples having very serious problems.  What can you say about marriages that work; marriages that are happy and fulfilling?  What are the ingredients in a successful marriage?

A. There are some long-term marriages in which couples are resigned to continue to live together. These are "survivor" marriages. Marriages in which there is satisfaction and excitement are "creative marriages."
Most lasting marriages include some "survivor" times and some "creative" times.  Even the most creative marriages will have some empty spots or lulls. Also, a seemingly empty marriage may actually be built on deep attachments.
There are many characteristics of long-term marriages. I'll describe the four I think are most important.
1. Couples in long-term happy marriages have an ability to change and to tolerate change. They allow each other to grow and change and they welcome the changes of the past decades.
2. Couples in long-term happy marriages are able to live with unresolved conflict. They accept the fact that some deep-seated conflicts will never be resolved. The marriage will never be perfect. They focus on the strengths of their marriage, not its weaknesses.
3. The third characteristic of long-term happy marriages is trust. Love may come and go during the marriage, in times of anger, for example, but trust is there even during the angry or distant times. Each partner trusts the other with his or her inner self. Each partner trusts that the self will not be ridiculed or violated; each trusts that it will be nurtured and protected.
4. The fourth characteristic of long-term happy marriages is enjoyment of each other.  Couples in long-term happy marriages like one another, enjoy being together and enjoy talking to each other. They also enjoy each other sexually and are affectionate with each other. They hold hands, hug and kiss or give affectionate gestures often. There is a feeling of closeness and affection between them. For more on this subject read Married People - Staying Together in The Age of Divorce by Francine Klagsburn.

“Friends come and go, but a true friend sticks by you like family.” Proverbs 18:24 The Message

Blessings, Dottie

Monday, June 16, 2014

The Red Words in Scripture

Matthew 5:8 Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.

Matthew 5:8 You’re blessed when you get your inside world – your mind and heart – put right. Then you can see God in the outside world. The Message

Matthew 13:16-17 Blessed are your eyes for they see and your ears for they hear. For truly I say to you that many prophets and righteous men desired to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it. NASB

Luke 10:23-24 Blessed are the eyes which see the things you see, for I say to you, that many prophets and kings wished to see the things you see, and did not see them, and to hear the things you hear and did not hear them. NASB

What does it mean to have a pure heart? It’s difficult to imagine having a heart without sin, without self-centeredness, without pride. We can’t achieve a pure heart without Christ’s blood covering our sin. As we daily surrender to him we become more like him. We give up our mixed motives and become single minded – surrendered to Christ. We no longer have mixed motives. A pure heart is single minded. A person with a pure heart sees people with both discernment and empathy.

The Psalmist refers to the need for a pure heart. 
“Who shall ascend the hill of the Lord? And who shall stand in his holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart.” Psalm 24:3-4 ESV

“Create in me a clean heart, O God, and put a new and right spirit within me.” Psalm 51:10 RSV

You have been purifying my heart for the last twenty-four years! I thank you and praise you for this. I am far from pure but on my way. Search me, O God, and know my heart, I pray. Your Word promises we will see God! I have seen you in friends and pastors you have sent to teach me and in the many ways you are active in my life. I do know you in part and I know my knowledge of you will continue to grow. How awesome. We will see you face to face in your Kingdom!

Blessings, Dottie

Thursday, June 12, 2014


Celebrate Fathers
Q.  We hear so much in the media about the short comings of fathers. They may be abusive, absent, emotionally distant, workaholics, self-centered, immature and unable to communicate - the list is endless. Don’t most fathers do the best they can? If so, we should appreciate fathers. 

A.  Father bashing does seem to predominate in our culture. Most television shows picture Dad as either absent, uninvolved or not capable. Rarely is Dad pictured on TV as a central figure in a child’s life.              

We read the statistics that four out of ten children don’t live with their biological father and we become even more critical of fathers. We overlook the fact that six of the ten children are living with their biological fathers. In addition the four children not living with their biological father may see him on a regular basis, may have a very caring step father or other substitute father such as an uncle or a grandfather. We should appreciate fathers.
The break up of families due to divorce is difficult on children. However, fathers seem to receive more than their share of the blame. The divorced father is often pushed out of the child’s life by the custody arrangements or the demands of his work. Most fathers, I believe, want to be good fathers and they do the best they can to be involved in the lives of their children.
What are many fathers doing right? Here’s a list of things to help us appreciate fathers.
1. Most fathers are working very hard to support their family. Many work long hours at jobs they don’t enjoy. Many have jobs that are stressful or physically demanding. Many have jobs requiring travel away from the family. Many work over time, work a second job or work changing shifts so that their family will have a higher standard of living or so Mom can be at home with the children.

2. Fathers have typically been the disciplinarian in the family. Children need to know the boundaries of appropriate behavior. Many Dads set these boundaries with kindness and authority.
3. More fathers share household chores and child care than in the past. For some, this is awkward and seems unmanly as their own fathers never helped around the house. But they are trying to learn to be equal partners with their wife. Men often cut the grass, do home repairs, and handle automobile maintenance. 
4. Most Fathers spend time with their children and play with them. They take children to activities, to the park and to the store. They read to them. They play games with them. They help with school projects, Cub Scouts and Little League.
5.  More and more fathers are learning to show affection openly to their wives and their children. They want to have close connections but have been taught to hide their emotions and “be strong.” This means they must struggle against their prior conditioning to give hugs or to say “I love you.” But many are doing this.
6.  Fathers teach children many things. Fathers teach children how to throw a ball, swing a bat or catch a fish. They teach them, even without words, what it means to be masculine. They teach their children right from wrong and about faith in God. They may even help teach their children the facts of life - probably in more detail and with more clarity about their standards than their fathers did.
No father is perfect. But many fathers are working hard at being a good parent. Godly fathers are a real blessing to their children. This Fathers Day let’s appreciate fathers. Let them know they are loved and appreciated. 

“As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him.” Psalm 103:13

Blessings, Dottie

This post originally appeared on Taber’s Truths, Modern Christian Living.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

The Birthday of the Church


This Sunday June 8th is Pentecost. Most Christians know that the birth of the church occurred on the day of Pentecost, but I suspect most Christians don’t know what Pentecost meant to the Jewish people at that time. Pentecost is a Jewish festival fifty days after Passover. Pentecost celebrats the giving of the law to Moses and two loaves are offered to God in gratitude for the harvest. The Jewish law requires that no work be done on the day of Pentecost. Crowds of Jews gathered in Jerusalem from various countries to celebrate this Jewish festival.

At the Ascension Jesus ordered the disciples to go to Jerusalem and wait. Just wait. Waiting is not easy for most of us but they obeyed. Scripture says:

“They all joined together constantly in prayer.” (Acts1:14)

The Disciples Waited in Prayer
At the Ascension Jesus ordered the disciples to go to Jerusalem and wait. Just wait. Waiting is not easy for most of us but they obeyed. Scripture says: 

"They all joined together constantly in prayer." (Acts1:14) 

There were 120 believers gathered together including the disciples, and other followers, both men and women and Jesus brothers. They prayed for ten days! Perhaps this is a lesson to us that we need to pray more in order for the church to be in tune with and full of Holy Spirit power. 

The Day of Pentecost
On the day of Pentecost the disciples were in the upper room praying. Scripture says: 

When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them. (Acts 2:1-4). 

Hearing the noise, a crowd gathered. Peter preached to the throng of people. He gave a powerful, convicting message explaining that Jesus was crucified, died and rose again. He ascended to the right hand of God and sent the promised Holy Spirit. 

When the people heard Peter's message, "they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, "Brothers, what shall we do?" (Acts 2:37)

Peter replied, "Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off-for all whom the Lord our God will call."

With many other words he warned them; and he pleaded with them, "Save yourselves from this corrupt generation."Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day. (Acts 2:38-41)

As a result, of this small group of Holy Spirit empowered men and women, within a century half the then-known world came to Christ.

There is so much more in the first two chapters of Acts. Read all of it today; learn more and be inspired by the birthday of the Church. And vow to spend more time in prayer and in the Word.

Blessings, Dottie

This post originally appeared here on Faithnotes.