THE FAITH PRIORITY

THE FAITH PRIORITY

I drove over two hours to be with parents of a twelve year-old daughter enduring eight hours of surgery correcting spinal curvature. I found them patiently waiting in a hospital room. Though the extensive procedure was challenging for the mother and father, they demonstrated great resolve of heart. Their character and conduct captured my attention.
Surely the couple faced temptations to worry and fret, but the remarkable reality was they didn’t show signs of fear. Rather, the peaceful mom and dad relied on their faith to overcome any anxiety.
In life, I have seen those who don’t and those who do trust Jesus during times of great stress. Those without faith radiate constant apprehension revealed in their speaking tones, body actions, and facial expressions. Those with a strong and sure dependence on Christ deal with their challenges by a sense of calm that is powerfully evident.
Here is a family priority: The family that makes faith in God important as a daily way of life develops character and conduct. As a result, when difficult times and fearful moments stare them in the face, they are prepared. The family, who relies on faith in God as their top priority, finds His peace on stormy days.

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Gospelize Your Family.

Did I invent a new word – Gospelize? I don’t know.

But I do know that the Gospel means good news. Since the condition of many families runs like an afternoon soap opera, I think households need some good news from the drama of life.

The problem with families and the Gospel is that masses of homes do not regard all of God’s Gospel as good news. Multitudes limit the Gospel as their ticket to heaven. Such families genuinely want Jesus to save them, but that”s where it stops. The idea that Christ intends for every aspect of life to be defined by His Gospel remains foreign to them.

Much of the problem with family is limiting the  greatness of the Gospel, and this is not initially their fault. Often Christians have been drawn into the “get saved out of hell and get saved into heaven” as the only meaning behind the Gospel. Preachers and churches are responsible for the very limited view of how to grasp God’s good news. Spiritual leaders offer their people the extent of what they know and learn. If their training did not provide appreciation for the vast and powerful themes of the Gospel, then they bring to the table a partial serving. The listeners suffer for it.

Add to that reality the truth that households may hesitate for God to become that which defines their daily lives. For them, the Gospel is spelled with little tiny letters. Jesus is Savior, but not Lord. These kinds of thoughts produce a faulty Gospel for a faulty family.

I plead with husbands and fathers, wives and mothers, and children to change. See God’s Gospel as good news all the time – 24/7/365. Stop prohibiting the God of all glory from reigning in His magnificence in every detail of home life. When difficult issues flair up, return to living the Gospel ASAP.

The Gospel of Jesus Christ is good news for every situation for every moment. As a family member, start Gospelizing your home. Don’t wait until others decide. The spreading of good news begins with one family member. Love, joy, peace, faith, hope exist for the believer to share. Be His ambassador for your household. Let the glorious Gospel flow from you and be His living, breathing representative in the home for good news.

Gospelize your family.

by Dr. James A. Perkins

The Seven Stages In Marriage

“Down, down, down the rabbit hole.” Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

Being married can seem like a trip to Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland at times.

This is how many love relationships begin. One day, while minding your own business, suddenly the white rabbit of love appears. Captured by curiosity and desire of heart, you follow the beautiful and beckoning creature.

At first running with the bunny is fun, exciting, even exhilarating. Eventually the partnership often leads to a place where you find yourself peering into a large hole. Like Alice, you hop down with the rabbit with no idea how in the world you’ll ever get out again. You find yourself falling and falling into what may seem like an endless black hole. “Down, down, down the rabbit hole you both go. Where it will end? Nobody knows.

What started as a happy lark, and the bright promise of a “happily ever after” life together spins out of control into a relentless free fall into the unknown. You are clueless as to how far the descent before you hit the bottom. You fearfully wonder, “Are we going to make it? Am I going to make it?”

Marriage Reloaded is written to guide you to more than a safe landing. The goal is to provide answers, so that your marriage flourishes and becomes for both husband and wife an exciting adventure in the wonderland of unconditional love.

Let’s start by understanding that married life has stages. As a couple, your union is in reality a relational journey of learning how to love your partner unconditionally. No one necessarily likes everything that happens on this journey. My wife and I did not. You do not or will not. However, the process is inevitable. Discovering the nature and character of love in marriage requires it. As a couple grows in their understanding of love, I’ve identified seven distinct stages or levels that exist in the life span of a committed marital relationship. Though these stages may at first seem like steps down, the truth is the stages can serve as steps up. Are you ready to follow the white rabbit?

Stage One: The “I Do” Stage

The “I Do” Stage is the dreamy world of marriage. It’s like living in a fairy tale. Wedding ceremonies powerfully a justice of the peace or a Las Vegas wedding chapel. It is especially real if months are spent preparing a huge ceremony. A couplfuel what I call “the dream syndrome.” Think about what happens. When a man and woman decide to get married, wonder-filled plans are set in motion. This is true even if the couple simply finds e’s wedding day is often filled with the atmosphere of a “dream-come-true” fairy tale. Why our daughter’s wedding even had an almost life size Cinderella carriage. Her bridal cake continued with the Disney motif. It served as the centerpiece as it proudly displayed a towering Cinderella castle. The recessional song exited the wedding party blasting out John William’s triumphant theme from Star Wars. And we are all Christians!

Many weddings are real productions. Complete with gowns and tuxedos, extravagant foods and music, pomp and design – things done once in a lifetime. We reserve churches and banquet halls for ceremonies, dinners, and parties. We invite family and friends to the celebration event. We spend large amounts of money to finance the whole thing. All these trappings swirl around the central, magical moment when the couple says, “I do.”

Nothing is wrong with any of these traditions, and in fact it is very good. The point to be made is that this beginning stage, the front door of marriage, is like a fairy tale. Why, when the bride and groom leave the wedding, they go on a honeymoon! Think about the word – honeymoon. Even that idea communicates a fantasyland. This is the “I Do” Stage, kind of like Alice or Cinderella and her handsome prince.