5 Steps to a Unified Marriage

 

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The word “beautiful” is defined in Merriam Webster’s dictionary as “generally pleasing: excellent.” When something is pleasing it brings pleasure, is agreeable, gratifying and also described in Webster’s dictionary as blessed.

We all want a blessed marriage, one that is agreeable, gratifying, pleasing, excellent, and yes, beautiful. But how does one attain all this in a relationship that is oftentimes stressed by the pressures of daily living, unrealistic expectations and differing viewpoints. Let’s take a look at what King David wrote in Psalms 133 when he describes unity as “beautiful” in the Message Bible and “pleasant” in the King James Bible.

“Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! It is like the precious ointment upon the head that ran down upon the beard, even Aaron’s beard: that went down to the skirts of his garments; as the dew of Hermon, and as the dew that descended upon the mountains of Zion: for there the LORD commanded the blessing, even life for evermore” (Psalm 133:1-3 KJV).

This is a very short Psalm, but it packs power in a few words. As believers in Christ, we have the right to ask the Lord to bless our marriages, because of the promises He paid for through His shed blood on the cross. But, what about a blessing that is commanded by God and one that we don’t even have to ask for? That’s a supernatural endowment of prosperity and life upon your marriage straight from Heaven, and with a condition… the practice of unity.

Guarding peace and unity is one of those attributes that my husband, Jack, and I have garnered from the Word of God, from mentors in our lives, and through our extensive training in formal marriage courses.  We know from experience that if we don’t guard our unity, strife will surely spin out of control and cause tremendous heartache in our relationship.

The following are certain disciplines which we practice regularly that produce a harvest of unity.  Consider incorporating one of these into your marriage life and see how it begins to change your relationship and produce good fruit:

  1. Communication: Communicate regularly about daily activities, but most importantly about how each of you are doing in your daily lives.  Don’t consider it a chore, but rather an enjoyable moment with your best friend. Regular communication in this fashion strengthens the bond of friendship that you have with your spouse.
  1. Pray together: Pray together for wisdom and to seek His answers because at the end of the day, His way is the only way. James 3:17 (The Message) states, “Real wisdom, God’s wisdom, begins with a holy life and is characterized by getting along with others (*even our spouses). It is gentle and reasonable, overflowing with mercy and blessings, not hot one day and cold the next, not two-faced. You can develop a healthy, robust community that lives right with God and enjoy its results only if you do the hard work of getting along with each other, treating each other with dignity and honor.”
  1. Repent quickly: Repent to each other and to the Lord when you enter into strife. Strife breaks the unity you work to create and the only way to remedy that is to repent, which means change the course.  He is the compass that directs us back to the peaceful path.
  1. No withholding: Do not withhold yourselves from each other in offense. It’s so easy to build a brick wall and fold our arms in offense. This leads to frustration in a relationship and rapid division. The one offended eventually develops a hardened heart and the one trying to break down the brick wall eventually becomes disheartened with the process, especially if this behavior is habitual.
  1. Forgiveness: Forgive each other quickly when hurt or offended. An atmosphere of humility and grace fosters forgiveness which culminates in unity and peace. I read a clip on a friend’s facebook page that said: “Home is the one place in the entire world where hearts are sure of each other.” Oh I just love that! Being sure of your spouse’s heart brings an ease into your relationship and an eagerness to be together. Proverbs 31:11-12 in The Message Bible says, “Her husband trusts her without reserve, and never has reason to regret it. Never spiteful, she treats him generously all her life long.”

As you master one of these disciplines, move onto the next and see how integrating these simple principles will bring unity and joy to your marriage. Unity is a small word and Psalm 133 is a short Psalm, but both hold an ancient secret that yields a large harvest of pleasure and excellence in your marriage. Simply beautiful!

 

 

Holding Forth the Word of Life

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In the spring of the year 58 A.D., a middle-aged woman prepares to board a ship sailing from the Gulf of Corinth to Italy. She speaks with her friends upon shore who have come to see her off and wish her well. One of those friends is a man, short in stature. He bears the marks of deep thought, of hard study, and of resolute will. This man, as he bids farewell to the woman, hands her a bulky roll of manuscript. He gives her careful instructions as to its proper delivery. She waves goodbye as the sails are hoisted, and the boat glides slowly from the shore. Soon, the vessel is cutting her way across the fair blue waters of the Gulf, toward Rome.

While we do not know the vessel’s name or what kind of cargo she carried, we do know that she had a treasure on board more precious to the world than a shipload of the purest gold. For the little man with the striking face who had spoken with the woman on shore was Paul, the great Apostle of the Gentiles. The woman to whom he spoke was Phoebe, the deaconess of the church at Cenchrea. The manuscript he gave to Phoebe was the Epistle written from Corinth to the church, which was in Rome. It was an Epistle of such consummate importance to the future of Christianity that some believed she carried beneath the folds of her robe the entire future of Christian theology.

Phoebe is spoken of in Romans 16:1-2, where Paul states, “I commend to you Phoebe our sister, who is a servant of the church in Cenchrea, that you may receive her in the Lord in a manner worthy of the saints, and assist her in whatever business she has need of you; for indeed she has been a helper of many and of myself also” (NKJV). Sources state that she was a deaconess of the church at Cenchrea. Her duties were to attend to female converts, helping them get ready for baptism; to visit the sick and those in prison; and to attend to all parts of the church work which were typically completed by women. Phoebe was a woman of action, a woman who served, worked in, supported, and traveled for an apostolic church. She was a helper of many, and she was a woman with a mission.

Do you suppose Phoebe knew at the time Paul handed her his parcel that she carried a masterpiece? Other sources report Phoebe brought Paul’s letter to the room of Aquila, which was located across the river. This area of town was a region full of mean, vicious, and dangerous people. It was a region into which the police did not willingly enter alone. The Epistle to the Romans was, apparently, first brought to the church meeting in Aquila’s house, where it was read by the light of some small lamp, then taken to some other equally humble room where it was read to other Christian brethren.

Life is not always glamorous, and many times, it does not appear that the work we do or the message we carry will make a difference or impact anyone. We also can sometimes feel that the work or mission we have been given is difficult and heavy to carry through to its proper destination. This biblical account depicts the importance of pressing on and doing what we can. The message that God has for us to carry in “our robes” or in our hands can affect generations to come.

Another example is the legend of Saint Elizabeth of Hungary, who also carried something of significance. It is said that, during the 13th century, she climbed steep, slippery, wintry paths to carry a supply of bread to the poor. One day she came upon her husband on the path, and he asked her what she carried. In the folds of her skirt, he did not find bread; instead, according to the legend, the bread had turned into red and white roses, lovelier than those of earth. The story goes that Elizabeth spent her time, strength, and means in caring for the poor people afflicted by famine and plague. She opened a hospital for children and cared for them herself. The legend depicts the beauty of her tender heart for the suffering. Perhaps the imagery of the bread for the hungry, which turned to beautiful flowers, speaks to your heart of the treasure God has given you to carry to others.

Philippians 2:16 states, “Holding forth  the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither labored in vain” (KJV). This term “holding forth” or “holding out” is to be understood as bringing the message that brings life, or the message that shows people how they can really live. This is an exhortation by the Lord to keep on bringing the Gospel and to keep showing His love to those He leads us to.

The Apostle Paul urges us to embrace serving God and others. According to Galatians 6:10, Paul challenges us, “… as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people” (NIV). Every Christian can help in some form to make the world a happier and better place. The troubled, the weary, and the unfortunate are always near to us. The troubles and misfortunes of others are often our opportunity to reach them.

We should always be looking for opportunities to do good. In so doing, we should be like the dewdrop that finds a drooping rose and sinks down into its folds, losing itself but reviving the weary flower. So, let us be content to do good and bless the life that needs our benediction, being remembered only by what we have done.

 

The Love of a Father: What Strong Mothers Know About the Importance of a Daddy

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  In today’s society, single mothers are strong, tenacious, able women who can juggle the pressures of family and work without skipping a beat. I should know….I was raised by one! It’s amazing that these moms are able to keep pressing on – giving their children the best family life they can under unfortunate circumstances. […]

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Discover Your God-Given Purpose

  “You are who God says you are!” Anyone who attends Word of Life Christian Center in Lone Tree, Colorado, has heard our anointed pastor Dr. Mark T. Bagwell shout these words from the rooftops! One of the things I love most about our church is the steadfast encouragement to be all that God has […]

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Purposeful Moments

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Countless idioms are used as analogies for life—a box of chocolates, a bowl of cherries, a mountain, an ocean! Personally, I love the anonymous quotes that compare life to a book: Life is like a thousand-page book. You want to quit halfway through, but then you realize you have a lot left to look forward […]

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“Three-Fold Foundation for Winter Wellness”

The last picking of fall’s garden filled the bushel baskets in Grandma’s cellar with bold colors of gold, orange, and green. That “fresh-picked” fragrance from the bushel baskets would just briefly cover the musty smell of the cellar. Our barn boasted hefty hay bales that were ready for the cattle’s winter feedings. My new school […]

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Ready, Set…GO!

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OK, so we know we need to eat right, brush and floss, get eight hours of sleep, drink plenty of water and, of course, exercise. We know that a mere 30 minutes of exercise a day is like the apple, keeping those doctors away. Well, I am tired of aching, tired of the blahs, tired […]

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Entertaining through Tradition – Part 2

Below are some recipes to create a new tradition or two in your family! Chicken Vegetable Soup 4          skinless, boneless chicken breasts 3          T. olive oil 3          T. butter ½         yellow onion, chopped 4          thyme sprigs 4          garlic cloves 3          celery ribs, cut lengthwise and sliced into ½-inch slices 3          carrots, cut diagonally into […]

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Entertaining Through Tradition: Making Life More Memorable

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Family tradition is one of the greatest gifts that we can give to our children and grandchildren. In my home, I still make that great oven-roasted pot roast that my mom and grandma used to make every Sunday after church. I can still remember walking into the house as a child and smelling the wonderful aroma […]

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The Essence of His Presence – By: Gayla Bagwell and Jane Dawson

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This inspiring Christmas celebration began with an enticing line-up of foods created and prepared by Danon Gale which included: Appetizers Pan Seared Scallops & Bacon Bites Grilled Chicken Bruschetta Mini Caprese Skewers w/Balsamic Glaze Strawberry-Spinach & Arugula Salad w/Zesty Vinaigrette & Candied Walnuts Italian Mini Meatballs   Desserts Mini Chocolate Eclairs Mini Red Velvet Bites […]

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