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Dear Lord,

In the book of Matthew, Jesus says, “This is the reason a man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one” (chapter 19, verse 5, New Living Translation). That first part, the part about leaving father and mother, is the easy part. Being united into one is not always so simple.

One area where I know John and I are not completely united is in the area of finances. We are both very selfish about money, but in different ways. I tend to be selfish in an “I want it NOW” way, while he tends to be selfish in more of a “we need to plan for tomorrow” way. Please help us to work together in this area of our marriage. Help us listen to one another, to really hear each others thoughts and desires on this subject so that we can find an agreement that works for US, as a couple. Help us to put what is best for us above what is best for Lynn or for John. Above all, Lord, help us to keep YOUR desires for our lives in the forefront of our thoughts. It is not going to do us any good to become one if we are not one with You.

Thank You for hearing me and for loving me. Help me throughout this day to show love to John. He is the most precious gift You have given me. Help me to show him that in all I do and say.

I ask this in the precious name of Jesus.


Praying Wife

After ten years of marriage, I can hardly call myself an expert on the subject. I am not even sure if I could be considered an expert on my own marriage! One thing I am pretty sure of, though, is that I am not always a good wife. My husband would disagree. Maybe that is because he is a wonderful husband. He is always telling me that I am perfect the way that I am, no matter what flaws I see in myself. I can tell you, I am far from perfect. The perfect woman for him? Maybe. Still, I can see that there is always room for improvement.

One area where I know I could use improvement is in the area of prayer.

Last week, I posted about how difficult prayer has been for me. Seems like ever since I posted that it has gotten even harder. Not that it’s hard to understand why—satan knows that I am trying to get closer to God, and he is fighting me on all fronts. Let me tell you, it would be so easy to just give up and let him win. It’s amazing how much physical energy it takes to fight a spiritual battle.

But giving up is just what satan wants, and I am not willing to give him the satisfaction!

A while back, I bought a copy of The Power of a Praying Wife. I started reading, and even started working through the workbook that goes along with it. Can’t really say that I finished it. Seems that I have a bad habit of starting on a self-help type of book and then not finishing it. I don’t know why. Fiction books, I seem to just breeze right through. Maybe it is because those books are for fun and the non-fiction books I choose to read normally have something to do with changes I need to make in my life.

And who wants to admit the need to change?

I am trying to look at this a little differently, though. By reading The Power of a Praying Wife, I am not trying to make changes to better myself, exactly. I am trying to give my husband the wife he deserves. In case you are wondering what kind of a wife he deserves, I am talking about the kind of wife described in Proverbs 31. He needs a wife who enhances his life, makes his life better and easier, not a wife who is constantly nagging him or draining him of energy. By learning how to pray for him—and I mean really truly pray for him, not just saying “oh God, bless my husband”—I will be one step closer to being that wife.

A part of me wonders if he will even notice it. Will he see the changes I am making and how I am trying to make our lives better? It may sound sad, but I seriously don’t think he will. At the same time, I know that God will see the attempt that I am making. In the long run, that will be more beneficial anyway.

Lukewarm? NOT ME!

Lord, you know what is on my heart right now and the questions that I have in my mind. Please help me to say what I need to say, what You want me to say about this. Let my words reach the ears and hearts of those who need to hear them. I pray that what I write this evening will be a blessing to You above all else. In the name of Jesus, Amen.

In May 2008, Clay and Renee Crosse came to my church. Clay did a Friday night concert, mostly in the dark because of a blackout in the area that started about the time he began warming up. The next day, he and his wife led a Holy Homes Marriage Conference. It’s been two years, and that experience is something that is still in my mind. It was so nice, so freeing to be able to share with other couples who were going through some of the same struggles my husband and I faced.

One thing that I remember Renee saying, though I am sure I will not get the words exactly right, had to do with the way she dressed. She said she is always careful to wear tops that were not too low-cut and bottoms that were not too tight. She avoids clothing that is too reveling because she doesn’t want the way she dresses to cause someone else to sin. I don’t think she was saying that she is responsible for what someone else does. Rather, she wanted to be sure that she was influencing others in positive ways in every aspect of her life.

That has been on my mind a lot lately. In recent weeks and months, I’ve seen a lot of conflicting messages from Christians. While I don’t want to make any judgment on the relationship others have with Christ, I’ve not been able to help wondering if they understand how they appear to others.

These conflicts especially come up in the area of sex before marriage. In this day and age, it’s not at all an uncommon thing. But does that make it right?

I grew up knowing that sex was a sacred event, something to be shared only between a husband and his wife. Not that I always lived that. I always felt guilty about it, though. I knew that what I was doing was wrong, so I avoided God. For a while, I didn’t go to church at all. I felt like a hypocrite, standing there, singing praises and worshiping God, when I knew that I was not living a life He approved of.

Not everyone is like that, though. The attitude seems to be, “Hey, at least we are in love. The wedding is just a formality.” Recently, I’ve even heard the excuse, “We are engaged, so it is OK.” That comment led me to the story of the Birth of Christ. Mary was pregnant before her marriage, and it was such a disgraceful thing that Joseph was willing to leave her. It doesn’t make sense, at least not in my mind, that engagement would be “close enough” to marriage that God would be OK with the sex.

I don’t know. It’s late, and maybe I am not making any sense at all. It seems to me, though, that if we claim to be Christians, we need to act like it. Picking and choosing which parts of the Bible to obey and which to ignore is not Christianity. It is hypocrisy. It is lukewarm at best. Why that would be “best”, I don’t know. Jesus says He will spit out those who are lukewarm. I can’t speak for you, but I don’t like the idea of being spit out into the lakes of Hell. I want to burn up—with the love of CHRIST! I want to be so consumed by Him that everyone around me sees it.

Oh Lord, stoke the fire within me! Help me keep that fire burning bright. Let me be a light in this world for YOU. Father, I want those who see me to see You. I am not ashamed of You. I am not ashamed to share my love for You. Help me never to give off conflicting messages. Help my actions only bring others to you. Help me to never cause another to stumble by my words or actions.