The Alphabet for Marriage

The fundamentals of maintaining a caring marriage are easily summed up in The Alphabet for Marriage. Read through each letter and it will help you think of some ways to improve your marriage. God’s name isn’t mentioned in this list but I guarantee you can see there are spiritual principles to back up this practical advice.

Ladies, don’t let the ministry (of house, children, and church work) get too busy that you neglect your husband. Your purpose of ministering is to do it together, as a married couple because marriage is a picture of Christ and the church. This list came from a special sermon I found (more on that at the end of the post) and hope it will bless your heart too.

The Alphabet for Marriage

Adaptability – Cultivate a liking for the other’s tastes.

Belief – Trust one another.

Children – Be of the same mind on the subject, whether boys or girls, or money. Agree on their training.

Devotion – Not only feel love but show it.

Entertainment – Keep each other amused and interested.

Finesse – Handle each other with love and tact.

Generosity – Don’t be stingy with love, money, or praise.

Health – Keep well as long as you can.

Interests – Enter into everything the other does. Play the same games, read the same books, like the same people.

Jokes – Learn to make ’em and take ’em.

Kindness – Never fail to share with each other tenderness and sympathy.

Love – Never let your supply of that run low.

Money – Is for both and should be for the mutual happiness and well-being of each other.

Need of each other. – Make yourself necessary to your husband or wife’s happiness.

Observation – See what each other needs and supply it. Notice when your husband or wife looks nice.

Politeness – Show as much courtesy of each other as you would to strangers.

Quiet – Don’t argue, keep a peaceful home.

Respect – Show deference for each other’s opinions and intelligence.

Sportsmanship – Take marriage on the chin, don’t complain of hardships you may have to endure.

Tenderness – Whatever you are to other people, be all heart to your husband or wife.

Understanding – Enter into thoughts or feelings of your mate so you will know when each other is low.

Virtue – No philandering around on either side.

Willingness – Both husband and wife must be willing to help each other pull weight in the boat.

X-tra Attention – especially when down-hearted or sick.

Yes Them – Be agreeable as you can as often as you can.

Zero – Your marriage will never be a zero if you follow these rules.

~Author Unknown*

This was found in my great-grandfather’s sermon notes. My husband inherited his books and many files when he passed away and a yellow legal sized paper appeared after recently going through our personal library. I just loved reading it and truly believed it was his own outline until I saw just under the letter “z” that it was copied. *If you know the author of The Alphabet for Marriage please let me know and I will gladly update it on this post.

Ideas: This would be a great help to use at a couples retreat, banquet, or even marriage counseling. This could also be used as a fun wedding shower devotional or as a thoughtful thing to read in a married Sunday School class.

 

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8 Things You Can Do to Help Your Local Church Planter

Church planting is a necessary and vital aspect for other churches to fulfill the Great Commission in reaching lost souls; particularly “home missions” in the United States. If you have a local church planter in your area, what are you doing to help them? My hope and desire is that you will not allow the men and women who are laboring in a new work to be an island to themselves, but rather be the shot in the arm and an encouraging and motivated force to help them keep going.

My family and I live in a metroplex where urban cities intertwine and the old suburban areas are no longer on the outskirts of town. Cityscapes of shopping centers and housing divisions are everywhere! The population here is continually growing and industry is thriving. Even with Baptist churches of all sizes in our area, God is calling men and women to our area to begin new works because the population growth is so rapid. Baby churches are scattered throughout the cities here, and the church where we help our pastor is one of them. Naturally, church planting and supporting church planters is a living burden on my heart since that is our life now.

Do you know if you have local church planters in your area? Do you know their names? Have you chosen to be a blessing to them? Are you their friend? Have you forgotten to keep in touch or pray for them like you promised? Lord willing, these ideas will help you find a way to be a blessing.

8 Things You Can Do to Help Your Local Church Planter

1. Fellowship and Food.  A church planter needs friends and friends aren’t real friends unless there is food involved!

Encourage a church planter by taking him out to a meal and talking with him and his family about their church work. Let them share their heart and listen. Pray with them. If you discern their family is needing more than a restaurant meal, then possibly provide them grocery money or a gift card to meet those needs.

2. Inclusion. Include your local church planter and his church in your large activities.

Consider inviting them to be a part of: church camp, luncheons, revivals, retreats, Bible studies, men’s and women’s meetings, etc. If their church is small they probably do not host their own spiritual growth activities and may miss participating in them. Everyone needs spiritual sharpening times to boost them in their day-to-day routines.

3. A Church Service Visit. Actually attend one of their church services!

A neighboring church had a combined afternoon service a few weeks ago and ended their daily services at 2 pm. Several families from their church traveled 30 minutes to attend our church services at 4:30 pm. Our pastor seemed to beam a special smile during his sermon that day. It was a boost in attendance from the two families in our church right now.

If you are able to see what is going on in their church plant, it will most likely burden your heart for church planting all over again. And if you can’t go, send a faithful family or two in your stead who will be a blessing.

4. Door-knocking and Outreach Help. Share a pair of feet, or two, or three, or 10!

It is a blessing to see other churches send families to help a church planter knock doors and pass out flyers before their very first service. Excitement buzzes in the air and there is a hope visitors will attend. Then, the first services comes and goes, often leaving one man to do his door-knocking alone with his family.

What if your church helped your local church planter regularly sending couples weekly to help? Or what if you designated at least two special visitation helps in your “Judaea” and helped sow seed in another man’s fields? I believe that in sowing you also would reap blessings when you see their fields begin to bear fruit.

5. Real Prayer. Don’t just say you will pray for someone… do it!

It’s common to take a person’s prayer card or tell someone you are praying for them and not think about them until that card falls out of your Bible or you see them again. Prayer letters hang in churches on bulletin boards as people pass by and names are written in bulletins as prayer requests and can still be overlooked.

Make your statement of saying you will pray for that church planter into real prayer for their ministry and family. Invest time in authentically praying for their needs and the souls they are meant to reach.

6. Peace. “Do all things without murmurings and disputings.” Philippians 3:14

Ruffled feathers show themselves when a pastor believes another man’s church is encroaching on his idea of where the “boundaries” or “lines” of his church outreach should be. Shun the temptation to become a jealous competitor if your local church planter is encroaching on your idea of where he should be. Set that aside and be peaceful. God adds to each local church as He sees fit and can work best with peaceful ministers who refuse competition, criticism, gossip, and hypocrisy. If you see him wave as you pass by.  And if there is a problem, just talk about it peacefully and see if you can come up with a solution.

Ladies, this can happen with us too. Find a way to push past any jealousies you may encounter and be a real friend and a blessing to the church planter’s wife.

7. More encouragement and understanding, less expectations.

It’s easy to shove people and ministries into a box and assume a pastor should be at a certain amount of members by a specific deadline. If you know a local church planter who is still struggling don’t write him off as a failure. He needs your support! If you are able, do what you can to help Him stay faithfully serving God’s call on his life. Church planters need local friends who will check on them, call them, listen, and not compare him with their own experience or with any other ministry.

8. Give Families. Yes, you heard that right, give people rather than dollars.

It’s easy to give dollars to a local church planter because you can see the need your area has for the gospel. Challenge yourself to give more than dollars and prayerfully consider giving families to them instead of your dollars. If you have an established church with faithful members you already know what a blessing it is to have help and trained workers who understand the Bible and obey it.

What would it do to a new ministry if they had a group of church members to help? Faithful people who were willing to give their tithes and offerings to the new church and help use their talents to reach people, and help disciple them are priceless. We know God loves a cheerful giver and encourages “give and it shall be given unto you…” Why do churches shirk from the idea when it comes to giving families? Do you believe He would supply the needs of your church if you asked a Sunday School teacher or deacon’s family to pray about moving their membership? God most certainly would! It could also be as easy as asking families who live nearer that ministry to consider supporting the church plant. Ask God if He might have you support your local church planter in that way. I know churches do not like to lose folks, but I would rather lose church members to helping another church than see another church plant die for lack of help.

All eight of these items are simply an extension of down-home hospitality and sharing your resources and kindnesses to those with the same Biblical mission you have to reach people for the gospel. The impact that caring can do on a church planter can mean the difference between their continuing on in God’s call or discouragement knowing there were people who could help but would not. Through God’s help you can be a blessing!

 

 

 

Marks of a Joyful Mother Part 2

In the previous blog article we discussed how Christian motherhood should be joyful. There were so many ideas on my list that I personally did not want to cram them into one long post so here’s Part 2! Motherhood is more than being a mother of small children, kids grow up and teenagers need Mamas to remain joyful despite their own peaks and valleys. Joy is so closely associated not as an emotion but actions reflecting the heart. Don’t expect your kids to be happy to be in your family if joy is lacking in your heart and expressions of love toward them. Let’s push through our own fluctuations of emotions and allow God to shine through us no matter the age(s) of our children.

marks-of-a-joyful-mother-part-2

Reading and singing with your children. My most special moments as a mother have centered around reading books together and singing together. I have grown myself in reading books to our children. The Bible is a special book to read together, don’t neglect those opportunities to open up God’s Word and read it together. Family devotions are special but so is simply sharing those things God has been speaking to you about.

Singing hymns and spiritual songs is a favorite past time we enjoy. Occasionally we set out singing as I cook breakfast just singing song after song that we can think of or going around and singing each child’s request. It always lifts our spirits to sing of our Saviour and dwelling on spiritual truths together. The best joyful entertainment you can have is in reading God’s Word and singing praises to His name!

Asking for forgiveness and granting it to them. After months of a parental struggle with one of our children I was asking my mother-in-law for advice and she simply said, “Well sometimes you just have to forgive your children.” Duh… It struck me that I may have been the one who was keeping our relationship from moving forward because I could not let go of the repeated action(s) that were occurring. I did forgive him and we began connecting again.

On the flip-side I have been the offender who has needed to humble myself and ask my children for forgiveness. So far, when I do it genuinely from my heart, our children have been quick to grant forgiveness and quickly want to give me a hug to demonstrate things are right between us. Joy is hindered when we don’t keep things right between our children.

Laughing together (and sometimes at each other’s mistakes). My children love it when I mess up, whether it is answering a knock-knock joke wrong or mixing up my children’s names, they like to laugh. Create an atmosphere of comfort about being laughed at sometimes. You Mamas who are a little tighter wound, let your hair down a little and tell your kids funny stories from your childhood…i.e. Your most embarrassing moments and stuff like that. Kids are quick to catch the funny and the witty. Keep joke books around, listen to good clean comedians (Donald Davis is our favorite funny storyteller), and whatever else it is that tickles your Christian funny bone. Joy and laughter go joke-in-joke, I mean, hand-in-hand.

Teaching and learning from one another. One night while we were living with my in-laws (last year) my husband asked his mother about certain keys of music. In a matter of moments they took a  trip to the baby grand piano in their living room and in playing and discussing together his question was answered. She quickly helped him comprehend the subject matter.  It just shows it’s never too late to keep investing in your children.

Stay humble enough to realize that with all the knowledge out in this world, you simply cannot know it all, and your children will be growing and learning in different areas and may have some great insights and information you can also learn from. Joy comes in being able to reciprocate a transfer of knowledge one to another.

Praying for their heart’s desires and burdens. Somehow God can link what our children are going through straight to our Mama hearts (probably because of that link when they were living inside us). Good communication allows us to know what our children are wanting to do and those things that are weighing heavy on their hearts. Many parents suggest that tucking your children in at night will allow you the time to discuss things that their hearts may not tell you in the busy activity of the day. Yes, even at those older ages a stop by their room before bedroom can help!

Praying together helps to carry those things, both happy and sad, together to the Lord. Taking the time out of your day to pray with them can be very meaningful. It teaches them how the most “trivial” things can be brought before the Lord because He cares about our hopes and dreams as much as He does our  hard times of life. Praying about these things in their presence is a heart-connecting activity. Peaceful inner joy fills the hearts of mothers willing to pray with and for their children because while the answers to the prayers may be unknown, you have security in knowing the Lord is listening.

I am no perfect parent, and I wish that I was as beautiful as a Mom as so many others are. I battle in these areas but am finding each specific thing God highlighted in these articles are what makes my motherhood joyful. When I am doing these things in our life, then I have a joyful spirit. and our kids have a different type of Mama: one who cares about them more than herself and is cultivating a love for wholesome godly living. My goal is to encourage the nurture and admonish of the Lord (Ephesians 6:4). Your joyful motherhood may look differently than mine, and that’s okay…whatever areas that makes your family life better and makes you Mama Joyful is what you need to keep doing. My suggestions and observances are not dogmatic scriptural musts, but just little gleanings through experience. I trust in your journey in motherhood you will have some pretty special gems of joyfulness to look at and cherish.

In the spirit of Mother’s Day, may you be filled with joy and growth in your relationships with your children! Happy Mother’s Day Ministry Mama!