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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Marriage Prayer

There are a lot of yellowed papers hanging from the bulletin board by my computer in the basement. They’re thirty years old, most of them.

One caught my eye today. It was tacked up by a 25 year old (I barely remember her). I had clipped it from my church bulletin. It's called the Marriage Prayer.

“Submitted by Dorothy Boron” the credits said. Dorothy Boron! I remember that name from Sunday School days. Dorothy and her husband, Stan, taught my class. I can see them so clearly in my mind, a husband and wife team, so rare today.

Stan had horn-rimmed glasses and a hint of mischief in his voice. Dorothy was always sweet and wore a pill-box hat. They were both short. I can still see them seated side by side at church.

They grew old together in my church. Sunday after Sunday I would see them there. I remember watching them become old, then fragile.  Then it seemed one day, one day they disappeared.

Their prayer is still here, however,  forever tacked to my bulletin board. It will always remind me of the couple who taught me about life and love.

Marriage Prayer

God be in our marriage,
And so abide with us,
That we may dwell together
In harmony and trust.

God be in our marriage
And in our Dreams and Plans.
That we may build together,
A Christian Home that stands.

God be in our marriage,
As our lives blend together,
That all may hear our song,
This marriage is forever.

Different Bible Translations

Got an interesting e-mail from Toni today asking about different Bible translations.  In this case, she was comparing the NIV - New International Version with the NLT - New Living Translation. 

Which is better?  I think this is a matter of personal choice.  Beware if a translation travels too far from the original text, of course. 

If you ask God to speak to you and are open to the Holy Spirit - He will help you understand the specific message He has for you when you read His Word.  Find a Bible you can understand and read it for all its worth -- a great treasure awaits!

One great thing you can do is explore different translations.  Toni's special verse is Phil 4:6 -- I looked it up on .  At this website, you can easily check out different translations of the same verse.

Here are two contrasting translations Phil 4:6.  Both speak to my heart.   They are great for sharing today.

Thanks, Toni, for exploring God's Word and letting us know about it! 

6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. - Phil 4:6  -- New International Version  

6 Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. - Phil 4:6 -- New Living Translation

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Bigger than the Sky

I write for the local paper -- will try to post my articles from time to time!

Somehow, it was easier to show love when my kids were little. They still liked to be hugged.

I could even give them a kiss on the cheek. They did not wince in pain. They might even kiss me back.

I liked bedtime. The children always wanted to talk and snuggle (I knew these were ploys to stay up late, but, hey, moms take what they can get.)

“Do you know how much I love you?”

That was one of my bedtime questions.

My little ones would squirm and flop onto their stomachs. They’d settle their chins on little palms and grin at me, eyes twinkling. They knew the answer, but wanted me to say it.

“I love you bigger than this whole house.”

I could tell they were picturing our two-story home. In their eyes, the house was huge and my love was bigger .

“How much does God love you?” The second question was the most important.

“BIGGER than the SKY!” They always shouted this answer because they were sure of it. God would always love them more than mom ever could.

That was the most important lesson I could teach my children. Even if mom was gone, God's love would be there.

God’s love is bigger than the whole sky.

Human love can be a precarious concept. The word itself is bantered about without much regard to meaning any more. God’s love, however, defies all boundaries and zooms out beyond the universe.

Where human love falls short, God’s love remains constant.

Before I begin my series on Love next month, I want to establish where true love can be found: resting in the arms of God.

You see, His love is bigger than the sky.

Use Helpful Words, not Harmful Words

Ephesians 4:29-32

29 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

Coping with Stress

…Are you feeling stressed??? …Here’s how to cope.

Due to the increased demands and busy-ness of today’s society, it’s common for people to feel stressed. Common causes of stress include: trying to do too much, having unrealistic goals or expectations, and poor time management and organizational skills.

“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” -1 Peter 5:6-8

Too much stress can result in feelings of irritability, anger, depression, and anxiety, as well as compulsive behaviors and poor self-care. In addition, stress may cause stomach problems, headaches, back aches, and insomnia.
If this sounds familiar, you need to learn to manage stress. One of the simplest techniques is by taking time to relax, whether by reading, prayer, or Bible Study (By the way, the Bible has some great stress-relieving ideas!)
Exercise is also a very good stress reliever. Many don’t believe they have time, but even if you exercise only 20-30 minutes a day, you’ll decrease stress. Exercise also helps you sleep better and delivers obvious physical benefits!
Don’t try to do everything yourself. One of the quickest ways to decrease your to-do list is to learn to say “no”. By saying “no” to extra obligations, favors, or activities, you begin to take more control over your schedule.

“Be still, and know that I am God” -- Psalm 46:10

No one can do it all! When you’re feeling overwhelmed, ask for help from your spouse or friends. They’d likely be happy to help, but they can’t read your mind.
Talk about it. Venting to someone else helps decrease stress. Pray about it. Share your burdens with God. Many studies show individuals with faith systems are able to deal with illness and stress better.

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” -- Phil 4:6-7

Probably the best way to beat stress is to re-examine your expectations and the way you interpret situations. Many times, we expect things to be perfect. When people or things don’t meet our expectations, we feel disappointed, sad, or angry.
If we can adjust our expectations and beliefs to be more realistic, we’ll see levels of stress decrease and satisfaction increase. Put another way, the way can determine our stress level.
“How can I change the way I think about a bad situation?” you may ask. This is one of the most effective ways of changing feelings and stress. It may take time and practice, but you CAN do this!

The apostle Paul was under constant stress. People wanted to kill him. He was imprisoned, beaten and run out of town for his belief in Jesus. He could still write the following from jail:

“I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.”
- Philippians 4:11-13

One of the simplest ways to change your thoughts/expectations/beliefs is to catch yourself every time you think negatively or complain. When you notice a negative thought, examine it and try to determine if you could look at the situation differently. Is this thought helpful or hurtful?

“We take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”-2 Corin.10:5

If the thought is not helpful, change it to a more positive one. Becoming more aware of the types of thoughts/expectations you have will help you move towards less stress-inducing ones.

Want to know more? Come to the free stress management seminar Wednesday, Nov. 17, at 7 p.m. at Faith Baptist Church. Check out their Resource Center for books on stress.

Faith Family Resource Center Bookshelf

Great Stress Books (you can check these out at Faith’s Family Resource Center – call 539-3434)

--The BIBLE (available to keep – for FREE!)
--30 Days to Taming Your Stress by Deborah Smith Pegues
--A Positive Plan for Creating More Calm, Less Stress by Karol Ladd
--Women and Stress by Jean Lush