Are there events so horrifying that giving thanks seems foolish or impossible? Consider this scenario. Some friends told me of an extraordinary worship service in Uganda among Ugandan Christians.Read More
In 1 Thessalonians 5:18, the apostle Paul reminded the church in Thessalonica, “In everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (5:18). This is one of four times in which Scripture clearly tells us what the will of God is. I call these the four universal wills of God, and I have written about them extensively in my book, The Four Wills of God, and how our following these four universal wills of God can lead to learning His unique will for us in our individual lives.Read More
Based on scripture’s command in Ephesians 5:33 for the husband to love his wife and for the wife to respect her husband, Sarah and I have found two challenges. One, to follow this command unconditionally means we are to love and respect each other even during our male and female differences.
Two, not only are we to love each other when these male and female differences between us are highlighted, but we are to also love and respect these male and female differences themselves as part of God's beautiful design.Read More
She is disappointed because she sees him neglecting her heartfelt concerns, even dismissing them in a condescending way. To her, he is too stoic, matter of fact. Furthermore, she cannot believe that he would bark out solutions when she simply needs from him a listening ear and empathetic demeanor. To her, two people who care for each other will "tend, mend, and befriend," and that revolves around what one feels. In her opinion, that is the key to connecting. Two people give the report on what they are feeling to build rapport. This is what marriage is all about—husband and wife talk to discover what they are feeling, and explore those feelings, and stay with the discussion about those feelings until there is a sense of closure and closeness. For a woman, to shut down on such conversations, to declare, “Just drop it and move on; it’s no big deal” is like finger nails down a chalkboard.Read More
Since some variation of the words “the will of God” or the “Father’s will” occur more than twenty times in the New Testament, it is fair to assume “the will of God” exists and can be known. The apostle Paul commands us to “understand what the will of the Lord is” (Ephesians 5:17). Jesus uses the expression when He addresses God with the words, “Your will be done” in what has come to be known as the Lord’s Prayer (Matthew 6:10). Yes, God has a will that we must discover and do from the heart.Read More
In your experience, have you found that any of the following approaches have worked to influence, motivate, and energize your spouse? Keeping track of the other’s wrongs with resentment, nagging and criticizing without seeing any good, judging and shaming from a spirit of self-righteousness, getting angry to the point of showing hostility and contempt, manipulating to achieve a selfish or worthy agenda, blaming without any acknowledgment of one’s own faults, and fighting for control, not for win-win.Read More
One night as Sarah and I were driving home from a small group Bible study, Sarah expressed some strong feelings that had been building up in her over several weeks.
“You were boring in our Bible study tonight,” she said, almost angrily. “You intimidate people with your silence. And when you do talk, you sometimes say something insensitive. What you said to the new couple came across poorly.”
The Bible commands us to give thanks as a sacrifice of praise. The writer of Hebrews penned, "let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name . . . for with such sacrifices God is pleased" (Hebrews 13:15–16).
When our prayers are answered, when healing comes, when financial blessings rain down upon us, most of us are liberal to give thanks and praise to God (as we certainly should). But that is not what is meant by a “sacrifice of praise.” Hopefully, it is not much of a sacrifice to give praise for the great things in your life.Read More
We offer a free 15-Day Marriage Plan in which participants will receive seven e-mails over a span of 15 days, each with a quick and easy action to take that day intended to help your marriage, whether you are currently in a crisis or not. Challenge #2 for all participants is called the 60-second test, in which readers are asked to take 60 seconds that day to fill their spouse’s emotional air tank. I ask wives to take 60 seconds and simply share with their husband some of the things that she respects about him. Husbands are instructed to take a moment to tell their wives some of the things that he loves about her.Read More
Sadly, over the years I have received many emails from husbands who have committed the worst of marital offenses—adultery. Fortunately, those writing me are doing so because they have confessed their sins to their wives, as well as to God, have repented of their iniquities, and have recommitted themselves to the sacred vow they had previously made to their wife. However, just because they have made such strides does not mean their wife has accepted them fully back, and they often write me and ask for advice in navigating through this desert of distrust from their wife.Read More
Forgiving, as hard as it is, is not an option for the believer. Jesus prayed, “Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors” (Matthew 6:12). John made it clear that forgiveness is evidence of God’s work in us. In 1 John 4:19-21, he wrote: “We love, because He first loved us. If someone says, ‘I love God,’ and hates his brother, he is a liar; for the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from Him, that the one who loves God should love his brother also.”Read More
In part 1, we explained how the Bible’s command for a wife to submit to her husband actually means that she is to submit to his need for respect. We then shared one woman’s story about how when she began doing this, she found out what 1 Peter 3 means about “finding favor” with God. What about husbands who submit to God’s plan to love their wives? Do they also find God’s favor?Read More
This is a common question I receive from many husbands who have become intentional about opening up more often to their wives and sharing their hearts and needs. But when her response isn’t what they expected—in some cases the situation even worsens—they wonder, Why is she reacting this way? Can’t she see how I’m trying?
The following is my typical response:
I am uncertain why your wife has reacted in this way, but let me offer several possibilities.Read More
We can say "thanks" but not be grateful. We can mouth words but our hearts are elsewhere. We are fixated on ourselves. We have probably all seen this in ourselves. The Bible says in 2 Timothy 3:2 that people can be "lovers of self... ungrateful." We can even sing a song of thanks while in a worship service at church but inwardly dwell on the hurt and offense we feel toward someone who wronged us the day before. Join Emerson and Jonathan in part 2 this week and continuing the conversation about gratefulness but focusing on the intangible.Read More
The following prayer is for anyone going through deep waters in his or her marriage and needing God’s sustaining love and help. Lord, whether or not my marriage turns around, I know You are using this struggle to reveal more of Yourself to me. I thank You for that because I need You in so many ways right now.Read More
We can say "thanks" but not be grateful. We can mouth words but our hearts are elsewhere. We are fixated on ourselves. We have probably all seen this in ourselves. The Bible says in 2 Timothy 3:2 that people can be "lovers of self... ungrateful." We can even sing a song of thanks while in a worship service at church but inwardly dwell on the hurt and offense we feel toward someone who wronged us the day before. Join Emerson and Jonathan this week in this two part series which starts with how we can be grateful for the tangible things in our lives.Read More
In part 2, we discussed the need to focus on the tangible things that we do have instead of on what we do not, in order to help develop a more grateful heart. But there is one more suggestion on what our focus should center in on.
Two, focus on the intangible things that we do have instead of fixating on the tangibles we do not have.
Those of us who lack material goods could whine, "Well, I cannot be grateful for tangible blessings since I have so few."Read More