Devote yourselves to prayer, keeping alert in it with an attitude of thanksgiving . . . 

(Colossians 4:2 NASB)

We travel, and we really appreciate the hotels that have the small peak holes so that when someone knocks you can look out and see who’s there. That is what prayer is like. People usually aren’t phony when praying because it is a time of vulnerability before God.

Couples that pray together get a window into each other’s hearts.

Prayer is a window to the heart

You might feel irritated at your spouse all day, you might not understand why she did or said something, but during prayer, you get to see what was really going on in their life, their thoughts and in their heart. Prayer gives us a deeper understanding of our mate. Anything that gives a deeper understanding will deepen intimacy. Deeper intimacy creates the safety net for a nakedness of the soul, and if you are in a place where you both feel comfortable when your soul is naked before each other, then the physical nakedness with in marriage is the next logical step in the sharing of your live.

Reading the Bible is intimate:

The Bible is God’s love letter to each of us. If you know your spouse is listening to God, your trust level will grow.  If you notice that your spouse is seeking to follow the commands of God, you will feel more relaxed when you are together. God has a complete love for you and when God has your mate’s attention, God will steer your spouse into making more loving choices toward you.

As a result, the nagging rate naturally diminishes. And less nagging and negative corrective language and more positive affirming language is the cultivated, fertile ground for marital intimacy.

The influence does not stop with your spouse, however. If you are reading the Bible and praying, God will have your attention and make you a better lover. His love will flow through you to a grateful spouse.

The Holy Spirit is intimate.

Pray together
Stay together

When we know Christ personally, the Holy Spirit resides in us and gives us the supernatural power to love. It is a supernatural power so that we can love, not just with our power, but with God’s ability. And since the Holy Spirit indwells anyone who asks Jesus into his life and He knows the way your spouse was designed to be loved, you have the ability to become a great lover for your mate. You will notice that the Holy Spirit gives very specific instructions. He makes it simple enough that your only choice is to obey or disobey. In our life, it may sound something like this:

“Pam, what you said just now to Bill was unkind. He is really good man and he deserves a gentle response.”

“Bill, go home. Pam does really need you right now. Do not do that next task, leave right now.”

By reading the Word and praying, you will develop the ability to listen for God’s Holy Spirit whisper, and those whispers will help you become a better person and a better partner. These spiritual disciplines will also draw you two closer if you make daily use of them as individuals.

 

Lord, help us make time for prayer, Bible reading and listening to Your Spirit as we do these things so we might hear Your voice louder than any other, Amen 

Pam and Bill Farrel have been happily married 38 years and credit praying

A Couple’s Journey
with God
Harvest House
Publishers

together through out each day as the key that unlock’s love. Read more about what makes for lasting love in one of their 45 books, like A Couple’s Journey with God. www.Love-Wise.com

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A Valentine’s Gift That Lasts

By Susan G Mathis

On this Valentine’s Day week, I’d like to remind you of the importance of keeping your marriage strong. It’s the best gift you can give your spouse.

“Love is patient, love is kind, it does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud, it is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no records of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices in the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails,” (1 Corinthians 13:4-8).

Remember what a great adventure your marriage has been and can be, and be careful not to get apathetic about your relationship. As with any journey, there are slow, boring, mundane seasons, but the times of making memories, capturing intimate experiences, and finding quality moments supersedes all the rest.

Choose not to get discouraged or weary in well doing, in working at your marriage, in resolving conflict, or in struggling to make ends meet. Build memories that transcend everyday life. It’s a daily choice…to love unconditionally, to sacrifice substantially, and to enjoy each other eternally.

 

Dear Lord, It’s easy to take our spouse for granted. Help us to lean into the adventure of marriage and keep our marriages strong and vibrant. In Jesus name, Amen

 

About the author: Susan Mathis is the author of of two Tyndale published premarital books Countdown for Couples: Preparing for the Adventure of Marriage and The ReMarriage Adventure: Preparing for a Lifetime of Love & Happiness as well as The Fabric of Hope: An Irish Family Legacy and four other books. She is the vice president of Christian Authors Network and the Founding Editor of Thriving Family magazine and former Editor of 12 Focus on the Family publications. She has written hundreds of articles and now serves as a writer, writing coach, and consultant. For more, visit www.SusanGMathis.com.

 

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When is it appropriate to use your trauma, personal drama, family emergency – or other catastrophe to sell books? Some might say, “Never!” —but then only presenting the rosy, perfect, polished side of life isn’t very authentic.

Recently, my husband’s brush with death in a traffic accident, a ministry friend’s early step into heaven and a leader’s home fire all caused me to ponder, “When is it good or a part of God’s will to post on tragedy and turmoil?”

Here are a few questions to ask before your post (especially if sharing a story will result in a profit of any kind, including books sales, it is best to double -check your heart):

Is this my story to tell?

Post unto others as you would have posted unto you paraphrases the Golden Rule of Christ’s words in Matthew 7:12.  If this is not your life, recount the facts and feelings in a way that you would like someone to do for you. Share your own personal feelings, how God is speaking to you, what you learned while keeping the details of the story private to protect another already going through a challenging time.  If it is your story, as was the case with my side of the story (of the near tragedy of my husband Bill’s truck being hit and hurled into a concrete highway divider by a speeding teen driver), then I was free to share my point of view, my feelings, and I did link to our marriage books. Because the principles in those books would help another couple in a comparable situation, we both wanted to use this pivotal moment to teach and train. (Read the full story )

Have I asked permission?

“…serve one another in love…” (Gal. 15:13 )

Even though I had plenty to share from my point of view, because someone else was also in the story, after our emotions settled and the crisis handled, I felt it necessary to ask Bill, if and when he might be comfortable with me sharing the account.  I penciled out what I thought was appropriate at this juncture and ran the text by him for approval. One never wants to add to another’s pain and drama when they are already experiencing pain and drama!

Is this the right time?

“it is wonderful to say the right thing at the right time… “ (Proverbs 15:23 )

There might be a need or a desire to share an announcement or a statement. In these cases, if the ministry or the person themselves has shared, it is best to directly quote their testimonial.  Ask yourself “Will sharing the information lessen a person’s trauma, help meet his or her need or help reach or inform the audience he or she is trying to reach?”  For example, when a ministry leader was killed overseas and his ministry was wanting to get the word out so people could pray for his wife, family and his ministry, I instantly shared the post because it was clear that was the result wanted. In my post, I did inform my audience a little more of the bio, including a few of his books, so people would recognize and know whom I was talking about.

What is my motive?

“Search me God and know my heart…” (Psalms 139:23 )

Sometimes people rush to be the bearers of shocking news simply because they gain attention because they might have an insider’s view or a seat behind the scenes. Nothing hurts someone already going through a private tragedy in public view more than having friends divulge information he or she might have wanted to keep private. Ask yourself, “Would the person at the center see the sharing of this information as a betrayal?” Also ask yourself if you are the best person to share the news, or if there is someone better suited, better prepared, better equipped or better at handling these emotionally charged events.  Many professions are well trained in handling these kind of raw life moments: pastors, doctors, politicians, law enforcement or military leaders all have as part of their training elements of crisis management.   It might be God will ask you to be the silent servant behind the scenes that helps a family member or leader as he or she interacts with the public.

What is the desired outcome?

“Set your affections on the things above…” (Col. 3:2)

If you sense a green light on all the above questions, then before God ask, “Lord, what do you want to see happen in the lives of others who might read these words or hear this video?”  Is God wanting people to come to know Him personally and be prepared for eternity? Is he asking you to rally help or aid? Does the person or family in crisis have an economic need that they have asked you to share? It there a moral or Biblical truth that needs highlighted?  Before you write, before you speak—pray.

 

Pam Farrel is the very grateful to God wife of Bill, who was at the center of this story – and whose tale has a happy ending. (Fortunately, miraculously, my husband survived).  Together the Farrels write, speak and travel the world encouraging, equipping and inspiring people to live “Love-Wise.” They are the authors of 45 books including the newly revised, updated and expanded version of their best seller, Men Are Like Waffles, Women Are Like Spaghetti.

 

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CAN members Linda Kozar, Lena Nelson Dooley, and Angela Breidenbach host shows on the Along Came A Writer Network.

Along Came A Writer Network 

2017/2016

Chat Noir Mystery and Suspense, with host Linda Kozar on the Along Came A Writer Network

The Lena Nelson Dooley Show, with host Lena Nelson Dooley on the Along Came A Writer Network

Historically Speaking, with host Angela Breidenbach on the Along Came A Writer Network

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This is a hard to swallow quote for those of us who write and sell words. But it was someone just like us who, allegedly,  first uttered this

SAMSUNG DIGITAL CAMERA

SAMSUNG DIGITAL CAMERA

now timeless catchy phrase. In 1927, newspaper journalist Fred R. Barnard, shared this quote to express the need for a photo to accompany important articles and ads. And the principle has never been more vital than in today’s digitally cluttered cyberspace.

I asked one friend of mine, author, Linda Goldfarb, if I could share a few of her personality-packed photos to give all of us authors, speakers, bookstore owners, a fresh way to reframe our mission, our platform, our brand and perhaps even the way we present the gospel.

As you plan your own photo shoot, ask three simple questions:

Who is my audience? Be as specific as you can, then go in search of examples of images that this audience has responded to. What has gone viral? Whose Instagram images are the most followed?  Linda is popular with those who vlinda goldfarb profile series pixalue a balance of the Biblical wisdom mixed with authentic transparency, humor and the hope of overcoming whatever obstacle life
might send their way. This series of photos capture all these priorities .  (On her website these images rotate automatically!)

 

Who am I? What do I want conveyed to my audience? Do my images match who I am in person? Do they match my personality? Do Linda goldfarb and hubby Samthey represent my calling?  Am I approachable  and easy to relate to in this image?  This image of Linda and her husband captures the wide variety of who they are as a couple.  Linda explains, “// // <meta http-equiv=”refresh” content=”0; URL=/photo.php?fbid=10154635213594505&set=pb.636924504.-2207520000.1471478617.&type=3&size=960%2C960&_fb_noscript=1″ /> Sam and I are known as the Trans-Parent-Farbs!”

In our ministry, this image of Bill kissing me has had huge emotional impact, especially when linked to our Red Hot Monogamy or Red Hot Romance Tips for Women books. This photo captures that more than success in writing or speaking, it is success in our marriage that really matters to us. (And is is what we hope and pray our Love-Wise ministry helps as many couples as possible achieve.[am bill beach kiss rebecca

What is my mission? Ask yourself, “How can I get others to feel about my calling, passion and mission, the same way I feel about it?” Or “List images you have seen that helped you feel called into the ministry you have today. For example, Bill and I are “marriage missionaries”, much in part to the chaotic, and anger-filled homes we grew up in. So images of couples in conflict will always catch my eye—and cause me to want to take action to give those in the photo a better, happier life!That is why when I saw this photo of Linda and her husband, it caught my heart, and my eye, and inspired this blog!

Linda goldfarb gender wars

Take some time and think through then talk through your ideas for images that will best represent you, your mission and reach your audience. It will be worth the time to create the image that will be “picture perfect!”

(photo of Pam and Bill  and signature photo of the Farrels are by Rebecca Friedlander)

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Pam and Bill Farrel are relationship experts, authors of 45 books, including Men Are Like Waffle, Women Are Like Spaghetti , and co-directors of Love-Wise.com

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