One the wall of our bedroom is a beautiful portrait taken by a well known photographer.  The

The Kiss
Pam and Bill Farrel

photo is black and white then recolorized to highlight certain aspects of the portrait. The picture is of Bill and me. In the photo you can’t see our facesbecause I am wearing a hat, but you can tell, it was a kiss of love. How?

In the photo, I am standing on my tippie toes reaching up to give Bill a kiss. That peck was apparently was so amazing that it caused Bill to rock back on his heels. (I think this might be where the term, “head over heels in love” came from).  The look of our feet in this position of a public display of affection was the selling point, and this photo became the front cover of a Focus on the Family book on marriage.

When I had the photograph framed, this verse seemed so appropriate:

Love and faithfulness meet together; righteousness and peace kiss each other.

(Ps 85:10 NIV).

The linking and balance of each couplet is what it takes to have long lasting love:

Love AND faithfulness:  The passion of love ignites the flame of intimacy but it is the commitment to faithfulness and fidelity that KEEPS passion alive year after year. Trust is built with a secure knowledge your mate is faithful!

Righteousness AND Peace: In marriage, it is important to do things RIGHT. Skills like communication, kindness, and servanthood are just a few of the building blocks for love.  Sometimes well meaning spouses fall into the no win trap of pointing out all the “improvements” the other can make in the relationship. It is easy for the other person to perceive this stance as he or she always needs to be “right”.  Pushing for what you think is right, is not always “right”.  That is where peace comes in.

Pam and Bill Farrel

Peacemaking and peacekeeping is the equalizer to pushing for the precise. Sometimes we each need to accommodate for the other to bring peace. Give grace over preferences and save your opinions for the things that truly reflect righteousness like keeping a promise, living with integrity, o

Men are Like Waffles
Women Are Like Spaghetti
Harviset House

r committing to love your mate as God loves him or her.

Pam and Bill Farrel are international speakers, authors of 45 books including bestselling Men Are Like Waffles, Women Are Like Spaghetti, and

A Couples Journey with God devotional. Together they help people with their most vital relationship through their ministry Love-Wise,–the intercection where God’s wisdom and God’s love “kiss”.

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“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven” (Ecclesiastes 3:1).

I’m reevaluating the pace of my life, my priorities, and how I use my time. What’s really, really important? Yes, there are expectations, obligations, and demands that try to push and pull me in all kinds of directions, but what is an appropriately paced life?

While I know that my gifts will make space for me, there is a season for everything. Yet I also know that I need to manage that space. So what does that look like for me—and for you?

First, prayer, worship, and reading the Word needs to be the plumb line that will keep everything else in balance. When these get messed up, the pace of life simply gets out of whack. Right now, I need to adjust my schedule to allow more time for all three.

Second, I need to avoid unhealthy and unbalanced expectations. Moderation is key. I need to pace myself with work, play, relationships, exercise, and even my writing. I need to find the balance in all of it and reject the oppressive demands that weigh on me, whether that comes from inside myself or from others and remember that, ultimately, people and relationships are the most important.

Third, I need to preemptively replace guilt with peace. For me, this is the hardest of all. I’m a perfectionist and ultra responsible, so I feel the pressures of the “should dos” and “must dos” way too much. So I must choose to rest in Him and trust Him with my days, weeks, months, and year, even when they don’t turn out the way I wished they would.

Recently, on top of all the busyness, health issues, and family situations have pulled me away from my agenda, my to-do list, and my timelines. I have so much more that I’d like to do, see, and write than I can possibly get done. So I have to let some of them go and find peace and contentment with whatever the Lord allows.

And what about you? What advice to you have to create an appropriately paced life, find balance in this busy world, and enjoy the peace that comes with it?

About the author: Susan Mathis is the author of The Fabric of Hope: An Irish Family Legacy and four other books. She is vice-president of Christian Authors Network, founding editor of Thriving Family magazine, and former Editor of twelve 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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I love the ever-changing colors and textures of a sunset. There’s something so peaceful about it, almost as if the day exhales its worry and stress in preparation for the night.

Maybe that’s why the best sunsets include clouds, those masses of water vapor we usually associate with storms. In fact, some of the most beautiful sunsets happen in the aftermath of a storm when the abundance of cloud surfaces all reflect the varying hues of light as the sun slips below the horizon.

Several decades have passed since I took my first airplane ride, but I still remember that day when dark clouds hung low and rain made everything especially dreary.

The difference when we burst through the cloud deck astounded me. Sunlight shining on brilliant white cotton-ball tops of the clouds took my breath away.

We landed again in that dismal rainy weather, but I felt like grabbing everyone I saw and encouraging them to believe there was incredible beauty right above us on the other side of those clouds.

Jesus said, “I have told you these things so that in me, you may have peace. In the world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).

If life’s clouds have got you down, trust there’s amazing beauty on the other side, and prepare for an awesome Son-set once the storm passes.

Mary L. Hamilton is the author of the Rustic Knoll Bible Camp series for middle grades and Pendant, a cozy suspense novel, under the name M. L. Hamilton. When not writing, she enjoys photographing sunsets like the one above. She and her husband live in Texas.

www.maryhamiltonbooks.com

www.facebook.com/maryhamiltonbooks

www.instagram.com/mlhamiltonauthor

 

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Janet Perez Eckles

Janet Perez Eckles

Hola from Janet Perez Eckles…Igniting Your Passion to Overcome

God doesn’t promise a day without problems, or moments without trials, but aligned with Him,  He promises a satisfied soul. Read More →

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Hello from Kathy Collard Miller, here in the Southern California desert.0098_Miller

It was always difficult for my mother to relax and trust God, and even when she was in her 80’s, it seemed like the Lord was still inviting her to trust Him more. My sister and I would say to each other, “You’d think the Lord would stop working on people when they get old enough, but He sure seems to still be working on mom.”

That was true up until the last few days of her life. When it was time for hospice, she moved into my home but didn’t seem to really comprehend that time for her was short. In fact, ten days before she joined

Great-gramma with great-grandson Raphael

Great-gramma with great-grandson Raphael

Jesus in heaven, she complained to me, “Kathy, I just hate lying here and not accomplishing anything. I should be doing something!”

I didn’t quite know what to say except, “Well, mom, you are 89. Maybe it’s time for you to just relax and let me take care of you.” She gave me a half-hearted smile like she wasn’t quite convinced.

Read More →

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