“. . . those who humble themselves will be exalted.” (Luke 14:11)

 

He sat in my office, his marriage in ruins, yet he was pridefully proclaiming all the things his wife needed to do, his kids needed to do and even what God needed to do. Nothing seemed to be his fault. Is arrogance was the biggest roadblock to healing his own family. We can all drift into conceit and smugness unless we are willing to be humble. To humble means “to depress and in Hebrew, the word humbly implies a stance of bowing, stooping or crouching as in worship.

Every day we have a choice. We can humbly cooperate with the way life is, we can bow to trust God or we can arrogantly try to define life the way we want it to be and attempt to boss God around.

Is there an area of your life that needs to bow to God’s will and God’s ways?

Pray together
Stay together

 

Pam Farrel is an international speaker, author of 45 books including A Couples’ Journey with God,

which inspired this post.

A Couple’s Journey
with God
Harvest House
Publishers

 

 

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Lessons from Little Ones

By Susan G Mathis

Children have so much to teach us. Last week I spent time with four young families. One had a newborn who slept peacefully in my arms while I gooed and giggled over every infant face she made. She was content. I want to be content too.

Another family had four busy little ones ages 3-7. The twin three year olds presented me with “gifts” of scribbled drawings that I just can’t throw away. I want to give others more gifts—gifts of myself—even if they are a bit scribbly.

The third family has a six month old, a five year old, and a seven year old. The five year old is a bug-crazy boy who just had to show me his “pet” fly. The six month old worked and worked to roll over and grab a plastic bowling pin, and we all were in awe when she accomplished her feat. And the seven year old read a book to me, and I marveled at the miracle of reading. I want to always be in awe of the wonder of life like these sweet kids.

Then I got to Skype with my grandchildren, the most precious part of my week. They are curious, funny, busy, energetic, inquisitive, and always learning. We laugh and talk and read books and blow kisses. We connect and reconnect on a deep and loving level. And it fills my soul in ways that nothing else can.

Each one of these children is a special and unique gift to me, and each one reminds me to step back from cooking and cleaning and pay bills and all the grownup busyness of life and to take time to be inspired at the beauty of Pikes Peak or create a story or dream or really enjoy moments with loved ones. Time with children not only helps me to reorient to what really matters but also enjoy my days so much more.

Contentment. Giving. Wonder. Learning. Growth. Love. These are what each child teaches me, and I want to apply all of them to my relationships with God and others. Good lessons, kids.

 

Dear Lord, Help us to be like little children, content, growing, loving and learning more about You everyday. In Jesus name, Amen

 

About the author: Susan Mathis is the author of 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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We think that your marriage is a wonderful forum for instilling values, beliefs, principles and morals. Society sometimes just doesn’t know what to do with great men, great women, great dads, great moms, and people are often baffled by the wise, well spoken,  and well centered children focused parents produce.

We were very proactive in our parenting. We share the details of how we raised our kids is in 10 Best Decisions a Parent Can Make. The main point is that all along the way we prayed specifically and planned intentionally. We developed a Learner and Leader Plan with a yearly Farrel Family Fun Day and on this day each year we negotiated privileges and responsibilities. We gave them a gift that applauded their calling each year.

We reinforced good choices with a Teen Relationship Contract, Education Contract, Driving Contract, and as media developed, we added in a Media

10 Best Decisions a Parent Can Make; Got Teens; 10 Questions Kids ASk About Sex

Contract. We added in plenty of fun like, father son trips and individual time with mom enjoying their favorite activities with plenty of time for deeper conversations.

At sixteen we gave them car keys with a verse on it, “It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality;  that each of you should learn to control your own body  in a way that is holy and honorable,”  (1 Thes. 4:3-4 NIV) .

We also gave each son an ID bracelet with that same verse on it that they wore on dates.  Then as they prepared to launch into their own life, we have a walk into manhood inviting all their mentors to a celebration.

We also have a Freshman Foundation Dinner and Dialogue which is a series of five sets of discussion questions we used to talk through critical areas as our children went away to college. (All these are available at our Love-Wise website).

Farrel family

Sometimes people say, “Bill and Pam, you are so intense”.  We agree, we are intense—and intentional. Parenting is hard work, but the only thing harder is to not do the work and have to do much more repair work later because you didn’t spend the time sowing right thinking into your children’s lives.  We just elected to do much of the hard work early so we could enjoy the fruit of having kids making wiser choices as they grew up. One mentor said to us, “Pay now or pay later—but you will pay.”

Bill and I found working and planning together as parents drew us closer as a couple.  As a grandmother, I helped author, Raising a Modern Day Princess, because I was motivated to also

Raising a Modern Day Princess
Focus on the Family
Tyndale Publishers

help my granddaughters (and  grandsons) make wise choices.  As grandparents, we want to back up all the important wisdom our now grown kids will be passing on to their own children by reinforcing the

values mom and dad are sharing.

We know God’s desire is for us to be proactive in passing along our values:

These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates (Duet 6:6-9)

10 Best Decisions a Parent Can Make

We encourage parents to leave their trademark on their children ™

T- Traditions, the things you do yearly to pass on your faith and values.

M- Memories, the special once in a lifetime events or activities that build into your children.

So talk together about what you hope for as your children journey with you. What traditions, what memories do you want to plan in order to pass on your belief system?

Lord, help us be proactive in preparing our children well for the life journey you have for them. Give us wisdom and creativity as we plan traditions and memories. Amen

Pam and Bill Farrel are the parents of three godly grown sons, who each married God-honoring wives, and are raising 5 grandchildren to love and serve God too. The Farrels have penned several parenting books including 10 Best Decisions a Parent Can Make and 10 Questions Kids Ask About Sex. (Harvest House Publsihers) The Farrel family loves to gather on Bill and Pam’s live aboard boat in Southern California.

Pam and Bill Farrel
and family

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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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Just Being

By Susan G Mathis

Just being. Just being together. What a sweet gift it is to just be together! What a sweet gift we can give to others in this busy world.

Sometimes just being means sitting alone, quietly praying or thinking or dreaming. At other times, just being together means holding the hand of the one you love, resting in the knowledge that you are loved.

Sometimes just being together means enjoying a rowdy Skype visit filled with little girl laughter and love and joy. Sometimes it means taking time to call your elderly mother to hear about her day. And sometimes it means resting in the healing process God has for you.

Our crazy world is so busy, busy, busy. It consumes our thoughts and actions far too much. We push ourselves to go a hundred miles an hour so that we can everything done, and we nearly crash and burn. Stress fills our lives and the beauty of just being gets lost in the shuffle.

So what will it take to change us? For me took thumb surgery and complications that forced me slow down. And it’s taken a little girl to remind me to just be.

Johnny Diaz has a great song called, “Breathe” that has blessed me during this time. He suggests that we rest at God’s feet and take some time to fill our lives with the One who gave us breath in the first place. He implores us to “lay down what’s good and find what’s best.” What good counsel this is!

 

Dear Lord, In this crazy, busy world, help us to slow down and just be. In Jesus name, Amen

 

About the author: Susan Mathis is the author of 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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