September 1, 2012

The value we place on something is often an indicator of how hard we are willing to work for it; “for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:21). I have seen people treat their jobs better than they treat their spouses; making sure to always be there when needed, taking on problems nobody else wants, staying longer to finish assignments and sacrificing weekends and holidays for the sake of the company; “You were bought at a price, do not become slaves of men” (1 Corinthians 7:23). What would happen if we put as much effort into our marriages as we did our careers? Adam clearly spoke of how Eve was a part of him and he a part of her, then explained “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.” (Genesis 2:22-25).

May 1, 2013

Relationships are challenging. They are often fraught with misunderstanding, misinterpretation, and misjudging. Even the best relationships are not without trials. Perhaps life would be easiest without relationships. It can be tempting to distance oneself from others – no relationship, no pain. Maybe life alone on a desert island is the key to lasting happiness. What do you think?

Before calling your travel agent, let’s see what God says about relationships. What is his good, pleasing, and perfect will for people who live together on this earth, God’s own creation? Read the following verses from Philippians 2, paying close attention to the italicized words. “Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, 2 then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. 3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 4 not looking to your

Tue, May 1, 2012

Its spring time again--but earlier this year. I look forward to the flowers in my yard, that spring "smell" in the air, and warm days that aren't too warm yet. People seem happier this time of year...I feel happier, but not every spring has been this way.

There were spring times in years past where I noticed the mud rather than the flowers. I complained about the rain rather than being thankful for that fresh spring smell, and it was either too hot or too cold for me. And those happy people....they were everywhere, and I wasn't happy at all. In fact, I found them to be exceedingly annoying. You see, I was in the middle of a really painful transition, no, really more like five at the same time.

Fri, October 1, 2010

Heart racing, my upper lip moist with perspiration, I stuttered as I recited these words, "Lord, You have been our dwelling place in all generations. Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever You had formed the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting You are God." Psalm 90:1-2 (ESV). Was this a traumatic memory from Sunday school, parochial school or confirmation class? No, rather a recent recitation of memory work before thirty-two adults gathered to study God's Word in preparation for comforting God's people as Covenant Partners through Cross Connections.

Why does the thought of memory work create such panic for us? After all, "memory work" is what our mind does all day long from the very moment we are born. Throughout life we experience the world through our five senses and our mind catalogues it for future use. From this wealth of stored information we move, speak, learn, interact with others, make decisions, and live.

Wed, September 1, 2010

"Confession is good for the soul." Confession, repentance and forgiveness of sin allow us to connect with God. Confession is evidence of a Christian's refusal to allow sin to remain in his life. Through Jesus we can confess and repent of our sins. Through Jesus our sins are forgiven. Through Jesus we have access to God. Through Jesus we can forgive the sins of others.

God's way of forgiveness is good for the soul. It is the indispensable sign of the Christian life. Forgiveness is our greatest need and through Christ's righteousness, our greatest blessing. Forgiveness is a process at the end of which God declares that the sin has been dealt with once and for all. It is also a process in which we as God's people declare that a sin against us has been removed because of what Jesus did for us.

By Terrie Ensley

Sun, August 1, 2010

Have you ever found yourself wondering why a growing friendship has suddenly stopped growing or a buddy at work has no time for your customary a.m. coffee break when everything seemed fine just the day before? You probably have your own examples of squelched relationships that have left you scratching your head and rubbing your brow. "What happened?" you ask yourself. But, you really have no answer. You can't think of anything that could have damaged the relationship – yet the relationship is obviously damaged.

Two of the most common culprits that hurt relationships are "jumping to conclusions" and "mind-reading". Both involve the assumption that someone can ascertain another's motives just by what they do or say, or don't do or say without checking it out, or that one can judge another's sincerity and intent. Let me give you an example.

By Kathy Eggold

Thu, July 1, 2010

I recently read the results of a survey that confirmed what I hear so often in my counseling office. The survey asked divorced couples, "How did you know when your marriage was in trouble?" The most frequent response given was..."when the friendship wasn't there anymore." Friends provide us with many things that bring us fulfillment: activities to do together, conversation, honest disagreement, shared concerns, acceptance, forgiveness, support, joy and loving care. Relationships are what make life meaningful. God had these things and more in mind when He designed marriage. The added ingredient in the marriage friendship was that it would endure for a lifetime; until death ended the relationship. It was based on His perfect relationships within the Trinity. Man and woman were made in God's image and the marriage relationship was designed to be a picture of the Triune God. You might say to yourself, "Oh come on, that sounds nice but it isn't real." Actually it is very real indeed.

Tue, June 1, 2010

You'll be reading this in June, but I'm writing it in May; and the month of May always causes me to reminisce a bit. Confirmations, Mother's Day, Graduations, and Memorial Day stir up memories past and create memories present. These are times when families often gather to celebrate each other and savor springtime days. When I was a child, family almost always meant mom, dad, children, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. Families were intact, parents (and grandparents) were married to each other, children lived with both parents, and step-parents were found mainly in fairy tales.

The configuration of families has certainly changed in 50 years. I recall a class in my social work program more than a decade ago where students were asked to list various types of family units. Some of the suggestions at that time were: single parent families, grandparents raising grandchildren families, blended families, homosexual families, and step-families. I'm sure there are more family types, but it seems safe to say that many, many family units are no longer like those of the 1950s with one dad, one mom, and 2.5 kids (ideally one boy and one girl.)

Sat, May 1, 2010

Stress! We all have it. Every child and adult feels stressed sometimes. Stress is nothing new. In the Old Testament, Job cried out, "The churning inside me never stops; days of suffering confront me" (Job 30:27). Think of New Testament Christians, Paul and Silas, feet bound in stocks in a dark prison with a jailer standing guard over them. They had just been severely flogged, ridiculed and attacked by a huge crowd of people (Acts 16:22-40.) Do you think stress was a part of their lives? You bet it was!

Stress is no respecter of the ages, and neither is it a respecter of age. A survey of 875 kids aged 9 to 13 named the following as the top stressors in their lives:

• Grades, school, homework – 36%

• Family – 32%

• Friends – 21%

• Brothers and sisters – 20%

• Mean or annoying people – 20%

Thu, April 1, 2010

Many couples who I counsel ask me these questions, "How come we did fine as a couple until we got married? Where did the love go? Is it the stress of children? Is it that we have to spend too much time at our work just to support the family? Is it that we just got bored in our relationship after a certain period of time?"

Can marriages actually thrive and not just survive in today's fast paced culture? God's Word tells us, "yes" that God intended marriage to be durable, permanent, and intimate. He is very clear in Genesis that He established it for reasons that were essential to our well-being. "It is not good for man to be alone" and man shall leave his primary relationship with his parents to become "one flesh" with his wife, and that husband and wife are capable of the God-given privilege of creating new life as an expression of their love. That sounds like thriving to me.

Mon, March 1, 2010

I remember well receiving a pink covered autograph book for my fifth birthday. Delighted, I went from person to person over the next months soliciting them to pen noteworthy words to me; even the unsuspecting but kind man who wrote, "to the little girl who is always good when the insurance man comes."

Over the next years I read and reread the many words and sentiments, committing several of the verses to memory simply by the number of times they were savored. My grandma's poem about a purple cow conjured up for me fields of lavender jerseys and glasses overflowing with violet milk. My godmother's start of "Who's my favorite little missy?" (which was, of course, me) assured me of her love. But, it's my mother's verse that I will share with you completely because it is the basis for this article. She wrote,