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Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Mentoring Women - Passing the Torch

Selections from Titus 2
source: Lifeway

Older women are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not addicted to much wine. They are to teach what is good, so that they may encourage the young women to love their husbands and children, to be sensible, pure, good homemakers, and submissive to their husbands, so that God's message will not be slandered. For the grace of God has appeared, with salvation for all people, instructing us to deny godlessness and worldly lusts and to live in a sensible, righteous, and godly way in the present age, while we wait for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Why should today's young people have to learn their lessons the hard way, when we've already walked so many of the same pathways, felt so many of the same pressures, seen so many of the Lord's promises come true? So many of them need us so much.
Few of us really think we have a lot to say to others. Our lives because they're ours, the only eyes we've ever looked through can seem quite ordinary, uneventful, unimportant. But we have something we can share things no one else has seen quite the way we've seen them. Even our fears and failures even the ones we struggle with at this very moment are object lessons that have much to teach, to reveal, to inspire. We can't do everything, but can we do anything more valuable than invest ourselves in another?

Look At It This Way ...
My dear Mom Cunningham schooled me not in a class or seminar, or even primarily by her words. It was what she was that taught me. It was her availability to God. It was the surrender of her time. It was her readiness to get involved, to lay down her life for one anxious Bible school girl. Above all, she herself, a simple Scottish woman, was the message.

Think of the vast number of older women today. We live longer now than we did forty years ago. There is more mobility, more money around, more leisure, more health and strength resources which, if put at God's disposal, might bless younger women. But there are also many more ways to spend those resources, so we find it very easy to occupy ourselves selfishly. Where are the women, single or married, willing to hear God's call to spiritual motherhood, taking spiritual daughters under their wings to school them as Mom Cunningham did me? She had no training the world would recognize. She simply loved God and was willing to be broken bread and poured-out wine for his sake. Retirement never crossed her mind. - Elisabeth Elliot

A Final Thought:
Can you imagine what would happen if each of us found some teenagers in our churches, schools, or neighborhoods, and began opening our hearts to them in godly discipleship?

Friday, October 17, 2008

How to Resolve Conflict with Your Spouse (Part 1)

by Rick Warren

You quarrel and fight. You do not have, because you do not ask God. James 4:2 (NIV)

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Sometimes the biggest conflicts in marriage are over the most trivial issues. One of the silliest fights Kay and I ever had was over bath soap.

If you're going to pull together when you're pulled apart, you have to:

Call on God for help.
Pray about it. Before you go to your spouse about the problem, discuss it with God. This may solve the problem right there. Practice what I call "ventilating vertically." Many of you are very good at ventilating horizontally, but ventilating vertically is when you come to God and say, "Here's how I feel," and you just lay it out.

James 4:2 teaches, "You quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God" (NIV). Conflict often occurs when we expect other people to meet needs that only God himself can meet in our lives.

Confess your part of the conflict.
Before I start attacking and blaming, I need to do a frank evaluation and ask, "How much of this conflict is my fault? I need to do an honest checkup and admit my part. When you're wrong, admit it. And when you're right, shut up!

Be honest. Matthew 7:3-5, Jesus said, "Why do you look at the speck in another's eye and pay no attention to the log in your own eye? … First take the log out of your own eye, and then you will be able to see clearly" (GNT).

I need to ask, "Am I being unrealistic? Am I being insensitive? Am I being overly sensitive? Am I being too demanding? Am I being ungrateful?"

Tomorrow we'll look at two more steps to resolving conflict with your spouse.
(to be con't..)

Friday, October 10, 2008

Where the Golden Rule Doesn’t Apply in Marriage

Dr. Gary and Barb Rosberg

source: Crosswalk 

It's the understatement of all understatements: Men and women are different! If we tried to get into all the way in which we're different, we'd need a lot more space than we have in this article, that's for sure! So instead, we're going to focus on one area: Sex.


Most of us live with a Golden-Rule mentality in our sex lives: "If I treat my spouse the way I want to be treated, then we'll be happy and have a fulfilling sex life." But as you've probably discovered, men and women just don't have the same needs when it comes to sexual intimacy.


And here's the thing: We've found that the problem isn't that couples don't know about gender differences. The problem is that even though we recognize the differences – many of us never take the time to study, appreciate, and pursue those differences as being good and worthy. Instead, many couples continue to assume that the wife will respond like a husband, and the husband will respond like a wife.  There's that Golden-Rule mentality again! If you've bought into that line of thinking, let us remind you: That is never going to happen. Period. It's that simple.


So what should a couple do? Should they resign themselves to experiencing a boring – or nonexistent – sex life? No! We want to encourage you to learn about and appreciate the differences between you and your mate. The truth is, God made us different, but he also made us to be complementary – to balance each other, to fit together, to make us one.


To meet our needs, we have to meet our spouses' needs. They are ultimately connected. Of course, that's not to say that men only want the physical and women only want the emotional. Both need both. It's just that God wired us to get both by coming at it from two distinct ways.


So how did God do that? Let's get into a little bit of science to show you just how God wired us to be two parts of a satisfying whole. A woman's hormones make her brain better wired for romance and intimacy. One of those hormones is oxytocin – it's also known as the "cuddling hormone" because it elicits the need to be close and bond, but not in a sexual way. Well, as you probably guessed, a man's level of oxytocin is much lower than a woman's – sometimes ten times lower! In fact, the only time a man's oxytocin levels approach the same level as a woman's is directly after sexual intimacy.[i]


God wired a man to feel connected to his wife through sex. The physical act of sex opens his feelings and allows him to become more vulnerable. Sex gives him a sense of closeness and intimacy. He is better able to concentrate on such things as his emotions. God wired a woman to feel connected to her husband by experiencing emotional connection. Emotional connection gives her a sense of safety. She is better able to give herself to physical sex. 


God made husbands and wives to complement each other: A husband invites his wife into intimacy through sex, and a wife invites her husband into intimacy through emotional connection. Together, they make a satisfying whole.


Ultimately, through sexual intimacy – emotionally and physically connecting – God calls us to be vulnerable and to serve each other. He calls on men to connect emotionally with their wives in order to have their physical needs met; he calls on women to connect physically with their husbands in order to have their emotional needs met. It involves tension, to be sure. But it's also exciting!


The exciting reality about sexual intimacy is that God made us different to spice things up! And ultimately, those differences teach us about serving the other person. When we give our spouses what they need – not what we think they want or need – then we fulfill God's design for sexual intimacy. And the reward is that together we experience true intimacy.


What we have to realize is that our different ways of approaching sexual intimacy are okay – and normal – because God made us different… on purpose. And that's a good thing. We waste so much time and energy trying to shape our spouses into sexual clones of ourselves. Then we wonder why we're frustrated and disappointed with our sex lives! So rather than growing frustrated and upset, taking it out on each other, walking away, and pouting, take those opportunities to accept that our approaches to intimacy are going to be different.


The reality is that we often want the same things. Our deepest desire, whether we're male or female, is ultimately to become one. He wants intercourse; she wants intercourse. He may want physical intercourse more than she does, and she may want emotional intercourse more than he does, but when a couple can meld physical and emotional intercourse, they will find the pathway to greater intimacy.

Portions of this article were adapted from "The 5 Sex Needs of Men and Women," Copyright 2006 by Dr. Gary and Barbara Rosberg, all rights reserved.  Published by Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.,  To order this resource or to find our more about Dr. Gary and Barb – Your Marriage Coaches, visit or call 1-888-608-COACH. 

[i]  Michael Gurian, What Could He Be Thinking?: How a Man's Mind Really Works (St. Martin's Press, 2004): 109. Mark Leyner and Billy Goldberg, Why Do Men Fall Asleep After Sex? (Three Rivers Press, a division of Random House, Inc, 2006)


Wednesday, October 8, 2008

How to Have a Quiet Time

by Rick Warren

"The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart." 1 Samuel 16:7 (NIV)
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Once you're convinced that a daily quiet time is necessary for spiritual growth, how do you go about having one? You may be motivated to do it but may not know how.
Start with the proper attitudes
In God's eyes, why you do something is far more important than what you do.
On one occasion God told Samuel, "The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart" (1 Samuel 16:7). It is quite possible to do the right thing but with the wrong attitude.
This was Amaziah's problem, for "he did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, but not wholeheartedly" (2 Chronicles 25:2).
When you come to meet with God in a quiet time, you should have these proper attitudes:
•Expectancy – Come before God with anticipation and eagerness. Expect to have a good time of fellowship with him and receive a blessing from your time together. That was what David expected: "O God, you are my God, earnestly I seek you" (Psalm 63:1).
•Reverence – Don't rush into God's presence, but prepare your heart by being still before him and letting the quietness clear away the thoughts of the world. Listen to the prophet Habakkuk: "The Lord is in his holy temple; let all the earth be silent before him" (Habakkuk 2:20; see also Psalm 89:7). Coming into the presence of the Lord is not like going to a football game or some other form of entertainment.
•Alertness – Get wide-awake first. Remember that you are meeting with the Creator, the Maker of heaven and earth, the Redeemer of men. Be thoroughly rested and alert. The best preparation for a quiet time in the morning begins the night before. Get to bed early so you will be in good shape to meet God in the morning; he deserves your full attention.
•Willingness to obey – This attitude is crucial: you don't come to your quiet time to choose what you will do or not do, but with the purpose of doing anything and everything that God wants you to do. Jesus said, "If anyone chooses to do God's will he will find out whether my teaching comes from God or whether I speak on my own" (John 7:17). So come to meet the Lord having already chosen to do his will no matter what.

Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed. Mark 1:35 (NIV)
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Select a specific time
The specific time has to do with when you should have your quiet time and how long it should be. The general rule is this: The best time is when you are at your best! Give God the best part of your day, when you are the freshest and most alert. Don't try to serve God with your leftover time. Remember, too, that your best time may be different from someone else's.
For most of us, however, early in the morning seems to be the best time. It was Jesus' own practice to rise early to pray and meet with the Father: "Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed" (Mark 1:35).
In the Bible many godly men and women rose early to meet with God. Some of these were:
• Abraham – Genesis 19:27
• Moses – Exodus 34:4
• Job – Job 1:5
• Hannah and Elkanah – 1 Samuel 1:19
• Jacob – Genesis 28:18
• David – Psalms 5:3; 57:7,8
• (See also Psalm 143:8; Isaiah 26:9; Ezekiel 12:8)
You might even consider having two quiet times (morning and night). Dawson Trotman, founder of the Navigators, used to have code letters for his night quiet time: HWLW. Whenever he was with a group of people at night or home with his wife and the conversation seemed to be ending, he would say, "All right, HWLW." HWLW stood for "His Word the Last Word"; and he practiced that through the years as a way of ending a day with one's thoughts fixed on the Lord (Betty Lee Skinner, Daws, Zondervan, 1974, p. 103).
Whatever time you set, be consistent in it. Schedule it on your calendar; make an appointment with God as you would with anyone else. Make a date with Jesus!
Then look forward to it and don't stand him up. A stood-up date is not a pleasant experience for us, and Jesus does not like to be stood up either. So make a date with him and keep it at all costs.
The question is often asked, "How much time should I spend with the Lord?" If you've never had a consistent quiet time before, you may want to start with seven minutes (Robert D. Foster, Seven Minutes with God, NavPress, 1997) and let it grow naturally. You should aim to eventually spend not less than 15 minutes a day with the Lord.

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This article was adapted from Dynamic Bible Study Methods (Chariot Victor Books) © Copyright 1989 by Rick Warren. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
All Scripture references are from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright 1973, 1978, and 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishing House. All rights reserved.
You may use this study guide for yourself or share it with friends, but please keep the copyright information within the document, and please don't sell it.

© 2008 Purpose Driven Life. All rights reserved.

Rick Warren is the founding pastor of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif., one of America's largest and best-known churches. In addition, Rick is author of the New York Times bestseller The Purpose Driven Life and The Purpose Driven Church, which was named one of the 100 Christian books that changed the 20th Century. He is also founder of, a global Internet community for ministers.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Women: Put the Power of Your Words to Good Use


by Whitlney Hopler/Crosswalk

 Editor's Note: The following is a report on the practical applications of Sharon Jaynes' book, The Power of a Woman's Words, (Harvest House, 2007).


Words are one of the most powerful forces in the universe. God used them to create the world.  When you use words, you're tapping into great creative power yourself – power that can result in either good or evil.


As a woman, you likely speak and write many words throughout each day. How are you directing the power behind those words? Here's how you can put the power of your words to good use:


Consider the significance of your words. The words you express now will echo for eternity through the ways they impact the lives of the people around you. You may never know how much your positive words will bless others or how much your negative words will hurt them.


View your words as mirrors you hold up to others. The words you use when communicating with others act as mirrors that help them see themselves the way you see them. Decide to look for the best – not the worst – in others. Ask God to help you see their potential. Then choose to communicate words of acceptance and encouragement that inspire them to fulfill their potential.


Communicate well with your children. Use your words to let your children know how much God loves them, and how much you love them. Encourage them to discover their purpose, natural talents, and spiritual gifts. Urge them to pursue dreams that God has placed in their hearts. Pray for them and with them regularly. Become their chief cheerleader instead of their chief critic. Pump courage and confidence into their lives by speaking positive words to them as often as possible. Notice when they display godly character or complete a job well, and compliment them. Encourage them through notes (such as those you tuck inside their school bags or place on their pillows at night), cards, or e-mails. Avoid teasing, sarcasm, put-downs, and language that shames your children. Every day, tell them what they long to hear – that you love them – in specific and creative ways.


Communicate well with your husband. Make sure your words for your husband are loving, kind, encouraging, and supporting. Too many critical words can devastate your husband and cause great harm to your marriage. Regularly compliment your husband in specific ways, such as by letting him know that you admire his talent for something or that you love seeing his smile. Let your husband know that you believe in him and appreciate all that he does.


Communicate well with your friends. Give hope to your friends through your words. Encourage them when they're burdened with something (like the death of a loved one or the loss of a job). Offer to help them when they need something. Correct them when they're veering away from faithful decisions, but do so without judging them. Celebrate with them when they're rejoicing about something. Listen carefully when they share their concerns, and pray with them. Praise their strengths and offer to help them overcome their weaknesses. Make a list of words that you would like to have friends communicate to you; then use those same words to bless your friends.


Communicate well with fellow believers. Remember that God has called you to live in community with your fellow believers, interacting in ways that build each other instead of tearing each other down. Don't participate in the grumbling and gossiping that's too common in some churches. Encourage believers to pursue what God has called them to do. Express your thanks and appreciation to people who serve, letting them know that their efforts are valuable.


Communicate well with the world. Words are powerful tools to attract people in the world to relationships with Christ. Use words to communicate genuine interest, caring, and concern to the people you meet. Ask God to bring divine appointments your way and use your encounters with people throughout each day as conduits of His love. Recognize people who aren't typically noticed, be kind to difficult people, and encourage people who are struggling. When others serve you (such as at a restaurant), be gracious and grateful. Be willing to listen to the stories that the people you meet want to share with you, and learn from them. Take full advantage of every opportunity you have to bless others through loving words.


Communicate well with God. Pray often to grow closer to God yourself, and intercede for others in prayer, asking God to work on their behalf. The words you communicate to God have great power in the spiritual realm. Approach God with reverence and confidence, freely sharing your thoughts and feelings with Him and listening for His responses.


Think before you speak. The words you speak reflect what's going on in your mind. Every day, pray for the Holy Spirit to renew your mind. Refuse to dwell on negative thoughts that enter your mind, and choose to focus on positive thoughts. Before you speak, ask yourself whether or not the words you're considering line up with God's truth, demonstrate noble moral character, are right to be spoken at the time, are pure, are inspirational, are admirable, reflect excellence, and are praiseworthy.


Change bad habits into good ones. If you tend to spew angry words, practice not reacting in anger but instead choosing to extend grace. If you often become bitter after others hurt you, practice recalling how often God has forgiven you for your own mistakes, and ask Him to help you forgive others. If you tend to complain, practice focusing on what God can do in the midst of difficult circumstances rather than dwelling on the details of the difficulties themselves. If you often express fear, ask God to increase your faith so your words will be invitations for Him to act in situations that concern you. If you tend to grumble about situations that don't go your way, practice reminding yourself that God is in ultimate control of them, choose to trust Him, and thank Him for the ways He has worked in your life so far.


Discern when to be silent. Pray for the wisdom you need to discern when you should speak and when you should remain silent. Whenever you're not sure if you should say something, don't. Learn how to listen well to other people and understand the true feelings behind their words. Learn how to listen well to God's guidance about the timing and appropriateness of the words you're considering speaking.


Pour positive words into the lives of others as often as you can. Don't worry about running out of positive words to use to encourage others. Trust God to give you a steady flow of them, even when you're discouraged yourself. If you choose to use your words to encourage others, God will bless your efforts by encouraging you. Be assured that each positive word you speak will cause something positive to happen – and it may be even be as significant as changing the course of someone's life for the better.

Adapted from The Power of a Woman's Words, copyright 2007 by Sharon Jaynes. Published by Harvest House Publishers, Eugene, Or.,

Sharon Jaynes is an international inspirational speaker and Bible teacher for women's conferences and events. She is also the author of several books, including Becoming the Woman of His Dreams and Becoming a Woman Who Listens to God. Sharon and her husband, Steve, have one grown son, Steven, and live in North Carolina.


How to Handle Conflict

by Rick Warren

My dear brothers and sisters, be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry. James 1:19 (NLT)
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I'll tell you how to deal with conflict quickly, but you're not going to like it. The solution to conflict resolution is one word: confrontation.
If you're going to resolve conflict, you must confront. But, you don't have to confront in anger. In fact, you should try not to confront in anger. Lovingly go to the person and, then speaking the truth in love, deal with the problem immediately.
Very few of us enjoy confrontation. The only people who really do are troublemakers who seem to delight in confrontation. They love to go to people and say, "You're blowing it!" That's their thrill.
Because it's risky and uncomfortable, most people don't like confrontation, but it's the only way to resolve conflict.
What's the best way to confront? James 1:19 teaches three rules for confrontation. Everyone should be:
· Quick to listen,
· Slow to speak, and
· Slow to become angry.
If you're quick to listen and if you're slow to speak, you'll automatically be slow to anger.
What are you listening for? You are listening for the hurt in that person. Hurting people always hurt other people. When someone is being a jerk, more than likely it's because that person is hurting. When you understand their hurt a bit, you have a better understanding of why they do what they do, and you're a little more patient with them.
Understanding always brings patience. When we don't understand things, we're impatient. When we understand them, we're much more patient.