A devotional to help military families stay connected during deployments

Excellent or Praiseworthy is posted on Monday and Thursday nights.

“For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.” — Genesis 2:24

Not far from our house is a road with a sharp curve. The Department of Transportation has posted a warning sign and has even added a speed limit for what would be a safe turning speed for that curve. The sign has been there for many years—as long as the curvy road. On icy days we know to go even slower than the posted speed, because the curve is on a bit of an overpass and can be especially dangerous. People who have lived here for a long time are familiar with this spot. . . and do not hesitate to add their personal experiences and warnings to others who might not be as acquainted with the dangers.

And if you look about twenty yards behind the yellow “dangerous curve” sign with its prominent black arrow, you’ll see another prominent “warning sign” near a tree—a white cross. Beneath the cross there are placed plastic flowers which change with the seasons, as obviously this memorial is tended by loved ones. What happened? Not knowing the details, we can only guess at the circumstances that brought about this crash and this death. Had that person been warned? Did they not heed the warning?

There are those couples who are familiar with deployments and can be vast sources of help in warning others of the dangers to the health of a marriage which can occur when we don’t take seriously the special challenges of living separately due to military orders. They have safely navigated the twists and turns, and know the unique conditions under which a couple needs to take particular caution. Do you know some of these couples? Look around. . . ask around. . .pray to meet this couple who has lived victoriously in spite of the hazards. They have much wisdom to share.

And there are reasons to post warnings, as there are lives which have crashed and marriages that have burned as a result of problems which can come because of deployment and reintegration. Infidelity, poor communication resulting in misunderstandings, anger and bitterness, selfishness, pornography, lack of coping with adjustments, wrong expectations, substance abuse, physical abuse, and drifting apart—these are “dangerous curves.”

A mentoring couple would probably point out that there are precautions you can make before deployment which will help you, as a military couple, to not only avoid trouble but to actually mature in your marriage due to the endurance required. There are things you can do to plan ahead for emergencies, for finances—even for gifts on special occasions and for good communication! Getting “plugged in” to support networks and to good churches, and setting up means of accountability so both of you can be warned of impending problems—these are a few ideas how we can prepare for maintaining oneness during deployments.

Recently a friend gave me a special gift book entitled Married for Life by Bill Morelan. It’s one of those pretty gift books you find at a card shop, and the subtitle is “Inspirations from Those Married 50 years or More.” This little book contains warnings, and encouragement, written by about 100 couples whose marriages have stood the test of time and trials. Claude and Elizabeth Steen’s (married in 1943) chapter is entitled, “Learn to be Unselfish—Always put the Other’s Interests First.” Michael and Jean Duras (married in 1937 in Poland) named their vignette, “Pray With Each Other and For Each Other Daily.” Melvin and Maggie Smith (married in 1933) wrote “First Make a Commitment to the Lord, Then to Each Other.” Each chapter is accompanied by Scripture, truth from the word of God.

After all, it was God who designed and created marriage for our good. Just as the highway engineers, who designed and are in charge of the road near our house, knew to put up the sign for its correct use—the Bible contains instructions on how to love, respect, and treat each other in marriage. There are many good books available on Christian marriage plus many good Bible studies to challenge you. Some of these can even be done “together” during deployment. One of our favorite companion studies is “Loving Your Husband” by Cynthia Heald and “Loving Your Wife” by Jack and Cynthia Heald. There are twelve chapters in these studies—complementing the other so that you could work on them together and discuss your answers over email. HomeBuilders Bible studies are published by FamilyLife and are extremely helpful for small groups that want to grow in their marriages with God’s blueprints, starting with Genesis 2:24. One HomeBuilders study written especially to handle deployment is entitled Making Your Marriage Deployment Ready.  It is six weeks long–and a perfect way for mentor couples to help those experiencing the challenges of deployment.  Also, we post questions at the end of each “Excellent or Praiseworthy” devotion (posted on Mondays and Thursdays) so that the chance for communication of deep thoughts is provided.

No doubt you have invested much in your relationship with your spouse. No one wants that to be lost in a head-on collision with selfishness or sin. Heed the warning signs, and drive (live) carefully!

Questions to share:

  1. Do you know a couple from whom you could get advice about how to stay connected in your marriage during your deployment?
  2. What could you do to learn from them and perhaps prevent some potential problems?

Hellos & Good-byes

Written by Linda. Filed Under Marriage & Family

Excellent or Praiseworthy is posted on Monday and Thursday nights.

Love is patient, love is kind. I Corinthians 13:4

I’m not sure that communication in marriage comes easily for anyone, but I got some good advice early on which has served me well. If I were to summarize what I learned in one word it would be kindness . . . . during two critical times:

1. “Hello”

The first lesson I got in communication kindness was from one of the few books on marriage available in those early days, Letters to Karen by Charlie Shedd. Written from a loving Dad to his soon-to-be-married daughter, Dr. Shedd tells Karen to be intentional about the “hellos” when her husband came home:

“Do greet him with gladness when he first comes home. One husband made this picturesque statement: ‘She throws the garbage in my face first thing when I open the door.’ Then he went on to explain that she had a knack for saving the worst news of each day and giving him this promptly on his arrival. You will recognize that he was a master with words as he mimicked her patter: ‘Junior broke the neighbor’s bird bath!’ . . . .’That left rear tire on the station wagon is flat again!’ . . . ‘Won’t you please fix my kitchen faucet?’ . . . ‘I understand the Watsons are getting a divorce!’ . . . and so on in woeful detail. These evil tidings are strictly no good for his homecoming. Occasionally there must be exceptions, but every good meeting of minds will lay certain items aside for later consideration  . . . . From what I’ve seen, it’s a good idea to now and then check your words of greeting.” (p. 49,50)

What I learned was that the first few moments we spent back together after a day of work apart were “the most important five minutes of the day.” It set the tone for the evening, and was a way of reminding each other that they were missed, valued, and appreciated and loved! It was so easy to “dump” all of the details of the day on him when he first walked in . . . . and that just isn’t kind.

Recently I heard a talk about this very subject, and the speaker recommended that a suitable greeting for a couple coming back together after time apart (even a short time) was a “twenty-second kiss.” He cited a story of a couple whose relationship was strained but decided to try this one seemingly little gesture to try restoring their once-vibrant romance. The couple was amazed at how simple this one act of kindness in a greeting was at getting them back on track.

Stop . . . . look  . . . . listen . . . . and a nice, long kiss makes for a wonderful greeting, no matter who gets home first and gets to welcome the other. It is a beautiful way to show love to your spouse.

2. “Good-bye”

The second thing I learned that was so helpful in practicing good communication skills was to always make sure that my “good-bye” was a sweet one, followed by “I love you.” Granted it was a psychologist who instructed our squadron wives on this principle (yes, I was that ignorant), but it was true then and true now. Training accidents and enemy actions happen, and you never know what a day is going to bring—so the advice penetrated my heart. If something tragic happened to either one of us while apart I wanted our last words to be kind. I realized this one practice was not just an attempt to assuage guilt, but was a purposeful approach to maintaining peace between us as partners in life. It was smart to make our “good byes” as tender as possible.

We had many “hellos” and “good-byes” during our military days—with plenty of TDYs, deployments, training, exercises, and the Vietnam War. The “good-byes” were always difficult (understatement) . . . and the “hellos” were always glorious. Whether we were parting for a day, a week, a month or a year I always tried to stick by the training I had gotten from that one book and that one wives’ meeting.

And as much as these principles apply to physical greetings and farewells–they also apply to written ones.  Yes, even during deployment communication of email, text, letter–also phone and skype . . . be kind.

I’m not naïve . . . . and life is complicated. But these two simple rules—greet each other with kindness; depart from each other with kindness—are as important as any two rules in marriage you will ever find. I’m glad I found them early.

For when we are kind to each other, we are demonstrating the very character of God:  “You are kind and forgiving, O Lord, abounding in love to all who call to You.”  (Psalm 86:5)

Work Cited:

Shedd, Charlie W., Letters to Karen: On Keeping Love in Marriage (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1965)

Questions to Share:

1. Share with your spouse a time when you remember the way they greeted you was especially kind.

2. Share with your spouse a time when you remember the way they said “good-bye” to you was especially kind.

Excellent or Praiseworthy is posted on Monday and Thursday nights.

I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone—for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. — 1 Timothy 2:2

Growing up in Minnesota in the 1950s, February always meant two days off from school because of Abraham Lincoln’s birthday on February 12th and the celebration of George Washington’s birthday on February 22nd.  But sometime in the late 1960s or early 1970s dates shifted—and what I had experienced as two “for-sure” days off became one “iffy” day off on a Monday—to celebrate “Presidents’ Day.”

Back then I guessed that the purpose was to create a three-day weekend, which we enjoy, and to merge two celebrations of presidential birthdays into one grand holiday (especially for retailers to use in marketing). I have only recently found that there is much confusion over the origin of this “federal holiday” and that it is actually more closely linked to Washington’s birthday than Lincoln’s. Just reading about the history of this day left me confused, and our states seem to be equally confused. So whether it is Presidents’ Day, or President’s Day, or Presidents Day . . . . and whether or not schools in your area will be out that day . . . . and whether or not it is a holiday for you . . . . the fact remains that Abraham Lincoln and George Washington were two of our greatest presidents!

Perhaps you like to read biographies as I do. Years ago, when Elisabeth Elliott’s radio program “Gateway to Joy” was still on the air, I remember her encouraging mothers to make sure that their children read biographies of missionaries! Her own study of Amy Carmichael led her to write such a biography, and I have often reflected on her emphasis of this opportunity to draw on lessons learned from the lives of saints. John Piper is another great teacher who challenges us to look into the lives of those in the past and states in his sermon, “Brothers, Read Christian Biography”: “Biographies have served as much as any other human force in my life to overcome the inertia of mediocrity.” (DesiringGod.org)

So, because I enjoy reading biographies, on this Presidents’ Day it should not surprise you that I would want to look a bit at Abraham Lincoln and George Washington—and especially at the role of their marriages in their presidencies. They stand at sharp contrast to one another in terms of the personalities of their wives and the harmony in their households.

Gary Thomas has chosen to write about Lincoln’s marriage in the chapter “Sacred Struggle” from his great book, Sacred Marriage. This should be a hint that domestic tranquility was not the norm in the Lincoln household, for many reasons. But Thomas sees a divine purpose amidst this struggle, and writes, “The connection one can make between Lincoln’s marriage and his mission is not difficult. It is easy to see how a man who might quit on a difficult marriage would not have the character to hold together a crumbling nation. Lincoln was virtually obsessed with saving the Union; what better training ground than the difficult marriage that required such tenacity from him? It’s important to see that not only did Lincoln’s difficult marriage not deter him from achieving greatness, one might argue that it actually helped prepare him for greatness. Lincoln’s character was tested and refined on a daily basis so that when the true test came, he was able to stand strong. Had Lincoln been obsessed with happiness, he wouldn’t have mustered the strength to put up with Mary or to hold the nation together. He sensed a call to destiny, something that would in his mind supersede personal comfort, and his obedience to that destiny made world history.” (Sacred Marriage, p. 136-37).

In contrast, George Washington found in Martha an affable and complementary mate, one in whom he could write on June 23, 1775, “I retain an unalterable affection for you, which neither time or distance can change.” (MountVernon.org) The feeling was mutual, and one of his generals once described Martha as, “a modest and respectable person, who loves her husband madly.” (Battlefields & Blessings, p. 140) Martha burned most of the letters which she and George wrote to each other, so there is little to study about their close relationship. But her willingness to share in the demands of his life both during the Revolutionary War and during the responsibilities of his political office speak to her devotion to her husband, to their marriage, and to the national cause.

So what does any of this have to say to us during deployments? I might be stretching things a bit, but I see two connections that we can make by pausing to look at these presidents and their marriages. One is that some things just don’t change—countries at war call on the best from leaders. Washington and Lincoln gave us their all during pivotal times in our nation’s history. What their marriages allowed them to learn or enjoy was providentially used by God to prepare them for the necessary tasks at hand. If you have visited Washington, D.C. you have seen monuments to these two amazing presidents with their words etched in stone . . . . words which were lived out in the founding and growth of this great nation—not without cost.

But secondly, in terms of practical application, how do you view your present leadership—perhaps in your unit, your post, your squadron, your ship? Do you pray for these leaders—for their marriages? Can you understand that their personal lives will perhaps affect their ability to lead during stressful times in this war? And taking it to a broader perspective, what about the leadership in your church, or in our nation? How can you encourage your pastor or chaplain to keep a good balance between the demands of the church or chapel and the priorities of the home? Reading the challenge given by Paul to young Timothy, we are reminded of the priority of his instruction: “I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone—for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.” (1Timothy 2:2) Notice the link between our prayers for leadership and the effect on our lives. And if you know the context of this writing, you know that Paul wrote during a time of great suffering and persecution.

I have heard it said that it’s very difficult to complain about someone for whom you are praying. Pray for your leaders . . . . whether they be military leaders, corporate leaders, church leaders, or political leaders. They are in authority because God has placed them there. Washington and Lincoln were men of integrity, raised up by God to serve us in our time of need. They were real men, with real lives and real struggles. And so it is today, and so we must pray. Some things just don’t change . . . . and so we must pray.

Good leadership is a channel of water controlled by God; he directs it to whatever ends he chooses. — Proverbs 21:1 The Message

Questions to Share:

1. What are two challenges which Washington and Lincoln both faced during their presidencies?

2. How can you pray with your spouse for leaders today?

Work cited:

Cook, Jane Hampton, Battlefields & Blessings: Stories of Faith and Courage from The Revolutionary War (Chattanooga: Living Ink Books, 2007)

Thomas, Gary, Sacred Marriage (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2000).

Excellent or Praiseworthy is posted on Monday and Thursday nights.

“Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. . . . Love never fails.” — 1 Corinthians 13:7,8

Editor’s Note:  This devotion was originally posted on February 14, 2008.

Because we are approaching Valentine’s Day, which has its challenges and opportunities during deployment, I want to share with you a tender (yet powerful) story of a young Christian couple who kept their marriage strong and vibrant during World War II. Married for two days, they were separated by active duty for three and a half years (he on the front lines in Germany and she serving in the Pacific, in Papua New Guinea). When I met them in 1990, they had been married for almost fifty years. They went on, from that point, to live and love together another 10 years before he passed away. Recently I sat down with Louise, now living with her daughter and son-in-law, and recorded her story.

Louise and Eugene met while attending classes at Gardner-Webb College in North Carolina in 1940. . . . and Louise is quick to say that what attracted her to Eugene was that he was a good Christian and he always treated her like a lady.

But after two years of dating he was drafted, and it wasn’t long before he found out that he was going to be assigned overseas. Unbeknownst to Eugene, Louise had also decided to join the Army through the prompting of her brother. When Eugene found out that Louise had enlisted, he said that he thought it was a good idea. “I’ll know where you are and you’ll know where I am,” he said. Then over the phone from Delaware he asked if he could come down to where she was training at Ft. Stewart and “get married before I leave.” She said yes, as did her father and her commanding officer. They were married, both in uniform, in Savannah, Georgia, in January of 1942. Two days later he left for training to prepare for Germany. They did not see one another until the war ended in 1945.

Intrigued by her courageous story, I had to ask several key questions that evening:

Knowing that your husband was in combat every day, how would you pray for him?
Louise answered, “I would just turn him over to the Lord. I told Him that I couldn’t do anything but He could do it all.”

She added a story of witnessing to her bunk-mate, “Well, I had my Bible with me, and my bunk-mate from New York. . . she asked me one night ‘Louise, what are you reading?’ And I said, ‘My Bible.’ Then she said, ‘Why are you reading?’ And I said, ‘Because I like to and I get my strength from the Lord’. . . . . . . .I had to explain everything from beginning to end how I became a Christian. She said, ‘Louise can I see your Bible? I want to read it.’” Louise told her that the next time they would go to the PX she would see if they had a small pocket Bible. “So I bought her one. And when I would read, she would read.”

How would you and Eugene communicate with each other?
“He would write when he could, and I would write every night.” Louise told me that during one spell, she didn’t hear from Eugene for two months — and she had to go to her commanding officer to begin an investigation to try and find out what had happened. Turns out he, and others, were being hidden by a Belgium family after they were separated from their unit during the fighting in Bastogne. Louise heard from him again when he returned to his unit. Eugene and she stayed in touch with that brave family even after the war.

Did he ever talk about the war after he got home?
“A little bit, but not too much. He wouldn’t. . . He was mum on a lot of stuff. Whether he wanted to forget. . . .I don’t know. . . .So I just let him talk when he wanted to. . . . In the summer time, if it came a thunder cloud, I would have to put him in a car and go to ride. He thought it was guns shooting. It took him a good while to get over that, but he did.”

When you would write a letter to him in Germany, when would he get it?
“Sometimes it would be a couple of months. . .sometimes the mail would be slow because it would go over on a ship.”

Did you ever get lonely?
“Oh, more times than I had fingers and toes.”

How did you get through that?
“Prayer. Reading the Bible. I’d pray and I’d read, and I’d pray and I’d read. I’d get through. And he had his Bible. . . . .he would write about how he would ask the Lord to guide him. One time he asked me where I was reading in the Bible and when I answered him I told him. And he wrote back that he was reading up with me.”

So you kinda’ read through the Bible together?
“Yes. He read mostly in the New Testament and he would tell me where he was reading and that way we could keep up with each other.”

Did you ever think, “This is too hard. I don’t know if I can make it?”
“No. I was totally committed. . . .to my job, to my commanding officer, and to my husband. And I knew he was like me. I never doubted him.”

What would you have to say to these service members and their spouses today?
“If they’ll trust in the Lord. . . .if they’ll put Him first. . . they’ve got to put Him first before themselves and trust Him and He will take care of them. But they’ve got to believe. Commitment is the main thing. Be committed to your husbands. . . and husbands, be committed to your wives. It’s a two-way street.”

Louise was not in New Guinea during that entire time of their wartime separation, as she was called home in 1944 because her father was dying. The Red Cross helped get her back home to be with him before he died. Arriving back in the States, she was discharged at Ft. Bragg. She hurried home to her father’s bedside. At that point, however, he was in a coma—and she is not sure if he ever knew she was there. After that she stayed with her mother and alternated with visits to her in-laws until Eugene came home a year and a half later. She describes his homecoming, “My mother-in-law was sweeping the back porch. And we heard an awful commotion with her hollering (we thought she had fallen), so we ran out to see what was wrong. . . . .and there stood my husband!”

Married two days, and separated by war for three and a half years with letters as their only means of communication. Perhaps you know a couple like this. Perhaps your grand-parents lived this. Perhaps you have a similar story, as the cycle of deployments has become so stressful throughout the years.

Where do you turn?  Try turning, like Louise, to prayer and your Bible.
“May the Lord direct your hearts into God’s love and Christ’s perseverance.” — 2 Thessalonians 3:5

Questions to share:

1. Do stories like this give you greater confidence in your marriage? How?

2. Can you use your circumstances to witness to someone close by — like Louise did with her bunk-mate?

Excellent or Praiseworthy is posted on Monday and Thursday nights.

“Haven’t you read,” He replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate.” — Matthew 19:4-6

It is not unusual to discover magazines and newspapers with advice for romance and marriage-building in anticipation of Valentine’s Day. Lately I have been pleased to notice how this secular advice has lined up with advice shared in Christian communities. That’s because it works!

I recently read a newspaper article espousing marriage-enriching habits of holding hands, having regular date nights, going to bed at the same time . . . and thought, “That’s exactly what Jim and Barbara would advise!”

Jim and Barbara Grunseth have been teaching and counseling couples for years. Their advice is sound, biblical, and practical. So I decided to get out my dog-eared and well-worn copy of one of their books, Remember the Rowboats: Anchor your Marriage to Christ, to share some of their timeless advice. You won’t find these points in newsstand copy, but you will find them encouraging and helpful—and true:

In this particular book they speak of “Seven Ropes to Tie Two Boats”—as if you and your spouse are two rowboats and you don’t want to drift apart:

“In addition to the essential requirement of the Lord Jesus being the faithful, strong Anchor of your marriage, Barbara and I want to get real practical with you. Couples that come in for biblical counseling have none of the following seven ropes tying their two rowboats together. To keep from drifting, you need the seven ropes that will tie your two rowboats tightly together. Couples with teachable and humble hearts that tie their marriage with these seven ropes do not break up. They have disciplined themselves in obedient surrender to the Lord Jesus Christ. They have chosen to hold fast together and let nothing get in between them. Nothing!” (p. 65)

What are these seven ropes? Let me summarize from their writing:

1. “First RopeHold Hands Everywhere”

The Grunseths add: “Some people think this concept is shallow and silly. It does not matter what they think. It works! . . . When you hold hands, you are telling the world: you are in love; God was right in bringing you two together; you are fulfilling God’s plan by filling each other’s gaps (hands clasped together); you need each other’s strengths and weaknesses; you want to honor God by your commitment to each other.” (p. 66)

When you are together again after this deployment, consider holding hands everywhere you go!

2. “Second Rope—Same Bed Time”

“Remember if the devil has a middle name it would probably be ‘isolation’. Going to bed together at the same time promotes oneness, togetherness, and marital love.” (p. 67)

But you say—“we’re in the military and experiencing deployment right now . . . so how in the world do we go to bed at the same time????” Of course this is a legitimate question—and getting creative with “staying connected even though worlds apart” is a challenge military couples must face.

One Guardsman currently serving in Afghanistan shared with us that he Skypes with his children before they go to bed—reading from the Bible and praying with them. Then, after they are in bed, he Skypes again with his wife—reading from the Bible and praying with her. This takes intentionality, especially with the time difference. Obviously not all of you can do this—perhaps very few. We understand that. Internet availability, band-width challenges—not to mention mission demands are real. But keeping up some form of communication, if possible, can bring about a spiritual intimacy which can help a couple bridge the distance while apart. Check out other devotions on Excellent or Praiseworthy for ideas.

3. “Third Rope—Cuddle Pray at Bedtime”

The Grunseths are big on this—a couple holding each other and praying together at the end of the day, at bedtime. My husband and I hold each other and pray together in bed first thing in the morning. Some couples do both—morning and night. Some couples kneel in prayer by their bed at night. The key word is together. They write, “In Christian marriage, the most important level of intimacy is your prayer life with God and your mate.” (p. 68)

Again—how do you do this if deployed? I believe the best way is to ask each other, when you can, “How can I pray for you today?” And then do it—yes, pray out loud on the phone, or write out a prayer on email or text. Or pick out a time each day when you have agreed to pray for each other—if possible. And during reintegration this is especially important. A couple reuniting after many months apart needs to connect physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Prayer can bridge a chasm which has been created by this time away from each other. As simple or difficult as these suggestions may sound, God honors and answers prayer.

4. “Fourth Rope—Insist on the Weekly Date”

Time together alone is special time. Dedicating time together in your busy schedule can be difficult, but it may also spare you from becoming so “schedule oriented” or “child-centered” that you neglect each other. Jim and Barbara recommend a weekly date to renew and refresh your relationship. It might just be 15 minutes alone—away from the house, if possible. But together in a special place.

If deployed, this is going to be difficult, but not impossible. Be creative and think of ways you can open a care package “together” by Skype; write each other describing a favorite date; plan dates when you will be back together; spend Facetime together—some couples even watch movies “together”. Something that says to the other, “You’re special. I love you.”

5. “Fifth Rope—Return Blessings”

When conflict arises, and it will, Scripture is very clear that we are to return insults with blessings (I Peter 3:8,9). Easier said than done. Jim and Barbara write, “The worst thing a couple can do is leave conflicts unresolved. Decide right now that no sun will ever set on your unresolved conflicts and anger. . . As soon as God convicts you (gets through your tough hide of pride), do three things: pursue the offended person; admit your failure; request their forgiveness.” (p. 75)

It is very easy for misunderstandings to arise with email, Facebook, texting, and cell phone conversations during deployment. Be careful. Make sure you are clear in your communication and always seek to compliment and encourage each other. Deployment is difficult for both of you!  Make sure you speak kindly towards each other!  And if you need to apologize, do it sooner rather than later.

6. “Sixth Rope—Establish Talk Times”

The Grunseths describe in their book one busy couple with twelve children who demonstrated this discipline very well. They even lit a candle each evening and set it between them to signal to the children that this was special “Mom and Dad” time. “This husband and wife just took turns sharing their High Point and then their Low Point of the day respectively. While the one was sharing, the other just listened and comforted and affirmed. They did not try to fix one another or correct one another. They just loved through quiet, tender listening.” (p. 76)

Can you do this while deployed? When you have the chance to listen to your spouse, just listen. Ask good questions, comfort, affirm.

7. “Seventh Rope—Serve in Church Together”

Here is what the Grunseths suggest: “Remember, if God has you married, then He intends to shine His truth and love to others through the oneness and togetherness of your marriage. Barbara and I encourage you, if possible, to not just go to church together, but also to serve together. We know in some cases this will be difficult but we find it a great way to be together and to be a witness as a team. We recommend you serve God together just like you should take vacations together and sleep in the same bed together. . . We know there are exceptions but we believe you should strive to serve together.” (p. 78) A deployed service member can maintain accountability with his/her church and thus stay “connected” while serving overseas. Also one can pray for the church—and keep in close touch with the congregation’s prayer concerns.

We believe military couples are the most resilient and strongest couples in the world. Your commitment to mission—and to each other—is demonstrated in sacrificial ways each day. The recitation of these “ropes” is meant to encourage you to grow in commitment to your spouse—and to bring glory to God as you live out the Gospel in the context of covenant marriage.

Jim and Barbara close this section in their book with this blessing, “We trust that God will bless you as you implement these ropes into your marriage.” (p. 79)

Work Cited:

Grunseth, Jim and Barbara, Remember the Rowboats: Anchor your Marriage to Christ (Minneapolis: River City Press, Inc., 2008).

Go to MarriageAnchors.com for free book downloads. The Grunseths want to share!

Questions to Share:

1. Do any of these 7 “ropes” surprise you?  Which ones?  Share with your spouse how you can implement one or more even while deployed.

2. Have you known a married couple who has grown in their love and commitment through the years of military service?  If you can, share this devotion with them and ask how they have seen the benefit of any of these “ropes”.

Excellent or Praiseworthy is posted on Monday and Thursday nights.

Editor’s Note:  This week marks the 72nd anniversary of the sinking of the U.S.A.T. Dorchester.  In memory of these heroic chaplains, and other crew members on board, we re-post this article.

Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends. — John 15:13

When the same story keeps coming up, I pay attention. There must be something that God wants me to know or do—or share. So when my husband visited a chaplain’s office and saw a copy of the 1948 commemorative stamp of “The Four Chaplains”, signed by a survivor of the sinking of the U.S.A.T. Dorchester in 1943, I wasn’t surprised. The story of the four heroic chaplains was one my husband and I had recently studied and even included in a new Bible study. Perhaps you know about Reverend Clark Poling, Rabbi Alexander Goode, Father John Washington, and Reverend George Fox—but if not, let me share this amazing story.

These four men became friends while at Chaplain’s School at Harvard University in 1942. In spite of their doctrinal differences, all four experienced the same calling, which was to serve their nation and its soldiers during World War II as Army chaplains. Reverend Fox had even served before, in World War I, as a medic. He knew how badly his services would be needed as a chaplain and enlisted on the same day that his 18-year-old son enlisted in the Marine Corps.

A few months later, after their training together, they were on-board the Dorchester heading towards Greenland with 902 soldiers. Their route for this first leg of their trans-Atlantic crossing would take them through an area of water known as “Torpedo Junction”. German U-boats had been sinking Allied ships in this region at the rate of 100 every month, so the danger of the icy waters was compounded by this threat.

The threat became reality on February 3, 1943, when the Dorchester was hit by one torpedo from U-223, and then a second which took out all power in the engine room. In the darkness, panic and chaos reigned as men searched for a way to the top of the rapidly-sinking ship. According to those who survived, the voices of the four chaplains brought encouragement in the midst of this tragedy as they prayed, sang hymns, and called out to others to not give up hope. They passed out life jackets stored in lockers, tended to the wounded, guided many to safety—and even gave up their own life jackets knowing that, in doing so, they were giving up their chance for survival.

The Dorchester sank in 27 minutes. 672 perished, including the four chaplains, and 230 survived. The last site of the Dorchester, according to accounts, was of the four chaplains standing arm-in-arm on the slanting deck of the ship praying the Lord’s Prayer. “It was the finest thing I have seen or hope to see this side of heaven,” said one soldier who lived to tell of the chaplains’ act of selflessness. (website Arlington National Cemetery)

Before Chaplain Poling left his home in January of 1943, he asked his father (who had been a chaplain in World War I) to pray for him. He asked, “Not for my safe return, that wouldn’t be fair.Just pray that I shall do my duty. . . never be a coward. . . .and have the strength, courage and understanding of men. Just pray that I shall be adequate.” (HomeofHeroes.com) Chaplains Poling, Fox, Goode, and Washington were more than adequate—they were heroes. In every sense of the word, their valor and their ultimate sacrifice speak to the same qualities which are being displayed daily on the battlefields of this war on terror.

By giving up their life jackets, these courageous chaplains died so that others might live. Is that not what Christ did for us on the cross? The Scripture which comes to my mind is Romans 5:6-8: “You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless Christ died for the ungodly.Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

Questions to share:

1. What acts of courage and valor can you share that you have seen demonstrated in your lifetime?

2. How can you pray for your spouse, that they will have the strength to be courageous when the time comes?

Romans 15:4-6 for Deployment

Written by Linda. Filed Under Spiritual Training

Excellent or Praiseworthy is posted on Monday and Thursday nights.

For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. — Romans 15:4

Would you agree that during the challenges of wartime deployment we need hope?  “. . . those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint” (Isaiah 40:31). Hope is going to keep us going. It’s the fuel in our tanks that we must not allow to go empty. But what is our hope in?

John MacArthur teaches about this in a great sermon called “A Theology of Hope”: “Now the Bible says a lot about hope. And I want to give you a little hopeology here, if I can. . . Our hope comes from God and that’s where we want to start. . . . It is not in men, it is in God. It is in the unchanging God, the God who is never ever subject to alteration, the God who has spoken and has spoken the truth and cannot speak anything other than the truth. Our hope is in God. And that’s why Psalm 43:5 says this, ‘Why are you in despair, O my soul? Why are you disturbed within me? Hope in God.’ Things aren’t what they should be. Things aren’t what you’d like them to be. Things aren’t the way you would plan them if you were in charge. And so you become despairing and you become disturbed and the psalmist says, ‘Stop that and hope in God.’ Remember that God is your help. He is your help, He says, and your God. Our hope then comes from God. It is because God has made promises of care and concern and protection and guidance and direction and sustenance that we can trust Him for a better tomorrow.” (http://www.gty.org/Resources/Sermons/62-21)

So if we need hope, and our hope comes from God—then how do we make that connection? In Romans 15:4 Paul says that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we find hope. Personally, most days my endurance comes from the encouragement of the Scriptures, so for this devotion we’re going to concentrate on what Scriptural encouragement looks like during deployment. I have some real-life examples for you.

1. Choose a Bible verse as your target verse for the deployment:

Angus and Denise McColl, in their inspiring book Footsteps of the Faithful, wrote that it was helpful for the family to have a deployment project centered around a deployment verse. During one deployment, when Angus was underway, he chose “Let Your Light Shine” as the project. He gave each of their five daughters a penlight flashlight before he left and admonished each to “let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16) When Angus came home, they debriefed their project as a family so that each member was able to share the ways in which God guided them individually. The result of that intentional exercise to demonstrate His guidance—hope!

One of the young boys from our church recently decided to use the time when his father was gone to memorize an entire psalm. When his father returned, he recited that psalm in front of the whole church as a gift to his father. The result of that demonstration of discipline in memorization of Scripture—hope!

If you need to be reminded of the presence of God, consider using Psalm 139:7-10 as your deployment verse. If you struggle with fear, consider Psalm 34. If you need to read of God’s strength in battle, go to Psalm 91, “The Warrior’s Psalm.”  Look into Psalm 101 and the book of Nehemiah for leadership principles in your home or in your unit.  If you need help in locating a verse which will encourage you, find a Bible Promise book at a local bookstore and look up whatever it is that you need help with—then memorize His promise to you. Put helpful verses on sticky notes; write them on index cards to carry with you—whatever it takes to keep those verses close at hand for encouragement. The result of remembering His instruction and His sustenance—hope!

2. Choose a Bible verse for your target verse for life:

Most people would refer to this as a “life verse,” and it is a wonderful way in which we can encourage ourselves, and others! I have a dear friend named Debbie whose life verse(s) is 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18: “Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” Her life radiates those truths—and we can encourage her by saying, “Debbie—your joy, your prayers, your thanksgiving all speak of how much you love the Lord. Thank you for living in His will.” The result of that recognition of her countenance—hope!

We had a dear old saint in our church who was dying. His life verse was Proverbs 3:5-6: “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.” We could encourage Harry in his final days by telling him how he demonstrated his trust in the Lord by telling us how faithful He was. The result of that affirmation of his life and how God cared for him—hope!

It is not unusual these days for a company to come up with a mission statement. What is your mission statement? My husband and I can point to Acts 20:24 as our mission statement: “I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the gospel of God’s grace.” The result of that direction—hope!

3. Choose to encourage others with a verse:

We know an Air Force pilot who proposed to his sweetheart by giving her a rose for each demonstration of the fruit of the Spirit. He attached a tag on each stem stating how he saw that trait portrayed in her life. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” (Galatians 5:22,23) The result of that proposal—she said “yes”!

When we would face assignment choices, we would remind ourselves of Proverbs 19:21, “Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails.” The result was that we knew God was in control and was concerned about our future—and that gave us hope!

Isaiah 43:2,3 are wonderful verses to encourage someone during deployment—reminding them of God’s presence in their life, no matter what: “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the LORD, your God. . .” The result of knowing God’s protection—hope!

No doubt you can think of many other verses, many other Psalms, many other Bible stories, many other chapters from which we can receive comfort, direction, and encouragement—and give the same to others. And there are different kinds of hope—including the one that removes the fear of death because of the resurrection of Christ. But it is all from God. And He wants us to use His word to glorify Him . . . . and be unified in our families and fellowship as we together glorify Him.

If you continue reading past Romans 15:4 to verses 5 and 6 you will find this additional message of hope: “May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus, so that with one heart and mouth you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” And the result of together glorifying God—hope!

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13

Work cited:

McColl, Denise, Footsteps of the Faithful, (Orlando: Campus Crusade for Christ, 1994)

Questions to Share:

1. What verse would encourage you during this deployment? Share it with your spouse.

2. What verse would encourage you in life? Share it with your spouse.

Husband’s Code of Conduct

Written by Bea. Filed Under Marriage & Family

Excellent or Praiseworthy is posted on Monday and Thursday nights.

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her . . . .” Ephesians 5:25

Definition of code of conduct: A set of conventional principles and expectations that are considered binding on any person who is a member of a particular group.

Military Code of Conduct:

I am an American, fighting in the forces which guard my country and our way of life. I am prepared to give my life in their defense.

I will never surrender of my own free will. If in command, I will never surrender the members of my command while they still have the means to resist.

If I am captured I will continue to resist by all means available. I will make every effort to escape and to aid others to escape. I will accept neither parole nor special favors from the enemy.

If I become a prisoner of war, I will keep faith with my fellow prisoners. I will give no information or take part in any action which might be harmful to my comrades. If I am senior, I will take command. If not, I will obey the lawful orders of those appointed over me and will back them up in every way.

When questioned, should I become a prisoner of war, I am required to give name, rank, service number, and date of birth. I will evade answering further questions to the utmost of my ability. I will make no oral or written statements disloyal to my country and its allies or harmful to their cause.

I will never forget that I am an American, fighting for freedom, responsible for my actions, and dedicated to the principles which made my country free. I will trust in my God and in the United States of America.

Marriage Code of Conduct for a Husband:

I am a husband fighting against the spiritual forces which might harm my family and our way of life. I am prepared to give my life in their defense.

I will never surrender my marriage of my own free will. As the leader of the home I will never surrender the members of my family and will always be on guard for them to resist the evil one when he attacks—and be sure of this, he will attack.

If I am emotionally captured I will continue to resist by all means available through Scripture, prayer, and fellowship with other believers. I will make every effort to escape and to aid others to escape. I will accept neither parole nor special favors from the enemy.

I will give no information or take part in any action which might be harmful to my wife or our relationship. I will take command and will obey the lawful orders appointed by my Lord and will back up my family in every way.

When questioned I will make no oral or written statements disloyal to my wife.

I will never forget that I am a married man, fighting for my marriage, responsible for my actions, and dedicated to the principles which make me free in Jesus Christ. I will trust in my God and in His Word alone.

“Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings.” I Peter 5:8,9

Questions to Share:

1. As a couple, have you considered the fight you are in against the world, the flesh, and the devil when it comes to keeping your marriage safe?

2. What steps can you take to protect your spouse from isolation, unwise relationships and activities, lack of spiritual growth and unhealthy thinking?

Excellent or Praiseworthy is posted on Monday and Thursday nights.

“Therefore we do not lose heart.  Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.” — 2 Corinthians 4:16

We have turned the calendar’s page to 2015. Does that make you feel older? Certainly it marks a passage of time, and for those of you experiencing deployment that comes as good news or bad news. If you’re getting ready to come home, you probably want those days to pass quickly. If you’re waiting to deploy, you might want time to move slowly. But whether it moves slowly or quickly time is taking its toll on all of us and we’re growing older. That’s the truth of it. 

When my husband would come home from work during periods of time when an assignment was not going particularly well, I would ask him, “How was work today?” He would answer, “One more day off the tour!” Life is like that—each day is “one day off the tour” for our time here on earth. Because of its uncertainties we can read Proverbs 27:1 and say a rousing “Amen!”  “Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring forth.” 

I guess that’s why I am intrigued by Paul’s thinking expressed in 2 Corinthians 4:16:  “Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.”  Being renewed even though my body is “wasting away” (more and more, it seems)??  That’s counter-intuitive! The paradoxes of the Christian faith (see Sept 1st Excellent or Praiseworthy’s “The Paradox of Drawing Together While Apart“) have long fascinated me, and here is yet another one—as Christians we can actually grow younger as we are growing older! That’s good news as I get out my new calendar for 2015 and put away 2014. 

Did you know that the “secret” to growing younger over time is being born again? It’s a matter of spiritual growth versus physical growth. As our bodies grow weaker, we can actually grow stronger in our faith if our faith is in Jesus Christ, the Son of God. In Jesus’ encounter with Nicodemus we read: “In reply Jesus declared, ‘I tell you the truth, unless a man is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.’ ‘How can a man be born when he is old?’  Nicodemus asked. ‘Surely he cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb to be born!’ Jesus answered, ‘I tell you the truth, unless a man is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit.”  John 3:3-6    

I believe that Oswald Chambers, whose teaching was collected into the powerful devotional classic My Utmost for His Highest—and who served the last years of his life as a chaplain to the military in World War I—says it best:  “Spiritually we never grow old; through the passing of things we grow so many years young. The characteristic of the spiritual life is its unaging youth, exactly the opposite of the natural life. ‘I am . . . the First and the Last.’ The Ancient of Days represents the eternal childhood. God Almighty became the weakest thing in His own creation, a baby. When He comes into us in new birth, we can easily kill His life in us, or else we can see to it that His life is nourished according to the dictates of the Spirit of God, so that we grow ‘to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.’ The mature saint is just like a little child, absolutely simple and joyful and lively. Go on living the life that God would have you live, and you will grow younger instead of older. There is a marvelous rejuvenescence when once you let God have His way. If you are feeling very old, then get born again and begin to grow in His new life.” from Making All Things New

I find the paradox stated in the sentence, “The mature saint is just like a little child, absolutely simple and joyful and lively.” That is what I want to be—trusting the Lord in absolute abandon to myself, and enjoyment and fulfillment in Him.

“But Jesus called the children to Him and said, ‘Let the little children come to Me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” (Luke 18:16,17) Chambers says of this verse, “Jesus Christ uses the child-spirit as a touchstone for the character of a disciple. He did not put up a child before His disciples as an ideal, but as an expression of the simple-hearted life they would live when they were born again. The life of a little child is expectant, full of wonder, and free from self-consciousness . . . Our Lord is indicating that we have to be carefully careless about everything saving our relationship to Him.” from The Place of Help

This is not some haphazard order, but the proclamation of the innocence as of a child—the simple faith and trust that a little one has in their loving parent—that is of infinite value to God. As we approach 2015, may we see in it the possibilities of clinging to Jesus for every provision and trusting Him with each and every care. If we can do that, we will mature and become more and more as a child as we grow older in days. If we can do that, we will fling ourselves into His arms in full reliance on His character, and proclaim the prayer of the Puritans (who had an understanding of the paradox of the Christian faith) for the New Year:

“O LORD,

“Length of days does not profit me except the days are passed in thy presence, in thy service, to thy glory.

“Give me a grace that precedes, follows, guides, sustains, sanctifies, aids every hour, that I may not be one moment apart from thee, but may rely on thy Spirit to supply every thought, speak in every word, direct every step, prosper every work, build up every mote of faith, and give me a desire to show forth thy praise, testify thy love, advance thy kingdom.

“I launch my bark on the unknown waters of this year, with thee, O Father, as my harbour; thee, O Son, at my helm; thee, O Holy Spirit, filling my sails.

“Guide me to heaven with my loins girt, my lamp burning, my ear open to thy calls, my heart full of love, my soul free.

“Give me thy grace to sanctify me, thy comforts to cheer, thy wisdom to teach, thy right hand to guide, thy counsel to instruct, thy law to judge, thy presence to stabilize.

“May thy fear be my awe, thy triumphs my joy.”  The Valley of Vision “New Year”

May you have a Blessed New Year!

Arthur Bennett, editor, The Valley of Vision (Carlisle: The Banner of Truth Trust, 1975), p. 112.

Daniel Partner, editor, Oswald Chambers’ My Utmost Devotional Bible (Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1992), pages 488 and 92.

 Questions to Share:

  1. What are the challenges you are facing in your life and in your marriage in 2015? Make a list of at least three concerns.
  2. Ask your spouse what their concerns are for 2015. Pray individually and together, trusting God to do what He promises in Proverbs 3:5,6: “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.” 

Praying from Head to Toe

Written by Linda. Filed Under Prayer

Excellent or Praiseworthy is posted on Monday and Thursday nights.

The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective. —  James 5:16b

I attended a retreat at which the speaker introduced us to teaching on “Praying for Your Husband from Head to Toe.” Being a visual-type person, it intrigued me to think that I could move in thought from my husband’s head down to my husband’s feet and pray for his mind, eyes, ears, nose, mouth, bones, heart, hands, legs and feet. Let me summarize some of this instruction, written up originally as material from Proverbs 31 Ministries (perhaps you have seen other versions of similar writings). I believe that the same can be used by you husbands to pray for your wife. I have added the “her” and “she” in order to complement the truth contained in this teaching so that married couples can pray for each other, especially during times of geographic separation caused by deployment:

“Praying for his/her mind: Colossians 2:2-3 ‘that he/she will have the rich experience of knowing Christ with real certainty and clear understanding’

Praying for his/her thoughts: 2 Corinthians 10:5 ‘that he/she will take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ’

Praying for his/her eyes: 2 Kings 6:17,1 Corinthians 16:13 ‘that he/she may see life from God’s perspective and be on the alert for spiritual danger’

Praying for his/her nose: 2 Corinthians 2:15 ‘that his/her life will be refreshing to others, and a life-giving perfume’

Praying for his/her mouth: Acts 4:29 ‘that he/she will have great boldness in witnessing for God and that the words of his mouth and the meditation of his heart will be acceptable to God’

Praying for his/her bones: Isaiah 58:11 ‘that he will be healthy like a watered garden’ (I would add Proverbs 3:7-8: “Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD and shun evil. This will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones.”)

Praying for his/her heart: James 4:8, Proverbs 3:5 ‘that he/she will be filled with God alone and that God will create in him/her a clean heart filled with pure thoughts and right desires; that he/she will trust God will all his/her heart and not lean on his/her own understanding’

Praying for his/her hands: 1 Timothy 2:8 ‘that he/she will pray with holy hands lifted to God, free from sin, anger, and resentment’

Praying for his/her legs: 2 Corinthians 5:7 ‘that he/she will walk by faith and not by sight’

Praying for his/her feet: Psalm 40:2 ‘that God will keep him/her from discouragement and set his/her feet on a firm path'”

Let me take this thought of praying for your spouse one step further. Do this—visually step through the spiritual armor, from head to toe, found in Ephesians 6 and try to think how you could pray for your spouse as we “put on” each piece of the armor during deployment:

Helmet of Salvation—“Heavenly Father, Thank you for giving salvation because of the sacrifice of Your Son, Jesus Christ, on the cross of Calvary. We know that it is His blood which cleanses us from our sin and forgives us so that we may live with You eternally. I pray that my spouse may know You and the joy of Your salvation more and more each day, even while we are apart. May the truth of that never leave their side and provide them perspective to face the demands of the hour.”

Breastplate of Righteousness—“Lord Jesus, It is Your righteousness alone that covers us and protects our hearts from eternal condemnation. May we be ever mindful of the fact that it is not our righteousness, for we have none, but your righteousness alone that assures us of a right relationship with God. Guard our hearts, as a married couple, to be ever drawn to You, not relying on ourselves or the things of this world, but on You and You alone. Provide for us the assurance of Your love and may our commitment to each other reflect our commitment to You as Lord and Savior.”

Belt of Truth—“Dear God, May we put on the belt of truth to gird ourselves with a certain knowledge of Your grace and mercy. Search our hearts and bring us to an understanding of our helplessness without Your presence and power in our lives. May we trust in You alone and seek You only for our needs. While apart from each other may we be mindful of fears and lies which would seek to draw our minds away from our commitment to each other.”

Shield of Faith—“Lord Almighty, It is faith in You and You alone that protects us from those things which seek to destroy us and our marriage—worry, doubt, guilt, discouragement, despair, disbelief. May our faith in You cause us to hold our shield with great confidence against the enemy, being obedient to Your will as the one Who made us and chose us. Please protect my loving spouse from the fiery darts which can be so painful, and keep them strong in faith while we are apart.”

Sword of the Spirit—“Awesome God, Your Word is all I need to fight the battles of this life. May Your promises come to our minds when we face trials which the enemy would use to defeat us. May we seek Your face in prayer and in day-to-day living so that Your Truth, in the person of Jesus Christ, and Your love would give us guidance, wisdom, and victory through a fresh filling of Your Holy Spirit. Thank you for the hope that Your Word gives us when times seem so tough.”

Feet Shod with the Preparation of the Gospel of Peace—“Great Redeemer, Please help us to be ready to share with others the peace that can only come from You. While we are apart, we may have unique opportunities to serve our fellow military members with compassion during their hour of great need. May we, as a couple, be prepared for those opportunities, with sure understanding of the truth of the good news of Jesus Christ and His desire for us to proclaim Your faithfulness to others who may not know You.”

The teaching on the spiritual armor in Ephesians 6 ends with this instruction from verse 18: “And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.” Pray.

Questions to Share:

1. Take time to pray for your spouse, head to toe.

2. Share with your spouse, if possible, how you have prayed for them.

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