A devotional to help military families stay connected during deployments

Veterans Day Prayer

Written by Linda. Filed Under Prayer, Spiritual Training

Excellent or Praiseworthy is posted on Monday and Thursday nights.

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

Chuck Swindoll, one of our favorite preachers, loves to tell stories of when he was a Marine on active duty. These stories offer multiple illustrations for his sermons. So it was not a surprise that this Veterans Day he posted a special prayer on his ministry website—and also gave his thanks to all of you who serve so faithfully. We want to share his prayer with you today, in honor of your sacrificial service to our dear country:

Thank You, Father, for Your good hand upon our nation during times when we stood strong. And even when we have been weak and lacked the moral fiber that makes a nation great, You have still poured out Your protection and grace upon us. Thank You for Your favor.

How we thank You for those who have defended the freedom of our country—those who have spent their years believing in a cause that transcended their own safety . . . who surrendered the pleasure and comfort of home and family . . . who fought fierce and lengthy battles, carrying heavy weapons . . . and who stood firm in dark and difficult times when the conflict was dangerous and the enemy was near.

We thank You also for those who serve today, some of them in places where war has come up close and personal. Watch over them. Take care of them. We pray for their safe return. Comfort their family and loved ones whose arms ache for them. We also intercede for those who make difficult decisions by commanding our troops. We pray You would give them wisdom and integrity, keep them safe, use their strategy and intelligence for the betterment of this country and for the greater good of generations to come.

Our Father, we also acknowledge that You are a God of grace who has watched over us at all times. When we began as a country, You were there. When we fought amongst ourselves in that bloody Civil War, You were there. When we defended ourselves from enemies on both sides, You were there. You have been our Shepherd, and because of that, we lacked nothing. Thank You for being our shield and our defender, for the enduring promise of Your presence.

We commit to You the future of our land. We ask You to guide us and help us serve You faithfully. We pray that Your name will be honored in our future even more than in our past. May Your righteousness and glory continue to be exalted in this great nation.

All of this we ask in the name of Christ, our Savior. Amen.

And we say, “Thank you, Pastor Swindoll, for your great service to our country and to our Lord. May the Lord allow you to continue to serve well, both at your church in Frisco, Texas, and around the world through your writings and radio. In Jesus’ strong name. Amen.”

Work Cited:

Listen to Chuck Swindoll’s Veterans Day Prayer on www.Insight.org.
Learn more about Chuck Swindoll’s experience in the Marine Corps in the article, My Determined Purpose.

Questions to Share:

1. Who also served in the military in your family that you can remember in prayer today?

2. Read this prayer out loud to each other, if possible, or to someone with whom you serve.

How to Pray for Your Military Man

Written by Jocelyn. Filed Under Prayer

Excellent or Praiseworthy is posted on Monday and Thursday nights.

Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. — Colossians 4:2

The Bible tells us that “The prayer of a righteous man [or woman] is powerful and effective” (James 5:16). So what are you praying for? Most, if not all of us, pray for our husbands. But do you know exactly how to pray for your military man’s unique needs? I asked Chaplain Scott Koeman, when in Afghanistan, for some specific things we can be praying for. Here is the insightful list he shared with me:

Chaplain Koeman is married to Benita Koeman, founder of OperationWeAreHere.com, a clearinghouse of resources for the military community.

Jocelyn Green is an award-winning freelance writer and author of Faith Deployed: Daily Encouragement for Military Wives and Faith Deployed . . . Again. Today’s posting is from her blog www.FaithDeployed.com. She is also the co-author of Battlefields & Blessings: Stories of Faith and Courage from the War in Iraq & Afghanistan, and The Five Love Languages: Military Edition. Jocelyn and her husband Rob live with their two children in Cedar Falls, Iowa.

Questions to Share:

1. There are nine prayer points in the Chaplain’s list. Pick one a day to pray while he is deployed.

2. Share with your husband how you are praying for him. Monday we will post prayers for wives from Benita Koeman.

 

Excellent or Praiseworthy is posted on Monday and Thursday nights.

Editor’s Note: While not every deployed couple has children at home, the themes and applications in this writing are common in long-distance relationships.

Behold, children are a gift of the LORD. . . . Psalm 127:3

“I’m not there! What can I do about it?” If you’ve ever heard those words from a deployed service member, you know the frustration they offer up to the one at home having to deal with the troubling situation. If the situation regards the rearing of children, then the frustration can reach epic proportions. None of us wants that, right? So here are some thoughts to help—they’re so simple we call them the “ABCs” of long-distance parenting.

“A” is for “Ask Good Questions!” I’ve heard the excuse, “I don’t know what questions to ask!” Having a good parenting talk with your spouse at home while you are deployed means starting simple . . . . something like “How are you doing today?” or “What happened with the children today?” Bible teacher, John MacArthur, says in his essay, on “Peter: A Lesson in Leadership,”

“Now what is the raw material looked for in a leader? First of all, does he ask questions? . . . . People who don’t ask questions don’t wind up as leaders because they’re not concerned about problems and solutions. If you want to find a leader, look for somebody who asks questions.”

Are you concerned about what is happening at home? Ask your spouse questions! Please . . . please . . . please don’t just “assume” that things are such-and-such, ASK! Parents are leaders in their homes—they lead their children in every aspect of life—so show leadership by asking how they are doing! And don’t forget those all-important questions of your spouse at home—“What can I do to help you?” and “How can I pray for you?”

“B” is for “Be Prepared.” There are things which you and your spouse can talk about ahead of time, anticipate and plan for so that the deployment can go more smoothly. In regards to the children, talk about which school activities you want them to participate in; talk about trips to take; talk about their developing friendships—which to promote and which to discourage; talk about their educational progress and what each child needs help with; talk about their spiritual growth and how you each can be intentional about taking steady steps of growth during deployment; talk about how you want to be included in holidays, even though you’re far away; talk about the importance of keeping a regular schedule—a must for children experiencing deployment; talk about finances which are going to be spent on the children while you’re gone—like orthodontics, or summer camp; talk about what service project the kids can do while you are apart—something to take the focus off themselves and onto the needs of others; talk about consistency in discipline—making sure that the kids know who is the boss; talk about your commitment to support each other in doing what is best for the children.

Be sure you have this talk about your parenting concerns before the deployment. Don’t leave home without it! (But even if deployed, it’s never too late!)

“C” is for “Communicate with the Children.” Communicating with your spouse is great, but don’t forget to communicate with your children—regularly, if possible. Send a card, send an email, send a gift, send anything. I remember talking with a soldier who said that he tried to send his kids something every week, even if it was something really simple like a note saying, “Daddy loves you!” One week he didn’t know what to send, so he took the little wooden spoon that came with his cup of ice cream, wrote “Daddy misses you” and mailed it in a small envelope. Get creative—kids just want to know that they’re loved and missed. Let them know that they’re part of the mission, too—that you couldn’t do what you are doing without their help at home. Encourage them in their schooling, their chores at home, their behavior . . . . and if you have chosen a Scripture verse to memorize together while you’re away, encourage them with that.

Another good reminder is to answer an emotion with an emotion . . . . children (and adults) need that. If your child says, “I miss you so much” make sure you say “I miss you so much, too—you are so special to me.” Going from an emotional statement to an intellectual statement without that emotional connection does not make for good communication at the “heart” level. So if your child says, “I miss you so much,” try not to minimize their feelings with a response like “You’ll be okay—just stay busy.” There will be time for that encouragement, but start by validating their feelings.

Teenagers especially need to hear from their deployed parents—to know that they’re appreciated and prayed for. Stay up-to-date with their social and school concerns so that you can ask good questions. There’s that letter “A” again—asking good questions! And make sure you listen for the answers . . . . which will then generate more questions. Much like a tennis game where one lobs the ball back and forth, good communication can be a series of good questions and answers which lead to more good questions.

We’ve heard it said that writing letters to children, especially teenagers, during deployment—hand-written letters that they can take out from time-to-time and think over—is a wonderful way to stay in touch. And the best way to stay in touch with your older children is to ask “How can I pray for you?” If you have the chance to Skype, or talk on the cell phone, pray with them on the phone. Encourage them to pray out loud, first by picking out two things to be grateful for and one thing they are concerned about—that’s a great place to start.

Those are the “ABCs” of long-distance parenting (will differ with those at sea—which really requires prior planning in parenting!) . . . but there’s also a “D” for “Don’t be passive!” Just because you are away does not mean that you have given up your responsibility as a parent. There is work to be done, whether by maintaining good communication with your spouse or with your children, in whatever way you possibly can knowing that the demands of war differ from person to person. Seizing, not neglecting, the opportunity to prepare your family, to pray for your family, and to lead your family throughout this deployment will yield blessings which you cannot even imagine right now—but will be evident in the security and peace within your family in years to come.

Work cited:

Dr. John MacArthur’s sermon on “Peter: A Lesson in Leadership” is found on his ministry website http://www.gty.org/Resources/Print/Sermons/2271

Questions to Share:

1. In what ways did you prepare your family for this deployment?

2. Take this opportunity to discuss with your spouse any unmet parenting needs which you feel should be addressed.

“The Submariner Treatment”

Written by Linda. Filed Under Marriage & Family

Excellent or Praiseworthy is posted on Monday and Thursday nights.

Where can I go from Your Spirit?Where can I flee from Your presence?If I go up to the heavens, You are there; if I make my bed in the depths, You are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there Your hand will guide me, Your right hand will hold me fast. — Psalm 139:7-10

I have a great dentist. Through the years he has taken care of my teeth by preventing problems and treating problems. Lately he has even put up with some of my whining about aging, expensive crowns, and gum erosion . . .

Just the other day, when I was in for a “routine cleaning” (thank goodness there wasn’t anything else wrong!), I told him that the next time I come in I will need a thorough exam because I might be heading to a remote location for a while—and I don’t want any surprises while I am away. His response was, “Oh, so you want The Submariner Treatment!”

I guess I had forgotten that “once upon a time” he had been a Navy dentist. It’s been probably twenty years since he served our nation in that capacity—but obviously there are some things he hasn’t forgotten. He explained to me that when our submariners are preparing to go underway, they are given an extensive dental screening to identify and treat any potential problems which might be revealed during that period of deployment. He said that the dentists might go so far as to remove a sailor’s wisdom teeth—since the Navy just can’t afford for anything to go wrong while at sea when no further help or treatment is available. My comment was, “That’s radical!” He agreed, but emphasized that this is serious business. I can only imagine . .

When I left his office, I thought about what he had said. And my mind went one step further—what if we gave our marriages “The Submariner Treatment” before deployment?What if that philosophy of identifying and eliminating potential risks was seen as beneficial for couples who are about to be separated geographically for an extended period of time—in serious circumstances? What would that look like . . . ?

What if we identified some “issues” that had not been dealt with in our marriage, before they got worse because of the stress of separation?

What if we extended forgiveness—verbally—and meant it?

What if we sought help for conflict resolution, so that we would be prepared for potential misunderstandings?

What if we read a book on good communication skills in marriage, and discussed it?

What if we got our paperwork in order—wills, powers of attorney, insurance, bills—and talked about what would happen if “the worst” occurred?

What if we were open to something radical—like eliminating a friendship which was a negative influence?

What if we examined our lives for sinful addictions, and asked for forgiveness?

What if we decided, ahead of time, what would be the best way for us to do R&R (away or at home—in-laws or no in-laws)?

What if we talked about our expectations and fears?

What if we made sure that the one at home was “plugged in” to a good support network?

What if we attended a marriage conference together—kind of a marital “tune-up”?

What if we made sure that the maintenance on our car and house (and computer?) were up-to-date?

What if we got some counseling for dealing with “baggage” from former relationships?

What if we invited a couple with deployment experience over for dinner so that we could discuss some of the unexpected challenges?

What if we discussed a plan for emergencies?

What if we learned to pray together?

What if we renewed our commitment to love each other sacrificially?

I’m sure when my dentist mentioned “The Submariner Treatment” he had no idea I would take that colloquialism (which he said may not even be used these days) into the realm of preparing a marriage for deployment challenges.

I guess my thought would be “why not?” If the Navy (which has been doing deployments forever) knows how to prepare their sailors for extended time underwater, then why can’t we be equally smart about preparing the most important human relationship we have for time apart during wartime? Makes sense to me!

But what about if you are already deployed? What if problems were not addressed before you left, and now they’re even worse? Or preparations were not in place and now your spouse is scrambling to recover?

Unlike the situation of a submariner underway with a toothache and no help, God is always present and available—there is no problem too large or too small for His care. He is everywhere and knows everything.

It is never too late for His treatment of forgiveness and redemption. And Jesus Christ already paid the bill. . . .

Questions to Share:

1. Do you think that deployment causes problems or reveals problems?

2. What can you do, as a couple, to prepare for the time apart—in hopes of avoiding problems?Look through the list above and see what you can do to get ready. . . .

The Gaping Hole in the Door

Written by C.M.. Filed Under Marriage & Family

Excellent or Praiseworthy is posted on Monday and Thursday nights.

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. — Colossians 3:12-15

We know a military couple, strong believers, with small children who are a family with multiple deployments under their “resiliency” belt. Let me call them Jason and Melinda. After the second deployment, Jason had the opportunity to go to another job he had had his eyes on. So they PCS’ed within weeks of his redeployment.

Coming from living overseas to stateside proved a challenge with small children, but they considered themselves doing pretty well under the stress. Jason went on ahead and moved them into their new quarters while Melinda visited her mom and dad with the kids. You would think that would work out well . . .but tiredness, more separation, and cranky children all added up for an explosion of emotions a few days after Melinda rejoined Jason in their new (well, not so new and not so nice) quarters. A complaint here, a criticism there, a little nagging, physical exhaustion, not to mention the regular reintegration issues that crop up and . . . Wham!!—Jason made a fist and punched their bedroom door leaving a gaping hole . . .

It was quiet between them for a few days, and then icy stares, and perfunctory answers to the basics. Well, eventually they responded to one another, asked forgiveness of one another, and life returned to a “new” normal. But the wall of isolation remained. Resentment, lack of trust, and hurt feelings would not go away. Jason withdrew, and Melinda fumed or shed tears of frustration.

As a last resort, Jason called us. He told my husband the story and the impasse in which they seemed to be. They wanted to feel love for one another, but they didn’t know what to do to spur that feeling along. We suggested to them something which has helped us through similar times in our marriage—we asked them to practice “three A’s” for ten days to see what happened. We told Jason, “For ten days, only offer one or more statements of Appreciation to each other, Affirm one another daily, and offer a sign of Affection (nonsexual touching) and no other statements beside common courtesy. No revisiting arguments or the same old stuff . . . just for ten days.” Jason asked, “Well, how do you do that?” My husband suggested he try these things: “appreciate your wife for caring for your children tirelessly, say thank you for the meals she prepares each day, touch her on the shoulder when you say ‘thank you’ . . . And Jason, it might as well start with you . . . one of you has to submit to the Lord first.”  We said we would pray for them daily as they allowed the Holy Spirit to work as they obeyed God’s Word to honor and submit one to another.

Just by those three expressions of love (the “three A’s”), they were able to re-establish communication, soften their words, offer true forgiveness to each other and ask forgiveness of God . . . (an important step in bringing back trust and honor to one another, and more importantly honoring God).

A few months later, we were visiting them in their home and noticed a framed picture on their bedroom door with a beautiful tied ribbon holding it in the center of the door. It was a picture frame with the following inscription in calligraphy: “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.” I Corinthians 13:4-8

It covered up the gaping hole in the door.

Let’s Pray: “Heavenly Father, Thank you Lord for your Word, that two-edged sword that pierces to the heart of the matter quickly. Show me, Lord, where I have fallen short. Help me to forgive quickly and ask for forgiveness where needed.”

Questions to Share:

1. What resentments are keeping you from having the marriage God intends?

2. Do you realize that your spouse is a gift from God? How can you practice the 3 A’s: Appreciation, Affirmation, Affection . . . even if separated by deployment?

PTSD Prayers of King David

Written by Linda. Filed Under Lessons from History, Prayer

Excellent or Praiseworthy is posted on Monday and Thursday nights.

Be gracious to me, O LORD, for I am in distress; my eyes grow weak with sorrow, my soul and my body with grief. My life is consumed by anguish and my years by groaning; my strength fails because of my affliction, and my bones grow weak. . . . But I trust in You, O LORD; I say, “You are my God.” My times are in Your hands; deliver me from my enemies and from those who pursue me. Let Your face shine on Your servant; save me in Your unfailing love. — Psalm 31:9,10,14-16

The Combat Trauma Healing Manual: Christ-centered Solutions for Combat Trauma is filled with truth that helps and heals. My copy of this life-valuable book has underlines, highlights, stars and check marks in the margins, brackets, and notes—page after page. But one of my favorite parts is in the back—in the Appendix. The appendices are filled with important information—from how to know God personally to symptoms of PTSD to Scripture for use in spiritual warfare. Then there is Appendix D, with the interesting title of “Prayer Life of a PTSD Victor: King David.”

There are three sections of prayers in this six page appendix—“Prayers of a Wounded Warrior,” “Promises to a Wounded Warrior,” and “Praises from a Wounded Warrior.” I will give a sample of each, but first we must ask the question “Who was King David?” and “Why do we believe he was a PTSD sufferer?”

The Bible refers to King David as “a man after God’s own heart” (Acts 13:22) because of David’s tremendous obedience and love for the LORD as voiced in the book of Psalms. David grew up tending his father’s sheep in the hills around Bethlehem before being anointed by the prophet Samuel (I Samuel 16) to succeed Saul, Israel’s first king. We then read the great Old Testament story of David and Goliath (I Samuel 17), and witness years of running from the murderous King Saul.  The story continues with David’s eventual ascension to the throne, his leadership of Israel in numerous military victories, and then his disastrous adultery with Bathsheba followed by the painful consequences of that sinful act.

What would lead the author of The Combat Trauma Healing Manual to believe that King David was victorious in his battle with PTSD? The author, Rev. Chris Adsit, writes: “Because David recognized that God was his Healer, his only hope of escape from his distress. When you read many of David’s Psalms, you are reading the writings of a man in process. He fought with depression, guilt, fear, anger, despair—probably many of the same emotions you (the reader) fight with. But in practically every one of his Psalms, you will see him lifting his eyes and his hopes to God.” (p. 165)

From the book of Psalms here is an example of “Prayers of a Wounded Warrior”:

“As the deer pants for the water brooks, so my soul pants for You. My tears have been my food day and night, while they say to me, ‘Where is your God?’ Why are you in despair, O my soul? And why have you become disturbed within me? Hope in God, for I shall again praise Him for the help of His presence. The Lord will command His lovingkindness in the daytime; and His song will be with me in the night, a prayer to the God of my life.” — Psalm 42:1-3,5,8

“Since I am afflicted and needy, let the LORD be mindful of me. You are my help and deliverer; do not delay, O my God.” — Psalm 40:17

David’s confidence in the faithfulness of God is expressed in the section “Promises to a Wounded Warrior”:

“The LORD will be a stronghold for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble; and those who know Your name will put their trust in You, for You, O LORD, have not forsaken those who seek You.” — Psalm 9:9,10

“You will make known to me the path of life; in Your presence is fullness of joy; in Your right hand there are pleasures forever.” — Psalm 16:11

Make David’s praises to God in “Praises from a Wounded Warrior” to be your heart-felt praises:

“I waited patiently for the LORD; and He inclined to me and heard my cry. He brought me up out of the pit of destruction, out of the miry clay, and He set my feet upon a rock making my footsteps firm. He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God; many will see and fear and will trust in the LORD.” — Psalm 40:1-3

“If the LORD had not been my help, my soul would soon have dwelt in the abode of silence. If I should say, ‘My foot has slipped,’ Your lovingkindness will hold me up. When my anxious thoughts multiply within me, Your consolations delight my soul.” — Psalm 94:17-19

Rev. Adsit closes his words in this appendix with this, “We hope that you will identify with this man who, despite his courage, skills and accomplishments, was only a man. He was a man who recognized his need for a Savior, and his need for God’s help. He’s a good man for us to imitate as we grow through our dark days.” (p. 165)

Our prayer is that the knowledge of King David’s PTSD struggle and victory will be an encouragement to you who share this struggle.

Work Cited:

Adsit, Rev. Chris, The Combat Trauma Healing Manual: Christ-Centered Solutions for Combat Trauma (Newport News: Military Ministry Press, 2007)

Questions to Share:

1. Do you identify with any of the feelings David expressed in the prayers, promises and praises quoted above?

2. David proclaims his despair and then his dependence on God. Take a moment to express your concerns to God and then thank Him for His faithfulness to help and heal.

Excellent or Praiseworthy is posted on Monday and Thursday nights.

I will remember the deeds of the LORD; yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago. I will meditate on all your works and consider all your mighty deeds. — Psalm 77:11,12

I will sing of the LORD’s great love forever; with my mouth I will make your faithfulness known through all generations. I will declare that your love stands firm forever, that you established your faithfulness in heaven itself. — Psalm 89:1,2

The Bible encourages us to remember—experiences, dates, trials, lessons, relationships, etc. Why? To be reminded of God’s faithfulness. By looking back at significant times in our lives and seeing God’s hand at work, we have the confidence to face each day’s demands—and look forward to future challenges.

Because of this biblical admonition, I keep a unique journal. Each page in my binder represents a day of the year . . . and since 1998 I have recorded a brief 3-5 sentence summary—a verbal “souvenir” of sorts—with what I was thinking about or doing that particular day. Having that record allows me to begin each day with time dedicated to reading what God has done. If certain memories involve my adult children, I let them know with a simple, “Do you know what happened this day back in 2005?” There is always something with which I can encourage them—and I thank God for that.

There are certain days none of us will ever forget—and September 11, 2001, is one of them. “Where were you on 9/11?” is a question which never fails to engage another in conversation. Sara Horn, founder of Wives of Faith and author of the military favorites A Greater Freedom, God Strong and Tour of Duty, along with her more recent My So-Called Life as a Proverbs 31 Wife, My So-Called Life as a Submissive Wife, and How Can I Possibly Forgive? last month took the opportunity to think back to 9/11 and write a poignant message to her 13-year-old son, Caleb. The thirteen year time-span which she recalls allows her to include lessons learned during her husband’s three 10-month deployments.

So I include her very personal writing to encourage all of us to take time to remember. I believe it will be quite inspirational for those of you who have children—and who wonder how others teach their children about deployment memories.

The posting on her blog is entitled “13 years After 9/11, a note to my 13-year-old son.” With her permission, I ask you all to read it, think back, and thank God for His faithfulness.

13 years after 9/11, a note to my 13-year-old son

Questions to Share:

1. Which of Sara’s “You don’t knows” can you relate to? Why?

2. Which of Sara’s “You knows” can you relate to? Why?

40 Reasons NOT to Have an Affair

Written by Linda. Filed Under Marriage & Family

Excellent or Praiseworthy is posted on Monday and Thursday nights.

For a man’s ways are in full view of the LORD, and He examines all his paths. — Proverbs 5:21

Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. — Colossians 3:5

A pastor wrote this list of forty reasons NOT to have an affair, NOT to commit adultery.  But it applies to us all, not just pastors—without exception. It seems like Satan is winning more than his share of marital battles, and we’re all sick and tired of the damage he is causing. If rational thinking will help, this list should do more than its share of convincing a person “on the verge of infidelity” to re-think and flee temptation.

Our fear is that in “the moment” rational thinking will not prevail. There is hope, however, and the opportunity to speak into that time before and when there is a choice—that “fork in the road”—when the whole future is at stake. Scripture says that God always provides a way of escape. “No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, He will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it” (1 Corinthians 10:13).

Scripture has quite a bit to say about sexual temptation. Proverbs 6:32 says, “But a man who commits adultery lacks judgment; whoever does so destroys himself.” In 1 Thessalonians 4:3-6 we read, “It is God’s will that you should be holy; that you should avoid sexual immorality; that each of you should learn to control his own body in a way that is holy and honorable, not in passionate lust like the heathen, who do not know God; and that in this matter no one should wrong his brother or take advantage of him. The Lord will punish men for all such sins, as we have already told you and warned you.” In 1 Corinthians 6:18-10 we find another warning: “Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body. Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.”

We urge you to read this list very carefully. Agree with it. . . and keep it forward in your thinking in order to avoid any compromising situations or relationships.

40 Reasons Why I Do Not Want To Commit Adultery
By: Dr. Daniel D. Henderson

1. I would violate my relationship with my Savior and Lord Jesus Christ who has loved, cared and died for me. This action would disregard the selfless and cruel death He suffered in order to give me power over this sin.

2. I would bring public shame and unnecessary disrepute to His most holy and precious name, which I have been privileged to represent.

3. I would have to face someday my gracious Savior, eye to eye at His judgment seat, giving an account for willfully squandering His abundant provision of purifying grace. At that moment of eternal consequences I would inevitably witness the results of my own disregard for the rewards of faithfulness and obedience He so desired to give to me.

4. I would choose to submit myself to a destructive process of self-deception and the dulling of my conscience, causing a lack of confidence in my future ability to walk in obedience and faith.

5. I would inflict unimaginable pain on my wife, my best friend, and my faithful and sacrificial partner in ministry and life—and would have to stare into her tear-filled eyes to explain this conscious violation of my vows and describe the stupidity of my behavior.

6. I would permanently damage my wife’s ability to trust me or believe my word. I would lose her respect in the future, giving her constant cause for suspicion and question.

7. If my pattern of deception were to continue, or if she were unable to forgive me, I would lose her as my wife and would be left to face ongoing regret, loneliness and pain.

8. In this case, I would permanently ruin my wife’s future fulfillment causing her to face the remainder of her life feeling the struggle of rejection and dealing with the complications of single parenting or remarriage.

9. I would violate the love and trust of my precious children. In essence, I would be telling them, “Your mother is not a worthy person. Your father is a liar and a cheat. Honor is not as important as pleasure. My own selfish satisfaction is more important than loving my children”.

10. By destroying my own example and credibility with my children, I would lose future opportunities to influence them toward loving obedience and holiness and would plant within them a potential long-term resentment and bitterness toward the Lord and the ministry.

11. I would bring continual shame to my children every time they had to explain why their father was no longer in ministry—or why he was no longer together with their mother.

12. I would create destructive and continually tempting mental memories that would cultivate unhealthy lust and negatively affect future intimacy with my wife.

13. I would squander all of the money, time, effort and pain that have gone into my preparation for and development in the pastoral ministry.

14. I would seriously disappoint those godly leaders who have faithfully invested themselves in me (e.g. professors, pastors, mentors and relatives).

15. I would bring shame to the college and seminary from which I graduated, tarnishing their reputation and squandering their investment in my theological education and character development.

16. I would deeply wound and embarrass my parents whose loving instruction, sacrificial investment and current delight in the positive course of my life would be horribly violated.

17. I would significantly damage the solid ministry foundation and tarnish the wholesome legacy of my faithful predecessors of my current ministry.

18. I would bring long-term disrepute to the positive reputation of my church in the
community, hindering future ministry to people in this area.

19. I would undermine the credibility and effort of other Christian ministries and leaders in my city, adding to the climate of mistrust that continues to expand with each story of moral failure.

20. I would violate the precious trusting relationship with the elders of my church causing difficulty for them into the future as they seek to lead the congregation and causing a potential spirit of mistrust on their part toward future senior pastors at this church.

21. I would destroy my credibility and relationship with staff members who have faithfully supported me and responded to my leadership. A revelation of duplicity at this level would wound them deeply and would h9inger even their own leadership among the flock.

22. I would bring underserved difficulty and pain to my successor and his family, as they would be forced to reap what I have sown in their attempt to salvage the church and clean up the mess I would have made.

23. I would deeply wound all those who have been saved, disciple, equipped, counseled and prayed for under my ministry, causing disappointment and disillusionment for some.

24. I would create possible disillusionment in the hearts of young men preparing for ministry as they wonder about the credibility of my leadership and the viability of authentic pastoral ministry.

25. If this should become newsworthy at a statewide or national scale, I would exacerbate the growing climate of mistrust toward Christianity at an even broader level.

26. I would squander my witness to various unsaved friends, acquaintances and neighbors to whom I have witnessed over the years, perhaps driving them farther away from accepting Christ.

27. I would be thoughtlessly and carelessly throwing away the impact of the prayers of thousands of people who over the years have wholeheartedly supported me on their knees.

28. I would be heaping significant guilt and pain on the other woman, for the rest of her life.

29. I would potentially contribute to the dismantling of her marriage, family and network of trusting friends.

30. I would run the risk of the complications of a pregnancy resulting from the extramarital sexual activity.

31. I would run the risk of physical consequences in the form of sexually transmitted diseases.

32. I would suffer the consequences of losing a job and creating serious practical strain on my family financially and socially.

33. I would experience the trauma of a career change, having violated the qualifications for pastoral office.

34. I would join the ranks of those whom I have previously despised and whose actions have deeply grieved me because of their violation of calling and trust through moral scandal.

35. I would live with personal life-long embarrassment and shame, as I would encounter regular reminders of my foolish and destructive choices.

36. I would be required to invest a significant amount of time and money in the process of recovery, as many hours of counseling and years of rebuilding would be required.

37. I would take myself out of the running for multiplied opportunities in the future that could have come my way, had I remained faithful.

38. I would run the risk of being permanently “shelved” in my usefulness to God and His kingdom, knowing that the overwhelming shame and personal regret could cause me to completely give up my service for Christ.

39. I would cause a countless number of people to doubt the validity of the Scriptures, the Holy Spirit and the power of Christ as they might ask, “If it didn’t work for him, can it really work for me”?

40. I would bring delight to Satan and his demons as these enemies of my soul and opponents of Christ would exult in their victory over one of God’s called servants.

Some of these concepts were originally conceived by Randy Alcorn in Leadership Journal. 1999 Daniel Henderson.

Worked cited:

http://www.danielhenderson.org/2010/04/40-reasons-why-i-do-not-want-to-commit.html

“Marriage Minutes” from Tuesday, November 8, 2011, by Bob & Cheryl Moeller

Questions to Share:

1. Were any of these forty items a surprise to you? Why or why not?

2. How important is it to you to guard your heart in order to guard your future?

Reunion

Written by Bea. Filed Under Marriage & Family

Excellent or Praiseworthy is posted on Monday and Thursday nights.

Finally brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence, or anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. — Philippians 4:8

Reunions need to begin the moment a spouse leaves for a deployment. As the deployed member prepares to leave, every day becomes one of anticipation of coming together again. Connection with your spouse before and during a deployment prepares your hearts for a harmonious reunion at the end of separation. As a couple you must connect on three levels: mind, heart and spirit/soul. This is known as three-part harmony.

With their minds a couple should share their fears about the deployment, but not dwell on “what if’s,” or how they will be different when they are together again. With their hearts they should listen with understanding, hear what their spouse is saying, and remember that a feeling is neither right nor wrong—it just is. With their spirits each spouse should pray relentlessly for the other, pray for God’s help in the difficult situations they will face while apart, and pray for their spouse and marriage.

Connecting spouses emotionally, intellectually, and spiritually before the deployment maintains a healthy balance in the relationship for when the couple comes together again. Remember a reunion starts before a spouse ever leaves home.

Questions to Share:

1. How can you connect with your spouse with your mind, with your heart, and with your spirit during deployment?

2. How does this connection prepare you for a sweet reunion?

Singing Your Prayers

Written by Linda. Filed Under Prayer

Excellent or Praiseworthy is posted on Monday and Thursday nights.

Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.  — Ephesians 5:19-20

I remember two times in my life when I was at a total loss as to how to pray.

One time was when I was called to a friend’s house in the middle of the night. The circumstances that brought that family to call for the help of a friend were so horrible—so beyond my control—that I was absolutely at a loss for what to say, or pray. So we bowed our heads, and I sang. I prayed in song, My Faith Looks up to Thee. We made it through the night.

The other time was when we were stationed overseas. Our extended family in the States was struggling with problems beyond anything I had ever heard. Given the time difference and being an ocean apart, we never knew exactly from one day to the next what was happening as the situation unfolded. I would go for walks in the German countryside beside our village and sing. It was praying, God knows. I would sing the praise chorus, Oh how He loves you and me, but I would substitute the family names:

Oh how He loves John and Bob,
Oh how He loves John and Bob.
He gave His life,
What more could He give?
Oh how He loves John
Oh how He loves Bob
Oh how He loves John and Bob.

Although “John and Bob” are not their real names, I sang at the top of my lungs to the wheat fields! My words were sung in desperation. I am so grateful that Scripture promises, “The righteous cry out, and the LORD hears them; He delivers them from all their troubles. The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”  — Psalm 34:17-18

Since those days, long past, I have had many other opportunities to sing prayers. I am not a great singer, but I have the hope that in heaven I will have a glorified singing voice. I love to sing Scripture, as in Seek Ye First and Thy Word is a Lamp Unto My Feet. I love to sing hymns like Great is Thy Faithfulness and Grace, Grace, God’s Grace. I sing them when my heart is full, and also when my heart is empty and needs filling. I sing when I’m happy, and also when I’m afraid and need to be reminded Who is sovereign.

1 Samuel 16:14-23 tells the story of King Saul being comforted by David as he would play his harp to soothe Saul’s troubled spirit. “Then relief would come to Saul, he would feel better, and the evil spirit would leave him.” I can picture this scene, with David bringing comfort to Saul through the gift of music. Any parent of an infant knows the power of the lullaby to get their baby to calm down and go to sleep. And I believe that Christian music playing in the background of a home sets a tone of serenity.

Here are some more suggestions of songs that I have modified for a person’s need in prayer.  Just fill in the blank with their name:

“Softly and Tenderly, Jesus is calling. Calling for ____ and for me.”

“He is able, more than able to accomplish what concerns ____today.”

“In _____’s life, Lord, be glorified, be glorified.”

What a blessing to be able to lift someone up in prayer and praise! Whether that “someone” is in the desert, or at home alone, God knows and God hears. Prayers for salvation, prayers for protection, prayers for strength, prayers for comfort, prayers for healing, prayers for forgiveness, prayers for provision, prayers for wisdom and guidance, prayers of adoration and thanksgiving, prayers of contemplation and examination—He hears and He answers all the prayers of His children (silent, spoken, or sung).

Questions to Share:

  1. Is there someone right now for whom you want to pray, but don’t know how?
  2. Do you know the song, Jesus Loves Me? Could you sing that for them?
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