Wednesday, June 21, 2006
Written by Rodney A. Wilson
Way back in the 20th century, a rich man was asked, “How much
money would it take to satisfy you?”
He replied, “Just a little more.”
That’s a sad story because it reveals that this man would never be
satisfied even though he was extremely wealthy.
Contrast that man’s attitude with Paul’s, as expressed in Philippians
4:12: “I have learned the secret of being content in any and every
situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in
How did these two men end up on opposite ends of the fulfillment
spectrum? Did Paul have a corner on the contentment market? No.
And you may be wondering if genuine contentment really is possible
for marriages in today’s fast-paced, “give me more, more, more”
Let’s look at what contentment is and is not.
Contentment Is ...
Having peace in your marriage; knowing that although the two of
you aren’t perfect, you’re making progress.
Christ-centered. Being aware that even though you still have “room
to grow” as a couple, God is in your marriage, and He is enough
regardless of what you do and do not possess.
Contentment Is Not ...
A lack of ambition. Indeed, couples need to pursue new areas of
growth in their relationship and celebrate when those goals are
reached. The success of one’s marriage, however, should not be
measured by meeting or missing goals.
t’s a good idea to check your motives when setting goals and
balance your ambition with wisdom. Ask each other, “Why are we
setting this goal?” or “Will the Lord be pleased when we achieve
A lack of conflict. Can peace and anger co-exist in the same home?
Remember that peace is based on a relationship with the Lord, not
on the absence or presence of disagreement. God is the true source
of any contentment we have.
Such peace, however, does not guarantee a 100-percent,
argument-free marriage. However, with the foundation of God’s
presence and the peace He brings, you can face conflict with
Perhaps that sounds like a paradox, but it works. Practice being
content – even when your honey is steamed at you.
A destination. You never “arrive” at contentment. You practice it. It is
a tributary that flows out of your relationship with God. See it as a
work in progress rather than a state of being. Seek growth, not
perfection, and seek to be journey-oriented rather than
Benefits to Your Marriage
How does being content help your marriage?
1. Contentment provides stability. When you and your spouse are
content in your marriage, you are aware that you love and accept
each other based on who you are, not on what one spouse has done
for the other lately.
2. Contentment keeps you from panicking during a crisis. I remember
one of those dues-paying, character-building chapters of our early
marriage. We had moved and were trying to sell a house in another
city. Mortgage rates were approaching 20 percent. Selma, my wife,
was seven months pregnant. At the same time we received word that
the house we were currently renting had been sold out from under
us! Selma then made a memorable observation: “We’re making two
monthly payments for housing, and still don’t have anywhere to
We laugh about that crisis now, but only the security of Christ in our
lives throughout that struggle kept us from falling apart. One by one
the issues were resolved as God’s presence and provision never
3. Contentment keeps things in perspective. Sometimes it appears as
if everyone is screaming at you, more is better, and the busier you
are the more impressive you will be. You don’t have to buy into the
world’s values when you and your partner are experiencing
contentment that comes from the Prince of Peace.
As a couple, pursue all God has in store for you. He has some great
things He wants to do in and through your marriage in 2004. As you
press on toward the goal(s) for this year, be grateful – and content –
that He has provided you a Helper for the journey.
Saudi Arabia: Four Christians found praying at home arrested
June 19, 2006
Jeddah (AsiaNews) – The notorious Muttawa (religious police) have
struck Christians in Saudi Arabia once again. According to the
Compass Direct agency, on 9 June, 10 police armed with wooden
clubs broke into a private residence in Jeddah, arresting four
Christians of African origin who were conducting a prayer service.
The two Ethiopians and two Eritreans are reportedly still detained in
a prison for immigrants in Jeddah.
When the raid of the muttawa took place, more than 100 Eritrean,
Ethiopian and Filipino Christians were gathered in the house in
Al-Rowaise district in Jeddah. The worshippers invited the police to
sit down; the latter waited for three hours until the service was over
and then they arrested the four group leaders: Mekbeb Telahun,
Fekre Gebremedhin, Dawit Uqbay and Masai Wendewesen. All four
except the last are married. Local sources said “some police had
already come two weeks earlier but they did nothing then.”
A Christian who spoke with the detainees by telephone reported they
were “doing fine, with okay morale.” But he said he did not know
how they were being treated, or whether they were undergoing
interrogation. According to local sources, the incident has been
reported to consular officials of the Philippines and the United
The government of Saudi Arabia forbids the practice of any religious
other than the fundamentalist Wahhabite version of Islam. Mission
and any public manifestation like carrying a Bible, a crucifix, a
rosary beads and praying in public, are forbidden. The muttawa,
known for their ruthlessness and violent torture practices, monitor
respect for the ban.
In recent years, thanks to international pressure, the Saudi kingdom
has allowed the practice of other faiths, but only in private. However
the religious police continue to arrest, imprison and torture people
who practice their religion, even if they do so in private.
In the Saudi kingdom, which has a totally Muslim population, it is not
permitted to build places of worship, churches or chapels. There are
no exact statistics about the Christian presence, composed largely of
Saturday, June 17, 2006
Five Common Christian Counseling Errors
Evaluate Your Biblical Counseling Techniques
(c) 2005 Doug Britton
Note: This online Bible study borrows from some of the points in the seminar,
"How to Counsel from Scripture."
When you give advice—as a friend, counselor or pastor—it's easy to harm your effectiveness by making one (or more) of the following mistakes.
As you study, score yourself from 0 to 10 on each point.
"0" means, "I really need to improve in this area."
"10" means, "I'm doing great in this area."
Mistake #1: Giving advice without listeningOne of the biggest mistakes Christians (and others) make is giving quick counsel or advice without carefully listening. When we listen, people trust us more and we are able to give better advice.
My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry (James 1:19).
The first to present his case seems right, till another comes forward and questions him (Proverbs 18:17).
Make it your goal to deeply understand the other person. This is more than just being able to repeat back someone’s words. This is understanding emotions and thoughts. Ask lots of questions. "Listen" to emotions and body language, not just words.
My "listening" score (0-10): ____
Mistake #2: Showing a judgmental or condemning spirit
The person with whom you are speaking (or counseling) may have sinned in almost unthinkable ways or made serious mistakes. However, if you give the message that you are disgusted, he or she is unlikely to benefit from your advice.
Show concern for people who have sinned. They should sense that you care, not that you condemn.
Identify sin as sin, but replace anger, disgust and condemnation with sorrow and concern. Remember that your goal is to restore the other person, to help him or her change.
For this reason he had to be made like his brothers in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people. Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted (Hebrews 2:18).
For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin (Hebrews 4:15). Stay humble. Remember that although you may not have committed the same sin, you have committed lots of other serious sins.
My "judgmental attitude" score (0-10): ____
Mistake #3: Talking too much
Has someone ever given you a long speech about your mistakes? If so, you probably tuned out part way through. Speeches rarely work!
When you get people involved in a discussion, they are more likely to change. Remember to ask questions. It’s often effective to ask people if they would like to make changes. If they say "yes," ask what they would like to change. When you help people work on something they identify, they are more likely to get involved.
My "talking too much score" (0-10): ____
to be continued...
I was out walking with my 4 year old daughter. She picked up something off the ground and started to put it in her mouth. I took the item away from her and I asked her not to do that. "Why?" my daughter asked.
"Because it's been laying outside, you don't k now where it's been, it's dirty and probably has germs" I replied.
At this point, my daughter looked at me with total admiration and asked, "Wow! How do you know all this stuff?""Uh,"...I was thinking quickly,"All moms know this stuff. It's on the Mommy Test. You have to know it, or they don't let you be a Mommy."We walked along in silence for 2 or 3 minutes , but she was evidently pondering this new information.
"OH...I get it!" she beamed, "So if you don't pass the test you have to be the daddy."
Monday, June 12, 2006
by Claudia and David Arp, MSSW
Do you want to be good to your marriage? Now, not later when the kids grow up, is the best time to be good to your marriage. Your marriage can actually influence your children in a very positive way -- especially when you're good to it!
Children who grow up in happy, intact, functional families with parents who love each other unconsciously learn the roles they will later need in marriage and parenthood. So as you build your marriage, you're mentoring your own children. Here are 10 ways to be good to your marriage:
1. Call your spouse just to say "I love you!"
2. Scratch your partner's back.
3. Get up with the baby, and let your spouse sleep.
4. Let voice mail collect your calls or turn the phone ringer off so you can concentrate on each other.
5. Light a scented candle.
6. Eat a bowl of ice cream together after the kids are in bed.
7. Turn off the TV.
8. Put on your mate's favourite music.
9. Write a letter and tell your mate why you'd marry him or her all over again!
10. Get out your wedding pictures, look at them together, and rejoice that you married each other!
David and Claudia Arp are the founders and directors of Marriage Alive International and conduct seminars across the United States and Europe. David received a MSW from the University of Tennessee and Claudia holds a bachelor's degree in Home Economics Education from the University of Georgia. The Arps authored an Occasional paper for the United Nations International Year of the Family, 1994, have written over 15 books dealing with marriage and family enrichment, are national radio broadcasters with their program "The Family Workshop," and are currently columnists with New Man Magazine. They have three married adult sons, five grandchildren, and live in Knoxville, Tenn.
Visit the Marriage Alive Web site at: http://www.marriagealive.com Marriage Alive Mailing List: Join the Marriage Alive Online mailing list. Be kept up to date with the latest news and improvements on the Marriage Alive web site. Whether it is upcoming specials, new pages, or updates, you will be the first to know. Sign up at www.marriagealive.com
Family Life website--http://www.familylifecanada.com/
Thursday, June 08, 2006
survey#4 ends July 30
survey#5 ends Aug 15
survey#6 ends Aug 30
to be posted....
How honest are you with your mate? ended June 15
37 said: I am honest in everything
40 said: I am honest in most things
3 said: I am honest in some things
Marriage and Finances ended June 30
10 said: Money is a constant issue in our marriage.
2 said: Money is never an issue in our marriage.
17 said: Money is sometimes an issue in our marriage.
Family Relationships ended July 8
13 said: I'm close to and have good relationship with both of my parents
1 said: I'm close to and have good relationship with my father.
11 said: I'm close to and have good relationship with my mother.
1 said: I'm close to and have good relationship with neither of my parents.
I was adorned in the most beautiful bridal gown I had ever seen. As I looked towards the front of the church, I saw that my beloved's eyes were brimming with tears of joy. I was excited and a little apprehensive about the future. I knew that the moment I said "I do" to becoming this man's wife, I was also saying "I do" to becoming a pastor's wife.
My groom had pastored without me for one year; now I was joining him. I was full of
anticipation and had no idea what lay ahead of us. I saw our future through rose-colored glasses.
My heart of innocence knew nothing of the mountains and valleys that were before us.
Today I can look back on 45 years of full-time Christian ministry, where we have scaled amazing heights we would have never dared to dream about. We have also plunged to depths of sorrow, betrayal and loss that we didn't know was possible. We have had dreams realized and dreams shattered. We have pastored large churches and small ones. We have often cried out to God, "Why me?" when the blessings were flowing and we have also cried out to our God, "Why me, why now?" when we felt He had abandoned us and was silent to our prayers. My story is one of God's presence in our joys and in our pains. Let me share with you some of the things I have learned in my journey as a pastor's wife.
The Joys of Ministry
- The theme for our wedding was "United to Serve." One of my greatest joys in life has been to labor side by side in ministry with my husband and to know that we're on the same team. It has been my heart's desire to help and support him, firstly through my life. People see more than they hear. They have greater needs of models than of teachers. I also support him through prayer, encouragement, confrontation, respect and unconditional love.
The opportunity to model
- To be at the front of the pack and be able to say, "Follow me as I follow the Lord" (1 Corinthians11:1) forces me to grow and keeps my own heart fresh with God.
Singleness of purpose - In Philippians 3:13 Paul said, "This one thing I do..." He knew what was important in life. He was able to put the past behind him and made his life's goal to know and to serve Christ. I've experienced the joy of: knowing why I am here, and what I am to do. I have had a settled sense that I am being obedient to the call of God for my life.
Seeing long-term fruit - One of the greatest joys of my life has been to see spiritual fruit. Knowing that our labor has made a difference in this life and throughout all eternity has made the trials worth it all.
Raising pastor's kids
- I have no greater joy than to see all four of our children, together with their spouses, loving and serving the Lord. I think our kids are richer and wiser because of their exposure to the ministry. I also take joy in our spiritual children as we see them walking in faith and growing in their committment to Christ.
The Struggles of Ministry
- I have often given so much to a person or a group of people only to see little or no response at times. My husband and I had to constantly remind ourselves that it was up to us to be faithful and up to God to bring fruit (1 Corinthians 3:6).
- Every church is different and every person in the church has different expectations of the pastor and his wife and family. We knew that no matter how we tried, we couldn't meet everyone's expectations as each person was different. We could only be true to the call that God had placed on our lives. We constantly had to remind ourselves to play to an audience of One, namely God Himself.
- Leadership spells loneliness. Statistics show that loneliness is the greatest ache in the heart of the pastor's wife.
- Seeing the man I love and respect being falsely accused and betrayed has been profoundly painful. This betrayal often comes from the most unexpected sources; over the most unexpected issues. The inability to reconcile has left life-long scars. Many leaders have been betrayed. David had his Absalom. Paul had his Demas. Jesus was betrayed by Judas. I have always said I want to follow Jesus all the way, but I did not have betrayal and false accusations in my mind. I have claimed Philippians 3:10 as a life verse: "That I may know Him and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of his suffering". I have clung to the fact that God is still sovereign and faithful.
Being a pastor's wife is a high calling and a great joy; a great responsibility and a great blessing. It is a rare gift from God. There are many demands, but the joys far outweigh the pressures. If you are a pastor's wife, it is of utmost importance that you know who you are in Christ and be focused on pleasing Him first and foremost. Rick Warren has said, "I don't know all the keys to success, but I know one sure key to failure, and that is to try to please everybody."God has taken our pain and loss and turned these ashes into something beautiful, remaining faithful to His character and His word. My rose colored glasses are now off. I know today what it means to walk by faith more today than I have ever known. I know that apart from God, I can do nothing (John 15:5) and I wouldn't trade my callling as a pastor's wife for anything else.
~ Shirley Unrau, together with her husband Pete, founded and currently direct a ministry called OASIS RETREATS (Campus Crusade for Christ) for those who themselves are called to ministry. These five-day retreats offer hope and refreshment to those who are weary or wounded as a result of serving in ministry.
Tuesday, June 06, 2006
the 'Closet Trap' Once and for All
pastor's wife, a resource article on restoration
By Rebekah Montgomery
Do you want to progress to the next level in some area of your life - your career, an important relationship such as your relationship with God, your personal development - but something seems to be holding you back? You may have something "in the closet" or hidden in your past. Since we grow from our past, it is important the past be fully processed.
Sorting out the Wrongs
Jesus taught us to pray, "Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us." There are two kinds of wrongs that need to be sorted. Has someone wronged you? You need to forgive. Have you wronged someone? You need to make restitution.
Throwing open the secret closets of our past to God in prayer and allowing His Spirit to bring to light what He wishes is hard to do. But vital. If we want forgiveness from God, we must forgive.
Forgiveness does not mean we put ourselves in the position to be hurt again. It does not mean that we don't seek justice. It does mean we do not engage in a private vendetta.
Conversely, we need to make things right with those we have wronged.
There is a television show where a former goof-up named Earl makes a list of all of the bad things he has done and sets out to right them. Though he's talking about karma, a belief we don't hold, there actually is Biblical basis for making a systematic effort to clean up old wrongs. Jesus said, "If you enter your place of worship and, about to make an offering, you suddenly remember a grudge a friend has against you, abandon your offering, leave immediately, go to this friend and make things right. Then and only then, come back and work things out with God. Or say you're out on the street and an old enemy accosts you. Don't lose a minute. Make the first move; make things right with him." (Matthew 5:23-25: The Message)
The writers of Hebrews says we should "lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us." (Hebrews 12:1)
Satan wants you bogged down with fear or a zillion other sins. But Jesus wants you to be free. Invite Jesus to free you from those ensnaring sins.
Here's one of my favorite parables: A woman in Bible times has 10 silver coins. They are her dowry and very precious to her. If she is widowed, if one of her children becomes sick, if there is an emergency, these 10 silver coins are her insurance policy.
One morning, she notices one coin is missing! The coin could be anywhere! She lives in a house with only one tiny window. The dirt floor is strewn with rushes and straw. The coin is silver, and with the tarnish patina, it will blend in with the floor and surroundings. It is going to be like finding a needle in a haystack. But she doesn't give up.
The woman lights a lamp and begins to sweep very carefully. She sweeps carefully and thoroughly until she finds her treasure. And then she throws a party! (Luke 15)
Jesus spoke this parable to explain His care for you. He knows that there is something precious in you. He knows exactly what He is looking for. With your permission, He will clean and sort through the debris in your life until it comes to light.
Do you want to escape the past once and for all? Hand Jesus the broom and let Him begin sweeping out the trash.
Rebekah Montgomery is the editor of Right to the Heart of Women e-zine, a publisher at Jubilant Press, and the author of numerous books on spiritual growth. She can be contacted for comments or speaking engagements at rebekahmontgomery.com
Sunday, June 04, 2006
by Jill Briscoe
Free your wife. Make it possible for her to serve one day a week in a place of her choosing, not where "duty calls." Stay home and watch the kids so she can do this.
Pray for your wife and with your wife. The shepherd can be so busy praying for the flock he can forget the needs of his shepherdess!
Respect her opinion. Ask for her input for important matters, such as what she thinks about a prospective ministry move. Be willing to take her advice and come to a consensus before a major change.
Encourage her to continue her spiritual and intellectual education. When an adult is around small children all day, she tends to think, eat and talk like them. Adult company and stimulation helps keep her fresh and up on things.
Delight in your wife regularly, creatively and tenderly. Plan a picnic, revisit some favorite place or activity you enjoyed when courting her or carve out a special day in the middle of the week for her. You will discover that, if you delight in her, she will delight you!
Taken from Pastor's Family magazine, Dec 1996/Jan 1997.Jill Briscoe and her husband, Stuart, have served Elmbrook Church in Brookfield, Wis., since 1970. They have three grown children and nine grandchildren.Jill is executive editor of Just Between Us, a magazine for ministry wives and women in ministry. (For more information, contact Just Between Us at 800-260-3342.) She is also the author of Renewal on the Run (Shaw).