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Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Learn to Love


Learn to Love

J. Heinrich Arnold
Jesus showed us that love means giving one's life for others rather than taking life, becoming the lowest and humblest rather than the most powerful. Love makes us free. A person who wants to dominate others and have power over them has a tormented soul, whereas a person who is burning with love has a joyful soul. We wish for our couples that love might rule their life, and that service to one another might come before service to oneself. But more than this, we wish that they might be dedicated to the great cause of God, and that their love to him might come before everything else - even before their marriage.  [page 169]
From a letter: The attraction to the opposite sex is natural, but it is not sufficient ground by far on which to marry or found a family. It is quite natural that when a man loves a woman, he wants to know if she is the "right" one. There is only one answer to this question: both must feel that a marital relationship will lead them nearer to Jesus.
I can well imagine - in actual fact, I know it for sure - that the right choice for a spouse is not the one who is most attractive erotically, but the one whose companionship will lead both partners closer to Jesus. If marriage is based only on physical attraction, it will go to pieces easily.  [p 170]
From a letter: If you are thinking of binding another soul to your life through marriage, learn to love, learn to be open-hearted, and learn to consider the other person first.  [p 171]
Jesus takes the bond of marriage so seriously that he calls even a lustful glance "adultery in the heart" (Mat 5:28). He speaks so sharply about this because he wants to protect the wonderful and holy gift of unity between two people.
In a true marriage a man and a woman become one first of all in spirit. This means that they are one in faith, one in their experience of God, and united in the purity of the church.
Second, marriage means that a man and a woman are one in soul…. There is a special love between these two, and a special joy when they are near to one another. Because they love one another quite specifically, they are faithful to one another and keep their relationship pure.
Third, marriage means that a couple becomes one flesh through the act of physical union… The blessing of God is on any couple - young or old - who experiences unity in the right order: first unity of one spirit, then oneness of heart and soul, and then physical union.  [p.172]
In the deepest sense, marriage leads to community. As God said, “It is not good for man to be alone” (Gen 2:18). Out of one being he made two–man and woman–and in marriage these two become one again.
A marriage will last only if both partners have humble and open hearts. Jealousy and self-importance will always try to enter their relationship and separate them, but love will overcome, because it is “neither arrogant nor rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrong, but rejoices in the truth” (1 Cor13:4-6).  This also means that love forgives. When you are married, you find out day by day that your partner is not perfect. But if you can forgive your spouse, every day will be a new beginning, and every day will contain new joy. “Love bears all things, hopes and believes all things” (1 Cor 13:7).  Nothing is too heavy to carry if there is love. Even if a difficult situation confronts you as a couple, love will hold you firm with hope and faith, for it endures all things.  [p.174]
Our main calling is to follow Jesus, whatever the cost. If we are given the gift of a partner, it should double our dedication to Jesus, not weaken it. Marriage should lead us closer to Jesus.
We pray that those who enter marriage may allow nothing to separate them from the love of God, whatever may happen; for his love is always there to hold each of them and both of them together through need and suffering as well as through times of joy.
The bond of marriage is a promise to be faithful through thick and thin, through good days and hard days, and to be completely dependent on the love of God for the whole of life.  [p.175]
Excerpted from Discipleship, a free ebook.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

In Pursuit Of Good Sex: A Drug-Free Approach To Restoring Sexual Libido And Desire

Despite what many so-called experts say, hormone replacement therapy or supplements doesn’t always have to be the answer to lack of sexual libido, passion and desire. Low sexual drive may result from either physical or psychological factors (or a combination of both). In your case the problem may not be physical but a result of imbalances (lost or neglected sexual feelings) that are affecting your overall well-being.

As some people with this “problem" will testify, they experience no physical dysfunction and feel very normal - have sexual desires and become physically aroused on contact with a desirable member of the opposite sex but they quickly loose the aroused state, passion or interest because of fear, anxiety, damage to sexual self-esteem (exposure to or experience of sexual insults or name-calling, or unsuccessful sexual interactions) and/or due to being unsure of one’s own sexual feelings and how one ought to “behave".

These psycho-sexual problems can not be made to “disappear" with hormone replacement, dietary supplements, daily exercise or “magic" tricks.

1. The first step in restoring sexual drive and desire is to examine your reasons, attitude, beliefs and motivation for having sex in the first place.

Think about why many people have sex? Many people have sex in order to get other things that are lacking in their lives - attention or affection, reassurance or popularity. Or maybe they are hoping that having sex will result in a sense of belonging or of being needed or status in their peer group.

Sex which is a delicious and wonderful part of the human experience and a positive influence on daily life becomes a source of anxiety, pressure or displeasure when one (unrealistically) expects sex to fill the “void" in his or her life. It is in fact much more likely that having sex simply to feel better about yourself or to get others to want to be with you will result in compounding the problem of low sexual libido rather than resolving it. You may find yourself easily slipping into self-destructive behaviours (sexual recklessness, denying your sexual desires, avoiding the opposite sex, passive aggressiveness, sex addictions, vaginal dryness, inability to get or keep an erection etc.).

What is your reason for wanting sex? Is it realistic and healthy or is it to fill a “void" in your life?

2. The second step is to integrate sexuality into your sense of self.

Many men and women have cut themselves off from their own sexuality, which impedes their ability to be genuine and natural sexual beings. The sexual “problems" in your life may be a result of what happened in childhood including upbringing, cultural expectations, sex information learned, anxiety or confusion in adolescence, history of sexual abuse, body image issues, financial or career uncertainty, history of bad relationships or bad sexual experiences etc. These factors combined ultimately lead to the mind and body’s reluctance to go through all the pain and hassle -again.

Self-awakening is a critical stage for discovering your inner libido and getting the most out of sex. What do you believe about sex? What do you consider acceptable? What is normal to you? Who and what lurks under your outward demeanor? The reward for integrating sexuality into your sense of self is not endless sexual bliss (though anything can and does happen!). The reward is an openness to experience the energy that creates life in you, to recognize when it has slipped out of your life and to be able re-connect with your own sexual powers naturally and instantly.

3. The third step is to do things which will build a sense of “sexual" achievement.

Many studies have shown that the pressure to perform to a “satisfactory sexual standard" (whether self-inflicted or from outside sources) inhibits body/genital response both in men and in women and consequently increases feelings of rejection, a sense of obligation, loneliness and guilt, and in most instances this leads to loss of self-confidence or the mood for sex. Even if you feel somewhat fulfilled in your sex life, hearing about what others do behind closed doors — and how often can get your worried about your own performance and sexual desirability.

Instead of trying to live up to the sexual expectations and images promoted by the media (and “sex-experts"), it is important that you find your own sexual standard and unique libidinous imprint. Give yourself permission to see the intelligence, wisdom, vitality and sensuality of your own mind and body - this eases the pressure to perform according to someone else’s (idealistic and impossible) standards.

As important as it is to “take the pressure of", it’s also equally important to ‘walk before you can run". Starting with small things is the most effective strategy. This may involve things as simple as smiling at people and making it clear they are welcome; finding time and space to yourself and putting your needs above everyone else’s needs; assertively asking to be treated with respect, kindness and sensitivity; thoroughly exploring how you see your own body, what role the body plays in your life and what makes you sexually fulfilled, etc.

4. The fourth step is to surround yourself with sex-positive and holistic models of sexuality (including people and sources of information etc).

One of the most effective ways to positively enhance your own sexual self-esteems is to “make-over" your environment and surround yourself with people, things and experiences that are generally more sex-positive, holistic and empowering. The kind of people and sexual environment you expose yourself to has a powerful effect on your sexual libido. If you hang around people (read their books or internet articles and blogs) who are sexually frustrated, bitter, angry, confused, ignorant, immature, uncouth, shame or guilt-driven, unfulfilled, etc. you will find yourself frustrated, bitter, angry, uninformed, inexperienced, unfulfilled and boorish. These people may seem like “fun" to be around since they share your “frustrations" but all too often all you end up doing is dwelling on what you have done badly or not been able to do - and sometimes kicking your own butt and unable to forgive yourself which just worsens your situation.

Men and women who score highest on a measure of sexual libido and passions have a positive view of their sexuality (open-minded and broad-minded), and as a result are more sexual which in turn makes them more sexually attractive to the opposite sex. They are more likely than others to be in a relationship, experience feelings of love (more often than others) and have great sex - NO hormone replacement, dietary supplements, unnecessary exercise routines or “magic" tricks!

Monday, September 10, 2012

7 Ways To A Successful Marriage

What do you think would deem a marriage successful? Is your marriage successful or are you still working on bringing it into success? Couples may differ in what they believe constitutes a successful marriage. I have compiled a few thoughts that I think couples should incorporate into their own relationship for a successful marriage.

1. Proper Communication

In a successful marriage both husband and wife understand where the other stands on certain issues within the marriage, and are considerate of each other’s feelings. They don’t let matters pile up on the back burner to cause unneeded resentment and animosity later; instead they discuss issues in an appropriate manner when they come up.

2. Acceptance (tolerance, validation, forgiving, supportive)

Accepting one another is very important if you want a happy and satisfying marriage. By accepting the person you married, you are less likely to bring up faults and bad habits and later use those faults against them. True acceptance is loving the person you married in every respect.

3. Trust (confidence, faith, belief)

Couples who trust each other have more personal freedom within the marriage. There are no jealousy issues, and deceitful practices causing marital conflict. If you don’t trust your spouse, maybe it is because you don’t trust yourself?

4. Giving (kind, selfless, considerate, giving)

All good marriages understand the aspects of the give and take relationship. The selfless attitude of wanting the best for your spouse is what real love is all about. When you learn to give of yourself without wanting anything in return, you are actually giving something to yourself because goodness and giving will come back to you.


5. Respect (esteem, honor, admire)

If you want your marriage to grow and be successful, you have to respect the person you married. The more you value your spouse, and make them feel good about who they are, the more they will respect you for who you are. God gave you to each other, so cherish each and everyday with what God has blessed you with.

6. Healthy Attitude Towards Self

You need to have a healthy attitude about yourself for a successful marriage. This is what allows you to be free to give of yourself and to be accepting of each other. If you have a low self-image, or you have not given up a negative past, or you are ensnared within an addiction, etc, these things will keep you from loving wholly. First, take care of you! Then you can be a better marriage partner because of it, and then you can work on your marriage.

7. Spiritual Foundation

If your marriage makes use of the characteristics above then it is supported by God’s spiritual foundation. God is the one who gives us the gifts of real love. Only through Him are we made complete and whole to love others freely.

Jesus said, “Why do you call me Lord, Lord, and not do what I say? I will show you what he is like who comes to me and hears my words and puts them into practice. He is like a man building a house who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock. When a flood came the torrent struck that house but could not shake it, because it was well built. But the one who hears my words and does not put them into practice is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. The moment the torrent struck that house, it collapsed and its destruction was complete.” (Luke 6:46-49)

Forgive Your Spouse of Adultery And Save Your Christian Marriage: http://youtu.be/snUGrD6Qh5k
Visit our marriage Healing Ministry: http://www.heavenministries.com


Article Source: http://www.faithwriters.com-CHRISTIAN WRITERS

Monday, September 3, 2012

12 Ways to Love Your Wayward Child

Many parents are brokenhearted and completely baffled by their unbelieving son or daughter. They have no clue why the child they raised well is making such awful, destructive decisions. I’ve never been one of these parents, but I have been one of these sons. Reflecting back on that experience, I offer these suggestions to help you reach out to your wayward child.
1. Point them to Christ.
Your rebellious child’s real problem is not drugs or sex or cigarettes or pornography or laziness or crime or cussing or slovenliness or or being in a punk rock band. The real problem is that they don’t see Jesus clearly. The best thing you can do for them—and the only reason to do any of the following suggestions—is to show them Christ. It is not a simple or immediate process, but the sins in their life that distress you and destroy them will only begin to fade away when they see Jesus more like he actually is.
2. Pray.
Only God can save your son or daughter, so keep on asking that he will display himself to them in a way they can’t resist worshiping him for.
3. Acknowledge that something is wrong.
If your daughter rejects Jesus, don’t pretend everything is fine.
For every unbelieving child, the details will be different. Each one will require parents to reach out in unique ways. Never acceptable, however, is not reaching out at all. If your child is an unbeliever, don’t ignore it. Holidays might be easier, but eternity won’t be.
4. Don’t expect them to be Christ-like.
If your son is not a Christian, he’s not going to act like one.
You know that he has forsaken the faith, so don’t expect him to live by the standards you raised him with. For example, you might be tempted to say, “I know you’re struggling with believing in Jesus, but can’t you at least admit that getting wasted every day is sin?”
If he’s struggling to believe in Jesus, then there is very little significance in admitting that drunkenness is wrong. You want to protect him, yes. But his unbelief is the most dangerous problem—not partying. No matter how your child’s unbelief exemplifies itself in his behavior, always be sure to focus more on the heart’s sickness than its symptoms.
5. Welcome them home.
Because the deepest concern is not your child’s actions, but his heart, don’t create too many requirements for coming home. If he has any inkling to be with you, it is God giving you a chance to love him back to Jesus. Obviously there are some instances in which parents must give ultimatums: “Don’t come to this house if you are...” But these will be rare. Don’t lessen the likelihood of an opportunity to be with your child by too many rules.
If your daughter smells like weed or an ashtray, spray her jacket with Febreze and change the sheets when she leaves, but let her come home. If you find out she’s pregnant, then buy her folic acid, take her to her twenty-week ultrasound, protect her from Planned Parenthood, and by all means let her come home. If your son is broke because he spent all the money you lent him on loose women and ritzy liquor, then forgive his debt as you’ve been forgiven, don’t give him any more money, and let him come home. If he hasn’t been around for a week and a half because he’s been staying at his girlfriend’s—or boyfriend’s—apartment, plead with him not to go back, and let him come home.
6. Plead with them more than you rebuke them.
Be gentle in your disappointment.
What really concerns you is that your child is destroying herself, not that she’s breaking rules. Treat her in a way that makes this clear. She probably knows—especially if she was raised as a Christian—that what she’s doing is wrong. And she definitely knows you think it is. So she doesn’t need this pointed out. She needs to see how you are going to react to her evil. Your gentle forbearance and sorrowful hope will show her that you really do trust Jesus.
Her conscience can condemn her by itself. Parents ought to stand kindly and firmly, always living in the hope that they want their child to return to.
7. Connect them to believers who have better access to them.
There are two kinds of access that you may not have to your child: geographical and relational. If your wayward son lives far away, try to find a solid believer in his area and ask him to contact your son. This may seem nosy or stupid or embarrassing to him, but it’s worth it—especially if the believer you find can also relate to your son emotionally in a way you can’t.
Relational distance will also be a side effect of your child leaving the faith, so your relationship will be tenuous and should be protected if at all possible. But hard rebuke is still necessary.
This is where another believer who has emotional access to your son may be very helpful. If there is a believer who your son trusts and perhaps even enjoys being around, then that believer has a platform to tell your son—in a way he may actually pay attention to—that he’s being an idiot. This may sound harsh, but it’s a news flash we all need from time to time, and people we trust are usually the only ones who can package a painful rebuke so that it is a gift to us.
A lot of rebellious kids would do well to hear that they’re being fools—and it is rare that this can helpfully be pointed out by their parents—so try to keep other Christians in your kids lives.
8. Respect their friends.
Honor your wayward child in the same way you’d honor any other unbeliever. They may run with crowds you’d never consider talking to or even looking at, but they are your child’s friends. Respect that—even if the relationship is founded on sin. They’re bad for your son, yes. But he’s bad for them, too. Nothing will be solved by making it perfectly evident that you don’t like who he’s hanging around with.
When your son shows up for a family birthday celebration with another girlfriend—one you’ve never seen before and probably won’t see again—be hospitable. She’s also someone’s wayward child, and she needs Jesus, too.
9. Email them.
Praise God for technology that lets you stay in your kids’ lives so easily!
When you read something in the Bible that encourages you and helps you love Jesus more, write it up in a couple lines and send it to your child. The best exhortation for them is positive examples of Christ’s joy in your own life.
Don’t stress out when you’re composing these as if each one needs to be singularly powerful. Just whip them out one after another, and let the cumulative effect of your satisfaction in God gather up in your child’s inbox. God’s word is never proclaimed in vain.
10. Take them to lunch.
If possible, don’t let your only interaction with your child be electronic. Get together with him face to face if you can. You may think this is stressful and uncomfortable, but trust me that it’s far worse to be in the child’s shoes—he is experiencing all the same discomfort, but compounded by guilt. So if he is willing to get together with you for lunch, praise God, and use the opportunity.
It will feel almost hypocritical to talk about his daily life, since what you really care about is his eternal life, but try to anyway. He needs to know you care about all of him. Then, before lunch is over, pray that the Lord will give you the gumption to ask about his soul. You don’t know how he’ll respond. Will he roll his eyes like you’re an idiot? Will he get mad and leave? Or has God been working in him since you talked last? You don’t know until you risk asking.
(Here’s a note to parents of younger children: Set up regular times to go out to eat with your kids. Not only will this be valuable for its own sake, but also, if they ever enter a season of rebellion, the tradition of meeting with them will already be in place and it won’t feel weird to ask them out to lunch. If a son has been eating out on Saturdays with his dad since he was a tot, it will be much harder for him later in life to say no to his father’s invitation—even as a surly nineteen-year-old.)
11. Take an interest in their pursuits.
Odds are that if your daughter is purposefully rejecting Christ, then the way she spends her time will probably disappoint you. Nevertheless, find the value in her interests, if possible, and encourage her. You went to her school plays and soccer games when she was ten; what can you do now that she’s twenty to show that you still really care about her interests?
Jesus spent time with tax collectors and prostitutes, and he wasn’t even related to them. Imitate Christ by being the kind of parent who will put some earplugs in your pocket and head downtown to that dank little nightclub where your daughter’s CD release show is. Encourage her and never stop praying that she will begin to use her gifts for Jesus’ glory instead her own.
12. Point them to Christ.
This can’t be over-stressed. It is the whole point. No strategy for reaching your son or daughter will have any lasting effect if the underlying goal isn’t to help them know Jesus.
Jesus.
It’s not so that they will be good kids again; it’s not so that they’ll get their hair cut and start taking showers; it’s not so that they’ll like classical music instead of deathcore; it’s not so that you can stop being embarrassed at your weekly Bible study; it’s not so that they’ll vote conservative again by the next election; it’s not even so that you can sleep at night, knowing they’re not going to hell. The only ultimate reason to pray for them, welcome them, plead with them, email them, eat with them, or take an interest in their interests is so that their eyes will be opened to Christ.
And not only is he the only point—he’s the only hope. When they see the wonder of Jesus, satisfaction will be redefined. He will replace the pathetic vanity of the money, or the praise of man, or the high, or the that they are staking their eternities on right now. Only his grace can draw them from their perilous pursuits and bind them safely to himself—captive, but satisfied.
He will do this for many. Be faithful and don’t give up