Will Power – Unequally Yoked and A New Year

Will Power. Do you have it? I heard an interview on the news this week. An author of a book discussed personal will power and how our will power ebbs and flows over time, even day-to-day. She explained that our will power requires a regular recharge and when we don’t recharge, we lose our will to follow through on our New Year resolutions. As Matt Lauer chatted with the author, the discussion resonated with me for several reasons. Stress is a major contributor to losing our will to accomplish a goal. Couple that with a lack of sleep and you are highly susceptible to renege on your resolutions/commitment. The author went on to share some of the ways we can exercise the muscle of our will. • Get at least six hours of sleep and find ways to illuminate or reduce stress. These are obvious. • Spend time with people who are an encouragement to accomplishing your goals. • Develop relationships with people who are traveling the same path with you toward a common goal. As I was listening to the television, a very old story came to mind, a powerful friendship from the Old Testament. Aaron and Hur. Are you familiar with these men? They were friends of Moses. Let’s listen in: The Amalekites came and attacked the Israelites at Rephidim. Moses said to Joshua, “Choose some of our men and go out to fight the Amalekites. Tomorrow I will stand on top of the hill with the staff of God in my hands.” So Joshua fought the Amalekites as Moses had ordered, and Moses, Aaron and Hur...

Seven Tips to a Heathly, Stress-Free Christmas {Giveaway}

We are thrilled to introduce our readers to Rita Hancock, MD. Rita is the author of The Eden Diet. We are thrilled to be able to offer three E-books!! Just leave a comment and you'll be entered to win. Winners will be announced on Monday, November 5th. Visit Rita at The Eden Diet.com. ~~~~~~~~ Winners of the Still I Will Praise: The Power of Praising God…Even When You Don't Feel Like It by Renee Bondi are Kristena and Shannon. Ladies, please contact Jenifer at jenifer@internetcafedevotions.com with your mailing address so that we can get your book to you.   Holiday stress isn’t just uncomfortable, it’s sickening. It literally makes you physically ill if you let it—and many people do. I know that because I’m a pain management doctor and I counsel patients on how to minimize their Christmas-time stress to minimize their pain and other symptoms. Are you ready for a surprise? In this article, I do NOT dwell on self-evident tips, like (1) get your Christmas shopping done early (DUH!); (2) stick to your budget (DUH!); (3) don’t over-eat (DUH!); and (4) get enough rest, pray more than ever, and exercise (DUH, DUH, DUH!). Like most people, you’ve probably heard these tips a thousand times but have trouble following through with them. Rather, I give you something better than an idealistic check list. I give you actual understanding for why you get stressed out in the first at Christmas time. Probably, you believe lies about yourself at the subconscious level because of things the Accuser told you in the past. Sadly, those lies trigger stress, especially during the...

Still, I Will Praise: The Power of Praising God… Even When You Don’t Feel like It.

Fort Washington, PA—No one knows better what it’s like to struggle to praise God when you don’t feel like it than author and singer Renee Bondi, author of the new book Still I Will Praise: The Power of Praising God…Even When You Don't Feel Like It (CLC Publications, September 4, 2012). At age 29, Renée’s future was incredibly bright. She was engaged and had a beautiful singing voice, a thriving career as a music teacher, and a loving family. But then one night a bizarre accident left her a quadriplegic. Renée lost not only all use of her arms and legs, but also her singing voice—she could barely speak above a whisper.   Through this, Renée remained hopeful and held tight to her faith. Her unbroken spirit and amazing physical progress baffled the medical field and even those close to her. She miraculously began to sing again and went on to live more fully than she ever dreamed, including marriage and giving birth to a son. Renée now encourages others to pursue a personal relationship with Jesus Christ through her speaking and her new book. Praising God hasn’t come easy for Bondi. She shares, “For most of us, praising God in difficult times doesn't come naturally.  We praise God on the mountaintop, not in the valley.  After becoming paralyzed, I found when I chose to lift my eyes and heart in praise to Christ, I experienced a much deeper peace and strength I didn’t have before. Praising God changes my focus, which changes my mind and then my heart and ultimately my attitude.” Her book is filled with personal...

Angry and Married

Winners of The ReMarriage Adventure: Preparing for a Lifetime of Love & Happiness, by Susan and Dale Mathis are Denise of Shortybear's Place and Nakeshia. Please contact Lori and lori@internetcafedevotions.com with your mailing address so that we can get your book to you. Several years ago the crowd at 1Peter3Living discussed the question, “Is My Marriage an Idol?” I wanted to share a reply which stopped me in my tracks: The question posed today about making our unequally yoked marriages an idol stopped me to pause and think about some women in my support group I attend weekly at a local church. Their story is always how they are in this terrible marriage with a person who mocks their faith and makes their Christian life miserable. To be honest, sometimes I think if this one certain woman stands up with her story one more time I'm gonna scram and bounce off the walls. I thought it was just me who always had a bathroom urge when she stood up, till I noticed 9 of the 12 women in the group were in the bathroom with me. I think this woman is an example of someone who uses her marriage as an idol. She never wants to take steps towards correcting the "Bad", which from her stories she has quite a hand in creating. She doesn't care much for thoughts and advise of the groups, which she says she is seeking. It is as if the marriage is her cross to bear and she relishes in the martyrdom and sympathy she receives from every one she meets. Even in an...

What Do You Really Need? Sacrificing Wants; Meeting Needs

For Rick and Linda, both of their first marriages were destroyed by selfishness that masqueraded as “needs”. Linda’s husband was narcissistic—everything was about meeting his needs, including his gambling and sexual addictions. For Rick, his first wife left him for another man whom she thought would meet her “needs” better than Rick could. Rick was then faced with the responsibility of caring for his kids alone. It’s important to understand the needs you and your spouse have and discern the differences between wants or desires and real needs. This can help you know how to meet your mate’s needs. Since unmet needs can cause a lot of frustration, misunderstanding, and conflict, avoid some of those pitfalls is critical to making your marriage strong.             Once you recognize the specific needs each of you has, you can then communicate and work toward meeting them. If you know how to successfully meet each other’s needs, you’ll develop a strong, second marriage that will be satisfying and fulfilling. What’s the difference? The difference between needs and wants is often difficult to discern. The marketing media says that you “need” everything they advertise, and you “need” it now! They can confuse us into thinking that a want is really a need. For each couple, there are different wants or needs (big and small) that must be negotiated. Making healthy decisions for your marriage will often require setting aside wants in order to meet legitimate needs. And when kids and all their needs are involved, it very often requires a lot of sacrifice—from everybody! For Dale and me, our needs were more emotional than...

Marriage: Am I slow to anger abounding in love in my marriage?

A few weeks ago, a very minor challenge presented itself at home. You know those little ways you can, at times, irritate one another even though you adore each other. Yes, after 22 years of marriage, we adore one another all the more and I’m so thankful to God but a healthy, loving, vibrant marriage takes work. It doesn’t just happen because we’re Christians. It’s rare, but at times we can push one another’s buttons or is it a trigger switch? (Smile). We learned long ago to just let a few irritants go but some have to be worked on together with God so that the marriage covenant stays healthy and thriving. At times God will get one or both of our attention in a matter. This time it was me. God flashed, like cue cards, two of the passages of His Word right in front of my mind as if He were saying, “Daughter, I’m trying to get your attention”. Psalm 103:8 (AMP) The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and plenteous in mercy and loving-kindness Ephesians 5:1 (AMP) Therefore be imitators of God [copy Him and follow His example], as well-beloved children [imitate their father]. And oh the reaction I gave when God flashed those two Scriptures in front of me–Uh? Wow! Ouch! Oh my goodness! Really! Oh boy! Ok Lord, I'm listening… Maybe you don’t have that experience with God but I do. He doesn’t just give me the cushiony Scriptures to feed from. When we abide in Him, He will also challenge us through His Word so that we will not become stagnant...

Does Your Teenager Have a “Drug” Problem?

When our daughter turned sixteen, the signs were pretty easy to spot. We had begun to notice some changes in her behavior. Sunday mornings were the worst. There were biting words exchanged, angry glances, and heavy-footed stomping. For years we had joyously attended church together as a family. Now, this awful attitude of hers was our unwanted guest. We never thought this could happen to us, to our family. Our teenager had a drug problem. You see, we drug her to church for months. You may be one of the lucky ones. Your child is drug-free. You don’t have to drag them into church each week. They stand beside you every Sunday singing "Amazing Grace" at the top of their lungs and you couldn't be prouder. But, if you're anything like me, you've experienced quite a few difficult Sunday mornings. After a teaching from the book of Proverbs I had my light bulb moment. “Train a child up in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6 NKJV, was the verse that kept coming back to me. As I dug a little deeper I discovered that the English word “train” comes from the French word “trainor”, which means to pull or drag. The example used is the dragging of a stubborn mule, pulling and tugging in protest on the reins. I took God's promise to heart. The Lord had given me His permission to pull hard on those reins. I didn't believe I could make my teenager love Jesus like I do. That is a working of the Holy...

Nine Quick Fixes for a Happy Marriage

Are you a runner?  I sure am.  No, I'm not talking about the type of runner who gets up every morning and laces up her running shoes to dance awhile on the concrete stage.  I'm talking about the runners who flee when anything tough comes their way.  Escapees from their prison of pain. The earliest memories of running bring me back to my childhood when my little brother accidentally stepped on my toe.  That was all it took.  I bolted out of our house, slamming our white aluminum screen door behind me as I ran down the street.  I couldn't bear to have my family watch me cry from the pain. When I was enormously pregnant with my second child, I recall having an argument with my husband.  In minutes, I found myself in the middle of a movie theater line with tears softly plopping into my bucket of popcorn. Over the years, I've learned to curb my running habit.  No longer do I run out the front door.  But, I have been known to walk to the other side of the house, or scoot to the far side of the bed when I'm hurt.  It's easy to let a five-minute argument blossom into a week-long event, isn't it?  Leaving the scene of the crime has never been helpful.  It has only prolonged the reconciliation process. When we became Christians, my husband Paul and I began attending marriage conferences.  We used to believe only marriages in trouble should attend these.  Boy were we wrong.  The most beneficial conferences we've attended were when things were great between us.  When we...

Encounter God in the Wal-Mart Checkout line? Say What?

You know what scares me? The Wal-Mart checkout line. Yep, you never know what might happen as you step into a lane and approach the register. There is always a long wait. Usually three or four carts ahead loaded down with all manner of booty, children and some interesting Characters. I’ve watched a fight break out between a couple and a man standing in said line. I’ve sheltered my ears form blood curdling screams shooting out of a toddler who was denied a toy. I couldn’t believe that amount of sound could come out of a body so small. And I’ve waited patiently and then again, on that special day of the month, not so patiently. Today was no different as I stepped into the line with my cart loaded down and found myself standing behind four other carts. And wouldn’t you know it, I have the slow checker. Can you see a need for an attitude adjustment? Ugh! I inched forward trying not to crowd the older couple in front of me. From my peripheral vision I could tell someone stepped up behind me. Oh man, this person isn’t pushing a cart; I can glimpse a couple of boxes in his hands. Here is where I really get into trouble. Do I let this man go ahead of me? I’m afraid to turn around for fear there are four more like him with only a few items in hand. What is a girl to do? My conscious wrestles with itself. And it wrestles some more and I keep my eyes straight forward deciding I have to get out...

Marriage: Am I salt and light within my marriage?

Matthew 5:13-16 (NIV)  “You are the salt of the earth.  But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again?  It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men.  You are the light of the world.  A city on a hill cannot be hidden.  Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl.  Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.  In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.” Two Friday’s ago I had the pleasure to minister at a big college ministry. I was asked to speak to them on the eve of their return to college on the theme: “Following Jesus outside the church and on the campus”.  Last Friday I was asked to return and share a message with the Children’s Ministry as they prepare to return to school.  The theme was “How to shine for God right where you are”.  In both cases I ministered from Matthew 5:13-16.  Both occasions saw a powerful move of God in ways that blessed my socks off and the children, college students and the adults.  Today as I began to write on Marriage, once again, the Lord brought Matthew 5:13-16 to my mind. Jesus is clear in this passage that we are the salt and light of the world.  We can apply that to every area of our lives including our marriages.  Let’s ask ourselves two tough questions: 1. Are we the...