Wednesday, 4 May 2011

20 Minutes

I was sent a story of a man who received a new guitar as a gift. It was something this man had always wanted -- he had hoped he could learn to play the guitar at some point in his life. So with the encouragement of his wife and children, he started spending about 20 minutes each evening learning chords and picking out notes. Funny what 20 minutes a night can do. Before long, he had worked up to playing a few simple songs. His family was getting a big kick out of it, singing along as he began playing things they could actually recognize. How fun! A new, learned skill was bringing music (and sometimes laughter) into his home. He’ll never be another Jimi Hendrix but he has the joy of accomplishment and added pleasure to his life.

The schedules of the average American couple are crazy. If you throw a two wage earner family and kids into the mix you have chaos. So the suggestion that you carve out some time, even for something you think is important, is met with a look of disdain and disbelief. But as a wise man once said, “we can always find the time for something we truly want to do badly enough.”

Ironically that same morning I received a blog about how damaging an emotional affair can be. The blog talked about how they get started and offered a little advice on how to prevent one from getting started.

If we were to apply the same principle used by the gentleman learning to play the guitar to our marriages we would devote 20 minutes a day to taking a walk with our husband/wife; to brainstorming the next gift idea for our mate; to planning a romantic evening for our spouse; to making a list of all the things that we appreciate about the person we are married to; to considering how we might make life more enjoyable or easier for our loved one; or just spending the time in meaningful conversation.

Even twenty minutes a week spent on thinking of ways to improve our marriage would eliminate the possibility of most emotional affairs before they ever got started and create some beautiful music in your home that would rival the best of guitar players.

Monday, 2 May 2011

How Big Is Your God?

In his book Forgotten God, Reversing Our Tragic Neglect of the Holy Spirit, Francis Chan states, “I think the fear of God failing us leads us to ‘cover for God.’ This means we ask for less, expect less, and are satisfied with less because we are afraid to ask for or expect more.”

Based on statistics I would have to believe that this statement would apply to a number of Christian marriages. A Christian marriage is to first and foremost bring glory to God (see blog Is Your Marriage Normal?). It is to mirror the relationship between the Father and Son, between Christ and His bride the church. I think it is safe to say that IF that were to describe our marriages, Christian couples would be experiencing a true sense of joy. Divorce, unhappiness and dissatisfaction would never be associated with a Christian marriage. That does not mean that everything is perfect, that there are no difficulties or areas of conflict. It does mean that as couples we would exude an intangible quality that would attract those couples who are non-Christian to want what we have.

All this is to say, have we as Christians become satisfied with a marriage that is less than it could be? Are we afraid to ask for or expect more? Do we not think that if we sincerely asked God to produce in us a marriage that would honor and glorify Him that He would not honor that request?

Francis Chan
Here’s where it gets dicey. If my prayer is “Please change my husband/wife into the person I would have them be” it is highly unlikely that God will honor such a prayer. If my prayer is “Please change my husband/wife into the person that You would have them be” there is a somewhat better chance but not great. IF my prayer is “Please change me into the Godly husband/wife that You have called me to be” there is a good possibility that He will grant that prayer. Most likely it will not happen overnight.

When God says in John 15:7 “If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish and it will be given you” He is saying if you pray for something that is consistent with my Word I will honor that request. Why will He answer that prayer? Because verse 8 goes on to say “This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit…” Therefore if what we pray for ultimately brings glory to the Father it stands to reason that He will honor it.

You might be saying, “Okay so God transforms me into the Godly husband/wife I have been called to be, how about my spouse?” My response – after you have been transformed, e-mail me and let me know if you see any changes in your relationship.