Jan 28 2010

Love Dare - Day 23

Love Always Protects

 

[Love] always protects. – 1 Corinthians 13:7 NIV

 

Marriage is made up of many things, including joys, sorrows, successes, and failures.  But when you think about what you want marriage to be like, the furthest thing from your mind is a battleground.  However, there are some battles you should be more than willing to fight.  These are battles that pertain to protecting your spouse.

 

Unfortunately your marriage has enemies out there.  They come in different forms and use different strategies, but nonetheless they will conspire to destroy your relationship unless you know how to ward them off.

 

Some are clever and seem attractive, only to undermine your love and appreciation for one another.  Others try to lure your heart away from your spouse by feeding you unhealthy fantasies and unrealistic comparisons.  It’s a battle you must wage to protect your marriage – when love puts on armor and picks up a sword to defend its own.  Your mate and your marriage need your constant protection from things like:

 

 

Harmful influences.  Are you allowing certain habits to poison your home?  The Internet and television can be productive and enjoyable additions to your life, but they can also bring in destructive content and drain away precious hours from your family.  The same thing goes for work schedules that keep you separated from each other for unhealthy amounts of time.

 

You can’t protect your home when you’re rarely there, nor when you’re relationally disconnected.  You have to fight to keep balance right.

 

 

Unhealthy relationships.  Not everyone has the material to be a good friend.  Not every man you hunt and fish with speaks wisely when it comes to matters of marriage.  Not every woman in your lunch group has a good perspective on commitment and priorities.  In fact, anyone who undermines your marriage does not deserve to be given the title of “friend.”  And certainly you must be on guard at all times from allowing opposite-sex relationships at work, the gym, or even church to draw you emotionally away from the one to whom you’ve already given your heart.

 

 

Shame.  Everyone deals with some level of inferiority and weakness.  And because marriage has a way of exposing it all to you and your mate, you need to protect your wife or husband’s vulnerability by never speaking negatively about them in public.  Their secrets are your secrets (unless, of course, these involve destructive behaviors that are putting you, your children, or themselves in grave danger).  Generally speaking, love hides the fault of others.  It covers their shame.

 

 

Parasites. Watch out for parasites.  A parasite is anything that latches onto you or your partner and sucks the life out of your marriage.  They’re usually in the form of addictions, like gambling, drugs, or pornography.  They promise pleasure but grow like a disease and consume more and more of your thoughts, time, and money.  They steal away your loyalty and heart from those you love.  Marriages rarely survive if parasites are present.  If you love your spouse, you must destroy any addiction that has your heart.  If you don’t, it will destroy you.

 

 

The Bible speaks plainly about this protective role, often using the analogy of a shepherd.  God warned, “My flock has become prey … food for all the beasts of the field.”  How so?  “For lack of a shepherd.”  Not because these men were too weak to perform their duties but because they didn’t pay attention.  Instead of watching to make sure that the sheep weren’t being picked off by predators, “the shepherds fed themselves and did not feed My flock” (Ezekial 34:8).  They took extra good care of their own needs and appetites but gave little thought to the safety of those under their supervision.

 

Wives – you have a role as protector in your marriage. You must guard your heart from being led away through novels, magazines, and other forms of entertainment that blur your perception of reality and put unfair expectations on your husband.  Instead you must do your part in helping him feel strong, while also avoiding talk-show thinking that can lure your attention away from your family.  “The wise woman builds her house, but the foolish tears it down with her own hands” (Proverbs 14:1).

 

Men – you are the head of your home.  You are the one responsible before God for guarding the gate and standing your ground against anything that would threaten your wife or marriage.  This is no small assignment.  It requires a heart of courage and a head for preemptive action.  Jesus said, “If the head of the house had known at what time of the night the thief was coming, he would have been on the alert and would not have allowed his house to be broken into” (Matthew 24:43).  This role is yours.  Take it seriously.

 

Today’s Dare

 

Remove anything that is hindering your relationship, any addiction or influence that’s stealing your affections and turning your heart away from your spouse.

 

 

You will be restored if you remove unrighteousness far from your tent.  (Job 22:23).

 

Click here to buy a copy of The Love Dare book.  

Click here for a free online journal for the full 40 day challenge.

 

Material taken from The Love Dare by Stephen and Alex Kendrick, copyright © 2009 by B&H Publishing Group. Used by permission. Unauthorized reproduction in any format is strictly prohibited by law.

 

 

Jan 28 2010

Tim Tebow Super Bowl Ad

There's been a lot in the news about the upcoming Super Bowl commercial featuring Florida Gator quaterback Tim Tebow and his mom Pam.  The ad is being produced by Focus on the Family and promotes life and family.  We had a chance to chat with Jim Daily, CEO & President of Focus on the Family, about the ad. To hear that conversation (which also included Jim sharing about his unlikely path to where he is today) check out the links below

Jim shares how the idea for the Super Bowl ad was born

Jim talks about Tim Tebow and what the ad is about

Jim shares about his childhood and how God brought him to his current position

The commercial is scheduled to run 5 times on Super Bowl Sunday - four times during the pre-game show and once during the game (scheduled during the first quarter).

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Jan 27 2010

My One Word

Every New Year we hope this will finally be the year that things will change. We make promises about the new person we're going to become, pledging to get a grip on our finances, get in shape, become a better parent, spouse, even a nicer human being! But there’s one problem: our resolutions seldom work. The busy pace of life gets the better of us, and suddenly, the year is over with little to no personal growth having occurred in our lives.

“My One Word” is an experiment designed to move you beyond the past and look ahead. The challenge is simple: lose the long list of changes you want to make this year and instead pick ONE WORD. This process provides clarity by taking all of your big plans for life change and narrowing them down into a single thing. One word focuses on your character and creates a vision for your future. So, we invite you to join us and pick one word in 2010.  Click here to learn how to pick your word.

 

 

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Jan 27 2010

Love Dare - Day 22

Love is Faithful

 

I will betroth you to Me in faithfulness.  Then you will know the Lord. – Hosea 2:20

 

As Christians, love is the basis of our whole identity.  Our spiritual rebirth came about because “God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life” (John 3:16).

 

When asked to clarify what the greatest commandments of all were, Jesus answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart … your soul … your strength … your mind … and your neighbor as yourself” (Luke 10:27).

 

Our love for each other is supposed to be how people distinguish us as Christ’s disciples (John 13:35).  It is the root and ground of our existence (Ephesians 3:17), meant to be expressed with passion and fervency (1 Peter 4:8).  It is a quality that we are to “abound” in more and more (1 Thessalonians 3:12), always getting better at it, becoming increasingly defined by it.

 

So if love is what we were created to share, what do you do when your love is rejected?  How do you handle it when the one to whom you’ve pledged your life stops accepting the love you’re called to give?

 

The account of prophet Hosea is one of the most remarkable in the Bible.  Against all logic and propriety, God instructed him to marry a prostitute.  He wanted Hosea’s marriage to show what Heaven’s unconditional love looks like towards us.  Hosea’s union with Gomer produced three children but, as expected, this woman who had long made her living in immorality was not content to stay faithful to one man.  So Hosea was left to deal with a broken heart and the shame of abandonment.

 

He had loved her, but she had spurned his love.  They had grown close, but now she had been disloyal and adulterous, rejecting him for the lust of total strangers.

 

Time passed, and God spoke to Hosea again.  God told him to go and reaffirm his love for this woman who had been repeatedly unfaithful.  This time she had reached a new low and had to be bought off the slave block, but Hosea paid the price for her redemption and bought her home.  Yes, she had treated his love with contempt.  She had dealt treacherously with his heart.  But he welcomed her back into his life, expressing an unconditional love.

 

This is a true story, but it was used as a picture of God’s love for us.  He showers His favor on us without measure, though in return we often don’t pay attention.  At times we have acted shamefully and deemed His love an intrusion, as if it’s keeping us from what we really want.  We have rejected Him in many ways – even after receiving His gift of eternal salvation – and yet He still loves us.  He still remains faithful.

 

Even so, His love doesn’t keep Him from calling us to account for our mistreatment of Him.  We pay more of a price for our rejection than we often realize.  Yet He still chooses to respond with grace and mercy.  “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace” (Ephesians 1:7).  In Him we have the model of what rejected love does.  It stays faithful.

 

Jesus called us to this kind of love in the passage known as the Sermon on the Mount.  He said to “love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you” (Luke 6:27-28).

 

"If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you?  For even sinners love those who love them.  If you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you?  For even sinners do the same"  (Luke 6:32-33).

 

"Love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High; for He Himself is kind to ungrateful and evil men" (Luke 6:35).

 

From the vantage point of the wedding altar, you would never have dreamed that the person you married might later become to you a kind of "enemy," one you would need to love as an act of almost total sacrifice.  And yet far too often in marriage, the relationship does indeed dwindle down to that level.  Even to the point of betrayal or, sadly, to  unfaithfulness.

 

For many, this is the beginning of the end.  Some respond by rapidly moving toward a tragic divorce.  Others, more protective of their reputation than even their own happiness, decide to keep the charade going.  But they have no intention of liking it--much less of loving each other again.

 

This is not the model, however for the follower of Christ.  If love is to be like His, it must love even when its overtures are returned unwanted.  And for your love to be like that, it must be His love to begin with.

 

You can give undeserved love to your spouse because God gave undeserved love to you--repeatedly, enduringly.  Love is often expressed the most to those who deserve it the least.

 

Ask Him to fill you with the kind of love only He can provide, then purpose to give it to your mate in a way that reflects your gratefulness to God for loving you.  That's the beauty of redeeming love.  That's the power of faithfulness.

 

  

Today's Dare

Love is a choice, not a feeling.  It is an initiated action, not a knee-jerk reaction.  Choose today to be committed to love even if your spouse has lost most of their interest in receiving it.  Say to them today in words similar to these, "I love you.  Period.  I choose to love you even if you don't love me in return."

 

I have chosen the faithful way. (Psalm 119:30)

 

Click here to buy a copy of The Love Dare book.  

Click here for a free online journal for the full 40 day challenge.

 

 

Material taken from The Love Dare by Stephen and Alex Kendrick, copyright © 2009 by B&H Publishing Group. Used by permission.  Unauthorized reproduction in any format is strictly prohibited by law.