Feb 12 2010

Love Dare - Day 38

Love Fulfills Dreams

 

Delight yourself in the Lord; and He will give you the desires of your heart.  – Psalm 37:4

 

What is something your spouse would really, really love?  And how often do you ask yourself that question?

 

Common sense tells us we can’t give our wife or husband everything they might like.  Our budgets and account balances tell us we probably couldn’t afford it anyway.  And even if we could, it might not be good for us.  Or for them.

 

But perhaps you’ve let “no” become too quick a response.  Perhaps you’ve let this negative default setting become too reasoned and rational, too automatic.  What if instead of dismissing the thought, you did your best to honor it.  What might happen if the one thing they said you’d never do for them became the next thing you did?

 

Love sometimes needs to be extravagant.  To go all out.  It sometimes needs to set aside the technicalities and just bless because it wants to.

 

Is that thinking too much like a teenager?  Is love like this no longer on the menu after so many years of marriage?  After all, with the way your relationship might be at the moment, wouldn’t it be less than genuine to indulge your spouse if your heart’s not in it?

 

Well, how about putting your heart in it.  How about developing a new level of love that actually wants to fulfill every dream and desire you possibly can.

 

Hasn’t God’s love met needs in your heart that once seemed out of the question?  You were living under such a load of sin and regret; you thought you’d never earn your way back into His good graces.  But He looked at you with love and said you didn’t have to.  He wanted you back.  He wanted you to realize your need for Him, and that as you repented and turned to Him, He would love and forgive you.  “God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ” (Ephesians 2:4-5).

 

You thought life was over when a certain setback took all the wind out of your sails.  You broke down and cried out to Him.  You prayed like you’d never prayed before.  And though it wasn’t easy getting back up and walking on, you somehow survived.  He met you with His promised peace “which surpasses all comprehension” (Philippians 4:7) and kept you on your feet.

 

It wasn’t when you were behaving like an angel that God chose to pour out His love on you.  It wasn’t when you were behaving like an angel that God chose to pour out His love on you.  It wasn’t because you were so deserving that He offered you His grace.  “God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Chris died for us” (Romans 5:8).

 

He’s your model.  He’s the One your love is designed to imitate.  Though you weren’t a likely candidate for His love, He gave it anyway.  He paid the price.

 

Not everything your spouse wants has a hefty price tag.  Not everything he or she desires can be bought with money.  Your wife may really want your time.  She may really want your attention.  She may really want to be treated like a lady, to know that her husband considers her his greatest treasure.  She may really want to see in your eyes a love that chooses to be there no matter what.

 

Your husband may really want your respect.  He may really want you to acknowledge him as the head of the house in front of the children.  He may really want you to put your arms around his neck for no apparent reason, surprising him with a long kiss or a love note when there’s not even a birthday or anniversary to justify it. He may really need to know that you still think he’s strong and handsome, the way you used to.

 

·        Dreams and desires come in all shapes and sizes.  But love takes careful notice of each one.

 

·        Love calls you to listen to what your mate is saying and hoping for.

 

·        Love calls you to remember the things that are unique to your relationship, the pleasures and enjoyments that bring a smile to the other’s face.

 

·        Love calls you to give when it would be a lot more convenient to wait.

 

·        And love calls you to daydream about these opportunities so regularly that their desires become yours as well.

 

We dare you to think in terms of overwhelming your spouse with love.  To surprise them by exceeding all their expectations with your kindness.  It may or may not be a financial sacrifice, but it needs to reflect a heart that is willing to express itself with extravagance.

 

What is something your spouse would really, really love?  It’s time you started living out the answer to that question.

 

Today’s Dare

 

Ask yourself what your mate would want if it was obtainable.  Commit this to prayer, and start mapping out a plan for meeting some (if not all) of their desires, to whatever level you possibly can.

 

God is able to make all grace abound to you.  (2 Corinthians 9:8)

 

 

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.

 

 

 

Feb 12 2010

Fresh, Clean Breath with Dr. Katz

So, you've bought the candy, flowers and made dinner reservations for this Valentines Day weekend - but what about your breath?  No worries ... bad breath expert Dr. Harold Katz joins us this morning with some helpful tips.

 - Avoid milk chocolate: The combo of dairy proteins and sugar fuels bad breath bacteria.  Dark chocolate or semi-sweet chocolate is a much better choice.

- No onions, garlic, cauliflower, cabbage and Brussel sprouts: all of these veggies contain a high concentration of sulfur compounds, similar to the chemicals produced by bad breath bugs.

- Drink plenty of water - the less dry your mouth, the fresher your breath.

- Drink tea instead of coffee

- Avoid sugar as much as possible.  Sugar feeds the bad breath.  Look for sugar-free gum and mints

 To get to know Dr. Katz better, click here.

 

Feb 11 2010

Love Dare - Day 37

Love Agrees in Prayer

 

If two of you agree on earth about anything that they may ask, it shall be done for them by May Father.  – Matthew 18:19

 

If someone told you that by changing one thing about your marriage, you could guarantee with near 100 percent assurance that your life together would significantly improve, you would at least want to know what it was.  And for many godly couples, that “one thing” is the daily practice of praying together.

 

To someone who tends to devalue spiritual matters, this sounds fairly ridiculous.  And if told that shared prayer is a key ingredient in marital longevity and leads to a heightened sense of sexual intimacy, they would think you had really gone too far. But the unity that grows between a man and woman who regularly pray together forms an intense and powerful connection.  Within the sanctuary of your marriage, praying together can work wonders on every level of your relationship.

 

When you were joined together as husband and wife, God gave you a wedding gift – a permanent prayer partner for life.  When you need wisdom on a certain decision, you and your prayer partner can seek God together for the answer.  When you’re struggling with your own fears and insecurities, your prayer partner can hold your hand and intercede on your behalf.  When you and your spouse are not getting along and can’t get past a particular argument or sticking point, you can call a time out, drop your weapons, and go with your partner into emergency prayer.  It should become your automatic reflex action when you don’t know what else to do.

 

It’s hard to stay angry long with someone for whom you’re praying.  It’s hard not to back down when you’re hearing your mate humbly cry out to God and beg Him for mercy in the midst of your heated crisis.  In prayer, two people remember that God has made them one.  And in the grip of His uniting presence, disharmony blends into beauty.

 

Praying for your spouse leads your heart to care more deeply about them.  But more importantly, God is pleased when He sees you both humbling yourselves and seeking His face together.  His blessing falls on you when you agree in prayer.

 

The word Jesus used when He talked about “agreeing” in prayer has the idea of harmonic symphony. Two separate notes, played one at a time, sound different.  They’re opposed to each other.  But play them at the same time – in agreement – and they can create a pleasing sense of harmony.  Together they give a fuller, more complete sound than either of them can make on its own.

 

Agreeing in prayer is like that – even in the midst of disagreeing.  It pulls you both back toward your real center.  It places you on common ground, face-to-face before the Father.  It restores harmony in the midst of contention.

 

The church – which in Scripture has a marriage connotation with Christ – can sometimes be a place where conflict rules.  The disharmony that can flare up over various matters can derail the church from its mission and disrupt the free flow of worship and unity.  At times godly church leaders will see what is taking place, break off discussions, and call the people of God to prayer.  Instead of continuing the discord and allowing more feelings to be hurt, they will seek unity by turning their hearts back to God and appealing to Him for help.

 

The same thing happens in our homes when there is an intervention of prayer, even at high points of disagreement.  It stops the bleeding.  It quiets the loud voices.  It pauses you as you realize whose presence you’re in.

 

But prayer is for a lot more than breaking up fights.  Prayer is a privilege to be enjoyed on a consistent, daily basis.  When you know that prayer time awaits you before going to bed, it will change the way you spend your evening.  Even if your prayers together are typically short and to the point, this will become a standing appointment that you can orbit your day around, keeping God in the middle of everything.

 

It’s true that beginning a habit like this can initially feel awkward and uncomfortable.  Anything this powerful will surprise you with its weight and responsibility when you actually try doing it.  But bear in mind that God wants you to engage with Him – invites you, in fact – and He will grow you as you take it seriously and push past those times when you don’t know what to say.

 

You’ll look back at this common thread that ran through everything from average Mondays to major decisions and be so thankful for this “one thing” that changed everything.  This is one area where it’s imperative that you agree to agree.

 

 

Today’s Dare

 

Ask your spouse if you can begin praying together.  Talk about the best time to do this -- whether it’s in the morning, your lunch hour, or before bedtime.  Use this time to commit your concerns, disagreements, and needs before the Lord.  Don’t forget to thank Him for His provision and blessing.  Even if your spouse refuses to do this, resolve to spend this daily time in prayer yourself.

 

In the morning my prayer comes before You. (Psalm 88:13)

 

 

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.

Feb 10 2010

Love Dare - Day 36

Love is God’s Word

 

Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.  – Psalm 119:105

 

 

For some people, the Bible seems just too big to understand.  It’s like an impossible challenge.  They don’t know where or how to begin.  But as a Christian, you’re not left alone to try grasping the major themes and deep meanings of the Bible.  The Holy Spirit, who now lives in your heart by the way of salvation, is an illuminator of truth.  “For the Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God” (1 Corinthians 2:10).  And because of His internal lamp, the Scriptures are now yours to read, absorb, comprehend, and live by.

 

But first, you’ve got to commit to do it.

 

Be in it.  If this is not already a habit of yours, now is the time to begin reading a portion of the Bible every day.  Ideally, read it together as husband and wife – in the morning, perhaps, or before bed.  Be like the writer of Psalm 119, who could say, “With all my heart I have sought You … Your word I have treasured in my heart, that I may not sin against You” (Psalm 119:10-11).

 

Those who practice a consistent pattern of reading the Bible soon discover it to be “more desirable than gold, yes, than much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and the drippings of the honeycomb” (Psalm 19:10).

 

Stay under it.  You’re right; the Bible can be deep and challenging.  That’s why it’s so important to be part of a church where the Word is faithfully taught and preached.  By hearing it explained in sermons and Bible study classes, you’ll get a broader, more balanced view of what God is saying through His Word.  You’ll also get to join with others who are on the same journey you are, wanting to be fed by the truths of Scripture. “Continue in the things you have learned and become convinced of, knowing from whom you have learned them” (2 Timothy 3:14).

 

Live it.  Unlike most other books, which are only designed to be read and digested, the Bible is a living book.  It lives because the Holy Spirit still resonates within its words.  It lives because, unlike the ancient writings of other religions, its Author is still alive.  And it lives because it becomes a part of who you are, how you think, and what you do.  “Prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers” (James 1:22).

 

Jesus talked about people who build their lives on sand – their own logic, their best guesses, the latest reasoning.  When the storms of life begin to blow (which they always will), foundations of sand will only result in total disaster.  Their houses may light up and look nice for a while, but they are tragedies waiting to happen.  Ultimately they collapse.

 

But Jesus said, “Everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them may be compared to a wise man who builds on the rock.  The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded on the rock” (Matthew 7:24-25).  When your home is founded on the rock of God’s unchanging Word, it is insured against destruction.

 

That’s because God has the right plan for everything, and He’s revealed these plans in His Word.  They’re right there for anyone who will read it and apply it.

 

God has a plan for the way you handle your money.  A plan for the way you raise your children.  A plan for the way you treat your body.  A plan for the way you spend your time.  A plan for the way you handle conflict.  Isn’t it just like your Maker to know exactly what you need?

 

If being a regular Bible reader is new for you, you’ll be surprised how quickly you’ll begin thinking differently and more eternally.  And if you are serious about establishing strategies for life based on God’s way of doing things, He will guide you to make connections between what you’re reading and how it applies.  It’s an enlightening journey with discoveries to be made all the time.

 

Every aspect of your life that you submit to, God’s principles will grow stronger and more long-lasting over time.  But any part you withhold from Him, choosing instead to try your own hand at it, will weaken and eventually fail when the storms of life hit you.  It may, in fact, be the one area that hastens the downfall of your home and marriage.

 

Wise couples build their houses on the rock of God’s Word.  They’ve seen what sand can do.  They know how it feels when their footing gets soft and the foundation gives way.  That’s why must determine to build your life and marriage on the solid rock of the Bible, and then you can plan on a stronger future – no matter how bad the storms get.

 

 

Today’s Dare

 

Commit to reading the Bible every day.  Find a devotional book or other resource that will give you some guidance.  If your spouse is open to it, see if they will commit to daily Bible reading with you.  Begin submitting each area of your life to its guidance and start building on the rock.

 

 

Whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction. (Romans 15:4)

 

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.