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Archive for the ‘Love Dare’ Category

I’m going to try, anyway.

A few weeks ago as part of the K-LOVE Love Dare, we talked about immersing yourself in God’s Word. The idea was to make a plan. Figure out how to delve into the Bible on a regular basis.

I don’t know about you, but I haven’t done this yet. 😦 I still listen to K-LOVE each morning, and that’s about the only exposure to God’s Word I have during the day.

I think it’s time for more.

The Plan

For those of you who know me, you know that I thrive on spontaneity. “Plan” is a strong word for me. So…my plan is to try a few things and see what works. I have a few daily devotional books I can turn to for inspiration, as well as a wealth of information available online.

For now, I’m starting with this verse, which I found on a weekly devotional called A Woman’s Walk by Margaret D. Mitchell.

But since we belong to the day, let us be self-controlled, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet.  ~ I Thessalonians 5:8

It seems timely.

Typically, I think I have a pretty good grasp on my self-control. Lately, however, I find my patience running thin and my temper bubbling dangerously close to the surface – much more so than in quite some time.

I’m going to try to apply this verse to my daily interactions this next week to see if I can wrestle my self-control back under control.

What will your plan be?

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wedding ring heart BibleCongrats! You’ve successfully completed the K-LOVE Love Dare challenge. How do you feel? How does your marriage feel? Has anything changed? Is your spouse looking at you funny? I know mine did a couple of times. 🙂

So, we’ve reached day 40, now what?

…who says your dare has to stop? As you view your marriage relationship from this point on, we challenge you to consider it a covenant instead of a contract. These two words sound similar in meaning and intent but are in reality much different. Seeing marriage as a contract is like saying to your spouse, “I take you for me and we’ll see if this works out.” But realizing it as a covenant changes it to say, “I give myself to you and commit to this marriage for life.”

Let’s look at the differences between contracts and covenants.

Contracts

  • usually a written agreement based on distrust, outlining the conditions and consequences if broken
  • self-serving and comes with limited liability
  • establishes a time frame for certain deliverables to be met and accomplished
  • can be broken with mutual consent

Covenants

  • verbal commitment based on trust, assuring someone that your promise is unconditional and good for life
  • spoken before God out of love for another
  • for the benefit of others and comes with unlimited responsibility
  • no expiration date
  • “til death do us part”
  • intended to be unbreakable

Drawing on God’s Strength

As we’ve learned in the previous posts, keeping a marriage strong is not something we can do completely on our own. We need to rely on God.

Especially if your spouse is not in a place of receiving your love right now, the act of covenant keeping can grow more daunting with each passing day. But marriage is not a contract with escape clauses and exception wordings. Marriage is a covenant intended to cut off all avenues of retreat or withdrawal. There’s nothing in all the world that should sever what God has joined together. Your love is based on covenant.

[Marriage] is to reveal to the world the glory and beauty of God’s unconditional love for us.

A New Beginning

The time is now, man or woman of God, to renew your covenant of love in all sincerity and surrender. Love is too holy a treasure to trade in for another, and too powerful a bond to be broken without dire consequences. Fasten your love afresh on this one the Lord has given you to cherish, prize, and honor.

Your life together is before you. Dare to take hold of it and never let go.

We dare you.

Today’s Dare

Write out a renewal of your vows and place them in your home. Perhaps if appropriate, you could make arrangements to formally renew your wedding vows before a minister and with family present. Make it a living testament to the value of marriage in God’s eyes and the high honor of being one with your mate.

I hope you enjoyed this Love Dare journey as much as I did. I’d love to hear your experiences. Feel free to leave me a comment.

Image credit: Ella’s Dad

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writing a letterOf all the things love dares to do, this is the ultimate. Though threatened, it keeps pursuing. Though challenged, it keeps moving forward. Though mistreated and rejected, it refuses to give up.

Love never fails.

The K-LOVE Love Dare Day 39 challenge is to commit to your spouse – no matter what.

…if love is really love, it doesn’t waffle when it’s not received the way you want it to be. If love can be told to quit loving, then it’s not really love. Love that is from God is unending, unstoppable. If the object of its affection doesn’t choose to receive it, love keeps giving anyway.

Love never fails.

So what happens if you’re spouse isn’t interested in receiving your love?

When you have done everything within your power to obey God, your spouse may still forsake you and walk away – just as Jesus’ followers did to Him. But if your marriage fails, if your spouse walks away, let it not be because you gave up or stopped loving them.

Love never fails.

Today’s Dare

Spend time in personal prayer, then write a letter of commitment and resolve to your spouse. Include why you are committing to this marriage until death, and that you have purposed to love them no matter what. Leave it in a place that your mate will find it.

After all: Love never fails.

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The last time your spouse asked you for something, what was your response? Was it an immediate “no”? When was the last time you overwhelmed your spouse with love? When was the last time you exceeded his or her expectations?

The Day 38 K-LOVE Love Dare challenges us to do exactly that:

What is something your spouse would really, really love? 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?

Giving the Extraordinary

What would have to happen for you to take this initiative? Does it have to be something expensive? No, but it needs to be extraordinary.

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.

How will you achieve this? Keep in mind that the intangible gift is often more powerful than one purchased with money.

Not everything your spouse wants has a hefty price tag…or can be bought with money.

Husbands: Your wife may really want your time…your attention…to be treated like a lady, to know that her husband considers her his greatest treasure…to see in your eyes a love that chooses to be there no matter what.

Wives: Your husband may really want your respect…to [have you] acknowledge him as the head of the house in front of the children…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…to know that you still think he’s strong and handsome, the way you used to.

As you’re thinking about what to give your spouse that will exceed his or her expectations this Valentine’s Day, remember:

  • Love calls you to listen to what your mate is saying and hoping for.
  • Love calls you to daydream about these opportunities so regularly that their desires become yours as well.
  • 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.

Love is calling. Will you answer?

Today’s Dare

Ask yourself what your mate would want if it were 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.

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harmonySo, I think it’s pretty cool that today’s K-LOVE Love Dare Day 37 challenge is about finding common ground and the harmony, intimacy and peace that results.

What if you could guarantee that your marriage would improve significantly by changing only one thing? Would you try it?

What if that one thing was 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 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 need wisdom on a certain decision, you and your [spouse] can seek God together for the answer. When you’re struggling with your own fears and insecurities, your [spouse] 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.

When’s the last time you prayed with your spouse? How does praying together restore harmony in your marriage relationship?

Jesus…talked about ‘agreeing’ in prayer [as] the idea of harmonic symphony. Two separate notes, played one at a time, sound different. They’re opposed.. 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.

Everything Changes for the Better

When you know that prayer time awaits you before going to bed, it will change the way you spend your evening….this [becomes] 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…

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.

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reading the BibleInterestingly enough, today’s K-LOVE Love Dare picks up where we left off a couple of days ago. We talked about finding time to immerse yourself in the Word, remember?

Have you taken strides to work this into your routine? I know I’m struggling with it myself. I listen to K-LOVE radio each morning on my way to work, but that’s not enough. So…here are some thoughts as to how to find time:

First, you’ve got to commit to do it.

Okay, then what?

  1. 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.
  2. Stay under it. …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.
  3. 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.

God has the right plan for everything, and He’s revealed these plans in His Word…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.

Did you know that? Or, did you think the Bible was more about what happened 2,000 years ago? Maybe it’s time to investigate further.

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.

And, what can you expect by immersing yourself in the Word?

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.

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 you 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.

Sounds pretty good, right? What will you do?

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sequoiaDo you and your spouse have close friends who are strong in faith? Do they offer counsel on how their marriage has survived trials and tribulations? Do they serve as a sounding board for you when needed?

If not, it’s time to find friends like these.

The K-LOVE Love Dare Day 35 challenge draws comparisons between the sequoia trees and a strong marriage:

Mighty sequoia trees tower hundreds of feet in the air and can withstand intense environmental pressures. Lightning can strike them, fierce winds can blow, and forest fires can rage around them. But the sequoia endures, standing firm, only growing stronger through the trials.

One of the secrets to the strength of this giant tree is what goes on below the surface. Unlike many trees, they reach out and interlock their roots with the sequoias around them. Each becomes empowered and reinforced by the strength of each others.

The secret to the sequoia is also the key to maintaining a strong, healthy marriage. A couple that faces problems alone is more likely to fall apart during rough times. However, the ones who interlock their lives in a network of other strong marriages radically increase their chances of surviving the fiercest of storms. It is crucial that a husband and wife pursue godly advice, healthy friendships, and experienced mentors.

Invite Strong Couples to Share Their Wisdom

Why waste years of your life learning painful lessons when you could discover those same truths during a few hours of wise counsel? Why not cross the bridges others have built? Wisdom is more valuable than gold. Not receiving it is like letting priceless coins pass through your fingers.

Or Suffer the Consequences

You must guard yourself against the wrong influencers. Everyone has an opinion and some people will encourage you to act selfishly and leave your mate in order to pursue your own happiness. Be careful about listening to advice from people who don’t have a good marriage themselves.

How to Find the Perfect Mentor

Choose a couple older than you and your spouse, or one that’s been married longer. You’ll also want a friend of the same gender to share your experiences with and ask for advice.

  • …look for a person who has the kind of marriage you want
  • …look for a person whose heart for Christ comes first before everything else.
  • …look for someone who doesn’t live by his or her opinions but by the unchanging Word of God.

More times than not, this person will likely be delighted you asked for help. Start praying for God to send this person into your life. Then pick a time to meet and talk.

Today’s Dare

Find a marriage mentor – someone who is a strong Christian and who will be honest and loving with you. If you feel that [more] counseling is needed, then take the first step [to set up an appointment with a professional marriage counselor]. During this process, ask God to direct your decisions and discernment.

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