Happy is the woman who loves the Lord and happy is the man who is married to a woman who loves the Lord. Woman, you are a blessing and God sees you in your every day works. He loves you despite your misgivings and faults. He loves you beyond what life could give. He loves you more than to the moon & back. He loves you in an awesome, all encompassing and eternally forgiving way. And guess what? He loves your husband just the same! Yes he does. And He loves your marriage with just as much passion as well. Love is the third cord that we all need in marriage. God is love. Ecclesiastes 4:12 says A cord of three strands is not quickly broken. Allow the third cord in your marriage to be love/God. Start with Him and you’ll finish with him successfully.

Always seek the face of God remembering that His love should be at the foundation of all your decisions. And always know that He can love you in more than one way. At the same time remember that there’s always more than one way to solve a problem. Allow flexibility in your marital decisions. Seek God first, follow His word. Practice agape love in your marriage and you will find that your problems will melt away, literally. Build up your marriage on the word of God and impress His commandments on your heart. Proverbs 3:3 says Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart.

I pray that this song by Randy and Shannon Petrescue called It Takes Three will encourage you this to include God as the third strand in your marriage.

Most of us are familiar with the biblical verse “Obedience is better than sacrifice” from I Sam 15:22. Why is it that obedience is so important to the Lord and what does it have to do with love? Perhaps it’s because it’s how we confirm to God that we fully trust Him. That we completely believe that He knows what’s best for us and that we’ll be taken care of properly, if we let Him lead. And what happens when we move according to His rhythm & obey? Our world turns out better than we could have imagined. Even when we believe the direction He’s leading us into is the worst thing for us, when we arrive, it turns out to be the most fulfilling thing that’s made us the most happy. The humbling spirit that encourages us to obey is now experiencing an immense love that can touch no other feeling. You see God really does knows what’s best for us. So although we feel like we can imagine a more optimal outcome, when we submit, obey and follow, we see that His plan is what brings us the most smiles and strengthens our hearts to give & receive more love. When we obey & receive our blessings from God we realize just how deep and pure His love is for us. He truly desires to see us happy and at our peak.

How have you been in terms of loving God more and obeying Him? Are you finding it to be a struggle? Is it always a battle with you thinking perhaps it’s not God that’s encouraging you to do something, but instead the devil? Are you hearing from God truly might be a question that pops up whenever something that isn’t in line with your plans comes to mind. The first thing to know is that if you are a Christian, you can most certainly hear from God. And He’s abundantly happy to communicate with you. Don’t necessarily expect an audible voice from above to bellow out of the clouds. You will hear Him speaking to you internally, as loving whispers. It’s amazing how we feel that obeying is a form of giving up our “rights” when it is in fact a humbling of ourselves to receive the best (see Mat 5:5). In order to hear from God more, make a practice to read your bible. First thing in the morning, make the word your priority. Memorize scriptures and wait for Him to direct you. It’s amazing! Listen to this song by Shekinah Glory Ministries called I Will Obey as inspiration to help you love & obey.

This week love deeper than you ever have. Express your love to your spouse, children, best friend, sibling, mom or dad in a way you never have before. Let them know without a doubt that you have an immense love for them. Actions speak so much louder than words, so along with telling them how much you care for them, show them. Do something different. Instead of taking your spouse out to dinner, maybe go for a walk in the park and talk about how you envision your future together. Instead of letting your child use their iPad longer than usual, play with them outside or do a project with them and engage them.  

In 1 Cor 13:1-8 Paul talks about the profoundness & importance of love. How it surpasses all things. How it’s the ultimate expression & emotion that we should employ. When you’re considering just how to reflect deep love towards others this week, consider Paul’s guidance. Whatever you do, ensure love is at the foundation. And remember, in addition to what you’ve just read, God is love. So essentially, with everything you do, God must be involved. You may even want to extend the love beyond your close immediate relationships & express it towards perfect strangers. In either case, make it an one on one interaction, not something distant. Pray about your awesome expressions this week, ask God to guide you with what to do & try do them with more than one person. You’ll love it and so will they! Listen to this song by Mercy Me called The Love of God for inspiration this week. God bless you & your family!

One thing we all want after a long hard day is to rest & relax in our haven. We want to be able to come home to our castle and be received by a loving family & rest in the comfort they provide. None of us enjoys coming home and meeting strife, aggravation and tension. The Bible tells us that the “…peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Phi 4:7 ESV). Let’s implement that into our lives on a daily basis. The peace we all need & desire, cannot come from our own will, but comes from the God we serve. When we try to bring peace into our environment, it may work for a short time, but sooner or later, a reality strike hits, and we lose our cool. But if we gain that peace from our Heavenly Father, it will be long lasting.  

God’s peace comes from a place of immense love. A love that surpasses all understanding, that’s unconditional and that’s transcending. A love that consumes you from the inside out. In that love, peace will abound. The kind of peace that will maintain a smile on your face from morning to evening. It will warm your spirit, open your heart and encourage you to share the experience with others. When you’re stricken with a blow of bad news, your peace will maintain. It comes from a deep place that no man, woman, child or calamity can touch because it rests in God. Listen to this song by Laura Story called Perfect Peace https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l6eDvl4Xbh8.  I pray that it ministers to your soul.

How awesome is God’s love for us. Whether we’re Christian or not, He still loves us immensely & protects us to the end. That unconditional love is what keeps me going. Knowing that when I make mistakes or hurt someone’s feelings, God will love me and correct me accordingly. That’s the same type of love I show to my children & it’s the same type of love we should be sharing with our partners or spouses. It’s an unconditional love that allows the person on the receiving end to be themselves. Their level of comfort with you will be so natural because they know they don’t have to put on airs. If they know that regardless of what they do, they will love you unconditionally then they’ll return that love to you, strive to take more chances to excel in life and simply be an all around better person.  

Now let’s keep in mind that it’s important to note I’m not referring to an abuser or someone with malicious intentions continuing to be better at abusing or being hurtful. I mean in terms of someone who knows God and is dedicated to worshiping God. That person will hopefully have a fear of God that will equip them with wisdom (Pro 9:10) and a desire to love. Too often we’re afraid of being the one that gets hurt by showing too much love. But I implore you to completely give yourself and your relationship to God. He will manage everything and ensure you’re protection is a priority. Love from your heart, love from your soul, love from your spirit. Listen to this song by Darlene Zschech called Everything About You for additional inspiration. Be blessed!

This month has been an amazing one for me & my family. I’ve resolved that this year will be our best one yet. And that despite all we’ve travailed through, we will see the glory of the Lord in our lives manifest this year and so far, we’re seeing it. I pray you’re experiencing the same results or better in your family. God can do awesome things through us if we’ll just let Him. In Michan 4:1, it says “But in the last days it shall come to pass, that the mountain of the house of the Lord shall be established in the top of the mountains, and it shall be exalted above the hills; and people shall flow unto it.” How I want to be one of the first people at that mountain. Living on it and experiencing the love of God through it. When we seek the kingdom of God first, everything else will be added. When we’re obedient also, God will satisfy our souls. It seems so challenging to let go of so much control, but when you put that power in God’s hands, He’ll take care of you in amazing ways. Remember, our greatest plan is still less than God’s lowest plan for us.  

How are your relationships going this month? Are you seeing improvements? Slowly, but surely, they will come. And when they do, they’ll lift your spirits in such an indescribable way. There are few greater joys that can be experienced than when you put God at the center of your relationship and let Him manage the reigns. I pray that you and your husband will also desire to be an inhabitant of the greatest mountain that will be above all other mountains, situated with God at the helm.  

I’d like to leave you this week with a prayer that will help uplift your current situation. Tweak it any way you desire so that it fits your needs best.  

Dear God,
I know I’m a sinner. Please cleanse me from every iniquity and wash me white as snow. Come into my body, mind, soul and spirit and take over. Completely overwhelm me with your love and remove my own desires from every action plan I’ve made. Control my life so that I can begin to bask in your glory. You are an amazing God, one that compares to none other. One that asks no one else for permission to do anything. And One that parted the Red Sea with your right hand. Do a miraculous work on my life as you did in the lives of your people when you freed them from slavery from the Egyptians. I’m expecting the best for me, my husband and my children. Glory to your name!

Letting go of old habits & idiosyncrasies can be more challenging than we think. After all, a lot of the habits we’re trying to change have been built up in us over a lifetime. Adjusting decades of who we are is not easy, but it’s possible. It will take lots of prayer, commitment and focus to change those negatives into positives. It can sometimes seem like an awful and grueling process especially if you’re heart isn’t truly into making the change. Oft times we change because our spouse or friends or co-workers point out a bad habit that we think is ok or that we simply don’t see. So while we’re trying to change, we stagnate the process by not truly embracing the fact that we have a problem. It’s important to ask God if it’s His will for you to change that habit. Don’t just begin the process of changing based upon what others are saying. Seek God’s face & guidance first.  

Once you receive confirmation from God about the traits you should adjust, the next step is easy. Know that regardless of what you’re experiencing, you can do it! Remember what the Bible says in 1 Cor 10:13 – “No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.” As easy as it is to return to bad habits, know that God can and will help you make the change, permanently. If you’re earnest about the process, it will come even easier than you think because you’ll be side by side with God moving forward. Before you know it your spouse & friends will be commenting about how you seem different, for the better.  

Be open-minded, stay focused on your heavenly Father and continue to envision yourself as your new self. Claim the victory and it will be yours. Enjoy this selection called Brighter Day by Kirk Franklin as a source of inspiration for this week.

Happy Martin Luther King Day!

Happy New Year everyone! I pray you entered this year with the word of God on your lips and His strength surrounding you in every direction. This new year brings a lot of freshness to our lives in many respects. Whether it’s proclaiming a resolution (or 10 lol), simply feeling “new” inside or declaring that you’re going to accomplish more of your lifelong goals this year. Whatever 2014 brings, go before God with your request(s) and He will help you fulfill them. If you attempt to do it all on your own, you will find yourself sorely disappointed. Unfortunately, will power, simply doesn’t stand up to it’s name! There’s very little to no power behind our own will. It takes the mighty will of God to help us accomplish our most challenging goals.

In a marriage, with the many dimensions and emotions that are involved, it also takes a lot of will for us not to get ourselves involved in unintentional relationship(s). Whether it be a male friend you don’t want your husband to know about because you’ve bonded so much or full on cheating on your man. The bible tells us in Hebrews 1:4-5 that “Marriage is to be held in honor among all, and the marriage bed is to be undefiled; for fornicators and adulterers God will judge.” The teachings of the Bible should be taken seriously with all respect. They will help lad us to heaven, which is our ultimate goal. In an effort to uphold this scripture, this year, start off with your outlook on your marriage intentionally with success in mind. Love aka God at the center, and unbelievable faith surrounding you. Stop and drop everything that you’ve been doing that you’d be afraid to do in front of your spouse. Stop sinning intentionally because of frustration. It will only lead you on a downward slope.

Start by looking at the bright side of things. Start speaking affirmations over your relationship. Begin claiming what the Bible says is yours: Mark 10:9 “What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.” Surround yourself with positive, like-minded people that will help support your new outlook on your relationship & life. If this is a monumental anniversary year (5, 10, 20, etc) plan a special party to celebrate, renew your vows, re-dedicate yourselves to Christ together. The options are endless for how you can rebuild your relationship and it starts with God. Enjoy this song by Michael W. Smith called A New Hallelujah and shout hallelujah for your new marriage!

The holidays can sometimes be a difficult time because it’s when families gather together that haven’t seen each other in months , maybe even years, and emotions can begin to flare. Whether it’s confronting a sibling that you have unresolved feelings with because they didn’t help take care of mama during her last days, or facing a relative that you thought would help you out of a difficult situation, financially, emotionally or otherwise, but they instead backed away. Those harbored, unresolved issues can manifest in ways like arguing over who should bake the turkey or cornbread or whether you should use fine china or Dixie (Pro 17:1). Here are some steps that can help you resolve arguments with either your spouse or other family members or friends with a quick turn around.

1.     Step Back
Take the time to step away from the situation and release your anger in a healthy way. Meditate on God’s word, go for a walk, play some music, draw, grab a healthy snack. Allow your emotions to get out of the way because emotions can be very deceiving. This will also help you gain a broader perspective on the issue at hand. This is a great opportunity for you to ask God to intercede & simply give you a hug.
2.     Think about the situation
Try not to revisit the situation over & over again in your mind. It will only increase the anger. Instead, consider all the options, especially the other party’s position. Look for both positives and negatives to each. Be positive and lean towards desiring a Godly solution, not just getting your way or giving in to the other side for the sake of peace. Ask God to step in & have His way (Pro 3:5-8).
3.     Humble yourself
Regardless of who you believe is right or wrong, humble yourself so God can use you to execute a solution. Pride comes before the fall (Pro 16:18). There’s no glory in “being right.” All glory belongs to God (Gal 1:5), not to us. Your humility will help open the doorway for a win-win solution to be found. When anger & pride persist it’s difficult to see the opposite side. Remember, the meek will inherit the earth (Mat 5:5) Go back to the person you have issue with & ask them if they can speak with you. If they’re not ready, give them their space, but before you walk away, let them know that you can now see their perspective on the situation. More than likely that will open them up enough to either speak to you at that same juncture or shortly thereafter.
4.     Forgive
This is one of the most important steps of resolving an argument. Emotional injury can occur when resentment or anger continues after the conflict has been resolved. It’s important to forgive & ask for forgiveness. Remember, it's important not to go to bed angry (Eph 4:26-27).
5.     Post steps
If all else fails, duke it out in a pillow fight. It’s amazing how letting off some steam can help bring perspective to a tense situation. And if that still doesn’t satisfy, then seek the counsel of a Godly leader, whether it’s a pastor, professional counselor or otherwise, a neutral voice can often times help us more clearly understand what our partner is trying to say.

Enjoy this upbeat song by Francesca Battistelli called Christmas Is.

This week as we continue to enjoy the Christmas spirit surrounding us, let’s remember the reason we’re so happy, joyful and giving. It’s because of the birth of our savior, the one & only Jesus Christ. He is the reason we put up decorations, search for the perfect pine tree for our home, decorate our office space at work and have a jolly, merry spirit in general. It’s because of the love & respect we have for Jesus that we celebrate His birth. We all know he probably wasn’t actually born on December 25, but the date has come to symbolize the blessed day on which He was born. So while we’re shopping for family, friends, coworkers, caretakers & the like, let’s maintain our focus on Him. Know that regardless of what you gift people with this season, the most important thing is that you lift up Jesus in your heart and their heart.

James reminds us in Jam 1:17 that every good & perfect gift comes from the Father of Lights. This season, try doing something different that reflects a gift from our Father. Instead of buying expensive gifts for everyone, give of your self. Oftentimes it seems overwhelming because our hearts are usually much larger than our bank accounts & credit card limits. We can end up spending thousands of dollars for one day on people that will likely forget what we gifted them a few weeks later. Then we’re left with the responsibility of paying off that debt (with interest) for the remainder of the year to come. Let yourself be used as an example to glorify God. For example, you & your husband & kids can volunteer to serve Christmas dinner at a local soup kitchen. Or you all can join up with a food pantry that delivers hot meals to the sick & shut in & deliver some meals for a few hours in the day. You can donate a portion of your gift spending money to an honorable cause like one that helps widows, orphans or the poor. Not only will the recipients be blessed, but your family will bond as well.

The gifts are a symbol of the frankincense, myrrh and gold that Jesus received when he was born, they are not the focal point of the day. So when it comes to the time for you & your loved ones to open up gifts, instead of simply opening your gifts, pray before you begin. Remind yourselves of the sacredness of the day and be thankful that God send Jesus down to us to be born. Because it’s Jesus that painfully sacrificed His life in order for us to live (Phi 2:8-10). Give back this season and show the world that you do believe in Christmas, the celebration of Christ, not the celebration of gifts!

Enjoy this selection called Give Love on Christmas Day by Yolanda Adams.