★ Re|Engage – Emotional Intimacy ★

ReEngage - Lesson 13

Within the reading they posed this question..

 “The point in all this is to give you tools to have a conversation about intimacy. Ask yourself the question, ‘What could we do to take a next step towards a healthy sex life.’”

It is critical for the health of your marriage to make sure that the two of you are talking about this as this can cause issues within your marriage.  My wife and I too a marriage class by Kevin Leman and he had this funny statement that his favorite scripture in the Bible was 1 Corinthians 7:3-5 (NLT),

“The husband should fulfill his wife’s sexual needs, and the wife should fulfill her husband’s needs. The wife gives authority over her body to her husband, and the husband gives authority over his body to his wife. Do not deprive each other of sexual relations, unless you both agree to refrain from sexual intimacy for a limited time so you can give yourselves more completely to prayer. Afterward, you should come together again so that Satan won’t be able to tempt you because of your lack of self-control.”

Under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, the apostle Paul is giving us some practical insight and simultaneously a warning, that Satan will use the interruption of sexual intimacy to put a wedge between you and your spouse.  God intended sex to be good, in Genesis 1:28a (NLT) He gave us the command to

“Be fruitful and multiply. Fill the earth and govern it.”

But like in all areas of our life, Satan always introduces a counterfeit to what God has established, and as a result tries to corrupt this beautiful gift God has given us but we will dig into that later.  This post will be talking about Emotional Intimacy first.

The reading focused on this Principle:  Grow in Intimacy.

The main idea of Lesson 13 was:

“Intimacy is to “fully know and be known, without the fear of rejection.” Being fully known and accepted by God allows you to be authentic with your spouse.”

Being “fully known” is a scary thing isn’t it?  Will my spouse like those areas in my life that are not so attractive?  Can I trust them with everything?  The “fear of rejection” is something that Satan keeps on the forefront of our minds.  This lesson started off with a very interesting comment that prior to taking this class I never really thought about…

“Adam and Eve experienced what many married couples desire: they were completely and totally vulnerable with each other and they didn’t feel any shame…They experienced love and intimacy and its purest form it was perfect.”

I would love to live in such complete openness as Genesis 2:25 (NLT)

“Now the man and his wife were both naked, but they felt no shame.”

But unfortunately just one chapter later, God’s plan was ruined (see chapter 3)…

“As a result of sin entering the world, Adam and Eve – and all other married couples after them – have to work to maintain intimacy in their marriage…You and your spouse will have to work at it, but you can experience the freedom, intimacy and love that come from being known by your spouse.”

I like how they made the differentiation between understanding your spouse and knowing them…

“Allowing your spouse to know you will probably be much more difficult than you getting to know them (Lesson 12).  Being known is difficult, because you may pretend to have it all together on the outside, but deep down, you know you’re not all your cracked up to be.  You know the thoughts you have, the selfish desires that rule your mind, and the flaws that often distract you and hurt others.”

It is hard to think of letting someone in so completely isn’t it?  But if we want emotional intimacy as God designed it, then we need to trust in the one we have committed out lives too!

“Here’s the truth: you have already been found out by God, and he accepts you. No matter what you’ve done in the past or you’re doing today, you are accepted by Him.”

Romans 5:8 says,

“But God shows His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

What an amazing truth!  I love this closing thought!

“You are loved by God, despite your flaws; don’t reject your spouse because of their flaws. You worship a God who doesn’t deal with you according to your sins, who doesn’t repay you according to your iniquities, whose steadfast love for you is as high as the heavens are above the earth (Psalm 103:10-11), and you can be an expression of that for your spouse. You have an amazing opportunity to help your spouse grow in the relationship with Christ by doing all you can to make sure your marriage is full of love and acceptance!”

If you would like to read the next installment in the re|engage class, click here…★ Re|Engage – Sexual Intimacy ★

If you want to read previous re|engage lessons click here…


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★ Act Like Men – “Strength To Love” ★

Daily Dependence - Section 5 - Do Everything in LoveReading this “40 Day Devotional to Biblical Manhood,” has been an odyssey to say the least. Lasting much longer than 40 days as obstacles (spiritual warfare), procrastination and just plain busyness got in the way of learning these 5 critical areas from 1 Corinthians 16:13-14 on how to become “a quality man,” which I so desperately want to be for God, my wife and my daughters.  The journey of “Act Like Men” has brought me through a variety of emotions and deeper levels with God than ever before.  Colossians 2:6-7 (ESV) says,

“Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.” 

That is what I pray to be about…walking with Jesus, being built up in Jesus and established in the faith for all my days!  My pastor preached last Sunday on “Spiritual Awakening,” and gave this prayer challengDay 40 - Marty Collier - HUNGER_BROKENNESS_BURDENe to go to God daily in prayer and ask for:

“A HUNGER for God’s Word.  A BROKENNESS over sin.  And a BURDEN for people.”  Marty Collier

Wow!!  Could you imagine what men would be like if we would pray that earnestly everyday?  The whole point of this book is for men to have a spiritual awakening to realize that the 5 pillars contained in 1 Corinthians 16:13-14 are critical to be a “quality man of God.”

It is so sad the truth behind MacDonald’s statement,

“Men are checking out at prolific rates because any careful review of the ‘Christian Man’ job description has at the top impossible!”

But I love how he counters that sad statistic with this…

“The Christian life is not, nor was it ever intended to be you as a professional juggler of the latest list of biblical priorities…We have no ability to sanctify (change) ourselves than we have ability to save ourselves. Colossians 2:6 makes this clear: ‘As you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him.’ Are you doing that?…you have no ability to live the Christian life, no more capacity in yourself to live the gospel then you had to believe the gospel in the first place.”

Day 40 - James MacDonald - Professional JugglerI think that is a major problem with men, and especially myself; I try to handle everything on my own, on my own strength but in the end I fail. I am not a master juggler at all and as MacDonald said, I need to realize that I need Christ daily to renew me, and strengthen me for what I am going to face that day. As he said,

“The Christian life is the life of Jesus in me by the Holy Spirit.  Christianity is not me striving to live like Jesus as a ‘thank you’ for saving me.  Christianity is Christ taking up residence in me by the Holy Spirit living His resurrection life through me.”

Amen!!  It’s amazing how much easier life can be when that perspective is straight in our minds…When we have Jesus in the center of the whirlwind of responsibilities of life, we will have stability just like a metal sign post in the ground.  It is interesting what James MacDonald said about what Jesus will NOT do though…

“Jesus will not wrestle or fight with you; as long as your flesh wants to be in control, it will be.”

Boy that one hurts but we need to “stop juggling and start communing” with God.  1 Thessalonians 5:23-24 (ESV) says,

“Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful; He will surely do it.”

He will surely do it!!  What a great promise… but how many times do I get that backwards and try to do it on my own?

“God doesn’t just call me to do it; He Himself is the doer, if I will just lean into my constant communion with Him and yield my ‘members as instruments of righteousness.'” (Romans 6:23)

I love the ending prayer, one which I plan to pray as I move forward in my walk with God…

“I so long to gain and maintain clarity on this point of empowering community with You as the foundation of all that I am and do.  I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me; I can do nothing of eternal value in my own strength.  You have given me Your Holy Spirit, as the power to live in community with others and love them as you would.  I so want to live in the power of Your Spirit, setting aside more and more evidences of the exhausting life that tempts me every day.  I’m relying on Your Spirit to issue piercing warnings each time I stray into that danger zone.  Please get glory for Your name as You empower me to act like a man and lead other men in this worthy calling.  In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.

This is the final installment of the Act Like Men Book.  I hope God has spoken through these posts and that you will read not only James MacDonald’s book but the Bible on what it means to be a Man of God!

If you want to read previous Act Like Men posts click here.


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★ Act Like Men – “Under Orders To Love” ★

Day 39 - Under Orders To LoveDaily Dependence - Section 5 - Do Everything in LoveJohn 13:34 (ESV)

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.”

Seems like an easy nothing to do…love one another, but like most things in life, it’s easier said than done. I like how James MacDonald starts off.

“When we see the faults of others, we are to forgive and forbear in humility.  We are commanded, ‘Let each esteem others better than himself.'” (Philippians 2:3 NKJV).

It doesn’t mean become a doormat for people to walk all over, but to try to put other’s needs above your’s when possible.  I never really thought about this next point that he made.

“The greatest failure in human existence is the failure of Christ-followers to ‘love one another earnestly from a pure heart’ (1 Peter 1:22) and to heed the words of Christ: ‘By this all people won’t know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.'” (John 13:35) 

Do you agree with that perspective seems quite bold right?  But here is the final nail in the coffin of doubt…

“The Gospel’s greatest failure is not lack of proclamation by lack of application…It’s pointless to deny the true cause behind debates and divisions – a failure to love.” 

That is an interesting way to look at it because when you break down every conflict or offense, it really stems back to a lack of love either from the offender or the being offended or both.  And you can’t debate this point (pun intended.)

“Given the impossibility of not failing one another, when the Bible says, ‘We all stumble in many ways,’ (James 3:2) the only way forward in loving community with one another is forgiveness…There are no enduring relationships without forgiveness.”

Wow!!  We all want our friendships, and/or marriage to endure, well the linchpin to that happening is through forgiveness!!  If you want to learn more about this check out a previous post called ★ Re|Engage – Forgiveness ★  I like how honest MacDonald was in admitting that he failed to “let all you do be done in love,” and how he had to learn,

“If you are wrong in the way you are right, you’re wrong even if you are right.”

I agree with that on so many levels and I think it is a great point that all men need to learn and practice daily!  The ending of his prayer is what I pray often…

“Give me fresh eyes to see the people around me, those I need to forgive, those I need to forbear with, and those I need to leave in your hands and wait with open arms for the day of reconciliation.  Thank you for your patience with my sinful selfishness that harms Your kingdom and wounds Your people.  Grow me in the matchless love of my Savior, Jesus Christ.  In His name I pray, amen.”


Here is the final installment. . .★ Act Like Men – “Strength To Love” ★

If you want to read previous Act Like Men posts click here.

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★ Thought for the Day – Overwhelmed or Overcoming ★

82 - Daily Dependence - Overwhelmed or Overcoming - WebsiteToday’s thought is going to dig into…What are Problems Really…How to avoid being overwhelmed, and more importantly how to overcome them!  Problems come for many different reasons.  It could be because of poor decisions on our part, an attack from the Devil (see 1 Peter 5:8), or sometimes it is a test or opportunity to grow.  I want to make a clear delineation that I am not suggesting that we put a positive spin on things and call your problems “opportunities” like this Dilbert comic…

82 - Daily Dependence - Dilbert - Opportunity

But rather we need to recognize the problem, and see it for what it is and go to God for help before we become overwhelmed.  My pastor preached last Sunday on Numbers 35 and the “Cities of Refuge.”  Quick synopsis…God had established the several Cities of Refuge for the Israelites before they entered into the Promised Land to provide a place of escape and protection if a person accidentally killed someone.  My Pastor made an incredible parallel to the Cities of Refuge and Jesus that blew me away!  You can hear it for yourself by clicking here, but what I wanted to mention was a fascinating statement someone told him…

“Most people see God as a good idea, but don’t see Him as a necessity.”

What do you think of this?  I don’t pretend to believe that everyone who reads my blogs has a belief in the One True God, the Creator of the Universe, or are sold out followers of Jesus so I will pose this question to you…Do you see God as a good idea or as a necessity?  The answer to this question will be a good indicator to whether you will be overwhelmed by life or will overcome the adversity in front of you.  In two previous posts, ★ Thought for the Day – The Storms of Life ★ and ★ Thought for the Day – What’s In Your Sponge? ★, we delved into the reality that storms WILL COME into your life.  Not that they MAY COME!  We unpacked the importance to persevere through the hard seasons of life and learn from the storms that God will change you!  Today’s thought will build upon that foundation and develop further the last post, ★ Thought for the Day – Who’s Chasing You? ★.  You may ask, “why so many posts with a similar topic”…Well we all face an onslaught of negativity and attacks everyday, so the only way to combat that is to fill our minds with the opposite which is God’s Truth on the subject matter!  Psalm 46:1-3 (NIV1984) says…

“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.  Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.  Selah”

When you see God as a necessity, you will see Him as a place to run to for safety and security.  You will see Him as a source of strength and the foundation that your life should be built on.  But if you see God only as a good idea, then it is all on you to solve every problem on your on strength.  If you grab hold of the truth of Psalm 46:1-3, it could be a life changer.  You’ve heard it said, “When life gives you LEMONS, make LEMONADE?”  You could dismiss this as just a platitude, and continue to let life’s problems paralyze you, or you could view it as an opportunity to learn and grow from it.  I love how Robert H. Schuller put it…

“Problems are not stop signs, they are guidelines.”

If you view your circumstances in this light, and change your perspective, who knows how things could change.  How you look at problems and conversely, how you react, is key.  American educator, author and businessman Stephen Covey coined the 90/10 Principle which was…

“10 percent of life is made up of what happens to you; 90 percent of life is decided by how you react.”

Which also aligns with a great scripture from Philippians 4:8

It comes down to focus!  What will you focus on when problems arise?  Will you see them as stop signs or guidelines.  Steven Furtick said,

“Real faith knows that sometimes in order to see a change, you have to stare through a situation.”

“We always think that God’s presence is provided to fix our problems.  But what if God’s presence is more about fixing your perspective, so that you have a new way to see your problems.”  

Being overwhelmed is what happens when you try to handle things are your on strength, overcoming is when you let God handle things.  I like how Steven Furtick put that…sometimes we need to “stare through a situation” in order to see your problems with a new perspective!  It reminds me of a scene from the 1998 movie “Patch Adams.”  In this scene below, it give some great insight about staring through a situation.  I know this is dating me but watch the clip nonetheless…

I love the advice in the scene that Robin Williams’ character is told…

“You’re focusing on the problem.  If you focus on the problem, you can’t see the solution.  Never focus on the problem.”

The same is true for us, if we focus on the problem we will miss the solution which is God.  Sometimes though we will have to go through some testing though…James 1:2-4 (ESV) talks about the benefit of the Testing of Your Faith…

“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness [another translations says ‘endurance’].  And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”

Count it all joy?  What?  When have you ever looked at problems as a test that you should be happy about?  I once heard someone say “A test is an opportunity.”  An opportunity that if you endure and conquer you will come out the better for just as James instructs.  In speaking on this verse, Mark Driscoll said it perfectly..

“What this means is you’ll become more godly, you’ll become more like Jesus.  The trial will be used to transform you.  OK, how many of you want to be more like Jesus?  How many of you want a trial?  OK?  Just so you know, they’re the same question...it’s like, ‘I want to be buff without working out.  I want to learn a lot without reading books.’  It doesn’t work that way.  Cause, effect; reap, sow.  Steadfastness produces maturity.”

I cannot tell you how many times I have prayed to become more like Jesus BUT to be molded and shaped into His image means that sometimes I have to go through some hard times to refine me and purify me.  2 Corinthians 1:4 says though we go through trouble…

“He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others.  When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.” 

I have needed much comfort lately as I have been overwhelmed by pressures and struggles that I am going through.  God has spoken so clearly in my quiet time and also through my friends and my wife.  She sent the 2 Corinthians verse to me with this word of encouragement that I will close this thought of the Day with…

“I love the idea of this and it is my prayer that the struggles and trials I have gone through would allow me to help and encourage others.  If we allow Him to work in us, He can turn our mess into a message, our test into a testimony.  Be encouraged there is PURPOSE for the PAIN.”

Problems are going to happen.  We live in a “Fallen World” and Satan is always looking to cause hardships in our life in.  But when we persevere and overcome the adversity, it will develop us, breaking the focus from ourselves and making us more like Jesus so that we can help others!!  Will your problems be a stop sign or a guideline?  Trust God in whatever you are going through today and let it transform you!  I will close with Romans 5:3-5 (NLT) which says:

“We can rejoice, too, when we run i82 - Daily Dependence - Romans 5-3 - 5nto problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance.  And endurance develops strength of characterand character strengthens our confident hope of salvation.  And this hope will not lead to disappointment.  For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.”

So how will you be described today?  As…
82 - Daily Dependence - Overwhelmed or Overcoming - Website


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