February 24, 2014
Book Review: A Look at the Painful “But if not’s” of Life
Carol Kent’s new book, Unquenchable, takes a hard look at the fiery struggles and trauma in the lives of believers who have walked through the painful, “but if not’s” of life. With transparency and honesty she identifies with those who have faced crises of belief, sometimes questioning God’s actions and their own faith as a result of difficult, life-altering events. Carol shares even more insights from her own personal journey involving her incarcerated son as well as other experiences from her own life and family members. Read more
November 25, 2013
Most of us count our blessings–the usual ones. But what if God decides to send some rather unexpected blessings? Read more
November 11, 2013
We’re bombarded daily with ideas or products that might enrich our lives. But here are four radical choices you can make, four “actions” you can take, that will not only change your life, but the lives of others around you: Read more
October 14, 2013
Seasons of life run their course, and no matter who we are or at what stage we’re at, we often see balance as an impossibility.
You can focus on a project you love and not even miss eating. You may procrastinate your unpleasant tasks or bow to the tyranny of the urgent. You can help others reach their dreams but never realize your own. You may even teach about intimacy with God but never spend time with Him yourself. Do any of those fit you?
We can usually find an excuse to fit every situation: It’s the kids, my boss, my husband or wife. It’s my health, my editor, or my age in life. Believe me, I’ve offered my share of excuses along with you. But I long for this thing called balance, don’t you?
Keeping Life in Balance
Keeping life balanced is not easy for anyone, but here are 10 simple ways that help me daily. Maybe it will give you a good place to start: Read more
August 26, 2013
One of the best ways you can prepare your children this year as they go back to school is through prayer. And praying Scripture over them is one of the most powerful ways to pray. Here are five back to school prayers you can pray for your kids and grandkids: Read more
July 22, 2013
Has anyone ever asked you, “Is the light on in your marriage?”
About 17 years ago, a single young woman bought a cocker spaniel puppy from us. (We already had two grown dogs at the time and had agreed to sell this one for our older daughter).
Unfortunately, I had already become attached to it. When I watched that sweet puppy walk out of our lives, I couldn’t hold back the tears. Can you believe that? Before she left, my husband reached over and gave me a tender reassuring hug–nothing unusual.
A Marriage Like Yours
The young lady brought the dog back the next day. Her landlord refused to allow it into the apartment complex. As we talked, she said something totally unexpected: “Someday, I want a marriage like yours.”
“What do you mean?” I hardly knew the girl, and she knew nothing about my marriage. Read more
June 3, 2013
For years, I’ve enjoyed fishing –or rather “catching fish” with my husband. But years ago we also learned a fishing technique we’re always working on: one that deals with communication–and one that has deepened our relationship.
Both Communication and Fishing Require Skills
Through the years I’ve learned some fishing skills from my husband about how to snag ‘em and bag ‘em, instead of casting my lures on the water and catching nothing but lily pads and moss. (Of course, that still happens a lot).
Communication, too, requires skill. Anytime a relationship experiences a communication breakdown, maybe it’s time to “go fishing.” But not in shallow waters. This is where fishing and communication may differ slightly. While it’s possible to catch fish in shallow water, with communication, you need to go out into the deep water, where the big fish live.
The stuff of life often leads us in different directions, and before long, we neglect the connections with those we love. We limit our communication levels to shallow water, while the big fish move out to deeper hiding places. Simple “How was your day” works great for small talk and provides a needed check-in for relationships, but it won’t snag the heart of another and keep it on the line for very long.
Communication and Marriage
Our hearts are like that. In a marriage, going fishing in your mate’s heart means using the best God-given equipment you own: Spirit-sensory perception, attentive, listening ears, and continual patience–to draw the “big ones” out.
The big fish have long eluded you both: hidden resentments, buried dreams, and deep longings. Those who are patiently willing to go fishing in “deep waters” will draw out those “big-uns,” as pro fisherman Jimmy Houston says, and re-establish good communication. Do you know what your mate is thinking? Do you really care about their deepest fears?
Continual Fishing, Continual Communication
Hard, plastic lures will probably not work here. Only live bait such as love, patience, gentleness, kindness, and goodness will catch the really big ones. And we’re not talking about “catch and release” either. Healthy relationships keep those communication discoveries tucked in their hearts.
But they’re not satisfied with once in a while trophy catches. They keep fishing and learning, fishing and growing.
Going Fishing in All Relationships
The secret of “deep water fishing” communication works in all relationships: friendships, siblings, even parent/child relationships. James 1:19 (NIV) says it well: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.
Will that kind of communication take time? Yes. Will it draw you closer to each other? Yes. Never tried it? Maybe it’s time to move out to deep water and go fishing!
The purposes of a person’s heart are deep waters, but one who has insight draws them out.(Proverbs 20:5, NIV).
When he finished teaching, he said to Simon, “Push out into deep water and let your nets out for a catch” (Luke 5:8, MSG).
My Prayer for You
Lord, we need your help to keep the communication lines open with those we love. Teach us the skills we need to make every relationship the kind you intended. Give us the patience to go fishing in deep waters so we can learn to draw out those things in others that are hidden beneath the surface. Help us to learn better how to understand and draw closer to others.
It’s Your Turn.
Have you been fishing lately? How has “deep water” fishing helped you in your communications with others? With your spouse? Leave your comments below. Your words might encourage someone today! You will not be hounded, prodded, or automatically added to my mailing list if you do so. Feel free to email this Christian blog to someone or to re-post on Facebook, Twitter, or other social media, using the buttons below, or to “like” it below or on my Facebook networked blog. If you’re reading this via newsletter you can always “share” my blogs from the large buttons at the end of each blog on my website. If you want to re-post any of my blogs on your own blog or website, please contact me for permission first. And if you’d like to, you can sign up for my blog/newsletter and updates at the top of this website page/sidebar.
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May 12, 2013
Mothers deserve praise! What makes mothers so special? What would you say about mothers? According to our Mother’s Day poetry contest winners, mothers are truly gifts from God. Thanks to all of you who entered! As I promised, here are the three winners of our poetry contest and their tributes to mothers. Read more
February 18, 2013
Big books, little books, kindle books—I love books, and I love reading. Last year I shared with you some of the books I’d been reading, and why. There’s nothing like God’s word to read for our growth, our encouragement, and to know God deeper. But God has also used Christian authors to both inspire and encourage us. I’ve read about 50 more books in the last twelve months. Here are some of the ones I recommend for your reading pleasure. Read more
June 4, 2012
I could share some stories from my life or the lives of others that might inspire you. And sometimes I do that. But today I’d rather encourage you with some truths about God and His character. Here are six truths about God that can change your life if you believe and act upon them: Read more