Why Fight Gay Marriage?

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“Rosemary Williams, the third wife, said the fear of prosecution is always in the back of their minds, though they feel there is more acceptance for polygamous today than when the Browns came out. Brady Williams said the increasing social and legal acceptance of gay marriage has helped society open up toward plural marriage.”

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“Millionaire gay couple the Drewitt-Barlows have confirmed they have launched a legal challenge to the right of churches to opt out of gay weddings.

In fresh comments published by the Chelmsford Weekly News in the U.K. today, Barrie Drewitt-Barlow said legal action had started.

“We’ve launched a challenge to the government’s decision to allow some religious groups to opt out of marrying same-sex couples,” he said.”

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“What wisdom did the aspiring potential 2016 Republican presidential nominee have to share with the world this time? Gay marriage will lead to hate speech laws and the persecution of pastors and Christians.

“Everywhere I go people are afraid for the future of our country;” Cruz says during the interview. “I think we’re at the edge of a precipice. If we keep going down this path, we’re risking losing our nation; we’re risking losing the incredible oasis of liberty.””

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“After six years and hundreds of celebratory confections, it wasn’t the economy, the stiff competition, financing, or any of the other usual road bumps of building a new business that caused Sweet Cakes by Melissa—a husband-and-wife bakery in Portland, Oregon area—to close its doors at the end of the summer.”

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“A Christian couple who refused to let a gay couple stay in a double bedroom at their B&B guesthouse, have been forced to sell up after losing a lengthy court battle.”

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“Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys have appealed to the New Mexico Supreme Court a May 31 decision by a lower court finding a photography company guilty of discrimination for declining to photograph a same-sex commitment ceremony. Furthermore, the court ordered the company to pay almost $6700 in attorneys’ fees to the lesbian who filed the complaint. The ominous implications of this case could affect churches and other religious groups who believe marriage is defined as one man and one woman.”

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“We see this last parallel throughout the Bible. For instance, Jesus refers to Himself as the “bridegroom” and to the kingdom of heaven as a “wedding banquet.”

These points demonstrate that God’s purposes for marriage extend far beyond personal happiness. Thomas is quick to clarify that God isn’t against happiness per se, but that marriage promotes even higher values.

“God did not create marriage just to give us a pleasant means of repopulating the world and providing a steady societal institution to raise children. He planted marriage among humans as yet another signpost pointing to His own eternal, spiritual existence.””

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Friendships With Someone Other Than Your Spouse

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“Let’s Have a Talk About Emotional Modesty,” by Holly Girth says don’t get into an emotional affair.

“A few weeks ago a friend of mine were chatting. Her husband is in a leadership role at a church and she shared how women often confide in him in ways that are personal. That led us to a discussion about how easy it is to share your heart with men who are not your husband these days. There are plenty of opportunities to send a Facebook message, email, or open up to a guy friend. Yet here’s the thing: I believe that baring our hearts makes us just as vulnerable as baring our bodies.  If you are married and a man is not your husband, do not share your heart with him. And if you are single, do not share your heart with a married man.”

Emotional and physical affairs are central to the plot of the novel I am writing. It’s easy for an unsuspecting woman or man to get into an emotional affair. As Holly wrote, an unmet need filled by the opposite sex means we need to ask ourselves what need is our husband or wife not filling? In our independent and modern society, its been a topic of conversation. Should we keep friendships with the opposite sex that we had before we married?

A former co-worker was getting lunch at the same place in the mall as I, but we sat at different tables. Even now, I don’t feel comfortable having coffee or tea or putting myself in a situation where it appears like a date. Holly writes that we need to have emotional modesty. In other words, don’t share the treasure of our hearts with the opposite sex. Sharing our hearts should be reserved for our spouses. While I trust myself to have emotional modesty and to share my heart with only one man, I know how things can look and how a man can misconstrue the intent. Friends of the opposite sex are okay if your spouse is also friends with them, and you meet them together, like a double date, to a movie or a restaurant, but never one-on-one.

Holly ends her great article with this quote:

Here’s what I didn’t know when I tied the knot: Marriage takes work, friends. A lot of work. There’s a myth that says, “If you love someone you won’t have to work at it.” But I’ve come to believe the truth sounds more like this, “If you love someone you will work at it.” When you emotionally attach to another man, it lets you avoid that work. And in the moment, that feels pretty good. But it has devastating consequences long-term.

My husband and I share our private thoughts only with each other–the blogs I delete, the thoughts I don’t write about here, and my praise or criticism. All these treasures of my heart belong to him, a man who deserves my loyalty, my love, and my intimacy. Never let anyone come between you and your spouse, even if it is innocent at first. Time spent away from him are moments I can never get back or do over. We only get to live this life once. Make the most of it with your spouse.

Can you relate?

A Culture of Indecision

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A guest on Fox and Friends said, in order to keep a good job, you must take responsibility for your actions. Their target audience were millennials, but all ages are guilty, especially in this culture of indecision.

Examples often observed are the lack of commitments to anything from church membership to weekend plans, even to marriage. The culture waits until the eleventh hour to make plans or to decide not to attend. This serious lack of commitment in our society has bothered me.

The cure for the culture of indecision could be in creating better habits:

1: Keep a day planner or Google calendar. When you are asked about weekend plans, you can answer yes or no right away.

2: Make plans and keep them, even if on that day you get a better invitation someplace else or don’t mentally feel like showing up. I have often awoken in the morning before a full day and wished I could call in sick from my commitment. Short of family emergencies or illness, I am going to be there when I have committed to something.

3: Commit long or short term to a project or ministry. Practice makes for better habits. Start with a small project and commit fully to its vision. When obstacles come, find a way over or through them. Don’t let discouragement keep you from using your gifts.

4: Find a church and commit to its vision through the long haul, even when trials come. Church is often like the weather; bad weather comes, people fall away, and return again. Bad weather is a great time to stick it out and shine. Allow yourself to emotionally connect with others who attend that church and love them as good as family. Contribute to that church and help it become successful.

5: Find a job and hold on to it even when it’s no longer fun. Jobs are not fun. Even the fun jobs have moments where you absolutely hate it. They pay the bills and grow character. So stick with a good job and give them 110% no matter what they pay. You’ll earn more than a paycheck; you’ll earn people’s respect, and that in itself, is a very powerful testimony of your belief in Christ.

6: RSVP to an event yes or no; or follow up on your maybe. Be respectful to the host or hostess. They have to buy supplies for the party and need a head count. Don’t make them chase after you with follow-up phone calls and emails. Don’t be afraid to say no. Don’t forget to follow-up in short order on a maybe. I’ve forgotten to do that once and I felt bad, but haven’t done it since.

Matthew 5:37 struck me some months ago. It read:

“All you need to say is simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one.”

Like Fox and Friends said, take responsibility for your actions. A non-answer or not showing up allows the other to make sometimes wrong assumptions about you. The Bible implores us to be firm in our answers. Maybe that’s why I beat myself black and blue when I let someone down? I don’t want to hurt those I care about the most.

Your Heart’s Desire

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Your Heart’s Desire by Sheri Rose Shepherd is a great book, but, for me, I really had a tough time finishing it. I can’t identify why. I wasn’t given the novel to review. My only obligation was to post her articles which can be found here and I just happened to get a free book for my efforts.

I believe the claims are fulfilled in this book where the back cover says it’s, “for the married woman who desires more for her marriage; for the single woman who desires a godly man to love her; for the divorced woman who desires and deserves a second chance to find love again.”

After months of trying to read it, I just gave up. The writing is good. It’s a simple read and is formatted like a devotional. Halfway through satisfies me that someone who is struggling will find great worth in reading this as a devotional during her prayer time. Again, it’s not a reflection on the writer’s talent or content, but this time, it’s just me. Read other reviews here.

Forever Friday

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“In fact, romance was simply an external result of the willingness each of them had to continually choose each other over their own selfishness.” Pg. 181, Forever Friday; Waterbrook-Multinomah

Forever Friday by Timothy Lewis is not just a love story times two, but a how-to on building a healthy marriage in novel form.

Adam Colby, a divorcee, does estate sales. In the Huck Alexander estate, he finds an album of postcards and poetry written by Gabe Alexander to his wife, Huck. Drawn to the love Gabe unceasingly gave in sixty-something years of marriage to Huck, Adam can’t help but pursue the story behind the album even when the estate sale is over and he is serving other clients. Adam is still reeling from his divorce. He has so many questions. To help him find the answers, Adam begins to pen the story of Gabe and Huck Alexander. This is where Forever Friday is also a bit of a supernatural story.

Huck meets Mr. Jack in a glen at ten years old who talks in riddles and says she will find her soul mate. Throughout the story, Mr. Jack shows up in various ways saving Huck and Gabe’s life and marriage. Mr. Jack is a unique character and the reader is in doubt whether Mr. Jack existed at all, or whether it’s a figment of Huck’s imagination, but circumstances build a strong case for him otherwise. Huck is engaged to Clark Richards when she meets Gabe. That engagement doesn’t last long when Gabe and Huck realize they were meant to be together. Clark becomes the villain in the story. There is a hint of violence there. The story rotates between three points of view: Gabe, Huck, and Adam.

Adam meets Yvette who is the key to helping fill in the blanks between postcards. Gabe sent a postcard every Friday to his wife until his death; postcards filled with poetry to keep their marriage from falling apart. Yvette and Adam are both unusual and wounded from their pasts. Now here’s where the fluff meets the meat of the story.

Christian romances most of the time carry the usual messages for the unbeliever, sometimes even breaking up the flow of the story. Publishers require the messages in them. Forever Friday did not appear to carry the usual conversations and instead kept true to the story. All stories have messages, something the writer wants to tell the world, but the messages should remain true to the story and not deviate from it. Forever Friday was a lovely novel. The only thing I objected to was how unfinished it felt. The main storyline finished, but Yvette and Adam’s story did not “end.” It did not feel complete. A story can be open ended and still feel complete.  I was disappointed at the ending of it, but not unhappy with how Timothy Lewis wrote Gabe and Huck’s love story.

On a side note, this novel is based loosely on Timothy’s great-aunt and uncle. Timothy found an album of postcards in the trash at their estate sale. Each postcard had a poem his great-uncle wrote for his wife every Friday throughout their long marriage. If you read this novel, be sure to take the time to read the author’s note at the end of the book.

Overall, I gave Forever Friday four stars. Someone should make a movie about this one (hint, hint, Hallmark). This novel releases September 3.

*Book given by publisher to review.

Activist Faith: The Growing Hypocrisy

From The Higher Calling

From The Higher Calling

While teaching a Sunday School on marriage, someone asked me, “What’s the difference between living together and marriage?” The fight for marriage has dominated the headlines, but how can we say that same sex is not okay if we are living together in sin as professing Christians?

Read More Here @ActivistFaith

Honeymoon in Paris

“”Yes, it can,” he said, waiting as I padded across the bare floor back to him. He pulled me into bed and looked at me steadily from across the pillow, a rueful smile upon his face. “It can last as long as we wish it. And, as the master of this house, I decree that every day of our marriage must be a honeymoon.”” Location 888-890, Honeymoon in Paris

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Honeymoon in Paris by JoJo Moyes uniquely combines the stories of The Halstons and The Lefevres as they are on their honeymoon in Paris. The Halstons are distantly connected to a painting in a gallery done by Edouard Lefevres.

Liv Halston and Sophie Lefevre share similar frustrations and jealousies across the years. Liv is jealous of what monopolizes her new husband’s attention; not another woman, but a job opportunity. Liv and David are passionately in love and fly to Paris to enjoy a week away from responsibility. David brings his work with him and embraces an opportunity to woo some billionaires to allow him to build a building in Paris. Liv ends up spending the first half of the week sight-seeing Paris with her mind on David’s broken promises. She begins to regret the marriage. Another woman suffers fear and jealousy in another century.

Sophie marries a painter named Edouard. He painted nearly naked women from a questionable line of work. Many of those models are still his friends. One in particular doesn’t like that he married Sophie and sends Sophie’s warm, new-married feelings into the gutter as the lady infers Edouard would not stay married long. Sophie’s anger is not justified.

This novella is another fine example off writing by JoJo Moyes. It uniquely combines the stories of two couples from different centuries and shows how love triumphs, even argues, on a honeymoon in Paris. I gave this novel five stars.

*Book given by publisher to review.

An Inexpensive and Humble Way to Say I Love You

Since last April, I have kept a journal–a collection of love letters written to my husband. The economy is bad and we can’t afford much. Everything we do is because we planned for and spent cash for it. It’s not easy. Even our first anniversary was celebrated humbly.

So today I gave him my heart in tissue paper, bound in a journal for his birthday.

It marks several months of moments I don’t want to forget that link our hearts together. In the business of the everyday we could forget and allow the trivial moments to get in the way. In the pain of trials, we shove aside the laughter to make room for the tears and frustrations. At the end of the day, we come together, still as much in love as we were when we first met, and dedicated to the Lord as we were when we became baptized together.

The journal marks texts sent to each other, conversations we had in the dark and quiet nights, and thoughts I want him to remember if I should go Home before he does so he isn’t alone. In any economy, its better than any gift money can buy.

There Are a Lot of Reasons to Give Up, but There Are Greater Reasons to Finish Strong

By Sheri Rose Shepherd

When you have dedicated your life to loving, encouraging, praying for, and pouring yourself into your husband, only to watch him, in a moment of weakness, destroy the foundation you worked so hard to build, you may feel as if your entire world has been wiped out. If this describes you, I invite you to read a real-life love story that I believe will give you the passion you may need to persevere under any and every trial. It will also give you a true picture of what love looks like when lived out with a legacy perspective. I call this story “The Grand Finale.”

John and Marie were college sweethearts who dreamed of furthering God’s Kingdom together. During the first decade of their ministry, God blessed them with a growing church, two beautiful children, and a strong and loving marriage. Because of their commitment to God and each other, they became one of the most respected couples in the community. Their marriage was a beacon of hope to other young couples who wondered what marriage could be. John loved the ministry, and he loved the life God had given him. He was passionate about the call of God on his life, and he truly loved his wife.

One day as John was busy working at the church, a young lady burst through the door of the church office. She was crying hysterically, and John came out of his office to see what he might do to help. As she struggled to catch her breath, she told John about her desperate attempts to escape from her abusive husband. She was sure he would kill her if he found her, but she didn’t feel safe going to the police because they had failed to help her in the past. John quickly called Marie and asked her to take the young lady to a safe place. After Marie helped this distraught young mom gather her kids and some clothes, she brought them home to spend the night with her and John.

In a matter of days, Marie and John’s love for this young woman led her to become a Christian. After spending a few weeks in their home, she seemed like a new person. She was hungry for God and at peace. John and Marie felt great, knowing they had made such an impact on this young woman and her kids.

When this woman and her children were still staying in John and Marie’s home several weeks later, many of his good friends and family approached John and recommended that the woman find housing with another single mom. He was blinded, saying, “Marie is really helping her. I can’t ask her to leave now; she may fall away from the Lord.”

John’s good intentions without wisdom and his unwillingness to heed the warnings of others left him unguarded against the enemy’s attack. One night when Marie was out leading a Bible study, John was home alone with this woman. She had fallen for Marie’s husband and was determined to have him for herself. Tragically, Marie walked into her home to find John and the young woman in their bed together. Everything John and Marie had built was destroyed.

Unable to handle his guilt, John felt like such a failure that he left his marriage, his children, and his church to marry this young, attractive woman. Two years into his new marriage, however, he was diagnosed with acute leukemia and given only ten weeks to live. His second wife, who was still in her early twenties, decided she did not want to take care of a dying man. After emptying his bank account, she left him alone to die. He had no family and no loving church body to rally around him. In fact, he had nothing to show for his years of hard work and dedication to ministry.

As tragic as this story is, the ending is proof of God’s amazing grace. Marie decided that when John died, he should be free of guilt and shame. She went to his bedside, not gloating with condemnation, but offering to care for and forgive him. Her kids seemed almost angry at her for loving her ex-husband after all he had done. Her friends from church asked her why she was helping him. However, Marie wanted her children and church to remember, not how John had left them, but how she took care of him, never leaving his bedside until he drew his last breath.

On the day John died, his children and members from his church gathered around his bedside with Marie. They held hands and shared memories of how John had touched others’ lives when he was walking with God. Marie got a greater gift. By her sacrifice, she began the healing in her own heart and in her children’s hearts. Today they can all live free of regret and anger because they said a final good-bye to their father in a setting of God’s glorious love.

Marie finished strong in spite of the devastation, and she gave John and their kids an amazing final gift: she gave him her forgiveness and the opportunity to finish what he had started, even if it had to take place on his deathbed after their marriage had ended.

If you are suffering in a manner that pleases God, keep on doing what is right, and trust your lives to the God who created you, for he will never fail you. (1 Peter 4:19)

For more teaching from the Your Heart’s Desire book and Bible study, visit www.biblelifecoaching.com.

Guest Post: Desiring A “Happily Ever After”

Fighting the Temptation to Give Up on Love and Marriage

By Sheri Rose Shepherd

Bestselling Author and Bible Life Coach

I don’t know where you stand today with the man you love or loved—or if you are single, divorced, separated, or widowed. I can tell you, though, that if you’ve been hurt, you can be sure Your heavenly Father knows how hard it is to love and forgive the one who caused you pain. Yet regardless of the relational devastation you face, no one can keep you from finishing strong for God’s glory!

I was raised in a non-Christian home. My parents have each been married and divorced to three different people. As part of several blended families, all I understood about marriage when I was growing up was “unhappily ever after.” But then I became a Christian at twenty-four and married my husband, Steve, just a few years later. Because of my love for God and my husband, I honestly didn’t think anything could shake my own marriage or faith.

In the summer of 2007, however, my happily ever after was wiped out and my faith was tested. The family foundation I had worked so hard to build and protect was almost destroyed, along with my ministry, in that season of my life. I truly believed that God had forsaken me.

I had just finished writing my book for mothers about raising sons to become godly husbands. As I excitedly ran upstairs to e-mail the manuscript to the publisher, I suddenly felt as if something dark hovered over me. My passion for the book’s message was drowned out by the fear of an attack from the enemy that could come against me and my family if I stepped on his territory . . . young men and their future marriages.

I called the publisher and said I’d need to wait and pray for courage before submitting the manuscript. I went to my son, Jake, who was eighteen years old and a senior in high school at the time, and asked him if he had any plans of rebelling against his faith once he graduated from high school. I told him I was willing to give him freedom to find his own faith in Christ, but I didn’t want to put out a book about raising boys if my own son was going to walk away from the Lord. He reassured me that he was strong in his faith and that he felt I should publish the book. I decided to take the chance to make a difference and sent in the manuscript.

The book began climbing the charts, and everything seemed to be going well. I even began speaking with my son at conferences for mothers of boys. Then three months into my book tour, my fear of attack hit. My husband had taken a job that we had both prayed for. This job appeared to be a blessing; however, his new position required him to violate some of the boundaries we had put in place to protect our marriage, and we ended up separated.

There I was in the public eye of ministry, fighting to save future marriages, and somehow my own marriage was falling apart. My son was devastated by the division between me and his dad. It was too hard for him to deal with all his confusion, pain, and anger, so he took a break from his faith and began using drugs and alcohol to comfort himself. I had always known to run to God for cover when there was a great attack, but now I felt like He had left me alone on the battlefield to fight for myself. It appeared that all I had believed about God and all my effort to build a strong foundation for my own family had been shattered. My pain, my shame, and my life were an embarrassment. I felt as if I were battling an out-of-control fire that would burn up everything I loved and lived for. Every night I would cry myself to sleep as I struggled to understand why God had not protected me while I was attempting to accomplish something for His glory.

One night I could not take it anymore, so I fell to my knees and told God I either wanted Him to fix my family or I wanted to quit the ministry. Then I felt the Lord asking me a bigger question: Was My life, given on a cross for you, not enough for you to finish strong even if it means surrendering the life you wanted? For the first time I realized that my heart’s true desire was to feel loved and secure, and yet no man on earth could love me the way my Lord does. In that moment of crisis I found the true meaning of following Christ. God had not forsaken me, but He did want to free me from depending on others to give me my happily ever after.

That night I gave my heart’s deepest desire to God and chose to follow Him at any cost. In exchange, He gave me something so much better; He gave me peace that was more powerful than my circumstances. My faith was no longer in people; it was in Christ alone. Although nothing outwardly had changed yet, I had been changed. Today, Steve and I have celebrated twenty-five years of marriage, and our son serves God with His whole heart. He and his bride have given us our first grandbaby girl. However, to be honest, restoring our marriage was excruciatingly painful and more difficult than either of us expected. As hard as this trial was, it taught me a valuable lesson: our Lord is the God of comfort and the author of a new beginning. He can and will rebuild a beautiful life out of any broken heart willing to make a change. He will use one sacrificial choice; one act of forgiveness; one sincere, repentant heart; and one woman who is willing to step out in faith and start rebuilding with His love for His glory.

I lift up my eyes to the mountains—where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth. (Psalm 121:1-2)

For more teaching from the Your Heart’s Desire book and Bible study, visit www.biblelifecoaching.com.