I Promise


, , , , ,

Today’s Devotional

by Joanna Sarver
February 19, 2019

From a young age, Douglas MacArthur was an achiever with a distinct ability to lead. In his mid–40s, he became the youngest major general in the U.S. Army and later achieved the rare rank of five-star general.

His tactical prowess and bravery during World War I made him a star. After a brief retirement, he was called back to active duty in 1941 as World War II escalated. President Roosevelt appointed him commander of U.S. Army Forces in the Far East, headquartered in the Philippines.

Unable to halt the Japanese invasion and occupation of the Philippines, MacArthur and a small group escaped in the middle of the night, safely arriving in Australia days later. He gave a speech upon arrival and uttered his most famous words, “… I shall return.” He audaciously and boldly proclaimed on the world stage that he would return to the Philippines and liberate its people.

For two and a half years he worked to fulfill his promise, even declining to run for President until he had kept his word. In the fall of 1944, he triumphantly waded ashore on the island of Leyte and, via a radio broadcast, let the Filipino people know, “…I have returned.” General MacArthur accepted Japan’s formal surrender less than a year later, ending the war.

General MacArthur’s astounding promise to the Filipino people has been celebrated and admired for nearly 80 years. The mention of his name among military leadership circles elicits deep respect. Say his name among elderly Filipinos, and you will get nods and smiles all around.

As amazing as this moment in history is, it pales in comparison to the promises God makes to his children. A thousand generals’ promises are like chaff on the threshing floor when compared to the word of the Lord. Consider how truly astonishing it is that God who created the universe makes and keeps promises to us. The Almighty values his children to such a degree that he engages us in daily — as well as eternal — promises.

Thousands of years ago, he promised never to flood the Earth again and set the rainbow as a symbol of that promise. Hundreds of years before Jesus was born, Old Testament prophets proclaimed the promise that he was coming. Christ’s brutal death on the cross fulfilled the promise to give us the way to eternal life with him. He promised his disciples and all future believers the gift of the Holy Spirit and power from on high.

Every single day of a believer’s life is coated in God’s promises. The book of Exodus says the Lord will fight for us. (Exodus 14:14) Deuteronomy affirms the Lord goes before us and continues to be with us. (Deuteronomy 31:8) We will never be alone or forsaken. Isaiah tells us he gives strength to the weary and empowers the weak. (Isaiah 40: 29) He will uphold us. John declares if the Son has set us free then we are free indeed. (John 8:26) Paul writes in Romans of how God will work all things for our good and his glory. (Romans 8:28) God’s love is all-consuming, unwavering and unbreakable. Philippians speaks of God’s promise to meet our needs. (Philippians 4:19) First John tells of his promise to forgive our sins when we confess. (1 John 1:9) The book of James tells us God will generously give his wisdom to believers who ask. (James 1:5) Revelation declares the promise of eternal salvation. (Revelation 3:5)

How should we respond to the treasure of God’s promises? Make them real to ourselves, then live them out. How do we do that? We learn about them by reading God’s word and asking the Father to cultivate in us living examples of what he promised. If you are not certain where to start, examine the verses mentioned above. We will not experience, endure, enjoy or embody anything that is not covered by God’s promises. What a privilege we have in Jesus to be recipients of his promises.

We pray that God has used this devotional to encourage and challenge you. If you would like to speak to someone about a spiritual decision or engage in a spiritual discussion, please click here. If you would like to support the ministry of Community Life Church, please click here.

What Are You Fighting For?


, , ,

Today’s Devotional

by Joe Paris
February 15, 2019

Fights in marriage are inevitable. If a couple isn’t fighting, then they likely aren’t communicating. Lindsay and I started dating in the summer of 2008 and, like most couples, we didn’t fight much when we first started dating. I assumed this was due to our amazing compatibility, but the truth is that we just weren’t talking. In order to avoid conflict, we held our opinions close to the chest.

Some call this stage of the relationship the honeymoon stage, but I call it the pretend stage. The pretend stage is probably a more accurate description, because up to that point in the relationship, no one has actually shared their true feelings. As every romantic comedy movie will demonstrate, the honeymoon stage must come to an end.

All couples fight at some point, and that is good. Avoiding fights can be worse than having fights. So, how can a couple fight the right way? Here is a good question to ask before any conflict:

What am I fighting for?

As a pastor, I have observed that most fights are born out of selfish desires. Fights occur when a person wants something that they can’t have or something they didn’t get. A person becomes angry because their selfish desires were not met. The reason for arguments and quarrels is nothing new, look at what the book of James has to say:

Why do you fight and quarrel? It is because your feelings are fighting inside of you. That is why you fight. You want something but you cannot get it. Then you kill. You want something very much and cannot get it. So you quarrel and fight. You do not get it because you do not ask God for it. You ask for it, but you do not get it, because you ask in a wrong way. You want to use it for yourselves and not for others.
— James 4:1–3

Did you catch it? Did you see what James said? Fighting comes from selfish desire. Fighting happens when people are more concerned with their desires than those of the other person.

The key difference between a healthy and unhealthy marriage is not whether you fight or don’t fight, the key difference is the ability to identify what you are fighting for. Healthy relationships fight for the betterment of the relationships. Unhealthy relationships fight for selfish desires. When disagreement occurs in a relationship, make sure that your end goal is not a win but the betterment of the relationship. This will make all the difference in the world.

So, the next time you find in yourself in a disagreement, ask yourself, “What am I fighting for?” Are you fighting for yourself, or are you fighting for the relationship?

We pray that God has used this devotional to encourage and challenge you. If you would like to speak to someone about a spiritual decision or engage in a spiritual discussion, please click here. If you would like to support the ministry of Community Life Church, please click here.

Communicate Well


, , ,

Today’s Devotional

by Valerie Williams
February 14, 2019

When we were kids, my sister and I were always together. We were the best of friends. We always had each other’s back. That being said, there were also times that we would argue. Although I don’t recall what it was about, I do remember my dad asking us one day if we needed a pair of boxing gloves to take care of our issues. We said no, so he told us to stop acting like that was what we wanted. I always had such a sensitive heart. I just teared up. I couldn’t imagine ever hurting her. It would be incredible if all of our days were filled with Kumbaya moments, but that just isn’t realistic.

Married or single, we all have relationships with people, and guess what: we’re all human, and we live in a broken world. Conflict is guaranteed, but if we do our best to remember whose we are and act like we actually love each other, we can navigate through the conflict with our relationships intact and, often, stronger in the end.

Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.
— Philippians 2:3–4 ESV

If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.
— Romans 12:18 NIV

My parents have been married for 50 years. I celebrate them often. I thank God that he entrusted me to them, and that I have them in my circle. They don’t just provide godly wisdom. They live in a way I know to follow. One of my dad’s greatest pieces of advice has to do with communication. He said he promised my mom very early on that he would always do the best that he could to make her happy, but that he would disappoint her often if she didn’t communicate with him. At a young age, he shared the same sentiment with me and my sisters. He told us that God didn’t give him the ability to read minds, so if we had something we needed, we also needed to share it with him. So often, our greatest conflicts arise because we have unrealistic expectations.

Communication will make or break any relationship. It isn’t just about us verbalizing expectations. In its basic form, it’s giving and receiving information. It’s opening ourselves up to one another. It’s gaining and revealing insight. It’s also remembering the old saying, “It’s not just what you say, it’s how you to say it.” Failing to communicate, and communicate well, results in frustration and disappointment.

Words kill, words give life; they’re either poison or fruit – you choose.
— Proverbs 18:21 MSG

Post this at all the intersections, dear friends: Lead with your ears, follow up with your tongue, and let anger straggle along in the rear.
— James 1:19 MSG

Listening and tuning in to the other person are as crucial to effective communication as using your words. We have to pay attention, listening and engaging to what is being said and even clarifying, making sure we are really receiving the message. Have you ever poured out your soul to someone while they were looking at their cell phone? That didn’t really go over well, did it? We have to love each other enough to invest our time, attention and hearts.

If all else fails, think and act like Jesus. Whether in conflict or not, if we just take a step back and truly attempt to have the mindset of Christ, we would be so much better to listen, respond and give our best selves to each other.

We pray that God has used this devotional to encourage and challenge you. If you would like to speak to someone about a spiritual decision or engage in a spiritual discussion, please click here. If you would like to support the ministry of Community Life Church, please click here.

Fighting Right


, , , , ,

Today’s Devotional

by Paul McDill
February 11, 2019

Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.
— Philippians 3:3–7

Humility is the secret sauce for great relationships. The apostle Paul commands us in his letter to the church at Philippi to take on the humility that we see exhibited so well in the life of Christ.

When it comes to seeing conflict resolved in our marriages, I can’t think of anything that will make more of a difference than this one little admonition:

… but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.
— Philippians 3:3

We are commanded to count others as more significant than ourselves. If you think about this verse, it really helps to simplify things. If you could, imagine the most important person you know of coming to your house for a visit. It could be a celebrity, a great athlete, a President, or just someone else that you are convinced is a person of great esteem. When that person showed up, how would you treat him or her? My guess is that you would do a lot of deferring. You would give up your favorite seat. You would allow them to get their food first. You would get up and get them a drink if they needed it. And if there was a disagreement, you would probably just let it slide. All of this would occur because you view them as more significant than yourself.

This one simple commandment would resolve 94.6% of all conflict in marriage. (OK, I made that number up, but 82% of all statistics are made up anyway.) But seriously, what if in our marriages we started viewing the other person as more significant than ourselves and looking out for their interests? It would be great and would honor Jesus if more of our disagreements were about wanting the other person to get their way. Not only would it honor Jesus, though — our marriages would be better, and we would be happier. And that, as Michael Scott from The Office (a show that I do not endorse) would say, is a “win-win-win”.

So let’s follow the example of our Savior and exercise some humility in all our relationships, but especially in our marriages!

We pray that God has used this devotional to encourage and challenge you. If you would like to speak to someone about a spiritual decision or engage in a spiritual discussion, please click here. If you would like to support the ministry of Community Life Church, please click here.

Continue In Your Pursuit


, , , ,

Today’s Devotionaal

by Ryan Castle
February 08, 2019

Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body. “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.
— Ephesians 5:25–33

May God bless the reading of his word! The mystery that Paul unpacks here is one of great significance. God created the covenant of marriage to be a microcosm of how Jesus loves the Church. Men, we are commanded to love our wives as Jesus loves the Church, giving ourselves up for her, so that we may lead her closer to Christ. This happens through patience, grace, love and the pursuing of her heart. Now, more than likely, since you are married to your wife, there was some heavy pursuing on your part going on in the dating and courting stage. I’ll bet that you bought her flowers, wrote her notes and listened to her intently to learn her likes, dislikes, passions and annoyances. Once we are married, it becomes easy to believe the lie that the work is over — the lie that, because you are married to your wife, pursuing her is of less importance. You have her now! What need is there to demonstrate your desire for her heart, now that you’ve gotten her to agree to be married to you? Isn’t being married to her enough?

I firmly believe that there is a lie going around in Christian churches that the gospel message of Jesus Christ is only for those who are unsaved, as if when we become believers, we graduate on to something bigger and better than the gospel, as if such a thing existed. The reality is that thinking this way is buying into the idea of a false gospel — one that is adequate to save us, but then sends us back to the law to be sanctified or made holy so that we continue trying to earn what has already been freely given in Christ. But praise be to God, for not only does he desire to save us from our sins, but he continues pursuing us. He desires to see us sanctified and made holy by giving us his spirit, who empowers our motivations so that we are compelled by gladness, not guilt, being always reminded of our forgiveness in the gospel, not our failures in the law. Husbands, in the same way, we must continue pursuing and chasing after our wives, affirming them, building them up in Christ so that intimacy and closeness may increase. If you think the passion that was there at the beginning of your marriage is beginning to wane, it’s time to ask yourself when the last time you intentionally pursued your wife was. Passion is something that can be increased through intentionality and planning. Send her flowers, write her notes, affirm her work ethic, appearance, and all her positive traits even (and especially) when they may not be showing through. These things are pleasing to the Lord and will help restore any lost passion.

The teaching from this Love Song series has been incredibly helpful and practical so far. God clearly gives us defined blueprints for dating, courtship, sex, fighting and growing old together. It is important that we see this teaching through the lens of what should hold the value of first importance in our hearts: the gospel of Jesus Christ. Regardless of our relationship status, the first relationship we should spend a lot of time considering is our relationship with God. And when I say that, what I mean is not that you are behaving a certain way, but that you have fully surrendered your life to Jesus Christ. Do you find ultimate gladness in Christ? Only in him can ultimate gladness be found. If we don’t understand that Christ died for our sins, and that we are loved, forgiven and adopted, then we miss out on the joy that nothing else (dating, marriage, sex) can deliver. It is the gospel and our belief in it that make marriage so incredibly vibrant. It is our understanding that God loves us enough to forgive us over and over again for the same things that should inform our patience with our spouse. It is the incredible romancing by God of us as the bride of Christ throughout scripture that should motivate our pursuit and love of our spouse. So, first and foremost, let us consider Jesus and this great salvation offered to us in Christ.

We pray that God has used this devotional to encourage and challenge you. If you would like to speak to someone about a spiritual decision or engage in a spiritual discussion, please click here. If you would like to support the ministry of Community Life Church, please click here.

Love For His Bride


, ,

Today’s Devotional

by Jordan Wonders
February 07, 2019

God has intentional thought and plans for what love and sex are supposed to look like. In Song of Solomon 4:1-16, we take a look at the way Solomon and his bride speak to and behave around each other when it comes to their relationship. One of the common themes throughout this passage is the affirmation and lifting up of one another within their marriage.

Solomon begins this passage by telling his bride how beautiful she is to him. He talks about her eyes, her hair, her smile, and so on. He says:

Behold, you are beautiful, my love, behold, you are beautiful! Your eyes are doves behind your veil. Your hair is like a flock of goats leaping down the slopes of Gilead.
— Song of Solomon 4:9–10

He is intentionally building up his wife, letting her know that he finds her physically attractive. But then Solomon goes on to speak about who his wife is, rather than just what she looks like:

You have captivated my heart, my sister, my bride; you have captivated my heart with one glance of your eyes, with one jewel of your necklace.
— Song of Solomon 4:9–10

Solomon is intentionally speaking of the permanence with which he has fallen for his wife. In the middle of a moment of passion, he takes the time to reassure her that he has completely committed and devoted himself to her. Solomon has shown the value of security and affirmation, even in the middle of intense passion.

Something that is so important to remember as believers is that Solomon loves his bride so well, but Christ loves his even more. In Ephesians 5, Paul writes:

Husbands, love your wives as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.
— Ephesians 5:25–27

This passage from Ephesians about how Christ loves his bride echoes how Solomon views his wife when he says:

You are altogether beautiful, my love; there is no flaw in you.
— Song of Solomon 4:7

As believers, we can take such comfort and encouragement when we remember that the intense, passionate, all-encompassing love that Solomon has for his wife is the same love that Christ has for his Bride, the Church! Solomon views his wife as beautiful and without flaws, and Jesus has chosen to present us in the same way through the mercy of his sacrifice. The same devotion, security and affirmation is presented to us as the bride of Christ as well. It is only from filling our cups with that love, that we may be able to pour it back out on our spouses as Paul told us to do in Ephesians and as Solomon exemplified through his actions.

We pray that God has used this devotional to encourage and challenge you. If you would like to speak to someone about a spiritual decision or engage in a spiritual discussion, please click here. If you would like to support the ministry of Community Life Church, please click here.

Strive For Thrive


, , ,

Today’s Devotional

by Steve Glenn
February 06, 2019

This is a new one for me. I have never been asked to give my public thoughts about sex before. My first thoughts were:

  1. Sex was created and given to us by God to be used and enjoyed within a Godly marriage.
  2. I am for it.

After a closer inspection of the assignment, however, I think that some further comments might be appropriate.

If you are married, that union is the most important earthly relationship that you can have. Godly sex is very important to a healthy marriage. Like all relationships, even good marriages have some challenges. How can we have marriages that do not just survive, but ones that thrive?

The word thrive suggests growth. Thriving requires movement. You both have to make constant deposits into your marriage account to make it grow. Care for and encourage each other daily. Small daily efforts of this type are more important than one or two big efforts once or twice a year (Do not forget, though, that Valentine’s day is approaching!). It is a shame that some of us Christians show more love to the people in our Bible studies or small groups than we do to our own husbands and wives. That will not lead to a thriving marriage. If we do not even act as if we like each other, very little sex of any kind is going to occur. How long has it ben since you intentionally said a kind and loving word to your spouse?

You might be thinking, “Well, I will start being affirming when my husband or wife starts.” The problem with that is that your spouse is probably saying the same thing. So, who starts? You do. When? Now would be a really good time.

There are some other things to talk about here, but I am out of space. I do have one final word to you: pray to God for your marriage each day. None of us are smart enough to navigate our way through our relationships and marriages on our own. We do not have the wisdom to know how to handle all the tough situations. But as Christians, we do not have to rely on our own strength. God is with us.

Love is patient and kind…
— 1 Corinthians 13:4

We pray that God has used this devotional to encourage and challenge you. If you would like to speak to someone about a spiritual decision or engage in a spiritual discussion, please click here. If you would like to support the ministry of Community Life Church, please click here.



, , , , , , , , ,

Today’s Devotional

by Pat Cooper
February 05, 2019

“For I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole counsel of God”
— Acts 20:27

When the apostle Paul made that statement to the Ephesian elders, do you think sex talk may have been included in the package? That is, instruction concerning God’s design for intimacy between a man and a woman? Well, If the word whole means whole, then the answer must be yes.

It may be hard to believe, but sex did not originate with Hugh Hefner. He may have played an influential role in the sexual revolution of the ‘60s, but believe it or not, God is the mastermind behind what goes on in the bedroom when the lights go out, and if I read my Bible right, Genesis 1:27–28 tells me he created us humans, both male and female, and said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply.”

That sounds like sex to me.

Then in verse 31, he said, “… behold, it was very good.”

I agree.

Coupling that along with the sensual imagery in the Song of Solomon, I cannot help but wonder why the Church is so hush-hush when it comes to talking about sex. God invented it, and there is nothing shameful or sinful about it when kept within the framework of his word. Not only should it be okay to talk about it in the church, we might see a noticeable decline in the divorce rate if it were. (Sadly, there is no difference in the divorce rate between those who go to church and those who do not.) A drop in the number of teenage and out of wedlock pregnancies may well be seen. Fewer broken hearts, fewer wrecked lives, and wouldn’t it be wonderful if more babies would get a chance to take a shot at life?

Being a guy who shamefully must admit a promiscuous past, I never knew the sweetness, the pleasure, or the joy of sexual intimacy until sharing life with my wife in a covenant relationship as God intended. Within the structure of a God-ordained marriage, I found sex taking on a whole new dimension, a depth of meaning, and tenderness God had designed and reserved for a man and a woman devoted to one another and to him. I wish there had not been what seemed a gag order on my Sunday School teachers and pastors when I was young, that they would have shared Solomon’s wisdom and God’s word uncensored, the undiluted whole counsel of God. Perhaps I would not have ventured off on my own, wasting a large part of my life in reckless living, as did the prodigal son.

So today, I am thankful for churches like c|Life that will lift the self-imposed ban on discussing sex, that God might be honored in every area of the Christian life, including the bedroom.

We pray that God has used this devotional to encourage and challenge you. If you would like to speak to someone about a spiritual decision or engage in a spiritual discussion, please click here. If you would like to support the ministry of Community Life Church, please click here.

Six Tips For A Better Sex Life


, , , ,

Todays Devotional

by Randy Wade
February 04, 2019

As a pastor, I have the opportunity to meet with married couples on a very regular basis. There are times when the issue at hand has nothing to do with the health of their sex life, but more times than not, the couple’s lack of intimacy is a contributor. I believe that God gave us the ability to not only have sex, but to enjoy sex with our covenant partner. I do believe in the sanctity of marriage, so if you are looking for ways to improve your sex life as a single man or woman, let me just go ahead and tell you that this post is not for you. I firmly believe that God designed sex to be something that is shared between a husband and a wife. If you are married and wondering what you can do to improve the level and intensity of the intimacy shared between you and your spouse, then keep reading.

1. Communicate with each other.

My guess is that some of you blushed a little when you read the title of this post, simply because it contains the word sex. Unfortunately, our culture has taken something God intends for good and perverted it, even in the minds of believers. As a result, sex has become nothing more than something we do. This mindset has made its way into Christian marriages and has stifled a couple’s ability to speak openly about what they are thinking in terms of their physical intimacy. The longer this is ignored, the greater the divide becomes relationally. Your action item: If you are not satisfied in your intimacy, talk to your spouse openly and honestly about it. It is OK to say, “I don’t like that,” or “I really like that,” but if you don’t say it, your spouse will never know.

2. Determine frequency.

I know this sounds strange, but time and again, couples will come in feeling as though there is a real gap in their relationship. After some discussion, we realize that they have false assumptions about their spouse’s desires, primarily because they never talk about it (see #1). Many women assume their husband wants to have sex every day of the week, at least twice a day, while many men assume their wives are like sexual camels, with the ability to go months without sharing physical intimacy. In my experience, these assumptions have never been true. I ask couples to each write on a slip of paper the number of times they would like to have sex each week. I have only had one time when the number was greater than four, and almost every time, the husband and wife were no more than one day apart in their desires. You may or may not be the type of person who needs to schedule your intimacy, but it is OK to know what the expectations are for your spouse.

3. Initiation.

I suppose every couple has their unique way of initiating intimacy. It may be a certain code word or phrase you say, even in front of other people, that lets your spouse know what you have on your mind. It may be a certain kind of music that just happens to be playing in the bedroom. It may be that you look at each other and say something really romantic, like, “You wanna do it?” Regardless of how it happens, there is some sort of initiation. One person tends to initiate more than the other, and over time, that can become very normal. If that is working for you, then go for it, but let me give you a quick warning. There is a chance that the one who usually initiates could begin to wonder why he or she is always getting things rolling. Everyone has insecurities, and it could cause them to wonder if their spouse, the non-initiator, is actually interested in them. Sadly, if this isn’t discussed, the initiator can roll and face one wall, hoping their spouse will say the word or turn on the tunes, anything to communicate that, based on their desire, intimacy would be welcomed. If this isn’t discussed, the other spouse, not knowing what is going on in the other person’s mind, assumes he or she is not all that interested in being intimate. Racing through his or her mind is, “He always initiates,” or “She always lets me know when she wants to be intimate.” And when there is no discussion, the non-initiator turns and faces the other wall. As a result, the couple shares no intimacy, even when both the husband and the wife long for it. Once you have determined frequency, then share the role of initiator. Perhaps the husband can initiate the first time after the conversation, then it is her turn. Be creative!

4. No more than two.

There should never be more than two people in your bedroom during sex. I know that sounds like an obvious statement, because most people recognize that inviting another human being into your intimacy is wrong. However, there are many who invite others into their intimacy by using pornography. There are several surface-level problems with doing this:

• It isn’t real. Your husband or wife isn’t airbrushed or getting a makeup fix halfway through your lovemaking, so you are imagining and developing unreal expectations.

• It isn’t real. Some say they use porn to get ideas in order to spice up their sex life, but they are watching something that isn’t real.

• It isn’t real. Sure, they are real people, but they are acting. And it is setting you up for frustration, because you are allowing the enemy to blur the lines between what is true and what is false. Pornography has no place in the marriage bed.

5. Recognize you are different.

Men and women are very different, and those differences need to be accepted. I know I am using generalities here, but I think most would agree that, while women like thoughtfulness, rose petals, bubble baths and candles, men just want to be naked! What does this mean?

Men, you need to be thoughtful when initiating intimacy. In all my years as a pastor and husband, I have never heard a woman say that she wants to be treated like an object. Let her know you have been thinking about her throughout the day and be creative in how you approach the initiation.

Women, you have to understand that every initiation won’t involve candles and incense. Sometimes your husband just wants to be intimate with you. He doesn’t need all the bells and whistles to feel loved, he just needs you.

6. Get help.

I understand the privacy that is expected and applauded when it comes to your sex life. I also understand that your sex life is a living part of your relationship. There are innumerable circumstances that can have an adverse impact on your intimacy. The stress of a job, birth of a baby and medications are just a few examples we could discuss. Unfortunately, most couples will allow their sex life to suffer for weeks, months, and even years before ever asking for help. I realize no one wants to sit down with a trusted pastor or counselor and talk about… well, you know… sex. The truth, however, is that you should! If you go to a pastor or counselor that has been in the ministry very long at all, I assure you there is nothing you can bring to them that will surprise them. Why? Because we are all broken sexually to some degree. As a side note, it is unwise to discuss your broken sex life with your friends and family. They love you too much and will naturally, in most cases, gravitate toward your side of the conflict. You need to get in front of someone who recognizes “two have become one” and wants to see you both win on the other side of the struggle.

It has often been said in Christian circles that sex is a gift from God. I agree with that assessment and, like any other valuable gift, it is something we should care for and protect. If the intimacy between you and your spouse is struggling, I cannot emphasize enough how important it is that you reach out to a trusted pastor or counselor for help. There are things from our past, present and even fears of the future that play a role in our sex life, and they should not be ignored.

There is so much more that can be said about this topic. This is just a sample of the things that seem to come up time and again in my conversations, so I pray they prove beneficial for you!

We pray that God has used this devotional to encourage and challenge you. If you would like to speak to someone about a spiritual decision or engage in a spiritual discussion, please click here. If you would like to support the ministry of Community Life Church, please click here.



, , , , , ,

Today’s Devotional

by Crystal Brashear
February 01, 2019

Plant a thought and reap a word;
plant a word and reap an action;
plant an action and reap a habit;
plant a habit and reap a character;
plant a character and reap a destiny.

— Episcopal bishop John Beckwaith, 1885

On Sunday, we learned about the three seasons of relationships: perfection, preparation and purity. In a way, all relationship seasons are about preparing and purifying. We are continually practicing to become something. I will always get better at what I practice, and so will you. We don’t have to intend to get better, we just will. It’s a natural law of the universe.

This means that if I practice dating around flippantly, giving my heart and body to one partner after another, I will get better at it. Marriage will not magically undo all of the practice I gained. I will tend to struggle with fidelity because my practice made me good at infidelity. If I practice bailing out of a relationship the moment things go south, I will get better at it. Marriage will not cure that. I will have to fight against an urge to leave when things get tough. If I practice using pornography or alcohol or drugs to offer me an escape, I will get better at it. If I practice keeping secrets because of shame and guilt, I will get better at it. If I practice fault-finding, I will get better at it. If I practice harboring resentment, I will get better at it. If I practice lashing out with my words, I will get better at it. If I practice withdrawing in self-righteous anger to punish my partner, I will get better at it. And on, and on, and on… It doesn’t matter one bit whether I want to get better at any of these things. It only matters that I am practicing them. That’s the bad news.

Here is the good news: I can change what I practice, so that I am preparing for a pure and healthy relationship. Paul advised believers in Philippi to do this:

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.
— Philippians 4:5-9

Did you catch that last part? Practice these things!

Maybe you’ve been practicing for so long to become someone you don’t want to be that you feel helpless and hopeless to start practicing a new way. Maybe you’re thinking, “OK, yeah, but that’s easier said than done.” I agree with you 100%. My impure habits are just too ingrained for me to change by myself. Luckily, I’m not by myself. That is where true perfection comes in. I am far from perfect, and so is every potential mate (even though that initial honeymoon phase may temporarily blind me to their flaws). But Christ Jesus is perfect, and his power is available to everyone who recognizes their need for it! As Christians, we are new creations (2 Corinthians 5:17) who have the Holy Spirit to guide us into all truth (John 16:13). It’s about time we started asking the Helper for what we need to change what we’re practicing! If you are not a Christian, I want you to know that it’s completely normal to feel stuck, to feel trapped in the patterns you have practiced. Today, you can accept the gift of salvation that God freely offers through his only Son, Jesus. There is a better way, and it belongs to you. Will you grab hold of it?

We pray that God has used this devotional to encourage and challenge you. If you would like to speak to someone about a spiritual decision or engage in a spiritual discussion, please click here. If you would like to support the ministry of Community Life Church, please click here.