Don’t Scratch That Itch!!
Post Date: 08/17/16
Have you ever had an itch that just needed scratching? It’s an amazing occurrence – striking almost any time and any place. It seems as though the only thing that brings relief is to scratch.
However, there are some itches in which even though you experience some relief when scratched, to scratch it actually makes the irritated or infected area worse. In this case the understood rule is, “Don’t scratch that itch!”
I had such an itch. It was a very small dry patch of skin. It seemed the more I’d scratch it, the more it itched. The more it itched, the more I scratched. Instead of the area becoming better, it progressively became worse. I would occasionally try to soothe the itch by rubbing it, pouring water over it, applying gel or lotion, and even trying to simply ignore it; but the only thing that seemed to soothe it was the very thing that made it worse; I’d scratch it. And, of course, the larger more irritated and infected the area became. Eventually, I got some anti-fungal ointment and applied it to the area. I was surprised to find that not only did it soothe the itch, but it also healed the dry patch.
It later occurred to me how clearly this experience speaks to the reality of temptation and its affect in our lives and marriages. Our adversary, who roams like a roaring lion seeking whom he can devour, constantly looks for areas and opportunity to tempt us to say or do things that will inevitably wreak havoc in and have the potential of ultimately destroying our lives and relationships.
This temptation starts out as an itch. To scratch it brings a momentary feeling of relief. For example, you may be tempted to be critical of your spouse, to put him or her down; you may be tempted to make your spouse and marriage number 3, 5, 10 on your list of priorities; you may be tempted to over-spend or under-appreciate. You might even be tempted to give the attention and affection that rightfully belongs to your spouse and family to something or someone else.
You start out by saying it’s no big deal, ie.: your criticism is followed by, “I’m only trying to help you improve in that area.” Your putting your spouse on the back-burner is followed by, “These other things are all important.” “I need this new toy… they had a great sale.” Perhaps we are silent when praises of our spouse should be shouted out loud. Maybe we excuse this person we recently met or have known for some time as “just a nice person” or “a good friend”.
And so, we scratch. It doesn’t seem like much at the time, and so we scratch. But somehow we still itch. Perhaps you’ve tried other methods of dealing with the itch — the temptations, but in time they always seem to return – and so you scratch. And the problem gets worse – the more you scratch, the worse it gets. The very thing that brings fleeting relief also brings enduring pain.
Well, cheer up my brother and sister! There is some Good News! Just as I found an anti-fungal cream for my dry spot, there is a “balm” that can not only soothe any itch in your marriage life, but also heal the dry area(s). It is the soothing ointment of God’s Word.
When God’s word is applied directly to the area, change inevitably occurs. When we refute our feelings and even the circumstances and events of our marriage and lives with the Living, Healing, Life Changing Word of God not only does the itch subside but our lives and marriages begin to be healed and restored to their original beauty without spot or wrinkle spiritually. We begin to reflect in a healthy way the character of our Creator – God!
The next time you experience the itch of temptation, don’t scratch that itch. Instead apply the balm of the Word of God and allow His soothing power to not only satisfy, but to heal and restore. (James 1:13-15 NIV) When tempted, no one should say “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, or does he tempt anyone; (14) but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. (15) Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.
(1 Cor 10:13 NIV) No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.
Additional note: Often in the trials of our lives we are tempted to seek a quick or easy way out. But rest assured, God will never forsake us and will always provide a way. The songwriter was right: “The Lord will make a way somehow.”
(James 1:2-4 NIV) Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, (3) because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. (4) Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
Bringing Your Marriage to Life!
Part 3: Love Life!
Post Date: 04/24/16
Very Important! Read 1 Cor 13:1-8a.
Not only should we speak words that bring life into our marriage, and do fun and exciting things together that make our marriages vibrant, all of our speaking and doing should come out of a heart that is fully motivated by Love.
Love is the why behind the what – that is, “why” we do “what” we do. Why do I speak to you in such a loving tone of voice; why do I tenderly encourage you to be and do your best; why do I like to be with you, close to you, do fun things with you, spend time with you? Because I love you. Why did Jesus heal, encourage and even go so far as to die on a cross? (Love!)
When we allow love to rule in our marriages – to be the guiding force, it will cause us to say things we thought we couldn’t say, do things we never thought we could do, give and sacrifice in ways we never thought possible.
- Love will cause a husband to be a loving Servant-Leader – blessing his wife, giving himself for her as Christ gave himself for his church.
- Love will cause a wife to help her husband in every way; to lovingly submit to his leadership as unto the Lord.
Love is the why behind the what! Love is Godly behavior wrapped up and soaked in Godly motivation. 1 Corinthians 13:1-8a clarifies this principle (please read it again).
In order to Love Life into our marriages, there are three things we must hold dear – in addition to an intimate relationship with Christ:
- We must see our spouse as a gift from God – not simply a company keeper or a playmate, or even a pain, but a Gift – from God! (to see him or her in any other way gives place to Satan’ lies, trick and schemes).
- We must respect the institution of Marriage. It is God-Ordained, God-Purposed and should be entered into with the utmost respect and awe of God’s Divine Providence. It is a reflection of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Oneness in marriage, with Christ as the center, reflects the character, unity and power of God.
- We must seriously consider and remember our Marital Vows. They are more than simple words repeated because a minister ask us to. They are a covenant made before God and man. In order to keep them – to hold them as ever-meaningful in our lives, there has to be some why. Love!
As faith moves mountains – Love builds, strengthens, revives and rejuvenates. Love brings Life! God Is Love! And where God is, there is Life, there is Love. Let Love Rule!
When we get the right concept and right motivation in our minds and hearts, Loving Life into our marriages becomes one of the most fun, exciting and rewarding experiences in a lifetime,
Love Life in Your Marriage!
Written by Revs. Derek & Carol Stevenson
Part 2: Live Life!
Live Life In Your Marriage!
John 10:10 – Jesus came that you might have life and have it more abundantly! Is there abundant life when it comes to marriage? Absolutely!!! Abundant life is not limited to material blessings, or even spiritual blessings, but includes a marriage rich with excitement, fun and adventure.
It must have been a fun, exciting and adventurous time for God when He created the world and all that is in it. Husbands and wives can create atmosphere and opportunities to have fun with each other in marriage.
Do things together that encourage you to want to be in each other’s presence. Living life in your marriage definitely means loving each other, but you must also “like” each other. “Like” being together, sharing intimate time and conversation. As often as we can, Derek and I (Carol) schedule Friday evenings as “our time” for play and fun. It may be a stroll at the mall, a “create-a-meal” adventure in the kitchen, miniature golf, poetry reading in a candle lit bubble bath together – you get the picture.
Brainstorm ideas that you both would “like” to do and choose a time to make those ideas happen. Take turns doing things each of you enjoy together. Make it a priority.
Living life in marriage also includes being involved in activities that embrace both of your intellect and input; whether it’s ministry work, bible study, or just deep discussion about some important topic. Just be certain to do it together with the objective of learning from each other, experiencing each other’s perspectives – never competing with one another. Experience the joy of accomplishing things together and look forward to each opportunity to do so.
Living a marriage filled with abundant life involves a decision to do things together and spending time enjoying each other’s company!
Written by Revs. Derek & Carol Stevenson
Read the Creation Story Gen 1 thru 2:25. Notice that before God did anything He first spoke it. And what He spoke was Life!
In order to have a loving, vibrant marriage, one that’s full of life, we have to first Speak Life.
When Carol and I (Derek) first met, the last thing we wanted to do was to say anything that would harm each other. We only wanted to speak that which would bring life. Even today, we are mindful of the power our words have. And because we want a “life-filled” marriage, we choose our words very carefully.
The amount of life a few simple phrases can bring to a marriage is simply amazing:
- You look great….
- I enjoy being with you.
- I really like the way you…
- Is there anything I can get for you?
- Would you like for me to….?
- Let me hold you for just a little while.
- How was your day?
- I couldn’t wait to get home to be with you.
- I thought of you – a lot today!
Take time over the next few days to listen to what you are speaking. Are you speaking Life? Is the tone of your speech life producing? Are you facial expressions life producing? Is your body language life producing?
Remember, the outcome is not base on the response of your mate, but on the consistency of your words.
When God started speaking the life He wanted, He didn’t stop until He had received everything he spoke of.
And It Was Good!
Go and Speak Life!
Written by Revs. Derek & Carol Stevenson