<![CDATA[Godly Love Christian Fellowship - Read More]]>Sat, 28 Nov 2015 03:45:57 -0800Weebly<![CDATA[Summer Lovin']]>Thu, 19 Jun 2014 17:17:12 GMThttp://www.realgodlylove.com/read-more/summer-lovinPicture
Summer means school is out; many families have waited all year to enjoy travel plans and time away together. Family vacations are a beautiful thing, but summer is also a great time to take stock of your relationship and determine how best to invest in it.

Was it a stressful winter? Did you and your spouse have a life-changing experience such as the birth of a child, the death of a loved one, an act of infidelity, or an emotional reconciliation after a break up? Or have you been so busy with your daily schedules that you seem more like roommates than man and wife? Whether any of the above fit your particular circumstances, this summer might be a good time to plan for a getaway.

Concentrate on You...
Spending time alone with your spouse away from the daily responsibilities of established routines can be a great way to strengthen the bonds of your union. As you begin to make your plans, take into consideration your time, budget and preferences. Will it be three days or three weeks? Champagne or Coke? Beach, mountains, adventure, or leisure – talk with your spouse and agree on the particulars of what you want to accomplish during your time away. 

Budget travel: If you’re traveling with significant budget restrictions but have a flexible travel schedule, discount deal websites like Groupon, Amazon Local, Living Social, and Travel Zoo offer multiple opportunities for significant savings to a variety of locations near and far. 

Meet new people: Are you and your spouse a gregarious and dynamic duo that loves meeting new people? You might consider TripTribe.com – a member-driven, group travel community that matches members with like-minded strangers for travel to destinations foreign and domestic. Et voilà – instant friendships!

History buffs: If mental stimulation is more your bag, you might consider Black CouTours – an African-American history, destination-planning service company. Interested in Africa? Perhaps you’ll travel to there with Bono Tours & Safaris

Mission-minded: Ready to impact the world? If you’re looking to fulfill the great commission with your spouse in the mission field, try websites like shorttermmissions.com, missionyear.org, and globalfrontiermissions.org. You’ll find the information and inspiration to launch out into the deep. 

To add purpose to your partying and resolve to your relaxation, you might also consider a marriage retreat. There are several with activities scheduled for this year, including: 

• WinShape – winshape.org
• Cedine Ministries – cedine.org
• Weekend to Remember – familylife.com
• Intimate Marriage Weekend – bethelridge.org
• Romance in the Ozark Mountains – eaglefamily.org

Whichever type of getaway you two choose – wherever you plan to travel – recognize the invaluable benefits of quality time together and cherish the memories you make.

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<![CDATA[In Pursuit of Oneness]]>Fri, 18 Apr 2014 22:39:35 GMThttp://www.realgodlylove.com/read-more/in-pursuit-of-onenessTo study is to devote time and resources to acquiring knowledge of your spouse, and since marriage is forever, it gives new meaning to the concept of “lifelong learning.”
spouse  (spous, spouz)
n.
A marriage partner; a husband or wife.

-ol·o·gy  (ŏl′ə-jē)
n. 
A branch of learning.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition copyright ©2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Updated in 2009.
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I recently was reminded of an incident involving my wife, Malaika, me, and a little identity theft. I was sick. Not too sick to be unable to protest that I wasn’t really all that sick, but sick enough to be useless for the demands of my schedule. 

I remember walking towards my wife, convulsing with fever and chills, sweating and juicy-mouthed, trying to tell her that there was nothing to fuss over. She politely redirected me back to bed. Did she not know that I had the kind of deadlines facing me that were not easily rescheduled? Frustration and worry began to take hold of me as I thought about the consequences of my missing work. Malaika continued to reassure me as she brought hot tea, medicine, and comfort. But how could I be reassured when there was a ton of deliverables mounting into a cresting wave and coming straight at me? 

That day, I listened anxiously for the familiar sound of an email arriving to my nearby cell phone. My stomach cramped knowing that it should ring but still hoping it would not. Surprisingly, I received emails thanking me for deeds I didn’t remember doing and for feedback I don’t remember giving. Even as I saw emails update on my phone, files were being delivered. Who was doing this? It turns out that Malaika, who had worked with me on the projects that were due, knew where all the files were, and because she pays attention to my bland email communication style (Note: I can’t promise you that I even actually wrote this cleverly-crafted article) had assumed my identity, and no one was the wiser!

I wondered whether I should be offended that no one recognized this cyber- substitution. Ultimately, I was grateful that my wife juggled nursing me, caring for the children, and managing her own professional deadlines to “be” me for the day. I relaxed into my pillow and fell asleep. It is wonderful to be known so expertly! It was still more comforting to know that she was keeping up to date on her knowledge of me, even more than I realized. 

So, what have you learned about your spouse from your time spent together? Have your earned your degree in spouse-ology? For instance, when my wife stops referring to our children by name, I know she needs a break and an encouraging word. I know that her favorite era of film is from the 1940’s, and she prefers that her eveningwear and professional attire be reminiscent of that time. She loves musk and wood-scented candles and oils, and she likes food scents (e.g., candy or fruit), too, but not on her body. I know she hates being yelled at and why. That she loves people but is slow to trust others. I know that her relationship with God is what gives her the most pleasure. And she’s a hopeful romantic who likes sweeping gestures, tender words, and thoughtful surprises.
  
When we’re married, spouse-ology must be one of our life’s greatest pursuits. It’s not a terminal degree but a certification that requires hours of continuing education. To study is to devote time and resources to acquiring knowledge of your spouse, and since marriage is forever, it gives new meaning to the concept of “lifelong learning.” 

For your marriage’s sake, spouse-ology must be a lifelong pursuit as you discover and continuously rediscover your spouse. 

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<![CDATA[You Can Tell Me No]]>Wed, 22 Jan 2014 22:55:59 GMThttp://www.realgodlylove.com/read-more/you-can-tell-me-noby Malaika Wells Picture
So, I “need” a bigger house. Don’t judge me! Lately here, the three-bedroom, two-bath brick ranch we’re renting has been feeling like a tight fit for homeschooling, hospitality, and in-home ministry. The subjective nature of my first sentence aside, with my husband’s blessing, I've been looking for a larger home. I am burdened by the righteous nature of my cause – with a bigger house, we can provide temporary housing for families in transition and visiting missionaries, and we’d have room to make becoming foster parents a reality. In contrast to my former custom of chasing my desires with reckless abandon, I've pursued our new home with diligence and careful planning. Whenever I start to feel anxious to move and jump quickly into the biggest, baddest house our budget can bear, I stop searching, and talk to God until that anxiety leaves me. 

Well, let me tell you, last weekend, my home search turned up a beautiful five-bedroom, three-and-a-half bath beauty – with a basement! The backyard is fenced. It has a closed-in, heated sunroom; new carpet and wood flooring; and a tiled, eat-in kitchen with loads of counter space and cabinets. (Now, for the sake of full disclosure, it was a teensy, weensy bit outside our budget. However, I was certain that hubby could use his negotiation skills to get them where we needed to be.) Oh, you should have seen the stars in my eyes! Oh, you should have heard the music! Finally, I thought. I’m pretty sure that when I first viewed the slideshow pictures of this house I was holding my breath. I think I might have cried!

Anyway, as you can imagine, I was all in. I called and emailed the listing agent. I couldn't wait to show my husband, Andrew. I had found our new house! I was elated! I was ready to order my new return address labels and start calling the utility companies. I was ready to call my girlfriends and say, “Girl! Look what the Lord has done!” 

When I gushingly told Andrew the good news, he listened patiently. He smiled and nodded as I excitedly showed him the slideshow and ran my mouth a mile a minute about our awesome, new home. When I finally stopped talking long enough for him to speak, this is what he said.
 
“Malaika, this house is really nice, but I think it would be wise not to attempt to make this move. Even if we get the owner to decrease the asking rental price, we’d still be increasing our housing budget.” (I was frowning at this point, but still he continued.) “Honey, you can persuade me to pursue this house and do what it takes to get you into it, but I don’t think we’d be happy with the potential consequences.”

For long seconds, tight-lipped, I just stared at Andrew. Then I looked at the computer screen which was still playing the slideshow of my beautiful, new home. What in the world had I just heard? We didn't get the chance to discuss it further; a cry from the community of little people who live with us prevented us from continuing our conversation. We left the slideshow to go check on our children.
 
Later that night, after the children were in bed, and while my husband was bent over the laptop working on his lesson plans for the next day, the Holy Spirit was comforting my conflicted soul. In the past, this man and I used to have protracted battles of will. I wanted my way; he wanted his way. I labelled him a tyrant, rebelled at every turn, and constantly challenged his authority. Since coming into the knowledge of Christ and under the influence of the Holy Spirit, those battles are now virtually nonexistent. These days, having finally submitted to my husband’s covering and God-given authority, I very rarely make issue of anything Andrew doesn't fully endorse. But I really wanted that house! What to do?

He’d plainly told me that I could press the issue and “make” him get me that house just to please me. However, he’d also told me that doing so would likely jeopardize our household’s peace and stability. Even though I didn't like what my husband had said (who likes to be told no?), I did like how he’d said it. I felt respected by how he’d chosen to communicate his concerns for our household and felt a rush of confidence in his ability to manage our finances prudently. I felt another emotion as well, one that lends itself to flushed cheeks and due benevolence! The more I thought on it, the more Holy Spirit reminded me of how far He’d taken us from whom we used to be and encouraged me to believe that, in the fullness of time, we will become all that He desires us to be.
 
Andrew and I finished our conversation about our future move hugged up and leaning against the kitchen sink. I patiently listened to his plan and timeline for relocating our family. Now that I think about it, perhaps there’s a better word to describe our three-bedroom, two-bath brick ranch. I think it might be “cozy.”

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<![CDATA[12 New Year Resolutions You Can Make to Your Spouse (and How to Keep Them)]]>Sat, 04 Jan 2014 08:16:16 GMThttp://www.realgodlylove.com/read-more/12-new-year-resolutions-you-can-make-to-your-spouse-and-how-to-keep-themBy Andrew and Malaika Wells
"...focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead..." - Philippians 3:13
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1. Pledge to share one of their interests with them. Like, for real – get the t-shirt and the bumper sticker; attend the meetings! There is a potential for new, stimulating discussions accompanied with new adventures and explorations.

2. Fulfill their request to make a personality change. C’mon…you know there are changes you need to make. Pick the one you least look forward to addressing and make a campaign out of it. Use charts, graphs, a theme, theme song and plan an accomplishment ceremony.

3. Find a physical activity you can do together and plan to do it. - The second part is probably harder than the first part but totally worth it. It’s quality time and healthy lifestyle support all in one.

4. Work together on a mission/ministry activity. Find a ministry support activity to tackle together.  Sometimes our evangelistic or mission aspirations take us in opposite directions. Consider working on a ministry mission about which you are both passionate. Even if it’s something you agree to support financially, the idea that you are doing it together matters.

5. Make them a gift – by hand! Pledge to work with a medium you both enjoy. Whether it’s paper, clay, paint, a digital presentation or your own music video. Don’t know how to get started? Find a how-to on YouTube and then make something of significance. No excuses.

6. Eliminate one topic from the “Argument Bank.”  You know that issue that seems to pop up no matter how good things are? Uh-huh, that one.  Identify that one topic and terminate it with extreme prejudice.

7. Encouragement! – Urge your spouse to pursue one of their ideas and figure out how to support them in that endeavor. Pray with them for God’s will and help them bring their vision to pass.

8. Discuss the future. – Healthy couples tend to have healthy discussions about the future. It may also lead to improved feelings about the present state of things, or better still, stimulate necessary changes needed today.

9. Share a childhood memory. – Don’t require it to be a happy one. Open up and let the conversation go where it will.

10. Compliment. Compliment. Compliment. – Find a body part, a behavior, and a thing they do for you or the family that they do well, and make a fuss!

11. Pledge to repent more and defend yourself less. – Repentance is a great way to grease the wheel for reconciliation. Repentance can even make it easier for you to be understood without taking a defensive attitude.

12. Pledge to forgive them (period). – Sometimes, they really didn’t mean it. Be quick to forgive.

To keep these resolutions, it helps to keep in mind the definition of resolution – it’s a firm decision to do or not do something. Firm in that it is strongly felt and unlikely to change – unyielding even. A decision in that it is a conclusion reached after thoughtful deliberation. Don’t trade a firm decision for an easy out. If you come to these resolutions through prayer, fasting and hearing from God, then try not to release yourself from them with little more than a shoulder shrug following the first disappointment. Draw joy from the satisfaction of doing God’s will through loving and honoring your spouse. Finally, carefully and frequently think on why these resolutions are important to you. By doing so, you won’t have time to forget their significance.

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<![CDATA[Men Need Vision That Covers All Bases]]>Fri, 09 Aug 2013 04:14:38 GMThttp://www.realgodlylove.com/read-more/men-need-vision-that-covers-all-basesby Andrew Wells
Sight. The act or power of sensing with the eyes; sight 
See. To perceive by sight; seeing – present participle meaning to continue

I had checked off "setting the vision for my family" from my spiritual to-do list. Later, when the vision came under great testing, I nearly lost complete sight of the vision along with the will to please God through its doing.
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In the 1978 film Superman, there was a scene set in the subterranean lair beneath Metropolis where arch nemesis, Lex Luthor faces Superman. Superman is trying to prevent the launch of some missiles and needs the launch device. Lex Luthor is sitting atop a lead case appearing to prevent Superman from gaining access to the contents of the case. Superman believes that what he seeks must be inside the case that Lex is trying to keep from him, so he shoves Luthor out of the way, and opens the case only to find a necklace with a huge kryptonite pendant. 

Kryptonite has the effect of weakening Superman to the point of helplessness. As Superman’s strength fails, Lex Luthor presses his advantage by putting the necklace around Superman’s neck and throwing him into a pool to drown. This ploy was successful because one of Superman’s weaknesses at that time was that he could not see through lead. Superman ignored Lex’s warning not to open the case [which was of course a temptation designed to peak his curiosity] and opened the case because he overestimated himself and underestimated his enemy.


God gives us vision – a glimpse into His future plan for us and our specific role in His plan to harvest the lost and prepare to be with Him in eternity. The vision for our lives propels us forward, urging us to purposefully experience every manifested morsel of life God gives as the steps of our vision manifest. 

The first type of vision we need is simply the sight that comes from our senses. These natural senses, however, must be influenced by the sharpening of our spiritual senses which allows us to see (i.e., be alert) to the things around us in the natural world in order to realize God’s full, intended vision for our lives. Faithfully fixed on the peak of the mountain, we must then have the power of both natural and spiritual sight to identify opportunities, avoid pitfalls, and make sacrifices to achieve the mountain’s peak.
  
Consider Abraham, our father according to faith. In Genesis 15:1-6, God shows Abraham [Abram then] a vision of his descendants being as numerous as the stars. It is now up to Abram to believe God for the promise of the vision and obey Him to its fulfillment. Initially, Abram used his natural eyes and saw Eleazar, the young slave over his house. But his natural sight was inadequate as it was not honed and prepared by spiritual sight for seeing what God wanted him to see. Just like Superman, we have limits to our vision and can make supposition where sight is limited by things we can’t see beyond and thereby get ourselves into trouble.

How do we ensure we are seeing correctly while we pursue the vision? 

First we must pray, fast, and read to sharpen our spiritual awareness. 

“But it was to us that God revealed these things by his Spirit. For his Spirit searches out everything and shows us God’s deep secrets. No one can know a person’s thoughts except that person’s own spirit and no one can know God’s thoughts except God’s own Spirit. And we have received God’s Spirit (not the world’s spirit), so we can know the wonderful things God has freely given us. When we tell you these things, we do not use words that come from human wisdom. Instead, we speak words given to us by the Spirit, using the Spirit’s words to explain spiritual truths.  But people who aren't spiritual can’t receive these truths from God’s Spirit. It all sounds foolish to them and they can’t understand it, for only those who are spiritual can understand what the Spirit means.” 1 Corinthians 2:10-14

Abram made a mistake following the counsel of his wife, Sarai, in presuming that his own seed absent his wife’s womb would be sufficient to bring God’s vision to pass. Notice how we perceive we can do a thing for God in our own strength, much like Superman’s assumption that based on his current strength, he could handle whatever was in the lead case. Only after opening their “lead case” did Abram and Sarai realize their weakness and the danger it caused. Though God cared for Ishmael, Ishmael’s descendants are trouble for Israel to this day. 

In addition to fasting, praying, and reading, we must recognize evidence of the change in seasons – both natural and spiritual.  Abram and Lot’s herdsmen were fighting over grazing rights in a pasture and this was an apparent signal that it was time for them to part. I am not saying the natural evidence supersedes the spiritual. Please judge natural events through the Holy Spirit and the Word of God. At times, however, the natural senses given us by God can also clearly reveal His will. A spiritual evidence of a new season can be updated instructions from God, a shift in the tone of God’s messengers and ministry gifts, or a prophetic event foretold in Scripture. Ignoring these evidences can frustrate our pursuit of God’s vision because in doing so we find ourselves running in fur coats in the summer, shivering in bikinis during the winter, or naked in a rain storm.  

Let’s try some other examples. It is well for me to know the vision for my child to prophesy; however, am I seeing that s/he is currently battling fear and gluttony? Have I noticed a shift in the Spirit calling for a new group of teachers and influencers in his/her life? More importantly, am I seeing the need to end certain groups of teachers and influencers in my life because of a shift in the Spirit? Let’s suppose that in one season of my life, prayer was sufficient for breakthrough and deliverance. If I find that breakthrough is no longer coming, could it be because I’m now in a season when I need to fast? “Seeing” knows the vision is for an appointed time. Don’t lose sight of anything God has shown you nor anything God has given you. All of it is important and a part of His destiny for you.

God gave me a vision for my household which I accepted and communicated only to see great harm come to my family. I was not “seeing” and being alert in the natural or in the spiritual. Breathing a sigh of relief, I had checked off "setting the vision for my family" from my spiritual to do list. Later, when the vision came under great testing, I nearly lost complete sight of the vision along with the will to please God through its doing. I was blind to the natural signs of a need to be more intentional in managing our finances, removing harmful associations, and maintaining my home. I was blind to the spiritual signs of decay in my relationship with God, my fellow laborers, and my family. I was blind to the degeneration of my sexual needs into vile and inordinate lust. I was blind to the natural evidence of my wife’s feeling spiritually uncovered and alone. I was blind to the need for spiritual warfare combined with Biblical instruction for myself and my eldest daughter who, though gifted, was under intense attacks that were planting doubt and fear deep into the recesses of her mind – but I couldn't see that she needed to see the demonstration of Godly love and affection from her father in her life. 

But the vision God gave me was and is grand! Had I not with God’s help begun seeing more clearly, I would have perished. At one point during my journey, I opened a door not for me in the form of a business deal. It brought me disappointment and great harm for which I subconsciously blamed God, and which in turn led to mistrust and blindness. But foundational to faith is belief and trust in God being who He says He is [Hebrews 11:6] and that He intends to fulfill the promises He has made to man. To lack faith is to lack the ability to see from a distance.

“In view of all this, make every effort to respond to God’s promises. Supplement your faith with a generous provision of moral excellence, and moral excellence with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with patient endurance, and patient endurance with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love for everyone. The more you grow like this, the more productive and useful you will be in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But those who fail to develop in this way are shortsighted or blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their old sins. So, dear brothers and sisters, work hard to prove that you really are among those God has called and chosen. Do these things and you will never fall away. Then God will give you a grand entrance into the eternal Kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” 1 Peter 1:5-10

We must remain patient especially when we feel we are floundering at the promise of God. God is truly at work in the unseen aspects of our lives. 

To bring a vision to pass, God must be involved in our day-to-day seeing just as much as He is involved in birthing the vision. Don’t be over-reliant on yourself, overestimate your strength or underestimate your enemy’s. “Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall.” (1 Corinthians 10:12) Failure to heed natural and spiritual signs can lead to poor preparation which in turn leads to disappointment and loss.

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<![CDATA[Couple's Therapy]]>Tue, 23 Jul 2013 03:09:09 GMThttp://www.realgodlylove.com/read-more/couples-therapyBy Malaika Wells
God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the middle of the sea; Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof. Selah. Psalm 46:1-3
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I am repentant because of you today.
Asking God to forgive my focus on things temporal – 
Circumstances that befall us,
Taking my mind off of thankfulness,
Leading me into negligence.
If you don't know or have been given cause to doubt,
I'm asking you, too, forgive me.
I'm fully persuaded, committed, and devout.
I'm getting whooped, baby, right along with you and it's hard,

But now is the time to play the FAITH card. 
That super trump move that beats all others –
“It's OVER!”
We declare as
Wife, husband,
Friends, lovers,
Sister, and
Brother…

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<![CDATA[Lessons for Couples from Philippians]]>Thu, 11 Jul 2013 04:24:03 GMThttp://www.realgodlylove.com/read-more/lessons-for-couples-from-philippiansBy Andrew Wells
Therefore if there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion, make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose. Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. Philippians 2:1-4
♫Love and marriage, oh, love and marriage! ♫ 

We want our actions to make a difference in our families and with our spouses. 

In sales, there is a concept called the “1:1 close ratio.” It is a salesperson’s ability to turn every prospective buyer into a consumer of the product they’re selling. They “close” the deal by shutting down all of the buyer’s resistance to making the purchase. However, the idea of the 1:1 closing ratio is an ideal; it’s the exception and not the rule. In our relationships, we want each of our actions, in every encounter, to have the maximum effectiveness and impact on our spouse. For every nugget of wisdom, for every kind gesture, we want one-to-one gratitude. We want immediate gratification – every kindness paid in kind. However, if a salesperson equates success only with a 1:1 close ratio, and they engage the sales process with the attitude that the customer’s needs are less important than their own, then that salesperson will become easily frustrated, and more willing to employ a “win at any cost” mindset and use aggressive sales tactics.
 
I propose we meditate on and apply Philippians 2 to the glory of God in our relationships. The Apostle Paul opens with an exhortation in the form of a question. The New King James Version reads like this, “…if there is any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and mercy…” In other words, if there be any comfort it is found in/as a result of God’s love. He then gives as one of his commands to the church at Philippi, “Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus...” 

Paul’s admonition is that we not be motivated by compensation for our time, neither by rewards, or esteem others only when our needs are met. We are tasked to be motivated simply by the desire to honor God and bring joy to our spouse. (Adopting this attitude is easier when you don’t keep track of AAAALLLL your “good deeds!”) We must hold our spouses in higher regard than we hold ourselves, think of them as better than ourselves, exalt them, adore them, and promote them. To do this, you must lower yourself; diminish your accolades, accomplishments, and your need to hear continuous praise. Our egos often get in the way of being selfless, as the need to be appreciated masks the need to feed a massive ego. By definition, ego involves a person’s sense of self (self-worth) and those senses can be deceptive because our senses can become dull to the foul-looking or foul-smelling aspects of our own character. 

Reasoning from our sense of self (flesh) tells us that our needs are reasonable to promote and protect a healthy self-esteem. In actuality, we could be making insatiable demands that are spiritually, emotionally, and physically draining our spouses. Humility at personal cost is the attitude that Christ had, being God; He humbled himself as a man and obeyed the Father to the point of death. When we deny ourselves, we don’t expect gratification (though it often comes), but rather we expect to be a blessing. That is the soul-satisfying shift that will leave you fed, full, and satisfied because the promise for us as believers is that if we hunger and thirst for what is right, then we will be filled. 

On the other hand, feeding an ego is a soul-sapping activity that we drag others into and still the job never gets done because our egos are a bottomless chasm of need founded on perceptions borne of flawed senses which are subject to fluctuations. Esteem based on God’s love is the fuel for selflessness. If there be any consolation of love is indeed a question, but the answer is still, “Yes!” If we understand who God says we are and truly accept – not comprehend, but accept – how much He loves us, then we are continually nourished by His love as we pour out our love on our spouses. Because God’s love and His essence are inexhaustible, we are assured of being refilled after pouring out. God help us to esteem others more highly than ourselves and to strip our egos down in favor of God-fueled esteem, and may our spouses be the recipients of greatest honor and regard in our relationships. Amen.

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<![CDATA[Make Your Mark]]>Wed, 12 Jun 2013 14:14:03 GMThttp://www.realgodlylove.com/read-more/june-2013bby Malaika Wells
"According to the accepted definition, milestones are constructed to provide reference points along the road. This can be used to reassure travelers that the proper path is being followed, and to indicate either distance traveled or the remaining distance to a destination." 
"You are altogether beautiful, my love; there is no flaw in you."  Song of Solomon 4:7

One day, on that rare occasion when my husband and I get a chance to have a kids-free day (those of you with children understand this!), we went to the park with two bottles of cold spring water and the Bible. I didn't know what he had planned. When we got there, we strolled around for a while holding hands, making small talk, and enjoying the silence and scenery. After a while we settled on a bench in a shady spot. Andrew opened the bible to the Song of Solomon and began reading.

If you’ve never explored that particular book of the Bible, it is eight chapters of beautiful, passionate verse. It’s lush, mysterious, and sensual. It’s in the Bible! When we finished those eight chapters, we sat on the bench just letting the words and images soak into our spirits. Then we began to share with each other what the Lord had revealed to us through those passages. We got a vision of our marriage through God’s eyes – vital, pleasurable, rich, enduring, demonstrative, and worthy of careful tending. Our bond was strengthened and supported by the understanding we gained that day through the sharing of God’s word with one another.

It was and remains for me a perfect moment – a mountaintop experience.  Nothing could have been added to make it better and there was nothing that detracted from its excellence. We need these moments in our marriages and we need to remember them. They are touchstones that take us through the valleys and remind us that God is good and faithful, that his loving kindness endures forever. My husband calls them milestones or “mile markers.” 

According to the accepted definition, milestones are constructed to provide reference points along the road. This can be used to reassure travelers that the proper path is being followed, and to indicate either distance travelled or the remaining distance to a destination.
   
Because the Lord has encouraged and equipped us to forgive like he does (Micah 7:19), the mile markers we make in our marriages don’t look like the world’s. We don’t have to remember, document, and cross-reference every hurt and offense we receive at the hands of our spouses, or every time we were disappointed by them or felt let down. Instead, our milestones mark the victories we win when we work together to accomplish our goals, when we reconcile after giving and receiving deep wounds, when we fast and pray together to get a word from the Lord, and when we share special times of peace and togetherness. When we mark these types of milestones, we are reassured that we are on the right path – together. We are reminded of how far we’ve come from where we used to be and we find the strength to keep going.

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<![CDATA[Declare D-Day on the Tension Between You and Wifey]]>Fri, 07 Jun 2013 02:07:14 GMThttp://www.realgodlylove.com/read-more/june-2013by Andrew Wells
Faith is our air support. It is the “just in case they breach our defenses” failsafe – your hope in God for reconciliation is that much needed air support.  It is there to stamp out stray attackers, and ensure victory.
Today marks the 31st anniversary of “D-Day,” or the first day of the invasion of Normandy. At that time, Hitler's armies controlled most of mainland Europe; and the Allies knew that a successful invasion of the continent was central to winning the war. The invasion of Normandy was to be an airborne assault shortly after midnight and an amphibious landing of infantry and armored divisions off the coast of France at 6:30 a.m. The Allied commanders reasoned that deceptions would be required to confuse the enemy thereby allowing the mainland invasion of Normandy to be a tactical surprise. The function of the deceptions were to make Hitler believe the attack was coming from somewhere else so that he would fortify the wrong areas and leave the Allied’s main target less fortified.
 
Just like Hitler controlled most of mainland Europe, lasting tension between you and your spouse will dominate the atmosphere of your home. It will impact communication on important decisions and decision-making, parenting, intimacy, domestic scheduling, and your attitude both inside and outside of your home, which can impact your interpersonal relationships and business. And just like the Allied forces knew that doing nothing wouldn’t make Hitler go away, we must realize the same.  Doing nothing about the tension in our homes and the conflict behind it will do nothing to dissipate it, but will pave the way to more frequent conflicts and costlier consequences. And the longer the tension persists, the more ground we give to increasing tension and shorter tempers – causing us to lose ground to the enemy and potentially lose the war. 

So get strategic. You’ve got to know the battle. The Allied Forces knew where they had to win the victory, so other skirmishes were, in comparison, less important. They weren’t focused elsewhere. Sometimes we don’t know where total victory is so we win battles that don’t give us ultimate victory, then we get frustrated because the tension we want gone still exists even though we celebrated a victory. For example, having a pleasant conversation, studying the bible and praying together, having an argument-free outing with the children, and resuming sexual intimacy seems like a win, but then we’re shocked when we realize the tension hasn’t really gone away.
 
So we have to determine – what is the mainland? Is it money? Is it disciplinary methods? Is it spiritual leadership? Is it natural leadership? Conflicts concerning money are usually symptomatic of a trust issue somewhere. Poor or non church attendance and lack of spiritual disciplines are symptoms of a greater issue – lack of spiritual leadership. Runaway expenses, frivolous purchases, emotional abuse, brutality, and extreme leniency are symptomatic also to lack of trust, poor spiritual direction, and poor leadership skills.

Once you’ve identified your mainland issue, it’s time to implement the strategy. On D-Day, they attacked from the air and from the sea. There were even aircraft ready to provide air support. We likewise must attack from multiple fronts – via prayer, praise, faith, and intentional action.
 
Prayer opens your mind, and the lines of communication between you and the Lord. Prayer also attacks the will of the flesh (ego) and the spiritual forces that are set against you. 

The Allied Forces used deception to make Hitler believe the battle was somewhere it was not…in other words he was confused. We can use praise to confuse the spiritual forces set against us, as well as weaken the power of our egos and our spouses’ egos by confusing the target. During a conflict, a volley of negative exchanges will fortify areas of tension. If you respond in kind to all of your wife’s negative responses, your wife may respond in kind, and peace will never be had that way. The Bible says a kind word turns away wrath. If we respond counter what our ego dictates, the enemy, who can’t read your mind, thinks his attack is no longer effective and your wife has the wind taken out of her sails. 

Faith is our air support. It is the “just in case they breach our defenses” failsafe – your hope in God for reconciliation is that much needed air support.  It is there to stamp out stray attackers, and ensure victory.

Finally, D-day was a declared military (intentional) action with scheduled activities and deadlines. In the same way, we must make clear and definitive plans on how we are going to attack the tensions in our homes. Whether it’s dates for counseling, prayer meetings with accountability partners, or discussion with your wife, conclude each activity with next steps and ways to measure accomplishment. The attack on Normandy happened at hours of rest – 12:30 a.m. and 6:30 a.m.  In the same way, we may have to use the same type of sneak attack on our wives. Elicit the help of friends or family to plan a surprise – whether it’s time away or merely time alone. Our wives may expect many things from us, but during a tense time, a coordinated get away, get alone and get along will not be expected. During this time, don’t drown your problems in chocolate, wine, or fine food, but be sure to dedicate some time to examining communication, redefining boundaries, reminiscing on pleasant memories, and planning for a future spent together.

We don’t want to reignite passion – we want to build a relationship that is passionate. Because if we are passionate about the important areas of our lives (our wives being foremost), it will flow passion into everywhere else, including in the marriage bed.

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<![CDATA[December 2012]]>Sun, 02 Dec 2012 06:47:36 GMThttp://www.realgodlylove.com/read-more/december-2012Highlighted here are excerpts from the Hallmarks of a Godly Marriage
written by Dr. Keith Sherlin of Essential Christianity Ministries. (www.essentialchristianity.com)
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The Woman’s Check List for a Spiritual Head, Pt. 2:

by Dr. Keith Sherlin
Essential Christianity Ministries

Can he teach you biblical truth in word and in deed? A godly man will love
Scripture. Let me state this even more emphatically. If a person does not love
the Bible, which is the perfect reflection of Christ Jesus, then he does not
love the Lord and he will certainly not love you the way you desire, or should
be loved. A man of God will love to study the word with [and without] you. He
will love to see you learn biblical truth. He will enjoy learning Scripture so
he can in turn put into practice with you his knowledge and newly discovered
truth. If a man does not make it a habit of spending time in prayer and in Bible
study with you, he is unfit to wed and will not be a good lover for you.

(Warning: Women, do not marry a man that does not love to spend time in prayer 
and in the Word. You will miss the great joy of having a spiritual companion. I
know too many women today who cry because they have not obtained full intimacy
with the love of their lives as the man was not willing to become spiritually
intimate with them. This is so important it even affects the sex life of a
couple. Studies have shown that a couple that worships and prays together have a
much better sex life with one another. Avoid men who will not pray and study the Word with you!)
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