Marry Someone You Like NOT Just Someone You Love

coupleThe crazy thing about love is it feels just right. That is until two kids later, a messy house, an overworked husband and a bad hair day. Feelings change and the subject of love is being defined in a myriad of make believe scenarios until it has become hard to really recognize it. If you follow the movie trail you simply run into someone in the rain, he covers you with his umbrella, you fall in love and magically you love each other until a major breakup. Have you ever noticed how two happily married people can become two unhappy, angry, bitter and divorced people? We could define “love” but the false images of exploding emotions and raging hormones are embedded in the minds of many youth and much easier for them to understand. But love is too passing for many, no concrete but fluid. There must be a better way to describe what real love looks like – so, here it is:

Marry someone you like NOT someone you love. Since emotions lie and feelings change, ask yourself this question, do I really like them? The sage advice of Amos still rings true, Can two walk together, except they be agreed?

HONEST? Are they transparent? Are they hiding something? Do you feel uneasy around them? Is holding secrets their big game plan? Honesty between a couple is real love and if you don’t like them holding back pertinent information then how will it be a few years into marriage?

TRUST? This is different. Would you trust him with your sister? Would you trust her with another guy? Do you trust them with money? Small areas of mistrust often grow into large areas of mistrust. Do you like the way he or she is when you are not around?

ANGRY? What ticks them off? Do they get angry easily? Have you seen levels of impatience that you don’t like? Are they calm, cool and collected or angry, anxious and agitated? Will this explosive character follow you into marriage? Give them time to change without a long term commitment and be sure and marry someone you like.

CARE? How do they treat others? Do they show concern for the hurting? Are they considerate? Is he a gentleman? Are they selfish, proud or cruel? He may look like a hunk now but how will he treat you when you are sick? She may be beautiful on the outside but is she hospitable, loving and caring?

PRAY? Are they leaning in towards God or withdrawing from God? Do you pray together? Are dates a “touchy, feely” date or an opportunity to find out more about each other’s spiritual growth and stamina? Do you know what her convictions are? Do you know what he believes?

Find out if you like the guy or girl you’re with before you fall in love.

 

Copyright by Jim Laudell. Materials may not be copied, reproduced or distributed without the written permission from the author. You may share on Facebook, Twitter, and other forms of social media while giving credit to the author. This post should not be construed as medical, legal or counseling advice.

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What I Know About Problems

Your problem may not be a problem

Your problem may seem bigger than it is

Your problem may not be your problem

Your problem may not take as long as you think it will

Your problem may add something to your life rather than subtract

Your problem may be a miracle in disguise

Everyone has problems

God cares about your problems

Achieve Your Goals This Year

Goals like resolutions are often broken without the intended results we wished for – I know, I have done the same thing only to feel guilty and disappointed in myself. However, last year’s goals were beat beyond my expectation and create a greater confidence in God and my purpose in life. Whether jogging, writing, blogging, dieting, prayer, spiritual growth or business projections, you CAN do it.

Here are some of the tools I use frequently in setting goals:

Write Each One Down Writing down your goals is essential in “fleshing out” your dreams. Placing your goals on paper builds a system of checks and balances.

Develop a Bull’s Eye Be specific. Be focused. You may have to rewrite your goals, as I have done, they can’t be general, for instance, “write a blog” may be better stated, “write on my blog twice a week.” A goal must be “zeroed in on” if you are to be satisfied with the results.

Collect Pictures Gather pictures (I call them “visual reminders”) to consistently remind me of the goals I created and the hopes of accomplishment. Place them in a prominent position so you can view them frequently.

Build a Theme This has been a huge plus for me in accomplishing my goals. For instance, my theme this year is “APPROPRIATING.” Simply appropriate my dreams into life settings. Having a scripture underneath my theme is a double positive, my scripture this year is, “Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you.”

Evaluate Often Check your goals often, don’t be disappointed if you didn’t accomplish one goal or two, I have set 18 Health, Reading, Praying, Living, Family and Financial goals this year, There will be many I accomplish, hopefully all of them but realistically some may fall by the wayside.

Do the Little Ones First You can build momentum to the larger ones by accomplishing the little goals first. I usually read my Bible, read my devotional, read a chapter in a book, pray, write in my blog, exercise and more; by 8:00 in the morning I have already accomplished half of my 18 annual goals. However, here is a caution, don’t be so mesmerized by the small goals accomplished that you’re not spurned on to the larger goals.

Don’t be Afraid of Baby Steps Some goals take longer, so I must be incremental, in other words, steps must be set to each goal, “How will I reach the goal?” For blogging, I set ten to twenty minutes to write so I can have two posts a week, maybe I write in the morning, maybe a little in the afternoon, but I stair step to the goal rather than take giant steps. Don’t be afraid to jog .5 miles for two or three months. Add 10% growth to your accomplishment the next month.

Pray About It Purpose in life is God-given and goals develop purpose in my life. It is reasonable to pray about the life I am living in God’s purposes.

Memorize Scripture This is something I stumbled upon to be honest. My wife and I decided to memorize together Psalms 91, not only did it erase fear but it placed our mind and spirit in a different frame of mind. Sharpen your mind by memorizing and meditating on the Word of God.

Celebrate Accomplishment When some goals have been accomplished I will go to a coffee shop, take my iPad and just savor the moment. Goals can’t be driven 24/7 – you must find time to think, relax and enjoy.

Comment: What system do you use to accomplish your goals?

Copyright by Jim Laudell. Materials may not be copied, reproduced or distributed without the written permission from the author. You may share on Facebook, Twitter, and other forms of social media while giving credit to the author. This post should not be construed as medical, legal or counseling advice.

The Ephesians Six Husband

prayerSome friends of ours celebrated their Fiftieth Wedding Anniversary recently. Friends, family and acquaintances gathered to celebrate their lifelong commitment to each other. If you were to ask her how the blushing bride did it, she would gladly reply, “I prayed for my husband every day.”

Of all the qualities of my wife, I am most appreciative of my wife’s one most important task, she prays for me.  She daily prays for me. Not only have I felt her prayers but I have seen the answer to her prayers frequently. My wife has a unique prayer pattern, she prays for me to become an Ephesians Six Man. She takes each verse and prays every aspect into my life. It is interesting to note the Armor of God follows the discourse on marriage; it isn’t difficult to believe it is intentional.

Ephesians 6:13-18  Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;

Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;

She visualizes placing the armor of God upon me each day. She prays the following according to Ephesians 6:

Armor “God will strengthen my husband to be able to stand against adversity and stand firm in the face of opposition.”

Loins Girded “God will always reveal truth to my husband’s heart and expose fads, false prophets, and foolish tales.”

Breastplate “God will cloth my husband in righteousness and he will live a pure and holy life.”

Feet “His light will shine and my husband will influence many for Jesus Christ.”

Shield “God will enable my husband to resist temptation. Pornography, seducers and illicit women will not appeal to him in any manner.”

Helmet “My husband’s mind will be open to the voice of God and he will be protected from wrong.”

Sword of the Spirit “The Word of God will grow in His life, be evident in his steps and be the love of his life.”

Prayer “Prayer will be my husband’s foremost desire and he will find sweet and precious fellowship in the presence of the Lord.”

Comment: How do you pray for your husband each day? What do you think is the most effective way to pray for your husband?

Copyright by Jim Laudell. Materials may not be copied, reproduced or distributed without the written permission from the author. You may share on Facebook, Twitter, and other forms of social media while giving credit to the author. This post should not be construed as medical, legal or counseling advice.

Raising Our Children to Be Spiritual Champions

Picture1Holding a newborn has always been a challenge, they are so fragile, but holding my newborn shook me to the very core. Even though that sacred moment occurred several years ago the imagery still captures my hearts, A father holding his own baby for the first time and thinking, “Now what?”

My children are grown and raising their own family but I remembering asking, “Now what?” on their first day of school, their teenage years, the moment they brought home someone they “had their eye on.” Contemplating my role as a father has been questioned, oh, not by others, but over and over in my own mind. I read books, I watched how other father’s did it and I even prayed about it, “Dear God, make me a good father.”

Raising children has never been easy and pointing fingers at other’s mistakes in our own self-righteous stance only sets us up for possible failure.

Several things are for sure about parenting:

  • Being a parent is not easy
  • You will make mistakes
  • When your children grow up, they will make their own mistakes.
  • We need God’s help

However, culture in its demoralized state unfortunately has been a chokepoint in the arena of child rearing. Building spiritually aware children and youth takes initiative, action and consistency. Perfectionism isn’t required but daily character reinforcement is required. What we do must be done intentionally and habitually.

Here are Six Habits in Raising Our Children as Spiritual Champions:

Pray Daily With Your Children – nothing, I repeat nothing, has the power to make your child a spiritual champion as prayer does. Praying in the morning with your children, before they leave for school, helps place the right spirit around them. Close the day with prayer and prayer requests, praying one for another.

Ask Questions – have moments of conversation and interaction with your children each day. Inquisitive and investigation are miles apart. Find out what is important to them. Talk about the hard things – friends, sex, dirty words, sexting, and pornography, coupled with God’s biblical design for a holy body, mind, spirit and life.

Involve Yourself In Their Life – What do they like to do? Can their friends come over your house for a pizza party? Take them, don’t just send them, to church camps, outings, and sport events, including hunting, camping and fishing.

Go On Word Adventures Together – Study a subject, theme or passage of scripture together. Make the Word of God exciting to your children. Welcome missionaries and other godly figures into your home. Share God’s Word with your children regularly when you camp together, go on a trip and regularly at night before bedtime.

Cleanse Your Home – Letting something get in their minds through illicit TV programs, vulgar music or movies may take months to root out. Make sure the internet is guarded and your children are warned of predators. Teach your children modesty and self-respect.

Love Them Unconditionally – tell them you love them, frequently and meaningfully. Go throughout the day with a positive word and a hug. Praise them for making a wise choice and doing the right thing.

 

Comment: What advice do you give to parents wanting to raise spiritual champions in their home.

Copyright by Jim Laudell. Materials may not be copied, reproduced or distributed without the written permission from the author. You may share on Facebook, Twitter, and other forms of social media while giving credit to the author. This post should not be construed as medical, legal or counseling advice.

Questions I Ask Before Making A Change

noGrowth and maturity are based on change. So change in a life growth plan is inevitable. To change is to step into tomorrow while holding on to foundational truths of yesteryear but letting go of bygone preferences. Since growth is incremental the decision to change must be the first step. Most of us agree to this point but how do we make personal changes, life changes and organizational changes for the best? The idea of change clashes with the change process. We know we should but how do we bring change to the table in an acceptable manner?

Maybe we should ask five heart searching questions, I ask myself:

Is The Change Necessary? Change for change sake is ridiculous. Change for revenge sake is evil. Change for the sake of finding something new is irrational. So I must ask myself  three intrinsic questions: Am I attempting to become obedient to the Word of God? Is it my desire to follow the promptings of the Holy Spirit? Or, is the change a personal preference?

Is The Change Minor Or Major To Me? Before we ask the question on how it affects others I must ask myself how does this change me? What sacrifices will I need to make? Will it have long-term or short-term effects? How does it affect my family?

How Many People Will The Change Personally Effect? Change has a ripple effect. Will it affect just those around me, my congregation or my community – for the better or for the worse?

What Is The First Step I Must Take To Bring About This Change? Must I make some personal changes first? Is there something I need to begin personally before I make this change public? Am I willing to suffer the consequences?

Have I Prayed About It? No, I mean really prayed about? Haws God-given His stamp of approval? Do you feel the peace of God or do you wrestle with it? Have you asked for the counsel of godly men around you?

If bringing myself to the place of confidence is the first step then bringing others to the place of confidence must be the second step;  I ask others:

Who Is Affected By This Change? I may discover some resistance that I may not have anticipated had I just asked this simple question among my peers or those who circle around me. Not all change will attract all people but all change must attract God’s blessing. A circle around you is imperative to creating change around you.

Do You Understand What Must Die And What Must Live? Have those around you create a checklist of the essentials and the nonessential, list the positives and the negatives, list what lives and what dies? This exercise will cut off unmet expectations and hidden turns in the future.

Do You Understand Why We Are Making This Change? The big why Is more important than the what must change, who must change or when will we change? If the why is not clear then step back and wait.

Have We Prayed About It? Prayer together is the solidifier. Melting together means staying together. Prayer creates an atmosphere for change. If we haven’t prayed then plans, purpose and projects are skeletons of vision resulting in disappointments.

 

Comment: How do you prepare for change?

Copyright by Jim Laudell. Materials may not be copied, reproduced or distributed without the written permission from the author. You may share on Facebook, Twitter, and other forms of social media while giving credit to the author. This post should not be construed as medical, legal or counseling advice.

When Do You Need A Mentor?

Picture1Now – Is the correct answer. Life is better when another set of eyes views the project. Life is better when another heart feels concern. Life is better when another mind has assisted in thinking out the process. Life is better when two carry the load.

A young couple found another couple in their church; this couple had been married about ten years more and had served God since their teens. The young couple heard laughable and insightful stories to encourage them through the bumps in their own marriage.

A pastor was navigating his church through difficult waters, stressful and tired, he and his wife called an older pastor and his wife over for dinner. The evening went quickly and after the older couple left, the pastor’s wife smiled at her husband, “I feel totally refreshed.”

An aspiring writer wanted to put something together but kept hitting rough spots; she called an experienced author and asked if they could meet over coffee. They did and continue to meet – inspiring each other.

A mentor may meet once but most likely will meet several times and often. A mentor is not a counselor but a coach. Not “I have all the answers” but “let’s find the answers.” A mentor doesn’t push but coaxed. A mentor is concerned and you should be honest but a mentor is not a garbage can to put your trash in.

Mentors Coach You To Go To The Next Level. If you wish to grow in a more rapid pace you will need a coach. A true mentor will encourage you to take risks with careful consideration, to spend money frugally, and to make decisions prayerfully.  A wise mentor will not push you to the next level but will persuade you to take the next step.

Mentors Address The Vision. Mentors will dig until your true vision comes to the surface. Mentors will prod until your true feelings are exposed. Mentors ask questions about your vision, your dream and your purpose in life.

Mentors Discover The Path. A mentor will encourage you to take the first step in the right direction. A classroom, a conference, a phone call, a book, may be the right step but a mentor will help you find what the next step is.

Mentors Will Pray With You. A real mentor knows prayer unveils truth, discovers direction, and fills the heart. Compassion is the unique quality of an effective mentor. You may not see them every week but when you do you know it is a God moment. Praying together helps the heart to find its purpose.

Comment: What do you feel is a great characteristic of a mentor? Do you have a mentor?

Copyright by Jim Laudell. Materials may not be copied, reproduced or distributed without the written permission from the author. You may share on Facebook, Twitter, and other forms of social media while giving credit to the author. This post should not be construed as medical, legal or counseling advice.

Creating Unbelievable Respect for the Pastor’s Wife

prayerThe greatest advice my wife has given to Pastor’s wives is to keep your mouth shut during times of conflict and be an encourager to your husband but a Pastor often neglects, ignores or sometimes just doesn’t include his wife into his ministry role.

I remember when I was dating my wife it was important for me to know are you called into the ministry? I knew my ministry and her ministry had to mesh but in my first few years of ministry I had forgotten about her being called into the ministry and pursued my ministry.

Pastor’s wives were never intended to be a shadow but to be the First Lady of the church. She may not desire a position, she may not crave attention, she may not wish to be in front of people but she is created to be respected. You can create respect for the Pastor’s wife by a few simple steps:

Be Her Greatest Fan – Speak frequently of your wife in endearing terms from the pulpit and in public settings. Don’t degrade her but promote her. She doesn’t just raise your kids she is half of your ministry.

  • Applaud her – admire her ambition, her words and her lifestyle and compliment her frequently privately and publicly
  •  Listen to her cautions and advice. She may not know the whole story but her intuition might save you from making a quick and careless decision.

Take Out Point: Respect and honor for your wife is God’s idea

 

Tell Stories or Embarrassing Events ONLY With Her Permission. This is one of the biggest pastoral “no-nos” there is. She doesn’t need the dirty laundry hanging on the line for the whole church to snicker at. She deserves privacy. Transparency behind the pulpit is your transparency not her transparency.

Take Out Point: Respect from the church for the Pastor’s wife begins with the Pastor.

 

Bring Her Along Side of You Build a ministry consciousness around you that includes her in your schedule of activities, ministry functions and counseling avenues. This may not be possible at all times but doing ministry together is fair, functional and fun.

Take Out Point: The church security rests on the relationship of the Pastor and his wife.

 

Answer Her Phone Calls Secretarial calls are to not screen family. Put them through. When she calls – tell the other party it is my wife – answer the phone – tell her you are with someone – listen to her response – finish the conversation with “I love you.” This is a powerful testimony of respect but gives your wife the security she desires when you are with someone else.

Take Out Point: Let those who surround you know your wife comes first.

 

Bring Her Into Your Personal Life Share prayer requests together. You may not be able to tell her the details of a closed-door board meeting but let her know you have to make some stressful decisions and pray about it together. Allow her to be your soul mate.

Take Out Point: The couple that prays together stays together.

 

Comment: How do you let others know you honor your wife?
Copyright by Jim Laudell. Materials may not be copied, reproduced or distributed without the written permission from the author. You may share on Facebook, Twitter, and other forms of social media while giving credit to the author. This post should not be construed as medical, legal or counseling advice.

Four Things a Wife Needs to Know About Her Husband

If you hcoupleave ever questioned your husband’s love, asked him why he wasn’t talking to you, seemed preoccupied or was acting distant you have just entered into manworld. Manworld is reserved, particular and unique. Walk into manworld with me for a few minutes and understand your man.

He Really Does Care.  Husbands Don’t Know How to Say it.

Your husband may be a communicator, speaker, author and move people with his words, comments and posts but when he comes into the arms of his loving wife his mind turns to jello, his spirit melts and his loses his vocabulary. He wants to say I love you a thousand times but it doesn’t sound right. He tries to be romantic but fails, he tries to be interesting and attractive only to trip over his tongue as he endeavors to impress you. He wishes to give you a castle and a prince but settles for a suburban home on a peasant pay scale.

Take Home Point: Even though he is trying to say he cares and jumbles his words – listen to his heart.

 

Your Husband Is Not a Woman. He Shouldn’t Act Like One Either.

Men want to be warriors. A Superman who tries to fix all your problems in life even though all you wanted was a hug. Woman hug – men try to fix it. Women talk out their problems and men sit and think out their problems. Women feel their way through while men try to analyze their way through. Women meet in groups and talk about their problems but men don’t want to talk about it. Ask a man how he feels and he will say, “I’m doing fine,” when the world is falling around him. Ask a woman how she feels and if you are her friend, she will wipe a tear and tell you.

Take Home Point Compliment your husband for the man he is.

 

Husbands Have Feelings. They Don’t Show Their Feelings Much.

Men cry inside. They carry their gripes, complaints, heartaches and disappointments on the inside then explode into a torrent of emotion. No, not all men explode into a raging temper, but sometimes in prayer, sometimes in nonstop paragraphs and at other times they let it out in the exercise room. Men may not show their feelings much but they have feelings. Men have feelings that guard their ego, feelings that are much compressed to protect their image and feelings that are deep.

Take Home Point Be patient and tell your husband you are there when he is ready to express his feelings.

 

Your Husband Loves You. His Expressions of Love are Different than What You Expect.

Just accept it. Believe it! And Know It! He loves you. Be sweet and he won’t be able to resist you. A wife who adores her husband will find a husband who loves in return. He isn’t perfect. He isn’t the richest, best or most successful but he is in love with you. He may need to practice his words, his thoughts and his actions but he is in love with you.

Take Home Point Look into his eyes and tell how much you love him and watch what happens.

 

Comment: What do you know about your husband – how do you let him know you understand him?

Copyright by Jim Laudell. Materials may not be copied, reproduced or distributed without the written permission from the author. You may share on Facebook, Twitter, and other forms of social media while giving credit to the author. This post should not be construed as medical, legal or counseling advice.

Guest Post on Parenting

From For Journey’s Sake, Niki French writes, Today, I am honored to have Jim Laudell, author of several books including his latest Highpoints, to be our guest in our Parenting a La Mode series.  I have known the Laudell family for more than thirty years and have had the privilege of watching their children grow into Godly, productive, a la mode adults.  To find out more, you may read the introduction to this series here or how to receive Summa cum Laude honors in your parenting here.
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Parenting Faux Pas  
(false step) by Jim Laudell
I did something so crazy and I paid for it. While taking a day off from a ministry trip in Cuiaba, Brazil, a few of us took an hour long drive to a waterfall, called in Portuguese, Cachoeira Véu da Noiva (Bride’s Veil Waterfall). While moving around the waterfall I accidentally slipped on the moistened path and slid over the cliff, down nearly 40 feet. I landed on a jutted rock protruding out of the rock face or I would have fallen to my death in the cavern 100s of feet below. I was bloodied and muddied. My clothes were torn but I managed to climb out on the rock face back to a safe landing.
I have tried to watch my steps with much more caution since but my greatest fear of falling wasn’t a cliff in Brazil but right in my own home. Being a father of a beautiful daughter and a remarkable son, making a false step or failure and obstructing their own path were my greatest fear. I didn’t want to mess up in front of my kids, with their watchful eyes and impressionable little hearts desiring to walk right, talk right and live right.
Now my son and daughter are both married with children of their own and here are a few cautious steps for fathers with faltering feet:
Pray With Your Children Daily
Every night before bed we would tell a bedtime story, take prayer requests of needs and pray with them and for them. Sometimes we would pray for the neighbor boy who fell off his bike or for an upcoming test at school, or for a boo-boo on the knee but we took each request seriously and often asked them to pray over the needs. As they grew older we continued our tradition to take every need to God in prayer.
Admit Your Mistakes And Allow Them To Make Mistakes
As a busy pastor, father and writer I made my share of mistakes with my children. Kneeling before them with tears in my heart and a humble heart, asking them to forgive me for my attitude, my stress, my anger or whatever it was usually brought a quick hug and a smile. My children made their mistakes but after correction they usually received a quick hug and a smile too.
Ask God To Help You
For a man to go into a private room; kneel on his knees and ask God, “Help me to be the father you want me to be,” is a life saver and life changer. You may not be perfect but your family isn’t looking for a perfect father but for an intentional father.
Spend Prime Time With Your Family
Prime time is the great reducer. A parent will spend less time in correction when you have spent more time together as a family. The more fun you have together the less problems you will have together. Positive outweighs the negative. When you merit the positive you won’t spend a lot of time and effort enforcing rules to contain the negative. Applaud their greatness with balanced discipline for disobedience.
Lead Them In The Right Direction; 
Don’t Just Point Them In The Right Direction
Mental, physical and spiritual life isn’t instruction as much as example. Children follow patterns more than words. They are classic imitators. To have a good attitude will breed a good attitude. Praise – they will learn to praise. Follow good habits and they will create good habits. Lead them and tell them – you will be happy with the results.
Love Them And Tell Them Every Day
Whether infants, toddlers, elementary, adolescent, or teens, one thing is necessary on a consistent and intentional basis – love. Show them, tell them and express it. For a father the best thing you can do is show your children how much you love their mother. We are a huggy family; we like to hug each other frequently. Even though my son and daughter are grown with children of their own when we go into their house, everyone gets a hug. A heartfelt hug can change everything.
Even though we were not perfect parents we are enjoying the fruit of a life well lived and
my son and daughter are now following these tips with their children.