"The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the LORD's favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion — to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair."~from ISAIAH 61 Bible verse for this Blog

APOLOGY to READERS who followed a SEARCH to HERE & didn't find it

On July 18, 2017, I drafted almost 3000 blog posts that I had published since 2008 when I began blogging, rather than edit each one. So if you clicked here from somewhere else and ended up with the post unavailable or error, I am sorry but this is why. It'd be too much work for me to go back and fix them. There's an explanation on 7/19/17 as I'm still learning.

Tuesday, July 26, 2022

Strong Marriages ... part 1

"Strong Marriages are Good for Everyone"  is part 2 of Pastor Rick Warren's Daily Hope message on "Fighting for an Awesome Marriage". I read and reread & listened to this, and I am the least likely person to write or comment on Marriage - strong or otherwise, even though I have been in this RELATIONSHIP for 50 years & as a marriage, it will be 46 years. Sufficient to know or I still really do not know, yet I wonder how many marriages are like this. As I read Pastor Rick's daily message email, I had many thoughts to insert as comments, so I decided to do so in a blog post. If you have not read or listened to pastor Rick's message, I suggest you do that first in full context before continuing to read here. 

I will start out with what the image says that "God uses marriage to perfect your character" {... ain't that the truth?} (lol) However, I would like to rephrase this quote to include all RELATIONSHIPS that God uses each one to perfect your character in some way - not only in marriage. Pastor Rick has done a great job in including and pointing out how other relationships do also. And I agree - that in every stage, single to married, God will and can use other people to build your character. Clearly, all relationships impact your character to the good or not, build or destroy parts of your character. This I know from a lifetime of experiences! So this quote strikes me even more -

"If you get married, no relationship will have a greater impact on your life."

Pastor Rick has so many good points in such a short message!

It's at this point, I will leave his main message and ask what came to me ... if "Strong Marriages are Good for Everyone" then, if or when you do not have a "strong marriage" and it is lacking or weak, this would mean that this is not good for everyone (and as Pastor Rick mentioned briefly in his second paragraph ... "When marriages and families weaken, cultures decline.") In fact, he does write before this that ...

"Throughout history, marriage has been the fundamental building block of every society and culture. When marriages have been strong, nations have been strong. ..."

This is my concern, looking at the world (our nation) {and even personally at my lifelong marriage that has not been "strong" (healthy, functional)} we have not done well in building strong marriages and families, or passing on an example to follow. Currently, we are witnessing the destruction in our nation. We have not been a very good example in showing how to love.{sadly not even in the church} Relationships are so interconnected, and yet we have still not stopped being selfish or show that we realize it's not all about us, as Pastor Rick wrote about "maturity" (5th paragraph). What we need to know and show is how to love and serve rather than be self-serving, as far too many are right now in our country. And it starts at home, in our families and relationships built.  This is why we fight. But we need to be fighting to build - not tear down. (Ecclesiastes 3)

Building or Fighting for an Awesome Marriage is "fighting the good fight",       
(1 Timothy 6:12) not the kind that is stirring all around us. We have forgotten how to love as Jesus, to be inclusive rather than divisive, or exclusive, we've forgotten the basics of love. (1 Corinthians 13) Our character is lacking. I'm thankful for the good people that have good character. The problem is that we see too many lacking good, strong character and morale fiber. We need to develop and grow up much better than we are doing or showing to others, whether it's our spouses or our families or our communities or the world. Fighting, does not just mean in a physical, violent way (as we see far too much of this in society nowadays) ... it can also mean to struggle to endure; putting forth a determined effort (we need more of this)! 

* My marriage may not be strong, but it is a RELATIONSHIP of 2 strong-headed individuals (God is breaking that in at least one of us that surrenders to Jesus daily). Back in the mid 80s, I fought for ReBuilding our marriage in a small group called ReBuilders, but you can't rebuild alone, at least I couldn't. I fought hard for my marriage early on, because I wanted (needed) to prove to my parents it would work (pride - broken) and then later delivered from my rebellion to my father (& asked for his forgiveness). I fought hard in the 80s for my marriage because we were blessed to be able to adopt two siblings of 3 and they deserved a home with two parents and a family. I was determined (pride) to make wrong - right. Years later, I gave up. I was tired of the unhealthy control. I surrendered (but not to my spouse) to God. Again I was determined to be free, Spirit-controlled, yet I must not have done that right either. It's been a continual daily surrender, to crucify myself to allowing God to work. Some days, I succeed, some days not ... really I should say, some days, God succeeds with me. (sigh) That old flesh takes long to die. I left (ran away) from what I could no longer deal with and returned later. However, the situation and the marriage has still not healed. I gave up fighting for something that really never should have been. I repeatedly have asked for forgiveness, yet have found & received only God's. I live continually paying the consequences for a very wrong choice and decision, made for a lifetime, but with many transgressions. I press on, trying to do my best, but that will only happen when I allow the Holy Spirit to control and help me daily. Not on my own, not by sheer will or determination. I need God and God's wisdom each day and his direction.*

 These final words of wisdom from Pastor Rick would benefit all of us to heed:

"If you’re married, the number one tool that God uses in your life to build Christ-like character is your spouse. Every day you get hundreds of opportunities to think about the other person instead of yourself."

"Excel in showing respect for each other so that you grow to be more like Christ. It will lead to a stronger relationship for you and a stronger society for everyone."

Let us learn to strengthen 


with more of the

Character of Christ!

Too many of us have forgotten -

Jesus Christ is gentle, compassionate, kind!


as HE GAVE HIS LIFE for us

completely selfless!

I need to learn how to build a strong marriage, one with the character like Christ, but marriage takes two working together. Or else it doesn't work, it just exists.

God is not finish, please say a prayer.

And DAY 2 of Awesome Relationships by Rick Warren at You Version 
has a very valuable devotional with great insights to
"Be Courageous in Your Relationships"

* returned and added this part *


  1. JULY 25, 2022 Fighting For an Awesome Marriage – Part 1 From Awesome Relationships 2022 Regardless of whether you’re married or single, the Bible says that everyone should give honor to marriage. In this broadcast, Pastor Rick teaches several reasons why marriage matters.

    JULY 26, 2022 Fighting For an Awesome Marriage – Part 2 From Awesome Relationships 2022 God created marriage for many reasons: to connect men and women, to protect children, and to reflect our union in Christ. Learn more reasons why God created marriage in this message by Pastor Rick.

    JULY 27, 2022 Fighting For an Awesome Marriage – Part 3 From AWESOME RELATIONSHIPS 2022 In a society that doesn’t support marriage and actually encourages people to walk out on their marriage, God wants you to fight for your marriage. Join Pastor Rick as he continues to teach about awesome marriages.

    {one more part on Awesome Marriages, but today's email 7/27 moved ahead to Awesome Families ... but Love Build Relationships certainly goes together with Marriages & Families

  2. "Love Builds Relationships" is Day 3 in the YouVersion plan

    Love Builds Relationships

    It’s an amazing dilemma we have as human beings: We long to be close to others, but we also fear being close. We long to experience intimacy with others, but we’re also scared of it.

    Fear and insecurity prevent intimacy within relationships. You can’t get close to someone else if there’s fear in the relationship. If insecurity undermines your relationships, then what will build them up?

    The answer is love. The Bible says, “Love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love” (1 John 4:18 NLT).

    How does love expel all fear?

    Love takes the spotlight off you and helps you focus on the uniqueness of others. People often ask me, “Do you ever get nervous when you’re talking to so many people at Saddleback Church?” The answer is, “Of course!” But you know what keeps me from being fearful? Love! It helps me focus on the people in front of me, instead of getting absorbed in my own insecurities and fears. The minute I start thinking about how much I love my church family and how we serve God together, the fear disappears.

    It’s the same in any relationship. Let love help you focus on the other person, and that will drive your fear out of the relationship.

    The moment you begin to understand how much God loves you, you’ll realize you don’t have to prove yourself anymore. You don’t have to spend your life trying to impress other people, because you already know that God loves you.

    Your identity and self-worth are not caught up in what others might think of you. When you’re secure in your relationship with Christ, you’re no longer pressured by anybody else’s expectations. God’s love frees you to love others fearlessly. And because of that, you can live a free and fulfilling life.

    Talk It Over

    What insecurities or fears keep you from opening your life and heart to someone, whether it’s your spouse, a friend, or a family member? How can you trust God’s love and release your fears?

    In what ways does our culture fuel insecurity in our relationships?

    What do you think God sees when he looks at you? Ask him to show you this week just how much he loves you.

    This devotional © 2019 by Rick Warren. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

  3. Day 2 Be Courageous in Your Relationships
    When we’re full of fear and anxiety, we can’t get close to others. We’re afraid of being rejected, manipulated, vulnerable, hurt, or used. All of these fears cause us to disconnect.

    This struggle is as old as Adam and Eve. After they sinned, God came looking for them, and Adam told God, “I was afraid, and I hid.” People have been hiding ever since then. We’re afraid, so we don’t let people know what we’re really like. If they see behind our mask, they’ll see the truth, and if they don’t like it, we’ll feel hurt and rejected. So we pretend to be someone or something that we’re not.

    Fear does three terrible things to relationships. First, it makes us defensive. We’re afraid to reveal ourselves. When people point out our weaknesses, we retaliate or defend ourselves.

    Second, our fears keep us distant. We won’t let people get close to us. We want to withdraw and hide our emotions. We don’t want to be transparent and honest.

    Third, our fears make us demanding. The more insecure we are, the more we attempt to control everything. So we try to have the last word in a relationship. We try to dominate. These are always symptoms of fear and insecurity.

    Where do you get the courage to be transparent and honest, so you’ll experience deeper relationships with others? You get it from God’s Spirit in your life. Paul tells us in 2 Timothy 1:7, “The Holy Spirit, God’s gift, does not want you to be afraid of people, but to be wise and strong, and to love them and enjoy being with them” (TLB).

    When you’re filled with God’s Spirit, you’ll be more courageous in your relationships. You’ll have a deeper love for others, which also means you won’t be afraid to be yourself around them. The Bible says, “God is love” and “Love casts out all fear.” The more of God you have in your life, the less fear you’ll have in your relationships.

    Start deepening your relationships by doing this: Pause, pray, and say, “God, give me the courage to take the first step.”

    Talk It Over
    Identify one relationship where you need to ask for God’s help to take the first step toward intimacy. Commit to doing what God tells you to do.

    What are specific ways you can know God better so that you have less fear?

    Why is vulnerability so important in deepening a relationship?
    This devotional © 2019 by Rick Warren. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

    1. This is the one I find INVALUABLE! Thanks (Pastor Rick Warren)

  4. My addition * is kinda a True Confession, but it's the truth capsulized as best I can and a glimpse into why my marriage to an unbeliever yet to believe (I hope & pray) is not good, strong, healthy, etc. however with Jesus ... it might have been different and definitely such a constant struggle. Wrong can never be made right, but it can be forgiven & redeemed by Jesus Christ, washed by His blood and to God, forgotten, but we (humans) are left to our own demise to suffer the consequences. Sometimes those are allowed by God to teach us & help us, but sometimes they are a human's revenge or constant reminder of the wrongs (against what 1 Cor. 13 love says "keeps no record of rights or wrongs") to keep us in the pit - the rut of unforgiveness (or attempt to punish). May God forgive each of us. God is LOVE! His love is perfect and casts out all fear! God forgives & forgets, once we confess, repent and follow Him & His way - Jesus! Hallelujah!

    1. typo ... should read ... definitely NOT such a constant struggle

  5. Amen! Such rich truth in these words....will the core thought being "we've forgotten the basics of love." Lord, help us remember....and respond! KT


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