If He/She Would/Wouldn’t Then…..

If He would just lead me, if She would just quit nagging me! How often we have heard these words or similar statements, husbands and wives offering excuses for disobeying God’s command for Husbands to Love their Wife and Wives to Respect their Husband. God makes it clear in Matthew 5:44 that we are to love our enemies and our spouses are not even our enemies, even if it seems like it at times. If we are to love our enemies it is pretty clear that loving our spouse is a given and it is not to be measured by their performance or how they have treated us in the last 48 hours.

So here is the question, do you use your spouse’s sin as an excuse to avoid living out God’s command for Husbands to love your wife and Wives to respect your husband? Husbands, do you love your Wife the way God commands you to? Loving her like Christ loved the church, sacrificing everything for her, making her well-being of primary importance, and be willing to die to self daily for her. By the way, God is not giving us men a suggestion, it is a COMMAND! Can you, will you do that without any expectations or requirements from her? Wives can you respect your husband even when their actions do not warrant respect (again not a suggestion but a command)? Can you do it out of reverence for God? That is loving like Jesus and you can only love like Jesus if you love Jesus!

What if we as Christians awoke each and every morning with the primary purpose to reveal Jesus Christ to everyone we come in contact with, starting with our spouse and then our kids? Where might that desire come from? Only through an insatiable love of Jesus, is it possible. Jesus makes it clear in John 15:5 that we can do nothing apart from Him. You cannot tap into that power source if you do not know and love Him and you cannot know someone you never talk or listen to. We promise you God will give you the desire for Him if you ask. In fact, we suggest that asking God to help you love Him should be your first prayer each day. 

Jesus is the answer you are looking for to build or rebuild your marriage into the institution God created it to be. You can try every marriage class and conference, read every marriage book written, and go to every counselor you can find but without understanding God’s intent and purpose for marriage, and knowing that your only hope is in Jesus your efforts will be in vain!

Couples we meet with most often share one common denominator and that is a lack of time spent with God. Time worshipping Him, confessing sins, giving thanks, and sharing their hearts with Him. And the biggie is lack of, or in 95% of situations, no time spent in prayer together. 

We recently listened to a video by Jimmy Evans called “God’s Purpose for Marriage” and here are a couple of nuggets we would like you to think about and discuss: Jimmy states………

  • Genesis 3 is not about the fall of man but the fall of marriage!
  • Children are being sacrificed on the ALTAR of one or both parents happiness, or what they believe to be happiness.

Always remember our marriages are meant to Tell the Truth about the Gospel!

Pray Continually,
Mike & Jill

Love Your Kid(s)?, Prove It!

I doubt if there is one parent out there that would not say that they would give up their life for their kid(s). Yes, we love our kids and we would do anything to protect them, or we think we would. From the time they are born we care for them, protect them, nurture them, and guide them. In many instances we overprotect them, give them more than is needed, and maybe spoil them to an extent.

But do we really love them?  Do we really, really love them? I believe we can only prove that in one way, by loving God and loving their Mom/Dad. I am so tired of people, who call themselves Christians, divorcing because they are unhappy or do not feel love for their spouse. On top of that, they often add that it is best for the children (yes, I hear you, there are some circumstances that are extreme, but that is not what I am talking about here). Please do not tell me you love God!  Loving God first and most gives you an ability to love others in an Extraordinary way. It enables you to visualize something much greater than yourself.  Loving God first and then your spouse is the true testament of your love for your kids. Nothing else takes its place, not providing a nice home to live in, buying them nice clothes, taking them on vacations to Disneyland, keeping them fed, making sure they are involved in sports with the latest and greatest equipment, doing whatever possible to make life work.

As parents we can be doing all the things the world thinks is great for our kids.  We might even be taking them to church and have them involved in youth activities at the church.  Those are wonderful things but mean very little if we as parents are not living out our Christianity. The most impactful and best way to do that is by loving God with everything we have. There is no greater opportunity than within the marriage relationship. Our marriages must reveal the truth about God. We must care about what God cares about and obey His directives.  He tells us how important marriage is to Him and He tells us how to do it.

So take some time and really ask yourself if you love your kid(s) with all your heart. The proof is found in your love of the Almighty God and then your spouse. Nothing comes before them, not even your children. That will be the true litmus test of your love for your children. Can you pass this TEST!

Pray Continually,

We Are At a Crossroad

In 1930 86% of all adults were married, today only 46% of all adults are married.  What does that mean for God’s plan for marriage.  If God designed marriage so that it would be a reflection of His love for us.  If our most impactful way to show God’s image and likeness is in the one-flesh union of marriage and now the number of people choosing to marry is declining at a rapid pace are we not further losing that critical picture of Christ’s love for the church (us)?

That precious picture of Christ’s love for us, that is to be modeled by marriage (God’s way) is declining, not only by fewer and fewer people getting married, but sadly by the fewer and fewer marriages that radiate the glory of God.  How many marriages do you know that reflect the attributes of Jesus Christ?

We are at a CROSSROAD!  As Christians we have a duty to not just keep our marriages together but that they truly reflect who God is.  That is a choice we must make, not based on how our spouse has treated us in the last 48 hours.  Our mission is much bigger than our marriage.  As marriages decline the opportunity to display the Serving and Sacrificial traits of Jesus Christ become fewer and fewer.  If those of us that are married continue to portray marriage as unattractive, even ugly at times,  then we are worse than those who make the decision to live together, forsaking marriage as God intended.  Choosing not to get a divorce is not the same as choosing to be married to glorify our King!

Our latest “Fail Proof Your Marriage Conference” brought together people at many different stages of life.  We had couples from their early twenties to late seventies.  There were couples who had been contemplating divorce, couples doing great, in an earthly sense, not thinking about the greater mission that their marriage holds, divorced singles, separated spouses and couples that truly yearn for a marriage that does what God designed it to do.  For two days they took a stand against Satan and his ferocious war he is raging against marriages and the family.  We worry about those who attended and the choices they will make as they return to their homes.

We are at a Crossroad folks, what will you do? 

Pray Continually,
Mike & Jill

Are You Extraordinary?

Are You Extraordinary?

By Mike Guindon

A few years ago God revealed to me the importance of prayer, specifically With, For, and Over my wife.  God told me to do that especially in the middle of conflict, was Extraordinary.  It made me begin to wonder how extraordinary it really was.  So Jill and I began to dig into the prayer lives of people we mentored and during classes we facilitated and seminars we put on.  What we found was that it was rare, it was uncommon, it was truly Extraordinary.

Recently God has put that word “Extraordinary” on my mind again.  This time having to do with being a Christian, one who seeks the narrow road Jesus speaks of.  To be a follower of Jesus Christ, one who truly wants to love Him more than anything else, to care more about my sin than my suffering, is Extraordinary.

According to Webster the definition of Extraordinary is “going beyond what is usual, regular, or customary.  It is being exceptional to a very marked extent.  It is being exceptional in character.”  But it also states that it is “being employed for or sent on a special function or service “(i.e. ambassador extraordinary).

As I look at the definition it seems to me that it defines a true Christian.  Then I ask the question, would anyone that knows me say that I was Extraordinary?  They would say I am a Christian hopefully, but would they say I was Extraordinary?  My fear is that they wouldn’t.

I do know that I cannot be Extraordinary apart from Jesus.  He was and is Extraordinary, I can’t duplicate His greatness but I can try.  Isn’t that what the sanctification process is all about?  To be like Jesus is Extraordinary!

To find that narrow path I have to be Extraordinary.  Matthew 7:13-14, Luke 13:23-25, and Isaiah 35:8 all tell us the road is narrow and few find it.  I have come to realize that you have to be Extraordinary to find it.  We cannot be lukewarm Christians, doing our duty by attending church, serving within the church, and trying to be nice.  We must be exceptional, uncommon, remarkable lovers of Jesus Christ!  What does that look like?

Marriage gives us the greatest opportunity to be Extraordinary, to become more Holy.  We have the chance each and every day to love our spouse the way Jesus loves, sacrificially.  We come face to face daily with our sin of self-centeredness and have to make the decision to do what comes most natural or to put our spouse’s wants and needs above our own.

I feel like I yearn to love Jesus and loves others, but do I really?  Do I crave the narrow road enough to live as a servant?  Do I truly love my wife the way Christ loves the church?  Do I want to be Extraordinary?  The answer is YES, but I do not have the strength or ability apart from Jesus.  May I never forget that, but rather continue to strive to be Extraordinary.  What about you?

Fail Proof Your Marriage

Is it really possible to fail proof your marriage?  Can anything this side of heaven truly be fail proof, especially a marriage where two sinners co-exist together and in many instances have sex and create little sinners?  With a house filled with sinners and Satan working overtime to destroy that family, how is it possible to have a marriage that is fail proof?

What if Jesus Christ was the most important relationship in a husband’s life? What if Jesus Christ was the most important relationship in his wife’s life? So, the bottom line is that there is nothing more important than seeking Him, loving Him, desiring to glorify Him, and being in total surrender to Him and His will.  Both husband and wife care about what He cares about and trust Him no matter what circumstances come their way.

It is a couple centered on a ‘better hope’ instead of a ‘better life’.  The better hope that God promises to those who trust in Him, is to be able to draw close to Him no matter what happens in our lives, and in so doing become more like Christ, which is the goal.

I say it is possible to fail proof your marriage by loving and seeking the One who loves you most.  There is a strength and power that enables a husband and a wife to do uncommon, extraordinary things when their hearts are aligned with His.  A husband can pray with his wife when she is not very inviting.  A wife can show respect to her husband when, by the world’s standards, he is not worthy of respect.  Anger can turn to grace, selfishness to selflessness, pride to humility, and resentment to forgiveness because the love of Jesus flows out of those that are in submission to Him and love Him above all else.

Since our first purpose in marriage is to please God, we are driven to consider this question first, “What will make God happy?”  If He is first and foremost in our lives, we will do anything not to disappoint Him.  We come to understand His design for marriage and that marriage according to God’s design is a perfect depiction of the Gospel.  As Gary Thomas states in Sacred Marriage, “What if God designed marriage to make you holy more than to make you happy?”

Extraordinary Prayer

A few years ago in a North Carolina hotel room, God abruptly awakened me at 3:27 a.m. I know it was that time because the first thing I did was look at the clock!

God immediately made it clear I was to write down these three words: love, obey, and extraordinary. I stumbled out of bed and did as he instructed. Then the Lord told me that if I would love him and obey him, he would do extraordinary things through me. I immediately thought, What do you mean, Lord? What extraordinary things could I do?

I then saw myself at home in my living room, quarreling with my wife, Jill. In the middle of that tension I saw myself walk over, put my arms around her, and pray. God told me that this was extraordinary.

I’ve never forgotten that moment. From that day on, my ability to pray with, for, and over my wife became stronger — not because I love Jill (though I love her very much), but because my love for the Lord enables me to do things I normally couldn’t do.

Praying with your wife when you’re tired, stressed, feeling unloving, or just don’t want to put in the effort is possible only if your love for Jesus is foremost in your life. That love triggers a care for the things God cares about and an ability to do things that are abnormal apart from loving him. God calls those things, those desires, those acts extraordinary.


Why Prayer?

Dennis Rainey, president of FamilyLife, once stated that we need to bring back a popular slogan from the 1950s: “The family that prays together stays together.” If every Christian couple would pray together regularly, says Rainey, our nation would experience a spiritual renewal of historical proportions, including a dramatic drop in the Christian community’s divorce rate.

Couples who pray together enrich and strengthen their relationship. Surveys show that while the divorce rate for Christians is similar to non-Christians, couples who pray together have a divorce rate of less than 1 percent! Prayer forms a bond that is not easily broken. It is the most effective weapon you have against Satan, who comes to steal, kill, and destroy your marriage and family.

Praying with, for, and over your wife should be non-negotiable. Why? Because Jesus tells us to. Although he knows what we need before we ask, he still wants us to ask because it shows our utter dependence on him (Matthew 6:8-13).

Praying with, for, and over your wife should be non-negotiable.

As a husband, you are responsible for the spiritual growth of your wife. Praying with and for your wife unites you spiritually before God at a level he intended. Prayer is the key to everything; it is the “conduit through which all the power and provision of God flows,” according to Bible study teacher and author Jennifer Kennedy Dean.


How to Begin

So how does a man go from never praying for or with his wife to taking the first step? First, it is God’s love that gives you the desire and strength to do it. Spend time with the Lord, getting to know him and learning to love him.

Also, recognize you have an enemy that utilizes all his resources to keep you from doing something that will help your marriage become one that glorifies our mighty Lord and will influence generations to come.

Here are some steps to help you start on what will become a life-changing event.

  • Pray alone for a time.
  • Lie down or sit with your wife, touching her gently while praying silently. When done, say, “Amen” out loud.
  • As you get more comfortable, say a short prayer audibly, maybe two or three sentences.
  • Continue sharing more of your heart with God as you hold your wife.
  • Gradually invite your wife to share her thoughts and prayers as well.
  • Eventually, you and your wife will yearn for that special time with God, sharing your most intimate thoughts, struggles, and triumphs.

Scripture Prayers for Your Wife

Here are some sample prayers to follow:

May (wife’s name) worship you with wholehearted devotion and a willing spirit for you, Lord. Search her heart and understand every motive (1 Chronicles 18:9).

Enable (wife’s name) to obey you with all her heart, soul, strength, and mind (Luke 10:27).

Draw (wife’s name) close to your heart, so that her heart will be filled with you alone to make her pure and true (James 4:8).

I pray that (wife’s name) will trust in you, Lord, with all her heart, to acknowledge you in all her ways, and not to lean on her own understanding. Thereby, you promise to direct her in wise choices (Proverbs 3:5-6).

Enable (wife’s name) to understand and experience how wide and long and high and deep your love really is, so that she may be filled up with all the fullness of God (Ephesians 3:17-19).

Lord, please allow no root of bitterness to grow in (wife’s name) heart that would cause trouble in her relationships (Hebrews 12:15).

Lord, open (wife’s name) mind to see you in the Scriptures and receive your truth. I pray that she will not be conformed to the world, but transformed by the renewing of her mind, so that she will be able to discern and accept your good, pleasing, and perfect will (Luke 24:25; Romans 12:2).

I know that a good wife is worth more than jewels. Help (wife’s name) to mature as a woman of noble character with our family having full confidence in her. Strengthen her to do our family only good all the days of her life. Give her joy as she serves our family with willing and diligent hands in routine chores. Give her wisdom and grace in all business dealings. Develop in her the inward beauty of a quiet and gentle spirit. May she enjoy the respect of others because of the fear of the Lord upon her (Proverbs 31:10-31, 1 Peter 3:4).

Help us both to walk in the light of Jesus, so that we may have unbroken fellowship with you and each other (1 John 1:7). Enable both of us to honor you by submitting to each other (Ephesians 5:21). Give us patience, faithfulness, and encouragement, and help us to live in complete harmony with the attitude of Christ toward each other (Romans 15:5). Keep us both vigilant to guard against any separation of spirit between us.

Let me prize (wife’s name) and love her as Christ loves his bride, the Church, and unselfishly give myself for her so that she might be holy and blameless before you (Ephesians 5:25-28). Teach me how to nurture her and cherish her and treat her respectfully as a joint heir of the gift of life in Christ Jesus, so that my prayers will not be hindered (1 Peter 3:7).

A Note to Wives
Ask your husband to pray for you. Encourage and affirm him when he attempts it. That is being a helpmeet at its finest. Memorize 1 Corinthians 16:13-14 and let this be your guide: “Be on your guard. Stand firm in the faith. Be courageous. Be strong. Do everything in love.” Be aware of where Satan might attack. The Bible is your authority and foundation. Read it, memorize it, and let it penetrate your heart!

Become an inviting wife, through prayer, by putting Jesus on display to your husband. It’s a privilege and a responsibility to go before the Lord on behalf of your husband and pray mightily for him, especially when you do not feel like it! Your husband is not your enemy, Satan is! Fight the right battle through prayer. One of the greatest ways to fight is to pray for, with, and over your husband. Ask him EVERY DAY “How can I pray for you today?” The impact of that very question has the power to reach the depths of your husband’s soul.

It takes courage to pray when you don’t feel like it and when you feel the enemy’s attacks. But you must! Maintain your strength through prayer; it will equip you to forgive, to pursue intimacy, and to persevere. Doing it all in love sums it up!