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Knowledge, inspiration, and encouragement from a Christian perspective is my goal. I post a weekly commentary, which could be about world events or the events of my week. Other days I might share stories, recipes, homemaking tips, book reviews, political talk, biblical truth, or other blogs and websites I like. This blog is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're gonna get.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

CHOOSE YOUR FRIENDS WISELY

By Danelle Carvell

The names in this article were changed to protect identities.

The wrong friends can wreak havoc on your life. I've ended three friendships in the past six years because they were causing me more harm than good. It’s okay to end a friendship if the relationship brings stress to your life. The bible says, “Never turn your back to a friend,” but the key word is friend. True friends are supposed to enrich our lives, not make us miserable.

"The romanticized ideal that friendships should not end or fail may create unnecessary distress in those who should end a friendship but hold on, no matter what," says Jan Yager, PhD, in her book, When Friendship Hurts.

Women can be very competitive. They look for flaws in other women to make themselves feel better. If a woman compares herself to me and always needs to come out on top, she's not a friend. I've learned that insecure women who find joy in my failures do not make good friends. True friends want me to achieve great things, look great, and have the best in life. They're not critical but encouraging. If a friend makes you feel like she's competing with you, she probably is, so step out of her arena and let her find another opponent.

Good friends aren't all about themselves, wanting only to talk about their own lives. They are genuinely interested in the lives of others. Before I ended my friendship with Erica, she drained the life out of me with every conversation. She saw me as nothing more than a dumping ground, a place to unload her stress without caring that I might have some of my own.

False friends are not good listeners. They're so self-absorbed that they miss out on the most rewarding part of friendship--caring for and supporting each other. If you find yourself always being the listening ear or the shoulder to cry on, make yourself unavailable. A friend like that will eat away at your self-esteem. True friends make you feel valued by being empathetic listeners.

Nothing makes me feel more valued than an honest, trustworthy friend. I could tell her the juiciest secret and she won't even be tempted to pass it on. But I've had my trust betrayed many times and I'm much more careful about who I consider trustworthy. 
 
Be careful who you trust with personal information. Don't wear your heart on your sleeve, guard it with your life. Trust must be earned. Friends who like to gossip will be gossiping about you as soon as you leave the room. But a friend with a quiet, gentle nature who tries to see the good in others will likely be someone you can trust.

Perhaps the most endearing quality a friend can have is a forgiving heart. Like marriage, every friendship has its ups and downs. I haven't spoken to my friend Donna in over two years. She's holding a grudge about something I said and after three attempts to resolve the matter, I gave up. She has ignored a phone call, a party invitation, and a written apology. Part of being a true friend is allowing people to be human. We all need forgiveness because we all say and do hurtful things. I didn't intend to hurt Donna. She misunderstood my words. A friend who can't forgive proves that her pride is more important than you, so let her walk.

The commonality between you and worthy friends will always be values. I'm not interested in maintaining a friendship with any woman who doesn't value the same things I do. I learned that  friendship can't last unless my friend is walking in the same direction I am.  If I value honesty,  trust, and dependability and she thinks nothing of lying  and going back on her word,  then what do we have in common?  Ending a relationship is not easy, and I'm glad that I may never have to end another friendship because I've learned not to start one unless the person loves God, values people, and puts material things last.

Friday, February 25, 2011

EYEWITNESS TESTIMONIES PROVE THE BIBLE

Posted in
The number of people in western society who are totally rejecting Christianity is absolutely skyrocketing. In fact, as we have detailed in previous articles, outright animosity towards the Christian faith is reaching alarming levels.

But what is the truth?

Is there evidence that Christianity is real?

Can anyone give us some real answers?

Wouldn't it be nice if some people could actually go visit heaven and visit hell and tell us that they really exist?

Well, some people actually have.

Posted below are eyewitness testimonies from individuals who have seen heaven or who have seen hell. We would encourage you to view these accounts with an open heart and an open mind.....

To Hell and Back - Terrifying Accounts from Individuals Who Have Actually Been to Hell:

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=8149875636555097567&q=Hell+and+Back&hl=en

23 Minutes in Hell:

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=648912510964850987&q=hell&hl=en

90 Minutes in Heaven:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0ElnQUVkWsQ

An African Man Come Back to Life After being Dead for 3 days:

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=2575536377261580026&q=Raised+from+the+dead&hl=en

The evidence is in and it is conclusive - The Bible is real!

Christianity is the only faith that has the evidence to back it up.

It is time to face the overwhelming evidence for Christianity:

-God DOES exist:

http://www.leestrobel.com/Creator.htm

-Jesus Christ really did come to the earth:

http://www.grantjeffrey.com/article/historicalev.htm

-Jesus Christ really did rise from the dead:

http://shatteredparadigm.blogspot.com/2008/05/resurrection-of-jesus-is-real.html

-All of this was foretold by God in the Bible with specificity:

http://www.xenos.org/teachings/topical/objections/daniel9.htm
(Click "Watch" to view the presentation)

-Jesus is appearing to people all over the globe:

http://prorege-forum.com/messages/407.html

and

http://www.amightywind.com/fastfood/dreams/040723muslimdreams.htm

-Jesus is coming again and the signs that were foretold in the Bible are coming to pass right in front of our eyes:

http://shatteredparadigm.blogspot.com/2008/05/did-you-know-that-there-are-ancient.html

If you want to know more about becoming a Christian, I would encourage you to visit this site:

http://www.chick.com/reading/tracts/1049/1049_01.asp

If you have more questions, or you just want to leave your opinion, feel free to express yourself in the comments section below.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The Middle East Problem In A Nutshell

ECONOMIC MELTDOWN 2012

47 Statistics That Indicate That Economic Stress Points In 2011 Could Be Setting The Stage For A Global Economic Meltdown In 2012

from The American Dream       http://endoftheamericandream.com

Is the world approaching a devastating global economic meltdown?  Right now there are a large number of factors that are creating economic stress points all over the globe.  All of the crazy money printing that the Federal Reserve and other central banks have been doing is putting inflationary pressure on agricultural commodities, oil and precious metals.  Massive floods, horrific droughts and extreme weather patterns all over the globe are ruining crops and creating food shortages.  Some nations are now actually hoarding food, and in other nations rising prices have sparked food riots.  The price of oil has been moving back towards $100 a barrel, and if it stays at a high level for an extended period of time that is going to have very serious consequences for the global economy.  In addition, the growing sovereign debt crisis could erupt again at any time.  Half a dozen nations in Europe are on the verge of insolvency, Japan's national debt is now well over 200 percent of GDP, and the global financial system is growing increasingly concerned about the exploding national debt of the United States.  The truth is that the entire world financial system is a house of cards balanced on a razor's edge and it could come down at any time.
Sadly, very little has changed since the world financial system experienced almost a complete meltdown back in 2008.  Global financial markets are still a whirlpool of debt and speculation.  One really bad week could put us right back where we were prior to the infamous Wall Street bailouts.  Very little in our world is truly stable anymore.  As we have seen recently in Egypt, the globe can literally change almost overnight.  All it would take is for one really bad event to happen and world financial markets would instantly start imploding.
So when will the coming economic collapse happen?  Nobody knows for sure, but the fact that the global economy is increasingly becoming less stable as we approach the year 2012 is making a lot of people very nervous.
The following are 47 statistics that indicate that economic stress points in 2011 could be setting the stage for a global economic meltdown in 2012....
#1 According to the United Nations, global food prices set a new all-time record during the month of January.
#2 In early February the worst freeze in 60 years wiped out entire crops all across the southwestern U.S. and northern Mexico.  Already, it has been reported that some U.S. supermarkets have doubled or even tripled prices for certain produce items.
#3 It is being reported that due to the recent horrible freeze in Mexico cases of tomatoes that would usually cost shop owners between 12 and 15 dollars are now going for up to $40.
#4 One of China's key agricultural provinces is facing its worst drought in 200 years.
#5 The Food and Agriculture Organization says that up to two-thirds of China's wheat crop could be at risk of failing due to weather conditions.
#6 Officials in Mexico are estimating that four million tons of corn have been lost because of the recent freeze.  That represents a full 16 percent of Mexico's annual corn harvest.
#7 The price of corn has doubled over the last six months and it recently hit a new all-time high.
#8 The U.S. Department of Agriculture has announced that corn supplies are the tightest that they have been in 15 years.
#9 It appears that Chinese imports of corn will be about 9 times larger than the U.S. Department of Agriculture originally projected them to be for 2011.
#10 The price of wheat has more than doubled over the past year and it hit a 30-month high on Monday.
#11 In the event of a global catastrophe, current global stockpiles of wheat would only be able to feed the world for 82 days.
#12 According to Forbes, the price of soybeans is up about 50% since last June.
#13 The price of cotton has more than doubled over the past year.
#14 The commodity price of orange juice has doubled since 2009.
#15 The price of sugar is the highest it has been in 30 years.
#16 The United Nations is projecting that the global price of food will increase by another 30 percent by the end of 2011.
#17 In the U.K., the official rate of inflation is now twice as high as the target rate of inflation.
#18 Inflation in China is starting to get out of control.  For example, food prices in China rose 10.3 percent during the month of January.
#19 Almost 14 percent of all credit card accounts in the United States are currently 90 days or more delinquent.
#20 New home sales in the state of California were at the lowest level ever recorded in the month of January.
#21 According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of job openings in the United States declined for a second straight month during December.
#22 Average household debt in the United States has now reached a level of 136% of average household income.
#23 It is estimated that there are about 5 million homeowners in the United States that are at least two months behind on their mortgages, and it is being projected that over a million American families will be booted out of their homes this year alone.
#24 Today, 46% of all Americans carry a credit card balance from month to month.
#25 700,000 Americans have signed up for a credit card that has interest rates that go as high as 59.9%.
#26 Americans now owe more than $889 billion on student loans, which is even more than they owe on credit cards.
#27 The FDIC is "insuring" U.S. bank deposits that total 5.4 trillion dollars with a deposit insurance fund that is currently sitting at approximately negative 8 billion dollars.
#28 The Social Security trust fund will run a deficit of 56 billion dollars this year.  Just a couple of years ago government planners were promising that we would not have any Social Security deficits until at least 2016 or 2017.
#29 When you adjust wages for inflation, middle class workers in the United States make less money today than they did back in 1971.
#30 4.2 million Americans have been unemployed for one year or longer at this point.
#31 The number of Americans that have become so discouraged that they have given up searching for work completely now stands at an all-time high.
#32 According to a recent Gallup poll, 35 percent of Americans believe that unemployment is currently the most important problem in the United States.  Another 29 percent believe that the economy is currently our biggest problem.
#33 Gallup also says that 19.6 percent of the workforce in America is currently either unemployed or underemployed.
#34 The U.S. government says that 504,000 Americans "dropped out of the labor force" in January.
#35 The Obama administration is projecting that the federal budget deficit will be 1.65 trillion dollars for fiscal 2011.
#36 It is estimated that the total U.S. national debt will be greater than 100 percent of GDP by the end of this fiscal year.
#37 The U.S. government relies on foreign nations such as China and Japan to finance 40 percent of all new government debt.
#38 State and local government debt is now sitting at an all-time high of 22 percent of U.S. GDP.
#39 The Chinese are now hoarding gold like there is no tomorrow.  In fact, Chinese demand for gold has now risen to approximately 25% of total global production.
#40 According to a recent report from the World Economic Forum, the world is going to need another $100 trillion in credit to support projected "economic growth" over the next decade.
#41 According to the U.S. Conference of Mayors, visits to soup kitchens are up 24 percent over the past year.
#42 One out of every seven Americans is now on food stamps.
#43 One out of every six elderly Americans now lives below the federal poverty line.
#44 During the last school year, almost half of all school children in the state of Illinois came from families that were considered to be "low-income".
#45 According to a survey released very close to the end of 2010, 55 percent of all Americans are now living paycheck to paycheck.  A major economic downturn could quickly wipe out millions of families.
#46 Gasoline prices in the United States are now the highest that they have ever been in the middle of February.
#47 Faith in our economic system continues to decline.  According to one new report, only 26 percent of Americans now trust the U.S. financial system.

ORDERING YOUR LIFE

By Danelle Carvell
Being sloppy and unorganized makes life difficult. Your time will be wasted searching for things you’ve lost because you don’t put things back in the same place. You’ll be embarrassed when visitors pop in because your home is a mess. You’ll forget appointments and miss deadlines. Your disorganization could even flow into your finances, putting you into unnecessary debt.
An organized life is an easier life.

I know the downfalls of being unorganized and sloppy because I grew up in a laid-back environment. My parents weren’t sloppy, but they didn’t demand an orderly home. My bedroom always looked like a cyclone just struck and in school, I sometimes went to the wrong classroom because I kept losing my class schedule. It was embarrassing to hear my name over the intercom after a teacher reported me missing. I felt like an airhead. That’s the worst part about being unorganized, the way it makes you feel.

In his book, Ordering Your Private World, Gordon McDonald says, “When we are disorganized…we don’t like ourselves, our jobs, or much else about our worlds.” That is so true. When I don’t organize my time, I feel unproductive and wasteful. When my home and car are a mess, I feel sloppy and lazy. Being undisciplined and unorganized just makes me feel like a mess. Living that way is depressing and it affects every part of my life, including my relationships with people and with God. I can’t focus on what’s important when I’m surrounded by clutter.

My husband was taught when he was a boy to be organized. I had to learn the hard way. I still don’t think I’ve mastered it completely, but I’m getting there. And I'm realizing the inner peace that comes from being disciplined and organized. It's best to learn organization skills  when you're a child.  Then when you have a home of your own and a family you’ll already have a system of organization in place that will help you to juggle all your responsibilities with ease. Here are some tips that might help:
  • Have a special place for your car keys and hang them there as soon as you get home.
  • Buy a file cabinet for important papers. I keep files on each family member that contain birth certificates, social security cards, health and immunization records, etc. I also have an alphabetical file; for example, my “A” file contains prices I paid for antiques I purchased. My “P” file contains product information such as warranty and instruction booklets for cameras, alarm clocks and other purchases.
  • Write appointments on your calendar as soon as possible. Those little appointment cards you get at the dentist don’t do any good tucked in your wallet. Buy a big calendar with plenty of room to record important dates. If you volunteered to send a snack for a school event, write it down. If your child needs a disposable lunch for a field trip, write it down. Keep school lunch menus and monthly school activity schedules taped inside the pantry door so you don’t miss pizza day and class picture day.
  • Carry an address book to record phone numbers and addresses away from home. Then transfer each new entry to the address book you keep at home by the phone. Enter important numbers into your cell phone menu as well.
  • Organize your bills. Balance your checkbook regularly. Write on your calendar when bills should be paid as soon as you open them. Allow plenty of time for them to reach their destination to avoid late fees.
  • Organize your hand bag. Carry a pen and notebook and have a place for everything so you’re not digging for things.
  • Always take the phone number of your destination with you when traveling. Keep a file for “how to get there” instructions. I still travel with hand-written instructions that were given to me 10 years ago. Never throw away driving instructions. You never know when you might need them again.
  • Put your credit card purchase receipts in your wallet until you can file them at home. After each purchase appears on your statement, put this old receipt in a separate file. Then you won’t have to wonder about that mysterious charge on your credit card.
  • Keep a file for social security cards, car repair receipts, marriage license, bank statements, credit card statements, health, life, and car insurance, tax papers, etc. Be able to locate any important paper at a moments notice.
  • When calling a business or organization to inquire about a bill, cancel a service, order a product or service, file a complaint, or just to get information, have your account number handy. Also, write down the name of the person you spoke to, the time you called, the date, and what was discussed. This habit has saved me time and money because I had proof of what I was told by a representative of the business or organization.
  • If you have a complaint and can’t resolve it by phone, get the name of the boss or owner and write a letter politely expressing your concerns. Make a copy for yourself and send it by certified mail if you need proof that you sent it by a certain date or just that you sent it at all.
  • If your complaint is resolved by phone, ask to have it in writing. If you’re refused, then follow up with a letter of your own, summarizing the conversation. Send the letter to the representative you spoke to and make a copy for yourself. If you later feel that you’ve simply been pacified with no real results, then contact the company’s consumer service department, the company president, or as a last resort, the Consumer Protection Agency.
  • Place food in the same area of the refrigerator each time so you know where to find things quickly. Organize your drawers, closet, cupboards, storage areas and pantry the same way. You should know exactly where to find the mustard, a scissors, a hammer, a flashlight, tape, glue, stamps or anything else.
  • Manage your time well. Plan your day, your week, your month. Be a list maker. Tackle certain tasks on certain days- laundry Monday, dusting Tuesday. Say “No” to people and things that rob your time.
  • Be aware of car care. Know how to check your oil level and tire pressure. Have the oil and filter changed regularly. Get familiar with your car’s maintenance schedule. Know when to check the battery, fuel filter, belts, air filter, etc. Keep a maintenance record for your car so you remember what service was performed and when. This could also be a selling point when you sell your car.

  • Start every day with a prayer. Ask God to make you aware of the areas you need to improve to have a better sense of order and inner peace.


Sunday, February 20, 2011

THE MOST IMPORTANT THING

By Danelle Carvell 

I'm reposting a past entry that wasn't up for long because it needed further editing.  A video to go along with this post is included.  And, of course, there are comments under the video by those who choose to deny God.  This girl's talent is amazing and what she's trying to tell us through her art is worth our attention.  God does reveal himself to us.  This is one example.

This week I was inspired to write about faith when I heard a young girl say this: "The most important thing is faith, because without faith you can't communicate with God." The girl I'm referring to is Akiane Kramarik, an amazing artist who is only 15. She started drawing when she was four.  Her work is incredible and she says the reason that she paints is because she wants her art to draw people's attention to God.

I write for the same reason. And if you'd ask me why I believe in God and what I get out of it, I would have a lot to say. But first let me define what faith is. Faith is confidence or trust placed in another. I have faith when I'm convinced there is a God, I'm convinced that He knows best, I believe Jesus is who He claims to be and He has the power to save me. I also have faith when I believe the Bible is God's word and that it is absolute truth.

But why do I have faith and what does it do for me? I have faith because I've experienced amazing answers to my prayers, answers that only God could bring because he knows me so well. I have faith because I'm stronger when I'm close to God through prayer and reading scripture. I have faith because it's just too hard for me to believe that every cell in my body just flew together by accident. I have faith when I look at the sun and know that if it were any closer I would burn up and if it were any farther away I would freeze. It's just too hard to believe that the sun appeared by chance at the exact distance from the earth to sustain human life. When I look at a butterfly, I have faith that something so perfectly beautiful didn't arrive through some big accidental bang. Evidence of a creator is all around me and rather than deny it, I choose to believe.

What does believing do for me? As I stated earlier, faith in God brings answers to prayer. Mark 11:24 says believe what you pray for and you will have it. Faith in God brings you a connection to God's power. God's power travels through an atmosphere of faith. Without faith it is impossible to please God, who is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him ( Hebrews 11:6).  I don't think this means that we can get anything we want by simply believing God will give it to us. I think it means that the blessings God wants to give us can only come to us through faith, through believing that God is who He says He is, and by seeking Him daily through prayer and reading the God inspired pages of the Bible.

One thing faith won't give you is a life without problems. I have problems. For the past four years I've struggled with chronic insomnia, brought on by an injection of FDA-approved Lupron, prescribed by my doctor. When I go two nights in a row without sleep, my body responds by shaking uncontrollably.  Shaking is a universal response to sleep deprivation.  When I'm in this exhausted state, I can't drive or do much of anything. I've missed family gatherings and important events because of my sleep problems.  To make matters worse, people say I should be able to rise above this problem if I'm a Christian.  Even people close to me have made insensitive comments that are far from supportive and understanding.

How can I rise above something that God is allowing me to experience? I learned a long time ago never to question anyone's health problems. The bottom line is you don't know what they're going through, and you don't know what afflictions God is allowing in their lives. The notion that a Christian can rise above every problem is hogwash. The bible says that the righteous will have many afflictions and God will deliver us out of our afflictions in His own time. I can only rise above what God allows me to rise above, and in His timing, not mine.

I often wonder why I have to live like this. Then I ask myself what I would be doing if I could sleep like a normal person. I would be right back in the workplace working a full-time job, knocking myself out for money. I wouldn't have the time or the desire to write this blog and like most busy people I wouldn't have time for God. If I slept well, I wouldn't need God.  I wouldn't have to pray myself through each day. So right there are two reasons why God might be allowing this affliction in my life: It keeps me closer to Him and it keeps me doing the work He wants me to do right now.

Sometimes God allows affliction in our lives because the affliction puts us where God wants us. Afflictions can humble us when we're getting prideful. Suffering can bring us to our knees and bring us closer to God, which is what He wants most. The key to getting through the suffering is faith. Someone without faith would have a much harder time dealing with chronic insomnia. I didn't deal with it well at first. I got so worked up with tears and frustration because my sleep switch is broken. Looking back, I can see how my faith has grown. Now I completely surrender the night to God. I don't get frustrated, even if I lay there exhausted but wide awake till the sun comes up. After four years, I've learned to trust God.  I have faith that God will see me through. I get through it because the Lord helps those who trust in Him (Nahum 1:7). I've learned to depend on that promise. So building one's faith is another reason God allows us to experience afflictions.

Faith is powerful, but so many of us don't bother tapping into that power. People without faith are fearful, yet they would never admit it. Faith is the only thing that can combat fear and give us confidence. Without faith you are left to a life of worry and wondering what will happen next. Without a connection to God, all you have is your own power, which is nothing compared to supernatural power. Miracles can't be performed without faith. In Mark 6:5-6 when Jesus was rejected at Nazareth, He wasn't able to heal the people. But in Luke 8:43-48 when a woman believed that just by touching the robe of Jesus she would be healed, her faith brought her a miracle and she was instantly made well. Miracles and healings are only possible in an atmosphere of faith.

My final word on faith is that you can't fully understand its power until you try it for yourself. A life without faith is a life lived without the awesome power of God. Just look at the examples of people who do amazing things through faith. The young artist, Akiane, who inspired me to write this blog is just one example. Without her faith, without her connection to God, do you really think that she could paint those spectacular paintings? God is the giver of talent. He gives us the ability to do awesome things. But if you're not connected to that source of power, you will never know what great and mighty things you could accomplish. You'll never experience a miracle. You won't have your prayers answered. You won't be in God's favor and receive the rewards and blessings He wants to give you. And you won't have the strength to successfully endure life's difficulties. With all that in mind, faith truly is the most important thing. Why would anyone want to live without it?
To view the video of Akiane's amazing art talent, you can go to the labels list on the bottom right side of my page and click Videos

Art Genius Akiane Kramarik Child Prodigy !

Friday, February 18, 2011

THE LOUDEST CRY

By Danelle Carvell
Men are good at delivering lectures. I guess it makes them feel manly. Perhaps they should pound their chests while delivering their harsh words and then drag their wives to the cave by their hair. That’s the vision I get of men who like to lecture,  cavemen with not an ounce of tenderness.

Women can lecture too.  It's called nagging.
Gary Smalley, author of Love Is A Decision, has counseled many couples and families in crisis and he says that one of the loudest cries he hears among men, women and children is the desperate plea for tenderness and gentleness from people who love them.
Why are gentle, respectful words so important to people? Because they makes us feel valuable. Words and actions are either powerful weapons of destruction or they are powerful tools for building people up and making them feel valued and loved. No one wants to be kicked like a dog every day in their own home. No one wants to walk in the door and receive a lecture  before having a chance to take off their shoes. Yet this is the reality for many American families. What goes on behind closed doors is more caveman than kindness.

We need to stop valuing things more than people.  We need to stop fussing about  things  that aren't nearly as important as the people in our lives.  Sometimes lectures are necessary,.  When children need guidance, they might need a good talking to.  But lecturing is a parent’s role.  It's not something we should be giving to a spouse.  Unless we want to kill the love.  That's what lecturing does.  Like a leach, it sucks every ounce of love from the person's heart.  And soon they don't want to be around us.  People need love, not lectures.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

EXPECTATIONS OF MARRIED LIFE

By Danelle Carvell

One of the most eye-opening discussions you and your partner will ever have is the "How will marriage change our lives?" talk. It's a very necessary discussion because it will reveal the silent expectations that each of you have about married life. For example, I had a silent expectation that my first husband would stop spending time in bars after we married. He didn't, and it made me angry.

On the other hand, he probably expected to eat better than boxed frozen chicken and french fries every night. His mother was a good cook, so he probably expected the same from his wife. For the first five years of our marriage, I was at home with our son all day, so I had time to cook. I could have at least made an effort, but he never told me what he expected from me. And I never told him my needs. Therefore, we were disappointed constantly by our unmet expectations. 
 
We all come into marriage with an idea of what it will and should be like. Should spouses check with each other before making major purchases? Will you feel betrayed if your husband shares intimate details about your marriage with a friend? How do you know that your ideas about marriage are even close to his? Doesn't it make sense to share your expectations with your future husband and then listen to his ideas? 

You can't cover it all in one sitting, so anticipate an ongoing analysis of all the ways that you expect marriage to change your lives.  Telling each other everything you want, everything you need, and everything you expect marriage to be is vital. By eliminating the surprises, you'll avoid arguments later. You'll know what you're getting into, and you'll be better prepared for all the challenges of being a wife and mother.

Couples who don't discuss their expectations face one hurdle after another and it is so emotionally exhausting to live that way. So talk! I know I didn't cover everything, but if you talk about the subjects I mentioned you'll have a great start toward understanding each other and meeting each other's needs by revealing all those silent expectations.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

HOW'D WE GET HERE? WHAT NOW?

An Evening with David Jeremiah, live from Washington, DC was broadcast this past Sunday night.  I took notes so I could share his insight about the challenging days we live in.  First he explained why America is in the mess that it's in, and then he presented four things that we need to do in order to stay afloat while our nation circles the drain.
                           How Did We Get In This Mess? 
 Social Security
 Social Security is an unsustainable program that now functions as an unfunded entitlement program. The money that comes in from social security is used for other government payouts, so it's not really what it claims to be.
 War and National Defense
Although defending our nation is important, it has been a drain on our economy.  In 2008, 41.5% of the world's war expenses were attributed to the US.  It costs 1 million dollars per soldier per year for deployment to Afghanistan.
Growth of Big Government
Our government doesn't produce anything, yet it is our nation's largest employer.  One in five people works for the government.  
National and Private Debt
Americans have been living beyond their means for decades.  Our national debt is 14 trillion dollars.  Our social security debt is 17.5 trillion.  Our medicare debt is 89.3 trillion.  That's a total of 120 trillion dollars.  On top of that, the debt we owe to China is 798.9 million.  And the debt we owe to Japan is 746.5 million.  The Bible tells us that the borrower is servant to the lender. 

Jeremiah said that there is no way to avoid inflation now.  The Federal Reserve continues to create money out of thin air with nothing to back it. Every country that has tried this experienced massive hyperinflation.  The price of everything will continue to creep up.  We're not in a cycle that will soon recover, no matter what economy experts say.  Hyperinflation will continue. There's no way to avoid it.


                                    What ShouldWe Do?

Keep Your Head In The Game
People say the news is so bad they don't watch it.  They don't want to know what's happening.  The Bible doesn't give us permission to stick our heads in the sand because the bad news depresses us.  Jesus scolded the Sadducees in Matthew 16:3 for not being able to discern the signs of the times.  We are to be men and women who watch and study.   
Keep Your House In Order
Find out what's going on in your house.  If you don't know the truth about where you are, how will you know what to do?  Take a personal inventory of your debt and start now to minimize it.  When you're paying ten dollars for a loaf of bread will you be able to pay your debts?
Keep Your Heart In Your Faith
Jeremiah said people tend to stop praying and going to church when they experience difficult times.  They quit reading their Bibles at a time when they need it most.  They might even drop out of a bible study or other ministries they're involved in.  But there's never a day so dark that we can't be involved in the ministry to which God called us.  Now is a time for great ministry in America.  People are searching for answers.  The darker the night, the brighter the light.  What are you doing for God during these dark days?
Keep Your Hope In God
We were never meant to put our hope in our financial statements.  We need to remember that this world is not our home.  We're simply passing through.  When things seem hopeless, maybe the reason is to remember where our hope should be in the first place.  True faith believes in God even when we don't know what He's up to.  Jeremiah said that if you've accepted Christ as your savior, then the ultimate issue in your life has already been decided.  Where you will spend eternity is already decided.  What shall it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses his soul?  Keep your eyes on where you're going.  God has a wonderful plan for your life if your heart is right with Him.  Every problem and pleasure on Earth will pass.  Eternity is forever.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

OUR GREATEST NEED

"The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing."-- Edmund Burke

"God intended for Christians to be the "salt of the world," to have a preserving influence on our nation, holding it back from moral spoilage and decay...Today we must stand up for God in our democratic republic, using the voice He has granted us...God's people can make the difference in this nation if they are willing to pay the price of personal involvement."

The above quotes were taken from an amazing book I recently discovered, The Rebirth of America.  Published in 1986, this book reads as if describing the decayed state of our nation today. Filled with moving articles and essays by a variety of authors, the book is a masterpiece that should be displayed in every home and read by every American.  I spent all day immersed in its pages and can't put it down.  The book is borrowed, but I'm ordering my own copy as I see that Amazon has used titles for as little as one dollar.  

Americans have lost their way in part because they do not know their own Christian heritage, the book claims.  In its pages, that heritage is declared, the bedrock foundations of our freedoms are explained, and the dramatic stories of America's great spiritual awakenings and their impact are told.  This side of early America has been either ignored or distorted by the history books.

America desperately needs a rebirth today.  Our greatest need is a spiritual awakening.  In the coming weeks, I'll be sharing quotes and ideas from this book, sometimes summarizing what the various authors are saying.  If we don't care about our own lives, we should as least care enough to invest in the lives of our children and grandchildren.  We should be willing to put in the work required to bring positive change to our nation.  This book addresses what we need to do.  It's time to get involved.  It's time to step out of the church pews and get busy affecting the world around us.  It's time to be salt.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

SIGNS OF HIS PRESENCE

"He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together."  --Colossians 1:17

The video below is one more example of how amazing our Lord is.  He gives us signs of his presence everywhere we look, even in the smallest details, but many choose not to see.  Read Colossians 1: 9-20 for the full explanation of what God has done for us and what He will do for those who seek Him.

GOD IS THE GLUE

Friday, February 11, 2011

THE GOOD AND BAD OF JUDGING OTHERS

The topic of judging others has been on my mind lately.  I believe everyone has done this and some do it on a daily basis.  The question I'm pondering is, Is it ever okay in God's eyes to judge others?  



 The second article below explains that it is a Christian's duty to point out sin in a believer's life.  In other words, as long as we are confronting sin, it's okay to judge someone for their actions. (Matthew 18:15-17).  But that confrontation needs to take place in a loving manner.  




So the questions we must ask ourselves are these:  Is the behavior that I'm judging really sin?  and, Am I confronting that sin in a loving way?


 The article below, Why We Judge does not appear to be written 

from a Christian perspective, but it does address some interesting reasons why we wrongly criticize and judge others.  The second article is short and sweet in its biblical perspective of judging others.  What I got from these articles is a better understanding of why people criticize and the difference between good, necessary criticism and bad unnecessary criticism.  


Let's face it, we all talk about what's going on in the lives of others.  I believe talk becomes gossip when our words aren't spoken in love.  If we talk about another's problems out of a genuine concern for them or people around them, that's not gossip.  

So I guess we always need to be asking ourselves why we're talking about this person.  And if we criticize, we need to ask ourselves if we're actually concerned about the person and those affected, or are we just finding entertainment in their sorrows.  Is the goal behind our words to express concern or to analyze their problems?


God, please help me to point out wrongdoing in a loving manner and to walk away from gossip.  Help me not to judge people unless their actions go against your word, your ways and your teachings.



 

Why We Judge

By Alicia Smith | Follow me on Twitter
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Judgment is the process of forming an opinion of something by making a comparison.  While judgment can play an important role in decisions we must make to live productively, sometimes the thoughts we hold are what prevent us from having what we most desire.

Judgments are based on thoughts we hold about people and things.  These thoughts are the filters through which we view our world.  The limiting beliefs that we hold about ourselves, about what we can or cannot do, are judgments.
Judgments can be a tool that causes separation between people rather than bringing them together.  Judgments play a significant role when it comes to marketing our business as well.  How do judgments of yourself, clients, colleagues, and strategic partners get in the way of your success?  Before we can understand that, it’s important to understand the underpinnings of why we judge in the first place.

1.  We don’t know how to love.  It was Mother Teresa who said, “If you judge people, you have no time to love them.”  No two things can occupy the same space at the same time.  If you hold judgment in your thoughts, then there is no space or place for anything else.

2.  We are insecure.  Insecure people spend all of their time trying to make their world secure.  They base their security on their perceived ability to control the world around them.  They feel that if they live, work and play in a world where everyone believes and acts as they do, then everything will be fine.  While this notion is far-fetched and hardly grounded in reality, judgment enters the picture when anything threatens to shake up this “perfect world”.  Any person, idea, or event that doesn’t fit within their perceived world is seen as wrong and unsuitable.  The cure for insecurity is knowing that there is nothing we can control in this life except the thoughts we think.

3.  We are influenced by our past conditioning.  So much of what we hold as “truths” is really not truths at all.  Instead they are thoughts that were handed down to us by our parents, teachers, our church, and other important people and institutions that we’ve come into contact with during our lifetime.  Often times these “truths” were based on misinformation and fear.  Unfortunately, because these thoughts were instilled while we were very young and vulnerable, they’ve taken hold.  These thoughts have become the filters through which we view our life experiences.  To overcome this, we must raise our awareness that we are making judgments.  Is this thought my own, or some lie I’ve inherited from some earlier time in my life?  This calls us to stand up for what we believe in, rather than what others think we should believe in.

4.  We are afraid of something in someone else.  One of the most common reasons that you judge is rooted in fear that you have of someone else.  This usually plays to some insecurity around the idea that the other person has more power than you do.  You might be fearful that this person knows something that you do not or that they are trying to use that knowledge to somehow control or change you.  And underlying this is that they will take something from you, that you will be left with less than you have, or that you will be left with being less than you are.  The remedy for this is to let other people be who they are.  There is nothing to fear in others.  The fear that we harbor is usually contrived on our own end.  To overcome this, adopt an attitude of curiosity and inquiry.  Try to set aside your own preconceived ideas about other people and their intentions.  The best way to counteract fear is to open up the lines of communication by starting a simple conversation.  It is amazing how quickly our judgments of others can evaporate when we’re basing our decisions on what is so, rather than what we think is so.

5.  We are afraid of something within ourselves.  Judgmental behaviors can also rear their ugly head when we don’t want to face something about ourselves.  Often what we fear most is that uncertainty we might feel – that the foundation of our judgments, the thoughts and attitudes we embrace, are balanced on a foundation that is cracked and compromised.   We might judge others because we, in fact, find that we don’t, in fact, measure up.  Our judgments of others are really mirrors of the judgments we make against ourselves.  It takes courage to look at who we are, what we think, and the responsibilities that arise from the actions we take.  If we fear something inside ourselves, we must find out what it is.  We must expose it to light, so that we can deal with it constructively.

6.  We are hiding the fact that we don’t understand something.  Judgment is one of the most common tactics used when someone is trying to hide their ignorance of something.  Rather than come from a place of fear, a more productive way would be to open up communications.  Instead of cutting yourself off from people and opportunities because you don’t understand something, do something about it.  Learn more, find out more, and open your mind to taking in new ideas and experiences.  By opening our minds to learning more, we can help our hearts to open as well.  There is no place for judgment when one comes from a place of love and understanding.

7.  Our position of power feels threatened.  It is a common reaction for most people to come from a place of judgment when they feel that their position of power is being threatened.  These folks tend to see the world as “black and white” – one winner and everyone else losers.  They often are quite self-centered, as they cannot appreciate the rights and uniqueness of others.  This behavior is common with those who suffer from low self-esteem.  They derive their value, and therefore their power, by how they think others perceive them, rather than their value coming from an internal sense that they are, indeed, a valuable and worthwhile individual.  While this can be a tough issue to overcome, its solution starts with having an awareness that it is happening.

8.  We are unaware about how our thoughts become reality.  As our society evolves, more and more folks are seeing the power of their thoughts-- that what they think about, tends to manifest.  One of the most poisonous things about judgment is that it tends to create separation among people.  It divides people into camps – the winners and the losers, the “we’re right” and “you’re wrong”, the “I know”, and “you don’t”.  There is usually no good that comes from judging ourselves and others.  It is a perspective that comes from a place that there is something wrong, less than, or not good enough.  Why not come from another place – what’s right and good about the situation?  We, alone, make the choice about the things that we think about, why not choose a better and brighter path?  Why not spend our time and energy thinking about things that will bring us happiness – things that will step us closer to the vision we have for our life?  It all starts with our thoughts.

9.  We aren’t evolved enough to have empathy for others.  People who judge are unequivocally less evolved than others who can accept others for who they are and how they think.  All of the great religions and philosophies of the world teach the importance of love and acceptance.  Those who have not yet learned those lessons spend their lives embroiled in internal and external conflict because they cannot accept others.  Highly evolved beings are concerned with how they interact with the world.  They come from a place of understanding and empathy.  They know that responsibility requires that they do and be more.  If a habit of judging is adversely affecting the quality of your life, take a look at the philosophy of your life.  Do you really believe in higher things or are you merely “parroting” what looks good in the eyes of others.  Those who live their beliefs rather than talking about them don’t have the time, energy, or inclination to put others down.  Those types of thoughts and behaviors have no place in the life they’ve chosen to live.  Think about what you believe in.  Ask yourself if you are living your beliefs.  If not, do some serious soul searching and find out why.  A problem defined is half resolved.

10.  It’s a habit.  Like most everything else we do in our life, judgment can be a habit.  But habits are just unconscious, learned behaviors.  Like any behavior we have, they can be unlearned.  There are several things to consider when breaking a habit.  First, you need to clearly understand your habit and what it is rooted in.  Judgment is fundamentally rooted in fear.  Next, you have to want to change.  You need to be able to visualize the type of person you desire to be and all the benefits that will accrue to you as a result.  Finally, you need to take action to change.  It takes time, determination, and discipline to change something that you’ve done for a long time.  Working with a coach or other professional can be helpful in providing you the support that you might need to make an important change like this.


About the expert(s):
Alicia is a nationally recognized coach, consultant and trainer. She has developed over sixty-five training programs and has trained and coached over eighty thousand individuals in their own business or as employees in service, non-profit, governmental and manufacturing.

Alicia Smith, trainer, consultant, coach

What does the Bible mean that we are not to judge others?

From the website Got Questions.org


 do not judge 
Question: "What does the Bible mean that we are not to judge others?"

Answer:
This is an issue that has confused many people. On one hand, we are commanded by the Lord Jesus, “Do not judge, or you too will be judged” (Matthew 7:1). On the other hand, the Bible also exhorts us to beware of evildoers and false prophets and to avoid those who practice all kinds of evil. How are we to discern who these people are if we do not make some kind of judgment about them?

Christians are often accused of "judging" whenever they speak out against a sinful activity. However, that is not the meaning of the Scripture verses that state, "Do not judge." There is a righteous kind of judgment we are supposed to exercise—with careful discernment (John 7:24). When Jesus told us not to judge (Matthew 7:1), He was telling us not to judge hypocritically. Matthew 7:2-5 declares, "For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye." What Jesus was condemning here was hypocritical, self-righteous judgments of others.

In Matthew 7:2-5, Jesus warns against judging someone else for his sin when you yourself are sinning even worse. That is the kind of judging Jesus commanded us not to do. If a believer sees another believer sinning, it is his Christian duty to lovingly and respectfully confront the person with his sin (Matthew 18:15-17). This is not judging, but rather pointing out the truth in hope—and with the ultimate goal—of bringing repentance in the other person (James 5:20) and restoration to the fellowship. We are to speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15). We are to proclaim what God's Word says about sin. 2 Timothy 4:2 instructs us, "Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage — with great patience and careful instruction." We are to "judge" sin, but always with the goal of presenting the solution for sin and its consequences—the Lord Jesus Christ (John 14:6).

Recommended Resource: Hard Sayings of the Bible by Kaiser, Davids, & Brauch.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

WHEN NOT ON OUR KNEES

By Danelle Carvell
Once again, it's time to ponder.  The latest topic I'm pondering is whether prayer is the only answer to America's ills or should we be doing more?  Does it help to sign petitions and send letters of protest to the decision-makers in government?  Does it help to attend tea party rallies and other gatherings like them?  Should we even bother voicing our opinions when our voices go unheard by the people we're trying to influence?

I recently sent an e-mail to everyone in my address book.  I don't do that often.  I may have sent three multi-addressed e-mails in the past year.  The subject was Obama's recent approval of Monsanto's GMO alfalfa, which if planted will eventually contaminate organic farms and the organic foods they produce.  The e-mail was asking for signatures to protest Obama's decision.  I received three replies to this e-mail.  The first two were requests that I remove their names from my address book, which I did.  And the third reply said this:
"How much time per day do you spend praying for our nation and elected officials?  Have you wept and fasted and lifted our sin-filled nation up for repentance before the Lord?  God can stop Obama.  I put my faith in Him.    


I did pray and fast for our nation and its leaders the day I received the above reply, as I started to explain to the one who sent it.  But my explanation sounded defensive, so I didn't click Send.  Her accusatory tone stung a bit, as if she's the only one who spends time on her knees.  But my goal is not to argue with people, but to inform them of the things they should be putting to prayer.  With so much going on in the world, it's a full-time job keeping track of all we need to pray about.  I've encouraged prayer and fasting before on this blog, most notably in Keep Your Eyes and Prayers on Israel and in But There Is Hope, which is the most popular post according to my stats. 

But back to the original question I'm pondering, Is prayer the only answer to America's ills, or should we be doing more?  I asked my husband about this and he said he's beginning to believe that prayer is our only hope.  Phone lines and e-mail in Washington were so overloaded by protesters to both the stimulus bill and the healthcare bill that both the email and phone systems were shut down. Yet these bills were passed with no consideration of how Americans felt about them.  So what good is e-mailing a petition if that petition won't be taken into consideration by our elected officials?

I believe the good is in making people aware of injustice and exposing the corrupt decisions of our elected leaders.  That's what we accomplish when we protest, attend rallies, and voice our opinions about evil practices and government corruption. Christians are called to be the salt and light of the world, and we can't do that when we're locked in a room away from the world.  Prayer is our first line of defense, but it's not the only thing we can do.  I think God expects more of us.  And many times we let Him down by remaining silent and doing nothing.

For more on this topic, read Fighting the Good Fight by Jim Carvell under the Biblical Truth category at the bottom right side of this blog.

THE ULTIMATE SITE FOR EVERYTHING 70's

http://www.casagordita.com/70s.htm

If you haven't had your fill of the seventies, this is the only site you need to visit.  Here you'll find the history of the platform shoe and the invention of the game Pong.  Weaved into the writer's memories of the 70's are links to everything about that decade.  You can go back to 1972 and see Chicago live, or have a front row seat at a James Taylor concert.  You can check out vintage photos from high school yearbooks across the US, see an episode of Sonny and Cher, featuring a young Michael Jackson, or learn how pet rocks and mood rings came about.  There's even a link called 8 Track Heaven, a guide to the world of 8 Track tapes, and a site dedicated to the posters of the 70's.  The TV shows, commercials, movies, cars, games, clothes, music, dances, even the wallpaper of the seventies can be found here.  You could spend weeks exploring this site.  It goes on forever.  I'm sure you'll come across some things that don't represent a Christian worldview.  I'm not endorsing anything on this site or allowing the content to represent my blog, Salt & Light.  I had fun exploring this site and I think you will too.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

MUSIC, MEMORIES, AND MONDAYS

We're stepping back in time for today's post.  Take a few minutes to enjoy music of the seventies about our least favorite day of the week.  I don't remember listening to the Mamas and the Papas, but Karen Carpenter's angelic voice was a favorite of mine as a child growing up in Pillow, Pennsylvania.  I had many of her songs recorded on my treasured battery-powered tape recorder that I carried everywhere.  If you continue clicking on the Carpenters video, you'll see a young Suzanne Somers hosting a show called 8 Track Flashback and you'll hear more memorable music by the Carpenters.  This music takes me back to my childhood.  It's amazing how music is so attached to our memories.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

LOVE IS IN THE BOUNDARIES

By Danelle Carvell
When I was a kid, all I needed was to see a certain look on my dad's face and I snapped to attention.  The thought of arguing with him or protesting my punishment never crossed my mind.  He spoke. I listened.  And I immediately did what he asked.  Disrespecting my parents was not an option.  I didn't dare talk back or even question the discipline I received.

Fast forward thirty plus years.  Children today have no such respect for their parents.  In some cases the parents are to blame because they don't enforce rules or follow through with discipline.  They strive to be their child's buddy rather than an authority figure.  To keep the peace, parents allow their children to do whatever they want and fail to instill good character traits that will help them survive as adults.  When they leave home, those kids can't even function in the real world because they are lazy, undisciplined, disrespectful, and still expecting to get their own way.

A child raised without boundaries soon discovers that employers and bill collectors aren't as forgiving as the parent who longed to be a pal.  Did those parents do their kids any favors by being soft?  They raised children who have no life skills because they weren't taught those skills at home... simple things like picking up after yourself, being responsible, respecting others, being honest and keeping your word.  They might lose a job, be deserted by a spouse, or even get in trouble with the law because they weren't trained by parents who dared to discipline, parents who dared to teach them that poor choices and bad behavior have consequences.

I"m glad I was raised by a strict father who only had to snap his black leather belt to bring his children in line with his authority.  I can't imagine where I would be if I had been allowed to have everything I wanted and do whatever I pleased.  I can't imagine a childhood without boundaries.

Friday, February 4, 2011

FOOD INFLATION, THE FED, AND YOUR FUTURE

WHEN YOU SEE ALLTHESE THINGS

Changes in global weather patterns, astrological events connected to the sun, and the decline of America as it moves toward a one-world government.  People everywhere are asking, what is going on?  Flooding of biblical proportions, unusual storms that cover every US state with snow except Florida, citizens uprising in protest, birds falling from the sky, tons of fish washing ashore dead.  Jesus commands us to recognize the signs that are taking place in our world today.

Last Friday, Hal Lindsey presented a program about current world events in relation to Bible prophecy.  I found this program to be very interesting and worth sharing.  You can go to Hal Lindsey's link under World Events and Prophecy at the right side of my blog and find it there. The program I'm talking about is the January 28, 2011 broadcast.  As usual, the most interesting part is at the end, so don't click off until you've seen the entire show.

LOVE PICKS UP THE SLACK

By Danelle Carvell
Don't you hate it when you bring groceries home and all family members swarm into the kitchen like vultures to check out the bounty?  First my husband tells me I bought the wrong brand of Rock Salt for the driveway.  Then my daughter asks, "Where's the food?"  She couldn't tell me exactly what it was I forgot to buy, but she wasn't happy with the selection.  Even the dog was sniffing the bags.  This is what I came home to last night at about 8:30.  I had left the house at 4:00 with a pizza in the oven and warm toppings on the stove.  And now, with a splitting headache, and before I began putting groceries away, I had to first put away the leftover pizza and toppings which had been sitting on the stove for four hours.

It took less than a minute to put the leftovers in the refrigerator, and I couldn't help but ask my husband why he couldn't put dinner away instead of letting it sit on the stove for four hours.  His comeback was, "For the same reason you didn't take care of the ice on the driveway while I was at work."  This just made me more agitated.  I didn't see any similarities between food going to waste and the icy driveway, especially when the first thing he said when he walked in the door was, "I thought the sun would have melted it."  Now all of a sudden it's my fault.  He was better off blaming the sun.

All this got me thinking about the roles of men and women and what exactly are we responsible for at home?  I grew up thinking that the outside work was a man's responsibility.  I never saw my mother mowing grass or shoveling driveways.  Her work was inside the home.  This same role system worked for me in my first marriage.  My ex-husband never asked me to shovel the driveway or do any outside work.  So it felt a bit strange for me to be expected to de-ice the driveway.

I pondered this whole thing for a while, wondering if my husband was right about the driveway or if he was just trying to justify his own lax by pointing out the things I overlook.  I found my answer in Proverbs 31, which describes some of the things a virtuous woman does around the home.  When I got to the part about her planting a vineyard, I realized that a woman's work isn't limited to inside the walls of her home.  But I had to keep in mind that the woman described in Proverbs wasn't employed by anyone else.  She didn't go outside the area of her home to work.  Today, women are driving to work and putting in forty hours a week, then coming home to even more work with laundry, cooking, dishes, etc.  Are women really expected to take care of the driveway and the lawn on top of all that?  Why do men get to relax when they get home from work, while women get home from work and their work day is only half finished?  

If I'm going to take the time to de-ice the driveway, it would mean that some other chores would have to be put on hold.  As long as that was understood, I wouldn't mind tackling outside work.  I think it all comes down to helping each other and respecting the fact that sometimes we just can't get all the work done in one day.  There will be visible dust on the dressers at times and dishes in the sink.  And anyone who wants to complain about that should perhaps roll up their sleeves and get busy.

Every couple, before they consider marriage, should sit down and agree on what their roles in that marriage will be.  Who will write out the checks and pay the bills?  Who will take out the trash?  Who will take care of the lawn?  But we also need to be flexible  in our roles so that we can help each other.  There's no reason why I should come home at 8:30 to a messy kitchen, especially when I wasn't even there to eat.  And in my husband's eyes, there's no reason why he should come home to an icy driveway when I was there all day.  It makes sense that people who love each other should help each other.  If I was down with the flu for three days, would it be loving to let the dishes pile up in the sink?

My husband received a notice call to jury duty yesterday.  So there's a chance that I'll be shoveling the driveway even more.  He told me a story about his ex-wife disappearing for six weeks after being called to jury duty.  Maybe there's more to that story, but the point is that we can't be so totally dependent on other people doing things for us.  We need to learn to help ourselves and be willing to help others.  When a man has three days off work and his wife doesn't, shouldn't he be willing to pick up around the house while she's not there?   The problem in many marriages is that husbands and wives aren't willing to serve each other.  They care more about being served.  The Bible tells us that those who serve are the greatest among us.  I guess I'll have to keep that in mind when I'm out taking care of the driveway while my husband is at work.  And He will have to remember that while he cleans the kitchen when I'm not around.

Marriage is more than the joining of two people with defined roles.   Sometimes we have to take on chores that normally are done by the other person.  We have to carry the other person's load when they can't.  That's what love is all about, helping each other.  If we can't do that, then we should stay selfish and single because we clearly don't deserve to be married.