Valentines Day: Are You Your Spouses Healer?

14 02 2018

In God’s word, Ephesians chapter five is where we often find ourselves concerning the husband and wife relationship. We tend to quote those parts that we like in these verses, but often fail to remember the parts that require effort from us. For example, what man doesn’t like the fact that God requires  a woman to respect her husband? And, what woman doesn’t like the part that asks a husband to love his wife?

 

Recently while teaching these principles, it hit me that these particular scriptures are words of healing for a marriage. In other words, if we actually believe them, embrace them and act on them, we will bring healing to our marriage relationship. Within this thought is another. We have three very different options in marriage that we can embrace.

 

We can be a destroyer in our marriage, a manager or, thirdly, we can be a healer. To not love and to not respect will eventually bring destruction to our marriage relationship. To neither destroy nor bring healing will only manage our relationship and not move it forward. Many couples have chosen this position because it’s easy and takes little to no effort. Management accepts what is and takes no further steps for healing change.

 

The position I believe God requires of us is to become a healer. When husband’s love as Christ loved, healing will be the result. When wives respect and honor as Sarah did Abraham (See I Peter 3: 5 & 6), healing will be the outcome. These scriptures are not spoken to us as an option or even good advice, but rather anointed and written by God to empower your marriage with healing so that you and your spouse, out of wholeness, can bring healing to one another and eventually other marriages.

The very best gift you can give your Valentine today, is a heartfelt desire from  and through God to be a healer!

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Is Your Marriage Healing You?

22 01 2018

We hear far too many reports about marriages that are not lasting. When marriage is full of selfishness, insecurity and immaturity, marriage becomes an attempt to receive healing from our spouse, i.e., if they’re the problem, they’re the solution as well.  When our spouse deals with the same inadequacies, they are unable to give what we’re looking for. Over a period of time, the thought of having married the wrong person is often generated.

 

But marriage in its purest, God-given form is not meant to harm us; rather, God gave us this gift to heal us. Let’s face it, our spouse can bring the worst out of us. But, seriously, how bad is that? Do you desire to identify and face your worst? When you identify and face your worst, you can actually begin to work on the issues in your life. Too often we blame our spouse for our worst and then think they’re the problem, believing the lie that all would be better if they would make all the changes.

 

Here’s a little secret. As you and your spouse begin to discover your inadequacies and insecurities, do not blame them on one other, rather use them to pursue personal healing. Persons who are healing will bring healing to others. The healthier you become, the healthier your marriage can become.





5 Ways to Identify Growth In Your Marriage

15 01 2018

Occasionally it’s good to evaluate our marriage progression. Today I want to share five ways in which we can identify marriage growth and maturity. Don’t be discouraged if you feel overdue in any of these areas; just realize maturity does take time and personal revelation for change.

 

1. Seeing the need of your spouse as more important than your own need. Number one is a sure-fire indicator of a maturing self-concept. To move toward the need of another before your own provides a clear sense of good will, pure heart, wisdom and, not the least, servanthood.

 

  1. Celebrating, embracing and enjoying your differences. When you stop fighting over your differences and start realizing your need of one another’s gift mix, a significant hurdle in a marriage relationship is realized. Embracing the difference for the good of the whole is an amazing and freeing team concept. We all married someone different from ourselves and when we learn to embrace those differences as a positive, we will experience tremendous growth in our marriage relationship.

 

  1. Seeing the need to work on personal wholeness rather than wishing or demanding your spouse change first. It is often said that you cannot change anyone but yourself. Marriage brings truth to that statement like no other relationship. When you realize it’s you that needs to grow, to change, to mature, you reach a healthy state of mind.

 

  1. Realizing you are best friends. You are in that place of desiring to serve and help one another. You are one another’s safe place. You trust each other explicitly. You share the honor and respect you both desire and deserve.

 

  1. Asking God first. You have come to the place of releasing demands and expectations of each other as you have learned to simply ask God – pray first. You have come together in prayer, knowing there is Someone to whom you are accountable and are in desperate need of for continuing marital growth.




10 Reasons Why We Need a Local Church in Our Lives

16 10 2017

I recently returned from serving a local church in Chicago, IL and was reminded in so many different ways of why we each need a local church in our lives and the lives of our family. To me it is imperative to be in close relationship with those persons who care about you and your family. It is essential to have that connection for not just receiving, but giving as well.

So, here are 10 reasons for being intentionally connected to a local church.

 

  1. Support – A local church connection provides support to family and/or us as individuals. It is a vehicle that God has chosen to provide spiritual and emotional support for personal growth. It is a spiritual family with fathers and mothers who will care about you and your future. (I Cor. 4:5; Heb. 12:9; I John 2:13, 14)
  2. Fellowship (koinonia) – The local church is a place of relational connection and belonging. It is a place of family with common life values. We are not alone in this world when we have a local church connection. We have people around us who personally care about our welfare. Wholesome and positive friendships can develop with our younger children, our teenagers and ourselves. An active, involved, dedicated and serious youth group can save a teen’s life. (Acts 2:42; I John 1:7)
  3. Service – The local church is a place where we can work toward and support a vision outside of ourselves. We all need something bigger than ourselves and a local church with vision can provide that. We can connect with the vision and find valuable ways to serve others. (Acts 12:24, 25)
  4. Gifts – It is a place for us to learn, practice and use our spiritual gifts. The body of Christ needs one another and the gifts that we each bring. Those gifts given us by God are not to be hidden, but made use of to serve others. The local church is the perfect place to use your teaching, serving, hospitality, prayer or mission gifts. (I Cor. 12: 12-27; I Peter 4:10)
  5. Resources – A local church is extremely important to a family. There are resources available at every age level to participate in. There are ongoing trainings and seminars for raising children, budgeting, marriage and the like. Often there are even counseling, coaching and mentoring resources. Families who attend church together have a clear advantage over those who do not – they have resources above and beyond themselves. There is far less isolation and far more family interaction with spiritual connections and challenges. (II Timothy 2:2)
  6. Outreach – A local church is often the vehicle for local community outreach. Local churches are involved with the homeless in their community, the after school tutoring and the missionaries serving overseas. Your family can have a direct effect and impact in the world by participating with these worthy causes. (II Timothy 4:5)
  7. Education – The local church is a place of education in the Bible and in practical Christian living. It is a place where our whole family can grow through sermons, Sunday school classes, seminars, video classes and so much more. (II Timothy 3:16, 17)
  8. Groups – Small groups provide accountability and discipleship for each of our lives. The small group setting is a place of greater relational intimacy while it provides room for open discussion and opportunities for praying together. (Acts 5:42; 16:34; 20:20; Romans 16:5; I Cor. 16:19)
  9. Giving – The local church is the place to give our tithe and sow financial seed into something that we know and trust. We can give elsewhere to a lot of really good causes, but it’s difficult to know where our money is going. Not so with the local church and the built-in responsibility that is offered. (Malachi 3:10; Matthew 6: 3,4; Romans 12:8)
  10. Accountability – When we are part of a local church, there is a provision aspect of someone watching over our soul, someone(s) caring about our daily life and our future. There is the possibility of others who we can look up to that are inspiring models in integrity, marriage, spiritual gifts, etc. There are positive peer relationships that help us to keep moving forward in our faith, growing, being challenged and calling us to a higher level of faith. There are businesspersons and homemakers that can help us walk out our daily lives. (Psalm 119:26; Hebrews 13: 17)

I have experienced all of these and more in many local churches and I appreciate the body of Christ so much. God is not angry at His church as so many speak today, but rather, He loves His church, He died for His church and longs for His church to be with Him one day. Until then, be a vital part of a growing, Bible believing and faith-filled local church body. You and your family will grow and help to grow others.





Staying Together Chapter Thirteen: The Six Most Important Words

9 10 2017

This completes a thirteen-week blog series that has shared a snippet from each chapter of our new book, Staying Together, Marriage: A Lifelong Affair by Steve & Mary Prokopchak. This book is available through House to House Publications.

We are settled. We do not have to always agree, but rarely do we disagree. Steve is Mary and Mary is Steve and we desire the very best and the highest goodwill for each other. We are not competing with one another and we are not jealous of each other. We will not settle for mediocre in our relationship and we will not allow a spirit of discontentment to show its ugly head. We both know that through the grace of God and His goodness to us, we gained something…or someone in marriage. When we said “yes” to one another, we said “no” to every other possible partner out there. We have no regrets.

What are the six most important words in marriage? Are you ready to hear them? Once you hear them, you will be accountable for knowing the right thing to say and to do.

You’ll find those six words, maybe nine, in chapter thirteen, the final chapter of Staying Together, Marriage: A Lifelong Affair. I hope you have enjoyed this thirteen-week series introducing you to our new book. Please order a copy for yourself today and one to give away to a couple you know. Please consider running a “Staying Together” small group to encourage other marriages.

Other ordering options:

B&N: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/staying-together-steve-mary-prokopchak/1125534926?ean=9780768414905

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Staying-Together-Marriage-Life-Affair/dp/0768414903/ref=sr_1_2?s=beauty&ie=UTF8&qid=1499959168&sr=8-2&keywords=steve+prokopchak

CBD (Christianbooks.com): https://www.christianbook.com/staying-together-marriage-a-lifelong-affair/steve-prokopchak/9780768414905/pd/414905?event=ESRCG





Staying Together Chapter Twelve: Intimate Conversations

2 10 2017

Note: This thirteen-week blog series will share a snippet from each chapter of our new book, Staying Together, Marriage: A Lifelong Affair by Steve & Mary Prokopchak. This book is now available through House to House Publications.

Before you were married, did anyone advise you that your marriage would need room for failure, forgiveness, loss, brokenness, disagreement, or even sin? If not, a full and honest disclosure was missed, and you may have entered into marriage a bit naïve or ill-advised. Marriages fail because we fail God, each other, and ourselves. We fail to love, we fail to honor, we fail to forgive, and we fail in keeping at bay our own personal struggles with selfishness. And that’s where prayer can come in.

You can be sexually intimate with almost anyone, but you cannot pray with just anyone. In order to really open up our hearts and pray together, we must know we are in a safe place. We must know we are not being judged for our heartfelt prayer. And we must know that the one to whom we divulge our heart will maintain confidentiality and that we can trust them with our deepest, most secret sins and needs. Praying together within marriage is so intimate that if these factors are not present, we will almost always divert ourselves to a same-sex prayer partner for that level of prayer.

Can we not have a conversation with Him together about our marriage, family, business, or life questions? Would we be amiss to entertain for one moment that God has stopped caring for those He created to bear His image after Genesis 3? It is this discussion that takes us to the most intimate act of marriage—prayer.

In chapter twelve of Staying Together, we also discuss growing our friendship and a marriage evaluation retreat.

 

Other ordering options:

B&N: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/staying-together-steve-mary-prokopchak/1125534926?ean=9780768414905

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Staying-Together-Marriage-Life-Affair/dp/0768414903/ref=sr_1_2?s=beauty&ie=UTF8&qid=1499959168&sr=8-2&keywords=steve+prokopchak

CBD (Christianbooks.com): https://www.christianbook.com/staying-together-marriage-a-lifelong-affair/steve-prokopchak/9780768414905/pd/414905?event=ESRCG

 

 

 





Staying Together Chapter Eleven: Going Under Cover(s)

25 09 2017

Note: This thirteen-week blog series will share a snippet from each chapter of our new book, Staying Together, Marriage: A Lifelong Affair by Steve & Mary Prokopchak. This book is now available through House to House Publications.

We seemed to have reached a desperate part of our meeting with a middle-aged couple pastoring a small church in New York. In tears, the wife declared, “We’re not intimate!” We asked what she meant by that statement. She said without hesitancy, “We don’t do fun things together; we don’t hold hands; we don’t sit close any longer; we rarely have sex; and our conversations have become predictable, boring, and too infrequent. It’s like we’ve taken a break from closeness, from our friendship…from intimacy.”

During the dating and engagement seasons, intimacy seems almost too easy. We are fooled into believing it will always be this way—easy and natural, without having to try very hard. But that’s simply not true. After we say “I do,” we sometimes stop pursuing or actively admiring our partner as we settle into a routine together. But it’s crucial that we continue to desire and affirm one another and continue to pursue deeper and deeper intimacy.

How does a couple stay sexually active when there are jobs, a family, household responsibilities, and civic commitments, along with children’s sports and school, and then local church involvement? All of these good things can rob us of intimacy as married couples and can even become priority over our sexual thoughts and desires. Sometimes life gets a hold of us, and all too often we’re too exhausted to take a hold of one other.

In this chapter of Staying Together you’ll discover different aspects of sexual intimacy, e.g., what inhibits sexual intimacy? We also look at what builds intimacy along with the benefits of a healthy sex life.

Other ordering options:

B&N: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/staying-together-steve-mary-prokopchak/1125534926?ean=9780768414905

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Staying-Together-Marriage-Life-Affair/dp/0768414903/ref=sr_1_2?s=beauty&ie=UTF8&qid=1499959168&sr=8-2&keywords=steve+prokopchak

CBD (Christianbooks.com): https://www.christianbook.com/staying-together-marriage-a-lifelong-affair/steve-prokopchak/9780768414905/pd/414905?event=ESRCG

 








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