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    How to Establish the Truth

    HOW can we ESTABLISH the TRUTH? 

    God has not left us to guess whether certain things are right or wrong.

    Three connected parts are necessary to establish the truth.

    1. OBJECTIVE – separate from any personal feelings, situations, or opinions
                 (Deuteronomy 32:4, Psalms 18:30-31)
    2. UNIVERSAL – applies to all people in all places
                 (Psalms 103:19, Psalms 97:5)
    3. CONSTANT - does not change with time…
                (Isaiah 40:28, Ecclesiastes 3:14)

    The Source of Truth can be found in only in God!

    John 14:6

    There are basic elements of truth that can always be counted on no matter what I feel, no matter where I am, and no matter what my age!

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    Put down your phone

    12 WAYS YOUR PHONE IS CHANGING YOU by Tony Reinke

    Interesting chapter titles says it all...  What do you think?

    1 We Are Addicted to Distraction  . . . . . . 41

    2 We Ignore Our Flesh and Blood . . . . . . 55

    3 We Crave Immediate Approval . . . . . . .65

    4 We Lose Our Literacy . . . . . . . . . . . . . .79

    5 We Feed on the Produced . . . . . . . . . . 91

    6 We Become Like What We “Like” . . . . .109

    7 We Get Lonely . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  . . . . 119

    8 We Get Comfortable in Secret Vices . . .131

    9 We Lose Meaning . . . . . . . .  . . . . . . . . .145

    10 We Fear Missing Out . . . . . . . . . . . . .153

    11 We Become Harsh to One Another  . . . .163

    12 We Lose Our Place in Time . . . . . . . . . .177

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    Lent - Mardi Gras Tuesday - Ash Wednesday - Self Denial - Fish - Easter - Gospel Story

    LENT(Old English for Spring) is a 40-day period (before Easter, excluding Sundays) of fasting and repentance culminating in the celebration of Holy Week. LENT began by early Christians in an effort to identify with biblical 40 day periods of trial and fasting(Genesis 7:12, Exodus 34:28, Numbers 13:25, Numbers 14:34, 1 Samuel 17:16, 1 Kings 19:8, Luke 4:2, Acts 1:3)leading up to Easter. The Lenten season beacons us to deepen our understanding and appreciation for the abundant grace of our Lord, Jesus Christ's saving work on the cross.

    MARDI GRAS Pre-Lenten celebrations (Carnival, Festival)culminate with FAT TUESDAY(Mardi Gras in French or Shrove Tuesday)the day before Ash Wednesday. Since Christians have often chosen or been taught to fast from all sweet food during Lent, including milk, eggs, and meat, the traditional dinner on this night is pancakes to use up their milk and eggs and syrup so there won't be any of the tempting stuff around during Lent. Many have mutated this season as an excuse for indulgence before the fast. It is often looked on as one last “binge” before having to give something up for 40 days. These celebrations foster the unscriptural notion that you can do whatever you want on Fat Tuesday, as long as you show up in church on Ash Wednesday.

    ASH WEDNESDAYbegins the Lenten season and is six and a half weeks before Easter every year. Ash Wednesday isthe tradition (not a requirement)of putting ashes on the forehead in the form of a cross as a sign of humility and recognition of our own sin (the ashes usually come from the dried and burned palms from Palm Sunday the year before). "From dust you came, and to dust you shall return. Turn from your sin and receive the good news." By reminding ourselves of our need and willfully submitting to Christ's authority, we prepare our heart to celebrate Easter with a renewed sense of joy and amazement!

    Many equate LENT with SELF DENIALand give up something enjoyable (like meat or chocolate or movies)for the 40 days as a way of focusing more intently on the meaning of the season. While there is certainly nothing wrong with preparing for Easter through some form of self-denial or intentional good works, it is important to realize that these will not win us God's favor, earn special blessing, or increase His love for us. God’s love for us could not be any greater than it already is! If you plan to give up something, please make sure to use the margin created to grow in love and appreciation with Christ. Remember the Lenten season is about preparing the heart; so, if you plan to give up something, then make plans to REPLACE it with something that would turn your heart more toward Christ! Maybe take the challenge to read the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John), memorize certain scriptures, or read the Purpose Driven Life daily devotional book during Lent. (free YouVersion Bible App for reading plans & FighterVerse App for scripture memory)

    FISH Catholic traditions often practice various acts of penitence and spiritual self-discipline during Lent. One of those disciplines is a fast that requires Catholics to abstain from meat on Fridays during Lent. The rule is based on the authority of the Church, not on the authority of Scripture. The stated reason for Catholics not being allowed to eat meat on Fridays during Lent is to remind the faithful that Jesus died on a Friday. Jesus gave up His body (His flesh), and Catholics, in an effort to attain greater communion with Christ, refrain from consuming flesh.

    EASTER  Christians celebrate Easter as the resurrection of Christ on the third day after His crucifixion. It is the oldest Christian holiday and the most important day of the church year because of the significance of the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the events upon which Christianity is based(1 Corinthians 15:3-4,14). The four Gospels make it clear that Jesus was crucified in conjunction with the Jewish Passover (Matthew 26:17-19; Mark 14:12-16; Luke 22:7-15; John 18:28,39; 19:14). The four Gospels also make it clear that Jesus was raised from the dead three days later, on the first day of the week (Matthew 28:1; Mark 16:2,9; Luke 24:1; John 20:1,19). Easter is celebrated on the first Sunday after the first full moon after the vernal equinox. Whether we call it “Easter” or “Resurrection Sunday,” what is important is the reason for our celebration, which is that Christ is alive, making it possible for us to have eternal life (Romans 6:4)!

    GOSPEL STORY[BAD NEWS]Since SIN is any thought, attitude, word, or action that falls short of God’s perfect, holy standard and deserves punishment, we are separated from the Source of LIFE and we ALL desperately need RESCUED! [GOOD NEWS]Love motivated Jesus Christ to step out of heaven and sacrificially give His innocent life on a bloody cross for the just punishment of our sin and also conquer sin’s penalty (death) by victoriously rising from the grave! [Romans 10:9-10][Ephesians 2:8-9]To reject this Gospel story is to condemn your self to death. To receive this Gospel story for your own is embracing LIFE!

    FMI – Questions – Share a Decision: northshorefamilychurch@gmail.com

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    Love and Respect

    Ephesians 5:33
    Let each one of you LOVE his wife as himself,
    and let the wife see that she RESPECTS her husband.

    The Language of Love & Respect
    Cracking the Communication Code with Your Mate
    Dr. Emerson Eggerichs

    MEN: How to Spell LOVE to Your Wife? COUPLE

    Closeness: She wants you to be close.

    Openness: She wants you to open up to her.

    Understanding: Don’t try to fix her; just listen.

    Peacemaking: She wants you to say, “I’m sorry.”

    Loyalty: She needs to know you’re committed.

    Esteem: She wants you to honor and cherish her.

    MEN:  You don’t motivate your wife to become more respectful by acting in unloving ways.  [Tony Evans] The less a woman feels appreciated, needed, and valued as an equal with you, the less responsive she will be following your functional lead as head in your house. 

    LADIES: How to Spell RESPECT to Your Husband? CHAIRS

    Conquest: Appreciate his desire to work and achieve.

    Hierarchy: Appreciate his desire to protect and provide.

    Authority: Appreciate his desire to serve and to lead.

    Insight: Appreciate his desire to analyze and counsel.

    Relationship: Appreciate his desire for shoulder-to-shoulder friendship.

    Sexuality: Appreciate his desire for sexual intimacy.

    LADIES: You don’t motivate your husband to become more loving by complaining and criticizing to get what you want.  The less a man feels respected, the less motivated he will be to want to treat you well, love you, and be good to you.

    [got ?'s quote] God’s commands for husbands and wives are not conditional. Submission is not contingent upon love, and love is not contingent upon respect. Taking the first step in obedience, regardless of the actions of the other, goes a long way to breaking down the conflict and establishing new patterns of behavior.

    LADIES: What would you think of a man that is consumed with CHRIST and empowered to LOVE you and your family with the self-sacrificial love of Christ?

    MEN:  What would you think of a lady that is consumed with CHRIST and honors your position as husband with endless respect?

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A Healthy Marriage is Worth the Effort

Although LOVE often gets reduced to a feeling, LOVE is a CHOICE!  To be in a healthy marriage relationship, I must make the CHOICE to do what it takes and hold to my commitment over the long haul.

Good marriages are not automatic for anyone.  We bring our “single” problems into marriage, set unrealistic expectations for our spouse, try to juggle all the demands of life, and are surprised that it creates tension in our relationship.  It’s easy to let our own frustrations fester and look around thinking that everyone else has it all together.  Social media just fans the flames as we compare our dissatisfactions with others’ highlight reels...


After reading Pastor Carey Nieuwhof’s article, “How Sex, Love, and Marriage are a lot like Leadership,” I was compelled to preach, encourage, and challenge myself (and those around me) to address some raw, honest discussion about a healthy marriage.  May the “quotes”, comments, and article inserts stir us to action!  May God’s Spirit use these words to inspire us to make wise choices!

“Just like it’s easier to be unhealthy than healthy, at some points it’s harder to make [a choice to keep] the magic happen[ing] year after year than it is to keep starting over again.”  Too many people buy into the lie that maybe they just made a bad choice and they will get it right next time.

“When you are able to work through your issues in a marriage, everything gets better.  There’s a certain joy that comes in being with the same person for many years.  We know things about each other that no one else can know.  We can read each other better than anyone else can read us.  And the deep pleasure in simply being together grows every year.  There’s an intimacy that only time can deliver that is almost hard to put into words.”  These are words worth reading again to chew on!  There is no shortcut to a great marriage relationship and the joy developed over time!

There will be some joyless seasonsIt’s not all dancing and singing all the time.  God uses dark nights of the soul to grow us and shape us.  If you’re being faithful, your emotions eventually catch up to your obedience.”  Feelings don’t have brains.  Make the next right choice and stop leaving divorce as an option.

 “So many relationships fail because one partner says the other partner is the problem.  The longer you stay in a relationship the more you will have to come to terms with the grinding truth you are the cap on progress.  That’s why serial relationships [are] so widespread.  Leave soon enough and you never have to look in the mirror.  It’s always someone else’s fault.  It’s easier to leave or have an affair than it is to work through your issues.  Wise people understand that and embrace that they are the problem.”  When the problem is bigger than you, don’t just ignore it, give up, or try harder, get outside help!  We all need coaches, mentors, counselors, friends, etc. that we give permission to point out our blind spots and walk with us through change.

“Very few couples who make it over the long haul do so because they have “no issues”.  They stay when it’s easier to leave.”  Love is a choice!  It’s time to think about “dating” your spouse again!  Yes, reminisce about when you first met.  Yes, renew a commitment to romance each other.  Yes, say you are sorry and ask for forgiveness for areas in which you have taken your spouse for granted.  Pursue each other and plan a date night.  Rediscover their “love language” [gifts, time, touch, affirmation, acts of service -from Gary Chapman’s 5 Love Languages] and show them you care.  Write a love note and hide it for them to find.  Be intentional about looking at each other in the eyes and saying, “I love you!”

Carey’s article references a haunting article on having an affair.  Wendy Plump penned the article 12-9-10 for The New York Times, “A Roomful of Yearning and Regret: Modern Love”

NOT long ago, the friend of a friend spent the night in a hotel room, which is sometimes what you do when you find out your spouse has been having a yearlong affair. His flight was sadly predictable — it’s all many of us are capable of after discovering such a betrayal — though I am sure he now realizes that mere movement is not a fix for that kind of agony.

I know this for two reasons: No. 1, I have had an affair; No. 2, I have been the victim of one.  When you unfurl these two experiences in the sunlight for comparison, and measure their worth and pain, the former is only marginally better than the latter. And both, frankly, are awful.

I recently offered my cheated-upon view of things to my acquaintance, who has returned every night for a week to that hotel because he cannot bear to look at his wife. A couple of years ago I offered the other side to a friend when she was considering having an affair.

Start, I suggested to her, by picturing yourself in the therapist’s office with your betrayed husband after you’ve been found out (and you will be found out). You will hear yourself saying you cheated because your needs weren’t being met. The spark was gone. You were bored in your marriage. Your lover understands you better. One or another version of this excuse will cross your lips like some dark, knee-jerk Hallmark-card sentiment.

I’m not saying these feelings aren’t legitimate, just that they don’t legitimize what you’re doing. If you believed they did, your stomach wouldn’t drop on your way out the door to your lover’s. You wouldn’t feel the need to shower before climbing into the marital bed after a liaison. You wouldn’t feel like a train had struck you in the back when your son asked why you forgot his lacrosse game the other day.

When you miss a family function because of work, you get over it. When you miss a family function because you were in a hotel room with your lover, you feel breathless with misery.

The great sex, by the way, is a given. When you have an affair you already know you will have passionate sex — the urgency, newness and illicit nature of the affair practically guarantee that.

What you don’t know, or perhaps what you don’t allow yourself to think about, is that your life will become an unbearable mix of yearning and regret because of it. It will be difficult if not impossible to be in any one place with contentment.

This is no way for an adult to live. When you’re with your lover, you’ll be working on your alibi and feeling loathsome. When you’re with your spouse, you’ll be dying to return to your love nest. When you are at home, everything in your life will look just a little bit out of register — the furniture, the food in your refrigerator, your children, your dog — because you’ve detached yourself from your normal point of reference, and it now belongs to a reality you’ve abandoned.

You will be pulled between two poles, one of obligation and responsibility, the other of pleasure and escape, and the stress of these opposing forces will threaten to split you in two.

I met the man I cheated with early in my marriage. He was the beautiful twin brother of a friend, something like a young Errol Flynn. I was entranced. My husband traveled a lot and I took advantage of that, finding myself at my lover’s apartment often. But at home with my husband during those ragged months, I was anxious and ill at ease. I should have been focusing on our new house, our new jobs, but my inability to resist the pull of the affair ruined all of that. I could not concentrate on our coupled life and frankly did not care to.

I knew I needed to stop it, but didn’t have the will to do so on my own. I had to enlist my husband, to tell him so that we could battle this together. So I admitted to the affair one evening after dinner.

Almost 20 years after that confession I can still remember how the whole world narrowed down to the two of us sitting there, that new truth congealing between us.

Once the affair is out in the open, you will strive mightily to justify yourself. You will begin many sentences with the phrase, “I never meant to — ” But one look at the hollow-eyed, defeated form of your spouse will remind you that such a claim is beside the point. You can both get over this, yes. But the innocence will have gone out of your union and it will seem as if a bone has been broken and healed, but one that rain or cold weather can set to throbbing again.

So, now take the other side. You discover your cheating spouse, as I once did, and what you experience is not far removed from post-traumatic stress. It is a form of shock. As your mind struggles to accommodate this wrenching reality, you won’t be able to sleep or focus. Your fight-or-flight mechanism will go haywire. You will become consumed with where your spouse is at any moment, even if you see him in the pool with your children.

You will lose your appetite. Stress will blow out your metabolism. You will torture yourself with details known and imagined. You will fit together the mysteries of his daily patterns like a wicked puzzle. Every absence or unexplained late night or new habit or sudden urge to join a gym, for instance, will suddenly make horrible sense. You will wonder why you were so stupid.

But as the writer Paul Theroux says in one of his travelogues, “It is very easy to plant a bomb in a peaceful, trusting place.” That is what the cheating spouse has done. Then detonated it.

Sooner or later your illicit, once-beloved object of affection will become tawdry, wearying. You will come to long for simple, honest pleasures like making dinner with your sons or going out to the movies without having to look over your shoulder.

On the other side, your spouse’s philandering will cease to torment you and instead the whole episode will leave you disgusted and bored and desirous to get out. You will just want to be with someone who does what he says he is going to do, goes where he says he is going to go, and can be found any time you need him because he is not hiding...

A great deal of comfort will come from your friends, many of whom will offer advice — hate him, leave him, move on — that you should listen to politely and then reject. After all, the consequences of your decisions will be visited upon you, not your friends. They will be only too happy to amplify your confusion, listen to you cry, and then get into the car and drive home to their own intact families...

I look at my parents and at how much simpler their lives are at the ages of 75, mostly because they haven’t marred the landscape with grand-scale deceit. They have this marriage of 50-some years behind them, and it is a monument to success. A few weeks or months of illicit passion could not hold a candle to it.

If you imagine yourself in such a situation, where would you fit an affair in neatly? If you were 75, which would you rather have: years of steady if occasionally strained devotion, or something that looks a little bit like the Iraqi city of Fallujah, cratered with spent artillery?

From where I stand now, it all just looks like a cheap hotel room, whether you’re in that room to have an affair or to escape from the discovery of one.

And despite the sex and the excitement, or the drama and the fix of everyone’s empathetic attention, there is no view from this room that is worth having.

Comments Posted sprag80 “The article encapsulates my experiences in betraying my wife and family.”

A healthy marriage relationship takes work, effort, and commitment over the long haul.  Only God can fill all of the longings and desires in a person, so don’t expect marriage to have all the answers.  Others can compliment us, but were never meant to complete us.  Don’t buy into the lie that something out there is better.  Make the choice to invest in your marriage today.

Carry wrote an article, “How to Help Your Marriage Survive the Pressure” with practical ways to choose love in our marriage relationship.

1. We had dates nights.  We saw evenings with each other as investments, not expenses. Although we sometimes felt guilty for time away from the kids, we knew that one of the best gifts you can give your kids is a healthy marriage.  When it got really tough, I began to resent date nights because they would turn into ‘date arguments’, but I’m so glad we pushed through that. Prioritize your spouse. No matter what.

2. We prayed for our marriage. Again, I wish I was the hero. But I wasn’t. Even as a pastor, something inside me resisted praying out loud with my wife. We did manage to pray together, and we both believe with all our hearts that it is Christ who has kept our marriage together. A cord of three strands is indeed not quickly broken (Ecclesiastes 4:12)

3. We sought Christian counseling. You can see a pattern developing here, but it was easier for Toni to seek help than for me to do so. I’m sure it was pride. But good, Christian counseling, among other things, helped us to stop the cycle of blame and replace it with responsibility.

4.  When we hit impasses, we went to a third party. Having a handful of people (and a small group) you love and trust is a God-send, literally. We are grateful for our closest friends who prayed for us and helped us.

5. We took divorce off the table. This should probably be in 82 point font and underlined. Out of obedience, we refused to quit. I believe God wanted us to press through, so I did. And I kept thinking about the story I wanted God to write for my kids, family and ministry. Divorce was off the table.

6. We worked to build an authentic friendship. Sure, we were great friends when we got married, but many people go through a period for a decade or so where you so focus on the kids you almost have to reintroduce yourself when that season ends.  Just because you’re married doesn’t mean you’re friends. We’ve become great friends (again) and are really excited about the times ahead, now that our kids are getting older (21 and married, 17 and in high school).

7.  We put our obedience ahead of our emotions. Sometimes you have to do the right thing, even if you don’t feel like it. And eventually, our emotions caught up with our obedience. All the hard work and our trust in Christ paid off, and we are in a season where I think we’re reaping the harvest from the good seed we sowed in a tough season. We’re both incredibly thankful.

Toni and I share this in the hopes it encourages you.

While our marriage hasn’t been easy, it’s been so worth it.

We’re at a place where we had always hoped to be, but didn’t know how to get to.  And our emotions have caught up with our obedience.

> May your marriage become a model of how Christ loves the church!  Praying for you in advance!

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