mt
posted on June 21st   14 notes
| L E S L i E     L U D Y |

| L E S L i E     L U D Y |

posted on March 25th   20 notes

What do women want today?

What do men want? I mean, deep down. What do they really want? If “times” have changed, have human longings changed, too? How about principles? Have Christian principles changed?

I say no to the last three questions, an emphatic no. I am convinced that the human heart hungers for constancy. In forfeiting the sanctity of sex by casual, nondiscriminatory “making out” & “sleeping around”, we forfeit something we cannot well do without. There is dullness, monotony, sheer boredom in all of life when virginity & purity are no longer protected & prized. By trying to grab fulfillment everywhere, we find it nowhere.

 ✒ E L I S A B E T H    E L L I O T

posted on March 8th   7 notes

"If a Chinese sage…

…were going to summarize what I learned in those six months leading up to my wedding, he would have said something like this: Man engaged to woman is man with big smile & low resistance to temptation.

So as to not cause any of you readers to use your imaginations any more than you may have already, I will attempt to summarize in vague generalities instead of specifics. My hands, my eyes, & my lips felt like a caged lion & were screaming to be free.


But if it had been important for me to love my future wife faithfully even before I knew her, it was all the more so now that I knew her name & was counting the days until we would finally say “I do”.


When you withhold certain physical expressions until marriage, it does two things. First, it makes those intimate forms of touch far more appealing to the mind than maybe they otherwise would be. And second, it makes those tender expressions far more enjoyable when the time finally comes that you are free to enjoy them.

It’s the simple principle of waiting. When you wait for something rather than satisfy your craving for it at that the genesis of your desire, you appreciate its beauty far more & enjoy its pleasure forever, as opposed to having its appeal fade away.

Suffice it to say that, while waiting was difficult, the reward was far beyond my wildest imagination.

My engagement to Leslie was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Our love was new, our discovery of each other fresh & exciting, & our expectancy was bigger than life. I wouldn’t want to relive those painful yet amazing days leading up to the wedding, but I certainly will always look back on them with a fondness that is saved only for my favorite memories.” Eric Ludy, When Dreams Come True, pp. 238 - 239

posted on February 27th   5 notes
Leslie Ludy, Sacred Singleness

Leslie Ludy, Sacred Singleness

posted on February 26th   5 notes

Beggar’s Daughter

Lust is certainly not just a guy’s fight. Beggar’s Daughter is a great blog/resource for girl’s struggling with porn or other sexual sin. The author, Jessica Harris, herself struggled with this addiction for years & now she’s dedicated to helping young women who share this struggle. You can read her story here. Please check it out! :)

posted on February 18th   1 note
posted on January 6th   23 notes

For the men: CHANGE your marriage

Justin Buzzard

Blogger’s note: This excerpt is taken from Date Your Wife by Justin Buzzard copyright ©2012.  Used by permission of Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers, Wheaton, Il 60187, www.crossway.org.

Chapter 6: Where Marriages Go Right, Part 1: The Husband

Every time a boy is born, we should think of Genesis 2:15. The moment we see the ultrasound picture, the moment we hear the cry of a boy exiting the womb and entering the world, we should recite in our minds:

The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it. (Gen. 2:15)

Boys are born with a mission: to work and keep, to cultivate and guard. God put Adam on the earth, and God pushes boys out of wombs to be cultivators and guardians.

I’m the father of three boys—Cru, Hudson, and Gus. Cru entered the world at 8:00 a.m. on a Thursday morning, a scheduled C-section because he was upside down in his mother’s womb. Less than two years later, Hudson arrived on a Sunday afternoon during the fourth quarter of a San Francisco 49ers football game. The Niners won. The night of Hudson’s second birthday, Taylor woke me up at 1:00 a.m. and we raced to the hospital, just in time for the arrival of Gus. All three Buzzard boys were born at the same hospital, delivered by the same doctor. When the doctor presented me with each of my sons, I thought of Genesis 2:15. I thought about the mission God’s entrusted to these three men in training. I thought about the twin pillars of their mission: responsibility and power. 

Responsibility

God gives men enormous responsibility. And the weightiest responsibility he gives to a man is a woman—a wife. In this union, a man’s ability to cultivate and guard is put to the greatest test. Will the man lay down his life in order that his wife may flourish? That is the question that measures a marriage. In order for the garden of marriage to be properly cultivated and guarded, a man must give more than he’s ever given. 

Many men avoid this responsibility. Some men abandon this responsibility. A few men appreciate this responsibility. No man can handle this responsibility.

This is the place to revisit what I said in chapter 3: 

It’s your fault. This is the second most important truth to learn from this book: it’s your fault. You are the husband. You are the man. And God has given man the ability to be the best thing or the worst thing that ever happened to a marriage. Before you can be the best thing that ever happened to your marriage, you must see that you have always been the worst thing that happened to your marriage. If you want to change a marriage, change the man. Why? Because the man is what is wrong, and the man is what, made right, alters the course of everything.

Everybody knows there’s something wrong with men. The man problem has been in the news for decades. For decades society has told us that the problem with men is a responsibility problem—that if men acted like men, acted responsibly, things would be better. 

I disagree.

Yes, responsibility is part of the problem. The world is full of irresponsible men. Genesis 2:15 gives men a responsibility that is shirked more often than it is embraced. Ephesians 5 further defines this responsibility for husbands: “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her” (Eph. 5:25), a verse many husbands aren’t quick to quote or execute. Responsibility is a problem, but it isn’t the heart of the problem.

The problem is power.

God gives men a mission. God commissions husbands to cultivate and guard—to date their wives. This mission requires responsibility and power. The problem with men isn’t the responsibility, the problem is men think they have the power to carry out the responsibility. 

Power

Men need to be taught about power, not responsibility. I spent the first five chapters of this book talking about responsibility so that I could spend the rest of this book talking about power. 

I bought my first car at age sixteen, a silver 1984 Toyota Tercel with one hundred thousand miles on it, an oil leak, and an aftermarket CD player. I loved that car. I kept my football pads in the trunk, and the whole car smelled like football. 

One afternoon, my car wouldn’t start. I couldn’t figure it out. I had plenty of gas. The car had been running great, and I had just checked the oil. I turned the key in the ignition and nothing happened. Then I realized—the battery was dead. No amount of turning the key would do anything. The power source of my engine was dead. I needed outside help.

That afternoon I got my first jump start. I waved down a truck that was passing by. The driver happened to have jumper cables. He pulled his big truck next to my small car, we popped open the hoods of our vehicles, he attached his end of the cables to his fully powered battery, and I attached my end of the cables to my dead battery. He turned on his engine and power started transferring from his truck to my car. Within a few minutes I turned the key in my ignition and, vroom vroom, my car started. I had power again. I thanked the man and drove home.

I think most men are fairly aware of their responsibility as husbands. They know they need to drive the car. But across our world men are sitting in their cars turning the key wondering why nothing is happening. Men don’t see that their battery is dead. Men don’t see that they need power from the outside, power that comes from someone else, in order to carry out the mission. 

I’ve told you the second-most-important truth to learn from this book: it’s your fault—you are the worst thing that ever happened to your marriage. You needed to hear that first. Now let’s hear the most important truth: Jesus makes men new—Jesus turns husbands like you and me into the best thing that ever happened to our marriages. 

My friend Ed hails from England. We smoke cigars together and talk about Jesus, life, and our dreams. Taylor and I enjoy going on double dates with Ed and his wife, Nicci. Ed and Nicci have a great marriage. They are a lot of fun, and they sound really smart and godly because of their British accents.

Last year, after ten years of marriage and five years of trying for kids, Nicci discovered she was pregnant with twins. Their excitement was so thick you felt like you could grab onto it and put some of it in your pocket. Ed and Nicci were giving birth to twin boys! The baby showers commenced. Nicci’s tummy grew larger.

I arrived at the hospital a few minutes after Joshua died, Ed and Nicci’s newborn son. Nicci had gone into early labor. There in the maternity ward at Stanford Hospital, Nicci gave birth to Joshua and, then, to Daniel. Joshua lived sixty-seven minutes outside of the womb. He died in his parents’ arms. Meanwhile, Joshua’s brother Daniel fought for life in the neonatal intensive care unit, with tubes and wires connected to every part of his body, a body that was the size of my hand. I’ve never felt so powerless as a pastor as the day I walked into that hospital room and wept with Ed. 

A few days later I officiated at Joshua’s funeral. I preached with wet eyes. I helped carry Joshua’s casket. I startled over the grief Ed and Nicci expressed over a lost son, the hope they carried for a living son, and the faith they exercised in a good and sovereign God. What struck me most from the funeral was Ed and the strength with which Ed loved his wife. Drained of his dreams, drained of sleep, and disoriented by death, Ed was seemed to come from outside him. It was like jumper cables were attached to him. 

There’s a saying that Ed learned from his mom. Ed used to quote it to me, and I found myself thinking about the saying as I watched Ed lead his wife through that week of hell. Ed’s mom used this saying to teach her son the true nature of responsibility. 

Responsibility: My response to his ability. 

You crush a man if you only talk to him about responsibility. You empower a man if you talk to him about responsibility—about living life in response to the power and ability of God.

Manhood, husbandry, and Genesis 2:15 were never meant to be carried out in isolation from God. God gave the first man, and God gives us men, a mission that can be completed only through dependence. God doesn’t demand men live life on the basis of their own resources; he summons us to live in confident dependence on his resources. He has the power. Our responsibility is to respond to his ability.

Jesus wakes us up to the life we were created to live—a life powered by God, not self. When Jesus gets a hold of a man, he makes a man new. He gives power. Jesus takes men with dead batteries and puts them in relationship with the living God. It’s as though men experience Genesis 2:7 all over again: 

Then the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature. 

Life feels new. The breath of life, the power and Spirit of God, begins taking over the operating system of a man’s life. Trajectories change. Husbands who were stuck begin to move forward, begin to steer their marriage in a new and better direction. 

Death does this. Sometimes it takes death to show a man where true power comes from. Sometimes it takes death to make a man come alive to the real mission of manhood and marriage: living life and dating your wife in response to God’s ability, not your ability.

Ed received the power long before his son died in his arms. Ed had become a new man many years earlier. But my dad didn’t come alive until he heard the doctor’s diagnosis: “Your wife has cancer.” And my old friend didn’t come alive until he heard the bad news: “Your wife’s had an affair.” It took the news of death for these husbands to hear the news of life: real power comes from outside you, not inside you.

Men carry burdens they were not meant to carry. Like many men, my dad grew up on Simon and Garfunkel, listening to “I Am a Rock”: 

I am a rock,

I am an island. 

And a rock feels no pain;

And an island never cries.

That chorus defines manhood for many men. But all this collapses the day the rock feels pain, the day the island cries. When the battery dies, when a man realizes that he’s not a rock, then he’s ready to build his life and his marriage on the real Rock. And that Rock is full of power. And that Rock feels pain. 

Take Action

1. Quit your excuses. Don’t give God or your wife (or yourself) your excuses anymore. Say sorry. Repent. Ask forgiveness. Own up to your old ways; don’t make excuses.

2. Reassess the definition of responsibility that is driving your life.

3. Ask God to make you new. 

4. Read the entire New Testament over the next three months, circling the following five words every time you spot them: power, gospel, grace, new, and life.

posted on January 2nd   14 notes

❝ The Bible is not full of easy answers; to almost every question, the Bible’s answer is “dig into the well of the Spirit more. Surrender more to God. Give more to God. Struggle in prayer more.” And I think that’s WHY there aren’t easy answers. God isn’t interested in easy answers as much as He is interested in drawing us to Himself. If we had easy answers we wouldn’t need Him. ❞

posted on December 20th   14 notes
posted on December 14th   36 notes

How to Fight Your Way to a Better Marriage

Note from SETAPARTHEART administrator, Lillie: Although this article is specifically for married couples, I am in a God-ordained courtship, & it always takes me by surprise when conflict actually ends up bringing us closer together. We resolve all arguments within 24 hours, & after each one we each feel closer to each other than before. Whenever something goes awry between us I’ve been known to pray “Lord, right now I’m kind of upset yet simultaneously I am happy because I know we will be so much closer to You & to each other when we resolve this.” I pray you face conflict with God’s attitude & benefit from this article, whether in the future or immediately!

Too often, couples worry that the conflict they go through together is a sign that their marriages are in trouble. But conflict – which is inevitable in any close relationship between two people – isn’t always harmful. Conflict can actually be helpful to spouses who learn how to use it as a tool to strengthen their marriages.

So stop worrying about the arguments between you and your significant other and start making conflict work for you rather than against you. Here’s how you can fight your way to a better marriage/relationship/courtship:

Recognize the gems buried within healthy conflict. Some of the many ways that healthy conflict can benefit your marriage include: alerting you and your spouse to problems and helping you both face those issues rather than denying or avoiding them; giving you both opportunities to break old, ineffective patterns; humbling you both and inviting God to pour grace into your lives; giving you each insight into your personal issues and need for healing; and bringing you closer together as you listen understand, and validate each other.

Break the reactive cycle. When you and your spouse push each other’s emotional buttons when discussing sensitive issues during arguments, you both can get caught in an unhealthy cycle of reacting to each other with negative emotions like fear and anger, spinning around but never actually resolving your conflict. To break that cycle, identify the buttons that your spouse pushes in you when you’re arguing about different issues. For example, arguments about money may push buttons that relate to feeling insecure or controlled. Reflect on how a recent conflict between you and your spouse made you feel about yourself. In the process, you’ll discover which of your emotional buttons got pushed during that conflict. Keep in mind that the disagreements you have with your spouse go much deeper than just the surface issues of money, chores, children, sex, work, time together, relationships with in-laws, etc. The root causes are the emotional issues that those arguments expose.

Replace lies with the truth. Behind every argument you and your spouse ever have are lies that have entered your minds because of emotional wounds you’ve each suffered. Seek healing by identifying what attitudes you each have that don’t reflect biblical truth. Pray for the wisdom you need to discern what lies you’ve believed, and then ask the Holy Spirit to renew your mind, and read and meditate on the Bible to fill your mind with the truth. Going forward, have the confidence that you never need to be controlled by lies again. Make a habit of reminding yourselves about God’s deep and unconditional love for you, and of relying on the help God offers you to grow stronger every day.

Learn how to respond rather than react to what your spouse says. When you simply react during a conflict, only negative behavior (such as anger, defensiveness, or withdrawing) results. But when you refuse to give in to a knee-jerk reaction and instead take a break from the argument to calm down and pray for the Holy Spirit’s help, you can respond in positive ways (such as with self-control, kindness, and gentleness) that will strengthen your marriage and help you work out a thoughtful solution to the problem.

Change the way you think about your spouse. Recognize that many of the negative attitudes you have about your spouse don’t actually reflect the truth of God’s perspective on him or her. Spend some time in prayer, asking God to show you how Satan is trying to twist your mind against your spouse and what deceptions you have brought into your marriage. Pray for an open mind and the humility you need to always keep in mind that you could be wrong in any argument, to give your spouse the benefit of the doubt, and to better understand your spouse’s point of view. Rather than just focusing on your spouse’s negative behavior, make a point of noticing his or her positive behavior as well. Ask your spouse to explain something he or she said or did that bothered you, so you can correct any wrong assumptions you may have made about it.

Seek healing for a hardened heart. If your heart has become hardened toward your spouse (so that you no longer feel love toward him or her or motivation to work on your marriage), ask God to heal your heart by filling it with His love.

Open your heart to your spouse. When your spouse pushes your emotional buttons, decide to respond rather than react. Take a break for about 20 minutes before resuming the discussion with your spouse, and during that time, identify the specific emotions you’re feeling. Then pray, asking questions like these: “What is the truth about my emotions?”, “What is the truth about me?”, “Is what my wife/husband is saying about me true?”, “What lie is Satan trying to write on my heart?”, “What do I need to take responsibility for?”, and “Who is the person I want to be in this moment – the person God created me to be?”. Then ask Jesus to give you His peace, which will guard your mind and allow you to open your heart to your spouse when re-engaging in the discussion. When your heart is open, God’s love will flow through it.

Create an emotionally safe marriage. Ask God to help you recognize your spouse’s incredible value and to honor and cherish him or her. Treat your spouse as someone who is valuable by allowing your spouse to share his or her deepest thoughts and feelings with you without fear of judgment or criticism, knowing that you will accept and love him or her no matter what. When your spouse is in pain, show compassion through kind and gentle words and actions.

Communicate well. After you each have opened your hearts to each other, listen to each other, seek to understand each other, validate each other, empathize with each other, and apologize to and forgive each other.

Work together as a team. Seek win-win solutions to your arguments – solutions about which both of you feel good. Keep asking each other questions about what’s important to each of you and why until you come up potential solutions. Then pray, asking God to guide you all to the best solution that will benefit both of you.

Adapted from Fight Your Way to a Better Marriage: How Healthy Conflict Can Take You to Deeper Levels of Intimacy, copyright 2012 by Dr. Greg Smalley. Published by Howard Books, Brentwood, Tn., http://imprints.simonandschuster.biz/howard.

Whitney Hopler

Too often, couples worry that the conflict they go through together is a sign that their marriages are in trouble. But conflict – which is inevitable in any close relationship between two people – isn’t always harmful. Conflict can actually be helpful to spouses who learn how to use it as a tool to strengthen their marriages.

So stop worrying about the arguments between you and your spouse and start making conflict work for you rather than against you. Here’s how you can fight your way to a better marriage:

Recognize the gems buried within healthy conflict. Some of the many ways that healthy conflict can benefit your marriage include: alerting you and your spouse to problems and helping you both face those issues rather than denying or avoiding them; giving you both opportunities to break old, ineffective patterns; humbling you both and inviting God to pour grace into your lives; giving you each insight into your personal issues and need for healing; and bringing you closer together as you listen understand, and validate each other.

Break the reactive cycle. When you and your spouse push each other’s emotional buttons when discussing sensitive issues during arguments, you both can get caught in an unhealthy cycle of reacting to each other with negative emotions like fear and anger, spinning around but never actually resolving your conflict. To break that cycle, identify the buttons that your spouse pushes in you when you’re arguing about different issues. For example, arguments about money may push buttons that relate to feeling insecure or controlled. Reflect on how a recent conflict between you and your spouse made you feel about yourself. In the process, you’ll discover which of your emotional buttons got pushed during that conflict. Keep in mind that the disagreements you have with your spouse go much deeper than just the surface issues of money, chores, children, sex, work, time together, relationships with in-laws, etc. The root causes are the emotional issues that those arguments expose.

Replace lies with the truth. Behind every argument you and your spouse ever have are lies that have entered your minds because of emotional wounds you’ve each suffered. Seek healing by identifying what attitudes you each have that don’t reflect biblical truth. Pray for the wisdom you need to discern what lies you’ve believed, and then ask the Holy Spirit to renew your mind, and read and meditate on the Bible to fill your mind with the truth. Going forward, have the confidence that you never need to be controlled by lies again. Make a habit of reminding yourselves about God’s deep and unconditional love for you, and of relying on the help God offers you to grow stronger every day.

Learn how to respond rather than react to what your spouse says. When you simply react during a conflict, only negative behavior (such as anger, defensiveness, or withdrawing) results. But when you refuse to give in to a knee-jerk reaction and instead take a break from the argument to calm down and pray for the Holy Spirit’s help, you can respond in positive ways (such as with self-control, kindness, and gentleness) that will strengthen your marriage and help you work out a thoughtful solution to the problem.

Change the way you think about your spouse. Recognize that many of the negative attitudes you have about your spouse don’t actually reflect the truth of God’s perspective on him or her. Spend some time in prayer, asking God to show you how Satan is trying to twist your mind against your spouse and what deceptions you have brought into your marriage. Pray for an open mind and the humility you need to always keep in mind that you could be wrong in any argument, to give your spouse the benefit of the doubt, and to better understand your spouse’s point of view. Rather than just focusing on your spouse’s negative behavior, make a point of noticing his or her positive behavior as well. Ask your spouse to explain something he or she said or did that bothered you, so you can correct any wrong assumptions you may have made about it.

Seek healing for a hardened heart. If your heart has become hardened toward your spouse (so that you no longer feel love toward him or her or motivation to work on your marriage), ask God to heal your heart by filling it with His love.

Open your heart to your spouse. When your spouse pushes your emotional buttons, decide to respond rather than react. Take a break for about 20 minutes before resuming the discussion with your spouse, and during that time, identify the specific emotions you’re feeling. Then pray, asking questions like these: “What is the truth about my emotions?”, “What is the truth about me?”, “Is what my wife/husband is saying about me true?”, “What lie is Satan trying to write on my heart?”, “What do I need to take responsibility for?”, and “Who is the person I want to be in this moment – the person God created me to be?”. Then ask Jesus to give you His peace, which will guard your mind and allow you to open your heart to your spouse when re-engaging in the discussion. When your heart is open, God’s love will flow through it.

Create an emotionally safe marriage. Ask God to help you recognize your spouse’s incredible value and to honor and cherish him or her. Treat your spouse as someone who is valuable by allowing your spouse to share his or her deepest thoughts and feelings with you without fear of judgment or criticism, knowing that you will accept and love him or her no matter what. When your spouse is in pain, show compassion through kind and gentle words and actions.

Communicate well. After you each have opened your hearts to each other, listen to each other, seek to understand each other, validate each other, empathize with each other, and apologize to and forgive each other.

Work together as a team. Seek win-win solutions to your arguments – solutions about which both of you feel good. Keep asking each other questions about what’s important to each of you and why until you come up potential solutions. Then pray, asking God to guide you all to the best solution that will benefit both of you.

Adapted from Fight Your Way to a Better Marriage: How Healthy Conflict Can Take You to Deeper Levels of Intimacy, copyright 2012 by Dr. Greg Smalley. Published by Howard Books, Brentwood, Tn., http://imprints.simonandschuster.biz/howard.

posted on November 26th   3 notes

❝ Marriage can either be a taste of heaven on earth, or a taste of hell on earth, depending on where you place the Cross ❞

— C. T. Studd
posted on October 12th   45 notes
Holding Ou† For A Warrior Poe†