How to Save Your Marriage With Prayer

How to Save Your Marriage With Prayer

The wake of the Ashley Madison scandal has left many marriages traumatized. Church members have discovered the indiscretions of their pastors. Wives and husbands have discovered the infidelity of their spouses. It’s not that we didn’t know even Christians often struggle to remain faithful to their marriage vows. But the sheer volume of data that was hacked and suddenly available publically has left many somewhat stunned.

There is no easy answer to the problem of marital infidelity. There is no guarantee that your spouse will not fall into some such sinful behavior, or that you yourself will not be sorely tempted. We are each fallen human beings. There is no hierarchy of sins with God. We are all in need of a Savior – today and every day until Jesus returns to take us home.

But that doesn’t mean you are helpless, or hopeless. You may wonder if your own marriage is destined for failure. While there are always many factors involved, I can point to some strong research showing you how to save your marriage with prayer.

Prayer provides a level of insulation against the common human vulnerabilities leading to marital infidelity. In a study of several hundred participants,

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Is One of these Character Traits Holding You Back?

Is One of these Character Traits Holding You Back?

SuccessSomething in your soul says you should be farther along than you are. You see others who seem to have so much more – a stronger marriage, a better job, a larger ministry, better health, a larger platform, a more vibrant spirituality. What do they have that you don’t have? Why does it seem so much easier for them?

A friend asked me that question last week, and it got me thinking. And I’m convinced that as unfair as life is, there’s a lot we can do about our own future. Could there be some character traits that are holding you back?

A smart education, good role models, and hard work are certainly important. But it’s not usually the best educated who have the most success. Some who work terribly hard never reach the goals they desire. God has different roles for each of us in His kingdom, of course. God’s favor certainly makes a difference, but does that mean He doesn’t think as highly of you if you’re not at the level you – or He – desire you to be? I don’t think so.

Character is one of the most important factors we can do something about. Character impacts your success not only in ministry, but at least as much in business, marriage, and life in general.

Consider these character traits that could be keeping you from the success you might otherwise have:

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What I Wish Christian Parents Would Teach Kids About Sex

What I Wish Christian Parents Would Teach Kids About Sex

At 15 years old she was scared. Her mother sat there silent. I confirmed that Angela (not her real name) was pregnant, and outlined what medical care during her pregnancy would look like. Her mother had raised Angela in church, and she certainly didn’t expect to ever be sitting in my office with her pregnant daughter. I don’t know exactly what Angela had been taught about sex, but it was clear one message had been “Don’t have sex before marriage.” She felt somewhat ashamed, and her mother was angry.

As an OB-Gyn physician I see many teens and young women who have become sexually active by default. Many conservative Christian churches, if they talk about it at all, have shouted “Don’t do it!” But that has generally been no match for the sexual cultural revolution. Popular media has equated sexuality with success, growing up, individuality, and feeling good. Divorce, domestic violence, and the popular media have made marriage look less desirable than ever. Many young women don’t see any viable alternative.

I can understand why Christian parents are reluctant to teach kids about sex. Many may feel embarrassed or guilty about their own sexual past or the state of their marriage or lack thereof. They may feel powerless to effectively counteract the cultural messages their kids are getting about sex, or feel those messages aren’t really that bad. Or they may be surprised at how early and how pervasively their kids are exposed to those messages. Many may be confused themselves about what messages they want their kids to internalize about sex.

Most studies investigating religion, spirituality, and sexuality conclude that increased involvement in religious activities decreases risky sexual behavior. But what is “risky?” A 2014 survey of Christian adults showed that 61% said they would have sex before marriage. And the problem of absent fathers even among Christians makes the likelihood of early sexuality even greater.

Guilt, fear, and shame are not the answer. Some young women find it difficult to overcome the negative messages and go from “No” before marriage to “Yes” in one given day. Guilt, fear, and shame only make it harder for kids and teens to tell their parents if they are struggling with sexual matters. And a majority of adolescents (93% of boys and 62% of girls in one study) have been exposed to online pornography, and they need a context in which to address what they see.

Messages to Give Kids About Sex

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Keys to Overcoming Opposition In Your Mission

Keys to Overcoming Opposition In Your Mission

Push AwayThere’s a popular myth – perhaps unspoken – that says everything should be easy if you’re doing the right thing. But that’s just not true. Call it “the resistance,” spiritual warfare, or inertia, but the fact is that if you’re trying to do anything of significance you will face opposition. Coming to terms with and overcoming opposition will make the difference between success and failure in almost anything you do.

Change is usually painful, and almost always difficult. Every system wants to maintain the status quo. Your brain want to keep right on practicing the same bad habits, thinking the same negative thoughts, or enjoying the same addictions. Your family system wants to continue the same unhealthy or dysfunctional patterns of relating. Your church or business wants to remain at the same level, getting the same results as it is now, instead of growing.

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How to Grow Your Character

How to Grow Your Character

In some ways your character is like your closet, your car, or your bank account. Of course it’s much more valuable than any of those. Thinking of your character in those terms, however, helps make a number of things clearer. If you want to grow your character or help others grow theirs, you must be intentional about it.

You don’t want to be caught with a cluttered, run down, or bankrupt character. At some point your character will be challenged. Someone will treat you badly. You’ll face a tragedy in your personal or professional life. An opportunity will present itself for you to make dishonest money or to have an affair. There won’t be time for a Bible study course or six months of professional counseling before you’re forced to make a decision. Who you really are inside at that moment – your character – will determine what you do.

How do you go about growing your character so that you’ll have what it takes to pass those tests when they come? At least these 5 things are important. And they apply just as much to growing character in those you’re responsible for, such as children, students, parishioners, or employees.

  1. Spend time around others with good character.
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