spiritual

Cooking together

21 Things to Do Together As a Married Couple

When you were dating, you probably had no difficulty coming up with interesting things to do with your sweetheart. Now that you’ve been married for a few, or many, years, the newness has worn off and you probably spend more time thinking about work, budgets, kids, schedules, and just getting through the day.
It’s important to spice things up from time to time. Here are some things to consider doing together that can give you an opportunity to learn, stretch yourselves, and have fun:

good things to think about

25 Good Things to Think About

Thoughts control actions. Thoughts come before emotions. Thoughts impact how other people see you, and how you react to every situation you come across. Choosing what thoughts to think can go a long way toward making you well or sick, happy or sad, lonely or connected, desperate or satisfied.
If you feel challenged to know what to think about, here’s a list to get you started. When you find yourself rolling negative things around in your mind, choose one of these items instead. You can think about:

prayer for healing

God Help Me! I’m Sick!

Sickness and disease: is it simply a fact of life on this miserable, sin-filled, messed-up planet? Is it our own…
Marriage is hard! Couple reading Scripture together.

Why Marriage Is So Hard

Sometime after the preacher pronounces you man and wife the unwelcome truth hits you; marriage is hard! That realization may…
Sunrise

HOPE for the In-Between Times

The in-between times can often be one of the most challenging. The Christmas celebrations are over. The New Year is…

How to Know God as your Husband

There’s that Scripture you know should mean more to you: “Your Maker is your husband.” (Isaiah 54:5) But you’re just…

What is a Submissive Wife?

She is obviously struggling. As a young wife and mother she wants to do things God’s way. She wrote to…

Facing Grief at Easter

Today is Good Friday. Sunday is Easter. Is there a more important weekend in all of Christianity? The death, burial,…

A New Year’s Prayer

Over the past couple weeks your inbox has probably been filled with emails promoting goal-setting programs and ways to guarantee…

Christmas Greeting 2015

I and all of us at Dr Carol Ministries want to wish you a very Merry Christmas! If you’re gathering…
Prayer

What to do After God Speaks

You had a problem, or something you desired deeply. You prayed about it – a lot. You asked others to pray for…

When You Feel Like a Failure

Let’s just admit it. We’re not perfect, and we know it. But sometimes the not-perfect-ness gets really old. Your head…

Are You Putting God in a Box?

So who’s right? You? Your pastor? The Pope? The head of some denomination? The group of church leaders when they…

This Is NOT God’s Will

Bad things are happening – to people you know, to Christians here and in other places, and perhaps to you…
Something growing

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…

Intimacy Is Worth the Risk

Get too close and you’re likely to get hurt. No wonder many people are afraid to take the risk. Most…
Feeling shame

How to Disinfect Your Shame

We are all wounded. Life happens to us. People hurt us. And we hurt ourselves. But when the infection of…

30 Things To Be Grateful For

Life is difficult. Bad things happen, and challenges come every day. One of the best ways to meet those challenges…

Live Healthy, Live Whole!

It’s here! Your Prescription for Healthy Living, Loving Relationships, and Joyful Spirituality Have you ever tried to have a meaningful…

How Shall We Then Live?

Yesterday we celebrated Easter in remembrance of when Jesus rose from the dead, never to die again. The historical evidence…
Fully Alive

Christianity in One Word

Denominations. Cultures. Traditional vs. contemporary. Grace vs. good works. Community. Just love everyone. What is Christianity really about anyway? Controversy…

How to Turn It Over to God

In Christian-eze it’s been said various ways: “Give it to God.” “Turn it over to God.” “Let God do the…
feeling shame

What’s GOOD About Shame?

Can there ever be anything good about shame? You may have heard it a lot: “You ought to be ashamed…
Crying

God Wants You Uncomfortable

“God, help me, please!” I believe God loves those prayers. There’s never a wrong time to pray, though sadly it…
Couple happy together

Sex Without Pain

Is sex without pain possible? Sex shouldn’t hurt! But too often it does. As a gynecologist I have talked with…

Why Do You Go To Church?

On Sunday morning, or whenever you go to church, what are you looking for? What do you expect when you…

Did Christmas Disappoint You?

For most of us, yesterday was Christmas. The gifts have been opened. The food has been eaten. The Christmas carols…
Senior Couple in Love

Enjoying Sex After Menopause

Some men complain their wives lose interest in intimacy around the time of menopause. Some women complain they can’t enjoy…

Are You In The Right Church?

There’s a wonderful gospel song that proclaims, “God’s building a church!” Yes, He certainly is. And YOU are a vital…

7 Ways Your Wife Needs You

Both husbands and wives need each other. As a husband, when you first fell in love you probably felt like…

4 Things To Do While Waiting

Nobody likes to wait. It’s frustrating. It feels cold. And it’s easy to let a seeming delay mess with your…

When Love Goes to War

What have you done in the name of love? Stayed up all night nursing a sick child – over and…

Getting Over A Bad Attitude

A bad attitude isn’t all in your head. Sometimes it’s very much in your body as well. A bad attitude…

What Is A Christian Marriage?

What makes a marriage Christian? Is every good marriage a Christian marriage? Is every Christian marriage a good marriage? Ask…

Helping the REAL Problem

Trying to fix spiritual problems with physical “fixes” doesn’t work. And trying to fix physical problems with spiritual activities rarely…

6 Things God Wants From You

We humans have a tendency to make religion very complicated. Even the relatively recent attempts to differentiate religion and spirituality…

What the Bible Says About Health

I often see honest Christian people who are not at all healthy. Sometimes they become frustrated and discouraged, even wondering…

The Gospel Is Not For Wimps!

Sometimes we think the message of the Gospel offers good people a way to become better, get over their hangups…
Skydiving

13 Things On A Bucket List For Christians

Wanting to “kiss at the top of the Empire State Building,” or “learn to play guitar” may be great goals. But if you believe that God has a purpose for your life, there are some other things that should be on your “bucket list” for sure. Here are some things you don’t want to get to the end of your life without having accomplished:

7 Things The Bible Says To Those Who Are Poor

There are few topics on which the Bible has more to say than the topic of money. And there are plenty of distortions of Biblical truths on the subject. Those on the political right and political left have found plenty of Biblical proof texts for their positions. And sadly someone’s position on what the Bible says can often be determined by their net worth.
But for those who are in need of material things, here are some specific things that the Bible makes clear:

How God Makes A “Real Man”

God’s not done creating and recreating men, remember. God still needs your viril strength, your adventurous or creative spirit, and your protecting, leading presence. Yes, those dreams you had as a little boy do need to grow up. But don’t just let them go.

Jesus and His disciples

Five Kinds of People Jesus Spent Time With

Jesus didn’t like everybody.
He loved everyone. He still loves everyone. But while He was here on earth, Jesus definitely had favorites. There were people He loved to be around, and people He avoided.
Here are the kinds of people Jesus spent most of His time with:

Frustrated husband whose wife doesn't want sex

What Does The Bible Say To A Man Whose Wife Doesn’t Want Sex

You can struggle greatly when your wife does not or cannot respond to you sexually. It’s a little ironic: here I am a woman, talking to men about sex. That’s because I’ve been asked about this specific question more than once, and this post is my answer. You may be struggling with this in your marriage and have told no one. I hope this helps you in some way.

In The War On Women, Are You A Victim, A Survivor, Or A Warrior?

There’s been a lot of talk about a war against women recently. I agree! There HAS been a war against women, but it’s not the war that’s being talked about in much of the progressive media. It’s a war that’s much older, much more sinister, and much more dangerous, than anything related to healthcare or so-called reproductive rights.

Quiet and listening

What To Do When You Want To Hear From God

I need God to speak to me. But I’m not hearing anything from Him at all!”
Have you said anything like that? Those of us who care at all about our relationship with God would love to have a way to know exactly what God was saying. But too often it seems like a game of, “Can you hear me now?”

Free From the Gold, the Girls, and the Glory

With painful regularity yet another preacher gets caught in a scandal. Donated funds have been diverted to personal use. An inappropriate sexual relationship is discovered. The “ministry” has become focused on someone’s personality rather than God’s work.
One more of God’s servants has fallen to the lure of the gold, the girls, or the glory.

Happy couple

5 Ways To Keep Your Husband Stuck To You Like Glue

“Nothing you can say, Can tear me away, From my guy. Nothing you could do, ‘Cause I’m stuck like glue, To my guy.”
Thank you, Smokey Robinson! Even though it’s been 50 years, you expressed what many women would love to be able to say today.
It’s one thing to be stuck to him. But it’s another thing entirely when he’s stuck to you more like a Post-it note instead of glue. Something, or more likely someone, comes along that feels a little stickier, and he sticks there instead.

What Would You Do If You KNEW What God Told You Was True?

I’ve read the Bible many times, but I still remember a Bible story book I had a child. It told the story of Jesus calming the storm on the Sea of Galilee (Mark 4:35-41). Fearing for their lives, the disciples were valiantly trying to save themselves and the boat. They awoke Jesus, asleep in the boat, who then stood and spoke to the wind and waves. “Peace, be still!” And everything became quiet.

10 Ways You Can Worship God

As a human being you were made to worship. Even though most of us get completely self-absorbed too often, you as an individual human being are not big enough to worship.
As incredibly valuable as you are to God, to others, and to the world, God has left Himself indispensable.
But showing God the worship He is worthy of does not happen in an hour or two each week in some church service, as important as that is. Worship is a lifestyle.

Do’s and Don’ts For When Your Spouse Is Depressed

God’s plan for marriage is that husband and wife be a support to each other in good times and in bad. When your spouse is struggling with depression you will likely need to draw on the full range of physical, emotional, and spiritual coping strategies in order to do so.
A few things to do and not to do that will help you remain sane, strong, and supportive:

How To Begin Making The Bible Real To You

If you are like many Christians, the voice in your head may be telling you, “Read the Bible!”
I’ve heard that voice in my head too. Even though I read the Bible from the time I learned to read there have certainly been times in my life when it just didn’t happen.
I want to take away a little of the mystery and the overwhelm, and outline a few things that can give you the chance to experience how life-changing Scripture can truly be.

Forgiveness Is Not Enough

The forgiveness step in salvation, as wonderful as it is, is only one small piece. Jesus, Paul, and other New Testament writers present a much more radical picture of what it means to become a follower of Jesus.
He presented an unbelievably high standard of behavior, character, and service. Jesus showed that He is much more interested in your future than your past.

Reading the Bible

What To Do When You Don’t Feel Like Reading the Bible

There’s that little voice in your head that says, “Read the Bible!” Intellectually you accept the fact that as a Christian, reading the Bible would be a good thing to do. But you don’t feel like it.
Here are a few thoughts on what to do at those moments when you just don’t feel like reading the Bible.

What’s Different After Good Friday?

How well I remember the Good Friday when everything changed for me. I had gone to church all my life, but something was terribly wrong. I knew a lot about God, but I didn’t know HIM. That night it all changed. It happened to be on a Good Friday when I met Jesus. Right then my spirit became alive, and everything else followed.

Man wearing glasses

Can God Heal You From Mental Illness?

Of course God can heal you from mental illness!
But the real-life answer is often much more complicated, more painful, more excruciating.
When it comes to mental illness, like with most other problems we humans face, God’s answer is almost always, “All of the above.”

The Message Of Your Life (Or, Why Nobody Likes To Eat With Me)

It’s almost become a joke: nobody likes to eat with Dr Carol! Almost without fail, when eating around me people comment about how they should be eating healthier, and try to convince me how they really are trying. I don’t breathe a word about healthy eating when we’re in public. I order what I want, right off the menu. And I don’t think they really believe him when Al tells them (truthfully!) that he’s lost all his weight without dieting once, or missing a meal.

In Charge

10 Things God Has Put You In Charge Of

Try to take charge of what is in God’s hands, and you will become frustrated and anxious. Neglect to take charge of things God has placed in YOUR hands, and you will become depressed.
I’ve gotten confused over the difference many times, and perhaps you have too. Understanding the difference can change everything about your happiness, peace, and success in this world, and more.

10 Excuses That Won’t Work With God

God is as eager to bless you, heal you, give you good things, or fulfill a big purpose in your life as a father or mother is to give good things to their children. (Matthew 7:11) Most of what He wants for you is bigger and more eternal than you could imagine for yourself.
But too often we humans are so short-sighted, selfish, or afraid that we don’t take advantage of what God offers. It’s like a child afraid to get onto a bicycle or jump into a swimming pool. The joy of swimming or riding a bike is waiting for you, but it takes being willing to risk, and trusting that your parent (God) will be there.

Clasped hands

15 Ways To Help Someone Who’s Having A Bad Day

Having a bad day yourself is bad enough. But when your friend, spouse, child, or someone else close to you is having a bad day, that can almost be harder.
How can you help when someone is having a bad day? Your loved one will not appreciate it if you ignore them, pretend everything is OK, or get angry or upset yourself.
Here are some possible things you can do that WILL help:

Young woman

10 Mistakes To Avoid In Looking For A Husband

Looking for a husband? So was I.
And then I gave up. And it’s probably the best thing I ever did.
I’d like to look at it from the other side. Sadly, if you are looking for Mr Right there are a number of married women who would be glad to give him to you! Learning from mistakes others have made may save you a lot of heartache. (And in a moment, I’ll also share two things you SHOULD do.)

“Why Don’t I Feel Like Praying?”

Some part of your heart believes you “should” pray. Prayer is a good thing. But you are struggling to find it in you to actually pray.
Does that mean you’re just not “spiritual enough?”
Not necessarily. God made us as whole, integrated human beings. Something that happens in one part of our lives may impact every other area. And that includes your spiritual energy.

Football player praying

When It’s OK To Ask God For Things

This morning I asked God for something specific. It’s something big, at least in my eyes. I’m sure in God’s eyes it’s not a big thing at all.
Have you asked God for something specific? Are you still waiting for an answer?

Lonely heart

How God Can Heal Your Lonely Heart

You’re single, with no good prospects in sight. You’re lonely, and you want to do things God’s way. You long for someone to love, and to love you. So why isn’t God coming through with a spouse for you?
You’ve heard people talk about God meeting your heart’s needs, and intellectually you believe He can. But you’re lonely. Right now you want a God with “skin on.”

When Your Soul Is Tired

In the 21st century there are so many things that can wear us out. An unhealthy lifestyle, lack of sleep, digital overload, complicated relationships, and stress of all kinds is enough to make any one of us exhausted.
But perhaps the most paralyzing of all is exhaustion of the soul. All the other stresses of life can certainly make your body and mind vulnerable, but soul fatigue leaves you barely existing rather than living.

What You Should Learn From A Bad Day

Bad days will come. You have them, and so do I.
I’ve had a couple bad days recently. And I’ve come to realize that having a bad day can be very useful. Through the experience of having many bad days (who hasn’t?), I’ve come to understand that there are many things to be learned. And some of those things really cannot be learned on a good day.

Smiling Child

10 Reasons You Should Smile More

Smiles are contagious!
That’s only one reason to be conscious of how often you smile. Smiling is good for your body, mind, and soul. It’s good for the people around you. And it can demonstrate an inner hope and peace that speaks of God’s work in your heart.
So, here are some specific reasons you should consciously make an effort to smile more often.

Sleepy boy

8 Things To Do When You’re Tired

If you’re tired because you are behind on your sleep, that may be the very best thing to do.
But not so fast. Sometimes sleep may work against you.
Often it’s not a medical problem that’s causing fatigue. There are many lifestyle factors in our modern world that just wear you out!
So what can you do when you’re tired?

Where Are YOU Looking For Love?

If you’re a single person, you’ve certainly been asked the question, How’s your love life?
As for the single life, I know what that’s like. During much of my single years I was decidedly unhappy about being single, and felt terribly lonely. But I did learn a lot. And I’d like to share two of those things with you.

God Has NO Perfect Soul-Mate For You

Don’t go looking for a perfect soul-mate. News flash: there aren’t any! And if there were a perfect soul-mate out there somewhere, you wouldn’t be eligible to develop a relationship with them. Because YOU are not perfect!
So let’s get rid of the idea that there is one perfect soul-mate out there for you, and you will only be happy when you find that person. That idea will make you sorely unhappy!

Woman crying

2 Questions to Help You Decide If Your Marriage Is Too Destructive To Save

If you’re wrestling with a painful or destructive marriage, you know all too well the frustration, tears, and loneliness involved. You know the feelings of powerlessness, shame, sadness, disappointment, or guilt. You may have prayed, cried, and done all you know, and are only left with weariness and hopelessness.
There are two things I know for sure:

You’re Not Afraid? I Don’t Believe You

You might say, “Nothing scares me.”
But I don’t believe you.
You and I are human. We have feelings. God made us that way.
The question is not, “Are you afraid?” The question is, “What are you afraid of?”
And even more importantly, “What are you going to do about it?”

Why You Don’t Have to Fear the Future

The analogy I like the best is comparing a new year to a newborn baby.
I frequently get to be the one who helps a new baby enter the world. From time to time I wonder what kind of life that newborn baby will grow up to have.

7 Things to Give Away This Year

This is the time when many look forward to the coming year, planning how to make things better than last year.
But there’s one other area of life where I would like you to plan as well. Plan to give away what you have!
The vast majority of us are far more likely to hold back than to give too much away.

10 Things to Leave Behind in 2014

A new year provides a wonderful opportunity to leave behind things that aren’t working.
At least briefly review your physical lifestyle, money habits, thoughts and emotions, use of time, personal relationships, and spiritual practices. Ask a few important questions about each area, and it’s likely you will find things that you can do without in 2014.

10 Steps to Spending Daily Time with God

You hear you “should” spend time with God daily. But how do you do that? How do you spend time with someone you can’t physically see or hear? What do you do during that time?
Just like a relationship with a person, your relationship with God can and should grow and change over time.
So here are some suggestions for how to make it work.

Weight loss

Does God care if you’re fat?

If approximately two thirds of Americans are overweight, and one third are obese, surely God has something to say about the situation.
Christian preachers and gospel singers have a reputation for being seriously overweight. Some data asserts that Christians are more frequently overweight than those of other religions, or no religion at all.
But again, what is God’s perspective on this?

Does Being a Christian Make You Healthy, Wealthy, and Wise?

Some of God’s best friends were healthy, wealthy, and wise.
Some of God’s best friends were also poor, weak, and outcast.
Does God enjoy blessing you with financial means, good health, and a good life here and now? Yes, He does. But don’t ever make the mistake of judging someone’s Christianity, or your own, by their bank account, popularity, or physical health.

5 Ways to Get Through the Holiday Season Happier and Healthier

Too much food. Too much stress. Too much spending. Too much drinking. Too much unhappy family time. No wonder many people start the new year heavier, unhappy, and in more debt.
There’s no holiday magic that gives you a free pass on what it takes to be healthy physically or mentally. The principles of healthy living apply during the next six weeks just as they do the rest of the year. It’s not too late to plan some better strategies.

Young woman

When God-Talk or Religion Is Part of Abuse

When religion, church, God-talk, or spirituality is included as an aspect of abuse it becomes even more damaging. It’s bad enough that your body and soul are hurt in the process; it’s even worse when your spirit is abused and assaulted at the same time.
When the abuser uses spiritual jargon to justify the abuse it adds a further dimension to the healing that is needed.
Healing can be a challenging process. Here are a few thoughts for those who need healing when God-talk was part of the abuse or violence:

MEMO: Getting Past Your Past

Have you ever felt really stuck? It feels like something big has its claws in your brain and you just can’t move. No matter how hard you try you can’t get rid of the baggage that is weighing you down and holding you back.
We all come with a past. Some of our baggage is stuff others have done to us. Some of our baggage is stuff we have done to ourselves.
But how do you get past all that? Here’s how:

10 Things I Learned in 5 Years of Marriage

My husband Al and I recently celebrated our five-year anniversary. It’s been a wonderful five years, and I would say “I do” all over again knowing what I know now. God has blessed us with a very happy relationship.
But that doesn’t mean these past five years have been trouble-free. And it’s some of those challenges that have led to the closeness we increasingly share.
Here are some things I have learned during these five years, some of them expected and some unexpected:

Praying

What To Do When You Don’t Feel Like Praying

Only the most spiritual of people would deny that there are times they don’t feel like praying. And I’m not sure I would believe them if they did!
Whatever the reason, sometimes you just don’t feel like praying. And if someone says to you, “Pray about it” at one of those moments, they’re the one who might end up needing prayer!
So what do you do with those moments? Is there an option other than living with the guilt of not being “spiritual enough?”
Yes, there is. A few thoughts:

Happy woman

For the Christian Woman Struggling with Hormones

Every part of your being impacts every other area. There are times you may not immediately understand what the root cause of your distress is. But menopause is one time when physical changes may lead to very real emotional and spiritual problems.
It’s no wonder that the physical, emotional, and spiritual pressures become heavy for many women to carry.
Here are some specific things you can do that become especially important at this time of life:

How to Find the Freedom of Forgiveness

You’ve been wronged. Badly.
There comes a time after every such horrible wrong where you must make a decision. And it’s yours alone to make. You have only two choices. Do you remain hurt and miserable, or do the hard work of forgiveness.
Forgiveness sets you free. It does much more for the one doing the forgiving than the one needing to be forgiven.
Forgiveness is also one of the hardest things for most people to do. There’s a sweet misery in nursing your wounds. Having been hurt is a wonderful excuse for all kinds of bad behavior.

What Is God’s View of Healing?

Like everything else about Him, God’s view of healing is much bigger than ours.
Throughout history people have sought healing from sickness and disease in many ways. The God we serve has a lot to say about healing. Jesus had only one attitude toward sickness: He is against it!
But His goal in our healing is much broader than we usually realize.

Why It Matters Who Is In Charge Of Your Life

“Who’s in charge around here?” That’s a very good question. For any endeavor to succeed, someone must take responsibility.
If your life is a project, or an expedition, or a book, who’s in charge? If you are playing a part in some great drama, who’s directing? It makes a difference.
There are three basic choices when it comes to who’s in charge:

Sapling

What Does Spiritual Maturity Look Like?

Just because you reach a certain birthday does not mean you are mature. And there is no area where that is more true than in matters of the heart and soul. But what does it mean to grow up spiritually?
You know people who are emotionally and spiritually children, even though they have lived many years.
Here’s what spiritual maturity would include:

5 Pieces of Smart Marriage Advice

The institution of marriage goes back to the Garden of Eden. But sadly the state of many marriages today is anything but Eden-like! For those who are married, there is probably no other area of life that has a bigger impact on your well-being than the state of your marriage.
There are many bits of advice for those wanting a better, healthier, happier marriage. Here are five I believe to be especially important:

The Exhilarating Freedom NOT To Care

Have you ever come to the point where you don’t care? It’s one of the most powerful places you can be. And it’s exhilarating!
This is about getting rid of the chains that your own fears create in business, personal relationships, and even your spiritual life.
It’s possible to care too much. Becoming too invested in the outcome puts you in a very vulnerable position, clouds your perspective, and removes all your negotiating power.

Why You Are Afraid of Intimacy

Buried somewhere in your soul beneath the bravado, the anger, the pasty smile, or the hopelessness, there’s a desire to be known. Truly known, intimately, for who you really are.
God created us for relationship. Close, personal, intimate relationship. When that is lacking you feel incomplete, undone, like something is missing.

How A Christian Faces Trouble and Tragedy

We live in a world where there is no shortage of trouble. And that trouble often presents a great challenge to our faith.
Perhaps it’s a natural disaster. Then there is the almost unspeakable violence both near and far. Or perhaps it is your own private trauma. When trouble happens, it’s normal to ask questions: Why me?
In the face of unexpected tragedy, the challenge to faith is real. When trouble comes, here are three things to do:

How To Influence Others for Christ Without Being Harmed

The people you hang out with have a big impact on your character. Values, attitudes, beliefs, habits – they are all very contagious! You may not even notice subtle changes in your own soul until you have changed more than you wish.
But didn’t Jesus call His followers salt and light? How can you influence others for His Kingdom if you’re not around them? You must get out of the saltshaker if your saltiness is to flavor anything.
How can you deal with this seeming conflict? How can you influence others positively without being corrupted yourself?

6 Things That Wear You Out That You Can Stop Doing

If you spend your time and energy trying to do something you can’t do, you’ll only experience frustration, fatigue, and failure. How much better to understand where you can make a difference, and where your efforts are useless. Then you can spend your valuable time and energy in the right place.
Here are six things you might as well stop doing. All your time and effort will just be wasted:

Healing From The Bondage Of Addiction

The numbers concerning addiction are truly staggering. And the problem is huge in the Christian church as well. But numbers tell little of the personal devastation caused by addiction. And the most devastating cost of all is to the soul of the person held in bondage by an addiction.
Yes, addiction is powerful. But as powerful as addiction is, there is ONE who is more powerful. There is ONE who is the Bondage Breaker, Jesus Himself. He has already gone to hell and back for you, and He offers you a way out.

Where Do You Fit In The Big Drama?

For many people the Christian life seems difficult. You try to knuckle down and push yourself to make it work. But that’s just it: it’s work!
Seeing the Christian life as work will always make it seem difficult. It may help keep you out of jail, but it certainly won’t be much fun.
Let me suggest a much more engaging way to look at things. Rather than work, consider the Christian life as part of a very great drama. Think of what you know of the Bible.

7 Things Healthy Sexuality Is For Married Couples

Several studies indicate that on average married people have sex more often, enjoy more varied sex, and are more satisfied with their sex lives than single people. And those with a single sexual partner in the past year report the most happiness in general.
For any marriage to work, both husband and wife must be more focused on meeting each other’s needs than getting their own needs met. It takes a lot of forgiveness, flexibility, and unconditional love to make a marriage last.
Nowhere are these characteristics more important than in a couple’s sexual relationship. Here’s how healthy sexuality looks for a married couple when it’s working well:

Disappointed

When You Are Disappointed in Your Marriage

You expect certain things of your spouse. But sometimes you want more. You believe your spouse loves you, but it’s not enough. You crave something you’re not getting. You want adventure, intimacy, emotional connection, time, trust, help around the house, more money, children, support, more sex – something more.
The only way to keep “wanting more” from coming between you and your spouse is to address the problem head on. If you feel you want more than you are getting from your spouse, here are the steps you can take:

15 Things You Can Do In Your Time With God

You know you “should” spend time alone with God. Perhaps you feel a little guilty for not having something spiritual to answer your friends with. But more than that, it all sounds boring and unimportant. You just can’t do “pious and spiritual.”
God works uniquely in each person’s life. So if you’re up for an experiment, here are some suggestions to try. See what fits with your personality.

Why You Should Care About Your Health If You’re A Christian

Some Christians have been criticized for not caring enough about their health in the here-and-now. You know, being “so heavenly minded they are no earthly good.” It seems Christians on the whole do not have a very good track record for being healthy.
While not the deciding factor in your eternal salvation, doing all you can to maximize your health leads to increased effectiveness in what God has given you to do, allows you to hear God’s voice better, helps you experience God’s restoration now, and more.

Things Children Can Teach You

Seeing things through a child’s eyes sets so many things straight. Learning to walk, fascination over a butterfly, first day of school – every day is wonderful in some way.
The tiredness and busyness of life lead most of us to forget much of what we knew as children. Here are some things children know that we can learn again:

10 Things To Do When You Feel Lonely

Make friends with yourself; then you will never have to be lonely!
Sometimes it really is that simple. We do need people in our lives. But being alone does not have to mean feeling lonely. When you feel lonely, taking some specific action can change your whole emotional state. Over time, those actions may create new emotional habits, and you will feel entirely different about the times when you are alone.
Here are some things you can do when you feel lonely:

5 Ways Being Single Helped Me Be Happily Married

I had given up on marriage. It just wasn’t for me. It’s not that I didn’t want to be married: I had hoped and prayed for years. By the time I was in my early forties I had come to terms with the fact that I would always be single.
Then God brought a wonderful man into my life. During my single years I learned a lot. It was that kind of growing up that has allowed me to be so happily married now.

Woman in Meditation

Your Soul Gets Hungry! 5 Ways to Feed Your Inner Being

We need to eat every day. So does your soul. Sometimes a mental fast-food snack will keep your soul’s hunger at bay for a time. But you regularly need to bring some real nourishment to the deeper parts of you. Neglect doing so for too long, and you will become irritable, short-sighted, frustrated, angry, and ineffective.
Here are several possible ways to give your soul some gourmet nourishment:

10 Ways You Communicate That Can Be Prayer

You know how to pray.
If you’ve ever sent a text message, talked on the phone, or met a friend for lunch, you know how to pray. If you’ve ever composed an email or a FB post, if you’ve ever told a story, or spent a long enchanted evening looking into your sweetheart’s eyes, you know how to pray.
You know how to pray.

If you’ve ever sent a text message, talked on the phone, or met a friend for lunch, you know how to pray. If you’ve ever composed an email or a FB post, if you’ve ever told a story, or spent a long enchanted evening looking into your sweetheart’s eyes, you know how to pray.
You know how to pray.

If you’ve ever sent a text message, talked on the phone, or met a friend for lunch, you know how to pray. If you’ve ever composed an email or a FB post, if you’ve ever told a story, or spent a long enchanted evening looking into your sweetheart’s eyes, you know how to pray.
Prayer is not a performance; it’s a conversation. There are many ways to communicate. Think of all the ways you communicate every day, and put them in the context of communicating with God.

What Two Little Girls Running to School Can Teach About Spirituality

Two little girls were walking to school. It was a beautiful spring morning, and they took some time to enjoy the flowers and the fresh air.
Suddenly they realized that they had taken so long enjoying the flowers that they were going to be late for school. Soon the bell would ring, and they’d be marked tardy. Not wanting to get in trouble, the first little girl said to her friend, “Let’s kneel down right here and pray.”

Why Seeing Yourself as “Body, Mind, and Soul/Spirit” is a BAD Idea

“I am a spirit, I have a soul, and I live in a body.” Have you been in Christian gatherings where the preacher asked you to say that out loud, or something similar?
Some readers may issue with this position. But I believe this discussion really misses the point. God didn’t take a bit of this and a bit of that and weld it together with some cosmic superglue when He made you.

When Arms Are Empty: Infertility

There’s something intimate and beautiful about new parents holding their newborn baby in their arms. But sadly, many couples do not have an opportunity to experience that joy, and do not have a baby to hold in their arms.
As a Reproductive Endocrinologist I’ve seen couples struggle with these issues, and have seen the stress it puts on their relationship. Helping couples experience that miracle is a privilege I enjoy. And my hope and prayer is that you can experience that miracle when you so desire.

5 Actions to Take With Almost Any Problem

If it wasn’t one thing it was another. The very professional woman broke down in tears, hoping for some help from me as her doctor.
I explained to Linda how inter-connected a women is in her body, mind, and soul. And we talked through these action steps that I’ll share with you. When faced with almost any problem, here’s what to do.

10 Things A Woman Wants and Needs

If you’re a guy, you probably would do just about anything to impress your lady love, or win her heart.
But do you know what she really wants?
And if you’re a woman, do you recognize what your heart really wants – and needs?
In the deep parts of a woman’s soul most of us share these common needs.

Searching For The Fountain Of Youth

Even before Ponce de Leon spent his years searching Florida for the illusive fountain of youth, men and women have searched for ways to look and feel younger, and to keep from getting old. Most of us recognize that with maturity often comes wisdom, but we long for the freshness of youth.
Something in our soul understands that getting old, weak, and dependent is not our original destiny. Deep inside we sense that 70, 80, or even 90 years is not long enough.

Don’t Let These 4 Dangerous Spiritual Viruses Infect You

Sandra and Tom plan to never enter a church again. They feel bruised and beaten emotionally and spiritually at the hand of a group of Christians, and feel their only hope of survival is to separate from the Christian church as they see it.
Unhealthy spirituality can be toxic – to your mental well-being, to your physical health, and to your relationship with God. Don’t let one of these dangerous spiritual viruses infect your life:

birth control pills

Should I Use Birth Control? A Christian Doctor’s Answer

When I think of contraception, a number of images come to mind. Talking about contraception is often an emotionally charged issue. The debate really has nothing to do with birth control. The debate has to do with sex.
If you’ve read this far, you want to know how I deal with these issues, and what I tell patients. As a Christian, as a gynecologist, as a minister, what’s the RIGHT thing to do?

5 Steps to a Fair Fight in Marriage

Two very different people get married and plan to “do life together” for the rest of their lives. Is it any wonder there are differences, even conflicts?
The more important thing is what you do when those differences arise. Fighting fair is a skill married couples need to practice, and one that some find difficult to learn.
In a fair fight, there are a few things to keep in mind:

7 Things I Would Say To You As My Patient

You’re tired, you don’t feel well, and you want some help. You come to see me in my office, hoping I will have an answer.
How I wish I could fulfill your hopes! I wish I could fix you. That would make your life, and mine, so much easier. Most of the time it’s a matter of you and me figuring things out together. Here are a few things I’d like to tell you:

What It Means To Be A Man

I’m a woman, and I’m talking to men about men. Sure, that’s a little dangerous, but here’s my perspective.
Men have challenges to face that our modern society perhaps makes even harder. Today’s jobs and today’s families often give men the message that they are unnecessary. And perhaps the church can be especially faulted for making a goal out of becoming a “Mr Nice Guy!”
But I believe that God created men the way they are on purpose.

5 Ways to Know if Your Faith is Working

Sometimes we all wonder if we’re doing this thing called Christianity right. Even if you are certain of Jesus as your Savior, what kind of difference should that be making in your life now? Do you have to be “super-Christian” to be successful? How do you know?
Checklists can be a little dangerous. But a spiritual checkup every now and then is helpful.

Why Miracles Don’t Happen In a Day

God can do amazing things. He just might step in and part the Red Sea for you. I’ve seen God do it. And it can be exhilarating! But what if it doesn’t? What if you wait – and wait, and wait?
It may well have taken a long time to get where you are now. And it may well take time to make things different.

What A Difference A Father Makes

We just passed Father’s Day. Many of you celebrated the memory or presence of a father who passed on a godly heritage, important values, and a readiness to take life on. Others of you were not celebrating: your earthly father was either absent, uninvolved, or abusive. One thing we all agree on – a father makes a difference!

Baby and father alseep

Sleep – Good for Your Body, Mind, and Soul

I’ve never especially liked going to bed. There’s so much to do.
We all know that our human bodies need sleep and rest. But that’s not all. Your mind, emotions, ability to handle stress, and how you relate to your children, spouse, God, and others are all affected.

“Are We Playing God?”

It was a relatively common, simple medical procedure designed to help her get pregnant. Although it was somewhat uncomfortable for her,…

Your God May Damage Your Mental Health

Or to put it more academically correctly, your view of God as either benevolent or vindictive is correlated with your risk of psychiatric symptoms. At least that’s what recent research published in the Journal of Religion and Health seems to indicate.
For a person of faith, examining religion, spirituality, or Christianity from a scientific viewpoint may at first seem a like denial of that faith. But if our faith cannot stand up to scrutiny perhaps it’s not faith in the right thing!

Do’s and Don’ts for Husbands on Making God First

I don’t presume to understand all the ways God works in your male hearts.
But I do know some of the things women feel when men use spirituality to crush them, ignore them, control them, or put them down. Your wife is a treasure from God. If you want your own prayers to be answered, treat her with the same loving care with which Christ loved – and loves – the church.
A few do’s and don’ts to put things in perspective:

Do’s and Don’ts for Wives on Making God First

A young wife asked me, “How can I respect and love my husband while making God first? Isn’t my husband supposed to be Number 1 to me? But then does that mean I’m not honoring God? I’m confused.”
God never intended this to be confusing. He intended the Christian life to bring husband and wife closer together, not drive them apart. A few do’s and don’ts that may help:

6 Fruitless Ways to Prove Your Worth

We want to feel important in some way. We want to know we have made a difference, that our existence has been more than an accident. We try to find our worth in so many ways that are dependent on other people.
The only accurate way to judge your own – or anyone else’s – worth is to consider how valuable your Creator judges you to be. And to Him, you are PRICELESS!

Why Patients Care About My Faith

In just the last couple weeks I have been almost surprised at how many patients of mine have asked to talk about matters of faith. As a doctor I am privileged to touch people’s lives at very vulnerable times, and it’s at those times where faith makes a significant difference.
Here are a few vignettes:

Growing Up Without Regrets

Growing up has never been easy. But in today’s culture young people have more challenges to face than ever before, especially in the area of sexuality. The basic issues may be no different, but the speed of life and the multiple pressures teens face make the risks even greater.
A few sobering statistics:

3 Reasons for Marriage

Being happy has very little to do with the reason God created marriage. Marriage can be very unhappy, and still…

Seeing You from God’s Point of View

We’re not used to waiting. And we can get rather irritated when we have to do so.
God’s long term view is a whole order of magnitude larger than ours. Think of these Biblical examples of how long God’s friends sometimes had to wait for Him to fulfill what He had promised:

7 Benefits of Healthy Living Beyond Being Healthy

For many people, lessening the risk of disease or living longer is a rather boring, un-spectacular motivation for maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
Understanding more of the “other” benefits of healthy living can help us find more of the motivation necessary to actually make those healthy lifestyle choices. Here are some of those benefits.

Who is Your Role Model?

Suppose you had to choose a role model among contemporary Christians. Who would it be?
Take “Christian” completely out of the equation for a moment. Who would you choose to be your role model?
Now what is it you admire about these potential role models? We have too often equated being weak with being godly. And nothing could be farther from the truth!

Listening

Hearing God’s Voice

God speaks to us, and we can hear Him.
Is that really true? How can we know it’s Him? What does that look like?
I have learned some things about hearing His voice that make it much less confusing and more practical. Here are some characteristics of God’s voice:

The Easter Story for Today

We call today Good Friday. But remember – the very first Good Friday was anything but good!
We know the end of the story. We know what happened Sunday morning. But imagine for a moment what it was like for those who loved Jesus on that Friday.
At moments like this there’s only one thing to say. In the words of the old gospel preacher: “It’s Friday. But Sunday’s coming!”

“God Is Your Father” – Good News or Bad?

If you’ve gone to church or read the Bible you’ve surely heard that God is your Father. You’re supposed to feel safe and secure knowing that. The thought of God as your Father is supposed to make you want to run into His arms with joy, knowing He will handle all your problems.
But does it really make you feel that way?

The Journey From Being Squeezed to Thriving

We don’t like being squeezed! Just the thought of it is uncomfortable.
When some people get squeezed they become bitter, angry, and isolated. And other people take those times of being squeezed and leverage them into an opportunity for growth. What makes the difference?
Here are some critical steps that can take you from being squeezed to thriving on the other side.

Fast Food or Gourmet Meals – for the Soul

The average American eats fast food several times a week. Most of us realize that fast food is much less healthy than most food prepared and eaten at home.
We love fast food in other areas of our lives as well. We settle for fast food all too often, and miss the deep pleasure, satisfaction, and nourishment we really crave.

Asking Your Input: What Changes You?

Change is fascinating. The basic message of the gospel is one of change.
I’d like to know from your own experience what changes you. Perhaps your comment will be helpful to someone else.

5 Things I Know For Sure

Some days are definitely better than others. When things are frustrating, painful, difficult, or confusing, it helps to have some things settled – those things you know for sure.
Here are a few things I have settled for good, things I know for sure:

Would Jesus be Conservative or Progressive?

The majority of the people I’ve been around during my life have been conservatives. On the other hand are the progressives. Both are sure they have God on their side.
If Jesus were here on earth today, would He be a conservative? Or a progressive? What WOULD Jesus do? It’s not such a simple answer after all.

Valentine’s Day for Men and Women

Valentine’s Day can be fun and romantic. But the majority of both men and women were probably NOT happy yesterday.
There are needs that only God can meet, needs we too often try and meet with the fluff of candy and flowers instead of the substance of God’s presence.

The Ethics of a Christian Doctor

As an OB-Gyn physician I come face-to-face with the ethical edges of medical care perhaps more often than most.
Here are some principles I take seriously, and use when faced with challenging ethical decisions.

What God Will NOT Do For You

There are a few things God will not do for you. We human beings sometimes presume on God’s grace and think that will excuse our bad behavior.
So don’t be angry with God when you experience some “natural consequences.” Do seek God for His grace in changing your character.

Hands reaching

An Entitlement Mentality in Church

Our Western culture has incorporated an entitlement mentality into much of our lifestyle. I want to talk about how this entitlement mentality displays itself in the Christian community.
The entitlement mentality can show up in church when we feel “It’s all about me!”

Pain at Christmas, Part 2

The topic of painful holidays really touched a nerve with our readers/listeners! I wish you could see some of their responses.
There’s no magic wand to make those painful things go away, even for one day. But there are a few things that can help.

Pain at Christmas

Christmas is a time for joy. Christmas is a time for joy.
May I remind you of something we often forget: The very first Christmas was one of great pain.

Run – or Pray?

As a physician and a minister I see both extremes: I see those who live an unhealthy lifestyle become frustrated, angry, or depressed when they experience the physical or emotional consequences of those behaviors, but they often seem empty spiritually.
I sometimes see others who try to live a wholesome lifestyle – natural foods, exercise, manage their stress, etc.,

The Benefits of Healthy Investments

Investments come in all varieties. Financial, yes, but so much more. Little things you do today make a much bigger difference in your tomorrows.
We marvel at the accomplishments of well-known authors, thinkers, politicians, preachers, sports figures, artists, or entrepreneurs. But we usually only see the end result, not the investment of blood, sweat, and tears day after day, year after year.
Here are a few ways my “investments” have paid off:

Growing Up Is Hard To Do

Our little granddaughter is a month old. Is there anything more precious? We’re told Madelyn will be the last one, so we as her grandparents treasure each moment just a little more.
A newborn baby is a full-time job. Mommy and Daddy do it gladly – at least most of the time! But their biggest job is working themselves out of a job, helping her grow to become thoughtful, loving, wise – and independent.
Growing up emotionally, relationally, and spiritually is often harder than growing up physically.

7 Things to Check when Not Feeling Good

I’m feeling good today.
But there are certainly days when I don’t feel good. Something’s definitely off. Occasionally it’s immediately obvious what’s wrong, but other times it’s frustrating to just feel bad and not be sure why.
We can’t expect to feel good every day. That’s just life.
Here’s my checklist for when things are looking bad, and most of the time it will help determine why I’m not feeling good.

Dealing with Desire: Sex and Spirituality

“It” has been the vehicle for some of the best experiences human beings can have, and also some of the most traumatic and painful.
You’d think with all the downsides sex has brought, all the trauma, shame, guilt that so often have accompanied sex, that we’d shy away from it. But for the most part we keep going back for more.
If our desires are built in and divinely created, then it’s what we make the object of those desires and how we try to go about trying to get them met that can be at fault.
So what do we do with our desires? I offer these thoughts:

Food for the Soul: Learning to Feed Yourself

We get hungry! And it starts from the day we’re born.

A newborn baby needs to be fed every 2-3 hours. They are completely dependent on others for the timing, quantity, and quality of the food they receive.
Later a child learns to feed themselves. Food preferences develop, and we have an increasing control over how much food, what kind of food, and when we eat. Eventually everything about what we eat is our own choice.
Food for the soul is just like that. When we’re immature we are dependent on others for any stimulation, human communication and connection, and spiritual nurturing we receive. Eventually we need to learn to feed ourselves.
Three things you need to consider in learning to mentally/emotionally/spiritually feed yourself:

A Baby: God’s Opinion That the World Should Go On

As an OB-Gyn physician I’ve seen it many many times. A brand new baby comes into the world, takes that first cry, and begins the long journey of life with its ups and downs, joys and sorrows, and more than a little uncertainty.
But today you’ll have to excuse a few of my personal musings. This morning the youngest grandchild in our family entered the world much earlier than planned, but alive and well.

Doctor, Doctor: Are You Addicted?

Alcohol. Drugs – legal and illegal. Tobacco. Those are the “usual suspects.”
But there are a whole lot more: food, pornography, sex, gambling, internet/tech use, exercise, and more.
Is addiction a physical problem? A mental health issue? A spiritual matter?
Yes, yes, and yes. It’s all those. And if you struggle with any addiction and you don’t address each one of these areas, you are very unlikely to experience any real healing or relief. As with most things, it’s a matter of body, mind, and soul.

Healing begins

Where Does Healing Begin?

As a doctor I can give you pills. I can recommend changes in your lifestyle that can improve your health. I can do surgery at times. Once in a while I might even save someone’s life. But can I heal you?
As someone wanting to be healthy you might get all the exercise you need. You might follow careful healthy eating habits. You might get enough sleep and take plenty of vitamins. But will that heal you?
As a minister I can pray for you. I can teach you about having a relationship with God, and faith. I can introduce you to Him and help bring you into His presence. But can I heal you?

Sad woman

When Only Tears Will Do

Last weekend I was around plenty of tears. This time they were not mine, but those of other women sharing their stories.
I had been invited to be part of a conference on domestic violence, addressing the emotional, physical, legal, and spiritual aspects of this terrible reality. During the final session the participants were invited to say whatever they wished, and they started sharing their stories.
And they cried!

A Time for Everything

The Byrds sang it: “A time to every purpose under heaven.”
I wonder how many people who still sing Turn! Turn! Turn! realize that the lyrics were taken essentially word-for-word from the Bible, Ecclesiastes ch. 3. It talks about a truth that those of us who live in this super-charged ultra-fast over-connected society often forget.

I HOPE I’ve Changed!

Change can feel threatening, especially to those looking on. I’m sure you’ve heard some variety of the saying, “The only…

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