Thursday, October 31, 2013
by Tim O'Brien
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. 2 Corinthians 5:17
I have been a Christian for just over four years, and from the moment that I realized I was saved, this has been my favorite verse. One evening I was reading my Bible just making my way through the New Testament, and I read these eye opening words: “old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” The Holy Spirit pierced my heart with these words. I stopped reading and just started to think about all that had changed in the past few months. No longer was I going to the bar, no longer was I doing drugs, no longer was I cussing and using the Lord’s name in vain, no longer was I purposely deceiving my parents. These old things had passed away. What was even more amazing was that along with those behaviors passing away my desire for them was also gone. In fact my heart was telling me that those behaviors were sinful. My heart was different. It was filled with new desires. Desires for holiness, desires for Jesus, desires to know His Word, desires to serve His church, and desires to love and serve people in need. I had become a new creation. I was in Christ.
This verse is essential in verifying one’s own salvation. Are you new? Don’t be mistaken, salvation is not the result of behavior modification. I don’t think that I am saved simply because I don’t outwardly sin as much as I used too. I know that I am saved because I truly love Jesus and His Word and I desire to know Him better and to grow in holiness. I think Ezekiel describes in most detail what occurred to me in Ezekiel 36:26-27, “Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will be careful to observe My ordinances.” God has given me and all true believers a new heart that desires to obey the laws of God. The believer has been transported from the kingdom of darkness into the Kingdom of Christ (Col. 1:13).
Any time I share my testimony I use 2 Corinthians 5:17 to explain what God has done. Now, for someone who has grown up in the church, this might not be a life changing verse for them because they have grown up avoiding the bad behaviors that I was engaged in. Therefore, their transformation would not be as outwardly visible as someone with my background, but that does not mean that it is any less significant. A lost sinner, dead in their transgressions has been made alive in Christ. Major changes have occurred in the heart desires and attitudes of this person in the same way as in me.
Do you love Jesus? Do you desire to know His word? Do you love and desire holiness? These are questions that all believers can answer YES to.
Tuesday, October 29, 2013
Date nights are such an important part of a healthy marriage! Life is super busy and it's easy to go through the month and not spent some time just loving on your spouse. I think some of the reasons we don't make date nights happen are: kids and money. Maybe it's hard to leave your little one or maybe money is just super tight right now for a myriad of reasons...but rather than letting these stop the valuable time with your spouse, maybe we just need to get a little bit creative. I know, it can be a very scary word, but I'm hoping with the ideas below you can find something that fits your style. Also, these ideas are just starting points and you can be as basic or creative as you'd like!
Babysitters can be expensive, but if you are having an at-home date night (not spending money going out to dinner or a movie, etc), maybe you can swing some money for babysitting, or (and we are totally going to try this when we have kids!) do a trade-off with another couple. Offer to watch their kids once a month and ask them to do the same for you. I've also heard of a group of 4+ couples doing this...once a month you host all the kids at your house, and each couple takes a turn, meaning the other 3 weeks you get free babysitting date night! I think this is a wonderful solution! Love it!
Tim and I take turns planning a date night once a month. So at the very least, I have to plan 6 date nights a year. For us, this works well. We don't have kids so we are able to have a lot of one-on-one time and quiet dinners out, so we actually "date" several times a week haha, but this one night a month is really special because it's kinda a surprise and it makes you feel extra special when you know the night was planned just for you with a whole lot of love!
So....check out these at-home date nights....and then surprise your honey with a special night in. Maybe start it out with a note on the fridge in the morning, a special txt in the middle of the day, or sent an Outlook event....just show your lover that this isn't a last-minute thrown together evening--you've been carefully planning a night to love on them! These ideas are pulled from all over, and from both men and women's perspectives, so see if something doesn't jump out at you! :)
- Play "Would You Rather?" You will learn a lot about a person that you never knew when they are faced with a crazy question . . .
- Iron Chef: Make a gourmet meal using crazy ingredients and pretend like you are on TV. Talk through your recipes like you are on a cooking show; this is sure to be a fun time. This is the love of your life who accepts you for however crazy you may be, so be silly and laugh! You can either make a meal together or divide up the courses between each of you and surprise the other with your savory creations and "TV presentation."
- Fa-La-La-La-La: ‘Tis the season. Make a date night full of all things Christmassy to get you both in the holiday spirit. Whip up some eggnog, put on the carols, and decorate the Christmas tree together (it’ll take two of you just to untangle the lights), and then power through the gift wrapping together. String up some mistletoe as a great excuse for a kiss every now and then!
- Give each other massages: Use Google or You Tube to learn some proper techniques and get to rubbing!
- Strip Trivia: Make it a hot night with this sizzling bedroom game. Tease each other with one steamy question at a time to set one another on fire!
- Movie marathon: Here’s a cozy way to spend quite a few hours together, nice and close on the couch. Buy popcorn, snacks, pull out a comforter and settle in for a themed movie marathon.Typically, movie marathons have some sort of consistent theme, so make sure to pick one. You can choose by actors, by theme, genre, or by decade. Best-case scenario, you get through them all in one hit. Worst-case, you fall asleep on top of each other. You can always watch the rest in the morning. (Get bacon and eggs while you’re out buying the popcorn, just in case.)
- Have a Video Game night. Seriously, your husband will think you are the best wife ever!
- Make It a Theme Night! Choose a theme and center everything you do around it. For example, if you choose an Italian theme, you could eat spaghetti and gelato, then watch a movie like The Italian Job or Life is Beautiful. Some other fun theme ideas: Mexican, Asian, Christmas, Kid’s theme, 1950′s (or any decade), et cetera.
- Hobbit night: dress up as hobbits, dance in your bare feet, eat hobbit food, and generally have a jolly time.
- Decorate mugs for each other: You can pick up mugs at the Dollar Store and use a sharpie marker to decorate it. It will be such a fun reminder of how much you love each other as you drink from it each morning (oh, how I love cute, cheesy love!)
- Living Room Camp-Out: Get anything you have that makes you feel like your camping out and set it up in your living room (i.e. camping chairs, turn off the lights and use flashlights, blanket…). Make tin foil dinners in your oven for the dinner.
- Blessing Night: Make a list of all the things in life you are thankful for and all the blessings you have been given. Make sure your spouse is at the top of the list!
- Crepes in Paris (no ticket required): Spend an evening in Paris right in your very own home enjoying create-your-own-crepes and creative spouse caricatures. So fun!
- Spa night: give each other facials, massages, candles, good smelly things, cucumbers, tea…could be fun and steamy.
- Go on a picnic: If it's warm enough, try to go outside (even if it's in your own backyard).
- Create a DIY Photoshoot: When’s the last time the two of you were in the same photo? Using your tripod or Apple photo booth, snap pics together in various rooms of your home for memories you’ll never forget.
- Finger Foods: Have a finger foods only dinner and feed each other.
- Pushup-situp-pullup challenge: See who can do the most. Exercise gives you endorphins! Don’t like those? Try squats, jump squats, jump rope, anything to get your heart rate up, that you can do together.
- Kid-Free Slumber Party: Make a cozy pallet for you and your spouse on the living room floor [with] lots of blankets, pillows, snacks, and movies. It’s a little silly, but super fun and makes us enjoy the little things in life.
- Willy Wonka Night: dress up silly and make a meal with chocolate in every course…and watch Willy Wonka of course!
- All Dressed Up & Nowhere to Go: Pull out your nicest formal dress from your last cruise or even from your high school or college prom (if yours still fits.. good for you! I’m not even close to fitting into mine), light dozens of tea candles, and have a romantic, fancy dinner.
- Home Olympics: Hop on on foot race, hula hoop contest, slide across the living room floor in socks. Have a prize for the winner!
- Out of Character: Dress up as an actor from a movie and pick the character for each other.
- Dr. Seuss night: How the Grinch steal Christmas (a.k.a. put away the Christmas decorations), watch the old 60′s Seuss movies, dress up as Seuss characters, and eat green eggs and ham.
- Dream Date by Design: Design your own Dream Date with an easy survey! Have your sweetheart do one also, to create two amazing dates!
- Color Block: Have a snack night of really colorful foods...see how many colors you can incorporate into one meal!
- Turn Your Bedroom Into a Love Nest: Fill the room with candlelight and other sundry romantic items and pretend that you are tucked away in a sumptuous hotel room or cottage somewhere.
- Indoor picnic: It is what you make it.
- Karaoke Night - oh yeah! Find songs with lyrics on YouTube and sing your heart out. This is funniest if you can find some heart-wrenching ballads to belt out.
- Roast marshmallows: Over the fire pit or the stove.
- Dance the night away: It has all the intimacy of a club without the downside of slipping in spilled drinks. Rehash the days of the high school dance. Turn down the lights, turn up the music and be sure to dance two feet apart. Just kidding! Getting close is the point, and what better way to get close to your spouse than dancing in your own private gala?
- Go to the Prom: Dress up and dance in the den with the lights turned low. Yeah, that’s cheesy. But it was 20 years ago, too, you just didn’t know it.
- Practice Playing House: Do a good deed and have a bunch of fun all at once. Offer to give a friend a night off from their kids and spend your date night playing house. It’s the perfect opportunity to watch silly movies, do some coloring, play with Play-Doh, or play hide-and-seek in and around the house and yard. Then, once the little tyke is in bed, you can make out on the couch and be thankful this was just for the evening!
- Get a Taste of Another Culture: Google cultural recipes that you've never tasted, and then try them out!
- Chip and dip night: Pick one each and one together. Vote on the best.
- Long Winters Night: Hot cocoa and a fireplace-no electronics. No complaints either, I bet.
- Write out the story of how you met (and fell in love): Better yet- video tape it! Your kids and future posterity will be so grateful and it is so fun to go back and read (or watch) years down the road. It’s amazing how much you will forget!
- Wine and cheese night: You don’t have to drink wine. Or eat cheese. Pick something, grab a small variety, try it out. Feed each other. Whatever. Make it happen.
- Star Gazing: Sit outside under the stars and take in the beatiful creation around us!
- Something Old, New, Borrowed & Blue! Celebrate your lifelong commitment to your sweetheart with this “Something Old, New, Borrowed, and Blue” themed date! This date is a true celebration of love.
- Play Twister! See how tangled up you can get . . .
- Work a puzzle: Flip pieces over for a real challenge.
- Play the Newlywed Game: See how well you really know one another. Have prizes for every correct answer.
- Have Breakfast in Bed: (even if it's a night date! Breakfast for dinner is one of my favorite meals!). Pull out the TV trays and go all out!
- Host a Book Club . . . for two! Check out two copies of the same book at the library and discuss the book as you read it.
- Have a Homemade Pizza Night. Buy your favorite toppings and create a masterpiece!
- Break out the board games: Make it interesting by adding a rule that the loser of each game has to lose one piece of clothing. Guarantee your husband will play Yahtzee like his life depends on it just so he can win.
- Have a Fondue Night: Don't have a fondue machine? No worries! You can melt chocolate or other dipping sauces in a slow cooker or even on your stove top.
- Pop some popcorn and watch YouTube videos all night: Ask friends and family for recommendations or find some of the most popular ones.
- Bubble bath for two: Need I say more?
What at-home date ideas have you and your honey tried? :) Let's hear them!
I can't wait to try some of these out! How fun is this?! All 50 might not speak to you, but can you find a few? :) I certainly can find some! Now, let's pick one and start planning!
Monday, October 28, 2013
Do you give up when life gets tough? My generation is pretty lousy at "sticking it out," and the next generation is way worse. So many people my age have an entitlement attitude. They aren't going to lift a finger, but you had better wait on them hand and foot. Why do we struggle with persevering through problems? Why is it that our generation just can't seem to finish a job, and especially finish it well!? What happened to my generation?
(No offense, parents, but it's your fault. My parents' generation raised spoiled rotten brats. And these young adults are now raising children that are so horrifically worse. Temper tantrums are a normal occurrence at the store, hateful speech is common in our schools, and no one works hard because everyone is going to get a "participation ribbon" at the end whether they won or not. Parents have really dropped the ball. I always see these cartoons that say things like, "If I talked to my mom the way you talk to yours, I wouldn't be alive to tell you about it." LOL It's so true! Can I encourage today's parents to teach your kids values? Perseverance? Diligence? Hard work? Two of the hardest workers I know are my parents. They don't stop...doesn't matter if they are sick...or tired....or "not in the mood"...they do what needs to be done. Parents, please wake up and realize that your lack of parenting is raising entitled snots that don't appreciate anything or anyone and certainly don't care about anyone but themselves. You aren't helping them by waiting on them hand and foot, you are ruining them! :/ Please wake up before it is too late!)
This post shouldn't even have to be shared! It should be an understood that we don't give up...especially in our walk with God, but we've been raised to only do what "feels good" and certainly nothing that is unpleasant or hard. (At this point I would like to insert that my parents were wonderful examples of good, Godly character! :) I am very thankful for the character they instilled in me.)
The Bible is so full of examples of hard working men and women:
Nehemiah left a great job and went back to a broken city and built the walls back up, the whole time being attacked and ridiculed. (If that happened today, kids would run home crying to mommy!)
Noah was mocked and scorned for years while he worked intently on building the ark, but he didn't give up, and God saved him!
Ruth is the epitome of a hard worker! I love her story of faithful obedience and service to her Naomi.
The disciples gave up everything to follow Jesus, yet they served with unwavering hearts even when times were tough.
Esther faced a greater challenge than most of us will ever face, her life was on the line, but she followed through with what God told her to do through Mordecai.
Colossians 3:23 - And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men;
2 Thessalonians 3:10 - For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat.
1 Timothy 5:8 - But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.
Ephesians 4:28 - Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with [his] hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth.
1 Corinthians 10:31 - Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.
Ecclesiastes 5:12 - The sleep of a labouring man [is] sweet, whether he eat little or much: but the abundance of the rich will not suffer him to sleep.
Proverbs 20:4 - The sluggard will not plow by reason of the cold; [therefore] shall he beg in harvest, and [have] nothing.
Are you pickin' up what I'm puttin' down? lol The Bible has a lot to say about not giving up and working hard! :)
There's rarely an excuse to give up....and there's absolutely never an excuse to give up on something that God has directed you into. Let's put on our big girl pants, ask God for patience and strength, and then carry on!
Let's carry on for Jesus!
Saturday, October 26, 2013
Friday, October 25, 2013
Tim and I are celebrating 6 months this coming Sunday...and it absolutely amazes me how much love can grow in such a short time. I know everyone says it, but it's so hard to remember my life before Timmy. I think it's really important that we try to constantly show each other how much we love each other. Sometimes it's easy to get distracted by the craziness of life, and we aren't purposely not showing love, but it happens....accidentally. So let's redouble our efforts to show our man just how much we love him. Hopefully he already knows....but it never hurts to remind him :)
Showing love is something that Tim has really put a ton of effort into learning. He is constantly trying to show me love through little acts of love. He really listens and watches for things that make me smile. I have noticed his efforts more and more as time goes on and it makes me feel like a princess. He never complains about helping me with housework or putting away clean laundry, and he randomly shows up with flowers :) Makes me feel so special. Acts of love can be hard because we are naturally so selfish. Thankful that this is something my sweet hubby is really becoming a pro at.....as I write, he is downstairs pulling out the clean laundry because the timer just went off....my point is made. lol
Came home to these on Wednesday night after a really long day at work (open house)...aren't they beautiful!?
Maybe you used to be really great at showing love and you've just gotten distracted by life. That's okay....it happens, but why not look over the list below, a special post by Club31Women, and pick a special way to show some love! :)
Go love your man!
It's true. We've experienced some sweeping moments in our marriage.