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Marriage Matters by Winston Smith

Marriage Matters: Extraordinary Change through Ordinary Moments by Winston T. Smith

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Can Ordinary Marriages Become Extraordinary?

He snapped at her during breakfast. She brought up a past mistake. He walked out angry. She left without saying good-bye. An ordinary day in an ordinary marriage. But what if things could be different? What if the moments that seem the most ordinary moments of annoyance, conflict, pain, or cold indifference could become moments in which you’re able to understand God’s incredible agenda for love and begin to do something new?

Winston T. Smith, drawing on his extensive experience as a marriage counselor, offers a simple yet powerful prescription for changing your marriage. He shows how examining the everyday disappointments and irritations in your marriage will help you understand yourself, your spouse, and your need for God’s love. Change begins with seeing day-to-day interactions from a different perspective, taking simple steps to love one another more effectively, and then learning how to take those steps over and over again. Interactions that used to devolve into pointless annoyances and fights can become an opportunity for God’s activity and love to become increasingly evident and powerful.

The principles in this book will take your marriage to extraordinary places and lead you into a deeper relationship with an extraordinary God. Don’t settle for an ordinary marriage, learn to live out God’s extraordinary love in your most intimate relationship.

Winston T. Smith, M.Div., is a counselor and faculty member at the Christian Counseling & Educational Foundation (CCEF) and has extensive experience as a marriage and family counselor. In addition to the Marriage Matters book, he is also the author of two Marriage Matters companion products: Marriage Matters Manual Facilitators Guide, and Marriage Matters Study Guide. Additionally, he is the author of the minibooks Divorce Recovery: Growing and Healing God’s Way; Help for Stepfamilies: Avoiding the Pitfalls and Learning to Love; It’s All About Me: The Problem with Masturbation; and Who Does the Dishes? Decision Making in Marriage.

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The Process Is The Point – 1 Corinthians 9:27

1 Corinthians 9:24–27 (ESV)

    24 Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it.

    25 Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable.

    26 So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air.

    27 But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.

 

4. Discipline my body

1 Corinthians 9:27 (ESV) But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.

If we do not discipline ourselves, God will discipline us.

Hebrews 12:5-11 (ESV)

5 And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons? “My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by him.
6 For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.”
7 It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline?
8 If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons.
9 Besides this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live?
10 For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness.
11 For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.

Discipline leads to the fruit of righteousness.

Hebrews 12:11 (ESV) For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.

Discipline ourselves for godliness.

1 Timothy 4:7-8 (ESV)

7 Have nothing to do with irreverent, silly myths. Rather train yourself for godliness;
8 for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.

 

5. Keep my body under Control

1 Corinthians 9:27 (ESV) But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.

Keeping your body under control requires training it.

1 Timothy 4:7-8 (ESV)

7 Have nothing to do with irreverent, silly myths. Rather train yourself for godliness;
8 for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.

Did you notice that this verse also points out that there are promises for the present life and for the life to come?

 


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The Process Is The Point – 1 Corinthians 9:25-26

1 Corinthians 9:24–27 (ESV)

    24 Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it.

    25 Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable.

    26 So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air.

    27 But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.

 

2. Exercise Self-Control

1 Corinthians 9:25 (ESV) Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable.

What is self-control?

2 Corinthians 10:5 (ESV) We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ,

Self-control is taking every thought, word or deed captive under Christ to obey Christ.

We can’t exercise self-control on our own though, it is a fruit of the Spirit.  Only through the Holy Spirit’s working in our lives can we have self-control.

Galatians 5:22-23 (ESV)

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.

We also must compete according to the rules, no making up the rules as you go along.

2 Timothy 2:5 (ESV) An athlete is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules.

Otherwise you may be disqualified.

1 Corinthians 9:27 (ESV) But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.   

 

3. Do not run Aimlessly

1 Corinthians 9:26 (ESV) So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air.

Run as for the Lord

Colossians 3:23-24 (ESV)

23 Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men,
24 knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.


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The Process Is the Point – Run to Obtain the Prize

1 Corinthians 9:24–27 (ESV)

24 Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it.

25 Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable.

26 So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air.

27 But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.

 

1. Run to obtain the prize

1 Corinthians 9:24 (ESV) Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it.

What is the prize?

  • An Imperishable and unfading wreath

1 Corinthians 9:25 (ESV) Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable.

1 Peter 5:4 (ESV) And when the chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory.

  • The wreath is the crown of life, righteousness, glory (James 1:12; Rev 2:10; 2 Tim 4:8;)

James 1:12 (ESV) Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.

  • Upward or Heavenly Call of God

Philippians 3:14 (ESV) I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

 

Those are all future prizes for those who run the race.  But there are also present day prizes.

Luke 18:29-30 (ESV)

29 And he said to them, “Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or wife or brothers or parents or children, for the sake of the kingdom of God,
30 who will not receive many times more in this time, and in the age to come eternal life.”

Notice how that passage says “in this time and in the age to come”?

There are present time rewards for those who are running the race not “just” a future hope.

Not that the future hope is not enough but because the Lord knows we would struggle with a seemingly distant hope and no rewards along the way.  He is a gracious and generous God to those He loves.

 


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The Process is the Point; How You Run the Race Matters

Previously we looked at The Process is the Point.  (Shockingly this was started in June and now we are mid November!  Too many processes going on here! ) How just as important as achieving our goals is the process in which we strive for them. Based off of 1 Corinthians 9:24-27 and Hebrews 12:1-3, I listed 10 key points to running our race.  But didn’t really spend much time with them.

1. Run to obtain the prize (1 Corinthians 9:24)

2. Exercise Self-Control (1 Corinthians 9:25)

3. Do not run Aimlessly (1 Corinthians 9:26)

4. Discipline my body (1 Corinthians 9:27)

5. Keep my body under Control (1 Corinthians 9:27)

6. Lay aside every weight (Hebrews 12:1)

7. Lay aside sin which clings (Hebrews 12:1)

8. Run with endurance (Hebrews 12:1)

9. Look to Jesus (Hebrews 12:2)

10. Do not grow weary or fainthearted (Hebrews 12:3)

All of these come from just those two passages!!!  That is alot of guidance for running the race.

1 Corinthians 9:24–27 (ESV)

24 Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it.

25 Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable.

26 So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air.

27 But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.

 

Hebrews 12:1–3 (ESV)

1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,

2 looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.

3 Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted.

Let’s look closer at each of these and pull in other verses from the Bible that apply.


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The Gospel Focus of Charles Spurgeon

The Gospel Focus of Charles Spurgeon (Long Line of Godly Men Profiles) – Free Kindle Book

by Dr. Steven J. Lawson

The Gospel Focus of Charles Spurgeon is a passionate call for all Christians to follow Spurgeon in maintaining the proper balance between divine sovereignty in salvation and fiery passion in spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Free for a limited time.


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Obedient Children – John Piper

Parents, Require Obedience of Your Children

A Tragedy in the Making

I witnessed such a scenario in the making on a plane last week. I watched a mother preparing her son to be shot.

I was sitting behind her and her son, who may have been seven years old. He was playing on his digital tablet. The flight attendant announced that all electronic devices should be turned off for take off. He didn’t turn it off. The mother didn’t require it. As the flight attendant walked by, she said he needed to turn it off and kept moving. He didn’t do it. The mother didn’t require it.

One last time, the flight attendant stood over them and said that the boy would need to give the device to his mother. He turned it off. When the flight attendant took her seat, the boy turned his device back on, and kept it on through the take off. The mother did nothing. I thought to myself, she is training him to be shot by police.

… Continue reading Here.


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Help for Women Under Stress

Help for Women Under Stress [Kindle Edition] by Randy and Nanci Alcorn

Stress. It’s part of our everyday lives, sometimes as the spark that keeps us moving forward and sometimes as the avalanche that threatens to bury us. Chances are, since this book’s title has caught your eye, you are looking for some relief from stress, or at least hope that relief is possible.

In this thoroughly revised and updated edition of Help for Women Under Stress, originally published in 1986, Randy and Nanci offer you both the hope and the help you are looking for. They not only help you understand what stress is and how it operates, but give plenty of useful tips and strategies for bringing peace to the chaos of your daily life.

Your energy is perishable, but can be daily replenished. Don’t waste your life in unnecessary and unwise responses to stress. Let this book help you live in a way that honors God and your loved ones, while understanding and respecting your limits. And let it remind you that one day God will wipe away all the downsides of stress in an eternal world of rest, refreshment, thriving relationships and unending adventure.

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John Calvin: A Heart for Devotion, Doctrine, Doxology [Kindle Edition]

John Calvin: A Heart for Devotion, Doctrine, Doxology [Kindle Edition] – free for a limited time

Meet the Man Behind the Myths

John Calvin s name evokes powerful images, most of them negative. In the minds of many, he is perceived as an ivory-tower theologian who was harsh and unreasonable, the driving force behind a dangerous theological system. In this volume, Burk Parsons and eighteen other leading Reformed pastors and scholars authoritatively reveal the truth about Calvin and his teaching that he was humble, caring, pious, Scripture-saturated, and, above all, passionate about upholding the glory of God. Published in conjunction with the five-hundredth anniversary of Calvin’s birth (2009), John Calvin: A Heart for Devotion, Doctrine, and Doxology offers a highly readable portrait of a man whose example and teaching remain vitally relevant even in the twenty-first century.


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Prayer Instead of Obedience

“Prayer is never an acceptable substitute for obedience.
The sovereign Lord accepts no offering from His creatures
that is not accompanied by obedience.
To pray for revival while ignoring or actually flouting the plain
precept laid down in the Scriptures is to waste a lot of words and
get nothing for our trouble.”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

A.W. Tozer, Of God and Men, p. 52.


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