Restoring Relationships

Steve Arterburn

Are you living with a strained relationship?  Restoration of human relationships doesn’t happen instantaneously.  If you’ve broken someone’s heart or trust, you have a responsibility to face your failures.  And you also have the tough responsibility of avoiding the urge to blame others for the problems you’ve caused.  It may take some time before you’re able to face up to your failures.  Expect the process of restoration and regaining trust to take time.

The prophet Hosea was a remarkable man.  He was told by God to marry a prostitute.  His marriage was to be a living example to the nation of Israel of her infidelity toward God.  It must have hurt Hosea deeply when his wife returned to her life of prostitution.  Hosea said, ‘Then the Lord said to me, ‘Go and get your wife again.  Bring her back to you and love her, even though she loves adultery.  For the Lord still loves Israel even though the people have turned to other gods, offering them choice gifts”.  Hosea needed some time before he could be close to his wife again, for such deep restoration takes time.

It’s your responsibility to wait patiently while God helps you restore your broken relationships and the hearts you may have broken.  God can give those you’ve hurt love when love has been lost; he can help you trust and become trustworthy again, but these things take time.

Warfare Prayer

Steve Arterburn

Are you facing a strong temptation?  Interpersonal conflicts?  Difficult circumstances?  In the Bible the apostle Paul uses the analogy of armor and warfare to teach about the equipment that’s essential for standing against temptation and spiritual attack.  

First, he encourages you to put on the belt of truth.  Satan is the father of lies.  He’s constantly trying to deceive and trap you.  In contrast, all of your armor is held together by truth, which comes from the Father of Truth.

Next, you need to put on the body armor of God’s righteousness.  Though there are many levels of meaning to this phrase, the primary one is that you’re forgiven and accepted through faith in Jesus Christ alone.  You’re not protected by your own righteousness; you need the righteousness of God.

Next, you’re called to put on the shoes of peace and carry this Good News to people everywhere.

You’re also given a shield of faith to protect you against Satan’s accusations and persecutions.  Prayer leads to faith.  It keeps your vision clear when circumstances cloud your way.

The helmet of salvation is next on Paul’s list.  In addition to protecting the wearer, the helmet identified a soldier’s allegiance.  You belong to the company of Christ.  

Finally, you’re armed with the sword of the Spirit, the Word of God.  The sword is your only offensive weapon.  

God never leaves his men behind in battle.  Read Paul’s warfare prayer from the book of Ephesians 6:10-18 for help.

Are You Unappreciated?

Steve Arterburn

Are you unappreciated? I have, on occasion, seen men suffer from a lack of appreciation from their wives. When years of working hard are met with ingratitude, men are likely to grow bitter, and eventually resentful of their wives’and sometimes even their children.

So what can you do if you fear your relationship with your wife is headed in this direction? Worse yet, what if your wife already seems to be silent when it comes to expressing her appreciation of your hard work?

First, it’s important to remember you can never force a true compliment. Gratitude and appreciation stem from the heart. We all know the difference between a heartfelt thank-you and a hollow one. So don’t attempt to manipulate your wife into praising your actions.

Second, check your own heart. Have you become bitter over your wife’s apparent attitude of ungratefulness? Has it begun to taint the way you serve your family? If you find yourself grumbling every time you’re asked to sacrifice something for the family, it’s definitely time for a change. Talk to your wife about this. Open up about how you feel. She may not even be aware that she hasn’t complimented you in a long time.

And along those same lines, make sure you’re giving out praise as well. It’s somewhat unreasonable to expect verbal accolades from your wife if she hasn’t received one from you in a long time. Appreciation flourishes when it’s given, so shower her with kind words.