Thursday, December 31, 2009

LIVING WELL 2009

The last day of the year is a good time to look at some highlights of what God has done in and through the ministry of LIVING WELL:
  • Ed Edwards came to work full time at LIVING WELL, leaving his longtime position on church staff.
  • Several classes taught for churches.
  • Many marriages healed.
  • Several premarital couples prepared for a lifetime together.
  • Several families saw a new way to deal with finances.
  • Teaching small group Bible study to young couples.
  • More churches trained through the coalition of Marriage Network Oklahoma, led by Donna Edwards.
  • Process for Building Comprehensive Marriage Ministries presented at national conference.
  • Mission trip to Tanzania to teach and train pastors/spouses/church leaders on marriage & family; teach VBS to over 100 children; meetings in individual churches to train teams.
We are looking forward to what God has for 2010!! We value your prayers!

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Life Changed!

Life suddenly changed! Two weeks ago, I started feeling like I had the flu, within hours I was doubled over with pain; the most intense pain I have ever experienced. After a few hours of emergency abdominal surgery, I emerged with a foot of my colon removed but in much better shape. I spent a week in the hospital and have been home for a week recovering. The recovery is slow but steady. I hope to be back to normal by the first of the year.

I am very thankful for my doctor and other medical personnel, friends and family who prayed for me, sent flowers and cards, and visited me while I was in the hospital. Most of all I am thankful for a husband who would not leave my side while in was in the hospital. Since I have been home, he has attended to my every need, including breakfast in bed. I could get spoiled!

Every aspect of the ministry came to a halt for the last two weeks. Ed is now back at his administrative work and I am doing some work preparing for future classes and projects. We hope to have a limited counseling schedule soon and be back to a normal routine by January 4th.

I am reminded of the physical example of a deeper emotional and spiritual analogy that relates to my surgery. After I got to the emergency room, they gave me some painkiller and did a CAT scan, then told me about my diagnosis. After I was out of pain, I could have chosen to continue to medicate the pain, rather than go through more pain to take out the toxins and repair my colon. I would have died if I had not had the surgery. I was willing to endure the pain of surgery and the long recovery to stay alive.

Many times the same problem occurs spiritually and/or emotionally. We have a weak spot and it begins to fill with harmful ideas or thinking until our whole system is not healthy. To get well, we have someone, who can see inside of us, to help us clean out the damaging beliefs and thoughts. The process of healing may take weeks or months, but we will have a new quality of life when it is finished.

Without this process, most of us will spend years medicating the pain. Some of us will use drugs or alcohol, but many of us will use less obvious means . . . . acquiring money or stuff, striving for praise through our performance, seeking admiration of our looks or personality. The less obvious and more palatable means still cover the pain instead of addressing it. These painful issues become the basis of personal conflicts, especially in marriage. Much of what we do at Living Well is to help people find the toxins and connect with the Holy Spirit to clean, repair, and heal from the inside out.

Friday, October 02, 2009

Living Well Annual Dinner, Oklahoma City


You are invited to the Living Well Annual Dinner
October 22, 2009
6:15-7:15
Silent Auction and Dinner
(dinner served at any time until 7:00)

7:15-8:00
Presentation of God's Work at Living Well



Event Venue: Putnam City Baptist Church
                       11401 North Rockwell Avenue
                       Oklahoma City


RSVP by October 15 at 405.792.2586 or info@livingwellokc.org

Saturday, July 04, 2009

prayer request

We had an interesting day at Zanzibar today. We saw the slave market where Africans were held, whipped, and sold on the slave block for a period of 200 years. A very moving place.

We will be speaking in a church tomorrow, the church of our translator, who is a pastor. Then eat with his family, met his friends, and then we will have dinner in the home of the couple who has been hosting us.

We leave Monday night about 11 pm our time (3 pm OK time). We are supposed to arrive in OKC late Tuesday afternoon. But we only have a 1 hour layover in Houston. We have to claim our bags, go through customs, and re-check our bags in that 1 hour.

PLEASE PRAY THAT WE MAKE OUR CONNECTION!

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Ed and Donna Edward meeting with churches

We had two very good meetings today with churches. The church this morning was a good size and very active. We had to ride down this very narrow "street" to get to the church. It is in the middle of a residential area and has reached very many people. The pastor of the church was very touched and excited by the weeklong conference and by the workshop. He has offered to pay for the "photocopies" of the lessons from the conference (about 90 pages) for the other churches who did not attend the conference but attended the one-day workshop on building a marriage ministry. He spent most of the day going to get the copies made.

Our meeting this afternoon was in the home of the pastor rather than in their church. We always like going to their homes and see more about how they live. One of the people in the meeting was a woman, who is the female leader of the elders there. She was very expressive and had some very good questions. She wanted to know more about our own testimony about why we were coming to Africa and how we got involved in marriage ministry. I told her that, if I could speak Swahili, she was the kind of person that I would like to have as a friend.

She also asked our interpreter a couple of questions about America and didn't want him to translate it to us. So, he spoke to her first, knowing a lot about us and our views before he told us about the conversation. She wanted to know if it was true that Obama supported abortion legislation. She also wanted to know if we supported that view or supported him. She also asked about divorce in America and the condition of the family. She said that Africa is learning from America. She communicated that what Africans see Americans doing, then they think it is right for them also. We were very clear about our support of Obama, because he is our president, but that he has some views that we do not agree with. It seemed to help them a lot to get a bigger picture of the culture of America.

Thanks for your continued prayers for us.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Workshop in Dar es Salaam

We had our workshop on Building a Comprehensive Marriage Ministry in Dar es Salaam today. We did one last Tuesday in Bagamoyo for half the group from our seminar. Today was for the half that live in this area. However, word got out about our teaching. Instead of having 40 people, we had about 95! Many came who had not attended our weeklong teaching conference, but heard about it and were urged to attend today. We taught for 3 hours straight, without a break, and they were all sitting on hard wooden benches. No one left and no one complained. The people in this area are much better educated and many of them have professional jobs.

We had many churches represented, I am not sure right now how many different churches were there. In our follow up time this week, priority was given to the churches who had also attended the week long conference. So, we will be meeting every morning and every afternoon this week with different churches. I think one of the times, we are meeting with three churches who are close together. We will also go to the church of our interpreter on Sunday and meet with some of from his church also.

The people here are so receptive and so appreciative of our teaching and our time with them.

We are very tired tonight. Please pray that we sleep well. Neither of us slept well last night.

Also, we stopped by a supermarket on our way back to the center this evening and bought some strawberry jam and some chocolate. The people here don't eat dessert very often, just fruit, and they don't eat chocolate. I brought some M&M's but Ed decided I needed something more substantial! Also, the breakfasts here at this center are very basic - a porridge that we won't eat, sliced bread or cold toast, and boiled eggs. So, the strawberry jam will add a wonderful treat to our breakfast - simple pleasures.

Thanks for your continued prayers.

Living Well and Dar es Salaam workshop

Building a Comprehensive Marriage Ministry Workshop in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.


About 95 attended this workshop.
This man is giving a testimony about what he learned at our weeklong conference. He is an evangelist and pastor. He talked about how much he had learned, that he had always put ministry before his wife. He now is spending more time with his wife. He also testified how important the lesson on money was and how he and his wife are now establishing a budget and they are much closer in their relationship.






This woman is giving a testimony about the conference and how the session on parenting had meant so much to her. She has 3 children and she learned that she is treat each one as individuals and not try to make them all the same, that she is to recognize their individual personalities and gifts.


















Notice the name of the supermarket that Ed is entering.



Sunday, June 28, 2009

Sunday in Bagamoyo

We had a good Saturday. It was our free day and we spent some time exploring the city. Unfortunately, it rained part of the time and shortened our time. We went to a museum that explained the history of the area, the Arab slave traders, the Christian missionaries, the German colonization, the British colonization, and today. Because of the Arab slave traders, there is a long history of Muslim influence. Even the Swahili language is a derived from the Arab language.

The area is economically depressed. Because of the ocean, they have more tourists than if they were farther inland. But two resorts burned recently and left 400 people out of work (representing many, many more people). They used thatched roofs on a lot of buildings here. They are very traditional, great for cooling, but can easily catch fire in a dry season and high winds (sounds like wildfires in OK).

The "food court" of the local people was extremely interesting. They have long lines of little outdoor eating places. They have a roof, but all open air. They all cook on charcoal fires. They eat LOTS of fish, of all sizes. They use these huge pans, kind of curved sides, like a wok. They fry their fish in those. They eat sardines, shrimp, changu, kingfish, red snapper, and more. We wanted to take pictures but they said we had to pay them to take pictures. So, we didn't take any, but they would get angry, just because we were carrying a camera through there.

They have a lot of historical sites, some are being restored but most are in decay. They don't have a vision for preserving these buildings. One of the trademarks of the area are the carved doors, but it is hard to get pictures of them.

And Ed went hunting for shells by the ocean, he has quite a collection now. He puts them out on the table, if they fall off, that means that there is still a creature inside and we throw that one away.

Today is our last day here. We will be picked up tomorrow morning and go back to Dar es Salaam. We will miss the hot water and quiteness of this place.

How Great Thou Art in Swahili



video

Ed and Donna Edwards at Tanzania Assembly of God, Magic Coast











We attended the TAG Magic Coast of Bagamoyo, Tanzania, Pastor Ndosi. Ed preached and Donna shared about their family and ministry. It is the first Assembly of God church in this city and has been responsible for starting several more, even though they are small. They are now focused on starting churches in remote villages.

We found out that about 85% of the people in Bagamoyo are Muslim, higher than we had thought. They see a few come to Christ each year. Many are Muslim by tradition but not practicing.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Bagamoyo, Tanzania


As I write, it is late Thursday afternoon, June 25. We have a short break, enough time for me to compose some thoughts of the last few days. We came back to Bagamoyo on Monday afternoon. We love the beauty of this area, lots of palm trees, sandy beaches.
We are staying near a Muslim mosque. We are reminded of how the sounds of the ocean, the wind in the palm trees, and the birds compete with the five daily prayers broadcast over loud speakers everyday. Those prayers drown out all other sounds during those times each day. The Christians here feel that they are fighting the battle for the hearts and minds of their friends and neighbors against those who are devoted to Allah.
Our workshop for Building a Comprehensive Marriage Ministry was Tuesday morning. This workshop is just for churches in this area; we are doing another one on the 30th for those in the Dar es Salaam area. We had a good turnout. Everything starts late in Africa. We had a lot to cover, our training lasted 3 hours. We had some encouraging sharing; most of the time they listened and took notes diligently as we talked.
One of the questions we asked was about the main issues concerning marriage. Most of the issues were tied to male dominance in marriage, including beatings, controlling the money, and ignoring the family.
They also shared what impressed them from the weeklong conference we had conducted. They shared a wide variety of issues and were very open and honest.
Several pastors shared their lack of giving priority to their families. Some shared about how it impressed them when Alvin talked about being affectionate with their children and he demonstrated through hugging his teenage daughters (a very uncommon practice here). One women shared how a Muslim neighbor was asking about the seminar and wanting to attend such a seminar, none being available in the Muslim mosque. Another woman shared what she had learning about budgeting with her co-workers and how they had gathered around, wanting to learn all that they could.
After lunch, we meet with the pastors/church leaders who had come from the remote villages outside of Bagamoyo. Our purpose in meeting with them (and later individual churches) is to see what challenges they face in developing a marriage ministry. Many feel that them must conduct a seminar in the same way we did and they don't have the means to provide meals, etc. A common concern is that they think the church members or others will question why they have expertise to teach on marriage.
At every meeting we have conducted, the common agreement is how much they need teaching on marriage. When you say the word "marriage" many of them giggle and act embarrassed because they equate the word "marriage" with sex. Sexual preoccupation is heavy on the minds of many men here, resulting in abuse or demands. When we present all of the other aspects of marriage and present God's view on sex, they see a very new perspective.
They are very encouraged with our presence in meeting personally with their churches. We have had some very good meetings and some sad ones. However in each meeting, we have found individuals with a real passion and commitment to see a marriage ministry succeed. This extended ministry time has given us more insight into the challenges of the African people and into the dynamics of their marriages. We are better teachers and trainers because of this new understanding.
We have had a wonderful interpreter, Nickson. He has a common heart in training leaders and started a ministry for that purpose. He has not only interpreted our words but has been a bridge for us to interpret the culture. Even though he lives in the Dar es Salaam area, he comes to this area regularly to minister. He is a young pastor and leader in his denomination, but has a great understanding of leadership and a strong sense of networking among different denominations. He has offered to be a link, resource, and source of encouragement between the churches and us as we return to the states.
We meet with more churches tomorrow and then Ed will preach on Sunday. We will return to Dar es Salaam on Monday for our final week. We hope to see the historical sites of the area on Saturday.
We appreciate your prayers for our ministry work and our continued good health.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

sunday worship

We had a great morning of worship! At an Assembly of God church! The music is always good in Africa, they worship with their whole bodies, like they really mean it. There were 150-200 there, packed into a small space, sitting on hard benches. The service lasted at least 2 1/2 hours (the time we were there)

Ed spoke about forgiveness. The pastor had been at our conference. After the message, the pastor had all the married people stand at the front, even if the spouse was not there. He had the couples stand together (they don't sit together in church). He had Ed pray for them. There was lots of hugging and crying, both unusual for public display in church. The pastor had learned well at our conference. He said that the message of forgiveness was just what they needed. We told him that everyone needs it. Ed clearly presents the gospel but also talks about how we are to forgive each other in the same way.

They gave us all the paper money in an envelope from their offering, 49,500Ts. We were very humbled. That's about $38. We will find somewhere to give it away before we leave.

Thanks for all of your prayers. Will send more info later,

Ed Edwards
Donna Edwards
"Giving Life to Marriages"
Livng Well

Friday, June 19, 2009

Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania Mission

We made it back safely to Dar es Salaam. We will miss the cool weather and hot water in Kenya. The place we are staying is very clean though, it's a Catholic center. We take our meals here as well. They have a canteen that is outdoors with a cover where we can sit and have a cold soft drink. We went down after we arrived and heard a Catholic mass playing on a TV nearby.

We will be here without our hosts tonight and tomorrow. But there are enough English speakers that it is not a problem. And they have the internet. Costs us less than a dollar for an hour. Of course, the keyboard is so bad that it takes twice as long to type.

We need the time tomorrow to work on our materials for our workshop that we will do on Tuesday. We knew that we would need to make adjustments based on what we learned from the people after we arrived. We have a laptop that we brought, thanks to the Gillogly's. So, we will have all that we need to prepare.

We will go to a different church on Sunday. Then leave for Bagamoyo on Monday morning. The workshop will be Tuesday morning, starting at 10 am (2 am OK time). We appreciate your prayers.

We are looking forward to getting back to Bagamoyo, we really enjoyed being in that community and the people there. It is small enough that we can get out and walk some. It is right on the beach of the Indian Ocean, the water is beautiful and blue. And we praying for hot and cold water at the place where we will stay. I think they are going to put us in a different place. We will have either our host couple with us or our interpreter while we are there.

So far, we are feeling pretty good. We have each had times that we weren't quite up to par but that is normal here. I had to take one afternoon this week and just stay in and rest.

The Bates are leaving Nairobi tonight for home. We already miss them. They were great travelling companions and fellow laborers in ministry. Pray for their travel and recovery.

Thanks for all your prayers.

--
Ed Edwards
Donna Edwards
"Giving Life to Marriages"

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Nairobi, Kenya

We are now in Nairobi. We are staying a nice place here with hot water and a cool breeze! I think I took my longest shower ever! And they have a great internet connection.

Our conference finished well. It is by far the best conference we have ever had in Africa. The people were very responsive and very thankful for our teaching. We wish we could have had longer with them. We had many good discussions. It is amazing our similar the problems are, no matter where in the world you go.

When they gave testimonies, several pastors confessed that they had thought of their wives the same as household goods. And that they ignored their children. Women are treatly very badly here. The women were especially excited about the teaching. We were amazed how much the pastors would share about their failings.

They continued to comment about how biblical our teaching is and how deep. When we talked about Adam and Eve in Genesis 3. They admitted that one of the reasons that they treated women poorly was because of the failure of Eve. They were amazed at the silence of Adam and his accountability to God. It changed their perspective greatly.

They also commented about how we bring biblical teaching not American teaching. And how we would sit and eat with them, not having separate food or separate places to sit. On the first day, we invited them to sit with us if they could speak English or could bring someone with them that spoke English. We had an opportunity to speak personally with several people.

Several of the pastors go out into the smaller villages to plant churches and to preach. You can see such a passionate heart to reach people with the gospel and teach them.

We will take a few days in Kenya to rest and talk to the ALARM staff and then we will return to Dar es Salaam on Thursday. We will go to Bagamoyo on Sunday afternoon or Monday morning. We will do a workshop on Tuesday (23rd) about building a marriage ministry. Then follow up all week with individual churches. We will return to Dar the next weekend, then meet with pastors in that area and do a workshop there on that Tuesday (30th).

I think we will be staying in a different place when we return to Bagamoyo. I think they are putting us somewhere with a more consistent water supply, including hot water, I hope. The place we are staying in Dar is very basic but very clean and the food is good. We will have a/c there but no hot water. They are not even plumbed for hot water, doesn't seem to be an issue for them.

We are having a dining experience tonight, not just dinner!

More later.
--
Ed Edwards
Donna Edwards
"Giving Life to Marriages"

Thursday, June 11, 2009

All is Well in Bagamoyo

Tomorrow is our final day of the conference. We have had a great group this week! We have had somewhere between 80 & 100 people each day. We have had mostly couples,with a few pastors coming alone, and a few women leaders coming alone. We have had some very good discussion times between our teaching times.

The children's VBS has been very busy!! We were told to expect about 50, but we have had between 90-100 everyday. The Bates were very well prepared and have had a great time with the kids. I am sure we could have had many more but I think our African hosts cut it off. We didn't have enough translator/helpers for more. Lucy and Millie have taught the kids some new songs, fun jingles with motions, and the kids picked up right away and love it. Alvin taught them "Alvin says" and they picked it up right away and love it too. Most have never seen crayons, glue, or glitter and have had so much fun making things that relate to their lessons. The Bates will share the gospel tomorrow on their last day.

We will be teaching on physical oneness tomorrow morning, a very hot topic here. They have already brought it up. Ed is teaching on guarding your heart after that. We also be doing a renewing the vows ceremony in the morning. After lunch we wil have our final ceremonies, those times are very important to them. Then we will head back to Dar es Salaam in the late afternoon.

We have been very well received and have lots of interest in the follow-up workshop. We will spend part of the time in Dar es Salaam and part in Bagamoyo, because the participants are from both places.

We are all staying well. The food has been good. We did get air-conditioning when we got here to Bagamoyo. But we have had a lot of trouble with water here. The pump for their water went out - twice. I have had one warm shower since we left. And that time it didn't last long enough to wash my hair. So, we are learning to shower and wash our hair in cold water. We have had some times when there was no water at all, so they woud bring us water in 5 gallon buckets.

I think they are putting us in a different place when we return.

Thanks for your continued prayers!

Ed Edwards
Donna Edwards
"Giving Life to Marriages"

Sunday, June 07, 2009

In Dar es Salaam

We made it to Dar es Salaam, and have all of our luggage!
It's Sunday morning now. We are waiting for everyone in our group to assemble, then we will go to church. Ed is preaching and we will each give our testimony this morning. We are going to a church that our host, Justin, started in a Muslim community. It is still a small church but in a very important area.

It is warm and humid here. We just rested yesterday morning. After lunch, we went to the market. It was the only chance that Bates would have to shop here for local crafts. Dar is a big city and the traffic matches it. In the evening we went to a nice restaurant right on the Indian Ocean. Dar has the busiest port in east Africa, we could see the big ships out in the bay. We had some great, grilled red snapper for dinner. African food is always fresh. We also saw a big wedding reception they were having outdoors where we were eating. It was fun to see their customs and decorations, etc.

We are all doing well. Ed and I both woke up at 1:00 am this morning and couldn't go back to sleep. We will sleep better tonight. After church we will go to Bagamoyo where we will spend the rest of the week. We are excited about seeing that historic community and meeting the people at the conference. Appreciate all your prayers! Keep praying!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Sorrow and Grief

Recently, two people in my life have lost someone very close to them.

A young woman lost her mother suddenly. Her mother was only 62, had not been sick. She left to be with the Lord the Sunday before Mother's Day.

A long-time friend lost her daughter-in-law this morning, Memorial Day. My friend's son and his wife have a 14 year old daughter and a son who is graduating from high school this Friday.

How does a person handle such grief and sorrow?
I have no idea.

I just know that we have a Father who has experienced the grief of losing His Son at a young age, at the height of His ministry. He died a torturous death. It wasn't sudden and it wasn't of natural causes. He promises to give us the grace and strength we need for those times.

And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.
1 Peter 5:10

I know that the resurrection life takes on a very personal meaning.

We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.
If we have been united with him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection.
Romans 6:4-5

I know that God's comfort, His hope, and His peace give us His Presence in the present.

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows. 2 Corinthians 1:3-5

We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. Hebrews 6:19a

The LORD replied, "My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest." Exodus 13:14

I know that our tears matter to God.

You have taken account of my wanderings;
Put my tears in Your bottle
Are they not in Your book?
Then my enemies will turn back in the day when I call;
This I know, that God is for me. Psalm 56:8-9

Those who sow in tears will reap with songs of joy.
Psalm 126:5

I don't know that kind of sorrow and grief,
but I know our Lord does.
And He cares. And He comforts.

That I do know.

Friday, May 08, 2009

UNFAITHFULNESS

I watched a Dateline newscast tonight about men and women being unfaithful in their marriage. The researcher says that 60% of those that are unfaithful are men, 40% women. He says that a small percent are habitually unfaithful, but the majority are unfaithful because they want an emotional connection (men and women). It isn't about the sex.

I agree that they may be seeking emotional connection. But why can't they find that connection with their spouse? One man talked about going out in his car with the other woman and they would just talk, maybe kiss some, no sex.

What if married couples kept dating? Kept going out for a drive and parking by the lake for some time alone and focused on each other? Wouldn't they keep that emotional connection?

Why don't they do that? They get busy with their careers, taking care of the home, paying bills, raising kids. They lose the WONDER of discovering new things in each other.

But some people have serial affairs or relationships (if they are not married) because a point comes when that person has to listen and sacrifice his needs for the needs of the other. Then they lose interest or lose the person. Or the commitments of marriage become too demanding for them.

Commitment is the bottom line - not just to staying married but to the very best for the other person. If your special person doesn't articulate his desire to see you achieve God's best for your life - RUN, flee, get away.

If you are already married, and you don't believe that your spouse wants the very best for you, commit to give him God's best. Sound impossible? Where you are weak He is strong. We can't do it on our own, we can only do it as He lives in us and through us. It's about commitment to Him and our love for Him.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

HE SAID/SHE SAID

In our first week of the FIREPROOF Your Marriage, we talked about the differences of men and women. Using the clip from FIREPROOF, we looked at the difference in how Caleb and Katherine vocalized their frustration of their marriage.

In group discussions, it is usually pretty easy to get women or men to bash the other gender, but the point of this discussion was quite the opposite. What is it about the other gender that you like?

One of the main points of the lesson is realizing what says respect to your husband and what says love to your wife. Seems that this issue comes up so many times with men and women. Many women really don't understand what says respect to men.

I keep going back to what we learned in the little books For Women Only and For Men Only. Shaunti Feldhahn identifies so many fundemental issues for women and for men. Sure would have saved Ed and I a lot of hurt early in our marriage. We have both changed so much, sometimes it is hard to remember what we did wrong. I know we both said hurtful things to each other. Now, Ed rarely gets upset with me and I with him. We show each other so much appreciation. It is so much easier to serve and support someone who shows and verbalizes appreciation.

We see so many couples who get to the "He said/She said" stage so quickly. They have been in the argumentative/conflict stage so long, it is hard for them to know how to relate to each other in a positive way. What happened to them? How did they go from a couple in love earlier in their marriage to this couple in conflict?

I think for many of them, they quit valuing their differences. Instead, they focus on the parts that irritate them rather on the parts that they admire or love. I wonder what would happen if we would take a 30 day pledge to memorize and practice the following verse:
Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.
Ephesians 4:29

As a husband and wife, we forget that we are on the same team working together. One isn't better than the other, we are just different. God made us to fit together, to complement each other, to work together as a team.

In the Lord, however, woman is not independent of man, nor is man independent of woman.
1 Corinthians 11:11

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Principles

Chuck Colson recently wrote a Breakpoint commentary "Giving Them a Pass". He talks about how President Obama wants more transparency, stricter rules on lobbyists, etc. But when it comes to appointing someone who has violated one if his new rules or has broken the law (not paying taxes), he gives them a pass. The person is so important, so smart, that they there is not an ethical person who could possibly do that job as well.

What is the message that America gets from those appointments? Pragmatism is more important than principle. We are going to take a practical path to greatness, regardless of what indiscretions must be overlooked.

Can greatness ever be achieved without integrity?

Thursday, January 01, 2009

HAPPY NEW YEAR from Ed and Donna Edwards

How do you start your new year?
Watching football? Going on a diet? New Year's resolutions?
How long do your new year's resolutions last?

In my younger days, I (Donna) regularly made resolutions. It made me feel better, I had goals for my life. Rarely did I accomplish the things on my list. In fact, I usually lost the list.

As I matured, I realized that God never talks to us about what we can accomplish. He talks about what He wants to do in us, about our inability to do much on our own. In fact, He says if we could do it, we would brag about it.

I found that a better questions to ask myself is "what does God want to do in my life this year?" I pray about it; sometimes I share it with others, usually not. After I have arrived at what I believe God has put on my heart, I pray and seek answers in His Word about that topic. As I read in the Bible through the year, I look for ideas, thoughts, words from our Lord about it.

I have learned a lot about myself. I have learned even more about Him and listening to Him about my, for Him in my life. I have learned how little good I can accomplish on my own.

What has helped me the most in this pursuit of God's work in my life?

First, learning to be quiet and read His Word and listen for Him. Do I hear Him everyday or every time I listen or every time I pray? No. In fact, I often don't realize it was Him until later. A thought comes, an idea, a kind word, a new perspective. Oh, that's not like me, that's like Him. But I have to be willing to hear and heed.

Secondly, I read great Christians from the past. Occasionally, I hear a current preacher or teacher say something that touches my heart and my spirit. But they are often watered down by the culture or repeating what someone else has said. But the great Christian writers/preachers/teachers of the past most often prayed more intently, listening more often, stayed quiet until they heard Him. Brother Lawrence, Oswald Chambers, C.S. Lewis, and A.W. Tozer have all made a huge impact in my life.

Third, I have studied the life of Christ and how exhibited His character as He lived on earth as a human being. How did He interact with other people? What did He say? What did He say that He would do for us, in us? How did He relate to the Father? If I want to change an aspect of my character, I don't do it by trying harder to do better. I don't do it by reciting that character quality and it's description. I do it by studying Christ and how He has exhibited that quality to me. As I know Him better and love Him more, He changes me.

Romans 12:1-2
1Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. 2Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. (NIV)
1Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. 2Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. (Message)