Saturday, August 27, 2011

Placing Our Spouse's Needs Before Our Own - Jennifer Benson Schultz

If you think it's possible to love your spouse too much, you probably haven't loved enough.

What can you do to serve the one you love?

The apostle Paul understood the significance of humility and how it holds us together. This is especially important in marriage. Paul said to reject "me-first" urges : "Let nothing be done through selfish ambition" (Phil. 2:3). Instead, we should value our spouses more than ourselves, and look out for their interests.

Humility in action means serving our spouse and no act of service is too small or too great. After all, "Jesus humbled Himself ... to the point of death, even the death of the cross." His selflessness showed in His love for us.

So what can you do to truly serve the one you love? What really proves to them that your love is steadfast and not subject to the storms of life?

Maybe it's as simple as giving him his favourite dinner, or as difficult as helping him or her through a long illness. Letting them know you'll stick through "thick and thin." Giving them the confidence you'll always be there for them no matter what. Of course this takes a lot of physical and emotional effort.

But whatever we do, placing our spouse's needs before our own confirms our commitment to them through Christian humility.

In marriage we will honour Christ by following His lead 
Of sacrificial love and care to meet the other's need.  - Sper.


Saturday, August 20, 2011


We authors constantly immerse ourselves in God’s Word
 so that our Christian message inspires a blessed faith walk in our readers. That’s the “Christian” part of the equation.

That leaves the significant question of what we’re inspiring with the “Romance” part of the equation. How are we presenting the “Romance/courtship” message so that it, too, is a blessing to our readers?

We all love a classic Cinderella story. Girl meets wonderful boy. Wonderful boy cares for girl. The lovely glass shoe fits the heroine’s foot. Wonderful boy and girl marry and live happily ever after.

Over the years, that same premise has increasingly become a romance novel staple. Unfortunately, so have young couples, quick courtships, and marriages based primarily on the emotion love. Real life has mirrored this fictional path, and high divorce rates and broken lives have resulted.

Critics of the genre have called romantic fiction idealistic, unrealistic, and misleading of readers’ viewpoints on courtship, love, and marriage. Are they right? Do some Christian romances’ portrayals of romance, courtship, love, and marriage skew readers’ viewpoints of real life? Does repeated exposure to unrealistic portrayals ingrain fictional expectations in unmarried readers’ minds?

God has gifted us—and charged us—to write Christian Romance, to guide readers in both their Christian lives and their romantic lives. So how can we craft our Christian Romance ministries to guide readers in their romantic lives?
Young Couples
The current real-life trend: finish high school, start college, get married, have kids. The problem here is often age, but perhaps more often the problem is maturity. Despite couples’ levels of maturity, or lack thereof, countless weddings takes place, and kids usually come fast on the heels of “I do.”

Does it occur to young people to wait to marry until they mature, or to first discover who they really are, so that they can discover what they really want in life?

Oftentimes, no.

Does it occur to young people to wait to marry until they first discover what they really want in a spouse, and discover if they want to be married at all?

Oftentimes, no.

Why not? While pondering this mystery, I asked my mom, “Why did you and Dad get married and have kids?” Her expression went blank. Then she answered, “That’s what everyone did. You got married and had kids.” Many young people continue this trend today because they don’t see, hear, and read enough examples to show them there’s another way . . . perhaps even a better way.

One of my lifelong friends (also in her forties) married for the first time two years ago. I have zero doubt that she found the right man, because she took her time searching to be certain she picked the right one. Today, she is a college graduate, and she and her sister are both highly successful in their careers, and both took their time picking good men.
To read more of Tammy's commonsense views, see

Saturday, August 13, 2011

HOPE UNSEEN - A story of a man of true vision & a wife who wouldn't quit

A story of faith & courage.    
"I love you, but I really don't like you now."
Those words were wrenched from Tiffany Smiley, Scotty's hurting wife.

Captain Scott Smiley lost the use of both his eyes when a suicide bomber blew himself up thirty metres in front of Scotty's Stryker vehicle in Iraq.

Doctors told him he'd never see again. Scotty said he was so shocked and disillusioned that he blamed God. He was so mad that he quit praying and fell into a deep hole of depression. He refused to communicate except by proclaiming the unfairness and cruelty he'd been subjected to. Why him? A good soldier. It was then that Tyffany, who'd stuck with him throughout his agonising trial, challenged him.

Finally, though blind, he saw " light at the end of the tunnel" and asked God's forgiveness for hurling accusations against his Maker. It was then that God's peace flooded his heart and soul. Sympathetic to his war wounds, the Army said, "You've done your work and made your sacrifice. You can retire. But Scotty was adament he still wanted to be productive and serve his country.

A recipient of the Bronze Star and the Purple Heart, he recently taught the core course in leadership at West Point and now commands the Warrior Transition Unit at West Point's Army Medical Centre. Scotty, a true man of vision, and Tyffany, a nurse, are the proud parents of two boys.

You can read about their story at  and purchase the book, pictured, from Amazon.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Author Lisa Harris' Personal Story

For as long as I can remember, I had my life completely planned out. From who I was going to date, to when I was going to get married, to where I was going to live. And for a while, my plans seemed to be perfectly on track. Another part of my plan was to travel the world as a missionary. So when I met this good-looking French major with an accent to boot, it didn’t take long for me to be completely hooked.

We’d been dating about nine months when we spent a summer in Africa on a mission trip. While we weren’t a part of the same group, we both were convicted that summer that God was calling us back to Africa—together. My future husband proposed a couple months later and the next summer we married in a beautiful ceremony in Colorado.

I couldn’t have been happier, and things continued to go according to my plan. We moved overseas to work as missionaries. I learned French, taught Bible classes, and loved our life. It didn’t take long, though, for me to discover that the control I thought I had over my life was simply an illusion.

One of the things I wanted more than anything else was a child. But year after year went by and that long-awaited child didn’t come. We tried infertility treatments, but doctors couldn’t find anything wrong. Finally, after several years of marriage the pregnancy test came back positive. I was ecstatic. But at three months, we lost the baby, and I was left devastated, wondering where God was.

Looking back, it’s still amazing to me at how God can take grief and pain and turn it into strength and renewal. Which is exactly what He began to do with my life. It was a long process that took many years, but He took me from the depths and taught me to trust Him. He taught me that I couldn’t rely on my own strength, but only on His. And that my plans were rarely His plans, but if I allowed Him to, He would be my strength.

Is it always easy? No, and there are still times when I try to take the reigns back. In the process, though, I’ve stopped (for the most part) planning out my life moment-by-moment, allowing instead Him to lead. His time, His way. His purpose.

After twenty-one years I’m still married to my best friend. Together
we’ve traveled the world and served side-by-side on the mission
field through the good and the not so good. We have three lovely
children, two by adoption, and a third ‘surprise’ gift from God.
The future might be unknown, but when things get tough, I can look
back and remember that He is always faithful.   

“Commit everything you do to the LORD. Trust him, and he will
 help you.” Psalm 37:5  (NLT)

Thank you, Lisa. Be sure to read her fascinating website and blog   and

Step Away From the Ordinary