Marriage from A to Z

Principles for a Successful Marriage

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Want a LASTING Friendship?

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You were the best of friends when you got married but for some reason, it doesn’t feel the same way now. What has changed? Perhaps the friendship still exists but it needs to be cultivated. To cultivate is to improve the growth of by labor and attention. Friendships can be improved by putting in time, work and giving the other person attention. Although this week’s message is mainly about maintaining a lasting friendship within marriage, some of this information is good for friendships in general.

SINGLES: If you are single with a desire to get married, take time to develop a good friendship with your significant other before marriage. Get to really know the person without sex. In Song of Solomon 8:4 we are instructed not to arouse, stir it up or awaken love until the time is right. Marriage is the right time for sex. Sex before marriage blinds your view.

A good marriage is often sustained by a good friendship. When a husband and a wife are good friends to each other, they are more likely to be committed to the marriage. As I mentioned, a friendship needs to be cultivated. Are you putting the time and work in to building a stronger friendship with your spouse? Have you paid any attention to your spouse lately? Many of us are building closer relationships with others than we are with our spouse. Your spouse should be your top human priority!

Here are SEVEN TIPS for maintaining and cultivating a LASTING FRIENDSHIP in your marriage.

  1. Lord – Allow Jesus to be Lord in your friendship. This means that He is the Boss and Master of your marriage. Your ultimate desire is to please God in your life/friendship/marriage. Seek Him and pray together daily, include the Lord in every decision. (Colossians 3:17)
  2. Listen – Listen to each other and be responsive to what has been said. (James 1:19)
  3. Laugh – Laugh together! HAVE SOME FUN! The Bible says that a merry heart does us good like medicine. (Proverbs 17:22)
  4. Look – Look as great as you can for one another as you did when you were dating. Maintain attraction. (Song of Solomon 1:15-16 and Chapter 7)
  5. Love – Love one another. Do not deprive one another. (Ephesians 5:25 and I Corinthians 7:5)
  6. Live – To live together is to enjoy to the full. Spend time together enjoying each other’s presence. (Proverbs 5:18)
  7. Let it go – Learn to forgive quickly. Don’t hold on to grudges. (Ephesians 4:32)

A good marriage/friendship doesn’t just fall out of the sky. It must be cultivated. You must work at it every day. Be intentional about putting these seven tips into practice and you will create a lasting friendship.

Until next time . . .

Carolyn

“Separated for Seven Days”

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One of the many difficulties of this pandemic is that loved ones who get sick and have to be hospitalized are hospitalized ALONE. Many hospitals are not allowing your spouse, significant other or anyone to accompany you in the hospital. This means you literally have to be dropped off and left to the care of the hospital.

On June 9th, I went into the hospital for a surgical procedure that was supposed to be in and out. It was in and out, but I experienced complications after being home for a few days. I could not keep anything on my stomach and was struck with an unbearable pain that sent me to the Emergency Room. My condition was so critical that they immediately started treating me. I spent 7 days in the hospital with no husband, mama, children, family or friends being able to accompany me. I know we are all experiencing things for the first time because of this pandemic. However, there has never been a time where any one in the family has had to be hospitalized and separated from everyone. In addition to this, the treatment for my condition was very painful. What a traumatic experience, but God!

Now for those who are Christians, we know that God is with us and that we are never alone. When I say God was with me, God made His presence known in so many ways. He reminded me of Matthew 28:20, “. . . and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Hebrews 13:5, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” This is one reason why it is good to memorize scripture and to store the Word of God in your heart. You never know when there will come a time that you can’t physically read your Word. I believe it was the prayers of family and friends that successfully carried me through the seven days.” They may not have been physically there, but I could feel their love, presence and support. (Thank you!)

I was separated for seven days, but here is what I am celebrating. God’s faithfulness and healing power because it could have been the other way. God kept me and my family in the midst of the separation and brought us back together again on Father’s Day. My husband and my children had to trust God to take care of me. I celebrate God’s protection from COVID-19 while being in the hospital. I praise God for the people who I met during my stay, and I pray that I never have to experience that again. I praise God in advance for the messages that will come out of this seven day experience. Although this was the most painful experience of my life, I realize that great things are birthed out of pain. Seven is the number of completion and after seven days of suffering and separation it was finished!

I will never be the same because of this experience. I pray for all of those who have loved ones in the hospital and those who are scheduled to go in for surgery. Let us all take it seriously when someone requests prayer for a surgery or anything else. Prayer changes things and it is so important to talk to God about everything. May God be with you and keep you!

Until next time . . . .

Carolyn

“You’re Angry, Now What?”

10 Classic Ways To Ease Your Angry Husband!

Anger is an emotion that we all have experienced at some point. One thing about it you don’t always know when this emotion will happen. It could be at work, in a store, at home, school or even at church. Perhaps it was something that was said or done that just caused you to be angry. You may even be angry right now. Many are angry because life isn’t going the way that they would like. Major things are happening in our world and you may even have some major things happening in your relationships. Anger is inevitable, but the question is; “What do you do with your anger? In other words, “How do you handle your anger?” Is God pleased?

Are you one to tell a person off, curse them out, get physical, slam the door in their face, destroy things, give the silent treatment, walk off and disappear or just simply cut the person off?

Your response to this question is very important. God is concerned with the way that you handle your anger. In Ephesians 4:26, Paul says, “Be angry, and do not sin, do not let the sun go down on your wrath.” This verse says that we can be angry, but after the anger, we should not sin or behave in such a way that doesn’t bring glory and honor to God. It is best to go somewhere and cool off then to allow your anger to get the best of you. Often times, people regret their behavior if they act upon their anger too quickly. God has given us his Spirit to help us exercise self-control.

How you handle your anger often affects other people. When you get angry with your spouse, your behavior after the anger determines a lot. If you are a parent, how you handle anger, affects your children. Not only that, wherever you are when anger occurs, you have to be mindful of your response. You could be at work or at church. Someone is always watching your response.

What to do when you are angry?

A = Allow yourself time to cool off and process your anger.

N = Never go to bed angry. Even if the issue is not resolved, release it to God and choose not go to bed angry. Don’t let the sun go down on your wrath.

G = Go to God in prayer. Cast all of your cares and feeling on the LORD. Listen for God to tell you how to respond. Being angry is often a time for us to exercise forgiveness.

E = Exemplify godly behavior. In other words, respond in a way that God would be proud. When you have God’s Holy Spirit living inside of you, He will help you!

R = REMEMBER that God sees and knows everything you say and do. Think about how your response or behavior will impact others in the present and future.

A NOTE FOR SINGLES: If you are dating/courting you need to know how your significant other handles his/her anger before you marry them. You may want to ask how did his/her parents handle their anger. This is worth discussing. It may be a factor that has shaped the way that he/she responds to anger. How one handles their anger could make or break the relationship.

Until next week . . .

Carolyn

“Can you handle the truth?”

Philosophy News | What is Truth?

What if you really want to be open and truthful with your mate but you’re afraid that they really can’t handle the truth? We are always encouraged to be open and honest when communicating. No one wants to be lied to, but can you really handle the truth? Recently we had a conversation with a group of couples about being open! We discovered that we really need God in the midst of truthfully communicating.

Genesis 2:25 NKJV says; “And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.” They were able to be naked with no shame before they sinned. After they sinned, there was shame and awkwardness. This created a barrier between Adam and Eve and in their relationship with God. This is also true in relationships. When we have nothing to hide, no barriers our communication is great. This makes it easier to open. However, we want to hide when we don’t want our spouse or God to know about things that they will not like or think favorably of. We can’t hide from God.

“You want to tell the truth, but what if your spouse can’t handle it?” First you have to be prayerful about the timing, the environment and how God would have you to share. The truth requires maturity on both parts. You need to be mature enough to tell the truth and the listener needs to be mature enough to receive the truth without anyone feeling attacked. Then what? Can we take that truth to God? He already knows it but, we need to take it to Him so that we can handle it. He is the God of all Comfort and where we are weak, He is strong. God gives us what we need to process the truth and the hard to receive matters. However, we must go to Him. We need to be able to take it to the Lord and then get direction on the next steps.

Sharing the truth and being open may require some changed behaviors on both parts. But I honestly believe that the truth is necessary in order to grow and to properly move forward. Each person needs to be able to be freed by telling the truth. You may not like the truth, and you may not like your spouse after they tell you the truth, but God. If you hang in there, you can experience a blessing in multiple areas of your marriage. The Holy Spirit is our helper and He wants to be a very present help in our marriage. Allow Him to help you to tell the truth, receive the truth and then process it in a way that will be pleasing to God. With God’s help, you can handle the truth and move forward.

May the Lord bless you to operate in truth! John 8:32 “. . . and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.

Until next week . . .

Carolyn

Can we “LIVE” together?

living together

Thanks to social distancing many couples are being forced to actually live together.  I say forced because before COVID-19 couples were used to coming and going and spending very little time together in their own homes.  Unless you work with your spouse, you probably spend more time away than together. Going to work, commuting and whatever other activities in the course of a day are enough to leave very little time for connecting as a couple.  With the exception of essential workers, we have all been encouraged to stay home.  Staying home means couples and families are actually learning to live together like never before.

Let’s look at the word “LIVE” and see what it really means.   To live is to dwell or reside.  To dwell is to stay as a permanent resident or for a considerable time.   When we add the word together it means that we are dwelling or residing at the same time, simultaneously.  Psalm 133 says, “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!  

Before COVID-19 many couples and families were spending very little time dwelling/living together.  Unfortunately, some actually like it that way because they feel like less is best.  However, let’s focus on the positive and take on the challenge to actually “LIVE” together. 

L  =   Love and learn as much as you can about your spouse and your children.  Find out what makes them feel loved.  What’s their love language?  (Gifts, Quality time, Words of Affirmation or Acts of Service)  Make every effort to give each family member the love that they need.  I have heard several couples say that for the first time they are actually learning what their spouse does at work.  If you have school-aged children, be sure that they are continuing to learn.  What are you learning during this season?

I = Imitate Christ.  Ephesians 5:1-2 says, “Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children, and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you.”  This means that we should imitate Christ.  What are some of the things that Jesus did?  He fasted and prayed, praised God, spent time in the presence of God, He was kind, humble, compassionate, forgiving and went from place to place sharing the Gospel.  Jesus was willing to do the will of His Father.  He loved the unlovely, he supplied needs, did to himself to meet the needs of others, He had mercy on people and extended grace.  Wow!  I could go on and on but imagine if we would just put some of these things into practice.  The more we imitate Jesus, the positively our homes will be impacted.

V = Value each other and this precious time that you get to spend together.  To value something or someone is to consider it to be important and beneficial.  People are losing loved ones left and right, life is too short not to value the time that we get to spend together.  Your children will not always be this age, value the time that you get to spend raising them, nourishing them, training them and educating them.  Don’t look for someone else to do it, you do it!  You take this time to value every person living in your home.  You will never get this time again.  This too shall pass.

E = Enjoy each day that God wakes you up.  Enjoy eating meals together.  Enjoy each other’s presence.  Enjoy exercisingEnjoy entertaining each other.  Enjoy God’s presence, provision, protection and His power.  Know that He has a purpose and plan for us being home.

A WORD FOR SINGLES

Living together should be totally reserved for marriage.  I know we live in a world where living together before marriage is widely accepted.   However, if you are a Chrisitan Single, your goal should be to please God even in your living arrangements.   There are so many reasons why you should NOT practice living together before marriage.  The number one reason should be enough.  It simply does not please God nor does it line up with His Word.  In addition, studies reveal that there are so many disadvantages.  I encourage you to be obedient in this area.

Blessings to you!

Carolyn

“Can you be loyal when life’s not lovely?”

 

Are you Being Loyal to Yourself ? * Rafah Sabbagh

  One of the hardest things to do in a relationship is to continue to be loyal when life is not lovely.  Today marriages, families and singles are being hit with some of the most challenging life situations.  People are losing their precious family members, friends and co-workers to COVID-19, health challenges or the stress of simply trying to  live.   Many have also lost their jobs and are having to distance themselves from everyone.  This week’s message is two-fold; I want to encourage married couples to keep being loyal to God and each other in the midst of everything happening.  I also want to challenge all of the singles to keep being loyal to God!

WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE  LOYAL?

What does it mean to be loyal?  To be loyal is to give or show firm and constant support or allegiance to a person.  To sum it up, it’s simply being faithful!  Are you a faithful husband/wife?  Can your spouse count on you to be there or are you more loyal to other people and things?  I am reminded of Proverbs 17:17 which says; “A friend loves at all times and a brother is born for a time of adversity.”  As a husband/wife, we should be that friend to one another who loves at all times.  It’s easy to love and be loyal when everything is good, all the bills are paid and everything is laid.  However, if life is not so lovely right now, can you still be loyal?

To all of the singles, God wants to know;  Will you be loyal in your relationship with Him?  Will you continue to worship, serve Him, read your Bible and pray during this challenging season?  Many are turning away, but God wants you to be loyal to Him.  Faithfulness is the key.   I Corinthians 7:35,  “. . . An unmarried woman or virgin is concerned about the Lord’s affairs; Her aim is to be devoted to the Lord in both body and spirit.  But a married woman is concerned about the affairs of this world how she may please her husband.”  I know this is directed towards women,  but brothers can do the same.

CAN WE REALLY BE LOYAL?

With God’s help, we can be loyal when life is not lovely.  Human nature is to give up under pressure and to give up when things are not lovely.  However, with God, we can endure.  He is a very present help in the time of trouble.  He said He would never leave us not forsake us.  No matter how unlovely your life may be.  God will see you through.

HOW CAN I BE LOYAL?

Keep praying!  Keep praising God in spite of what things may look like!  Open the Word of God for comfort, direction, and wisdom to endure.  Apply the Word to your everyday life.  Be transparent and accountable to someone who will encourage you to do the godly thing. Seek godly counsel and apply what you learn.  Hang in there and remain loyal to God and loyal to your spouse.  Treat others the way you want to be treated.  I can hear someone saying, it’s too late.  If you feel this way, repent and ask the Lord to forgive you and your spouse if necessary.  Lord, please help us to be Loyal!

Until next week. . .

 

Carolyn

“How will you spend this Holy week?”

Holy Week Reading Plan | Silverdale Baptist Academy

Sunday, April 5th (Palm Sunday) – Saturday, April 11th is recognized as Holy Week.  This is an exciting week for Christians all over the world because we celebrate the death, burial and Resurrection of our Lord and Savior, Jesus the Christ.  Each day has a special significance and this week, I want to challenge you to be intentional about celebrating Jesus like never before.

Who would have ever imagined that we would see the day that we could NOT go to church for a Good Friday or Easter service?  We could have never imagined COVID-19 and the impact that it is having on the world.  However, we don’t have to go to a church building to have church.  We are the CHURCH!  We must celebrate who Jesus is and make this week HOLY!

Let’s take a moment to reflect on the word HOLY.  Psalm 99:9 says Exalt the Lord our God, and worship His holy hill; For the Lord our God is holy.  So we know that God is holy.  The word holy is defined as; exalted or worthy of complete devotion as one perfect in goodness and righteousness.  We are told in I Peter 1:15-16 that we should be holy like God “but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in your conduct, because it is written, “Be holy, for I am holy.”  We are to make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy for without holiness no one will see the Lord. (Hebrews 12:14) The last verse that I want to share  is 2 Corinthians 7:11 says; “Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.” 

So how can we make this a holy week at home?  I am so glad that you asked.  A song writer defined  the H.O.L.Y.  acronym as “High on Loving You.”  I think we should all be high on loving God with all of our heart, mind and soul.  Love God with everything that you have.  However, here is my holy challenge for the week.

H = Have frequent times with the Lord through prayer, meditation, worship, thanksgiving and praise in your house. Have hope in the Lord.  Make God your #1 Priority.  Remember that God has us in His Hands.  He will see us through!

O = Observe the promises of God and Obey them.  To observe is to see, watch, perceive or notice.  We must look for God in the midst of everything happening.  Take time to read the Word of God to remind yourself of His promises.  Take a walk and observe the beauty of the Lord.

L= Love God, your family, friends, neighbors, co-workers and everybody.  What can you intentionally do to demonstrate your love this week?  Find ways to show your love. Make phone calls, send some love texts use your gifts and talents to bless other people. Take time to laugh too.

Y = Yield to God’s will and His way.  Obviously God wants us to change the way that we have been doing some things.  What has He spoken to you?  To yield is to give up your will or way and surrender yourself to God’s will and way.

May the Lord bless you and your family. Enjoy this holy week!  Thank you for reading!

Until next week. . .

 

Carolyn

 

“Are Couples Connecting in this Crisis?”

The Coronavirus has caused many to be in the house more than ever before.  We were accustomed to being able to come and go from day to day but not anymore.  A husband and a wife would normally leave each other to go to work.   Children were normally out of the house and gone to school.  Our lives, routines and schedules have all been changed because of the Coronavirus.  We are certainly experiencing a crisis!  Although this information can be applied to those who are single and married, this week I am focusing on married couples.  

Some couples are connecting, but many are fighting, considering divorce and are not getting along during this crisis.  Perhaps there were issues that were already present and the Coronavirus situation has made it worst.  So instead of drawing closer to each other, some couples are disconnecting in the midst of the crisis.

We are strongly being encouraged to stay in the house as much as possible.  This means that people who are usually not in each other’s presence for long periods of time are being forced to be in the same house, longer than usual.  Can we just get along? (smile) I know that we have been told to be socially distant (and we should obey the law)  but as a married couple, we need to stay connected and maintain a level of closeness that nourishes the institution of marriage.  

Here are four ways  that couples need to stay connected during the crisis:

  1. Spiritually – The first person that a couple should be daily connecting with is God.  Yes you can connect individually but it is so important to seek God together.  A couple that prays together, stays together.  Marriage takes work and each time that a husband and wife pray together they are inviting God into their marriage, acknowledging that they need God.  Prayer is a powerful tool that keeps couples close to God and to each other.  In addition to prayer couples can incorporate Bible reading, praise and worship to draw closer to God.
  2. Mentally – What’s on your mind? Check our thought life.  So many of our problems start in the mind.  What kind of thoughts are you thinking about your spouse?  Are they good or bad, positive or negative?   Your thought life could be the very thing that damages your marriage relationship.  Philippians 4:8 says; “Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy — meditate on these things.”
  3. Emotionally –  How are you emotionally?  Are you happy, sad, angry, fearful, disgusted, etc?  Your emotions affect the way that you treat your spouse, children and others.  Depending upon how you are processing the Coronavirus, working from home, homeschooling, multi-tasking, social distancing and all of the changes that we are experiencing,  your emotions may not be good.  If this is the case, you need to be able to communicate with your mate and share what you are feeling. 
  4. Physically –  I realize that some are having to be physically distant from their spouse for safety and health reasons.  However, if this is the case, you must fight to maintain a closeness in other ways.  Talk on the phone, face time, send a text, write a love letter, etc.  On the other hand, some couples are able to be physically close and in each other’s space.  If so, value and treasure this time.  Enjoy each other’s company by having a date in your house, playing games, cooking a meal together,  watching a movie together, going for a walk or exercising together etc. You may never have this kind of time together again.  Look for ways to serve each other.

It is my prayer that couples stay connected and stay together.  With God ALL things are possible (Matthew 19:26).  The goal is to connect spiritually, mentally, physically and emotionally.  No matter what you are going through, God is able!  Be encouraged and know that God will see us through these unprecedented times!  

Until next week. . . .

 

Carolyn

“Seven Coronavirus Survival Skills”

 

I know we have bought more of these products than we have ever bought before.  So much so, that the stores are sold out!  Everyone is trying to survive!  Originally this was all we thought we needed to help protect us.  As we learn more about the Coronavirus, reports are saying that these items are helpful but they don’t prevent you from getting the virus.  Surviving this season will take more than having these products.  There are some things that we need to do mentally, physically and spiritually.  Here are Seven Survival Skills that I want to encourage you practice.

  1. Savior Start your day by seeking God first. Spend regular time in prayer, praise and worship. Draw closer to God like never before.  Pray about every concern.  God will give you peace in the midst of everything.  (James 4:8 and Matthew 6:33)
  2. Scripture – Study Scripture by reading and meditating on God’s Word daily. Focus on the promises of God.  (I Peter 2:2)
  3. Self Care & Safety Take time to nurture you.  Eat, exercise and do what you need to do to nourish yourself. Follow the safety guidelines being given about COVID-19 (I Corinthians 3:16)
  4. ServeTo serve is to be useful, to work or to help.  Work from home, help family members, friends and neighbors (especially seniors) Allow God to use you.(Colossians 3:23)
  5. Share Ask God who He wants you to share with.  Look for opportunities to share what you have. (Ephesians 2:10)
  6. Sister/brotherhoodCheck on each other.  Stay connected, make phone calls, send a text or email. (John 3:16-18)
  7. Stay SavedWalk in obedience to God.  Apply His Word to your life, do His will and follow His way.  Do the righteous thing.  (Psalm 119:9)

Let’s keep putting these skills into practice!  The Coronavirus is not a surprise to God.  In spite of how things may look, God is in control.  Be encouraged and fear not!  You are a survivor! Special thanks to God for keeping us in the midst of it all.  Also, thanks to all of the first responders who are literally helping people to survive.  Blessings to you and your families.

Until next week . . .

 

Carolyn

 

 

 

“Vows in the midst of the Virus”

Image result for remember your vows

“I Carolyn Ausby, take you, William Tatem, to be my husband, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death us do part, according to God’s holy law, in the presence of God I make this vow.”  Does this sound familiar? I remember saying these vows over twenty years ago.    How many of you remember saying them or attended a wedding and heard someone else say them?   Many say these vows, but unfortunately, there are many who do not keep these vows. “A vow is a solemn promise to do a specified thing.”  As we all endure this season of the “Coronavirus better known as COVID-19, I want to encourage us all to remember the promises of God and for married couples to remember their vows to each other.  

Some marriages/families are being impacted more than others.  A husband/wife has loss his/her job, or is experiencing a decrease in income.  Some are working in front line professions and have to be a way from their families for long hours to serve,  some have loved ones who are sick or in a facility where they can not receive visitors right now.   In the midst of it all, some have loss loved ones and have funerals to attend.  Let me not forget the expectant moms who are preparing to deliver and bring a precious gift into the world.  The job of being a parent is on like never before because many are use to sending their kids to school for a break.  However, schools are closed and many students are working from home.

With all of that being said, I want to encourage every couple to hang in there!  Remember the vows that God has made to you and the vows that you have made to each other.  No matter how challenging life may be, go to LOVE (God) to get love and keep giving it to your spouse and to your family.  God will see us through!   When you feel depleted because of everything going on, that is usually a sign that you need to spend some more time with LOVE (God).  God has an unlimited supply of everything that we need.  He NEVER runs out.  If we ever needed the Lord before, we sure need Him now!  Draw closer to God and watch Him draw closer to you (James 4:8).

I also want to encourage us all married or single to remember the vows/promises that God has made to us.  Here are a few to mediate on in the midst of the virus.

  1. Isaiah 41:10 – “So do not fear, for I am with you, do not be dismayed, for I am your God, I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
  2. Isaiah 20:31 – “but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.  They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”
  3. Isaiah 41:13 – “For I am the LORD your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear, I will help you.”
  4. Deuteronomy 31:8 – The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.  Do not be afraid, do not be discouraged.”
  5. Jeremiah 29:11 – “For I know the plans I have for you.” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
  6. Philippians 4:19 – “And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.”
  7. 2 Timothy 1:7 – “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.’

Let us use this as a time to remember the vows that God has made to us and the vows that we have made to each other.  God will see us through!

 

Until next week . . .

Carolyn

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