2021 Weekdays' Topical Devotion

2021 Weekdays' Topical Devotion

New Topic Every Monday!


All Topics: IntroductionWorkaholismAngerSelf-EsteemWorryEnvy/JealousyBitternessDomestic ViolenceForgivenessDepressionGrief/LossDiscouragementDecision Making and the Will Of GodVictory over DeathPerfectionismLonelinessPrejudiceLove and BelongingParentingMoney and Money CrisisAgingBurnoutSufferingChurch InvolvementCommunication in MarriageFear/AnxietyFamily TimeMarital & Family Love StylesRetirementAffairs/AdulteryDisaffection: When Love Grows ColdEmpty Nest Syndrome

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2021 Devotion

Empty Nest Syndrome

empty-nest syndrome day 1
Day 1: 02/08/2021: Portraits & Definitions
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Day 1. Empty-Nest Syndrome: Portraits & Definitions. 02/08/2021. Monday

Glad you are reading. Welcome to week 31. We continue to equip ourselves to start to help others in various ways. These topics might not apply to US individually all the time, but we continue learn so that we can seek to understand and help OTHERS better.

Portraits of Empty-Nest Syndrome

- AB has been depressed ever since GIRLGIRL, her youngest child, married and moved away. AB is a proud mother, because GIRLGIRL was her "showcase & jewel to the world". But now she feels lost and without purpose.

- "The house seems very quiet", CD said to his wife, "and very cold". "I know what you mean", she replied, "It's just not the same without muddy shoes by the door and the crazy music coming from BOYBOY's room".

- EF and GH just sat and stared at one another in the counselor's office. Then GH remarked suddenly, "It's like we don't know who each other is anymore ... Worse yet, if we are completely honest, neither of us really likes who the other has become".

Definitions

When children become adults, families enter what is called the "launching phase" when the parents send their young ones into the world-usually for work or university. An "empty nest" is left. "Empty nest" describes the household that no longer has children, where the two parents are left alone, with just each other again.

Though "empty-nest syndrome" gets a lot of bad press, for many parents this is a joyous time, a time when marital and life satisfaction skyrockets.

However, some parents find it confusing and frightening. Some fear their kids will make poor choices or that they'll be left behind as their children enter adulthood. Others know their children will do well but feel they (the parents) are suffering a loss of purpose or identity. Worse yet, many parents may exaggerate the problems in their children-justifying their continued meddling-as a way to avoid the bigger problems in their marriage that they may not want to confront.

Though much has been written about mothers suffering from empty-nest syndrome and depression, fathers often experience similar feelings. In a study of a group of > 100 parents, participants were asked to report their feelings when their child left home. Surprisingly, the fathers took it harder than the mothers.

"Empty nest" might set in "gradually", when boys go to NS, or when children go overseas to study, or stay in hostel on and off. But ultimately, they leave the nest.

REFLECTION:

(1) If the "nest is full", where the parents still provide and take care of housing and money, and the children still depend on parents for many (if not all) things, would this delay their maturing to be young adults?

(2) If the "nest is empty", would the parents lose the balance in life, or would the children mismanage themselves? What are your thoughts? Do share with a CG member.

empty-nest syndrome day 2
Day 2: 03/08/2021: Portraits & Definitions
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Day 2. Empty-Nest Syndrome: Assessment, Wise Counsel & Actions Steps part 1/2. 03/08/2021. Tuesday

ASSESSMENT QUESTIONS
Questions that you can use to start off the conversation when interacting with a couple whose child/children have recently left home:

1. How are you feeling about having your children gone? Do you realize that having children leave home does not mean that your relationship with your children have ended?

2. What will you do with your extra free time? Are you inclined to do things with your spouse or by yourself or with other friends?

3. Have you considered that having more time alone together might be good for doing things you both enjoy, pursuing hobbies that interest the two of you, or enjoying mutual friends?

4. What will you do with the extra house space? Have you considered how you might use the extra bedroom(s)? Set up a home recording studio and fill it with all the musical instruments that you ever dreamed of buying?

5. Have you found purpose and meaning in other tasks besides parenting? Have you thought about pursuing life-long learning activities to keep yourself active physically and mentally alert too?

6. What about giving more volunteer time to your church or local hospital or other charity?

WISE COUNSEL

Author and child-care expert Grace Ketterman says, "Releasing young people into today's world is a panicky process. This process can be made more reassuring when parents remember that they are transferring them from the shelter of their parental wings to the perfect care of the heavenly Father."

It is our task as parents to build up our children in the ways of the Lord. That includes infusing our children with independence and a Christ-like mindset, giving them the ability to eventually have good management and wise steering over their own lives. It is a frightening and often heart-wrenching process, but it is the final call of good parenting.

This sets us free to live out our elder years with purpose and direction, free to do some things that we've always wanted but could not do because of our parenting responsibilities. Help empty nesters look beyond their children's lives and set a new course for their own lives as they approach their elder years.

ACTION STEPS
Important steps to overcome empty-nest syndrome:

1. Accept the Loss and Prepare for Change
They have left, but they are still your children. When children leave to set up their own homes, it's normal to be sad for a while. Change, in many respects, is loss. Likely you remember your child's first step, first day at school, tenth birthday party, and other momentous events that are past and gone. Talk about these moments; reflect on the gift and joys of the parenting experience in its entirety. But also see your relationships with your children as maturing and entering another wonderful phase.

2. Work on the Marriage
The hardest point of marriage, statistically speaking, is just before the "launching phase" when children are in their teens. Perhaps now that the children have left home, this is a good time to take a look at your marriage and try to rebuild some intimacy that may have been lost over the last few years.

Many parents in their thirties and forties build or allow their home to be child-centred rather than marriage-centred. Yet if the marriage bond is strong, the beginning months of empty nest are much easier for mother and father.

See you all for day 3 with Step 3!

empty-nest syndrome day 3
Day 2: 04/08/2021: Action Steps part 2/2
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Day 3. Empty-Nest Syndrome: Action Steps part 2/2. 04/08/2021. Wednesday

[ACTION STEPS part 2]

3. Get Involved
If you are experiencing an empty nest, chances are you have a lot of new-found free time on your hands. Though you may need some time to reflect on and even mourn the life changes that have occurred, consider some of the opportunities and options available to you now. Perhaps there is a church outreach ministry or some type of volunteer work that interests you. Or maybe there is a sports club or couples bowling team you both would enjoy. Or maybe this is a good time for you to entertain some old friends.

4. Enjoy Being a Parent/Consultant
Even though your children have moved out, it doesn't mean they won't be coming to you for advice as they experience a plethora of dilemmas and challenges they have never experienced before. As a wise parent, you have a lot of life experience to share. Though you now relate to your child as an adult, your guidance is far from over.

5. Find Personal Meaning and Worth
Often when children move out, one or both of the parents begin to feel a lack of meaning or personal worth. Parenting was their gift and calling. They may feel rejected because their child is no longer dependent on them. If you are experiencing these emotions, try replacing your faulty thinking with truth: you still have value; people still love and need you; you are now free to discover God's greater purpose.

6. Guide and Help Others
If your child is completely grown and independent, not needing your further guidance, you should celebrate your superb job of raising such a strong and capable adult. Now you may be interested in helping some other children or teens in the church or community who could benefit from your excellent skills with bringing up children, such as in youth group, children ministry, or on athletic teams.

To impact others outside our microcosm, do also consider foster parenting. For details, see below

https://www.msf.gov.sg/Fostering/Pages/About-the-Fostering-Scheme.aspx

See you for Day 4 on Biblical Insights.

Day 4: 05/08/2021: Available on Thursday

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2021 Devotion

Disaffection: When Love Grows Cold

disaffection day 1
Day 1: 26/07/2021: Portraits & Definitions
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Day 1. Disaffection: When Love Grows Cold: Portraits & Definitions. 26/07/2021. Monday

How does it look like?
- When MN and OP were newlyweds, everyday is happy day. Their social media posts were the envy of many—food, scenery and fun together. But lately they seemed different. They now feel that they are more and more like waying, acting out scripts and putting up posts so as to give others the impression that they are ok, when they were obviously not. Their "reputation" on social media is just the opposite of what was actually happening at home. They try to keep smiles on their faces in public, but you sense the anger that come out from both of them. MN's use of words are increasingly "cruel". OP's attitude is not only cold towards MN, but also looked down on him very much. You approach them to ask if everything is okay.

- QR decided to take the job at the corporate office of a company in town. The husband, ST, flipped and expressed surprise that his wife was going out to work. ST anxiously replied, "Who's going to take care of the house-it's a high maintenance house. And I need you to look after my parents during the week!" The wife QR rebutted him, "But they are YOUR parents. And I told you I was going to look for a job months ago. This should be no surprise to you!"

- Last year, if UV forgot to take out the rubbish to the common rubbish chute outside their flat, WX would joke about how absentminded her husband is. But for the last six months, things between them have not been good. There have been more disagreements and arguments than either of them thought possible. This morning WX noticed that UV had forgotten to take out the rubbish, she blew up.

DEFINITIONS AND KEY THOUGHTS
- Disaffection refers to the negative transformation of marital love and commitment-the process by which love grows cold and the desire to leave the marriage or hurt one's spouse replaces love.

- Often disaffection involves an unintentional severing of emotional ties of love and affection.

- All marriages go through times when love grows cold or lacks the depth it once had. When marriages get into trouble both partners hurt, and many times they can't even pinpoint what went wrong.

- If people are willing to step back and review their marital story, they will usually find a pattern of thoughts and behaviors that led to the disaffection.

- Since harmful patterns are predictable, couples can work to stop them and save their marriage. More than just keeping their marriage afloat, they can reverse the process and breathe new life into their relationship.

- Many do not sit down and re-evaluate their "core-values" of why they had come together in the first place. Some even did not talk about it at the "first place" before they said "I do". They have, somehow, naturally grow in different directions as a result.

REFLECTION & SELF-EVALUATION
Have I turned cold, colder than before, towards others slowly in the past years, be they friends or spouse? What "ingredient" caused this choking or decay?

disaffection day 2
Day 2: 27/07/2021: Assessment & Wise Counsel
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Day 2. Disaffection: When Love Grows Cold: Assessment & Wise Counsel. 27/07/2021. Tuesday

Questions to Ask: The first step in the counseling process is identifying the patterns that led the couple to a place of disaffection. Try asking the following questions:

1. How long have you felt disaffection in your relationship? Does it feel as though it is getting worse, better, or staying at about the same level?

2. What expectations do you have of your spouse that are not being fulfilled? Does your spouse know of these expectations?

3. What expectations do you think your spouse has of you? Are you fulfilling them? What would he [she] say about your response?

4. Have you and your spouse agreed on the expectations you have? If you and your spouse do not agree, are you willing to compromise and create a new set of expectations?

5. What stressors or distractions are tearing at your love for each other? Are you willing to devote time and energy to ending any harmful patterns that are in the relationship?

6. Do you believe the marriage can improve? If you woke up tomorrow and everything in your relationship were perfect, what would be different?

7. What are the best things about your spouse? What are the greatest strengths of the relationship? What attracted you to your spouse in the first place?

8. If there are children, what role do they play in your marriage? Extra glue to glue you all together, or extra wedges that drive you all further apart?

9. Are there any things you need to forgive your spouse for? Are there some things your spouse needs to forgive you for?

10. If only one spouse is present: Would your spouse be willing to come in for help or some form of counseling with you?

WISE COUNSEL

Disaffection in marriage is not a mystery, it is a common virus. But like the Delta-variant, it can spread very fast without you paying attention. Interestingly, the process begins with everyday life and pressures. Consider the following examples:

Stress:
Some marriages have been battered by life stresses, such as financial troubles, losses, health problems, or overly demanding work schedules. Spouses must deal with stress by considering the demands in life and their ability to cope with those demands. If the demands exceed their ability to cope, the formula spells trouble.

Take an inventory of the sources of stress all these years. From this list, they must develop a plan for better coping, and stress reduction. For instance, changing jobs to improve a marriage is often a good choice (stress reduction). Hiring help (in whatever form) to free up more personal time is also a good option (coping).

Sin and Selfishness
Sin is part of our nature. As Christians, we seek to be victorious over sin but often we fail. Somewhere in the marital story, one or both partners may begin to take advantage of the other. They hurt each other. As Paul wrote, "For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do" (Rom. 7:15). The same often goes for marriages. Being honest, seeking forgiveness, and staying deeply invested in one's spouse is the only remedy.

Satanic Assault
Since Adam and Eve, Satan has had the poison arrows of hell aimed at the intimate bond of marriage. He is the great confuser and ultimate liar. He magnifies people's weaknesses and fears, using them as wedges in their marriage. Peter described Satan as "a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour" (1 Pet. 5:8). And his desire is to take a big bite out of people's marriages. Couples need to stay focused on the Lord and pray for their marriage. They need not fear Satan but they do need to understand his tactics and influence. Becoming active members in a healthy and supportive church family is also a great way to remain strong spiritually.

Unrealistic Expectations
The gap between unrealized expectations and reality is filled with disappointment. If people's expectations for marriage are unrealistic, they are setting themselves up for a fall. A few common unrealistic expectations include:

- "Marriage will complete me". Some who grew up in unloving homes or some other painful environment may expect marriage to reverse all the negatives they're carrying into it.

- "I have hooked a big fish. 今生吃不玩咯!" Some "throw themselves" at the other person during dating because the other has visible wealth or property that can be "hooked"—a "wu hua" or "kio tio" mentality. Marriage built on expecting to be able to grab the other person's wealth has very flimsy foundations, if there is nothing else in the initial attraction.

- "My spouse won't hurt me". As the first expectation sees marriage as the healing agent, this one sees marriage as the ultimate safe haven. The first experience of hurt, then, is devastating.

- "Life will be easy now" This is the "happily ever after" expectation of fairy tales. Then every unhappy moment in a marriage brings disappointment and possibly fear.

- "Love will keep us together". Every time spouses hurt one another, intentionally or unintentionally, love is perceived as increasingly less effective until, in the end, they can say that their relationship just wasn't meant to be.

These unrealistic expectations must be fought with realistic biblical ones. People need to understand that no one is perfect; no one person will ever fulfill all their needs. Only God can do that. No marriage is free from discord, and no spouse is completely unselfish.

[to be continued in Day 3]

disaffection day 3
Day 3: 28/07/2021: Wise Counsel (part 2) & Action Steps
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Day 3. Disaffection: When Love Grows Cold: Wise Counsel (part 2) & Action Steps. 28/07/2021. Wednesday

Disaffection in marriage is not a mystery, it is a common virus. The process begins with everyday life and pressures. Consider the following additional examples in addition to Day 2's:

... "Unrealistic Expectations" continued

Marriage brings together two people who have many human frailties and puts them in such close proximity that every detail of their life is known and every flaw exposed. Hopefully, in Christ, their frailties are strengthened into godly traits. But it takes a lot of humility, grace, and deep forgiveness for a marriage to survive. In other words, it is a lot of work.

Childhood Scripts
Many counselors believe that a majority of what drives us as adults happened to us in our early years. These "scripts" written for us long ago are faithfully followed and reinforced as we hold tightly to them. For instance, some people whose parents abandoned them may live as if they expect those they love to abandon them. Such scripts distort reality and drive people to act and react in what could be very destructive ways. These scripts also impact how people give and receive love.

Unresolved physical, emotional, or sexual abuse, parental divorce, abandonment, gross failure, and emotional loss need to be dealt with before the Father so they don't infect one's marriage.

Business and Time Pressures
Relationships and intimacy take time, time to understand, to enjoy, and respond to one another, time to satisfy the other's needs and have one's own needs satisfied. But with life being lived on the run, as it is today, there is little time- unless couples make the time. To stay close, couples need to schedule time regularly just to be together.

ACTION STEPS

As you have read, disaffection is an the likely outcome of unreasonable expectations. Below are the steps to counter disaffection and restore the marital bond.

1. Reframe Your Marital Story
Identify the series of problems that brought you into the state of disaffection in the first place. This could be any combination of things. Perhaps the pattern includes some of the following:

- working too many hours and not spending enough quality time together
- not having a heart of acceptance and love
- not putting your spouse's needs before your own
- feeling unappreciated by your spouse
- having expectations of your spouse that he [she] is unable or unwilling to meet

2. Respond (Don't merely React) to Each Other as Christ Would
This step in healing means that you always have a heart of grace and charity-that you are gentle, supportive, and kind to your spouse. This does not mean you have to be a sacrificial lamb without any personal boundaries. The most supportive and loving spouses give a great deal but they also love themselves enough not to be manipulated, taken advantage of, or abused. Attend to these five tasks:

- Make a new and practical (behavioral) love commitment by investing real time in and attention to your spouse.
- Commit to building a new intimacy with him [her ]-spiritual, sexual, emotional, as a family-and start dating once again.
- Reduce your criticism and negative interaction and increase your positive and emotionally invested communication.
- Extend an extra measure of grace, caring, and forgiveness in the near future. Praise your spouse for whatever he [she] is doing right.
- Maintain and respect your spouse's zone of safety. When you "quarrel", if you "quarrel", back off early, apologize for any harmful words, and give him [her] space to retire and repair before you come back to the troubling issue.

3. Find someone to check on both of you
Believe it or not, the most stable and strong couples have also gone through dark periods. Hence, it is wise for a couple battling disaffection to learn and gather support from experienced couples who have been there-and who have successfully found their way back. Note: If a couple claims they have never gone through times of disaffection, they are either lying or blind to it. Eitherway, they are probably not good candidates who can help you, because they have not finished "climbing" at least one mountain yet so as to be able to advise both "theory" and "practice" of mountaineering.

4. Have a Pursuable Dream for Your Marriage
Having a dream for your marriage means you have specific goals and expectations that you both share and agree to. For example, your dream may include the answers to the following questions:

- Must we live at any particular place or in a particular type of house (HDB, condo?) Who will work? How many children will there be? How much money will the family have? What will our sex life be like? A good premarital counseling program will address these issues and many more-though it is never too late to create a marital dream, and it may be useful for a couple to go back and see if the dream has changed in some ways.

5. Remember What God Has Done
God gives us a spouse so He can work through him or her to create in us an image more like that of Christ. As you work together on your marriage, don't lose focus on your own personal development. Your sanctification process, of becoming more like Christ, is crucial, and the marital union should play a constructive, not a destructive, role in it.

disaffection day 4
Day 4: 29/07/2021: Scripture & Sample Prayer
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Day 4. Disaffection: Scripture & Sample Prayer. 29/07/2021. Thursday

The man said, "The woman you put here with me-she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it." Genesis 3:12 NIV

In Genesis we see the first fracture between man and woman, when Adam blamed Eve for his sin. The "blame game" started early in the Bible. And it is still prominent today. Healthy marriages and mature individuals accept responsibility for their behavior.

If you have been trapped by what you said, ensnared by the words of your mouth, then do this, my son, to free yourself, since you have fallen into your neighbour's hands: go and humble yourself; press your plea with your neighbour! Proverbs 6:2-3 NIV

Though this passage refers to conflict with a neighbor, the same applies to marriage and family. From time to time, we all say things we regret. Though it is best to never have said them, we can minimize the damage by humbling ourselves and asking for forgiveness.

A man of knowledge uses words with restraint, and a man of understanding is even-tempered. Proverbs 17:27 NIV

Using personal restraint and keeping an even temper are of vital importance in conflict. Husband and wife need not raise their voices or make sarcastic remarks to have their arguments heard. Such disrespect only makes conflict worse.

When a man's ways are pleasing to the LORD, he makes even his enemies live at peace with him. Proverbs 16:7 NIV

Have you ever heard anyone say, "I don't like him but I do respect him"? Some people are so honorable in their actions that even their opponents need to give them credit for the way they handle themselves. In marriage, if husband and wife can be civil, and honor God in all they do, though they will have conflict (all marriages do), the disagreements need not be ugly or destructive.

Sample Prayer
Lord God, we know that all marriages go through times of struggle and disaffection. We confess that most of us have not looked on our marriage or our spouse as You do. Give this couple a new vision for their marriage and new hope for one another. We pray to You that this period of disaffection be brief, and that closeness and joy be restored to their relationship. In Jesus' name we pray. Amen.

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2021 Devotion

Affairs & Adultery

affairs & adultery day 1
Day 1: 19/07/2021: Portraits & Definitions
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Affairs & Adultery. Day 1: Portraits & Definitions. 19/07/2021, Monday.

Portraits
- AB wanted to trust CD. She reminded herself continually that CD was a good father and husband. She would push out of her mind the thoughts that there might be someone else. Then one morning as she was cleaning up his work from home office table, she found a credit card statement that detailed hotels and restaurant charges in Sentosa. She had not heard CD talk about any company function or work involving Sentosa. She was totally shocked and remained frozen for 3 minutes.

- EF enjoyed working with her boss, GH. Their conversations were "high level", "sophisticated", "industry cutting edge" and "stimulating". EF always came away feeling affirmed by her boss. She was thankful that she had such a good relationship with him until it became more than that. Her eyes filled with tears as she began to recount their affair. "I can't remember exactly when we started having more feelings for each other". EF said. "I never imagined it would lead to this!"

- IJ went to his high school class reunion without his wife, KL, who was in hospice care and dying of cancer. While there he met an old flame, a widow now. The sparks flew that night and they ended up spending the entire weekend "staycation" together, discussing plans for marriage when IJ's wife died (which they assumed to be very soon). The very next week IJ's teen aged daughter coincidentally glanced at a sms preview on her father's phone which displayed compromising texts, though truncated. Confronting her father, she flew into a rage: "How could you do this to my mother in the last weeks of her life?"

Definitions
- Adultery occurs when a person has a sexual relationship with someone other than his or her spouse. This relationship may or may not include an emotional connection.

- Adultery may also be an emotional affair, which can threaten the marriage more than physical adultery. Here, a person turns to someone outside the marriage for primary emotional sustenance and support. For example, during a couple conflict, one or both of them turn to an opposite-sex friend for companionship, support, and sharing of personal information. An emotional affair may have begun.

- Tragically, infidelity in marriage is becoming increasingly common. Christians are not exempted. Both genders risk a fall here.

- Poor communication, unresolved conflict, and/or unrealistic expectations leading to marital dissatisfaction are key reasons for extramarital affairs. Any perceived need that goes unfulfilled in marriage will seek its fulfillment elsewhere. Regard less of the reason for the infidelity, the decision to cheat on a spouse and acting on that decision are the heart of the matter.

- Spouses may become involved in affairs because they are exposed to situations for which they are unprepared or have not set wise boundaries.

- Most affairs begin gradually as well-meaning friendships. The people involved are unaware of how the relationship is changing until significant, risky behavior occurs.

- Infidelity can also stem from emotional deprivation in childhood in which a person has a constant hunger for approval and attention. If the wife, for example, cannot fulfill those needs, the husband may feel cheated and let down, and will seek the attention of others outside the marriage relationship.

- Many adulterers think they are looking for love when in fact they are seeking to feel better about themselves.

- A person may also be unfaithful as an act of retaliation and anger against his or her spouse (whether consciously or unconsciously). They extend permission to themselves to act vengefully in response to a spouse's affair or some other real or perceived injury.

- For some, as money and positions of power increase, so does an increasing sense of entitlement to life's pleasures. It is therefore not surprising that this can extend to the sexual realm as well.

- Ultimately, adultery is a self-centered choice. Intentionally a person ignores the needs of his or her spouse and family and the commandants of God to satisfy selfish desires.

- At its root, adultery is about a lifestyle of deception.

REFLECTIONS: Did you ever say "It would not happen to me?" What boundaries can you set so as to be one or more steps away from that temptation?

affairs & adultery day 2
Day 2: 20/07/2021: Assessment Questions
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Affairs & Adultery. Day 2: Assessment Questions. 20/07/2021, Tuesday.

Verbalisation forms part of the recovery and healing. So interact with wisdom, at the correct time and in the correct tone:

For the Faithful Spouse

1. How did you find out about the affair? How long have you known? Did you suspect it before?

2. What feelings has this stirred up for you? "Devastation", "resentment", "sadness"?

3. What do you want to do about your relationship with your spouse? (Stress that these are common feelings and reactions and that the easiest thing to do about the marriage is to insist on separation and/or divorce.)

4. Is he [she] still seeing the other person? Do you think your spouse is willing to cut off that relationship and seek some form of reconciliation with you? How do you feel about reconciliation? (While it may be too early to work for reconciliation, it is important to get an initial gauge of the attitude of the person you are helping.)

For the Unfaithful Spouse

1. Have you told your spouse about the affair? How can I assist your disclosure to him [her]? (Let the person you are helping know you are not willing to participate in his or her continued secrecy about the affair.)

2. What prompts you to want to discuss this now? Is the affair beginning to unravel? Is your spouse suspicious?

3. How did your spouse find out about it? Is he [she] threatening to leave you? What about the children-do they know?

4. Do you want to restore your marriage? Are you willing to break off the affair? Do you think that separation from your spouse may be the only way toward reconciliation? (It is not uncommon for the offending spouse to feel confused as to what he or she wants to do, especially if the affair was longstanding and/or involved a deep emotional commitment.)

5. Are you willing to explore the reasons that perpetuated the affair? Are you aware of what needs you were seeking to have met from this relationship?

6. What do you see are the effects on your spouse of your having an affair? How do you feel about what has happened to him [her]? Is any part of you happy or justified that your spouse was hurt? Are you willing to take full responsibility for your actions without placing any blame on your spouse?

7. Are you willing now to be accountable for your time and relationships on a daily basis?

8. Are you willing to pursue professional counseling?

Healing is possible
Healing is possible after infidelity. Increasing numbers of couples are braving the path of healing and restoration of their marriages. To begin the healing process, both spouses will need to:

Set appropriate physical and emotional boundaries to allow time to work through the feelings of betrayal, rejection, and other negative feelings that accompany the infidelity. Reestablishing trust takes time and space both physically and emotionally.

Rebuild some level of trust in each other by telling each other the truth and by being honest and accountable to each other. It is vital for each person to keep his or her word. If one spouse promises to do something, he or she needs to follow through and do it. Finally, trust can be rebuilt by using gestures of affection and nonsexual touch to express caring and affirmation, if permission is given by both spouses.

Understand what caused the infidelity in the marriage. This wil require a thoughtful, sometimes long look at the marital pattern that has developed, as well as what each person has contributed to the marital breakdown. Difficult though it is, each spouse should focus on his or her own issues as opposed to criticising and blaming the other person for the problem of infidelity (and this should happen after the unfaithful spouse has sat and truly heard the nonoffending spouse express his or her devastation and grief over what has happened, and owned the wrongdoing to some degree).

Take time for restoring and enriching the marriage. The restoration process involves identifying and reestablishing what was good about the marriage before the adultery-maybe the counselor will have to help the couple reach into the early years of their marriage. The enriching process involves learning and implementing new skills and behaviors to strengthen the relationship.

affairs & adultery day 3
Day 3: 21/07/2021: Action Steps
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Affairs & Adultery. Day 3: Action Steps. 21/07/2021, Wednesday.

1. Pray
Both spouses: Seek daily time before God in prayer, reading the Scriptures, and asking Him for the ability to grow in Christlike attitudes and actions.

2. Have No Contact
The unfaithful spouse: Have no contact whatsoever with the third party. Like an addiction, the best way out is to go cold turkey. (Concentrate on this goal in helping your friend if the unfaithful spouse is wavering between spouse and lover.)

3. Make a Commitment
The unfaithful spouse: You must be willing to make a radical commitment to regain the trust that has been broken.

4. Begin a New Lifestyle
The unfaithful spouse: Commit yourself to a lifestyle of transparency and honesty. Remember: no area is off limits to your spouse's inquiry.

5. Repent and Disclose
The unfaithful spouse: You must work at coming to a place of true repentance and be willing to confess your sins to your spouse and disclose--without going into graphic detail of what was done to violate your marriage. Request from your spouse the level of detail you need to share regarding the violating act. Anything that has potential to harm the marriage needs to be disclosed. Seek your counselor's advice on details that will be beneficial in rebuilding the relationship. There can be no genuine reconciliation without true repentance on the part of the violator.

If you have laid yourself bare before the 3rd party, it should not be too tough a call to be honest with God and your spouse as you focus on doing/sharing that which is sufficient (not more, not less), to rebuild the marriage back to God's ideal of what marriage should be.

6. Forgive
The faithful spouse: Commit to the process of forgiveness, which will be a multi-layered journey. It might take many years. You will need to make daily decisions to continue to forgive. Forgiveness can happen even if your spouse does not repent. The lack of repentance affects reconciliation but not the call to forgive and go on.

7. Work at Reconciliation
Both spouses: Forgiveness is required, but reconciliation is conditional. Reconciliation is based on true remorse and repentance. While the Bible never advocates divorce and while many couples do stay together and heal, some may never be able to work through the brokenness. Fallen humanity is real, and this is not the sole consequence of academic qualifications, wealth, social status nor business acumen and ability, but on the HEART that God has given each one of us one of it to take care and tend.

8. Get Wise Counsel
Both spouses: You will need to commit to working with your pastor and/or a professional counselor who can help you evaluate the problems in the marriage that may have contributed to the affair and assist you in a plan of healing or reconciliation.

affairs & adultery day 4
Day 4: 22/07/2021: Bible Verses & Sample Prayer
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Affairs & Adultery. Day 4: Bible Verses & Sample Prayer. 22/07/2021, Thursday.

Drink water from your own cistern, running water from your own well. Proverbs 5:15 NIV

This beautiful metaphor describes the joy of marital fidelity. To "drink water from your own cistern" pictures the marriage partners belonging only to each other, enraptured with each other's love.

By contrast, to become enraptured by another, to turn to adultery, may feel exciting at first but will end up being "bitter as wormwood, sharp as a two-edged sword" (Prov. 5:4).

God's Word clearly teaches that married people should keep their vows and remain committed to each other. Adultery is embracing a false love-it will hurt everyone involved.

Whoever commits adultery with a woman lacks understanding; he who does so destroys his own soul. Proverbs 6:32

Let your fountain be blessed, and rejoice with the wife of your youth. As a loving deer and a graceful doe, let her breasts satisfy you at all times; and always be enraptured with her love. Proverbs 5:18-19

The Bible does not speak against sexual fulfillment-in fact sexual delight and marital love are exalted in the Song of Solomon. Sexual fulfillment is always depicted in the Bible as within the boundaries of marriage.

Adultery is a great tragedy, for it has severe consequences. People risk all that they have built over a lifetime-marriage, family, ministry, respect, honor-when they commit adultery.

Sexual sin can be very appealing, almost an overwhelming temptation. The way out of this temptation is to rejoice in one's marriage and to be satisfied with the love of one's spouse. To violate this commitment will lead to pain, grief, and self-destruction.

"When I passed by you again and looked upon you, indeed your time was the time of love; so I spread My wing over you and covered your nakedness. Yes, I swore an oath to you and entered into a covenant with you, and you became Mine," says the LORD God. Ezekiel 16:8

We can find great comfort in the fact that our heavenly Father can empathize with the pain of someone who has been betrayed by a loved one. Knowing that He understands can help us trust Him in our own hurt and pain. You have heard that it was said to those of old, "You shall not commit adultery." Matthew 5:27

Quoting from Exodus 20:14, Jesus reminded His listeners of the commandment against adultery. Then He said that looking at another person lustfully is committing adultery in one's heart. Jesus explained that thinking about an act is the same as doing it, because actions begin with thoughts and desires. Since lust and adultery are first embraced in the mind and heart, believers should try to avoid situations that cause temptation.

PRAYER
Dear Lord, there is much pain here today. Hurt and betrayal are affecting this marriage. You have promised, Lord, that You are close to the brokenhearted and will bind up their wounds. You are the Healer, the Restorer. We ask for Your guidance in this painful situation ... In Jesus name we pray, Amen.

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2021 Devotion

Retirement

Retirement - Day 1
Day 1: 12/07/2021: Retirement - Retire or Re-Tyre?
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Retirement. Day 1: Retire or Re-Tyre? 12/07/2021, Monday (By JCES)

Before researching on retirement in biblical terms, I always looked forward to retirement. After all those years of working hard, progressing in my careers, and making sacrifices, I feel like retirement is when I have finally made it. I see it a phase of life to enjoy all the luxuries I have convinced myself I deserve.

What does the Bible say about retirement?
God gave Adam a job. When God first created man. He gave him a job to work and manage the garden. God chose him for the job and gave him a clear job description. Adam enjoyed his work and the fruit of his hard work.

Everything is good, therefore work is good—working keeps our bodies healthy, our minds sharp and our lifespans longer probably.

So is retirement bad?
Honestly speaking I cannot find much information about retirement in bible. Everyone work throughout their lives. Maybe, as Christian, we don’t retire. Our purpose on earth is not about retirement. There is no other direction found in Scripture that would suggest we should retire.

Is retirement “sinful”? Or maybe we should look from a different perspective. Re-Tires!
Maybe retirement is a phase of life? It will be our last phase of our time on earth, our final lap, where we can give more time to God’s ministry.

In Formula 1 racing, cars get into pit stops to refill their gas, change their tires, in order to continue the race—either to maintain speed/positions or get faster rather than slowing down. For Christians don’t retire, but RE-Tires—“Changing Wheels”. We do not want to lose our grip nor lose the race. We want to finish and win the race beautifully.

The Right Retirement – Be Willing to Serve
I believe it is best to try to continue to work and volunteer in some capacity in church. It’s good for your hearts and minds, our continued spiritual growth. Even though we might retire from our job due to legislation or organisation policy, a Christian serving Christ never stops.

There are many people who retire and for the rest of their lives they use all their free time to chase a hobby, watch TV all day and they talk about the things they “used to do” for Christ. God did not let us live long enough so we can whittle away our time and remaining energy. “Go green” by harnessing the available yet untapped energy and free time to serve God and advance His kingdom.

Bible verse for Christians
Acts 20:24 But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God. (ESV)

Bible verses for my Care-group
Titus 2:2–3 Older men are to be sober-minded, dignified, self-controlled, sound in faith, in love, and in steadfastness. [3] Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good. (ESV)

[By JCES]

Retirement - Day 2
Day 2: 13/07/2021: Retire, Re-Tyre & Regrets?
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Retirement. Day 2: Retire, Re-Tyre & Regrets? 13/07/2021, Tuesday.

My father has not reached retirement aged yet under the law. But he wrote in to his employer to ask for EARLY retirement! He was allowed to retire about 2 years earlier than expected. Was this a "dream come true"? Immediately after his getting his early retirement before reaching 60, he chased his long awaited dream immediately. He booked one-way ticket flights to Jerusalem with my mum, found accomodation, signed up for a course there, wanted to study his dream subjects and spending Christmas of 1996 in Bethlehem!

Some years later, my father was back in Singapore, sitting in my office. In one of those lunch time chats, he mentioned that he regretted retiring early. Whatever the strong PUSH factors that prompted him to write in for early retirement was now GONE!

It is said that "Retirement should be a reward for a life well lived and by definition is the cessation of full-time work or employment. It involves having saved enough money over the course of one's work life to support oneself and one's spouse so that both can quit working (or work instead at what they really love, whether an income is derived or not) and live instead on the interest and returns of the money saved."

REFLECTIONS: The above definition does not define retirement as a total cessation of work, but only partial (working at a lower energy level). Do you agree? How not to regret retiring?

What are some of the thoughts that accompany analysis of retirement:

Retirement Goals

1. At what age do you wish to retire from full-time employment?

2. What do you wish to accomplish during retirement? Do you plan to travel when you retire? Are there particular hobbies or pastimes you will want to devote time to when you retire?

3. Will you continue to work until you are no longer able? What if you get sick-how will an illness affect your retirement plan?

4. Are you planning for your spouse to retire with you?

5. Where will you live? Will it be alone or with family?

Finances and Spending Habits

1. Do you use credit cards? Have you ever charged too much?

2. Do your spending habits need to change for you to save for the lifestyle you want to have during retirement? Are there some areas in which you could cut spending (for example, less eating out, fewer unnecessary purchases)?

3. Do you have a set monthly budget that you follow? Do you have any debt you need to payoff?

4. Have you invested money for your retirement? How much of your income is going toward your retirement? Is this more or less than you planned on saving?

5. Are your investments at a point, or growing to a level, in which they can fund your retirement now or when you plan to retire? Are there any other potential investment opportunities, or income sources to add to your retirement fund?

6. Have you "achieved" your CPF Minimum Sum?

7. Are you involved in any investments or business projects that are putting your retirement plan at risk? Is your investment portfolio set up appropriately for your age? Are your stocks and mutual funds performing well?

8. Should you meet with a professional to have your portfolio reviewed?

9. Do you have term life insurance? Do you think that whole life insurance is a good investment? (Many experts debate the value.)

10. Do you know what you can expect from your various CPF schemes when you retire?

11. How much money do you anticipate receiving from your insurance or annuity plan?

Conclusion: Not only should there be strong PUSH FACTORS for retiring from full-time employment, there should also be strong PULL FACTORS of that activity/adventure that you wish to pursue when life reaches that milestone of redirection. Seek God's will and Re-Tyre for His purposes!

Retirement - Day 3
Day 3: 14/07/2021: Wise Counsel on Re-Tyrement & Actions Steps
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Retirement. Day 3: Wise Counsel on Re-Tyrement & Actions Steps. 14/07/2021, Wednesday.

WISE COUNSEL
The best way forward is preparedness and wise planning to transit to life after full and siong working life in later years.

Two things might happen:

(1) maintain fullness of purpose, satisfaction of having managed life wisely, maintaining one's respect and self-worth; OR

(2) succumbing to "despair", feeling bankrupt, unable to work and unable to support himself or herself.

For some of us, the inability to support ourselves starts much earlier rather than later: due to recklessness, living beyond our means, or even mismanagement. Continuing to drive on life's fast lane even with empty tanks for too long? Turn back!

ACTION STEPS
1. Have a Re-tyrement Plan - Having a re-tyrement plan is not just a good idea, it is a must. One should not assume that there will be others to bails us out. Hence, if you do not set aside appropriate funds for re-tyrement, you may find yourself in financial turmoil during your later years.

- To avoid this, there is no time like the present to begin thinking, discussing, and planning for "retirement", or whatever you are going to call the transition in your work life in your sixties, or whatever applicable age then.

2. Put Money into Retirement Savings - Many Boomers (born after 2nd World War to about 1965) are in the position of having to delay or forego retirement because they have not saved enough money. Though delaying re-tyrement may not be on the top of the list of things you want to do, there are significant incentives for persons who are finding some shortcomings in their retirement savings plan.

3. Consider Delaying Re-tyrement
- People who retire at sixty-two can expect to live another twenty years or more statistically. Hence, each year that you postpone re-tyrement, you reduce your need for retirement savings by about 5 percent. Moreover, an extra year of work provides additional income to be put into savings, increases your CPF benefits and provides some additional time for other private investments to mature.

- When considering the multiple benefits, delaying re-tyrement can significantly reduce the total amount that you must save now. All of this must be considered when planning your re-tyrement-a challenge for anyone below 40 and a must for anyone past 40.

4. Consult a Professional Financial Planner
- A qualified and experienced financial planner will be able to help design a plan that works for you and your specific situation. He/she has experience in planning and knows what does or doesn't work with the present economical structure of society.

5. Talk to Your Pastor / spiritual community
- After designing a plan, talk to your pastor about how you see yourself in ministry over the years, your passion for serving Christ, your observed gifts that can bless your spiritual community, and how this plan will help you accomplish this ministry. Your pastor can also keep you accountable to this plan and offer prayer support.

Retirement - Day 4
Day 4: 15/07/2021: Bible Insights & Sample Prayer
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Retirement. Day 4: Bible Insights & Sample Prayer. 15/07/2021, Thursday.

Isaiah 46:4 ... even to your old age I am he, and to gray hairs I will carry you. I have made, and I will bear; I will carry and will save. (ESV)

1 Corinthians 7:29–31 This is what I mean, brothers: the appointed time has grown very short. From now on, let those who have wives live as though they had none, [30] and those who mourn as though they were not mourning, and those who rejoice as though they were not rejoicing, and those who buy as though they had no goods, [31] and those who deal with the world as though they had no dealings with it. For the present form of this world is passing away. (ESV)


Whether working, re-tyred or retired, the Great Commission is to make disciples of men and women in all nations (Matt. 28:18-20).

If we are involved in disciple making (through "going", "baptizing" and "teaching", the 3 participles show continuous action), this would help us have hope and purpose at every stage of life.

In this way, we leave something valuable and purposeful for the future generations that come after us. This also gives us a sense of integrity and hope to those who are really "retired", or their re-tyred tires are also getting bald. The chequered flag end-goal is already in sight, but we can still be hopeful.

Isaiah 40:29–31 [29] He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength. [30] Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; [31] but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint. (ESV)

Galatians 6:9–10 [9] And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. [10] So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith. (ESV)


SAMPLE PRAYER
Life is full of transitions, Lord, and You are in control of them all. Help to prepare and face the transition of re-TYREment with grace and wisdom. Bless him or her as he/she begins this new and exciting phase of life ... in Jesus' name we pray. Amen.

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2021 Devotion

Marital & Family Love Styles

Marital & Family Love Styles - Day 1
Day 1: 05/07/2021: Marital & Family Love Styles
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Marital & Family Love Styles Day 1: 05/07/2021, Monday [By ZJ]

1 Corinthians 13:7 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. (ESV)

婚姻和家庭爱情风格(第一天)[By ZJ]
哥林多前书13:7凡事包容。凡事相信。凡事盼望。凡事忍耐。 这应该是我未读圣经就已经熟记的一句经文吧,歌唱的好听,含义更是贴切深远,不仅仅是对于家人、爱人、友人之间,对于我们日常的为人处世,也有着深刻的指导意义。

“凡事包容”,指真实且属神的爱可以战胜人生的风风雨雨;“凡事相信”,让我们不要对他人丧失信心,凡事看光明的一面,看人也是想着他的优点,而不是只惦记他做的不够好的地方;“凡事盼望”,当我们以积极乐观的心情看待现在,当我们将未来交托在神的手上,那么我们的身心都变的更加愉快美好;“凡事忍耐”,无论逆境还是顺境,坚持和忍耐终会让我们感受到神对我们的爱,这份爱一直都在,永不消逝。

当我每次用心体会这句经文的含义,也是在提醒我自己,如何更好的经营夫妻关系,维持家庭和睦。
[By ZJ]

Marital & Family Love Styles - Day 2
Day 2: 06/07/2021: Love & Support from CG/Church body and spiritual growth
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Marital & Family Love Styles Day 2: Love & Support from CG/Church body and spiritual growth. 06/07/2021, Tuesday [By ZJ]

1 John 4:7 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. (ESV)

约翰一书 4:7 亲爱的弟兄阿,我们应当彼此相爱。因为爱是从神来的。凡有爱心的,都是由神而生,并且认识神。
我的小家庭,可以说是在教会的关怀,团契的扶持下成长起来的。虽然我们夫妻俩在结婚之时,还没有立志信主,但我们的主婚人是尊敬的蔡牧师,我们的证婚人、婚礼的司仪都是团契的伙伴……所以我们婚礼满载着由神而生的爱。

但是婚姻并不是说有神的关爱,有教会团契的祝福,就是顺利美好的。我们之间的小问题,一直都在,如果不及时化解,随时可能变成引爆婚姻危机的大问题。在问题出现时,姐妹们会比较愿意倾诉分享,从中得到安慰支持和有益的建议;而弟兄往往把问题和想法留在心里,想着或许交托给神、交给时间,就能解决一切。

我没有能力和资格去判定哪种方式比较理想更加有效,但无论如何通过适合自己的方式,去坚守这份由神而生的爱和家庭,是我们必须为之努力的。[By ZJ]

Marital & Family Love Styles - Day 3
Day 3: 07/07/2021: Love is the lived out Word on the road of truth
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Marital & Family Love Styles Day 3: Love is the lived out Word on the road of truth. 07/07/2021, Wednesday [By ZJ]

1 John 3:18 Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth. (ESV)
约翰一书 3:18 孩子们哪,让我们不在语言或口头上相爱,而在行为和真理中相爱。

家庭不是一个人的,所以不是单个人就可以提供很好的维护,也不是谁说的多、主意多,就是贡献大的那位。在我们家,我是话比较多意见也不少的那一位,然而我也意识到我的“废话”,其实给家人带来了压力和困扰,也没有更好的解决问题。

如果能够静下来分析思考,站在不同的立场角度考虑问题,或许就有更有效的解决方案。我意识到自己的错误所在,但不说明我下次面对同样问题的时候不会再犯☹ 这是个让人难过的事实。所幸我的家人,虽然经常沉默不语,但是总会用行动来证明他对家人的包容,对神的爱。

所以每个人表达爱的方式和语言不一样,这就需要我们懂得包容和理解,拥有更多的智慧和耐心,去理解和接受家人“爱的语言和方式”,从而维持充满“平安喜乐”属灵的家庭生活。[By ZJ]

Marital & Family Love Styles - Day 4
Day 4: 08/07/2021: Self-Examination on Love Languages & Actions Steps
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Marital & Family Love Styles Day 4: Self-Examination on Love Languages & Actions Steps. 08/07/2021, Thursday

Ask these questions to determine your primary and secondary love languages.

A: Words of Affirmation
1. Do you need verbal praise and encouragement? Do you thrive on verbal praise, tone of voice, kindness, and thank-yous? Do you love it when people compliment you to your face and to others (directly and indirectly)?

2. Do you love getting notes and emails? Do you need verbal affirmation? Do you do this for others you care about?

B: Quality Time
3. Do you love having people's undivided attention? Do you like it when people come over and just hang out? Do you like to plan activities to do with others?

4. Do you like quality conversations? Do you enjoy the giving and take of asking questions and listening? Do you really like to get inside people's heads and find out what they're thinking?

C: Gifts
5. Do you like visual symbols of love? (Gifts can come in any shape or size-maybe someone just brings you a cup of coffee at work or passes you chocolate or sweets. The cost doesn't matter; it's truly the thought that counts). Do you find yourself giving gifts to others to show how you care

D: Acts of Service
6. Do you like to do things for others? Do you like it when others help you out as well? (For example, someone steps in to help on a project; someone washes your car; someone makes you dinner-and you eagerly do the same types of things for your friends and family.)

E: Physical Touch
7. Are you a "toucher"? Do you give pats on the back? Do you give hugs when you meet a close friend? Do you appreciate that kind of physical touch from others?

ACTION STEPS: ONLY 2

1. Determine Your Love Language: Determine what language you use to let people know you love them-do you spend time with them; do you do things for them; do you affirm them verbally; do you give gifts; do you give hugs and pats?

2. Determine the Love Languages of Your Loved Ones: Look at the people in your life and determine what their love languages are. Those people may be saying, "I love you," but you may not be hearing it because it isn't in your love language. For example:

• Your friends might be coming over to hang out (quality time) and you want them to say how much they like hanging out (words of affirmation).

• Your spouse may give you gifts, and you just don't get it.

• Your children may look to you for hugs (physical touch), and you think words of praise are enough.

Determining your own love language and understanding the love language of your family and friends will go a long way in communicating and receiving the love that is truly there.

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2021 Devotion

Family Time

Family Time - Day 1
Day 1: 28/06/2021: Family Time - 3 Portraits through the eyes of Rebecca
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Family Time Day 1: 28/06/2021, Monday: 3 Portraits through the eyes of Rebecca

Family time requires a commitment to both the quantity and quality of time to build healthy and secure attachment bonds between parent and child. Many persons, even ministry leaders, do not realise that their family is their first and greatest ministry.

That is why we exist - to see, and rejoice in, and reflect the value of the glory of God. Isaiah 43:6–7 "I will say to the north, Give up, and to the south, Do not withhold; bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the end of the earth, everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made.” (ESV)

The three portraits in my life are:

1. Growing up I have very little memory of my parents at home. My main caregiver was my helper. I even titled my Chinese composition in primary school as ‘我的爸爸是猫头鹰🦉。’ because he sleeps when I go to school and works when I’m asleep.

2. During my secondary days (after my baptism), my godparents’ place is my hiding place. Due to the short proximity to school, I like to drop by and just hang around. So much love filled the house, and I really envy how their family is positively different from mine.

3. After getting married, learning to say no to non-crucial appointments became a skill. Spending a lot more time at home and doing things together with Jianye and his niece and nephew; checking mundane things off the list can be interesting after all.

Contrary to popular belief, building family bonds is not just about quality time. This is especially so when I have a ‘flying’ husband. It is also about quantity of time. It’s about praying together before bedtime, getting hot milk for me when I said I’m hungry before I go to sleep, and listening to each other's dreams the next morning. Relationships are built during the moments that show up unexpectedly and require hours and hours just being together.

Application: What is your definition of family time? And how have your perspectives changed over the different stages of life?
[By RKHB]

Family Time - Day 2
Day 2: 29/06/2021: Family Time Over The Weekends
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Family Time Day 2: 29/06/2021, Tuesday: Family Time Over The Weekends

Families need to set aside time for family fun, that is scheduled times for the entire family to enjoy the company of each other while engaging in an interactive group activity. This is different from a family sitting together to watch a movie, and this different from families who are together while each person “does his or her own thing” such as surfing net on the phone. These are not particularly useful in building family bonds.

1 Timothy 5:8 But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever. (ESV)

Writing this devotion entry with Jianye’s niece and nephew in the picture, providing love and care from Friday evenings to Sunday after dinner is the main family time I’m referring to. Choosing to bring either one of them for outings with my own girl friends, bring both back to my mother’s place with Jianye, and basically doing most things that revolve around them. With that, they would be referred to the ‘kids’ in the following questions:

1. How is it going with your kids?

2. Right now, do you feel close to your children?

3. Does you family have a designated family fun time? Devotion time? If not, would you consider scheduling one of each every week?

4. What activities do you, your spouse, and your kids all enjoy? What kinds of things could you imagine doing with the family?

5. How much time do you spend with your children each week? When you are with your kids, do you focus on accomplishing something or just being present with them? Do you eliminate handphones and other distractions during family time?

6. If you use quantity of time spent as a yardstick, what is most important in your life right now? What in life is more important than a strong relationship with your family?

Application: We often say we have many things to do, but little time to accomplish them. Reflecting on the above interview questions, what would be your action plan for the remainder of this year?
[By RKHB]

Family Time - Day 3
Day 3: 30/06/2021: Wise Counsel
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Family Time Day 3: 30/06/2021, Wednesday: Wise Counsel [By HBQ]
家庭时间 Day 3: Wise counsel

提摩太前书5:8
人若不看顾亲属,就是背了其道,比不信的人还不好,不看顾家里的人,更是如此。

基督徒当在生活上和属灵的供应上去照顾、看顾亲人孩子!家庭时间为我们看顾好家人提供保障,保证了家人间的沟通和陪伴,也是增进夫妻之间以及父母与子女之间健康关系的重要力量。在我长大的过程中,父母忙于农活和工作,童年记忆里印象最深刻的家庭时光是一家人一起扫雪 、干农活、围在火炉旁吃早餐(寒假期间爸爸不需要工作)。也正是这些爱的陪伴,在我长大后无论遇到多大的困境,依然可以积极前行,是小时候所得到爱的能量的释放。家庭时间不仅仅需要时间积累,更需要高效陪伴。

家庭时间对孩子和夫妻有多重要?

1.有利于孩子建立安全感和自信心。安全感看似看不见摸不着,但它却像一个堡垒,让孩子能放心、安心的去探索和成长。我们的陪伴让孩子感受到来自于父母及家人的爱,孩子会更加阳光自信,敢于探索和挑战。

2.改善亲子、亲属关系。亲子关系是父母和孩子感情的纽带,陪伴是必不可少的,让两者间更加亲密。我丈夫在孩子0到3岁的阶段,很少花时间和孩子在一起。三四岁后爸爸发觉孩子有趣了并想要互动的时候,孩子对爸爸很抗拒。五岁阶段和爸爸分隔两地,六岁阶段回到新加坡爸爸的工作性质没有周末,回到家孩子已入睡。受新冠病毒影响的这一年多,虽对我的家庭有负面影响,但感恩神的恩典和带领,儿子和爸爸重新建立了亲密的亲子关系。

"疫情下父亲形象重塑"是我的家庭的真实写照。因为孩子们中国长大的缘故,他们和家人比较陌生。回到新加坡后,奶奶、姑姑、姐姐每周都会风雨无阻的花时间陪他们出门,一起游戏。家庭时间量上的累积,带来了关系上质的改善。目前孩子们和家人的关系很亲密。相信其背后是信仰的力量,更是神的大能的彰显。

3.夫妻的共享时间频率越高,婚姻的稳定性和幸福感就越好。有了孩子之后,我的家庭重心不知不觉转移到孩子身上而忽略爱人,每天固定的"咖啡时光"和临睡前"减压聊天"对我们有很多帮助。

[By HBQ]

Family Time - Day 4
Day 4: 01/07/2021: Wise Counsel [Continued]
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Family Time Day 4: 01/07/2021, Thursday: Wise Counsel [Continued] [By HBQ]
家庭时间 Day 4 续。

如何让我们的家庭时间更高效?让我们一起探索安排家庭时间的智慧策略:

1. 高质量的家庭时间需要全情投入,及时回应,积极互动。高质量的家庭陪伴不是单纯的只"陪"不"伴",而是身心合一。“我在你身边,你却低头看手机”,手机正深深影响着家庭生活。家庭会议时孩子对我提出的要求: 陪伴他们读书玩游戏期间尽可能不用手机。这也让我意识到对孩子而言,全身心的投入,及时回应孩子的感受和需求很重要,让孩子感觉到自己被重视,被认可,被关爱。

2. 多了解孩子想法,尊重孩子的意见,并让孩子参与策划。比如我们固定的家庭时间期间,孩子提议玩某个游戏的时候我会觉得太幼稚或太耗时拒绝,孩子明显情绪上受挫。我丈夫在这方面就很出色,即便是在家这么小的空间玩捉迷藏,也是和孩子玩的乐在其中。

3. 每周安排固定的家庭时间并给其设置特别的主题。比如棋盘游戏、户外运动、野餐、露营、采摘、烹饪、插花🌼、种植、家庭会议、感恩祷告敬拜等等。
我们大家庭每周有两次固定的聚餐。其乐融融的氛围,简单的交谈,与家人共度时光让我们减轻压力,是让大家保持精神健康的好机会。疫情前每周六会雷打不动的去教会参加崇拜,目前我们会抽空在婆婆家一同线上敬拜,女佣也是基督徒,即便未信主的姐姐也会和我们一起。

孩子们六月假期我国正处于“高警戒解封第二阶段”,"家庭音乐会"、"家庭打扫日" 、"一起早读"、全家猜谜"、"合作拼乐高"给我们带来很多乐趣。

4.棋盘游戏(Board games)不仅能启发孩子的智慧,更能引导和发展他们的动手能力、反应力和社交能力。因地域环境差异的缘故,之前我们的周末基本上都是在采摘、滑雪、放风筝、种树、烧烤等野外度过的,回到新加坡后起初有些不习惯。好在随着年龄的推移,孩子们的兴趣转移到了棋盘游戏上。像大富翁(Monopoly)、生命游戏(Game of Life )、棋类等等让他们乐在其中。并且棋盘游戏无形中帮助孩子们养成沟通、分享、社交、耐心,"输得起" 等良好品质。

5. 家庭时间用来做一些团队合作的项目比如烹饪和具有 "探索性" 的活动,更加促进家人间的沟通。溜冰、攀岩、密室逃脱是女儿最爱的家庭时间活动项目。

思想应用:

1.在你和家人一起度过的家庭时间中,你是否做到身心合一,深度关注,深入陪伴,深度互动,全情投入?

2. 你是如何安排和保障家庭时间的?

[By HBQ]

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2021 Devotion

Fear & Anxiety

fear & anxiety - day 1
Day 1: 21/06/2021: Fear & Anxiety - How do they look like?
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How do they look like?
• She was always on the alert and seemed to be always on constant watch for potential hazards even when trying to relax. As an only child, she felt she was born to be her mother's scapegoat. When she was young, she recalled that her body was numb due to fear and anxiety just waiting for mum to come home. The unknown of what would happen in the house the next moment fuelled her fear and anxiety. As an adult, she was always wary of potential harm. She even found that she became tense when there was nothing to be anxious about.

• He was considered a loner. But this was just a front to hide his deep fear of being in groups and social settings. He became overwhelmed with panic when he was in a restaurant eating with his colleagues. Even though it seemed irrational, he would fear saying something foolish, spilling food on his, or beginning to stutter. When he was alone with one person, he was fine, but in a group, even making eye contact with someone seemed painful.

For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. 2 Timothy 1:7

FEAR
• While most people experience fear as a negative emotion, fear also has a positive component. If you find that you have turned down a one-way street and see a car heading directly at you, fear triggers an autonomic response that sends a signal to your brain to "flee" the potentially dangerous situation.

• Fear becomes a problem when a person is afraid of things that are not real or when the feeling of fear is out of proportion to the real danger present.

• Fear is an emotion that draws a person into a self-protective mode.

• More often than not, fears are related to what a person perceives as a threat to his or her safety and security. The person may fear losing his or her job, having his or her home burglarized, or having conflict in a relationship.

ANXIETY
• Anxiety is a constant fearful state, accompanied by a feeling of unrest, dread, or worry. The person may not be aware of what is creating the fear.

• Anxiety is aroused by a number of factors:
- external situations (viewing the nightly news, a fast-paced lifestyle)
- physical well-being (lack of sleep, blood sugar imbalance)
- modeling (parents who were highly anxious)
- trauma (in situations that may be similar to experiences of the past that caused great pain)

• Anxiety's symptoms can include inability to relax, tense feelings, rapid heartbeat, dry mouth, increased blood pressure, jumpiness or feeling faint, excessive perspiring, feeling clammy, constant anticipation of trouble, and constant feeling of uneasiness.

Both faith and fear sail into the harbor of your mind, but only faith should be allowed to anchor. --Anonymous

See you for Day 2!

fear & anxiety - day 2
Day 2: 22/06/2021: More Definitions & 2 Helpful Verses
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3. Phobias
• Phobias are fears of specific things.
• Phobias are fears that are out of proportion to the object, situation, or activity feared. For example, one may have a fear of spiders. A person exhibits a phobia when he or she sees a small spider on the ceiling of a room and refuses to enter the room ever again.

4. Panic Attacks
• Panic attacks are sudden, overwhelming, fearful reactions, with feelings of impending doom.
• In a panic attack, the person feels out of control. Symptoms include being paralyzed by the flight -or- fight response, shortness of breath, racing heart-beat, sweating, dizziness, nausea, diarrhea, ringing ears, choking, vertigo, and becoming homebound in fear of another attack.
• The person generally has no clear idea of what prompted the reaction and then becomes afraid of another episode occurring. • The sufferer may feel as if he or she is going crazy or is having a heart attack.

Note: More than three attacks in a month or the onset of a person refusing to go out of the house may indicate the need for some professional assistance.

5. Relational Fears
• There are four major relational fears that people experience that can significantly alter their quality of life: fear of failure, fear of rejection, fear of abandonment, and fear of death or dying.
---------------

Two Helpful Verses To Remember

Isaiah 41:10 - fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. (ESV)

Isaiah 41:13 - For I, the LORD your God, hold your right hand; it is I who say to you, “Fear not, I am the one who helps you.” (ESV)

We overcome fear by remembering that during Isaiah's time, God sought to comforts his exiled people by promising them that his glory would be displayed when God himself would transform the world. God assured His people then that he alone is the over-riding power behind all events in human history, even though we might not clearly see how The LORD could have worked through all the chaos, pain and mess of Isaiah's time. Let God comfort us again and empower us today again.

Even though Isaiah saw much pain and failures surrounding God's people, Isaiah continued to move forward and serve the living God by faith, by faithfully carrying out the calling that God had given him. In faith, Isaiah proceed with faith instead of fear, by believing that for those who love God, all the supposedly "fearful" events in our lives were actually for His glory and the benefit of His people. God is with His people. God will help His people.

See you for Day 3!

fear & anxiety - day 3
Day 3: 23/06/2021: Assessment Questions & Wise Counsel
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Assessment questions is for the purpose of guiding the interaction and self-discovery with the person you are helping, or even self-talk and sincere self-evaluation after setting aside some time just for this purpose. The scope is

1. When do you find yourself feeling afraid or anxious?

2. How long and to what extent has this fear or anxiety been occurring for you?

3. What situation/object/person causes you the most distress?

4. Do you find there are times when you are more anxious than others? If so, when?

5. Of the things that cause you fear, which seem reasonable and which seem more unreasonable?

6. When do the feelings of anxiety go away?

7. How have you tried to cope with the anxiety?

8. Do you have any health problems and/or medications that may contribute to the anxiety?

9. What would your life be like if you were free of this anxiety?

Wise Counsel
Fear and anxiety are defused by knowledge. The more a person can defuse the perceived threat, the less anxiety he or she will experience.

Generally, the fearful person has established an irrational belief system that is creating anxiety for him or her. Try to gain an understanding of what lies or deceptions are contributing to the anxiety. Most anxiety reactions are learned behavior.

Be intentional in your efforts to encourage the person to develop hope that he or she will be able to overcome the anxiety or fears by learning new behaviors rooted in truth. Anxiety can be contagious. Those who experience strong anxiety tend to elicit anxiety reactions in those who are around them. You need to be aware of your own anxiety level and how you cope personally with anxiety when it occurs.

Be patient with the person as he or she sorts through the feelings of fear. Changing patterns takes time. Don't give up.

Since the LORD is Creator and Lord over all of Creation, how can fear and anxiety ultimately overcome anyone who lives not by non-existent perceived threat, but by the truth that the God who exists has revealed?

See you for Day 4!

fear & anxiety - day 4
Day 4: 24/06/2021: Actions Steps
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Fear & Anxiety Day 4: 24/06/2021, Thursday: Actions Steps

Step 1. Change Thought Patterns
• It is important to dispute negative thoughts and lies with the truth of Scripture ("think about these things", Philippians 4:8).

Step 2. Focus on God
• Help the person move his or her focus from fear to the character of God ("..cast your anxieties on him..." 1 Peter 5:7).
• God wants you to trust and relinquish all fears to Him, especially through prayer ("...let your requests be known to God...", Phil. 4:4-6).
• To have peace, keep your thoughts on God ("You keep him in perfect peace..." Isa. 26:3).

Step 3. Watch for Triggers
• Assist the person in trying to minimize activities and input that induce anxiety.

Step 4. Move Forward
• Help the person learn from setbacks and resolve to continue to face down the fears.
• Gently encourage the person to take careful steps to face their fears.
• When you are becoming afraid, move your focus to the external world and others rather than the internal feelings of anxiety.

Step 5. Develop Relationships
• Assist the person in finding supportive, positive relationships.

Step 6. Be Patient
• Growth takes time.
• God will work in your life to overcome the anxiety that is keeping you from living life to the fullest.
• Try to keep an eternal perspective.

Deuteronomy 7:17–19
[17] “If you say in your heart, ‘These nations are greater than I. How can I dispossess them?’ [18] you shall not be afraid of them but you shall remember what the LORD your God did to Pharaoh and to all Egypt, [19] the great trials that your eyes saw, the signs, the wonders, the mighty hand, and the outstretched arm, by which the LORD your God brought you out. So will the LORD your God do to all the peoples of whom you are afraid. (ESV)

Deuteronomy 7:21 You shall not be in dread of them, for the LORD your God is in your midst, a great and awesome God. (ESV)

Christian life is not always easy. Devout believers also face difficulties, pain, suffering, and sorrow. With no way out of current problems, many becomes afraid. God told Israel not to be afraid when the going gets tough. God's people are to look backwards into history (or even their own lives) and they would find multiple reasons and assurances to dispel fear and anxiety.

Therefore, we must look at our fearful situations or anxious circumstances in the light of what God has already done for His people. Remember that "the great and awesome God" will be moving ahead with His people to resist Satan and Satan's his "influencers".

"Do the thing you fear to do and keep on doing it ... that is the quickest and surest way ever yet discovered to conquer fear." -- Dale Carnegie

See you for Day 5!

fear & anxiety - day 4
Day 5: 25/06/2021: More Verses & Sample Prayer
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MORE VERSES
"Trust in the LORD. ... Delight yourself also in the LORD. ... Commit your way to the LORD. ... Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for Him; do not fret because of him who prospers in his way, because of the man who brings wicked schemes to pass." Psalm 37:3-5, 7.

David encouraged God's people to trust in the Lord, delight themselves in Him, commit their way to Him, and wait patiently for Him to act. Trusting God focuses our faith and deepens our commitment. Delighting in God means that we experience pleasure in His presence.

Committing our way to God means entrusting everything in our lives to His guidance and control. Waiting patiently is sometimes difficult but it often is the ultimate test of our trust in God.

"Surely He shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the perilous pestilence. He shall cover you with His feathers, and under His wings you shall take refuge; His truth shall be your shield and buckler. You shall not be afraid of the terror by night, nor of the arrow that flies by day, nor of the pestilence that walks in darkness, nor of the destruction that lays waste at noonday." Psalm 91 :3-6

When believers are afraid, they can run to a "refuge" -God Himself. No place could be more safe than with God! Believers can trust that God will protect them in their times of fear. This does not imply that God's people will never suffer or face difficulty, but it does promise that they need not be afraid for they are in God's hands.

"Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths." Proverbs 3:5-6

We must not only trust God for our eternal destiny, but also trust Him in our handling of daily challenges and difficulties.

God has promised to guide, direct, accompany and straighten out paths, even when you can't seem to see how God can every start to untangle the mess. If we really want to know God's will for our lives, or even for our actions in a particular situation, we must begin by trusting that God cares about every aspect of living and that He will provide what we need.

SAMPLE PRAYER
Today a precious child of Yours is frightened, Lord, frightened about the fear that has taken hold of his/her life and left him/her feeling helpless and hopeless. He/she wants to serve You, Lord, but this anxiety is debilitating him/her to the point that he/she can barely function. We need the healing touch of Your hand, Lord, and wisdom to handle this anxiety ... In Jesus' name we pray. Amen.

God bless you all!

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2021 Devotion

Communication in Marriage

communication in marriage - day 1
Day 1: 14/06/2021: "If you don't say, how would I know?"
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Day 1: Communication in Marriage. 14/06/2021: "If you don't say, how would I know?" [By TYCP]
https://www.esv.org/James+1:19
Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger;

婚姻中的沟通: 第一幕:你不说我怎么知道?

但你们各人要快快地听,慢慢地说,慢慢地动怒,
雅各书 1:19 CUNPSS-神
https://bible.com/bible/48/jas.1.19.CUNPSS-神

良好的沟通在婚姻中非常重要,是维持婚姻不可缺少的要素。然而很多人的婚姻却是因为缺乏正确的沟通方式而画下句点。雅各书1张9节提醒我们要"快快的听,慢慢的说,慢慢地动怒", 其中"听"和"说"形成对比。 我说的和你听的是否是同一频率,你是否理解我话中的意思?同一句话在不同场合的效果又不一样。然而更重要的是若你不说,闷在心中,对方就不能知道你心中的想法,误会就会更快的产生。解释清楚总比什么都不说好。

快快地听,含有 “积极地听,乐意地听”的意思。夫妻间的沟通是双向的。注意聆听,仔细认真的听是关键。常常夫妻间忽略了这一点,总是以“我懂,我懂”或“我知道,我知道”来阻止对方继续说下去,但对方也许还没结束他想说的话。沟通的问题往往就是由于没有听清对方的话、错误地领会对方的意思造成误解,是夫妻矛盾的主要原因。父母和孩子也存在同样问题。

慢慢地说,含有"小心的说,谨慎的回答",要注意自己的话语,因为人说的话,犹如覆水难收,无法收回。慢慢地说,给自己预留时间思考,甚至从神的话语中寻找答案。除此之外,必须谨慎自己的言语,不要在不经意中批评论断别人。圣经说:“你们不要论断人,免得你们被论断。因为你们怎样论断人,也必怎样被论断。…为什么看见你弟兄眼中有刺,却不想自己眼中有梁木呢?”(太7:1-3)批评论断会造成对别人的伤害,也可能引起不必要的争吵。不会说话的人,往往是成事不足、败事有余,甚至引起杀身之祸,"祸从口出”正是此意。慢慢的说,学习在思考再开口是生活中不可缺少的技能!

夫妻在彼此日常生活中的沟通也常常出现-- "我以为","我觉得","你不是也这样想吗?" 而产生了误会。雅各书1张9节也提醒我们要"慢慢地动怒",在还没确定事情的原由时,不要轻易发怒。若听不明白就该问明了,不要让误会延伸,以至于向对方发怒。其实,上帝造人各有不同的思想,我想的不一定是你想的,没有把事情搞清楚就可能造成误解。解开误会的方法就是把事情说清楚,让对方知道你的想法而不是猜测你的想法。夫妻本是二人成为一体,但思想却各人不同,彼此尊重对方的想法也是在婚姻中不可缺少的要素之一。

思想回应
1. 你在婚姻中是否是容易发怒的那一位?在你发怒之前是否有听明白对方要传达的内容?
2. 当你心中对另一半有不满时,是否有尝试和对方分享你的想法,还是选择埋藏在心中?当你不愿意分享时,试想想对方若不知道你心里的想法又怎能做到让你满意呢?
[By TYCP]

communication in marriage - day 2
Day 2: 15/06/2021: "Love" refers to the motivation, while "truth" refers to the content.
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Day 2. Communication in Marriage. 15/06/2021. Tue: "Love" refers to the motivation, while "truth" refers to the content. [By TYCP]

Ephesians 4:15 Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, (ESV)
https://www.esv.org/Ephesians+4:15

婚姻中的沟通: 第二幕:真诚相待,绝不隐瞒
惟用爱心说诚实话,凡事长进,连于元首基督,
以弗所书 4:15 CUNPSS-神
https://bible.com/bible/48/eph.4.15.CUNPSS-神

和我相熟的人应该都会觉得我是个心直口快,有话不说就会全身不自在的人。这个"坏习惯"让我在生活中遇到了许多问题,更是在我的婚姻中制造了不小的麻烦。

有时候,说实话的时机不对,方法不对,或者说的理由不对,就能让人感到伤心难过,甚至留下阴影。那难道就不该说实话吗?我常为争一口气,据理力争,就是觉得自己说得没错,是事实,该说的就说,不该虚伪行事。当我以为自己占尽上风,讲赢了,环顾四周一看,赢了又怎样?我也没开心多少,心情糟透了。。。 一家人的心情也被这一闹毁了!

圣经中以弗所书 4:15,惟用爱心说诚实话,爱心就是你说话的动机,诚实就是你说话的内容。另一半的行为举动也许不是我们习惯的方法,或许是生活环境的不同。在说实话的同时也必须顾及他人的感受,包括对你的伴侣。说诚实话的目的应该是为了造就别人而不是伤害别人。用爱心或在爱中说诚实的话就应该是为了对方好而说出来的。保罗说:凡事都能做,但不都有益处。虽然我说话常常一针见血,以为自己说诚实话就是在帮助别人改正错误,但往往在不经意的言辞中已伤害了另一个人。

那到底该不该说诚实话呢?难道我看到了问题也不提醒对方吗?也不是的。当时机对了,可以在适当的时候提醒对方, 这样就可以避免不必要的误会了。另一方面,可能有人会问,在夫妻关系中,我心里受伤害、不满,不高兴、很难过,这些负面的情绪和感受要不要跟对方表达?说出来是否又会是一场战争的来临?当然要表达,但要选择合适的时机。你内心的真实感受是需要被对方知道的,不要压抑,不要隐瞒,也不要掩饰。

说诚实话其实并非易事,甚至可能会给你带来痛苦。不说也许可以免除不必要的麻烦或争吵,但我们必须在错误中学习成长。在开口之前先想想你说出来的话要如何造就对方,如何说才可以把伤害减到最轻,最小。相对的,如何接受别人的评论提点也是一门重要的学问。你身边的这个最亲密的人便是那位可以帮助你,诚实面对你的人。也许说出来的话并不好听,可能你也不认同,但我相信对方在说出真实感受时也许也经过一番挣扎。听的人也许可以虚心的聆听学习。

思想回应
1。当你的伴侣老实地点出你的错误和问题,你是否愿意虚心地认真悔改?
2。当你尝试说诚实话提醒你的伴侣时却遭到否决,可以尝试了解对方的想法,背景和习惯。也许有些行为是无法短时间改正过来,给对方时间也是踏出爱心的一步。
3。你可以尝试回想在你的婚姻中,你的另一半是否诚实的提醒过你的问题,而你却视而不见,聪耳不闻呢?若是有这样的情况,请对你的另一半表达感谢吧!
[By TYCP]

communication in marriage - day 3
Day 3: 16/06/2021: Respectful courtesy. Accept and Embrace one another
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Day 3. Communication in Marriage. 16/06/2021. Wed: "Respectful courtesy. Accept and Embrace one another" [By TYCP]

https://www.esv.org/Romans+15:7
Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God. (ESV)

婚姻中的沟通
第三幕:相敬如宾, 彼此包容接纳

所以,你们要彼此接纳,如同基督接纳你们一样,使荣耀归与 神。
罗马书 15:7 CUNPSS-神
https://bible.com/bible/48/rom.15.7.CUNPSS-神

在我们家,老公的理念是干净整齐,不需要的东西不会出现在家里。而我却是需要的东西放外面,方便拿,不需要的东西先预备好,总有一天会用到。孩子们呢就比较像我啦,书桌没有一天是整齐的。在这件事上我们一家人可是闹翻了天,直到现在还没达成共识呢。

在这样的环境下生活,辛苦的肯定是老公。谁在乎谁整理嘛!我呢也不是不能体会,就是习惯改不了,虽然尽力了,但无能为力。有了孩子后更是难上加难。感恩,老公虽然嘴里一直唠叨,但却总是在背后帮忙收拾。我也尽力配合,可以藏起来的,就不露出来,就这样,相安无事的生活着。结婚后必须学习包容和体谅彼此的生活方式,本来就不是一件容易的事。双方都在不同的家庭背景中成长,生活方式不同是可以理解的。如果双方都坚持己见,不肯退让,那真的很难过下去了。圣经也在罗马书15章7节提醒我们”你们要彼此接纳,如同基督接纳你们一样,使荣耀归与 神。” 我想这也是上帝给婚姻中的一个功课。

俗话说:有事好商量。夫妻之间保持良好的沟通,会让彼此的关系更加融洽。如果有什么不满的,就要学习好好的沟通,彼此接纳彼此的短处,也不忘赞许彼此的长处。另外,"谢谢“,”不客气“,“Sorry,对不起”,“爱你哦” ,这几句话也常在我们家出现,例如吃晚餐前老公和孩子会对我说谢谢,感谢我预备的食物。虽然是每天都在做的事,但听到一句简单的谢谢就会很开心满足。相对的,如果老公帮我做家务,甚至帮忙倒杯水,我也会对他说谢谢。我们的孩子在这样的环境中也能学习彼此感恩,彼此尊重。有些夫妻可能会觉得这几句话很难开口,都老夫老妻,何必要说这些客套话,觉得见外。可是这些话往往能让生活中紧绷的气氛缓和不少。当然也别忘了偶而提醒身边的另一半你还爱他,一句简单的“爱你哦”可以让生活更有情调,也不失恋爱的味道。所以夫妻之间,不要犹豫说“谢谢”,不要怕说“对不起”,不要害羞说“我爱你”。

夫妻常忽略“相敬如宾”这个道理,往往对待朋友,同事甚至陌生人比对自己的另一半更好。举例说服务员送上食物,你会礼貌的说谢谢,但另一半为你打包食物时你不只没感恩还嫌弃食物不是你的喜好。你是否总觉得另一半就应该体谅自己,包容自己,可以看到自己最丑陋的一面,所以无需再以礼相待了。然而却忘了你最亲近的人也需要你的尊重和认同。夫妻间更应如此,你的另一半是要陪伴你度过一生的人,必然要互相尊重,互相欣赏,互相取悦,互相鼓励,互相扶持,平等相待,这是不可缺的。今天,当你在和同事,朋友相处的时候也想想你对待你的另一半时是否更胜这些朋友同事呢?

思想回应
1. 你是否已经很久都没有在另一半协助你时对他说“谢谢”了?是否在不经意中把对方对你的好当做是理所当然?试学习开口表达你的感受,让对方也体会到你的爱与尊重。
2. 人人都有优缺点。常常缺点总是特别明显地被挖出来而优点却被忽略了。你身边另一半的优点是否在婚后渐渐被你隐藏起来了?试试回想你与他相遇,相知,相惜的过程,从新找回失去的,初恋的情感,也许会有不一样的收获哦!
[By TYCP]

communication in marriage - day 4
Day 4: 17/06/2021: Move ahead, hand in hand, heart with heart.
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Day 4. Communication in Marriage. 17/06/2021. Thu: Move ahead, hand in hand, heart with heart. [By TYCP]

https://www.esv.org/Amos+3:3
Do two walk together, unless they have agreed to meet? (ESV)

婚姻中的沟通
第四幕:同心同行,携手向前

二人若不同心,岂能同行呢?
阿摩司书 3:3 CUNPSS-神
https://bible.com/bible/48/rom.15.7.CUNPSS-神

从第一个孩子来到我们家的那天,我就正式成为了家庭主妇。每天的生活就是围绕着孩子和老公。孩子的来临让我和老公在照顾孩子的理念和教育上有一些的分歧。特别是家庭教育这一点。由于我俩的成长背景都不一样,想要给孩子的也不一样。很可爱但也很无奈的是,我们的理念都是从圣经来的。取自以弗所书6章1-4节中。老公看重的是“你们作父亲的,不要惹儿女的气,只要照着主的教训和警戒,养育他们。而我看重的是,“你们作儿女的,要在主里听从父母,这是理所当然的”。这两节经文有着不一样的教导理念呢!谁也没错。。。

结婚后有许多的憧憬,有了孩子后更是如此,期待给孩子一个完整完美的家。但当遇到理念不同时难免发生冲突,特别是管教孩子这个课题上。如何同心在这个问题上就明显的表露出来。我常常在管教孩子时期待孩子能够顺服父母,认为我为他们预备的都是为他们好,但哪个孩子事事顺从?常常就是以争吵结束。在某些情况下老公不止不帮忙劝说,还反过来责怪我,觉得在不必要的情况下,别惹孩子的气,无需严厉管教。身为全职家庭主妇兼家教的我怎么能够接受?我常常都被气得七窍生烟,真想一走了之。然而,孩子是我们的,总不能不管不顾。于是我们夫妻俩总会在事情发生后检讨彼此的不足,纠正对方的错误。这过程不容易但却真真实实需要进行沟通。摩3:3,“二人若不同心,岂能同行”。如果我俩各持己见,如何能一起度过余生呢?难道要在每天吵吵闹闹中度过吗?那还不如一个人自己过呢。

夫妻二人,作为两个不同的个体,性格、家庭背景、生活方式都不相同,要让两个人有相同的想法是很困难的事情。彼此沟通在这个过程中就非常重要。在这件事上,我们知道对方的用意都是为孩子好,而不是针对各人时,彼此就会学会体谅对方的想法,从而找出更适合的方法。在检讨的过程免不了唇枪舌剑一番,为自己的观点据理力争,在不伤害对方的前提下找出解决的方案才最重要的。虽然我和孩子的争锋相对从没停止过,和老公在孩子教养的问题上也还没达成共识,但我俩依然同心,盼望能给孩子最好的。而这份同心来自于神。

我常跟孩子分享我和老公的关系中一直有”第三者“的存在,那就是神。从我和老公认识的第一天就有神的同在,到我们步入婚姻的礼堂,延续到我们的下一代,神确确实实的成了我们家的”第三者“。当我们各自冷战时,神在我们当中成为了桥梁。我们会各自祷告,求神带领,教导我们如果胜过自己的骄傲,彼此谦卑的来到对方面前解决问题。我们之间的冷战,争吵通常不会多过24小时。对于基督徒的婚姻,夫妻两个人的关系如何常常可以反映出他们两个人跟神的关系如何。也就是说,夫妻两个人要同心,除非你们选择跟神同心。与神同心的人,会经历上帝所赐美好的婚姻关系。

当两人同心,自然就能同行。当两人有一样的目标,自然就能携手一同奔向目标前行。虽然婚姻里不可能没有摩擦,争吵,但是如果两个人都能保持一颗谦卑的心,愿意顺服彼此,体谅彼此的需要,那各种各样的大事小事都可以安然度过的。

思想应用
1. 回想你在婚礼上的誓言,你对另一半和对神的誓约是否还存在你的婚姻中?当二人同心,如同二人彼此在神面前立约,是要相守一生的。当面对决策时,试着站在对方的立场,考虑对方的感受后再一起做决定,不要陷入独断独行的决策中。
2. 你的婚姻是否有让神参与其中?婚后两个人要保持良好、和谐的关系,不是自自然然,随随便便就能有的,这需要两个人用心地去建立, 其中让神参与其中是重要的。有神的同在,才能同心,同心才能同行,一起向更长更美的路迈进。
[By TYCP]

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2021 Devotion

Church Involvement

Day 1: 07/06/2021: Be Part of the Script!
Day 2: 08/06/2021: Wise Counsel & Actions Steps
Day 3: 09/06/2021: Bible Insights

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2021 Devotion

Suffering

suffering day 1
Day 1: 31/05/2021: Suffering – The Fall of Man
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Day 1: Suffering – The Fall of Man
QT [By YKYK]: 31/05/2021 (Monday)
https://www.esv.org/Genesis+3/

This might be one of the questions you might ask during your Christian life - “Why does God allows us to suffer?” or “Can’t our powerful God prevent suffering?” or “What is the purpose God allows suffering?” or Why do believers need to suffer?” Maybe you are currently in a season of suffering and wondering why God, who loves you so much, would allow you to experience such struggle or pain. Me too ask the same questions when I suffered from my New Zealand car accident, pneumonia infection, deep vein thrombosis and not able to teach scuba diving, my father’s death recently etc…

There was a time when there was no suffering but it was sin – our rejection of God that brought pain in this world. We must embrace the fact that we are living in a world that has been affected by the fall of man as shown in Genesis 3. Sin has brought with it sorrow, heartache, loss and death. Death made an entrance into this world through sin that was committed by one man. In 1Corinthians 15:22, Adam brought death to all of us, but Christ will bring life to all of us. This is what the Bible says about why we find the world the way we find it. It is a fallen, sinful place! In one sense, it can be a good reminder to yourself that if you are experiencing no suffering, it will mean you are living in a world unaffected by sin – because everybody experiences some level of suffering. Thankfully, it is not the end of the story. When Christ lived a life of suffering and then died on the cross, his punishment was designed to heal our deepest wound - our sinfulness. There is a new heaven and a new earth on the way, and believers will be living in paradise for eternity with a new body. But until that day comes, suffering is just part of this world. To find comfort in knowing that as child of God, even through our suffering, God is going to be by our side. He will provide the strength, joy, peace, and love. Suffering and pain are momentary and temporary.

Reflection:
Have you ever felt like you could not bring your pain to God? Have you looked at your suffering in the light of Scripture?

suffering day 2
Day 2: 01/06/2021: Dealing with Suffering
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Day 2: Suffering – Dealing with Suffering
QT [By YKYK]: 01/06/2021 (Tuesday)
https://www.esv.org/Romans12:14-21
https://www.esv.org/1Peter5:6-11

In Romans 12:15, the Apostle Paul said rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. God takes note of our sorrows and comforts. He is the God of all comfort. He teaches us to comfort each other. God cares that we hurt and are sad. His encouragement and love are real. So, if you are suffering today, do not just let the sorrow register, but let God's promises register in your mind and heart.

In 1Peter 5:9-10, Peter said to resist the devil and stay strong in our faith. You know that all over the world the Lord's followers are suffering just as you are. Peter was saying that suffering is common, and everyone goes through it. You are not alone in your suffering. Peter continued by saying God shows undeserved kindness to everyone. That is why he appointed Christ Jesus to choose you to share in his eternal glory. You will suffer for a while, but God will make you complete, steady, strong, and firm in your faith. This is what our amazing God does in our suffering. He points us to what is true at the moment. Yes, what is true at the moment is that you are suffering, but He calls it momentary. It is for a little while. It may feel long, but when compared to eternity, it is not. Point our eyes, mind and heart to eternity. God will restore, confirm, strengthen and establish us.

Believe all of God's promises concerning your future and even concerning the heartaches and struggles that you are dealing with. There are situations that we may not understand at the moment, but let's trust God. In Romans 8:28 says that He's always at work for the good of everyone who loves Him. Trust His Word. Trust that He is constantly working for our good.

Application:
In your area of your life where you are experiencing hardship, how can you trust God through your suffering? How has God delivered you from difficult circumstances in the past? How can you use your stories of overcoming suffering help others that face similar situations?

suffering day 3
Day 3: 02/06/2021: There Is Hope in Suffering
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Day 3: Suffering – There Is Hope in Suffering
QT [By YKYK]: 02/06/2021 (Wednesday)
https://www.esv.org/1Peter4:1-2
https://www.esv.org/1Peter4:12-19
https://www.esv.org/Romans5:1-5

Lots of suffering written in the New Testament is about persecutions. The Bible refers to suffering as a privilege. In 1Peter 4:1-2, since Jesus went through suffering, we ought to learn to think like Him. Consider it a privilege that you suffer along with Christ, that we no longer live for human passions but for the will of God.

In Peter 4:12-13, Peter said do not be surprised or shocked that we are going through testing that is like walking through fire but be glad for the chance to suffer as Christ suffered. It will prepare us for even greater happiness when He makes His glorious return. Suffering is something we should be prepared for and not surprised by. Pain and sorrow are something we can expect in this life.

Living a godly life means embracing suffering, not avoiding it. In 2Timothy 4:5, Apostle Paul showed Timothy and reminds us that we should expect suffering as a natural result of being Christian. The Word of God not only encourages us to prepare but to rejoice through our suffering. In Romans 5:3-5, the apostle Paul said we gladly suffer, because we know that suffering helps us to endure, and endurance builds character which gives us hope. We are not alone in our suffering. We have the God of comfort and hope on our side. We can rejoice through our suffering, knowing that there is hope. When we understand that the promises God has for His children, then even in our sorrows we can rest and rejoice. Pain will be present, but our heart will be filled with peace hope and love. It is hard to explain when we do not know Christ. But when we know Him, we know the fruits of His Spirit can fill us up with what we need through the pain.

My father passed away on the living room sofa 3 months ago, but one day I remember sitting on the same sofa with my nephew and niece (all under the age of 5) explaining to them that their grandfather had gone to heaven. Then later that night, I walked to my house windows to close it before bedtime, I looked at the sky and saw the stars. I will never forget that night. I stared at the sky and was reminded of the vastness of Creation and the sovereignty of our God. My heart had never been more sorrowful, yet at the same time there was joy in me. There was hope in my heart. This is a reality we can experience as children of God.

Application:
Think back to a time that you remember letting God take control. Did you feel at peace? Did everything go the way you would have planned? Is God asking you to step back and wait for Him?

suffering day 4
Day 4: 03/06/2021: Example from Bible How God Brings Healing to Believers Who Suffered
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Day 4: Suffering – Example from Bible How God Brings Healing to Believers Who Suffered
QT [By YKYK]: 03/06/2021 (Thursday)
https://www.esv.org/Job1:13-22
https://www.esv.org/Job2:1-13

God never promises us a life of prosperity, good health or smooth-sailing life after we become Christian. Freedom from suffering now is a false message that diverts Christians from God’s plan and blessings. In fact, The Bible here describes a man named Job who was wealthy, upright, feared God, and turned away from evil. However, Job went from being wealthy and healthy to losing all that he possessed. He lost his children and became ill with skin sores. Talk about a man who experienced all sorts of suffering. He not only suffered heartache but also physical pain. There is so much to learn about Job's life of suffering. The Bible teaches us how to trust God even when life may seem unfair and how God is big enough to deal with our suffering.

Two things come to mind when I think of Job. One is how precious the truth of God's sovereignty is. When Job said "The Lord gives and takes away," that should remind us that when you receive, it comes from God. If you lose something, it is also part of God's sovereign plan. Even though God hurts when we are suffering, it is still a part of His final plan. He has the ultimate reason. There is purpose even in our pain, and it is going to be for His glory.

Secondly, Job worshiped during his suffering. Job understood that God is glorified. We are not the centre of the picture, God is the centre. Job came out of his suffering learning things he didn't know before and demonstrating God's good work in his life. God rewarded him at the end and while this did not take away the sorrow that he felt, there was a purpose. Humble Christians redirect attention to their glorious God. They are content with suffering because it glorifies the riches of God’s grace.

When prosperity preachers teach that it is never God’s will for you to suffer, they undermine all things that God can do in our lives through pain. He is in control of our temporary suffering in this world and he uses it to strengthen our faith. This suffering is so much a part of his good plan for us that God tells us to rejoice in it. When we suffer for God, we show our fellowship and partnership with Christ Jesus.

You are going to go through hard times. Remain submitted to God through the trial and learn everything He wants to form in your life through those difficult times. The most unwise thing you can do during your suffering is isolate yourself from the church or His Word. This is when you will most need to be encouraged and reminded of His truth. You are encouraged when you encourage others.

Application:
Think about the examples of Jesus Christ, the apostles and suffering Christians through the centuries. Is there any similarities you have like them for being a Christian in your home or workplace? What is it that draws you near to God? What pushes you further from him? Did you ask God to help you use your suffering to better fulfill the mission and purpose He has given you?

Day 5: 04/06/2021: Key Thoughts, Wise Counsel, Action Steps, Scripture

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2021 Devotion

Burnout

Day 1: 24/05/2021: Portraits, Key Ideas
Day 2: 25/05/2021: Assessment Questions & Wise Counsel
Day 3: 26/05/2021: Action Steps
Day 4: 27/05/2021: Scripture & Sample Prayer

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2021 Devotion

Aging

Day 1 of 5: 17/05/2021: Portraits, Key Ideas
Day 2 of 5: 18/05/2021: Diagnostic & Assessment Questions
Day 3 of 5: 19/05/2021: Actions Steps for Caregivers & Older Person
Day 4 of 5: 20/05/2021: Scripture & Prayer
Day 5 of 5: 21/05/2021: Aging & Nutrition (by RWZR)

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2021 Devotion

Money and Money Crisis

Day 1 of 4: 10/05/2021: Portraits, Key Ideas & Matthew 6:19–24
Day 2 of 4: 11/05/2021: Assessment Questions and Wise Counsel
Day 3 of 4: 12/05/2021: Action Steps To Take
Day 4 of 4: 13/05/2021: Scripture & Sample Prayer

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2021 Devotion

Parenting

Day 1 of 5: 03/05/2021: Portrayals, key ideas, definitions
Day 2 of 5: 04/05/2021: Three Good Ingredients: Love, Discipline, Guidance
Day 3 of 5: 05/05/2021: Diagnostic Questions & Wise Counsel
Day 4 of 5: 06/05/2021: Action Steps: Towards a family plan
Day 5 of 5: 07/05/2021: Scripture Guides

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2020 Devotion