Monday, March 23, 2015

Two People plus One Heart Equal a Saved Marriage

Marriage on the Mend is a book that will not only help couples but could also lend help for reconciliation for whole families in crisis. It has been a long time since a nonfiction book has inspired me as much as this one has.


Clint and Penny A. Bragg have paid their dues in hard work, study, application and more to bring us an example of God healing a marriage. I love the honesty of this couple. Transparency such as theirs is very seldom seen in the church and in the world.


For Clint and Penny to let the world know about the true intimate situations of their marriage and what led to their first breakup and then their remarriage is an awesome gift to us.


How interesting to me also were the QR codes that you can scan with a smart phone which were embedded within the chapters. They link you to free video pod casts which really enhance your reading experience. I love especially the pod cast themes starting with an introduction, prayer, roadblocks, discussions, margins, and also getting on the same page, which seems to be a common problem.


There is much wisdom given about blanketing your marriage in prayer. Sometimes that seems hard to carry out as we find ourselves in the daily "tyranny of the urgent" that life brings but this book includes excellent prayer prompts and sample prayers.


The marriage timeline suggested was the first thing that showed me that I was reading a well thought out book, similar to being in a counselor's office. Courageous conversations are an idea that I really need in my own marriage and elsewhere as how to handle conflict is something I struggle with personally. Some other things that I really needed was the Gradients of Agreement diagram, the sample of marriage standards and the book within a book with the Bible study on Nehemiah.


I wasn't sure what a marriage missionary was until I read this book and I must say that Clint and Penny Bragg represent the very best example in that category. I also found the answer to the question I've had about why they call their ministry Inverse Ministry, but you'll have to read the book to find it yourself.


I loved the word of hope towards the end that was, "This is our God. A God of healing and redemption. This is our God! A God who plucks sinners from the misery they've made of their lives, press their wounded souls tightly against His bosom, and makes them whole,"(Quote from Marriage on the Mend) Yes, yes, yes!


Although my husband and I have never separated or divorced, life itself presents enough crises to interrupt the "happily ever after" that we all so long for. I feel that this book will surely be a companion for us for the rest of our lives.


Donna Collins Tinsley Port Orange, FL

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Jesus More Than Repairs

I've decided I want to spend the rest of my life writing something concerning these words posted below. David Fleming has been preaching this message for four years and it comes from Romans 5:15. When he grasped the true goodness of God doing this, he has preached the message that "God is so good to me." It blesses everyone who hears it.

He more than repairs,
Far exceeds any damage,
and immeasurably outweighs
"God is so good to us," says Pastor David Fleming* from Tulsa, OK

As Brother David preached I felt that the Lord was saying that many people are living with an "orphan spirit." It affects how they perceive the love of our Lord and the love that is available from other people. They can't even receive that love because they are so bound up in the lies that the enemy of their soul throws at them continually. Lies, such as:

You're not good enough.
No one loves you.
You're a bad person (or insert mom, dad, husband, wife, child).
You're never going to have what you want.
No one is ever going to forgive you.
What you have is not enough.
God doesn't treat you fairly.
God will never answer your prayers.
Your family doesn't treat you fairly.
Your life is worthless to others...
And on and on and on, the enemy taunts you and there really is no one except the Lord God Almighty that can come in and do the work in your soul and in your broken heart but Him.

That's what David Fleming felt like for years when he felt abandoned by God when his father died when he was a teenager. The enemy taunted him for years until four years ago when he began to meditate on the word of the Lord, and the verse Romans 5:15 especially. The joy that this verse has brought him is so evident that it overflows to the audience and makes us all happy.

It actually made me want to do "The happy dance." It can make you feel like you have found your happy place, too. Now I will remind myself of this often and go back and research and meditate this verse in different translations.

Yes, it is true for all of us that our story isn't finished. Earlier Pastor Ray Dubois from Family Worship Center shared that someone had called him and told him that he had gotten an email from someone who was rejoicing. They had been praying for something for 14 years and God answered that prayer! What if they had given up on year 13? Press on in prayer.

The free gift immeasurably outweighs what we have gone through when waiting for our breakthrough. More than repairs, more than repairs, more than repairs all the hurts, abuses, damage and loss of relationships that you may have endured here on earth. What Jesus did for you on the cross more than repairs all of these things. Praise His holy name, we have an awesome savior and He is our Father-figure, actually our true Father. We have no excuse to continue in an orphan spirit. We rebuke the enemy who taunts us with this spirit and we say that no more will we listen to lies.

Declare over yourself as Pastor David did who God is and He will declare who you are. A child of God. A beloved child of God.

The words and tune to this song came to me as I pondered writing this blog. I think it is a perfect match.
Lyrics to You Are Here (The Same Power)
Same power that conquered the grave lives in me, lives in me, your love that rescued the earth lives in me, lives in me.

Same power that conquered the grave lives in me, lives in me. Your love that rescued the earth lives in me, lives in me. Lift it up

Same power that conquered the grave lives in me, lives in me. Your love that rescued the earth lives in me, lives in me. 

Same power that conquered the grave lives in me...., lives in me. Your love that rescued the earth lives in me, lives in me...

Same power that conquered the grave lives in me..., lives in me, Jesus your love your love that rescued the earth lives in me, lives in me.

Same power that conquered the grave lives in me, lives in me, O your love your love that rescued the earth lives in me, lives in me!

Last but not least a PS about Florida Christian Writer's Conference:
Bill and Ashley did a great job of keeping the fort while I was away, taking a continuing education/mental health day at FCWC. It is always so cool to be among the awesome writers who attend the conference and to meet authors of books that I have read. I must say Allison Bottke rocks! But then I always knew she would. Lucinda Secrest McDowell had such a unique way of ending her workshop, that she blessed me all over the place. I also attended two other workshops. One was by Dianne Neal Matthews, a devotional workshop and the other one was by Rusty Wright about Communicating Christ to the Secular Audience. They were both awesome teachers. I was really blessed how Eddie Jones really listened and told me some pointers as far as hooks using my own words in our one on one appointment. Seeing my angel friend, Margie Houmes who the Lord put in the right place at the right time for us to connect as well as Jan Powell; it really made my day. I was so proud of our own Word Weaver Volusia Ray Gant as he received his writing award and ending the day with Ken and Patricia Keough-Wilson while we watched our own former president Mark Hancock, Eva Marie Everson and Sarah Carpenter Bulls oversee the awards presentations. All in all a priceless day:)