Encourage one another

“Encourage each other every day while it is ‘today.’” Hebrews 3:13 (NCV)

Most of you have to juggle a lot of important roles in your life. You’re a colleague, a parent, a family member, or a friend to someone. But if you’re married, God has given you another incredibly important role: to be your spouse’s biggest fan. It’s a job only you can do in the way God desires—and your spouse desperately needs you to do it.

Every person on the planet needs to be affirmed by someone on a regular basis—including your spouse. It’s how God wired us. More than likely, affirmation was part of your marriage in the beginning. You probably wouldn’t have married each other if it wasn’t. But like so many other parts of a growing marriage, affirmation often fades over the course of time.

The Bible says in Hebrews 3:13, “Encourage each other every day while it is ‘today’” (NCV).

But how do you encourage each other? What should you affirm in your spouse?

Here are some practical ways to affirm someone. They’re great tips for marriage and for any close relationship.

  1. Affirm their value.

One meaning of the word “appreciate” is “to raise the value of something.” You raise the value of other people when you appreciate them. As you appreciate your spouse, you raise their value and the value of your marriage. Proverbs 12:25 says, “A word of encouragement does wonders!” (TLB). A word of encouragement will do wonders for your marriage—or any other relationship.

  1. Affirm their strengths.

You bring out the best in your spouse when you point out their strengths, instead of focusing on their weaknesses. Choose to be a dream builder, not a dream buster. We ultimately become what other people see in us. No person in your spouse’s life can impact their self-identity—and ultimately their future—like you can.

  1. Affirm the role they play.

You and your spouse make your own unique contributions to the world. Let your spouse know how much you appreciate the role they play. Cheer them on and help them see the impact they’re making.

You have an incredible opportunity to impact your spouse’s self-understanding. You can use that opportunity to either build them up or tear them down. It’s your choice. And it’s one of the most important choices you’ll make for the health of your marriage.

Choose to intentionally build up your spouse, today!

Adapted from an article by Rick Warren

Lunch with God

A little boy wanted to meet God. He knew it was a long trip to where God lived, so he packed his suitcase with a bag of potato chips and a six-pack of root beer and started his journey.

When he had gone about three blocks, he met an old woman. She was sitting in the park, just staring at some pigeons. The boy sat down next to her and opened his suitcase. He was about to take a drink from his root beer when he noticed that the old lady looked hungry, so he offered her some chips. She gratefully accepted it and smiled at him.

Her smile was so pretty that the boy wanted to see it again, so he offered her a root beer. Again, she smiled at him. The boy was delighted! They sat there all afternoon eating and smiling, but they never said a word.

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Where there is great love, there are always great miracles!

One morning as I neared the hospital where I worked, I noticed a frail, stooped, elderly man hurrying in the same direction. I wondered where he was going in such a hurry and at such an hour. I also questioned whether it was safe for him to be out alone in his obviously poor state of health.

Later that day, I was surprised to see the same man walking down a corridor in the hospital. I found out he had always enjoyed helping other people, so one day he had come to the hospital and offered to work as a volunteer. He comes two mornings each week to work in whatever way he is needed. He enjoys the interaction with the staff, the patients, and their families. By helping others, he has been able to forget his own health problems. In giving of himself, he has found a new lease on life and a new reason to get up in the morning.

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Perhaps our image of shepherds and their sheep has been formed from some of the most famous, godly shepherds in the Bible, ones like Abel, Abraham, Joseph, Moses, King David, and our Good Shepherd, Jesus.

But that picture hides a less-known fact about Christmas.

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Pass it on

A touching story…bear with it, please.

He was driving home one evening, on a two-lane country road.  Work, in this small community, was almost as slow as his beat-up car. But he never quit looking.  Ever since the factory closed, he’d been unemployed, and with winter raging on, the chill had finally hit home.

It was a lonely road.  Not very many people had a reason to be on it, unless they were leaving.  Most of his friends had already left.  They had families to feed and dreams to fulfill.   But he stayed on.  After all, this was where he buried his mother and father.  He was born here and knew the country. He could go down this road blind, and tell you what was on either side, and with his headlights not working, that came in handy.  It was starting to get dark and light snow flurries were coming down.  He’d better get a move on.

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