This is our hour. We can either say, “What if…” and look ahead, or “If only…” and look back.

If only we could go to the wedding of Isaac in Florida. Such a wonderful time. Bummer!

If only we could keep on meeting as a church. Such wonderful things have been happening.

If only we could meet in person rather than over the phone. Not even close to fun.

If only he hadn’t gotten sick. Ruined all our plans.  Or…

  • What if God pours out His Spirit upon a praying church, and we see the largest ingathering the church has ever seen? Many are believing for a billion!
  • What if we are not gathering in groups of 50 or 500, but we gather in groups of two or three? Jesus still promises to be in our midst. We can call it church. So the government didn’t cancel church; they just sent it home. Wow! Great place to meet!
  • What if we chose not to be overcome by evil (a pandemic), but we overcome evil with good, as Romans 12:21 says? I can think of five or six ways that we could do that. You could too. Here’s one: put a big sign on your window that says, “Church–welcome here Sunday at 10!”
  • What if the pandemic opens up opportunities to pray for friends who are visibly afraid?

So–time to shine, Saints!  We are not being shut down. We are rising up!

“The path of the righteous is like the light of dawn, which shines brighter and brighter until full day” (Proverbs 4:18). 

“Arise shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you. For behold, darkness shall cover the earth, and thick darkness the peoples; but the Lord will arise upon you, and his glory will be seen upon you. And nations shall come to your light and kings to the brightness of your rising”(Isaiah 60:1-3).

“A man’s wisdom makes his face shine” (Ecclesiastes 8:1). 

“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 5:16). 

“Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father” (Matthew 13:43).“Do all things without grumbling or disputing, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world” (Philippians 2:14,15). Thanks, Gary Gilbertson for giving me this idea.



Okay, one more negative, and potentially the hardest, one that could have sent people like us away in disgust: “It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to their dogs” (v. 26). What is he? A racist? Is he calling her a dog? Sure sounds like it. But instead of turning and stomping away with her feelings hurt and her daughter still demonized, she said in effect, “That’s right. How about letting this dog have just a few crumbs? It wouldn’t take much.” What incredible persistence. Humble people are not easily offended, while overly sensitive people take up their offense and others as well. “A man’s wisdom gives him patience; it is to his glory to overlook an offense” (Prov. 19:11). When God offends us, when He disappoints us by not doing what we need, our wounded hearts can close themselves to His love. But not this woman.

Jesus cannot but respond to her astounding endurance: “Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted” (v. 28). God is not reluctant. He simply asks people to press in. We want to say, “If it be your will,” which matches our passive stance. Our faith easily drifts into fatalism. It resigns itself to an inferior situation rather than persisting and rising to a greater possibility. Faith, on the other hand, grabs on and does not let go. It is not demanding God, but it is seeking Him in a way that He wants us to. He is called “the rewarder of those who diligently seek him” (Heb. 11:6). The Canaanite went after Jesus in a way few Jews ever did—and Jesus memorialized her faith. 

He didn’t say, “Woman, great is your persistence.” He called her perseverance faith. Her humility and faith translated into boldness, and her little child had a powerful mother to thank for her deliverance. Most would have been gone after the first two rebuffs. She stuck around for four—and received what she came for.

The cause of demonic assault upon children sometimes rests with a parent. Perhaps she took responsibility for the attack, so she also took responsibility for the release, which Jesus granted because she would not back down. The writer of Hebrews said that “through faith and patience” we inherit the promises of God (Heb. 6:12).

Think of the lesson the disciples learned. The woman they wanted to send away was held up for her great faith. Theirs—not so great. Had they been in charge, the daughter would have remained under the power of the devil. How tragic when we allow personal irritations to rule over the will of God, and people who need deliverance must try elsewhere because of our pettiness.

We find only one person in the Gospels whose faith Jesus called “great,” this Gentile woman. She recognized Jesus as one capable of delivering her child even from a distance, apparently not even bringing her child along. And an unnamed woman of the wrong race gives us a powerful message: “Never give up—never, never, never give up!”


Jesus once told a story about a widow who persevered and received what she needed. It came from a judge who wasn’t inclined to help her. Jesus told it so that we would  “always pray and not give up” (Luke 18:1). He concluded the parable by asking this troublesome question: “When the Son of man comes, will he find faith on the earth?” (v. 8). Jesus saw many quitting as end-time pressures escalated. He was spelling faith p-e-r-s-I-s-t-e-n-c-e, and few things gave Him more encouragement than seeing it lived out. Two things moved Him deeply—great faith and the lack of it. He told a would-be disciple who had competing priorities, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God” (Luke 9:62). 

He illustrated persistence—faith for the long haul—through the host who is surprised (and food-less) by a midnight guest and goes next door. He is rebuffed by his friend who says: “Don’t bother me. The door is already locked, and my children are with me in bed. I can’t get up and give you anything” (Luke 11:7). Sounds like a ‘no’ to me. Wouldn’t that have sent you away? Not the desperate inquirer. He was not prepared to accept anything but a positive answer—and he walked away with the bread. 

I was preparing to speak to a group of pastors in Finland. As I prayed I saw a picture of people throwing in the towel. So before the message, I asked ministers to stand who had considered quitting within the last few weeks—and ten rose. I wasn’t expecting that kind of response. Pressures that did not let up made them look at their alternatives.

I ran a few marathons in my younger days. On the race that I had trained for the least, my mind kept thinking of other things I would rather be doing, like sitting in a jacuzzi. Winning the mental battle rivaled the physical pain. Giving up looked like a good option.

Now to an example of persistence that deeply impressed Jesus. He had just experienced another unsettling encounter with the religious leadership. He withdrew to the north of Galilee for a retreat with His disciples. “He entered a house and did not want anyone to know it” (Mark 7:24), but it usually didn’t work for the Son of Man to travel incognito. “A Canaanite woman from that vicinity came to him, crying out, ‘Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter is suffering terribly from demon-possession’” (Matt. 15:22). She properly identified Him not only as “Lord,” but this non-Jew called Him the “Son of David.” The Jesus we know is moved by the faith of parents on behalf of their children who struggle, especially when the cause is rooted in the arch-enemy of Christ, and especially when we are told that it is a little girl, hopelessly demonized (7:25). We expect Jesus to respond quickly. Every instance in the Gospels shows Jesus responding to such a request—but this one. Matthew says that “Jesus did not answer a word” (v. 23). Not a glance. Not a knowing nod that could say, “I am thinking about it.” Not a polite, “I’ll be with you in a moment.” Nothing. Ouch. (Part 2 & 3 coming).


I mentored a college student who lived in our home for a couple years. We had many talks while laying bricks for landscaping or putting chips along the path we got from tree trimmers in our neighborhood. We even talked about starting a business called “Chips and Bricks!” He is now an assistant pastor, and I still get to mentor him a bit when questions come up about ministry. 


“We have had several accidents/deaths happen in the past month in our church. It has caused the senior pastor and me to be running around to different families, funerals and visitations. I am not against these things, but I wonder how much the pastor should be doing. I could see burnout coming by trying and take care of everyone’s emergency while trying to write a sermon and lead a church. It feels like the sermon and the leading are taking a back seat to other issues, because my boss is rushing off to the latest disaster. How did you handle this at your church? Did you have elders doing that or did you try to do everything yourself?


I believe strongly in the plurality of elders. As pastor, I was the lead elder. I once visited Marie in the hospital. She said to me, “You didn’t have to come. Les was already here.” Les was a “layman” (we never used that word) who had a gift of caring for people. Just about everyone in the congregation knew that. The more that leaders develop leaders (in their own sphere of gifting), the less they have to do it all. Proverbs says that our gifts make room for us and bring us before great people (18:16). ” Gift-oriented ministry means that we take seriously what God has put in all people!

Peter, an especially strong leader, wrote, “As each has received a gift, employ it for one another as good stewards of God’s varied grace; whoever speaks, as one who utters oracles of God; whoever renders service, as one who renders it by the strength which God supplies” (1 Peter 4:10,11). And Paul said, “Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them; if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; if service, in our serving; he who teaches, in his teaching; he who exhorts, in his exhortation; he who contributes, with liberality; he who gives aid, with zeal; he who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness” (Romans 12:6-8).

Three things are clear in the New Testament:

  1. I got gifts; you got gifts. All God’s chil’en got gifts.
  2. One primary assignment of leaders is helping people discover and walk in their gifts.
  3. Leaders who do this effectively are more equipped to do what they are called to do–lead and love. Imagine the church where this is fully happening. I want to be a part of that church!!


School is in session 24-7.  Life is a test, an opportunity to choose God’s way rather than the way of bitterness, unforgiveness, or revenge.  Everything is useful for us, especially the difficult things, because they bring tension, which can produce growth.  We don’t have the right to be wounded when we are afflicted—we have the right to be healed. If you are stabbed and don’t feel it—congratulations; you are dead.  We want Christ-likeness in our lives, but we, like Peter, sometimes prefer the short cut, the pain-free options. There aren’t any. No skipping classes, no mail-order degrees.

We are not responsible for what people do to us, but we are responsible for our responses.  And according to author Charles Swindoll, life is 10% what happens to us and 90% how we respond to it.  You’ve heard it before–God is more concerned about what happens in us than what happens to us.  He is teaching us how to respond to Him rather than react to others.  He is after character, Christ-likeness. That is what will cause the world to pay attention.  The world is looking on and says, “See how they hit one another.” We’re not that impressive–yet.

What kind of person can return good for evil?  One who is…

  • secure in the love of God.
  • filled with the Spirit of grace.  Under the law people were permitted to get even up to a tooth for a tooth. Grace calls us to get good rather than get even.
  • quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to anger (James 1:19).
  • caring enough to know the effect of the cause, so doesn’t react to their reaction, knowing the need behind the deed and is therefore merciful.

What kind of person cannot respond in a godly manner to wrong?  Perhaps one who is…

  • too insecure to overlook an offense (Colossians 3:13).
  • wounded and not healed and therefore defensive rather than responsive.
  • full of jealousy or personal ambition (James 3:14,16).

What happens if we react to people rather than responding to God?

We stir up more anger. “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger” (Proverbs 15:1).  Reacting to evil intensifies evil. Brace yourself!

We are defiled.  Jesus made clear that we are not defiled by what goes in but by what comes out (Mark 7:17-23).  Unkindness defiles us, regardless of what has been done to us. It is not illegal to suffer wrong, but it is illegal to respond wrongly.

We frustrate the grace of God.  He wants to pour out grace upon us, but if we react in our carnal nature, we shut off heaven’s supply, which is given to the lowly.

We play God.  “Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written:  ‘It is mine to avenge; I will repay,’ says the Lord” (Romans 12:19). We try to pay people back because we want to make sure they get what is coming to them. And justice wins over mercy. God is more just than we are, and He will see that justice is carried out.  He doesn’t like it when we assume the prerogatives of deity. He says, “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink… Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good” (Romans 12:20,21).

What happens if we respond in a Christ-like fashion? (Find out in Part 3).


Dr. Klem started his class at The Master’s Institute this way: “Two important truths: First, there is a God. And second, you know less about Him than you think.” A lady who started a highly successful restaurant said, “Knowing that you know nothing is the best thing that can happen to you.”

Paul said, “If anyone imagines that he knows something, he does not yet know as he ought to know. Then he went on, “But if anyone loves God, he is known by God” (I Corinthians 8:2). Far better to be known than to know.

God was pouring out His Spirit at Pentecost, the birthday of the Church, a massively important time.  Most people didn’t know that, but they didn’t know that they didn’t know. Two responses of observers are telling: “Some mockers said, ‘They are filled with new wine’” (Acts 2:13). They thought they knew, and they were dead wrong. These men were filled with the Spirit, not with spirits. Those who thought they were out of their minds were clueless. Others asked questions instead of giving answers, a better way to operate: “What do these things mean?” Questions leave the door open to investigate more. Easy answers block off revelation from heaven.

Children learn at a rapid pace. Why? Because they know that they don’t know, so they ask questions. The older we get the fewer questions we ask and the more answers we give. We’d be better off maintaining the outlook of a child. Jesus said, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and learned and have revealed them to little children. Even so, Father, because it was good in your sight” (Matthew 11:25). Questions keep us open to truth. Answers can shut the door to more. They end with a period; questions do not. Jesus has a strong bias toward humble children rather than knowledgeable adults.

The religious experts in the day of Christ knew less than they thought. The wise men were seekers, asking the “where” question to get to the King. They got an answer, “In Bethlehem of Judea…” But the knowledge of the experts did not make them budge. They were five miles away from the greatest event that had ever occurred on the planet, and they didn’t know enough to join the wise men. Like Paul said, knowledge has a way of puffing people up (I Corinthians 8:1). They were researchers rather than searchers, and they knew very little. The wise men were on a quest. The little they knew (and they knew they didn’t know much) led them to pursue. What wisdom!

How much do you know? Are you better at questions or answers? Are you more like a child or an adult? Are you honest about what you don’t know or do you hide your ignorance behind sophistication? Here is my advice:

  • Intensify your search for Jesus. He promises that if you search for Him with all your heart, you will certainly find Him.
  • Ask good questions like, “What does God have for me now? Do I have unfulfilled dreams I need to pursue?”
  • Become more childlike in your worship. Grow in your expression of love for the Lord.
  • Exercise your faith. Find a pretension and destroy it. Take a promise and believe it. Discover a gift in someone and release it. Find a mountain and move it. Uncover a doubt and bury it. Make a commitment and keep it. Think up something childlike and do it.



“I’m starting a new hobby–procrastination. Or maybe later.”

“I am going to start believing in something. I believe in strawberry shortcake.”

“I resolve to spend more time with underprivileged kids: mine.”

Change is harder than we think. Easier to tell our spouse what needs to change. New Year’s seems like a good time to try. We chucked the old calendar. Can we toss out old habits as well? Not a bad way to think, and there’s biblical precedent for doing it on New Year’s and at other times, like…

Daily. The day started for the Hebrew the night before: “There was evening and there was morning—the first day” (Genesis 1:5).  Start the day right–when you hit the sack. Here are questions to look back and review: “Did I live for others today? Did I miss any God-appointed opportunities?” We can look ahead to what is coming and ask God for wisdom and love. We take up our cross daily (Luke 9:23).

Weekly. Each Sabbath brought a new opportunity for a Hebrew. A day of rest meant time for reflection. Worshipping Christians find an opportunity in taking Communion: “Let a man examine himself…” (I Cor. 11:28). We don’t “forsake the assembling of ourselves together…”

Monthly. Hebrews built their calendar around the moon. The Hebrew word for month (“hodesh”) means “new moon,” which brought a fresh month. Time slowed down and work ceased, bringing a chance for rest and review. Some friends take a day a month for reflection.

Yearly.  The Hebrew agrarian society harmonized with nature. Key seasons came at springtime and harvest. Feasts were holy days, marked by worship and reflection. Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, is celebrated in the fall. It gave them (and still does) a time of serious introspection, confession, and resolve, ending ten days later with Yom Kippur (day of atonement), the most serious day for repentance and renewal in the Jewish year.

The God who says, “Behold! I make all things new,” gives us the desire to make some changes as well. Businesses take inventories. We can do the same. However–

We cannot change. Resolutions fail if founded upon our ability. Paul acknowledged that willpower does not get the job done (Romans 7:15,18). Resolutions should maybe start with the confession, “I can’t.”

God changes us through the Holy Spirit.  The gospel of Jesus Christ is good news, not good advice. Jesus came because we couldn’t change. If we could, no need for the cross. God works from the inside out–by the Holy Spirit. Think about stating your resolutions as an invitation. Instead of, “I am going to exercise more,” try saying, “I am trusting You to work in me self-control.”

If we catch the cycle of change throughout the year, we don’t have to put all our marbles in the New Year’s basket. Otherwise we may cave in by Valentine’s Day. The calendar provides us with a rhythm for resolution.

One final word: who we are determines what we do. Those who only focus on the imperative, “I need to change my eating habits,” don’t get the results they want. The indicative leads to the imperative. The Christian life is more about receiving than doing. If we know we are princes and princesses, how we live follows. When we get the indicative down (who we are), the imperative (how we’re commanded to be) comes more as an invitation than as a standard. Identity drives behavior. So–remember who you are, and have a happy New Year!


…discovering the priorities of your life in God.


Dwelling, beholding, inquiring. What can be more satisfying, needful, energizing than spending time with the Lord?  The psalmist got it right–being in the Presence tops every earthly blessing. God invites us to seek Him and to see Him. Jesus likes the word “ask.” Children ask, adults answer. Live a life of dependence. What are you asking for? That will tell me what you are going after and where you will land.


Martha was taken up with serving the Lord; Mary was busy enjoying the Lord. Nothing wrong with service, but sometimes we do it out of habit, resenting those who don’t see the same need. Being with Jesus is a choice. We can be distracted by business or busyness–and miss the greater blessing. Serving God is one thing; being at His feet is another. Mary was not sidetracked by cultural mandates like her sister. She knew what she wanted and went for it! Jesus knows what we need. A healthy life means choosing well. Some choices alter our day, others change our life–and put us at the feet of Jesus.


Find out anything you have made into an idol and destroy it. God is a jealous God. He doesn’t want to be number two. He gives it all–and wants it all. Jesus is kind to point out where we have other affections, inferior priorities. Satan convinces us to fall in love with the world. Really bad idea. The rich man had some good points, but one thing kept him from following Jesus–his possessions. Riches kept him from being righteous. He loved what he possessed–and it possessed him. Good to know what you have, better to know what you lack. This man didn’t know. When he found out, it didn’t help. Ask Jesus, “What do I lack?” Healthy friends might help us.


He had been touched by the Master and could not deny it. God had done a miracle–and he was changed forever. It is good to know that we are blind, so that God can touch us and help us to see. The Pharisees didn’t know. That’s the worst kind of blindness. They will be surprised on Judgment Day. Not this man–he has a new life. We know less than we think we know. Don’t pretend you do; just stay close to Jesus!


Victims live in the past; victors move toward the future. The Israelites were going in reverse, and they never made it into their God-appointed destiny. God has a promised land for each of us. To get there, we forget what is behind, both the joys and the sorrows, and we forge ahead in faith to inherit what is promised. Prayer is not a substitute for action. Faith without works is _____.  Faith has lips–and legs! (Love this outline–don’t know whom to credit).


Routine gets bad press. Bummer. It can be passed off as boring to young adults whose lives flow in constant flux, who wait to make a commitment while they hedge their bets, who move from job to job and church to church until they find the perfect fit. Spontaneity sounds more exciting and seems to fit a jigsaw puzzle life. Or does it? Isn’t that all the more reason to discover afresh that “the sun also rises?” I’ve been telling them that their lifestyle cannot be sustained for the long haul. Marathons require different training rules than sprints.

Some are addicted to the spectacular. Can’t blame them. This generation invented flash mobs, Google, Facebook, and Instagram. What’s next? Fasten the seat belts—it’s coming!

God gave us rhythm when He created the light and separated it from the darkness, when He created the sun, moon and stars to govern day and night and determine seasons of springtime and harvest, when He gave land vegetation, “plants bearing seed according to their kinds” (Genesis 1:12).

God gave the Jews rhythm by establishing weekly, monthly, and yearly feasts. Rhythm builds remembrance and creates habits. Repetition puts truth into the mind. Jesus learned it as festivals were cycled around year after year: “When he was twelve years old, they went up the Feast, according to the custom” (Luke 2:42). Yearly trips created memory and imagination. Retelling the past was shaping the future. As an adult, He went into the synagogue on the Sabbath, “as was his custom” (Luke 4:16).

Daniel knew the rhythmic beat. When we read of his exciting life, we may not consider that those miracles were stretched out over a seventy-year span. Between the exclamation points of God’s activity was a quiet life of faithfulness marked by service and suffering in a foreign land away from country and family. He prayed three times a day, miracles or not. In between the dramas was daily discipline, sometimes with enemies spying. Rhythm made Daniel one of the most influential men ever to land on the planet.

Intentionality shapes destiny. We don’t arrive at our future by chance; it comes by Spirit-inspired decisions done over and over. An intentional appointment, according to my friend Mike Bradley, becomes a divine encounter. Routines become a way to hear from God, who met Zechariah on a routine priestly assignment, and an intentional moment produced a life-change (Luke 1:9). A spectacular Pentecost was preceded by regular prayer (Acts 1:14). God apprehended Moses while he was taking care of sheep.

“Suddenly” makes no sense on the landscape of chaos. But when placed against the backdrop of regularity, it breaks through with an “a-ha!” I love the suddenlies of the Bible: “Suddenly there came a sound from heaven…” (Acts 2:2). Suddenlies are preceded by deliberate choices. Paul tells us that the life in Christ is an ongoing focus on the priorities of the Spirit (Romans 8). Nature gives us a jolt by highlighting the routine with refreshing change. After ten days of a hot sun, a downpour refreshes us.

Don’t let the ordinary put you to sleep. It was Jesus who instructed us to say, “Give us this day our daily bread.” Daily sacrifices reminded the children of Israel that they were to walk in ongoing repentance and faith. David said, “Then will I ever sing praise to your name and fulfill my vows day after day” (Psalm 61:8). The writer of Hebrews instructed us to “encourage one another daily” (Heb. 3:13), and the Bereans “searched the scriptures daily” (Acts 17:11). Jesus told would-be disciples to take up their cross daily (Luke 9:23), and Paul said, “I die daily” (I Cor. 15:31). Sounds like a beat to me!

Rhythm builds a baseline, a standard, like the rising sun. Jesus told us to pay attention to the today of our lives, not to meddle with tomorrow. Daily disciplines invest in a preferable future. How many seniors wish they had put a few bucks aside when they were young? Little things matter—over time. Routine sets the stage for appointments with heaven, encounters not written on the calendar but inscribed on God’s heart.


On a scale of one to ten, with ten being healthiest, how would you rate your relationships?  I once asked church leaders in California how they’d rate their church. Most elders gave it a seven; I would have said four. I am sometimes humored when I ask couples how it’s going.  He says, “Fine;” she answers, “Struggling.” She’s not smiling. Doctors diagnose to determine physical health. Here are clues to relational wholeness:


Dysfunctional systems major in pretense.  “Honesty is the best policy,” but insecure people don’t want it. Pretending overshadows facing hard truth. “Faithful are the wounds of a friend,” but fragile relationships can’t handle it. Can you?  Can others risk speaking truthfully with you? Not if you’re unhealthy. Have you grown to the place where the truth (light) is not a threat but a promise. “If we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin” (I John 1:7). Satan says that if we are honest about our failures, we will be shamed and rejected. John said that we will be loved and forgiven. We will experience koinonia and the lifting of shame.


The Bible lays out processes for peaceful resolution. Some have neither the desire nor the know-how to close books by making the columns balance.  They would rather build up a deficit in the emotional bank account. When a relationship with his spouse deteriorated, Jerry viewed quitting as an easier option than confronting.

Tension doesn’t mean that something is wrong; it means that something is happening. But if we learned to treat tension as threatening, we react instead of saying, “My relationship with you is not up for grabs. How can we deal with this misunderstanding?” The light on the dashboard is our friend. It tells us that something is happening in the engine that needs our attention. If we cover it over and pretend the car is fine, get ready for a bigger problem.

When a friend in a difficult marriage went to in-law gatherings, he listened to people staying on the surface rather than dealing with painful issues. Unhealthy people avoid confrontation or do it recklessly. You need to have made investments into the relationship if you plan to make a big withdrawal, such as lovingly confronting someone. Otherwise the check bounces.


People who live by principles more than by the Spirit will tend to return evil for evil.  They want to be even-handed. People of grace are radical. They return the opposite spirit, responding to God rather than reacting to people, one mark of maturity.  A Spirit-empowered life is required to overcome evil with good. Our sense of justice kicks in when insulted, and we may choose to nurse the offense rather than forgiving the offender. Wounded people who hold onto injuries keep getting wounded. Like a sick person with no immune system, they catch everything that comes along. Healthy people have emotional immunity; resentment doesn’t stick to their soul. They don’t have emotional baggage buried deep inside, like hostility or resentment, so they don’t operate out of past hurts. They stay current and up-to-date, rather than holding onto past wounds and remaining in reaction mode. Unhealthy people don’t even know why they are reacting so much. Healing of the past could free them in the present and enable them to respond  to a spouse rather than continuing in reaction mode. And a healthy partner will give them time, space and grace to heal and will be a good forgiver!


Healthy relationships combine grace and truth in a way that builds us up. We leave the encounter encouraged.  Unhealthy relationships are often filled with sarcasm, dumping, complaining, innuendos. No investment is being made for the future.  If anything, money is drawn out without new deposits being made. Bankruptcy is not far away.

I once mentioned in the hearing of my daughter Karis, then six, that I was short on money.  She encouraged me to write out a check for some easy cash. I explained that I had to put money in to draw money out.  Unhealthy people will overdraw and go from crisis to crisis. They must learn to make good deposits in the lives of others. Love is the answer.

How are you are making good deposits into the account of your spouse? Can you be positive simply for the reason that it builds up your spouse. I did it recently when I thought a suggestion might be more appropriate. Thank God I had a good moment and poured on a few compliments when I considered a correction. Am I glad I did? Karen first texted me a wonderful response, then came into the room choked up by love. If you don’t know what to do, love is probably the answer. Like a great man once said, “Love never fails!” I have failed too many times with good advice. This time I succeeded–with love. I think I’ll try it again!