The PDF EBook version of Marriage from Roots to Fruits is now available.
The print version will be ready sometime in April. I am giving way 8 copies of the print version on GoodReads.com.
Do any of these describe your experience with marriage?
Marriage from Roots to Fruits brings much needed hope to couples who are at a point of despair and intense emotional pain. It is filled with practical tools and real life examples to encourage couples along the path of healing and living victoriously. You will learn details of God’s design for a healthy relationship while experiencing how deeply God knows, understands, and cares about the struggle that can come with marriage.
Marriage is God joining together a man and a woman, loyal to each other for life, who each contribute distinct but equally important abilities towards the completion of a fruitful mission greater than can be accomplished apart.
Unfortunately, a marriage license does not mean we are ready or competent enough to marry. If we continue to think and feel like a single person, we will remain single on the inside even though, outwardly, we are married. How many people have plunged ahead into marriage without a clue? What would happen if no one was required to pass a test for a driver’s license before getting behind the wheel?
Whether you are single, engaged, single-again, or married, this book is for your personal growth. This book is especially for you, if you:
God created you with a blueprint which establishes not only your identity (His end-in-mind for you as a work of art) but also your growth journey (the step-by-step plans). However, your experiences with the darkness of this world, sin, and the enemy deface the blueprint and leave you disoriented. A marriage at its best provides an encouraging companion who helps you discover your true identity. But without God, marriage becomes a place of fear and self-doubt.
In Marriage from Roots to Fruits, you will learn:
This book contains unique counseling insights with strong biblical applications. Pastors and counselors can use it to help couples prepare for marriage as well as heal existing marriages. It is also applicable for married couples who feel okay about the relationship they have, but want to have a stronger and deeper relationship with God and each other.
This book is designed with 52 short lessons which include:
Christian Concepts is please to announce that Matt Pavlik’s first book, Marriage From Roots To Fruits, will be published April 2015.
While there are no specific steps to take to change, there are specific steps to position yourself for optimal change.
There is a difference between knowing facts and experiencing the facts in a loving relationship with Christ. Knowing the facts does not change you. It is only head knowledge. But it is an important step. Before we open ourselves up to something, we need to know what we are opening ourselves up to.
We live in a fallen world, so there are distractions that can block our ability to see and hear from Christ. So the next step in the process is to intentionally remove as many of these distractions as possible. Think in terms of all of your senses. Remove clutter that is visually displeasing. Remove noise. Remove smells. Remove temptations.
With negatives removed, add positives. Go to a scenic, peaceful place. Or, if this is not practicle, imagine a peaceful place where you feel safe. You might light a scented candle. You could put on some soothing music. Consider anything that helps you relax.
You may now be ready physically, but not spiritually. Say a simple prayer to give Jesus permission to be present and share with you what He knows is needed. Search your heart – be prepared to share what you find there.
Whatever you find in your heart, bring it to God through your feelings. Even if you have negative feelings about God – He wants to hear those too. Come as you are. If you do experience persistant anger or other negative feelings about God, make a note of these for a later time. Consider counseling to sort through these feelings.
At this point, you have done all you can do, except to wait with anticipation. Believe God wants to speak to you. Again, if you do not believe this, make a note of it so you can dig deeper into why. It might help to remember step one. Think of some scriptures that affirms God accepts you and wants to speak to you. Come to God in faith believing these are true. Allow God to speak to you. What you start thinking about is likely not a coincidence. Trust God is directing your thoughts. Allow your mind and heart to be a blank canvas and give Jesus permission to write and draw on your heart.
3 “Let love and faithfulness never leave you;
bind them around your neck,
write them on the tablet of your heart.
4 Then you will win favor and a good name
in the sight of God and man.
5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
6 in all your ways submit to him,
and he will make your paths straight.”
“1 I waited patiently for the Lord;
he turned to me and heard my cry.
2 He lifted me out of the slimy pit,
out of the mud and mire;
he set my feet on a rock
and gave me a firm place to stand.
3 He put a new song in my mouth,
a hymn of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear the Lord
and put their trust in him.
4 Blessed is the one
who trusts in the Lord,
who does not look to the proud,
to those who turn aside to false gods.
5 Many, Lord my God,
are the wonders you have done,
the things you planned for us.
None can compare with you;
were I to speak and tell of your deeds,
they would be too many to declare.”
Forgiveness is hard work. It is especially hard to forgive when you are still living with the effects of an offense. Yet, there can be an even worse place to be. When you are the offender, you have to live with something irreversible you did to someone else. What if you feel blocked from experiencing true forgiveness for what you have done? These four steps will help you forgive yourself.
It is important to look at what has happened. This is the same as the first step in forgiving others. Identify how reality is different – what could have been? Identify what is lost as a result of your actions. Accept responsibility for what you did. Initially this may be hard to do and you may actually feel worse. But it is a necessary step because there is no going back to the past to undo something, there is only moving forward.
It is appropriate to feel sorrow or remorse for a short period of time. This is an essential part of handling a loss. Even if the primary loss was someone else’s, you have lost something too. Until you can forgive yourself, you will lack some degree of security. Spend some time being aware of your feelings. Express feeling sorry for what you have done. This could be journaling, talking, or perhaps even yelling or some other method to expend your energy (all of this done without hurting anyone). Accept what was lost as lost. Spent an appropriate amount of time grieving. This might be anywhere from a couple of days to a couple of months.
Surrender your fate into God’s hands. Ask God to forgive you. Trust in God’s grace and mercy for both the offended and for you. Trust that God is able to make up for your mistake in a way that only God knows is best. Pray for the person you offended. Pray that God will bring them to a better place than before you hurt them. Even if this is not God’s will, this is a good heart attitude. The offended will not be able to return to their pre-offense state, but God will make it right. God may bless the offended person sooner, or the offended person may continue to suffer for some time. Either way pray that the offended can sense God’s presence and find peace and acceptance of their new reality. If God does not appear to make up for your mistake, trust that God is in control and knows something you do not.
Be willing to be a part of God making it right. Make restitution if possible (but only if the offended wants this). Having done what you can do to make restitution, leave the rest to God. Drop the weight. Cut the strings. Leave the luggage. Stop punishing yourself. Walk away from it. Allow yourself to pursue enjoying your life again. Get on with your life. Rejoice that you are forgiven. Having learned from your mistake, be a blessing to others. Be ready to forgive others in the same way you have received God’s forgiveness. If you continue to struggle to forgive yourself, realize you have not fully received God’s forgiveness. Return to the gospel message and receive complete forgiveness. Start life anew with a blank canvas.
“But you are a God of forgiveness, Gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in loving kindness.”
“If anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One.”
The heaviest thing you’ll carry
Is a load of guilt and shame.
You were never meant to bear them
So let them go in Jesus name.
Our God is slow to anger
Quick to forgive our sin
So let Him put them under the blood
Don’t bring them up again.
Cause He’ll just say,
What sin, what sin?
Wikipedia defines judgment as, “the evaluation of evidence in the making of a decision.” Matthew 7:1 says, “Do not judge, or you too will be judged.” At first glance it would appear we should avoid all judgment. Even looking further in verses 3 – 5 we can see even more reason to avoid judging others. However, as we will see the Bible acknowledges judgment as necessary. Therefore, “do not judge” in Matthew 7 has to do with the motivations of the heart when judging, not an absolute prohibition.
Judgment is a necessary part of life. God is Judge and all fair judgment begins with God. In 1 Corinthians 6:1-6, we find that God’s people will judge the world and angels. Right judgment is empowered by the Spirit. The Spirit gives wisdom and discernment. Solomon was the wisest person ever to live. He judged between many people. His succeeded because he had God’s gifting.
Judgment brings order and maintains peace. We make judgments (discernments) all the time. It is what helps us make good decisions. We decide which job to take, which person to marry, which house to buy, etc. As parents we judge between siblings all the time. Godly discernment is a good thing.
Bad judgment has sinful motives. A person giving bad judgment may do so to look better. A critical spirit is always wrong; it seeks the destruction of the other. One sign of bad judgment is that the person has not first considered how their judgment applies to their self. If this is done first, they will be more humble when seeking to correct a brother. I think this is why we are cautioned when restoring someone, so we don’t also fall into the same trap (see Galatians 6:1-10). If we don’t realize we have weaknesses we can be tempted and sin like the person we are helping restore.
Bad judgment tears down. Good judgment restores, corrects, and builds up. Make judgments. But make them with your eyes wide open. Make judgments by the Holy Spirit. Keep in mind you might not be called to speak out your judgment. If you do, speak the truth in love.
“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.
“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.
“Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces.
If any of you has a dispute with another, do you dare to take it before the ungodly for judgment instead of before the Lord’s people? Or do you not know that the Lord’s people will judge the world? And if you are to judge the world, are you not competent to judge trivial cases? Do you not know that we will judge angels? How much more the things of this life!