VISIŠKOS LAISVĖS PAŽADAS

THE PROMISE OF TOTAL FREEDOM

Life is about relationships. From your marriage to your family and friends, everything in our lives is built around relationships. At the center of that is our relationship with God, who designed us for community.

That's the good news: Relationships are part of God's plan. He uses relationships to bring us joy and happiness. The bad news is that sin has made us imperfect people, and those imperfections can damage our emotional health which then has a significant impact on our relationships.

You're not going to be happier than your ability to enjoy your spouse or get along with other people. In other words, the level of your personal happiness and personal satisfaction depends on your relationships, and the level of your relationships depends on your emotional health.

When Karen and I got married, we were not emotionally healthy people. We were young, immature, and emotionally devastated. We loved each other. We were attracted to each other and wanted to spend the rest of our lives together. But we fought constantly. We were the walking wounded. Both of us came out of dysfunctional homes where our parents didn't know the Lord (though they eventually came to Christ). As a result, Karen thought she was ugly. She was full of self-hate and believed God hated her. I've never known a person who had lower self-esteem than Karen. 

I was messed up, too, with my own self-esteem issues. I tried to cover these up by being macho and acting like I didn't have any problems. It made me hesitant to admit weakness, to show emotion, or to have any kind of intimate conversations with her.

The result was a marriage that was damaged from the beginning. We were like two porcupines trying to love each other. Every time we got close to each other we caused pain. So we would back away, try to heal up, and then approach each other again only to encounter the same hurt, time after time.

Our emotional baggage was destroying our ability to build a healthy relationship with each other. We had too much individual hurt in our lives to share ourselves with another person. It even impacted the way we related to God. We almost divorced because our emotional health was so compromised.

God only healed us when we admitted those issues and began the process of dealing with them, rather than ignoring them or burying them. The emotional healing process took us years because we didn't know what we were doing.

Psalm 107:20 says, "He sent His word and healed them, and delivered them from their destructions." God ministered to Karen and me through His Word, and He can minister to you, too. He can heal you and deliver you from the things that are hurting you, harming your relationships, and damaging your marriage.

Before anything else, you must admit those hurts to God and open your heart to Him. Let Him begin the healing process. He'll help you release negative emotions, take captive your negative thoughts, and bring you total freedom from your pain. When He does, your life and marriage will never be the same.

Jimmy Evans
Founder & CEO of Marriage Today

 

 

 

 

 

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BAIMĖS AKIVAIZDOJE

FACING FEAR

No one can escape fear, it is a feeling that everyone experiences, no matter how big or small you are. Fear is both beneficial (positive) and harmful (negative), which we would all like to avoid. Good fear protects our lives, provides vigilance and wisdom on how to protect ourselves; and the negative paralyzes, depresses, and takes away the strength and determination to move forward.

Interestingly, we live in the safest times, when medicine, science, and education are as advanced as they have ever been before. But even now, scientists studying the 21st century speak and write that this age and today’s culture is the most intense time of fear. Fear arises from not knowing the answers to fundamental human questions: what is my past? Who am I now? What awaits me in the future? The outlook for the future is extremely vague for man today, with so much talk about global warming, uncontrollable diseases and uncontrollable viruses, an unprecedented economic downturn and so on. What awaits us in the future? What awaits our children? How much longer can this land live? What will happen tomorrow and in 30 years?

Unfortunately, no science or doctors have answers to these questions. At this point, I would like to emphasize that this era is not only the age of the greatest progress, but also the age of the greatest disbelief. When so strongly attached to new inventions, technologies, and the power of the mind, which is not in itself any evil, human nature, its purpose, and the importance of believing in God as the Creator and authority of the universe are mentioned and forgotten here. Lack or absence of faith causes the growth of fear and ignorance in the lives of all of us, which leads to increasing manifestations of anxiety attacks, fear, depression. The only faith in God, His Word, His sacrifice on the cross, His childish hope can overcome and dispel all oppressive fears. We must not forget that man is created for communication with God, such is the purpose of our life - to be and talk to our Creator every day, to communicate on all matters of concern to us. Trust him more than a doctor or teacher, a neighbour or even a friend.

Faith arises from reading God's Word and grows through regular abiding in Him and close fellowship with God in prayer. The great men or women of the faith recorded in the Bible experienced many fears and hardships, but their gaze did not stop there: Abraham, who later became the Father and example of the faith of all Jews and Christians, trusted in God's call, left the safe land of his fathers and went into the unknown, only believing the promise that God will show, “The Lord said to Abram, ‘Leave your land, your kindreds, your fathers' houses, and go to the land which I will show you. And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and you will be a blessing” (Genesis 12: 1-2). Anointed by the prophet Samuel to be king, David was persecuted for many years and hid in caves from King Saul, suffering many wrongs and losses, so he wrote, “I sought the LORD, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears” (Psalm 34: 4). “The LORD is my light and my salvation: what shall I fear? The LORD is my strength: and why should I tremble?” (Psalm 27: 1). When the people of Israel were spoiled, and suffered in fear, then God said to them: “But now, this is what the LORD says - he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: ‘Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze’ “ (Isaiah 43: 1-2). In all situations, God came and supernaturally saved those who trusted in Him.

Today God has remained and is doing the same - He wants to help every wounded or frightened heart, to answer your biggest questions and fears, to give hope where there seems to be no hope left. Jesus says, “I have not come to destroy life. I came to the rescue. I came to liberate. I came not to take away life. I came to have life, to have it in abundance.”

My only understanding is that in the face of my greatest fears, I must choose faith in Christ, who is in control of everything and can resolve and control any situation; can give me hope and a way to act even in the most unpredictable way. Instead of fear of tomorrow, the economic crisis, my family or children, and perhaps the future of the country, I choose communion and prayer with God, and He provides heavenly peace and supernatural security for an unpredictable tomorrow and a fragile future. In the face of our greatest fears, let us delve into God, His Word, His nearness – from there comes true peace, wise decisions, and victories. "Ye that fear the LORD, trust in the LORD; He is your help and your shield” (Psalm 115: 11).

Jūratė Kapačinskienė

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KAIP IŠGYVENTI FINANSINĮ STRESĄ

SURVIVING FINANCIAL STRESS

Perhaps the most devastating aspect of the Coronavirus crisis isn’t the virus itself but the financial fear and devastation it’s creating. As people watch their 401k’s dwindle away and many jobs are in jeopardy, the financial stress millions are feeling is overwhelming. The current economic crisis is definitely something very unique, but financial stress in marriage has been a hurdle for couples to overcome since the very beginning.

Even before the current economic crisis began, I read a report that listed “financial stress” or “disagreements about money” as one of the top two reasons for divorce. Financial pressure can certainly squeeze a husband and a wife in some very unique ways, and if the couple can’t find unity around a financial plan, money troubles can become a wedge that drives them apart. Financial stress is a factor in almost every marriage at one point or another, and how you choose to deal with it can make a tremendous difference in the long-term health of your relationship.

Ashley and I can relate to this in our own marriage. In recent years, we’ve been unified in our financial goals, but in the early years, our lack of a financial plan created immense stress. We were young and in love and we naively thought love alone was enough. We learned the hard way that credit cards aren’t the same thing as money and debt takes away freedom. We didn’t experience anything like the “Coronavirus economic collapse” happening today, but the storms we weathered in our finances were still one the greatest challenges we’d ever faced.

Digging our way out of financial debt from our early years of marriage took time and it took a disciplined plan, but most importantly, it required unity. Ashley and I had to resolve to be on the same page when it came to money (and everything else for that matter). In retrospect, I’m thankful for those early, hard lessons, because working through them together actually strengthened our marriage.

We still feel the pinch of financial pressure at times, because as kids get older, they keep getting more expensive! When the pressure comes or an unexpected bill shows up in the mailbox, we try to take a deep breath and remember the hard-earned lessons from early in our marriage. We also feel it in times like these where there’s such widespread economic uncertainty.

If you are in a season of financial pressure caused by the recent financial collapse (or any other factor) in your marriage, please remember these principles. I believe they could help your marriage as much as they’ve helped mine. In no particular order…

  1. Remember that your spouse is always more important than your money.

First and foremost, you’ve got to remind yourself and remind each other that the marriage is more valuable than any financial matters. You can’t put a price tag on your marriage or your family, so decide in advance that money struggles won’t come between you.

  1. Fight for unity instead of fighting against each other.

Decide that unity is more important than “winning.” We all have a desire to “win” which essentially just means getting our way. In marriage, it’s never worth getting your way at the expense of your spouse. You’re on the same team, so you’re either going to win together or lose together. Work to develop a set of goals where you both can win. You will both most likely have to give up some wants and some preferences along the way, but those minor sacrifices are well worth the investment into the health of your marriage.

  1. Eliminate debt.*

The Book of Proverbs in the Bible is full of practical wisdom related to money. Proverbs tells us that debt is a form of slavery because it removes our freedoms, so we should avoid it, and if we’re in it, we should relentlessly work to get free of it. Dave Ramsey’s “Financial Peace University” book and/or course is a great resource to help you start the process of getting out of debt and truly finding financial peace in your marriage.

* Note: In this season of financial crisis many are feeling, you can give yourself the freedom to take care of basic necessities and start paying off debt when you’re able. Make sure you’re prioritizing food, shelter and other basic necessities in your budget first. These are unprecedented times and you don’t have to add unnecessary extra pressure to yourself by trying to pay off all your debts when you are struggling to buy basic necessities. You WILL get through this. You can re-evaluate the plan once the storm has passed.

  1. Develop a plan and stick to it.

The word “budget” can be a scary word if you’ve never really had one before. Don’t look at a budget as a prison, but as a path to freedom. It’s pre-deciding what the family’s primary needs and desires are and then allowing your money to reflect those values without getting distracted by that shiny new thing at the mall. Make sure your plan includes saving because having a cushion of savings will help prevent future stress. The free app called “Expense Manager” is a great resource to help you get started with a plan.

  1. Communicate with your spouse about all financial matters.

As a quick clarification, fighting is not the same thing as communicating! Talk to each other about what’s coming in and what’s going out. Keep each other in the loop about all unexpected purchases. For Ashley and me, a policy we’ve stuck to for years is we’ll call or text each other if we’re making any unexpected purchase over $50 just to keep each other in the loop. Communication shows respect and brings unity.

  1. Never commit “Financial Infidelity.”

Infidelity doesn’t necessarily mean a sexual affair. That’s one extreme form of unfaithfulness, but there are others including financial infidelity. The word infidelity literally means “broken trust.” Don’t break your spouse’s trust by hiding financial transactions or hiding money from each other. This form of dishonesty will prove to be devastating to the overall trust and unity in the marriage. If you’ve been guilty of this, confess it to your spouse and work together to create more trust and transparency in the marriage.

  1. Remember that God owns it and you just manage it.

One of the Bible’s most liberating and counter-cultural teachings on money is that “your money” isn’t really yours. God owns everything and He has given you the ability to make money and the responsibility to manage those resources well. Remember that it’s all His will remove our sense of entitlement and free us to live with generosity and with an eternal perspective instead of a temporary one. It will help us pass up on some of those impulse purchases that can create debt. Remember whose it is and remember whose YOU are too. You are a child of God with limitless, eternal value and your “net worth” has nothing to do with your “self – worth.”

The bottom line is that money will be an opportunity to grow closer in partnership with your spouse or an excuse to grow apart from your spouse. It’s really all up to you. These lean times most of us are experiencing can actually be an opportunity to grow closer to your spouse and closer to God as you learn to live with less temporarily and show gratitude for the simple blessings all around you. Don’t let financial stress steal your joy! Life’s greatest blessings can’t be measured in dollars.

Dave Willis from "Marriage Today"

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LYDERIS. KOKS JIS?

LEADER. WHAT IS HE LIKE?

In the world leader conference booklet, it says that everyone can influence others. But do we think of ourselves in that sense? Can everyone be leaders, is everyone born with leadership qualities and do we have enough of them even if we are born with them?

With these questions in mind, we’ll try to find out when and where do successful leaders emerge. And if we all can change the world; how do we do it? It is important to understand that a leader on its own would not be good or successful if they didn’t have a team that is led by them.

Even looking at the small children running outside in the garden, playing with others we can tell which one is their leader and which are following the direction and just having fun. However, is leadership purely an attribute of personality or could it be that by implementing the right parenting style it can be uncovered and shine through even in an insecure child?

Craig Groeschel the founder and senior pastor of ‘Life Church’ says that by improving our character we can become good leaders that others are drawn to follow. So even if you are overbearing in nature, you still need to self-educate on how to be a great leader.

Here are a few examples of what people are drawn to and grows trust in a leader:

  1. An open heart that is caringthat doesn’t forget to tell people how much they matter, that they are appreciated and cherished. Don’t be afraid to say this, show it with your actions and rejoice together. No matter where you are influencing – your family, school, work, church or anywhere else.
  2. Passion for encouraging and inspiring others. Positivity and faith that together you can achieve different goals is a necessity in this day of age. Even when everything is going smoothly a good leader will hear the people out, will be invested and will encourage and empower others on the journey. It is important that we as leaders would have a specific mission and would live by values that align with our actions.
  3. Desire to empower. A leader will either control or will encourage growth and let others take the wheel. Unfortunately, you either control or trust and one of them will take the win. By delegating tasks, we nurture followers, by delegating power we are nurturing leaders. Ask yourself, whether you are prone to control or to delegate.
  4. Courage to be vulnerable. This quality most of the time is mistaken for weakness but people are looking for true leaders; not someone that is always right but someone that isn’t afraid to be themselves, vulnerable, honest, sincere, open and courageous. Maybe they don’t have all of the answers, but they are not afraid to open up and show that they are sensitive.
  5. Open to new ideas and proposals. Intellectual monopoly isn’t reserved just for leaders so a wise leader will always be open to new ideas and proposals. A great idea can be conceived by any member of the team and a great leader won’t miss out on a great opportunity, he will discuss it with the team and make it come to life. When you’re successful in your work are you prone to take all the glory or share it with the whole team? And when you are happy about an achievement do people around you celebrate it with you?
  6. Authenticity – the heart of leadership. A leader that is aware of who they are, not afraid of embracing it, grounded in their personality and skills is someone to admire and aspire to. Of course, a great leader will still remember to nurture and use their team’s authenticity and will allow members to use their strengths. In a scenario like this one both parties, the leader and the team feel good and use their unique potential to achieve a common goal.
  7. Determination. This quality is needed when making decisions. Sometimes they need to be made quickly and sometimes you need to consult your team that can help find the best choice by bringing in their perspective into the mix.
  8. Risk-taking. If we aim to be successful, we can’t be afraid to take risks. Faith or fear will win over but to take a risk doesn’t mean you won’t feel the fear it just means that you will still face it and bravely take a step forwards.
  9. Learning from mistakes. Mistakes make you grow, and people learn from it far more than from their successes. Mistakes can be the best asset that a leader can have. Great leaders know what mistakes they have made, they admit them and can openly talk about them, they will apologize take responsibility, and required actions to fix the mistakes.

As we ponder on these individuals’ personal qualities, we can become righteous leaders both in our lives and in our loved ones. Walking with God, who is the first example of an amazing and appropriate leader, I believe, we will overcome many difficult choices and trials, which In result leads to influence, a changing environment, and people's hearts, changing the world.

Jūratė Kapačinskienė

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PADĖKITE! MANO SUTUOKTINIS ŽIŪRI PORNOGRAFIJĄ

HELP! MY SPOUSE IS WATCHING PORN

Porn is a HUGE problem for many marriages today. Nearly every day, I receive messages from husbands and wives who are heartbroken over their spouse’s porn habit. They are desperate to figure out what to do next to help their spouse break their habit and restore the trust and intimacy that has been lost in their relationship. I am no stranger to this situation, as I have shared with you in other blogs many times. So, what are we supposed to do when we find out our spouse has a porn habit? Well, it’s a process, and these six steps are a good start:

1. Try to stay calm.
"Calm your anger and abandon wrath. Don’t be angry— it only leads to evil." (Psalm 37:8)
When you find out that your spouse has been looking at porn, it’s easy to want to freak out on them. But, that won’t get us very far; in fact, it will only make things worse. Sure, we have every reason to be upset and angry, and it’s healthy to let tears flow. However, we can’t allow rage to get ahold of us by staying angry. Instead, we must pray and ask God to give us peace that surpasses understanding. We must also ask God to give us the words to talk to our spouse about this issue and ask Him to prepare our spouse’s heart and mind to be ready to confess and address their porn habit. When we pray, God calms our spirit and gives us a clearer view of how we need to approach a situation.
So, please know that it is okay to be angry and heartbroken over this. What your spouse has done is wrong and goes against your marriage. However, your ability to calmly address the issue will pave the path for their recovery and the restoration of your marriage.

2. Recognize that porn is an enemy to your marriage, and address the issue as soon as possible.
"But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart." (Matthew 5:28)
The porn industry is a juggernaut. They bring in more revenue than all the major television networks combined. And, they’ve got sinful human nature on their side. Any of us can fall to this temptation if we aren’t careful. For years, the porn industry has tried to convince the world that porn is simply a way to spice things up in your relationship or a means to satisfy your sexual appetite. They want us to believe that it is harmless, but this couldn’t be farther from the truth.
Studies have shown that porn desensitizes us over time, and therefore, it takes more and more to satisfy our sexual appetite. That is precisely why it is detrimental to our marriage. We are nearly incapable of being sexually satisfied by our spouse when our porn habit rules us.
So, if you find porn on your spouse’s computer, and they confess to having a porn addiction, both of you must call porn what it is–sin and an enemy to your marriage. You can’t brush it off and act like it will go away on its own. A porn habit left unchecked often becomes a full-blown addiction. Therefore, you both must address it head-on and work together to get your spouse the help they need to overcome the habit.

3. FORGIVE your spouse quickly.
"You are the people of God; he loved you and chose you for his own. So then, you must clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Be tolerant with one another and forgive one another whenever any of you has a complaint against someone else. You must forgive one another just as the Lord has forgiven you." (Colossians 3:12-13)
It was St. Augustine, who said, “Holding a grudge is like drinking poison and hoping the other person dies.” Isn’t that the truth? When we refuse to forgive, we are the ones who hurt the most. Consequently, our relationships remain stagnant. For healing to take place, we must forgive.
Your spouse broke your trust by looking at porn, but holding it over their head won’t heal them or your marriage. Forgiveness is what makes healing possible.
Forgiving your spouse for their porn habit doesn’t mean that you are okay with what they did. It just means that you are willing to pursue healing over vengeance. You are willing to give them a chance to rebuild your trust.

4. Help your spouse to have accountability.
"Without counsel, plans fail, but with many advisers, they succeed." (Proverbs 15:22)
This step is essential to breaking a porn habit or addiction. My husband and I are big fans ofXXXChurch.comwhich offers amazing resources and accountability software to help people recover from their porn habit and heal their relationship. There are also a lot of resources for those trying to cope with their spouse’s porn habit and recovery. You can even talk to someone on the phone who can walk you through this by enrolling in online support groups.
Whatever you do, make sure you both take measures to hold them accountable when it comes to their porn addiction. This may mean that your spouse doesn’t have access to their smartphone or home computer for a time. Your spouse may need to join a support group for those trying to recover from a porn habit. They may even need to start seeing a Christian counselor regularly, as well. Any or all of these steps will help your spouse to move towards healing, and as their spouse, you can encourage them to get the help they need.

5. Know that your spouse’s porn habit is NOT your fault.
"But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire." (James 1:14)
When I found porn on my husband’s computer many years ago, I was shocked and heartbroken. I couldn’t believe that he was looking at those disgusting sites. I was so angry and hurt, and I started to feel inadequate. I wondered why he had felt the need to look at porn, and I felt like I was the one to blame. All these negative thoughts started filling my mind telling me that I wasn’t pretty enough, or sexy enough, or good enough to satisfy my husband. I blamed myself.
As I have talked with many women in this same predicament over the years, I’ve realized this is a common sentiment. As spouses, we so long to be desirable to one another. So, when we find out that our spouse has sought out sexual satisfaction through pornography, we feel completely undesirable. It stings deeply. Sometimes, we need to sit down and talk to a counselor to process.
Please know that you did nothing wrong. You did not lead your spouse to develop a porn addiction. It’s not your fault–it’s sin. We live in a sex-saturated world full of sinful opportunities, and your spouse, like mine, fell for it. As human beings, we aren’t perfect. At times, we are easily tempted, and we fail miserably. We get caught in webs we didn’t even know we were actively weaving before we’re completely entangled with no easy way out. The good news is, we serve a God of second chances. He doesn’t leave us to suffer in shame and despair. He offers us forgiveness, healing, and new life through Jesus.

6. Remember that recovery and healing takes time, prayer, and patience–but, it will come when you both refuse to give up.
"He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds." (Psalm 147:3)
Though it’s not easy, you must try your very best to be patient with your spouse’s recovery process and your emotional healing. You may have mixed feelings about being intimate with your spouse after finding out that they have a porn habit, and that is understandable. Take it little by little. Talk to your spouse about how you are feeling, and ask them how they are feeling, too. Keep the dialogue going, and this will help you both to stay connected and move towards healing. There is hope for your spouse to recover from porn. Your heart will heal, and your marriage and intimacy will be restored through prayer, patience, and persistence to pursue healing through these steps. You are not alone.

By Ashley Willis
Minister of "MarriageToday"

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PRIEŽASTIS, KODĖL ESATE KARTU

THE REASON YOU ARE TOGETHER

“Did God put you together?” When I ask that question of a married couple, they almost always say yes. Then I ask “Why did He put you together?”

I get blank stares.

We believe God made us for each other, but many of us have no idea why. Helping couples discover God’s purpose for their marriage is one of the things I am most passionate about. It can absolutely transform your relationship.

Here are three things I want you to know:

In five years, you will not be the same.
Better or worse, you’ll be different.

Success happens on purpose and never by accident.
To reach a certain point in your marriage, you’ll have to work at it.

In marriage, success only happens if you’re both committed to the same purpose.
Amos 3:3 asks “Do two walk together unless they have agreed to do so?” If you’re not in agreement, your marriage—the longest journey of your life—will be a constant challenge.

Keeping those facts in mind, I want you to know that finding the purpose for your marriage means starting with the big questions. Not “Where will we live?” or “How many kids should we have?” but “Why are we here?”

The answer is simple. God created us for relationship, to have a relationship with Him and a relationship with each other. This is reflected in Jesus’ teaching about the two greatest commandments: to love God and to love people. Relationships are why we exist, and He wants us to have successful relationships.

On the other hand, the devil wants to destroy relationships by either separating us from God or separating us from each other—especially from our spouse. Satan is always trying to divide.

One way he divides is by separation.
We see this in Genesis with Adam and Eve. God put them in a perfect paradise, but Satan convinces them that God was evil. He accuses God. He tries to divide Adam and Eve from God. And by speaking first to Eve, he divides Adam and Eve from each other.

He does this to couples today in so many different ways.

The second thing the devil does is substitution.
He shows the fruit to Adam and Eve and tells them they didn’t need God; they only need the fruit. Today, He makes us believe things will make us happier: money, a new job, a new spouse. He is always trying to get us to substitute things for our marriage or for God.

Separation and substitution are the Devil’s schemes for marriage. But God’s plan for marriage is relationship—to bring us closer to our spouse, and to bring us closer to Him. His plan for our life is that we love Him and love people, especially our family.

Satan’s plan is to make us lonely and divided and always unsatisfied. We end up chasing after things.

God’s plan is for us to pursue Him and pursue relationship. The opportunity to love God and each other is the reason God put you together. It doesn’t get any more complicated than that.

Jimmy Evans
Founder & CEO of Marriage Today

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