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Joy and Encouragement in Marriage

Does the love you have for each other bring joy and encouragement to both of you?

The book of Philemon is a letter that Paul wrote to a wealthy person named Philemon. While Paul was in Ephesus, Philemon heard Paul preach and became a Christian. Philemon had a slave named Onesimus who stole something of Philemon’s and ran away. He too heard Paul preached and became a Christian and then was a great help to Paul while Paul was imprisoned. The letter to Philemon was to encourage him to forgive Onesimus and receive him back not merely as a bondservant but as a “beloved brother.” Paul opens the letter telling Philemon about the joy and encouragement he brought to Paul even while Paul was in prison.

There are two key themes to the book: reconciliation and the Christian virtue of love. Paul both praises Philemon for the love he has shown to Paul and all the believers in his area, and he facilitates reconciliation between Philemon and Onesimus. Paul informs Philemon that Onesimus has been reconciled to God and his hope is that he will also be reconciled with a fellow believer.

While the story of Philemon and Onesimus can teach us much about reconciliation, I want to focus on verse 7 in Chapter 1 because there is an important lesson about love in this verse that we can apply to how we love our spouses.

How can we apply this to Christian marriage?

There is great joy in Christ-like love

Recently, we celebrated the marriage of my nephew and his bride. They were supposed to have been married back in April. However, my nephew is in the Air Force and stationed overseas. Because of COVID, the military issued “stop movement orders” and my nephew couldn’t get home. He finally got his leave approved, but he couldn’t come to the state where we live. His leaves was granted for the state just North of us. So, we went an hour north and we got those two kids married. There were hoops to jump through every time they turned around, but the look on his face as his bride entered the church made all that hoop-jumping worth it! There was great joy all over his face in that moment.

Christ-like love begins by recognizing Christ’s love for me

But for those of us who have been married for a while, we know that there comes times when marriage isn’t quite so joyful. There will be times where we hurt one another or make our spouse angry. But Christ-like love will love anyway. When I think about my own life, my sin, the times I’ve let Christ down, it amazes me that He loved me enough to endure the cross for me. But that’s is exactly how much Jesus loves me. He died for me and forgave me of my sin.

Love after the honeymoon

In the original wedding plans for my nephew he was going to have leave for a few weeks and be home a few days before the wedding and spend time with family then take his bride on an extended cruise for a honeymoon. What the military approved was only one week of leave. He was married on Saturday and left the following Thursday to return to duty while his bride remains here until all the paperwork is completed for her to join him there (which can’t be done until after they were officially married). So not only was the wedding plans quickly altered, but so was the honeymoon plans.

We all start out in the honeymoon phase where everything is “happily ever after.” But sooner or later the rose colored lenses fall off and we begin to see each other for who we really are. No matter how perfect your Mr. Right or Mrs. Wonderful is – we all have faults and flaws. And there is nothing like living together to bring them into the light! However, when we have Christ-like love for one another, we can experience joy in marriage. If you don’t feel very joyful, then consider if your love for your spouse is a Christ-like love.

No matter how perfect your Mr. Right or Mrs. Wonderful is, we all have faults & flaws. And living together to will bring them into the light! But when we have Christ-like love for one another, we can experience joy in marriage.

There is encouragement in Christ-like love

Both Onesimus and Philemon had been encouraging to Paul while he was imprisoned. As we do life together, there comes times of difficulty where we need to encourage and build each other up. Maybe its when a promotion doesn’t come through or when you feel God is answering a prayer. Maybe its when you long to begin a family, but the pregnancy doesn’t happen. Or perhaps it just when one of you have had a hard day. Whatever life throws at you, you should be each other’s greatest cheerleaders and encourage one another.

In 1 Thessalonians 5:11, Paul wrote, “Therefore encourage one another and build one another up.” In Hebrews 10, he said, “And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works.” Ephesians 4:29 says, “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.” And in 1 Peter 8-10, Paul taught, “Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. Show hospitality to one another without grumbling. As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace.”

When you’re in the tough.

Life is tough. But one of the gifts about marriage is having someone to do life with so that we don’t have to go through the tough alone.

Life is tough. But one of the gifts about marriage is having someone to do life with so that we don’t have to go through the tough alone. When I think about how Christ loves me, I’m aware that when I go through the tough, Christ is with me – He sees and He knows.

So if I have a Christ-like love for my spouse than I take the time to see and know when he is in the tough. I don’t just stand up on the solid ground and say, “Hey! I see you down there in the tough! You doing ok?” Rather, like Christ, I jump down into the tough with him and I help see him through it. I pray for him and I ask what I can do to help him. I look for ways to make life a little easier for him while he’s in the tough. And I cheer him on. Or sometimes I just sit in the tough with him and hold his hand until we get through it together.

When I think about how Christ loves me, I’m aware that when I go through the tough, Christ is with me – He sees and He knows. So if I have a Christ-like love for my spouse than I take the time to see and know when he is in the tough.

Bringing joy and encouragement back into love

Take some time to ask yourself the following questions: How much joy is there in my marriage? Do I encourage my spouse when he/she needs it? In what ways to do refresh his/her heart? Do you recognize when your spouse is in the tough or are you so caught up in your own difficulties that you can’t see his or hers? When your spouse is feeling down, what do you do to encourage them?

Bringing joy and encouragement back into love is possible. But it requires a Christ-like love that is unselfish and unending. It requires a Christ-like love that is willing to forgive and reconcile. And it requires a Christ-like love that builds one another up. Find a way to be an encouragement to your spouse today or a way to bring them an unexpected joy.

Based out of Day 232 of the book, “God, Love, and Marshmallow Wars”
by Julia M. Bruce

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God, Love and Marshmallow Wars by Julia M. Bruce

What’s Inside God, Love and Marshmallow Wars?

God, Love and Marshmallow Wars is a book that includes 365 daily activities and takes you on a guided journey through Biblical principles about Godly marriage that you can then apply to your marriage, as well as helping you talk through concepts that can help you develop a solid relationship. Inside you will find simple, quick activities that include:

  • Scripture to memorize and meditate on.
  • Conversation Starters.
  • Concepts from the Bible on Godly marriages.
  • Romance Builders.
  • Relationship Builders.
  • Personal reflections.
  • Date ideas.
  • Group date ideas for you and other Christian couples.

Available in hardback, paperback and ebook from Westbow Press Bookstore, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble. Click the icons below to purchase from your preferred bookstore. Now also available at WalMart online.

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Did you remember to read your Bible?

Today’s Spiritual Self-Care Bible Reading: October 8

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Isaiah 39-40

Philippians 4

Clicking on the Scripture links above will open a new window where you can read the scripture from the English Standard Version at Biblegateway.com or choose the Bible version you prefer to read. Check back each day to get the Scripture to read in the One Year Bible Reading Plan.

#ReadYourBible #Isaiah #Ephesians

Why is daily Bible reading important?

Bible Reading is vitally important to growing spiritually and keeping our spiritual selves full. God wants us to hide His Word in our hearts, meditate on it and apply it to our lives. When we have a plan, we are more likely to follow through. Here are eight reasons you should have a daily Bible Reading plan:

  • We can find His will for our lives
  • Bible reading is our spiritual nourishment
  • It helps us be able to discern the thoughts and intents of our heart.
  • The Bible instructs us in righteousness
  • It gives us power to overcome trials, heartaches, and sin
  • God gives us many promises, but you won’t know them unless you read about them, memorize them, and know if it’s a promise intended for us today
  • God reveals Himself to us and we learn about Him which strengthens our relationship with Him
  • He also speaks to us through His Word.

Don’t miss what God has to say to you today.
It’s time to practice spiritual self-care and read your Bible!

Practice Spiritual Self care and dig into God’s Word today to be revived and renewed!

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God, Love, and Marshmallow Wars

by Julia M. Bruce

What’s Inside God, Love, and Marshmallow Wars?

This book includes 365 daily activities and takes you on a guided journey through Biblical principles about Godly marriage that you can then apply to your marriage, as well as helping you talk through concepts that can help you develop a solid relationship. Inside you will find simple, quick activities that include:

  • Scripture to memorize and meditate on
  • Conversation Starters
    • Concepts from the Bible on Godly marriages
    • Romance Builders
    • Relationship Builders
    • Personal reflections
    • Date ideas
    • Group date ideas for you and other Christian couples

Available in hardback, paperback and ebook from Westbow Press Bookstore, Christian Book Distributors, Amazon, and Barnes & Nobel. Click the icons below to purchase from your preferred bookstore. Now also available at WalMart online.

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 Join the community of couples on Facebook who are committed to intentionally growing their marriage and learning how to have a marriage that honors God. Here you can post photos of the different activities as you do them, ask questions of other couples, share how God is using this book to strengthen your marriage, and grow with other Christian couples. We’ll see you in the community.

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Bible Reading for October 8

Today’s Spiritual Self-Care Bible Reading: October 8

Bible reading image


Isaiah 39-40

Philippians 4

Clicking on the Scripture links above will open a new window where you can read the scripture from the English Standard Version at Biblegateway.com or choose the Bible version you prefer to read. Check back each day to get the Scripture to read in the One Year Bible Reading Plan.

#ReadYourBible #Isaiah #Ephesians

Why is daily Bible reading important?

Bible Reading is vitally important to growing spiritually and keeping our spiritual selves full. God wants us to hide His Word in our hearts, meditate on it and apply it to our lives. When we have a plan, we are more likely to follow through. Here are eight reasons you should have a daily Bible Reading plan:

  • We can find His will for our lives
  • Bible reading is our spiritual nourishment
  • It helps us be able to discern the thoughts and intents of our heart.
  • The Bible instructs us in righteousness
  • It gives us power to overcome trials, heartaches, and sin
  • God gives us many promises, but you won’t know them unless you read about them, memorize them, and know if it’s a promise intended for us today
  • God reveals Himself to us and we learn about Him which strengthens our relationship with Him
  • He also speaks to us through His Word.

Don’t miss what God has to say to you today.
It’s time to practice spiritual self-care and read your Bible!

Practice Spiritual Self care and dig into God’s Word today to be revived and renewed!

Here’s what’s new in the shop this week:

Thankful Plaid Pumpkin

Our new Fall designs

Here are some of our favorite designs you can find in the shop:

  • Revive Us Again, Lord

God, Love, and Marshmallow Wars

by Julia M. Bruce

What’s Inside God, Love, and Marshmallow Wars?

This book includes 365 daily activities and takes you on a guided journey through Biblical principles about Godly marriage that you can then apply to your marriage, as well as helping you talk through concepts that can help you develop a solid relationship. Inside you will find simple, quick activities that include:

  • Scripture to memorize and meditate on
  • Conversation Starters
    • Concepts from the Bible on Godly marriages
    • Romance Builders
    • Relationship Builders
    • Personal reflections
    • Date ideas
    • Group date ideas for you and other Christian couples

Available in hardback, paperback and ebook from Westbow Press Bookstore, Christian Book Distributors, Amazon, and Barnes & Nobel. Click the icons below to purchase from your preferred bookstore. Now also available at WalMart online.

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 Join the community of couples on Facebook who are committed to intentionally growing their marriage and learning how to have a marriage that honors God. Here you can post photos of the different activities as you do them, ask questions of other couples, share how God is using this book to strengthen your marriage, and grow with other Christian couples. We’ll see you in the community.

See our other recent posts:

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Looking for a Bible Study, Bible, book or Christian gift? We are an affiliate with Christianbook Distributors and receive an 8% commission on any item purchased through one of our links. However, the commission never increases your cost of any item. View some of our favorite items by clicking on the logo and thank you for supporting our ministry.

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Be an Encourager

Jesus, the encourager

In John 16:33, Jesus said to His disciples, “I have told you these thing so that in Me you may have peace. You will have suffering in this world. Be courageous! I have conquered the world.” He knew that in the coming days when He would go to the cross all that the disciples would go through emotionally during that time. He also knew what they would face in the years ahead and how each of their lives would end, with most of them being martyred for Him. His words were meant to be encouraging to them. With each trail they would face, they could remember this moment with Jesus and be courageous as they trusted in Him.

Life and Death in the power of the tongue

Solomon wrote in Proverbs 18:21, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue.” As Jesus encouraged His disciples in John 16:33, He spoke life-giving words. What if Jesus had only said, “You will have suffering in this world” without any of the encouraging words to go with it? How motivated would the disciples have been to continue following and serving Jesus – especially after Jesus went back to heaven and Christian were being persecuted?

Trials when we are One

We all go through trials. In marriage, sometimes those trials are individual trails, such as something difficult at work. Other times they are trials we go through together such as a financial crises. However, even if the trail is an individual trial, because we have been made one in marriage, there really isn’t such a thing as going through a trail without it also affecting your spouse. Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 12:26 regarding the church, “If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together.” Just as it is true that we are all members of one Church, couples are made one through the bonds of marriage. So when one of us suffers, we both suffer.

Loving Like Christ

If we are going to love our spouse like Christ loves the church, then like Christ, we need to be encouragers to one another. We need to remember that life and death are in the power of the tongue. With every word you say, you choose to speak life into you marriage, or death. You choose to speak life over your spouse, or death. With every post on social media, you choose to speak life or death into your spouse and your relationship. With every conversation you have about your spouse with friends or family, you speak life or death into your spouse and your relationship. Being an encourager is one way we can love like Christ and speak life into our marriage.

Make time to intentionally be an encourager

Too often we get into routines and neglect to take time to notice when our spouse need to be encouraged. At times, your spouse might be holding something inside they are struggling with and if we are not taking the time to intentionally notice and intentionally encourage them, we leave them to handle a difficulty alone. Other times, you might be going through your own trial and because you are focusing on your own difficulty, you don’t notice their’s. However, if we are only focused on ourselves, we risk building tension and hard feelings towards one another.

How different would marriage be if we were more focused on our spouse than ourselves? Jesus expects us to love each other as we love ourselves. That means you need to be just as concerned about the difficult times your spouse is going through as you are your own.

Today, make an intentional effort to be an encourager to your spouse and find a creative way to encourage him or her.

Taken from God, Love, and Marshmallow Wars, Day 242
by Julia M. Bruce (Westbow Press, 2018)
Please contact us for permission to reprint or use content from this post.

#marriage #redeem #christianmarriage #beanencourager

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Everything Christian for less!

Looking for a Bible Study, Bible, book or Christian gift? We are an affiliate with Christianbook Distributors and receive an 8% commission on any item purchased through one of our links. However, the commission never increases your cost of any item. View some of our favorite items by clicking on the logo and thank you for supporting our ministry.

Christianbook Distributors Search:
Christianbook.com

What’s Inside God, Love and Marshmallow Wars?

This book includes 365 daily activities and takes you on a guided journey through Biblical principles about Godly marriage that you can then apply to your marriage, as well as helping you talk through concepts that can help you develop a solid relationship. Inside you will find simple, quick activities that include:

  • Scripture to memorize and meditate on
  • Conversation Starters
  • Concepts from the Bible on Godly marriages
  • Romance Builders
  • Relationship Builders
  • Personal reflections
  • Date ideas
  • Group date ideas for you and other Christian couples

Available in hardback, paperback and ebook from Westbow Press Bookstore, Christian Book Distributors, Amazon, and Barnes & Nobel. Click the icons below to purchase from your preferred bookstore. Now also available at WalMart online.

Westbow logo
Christian book logo
amazon logo
Barnes and Nobel logo
walmart logo


 Join the community of couples on Facebook who are committed to intentionally growing their marriage and learning how to have a marriage that honors God. Here you can post photos of the different activities as you do them, ask questions of other couples, share how God is using this book to strengthen your marriage, and grow with other Christian couples. We’ll see you in the community.

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Philemon 1:7. Joy and Encouragement in Marriage

Philemon 1:7

Joy and Encouragement in marriage

Does the love you have for each other bring joy and encouragement?

The book of Philemon is a letter that Paul wrote to a wealthy person named Philemon. While Paul was in Ephesus, Philemon heard Paul preach and became a Christian. Philemon had a slave named Onesimus who stole something of Philemon’s and ran away. He too heard Paul preached and became a Christian and then was a great help to Paul while Paul was imprisoned. The letter to Philemon was to encourage him to forgive Onesimus and receive him back not merely as a bondservant but as a “beloved brother.” Paul opens the letter telling Philemon about the joy and encouragement he brought to Paul even while Paul was in prison.

There are two key themes to the book: reconciliation and the Christian virtue of love. Paul both praises Philemon for the love he has shown to Paul and all the believers in his area, and he facilitates reconciliation between Philemon and Onesimus. Paul informs Philemon that Onesimus has been reconciled to God and his hope is that he will also be reconciled with a fellow believer.

While the story of Philemon and Onesimus can teach us much about reconciliation, I want to focus on verse 7 in Chapter 1 because there is an important lesson about love in this verse that we can apply to how we love our spouses.

How can we apply this to Christian marriage?

There is great joy in Christ-like love

Recently, we celebrated the marriage of my nephew and his bride. They were supposed to have been married back in April. However, my nephew is in the Air Force and stationed overseas. Because of COVID, the military issued “stop movement orders” and my nephew couldn’t get home. He finally got his leave approved, but he couldn’t come to the state where we live. His leaves was granted for the state just North of us. So, we went an hour north and we got those two kids married. There were hoops to jump through every time they turned around, but the look on his face as his bride entered the church made all that hoop-jumping worth it! There was great joy all over his face in that moment.

Christ-like love begins by recognizing Christ’s love for me

But for those of us who have been married for a while, we know that there comes times when marriage isn’t quite so joyful. There will be times where we hurt one another or make our spouse angry. But Christ-like love will love anyway. When I think about my own life, my sin, the times I’ve let Christ down, it amazes me that He loved me enough to endure the cross for me. But that’s is exactly how much Jesus loves me. He died for me and forgave me of my sin.

Love after the honeymoon

In the original wedding plans for my nephew he was going to have leave for a few weeks and be home a few days before the wedding and spend time with family then take his bride on an extended cruise for a honeymoon. What the military approved was only one week of leave. He was married on Saturday and left the following Thursday to return to duty while his bride remains here until all the paperwork is completed for her to join him there (which can’t be done until after they were officially married). So not only was the wedding plans quickly altered, but so was the honeymoon plans.

We all start out in the honeymoon phase where everything is “happily ever after.” But sooner or later the rose colored lenses fall off and we begin to see each other for who we really are. No matter how perfect your Mr. Right or Mrs. Wonderful is – we all have faults and flaws. And there is nothing like living together to bring them into the light! However, when we have Christ-like love for one another, we can experience joy in marriage. If you don’t feel very joyful, then consider if your love for your spouse is a Christ-like love.

No matter how perfect your Mr. Right or Mrs. Wonderful is, we all have faults & flaws. And living together to will bring them into the light! But when we have Christ-like love for one another, we can experience joy in marriage.

There is encouragement in Christ-like love

Both Onesimus and Philemon had been encouraging to Paul while he was imprisoned. As we do life together, there comes times of difficulty where we need to encourage and build each other up. Maybe its when a promotion doesn’t come through or when you feel God is answering a prayer. Maybe its when you long to begin a family, but the pregnancy doesn’t happen. Or perhaps it just when one of you have had a hard day. Whatever life throws at you, you should be each other’s greatest cheerleaders and encourage one another.

In 1 Thessalonians 5:11, Paul wrote, “Therefore encourage one another and build one another up.” In Hebrews 10, he said, “And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works.” Ephesians 4:29 says, “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.” And in 1 Peter 8-10, Paul taught, “Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. Show hospitality to one another without grumbling. As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace.”

When you’re in the tough.

Life is tough. But one of the gifts about marriage is having someone to do life with so that we don’t have to go through the tough alone.

Life is tough. But one of the gifts about marriage is having someone to do life with so that we don’t have to go through the tough alone. When I think about how Christ loves me, I’m aware that when I go through the tough, Christ is with me – He sees and He knows.

So if I have a Christ-like love for my spouse than I take the time to see and know when he is in the tough. I don’t just stand up on the solid ground and say, “Hey! I see you down there in the tough! You doing ok?” Rather, like Christ, I jump down into the tough with him and I help see him through it. I pray for him and I ask what I can do to help him. I look for ways to make life a little easier for him while he’s in the tough. And I cheer him on. Or sometimes I just sit in the tough with him and hold his hand until we get through it together.

When I think about how Christ loves me, I’m aware that when I go through the tough, Christ is with me – He sees and He knows. So if I have a Christ-like love for my spouse than I take the time to see and know when he is in the tough.

Bringing joy and encouragement back into love

Take some time to ask yourself the following questions: How much joy is there in my marriage? Do I encourage my spouse when he/she needs it? In what ways to do refresh his/her heart? Do you recognize when your spouse is in the tough or are you so caught up in your own difficulties that you can’t see his or hers? When your spouse is feeling down, what do you do to encourage them?

Bringing joy and encouragement back into love is possible. But it requires a Christ-like love that is unselfish and unending. It requires a Christ-like love that is willing to forgive and reconcile. And it requires a Christ-like love that builds one another up. Find a way to be an encouragement to your spouse today or a way to bring them an unexpected joy.

Based out of Day 232 of the book, “God, Love, and Marshmallow Wars”
by Julia M. Bruce


#marriage #GLMW #GodLoveandMarshmallowWars #joy #encouragment # love #WCM

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