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The Love Dare: Page 4

  • Day 4

    Love is Thoughtful

    How precious also are Your thoughts to me. . . . 
    How vast is the sum of them! If I should count them, 
    they would outnumber the sand. —Psalm 139:17–18

    Love thinks. It’s not a mindless feeling that rides on waves of emotion and falls asleep mentally. It keeps busy in thought, knowing that loving thoughts precede loving actions.

    When you first fell in love, being thoughtful came quite naturally. You spent hours dreaming of what your loved one looked like, wondering what he or she was doing, rehearsing impressive things to say, then enjoying sweet memories of the time you spent together. You honestly confessed, “I can’t stop thinking about you.”

    But for most couples, things begin to change after marriage. The wife finally has her man; the husband has his trophy. The hunt is over and the pursuing done. Sparks of romance slowly burn into grey embers, and the motivation for thoughtfulness cools. You drift into focusing on your job, your friends, your problems, your personal desires, yourself. After a while, you unintentionally begin to ignore the needs of your mate.

    But the fact that marriage has added another person to your universe does not change. Therefore, if your thinking doesn’t mature enough to constantly include this person, you catch yourself being surprised rather than being thoughtful.

    “Today’s our anniversary?”

    “Why didn’t you include me in that decision?”

    “Don’t you ever think about anyone but yourself?”

    If you don’t learn to be thoughtful, you end up regretting missed opportunities to demonstrate love. Thoughtlessness is a silent enemy to a loving relationship.

    Let’s be honest. Men struggle with thoughtfulness more than women. A man can focus like a laser on one thing and forget the rest of the world. Whereas this can benefit him in that one arena, it can make him overlook other things that need his attention.

    A woman, on the other hand, is more multi-conscious, able to maintain an amazing awareness of many factors at once. She can talk on the phone, cook, know where the kids are in the house, and wonder why her husband isn’t helping . . . all simultaneously. Adding to this, a woman also thinks relationally. When she works on something, she is cognizant of all the people who are somehow connected to it.

    Both of these tendencies are examples of how God designed women to complete their men. As God said at creation, “It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him” (Genesis 2:18). But these differences also create opportunities for misunderstanding.

    Men, for example, tend to think in headlines and say exactly what they mean. Not much is needed to understand the message. His words are more literal and shouldn’t be overanalyzed. But women think and speak between the lines. They tend to hint. A man often has to listen for what is implied if he wants to get the full meaning.

    If a couple doesn’t understand this about one another, the fallout can result in endless disagreements. He’s frustrated wondering why she speaks in riddles and doesn’t just come out and say things. She’s frustrated wondering why he’s so inconsiderate and doesn’t add two and two together and just figure it out.

    A woman deeply longs for her husband to be thoughtful. It is a key to helping her feel loved. When she speaks, a wise man will listen like a detective to discover the unspoken needs and desires her words imply. If, however, she always has to put the pieces together for him, it steals the opportunity for him to demonstrate that he loves her.

    This also explains why women will get upset with their husbands without telling them why. In her mind she’s thinking, “I shouldn’t have to spell it out for him. He should be able to look at the situation and see what’s going on here.” At the same time, he’s grieved because he can’t read her mind and wonders why he’s being punished for a crime he didn’t know he committed.

    Love requires thoughtfulness—on both sides—the kind that builds bridges through the constructive combination of patience, kindness, and selflessness. Love teaches you how to meet in the middle, to respect and appreciate how your spouse uniquely thinks.

    A husband should listen to his wife and learn to be considerate of her unspoken messages. A wife should learn to communicate truthfully and not say one thing while meaning another.

    But too often you become angry and frustrated instead, following the destructive pattern of “ready, shoot, aim.” You speak harshly now and determine later if you should have said it. But the thoughtful nature of love teaches you to engage your mind before engaging your lips. Love thinks before speaking. It filters words through a grid of truth and kindness.

    When was the last time you spent a few minutes thinking about how you could better understand and demonstrate love to your spouse? What immediate need can you meet? What’s the next event (anniversary, birthday, holiday) you could be preparing for? Great marriages come from great thinking.

    Today's Dare

    Contact your spouse sometime during 
    the business of the day. Have no agenda 
    other than asking how he or she 
    is doing and if there is anything 
    you could do for them.

     

     I thank my God in all my remembrance of you. (Philippians 1:3)

     Click here to buy a copy of the Love Dare book.

     

    Material taken from The Love Dare by Stephen and Alex Kendrick, copyright © 2009 by B&H Publishing Group. Used by permission.  Unauthorized reproduction in any format is strictly prohibited by law.

     

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10 comments
  • 2
Samantha Greer
Samantha Greer Thank you. I really needed this reminder.
February 4, 2016
  • 1
Sylvia Todd
Sylvia Todd God bless, Samantha!
February 4, 2016
  • 2
Mark Duell
Mark Duell Amen. I think this devotional is the best description I have ever read that describes the differences between men and women. And how we should respond. This is not something you learn over night either. It's a life long growing process that you try to get better at day after day. Some learn quicker than others. But we must remember to listen to our Master Teacher. Without Him it's all in vain.
February 5, 2016
  • 1
Sylvia Todd
Sylvia Todd Amen, brother! Dion and I definitely have the single-tasker/multi-tasker dynamic happening. Our heavenly Father has it all though, and if He is at the center, He will help round us out and give us the discernment we need!
February 5, 2016
  • 3
Dion Todd
Dion Toddedited: February 5, 2016 Yep, I tend to focus on one thing at a time like a laser, while Sylvia prefers working on her laptop, watching netflix, texting on her phone, and checking facebook on her ipad all at the same time. 
February 5, 2016
  • 3
Jeffrey Smith
Jeffrey Smith One of the greatest prayers the Lord ever taught me, was simple. Lord, allow me to see my wife the way you do, in Jesus name.  When I prayed that prayer, I started to see my wife in a new way,and all of the expection that I had put on her left, and what was left over was a desire to simply love her. Through Jesus, all things are possible, and when we allow the Lord to teach us to love one another, thoughtfulness becomes the fruit of the love of God in each of us. 
February 5, 2016
  • 2
Sylvia Todd
Sylvia Todd That is beautiful, Jeff, amen!
February 5, 2016
  • 3
Lola Todd
Lola Todd As I read the Love dare challenge and how I react to my husband I have decided to be more direct and to the point and help him understand what it is I need from him and, help him to know how I feel without getting angry at him in the way he speaks but saying to him I would appreciate it if you could just speak to me in a different way and help me to better understand where he is coming from with out yelling or getting upset because I don't understand what he has just said to me, because for over 32 years I have been giving my all trying to be the back bone of the family taking what ever he gives to me and except it, then I am the one ending up hurt and crying at the end of the day, today I made a change in how I think so I will feel better and not be so upset.
February 5, 2016
  • 1
Sylvia Todd
Sylvia Todd Father, I lift up Lola to you and pray that you please speak clearly to her and guide her steps in regard to her marriage. Please grant her open doors, provision and strength, in the name of Jesus, amen <3.
February 6, 2016
  • 1
Deborah Alexander
Deborah Alexander Totally Awesome message
February 6, 2016