Category Archives: Character

If You Have Nothing Nice To Say…

speech

Brushing up on communication skills is one way that we can enrich our relationships and learn to maneuver the waters of difference. There are several things we can do to accomplish this end. If you examine yourself, you will find areas in which you have used sarcasm to express your dissatisfaction with your mate. Sarcasm, no matter how fluent you may be, is not an acceptable form of communication. Early in our marriage, my wife made it clear to me that I had a great gift for tearing her down with the turn of a phrase—humorously of course. In my marriage, and I hope in yours, the goal is not to inflict pain on my mate.

My entire life I had been praised for my sharp wit and cutting remarks. In the secular world this ability drew people to me by virtue of what today I consider a communication defect. As I drew closer to God, I felt conviction about this.

When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal Or take ships as an example. Although they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants to go. Likewise the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole person, sets the whole course of his life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.   -James 3:3-6

James makes no understatement about the damage that can be done by a tongue that is out of control. This tiny body part can destroy people with words of anger and hate. This is why itis imperative to examine what comes out of our mouths, for the destruction can be devastating to marriages and family.

Do you think before you speak? Do you consider the consequences of your words? Often times when we are slow to apologize we are quick to speak. Why do you think that is? When one understands the importance of humility it is easier to tame the tongue. Would you consider yourself a humble person? Would your spouse? What tends to trigger your outbursts? What changes need to be made to better control your emotions and your loose tongue?

©2014 Eric A. Disney, Marriage by Design

Ready to Reactivate Your Marriage? Click on the “About the Book” tab to learn more about Marriage by Design: The Keys to Create, Cultivate and Claim the Marriage You’ve Always Wanted

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Filed under Character, Communication, Emotions

Give Yourself to God, He’ll Clean Up the Mess!

clean up

For me, certainly one of my major battles involved harnessing what came out of my mouth.  In all honesty I have not yet arrived.  I am still a work in progress…but I’m in good company.  On more than one occasion I had attempted to stop on my own to no avail.  It was clearly evident that I need help greater than myself.  You see, people thought my insults, rudeness and sarcasm were funny.  If God healed me from this would people still like me?

Needless to say, since having asked God to temper my tongue, I no longer care about the acceptance of the world. What God thinks of us is far more important. In displaying God to our families, we should do our best to emulate Him. Men, as the spiritual leaders of our households, that is our obligation.

From the minute we wake up in the morning to the moment we close our eyes at the end of the day, plenty of people and circumstances have the potential to tear us down if given the opportunity.  Ask yourself: do I want to contribute to the “tearing down” process, or would I rather be a part of the edification process? Our marriages need to be the place where we build up and strengthen each other against the arrows of the world.

Are you assessing your behaviors as you interact with the world?  Are you learning to tame your tongue and gather yourself before you respond out of emotion?  Are you examining your motivations and responses aimed at your spouse, or are you simply taking everything personally? It is not just an issue of what words come out of our mouth; we also need to consider what we allow into our minds. External influences can have a great impact on what goes on in our minds, which in turn impacts the words that come pouring out of our mouths.

…whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.-Philippians 4:8

Have you asked God to show you how to better tame the critical spirit and breed a heart of understanding and edification?  What is the potential of such a transformation in your marriage, in your life?

God allowed me to retained my sense of humor through the process yet has filtered my communication in such a way as to be more edifying to others.  But again, I am still a work in progress and try to be more intentional about my behaviors, He continues to clean up the mess.  Thank you, Lord!

©2014 Eric A. Disney, Marriage by Design

Ready to Reactivate Your Marriage? Click on the “About the Book” tab to learn more about Marriage by Design: The Keys to Create, Cultivate and Claim the Marriage You’ve Always Wanted.

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Filed under Behavior, Character, Communication, Leadership, Male Leadership, Respect, Restoration, Submission

Bless with your Blessings – A True Display of Thanksgiving

thanksgiving

A very important aspect of relationship is selflessness.  This may seem like an odd topic to discuss at this Thanksgiving holiday season.  It is a common thought that being thankful involves gratitude for the things that we have been given throughout the year.  Yes, this is true, but sometimes we forget that the best way to show our gratitude to the one who has given us the most is through giving back.

Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously.  Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.  And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.          -2 Corinthians 9:6-8

Often we too easily forget the warmth and satisfaction that comes to us when we have the opportunity to help someone that is truly in need.  Certainly our goal in helping others should not be motivated by what we can get out of it.  However, the natural occurring consequence of doing what is right produces a contentment that surpasses any emotional response.  Essentially we plant the seeds of joy in our soul.   Remember, we are called to be joyful even when facing trials.  This scriptural observation verifies for me that joy is not something as fleeting and inconsistent as an emotion.  Joy is something deeper, a foundational inner-contentment.  Such selfless action is truly a gift that we can be grateful for.

Out of the most severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity.  For I testify that they gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability. Entirely on their own, they urgently pleaded with us for the privilege of sharing in this service to the saints. And they did not do as we expected, but they gave themselves first to the Lord and then to us in keeping with God’s will.   -2 Corinthians 8:2-5

If we understand that all we have is a blessing from God, it does not seem unreasonable to give back to Him a measly 10 percent, known as our tithe, when he is allowing us to keep 90 percent. Tithing goes back to the church to support a wide variety of ministries and expenses that benefit others.  Remember, a very important aspect of relationship is selflessness.  It’s time to start investing in others if you are not doing so already.

Giving back to your church is only one way for you to bless and be blessed.  Not all of your giving has to go back to the church you attend.  I am sure that there are organizations that have instilled a passion in your heart and are worthy of your support.

I have yet to hear from anybody who is a consistent giver that they have not been able to make ends meet at the end of each month.  Quite the contrary, usually God meets their need far beyond their wildest expectations when they are good stewards of their money.  Keep in mind that blessings do not just come in the financial variety.  We serve a faithful and trustworthy God. Sometimes we just need to give him a chance. You will find that you can’t out-give God.

Final note, Giving is not just monetary.  Give love.  Fill your home with compliments, compassion, forgiveness and kindness unlimited.  In doing so, this will produce an abundance of things to be thankful for.

When we bless with our blessing, we will be blessed.  So remember, gratitude goes both directions!

Blessings to all of you and your families and God bring you peace and abundance.

Eric A. Disney

©2015 Eric A. Disney, Marriage by Design

Ready to Reactivate Your Marriage? Click on the “About the Book” tab to learn more about Marriage by Design: The Keys to Create, Cultivate and Claim the Marriage You’ve Always Wanted.  It’s a thoughtful Christmas gift for any couple’s in your life.

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Filed under Behavior, Character, Finances, Giving, Selfishness, Thankfulness, Thanksgiving

Pornography (Part II): Exposing the Sin

secrets

You may think that you are good at concealing your indiscretions, but think about it. Is there a more common story than that of the child who comes across his father’s pornography collection while riffling through his dresser drawers? God has a way of exposing sin, one way or another. Children typically have high regard for their parents. If they believe that you think pornography is no big deal, rest assured they too will participate in your sin.  We will continue our journey through sexual sin as we shine the light of truth on three more consequences of pornography.

Fifth, pornography develops like any other addiction. You see it time and time again in counseling. When you participate in an activity that elicits excitement, a chemical called dopamine is released. Over time, in order to reach that same level of excitement, more and more stimuli is necessary because you develop a tolerance to it. This is true with all addictions. Now it becomes necessary to up the ante. As you become more dependent on outside stimuli for excitement, you become less dependent on, and derive less enjoyment from, your spouse.

 Sixth, the more you become dependent on pornography, the less attractive and more insecure your spouse will feel—and rightfully so. You will naturally compare your spouse to the people in the pornography. You may not do it verbally, but you will do it in your mind, and your mate will be very aware of your increasing lack of interest in them. The reality is that people don’t look in real life the way they do in pornography! They have been made-up, touched-up, airbrushed, and inflated beyond reality.

One more reason if you need it. Your ability to communicate with your spouse and others will steadily decrease. It’s easy to have a relationship with something that doesn’t require anything of you.  What do you think that does to a marriage over time? If you are involved in pornography you don’t need to be told.

In all of this we’ve said nothing of the secrecy and deceit often accompanied by the use of pornography, constantly looking over your shoulder hoping not to get caught.

If you need any more reasons why pornography is destructive to your marriage, put this book down immediately and go to your secret hiding place. Remove and destroy your pornography collection.  Get down on your knees, ask forgiveness, and repent of this behavior.

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” -Philippians 4:8

Regardless what you may have done (or are doing) we serve a God of restoration.  Find accountability with someone you trust and plug into the helps available in your community and your church.  Ask God to change your heart and begin the road to sexual discipline.  Be blessed!

Website Filters and Accountability: Covenant Eyes: www.covenanteyes.com & X3watch: www.xxxchurch.org

©2014 Eric A. Disney, Marriage by Design

Ready to Reactivate Your Marriage? Click on the “About the Book” tab to learn more about Marriage by Design: The Keys to Create, Cultivate and Claim the Marriage You’ve Always Wanted.

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Filed under Accountability, Behavior, Character, Idolatry, Pornography, Respect, Restoration, Sexuality

Pornography (Part I): From Thought to Action

Shame

Pornography is a very dangerous practice to bring into your marriage for a variety of reasons.  I will spend this and the subsequent post dissecting the destruction created when you place your own sexual desires above God’s will.  It is important to remember that every decision we make has ramifications in our relationships, marriage and family.  We will focus on seven consequences of pornography, whether you introduce it into the marriage or partake in it as your “secret sin” (Remembering that there are NO secrets from God).  Let’s have a look at the first four, shall we.

 First, it creates a fantasy problem.  We introduce other people into our mind, heart, soul, and relationship. Now there is plenty of fodder to fantasize about people other than your spouse.

 Second, there is the moral question of partaking in pornography.  The actors/models who perform in these videos or photos are damaged themselves.  Many struggle with insecurity and their own need for acceptance.  To an overwhelming degree, they come from painful pasts.  By supporting this industry, you encourage more of that behavior, as well as participate in the degradation of precious people who were created in the image of God—created for great things.

 Third, ask yourself the question, “How would I feel if I found out that my son or daughter were in a porno magazine or video?”  We can become so desensitized that we don’t even view these performers as human beings.  They all have parents too.

 Fourth, anything that you partake in has consequences.  These consequences can pass down and influence the behavior of your children.  Remember, if your children think you are okay with a certain behavior, odds are they will do it in excess.

You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments. -Exodus 20:5-6

In what ways do you feed your sexual sin?  What exactly are you feeding? (insecurities, fear of intimacy, difficulty in communication, etc.)   Are you already reaping the consequences of your behavior?  If this is a “secret sin”, have you considered what might happen if you were exposed?  In spite of the fear and consequences, how do you justify the behavior?

If this is a hindrance in your relationships I encourage you to take it to the Lord, from Him comes strength.  There are counselors and groups that deal specifically with issues of sexual addiction.  You don’t have to take the journey alone.

We will continue our exploration of sexual sin in my next post.  Be Blessed!

©2014 Eric A. Disney, Marriage by Design

Ready to Reactivate Your Marriage? Click on the “About the Book” tab to learn more about Marriage by Design: The Keys to Create, Cultivate and Claim the Marriage You’ve Always Wanted.

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Filed under Accountability, Behavior, Character, Idolatry, Pornography, Respect, Restoration, Sexuality

Marriage Defined – Part IV

Being an example

Marriage is a public demonstration of Christ and the church to people who may never set foot in church. Your marriage sets an example to others. If you are cultivating and bathing your marriage in spiritual disciplines, the difference will be very clear to others. They may not understand why the difference, but they will see the difference. Your example should pave the way to explaining the “why” to those who would inquire. Your relationship should be a testimony of what Christ has done in your life, I’m not talking about perfection, I’m talking about putting forth the effort. Does your marital walk match your spiritual walk?

Marriage is designed to be an honorable endeavor.

“Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral. Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; nor forsake you.”  Hebrews 13:4-5

Do you set an honorable example? Do you display integrity in your relationship? Are you a man or woman of your word? We demonstrate great hypocrisy if we teach and proclaim a certain set of moral or ethical values, yet behind closed doors we do not live up to those beliefs. How much more troubling when we represent God to the world around us yet lead a double life of selfish desire. The person who acknowledges the damage pornography can have on a marriage but continues to gratify themselves on the Internet does not display godly integrity. Again we come back to the example we are setting in our marriage: an example to our children, our families, and the world.

©2014 Eric A. Disney, Marriage by Design

Ready to Reactivate Your Marriage? Click on the “About the Book” tab to learn more about Marriage by Design: The Keys to Create, Cultivate and Claim the Marriage You’ve Always Wanted

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Filed under Character, Marriage Defined

Reflection at the Resurrection

resurrection

Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them.  For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.                       1 John 2:15-17

When we look at some of the most important values as defined by God, what do we find? They include self-control/discipline, humility/lowliness of self, and good stewardship which leads to generosity of our resources. This set of scriptures hits hard and calls for some self-examination. When we align our values with God how do you measure up?

Are you defined by your impulsiveness? Quick to speak and slow to listen, careless in your personal prayer life and Bible time, are you on a constant quest to fill your cravings with what the world has to offer. How much of your time and resources are dedicated to quelling our personal desires. Is the lack of balance a common symptom in your life. Strike One!?

Do you justify your own selfishness by your sense of entitlement? Does your schedule have a greater priority than your service to God? Do you spend all of your time at work to feed your need for accolades? Has your family/children taken a back seat because their expectations and needs do nothing to elevate your sense of self? Whenever we come to the point that our own personal comfort outweighs the needs of others, we have forgotten what Jesus came to teach. Strike Two!?

Have your hobbies become more of an occupation? Does tithing consist of the few odd coins that you place in the basket as the plate comes around on Sunday morning? Does your the accumulation of material things fill you more readily than knowing how missionary support impacts the needy. Do you find yourself seated in a casino with little regard for how your family bills will be paid? Strike Three!?

If you struck out, take a moment as we approach the upcoming Resurrection Day. Easter is the day that we celebrate the risen Christ. He is alive and so is His word. Jesus came to this earth to teach his Father’s values. However he did so much more than just teach, he demonstrated. Just because you struck out does not mean that the game is over. Don’t pout on the bench because you didn’t measure up! Jesus understands your failings, yet he still wants you in the game. He is very much alive and gave his all…for you! Let this Easter be your resurrection as you remove your death garments and let him lay on your shoulders the garment of righteousness.

 The world can have the world. You can have so much more. Be blessed this upcoming Easter and always!

©2014 Eric A. Disney, Marriage by Design

Ready to Reactivate Your Marriage? Click on the “About the Book” tab to learn more about Marriage by Design: The Keys to Create, Cultivate and Claim the Marriage You’ve Always Wanted.

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Filed under Character, Easter, Selfishness

Count on Accountability

accountability

A young man, early in his career, served as a sales representative for a prominent firm. One of his jobs was to travel to all of his accounts and make sure that everything was running well. As a man, he knew how he was wired, so he created a defensive battle plan. He asked a good friend to hold him accountable because he knew that the odds of participating in questionable behavior when he was hundreds of miles away from home increases. Satan loves to whisper to us, “Nobody out here knows you. How could you possibly get caught?”

Some of his accounts were located in sin city, Las Vegas, and once every six weeks or so he was obligated to travel out there and spend the night. His plan was simple. His friend would call him at about eight o’clock on the evening of his arrival, after he was tired and alone in his hotel room—also a time of potential vulnerability. He chose as his accountability partner a friend he respected and would not lie to, someone he trusted and whom he gave permission to speak truth into his life. Over the course of the two years of having to face this temptation, he was absolutely successful, praise God. Accountability is important to both men and women. Just as important is to continually wash your mind with the Word and meditate on what Scripture has to say.

Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry.  ~Colossians 3:5

Ask yourself, who do you give permission to speak truth into your life? Who have you designated as your accountability? We are placed together in fellowship to help and lift up one another. Who do you lift up?

©2014 Eric A. Disney, Marriage by Design

Ready to Reactivate Your Marriage? Click on the “About the Book” tab to learn more about Marriage by Design: The Keys to Create, Cultivate and Claim the Marriage You’ve Always Wanted

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Filed under Accountability, Character

Lead From Character

Character Qualities

Interestingly, God does not lead from his position of authority, he leads from his character. Many of these qualities we are called to emulate as his creation. However, some of God’s character qualities are not passed down to his creation, including omnipresence (is everywhere), omniscience (all-knowing), and eternal (always existed and not bound by time).

Some other attributes, including wrath and jealousy, do not show that God loves us any less. The fact that he detests sin only serves to prove that he wants what is best for us. He knows what sin produces in his creation. As with any good father, just discipline is the consequence of a child’s bad behavior. Character attributes that we can experience include wisdom (Job 12:13), faithfulness, truth (Titus 1:2), mercy (Exodus 34:6), grace (Romans 3:23-24), patience (Psalm 103:8), peace (1 Corinthians 14:33), and righteousness (Deuteronomy 32:4) to name a few.

God offers us free will, the choice to follow his lead and live out these character qualities. As most of us do not respond well to dictates, God leads from the characteristics that show his love, grace, and mercy. As Christians we are called to share God and his Word in love, the way Jesus did. As husband and wife we are called to personify those same characteristics that God shows in his love for us. I would hope that the men can see further implications with regard to being the spiritual leader of the home.

How have you been measuring up? For men, as a spiritual leader, what are your “strong” points? What are your “weak” points? For all in positions of leadership, describe your “strong” and “weak” characteristices as well.  What reasons would any of you give for your “weak” areas? What prevents you from turning them into “strong” areas?  How can you remedy this problem?

©2014 Eric A. Disney, Marriage by Design

Ready to Reactivate Your Marriage? Click on the “About the Book” tab to learn more about Marriage by Design: The Keys to Create, Cultivate and Claim the Marriage You’ve Always Wanted

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Filed under Character, Leadership

Being Thankful – A Messy Business

Thankfulness

As Thanksgiving rapidly approaches many of us contemplate the blessings we have received. For some it’s a time to remember that in spite of the economy, they are still employed. Other are in peak physical shape, grateful to be healthy and strong. Some stare into the faces of their sleeping children, thankful for the blessings their little ones have brought to their lives. It’s also a time to thank all your dear friends for being such an influence in your life, for speaking truth and for investing in you their love and concern. Perhaps your current relationship has so grown and enriched you that you could never consider being with another, your mate has flown you to the pinnacle of happiness. You have been blessed with great financial gain allowing you to do things that you use to only dream about. Others are so incredibly blessed that they have been approved for the home that they have always wanted. So many blessings!

What about the rest? What about the father of the family of four that has been laid off? What about that middle-aged woman who just yesterday received a cancer diagnosis? How about those couples who have been trying to have children for years but live out their disappointment in silent misery? Perhaps the year has been littered with the passing of friends and relatives, who will fill the holes left in their hearts? The neighbor’s wife has filed for divorce leaving him devastated. A kindly store owner is going through the throes of bankruptcy, about to lose everything that she has devoted her life to, what about her? What do they have to be thankful for?

Why do we, who have been so blessed, take that momentary pause to reflect on what has been bestowed on us? Why do we take the blessings for granted? Take that moment and change your focus. If you have been blessed, thank God for what He has done for you. Focus outward, let God use you to bless someone else. Yes, as a Christian, we know that God works through the good and the bad in our lives. So many of the hardships we endure are a consequence of the state of our fallen world. Some don’t “feel” God’s presence, for others He is a complete stranger.

“We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” -Romans 8:28

Don’t lecture those in strife, help them. You know people right now who are suffering and experiencing trials. Are you ready to get messy…and not just today? Are you willing to invest your giftings, your money, your time, your love in blessing the rest of God’s creation? Are you ready to demonstrate God’s love whether they know Him or not. You can be that example. Let others see the difference in you that only God can make. Live it, don’t just talk it! I challenge you, look around, can YOU give others a reason to be thankful? I trust that you will not have to look far for that answer.

Yes, be thankful, not just Thanksgiving day, everyday!

Blessings to all of you and your families and God bring you peace.

Eric A. Disney

©2014 Eric A. Disney, Marriage by Design

Ready to Reactivate Your Marriage? Click on the “About the Book” tab to learn more about Marriage by Design: The Keys to Create, Cultivate and Claim the Marriage You’ve Always Wanted.  It’s a great gift idea for those couple’s that are close to you.

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Filed under Character, Thankfulness, Thanksgiving