Sunday, January 17, 2010

Mother in Zion Series - #1


The other day I was awakened by a phone call from a new wife and mom who was desperate for help in her marriage. As I began to minister to her, she made a comment to me that struck me as being a significant, yet, deficient need for wives all over the world. Her comment was,...
"No one has ever told me that before!"

That's when I realized the dire need for "spiritual mothers" - like myself - to share personal knowledge that, perhaps, was never offered by natural mothers; either because of their own personal failures, or, because of their lackadaisical approach to mother/daughter discussions. For this reason, I am offering this Mother in Zion Series which is dedicated to bullet point, practical tips that I pray will help wives - both young and old - to cultivate a healthy marriage that will truly make it until "death do us part."

Practical & Biblical Advice for a Healthy Marriage - by Deborah Ross

#1 - Your mate comes before your children. NEVER allow your children to come between you and your spouse. Remember, a healthy marriage makes the children happy because their confidence will be increased when they live in peace knowing that mom and dad love each other, have respect for one another, and express appropriate affection toward each other. Plus, children learn by example. As you and your spouse show forth a selfless, unconditional love that gives high priority to times of privacy, hand holding, hugging, laughter, and respect for one another, your children are learning what a healthy marriage looks like; and, they will more likely aim to have a healthy marriage - like yours - for themselves one day. Children can be very demanding and while we should aim to be great parents, we should never let our marriage suffer from the pressures of parenting.

Song of Solomon 6:3 - "I am my beloved's, and my beloved is mine: he feedeth among the lilies."

#2 - Do not get into the habit of sleeping in separate beds. It is not healthy for married couples to sleep separately. So often, I hear of parents sleeping with the children rather than sleeping with each other. In my opinion it is better to make pallets beside of mom and dad's bed occasionally (when children are fussy, afraid, or have a fever) rather than slip into the habit of sleeping in the children's bed -apart from one another.

1 Corinthians 7:5 - "Defraud ye not one the other, except it be with consent for a time, that ye may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again, that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency."

#3 - Never go to sleep angry. Husband and wife need to come to a place of peace before going to sleep. This may mean that YOU will need to apologize. You may even have to apologize for something when you feel like you are in the right. The goal is not to win, but rather to have a reasonable discussion over conflicts and then to come to some type of peaceable solution at the end of the discussion. If your mate is not being rational about coming to a peaceable climax, then simply finish with... "I love you."

Ephesians 4:26 - "Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath:"

#4 - Facebook, email, text, phone conversations, and on the job relationships should never be of intimate nature with the opposite sex. In other words, if you would be embarrassed for your spouse to see it or hear it... don't do it! Also, if you are carrying on a conversation that has any implication of being intimate in nature... run the other way! Many marriages end in divorce because of jealousy or even adultery simply because couples fail to adhere to sound practices concerning relationships with the opposite sex.

Proverbs 6:24 - "To keep thee from the evil woman, from the flattery of the tongue of a strange woman."

#5 - You must be INTENTIONAL about your marriage. This means, you must intentionally carve out date nights, time for intimate conversations, times of selfless servant hood and sacrifice. Couples need to hold a high respect for their common goal of making it "until death do us part" with a relationship that is exciting and new... not old and worn out. Be intentional about spending quality TIME with each other. Don't let the busyness of life rob you of the precious moments with your spouse that bring lasting memories of love and laughter.

Proverbs 31:11-12 - "The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil. She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life."

#6 - Time with your friends (of the same sex) is a good thing in moderation, however, too often I hear of women or men taking "vacations" with their friends - leaving their spouse behind. An occasional church retreat is OK, but an all out "vacation" at the beach, Vegas, the Bahamas, or somewhere else is not a wise idea. My grandmother always taught me, "What is good for the goose is good for the gander." If you reserve the right to go with your friends on a vacation without your spouse, then they should be able to go on one without you. Is that what you really want? I feel that vacation money and vacation time is too precious a commodity to spend away from my family. Plus, many of these "vacations away from your spouse" end up being opportunities to sin. Why throw your marriage out to the wolves. Marriage is a sacred thing and should be treated as something valuable. Let me remind you that no one ever intends to get a divorce. Divorce happens when someone in the marriage is careless in the relationship.

Ecclesiastes 3:1 - "To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:"

#7 - Watch your mouth! Don't use sarcasm, degrading verbiage, slander, bad body language or negative vocal tones toward your spouse. Be intentional about complementing your spouse - especially in front of others. Get into the habit of encouraging your spouse. Never tear them down. No one has ever been motivated by negativity. If you want to see your spouse be all that they were created to be... encourage them!

Proverbs 18:21 - "Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof."

# 8 - Pray together... OUT LOUD. There is something about praying together as a married couple that creates a bond like none other. It may feel awkward, at first, but start to initiate bedtime prayer with one another and watch as God causes your marriage to bloom like never before. The saying is true... "A family that prays together, stays together!"

2 Timothy 1:3 - "I thank God, whom I serve from my forefathers with pure conscience, that without ceasing I have remembrance of thee in my prayers night and day;"

#9 - Sex is a vital part of your relationship as man and wife. Women should meet the need of their husband by responding to them with interest. Men need to meet the needs of their wife by sharing intimate conversation, romantic hand holding and kisses, and foreplay. So often, couples grow bored, tired, or uncaring toward their sexual relationship with each other. This is VERY DANGEROUS. You must be "intentional" about keeping your relationship ALIVE by keeping a healthy God honoring sexual intimacy with one another.

1 Corinthians 7:3-4 - "Let the husband render unto the wife due benevolence: and likewise also the wife unto the husband. The wife hath not power of her own body, but the husband: and likewise also the husband hath not power of his own body, but the wife."

#10 - Space. People need their space. Honor your spouse by making sure that they have times of refreshing by doing something that they like. Perhaps he likes to play golf occasionally or go to an occasional ball game. She may want to spend the day shopping or talking with friends. The key to a happy and healthy marriage is that personal space is reserved as something in moderation. It is not good for anyone in the marriage to spend obsessive amounts of time doing "their own thing." Use wisdom about the amount of time you spend outside of the home, with friends, or on hobbies.

Isaiah 28:12 - "To whom he said, This is the rest wherewith ye may cause the weary to rest; and this is the refreshing:"

#11 NEVER hit one another! God says that our bodies are the temple of the Lord, so when we hit our mate we are coming against the Lord's temple with violence. God commands us to love one another. In fact, He says to "love your neighbor as yourself." In this case, your spouse is your neighbor... and you would not hit yourself... so you shouldn't hit your spouse, either.

Psalm 11:5 - "The LORD trieth the righteous: but the wicked and him that loveth violence his soul hateth."
To read Mother in Zion - #2 CLICK HERE
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Friday, January 15, 2010



Dear Beautiful Women of God:

I often get letters from readers who have a prayer request, a praise report, and even those who just need some biblical advice. The letter below is from a young mother who is struggling in a decision of career verses motherhood. While it is possible to do both, there is certainly nothing wrong with being a stay-at-home mom either. I pray that her question and my response will minister to many of you who are caught in the balance of what to do...

Deborah, would you please pray for me. Without getting into a long, drawn out story, I'll just summarize by saying I'm not happy at my job. My heart is at home with my baby. Since he's been born, I've just wanted to be a stay-at-home-mom. Never in my wildest dreams would I have imagined that I'd want to do that after all the education my parents paid for me to have! But, I truly believe now that God did intend for mommies to be at home with their kids. Unfortunately, most people lives are built around two salaries these days. But, I want to be with him so badly right now during the early years of his life. My mother keeps him for me, and that's the next best thing, but I'm unhappy at work (maybe that's what's put the crazy idea in my head about being home with him, I'm not sure). I just need some guidance about what to do, and I know I need prayer. Thank you so much.


I know EXACTLY how you feel. I had a successful dance studio (3 successful dance studios, in fact) for 20 years - but the last 7 years were so difficult. Although I loved my career, I wish I would have obeyed the Lord sooner and let it go, but I was afraid. I will tell you that once I finally gave it ALL to the Lord (sold my businesses) and trusted Him for our finances, I have not looked back a single day since. It was the best thing I've ever done!

Everyone thought that I was crazy. My mother, especially, because she feared what would happen to our future. I was the bread winner and my husband did not make as much money as I did, nor, was he very good with finances. It was a big leap of faith, but Praise the Lord... one of the most peaceful and God honoring things I have ever done. Now that my children are in 12th grade and 10th grades, I am so glad that I had those years of being a good mother to them. I just wish I would have done it sooner. I even home schooled for 2 years and felt that God was redeeming the time that I had left my babies in child care while working.

Try to think of your life as being in seasons (segments of time). There is the child rearing season and then, God willing, there will be MANY more years after the children are grown that you will be able to focus on your job, your ministry, your hobby, community service or whatever - 100%. Eighteen years of your life (child rearing years) is only a portion of your life span. You can still use your education later down the road AND you can even use it now with PART TIME jobs or projects that the Lord gives you peace about doing. I have learned over the years to follow after PEACE. If you want to be in God's will, FOLLOW PEACE. He will provide for your needs as you keep Him first place in your heart and continue to tithe and give offerings. It is not always easy to have one income, in fact, sometimes it might be really difficult; but, I can tell you, first hand, that it will be the most peaceful, difficult days you could ever experience and... you can count on God to ALWAYS see you through.

I believe that as you step into your role as wife and mom, you actually EMPOWER your husband to be the man that God has called him to be - as head of the household. My husband is wiser, more respected, more confident, and earns more money today because of my willingness to listen to God by stepping down for a season. Did my husband like the idea, at first? Not really. He was immature and afraid - just like me. Still, we came to a place of faith - together - trusting that it was the right thing to do. And since then, we have been so richly blessed!!!

When I think of my fondest childhood memories, I think of my grandmother who didn't work and who was PEACEFULLY there for me as a mentor and role model of Christ.

I will pray for you! I will pray that you will have courage to follow your heart AND I will pray God's blessings on your family as a result of your faith and obedience. I will pray that either your husband gets a promotion and/or that you find a VERY PART TIME job to give you a little money each week for simple extras. You need to ask God for His best and don't waiver in your prayer life just because you think it is too much to ask. There is NOTHING TOO HARD FOR GOD!!! If you don't want a part time job, then ask God to promote your husband!

God is good and He gives good gifts to those who trust and obey Him with a heart of faith, compassion and love. Being a full-time mom is an act of LOVE!

In Christ,
Deborah Ross Ministries
Strengthening Families & Encouraging Women

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Monday, January 4, 2010

A New Year's Challenge...


John 21:15-17 -

"So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs. He saith to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my sheep. He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep."

I - like most of you - have spent the past few weeks reflecting on 2009, while anticipating the future of 2010 with all of life's decisions, plans, twists and turns. Now that I am 47, I feel the need - more than ever - to press into life's most sacred journey; the path that God has specifically ordained for "my" life. I don't want to waste one minute of my days on fleshly goals that lead to perpetual dead ends of momentary bliss; all the while, lacking any real inner peace of knowing that I am doing "exactly" what God has planned for His Kingdom and for my best interest. I want to leave a legacy; I want to hit the mark.

So in my deepest thoughts and prayers, I am sitting quietly, seeking to hear the voice of my Lord to know what direction He desires for me to move in as I begin my expedition into the year... 2010. As I proceed into the new calendar, which rolls ahead - ready or not - my first Sunday of the New Year brings me to a wonderful time of worship at my local church where I diligently sought the Lord's presence: to hear His voice; to sense His direction; to clearly see Him like never before. I love to worship the Lord.

Then it happened! I heard a Rhema Word from the Lord that thrilled my innermost being. As I was listening to our Life Group Teacher on being and ensample and not an example (ensample = being a vessel of Christ who shows forth godly fruit; example = being a billboard of worldliness) and as we were reading some text from John 21:15-17 about Peter being questioned three times by Jesus concerning the depth of his love for Him and subsequently being instructed to "feed the Lord's sheep", I stumbled across a passage that God illuminated to me for such a time as this. I found the answer to my New Year prayer that was so deep within my heart.

As I began (silently) reading ahead to verse 18 which says:

John 21:18-19 -

"Verily, verily, I say unto thee, when thou wast young, thou girdest thyself, and walkedst wither thou wouldest: but when thou shalt be old, thou shalt stretch forth thy hands, and another shall gird thee, and carry thee whither thou wouldest not. This spake he, signifying by what death he should glorify God. And when he had spoken this, he saith unto him, FOLLOW ME."

I wondered, "What does this verse have to do with Peter understanding the importance of loving Jesus with an agape love? What does it have to do with Peter learning to feed the Lord's sheep?" That's when the Lord answered my question and supernaturally revealed to me His direction for my life. He explained to me that it is the immature - or, as the text says "young" - who continually insist on doing things their own way. They forge ahead with their own plans and then hope - and even pray - the Lord will bless it. On the other hand: those who really love the Lord with a deep agape love (a love that stays faithful through thick and thin); those who desire to do His will (feed His sheep); and those who are willing to follow Him; they are referred to as "old" because they are more mature in their understanding of the Kingdom of God. The text reveals that these "older ones" (more mature ones) must "stretch out their hands" to be "carried" by another.

So what the Lord is saying is, "Don't go into 2010 doing fleshly 'good works'. Instead, enter into this New Year with your arms outstretched and your eyes (spiritually speaking) closed. Trust me (Jesus) wholeheartedly to lead you into the perfect destiny designed specifically for you. As you do this, I will use you to 'feed my sheep'." Notice the verse says He will carry you where you "wouldest not." God will carry us through new, unfamiliar, territory where we would not ordinarily adventure to travel as we trust Him. The Lord wants to show us "new things." He wants to break us away from the mundane and give us a life of fresh, new, fate that brings with it joy and abundant peace.

So then, as I am reading verse 19, I am still having trouble understanding the significance of Jesus speaking of Peters death as being glory to God. That's when it hit me. Jesus was not speaking of Peters natural death, but rather, teaching him the importance of "dying to self." It is only after we learn to put to death our personal agenda's, fleshly desires, and carnal works that we can ever expect to glorify God. Once we truly "die to self", we are then positioned to "follow Jesus" the way that He desires to be followed. Just as Peter was exhorted to LOVE DEEPLY, FEED THE SHEEP, DIE TO SELF and FOLLOW JESUS, we too, are to do the same.

That's it! The Lord's instructions for 2010 are LOUD and CLEAR. Putting Christ first is so much more than "saying" this is a New Year's resolution. Yes, putting Christ first requires laying everything else down... EVERYTHING. Once we get to that place in our spiritual journey where we "really" lay it all down, we step into a mature position of "following the Lord" in such a way that the Kingdom of God is revealed in our every step.

So my prayer for 2010 is, "Lord, help me to die to self. Teach me to follow you... and only you. Help me to not be moved by the arm of the flesh or great ideas that are not part of your plans for my life. This year, I want to LOVE DEEPLY, FEED THE SHEEP, DIE TO SELF, and FOLLOW YOU. I want to put You first, not in word, but in deed. May my life be an 'ensample' to a lost world as you lead me through unknown territory and new adventures that bring ultimate peace and purpose to my life on earth. Amen."

Would you join me, by laying down your life and taking up your cross... daily? The Lord is good (Psalm 118:1). He has good things in store for His children (Matthew 7:11 & Luke 11:13). His yoke is easy and His burden is light (Matthew 11:30). Hallelujah!

Matthew 16:24 -

"Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me."

Deborah Ross
Speaker / Singer / Author / Choreographer
Strengthening Families & Encouraging Women
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