This guest post by author and friend Rhonda Stoppe is longer than most we share here… but worth every second you take to read it. My husband and I counseled couples before marriage, as Rhonda and Steve do. The insights she shares aren’t just for young lovers or newlyweds. This stuff is pure gold for any stage of relationship health. I know you’ll want to click share on this one! Check it out and post a comment to win her new book If My Husband Would Change, I’d be Happy.

Bold Living airs on stations in various cities and for easy on-demand access, subscribe to the podcast on iTunes (search Diane Markins) from my website.  Diane Markins


By Rhonda Stoppe

Anyone can fall in love. It’s staying in love that we long for.

Groovy Kind’a Love is “our song”. Last week my husband and I celebrated our 34th anniversary!

Over the years we have worked to keep our love sweet and “groovy” as an old song poetically defined it. I can honestly say our love is deeper and more passionate today than ever! How is this possible?

I am so glad you asked!

In over 30 years of ministry my husband, Steve and I have had the privilege of taking numerous couples through 6 weeks of pre-marital counseling. My favorite week is called “Staying in Love”. This is the nuts-and-bolts of how to live the happily-ever-after life we all hope for.

Here are some basics you can apply to your marriage:

–IT’S ALL IN YOUR MIND. Falling in love occurs because we choose to think about all of the wonderful characteristics and attributes of our love. Once we marry, and “seal the deal” so-to-speak, it’s human nature to take for granted the love of the one we had worked so hard to win over.

The KEY to staying in love is making a DELIBERATE choice to think on what is “good, right, and excellent” about your spouse (see Philippians 4:8-9).

This means you MUST take control of those crazy thoughts that assign wrong motives to your spouses’ actions, and CHOOSE to believe the BEST about them (see 2 Corinthians 10:5; 1 Corinthians 13:7).

-FORGIVE. Does forgiveness characterize your relationship? You MUST decide you are going to be one who forgives. I know, I know, you want to say, “you don’t know what you are asking me to forgive”. But I am telling you, if you do not regularly practice forgiveness in your relationship, a root of bitterness will sprout in your heart that the Bible says will defile many-namely your children (Hebrews 12:15)!

Have you ever been out with people who have a root of bitterness toward one another? It’s excruciating to spend time with them, isn’t it?

Jesus says, “Out of the abundance of your mouth your heart speaks” if you are harboring bitterness, I guarantee it will spill out in your conversation (Matthew 12:34). If your relationship wreaks of bitterness, your children – and others – will not be drawn to you but will actually learn to avoid or endure you. (Ouch, that comment hurts, huh?)

-LOVE. Above all CHOOSE TO LOVE. Husbands are to love their wives and live with them according to knowledge (1 Peter 3:7). Ladies, they will never figure out what’s going on in that head of yours. Let’s be honest-often we aren’t even sure of why we are feeling what we feel.

If you do not mercifully and kindly help your husband to understand what speaks love to you, he is never going to figure it out! So, no more of this, If you loved me you’d understand me cop out.

What speaks love to your husband? The way you speak love to your husband is to respect him. What does that mean? It means:

  • you don’t talk to him like you are his mother.
  • you choose to speak to him in a way that honors him (you know, the way you talked to him when you were trying to win him as your love).
  • put on Love:

And above all these put on love,

which binds everything together in perfect harmony.

Above all, keep loving one another EARNESTLY,

since love covers a multitude of sins (See Colossians 3:14; 1 Peter 4:8).


-YOUR MARRIAGE IS A LIGHT. Jesus said, By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another (John13:35).

Your genuine love for each other will be a light that tells your children – and a watching world, knowing the Savior makes a difference in your life. Letting this light shine does not happen by accident. In fact, if you rely on your feelings you will certainly miss the opportunity to shine Christ’s light.

When life is hard, when you are hormonal, when the bills pile up, and the kids are sick…this is when the light of your love shines the brightest! Jesus said, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven (Matthew 5:16).

Won’t you determine to STAY IN LOVE?

Your children will be most secure when they know their parents are in love.

Thirty-four years ago Steve Stoppe and I determined to be one of those couples who would fall more in love with each other each passing year. For us, having a “groovy-kind-of-love” means to love each other with the Love the Lord has put in our hearts through our relationship with Christ. And this is the same resource God gives to anyone who would surrender to Jesus as their Lord and Savior.

The watching world is longing to believe in HAPPILY-EVER-AFTER.

Your love gives them hope!

For insights to a NO REGRETS MARRIAGE read Rhonda Stoppe’s new book:

IF MY HUSBAND WOULD CHANGE I’D BE HAPPY-And Other Myths Wives Believe (Harvest House 2015)


Dr. Ben Carson Talks about God

When I was asked if I’d like to schedule an interview with Dr. Ben Carson to talk about his new book I wanted to cry because I’m not currently producing new shows (maybe he’d just let me ask him questions for my personal enjoyment? Nah). I was sent the book and they chose the following excerpt to share. If you aren’t familiar with Dr. Carson… don’t waste another second. He is -hands down- the most brilliant man I know of and uses his astounding brain for many wonderful purposes. I know you’ll want his latest book, especially if you have kids. Be sure to post a comment below and share this very direct post with your friends who think that only uninformed idiots believe in God (and be sure they read his bio!).

Bold Living radio show airs on stations in various cities and for easy on-demand access, subscribe to the podcast on iTunes (search Diane Markins) from my website.  Diane Markins

“God” (Excerpted from You Have a Brain: A Teen’s Guide to T.H.I.N.K. B.I.G)

by Dr. Ben Carson

When I was a child, I imagined God as an old, old man with a long, white beard who lived in the clouds with a powerful telescope that could see through walls. He was always peering down to see what you did wrong and making sure you got punished for it.

My early image of him was that he was distant, uncaring, and harsh, investing most of his time and energy ensuring no riffraff got into heaven. I clung to some of that concept as I grew up. This is why I found myself in early adulthood being extremely conservative about everything — to the point of being puritanical. I was judgmental of others’ actions and attitudes, and I didn’t always enjoy life.

I have slowly matured and have experienced God’s help in many crises. I have come to realize that God does not want to punish us; rather, he wants to fulfill our lives. God created us, loves us, and wants to help us to realize our potential so that we can be useful to others. Gradually over the years, by regularly reading, studying, and depending on the advice in God’s Word, I gained a more accurate picture of God. As a doctor and a scientist, the more I learn about creation and especially the human brain, the more impressed I am with how incredibly smart our Creator must be.

I look through my operating microscope and marvel at the intricate complexities of creation inside a baby’s brain. Or I stand under the stars on a summer night, looking up at a universe made with such precision that you can set clocks by it. I see evidence everywhere of a brilliant and logical God who is unbelievably loving. What else could possibly explain why the all-powerful Creator of the universe humbled himself and came to earth to be spat upon, cursed, even beaten with a whip, before he was crucified and died on a cross for the very same people who did that to him?

A God that loving, instead of being quick to judge and anxious to condemn us for every little sin, is really an almost unimaginably forgiving God. I finally realize that God’s first concern is not about whether we abide by his rules or deserve his grace and forgiveness. His priority is right relationships. This personal relationship is all God has wanted from us since the beginning of time. It is what we were created for.

Happy Valentine’s Day…Well, Sort of

Growing up, like all little girls, I loved Valentine’s Day..or the promise of having a grown up valentine of my own one day. Red roses, shiny jewelry, heart-shaped boxes covered in pink satin and filled with decadent treats. What’s not to love?

Maybe being married for so long to such a practical guy has rubbed off on me, but I came to the conclusion a long time ago that Valentine’s Day is the most offensive, insincere excuse for a holiday there ever was. (Hold your applause… or the rock you’re about to hurl!) Card companies, jewelry stores, fancy restaurants and florists aside, who is really benefiting from this tradition?

Romance is delightful and every effort should be made to keep it alive and well in marriage every day. If you need a special day on the calendar to spice things up or show a little extra sweetness to the one you love, maybe that money would be better spent on counseling or a good book on improving your marriage.

My husband and I don’t exactly boycott V Day, but we sort of ignore it. We both think it’s dumb. Early in our marriage he said to me, “I’d rather not send you flowers on Valentine’s Day because it feels like I’m fulfilling an obligation rather than fulfilling an impulse to demonstrate my feelings for you.” Fortunately he sends flowers and does lots of sweet, impulsive, romantic things throughout the year. I’d hate to be a woman that just can’t wait for that one special day each year when her husband steps up and makes a romantic gesture simply because it’s expected. Marriage can’t possibly be sustained by romance. It’s all about the F words: forgiveness, faith and fortitude.

While it is a secular holiday, the sentiment surrounding it is love. God is love, so why not take that day to show love to those in your life who don’t have a “Valentine” to remind them they are special throughout the year. Single friends will enjoy being remembered and included on this day; at least you can put a positive twist on an otherwise cheesy holiday. Hope I didn’t burst your big heart-shaped bubble!

Eeny Meeny- Choosing a Bible for Your Kid

So many Bibles, so little time to choose! Our kids need God’s word and they need it to speak to them in a style they will fall in love with.  Jeannie Cunnion joined me on Bold Living recently to talk about Parenting the Wholehearted Child. Check out her new post about choosing the best Bible for your child. Don’t forget to comment to win a new Bible for your child. (I’ve got a few to give away!)

Bold Living airs on stations in various cities and for easy on-demand access, subscribe to the podcast on iTunes (search Diane Markins) from my website.  Diane Markins 

Eeny Meeny- Choosing a Bible for Your Kid

by Jeannie Cunnion

If you’ve stepped into a bookstore lately to purchase a Bible you’ve probably noticed how very many choices exist. And while a vast selection of Bibles is a wonderful option to have, it can also be very overwhelming.

I’ve spoken to countless parents who have gone into a bookstore to purchase a Bible for their child but have left empty handed- not because they couldn’t find a Bible they liked but because they found too many!

And out of fear of buying the wrong kind of Bible, they just simply didn’t buy a Bible at all.

This is why I’ve partnered with Zondervan to launch their “How to Choose a Bible Campaign.”

And this is why I’ve dedicated an entire chapter in my book, Parenting the Wholehearted Child, to leading parents in engaging their children in buying and reading the Bible.

Our hope is to empower parents in choosing a Bible that is right for their children- because a key element in engaging our children in Scripture reading is using a Bible to which they can relate.

And our hope is to encourage parents in how they approach the Bible with their children- because a parent’s attitude about reading the Bible has a profound impact on their kids’ desire to read Scripture.

Oh how important it is that we remember that God’s Word is not primarily about us and what we should be doing. It’s about God and what He has already done through Christ Jesus. Reading the Bible with our children through that lens changes everything!

We are so passionate about encouraging parents to read the Bible with their children because reading God’s Word is one of the primary ways our children will come to know the heart of God.

This isn’t about making the Bible come alive for our kids.  It already is alive and powerful. (Hebrews 4:12)  In the words of R.C. Sproul, “I can’t make the Bible come alive for anyone. The Bible is already alive. It makes me come alive.”

This is about finding a Bible to which your six month old, or your six year old, or your sixteen year old can relate.

And we want to come alongside you to help you narrow your options, make informed choices, and find the right Bible for the children in your life!

So let’s begin with just a few of the questions parents can ask themselves when they are comparing different Bible options:

  • What is my child’s age/ reading level?
  • For what purpose will my child use this Bible?
  • Do we have a translation preference?
  • Does my child prefer items specific to their gender?
  • Is my child drawn to realistic images or cartoon style images?

Once you’ve answered these questions, you can narrow down your choices to either a Storybook Bible or a Full Text Bible.

A Storybook Bible is a shortened, storybook style adaptation of the Bible that may include scripture references, photos, or illustrations. This Bible is ideal for preschoolers, pre-readers, and newly independent readers.

A Full Text Bible is a full version of the Bible which features special supplemental devotional or learning elements. Full Text Bibles are ideal for new readers to adult readers. The most widely used translations of Full Text Bibles are the NIV and the NIrV.

To further explore which Bible is best for your child, you will find answers to the rest of your questions a

And here’s the good news! It is never too early and it is never too late to start reading God’s word with your kids.

Did you know that 90% of a child’s brain is developed by the time they are five years old?

Children’s brains are little sponges, waiting to absorb the truths about God’s great love for them. These stories teach our children that the Creator of the universe made them and loves them and is intimately involved in every detail of their lives. The stories reveal God’s faithfulness, his greatness, his goodness, and his grace. The Bible reminds our children that there is no detail too big or too small for our God. And most wonderfully, all of these stories point our children to the one great story woven from the very first to the very last sentence in the Bible — the story of our Savior, Jesus Christ, and his life, death, resurrection, ascension, and his coming again.

While our young children cannot fully appreciate all the story has to offer, we must trust the story and the power of God’s Word. We are planting the seeds and the story will grow in meaning for them as they grow in their understanding of the gospel.

For example, several years ago, on one of the first beautiful days of summer, I packed up our cooler with lots of snacks and drinks and I took all three of our young boys to the beach.  We arrived at our usual spot with our beach toys, balls, and fishing nets.  And while I focused on making sure Owen, my two-year-old, didn’t drown in the ocean, which he was desperately trying to do, my seven-year-old son, Cal, found a group of friends and quickly joined in the quest to build the best sand castle on the beach.

Brennan, however, ran straight for the water’s edge, began throwing heaps of sand into the ocean, flexing his little muscles, and yelling, “Take that, you Philistines — I will defeat you!”

While I’m sure some people were looking at five-year-old Brennan like he’d gone mad, I couldn’t have been more proud. I knew exactly what Brennan was doing- he was pretending to be David defeating the Philistines in God’s strength.

He was acting out his favorite story in the Bible, the story of a young boy who became an unlikely hero when he fought and defeated the seemingly undefeatable giant Goliath—a story in the Old Testament that sets the stage for another, greater hero (Jesus) who would soon come to defeat an even bigger giant (sin and death). Indeed, God’s powerful Word can penetrate tender little hearts.

As we come alongside our children in reading God’s word and planting seeds of faith in their hearts, we will be so beautifully reminded of what the Lord says in Isaiah 55:11, “My word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.”

Open those Bibles, friends. Let it surprise you.  Let it wreck you. Let it empower you.  Let it heal you. There is so much grace, so much hope, & so much freedom just waiting for us and our children in God’s Word.

*Post a comment to win a brand new Bible for the kid in your life.

Put Love into Action

Pastor and mega-author Francis Chan wrote the foreword to Love, Skip, Jump by Shelene Bryan. He said, “Don’t be another person who wastes his/her life by trying to save it. Spend more energy saving lives than saving for retirement. Just comsider the possibility that you might live more if you risked more and gave more. Join my friend Shelene in doing something.”

In my interview with Shelene Bryan, she shares the story of how she began wondering if the kid she sponsored in Africa was actually getting any benefit from the money she sent… or if she even existed. So she did what any crazy, type A woman would do. She went to see for herself.

What she found would change her life forever. So much so that she found, a charity dedicated to providing food and clean water to children in America and around the world.

In the book she talks about how to: Love– with the heart of God, Skip– some of the comforts in life so you’ll have more to give, and Jump into the “Aventure of Yes.”

Shelene has never lacked passion, but through her first experience in Africa, her passion became God’s passion. As with most people who want more from life, Shelene is 100% sold out. Her story is riveting and her sense of humor refreshing.

Listen to the interview. Post a comment and share with friends so they will be inspired to say yes. You might even win a copy of Love, Skip, Jump. While you’re there, subscribe to all my podcasts on itunes and you can listen to the many fabulous guests and impactful topics from Bold Living with Diane Markins.

Bold Living airs on stations in various cities and for easy on-demand access, subscribe to the podcast on iTunes (or search Diane Markins) from my website.  Diane Markins 

Prayer – It’s What Gets Us Through the Trials

We all love a great sermon or speech…as much as we hate a bad one. Meaningful, engaging messages don’t just pop into the mind and out of the mouth. They take a boat-load of effort- and PRAYER. Prayer takes us through the trials of life too. Read this hugely helpful post and listen to what H. B. Charles says about his books It Happens after Prayer and On Preaching.

Bold Living airs on stations in various cities and for easy on-demand access, subscribe to the podcast on iTunes (search Diane Markins) from my website.  Diane Markins 

On Writing Sermon Manuscripts

by H.B. Charles

The pastor left his sermon manuscript in the pulpit. When the janitor found it, he couldn’t resist the urge to read it. He was impressed, until he stumbled over a note in the margin: “Argument weak here. Start yelling!”

Old story.

Timeless truth: Passion is never a substitute for clarity. If you write yourself clear, you won’t have to yell to cover up a weak argument.

I am a manuscript preacher who cheats. Most weeks, I write a complete manuscript. Most weeks, I do not carry anything to the pulpit but my Bible.

I believe both practices sharpen the preacher – writing manuscripts and preaching without notes.

Here are 11 tips for writing yourself clear in sermon preparation.

  1.  This is not a cursory step. You should pray before and throughout your study of the text. And you should pray your way through sermon preparation. You need guidance in what to say and how to say it to your congregation.

Start with a sermon skeleton. Begin by determining the title, theme, central idea, outline, and other elements that make up the framework of the message. Establish the structure of the sermon. Then put meat on the bones.

  1.  You will never write a manuscript if you do not write a manuscript. Don’t procrastinate. Sunday is coming. Starting writing. Write for as long as you can. Get your ideas on paper. Don’t worry about how good it is yet. A bad page is better than a blank page. Just write.

Write it out word-for-word. Type out your introduction, explanations of the text, scripture references, applications, illustrations, and conclusion completely. “The Vacation Story” or “Charles Spurgeon quote” may suffice in your pulpit notes. Not here. Write it all out. After you start writing manuscripts regularly, this practice will also help you to gauge how long your sermon is.

Write for the ear. A sermon manuscript is not a term paper, theological essay, or potential book chapter. It is a transcript for a message you will deliver to God’s people. As you write, think about those who will listen to what you say, not those who may read what you write.

Preach it as you write it. Talk it out as you are writing it down. This will help you communicate clearly and effectively. Some words that are easy to write are not easy to pronounce. That long, run-on sentence that looks so beautiful on your computer screen may be a nightmare to say. Likewise, preaching it as you write it aids memorization.

Strive for clarity. Process your word choice, sentence structure, cross-references, transitional sentences, and illustrations as clearly as possible. If you do, style and creativity will take care of themselves. Clarity is its own style.

Craft transitional sentences. Car accidents often happen at intersections, during lane changes, or when making a turn. Likewise, moving from the introduction to the main body, from point 1 to point 2, or from illustration to application can be as dangerous as driving in rush hour traffic. So work on smooth transitions. Don’t say, “Let me say three things about the text.” Give them three reasons to pray or four ways to resist temptation or two benefits of trusting God.

Work around writer’s block. I rarely write a sermon from beginning to end. And I struggle to write my introduction and conclusion first. I write as it comes to me, which may be point two. If I get a mental block, I start working on another part of the sermon. This helps me to keep writing when a section is not yet clear.

Mark the manuscript for preaching. I put the main points in red font, sub-points in dark blue. Scripture references are italicized. Quotes are blue. Illustrations are purple. “Runs” are green. Hymn lyrics are orange. I highlight, underline, and change font sizes. This helps me memorize the message. Or if I have to preach from the manuscript, ideas, sections and transitions pop out on the page.

Edit maliciously. The manuscript is a draft until you preach it. Keep working on it. Explain technical words or choose simpler ones. Shorten your sentences. Take out cliché, well-worn words and phrases. Find a different way to say it. Use one cross-reference, instead of three. Cut out that section that was good study material but doesn’t fit in the message. Eliminate unnecessary repetition. Have the courage to leave some hard work on the cutting room floor for the sake of clarity, unity, and movement.

Got Grace? “Proof” Says that’s Enough

Our culture is so performance-based that it can be a challenge to get our heads around God’s culture that is based purely on grace. Stop striving and start living in the fullness of God’s pleasure. Check out this post below and listen in on the show. Don’t forget to comment to win Proof by Dr. Timothy Jones.

Bold Living airs on stations in various cities and for easy on-demand access, subscribe to the podcast on iTunes (search Diane Markins) from my website.  Diane Markins 

Grace is Enough

by Dr. Timothy Jones

Martin Luther once commented that humanity after the fall is no longer able to imagine any way to be made right with God other than works. Our tendency by nature is to slip into the delusion that our standing before God somehow depends on what we do. Or we overcorrect and slip into another delusion, that what we do doesn’t matter at all.
In the first instance, we diminish the finished work of Christ by living as if God started our salvation by grace but then we have to finish it. In the second instance, we miss the truth that grace doesn’t simply save us, it also changes us.

The purpose of the new book PROOF: Finding Freedom through the Intoxicating Joy of Irresistible Grace is to reawaken believers to the wonder and the beauty of authentic grace–God’s wonderful acceptance of us not because we have earned it or deserved it but because he gives it to us freely in Christ. In this book, we show that the answer isn’t found in trying to balance legalism and license. It’s rather in recognizing that, everything God gives to us, he gives in Christ and that this placement of us in Christ and Christ in us changes everything. United with Christ, we are both captive and crowned, slaves of Christ yet free, already positioned as righteous in Christ yet empowered by his Spirit to pursue righteousness.

*Share your experiences of working too hard, especially to gain God’s approval. Win a copy of Proof.

A “Between Heaven and Earth” Perspective

After his son “relocated to Heaven” Pastor Steve Berger began to see a new perspective emerge… one of “living every day in the reality of heaven.” Read his enlightening post below.

Bold Living airs on stations in various cities and for easy on-demand access, subscribe to the podcast on iTunes (search Diane Markins) from my website.  Diane Markins

Living Hope

by Steve Berger

The resurrection of Jesus Christ guarantees every believer resurrection to eternal life in heaven. As believers, this is our living hope.

The apostle Peter wrote in 1 Peter 1:3–4,

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you.

Peter reminds us that because of Jesus’ resurrection, we have a living hope of experiencing a resurrected life in heaven. It comes with a great inheritance that is incorruptible, undefiled, and unfading, and it’s reserved just for us! The words Peter uses are extremely important as we gain a deeper understanding of heaven’s real hope:

Incorruptible: This literally means “exempt from wear, waste, and final perishing.” There is nothing about our heavenly inheritance that withers, wears, or shrinks.

Undefiled: This means “unpolluted, unstained, undefiled by sin, sincere, and holy as being free from evil.” There is no residue of the curse in our heavenly inheritance.

Unfading: Our heavenly inheritance is not something beautiful that lasts only for a while and then fades. The Complete Word Study Dictionary says, “It is of unfailing loveliness, reserved for the faithful in heaven.” Our inheritance is perpetual.

Reserved: This means “particularly to watch, observe attentively, keep the eyes fixed upon. Figuratively, to obey, observe, fulfill a duty, precept, law or custom, to vigilantly watch.”

Our inheritance is God is diligently and vigilantly watching over our heavenly inheritance. His eye is fixed upon it for us. The Almighty is guarding our eternal future.

We have a living hope that is far greater than any hope that we can find on this earth. When we look to the resurrection we have hope for today and tomorrow.

Peter continues just a few verses later in 1 Peter 1:13, “Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.”

He starts with “therefore.” It brings together these four incredible words: incorruptible, undefiled, unfading, and reserved. Then He challenges us to get our heads—our thinking and our sight—right by being sober. He’s serious about this. He says, “Rest totally on the living hope of Jesus. Rest yourself fully in the grace of heaven that you are going to experience.”

We have this incredible inheritance that is guarded by God, and that should give us tremendous hope. It’s not going anywhere; it’s reserved for us. We should rest on the hope of this inheritance, not in the circumstances of this world. We can’t rest our hope in our bank account or our jobs. They don’t pass the test—they are not incorruptible, undefiled, unfading, and reserved. If you rest your hope on anything of this world, you will be disappointed!

When we rest ourselves on this living hope, suddenly we’re more heavenly minded. No matter how crazy things get here on this little planet, we have a better, living hope. We have joy in that hope, and that hope anchors our souls. Our living hope is in heaven.

Unloading “Love” Baggage and Toxic Behavior

Smart, edgy and honest…that’s how I’d describe Love Junkies and my conversation with the author Christy Johnson. If you (or a friend) is stuck in a pattern of seeking love in unhealthy ways from all the wrong people, read below and tune in. Be sure to share this one with your friends.

Bold Living airs on stations in various cities and for easy on-demand access, subscribe to the podcast on iTunes (search Diane Markins) from my website.  Diane Markins 

Unloading “Love”  Baggage and Toxic Behavior

by Christy Johnson

Have you ever felt like your romantic relationships had a lot in common with the baggage claim at the airport–a constant rotation of luggage loaded down with dirty laundry? They may look good on the outside, but inside they’re loaded down with stinky issues.

I used to wonder why I was so unlucky at love. It took a long time for me to realize that the problem was not the baggage I chose…it was me! My own issues kept me on a merry-go-round of romantic despair. But there is a way to avoid unnecessary heart ache. After many epic failures I learned that the best way to steer clear of relationship disasters is to take a look at my own soul-health.

Why is it so important to look at ourselves? It’s simple: We attract who we are. Unhealthy people attract unhealthy friends and relationships, but healthy people attract healthy friends and mates.

Experts say that we gravitate towards friends and relationships within a ten-point spread of our IQ. We are more naturally comfortable around those with whom we can intellectually relate. Likewise, in the realm of soul-health, we also attract those with whom we are most emotionally compatible. Putting it another way, baggage attracts baggage.

So if you’re tired of hanging out at the baggage claim, it’s time to take a look at your own soul-health. Whether you are believing for a mate or already married, it’s vital to eliminate toxic behaviors that threaten your peace and steal your joy because the health of your relationship will rarely exceed the health of the least healthy partner. That’s why it’s so important to become who you want!

*Share your experiences of being stuck with baggage or dumping the toxic waste below to win a copy of Love Junkies.

Sheila Walsh, The Storm Inside

Emotional turmoil and heartache can rob us of confidence, hope and peace. Sheila Walsh has lived through painful times in her own life. She shares personal stories and lessons she’s learned as well as truths from scripture in my interview with her. I loved chatting with her and you’ll feel like you’re at the kitchen table with us!

Bold Living airs on stations in various cities and for easy on-demand access, subscribe to the podcast on iTunes (search Diane Markins) from my website.  Diane Markins 

Excerpt from The Storm Inside

By Sheila Walsh

By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you heard was coming and now is in the world already. Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. (1 John 4:2–4 esv)

He who lives in us is greater! Sometimes we forget that we do not fight against flesh and blood, but against principalities and evil powers (Ephesians 6:12). We desperately need to remember whose we are and how to fight. A rabbit, it has been said, can outrun a lion. But the rabbit’s great fear of the lion paralyzes it, making it easy for the lion to catch and consume it. The all-out attacks we face as God’s daughters have the potential to render us as impotent as the rabbit. We can be frozen by the chaos we feel inside instead of choosing to stand on the truth of who God’s Word says we are. We must not give our enemy such advantages. We must not live that way one moment longer. It’s time to trade what we feel for the powerful truth of who we are. How we feel can change in a moment, but who we are is eternal.

There are three levels of reality, of truth, that you and I face each day and understanding each one of those will be a game-changer for us. There is the chaos of what we feel and the chaos that the enemy would stir up in us. If we focus on those two alone, we are going to go under. The third level of truth is that God is always in control. He is the one who speaks to storms and they have to obey. He is the one who brings order from chaos. In fact the Hebrew word for wind n the Old Testament is ruach, which also means “spirit” or “breath of God.” No matter how out-of-control your storms may feel right now, make no mistake girls—God is in control!

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