Grace – Better in Bed

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Grace, this is a hard word to accept.

It means you are given a good gift you don’t deserve. It means receiving what God deemed good with thanksgiving. The theme verse for this series is 1 Timothy 4:4. In this verse it says not to reject what is received with appreciation because God created what is good. I realized when I moved out of my parents’ house to live with my roommates that experiencing close relationships with anyone takes giving and receiving. I had to give time by contributing to the chores or cooking meals for us all, and I received community from them and a place of belonging. This took a lot of grace but I have great relationships with my roommates. The bottom line is that GRACE is the best position…in bed. As with any relationship, what you give to it is what you will receive from it. Another way of saying it is the best position in bed is to graciously give and receive.

No matter the stage of life you are in, this truth is something anyone can grow in. One of my favorite verses about grace is found in Hebrews 4:16. It says to “come humbly before the throne of grace.” This is why anyone can grow personally, because it takes humility to give and receive from other people. It means going out of your way to know what others need, but it also means being vulnerable to share what your needs are, I think this is especially true in marriage. Learning this principle can grow you and your relationships because people need grace.

A way to apply this principle is to learn more about relationships, including marriage, dating, and singleness. RightNow Media is a great resource our church offers to you for free. If you are married, consider “Extraordinary Marriage,” by Pete Briscoe or “Staying in Love” by Andy Stanley. If you’re single, despite what many people think, singleness is not a disease. It’s not the lesser option. Singleness is God’s gift to you today. Learn more about that gift in the study “Thrive” by Lina Abujamra. For young people looking to date, you should know about Michael Todd’s book on “Relationship Goals. ”I offer these resources to say that grace takes work and this is a way to learn more so that you can apply this principle.

Questions:
How do you give grace?

What does it mean for you to give and receive?

Why do you think grace can be a hard word to accept?

Next Steps:
Ask your spouse or important people in your life, “What do you need”?

Watch one of the resources on RightNow Media.

Prayer:
God, thank you for creating good gifts. I don’t deserve it but out of grace, you give anyway. I pray that I would have an open heart to give and receive. I pray that I would come humbly before your throne of grace. You say that when I do I will receive grace and mercy in time of need. I pray for an increase of grace over my relationships. In Jesus’ name, amen.


This post was written by Rebecca Roberts, a regular contributor to the LivingItOut Bible Study.


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Mechanics – Better in Bed

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Over the last couple of days, we have been looking at the Biblical Mechanics that lead us to be better in bed. On Tuesday, we looked at the mechanics of rest, yesterday the mechanics of respect, and today we will look at the three remaining biblical mechanics.

The first one we will cover is the “recreational you.” This involves our willingness to create again. When we think about giving graciously to our spouse, being creative goes a long way. It is easy to get into patterns in our lives, and it is even easier to stay there. It takes little effort to stick with what’s familiar and comfortable — leading us to do the same old same old. When we get creative, though, it lets others know we are putting thought into it. While this applies to the bedroom, it also applies to every interaction we have with our spouse throughout the day.

Floating through the day with little thought of how we can creatively connect with our spouse can lead to a prison of monotony, not unlike Kramer described in a Seinfeld episode. Instead, be creative; think about your spouse’s needs and how you can meet them in a surprisingly new way.

This leads into the second biblical mechanic, which is the “responsive you.” The “responsive you” attends to your spouse’s bid for connection. This is easier said than done because it requires you to be aware of both your spouse’s desires and their reality.  We all have busy day-to-day lives, and our attention is likely preoccupied with work, schedules, kids, kid’s schedules, chores, and so much more.  The “responsive you” figures out a way to connect with your spouse making sure his/her desires are cared for no matter the reality of life.

Sex educator Emily Nagoski recognizes the reality that couples are busy and that busyness can kill a couple’s desires. That is why in her TED talk titled, “How couples can sustain a strong sexual connection for a lifetime,” she encourages couples to prioritize sex. She even encourages couples to put it on their calendars.

The final biblical mechanic is the “receptive you,” who delights in what is being given. For some, this is difficult because they have a tough time letting others do things for them. But as Ben Snyder shared with us this weekend, when we don’t let our spouse give to us, we rob them of the joy and blessing they would get from it.

Acts 20:35
You should remember the words of the Lord Jesus: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’”

It is also important to delight in it. We do this best when we realize that we don’t deserve it and instead see it as a gift from our spouse that we need to receive.

Questions:
Are you willing to create again? What part of your relationship with your spouse would benefit most from a little creativity?

What are the realities of life that can make it difficult to meet desires in the marriage?

Read Philippians 2:3-4. How could consistently living out this verse change your marriage? If you’re single, how could living out this verse change your relationships?

Next Steps:
Grade yourself in the Biblical Mechanics.  Write down a few things you can do to grow in each mechanic.

Join a Group. This is the primary way we see people grow and take next steps. The app has the directory right at your fingertips to help you see the Groups available.

Attend the February 2022 Marriage Event. We have opened registration during this series. To begin registration, simply text MARRIAGE to 419.419.0707.

Prayer:
Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for this past weekend’s message. As I think about it today, open my eyes as to how I can be more intentional about rest, and how I can  be more respectful, creative, responsive,  and receptive. As I grow in each of these areas, I ask that you bless my marriage and my relationships. Thank you for loving us and graciously giving to us. In Jesus’ name, amen.


This post was written by Ben Bockert. Ben is a proud husband and father of three beautiful daughters. He is honored to serve as the Director of the LivingItOut Bible Study.


Check out the Latest LivingItOut Podcast

The LivingItOut Podcast is released every Wednesday morning. It discusses key takeaways and principles from the weekend message. Listen to the weekly podcast in your car, during your lunch break, or any other time that works for you. You can find the latest podcast here.


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We would love to hear how the LivingItOut is making a difference in your life. Let us know how today’s post inspired, challenged, or encouraged you by leaving a comment here.


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John Reading Plan


When We First Began – Better in Bed

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A lot had changed in the years leading up to when we first began. I don’t greet many people with a hug, but I did that day. Erica smiled as we were surprised to notice one another. She says she breathed me in. A conversation ensued, and before we knew it, we were engaged a month later. It was a good conversation, and thankfully they continue to be that way, but it’s not without work. We fail if we don’t respect the process. We lose each other if we don’t give respect physically, emotionally, and spiritually.

Ephesians 5:33
So again I say, each man must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.

What does it mean to love and respect in marriage? Marriage isn’t only a green light for the bedroom. Each union must honor the whole person the way God does. Too often, the husband focuses on the second half of the above verse, while the wife might only see truth in the first half of the Scripture.

We do the little things for one another to connect emotionally. I’ll make Erica a cup of coffee to start her day or take the dogs out by myself if I know she needs to sleep in. Erica will take the kids somewhere for a few hours to give me time to write in a quiet space.

We all need to take the time to connect spiritually. Erica and I talked about our relationships with God before we got married. And now, we listen to what God calls the other to do, even if we fight the idea at first. God called Erica to return to Ohio, and after some time, I was on board. We take the time to focus on our marriage’s emotional and spiritual aspects, which helps us respect the physical side that much more. Showing that it’s not all about the individual keeps us connected.

Ephesians 5:25
25 For husbands, this means love your wives, just as Christ loved the church. He gave up his life for her

Actor Sterling K. Brown said, “The success we have experienced together would not be possible without my wife leading the way, so thank you for holding a brother down.” That goes both ways in our marriage. I sacrificed years because of the importance of her career. Her belief in what I’m capable of has helped hold me together. Erica is sitting next to me as I’m typing this up. I reminded her of the first time that I ever saw her smile when we first began. That’s one of the ways we give a RESPECTFUL YOU. Honoring the whole person the way God does.

Questions:
Do you attempt to show respect in your relationship emotionally, spiritually, and physically?

Next Steps:
Honor your spouse throughout the day by connecting with who they are as a person. Take the 5 Love Languages quiz together. Attend church together and talk about what you got out of the message.

Prayer:
God, thank you for blessing me with a partner whose love for you continues to push me to strengthen my relationship with you and her. Thank you for humbling me and showing grace when I take these blessings for granted. Please continue to bless our union as we provide a loving example for our children. Amen.


This post was written by Jaron Camp. Jaron is a storyteller and a professional ghostwriter who enjoys using his gifts to write for the LivingItOut. When he’s not developing fictional worlds, researching, and writing, Jaron enjoys watching sports, participating in family game night, and spending time with his wife and four kids.


Check out the Latest LivingItOut Podcast

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John Reading Plan


Rest and Reconnect – Better in Bed

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Back to school month is typically the busiest for me as a teacher, which in turn overflows to home life. Oh, and we added a new family member to our home two weeks before school started, so that has definitely added to the craziness. Kevin has also been working long hours and managing different responsibilities. One sunny afternoon after school, I decided to take my Bible outside and enjoy a little sunshine, a few minutes of downtime, and some quiet with Jesus. When I sat down, though, my view was a burgeoning WEED coming out of the river rock near the pool — evidence of some of our neglected duties. I sent Kev a pic of our freshly flourished shrubbery and texted:

  • Just enjoying my redneck, overgrown backyard this afternoon.
  • This one has flowers!

To which Kevin replied:

  • Saw that also; now I wonder how tall it will grow.

What happened next can only be defined as 27 years of marriage when we simultaneously texted almost exactly the same thing:

  • Maybe a Jack and the Beanstalk opportunity (Kevin).
  • Maybe it’s the modern Jack and the Beanstalk (me).

Ha! I literally laughed out loud. I was thankful for this bit of connection, albeit through technology, amidst a crazy few weeks. It also served as a subtle reminder of the need for connection, especially when we face packed schedules, stress from work, daily tasks, relationships with our adult kiddos and our new teenager.

In any relationship, including a marriage, we can give our best to the other person by building in some margin versus living maxed out. DISCLAIMER: Some seasons do not allow for much margin, but thankfully those seasons don’t last forever. If you’re in a season like that, keep on holdin’ on.

As a person whose love language is quality time, extended stretches without connection (and time together) can put a strain on our relationship. School is still going full throttle and we are still adjusting to our new family dynamic, but we have been intentional about some time together. Aand, when we build margin/rest — into our lives, God will refresh us, both individually and as a couple.

Jeremiah 31:25 says, “I will refresh the weary and satisfy the faint.” Similarly, Isaiah 40:30-31 declares, “Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint” (emphasis added).

Ultimately, when we allow margin, eliminate stress, and get REST, we can give better to those around us. Our rest comes supernaturally from God. Look to him to restore you and give you what you need. He refreshes; he renews. A refreshed soul will lead to a deeper connection.

Questions:
Have you felt a lack of margin lately? How has that affected your relationship(s)? What are some ways you can find rest in God and bring your best to your relationship(s)?

Next Steps:
Matthew 6:33 tells us that when we “Seek the Kingdom of God above all else” he will “give you everything you need.” Prioritize your relationship with God first. Let him give you the rest you need and refresh your soul. Then, build margin for your relationship(s) with others.

Prayer:
Lord, there are MANY things vying for our attention. They are mostly good and/or necessary things, but, nonetheless, these demands end up maxing us out which affects our relationship with you and with others. Help us to seek you first. Provide the rest and refreshment that we need. And, may it overflow into our relationships. Give us the ability to give the “best of us” to those we love. Bless us with quality connection when quantity isn’t attainable. Fill in the gaps and work supernaturally so our relationships can ultimately give YOU glory. We pray this in your precious Son’s name, amen.


This post was written by Kendra Grubinski. Kendra is passionate about her relationship with Jesus and loves studying and sharing God’s Word. During the week, she is a Spanish Teacher at Findlay High School. She also enjoys spending time with her family and pups, reading, traveling, drinking good coffee and being active outdoors.


Check out the Latest LivingItOut Podcast

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The Best Position is… – Better in Bed

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1 Corinthians 7:2-5
2 But because there is so much sexual immorality, each man should have his own wife, and each woman should have her own husband. 3 The husband should fulfill his wife’s sexual needs, and the wife should fulfill her husband’s needs. 4 The wife gives authority over her body to her husband, and the husband gives authority over his body to his wife (emphasis added).

Bottom Line: The best position in bed is to graciously give and receive.

Another way to say it is… GRACE is the best position … in bed.

In his book, “Sacred Marriage,” author Gary Thomas says: “By creating a physical desire, God is inviting us to participate in the spiritual reality of learning to share, have fellowship with, and enter the life and soul of another human being in a profound way … Maintaining a steady pursuit toward and empathy for another human being goes against our sinful, egocentric bent.” When our focus is on our spouse and their needs, loving this son or daughter of God becomes an act of worship.

Last weekend, Lead Pastor Ben Snyder talked about the importance of giving and receiving. Not demanding to satisfy our own needs, but realizing the needs of the other and graciously giving ourselves to them. It requires intentional attention to the activities of daily life, the stresses, the workload, the chores, the kids, etc. And it requires intentional communication regarding the needs those activities bring about with respect for each other’s capacity at any given time. A standing joke in a Group we attended was how attractive one’s husband was when he was scrubbing the floor in preparation for the group! I have a magnet on my refrigerator that says, “No man was ever shot doing the dishes!” These are funny ways of saying that both men and women have a responsibility to create an atmosphere of intimacy as they respond to the needs of their spouse. You say you love me. Show me!

One of the best ways we can show that love is to care for ourselves, spiritually, mentally and physically. When we honor God with our bodies, we are able to give the best version of ourselves to our spouses. Over the next few days we will explore how we can be our best so we can give our best.

The Biblical Sexual Ethic tells us to honor God with our bodies

1 Corinthians 6: 19        
Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body.

Questions:
Can you, do you, as the Apostle Paul said in Philippians 2:3b-4 (NIV) “in humility, value others (your spouse) above yourself, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of others (your spouse)?” (my emphasis)

Do you have margin in your life to lovingly pursue your spouse to serve them?

Next Steps:
This week ask your spouse how you can serve them in some way that will allow them to rest, restore, refresh or renew something that has caused them to spend too much energy. Then take time to listen and respond. This begins your pursuit toward an empathy for them!

Prayer:
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, We are grateful for the picture of love you have shown us as you dwell in perfect harmony in the trinity. Help us to love and serve each other well. Be present in our bedroom relationships as well as those outside it. We thank you and celebrate the opportunity you have given us to experience your love in our physical bodies as we experience your love in our relationship with you. Amen.


This post was written by Lauri White. Lauri is one of the 25 people that God used to start CedarCreek in the Fall of 1995, and was on staff until 2013. Lauri loves Jesus, and loves helping people, especially women, live out of the truth about who we are in Christ. She and her husband Mike live in Oregon, but now spend winter months in Florida near daughter Kelda and her family.


Check out the Latest LivingItOut Podcast

The LivingItOut Podcast is released every Wednesday morning. It discusses key takeaways and principles from the weekend message. Listen to the weekly podcast in your car, during your lunch break, or any other time that works for you. You can find the latest podcast here.


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We would love to hear how the LivingItOut is making a difference in your life. Let us know how today’s post inspired, challenged, or encouraged you by leaving a comment here.


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More Resources

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