Archives For christian marriage

Gods followers.jpg

I can’t decide where I land on the funny-to-sad ratio of that bumper sticker.

Imagine if every Christian walked around totally at peace, full of joy and the trademarks of us all were faithfulness and reliability. Would there be more Christians?

It’s easy for us to look outward, “If those people would only act like Christians!” “If that TV evangelist wasn’t always asking for money.” “If only that pastor didn’t sleep with his secretary.” THEN the world would change its opinion about being Christian. Those things may be true but, that ain’t The Plan.

The Plan: Abide in the vine (Jn15:4), be transformed (2Cor3:18), let your light shine (Mt5:16) don’t worry about what others are doing, work on yourself (Lk6:42). Sounds easy, lol.

As we work on the above (a lifetime process) we will start to reflect God’s grace in our lives. As Moses spent time with the Lord his skin actually glowed, as we connect, abide and spend time with the Lord we’ll be transformed and the evidence of that will be the fruit of the Spirit.

Galatians 5:22 “…the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.”

The Bible alternately likens us to a branch or a tree or a vine; connected to Christ, getting our sustenance from Him and, like a tree, producing fruit in keeping with our source. In Matthew 7 Jesus says that Christian imitators will produce bad fruit and His disciples will produce good fruit.  That fruit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness and self control.

I recently asked myself the question, “Would the people that know me best attribute the fruit of the Spirit to me?”  I hate to admit that I regularly fall short on multiple fronts.  My 16 year old son probably would not tell you that I am the most patient person he’s ever met. As a matter of fact, I recently wanted to buy a shirt that said, “Can we hurry this up?” I have other issues too, really, I could go on.

This realization effected me to such a degree that I recently sat my family down and apologized to them and let them know that I was working on this.  Seriously, what good is my faith if the people that know me the best think I’m an idiot? I picture God saying, “Yeah….he’s not with Me…” or as Jesus put it in Matthew 7, “22 Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ 23 Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!”

I want my life to reflect Jesus to others.  My wife and children, who I cannot fool, should see the fruit of the Spirit in me to such a degree that they want what I got. My light should shine to the point that it leads others out of darkness. My life and my countenance should provoke the unsaved to jealously. I’ve got a long way to go but, praise God, I’m not where I started.  I encourage you to join this broken vessel as I try to be consistent about my quiet time, allow His strength to be made perfect in my weakness and pray that my life reflects the fruit of the Spirit. C’mon!

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Stressing Over Christmas

December 21, 2017 — Leave a comment

Christmas stress

How ironic is it that as we celebrate the birthday of the Prince of Peace many of us are consumed with stress? Talk about using the Lord’s name in vain. It would be like someone wanting to celebrate your birthday by beating your children. How backwards are we?

There is no getting around the fact that Christmas has morphed into a retail nightmare and that’s not changing anytime soon. However, as Christians, we could insert some sanity into the picture, at least in our own lives.

How can we alleviate holiday stress? Here’s a couple thoughts…

Pray. OMG, has it come to this? Yes, it’s number one for a reason.  Philippians 4:6,7 Says that there is inexplicable peace in continually and humbly talking to God, being thankful and asking him for what we want. It may not even make sense but that’s why it’s called peace that “passes all understanding.” That’s a promise from the Bible.

Remember Jesus. It would bring me to tears to see my children stressing out, going into debt and beating each other up at Wal Mart under the guise of celebrating my birthday. As the Lorax speaks for the tress I speak for Jesus on this. If you doubt me, and if you know me at all you should, see Matthew 6:34, Proverbs 22:7, John 13:35 & Luke 12:24-26. If He is the reason for the season we should honor Him as we celebrate His birthday.

Practicing these two things should keep us busy and help peace to at least creep into our households. But, and it’s a big Santa sized butt, we are called to more than taking care of ourselves. We are called to be a light to the world and what better time than Christmas? Here’s one more thought…

Shine. Let the world know that you are at peace and happy to be celebrating Christmas! Provoke the world to envy with your joy! If you’re happy and you know it tell your face! We are celebrating what is arguably the most joyous event in human history. Luke 1:10 “I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people.” As Christians, the celebration of the birth of Jesus should be one of the year’s highlights.

I’ve been guilty of reeking stress around Christmas but today I choose not to participate. I have too much to be thankful for and Jesus is at the top of that list.

I’m not pretending that financial pressures, expectations, loneliness and depression aren’t real or that they are simply whisped away by Christmas elves. Many of us have known real hardship around the holidays, “In this world you will have troubles…” says Jesus. He’s talking about real troubles, the hard stuff. He goes on to say, “…But be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” He encourages us to lift up our chin, put a smile on our face and walk in His peace. I prefer that.

Merry Christmas Brothers.

 

Lay Down My Life?

April 13, 2015 — Leave a comment

man vs lion

Gun to your head, would you take this bullet so that your child would live? What man would say no to that? Given that extreme scenario we all think we would lay down our lives for our children. Thankfully, the chances are strong you never have to make that sacrifice.

How about this one, can you get home from work and go outside to play with your kids? Can you write a hand written letter to your adult children telling them you are proud of them?  Can you get your butt off the couch and go fishing with your 13 year old son? Maybe you don’t need to watch 5 hours of the 2015 Masters Tournament.

OUCH!

I’m not busting your chops, I know you work hard and need your down time. As a matter of fact, each of these examples are from my life and are specific examples of my own shortcomings. I work 6 days every week, leave the house about 6am and get home about 6:15pm. On Wednesday nights and Sunday mornings we go to church. Every other week I devote about 9 hours to preaching at an assisted living community. Who has time? When I’m off work I want to relax!

Guess what, my kids don’t care about that. They would rather have a Dad who plays with them. Who is raising our kids if we’re not investing significant time into their lives? I just read a biography that a son wrote about his dad, he said, “My dad invented quality time.” The conviction set in, my children would not say the same thing.

You’re not going to believe this but guess who else needs my time? My wife. Ephesians 5:25 “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her…” Note the words, “…gave Himself for her…” I suspect that means we have to give ourselves to our wives, our time, out attention, our energies, our very lives. Not in the dramatic way that one might lay down his life to save a woman from an escaped lion but in the mundane way that one might give up 3 hours of the NFL to go shopping with one’s wife.

Fortunately Ephesians goes on to say why we should give ourselves up for our wives, “So that she may be awesome.” “So that she may be everything you want her to be.” I’m paraphrasing but that’s what it says. Read it.

“Yeah but it also says that she should submit to us! RESPECT us!” Yes, it does say that, however, the model that Jesus laid out for us is that He did His part first. He fully committed to His part and His bride is coming along slowly. Jesus also tells us in Luke 6:42 that we should fully deal with our own shortcomings before we worry about someone else’s. We are to lead the way, by example.

I know it can be hard to put aside what we want, what we feel we have earned, and put someone else’s needs before our own. I am not good at it but I recognize that God is calling me to maturity. We are called to be more like Jesus and He gave sacrificially, out of love, willingly. It can hurt to sacrifice like that but the rewards are far greater than the sacrifice.