Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Do you really believe...?

I remember as a kid trying to decide what toy I wanted to buy. I had to go through the whole list of pros and con's and try to decide which one would give me the most joy. I had to decide which toy was going to hold my interest the longest using my imagination while playing with it. As a kid I had a wild imagination so you can imagine that place I would put myself in each time it came to choosing a new toy. Getting a new toy didn't happen every week or month for that matter, so I had to be very selective in what I decided what was best for me.

As a little kid you don't think about taking these decisions to God in prayer. I mean.. it is JUST a toy right? As we get older we find that these toy decisions turn into adult life changing decisions that can alter our path for life. I am sure by now you are wondering what I am talking about. When we put God in the mix center there are a lot of ingredients to making a prayerful decision. The ingredients are... Asking - we need to ask God with a grateful heart. Belief... we need to believe that God is going to answer our prayer. Trust... a hard one for me. Putting all of our trust that God knows what is best when he does answer our prayer. Trusting and knowing that with prayer anything can be accomplished.

Matthew 21:21-22
21 Then Jesus told them, “I tell you the truth, if you have faith and don’t doubt, you can do things like this and much more. You can even say to this mountain, ‘May you be lifted up and thrown into the sea,’ and it will happen. 22 You can pray for anything, and if you have faith, you will receive it.”

Revelation 3:8
8 “I know all the things you do, and I have opened a door for you that no one can close. You have little strength, yet you obeyed my word and did not deny me.

So amongst the many challenges in our marriage in the past two years. This would be the first major decision that will affect our family. We have prayed and come to a decision. My wife is in a miserable situation in her job. For 45 blogs now I have asked that you pray that my wife and I would discover the Lord's will. Well in the next couple of weeks we will be taking the first few steps of faith and doing what we think God is asking us to do. We claim and believe Matthew 21:21-22 and Rev 3:8. We believe that the Lord will open doors that no man can open and will keep them open. The steps we are taking... we feel like it is for the best interest of my wife, our marriage and our family. These are things that we feel God wants. This step is huge and I think of it as the equivalent of keeping our eyes on God so we can walk on the water. We have asked, and now we will put our belief and trust in God. We don't know in how God is going to answer, but he has given direction so we will follow.

As spouses we need to be united in everything we do. This means that the tough decisions bring us closer together and not divide us. This means that small, medium, and large things need to have God included in all of them. This is the type of marriage God honors and blesses. I encourage you all to make sure God is in all of your decisions. I have told my wife that we will trust God. We have given everything to God, things, emptied out closets, our faith hope and trust. Now we will watch God work.

OK so what to pray for. Pray for us in the next couple of weeks. Changes are coming and we are no sure how God will provide, but we know he will. Pray that through this our marriage would strengthen and peace be felt all around. Pray for my wife as she starts this process in motion that God would give her courage. Today please pray for my daughter.

Father thank you for your will for our lives. Thank you Father for providing when we have run out. Thank you Father for your grace and mercy that you provide. Thank you Father for helping us to be obedient to you.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Sometimes we get tired...

What a great weekend! We took a trip a birthday party in southern Illinois where we have family. My oldest son took his friend with us. So four kids and my wife I. It was my idea for my son to invite his friend. A reward of sorts for good behavior. We had a nice time. We spent a good portion on Saturday night in the pool at the hotel tiring the kids out and some time the next morning in the pool after breakfast. As it turns out the two oldest boys made friends with four other boys their age in the pool. I had bought a ball at Wal-Mart for the boys to throw around. They had a great time with the other boys. Other families that came in the pool didn't stay to long because when you have six boys throwing a small ball around, it is not calm waters to say the least. I was amazed at how something like a small mini soccer ball could bring two groups of boys who didn't know each other together for some fun. By the end of the pool sessions they all knew each others names. Needless to say three of the four kids slept on the way home. So my wife and I enjoyed a quiet ride home.

Just like that ball united six boys in a pool to a spirited game of catch, God can unite our spouse with the same type of thing. OK well not a ball, but if we put God in the center. My wife is having a very hard time with her job. Before I would have just shrugged it off and not really cared that much. But.. since we are united in Christ the struggles she faces I face. The hurt she feels, I feel. Today my wife is having a hard day. We are starting to learn that maybe the place we are in our careers is not exactly where God wants us. We can't do our best for God if we aren't where he want us. I may have mentioned this before in a previous blog, but lately my wife has felt God saying "Have you guys had enough yet? This is the verse I sent her today and what I could consider the answer to "Have you had enough yet?".

Isaiah 40:31
31 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.

Together we are seeking the Lord's will for our careers, our marriage, and our family. Seeking God's face has united us together. We share a common hope and that is that God would put us in the best position to do his will. I believe what is starting happen... God put in motion a long time ago. Now it is just a matter of keeping that yes on the table. When both of us put it there, God will start working how he originally intended too 14 years ago when we said "I do". We have finally put our hope in the Lord and because of that, God is starting to renew everything about our marriage. We know God will provide in every way that is needed in order to do his will.

I especially love Isaiah 43. This chapter seems full of hope and I think it is no mistake that right it is my scripture reading. Another great verse that I came across.

Isaiah 43:18-19
18 “Forget the former things;
do not dwell on the past.
19 See, I am doing a new thing!
Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness
and streams in the wasteland.

 I like the first two lines of verse 19. See? I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up! do you not perceive it? Sometimes I wonder just how miserable God needs to make us before we see how he can transform us and our marriages. How long before we realize that God can make us into something for his purpose and experience joy unheard of? God can do amazing things if we would just put God in the center of our marriages. God can unite us much like that ball in the pool united those boys. Why not let him do a new thing and forget the former things? God can... will you let him? I did and so did my wife. Now we wait on the Lord.

OK so what to pray for. Court date coming in three weeks and we need the Lord's will done. Pray for my oldest son, still seeing small victories, but had a small set back yesterday. Pray for my wife's job and the Lord's will for that. Pray for our marriage that it will continue to strengthen.

Father thank you for uniting us in you. Thank you Father for reminders every day of what you are capable if we just let have control. Thank Father for your love for us.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Where would I be....?

You ever looked back and wondered where you would be if it weren't for certain people in your life? Has there ever been one person that you crossed life's path with that made some type of difference? I was raised in a Christian home. I leaned in the way that I should live. I had a great example of Christ in my parents, but also in my family that surrounded me.. grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, even friends etc... There is an old African proverb "It takes a village to raise a child". That is true and even though I am getting into my late 30's I am still a child learning from life.

On January 8th 2012 on this blog I referenced Jeremiah 6:16. But today I am writing about it again as I have learned so much since that time. I re-read this blog today and I am so thankful for that time that God spoke to me. Here is the verse:

Jeremiah 6:16
16 This is what the LORD says:
“Stand at the crossroads and look;
ask for the ancient paths,
ask where the good way is, and walk in it,
and you will find rest for your souls.

The person that day was a missionary who crossed my path. Even though I didn't speak to her and her husband, what was said I needed to hear because I was standing at the crossroads. I mentioned above that I am still a child in my late 30's trying to learn my way in life. Both in life and in my spiritual walk. I am learning something new every day. I am learning that prayer works and that I need to be patient in waiting on those answers. Patience has paid off and the answers continue to come. Just today another victory with our oldest son and a prayer answered. These victories wouldn't be possible without prayer. Not only prayer, but with all of you praying with us.

Matthew 18:20
20 For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.”

This is what has happened. You ALL have prayed for our marriage, you all have prayed anything that I have asked for. You ALL prayed for our kids and God is honoring and answering those prayers. You all have helped me, my wife, and my family through so much in the past couple of years. The support and prayers have been remarkable. The love you have all shown us has been amazing!! So on behalf of my wife and I, I want to say thank you. Thank you for all of your prayers, support, love, and checking up on us. We love you for it and pray that God will bless you.

It truly takes a village. A village where the body of Christ lives. A village that not only helps raise kids, but us adults to who are traveling a journey, meeting many crossroads that those who have gone before us came to as well. Whether it was a life journey previously traveled or spiritual previously traveled, it is your advice and experience that you all have that we have drawn offf of. You have given us many kind and encouraging words. It takes a village and we must surround ourselves with our brothers and sisters in Christ to ask which way is the ancient and good path. It is through his grace that he provides that village for us all to reside in.

What to pray for... Continue to pray for my oldest son. We learned today that he has anxiety issues. We knew this, but they are bigger than we thought. But we also received a lot of good news and learned that God is working in his life. Pray for our marriage that it continues to strengthen. Pray for our court date March 14th. We need God to work here.

Instead of my usual prayer today I am reminded of God's grace and so I leave you with this song.

By your grace; for your glory-------by: gold city

where would i be without your love?
What kind of life would i be guilty of?
If not for your redeeming hand that reached so low to raise me up and let me stand

by your grace; for your glory
i am here to tell the story
of all the doors you've opened for me
that i might give, i might love, i might live
by your grace; for your glory

not by my strength have i survived
my reckless steps and my selfish pride
not by my works of righteousness
i owe it all to you alone that i am blessed

by your grace; for your glory
i am here to tell the story
of all the doors you've opened for me
that i might give, i might love, i might live
by your grace; for your glory

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Note: I know I said the questions answered by my wife are going to be posted. They will be very soon. There will be a couple of blogs where she will either write or answer questions. I also want to give you a feel for what my kids thought and went through. I will be asking them some very simple questions. Just want to give this blog a different angle every now and then. So keep your eyes open for them. Yesterday was the first one.

I have seen several stories where a person has been trapped under a car or some type of heavy object and one or many have come together with unheard of might to lift it off of the person. What is really extraordinary is when it is one person. It is that one moment where the person has inhuman like strength to lift the object off of the person. Always interesting to me and how that happens.

Judges 14:6
6 The Spirit of the LORD came powerfully upon him so that he tore the lion apart with his bare hands as he might have torn a young goat. But he told neither his father nor his mother what he had done..

At one point or another we all find ourselves in extraordinary circumstances. Whether it is lifting a heavy object off of a person to save their lives or something a little less extreme. I for one think it would be sweet to have strength like that at a moments notice. Anyways... I can think of moments in life where I have had to draw strength from places I never knew I had. For one when my mom died. Decisions had to be made with my family. One of the very toughest things I have ever had to go through. Recently in the last two months I found strength for some things that I was enduring when it came to trying to get this marriage and family back together. Being honest with myself, with my wife, with my family and with my friends took incredible strength.

When Samson called on the Lord, he got immediate strength. The man tore a lion in half. That is extraordinary. The simple thing Samson did? He called on the name of the Lord. The Lord gave him the physical strength. We always don't need physical strength do we? Sometimes we need strength from God to endure those extraordinary things in life. All we have to do is call on the name of the Lord and believe that he will give us the strength. Like I said before I can think of numerous times where I have called on the Lord to give me strength. But I can also think of numerous times where I didn't call on the Lord and I paid dearly.

How many times are we going to let things happen to us without calling on God? How many situations are we going to find ourselves in where we think "how will I ever get through this?" I learned my lesson. I no longer try to do these things myself. I call on the name of the Lord. I believe that he will be with me and give me strength to face the storms.

Isaiah 43:1-2
1 But now, this is what the LORD says—
he who created you, Jacob,
he who formed you, Israel:
“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
I have summoned you by name; you are mine.
2 When you pass through the waters,
I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
you will not be burned;
the flames will not set you ablaze.

It is pretty simple... So many times I should have called on the name of the Lord and I didn't. I thought I could do it myself and I failed. I thought my way was best and I should have just trusted God that he would give me the strength to get through. Don't make this mistake friends. Take it from someone who almost lost everything. We can't do get through life without calling on the Lord.

I leave you with this song. Call upon the name of the Lord one of my favorties!!

Call Upon the Name of the Lord

Call upon the name of the Lord,
Have faith in his name.
Jesus is the name we adore;
Let’s all just call,
Call upon the name of the Lord.

Call upon the name of the Lord,
Have faith in his name.
Jesus is the name we adore;
Let’s all just call,
Call upon the name of the Lord.

Jesus, Jesus,
Give him praise, call his name.
Jesus, Jesus, Jesus.

Call upon the name of the Lord,
Have faith in his name.
Jesus is the name we adore;
Let’s all just call,
Call upon the name of the Lord.

Jesus, Jesus,
Give him praise, call his name.
Jesus, Jesus, Jesus.

Call upon the name of the Lord,
Have faith in his name.
Call upon the name of the Lord,
Have faith in his name.
Jesus is the name we adore;
Let’s all just call,
Call upon the name of the Lord.

Call upon the name of the Lord.
Call upon the name of the Lord.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The game of life... is it really a game?

I have often times tuned my wife out when she was talking to me. I have often times forgotten the things that she said to me that mattered to her. For the last few years I hadn't really cared what she was struggling with or cared what her opinion was. I just didn't care and only cared about what made me happy. I often times would tell people things just to make myself happy. I would make something sound better than it really was. I thought I was pulling the wool over their eyes. But I didn't know that my wife was on to me and knew me better than I knew myself.

I could talk to the talk, but I definitely wasn't walking the talk. Inside that life of mine was something completely different than what I was living. Can you say Sunday Christian? Oh yeah that was me. I could change in a phone booth with my cape on and and SC on my shirt. Super Christian. It is easy to raise you hand while singing a song or while you are on the platform helping to lead worship. But all of that was false. It was an empty man up there trying to prove to every one that he could handle the things that were destroying his life in plain view... well except for me. I couldn't see it. That was at church just one aspect of the thing I called "life".

Then there were friends... I would go to them for advice and only give them about ten percent of the truth. The other 90 percent was lies to get them to feel sorry for me. To get them to believe what I was telling them was the truth. And to get them to believe that this situation was as bad as I thought it was. I was hoping to hear it was ok for me to be doing the things I was doing. I wanted to hear I was justified in having an affair. I wanted to hear that I was justified in being angry about things of the past and holding onto the anger that I was feeling. I wanted to hear that the situation should be all about me and no one else. That was the friend aspect of the thing I called "life".

Here we go, let's talk about my life at home. I would get home at night after communicating all day with the person I was having an affair with. We would have supper, put the kids to bed. I would end up on one end of the couch and my wife would end on the other. I would keep my phone next to me at all times. For a few reasons. One I didn't want my wife touching my phone in fear of what she might find out and the wrath that I would feel for it. She had every right to rain down wrath on me and she did. If it wasn't my phone, then I was on my laptop saying "I had to work". but really I was talking to the other woman. And for some reason whether it was the kids or my wife interrupting me during that time, I would get mean and angry. I would do anything to cause an argument to justify why I was doing the things I was doing. To justify why divorce needed to come soon. I would go out often to get us take out after the kids went to bed, just so I could have more time to talk to this woman. This was my life. Any way and every way I could think of to be withdrawn, I was doing it all the while putting up a fake front in front of friends and family that EVERY ONE could see right through.

Lets continue shall we? Let's talk about my kids and what a horrible good for nothing father I really was. I didn't care. I couldn't wait to put them to bed so I didn't have to be a father for the mere few precious minutes I had with them at the end of the day. I would do the very least I could and put all of the responsibility on my wife. I would only step in in severe cases where I needed to. But.... oh yes out in public I was the best father ever... well at least I tried to act like it. I could talk the talk about my kids and how great they were and the things they were doing. But seriously... how would I know? I didn't pay attention to them. I didn't listen to them either. YUP that is right just tuned them out like everything else in my life that I didn't want to deal with or didn't care about. In fact if you remember me talking about my kids being mirrors and sponges? Well that is what they saw. I see them acting in some ways that make me very ashamed of how I was.

Yes folks what you have just read is what happens when you don't go to God for everything in your life. This is what happens when you let satan have control and you make stupid choices. Sin makes you stupid. It is no wonder my wife has hard days with this. It is no wonder I find myself working hard as a father and reversing the things I lived in front of them. My youngest son said to my wife this morning that he really likes the new daddy. He asked why daddy was different. My wife's answer was because he let Jesus into his life. My son's reply? "I am so thankful that he did that." What amazing testimony to what God has done in my life. IF I had just handed my marriage to God and trusted that he would change it.. none of this would have happened. Instead I sought my own selfish desires.

Friends I don't care about my phone anymore. I don't care about having the laptop on after the kids go to bed. When they go to bed, there is a peace in the house that has never been. Our kids are starting experience what family is. Our kids have a REAL daddy now. I love spending time with them!! I don't want to ever miss out again. My wife is starting to experience what it is to have a real husband who loves her unconditionally. All I want is to be next to her at the end of the night. I find myself reflecting most nights after family time that we have before bed time and how I love that time so much. It just keeps getting better. I find myself wanting to please my wife in any way that I can. I love to make her happy. I love to see her smile. Folks she hasn't smiled for almost three years. She hasn't truly smiled for thirty something years. God has made a difference because I let him have control.

God is my Lord and Savior. God has saved me, restored me, and made me new. I am a walking testimony of what God can do for anyone. I will tell this story to anyone who will listen. I will tell them what it took for God to get a hold of me. In previous blogs there were questions that I posted and answered. I am going to post them again but this time, my wife will answer them about her new husband. She will agree with me how I answered them before was accurate, truthful and honest. I think you all need to hear it from her what God has done. This is the direction I feel the Lord leading me in for the next couple of blogs. This blog today was me being obedient to what the Lord wanted me to write about.

What to pray for? Pray for the next court date that the Lord's will would be done. Continue to pray for my oldest son. We are still seeing victories. Pray for our marriage that it continues to grow stronger.

Thank you Father for laying things on my heart and helping me to be obedient to you. Thank Father for your many blessings and your grace that saved a broken man.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

We need to love...

I find that my kids are pretty accepting of others. I love that about them and I love how it is so innocent. It seems like no matter how I acted, what I did, or how I came across sometimes, our kids love me unconditionally. I have learned to say I am sorry, I have learned to be more understanding of them. I maintain that their reality is not always and most times not mine. I find that as my wife and I go through this journey that some challenges are arising that we didn't see coming. But working together to grow our marriage and our love for each other is the consistent base for making something amazing.

OK so here is the scripture to which I am referring above. It is long today and I couldn't find just a few verses to some up what God has given me to blog about. So I apologize, but not for God's word but for the length of today's blog. I also want you to know I am using The Message as today's translation. I think it says it best and it is easier to understand. Romans can be confusing and deep at times.

Romans 14

Cultivating Good Relationships
1 Welcome with open arms fellow believers who don't see things the way you do. And don't jump all over them every time they do or say something you don't agree with—even when it seems that they are strong on opinions but weak in the faith department. Remember, they have their own history to deal with. Treat them gently.
2-4For instance, a person who has been around for a while might well be convinced that he can eat anything on the table, while another, with a different background, might assume he should only be a vegetarian and eat accordingly. But since both are guests at Christ's table, wouldn't it be terribly rude if they fell to criticizing what the other ate or didn't eat? God, after all, invited them both to the table. Do you have any business crossing people off the guest list or interfering with God's welcome? If there are corrections to be made or manners to be learned, God can handle that without your help.
5Or, say, one person thinks that some days should be set aside as holy and another thinks that each day is pretty much like any other. There are good reasons either way. So, each person is free to follow the convictions of conscience.
6-9What's important in all this is that if you keep a holy day, keep it for God's sake; if you eat meat, eat it to the glory of God and thank God for prime rib; if you're a vegetarian, eat vegetables to the glory of God and thank God for broccoli. None of us are permitted to insist on our own way in these matters. It's God we are answerable to—all the way from life to death and everything in between—not each other. That's why Jesus lived and died and then lived again: so that he could be our Master across the entire range of life and death, and free us from the petty tyrannies of each other.
10-12So where does that leave you when you criticize a brother? And where does that leave you when you condescend to a sister? I'd say it leaves you looking pretty silly—or worse. Eventually, we're all going to end up kneeling side by side in the place of judgment, facing God. Your critical and condescending ways aren't going to improve your position there one bit. Read it for yourself in Scripture:

"As I live and breathe," God says,
"every knee will bow before me;
Every tongue will tell the honest truth
that I and only I am God."
So tend to your knitting. You've got your hands full just taking care of your own life before God.

13-14Forget about deciding what's right for each other. Here's what you need to be concerned about: that you don't get in the way of someone else, making life more difficult than it already is. I'm convinced—Jesus convinced me!—that everything as it is in itself is holy. We, of course, by the way we treat it or talk about it, can contaminate it.
15-16If you confuse others by making a big issue over what they eat or don't eat, you're no longer a companion with them in love, are you? These, remember, are persons for whom Christ died. Would you risk sending them to hell over an item in their diet? Don't you dare let a piece of God-blessed food become an occasion of soul-poisoning!
17-18God's kingdom isn't a matter of what you put in your stomach, for goodness' sake. It's what God does with your life as he sets it right, puts it together, and completes it with joy. Your task is to single-mindedly serve Christ. Do that and you'll kill two birds with one stone: pleasing the God above you and proving your worth to the people around you.
19-21So let's agree to use all our energy in getting along with each other. Help others with encouraging words; don't drag them down by finding fault. You're certainly not going to permit an argument over what is served or not served at supper to wreck God's work among you, are you? I said it before and I'll say it again: All food is good, but it can turn bad if you use it badly, if you use it to trip others up and send them sprawling. When you sit down to a meal, your primary concern should not be to feed your own face but to share the life of Jesus. So be sensitive and courteous to the others who are eating. Don't eat or say or do things that might interfere with the free exchange of love.
22-23Cultivate your own relationship with God, but don't impose it on others. You're fortunate if your behavior and your belief are coherent. But if you're not sure, if you notice that you are acting in ways inconsistent with what you believe—some days trying to impose your opinions on others, other days just trying to please them—then you know that you're out of line. If the way you live isn't consistent with what you believe, then it's wrong.

I made the mistake of trying to cultivate my marriage how I wanted it. I tried manipulation, I tried taking paths that were not good, I tried words that I thought would change the situation in my favor. I would say things and do another. When God wasn't the center, all I did was push people... mainly my wife away. I like how Paul puts it about how we eat at the table. What is good for one person may not be good for the other. In my case what I thought was good for me, or what satan thought was good for me wasn't good for me or any one else for that matter. Some like meat, some like veggies, some like dairy products, and yet others like it all. But God knows us individually, and we have to be careful how that flows over to others around us.

Look at verses 13-23. Basically Paul is saying stop worrying about what others eat because you are going to impede not only on your spiritual progress but those who are at the table with you. Instead lets get a long and love each other. That is the mistake I made. I choose to be condescending, and very critical of others. Why? Because I was sinning. But also when others were critical of me and didn't show me the love of Christ that I needed, it just pushed me away. Verses 17-18 talks about how God can take something wrong and set it right. I talked a little bit about this yesterday. Folks we when allow God to love us and we are surrendered to him completely, that is when the love of Christ shows through us to others. That is when God uses us to cultivate those relationships that need fixing or need improvement or a marriage needs to be fixed, or a family issue needs to be resolved. In my case it was all about letting God have control of my life and proving to my wife that God's love was coming out through me to rruly love her like I should have all along. Folks it is the love of Christ that binds us together. Not conflict, not critical opinions, and not hard feelings.

I leave you with verses 19-23. I know it is up there as well.... but this should be the golden rule of our marriages, family, friendships, and our relationship with God.

19-21So let's agree to use all our energy in getting along with each other. Help others with encouraging words; don't drag them down by finding fault. You're certainly not going to permit an argument over what is served or not served at supper to wreck God's work among you, are you? I said it before and I'll say it again: All food is good, but it can turn bad if you use it badly, if you use it to trip others up and send them sprawling. When you sit down to a meal, your primary concern should not be to feed your own face but to share the life of Jesus. So be sensitive and courteous to the others who are eating. Don't eat or say or do things that might interfere with the free exchange of love.
22-23Cultivate your own relationship with God, but don't impose it on others. You're fortunate if your behavior and your belief are coherent. But if you're not sure, if you notice that you are acting in ways inconsistent with what you believe—some days trying to impose your opinions on others, other days just trying to please them—then you know that you're out of line. If the way you live isn't consistent with what you believe, then it's wrong.

What to pray for? Pray for my wife and I. We are coming up against some things that are perfectly normal but we just need some prayerful support. Pray for our upcoming court date in March that God would work and his will would be done. Continue to pray for my oldest son because little victories are happening and satan is trying to put a stop to it.

Father thank you... I just want to thank you and praise you today for making your scripture so alive to me and reminding me of how your words whether you said them or said them through someone are so powerful in my life.

Monday, February 20, 2012

There are little ones all around...

I know many of you who are reading this have kids. Like me some of you have small children. The oldest child in my house is eight. I have talked a few times about our three kids in our house. I have referred to them as mirrors and they reflect what they see. I have also referred to them as sponges as they obsorb what they see. Out of my kids mouths I have heard phrases that often come out of my mouth as well as my wifes mouth. I am even starting to see actions that resemble my wifes as well as mine. I always have seen this in other peoples children, but I guess as our kids get older.. I notice it a lot more.

Matthew 19:13 - 15
13 Then people brought little children to Jesus for him to place his hands on them and pray for them. But the disciples rebuked them.
14 Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” 15 When he had placed his hands on them, he went on from there.

Through out the Bible we see a lot of references to parenting and also how Jesus loved children as much as he loved us adults. Us adults can be strong headed and stubborn, but often times kids see the truth in a very innocent way. I remember specifically being at a revival service and seeing a young boy not older than seven or eight go to the alter. That one action started a flood of people going to the alter. They followed the example of a child. We call that child like faith. A child's reality is very much different than us parents. The reality doesn't match up until they get into adulthood. Sometimes not even then does it catch up. But... there is a lot to be learned from their reality when they are young. Rather than me teaching my kids life lessons,  some times it is them teaching me lessons about life.

As I watch my kids grow up and start to resemble my wife and I, I get a little scared as to what I am seeing. I stress so much the importantence to set the example for them. When my oldest son was a a todler, I was getting him dressed. It happened to be storming outside and my son said to me.. "Daddy, I am sure tired of storms.." While he was talking about the reality of what was happening outside, I was thinking of the reality of what was happening inside. My reply to my son was, "Son, I am too". It was a reality check for me. How was I doing as a parent and how was I handling the storms and how would my son rate me at that moment. I know what my answer would be. Very poor. What my wife and I had set into motion was a full steam ahead of organized expected high tense kaos. With that said, trying to right the ship would be comparitive to righting the Titanic away from the iceberg. We had the wrong type of momentum going and it about sunk the ship. Enter.. God... What a difference he can make when you give him control of the ship, know matter the momentum, God can turn it around.

Friends it is so important to love your kids like Jesus loved the little children. It doesn't matter how old your kids are. I know teens and adults that still do the same things wrong that their parents did. Why? Because their parents never gave full control to God to right the ship and stop the disaster that happens when God is not in control. I regret the first years on my kids life. We didn't make it a Christ centered home and things were bad. But I am thankful that God gives us reminders all over scripture to guide us in how to love and raise our kids in a Christ filled home. What do your actions say to your kids? What do your words say to your kids? What does your example say to your kids? Something to think about...

What to pray for.. Pray for our court date next month that God's will would be done. Pray for our kids as they continue to adjust to this change. We are seeing answered prayer. Pray for our marriage that God would continue to work and strengthen out love for each other. Pray for us as we continue to seek the Lords will.

Jesus loves the little children
All the children of the world
Red and yellow black and white
They are precious in his site
Jesus loves the little children of the world


Friday, February 17, 2012

Arrogance leads to...

The first time I played a game on Monopoly with my oldest son, I destroyed him. My son had nothing left by the end of the game and didn't even want to add up what he had left. He simply got up and left table leaving everything for me to pick up. A week later I shared my secret of winning with him ( I won't share with you should I ever play Monopoly with any of you ) We ended up playing again and using my secret... he absolutely destroyed me. I arrogantly thought by sharing with him my secret that he wouldn't fully understand the strategy, but.... he did.

Isaiah 39

1 At that time Marduk-Baladan son of Baladan king of Babylon sent Hezekiah letters and a gift, because he had heard of his illness and recovery. 2 Hezekiah received the envoys gladly and showed them what was in his storehouses—the silver, the gold, the spices, the fine olive oil—his entire armory and everything found among his treasures. There was nothing in his palace or in all his kingdom that Hezekiah did not show them.
3 Then Isaiah the prophet went to King Hezekiah and asked, “What did those men say, and where did they come from?”
“From a distant land,” Hezekiah replied. “They came to me from Babylon.”
4 The prophet asked, “What did they see in your palace?”
“They saw everything in my palace,” Hezekiah said. “There is nothing among my treasures that I did not show them.”
5 Then Isaiah said to Hezekiah, “Hear the word of the LORD Almighty: 6 The time will surely come when everything in your palace, and all that your predecessors have stored up until this day, will be carried off to Babylon. Nothing will be left, says the LORD. 7 And some of your descendants, your own flesh and blood who will be born to you, will be taken away, and they will become eunuchs in the palace of the king of Babylon.”
8 “The word of the LORD you have spoken is good,” Hezekiah replied. For he thought, “There will be peace and security in my lifetime.”

King Hezekiah was sick before and had asked the Lord to heal him even after Isaiah had delivered the bad news that he would die. The Lord gave Hezekiah 15 more years to live and envoys were sent his way congratulating him on his recovery from being sick. With the envoy from Babylon came, Hezekiah showed them everything as noted in Isaiah 39:1-2.  Isaiah was quick to deliver yet another message to Hezekiah that Babylon would soon carry off everything in his storehouses that he and those before him had built up. Over one hundred years later it happened. Isaiah's message from God came true. Hezekiah's sin was a result of pride and it affect those all around him.

So many times the last couple of years my pride took over and I misjudged so much in my life. I arrogantly thought that I could live this life without God and tried to do it. Ultimately lie after lie and sin after sin put me in places and situations as a result of my pride and arrogance. I saw the fall of my family, I saw the fall of my marriage, and I saw the beginnings of things in my children that were not good. What I am telling you today is this, do not think for one second that you can do something without God. Do not think for one second that pride is a good thing to have a lot of. Do not think that it is ok to be arrogant about things that you "think" you are good at. As fast as those things were given, they can be taken away. I was greatly humbled when God gave me my life back. I was even humbled that I got beat by my son in Monopoly. Friends.. I am here to tell you that if this is an area in your life that you struggle with, you need to give it to God. Otherwise... as I have found out the hard way... the day and time will come when you will get devoured. Think you are the best spouse? Doubt it... think you are the best parent? Doubt it... Think you are the best friend? Doubt it.... Just when you start thinking these things, you will find out how wrong you really are. Friends it is only a matter of time... Pride comes before the fall and it is true. Take it from someone who knows...

I leave you with this joke that is one of my favorites, but I also think it is pertinent to what God sees...

Late one night, a burglar broke into a house that he thought was empty. He tiptoed through the living room but suddenly he froze in his tracks when he heard a loud voice say: "Jesus is watching you!"

Silence returned to the house, so the burglar crept forward again. "Jesus is watching you," the voice boomed again.

The burglar stopped dead again. He was frightened. Frantically, he looked all around. In a dark corner, he spotted a bird cage and in the cage was a parrot.

He asked the parrot: "Was that you who said Jesus is watching me?" "Yes", said the parrot.

The burglar breathed a sigh of relief, then he asked the parrot: "What's your name?"

"Clarence," said the bird.

"That's a dumb name for a parrot," sneered the burglar. "What idiot named you Clarence?"

The parrot said, "The same idiot who named the Rottweiler, Jesus."

Father thank you humility. Thank you Father for teaching us lessons even if they are hard ones to learn. Thank you Father for tough love and thank you the most for after the fall of pride that you pick us up and show us how much you love us.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

I didn;t know...

I started this morning out hopeful pretty much as I always do. I always hope for the best and see what the morning, afternoon, and evening will bring. Sometimes all three are best and sometimes not so much. This morning on the way to work I was listening to Adrian Rogers as I always do. That part my morning completed and I turned off the radio as normal and focused on my morning prayer time. But... this morning was different. If you remember a few blogs back, actually very early in this blog I talked about how I was praying and just didn't know how to pray or what to pray. Well... this mornings prayer time was sort of like that, but in a completely different way. I felt the presence of the Lord so strong this morning that it made me speechless. I didn't know how to pray, I didn't know what to think, and every time I started out to pray the words just wouldn't come. I would try to start and just sigh. I was so over come by God's presence in my car. I am reminded of Matthew 6:8.

Matthew 6:8
Don't be like them, for your Father knows exactly what you need even before you ask him!

So what is one to do when this happens. I sat and listened. What else could I do. God had pretty much made me speechless. So I just listened for his still small voice. Lately I have been focusing my prayers on God's will for our lives. Just asking God to make his will known. I think today was a good start. I learned that when God wants to talk and he makes himself known, I should just stop thinking and talking. So I did. God already knew what I was going to pray. God knew my thoughts even before they came out of my mouth. Well in this case, my prayer I feel today was not all that much. I spent most of the time in tears enjoying the Lord.

So many times in this journey I found myself with thoughts racing ahead of God. What was my wife thinking? What was she doing? What was she going to do about this whole situation? Would she take me back one last time? Would she even forgive me? I was constantly theorizing about what was going to happen. God would stop me dead in my tracks and give me a verse from a friend, or give me a song with just the right words. Or speak to me through my devotions and scripture readings. What was great about today is that I am not in that place anymore. God answered all those thoughts that I had. God did so with answered prayer. Today was a day to listen and enjoy the closeness that I felt with God. I am glad that I listened in the very beginning, but so much thankful for today because my worries are few these days. I faith is much and to be able to just sit and feel the presence of the Lord was amazing. I have learned as long as we wait on the Lord, peace will come. There is peace in my life, my marriage, and my family all because I stopped to listen.

OK so what to pray for. Pray for our kids. Pray that God would make his will known. Pray for my wife, her job is really stressful.

Father thank you for your presence in my life. Thank you for taking my thoughts and allowing me to just listen to you and enjoy your presence.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Psalms 18:1-3
1 I love you, LORD, my strength.

2 The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer;
my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge,
my shield
and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.

3 I called to the LORD, who is worthy of praise,
and I have been saved from my enemies
Psalms 19:14
14 May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight,  LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.

Have you ever noticed that David always started out praising or thanking or complimenting the Lord in one way or the other in his Psalms? When David wrote Psalms 19 we don't know what he was going through or if he was really going through anything. Notice also that David calls the Lord his Rock all through the Psalms. Take a look at Psalms 18:2 "...My God is my rock..." The Lord was Davids rock. David depended on the Lord all through his life and in my opinion is one of the most noted and closest relationships that a person had with God through out the Bible. I love how David ended Psalm 19 in verse 14 David wants to please the Lord with everything he does and again he refers to the Lord as his Rock.

Furthermore if you look at Psalms 19:7-13 it gives clear instruction of keeping the Lords word as law in our hearts and to keep it as precious as gold and sweet as honey to us. I like this Psalm and especially verse 14 because if we do this in our every day lives, not only will it affect how we treat others around us, but great will be our reward in heaven. We should always be kind when we are talking to God, when we are talking others, and with our actions. They should always be pleasing to the eyes of God. But in our marriages as well. If we are living a life without sin, then it will also affect how we are treating our spouses and our kids. I speak from experience on this one. I yet again refer to my first blog entry. I was not free from sin and nothing I did was pleasing to God or anyone else for that matter and it showed. Bottom line we should be living a life pleasing to God. In doing so, every aspect of our lives becomes pleasing to God and others. I think this is most important and should be the cornerstone of our marriages. I am finding the deeper I dive into God's word, the deeper I find myself in him. Also the more the Lord is my rock and refuge in times of trouble. It has made a difference in the kind of husband and father I am. It also has made me a better person all around and makes me treat others as I would want to be treated, but also how God would want me to treat them. I admit I am not perfect in any of what I described above. It is a challenge I take daily.

In praising the Lord, having him as our rock and hiding in him when tough times come, it will draw us closer to him. This also teaches us to learn to depend on God not only for the big things, but for the small things as well. This is something important that I had to learn especially in the context of my marriage.

OK so what to pray for. Pray for my wife and I. We are diligently seeking Gods will for us. We truly feel an answer is coming. Pray for our kids. Pray for March 14th the next court date that Gods will would be done.

Father thank you for being my rock who I have learned to depend on. Thank you Father for never exposing me to the rough storms that come my way when I hide in the cleft of the rock. Father help me to always do what is pleasing in your eyes.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

The last day...

No this is not the last blog entry that I am going to write, so please don't take that away from the title of this blog. But I do have some questions I want to answer and some things I want to say.

Yesterday was the last day of the book I have been reading as part of my daily ritual. The Love Dare from the movie Fireproof. I would heavily recommend that every married couple see the movie if they haven't or see it again and go through the book together. This has been a life changing, marriage changing, and family changing experience for me. I love my wife with all of my heart and I will do anything she asks of me for the rest of our lives. I am so thankful that I was at the bottom with only one way to look. That one way to look was up. Ironically I was reading my devotions this morning and it talked about how God sometimes puts us in the shadow of his hand. When we are in that shadow, we need to be quiet and listen. At the beginning of this journey I may not have been so good at that, but as time went on, I learned to listen and to follow. Today I can say that I am so thankful for God's mercy, grace, and love he has for me. God has given life to a man who was dead inside, to a marriage that was one signature away from ending. To a family that was on the brink of not being a family anymore. God has worked a miracle in me, my marriage, and my family. God continues to answer prayer every day. I have talked on this blog so much about keeping God at the center of everything we do. God needs to be the center of our lives and every area of our lives. What a difference that makes and what a joy it brings to life.

As I said yesterday I finished The Love Dare. At the end of each day there is a question asked. Well at the end of yesterdays reading there were a few questions I wanted to answer. But do to my promise to explain spiritual bread, I thought I would wait until today VALENTINES day to answer these questions. So here it goes:

1. What has God revealed to you during the Love Dare? God has revealed so much to me. As you can see in this blog, the last 40 days has been quite the journey. God has revealed to me how much I love my wife. God has revealed all the areas where I needed to rebuild my relationship not only with him, but with my wife as well. God has showed me the areas of which I need to improve, recreate, and act on. God has showed me how much my wife truly does love me and how much she means to me.

2. How have your views of your marriage changed? My "view" has changed immensely. It is a choice to love someone. When you commit to that choice to love a person and you make a covenant to God to always do so, you better know everything that it entails. I made a choice to love my wife. After being at the bottom and finding God, my love for my wife changed from conditional to unconditional. I recommitted myself to our marriage and my relationship with God. My life hasn't been the same since in so many amazing ways. Marriage is a lifetime commitment. Once a covenant is made, it should never be broken.

3. How committed are you to God and to your spouse? I am committed to serving God and being marriage to my wife for the rest of my life. God's word is God's word and I will live by it. It is God's law that we should keep in our hearts at all times. God hates divorce and so do I. Divorce is a poison and quick escape for so many broken families. It is not a fix all, most times it makes everything worse. I encourage you to look at statistics of what happens to most kids coming from a broken home. I for one didn't want my kids to struggle with being loved or knowing what love in a marriage was about. It is my job and my wife's job to show them a good, strong, loving, Christ centered marriage. That is the example they need to see and that is the example that they WILL see. There is nothing that will ever come between us again. You hear that satan? God's holy spirit and his angels surround our home, and our family. We are covered by the blood of Jesus. You cannot touch us!!

4. Who can you share this with as a testimony? My wife and I will share this with anyone who wants to listen. We will share this story with anyone who God sends our way. We will take our story and do God's will with it. This is a story of God's loving redeeming Grace.

I really felt like I needed to answer those questions. There are still those skeptics out there who don't believe God changed me. But more importantly, I hope that God uses this story for others. It is my hope that God can use us to witness to other struggling couples out there who are facing the same thing or something similar. Some of you have been in our home recently and have seen and felt the change in our home. I hope others get to feel this and see this as well.

And to my wife... Honey, I love you with all that I am. I promise as long as I am breathing I will love you, honor you, take care of you, and support you in all that you do. I promise as the storms, mountains, and bumps come our way, I will be by your side holding your hand, and loving you through those times. I promise on the days when you don't feel so well, to make you feel better. I promise when you are weak, I will be strong for both of us. I promise that when you need to be carried, I will lovingly pick you up and take you where you need to go. I promise that when you need to be held, I will wrap my arms around you and tell you how much I love you and how proud I am to be your husband. I promise to be the best parent partnering with you in raising our three amazing kids. I promise that when they go out on their own whether flying out of the nest or being pushed out, that the nest will never be empty. We will have each other, our love, and our willingness to serve God. I promise to love you more each day that God gives to live on this earth. If it is me that enters heaven first, I will wait for you in our mansion to see you again. If it is you who goes home first, I will keep you in my heart and look forward to the day we are united before God in heaven.

Honey, you are an amazing wife, my best friend forever, my soul mate, my comedy partner, my snuggle bunny, my partner in life. You are an amazing mother to our children, an amazing friend to me. You make us all feel so loved and you motivate me to be a better man, a better spiritual leader, and a better husband. You are beautiful beyond words inside and out. I love you so much and I cannot imagine my life without you by my side. I look forward to where this journey continues to take us. It will be worth it all because I will have you by my side.

Simply put I love you. So here is my question to you my wife. Will you marry me again? If so, will you allow our family and friends to be a witness to our commitment for each other? If your answer is yes, then please let's do it. I love you!!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Good bread...

If you remember on Friday's blog I was going talk about the spiritual significance behind the bread in Matthew 14 and 15. Well here it is.

Matthew 16:5-12

5 When they went across the lake, the disciples forgot to take bread. 6 “Be careful,” Jesus said to them. “Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees.”

7 They discussed this among themselves and said, “It is because we didn’t bring any bread.”

8 Aware of their discussion, Jesus asked, “You of little faith, why are you talking among yourselves about having no bread? 9 Do you still not understand? Don’t you remember the five loaves for the five thousand, and how many basketfuls you gathered? 10 Or the seven loaves for the four thousand, and how many basketfuls you gathered? 11 How is it you don’t understand that I was not talking to you about bread? But be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees.” 12 Then they understood that he was not telling them to guard against the yeast used in bread, but against the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees.

On Saturday I was talking to my wife. We had an interesting situation occur that morning while I was gone running an errand. We were talking about when a person has a "watershed moment". Well someone we know supposedly had one of these "moments" and was sharing with my wife. The problem I have with this particular person is that, they have had several "moments". A watershed moment can be defined as a splitting point in a river where it never joins again. Or a moment in life where your path deviates from the path you were on and your life is never the same. Let me also say that typically this is a positive thing. I am old enough now to be able to discern the right from the wrong and when something is pulling at my emotional strings and when God is actually speaking to me. In talking to my wife I made mention of the fact that when a person has one of these spiritual watershed moments, the spiritual super high only last for so long. It is only when a person comes back down from that high that the rubber meets the road. They have yet another moment. They yet again deviate from the spiritual high and go back to their status quo. OR they continue down the path of the original watershed moment. This person that shared with my wife has seen the status quo many times before.

Now I will insert myself into this. I had a watershed moment as you can tell from reading this blog. Friends don't get me wrong here... the super spiritual high is great. It really is. But I don't think that is the best part. The best part is coming back down to where the rubber meets the road. That is the moment where I truly let God have complete control of my life. It is where I truly committed my life to Christ. ( keep reading I am getting to my point about the scripture!! ) Now is the best part. God has given me a thirst for him. God has given me a thirst for his word and prayer. Friends I get so excited to see what God has to say to me every day. It is my spiritual bread.

Ok so here is my point to all of this. I am sure some of you are saying finally the long winded blogger dude is getting to his point. I was joking with my wife that I think sometimes Jesus got a little frustrated with his disciples because of their lack of understanding or brain fart moments. Sometimes I think Jesus walked away from them to pray, rolled his eyes, and said "Father of all the men to be my disciples, you couldn't give me at least one guy that was a scholar to help me out??" Anyways.... in Matthew 16:8-12 Jesus got disgusted with his disciples about this whole bread thing. Yeah the miracle of feeding the thousands of people twice was pretty amazing. But Jesus's point to all this was, he fed them bread from above, not only physically, but spiritually. Jesus warned the disciples about bad yeast. The bad yeast that can lead us away from God. The people ( aka television, books, music, celebrities etc..) of this world who try to turn us away from God or our marriages. The people who stand and wait for us to come down from the super spiritual high waiting to devour us and return us to status quo. We see on television that it is ok to have an affair, or to party like it's 1999 and many other things that represent bad yeast. We are living in days where it is easy to be led into a very bad watershed moment. I speak from experience. I let the world tell me it was ok to have an affair because of the issues in my marriage. I took of bread that had bad yeast. I listened to people and things instead of God.

Please I urge you to take Matthew 16:11-12 as a warning from Jesus. Be on your best guard against bad yeast and bread. Keep your eyes open and turned on Christ. Let Christ live in all of you, not just parts of you. This past Sunday work and witness teams got up and talked about their trips. One person in particular said something very profound. It moved me to a place and served as a great reminder to be completely surrendered to Christ. Here is what he said, "None of me Lord, ALL of you". Enough said...

OK so what to pray for. My spirit tells me this week that something significant is going to happen concerning the Lords will for our family. I ask that you pray for us in this matter. Also please pray for my oldest son. He is doing better, but still is having some struggles.

Father thank you for making yourself relevant to us today. Father help us to always have our guard against those people or things in this world who try to turn us away from you. Thank you Father for your protective hand on us.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Give Thanks...

Matthew 14:13-21

13 When Jesus heard what had happened, he withdrew by boat privately to a solitary place. Hearing of this, the crowds followed him on foot from the towns. 14 When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them and healed their sick.
15 As evening approached, the disciples came to him and said, “This is a remote place, and it’s already getting late. Send the crowds away, so they can go to the villages and buy themselves some food.”
16 Jesus replied, “They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat.”
17 “We have here only five loaves of bread and two fish,” they answered.
18 “Bring them here to me,” he said. 19 And he directed the people to sit down on the grass. Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the people. 20 They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over. 21 The number of those who ate was about five thousand men, besides women and children. 

We have all heard the saying... "I would have loved to have been a fly on the wall"... I often wonder how this happened and how the food multiplied and just how this miracle happened. I would have liked to been a fly on the basket that was carrying the bread and fish. As a fly I would have liked to see how the food multiplied right before my eyes. In the minimal existence of being a fly I would have been swatted at and happily died knowing I got to see an event such as that.

We see in Matthew 15:29-39 the same thing happened. What I like about Matthew 14 is that it specifically mentions that Jesus broke the bread and gave thanks. I think when Jesus gave thanks, that is when the miracle started to happen. Jesus gave thanks for something so little and simple and God the father turned it into something on a magnitude that satisfied every ones hunger with food leftover.

The same thing can happen in our lives. There can be something so small, so simple, and the start can mean nothing, but when we thank and praise God for it. That "something" turns out to be something God uses to do multitudes of good. God can take a bad situation and find the good. Much like he did with my wife and I. It started so small over a month ago. Every day I thank God for his answered prayer and his goodness to us. Every day I see how the love in our house grows, how his spirit affects each one of us, and how he continues to multiply the good in our home. We often don't feel like praising God or thanking him when times get tough. You think the disciples thought of praising and giving thanks for the food as they were staring at all the hungry people? I am going guess that is probably not what they were thinking. If I had to take a guess... this would be their thought bubble... "what is that dude thinking giving thanks for something that won't come close to feeding these people?" ( On Monday I will write about the spiritual significance of this story, but today I need to finish where I am going) But Jesus gave thanks and God the father blessed it, multiplied it, and provided.

How often are we over looking the little things that God does or that he can use? Are we giving thanks and praise for those things? Do we believe that God can take something so small and multiply its blessings? We may not have much, but God can use it. I think even now as I walk through this journey and I look back on Wednesday, something so small as to what happened that day, God will use and turn into something big. Even when I am facing a rough time, and don't have much to work with, I will give God thanks and praise so he can use what I have.

OK so what to pray for. Pray for our marriage, our family, and that God might use us soon for his purpose and will. Pray that God would continue to reveal his will for our lives and how he wants us to serve.

Father thank you for pointing out how we need to give thanks and praise. Thank you father for using even the smallest thing and turning into something amazing.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

God will...

Ever find yourself in a place and you don't know what to do? Ever been in prayer and you didn't know how to pray? Ever felt surrounded on all sides and the only thing you knew to do was to pray? Sounds pretty desperate doesn't it? Even in the roughest times we should being dropping to our knees in prayer. When the doubts come and we completely trust in God, we can knock those doubts out of the park.

Matthew 6:5-14

5 “And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. 6 But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. 7 And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. 8 Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.
9 “This, then, is how you should pray:
“‘Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
10 your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
11 Give us today our daily bread.
12 And forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13 And lead us not into temptation,[a]
but deliver us from the evil one.[b]

14 For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.

I often catch myself going right in prayer for my requests and petitions. I find myself often stopping myself and starting over. I like to thank God first for all that he does. I next praise him for the many things he has done and all the prayer that he has answer. I then start praying for the things that I am requesting or how I feel like he is leading me to pray. I am believe that when someone pops in your mind you should pray for them. Often times that happens during prayer time for me. I remember the first time my mom went into remission. She had received the phone call from the doctor and she just praised the Lord out loud. I felt horrible because I was young and really didn't have a clear understanding of prayer. I had only prayed for her health once. I walked into my moms room crying and told her this. Her reply to me was that it only takes once. Jesus did a good job of pointing this out in scripture.

I find it hard sometimes to pray in the midst of a heated situation or when I am so worked up I don't know what to do. My wife was facing a mountain head on today. When we prayed together this morning we asked the Lord to go before her and prepare the way. Well God did and what could have been a really bad day, was a day that maybe in many ways could be a changer down the road. Isn't that what God does when we honor him and serve him with our lives?

Friends I can tell you from experience and you can look back through this blog and discover that prayer is a game changer.  I find myself constantly praying as my first reaction to any situation. Many battles and wars are won on our knees. Many things are changed on our knees both inwardly and outwardly. A lot can be accomplished on our knees. I am thankful today that the Lord went before my wife and what could have been a horrible day turned out better than initially thought. I am thankful that my wife and I go to prayer over decisions rather than letting those decisions divide us. When God is the center, everything is held together. When God is not the center, everything begins to splinter.

I challenge those of you who are reading this blog. It doesn't matter how old you are. But if you are married start praying for and with your spouse. We do together in the morning and we end our night as a family praying together before every one goes to bed. What a difference prayer makes in our house.

OK what to pray for. Pray for us in the upcoming weeks. We have little challenges here and there that we want God to help us with. Pray for our kids still. They are doing so well. Pray for us as we seek Gods will for our lives. We feel like God has something laid out for us up the road.

Father thank you for your on call presence. Father thank you for being there for us anytime we call. Thank you Father for answering when you hear our cry. Thank you Father for... well Thank you for everything you do.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

That was interesting...

I have always said that I will never know the reason why some things happen. I even think that when we get to heaven some day,  we won't care why some things happened. Some times God has things happening in the background that we are not even aware of. Amy Grant once sang a song "Angels watching over me" the song goes on to say every move I make angels are watching over me. I believe even in the worse times God presence is always around. It could be his Holy Spirit, it could be an angel, it could be any way shape or form that God always has his hand on us.

Ok so you all knew that today was our court date. Well... nothing happened. My wife and I showed up, everyone got called up and I was the last one to go. Interestingly enough, the case was continued until next month. But... what strikes me is that the first time we had court a month ago, my wife and I were not yet back together. We didn't sit together, we didn't talk. Nothing... This time we were the only ones sitting and waiting after every one had gone for their turn in front of the judge. I think today whoever needed to see whatever saw that we were a united front. I truly believe this persuaded whoever had to make some decisions about our case saw what they needed to see. Even though nothing happened the way I would have liked it too, God had his hand in it and his will was done. This is what I mean by God working behind the scenes even when we cannot see. I can wonder and theorize all I want about what today's purpose was, but I know God was in control and his purpose was served today.

Today I am reminded of Jeremiah 29:11. Yes the old staple. It is the verse that we all turn too in times of uncertainty, but I think it described today pretty well.

Jeremiah 29:11
11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Another one I like

Proverbs 3:5-6
5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; 6 in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.

Sometimes we just don't know what God is going to do. But we should always trust God for everything. I like to compare trust to this. You always know that when you walk your next step is going to be there. Or when you go to turn on a light that the light will turn on. This is the same trust I strive to have in God for my life, my marriage, and my family. I trust that when the Lord reveals his will to my wife and I, that he will provide all ways and means needed to accomplish that. Seems the Lord had something to teach me today. I was student and I learned quite well.

The other real quick point I want to make is that there is nothing like have the support of my wife today in that court room. I was a lot calmer and she reassured me many times that she loved me and that everything was going to be ok. There is nothing like having your best friend sitting next to you during times like today.

Ok so what to pray for. Pray for us this week. We have come to a decision about a change that we needed to make. Pray that the Lord will bless us for following his will. Pray for our kids. Pray for our marriage that God will continue to strengthen it and use it according to his will. Pray for us as we seek Gods will for our lives and the future.

Father thank you for sometimes keeping us in the dark in order to teach us to trust you more. Father thank for the times where we don't see how you protected us. Thank you Father for always watching over us.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Where there is a will....

We can all finish that statement right? How many times have we willed our way to something? I can think of one example. I hate to have the flu and I hate the affects of the flu. Worshipping the porcelain god is not my idea of fun. I will do anything I can to will that away. Sometimes I am successful and sometimes I fail.

There is one thing in life that we cannot force our will and it turn out successful. If for one minute you think your will is better than God... I got news for you. You are going to fail and you will fail miserably. Look at Psalm 16

1 Keep me safe, my God,
for in you I take refuge.

2 I say to the LORD, “You are my Lord;
apart from you I have no good thing.”
3 I say of the holy people who are in the land,
“They are the noble ones in whom is all my delight.”
4 Those who run after other gods will suffer more and more.
I will not pour out libations of blood to such gods
or take up their names on my lips.

5 LORD, you alone are my portion and my cup;
you make my lot secure.
6 The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
surely I have a delightful inheritance.
7 I will praise the LORD, who counsels me;
even at night my heart instructs me.
8 I keep my eyes always on the LORD.
With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken.

9 Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices;
my body also will rest secure,
10 because you will not abandon me to the realm of the dead,
nor will you let your faithful[b] one see decay.
11 You make known to me the path of life;
you will fill me with joy in your presence,
with eternal pleasures at your right hand.

My wife and I are facing something tomorrow and this is just what I needed to hear today. I cannot control what happens. Did you realize fear and anxiety is caused by worrying about a future that we cannot control? All I can do is put it into God's hands and allow him to counsels me. God will truly protect us from what is wrong. I cannot will what is going to happen. All I can do is ask for God's mercy and grace. All I can do is ask for God's will to be done. Not mine. I like verse 8. As long as I keep my eyes on God, I will not be shaken. God will make known his will for us and as long as we stay in his will, we will experience what true joy is.

As you have seen, I have already started to experience some of this joy in my marriage. But I am also starting to experience this joy in other areas in my life. My kids are happy, friendships with others are strengthening. God is starting to ever so slowly reveal his will in my life, my marriage, and my family. If I had continued to "will" things my own way, I would not be experiencing any of this joy that I have in  my life. Simply put, if you want Joy, live free in the Lord with everything you are, all areas of your life, and surrender to him.

OK what to pray for. Tomorrow please pray for my wife and I that we get through this together. Pray that God's will would be done and this part of our journey would be complete. Pray for our kids as they continue to enjoy this happy home they live in.

Father thank you for being my protector. Thank you Father for your perfect will. Thank you for knowing what is best and the wisdom you give us when needed.

Monday, February 6, 2012

And the award goes to....

We have all seen it. The awards shows on TV... tis the season you know.. where we tell all the actors/actresses how wonderful they are for their ability for putting on a fake life or situation in a TV/movie. What if we gave them an award for their personal lives? Now that would be interesting TV.

What if we could do the same thing for all those married couples out there who act day in and day out in front of their kids, family, friends, church, co-workers... Hmmm... Makes me think... In the last three years I would have won every award possible. I look back over the last three years and I don't think I had one fan in my corner. Not one person who wanted to or was supporting the life I was living. I was putting on a good show and the only person who cared to keep that show going was me. Heck... sometimes I didn't even want to keep the show going. But because of sin and my pride of not wanting to fail at my own will, I kept it going... I failed anyway.

I was reading in Judges today for my Bible scripture. Judges 1 - 6. I am just amazed about how God raised leaders to rescue his people when they strayed, cried out for help, and the chosen leader of that time rescued them. That peace would last for a certain amount of time. Then the people of Israel would go back to their sinful ways, God would have them taken over by some evil King, they would cry out and God in all of his compassion would have mercy on them and bring yet another leader and save them. You could almost call it a roller coaster of sorts. Does this sound like your marriage? Does this sound like your spiritual life. We get on cruise control, focus less on God, and focus on other stuff. Things start going bad, we think we can handle it on our own. We find out we can't. What happens? We cry out to God for mercy!! God every time rescues us or our marriage from whatever is trying or has brought us down. Same thing happened to Gods people in the Old Testament book of Judges. The Israelites took their eyes of God and things went horribly wrong. They gave praise and modeled their life after baal. A no for good nothing idol. A fake god.

So... yes... I won every award out there for putting on a show. I had a whole closet FULL of them. I gave that closet to God. The one I probably won three years in row? Best fake husband ever!! I don't ever want to put on a fake show in my life, in my marriage, or any where else for that matter. I am done with the spiritual roller coaster of marriage. A successful marriage between two people is finding a God given leader in each other. As a leader in our marriage it our job to save each other when we see our spouse faltering or we see them getting discourage, or when they cry out for help. It is our responsibility to each other as spouses. We are accountable not only to our God given leader of a spouse, but to God too. We need to be open with our spouses and let them know when we are struggling, or hurting. That is one of the reasons why God gave us our spouse. Not only is the father/husband the spiritual leader in the home or family. BUT so is the wife/mother. Our wives are as much the leader as we men are. I am my wife's number one fan. She gets every award in my book. She loved me through the very darkest of times in my life and marriage. She is my spiritual leader who I look to and pray with. I am so thankful for that today.

OK so what to pray for. Court day is coming soon. Please pray that God's will would be done and our prayers are answered. Pray for our kids. We think we have made a decision to a life change that we needed to make. As it turns out, it is not going to be a change. Pray for God's will in our life that he would reveal that to us in his time.

Father thank you for all you do. Thank you Father for blessing us this past Sunday. Thank you for my wife's love for me. Thank you Father for your holy spirit which fills our house, our lives, and our marriage. Thank you for yet another day to see what you have in store for us.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Ahh.. Some rest...

Matthew 11:28-30
28-30"Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you'll recover your life. I'll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won't lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you'll learn to live freely and lightly." 

My wife and I will be headed out of town tonight over night. She planned it and surprised me. It is a much needed break for us to get some sleep, enjoy each other and connect. It will also be a good time for us to talk about how more than ever we need to make sure we are going to the Lord for everything. There have been and still are times where we are tired, worn out, and need recovery. It is nice to know that the Lord puts people in place to help make things like this weekend possible.

If you have noticed this verse is from The Message bible. I like the way it states this verse. There have been, still, and will be plenty of times where we will be tired and feel worn out. Not only in life, but in our spiritual walk, and our marriage as well. I should have paid more attention to this verse a long time ago. Maybe I would have learned a thing or two. If I would have just depended on the Lord and followed his example and trusted he was not going to give me anything I couldn't handle, I bet I would have been fine.

I like where the verse says get away with me and you'll recover your life. That is exactly what I did. I got some time with the Lord. Opened my eyes, and things started to change in my life. My marriage was in sight, my kids started to get happy, and I have a relationship with the Lord like never before. Walking with the Lord, watching, learning, has allowed me to live freely and lightly. I have been telling people for the first time in years, I feel free, I feel clean, and I know that when rough spots come my way, all I need to do is depend on the Lord. Oh boy... when things got rough in my marriage or in my life, or at work, I should have referred back to this verse.

1 Peter 4:12

12-13Friends, when life gets really difficult, don't jump to the conclusion that God isn't on the job. Instead, be glad that you are in the very thick of what Christ experienced. This is a spiritual refining process, with glory just around the corner.

Folks it is so important that we spend every day in the word of the Lord. We should have our noses in it constantly. If only I had lived my life then like I live it now... MY OH MY how things would be different. God would have answered prayer, but it would not have been so hard on me. The word is my sword and shield. I left my sword and shield back at the camp when I went to battle. I got defeated and gave up on God. Because I did that, I almost lost everything that was near and dear to me. I am so thankful that the Lord never ever leaves us. I am thankful that the Lord gives us rest from our burdens and never gives us more than we can handle. I am glad that I have the Lord to follow as an example on how to handle rough times with grace.

OK so what to pray for. Pray that we have a refreshing weekend. Pray for our kids that they will be good for the sitter. Pray for our marriage. Pray for the court date coming up next week that the Lords will would be done. Pray for us this weekend as we will be trying something concerning that change decision we need to make.

I leave you with one of my favorite hymns.
Great is thy faithfulness

"Great is Thy faithfulness," O God my Father,
There is no shadow of turning with Thee;
Thou changest not, Thy compassions, they fail not
As Thou hast been Thou forever wilt be.

"Great is Thy faithfulness!" "Great is Thy faithfulness!"
Morning by morning new mercies I see;
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided—
"Great is Thy faithfulness," Lord, unto me!

Summer and winter, and springtime and harvest,
Sun, moon and stars in their courses above,
Join with all nature in manifold witness
To Thy great faithfulness, mercy and love.

Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth,
Thy own dear presence to cheer and to guide;
Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow,
Blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Immediate subject expert...

I think a plane could crash in my back yard and those around me would all of the sudden be experts in plane crashes. They might think they know every detail of what happened, or what the passengers might have felt like as the plane was falling from the sky. The might even quote the well known fact "it's not the fall that kills you, it is when you hit the ground..."

I can think of three major life events in my life. They all happened after I was married. One was trying to have kids. My wife and I tried for seven years. God answered prayer and with in three years, we had three kids. I gotta tell ya, when God gives, he gives abundantly. The second major life event was when my mom died. My mom battled cancer for as long as I can remember. Maybe 20 years plus. That was a hard one to get over. There was a lot of drama there. A family split, and reconciliation. To this day I still miss my mom. But God has given my dad a wonderful lady who I love and has been such an instrument in our family. I think she is one of the reasons my family is as solid as we ever have been to this day. I think of her as my earthly mom. She is a God send. I am so thankful for her. The third is this journey of my marriage being restored.

Now... those are three events or things that I have experienced and could give, share, and support in a lot of ways. I could identify, show empathy, be understanding, and feel what another person is feeling who experiences these things similar to myself. I think God sometimes allows those life events to happen, because there are other parts of the body of Christ looking for help. I know this because God has already used our child experience to help and encourage others. God makes no mistakes and he will use whatever he can for his purpose. Now... if there is anything outside of my personal life events, there are only a few things that I can do. I can listen, I can pray, and I can show and give support however possible. What I can't do is make assumptions, give advice based on those assumptions, be understanding based on assumptions, or pray based on the assumptions in my head. People we must approach those who are hurting with an open mind filled with righteousness and with a loving heart of God.
Mark 7:15
"Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves."

I like this verse...
James 1:26
 If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person's religion is worthless.

These verses describes the "immediate experts" who think they know all about our situation. Or think that they are experts because maybe they watched a TV show, or assumptions they have made based on nothing. These are doubters who do not believe in the power of God and how he changes things. These are people who don't believe in miracles. They might as well throw the Bible out the window and re-write it for their interpretations. These our people who think they have our best interest at heart but truly don't. For those of you who are going through any situation either similar to this or completely different, these people are poison. Do not listen to them because they are just nosey gossip spreaders who enjoy taking no glory in the Lord. Rather than rejoicing in what God has done and spreading the good news like he calls us to do, these are people who take joy in spreading of news, false opinions, and gossip. Like I said, they are poison and you must separate yourself from them.

Take a look at these verses:

Ephesians 4:29
Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.


Philippians 4:8    
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

So here is what God wants. God wants us to support each other. Pray for each other. Lift each other up in the name of the Lord. I can tell you those three life events would have been miserable if we hadn't had the prayers and support of those who truly wanted to see God heal each and every situation. If people didn't pray and want the will of God, who knows where we would be today. I am thankful that our true friends and family have been on their knee's through all of this, the support that has been shown has been amazing. God has been in the mix of it all. God has been at the center. If you know someone who is facing a rough time, or a marriage that is on the brink, or a friend(s) who are in what looks like an impossible situation, rather than assuming, ask how you can pray, then get on your knees and pray. If you don't know how to pray for them, it says in the Bible the Lord knows our words and our hearts and is praying for us. All we need to do is ask God to lead in how to pray.

OK so what to pray for. Pray for our court date next Wednesday that everything would go according to the Lords will. We need to clear a mountain out of way. Continue to pray for our kids, our marriage. Pray for a decision that we need to settle on in the next coupld of weeks.

I am going to leave you with this song called "By your grace and for your glory". I think this describes today to a tee. In fact it describes my life this past month perfectly. I love the words because in every situation we need to speak of God's grace and give thanks.

where would i be without your love?
What kind of life would i be guilty of?
If not for your redeeming hand that reached so low to raise me up and let me stand

by your grace; for your glory
i am here to tell the story
of all the doors you've opened for me
that i might give, i might love, i might live
by your grace; for your glory

not by my strength have i survived
my reckless steps and my selfish pride
not by my works of righteousness
i owe it all to you alone that i am blessed

by your grace; for your glory
i am here to tell the story
of all the doors you've opened for me
that i might give, i might love, i might live
by your grace; for your glory