Friday, March 30, 2012

Tough questions...

At work I experience tough questions. With my kids I experience tough questions. There are tough questions all over the place in life that we must answer. Especially when our actions are the cause of those questions. I said many times before that I would have to be patient with my wife and absolutely not get frustrated when she questions me on the life I was living for a good year and half.

OK well based off what most of you know about this situation.. yes there was a physical altercation. Yes I was visited by the police, cuffed, and hauled downtown. I was processed, I was formally charged, and I went before a judge. I met men who had made mistakes different than I, but none the less had made mistakes. I spent time in a very small jail cell where the Lord was waiting on me. Funny that I just said that because in my devotions yesterday was about the Lord showing up or waiting when or where we least expect him too. That 30 hours or so, the Lord dealt with my heart, showed me all the things I had been doing wrong. Showed me the sin in my life and then lovingly forgave me when I asked... no... begged for forgiveness.

So the first question that my wife asked me and has asked me many times... How can you lose feelings for a woman and change your life so dramatically almost over night. Please remember, not once, but twice I moved out of our house and in with this other woman. Please remember even when I moved in, I still was not done with that relationship. As my therapist has put it, drug users usually have mutliple relasps before they get it right. Well this woman was my "drug of choice". It took the courage of my wife filing a complaint against me for me to wake up and realize what my life had become. God will reach even the most stubborn people, we just have to be open to it.

As I sat in that cell, I was scared, I was lonely, and most of all so angry with what I had become. It took me a few minutes to see God sitting next to me on the bed. Once God and I locked eyes, he started pointing out many things in my life. In that tiny room, God transformed me, took away the darkness of my life and filled it with his spirit. God healed me of the past because I gave it up so freely to him. Now was time to start asking him to help me out of that room and start repairing all the damage I had done. So to answer how can God change a person like he did with me? God removed the sin that kept me stupid and blind. God restored my site and I was free for the first time. I could see and there I face a whole new world through God's eyes. God unlocked the doors, removed the chains, and set me free.

I will continue to walk you through those days after as time goes on. Today I felf this is the direction I should take this blog... well at least for today.

OK so what to pray for. It should be obvious now why I leep asking for the Lords will when it comes to the court dates. Please continue to pray for those. My wife did something very bold today. Pray that it did us some good. Pray for my oldest son, he still struggles a bit. Pray for the Lords will for our lives and which direction we should go. Pray for a job for my wife.

Father thank you for setting me free from the chains that held me fast to sin. Thank you for restoring my sight....

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Where is the edit button...?

 I was just thinking today I wish there was an edit button in life. That we could totally go back and edit the decisions we had made. If I had that "feature" in life 2.0 then I could totally go back change the very poor decisions I made. Then the upgrade would be going a lot smoother than I thought. But sometimes when making improvements in my life, I am finding out that previous damage sometimes has to be dealt with it before the improving can continue. In all actuality there are consequences for every action whether it be good or bad. Our kids do not like being on the receiving end of a consequence that follows a poor choice. I do not like it either.

I hope everyone reads this blog today. I find myself in some familiar territory of disappointment. I received some news yesterday concerning our court battle. It was not the news I was hoping for and I don't know what to think of it. I must say that my wife and I are ready to move our family into the next chapter of our lives and serve the Lord. So I find myself working so hard to remove and clear the road of the things the Lord has asked me to clear. I have been keeping an eye our for anything else that could possibly stop us from doing the Lords will. Yet again I just don't understand this.

I will keep my eyes on the Lord and wait on him and trust that there is some type of purpose behind this bump in the road of life. Although I have to admit, it makes me look back on the things that I did and regret them more then ever. I have asked the Lord to forgive me, but I find it hard sometimes to forgive myself. I know the Lord has forgiven me, but trying to move on from this is harder than I ever thought it would be. Oh to be in this place spiritually when I was tempted to make bad decisions. Just maybe, I would have thought better and stayed on the right path of life. Jeremiah 6:16 is ringing very loud in my head right now. I know that this verse spoke clearly to me back when I started this blog, but this is just hard to swallow.

I cannot continue to beat myself up over this. I really can't. I was talking to my wife yesterday and I asked her to walk the line looking back and see how good of a job she does staying on that line. Boy I should be preaching that to myself. I also think of when my mom had passed. I had to work hard to separate living in the past from keeping the memory of her with me. It was hard to do. I finally learned that keeping her memory with me was not forgetting her. Just living in the past was what I couldn't do. In the same way I think I need to stop beating myself up over the things I did in the past and move forwards. But how is the answer... when do the reminders stop dragging me down and when will the Lord release us from this? God I have learned my lesson, why must I keep being reminded of it?

The other half of me and positive side says, relax you still have time and things can still happen. Minds can change and the decision that I have been praying for can happen. Then I think this might just be the Lord's will happening and even though it is not what I thought would happen... this is what the Lord wanted. Now I find myself in the area of trying to understand this. I admit it is hard not to ask why. I just want to do the Lord's will and I see this decision as a road block of serving the Lord completely. Now I think the Lord's timing is always the right timing. It is not about my timing... I will keep praying....

OK so what to pray for... My wifes job situation, my son, this court battle to go on our favor.

Father thank you for teaching me and restoring me. Father teach me to wait and grant me the patience to wait on you.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

My Mission statement...

2 Corinthians 5:11-21
11 Because we understand our fearful responsibility to the Lord, we work hard to persuade others. God knows we are sincere, and I hope you know this, too. 12 Are we commending ourselves to you again? No, we are giving you a reason to be proud of us,[b] so you can answer those who brag about having a spectacular ministry rather than having a sincere heart. 13 If it seems we are crazy, it is to bring glory to God. And if we are in our right minds, it is for your benefit. 14 Either way, Christ’s love controls us.[c] Since we believe that Christ died for all, we also believe that we have all died to our old life.[d] 15 He died for everyone so that those who receive his new life will no longer live for themselves. Instead, they will live for Christ, who died and was raised for them.

16 So we have stopped evaluating others from a human point of view. At one time we thought of Christ merely from a human point of view. How differently we know him now! 17 This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!

18 And all of this is a gift from God, who brought us back to himself through Christ. And God has given us this task of reconciling people to him. 19 For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, no longer counting people’s sins against them. And he gave us this wonderful message of reconciliation. 20 So we are Christ’s ambassadors; God is making his appeal through us. We speak for Christ when we plead, “Come back to God!” 21 For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin,[e] so that we could be made right with God through Christ.

I have recently asked my therapist to share this blog with others who she thinks could benefit from it. Therefore I am also giving those who read this blog permission to share it with others. I believe it is time to start letting others see the journey that has happened at least since January. I believe that God will use this blog how he sees fit. If it is just for me to update everyone on happenings in this journey, then good. If it will touch at least one person and bring them to the Lord, then this blog really has accomplished something that I didn't set out for it to do. For that.. I will praise the Lord. I will praise the Lord no matter what.

To come this far and have a marriage that is more solid than it ever was, speaks of God's power. This marriage was one heartbeat from death. All the credit belongs to the Lord. For so long I didn't see the change that the Lord had made in my wife's life. God had changed her completely and did so right before my blind eyes. Yes I said blind... It took a traumatic event for me to wake up and see things differently. If you look at 2 Corinthians 5:16-17. My wife and I belong to Christ and he has changed us inside and out. God continues to do so every day. But the whole scripture passage above is our mission statement. We want to lead others to the Lord. For those married couples out there who are having difficulties, we want to be able to tell them our story. We want to tell them how God took something that was nearly dead and made it SO alive!!

I feel the Lord asking me to be more specific about details of our marriage. As time goes on I will share that with you as the Lord lays it on my heart to do so. For the most part you have heard from me on this blog and I don't want it to be just me. I will be asking my wife to share more and more on this blog as well. It is time that you all know the struggles, the battles, and wars fought and won on the turf called marriage. There were a lot of players that helped me through and I will be asking them to share as well. In the past three months or so, I have learned so much and found out things that I didn't know. So hold on tight as I ask you to continue to read and please share with others.

OK so what to pray for... Pray for the family that is go through a very difficult time right now. Pray for my son he has struggled this week. Pray for my wife as she looks for a new job. Pray for me as I continue to seek the Lords will. Pray for May 9th court date that we won't have to go.

Father thank you for your healing power and leading me along the way. Thank you Father for speaking to me in the subtle way you do.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Blessed... and residue

Things happen in life to remind myself of how blessed I am. I am blessed to have three amazing kids. I am blessed to have an amazing wife who supports me in all I do. I am blessed to have a good job that provides for our family. Even when things get tough in the money department, I am reminded that God has always taken care of us. I am blessed to serve a God who understands me and loves me without condition. I am blessed to have a place that I can go and worship and get fed the word of God. I am blessed that I had that moment in life that changed my life and brought me back from the brink of destruction. I know those today who are facing something that I faced long ago with my mom. My heart and prayers go to their family.

With all of that said... there are many instances of residue from my old life. I fully trust that God is going to take care of them. How God will handle them is yet to be seen. So this is noted to those out there who will read this in the future. Having an affair will cause a person many hardships down the road that you don't even think about. If you have been as blessed as I have, then with God's help and the love of an amazing wife you will get through it. But there are certain realities that I have had to come to terms with.

If you are involved in a ministry at church and you have an affair, plan a very long time before you make an appearance back in that ministry or not at all. You have lost all credibility with the people that you were ministering with and or too. Some people may know your story and some will not. But the honest thing to do is to admit to your pastoral staff what you did and voluntarily remove yourself from that ministry and any other ministry you are involved in. Then leave it at their discretion to allow you back should that be their desire. At this point you have no choice in the matter.

Speaking of the church... There are those who have gotten wind of what has happened. Some will show genuine concern. Some will be nosey. Some have their own problems and really don't care about yours. As a couple you have to decide what is best for you, and your marriage. Do you stay at your church or do you get a fresh start of sorts at another. That is a question that my wife and I faced. We stayed at our church. We still struggle with the feeling of having a huge target or big orange dot on our backs. But at some point you have to ask why do you go to church? Here is our answer. Don't worry about what other people think. It is not them that you will have to answer to when it is all said and done. Go to church to get fed. Go to church to seek God out and what he wants for your life. Church is God's house and it takes all kinds of people to make the body of Christ work. Even those who have scars. Scars are a sign of healing. So don't let the other stuff be a distraction in your walk with God through this time.

In having an affair you have obviously lied to a lot of people. You have lied to your friends and family. You have lost credibility with them as well. Add into this as well as the trust factor. So time to admit your lies and come clean and ask for forgiveness. Then understand that it will take a while to gain that trust and belief that you had with them. It will also take time for them to get over the hurt they feel. Some friendships will never be the same. Some friendships will not exist and others will only get better. Family should always love you, but tread lightly and be understanding. I have a great family who love me without condition. All of them spent time praying for me and still do.

Then there are your kids. Your kids pick up on a lot more than you think. My oldest son made the comment that he was looking forward to spending more time with me this year because I didn't have a girlfriend. Can I get mad about that comment? ABSOLUTELY NOT. These comments are going to come out and kids will express their feelings. Sometimes those feelings are very blunt and to the point. Don't get mad at your kids..  rather be loving and understanding of them.  Having an affair and trying to live a double life is not possible. Trying to be a good parent is not possible. Your kids will pick up on this as mine did. All of our kids have expressed in one way or the other how glad they are that Jesus lives in me now. With our kids, they developed insecurities and anxieties that we are still sorting through. God has taken many of those away, but still there are few left and that is why I have asked you to keep praying for them.

It is important that you find a good counselor who is a Christian. My wife and I see our counselor together and separately. There are reasons affairs happen and in order to put that back together, you have to address those issues together and personally. I cannot say enough about our counselor. She has been a big part of the difference in our marriage and personal lives. God has used her more than she knows.

The road to recovery as I first named this blog is a long one. You don't heal from this over night and no one around you does either. I got a second chance... some won't. I am thankful I am not writing about divorce or the struggles I face with my kids and them coping with not having two parents in one house. God worked only because we allowed him too. If I can say anything at all, God has to be the center of all of this and if you don't allow him too, then nothing will change.

So what to pray for... We have some decisions still  that we need to make about our future. Pray for our kids. Pray that my wife will find a good job closer to home. Pray that when the time comes for us to act on God's will that we follow his lead. Pray for the court date on May 9th.

Father thank you for blessing me. Father thank you for healing.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Here I wait...

I often wonder what life would be like right now, if I would have just stayed on the path God wanted me to be on in the first place. Would I still be living where I am living? Would I still be working the job that I am working? I will never know the answers to those questions because of choices I made in the past couple of years. All I can do is look to the future and wait to see what God has in store.

Lately I have been praying about so much. The ideas in my head are endless as to what the Lord is going to do. But there are my ideas and most likely are not even close to what the Lord has planned. I remember a while back talking to my aunt. She was telling me about an individual who all but pleaded with God for something. God gave that person the thing they pleaded for, but it didn't work out. The point you may ask? Sometimes I think God gives us the desires of our heart to prove a point. If our desires are not God's then what ever that desire is will not produce the result God wants. I have to be so guarded against begging God for something. I just want God's will and when something does happen, it has to be because it is God's will for my life. So I have to hold my ideas at bay. I sometimes find myself asking "when Lord are you going to move?"

Yesterday the first answer of prayer came. I was looking at a possible path that I thought the Lord might want me to explore. As it turns out, God shut the door almost immediately. However it did provide some conversation involving a ministry that I am a part of. This ministry I feel has kind of hit a brick wall. Now we are waiting on the Lord to give direction almost literally about where to go. What is exciting is that for the first time in my life, my family is nearing a point to when God calls us to go, we can go with nothing holding us back. I have been praying all week that God would show me the things that are in the way. A couple of things God has shown and we have committed to clearing those out of the way.

I haven't updated you all on my marriage lately, so I will be doing that on Monday. But today I wanted to give you a prayer report of sorts and what I face as I wait on God. I ask that you continue to pray for us as we still have a couple of things that my wife and I need to face. One of them being the court date on May 9th and another thing that we are beginning the process of. The court date is probably the biggest one right now. We need a big answer to prayer. Please pray for our kids as my wife and I are starting to take a different approach to parenting. Pray for our marriage that God would continue to strengthen us.

No prayer today... I just want to thank you all for praying for us. We have felt the strength of your prayers this week. I want to thank all of you for your support and the encouragement that I have received in talking with a few of you in person or over the phone. It has meant a lot to me. I want to thank all of you for reading this blog. I will continue writing as long as the Lord allows. I have posted the address for this blog on facebook in our info section. I am ok if others start reading this as well. So if you feel that some one would like and benefit from this blog and would like to hear what God is doing, please feel free to tell them about it.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

I am so tired....

I am finding through this journey that things are tough sometimes. Praying when you are tired is tough, working when you are tired is tough, being a parent is extremely tough when you are tired. Being a husband is tough as well when you are tired.

I haven't been able to sleep much the past few nights. I don't know if it is the stress of my job, or something else. I haven't figured it out yet. For the last couple of months I have been searching for the Lords will. I know there is something in store and I don't know if it is the unknown that is stressing me out. The past couple of days, satan has tried to come into the house and divide. Well... we won't have anything to do with it. Honestly it just motivates me to depend on God even more. I sometimes wonder if this battle I am fighting is directly with satan and he is trying to doing everything he can to stop me from serving the Lord.

Luke 6:38
Give, and you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full--pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, running over, and poured into your lap. The amount you give will determine the amount you get back."

This verse popped into my mind today and speaks volumes to me. My devotions have been about God's will and complete surrender to him. My prayer time has been spent praying for others, but also pleading with God to show me what his will is for my life. I have asked him to show me what stands in the way of me having a complete relationship with him. I often wonder lately what is stopping me from being completely poured out in order for the Lord to use me. I question myself is the measure at which I am praying and seeking not good enough? Is where I am not giving enough? All I want is for the Lord to reveal himself to me every day however he sees fit. I want the Lord to use me for the purpose he had in him mind when he created me.

Physically because of the lack of sleep I am starting to get real tired. I have been wondering if this is the Lord's way of wearing me down so that all I have is him to depend on for strength. Every morning that I pray, some times there are long pauses between my praying. I often find myself asking the Lord what to pray for and to lead me. It is not that I do not pray for others, because I do. But what specifically am I missing that I should be focusing in on. Sometimes I really have no clue. I want to make sure that when I pray, it is my desire to be holy, pleasing acceptable to the Lord. That the things I ask God for, are for his purpose and not my own.

So here is my assurances

Jeremiah 29:11
11 For I know the plans I have for you,” says the LORD. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.

Though I am still tired, starting to get weary, and wondering what the Lord is doing, I will trust him. The Lord already knows, he already has it planned. I just need to be patient. I think tonight if I wake up, I shall be like Samuel and tell the Lord here I am, please speak to me. I just want to be near the Lord and I want to stay close to him. I never want to go out of the Lord's will. The song comes to mind today and although it is one of my favorite Christmas songs, the first few lines of the third verse come to mind.

Be near me Lord Jesus I ask thee to stay
Close by me forever and love me I pray.
Bless all the dear children in thy tender care
And take us to heaven to live with thee there

OK so what to pray for... My wife and her job, the Lords will for my life, that I could sleep tonight and get some rest, if not that I would answer the Lord when he wakes me up. Pray for my oldest son, been a tough week for him.

Father I want to be more like you, I want to serve you and I want your will only for my life. Thank you Father for creating me for your purpose and I ask soon you show me what that is.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Not always on top...

If you watch any kind of sport at all, you will realize that not every athlete is at the top of their game. But those who are humble enough to realize it, will depend on their teammates to help out. They will not deflect blame for a bad game, but will give credit to their teammates for helping out.

None of us are perfect at all. We all have weak areas in the game of life so to speak. If we are humble before the Lord, we will allow him to fill those weak areas. If we are smart, we will allow the Lord to make our strong areas stronger. In times of trouble we will depend on the Lord to rescue us. If we men are smart we will let the Lord work through our wives when we are not at the top of our game.

Psalms 31:23-24
23 Love the LORD, all you godly ones!
For the LORD protects those who are loyal to him,
but he harshly punishes the arrogant.
24 So be strong and courageous,
all you who put your hope in the LORD!

This is also true of marriage. I would like to thank my wife for filling in my weak areas. The times where I was weak she had strength for us both. The Lord was with her and gave her strength to carry us both. There is nothing in this world I could do to truly give my wife the thanks she deserves. There is nothing I can do to return the love that she showed to me. Trust me, I will live the rest of my life forever thankful for how she loved me unconditionally and never truly honestly gave up on me or our marriage. I was at the lowest point of my life, thankfully because she showed me tough love. When I emerged from that, she helped me pick up the pieces and replace the ones that were destroyed. That would not be possible without the Lord filling my wife. At different times we both cried out to God and he showed us mercy and provided grace. My wife was strong and courageous. The Lord gave her courage and grace beyond anything she could have done. My wife depended on the Lord to see her through, even when she was not at her best, she still placed all of her hope in the Lord. I have the best wife, the most loving wife, the most beautiful wife inside and out. God has shown this to me and I will never ever take her for granted again. I will spend the rest of my life showing her how much I love her, and how thankful I am that she gave me a second chance.

OK so what to pray for... My morning devotions were about truly seeking the heart of God. I ask that you pray that God would point out the things stopping me from doing that. This spiritual life is a roller coaster but joy always comes. I want the Lords will so bad and I just want to grow closer to him. Pray for our marriage that it will stand any test that comes our way. Pray for my wife's situation. She really needs to find a new one. Pray for the next court date.

Father thank you for filling my weak areas. Thank you Father for my wife and how you shine through her.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Slow down...

When I was a little kid storms scared me. Especially when I was in the car and we were driving some where. What made it worse is sometimes it was dark. But it always seemed that when we pulled into the garage the rain had slowed down. Interesting that I learned from this. Many times through this journey I wanted to move at lightening speed. Many times in my life I wanted to move at lightening speed. Many times in my life I tried to take on lots of things while moving at lightening speed. We have all done it right?

Isaiah 40:31
 31 But those who trust in the LORD will find new strength.
They will soar high on wings like eagles.
They will run and not grow weary.
They will walk and not faint

Sometimes the rain falls at a pretty consistent rate unless it is a downpour and that usually only lasts a few minutes. But if you are in a car, the faster you are going, the harder it is to see. But when you slow down, things become much clearer. This is what I learned as a child experiencing storms in a car while driving. I learned then that rain and storms really aren't that scary. Actually to this day I am pretty fascinated buy storms. Back to my point... My wife and I are thinking about making some changes in our lives to simplify things. Today while reading my devotions I came across Isaiah 40:31. Even today as I was praying, I asked God to show me what is that I needed to change in order for his will to become clearer. In my scripture reading I read the first five chapters of 1 Samuel. Ya know where Samuel answers the Lord? I am sensing a theme today.

I never knew waiting for the Lord would take such patience. I am so excited about doing the Lord's will. I am trying to go out of my way to make things happen. In other words, I am driving to fast and my vision is clouded by everything that I think is in the way. If I would just slow down and answer when the Lord call, things would be so much clearer. I just need to sit and wait for the Lord to call me and then answer him. I need to trust the Lord that the things he is doing in the background are for what he has in store for us. Trust me when I say, that we are starting to get a clue. It has taken some pretty drastic things so far this year for me to answer the Lord. I am so thankful that the Lord got my attention. I hate that I have been so stupid and head strong.

If we will just trust in the Lord, our vision will clear. If we will just slow down and wait on the Lord, our vision will clear. What God has in store for all of us will give us strength and we will glide like eagles and never grow weary. God hasn't failed me yet since I trusted him with my life and I know that he won't.

OK so what to pray for... Pray that the Lord continues to make himself known to us. Pray for our kids. Pray for the May 9th court date and pray that it would not be needed. Pray for a change we are seeking the Lord on that would require some major changes. Pray that my wife would find a job better suited for our family

Father thank you for teaching us to wait on you. Thank Father for patience. Thank you Father for calling in the sweet way you do.

Friday, March 16, 2012


Yesterday I was sharing with my wife some of my childhood memories. One of them particular was camping. I remember during the evening me, dad, my sister, and my g-pa used to go fishing. We almost always camped where there was a lake. I remember as it got dark, seeing the boats out on the lake and seeing the reflections of the boat lights. Seemed so calming and relaxing to me.

2 Corinthians 5:16-20

16 So we have stopped evaluating others from a human point of view. At one time we thought of Christ merely from a human point of view. How differently we know him now! 17 This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!
18 And all of this is a gift from God, who brought us back to himself through Christ. And God has given us this task of reconciling people to him. 19 For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, no longer counting people’s sins against them. And he gave us this wonderful message of reconciliation. 20 So we are Christ’s ambassadors; God is making his appeal through us. We speak for Christ when we plead, “Come back to God!”

OK so I am going to say something very profound here. Are you ready? Warning it is not really all that profound, but there is a point.  A perfect reflection off of the water is ruined by ripples of water. These can be caused by any number of things, such as waves, rocks being thrown in the water, fish, birds... etc... Water is never perfectly calm, there is always some type of movement. When major ripples happen it really distorts the reflection we see in the water. There is also the ripple affect. One splash or disturbance to the water distorts all reflections.

If you look at verses 18-20, God has called us to be ambassadors to those who are lost. But in order to do that, we need to reflect as clearly as we can Christ's love in us. Realistically we are never going to perfectly reflect Christ. If there is sin in your life than it distorts the reflection of Christ to others. Remember ripples in the water, makes it hard to see a clear reflection. There are times where we may not be speaking of God's love, but we are showing it, and if we cause a disturbance in the spiritual water... if you will... than you have the ripple affect and it causes harm to those around us and those who are watching. As Christians, we need to reflect Christ clearly and not allow sin to distort his reflection to others. Remember we are not perfect like Christ, but we can strive to be so.

Many times in this blog I have made mention of the sin that was in my life. There were those who could see right through me, and there were those who had no clue. I was trying to reflect a life at my church that I was not living through the week. I failed miserably in so many horrible ways. My reflection was nothing at all. I was a horrible husband, wasn't much of a Christian if at all, horrible father and friend. But like in verses 16-17 I see Christ differently now. Here is God's son who died on the cross for my sins and because he did that I am able to be a new creation through him and my sins are forgiven. That scrambled wavy distorted non-reflection is now clear for people to see Christ and what he did for me. So is the water to which you reflect of calm of rippled?

OK so what to pray for... My wife is looking for a job in town to be close to home. Pray for us as we find ways to simplify our lives. Pray for the Lords will as we continue to diligently seek him out. Pray for our kids. Pray for the next court date.

Father thank you for the work you did in me. Thank you for the chance to tell a story of restoration. Thank you Father for any chance to reflect you to others.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Yesterday.... and updates...and kids...

No news to report and all I can say is God was at work and we will wait until May 9th for the next court date. Aside from that I spent a wonderful day with my wife. We rode on our bikes for four miles and then walked another six. Needless to say I am in a little pain today. I will survive because it was worth every minute of holding hands with my wife as we walked and talked.

To update you on the people that were giving my family problems. In my prayer time God made a point to me in some of the things I was thinking. God has told me to let it go and not to worry about it anymore. It will take care of itself. So that is what I am going to do. Where God leads I will go.

We have started something new in our house. It is called family devotion time. This is time with our kids before they go to bed. I heard my Dad speak many times about the family alter of prayer and that is where he gave his heart to Jesus as a young child. I hope through this, that our kids discover who Jesus really is to them. Last nights devotion was about worry and what we do with it. I had read this devotion before I presented it to our kids. I do this so I don't fumble through the words, but also so I can think of questions to ask them. In the last couple of days I have asked our kids three questions about what they have felt and experienced the past year or so.

1. How did you feel when Mommy and Daddy fought all of the time? Our kids virtually answered the same. They were scared, worried that we were going to split up and it caused them a lot of worry. Well?? Why wouldn't it...right? If you lived in a house where your parents constantly fought and didn't get a long, I would have worried as a kid too. I remember a couple fights with my parents as a child and I was scared because the fights sometimes escalated to more than just normal toned talking. AKA yelling match.

2. How did you feel when Daddy left and wasn't around? Again our kids virtually answered the question the same way. They were scared that I was never going to come back. If I did come back and I left to go some where, would I be coming back home. Another answer was I wasn't around for them to spend time with and the missed me. I am seeing this in our house. For example, if we put the kids to bed and I run out to the garage or pull the cars into the garage, the kids are worried that I am not coming back. Ever during the day when I leave to go some where, they sometimes get scared that I am not coming home. It hasn't been happening as often. I think the kids are starting to believe that we will ALWAYS be a family. Also I am seeing them wanting to spend more time with us and asking me or my wife to play with them or snuggle and watch a movie.

3. How did you feel now that Mommy and Daddy don't fight? Again same answer. They are happy and not scared because they see us being happy. Seriously my wife and I never fight anymore and if there is a disagreement, we talk it out calmly. We usually try to wait unil the kids are not around. There are just some conversations that kids do not need to hear. I heard some conversations in my house as a kid and some of those conversations caused me great anxiety. I specifically remember one time when Dad came home early from work. Dad had been laid off his job. I cried as I was worried I would lose my home to sleep in. Some how my parents always made a way for us. Our kids pick up on conversations that my wife and I have. So we need to be careful when we talk about particular matters. Some things kids hear that they shouldn't can cause them anxiety. I would urge parents to always wait until after bed time for serious matters.

So you can see how last nights devotions came out. Worry is a big thing in our house. I explained to our kids last night how to get rid of the worry. We just need to ask, trust, and believe that God will take our worries away when we ask him too. I also told our kids that if you start to worry again, to just ask God to take it away once more and keep doing so until the worry is gone. As parents we need to teach our kids how to trust in Jesus. We should talk to them about it and live it in front of them as well.

The things that I have done and the issues that our marriage have faced, have had an impact on our kids. Those things reach far beyond what I would have ever believed. While I have made a lot of mistakes as a parent, as a husband, and as a friend. I am working hard to reverse those affects on all aspects. What we do every second of every minute of every hour of every day of every week... has an some type of negative or positive affect on our kids. I have discovered the kids are deeper than I thought. They take the stress and anxiety ten times harder than we do as adults. They seem to be unselfish in ways that we adults should learn from. It is hard for me to believe they held all of that in during our marriage issues. Now that we have turned this family around, our kids have relaxed, they tell us when something is wrong. We are finding out they had feelings that ran deep that we didn't know about. I have apologized, reassured, and spent lots of time telling my kids how much I love them. Bottom line, if there are new parents reading this, let this serve notice. God doesn't bless us with kids to show them how not to be married, or to be a Christian, or be a parent. God blesses us with kids to teach in the right way according to God's holy word.

Ok so what to pray for... Pray for May 9th court date. Pray for our kids. Continue to pray for my wife and I. We are discovering that maybe it is time to start making some more changes in order to line up with God's will. Pray for a family that we know.... today is a tough day for them.

Father thank you for our kids. Thank you Father for turning our family around and removing some of the many anxieties that they have. Thank you Father for peace that you give to them.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Are you tired...?

Learned an interesting fact yesterday. There is a reason that our eye lids get heavy when we are tired. I know what you are thinking... "well duh it is because we are tired..." that is half of it, but the eyelid muscles are tired as well causing you eyelids to feel heavy and wanting to close. Interesting part of our bodies isn't it? Well maybe not so, but you will see my point here soon and how this resonates with me today.

Matthew 26:69-75

69 Meanwhile, Peter was sitting outside in the courtyard. A servant girl came over and said to him, “You were one of those with Jesus the Galilean.”
70 But Peter denied it in front of everyone. “I don’t know what you’re talking about,” he said.
71 Later, out by the gate, another servant girl noticed him and said to those standing around, “This man was with Jesus of Nazareth.[a]
72 Again Peter denied it, this time with an oath. “I don’t even know the man,” he said.
73 A little later some of the other bystanders came over to Peter and said, “You must be one of them; we can tell by your Galilean accent.”
74 Peter swore, “A curse on me if I’m lying—I don’t know the man!” And immediately the rooster crowed.
75 Suddenly, Jesus’ words flashed through Peter’s mind: “Before the rooster crows, you will deny three times that you even know me.” And he went away, weeping bitterly.

Peter had good intentions but through the whole process of  Jesus betrayal and he failed big time. We all have the best intentions in mind when it comes to life. If we are Christians, we have the best intentions of following Christ and not letting anything stop us from doing that... or so we think. If you took a moment and considered the bad influences around you, how many are there? How many have you actually humored, listened too, and considered in your life? I can tell you I honored, listened too, and acted on those bad influences. I surrounded myself with bad company and therefore denied and compromised what I believed in. What I believe(d) in was Christ. I denied him not just three times, but so many more times. I denied him with my actions and my words.I was ashamed of the things I had done and the people I had surrounded myself with. You hang in the wrong crowd, you may just find sin around the corner.

Matthew 26:41

Keep watch with prayer, so that you may not be put to the test; the spirit is truly is ready, but the flesh is feeble.

Familiar with that passage? This is what Jesus said to his disciples upon checking on them during his prayer prior to the betrayal. But so true even today. That so resonated with me today. My spirit was willing and ready to follow Christ, but my flesh was weak and I was overcome with it's desires. I was betrayed just like Judas was with silver. Again money a desire of the flesh. The desires of lust, feeling good about me, and pride. Three of the many things that took me down a very dark road. I was ashamed of how I believed and took on worldly views and modified just how I believed in a lot of stuff. I would call it my own personal religion or personal customized religion. The definition is fitting parts of God where I needed it and leaving the others I didn't want. Satan had truly begun his transformation of me into an angry bitter person. I was on the path of destruction.

So four questions come to mind today that I need to ask you. Will you deny the flesh and follow Christ? Will you cover yourself in prayer so you are not tested? Are you scared or ashamed of Christ and deny him like Peter? What bad influences are around you and are you considering indulging them? Being of the world won't make us who we are. The flesh won't make us who we are. Being filled with the spirit, denying the flesh for the cause of Christ, and doing what God commands us defines who we are as spouses, parents, and friends, but above all followers of Christ.

OK so what to pray for... Pray for tomorrow that everything goes well and that the Lords will is done in court. Pray for our kids, and pray my wife and I as continue to work on our marriage.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Pretty Obvious....

One night when my wife and I were going out, my oldest son was having a moment of not wanting mom and dad not to leave. I am sure your first thought is "awww that is cute..." He was worried that he was going to be bored. So one of the things I gave him to do was to make me a bookmark for my books when I read. I have found a like for reading and instead of folding the corners down, I wanted a book mark. So upon coming home I find this laying on our bed. It is longer than the average book and it clearly states what it is. BOOK MARK! I love it!! My son did exactly what I asked him to do!! I will always use this!! Means the world to me!!

Isaiah 55:6-13

6 Seek the LORD while he may be found;
call on him while he is near.
7 Let the wicked forsake their ways
and the unrighteous their thoughts.
Let them turn to the LORD, and he will have mercy on them,
and to our God, for he will freely pardon.
8 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the LORD.
9 “As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.
10 As the rain and the snow
come down from heaven,
and do not return to it
without watering the earth
and making it bud and flourish,
so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater,
11 so is my word that goes out from my mouth:
It will not return to me empty,
but will accomplish what I desire
and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.
12 You will go out in joy
and be led forth in peace;
the mountains and hills
will burst into song before you,
and all the trees of the field
will clap their hands.
13 Instead of the thornbush will grow the juniper,
and instead of briers the myrtle will grow.
This will be for the LORD’s renown,
for an everlasting sign,
that will endure forever.”

As I was reading Isaiah 55, the scripture reminded me of that bookmark. I am sure you are wondering how I made this connection? I mean you have to be impressed with my deep thinking here right? OK not so deep.... BUT I don't think God the Father could have been anymore clearer here particularly in verse 8. Just like that bookmark has "Book Mark!" written on it, so does verse 8 say the same thing. God's thoughts are not our thoughts and his ways are not our ways. It is pretty clear here, what God wants of us. Step out of the big "I" mode and allow God's thoughts and ways to dwell in us. If we do this, it will not give an empty return as the rest of Isaiah 55 goes onto say. I found this out first hand. I got rid of my thoughts, other peoples thoughts, and satans thoughts.  I experienced joy and fulfillment because I allowed God's thoughts and ways to fill me. Things changed in my life. Things changed for the better. I am still married!! Praise the Lord!!

My devotions have been about completely surrendering to the Lord. Today's scripture could not have been more spot on. I am human and I have lots of thoughts, but compared to a life without Christ, the thoughts I have now are a lot easier to decipher between the Lord and all the other junk. The Lord is showing me what his will is slowly but surely. Why? All because my thoughts are the Lords thoughts and my ways are his ways.

OK so what to pray for? Court date on Wednesday is coming up. We need the Lord to answer prayer. This part we are really praying the Lord would remove from us. Pray for the Lord to make his will known more and more each day. We waiting for the word GO!!

Father thank you for blessing me with your thoughts and ways. Thank you Father making a difference in my life with your Holy Spirit guiding me daily.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Follower or...?

We all have done it. We swear allegiance to a particular sports team. All of the sudden a better one comes a long and we switch sides. In fact, that team is so good, we are convinced that we are a life time fan until.... they start losing again. The team we originally cheered for is back to their winning ways and we go back.

The description above describes me perfectly. Not so much in the sports world. I am a die hard Chicago Bears fan. I always will be. I have never switched from them. Win, lose, or draw I am always on the Chicago Bears band wagon. So how does it describe me? Well it describes the last two years of my marriage and how I felt about my wife. I was a fan, then not a fan and the pattern went on like that for a very long time.

John 6:60-71
60 On hearing it, many of his disciples said, “This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?”
61 Aware that his disciples were grumbling about this, Jesus said to them, “Does this offend you? 62 Then what if you see the Son of Man ascend to where he was before! 63 The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you—they are full of the Spirit[e] and life. 64 Yet there are some of you who do not believe.” For Jesus had known from the beginning which of them did not believe and who would betray him. 65 He went on to say, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless the Father has enabled them.”
66 From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him.
67 “You do not want to leave too, do you?” Jesus asked the Twelve.
68 Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. 69 We have come to believe and to know that you are the Holy One of God.”
70 Then Jesus replied, “Have I not chosen you, the Twelve? Yet one of you is a devil!” 71 (He meant Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, who, though one of the Twelve, was later to betray him.)

Through being devoted to Christ, I should have been devoted as a husband, father, and friend. I am sure the Lord knew my decisions before I did. But this scripture perfectly describes what the Lord was asking of me. So many times I walked a way and quit. I quit maybe because I stumbled or maybe because something happened that I thought shouldn't of and I blamed God for it. Sometimes I walked away as it was my way of shaking my fist at God and saying "How dare you let me life end up life this?" I would proceed to come up with every reason in the book to blame God for where I was at. How many of you have done this?

God knows if we are devoted or if we are a follower. There is a difference. It is much like that sports team I talked about. When the going gets rough we sometimes jump ship as fans because it is not easy to cheer and support a losing team. But we may still follow that team until they start doing well. Lets reverse that. What if God jumped ship every time we went through a rough spell? What if God only wanted to be involved in our life during the good times? I can't imagine where I would be today if God had decided to jump ship during all those rough times in my life. Thankfully we don't serve a God like that. We serve a God who loves us no matter what. My commitment to Christ should almost mirror my commitment to my marriage and family. God calls me to be a devoted servant to him, but he also calls me to be a devoted husband and father to wife and kids. So are you devoted to the things God wants for you or are you only a follower?

What to pray for... Pray for our court date next week. Pray for some decisions that my wife and I have to make over the next few days about some other things. Pray for our kids. We are still seeking the Lords will for what he wants us to do.

Father thank you for always being my rock and supporter. Thank you Father for always being there even when I didn't want you to be.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Tough things to do...

I mentioned last week that sometimes this blog was going to change a bit. I know usually every day I mention some type of scripture and how it pertains to my journey. Yesterday was not one of those days and today is not one of those days. Sometimes I like not to be so devotional if you will.

I can understand those who knew the old me and see the new me may be a tad skeptical. I get that. I really do. I understand also that I was living a life not pleasing to the Lord. Well... not pleasing to anyone for that matter. I understand that the change the Lord made in my life was nothing short of a miracle. I also understand that there are those who don't believe in such radical changes from God and much like doubting Thomas in the Bible, they need to see proof. Fine... I get that as well. What I don't get is this... why they have the right to take matters into their own hands when it comes to my family, especially my kids. Please tell me if I am wrong about what you are going to read.

In this blog in the last month or so I have talked about those people who judge or think they are all thou holy. We ALL know of such people. For the last week or so I have been praying on how to handle a situation. A situation where an adult stepped way out of line and decided that they needed to correct our oldest son. Not only that, but they did not tell us about it. Apparently this was more than once. I prayed about whether to let it go OR act on it. A couple of months ago my re-action would not have been so... well.. for better words respectable. But late last week things really came to a head and this week it didn't get any better. Before if anyone would have upset my wife, I would have just blown it off and told her to deal with it. But now I am changed by the Holy Spirit and I as a husband I did what I thought was best. I prayed. I am tolerant to such people for the most part, but repeat offenders who don't see the weight in my wife's words, is hard for me to swallow.

I didn't just pray one day, I prayed a few days until the holy spirit cleared the fog that was upsetting me. I felt it best to send a message not verbally but through some sort of electronic form. Since I didn't have their email addresses, I used facebook. ( BTW they have since un-friended us. Not really bothered by that ) These people also go to our church. In my message I stated very clearly that I was concerned with their attitude towards my family. I was tired of their judgemental way. I expressed the way in which they handled my son was inappropriate and the excuse given was not by biblical guidelines. I let them know that the repeated comments made to my wife where not acceptable and I was no longer able to tolerate their behavior. I expressed amongst other things that our family matters had nothing to do with them and to please stop spreading false information about us. I advised them to read John 8:1-11 and to consider taking Jesus out of their box and believing in what he can really do. I asked them to next time use caution before talking and that if they couldn't say anything nice, to not say it at all. There ya have it... So bad? I think not. But... you all are entitled to your opinions. I have the letter and I will keep it for quite some time.

I know that I am going to be judged by others. I get that. I know one day I will stand before God the father and give an account for my life. I get that too. But I draw the line where some ones actions affect my wife and kids especially when those actions are repeated over and over. I absolutely will not tolerate that and I will address it every time with Biblical and Godly principal. My wife and my kids are a blessing from God and I will do every thing in my power to make sure that I stand up for them. I love my wife more than I ever have. I love being a dad more than I ever have. I will do anything for my family as long as I have breath. I will do anything according to God's will as long as he allows me time on this earth. Enough said...

So what to pray for.... Pray for our court date coming up next week. Pray for my anxiety when it comes to this. Pray for our family that we always stand together. Pray for my kids.

Father thank you for giving me the words to use in the midst of conflict. Thank you Father for loving me. Thank you Father for the power of scripture. Thank you Father for my family...

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Your spouse deserves attention...

A person once told me that after my wife and I have kids, to make sure we still make time for each other. My response? Don't worry we will. I am going to give that comment another FAIL!! I was so wrong. I had no idea what was in store and the impending issues that children bring to light in a marriage. Well... I soon found out. Children are just one aspect of paying attention to our spouses. As husbands and wives, we need to make sure that we make time for each other. That is so important. I know of these "things" if you will that seem to take attention away from our marriage. I often wonder if spouses paid more attention to each other before the age of cell/smart phones. I will go one step further... before the Internet came in full swing.

There is a rule in our house. The rule is our cell phones stay on the counter after the work day is over. There is nothing important enough on that phone whether it be text messages, emails, or Facebook that is more important than family time. There is nothing important enough on those devices that should take priority over my wife. So I make sure that I give attention to the important things in my life. You have all read previously in a blog where I got very real. I got very honest about my phone, computer, and Internet. I described how those things blinded me from seeing the truth of how God had changed my wife. That was just one aspect of the many.

There are other things in life that can distract us from our spouses. People... this includes those family members who sometimes make it their mission in life to divide a marriage because of their own agendas. We have seen this in our marriage and it was one of the root causes of our marriage downfall. I will leave it to my wife to write about her family if she likes.( I could spend weeks on that alone. Heck she could probably spend weeks alone on my affair.) Anyways... There are also those "friends" who think they have your best interest at heart. Word of advice to friends out there... be supportive, listen, and pray for and with your friend who is going through a rough time. Most times what you think is their best interest is probably polar opposite of what they need. My wife is my very best friend, but I have a couple of others out there who were so supportive of me and showed what true friendship is. Friends just be attentive. (sorry got off track there)

Kids can also be attention grabbing beings that can totally distract you from your spouse. My oldest son was the master at the divide and conquer technique. That alone caused me and my wife to be divided. Those disagreements would get out of hand and a fight would ensue not even about him. That divided us even more. The fight would cause us to not want to be around each other resulting in neither one of us paying attention to each other. That is bad news. When your kids have figured out how to do this, things can go very wrong very fast. Want to stop this? Then pay attention to your spouse so your kids can see that they cannot divide you two.

Here is another big distraction in some marriages. Career... yes that is right. I am talking to you work-a-holics out there. I am not going to slam anyone who adequately provides for their family. I see nothing wrong with that. However, when that career of yours starts to inflict pain on your marriage that is where I draw the line. This could be one of several factors. Your drive for career and money over shadows your priority of your marriage. Time required by your superiors carries into your home. Your superiors expectations that company comes first over everything else. That was a big "no no" on my part. I put career first and it also played a part in the downfall of my marriage. My wife and I are both guilty of this. Myself more than her. But now that things have changed in our marriage, our superiors are having a hard time dealing with our time less spent on our jobs, due to the fact that we want to focus on our marriage and the attention it needs and deserves. You know what I say to that? If your job is robbing the attention that your spouse deserves, it is time to seek the Lord for a solution. Then trust the Lord to provide the answer and for your needs.

These are the attention robbing things that I can think that played a part in my marriage suffering for so long. When you don't pay attention or give your spouse attention, you miss out on a lot of things. You miss out on several blessings. You miss out on hearing their heart. You miss out on helping them grow in life. You miss out on some of the happiest times of your life with them. You miss out on taking care of them. You miss out on laughter. You miss out on tears. There is so much to a marriage and I think a lot of couples have missed the boat or have lost site of their spouses.

I have to say, the same goes for your spiritual life with Christ. All of the above distractions can pull you far away from Christ and rob you of the attention you should be giving the Lord as well. I am not saying these things because I am guessing. I am saying things because I was guilty of every one of them. It doesn't really matter how long any of you have been married. All, some, or one of these could be your marriage. I pray most days that the Lord would distract and destroy the enemy that is a threat to my marriage. My wife is the most important priority to me on this earth. My Lord and savior is the most important thing to me in my life. How about you?

So what to pray for... Friends March 14th is coming. Please pray for this date. We need the Lord to work. Pray for our kids. Pray for our marriage. I am seeking direction on this blog. This blog has not gone public yet and I am really thinking of letting a broader audience know. Pray for the Lords leading on this. I want God to use me and anything I have however I can.

Father thank you for making your priorities clear to me. Thank you Father for my wife and allowing me another chance to give her the attention she needs.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Blessings to all...?

As a parent and husband I make mistakes. Hence the blog... RIGHT? What you are seeing of me in this blog is true and honest. This blog is a record of many things, what I did, how the Lord answered prayer, and mistakes I have made during this journey of my restoration and the restoration of my marriage. Do I expect reward? Nope... not at all. I am really not worthy of any blessing that comes my way from the Lord. But I am thankful for when they do come my way.

Psalm 24    

 1 The earth is the LORD’s, and everything in it.
The world and all its people belong to him.
2 For he laid the earth’s foundation on the seas
and built it on the ocean depths.

3 Who may climb the mountain of the LORD?
Who may stand in his holy place?
4 Only those whose hands and hearts are pure,
who do not worship idols
and never tell lies.
5 They will receive the LORD’s blessing
and have a right relationship with God their savior.
6 Such people may seek you
and worship in your presence, O God of Jacob.

7 Open up, ancient gates!
Open up, ancient doors,
and let the King of glory enter.
8 Who is the King of glory?
The LORD, strong and mighty;
the LORD, invincible in battle.
9 Open up, ancient gates!
Open up, ancient doors,
and let the King of glory enter.
10 Who is the King of glory?
The LORD of Heaven’s Armies—
he is the King of glory.

If you look at verses 3 -6. The blessings of the Lord come to those who truly love the Lord with all of their heart, soul, body, and mind. For a long time I truly didn't deserve any blessings. I had no right to even complain when they didn't come my way. I wasn't serving the Lord at all. So how dare I even try to attempt to enter the holy place. Knowingly sinning and then going to church is like oil and water. They don't mix. So why even go? If you are going not living your life for the Lord, then why even act like it? I often question myself as to what I was thinking over the last two years. What a fool I was for thinking I could convince everyone I was who I wasn't.

It wasn't until I realized that everything was the Lord's in my life. The Lord created me for his glory, to serve him, and to be used to the fullest extent by him. That means in my ministry that I am involved in now. But it also means ministering to my wife and my kids. It also means being a true friend to my friends. I realized why God put me in the lowest of lowest places possible. It was so the Lord could get me in a place where I would listen to his purpose for me. I have lived many years in life in a very lost state. I have tried to please so many people around me all the while leaving the Lord last and sometimes out. I sit here and laugh at myself because I always wondered why the Lord wasn't blessing me. Well duh!! When you sin, when other things have priority that shouldn't the Lord can't and won't bless you.

Psalm 24:1-2 clearly state that WE belong to the Lord. That the Lord is in control of everything. There is so much joy that I have experienced since giving my life to Christ and living for him day in and day out. Sure there are times where I am not very motivated, those days still happen. But I also realize that Christ died for me so I need to live for him no matter what the circumstances are. That was a mistake that I made. I didn't like the circumstance and I lived my way. FAIL!!!

So where are you today? Where is Christ in your life? Do you realize God created you for a reason? Do you realize if you just surrender to Christ that he will give you a joy beyond any circumstance? I hope you do. My life is changed through Christ. My life and marriage have changed because I realized I am not my own, but I belong to the Lord fully and completely.

So what to pray for... Next week is approaching fast. Please pray for our court date that prayer will be answered. Pray for our marriage to strengthen. Pray that we fully realize the Lords will for our life. Pray for our kids.

Father thank you Lord for creating me to serve you. Thank you Father for helping me to realize my purpose in life. Thank you for everything you created me for. Thank you Father for your many blessings!!

Monday, March 5, 2012

A gut feeling...

This weekend I had the bright idea of going to look at dogs just for the fun of it with our family. Well... I had forgotten how much of a sucker I am for cute little dogs. Soooo long story short we now have one more member to our family. What is the point you may ask? Read below....

Sometimes you go on a gut feeling and Saturday that is exactly what I did. I am aware of the implications in hearing three kids say that they will help take care of the dog. Mommy and Daddy giving the "this is a lot of responsibility taking care of this cute little furry guy" speech. I knew full well that my wife and I would be taking the duties of making sure the little guy knows to go potty outside. I mean heck, we trained three kids how to go to the bathroom, how much harder could a dog be. Well... the difference being is my kids were wearing diapers and over time you can tell when they need to go, and you set them on the toilet. Learning that a dog could just squat any time, is a whole different ball game. Needless to say we bought the dog anyways.

My wife and I had a trip planned for vacation for our family, but due to the climbing gas prices, the likely hood of the really nice vacation got downsized to a good vacation. We will see how next year goes with the NICE vacation. We do however have a lot of little trips planned because of a ministry that I am involved in. Our kids will get to see a lot of neat stuff this year. I said all of that to say this.... we looked at two dogs. I had in my head and expressed to my wife that IF we were going to buy a new puppy, ALL of us had to agree on the one we liked. Well first dog had two of the five hearts in the family. We went to another pet store and found the dog for us that ALL five of us agreed on. Now knowing that this dog was an expense, we had to give the kids the option. A really nice vacation or a new puppy. We asked our kids over several times about this choice and all agreed that they wanted the dog. Now please don't think that we would replace a family vacation with a dog BECAUSE we are not. There will be a few mini vacations this year and at least one good vacation. So my wife and I were not sacrificing vacation for a dog. Let me repeat WE ARE NOT GIVING UP A VACATION FOR A DOG.

My whole point that I am getting to? Well... for the first time in a very long time, we as a family made a decision together. We will see how this works out. It is definitely going to be a learning experience. But now is the time to start teaching our kids about decisions in life. This for the most part was a pretty simple one. Downscale vacation for a dog or no dog and a nice vacation. I have to say with the climbing gas prices, I am thankful the kids made the decision they made. My wife and I have some fun stuff planned this year for our kids. It will be a year like never before where we will spend tons of time together experiencing fun things together as a family.

Friends the Lord continues to work in our family. This past week satan has really tried to steal our thunder. But the more satan tries, the more we go to the Lord and trust him with everything. When I did something as stupid as I did, things are not going to snap right back and it takes a lot of prayer and allowing God to work. That is exactly what my wife and I have done. I asked many times for you to pray that my wife would hear the voice of the Lord in the way she can hear him. She did. I asked many times that you would pray for the Lords will for our marriage and you did. The Lord's will is being done. I asked many times that you pray for our kids. You did and our kids made a decision together without conflict for the first time ever. I asked all you many times to pray for my oldest son and you did and his test scores have tripled in school, his behavior has improved, and he has adjusted to this family thing in a very positive way. What I love about all of this? God answers prayer!! Yeah the dog was cute and we all love the dog. But more importantly God showed me this weekend how he has answered prayer and will continue to do so.

Ok So what to pray for... March 14th is our court date. Pray that God will do his will. We would love this to be the last court date. Continue to pray for our marriage and the Lords will for us. My wife and I feel like we are so close to God completely revealing his will for us.

Father thank you for all of the answered prayer!! Thank you Father for protecting us this week and being so present in our lives. Thank you Father for all using simple things in life to point out what you have done for us.

Friday, March 2, 2012

My take on Genesis 32...

OK so sometimes my blogs are based off of my scripture readings for the day. The path I am taking to reading scripture has been so encouraging to me. The scripture most times is filled with practical advice to get me through whatever I am facing that particular day. Well.. today is one of those days where I thoroughly enjoyed the scripture. So here is my take on Genesis 32...

The chapter starts out with Jacob sending a message to his brother Esau. Jacob gives very good details of his status. The messenger than comes back and explains to Jacob that Esau is coming with 400 men. Jacob gets scared and divides out his whole camp into three groups as he is afraid that Esau is coming to make war on him. Jacob prays to God for his protection reminding God of the promises he made to him in verses 9-12. Then we find in verses 22 to the end of the chapter that Jacob wrestles with God and God blesses him.

In chapter 33 we can go onto see that Jacob and Esau meet and embrace each other with tears and weeping. But I wanna stick to chapter 32 especially the end. Now you might be feeling one of three things right now. 1. I am sitting in Sunday School and it is only Friday. 2. I am sitting in church and it is only Friday or 3. Where is he going with this?

When fear is deep and it is very real? What do we do? Do we pray? How do we pray? Do we sit and think about the worst that could happen. What about in situations where God has promised you something and you are close to getting it, but face an obstacle? What do you do? How do you pray? What about if God has called you to do something and you are fighting it or running from it? What if God gets you in a corner and starts pointing out the truths to you? Does it hurt sometimes? If you look at Genesis 32 every one of these questions can be answered. If you go back and read this blog you can also see every one of these questions answered.

Jacob prayed to God reminding God of the promises that were made to him. Jacob wrestled with God and won with an injured hip and he was blessed. Folks how earnest are we praying for things? When we pray, we should be praying with a rock solid belief that God is going to answer prayer. I believe God sent that man to see just how much Jacob meant the words in his prayer. Jacob held fast and won. We don't need to remind God of the promises he has made, but sometimes God wants to see how much we believe that he is going to answer prayer. I lived Genesis 32, there were lots of times where I was injured but I never let go of what God had promised and what I was asking him to do. I believed God was going to answer prayer and he did. Because of this my prayer life has grown. My belief and resolve when I am praying has grown. God sticks to his promises.

Here is one of my favorite songs. I used to sing this song quite often when I was younger. It is call "Jesus Never Fails"

Verse 1
So many souls have tested Him throughout the course of time.
So many still reach out to Him with broken hearts and minds.
And every one of them will say,
Without exception that they find…
Jesus never fails...

Verse 2
Even in the days of old, He brought His people through.
And then He came to show His love and died for me and you.
Then He rose again to prove,
That every story has been true…
Jesus never fails…

Jesus never fails. Jesus never fails.
You might as well get thee behind me, Satan
You cannot prevail, because Jesus never fails.

Verse 3
Sometimes this world brings trouble I find so hard to bear.
I know I could not make it without Jesus being there.
It’s so encouraging to know,
How ever deep we’re in despair…
Jesus never fails.

Verse 4
So what can I do to prove to you, tell me how can you deny?
No untold facts, no mysteries, it’s all so cut and dried.
On the witness stand of your life,
I’ll be the first to testify…
Jesus never fails!

Repeat Chorus

I know… Repeat Chorus
You might as well get thee behind me, Satan
You cannot prevail, because Jesus never fails.
Never fails…

OK so what to pray for. A few last steps concerning my wife's job need prayer. Pray for our kids, still having some light issues, but your prayers have made such a difference. Pray for the Lords will. I believe direction is coming soon. Pray that the enemy will be distracted and destroyed.

Father thank you for never failing me. Thank Father for always being there for me when I call. Thank you Father for keeping your promises.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Sometimes it is...

Yes I didn't write yesterday. My apologies to those of you who check this blog. I had an absolute horrible day yesterday. By the time I got home, we had family time and then we pretty much went to bed. We were both so worn out that the only option was sleep. Just seems like satan is trying his best to throw us curves left and right. Even as I sit here and write this blog I had to handle a little situation that we haven't seen for days in this house. I guess tonight I had no clue as to what I was going to write about. The last few days it has been one thing after another and right now, I am just tired. I don't know how else to put it. This is one of those days where my past actions I think are starting to catch up to me and I have to lay it all down to deal with it. Scratch that, the last couple of days has been one of those days. On the way home yesterday I had extra prayer time with God. I really felt like God was ringing my doorbell and wanting to have a little conference with me. I prayed like I have never prayed before and just laid it all at the feet of Jesus. I don't think satan likes the fact that my wife and I have been seeking the Lord's will for our lives. I feel like we are so close to the place where God wants to start revealing things and satan has stepped us his game to try to distract us.

There are certain things that I am getting real tired of hearing. There is a situation where some people think they are all thou holy. Yes that is right I said it!!! The one thing that I have heard over and over the last couple of months is this... "I don't know what is going on in your house, but..." That phrase never ends on a positive note. Do you know what I say to that? If you don't know come and ask, or come and spend a night in our house with our family. Ask my wife and she would be more than happy to tell you what she thinks of me right now. Ask how God has change the dynamic in this house. Ask her how the Holy Spirit has filled our family with love. Come see how a marriage was saved, how a father, husband, and friends life was turned around because HE let God finally have control. At what point will some of these people stop being so skeptical of the work of God and get back in the game of serving God?

Romans 15

1-2 Those of us who are strong and able in the faith need to step in and lend a hand to those who falter, and not just do what is most convenient for us. Strength is for service, not status. Each one of us needs to look after the good of the people around us, asking ourselves, "How can I help?"
3-6That's exactly what Jesus did. He didn't make it easy for himself by avoiding people's troubles, but waded right in and helped out. "I took on the troubles of the troubled," is the way Scripture puts it. Even if it was written in Scripture long ago, you can be sure it's written for us. God wants the combination of his steady, constant calling and warm, personal counsel in Scripture to come to characterize us, keeping us alert for whatever he will do next. May our dependably steady and warmly personal God develop maturity in you so that you get along with each other as well as Jesus gets along with us all. Then we'll be a choir—not our voices only, but our very lives singing in harmony in a stunning anthem to the God and Father of our Master Jesus!

I especially like verses 1-2. At what point will us as Christians or followers of Christ put down our swords and stop stabbing the already wounded fellow Christians? Instead of being skeptical, why not ask hey what can I do to help? Instead of stabbing with your sharp words or assumptions, why not jump in and get your hands dirty like Jesus did? We often joke about the phrase "what would Jesus do?" but seriously why aren't we asking that question more often? Isn't it the job of brothers and sisters of Christ to step in and protect and help heal the wounded? I guess what I am saying is... I don't understand why some of those who claim to follow Christ hold themselves to a different standard than those who are sick, wounded, hungry, and in need of the love of Christ shown to them one way or the other?

Folks, I want to tell you this from my heart. There are those who claim to serve the Lord who will judge, criticize and then use the exposed wounds of others to make themselves look stronger.  Back to Romans 15:1-2 there are six words... "Strength is for service, not status". If you are so concerned about status, well hold on tight because satan has you right where he wants you. Your fall is about to happen. Been there done that. 

If you are struggling ask God for strength, guidance, and for his holy spirit to surround you. Next ask God to show you the people he intends to help you through whatever it is your are going through. God always puts the right people in place at the right time. Stay clear of the ones who just want to use your situation as a stepping stone for what they think is advancement into the kingdom of heaven. They are fake and nothing more than the pharisees standing on the corners praying out loud trying to impress. My wife and I have seen a few people like this. Trust me God exposes them for what they are. When the time comes they will avoid the truth at all cost and turn from you and run.

OK so maybe this is not one of the more positive posts, but some things that have come our way just haven't been easy. And if there is one person or couple out there who reads this blog that I can help with our story, I will. God is in the business of saving the lost and restoring lives. God is in the business of using my wife and I. That is first and foremost what we want. We strive to seek and do the Lords will.

OK so what to pray for. Pray for my wife and I. The decision that we came to about her job is starting to take shape and we need a few more prayers answered. We truly believe this is what God wants. Pray for our kids. Pray for March 14th next court date that the Lords will is done.

Father thank you for ringing my door bell yesterday and guiding me how to pray. Thank you Father for putting those friends in the right place at the right time. Thank you Father for always knowing what we need and when we need it. Thank you Father for your saving grace.