Lessons from my dad

The highlight of my Cub Scout career was the Pinewood Derby. My father and I would work together to design and build the cars. He introduced me to the world of hammers, drills, tape measures and sandpaper. It was where I first learned to appreciate building or fixing something with my own effort.

My father said to me once – that he wasn’t very good at home improvement things like my brothers and I were (a comment from the same man that would pull a clothes dryer apart to tighten a drive belt). It was watching and helping our dad that gave us all the confidence to try it for ourselves. It is the small moments that life lessons are learned between a father and a son.

I don’t remember whether my Pinewood Derby cars won or not. However, I will always remember the time spent with my father working on them. And every time that I accomplish a home improvement project or repair – I will remember the lessons and time spent with my dad.

Genesis 18:19 – “For I have chosen him, so that he will direct his children and his household after him to keep the way of the LORD by doing what is right and just, so that the LORD will bring about for Abraham what he has promised him.”

Happy Father’s Day.

Cheers

Have you ever thought about grapes being turned into wine? Can you imagine what it would be like to be one of those grapes?

Yes….it is odd. You’ve met me…so play along with me here for a moment.

Can you imagine what it would be like to be plucked, pushed, crushed, pressed, skinned, and fermented? That’s got to hurt. What’s the point of it all?

A lot of people feel that way about the pain they experience in their marriage. “Why am I doing this? Where is this relationship going?” But just as a grape goes through a difficult process before it becomes a fine wine, sometimes our marriage has to go through a painful process before it matures.
The people who have the best marriages are not people who grew up well-adjusted, have healthy adult lives, and normal parents. People like that usually have good marriages.

The greatest marriages are between those who were crushed, who went through a painful process, and who built their relationship from the ruins of broken hearts.

“Those who sow in tears will reap harvest in glad song.” Psalm 126:5

And so it is that pain is often the preview to pleasure. No pain. No gain.

Don’t believe me….if your wife has experienced child birth, then she can testify to this truth.

Be Strong. Act Like Men.

Planting Seeds

Hi Everyone…..it’s been a crazy week.  I haven’t posted anything for a week.  I’ve got the day off.  I am sitting out back drinking my coffee, reading my devotional and listening to the birds.   I enjoy working in the garden.  Plenty of cucumbers and tomatoes on the way….hard to have patience!

I’ve learned over the years that the key to a weed free lawn isn’t to focus on eliminating the weeds, but to focus on keeping the grass lush and thick.  Strong grass chokes out the weeds and prevents them from growing.

I read this verse this morning:  “Other seeds fell on fertile soil, and the produced a crop that was thirty, sixty and even a hundred times as much as had been planted” – Matthew 13:8

It talks about the parable of the farmer that scattered seeds over several places.  Some fell on the path and were eaten by the birds.  Some fell in shallow rocky soil producing shoots but shallow roots caused them to wither and die in the hot sun.  Others were choked out by nasty weeds.  And thankfully…some seeds landed in fertile soils and produced an abundant crop.

We have seeds that we plant in our lives everyday….the thoughts we have, the people we associate with or the things that we allow to influence our lives.  All can either strengthen us or weaken us.

The more good thoughts, people and influences that we have in our life the more likely we can choke out the bad things that are trying to harm us.   We need to focus on the good and the pure.   Paul suggests in Philippians 4:8…the better chance the weeds of temptation and evil will not gain a foothold in our thoughts and lives.

It only takes a single weed….one weak spot….leading to an uncontrollable amount of weeds.  It doesn’t happen over night.  It is preventable and can be cured.  Make sure that you aren’t encouraging weeds to crop up in your mind, your attitude and the things you do.  Protect you marriage and your family.  Surround yourself with positive influences and be a positive influence for those around you.

Loving Beyond Limits

Perhaps you’ve heard someone in a failed relationship say, “We always loved each other, but we just couldn’t get along.” They may have loved much, but they didn’t know how to love well.

First Corinthians 13 is great counsel on how to love well in marriage. Loving well is the most essential ingredient for even the most spiritual people. For one thing, loving well brings music to our words (see verse 1). In times of trouble, we can be suspicious of the things our wife says to us. If our actions don’t show love, words of love will only clang in our hearts. But loving behavior makes even our most mundane conversations melodic.

Similarly, loving well adds muscle to our faith (see verse 2). It doesn’t matter what kinds of obstacles we overcome or what kinds of insights we have; without acting in love toward those closest to us, even the greatest spiritual accomplishments turn to dust.

Finally, loving well brings value to our sacrifices (see verse 3). In marriage, we often sacrifice for our wives, but there can be a point at which we start keeping track of what those efforts cost us. When we love well, even the smallest sacrifices become treasures rather than points scored.

Verses 4–7 are practical reminders for marriage.

Verse 4: When he is thoughtless and inconsistent, “love is patient.” When she hurts you, “love is kind.” When other couples have what you want, love “does not envy.” When you were right and he was wrong, love “does not boast.” When you did a better job than she did, love “is not proud.”

Verse 5: When you know your wife hates it when you are habitually late, love “does not dishonor others.” When no one thinks of you—your needs, your feelings, your desires or your rights—love “is not self-seeking.” When you’ve had a long day and you’re tired, or when she seems to be taking potshots at you, love “is not easily angered.” When your wife doesn’t say “I’m sorry” for some offense, love “keeps no record of wrongs.”

Verse 7: When she is taking a pounding from the world, your love, like a roof overhead, “protects.” When you’ve been hurt or disappointed or betrayed, love “trusts.” When no one notices how much you care or how often you cry, love “hopes.” And when your love has been abused and questioned, when the door has been slammed in your face, when you’ve been completely ignored, love “perseveres.”

Of course, if we’re honest with one another, we have to admit that none of us measures up to the kind of love described in 1 Corinthians 13. No matter how much we love our spouse, loving well is too hard for us. That is why our relationship with Christ and the infilling of the Holy Spirit are so crucial. The Lord expects us to do our best—to throw our hearts and wills into all aspects of loving well. But when we’ve reached the limit of our ability, stunted by our sinfulness and weakness, we can pray for grace to do better. God can dial down our selfishness, release us from our insecurities and scorekeeping, and refresh our delight in our partner, so that we can begin to know the blessing of loving well.

Opioid Addiction

So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. — 1 Corinthians 10:31 ESV

I attended a community forum last night on the opioid epidemic that is increasingly plaguing the community, destroying families and ending lives.  In the United States – more people are dying annually from opioid prescription drugs and heroin overdoses than from motor vehicle & gun related deaths combined.

I don’t want you to think for a moment that it’s not in my neighborhood.  Opioid addiction shows no prejudice.  It is a poor, urban, ethnic problem.  It’s impacting every demographic.  Nearly 70% of opioid addiction starts with prescriptions given for pain management…it can be the patient or someone living with the patient that can become trapped in a devastating cycle.

I am asking you to educate yourself, and then share the information with others.  Talk to your family members.  Talk to your spouse.  Talk to your friends.  Talk to your church about spreading the word.  Call your children’s schools to ask them what they are doing about it.

Be Strong Act Like Men is not a huge blog.  We are a couple hundred consistent followers across the world.  I am grateful for all of you.  I believe that if we spread the message, and then ask those people to spread the message…..we may be able to make a change in someone’s life or equip someone to save another person’s life.