So Right So Wrong

Who is right? More importantly….who is wrong? I find myself getting caught up in this exact thing with my wife and children at time. Dennis and Barbra Rainey wrote about it in their devotional “Moments with You”:

“Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? MATTHEW 7:3

I’m sure you’ve had a disagreement (or more than one!) with each other that turned into a stalemate or brick wall. You didn’t really care if it came to a conclusion. You just wanted a truce. You wanted this thing behind you. You were tired of fighting.

Maybe it started with an argument about the checkbook. Maybe it had something to do with the in-laws. Maybe it was a difference of opinion on a parenting issue. But somewhere along the way, the conflict turned into much more. It took on a life of its own. Now you can hardly stand to be in the same room together.

Well, are you prepared to let reconciliation start with you? Are you ready to give up the notion that you’re mostly right? Deeper still, are you willing to strive to recapture the reality of what your marriage is all about—the transcendent beauty of reflecting God’s love on Earth? I know that you may be thinking, When I’m hurt I don’t care about God’s glory.

I just want to get even.

Don’t be ruled by your emotions. Instead, do it Jesus’ way: Take the log out of your eye. No matter what your spouse has done, no matter how misguided you think he or she has been, the key to real resolution is to start removing your log. Accept full responsibility for your part in this, and place the value of your mate and your relationship above the value of your own pride and your need to be right.

God wants more for you than being able to tolerate each other. He wants you to show forth His glory in the way you honor, love and respect each other.

Remove the logjam. And shoot for something higher.”

Advertisements

Seeing

In John 14:9 Jesus says, “Anyone who has seen Me has seen the Father.”

Should a man see only popularity, he becomes a mirror, reflecting whatever needs to be reflected to gain acceptance.

Should a man see only power, he becomes a wolf—prowling, hunting, stalking elusive game. There’s always another world to conquer or another person to control.

Should a man see only pleasure, he becomes a carnival thrill-seeker, alive only in bright lights and titillating entertainment. Driven by passion, willing to sell his soul. Seekers of popularity, power, and pleasure. The end result is the same: painful un-fulfillment.

Only in seeking his Maker does a man truly become a man. For in seeing his Creator man catches a glimpse of what he was intended to be. It is in seeing Jesus that man sees his Source!

Be Strong. Act Like Men.

Why Me?

Can you imagine being Joseph? He learns that Mary is pregnant. Faithful to the law….he planned to divorce her. An angel appears to him to explain, and then he makes the decision to take Mary home as his wife. Joseph, a simple carpenter, called to be the father to the Son of God.

What are the chances that Joseph ever uttered the words….why me? You know that he must have at least thought it. He was a man just like you and me. I won’t speak for you….but I know that there have been times where I have been in situations and thought why me.

In the same way that God identified Joseph to be Christ’s earthly father…..we have been identified to be husbands to our wives and fathers to our children. God selected us to serve in these roles. I would imagine that Joseph dealt with doubt in his abilities much like we struggle. And yet….much like Joseph we have been called to fulfill a purpose in God’s plan.

Instead of feeling and thinking – why me? Change the question to why not me. Believe in yourself. God did.

Be Strong. Act Like Men.

Do you hear what I hear?

I heard all over the radio talk about how the most wonderful time of the year is the busiest time of the year. And how! Christmas shopping. Holiday parties. Travel. Meal planning. Cookie making. Oh yeah…and our normal day to day lives. In the famous word of Charlie Brown…“good grief!”

If Santa is making a list and checking it twice, then maybe we should too!

Sit down with your wife and identify those things that still need to be done this month. Prioritize them, and then slide in those things that will create memories with you and your family into the top of the list above everything else. Watch a Christmas movie. Make cookies together. Have a date night. Enjoy the most joyous time of the year.

Happy Thanksgiving

When you sacrifice a thank offering to the LORD, sacrifice it in such a way that it will be accepted on your behalf. Leviticus 22:29

We’ve talked often about love being a choice. It is the same with forgiveness and grace. But…how about being thankful?

If we take a honest inventory of all those things that we have been blessed with in our lives, then we would recognize that we have plenty to be thankful about. However, our natural tendency is to focus on the opposite. We tend to see the things that did not go our way….the job missed, the money lost, family struggles, expectations missed……the list can go on and on.

Thankfulness works the same way that forgiveness work. It is designed to relieve our hearts of the burdens that we carry. If you can only be thankful for the blue sky, then do so. I bet that we all have much more that we can be thankful for.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Be Thankful. Act Like Men.

Marriage

Place me like a seal over your heart, like a seal on your arm; for love is as strong as death, its jealousy unyielding as the grave. It burns like blazing fire, like a mighty flame. Many waters cannot quench love; rivers cannot sweep it away. If one were to give all the wealth of one’s house for love, it would be utterly scorned. – Song of Songs 8:6

Marriage as a concept lies deep within our collective psyche. Preschoolers role-play the family unit as part of their playground fun. Preteen girls dream of the day when they’ll walk down the aisle in a flowing white gown. Matchmaking businesses and Web sites thrive as people look for that elusive one perfect person to know and love for the rest of their lives. The vast majority of adults who live in Western cultures either are, have been or someday intend to be married. Such hopefulness in the face of a consistent 50 percent divorce rate! And yet, despite the well-publicized antics of the Hollywood set, marriage remains one of the key building blocks of family life and society as a whole.

And that’s just what God intended. The language in this verse is powerful as it speaks to the implications of marriage. One scholar has said that this passage “characterizes marital love as the strongest, most unyielding and invincible force in human experience.” Despite the failure of individuals, the bar of God’s expectations for marriage is set sky-high. And note the implications of the last part of verse 7: True, lasting marital love involves deep integrity on the part of both parties. Or…..“Money can’t buy me love.”

The power of marriage lies in the power of a promise sealed with God’s stamp of approval, that one man makes to one woman. The promise to love another person “until death do you part” is as deep a commitment as one can make in this life. As one pastor put it, “The power to make and keep a promise is one of the strongest in the world, for it brings the promise maker within a millimeter of what it means to be like God, who makes and keeps his promises to his people.”

True, enduring, lifelong commitment is God’s expectation for marriage, and it has been since the Garden of Eden. That’s not to say that God expects us to be perfect as we relate to one another; we are, after all, still living under the effects of sin. But despite our failures, the goal for the respect we are to show toward the institution remains the same, “for love is as strong as death, its jealousy unyielding as the grave”.

Are you married? How does your marriage stack up to God’s expectations for the institution?

If you’ve never been married, what is your perspective on what this passage could mean for your future?

If you’re not married now but have been in the past, how can this passage influence your opinions and actions?

If you’re remarried, how can this passage guide and strengthen your marriage and blended family?

Be Strong. Act Like Men

Veteran’s Day

“Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends” – John 15:13

1,321,612 men and women have given their lives.

48,000,000 men and women have served their country.

Most have served their country without fame.

Most life family and friends behind.

All deserved to be recognized and remembered.

Happy Veteran’s Day.