Comfort In A Time of Need

I was reading back through posts I’ve written about fatherhood.  I saw this one I wrote after my Dad passed.  It’s been three years today.  It’s a good reminder to myself.  I wanted to share it with you.

I’ve been away from posting the last two weeks. My father was in the hospital and passed away peacefully after a long fight against emphysema and pulmonary fibrosis. I’ve been taking time to help my family and to reflect on my Dad’s life. I wanted to share something that was sent to me by a friend:

“The Apostle Paul wrote to the Philippians church, “Therefore, my brothers, whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm thus in the Lord, my beloved.”  Many scholars feel that “joy” and “crown” have a futuristic view in mind that Paul is looking forward to their relationship in Heaven.

As believers, we know that relationships don’t end here.  One day we will rejoin our believing husband, wife, son, daughter, mother, father and other family and friends.  The nature of the relationship may change some but not the love, devotion or memory.

Life is not about “getting over it.”  It’s not even about “getting through it.”  It’s about finding new ways in the Lord to adjust to the loss that we are enduring.  It’s about maintaining a hope and a passion for the present and the future.  No, things are not the way we want it right now.  No, we’re not happy about what has taken place.”  No, we don’t want to smile.”  I get it and it makes perfect sense to me.”

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Enjoy it!

How can you better enjoy your wife and marriage?

– Accept what she can give today. Nobody is at the top of their game every day.
– Strive to give your best today. If you fall…stand back up!
– Focus on what she is doing right, instead of what she is doing wrong. Highlight it. Compliment it.
– Live in the joy of the moment, instead of focusing on the past and pray about the future.
– Let your joy be dependent on God – not your wife.
– Love her like crazy. Be relentless.
– Have a forgiving heart.

 

Do you hear the call?

Elijah and Jonah

Both prophets. Both call by God. Different responses.

God called Elijah to confront Ahab. He went. God called Jonah to confront the Ninevites. He ran.

What is God calling you to do in your marriage? As a father?

Are you walking toward God? Are you walking away? You can only be doing one.

Have you ever considered what God is calling you to do? Sure – you could say that God hasn’t “called” you to do anything, but the magnitude of your calling depends on what you call it. Your marriage could be your calling. Maybe you disagree; however whatever you call it…that’s what it is going to be. I suggest that we – as husbands – examine what God calls us to do in Ephesians 5.

Is it hard? Yes. Is it always fair and balanced? No. Will it help you achieve the marriage that God intends for you? I am willing to bet – yes. We need to stop calling it like we see it because God calls it differently because He knows what it can be.

Love you wife like Christ loved the church; and then let God handle the rest.

In case you are not familiar with the story of Jonah; then I will share this….Jonah ran, but he could not out run what God called him to do.

Be Strong. Act Like Men.

Let God Be God

I enjoy backpacking. I’ve got a few hundred miles under my boots; however that does not qualify me as an expert backpacker. But I know what to do when a storm approaches. I seek shelter in a place that is unaffected by the storm.

In seeking God, you do the same. You focus on “a cut above” any storm life may bring. Like Job, you find peace in the pain. Like Job, you cover your mouth and be still. Psalm 46:10 says, “Be still, and know that I am God.” A command with a promise. Be still. Cover your mouth. Bend your knees. And, as a result, you will know that I am God”

Be Strong. Act like Men. And let God be God.

Squandered

“Pride brings a person low, but the lowly in spirit gain honor” – Proverbs 29:23

You knew that guy in high school—the guy with all the money, the looks, the clothes and the fastest car. He was the popular one, the guy everyone liked to hang out with, the one who was a lock for being voted “Most Likely to Succeed.” But instead of taking advantage of all these advantages, he decided to spend his time chasing girls and partying, to the dismay of his parents and the ruin of his GPA.

Trust Fund Babies. College playboys. Frat-house social committee chairmen. To direct these terms at other guys is to accuse them of riding Daddy’s coattails and to call into question their work ethic and the seriousness with which they take life. Those who have less in the world can only scratch their heads and wonder what they could do with the same perks.

Now, this is a stereotype, to be sure. A few bad apples don’t spoil the whole barrel in this case. But as we can’t think back on that one guy and not wonder what happened, so also we can’t read the story of Samson and not wonder what went haywire.

Mighty Samson, who has never lost a battle, is captured by a woman, tortured by his enemies and enslaved until his death. The mighty warrior who has killed scores of his enemies with rudimentary tools and with his bare hands trips up on the most obvious of ploys. The one who was to be dedicated to God’s service for the purpose of saving his people ends up in bondage to the very people he was intended to conquer.

What was he thinking? How could he have subjected himself to this kind of trickery? Didn’t Delilah ask him repeatedly about the secret of his strength, and couldn’t he see where this was leading? Did he forget that the Philistines had come into her house and tried to capture him on a number of occasions? Or did he just enjoy playing this game, knowing he couldn’t lose?

The sad fact is that Samson was just as human as you and I. He allowed his eyes to lead him astray, and he allowed his pride to strategize for him. In some sense he was a victim of his own success—and he learned the hard way that even a slugger with a perfect batting average can strike out when it matters most.

So what can we learn from Samson’s story today? Were you the one in high school who squandered your advantages and made foolish choices? Can you think back on times when you deliberately disobeyed what you knew to be God’s will for your life—and paid the price? If so, gain encouragement from the end of Samson’s story. God gave him a second chance to show that he was God’s man, and Samson struck a crippling blow to his enemies. God also gives us more chances than we can count to return to him and rededicate ourselves to his mission in the world.
Be Strong. Act Like Men.

Not Compatible?

So….you think you and your wife weren’t compatible. I was thinking about this…and realized that I don’t know a lot of husbands and wives who are truly compatible. In our marriages…..God joins together two flawed people.

If you will respond correctly to your wife’s weaknesses, then God can teach you forgiveness, grace, unconditional love, mercy, humility, and brokenness. The life of a person who believes in Christ is developed by responses to not only happy things, but the response to challenges as well.

We are told in Colossians 3:12-13 to “put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving each other.” Your wife’s weaknesses are not hindrances, but rather they are the doorway to spiritual growth.

How liberating is that?

If you will respond to your wife’s shortcomings with unconditional acceptance, then you will show her that your love isn’t based on performance. It will create trust and security. And that will swing open the door of change for not only her, but you too.

 

It’s On You

“The Lord God called to the man, Where are you?” – Genesis 3:9

Eve was tempted by the serpent. Eve shared the fruit with Adam. And who did God call out for?

Adam. Not Eve.

God has provided our marriages with the keys to success. It includes specific guidelines for marriage. A quick read would indicate that husband and wives have an equal stake in marital success.

And yet….God sought out Adam.

Our wives are a huge contributor to the success or failure of our marriages; however we have been given responsibility for the condition of our marriage. Are you leading in a manner that would inspire your wife to follow? Are you walking in step with Christ in a way that your wife will want to emulate? Are your actions building trust and creating security in your marriage?

God created us to lead, love, and protect our wives. Most importantly…God called us to lead by following Him.