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.

 

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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.

 

Birds of Pray

It’s almost American football season.  I wanted to share an excerpt that I read this morning.  It is written by Rob Maaddi, from his new book Birds of Pray The Story of the Philadelphia Eagles’ Faith, Brotherhood, and Super Bowl Victory…..

One day after the Philadelphia Eagles lost to the Green Bay Packers in their 2017 preseason opener, the reality that the NFL is a cruel business hit Carson Wentz hard. Jordan Matthews was traded to the Buffalo Bills along with a 2018 third-round draft pick for cornerback Ronald Darby. Wentz and Matthews had just traveled to Haiti together a few months earlier. Matthews was his go-to wide receiver on the field and one of his closest buddies off the field. Everyone on the team loved Matthews, a hard worker who did whatever he could to help his teammates. Wentz, Matthews, Trey Burton, Zach Ertz, Jordan Hicks, and Chris Maragos were the core of the team’s Christian brotherhood. Proverbs 27:17 says:

As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.

These men truly sharpened each other. They lifted each other when someone was down. They encouraged each other in tough times and pushed each other to dig deeper in their relationship with the Lord. The six players gathered for an emotional sendoff dinner the night the trade went down, and then drove Matthews to the airport.

“It’s tough. This is my first time experiencing this with someone that’s one of my best friends,” Wentz said a day later. “It’s tough on him too. It’s kind of out of the blue. Replacing a guy like that in the locker room is not going to be easy.”

Pastor Ted Winsley reminded the players the trade would give Matthews an opportunity to impact a new set of teammates.

“Whenever someone leaves, it is because you have an assignment and you are supposed to take it and share it,” Winsley said. “This was a reminder how precious it is, and it was a reminder of why we’re together, to become rooted, to become grounded, and then to spread it. Players, when they leave Philadelphia, they tell other players that what we have here is special.”

Christianity is nothing new to the NFL.

Many players from Reggie White to Kurt Warner to Tim Tebow have boldly professed their faith. The 2012 Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens had a strong Christian contingent led by Ray Lewis. Same for the 2013 champion Seattle Seahawks with Russell Wilson. But the 2017 Eagles were a different breed of young players who passionately shared the gospel, held each other accountable, and encouraged, motivated, and inspired each other to walk their talk daily.

“We had a great brotherhood in Seattle, guys who loved Jesus passionately and were committed to the Lord, and that was the cool thing because you saw guys who were willing to put that much more into their sport because they knew they were honoring the Lord through their gifts and talents and abilities, so you saw the sacrifices probably even greater because they knew they were playing for something greater, and the same here with the Eagles,” said Maragos, who played for the Seahawks from 2011–13. “We want to bring the Lord as much glory as possible.”

Torrey Smith, who was part of Baltimore’s championship team and spent two seasons with the San Francisco 49ers before coming to Philadelphia, was impressed by the young leaders on the Eagles.

“I think here the difference is a lot of younger guys lead,” Smith said. “As men, you tend to be very sheltered. If I am going through some things, I may not express that to the next man. Only you can expose your weaknesses and the things you want to work on, whether it’s in your relationship or your marriage or your family. When you’re able to talk about it among your brothers, among your family, it helps you grow. And when you realize that you can apply biblical principles to it, it helps us all grow.”

Stefen Wisniewski also played for other teams before joining the Eagles. He began his career with the Oakland Raiders and spent one year with the Jacksonville Jaguars before coming to Philadelphia in 2016.

“Obviously, there have been Christians before,” he said. “It’s just so special that there are so many on one team and so many that I would call committed or mature, who are believers, who are solid in their faith, and so many who are outspoken about their faith. There’s a lot of guys who would prefer to keep their faith private for whatever reason, and I think most of the Christians on this team have embraced the fact that we have a platform to share Christ. It’s a huge platform. Millions of people follow us. Let’s use it to lift high the name of Jesus. It’s so cool that so many guys have embraced that, and the fact that the quarterback is one of them, both quarterbacks, I think helps because that’s the most visible position.”

Before the Eagles drafted him, Wentz prayed daily that he would go to a team and be surrounded by guys who helped him grow closer in his relationship to Christ. He could not have imagined a better situation.

“Honestly, it’s been the most incredible thing being here with these guys in our locker room,” Wentz said. “I think a lot of people miss out, I know I did early in college to some extent, in understanding the true value of community, the true value of what we talked about — iron sharpening iron or spurring each other on. God Himself is God the Father, the Son, the Holy Spirit — three in one. He Himself is living in a relationship in a community.

When Jesus sent out the disciples, He sent them out two by two because they need each other to spur each other on. And I think that we can all lose sight of that and say, ‘Well I’ve got my faith and you have yours, or I have this and you do your own thing.’ And that’s not what it’s all about, because life is hard. Life is messy. There are a lot of things that just aren’t good in life, and it’s easy to just get lost and wander. You always just need people to help keep you on the straight and narrow — keep you on that path and really encourage you. I just know how really beneficial it’s been in my life to have brothers in Christ and to really just help keep me on that path, and I really encourage [people] to kind of just check yourself to some extent and see who’s in your life. Are they building you up? Are they lifting you up? Are they spurring you on? Are they tearing you down? There’s value in iron sharpening iron.”

Accountability is an important part of the team’s brotherhood. Often those who walk closely with the Lord are going to be challenged by the enemy and pulled in the wrong direction, so having accountability partners is a vital part of the Christian journey. Being an accountability partner can be a tough job because sometimes it requires calling someone out — this should be done privately — and it could risk alienating a friend who doesn’t want to hear the truth. But several of the players on the Eagles had the courage to hold each other accountable, and equally important, they were willing to be held accountable. One player told me one of his teammates pulled him aside after he reacted angrily to questions from reporters and gently reminded him that it was important to represent Christ at all times. He thought twice about lashing out the next time he faced difficult questions.

“Even when we are not at Bible study, it is a fellowship,” Ertz said. “Those guys are holding me accountable. Off the field, I am holding them accountable as well. We truly care about each other, we truly care about the growth that each individual has in the Word, as believers, as well as friends and family. There are a lot of guys who are truly trying to boost me up along the way and keep me focused on the main thing, which is obviously the Word and Jesus.

“We probably have seven guys that we were really vulnerable with. When I go back to California sometimes in the offseason, the hardest part is being away from these guys because I don’t have someone walking the walk like I am so much as I do back in Philadelphia. If I am slipping up, Jordan [Hicks] is going to be there for me and say, ‘Zach, we need to talk about this,’ and the same thing with Jordan. We are able to be vulnerable because everything Jordan has gone through I’ve gone through at times; just that ability to hold each other accountable to something so much bigger than us.”

That strong desire to grow in their faith, to sharpen each other, to hold each other accountable helped this core group of players form an unbreakable bond.

“We wouldn’t be who we are, we wouldn’t be the men in Christ that we are without each other,” Hicks said. “I think community is such a powerful concept that Christ has given us and we are just so blessed to have. I look back on my past, and it is a miracle that I am with the Philadelphia Eagles. I’ve had so any different injuries, and there are so many different ways I could have fallen off, but the fact that we have such a community that we can bounce ideas off each other. We can dive deep; it is such a huge thing because being vulnerable with someone, you know they know everything, and it is a scary place to be. But when you go there, that is when the real change happens. You can hit those points that hurt. We’re lucky and blessed to be in the situation that we are and know that not everyone is in a locker room where they can have that type of access to each other every single day. We see each other every day all the time, and we are lucky to have that.

Community is such a strong concept that you know I think that every believer should have.”