We’re Always in Agreement; We Do What She Says

13 08 2018

At first I was a bit taken aback by the expression that was just spoken half jokingly. It went like this, “We’re always in agreement; we do what she says.” Do you find yourself all too often acquiescing to your spouse’s desires in order to head off an argument?  Should you be doing that?

 

Perhaps there’s a deeper issue.  It might be fear.  Or, it could be the more hidden root of mistrust.  Being fearful of push back, being wrong or feeling shamed is not a good sign in a marriage relationship.  Also, where there is fear present in a relationship, there is a lack of love and where there is mistrust, there is a root of unresolved past issues with hurts attached.

 

This leadership couple honestly confessed and was willing to talk about past issues with disagreement. They were willing to disagree. But what I think they were really saying was sometimes it’s more biblical to overlook an offense or a difference of opinion.  Proverbs 19:11 states, “A man’s wisdom gives him patience; it is to his glory to overlook an offense.”

 

If we’re avoiding communication thinking that it will lead to a heated disagreement, then we’re not doing the two of us any good.  You have to be committed to work through the differences.  After all, it is those differences that in the end will create a better decision. Truthfully, both of you with your collective opinion, input and insight are necessary for healthy communication and dealing with conflict.  By the way, it’s not wrong to have conflict; it’s wrong to not resolve the conflict.

 

It is to a man’s honor to avoid strife, but every fool is quick to quarrel.  Proverbs 20:3

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A Life Too Young To Leave This Earth

6 08 2018

Recently Mary and I, along with an auditorium full of people, attended a memorial service for a 19-year-old woman.  She lost her earthly life in the recent Lancaster County, PA flooding.

The service was worshipful and honoring to her, albeit extremely emotional.  There is that mixture of sorrow and joy surrounding a time of tragedy like this one, but she and her family loved Jesus and that love was passionately evident during the service.

No one would have thought this beautiful, vibrant and loving teen would have gone to her eternal home this early, too early.  No one was prepared for the loss of a life full of joy, love and caring for others. Even her Italian restaurant owners where she found employment shared through tears that her love and care for the other staff was like no employee they’ve ever employed.  She was a light to all who knew her.

Besides honoring this lovely young lady, what’s my point?  Imagine if this family would have not prepared their daughter for her eternal home.  Imagine if they just never got around to sharing and living the truth of the gospel. Imagine if she never heard the life-giving Scriptures and applied them to her walk on earth.  And, imagine if she would have chosen to walk a different way than her family taught her.

The greatest gift that you can give your children, a child or those around you is Jesus.





Those Little Irritants in Life

30 07 2018

I was awake at 3:30 AM in order to catch an early morning flight.

Almost immediately after boarding the plane, the gentleman behind me started snoring LOUDLY.  About every minute or so, he would catch his breath and then suddenly make a sound like a neighing horse.  This went on for the full 35-minute flight.  So happy he could get some sleep, BECAUSE NO ONE AROUND HIM DID!

 

On my next leg of the journey, the gentleman beside me decided that he needed more and more seat space.  After five and a half hours, I was half way into the aisle getting my elbow hit by the drink cart. 

 

Life can be full of these kinds of little irritants.  They’re inconvenient, uncomfortable and, well, down right uncalled for sometimes.  And yet, it’s not fully the experience as much as it is a test.  It’s a test of what we tell ourselves, our self-talk. It ‘s a test of personal frustration levels.  It’s a test of the amount of compassion in our heart.  And it can be a test of how much grace we walk in.

 

We like things our way – the convenient, comfortable way.  But that’s just not real life is it?  So here’s a tip when one of those life inconveniences comes you way: pray and give thanks.

 

“Thank you, Father, that I can be on this plane to minister Your life to those that You have assigned to me.”

 

It will keep your heart right.  Besides, the next time you become an inconvenience or an irritant to someone, you’ll hope they took the aforementioned advice.

 

PS  On the final leg of my journey, I was given a free upgrade to first class…”Thank you, Father for this comfortable seat.”





I Catch Only Green Lights

16 07 2018

There was a study conducted by professor emeritus Robert Rosenthal of Harvard University in which he told elementary school teachers that some of their students were “intellectual bloomers.”  Then the teachers were told the students names, who had been randomly selected, and also told that those particular students would excel in the forthcoming year.

 

It was all spurious information and those “bloomers” were actually no different from any other student in the class.  The only difference was their teachers’ expectations and because of that expectation those students did significantly better than the other students by the end of the year.

 

Expectations, we all have them.  I was sitting at a red light one day and queried myself as to why I seem to catch all the red lights.  Immediately I sensed a voice asking, “Do you expect to catch all red lights?”  I knew instantly that the message was about expectations and what I speak over myself.  From that point I changed my speech and declared, as well as thought, I receive mostly green lights.

 

I was telling my wife this story the other day while driving back from Massachusetts and we laughed and laughed as I actually received green light after green light.  Now I am not saying there was any divine intervention on the road with traffic lights, but I am saying my expectations changed, my thoughts changed and my speech changed while there was a necessary shift in my life. It may sound trivial, but I really do believe that our expectations can become self-fulfilling prophecy.

What are you speaking over yourself?





Parenting? Try Being a Grandparent

9 07 2018

I absolutely love being a grandparent.  I have been named, “Papaw.”  What an honor to hold, to love and to care for these little ones.  To hear the words, “Papaw’s home” is music to my ears as it reminds me of when my children were small.  I wrote a former blog that called, “Grandparenting a Lost Art” and it is, but it is as well, a second chance.

 

It’s a second chance at being calm, filled with peace and less anxious in my parenting.  It’s a second chance at having time dedicated to my three grandsons for what THEY desire to do.  It’s a second chance at being less concerned about provision and work and more concerned about making them laugh and taking rides on “Mr. John Deere.”  It’s a second chance at saying ‘yes’ rather than saying ‘no’ all too often for my personal convenience.  And it’s a second chance to read to them and to listen to them or just to sit and have conversation at their level about the stuff on their mind.

 

Are you a young parent today?  Can you look at the above paragraph and then ask yourself, “How can I make all of these happen today in my parenting, not waiting until I’m a grandparent?”

 

But from everlasting to everlasting the Lord’s love is with those who fear him, and his righteousness with their children’s children. Psalms 103: 17





A Car Stolen or a Gift?

29 06 2018

They say to, “drive it like you stole it.”  Little did I know he actually would!

 

I have given several cars away in my lifetime, but this one…it didn’t go as planned. Having a car business on the side since 1996, I’ve had the opportunity to purchase a lot of cars for a lot of people in need of updated vehicles.  Initially this one was no different, or so I thought.

 

The purchaser was one of our former foster children.  I sold his high mileage, worn out car for him and then purchased a newer used model. When we signed the paperwork he gave me a check for the sales tax, but failed to pay me for the car.  He told me he was in dire straits and needed to use the money I gave him for his trade-in for past due bills.  And then he asked me to be his bank, by providing a loan for the new purchase.  Because I knew him, loved him and trusted him, I said I would, even handing the title of the car over to him. (That last part re: the title? Not a good move by the way.)

 

A year later not one single payment was made.  I realized none were forthcoming.  I tried contacting him, but his phone number was changed.  Feeling very taken advantaged of, I prayed and asked God what I should do.  He told me to forgive the debt and to write him a letter expressing those words.  I obeyed, but never heard from him again.

 

Over a year later I received a letter from his biological mother.  She wrote that her son committed suicide and when going through his possessions she found my letter of forgiveness to him.  In her grief, she took the time to thank someone who loved and cared for her boy.  While certainly not a happy ending, I was so thankful for obeying the voice of God.  I hoped that somehow it made a difference in his life for eternity.

 

I suppose too often we can look at how life affects only us and forget how it’s affecting others. Who is God daring you to love today without expectation of return?





Why Not Have an Extramarital Affair?

25 06 2018

Why don’t you have an extramarital affair?  Seriously, be honest with yourself and answer the question. What did you come up with?  If I could guarantee you will never be found out, you’ll never get caught, would your answer change?

 

This question came to my mind recently while having to deal with a life situation, the result of an affair.  I’ve written about emotional affairs and other areas of marriage failure, but have never been this straight forward with the question.  Seriously, admit it, most TV programs and most movies display for us in real life fashion multiple characters having multiple affairs. We read about it continually.  We even experience pastors failing in this area.  It’s everywhere around us, desensitizing us little by little.  We’ve come to expect it, maybe accept it as the norm. Methodically, the flesh can become weaker and weaker, while the spirit is screaming to our heart.

 

So, what are your answers?  I love my wife too much?  I just couldn’t do that to my husband who has been faithful?  Or, my children would be decimated?  All true, but not strong enough.  Everyday those challenges are brushed aside, caution thrown to the wind and, uncharacteristically, a man or a woman falls, succumbing to the temptation. The lust of the eyes and the flesh are simply too strong. (I John 2:16)

 

What is the answer, Steve?  Here’s one that I have come up with for myself: I love God and I want Him to know how much I love Him.  What does that mean?  Just this – Jesus said, “If you love me, obey my commandments.”  (John 14:15)  In verse 23 He went on to say, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching.”

 

Do we love Him enough to obey Him?

 

God’s word: Give honor to marriage, and remain faithful to one another in marriage.  God will surely judge people who are immoral and those who commit adultery.  Hebrews 13:4

“Grow old along with me.  The best is yet to be.  The last of life for which the first was made.” ~ Robert Browning








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