Finding a Life Mate: The Character Traits Worth Looking For #22

30 06 2017

 

In 2011 my first twenty-one blogs were titled, “Finding a Life Mate: The Character Traits Worth Looking For.” I loved the idea of starting a blog about something I am passionate about: preparing for marriage. I recently read through all 21 of them once again and did a bit of editing. In doing that, I realized I missed a really important area. That area was spiritual formation through prayer.

In learning to place God first in our lives, my wife and I have discovered that our similar spiritual values and our longing to pray for and with one another are vital to the health of our relationship. Dating to eventually marry a fellow believer with the commonality of core spiritual values has created a oneness in our relationship that is simply unsurpassed to any and all other areas of marriage unity.

When we encounter a difficulty or a bump in the road of marital bliss, our first response is to pray together. The scripture relates that the reason we fight and argue is because we do not pray first. (James 4: 1-2) If we can discover this freedom with the one we are looking at as a life mate, we are well ahead of the game. Why? Because our relationship with Jesus and our ability to pray and look to Him is the most intimate thing we can do together. And, it is by far, the most mature act. Look for a life mate that looks to God first, it will take a lot of pressure off of you.

Start reading those first 21 blogs here.  Or, recommend them to a friend who is looking for their life mate.





Three Very Important Days in Each of Our Lives

26 06 2017

There are three days that we each share (to add to a Mark Twain quote): The day we were born; The day we were born again: The day we discover why we were born.

The day we were born:

Regardless of where you were born, what family you were born into or any negative aspects of your birth and life, our heavenly Father so much wanted you to be born that you were given life by Him. He created you and He breathed life into you for this exact time on the earth. Life is a gift from God!

The day we were born again:

This is the day we realized God’s love for us and our sinfulness. This is the day we were given eternal life through the death of God’s Son, Jesus. This is the day our Savior longs for in the life of each and every being He has created. It is this day which marks us for an eternal kingdom, a kingdom not of this world.

 The day we discover why we were born:

The why of our life… every person on earth wants to know the reasons for which they exist. Everyone longs to know their purpose, their call, their gifts and their contribution to this short season on earth. When we discover our uniqueness, our calling and our purpose, we discover the Jesus call to live life through Him, for Him and from Him.

So we keep praying for you, asking our God to enable you to live a life worthy of his call. May he give you the power to accomplish all the good things your faith prompts you to do. (II Thessalonians 1:11)





Twenty-Five Years After a Rwandan Genocide and Genocide of Another Kind

23 06 2017

The Rwandan government is speaking and teaching there is only one people group in the nation of Rwanda. There are no longer tribes and factions. On paper and in speech this sounds fine, but there’s a deep wound in Rwanda that is still not healed.

To speak “one nation” without major heart transformation, forgiveness and blessing rather than cursing would seem like empty and hollow words. Words that mean well, spoken to move the country forward, but words, nonetheless. Unity cannot be legislated while a process of healing cannot be forfeited.

I just returned from this beautiful, clean and prosperous nation in Africa. The Rwandans from the churches that I was part of are dealing afresh with trauma as many of those persons who were incarcerated for their crimes against humanity are now being released from their prison cells. These persons are once again walking the streets and it is causing a response of fear and unrest.

There was so much blood spilled on this soil, but it seems the best answer the world or a government has is to put it out of your mind and move on. How does one reach forgiveness of those who now walk free while their fathers and close family members are in the grave? How does one obey the law of the land while at the same time find freedom from some of the deepest pain a human can endure? Genesis three and verse seventeen records God’s response to Adam concerning the ground he was working. Due to his disobedience God told him, “Cursed is the ground because of you…”

Does the blood of thousands of innocent Rwandans soaking this ground bring life or a curse to this soil?

Thank God that His Son became a curse for us (Galatians 3:13). The Son of God died on a Roman cross and was placed into the cursed ground only to be miraculously resurrected. Our King became victorious over death, hell and the grave. The soil could not hold Him. The blood He shed would break the curses of generations.

I was seated at a local church in Kigali, Rwanda waiting for my time to speak thinking about the entirety of the above and actually thanking God that my home nation has not experienced such horrific pain and suffering, at least in my lifetime.

Almost immediately I had this thought, “Not true of America, your home.” And then my next thought was concerning the present holocaust: abortion. Everyday my nation is killing babies in the womb, spilling innocent blood and everyday we walk through life as though it is a normal occurrence to be accepted. My government protects this practice and calls it “a choice.” There is no choice for the baby found living in the womb.  

According to the World Health Organization, every year in the world there are an estimated 40-50 million abortions. This corresponds to approximately 125,000 abortions per day. In America there are 1.3 million abortions a year, that’s 3,562 per day!

The definition of genocide is: The deliberate and systematic extermination of a national, racial, political, or cultural group. Between April and June of 1994, an estimated 800,000 Rwandans were killed in the space of 100 days. Since Roe vs. Wade we, America,  have realized almost 60 million killings!

Can you imagine that we have politician after politician, governors, presidents and Supreme Court members who work tirelessly to keep this crime of abortion alive? Can you imagine that people vote for these politicians dedicated to keep babies torn to pieces by the thousands per day? Rwanda’s genocide is over and has been for many years while ours continues on and on and on, day after day after day and year after year.

Governments will never find the solution for the broken human heart. Legislation cannot change our blood-saturated soil. Even our national leaders would call those leaders who kill their own people uncivilized barbaric murderers. And yet, they themselves are doing similar.

Judas, after betraying his Master, Jesus, said that he had “betrayed innocent blood.” (Matthew 27:4) The Psalmist describes this sin of shedding the innocent blood of children when he writes, “They shed innocence blood, the blood of their sons and their daughters, whom they sacrificed to the idols of Canaan, and the land was desecrated by their blood.” (Psalm 106:38)

Their blood desecrated the land and themselves (v.39); do we get that?

I am extremely grateful that the tide is turning and the younger generation is far more pro-life today, but I also hear the present generation say to me that they are not one-issue voters. Could this aberration, this abnormality called abortion be normal now in the mind of a believer in Jesus? Could this injustice and lack of mercy toward the unborn be a curse in our land as this innocent blood is shed daily?

In Rwanda there was a tribe dedicated to killing another tribe. And in America there is a demonic tribe dedicated to eradicating the lives of the unborn. If it’s murder to kill a child outside the womb, is it not murder to kill a child inside the womb? I agree that abortion is not the only important issue, but it is foundational to values that we hold dear. It is foundational to what we call life and it is foundational to how we respond at every other level of life.

It was Mother Teresa who said that if we do not respect life in the womb, we would not respect life at any stage of life. We experienced the first school shooting in our nation right after she spoke these words while in Washington, D.C.

The blood of the innocent cries out in Rwanda for sure, but the blood of the innocent child cries out in America too. Are we listening? Are we speaking up for them? Are we a voice for those who have no voice?

Endnote: In the time that it took you to read this there were approximately 80 abortions performed in America.





That One Ideal Partner, A Soul Mate?

19 06 2017

Is it really possible to find that one special person, your soul mate for life? With the potential of literally millions of people on the earth today and the possibility of tens of thousands of connections, is it even remotely conceivable to find “the one?” Should we be holding out for this one special person…the only one for me? It’s a romantic thought isn’t it? And it seems that God placed that desire within each one of us.

J.R.R. Tolkien wrote, “In such a great inevitable love, often love at first sight, we catch a vision, I suppose, of marriage as it should have been in an unfallen world.” Tolkien was married to Edith until her death at age 82. He once told his son that theoretically there might be someone better suited for him out there somewhere other than Edith, but then concluded, …”So what?”

I agree, especially after looking back from the 42nd year of marriage mark. You will never convince me that God had nothing to do with our saying “I do.”   We know He did, but then again we also realize that we could have made other choices and reached the same milestone.   Marriage takes time to settle. It takes a full-on commitment from both parties and it takes lots of grace. Someone once told me that in life you’re either in a storm, coming out of a storm or about to enter one. Having that life mate to weather the storms together is nothing short of a miracle from God.

 





Five Reasons To Read And Study The Bible

11 06 2017

Do you love God’s word enough to read it regularly? Francis Chan in his book, Multiply, wrote, “When we talk about the Bible, we’re actually talking about something that the all-powerful, all-knowing, transcendent God decided to write to us!”

Here are just five reasons for reading this awesome, mind-blowing, truth-filled book:

1.To know the Author of the Bible. God wrote a book to you and me about Himself. In reading it, we will know more about the character of the One we love and serve, growing in relationship with Him.

2. To know the Author’s Son, Jesus. The Old Testament shares of the coming Messiah and the New Testament is about His life here on earth. When we read His words and learn to do what Jesus did in order to live the way Jesus lived, we will be walking examples of His kingdom coming to earth.

3. To learn more about me, who I am as a creation of my Father. The Bible will expose, “…The thoughts and the intentions of the [my] heart.” (Hebrews 4:12) Reading God’s word will help me to see the real me and become more like Him in the process.

4. To receive direction in my life. God’s word is full of practical life applications. Reading His word will give us daily wisdom for our relationships on earth. As we discover what God values, we will receive insight into everyday problems. When we handle those problems in a biblical way, it will provoke change in others and in us.

5. To have the mind of Christ (I Corinthians 2:16). To read the parables, to enter into the written teachings of Christ and to hear our Lord’s response to His Father recorded in the Bible, is like being given a map for communication with God. As we read, our spirits receive truth and our thinking changes according to His thoughts. Through His life transforming word our actions can become His actions.

 





Supporting One Another as Husband and Wife

5 06 2017

There are so many practical ways to support our spouse on a daily basis. We have grown in this over the last 42 years. It does mean dealing with our own selfishness and seeing the needs in another, maybe even before they see them. For your marriage encouragement, here’s a dozen ways to provide your life mate some support.

 

  1. Try not to over manage one another. Give each other space. Stay away from the constant, “Did you do this?” And the, “When are you going to…”
  2. Speak words of encouragement. Of course there are a lot of things to nitpick about, but try encouragement first. For example, “I appreciate how you keep up with the wash without complaint” or “Thanks for working so hard and helping to provide for our family.” Words of encouragement turn something mundane into something to conquer.
  3. Call forth your spouse’s gifts, both spiritual and practical. Most often your spouse does not see all of their gifts. When you believe in them and encourage them to use their gifts, you are in effect calling forth something that God has placed within them.
  4. Be protective of your spouse. Watch out for the things that your spouse does not see coming or is not tuned in to. We all need protected from things people say or do that might be hurtful to one another.
  5. Pray with your spouse. Do not pray at them, rather pray for them. Cover one another in prayer. Do not just have their back, but have all of them. There is no greater intimacy of support than prayer.
  6. Compliment your spouse regularly. Be sure to tell them when they look good in that new shirt or new haircut. Let them know regularly that you are still attracted to them.
  7. Communicate regularly even if it’s about nothing. Send your spouse a text in the middle of the day to say hi or that you love them. Let them know you are thinking of them. Send them a card in the mail or put a Post It note in with their lunch.
  8. Praise in public; construct in private. Verbally affirm your spouse around others. Never challenge your spouse in front of others. If a word of input is needed, save it for a one-on-one time.
  9. Take time to regularly have the deeper talks. Do not let your communication go for days without connecting deeply concerning your relationship, the kids, your job, your spiritual walk or the finances.
  10. Speak words of honor. Honor is often lost in our cultures today. When speaking a word of honor your spouse will feel honored, appreciated, praised and trusted.
  11. Be physical. Touch your spouse, hold hands and kiss several times a day. Put your arm around one another. Rub each other’s back. Hug for no reason other than good, comforting and sustaining physical touch.
  12. Be a rock. Let them know you can be counted on. Be there and be on time. Be faithful in all you do and say, especially in your walk with God. Never give yourself emotionally or sexually to anyone or anything other than your spouse.







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