We’re Better Together

18 02 2019

Marriage, being God’s design from the beginning, is an amazingly creative design.  Every time I am on an airplane sitting shoulder to shoulder with a stranger, I wish it were my wife.  It’s just so odd to be that physically close to someone you do not know and have never met.  Marriage is as close and intimate as an earthly relationship can become.  And the fact of the matter is, over time, it becomes even closer.

 

The primary ingredient to the beauty of our wives is a husband’s unconditional love, honor toward her, serving her and cherishing her.  The most beautiful women I know are those who are treated and cared for in this way. The security and significance of our husbands is directly related to a wife’s affirmation and praise of him as a man, a provider and a lover.  His wife, without critical judgment, loves him in this way and he is secure in that love.

 

We’re better together. The book of Ecclesiastes says it this way, “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down his friend can help him up.”  How many times has your friend, your spouse, helped you up?  Thank you, Father, for Your amazing design!

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The House That God Built

11 02 2019

Whenever we have a first-time visitor to our home, given the chance, we tell them a story.  I’ll tell you that story too.

 

Mary and I were married for twelve years before we owned our own home.  To be perfectly honest, while serving in missions, we didn’t think we’d ever own a home and we really weren’t concerned about it.

 

We had just moved back to our home area after serving in missions for eight years.  We left the work that we were doing out of obedience to God to start a new child welfare agency.  We rented a small apartment from my in-laws and were quite happy there.  In time, we began looking for real estate only to be told by the bank that without any savings and a better paying job, we could not secure a loan.  We really frustrated real estate agents because what we thought God had for us was always different from what they were showing us.

 

Then one morning in my devotional time, God highlighted this verse out of I Chronicles, “I declare to you that the Lord will build a house for you.”  That was it.  That was all we needed.  We began to proclaim and to speak the Lord’s favor; we would have a house and God would be the builder.

 

One day an older friend of my wife came to visit us.  She announced she was selling her farm located just a mile from where our apartment was.  She looked directly at us and said these words, “I want you to go out to the farm and see where you would like to build a house.”  We were shocked…speechless.  Wondering how much this lot would cost us she then said, “It is going to be a tithe of my farm; it’s yours free and clear.”  She left and missed seeing Mary and I dancing around our kitchen, shouting loudly in thanksgiving to our Provider.

 

With the commitment of a very dear friend, he and I built that house from foundation up, nailing every stud, pulling every wire, plumbing and painting.  Now almost 32 years ago, we still tell the story.  We can’t stop telling the story because it’s the house that God built.

 

Even when man (or bank) says it can’t be done…   Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.





Long-Term Marriage Pays (In more ways than one!)

4 02 2019

Did you know those who are blessed to experience long-term marriage tend to accumulate twice as much wealth than those who are single or divorced?  Yep, it’s true.

 

Ohio State University Center for Human Resource Research studied over 9,000 people concerning their marriage and finances.  Over a fifteen-year period they discovered some astounding facts.  For one, those who married and stayed married over that study period increased their wealth 93%. *

 

What about those who married and divorced in that same time period?  Their wealth decreased by 77%.  Why? The answer is partly because there are now two households with double the expenses, double the payments, not to mention the cost of the divorce itself with lawyer fees, etc.  Breaking up a marriage is costly in so many ways.

 

Too many people see only the end, being rid of this person they are no longer getting along with. But the truth is, especially if you have children, you are never rid of this person.   And that cost of breaking up a marriage is far more costly than repairing one.

 

Some wise words from a wife who was cheated on by her husband that we recently heard went something like this:  “He (her husband) spent a lot of money on cheating and it cost us in so many ways. We are now going to spend a lot of money on healing. “

 

Money spent on healing goes much farther than money spent on divorce.

 

* From Love Talk, by Les and Leslie Parrot





Voting Has a Direct Effect Upon Life In The Womb

28 01 2019

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.

 

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made: your works are wonderful, I know that full well.

 

My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.

 

Your eyes saw my unformed body: all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.  Psalm 139: 13-16

 

Rescue those being led away to death; hold back those staggering toward slaughter.

 

If you say, “But we knew nothing about this,” does not he who weighs the heart perceive it?  Does not he who guards your life know it?

 

Will he not repay everyone according to what they have done?  Proverbs 24: 11, 12

 

Today we see the direct result of how we cast our votes.  Is your allegiance, is your passion to Jesus and the lives He created for life?  If the godly do not care, who will?  Thank you New York state elected officials for this reminder.

 

Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from him.

 

Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are children born in one’s youth.

 

Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them.  Psalm 127: 3-5

“Father, forgive us for this sin of selfishness and the sacrifice of innocent blood.”





John Wesley’s 21 Accountability Questions to Start Out 2019

14 01 2019

On a recent prayer time away from my office, I carried John Wesley’s 21 accountability questions with me.  I have gone through these numerous times and really enjoy doing so.  I thought that if you were not familiar with them, you just might like to consider a look as well.  On that note, here they are:

 

  1. Am I consciously or unconsciously creating the impression that I am better than I really am? In other words, am I a hypocrite?
  2. Do I confidentially pass on to others what has been said to me in confidence?
  3. Can I be trusted?
  4. Am I a slave to dress, friends, work or habits?
  5. Am I self-conscious, self-pitying, or self-justifying?
  6. Did the Bible live in me today?
  7. Do I give the Bible time to speak to me every day?
  8. Am I enjoying prayer?
  9. When did I last speak to someone else of my faith?
  10. Do I pray about the money I spend?
  11. Do I get to bed on time and get up on time?
  12. Do I disobey God in anything?
  13. Do I insist upon doing something about which my conscience is uneasy?
  14. Am I defeated in any part of my life?
  15. Am I jealous, impure, critical, irritable, touchy or distrustful?
  16. How do I spend my spare time?
  17. Am I proud?
  18. Do I thank God that I am not as other people, especially as the Pharisees who despised the publican?
  19. Is there anyone whom I fear, dislike, disown, criticize, hold resentment toward or disregard? If so, what am I doing about it?
  20. Do I grumble or complain constantly?
  21. Is Christ real to me?

And, one more we might add to these: Have I told myself the truth as I answered these questions?





The Dedication of a Child to God

7 01 2019

In 2018 I was able to enjoy several children’s dedication services.  One was my grandson. That was special.

 

Also in 2018, one of the books I read was Benjamin Franklin’s autobiography.  I enjoyed his story, the key political roles he played in various ways with my home nation, the United States of America, and his many inventions, many of which we still use today.

 

One of the first testimonials he wrote in the book was this, “And now I speak of thanking God, I desire with all humility to acknowledge that I owe the mentioned happiness of my past life to His kind providence…  My belief of this induces me to hope, though I must not presume, that the same goodness will still be exercised toward me, in continuing that happiness… [and] my future fortune being known to Him only in whose power it is to bless…”

 

While his older brothers were placed into apprenticeships (differing trades) by his father, Benjamin was placed into grammar school.  The reason? Benjamin wrote that his father intended to, “…devote me, as the tithe of his sons, to the service of the Church.” His father believed that he needed as much education as he could receive for that service.

 

Benjamin’s faith followed him in all he set out to accomplish.  Perhaps it was his father’s dedicating him to the service of the Lord that helped to hold him to that relationship.  With the many trials and tribulations, losses and shattered dreams he encountered, late in the book he wrote, “I at present think that whoever attempts this aright, and is well qualified, can not fail of pleasing God, and of meeting with success.”

 

He then provides some thought to what he called, “…the substance of an intended creed.”  And perhaps these are his overwhelming convictions of life in his day.

 

That there is one God, who made all things.

That He governs the world by His providence.

That He ought to be worshipped by adoration, prayer, and thanksgiving.

But that the most acceptable service of God is doing good to man.

That the soul is immortal.

And that God will certainly reward virtue and punish vice, either here or hereafter.

 

A life dedicated.  A son tithed.  Who knows where God may lead our children or where a young life, that we have the opportunity to touch, will go?





Are You Known More for What You Hate or By How You Love?

31 12 2018

I was speaking with a friend recently about a specific governmental department that I obviously did not have a good word for.  Later in a text message, I apologized for my negative expressions.  And here’s the reason for my apology: Holy Spirit.

 

While I was driving to my next appointment, I found myself being asked,“Do you want to be known for what you hate or for how you loved?” Then, in my mind I could hear a future conversation, “Yeah, Steve has no lost love for  ________.”  Not wanting that statement on anyone’s lips I asked for God’s forgiveness as well.

 

Social media is full of rants and raves.  People who would have never had a platform or a voice to express their strong views toward a political candidate, a boss or a former spouse or girlfriend can now take to the Internet and tear others apart for their beliefs.  We can quickly pick out what someone hates or strongly disagrees with, but are left wondering what is good in their world.  Are you more known for what you disagree with or for how you love, reach out and serve others regardless of how they believe or vote?

 

Someone has said that we often have only one opportunity to speak something life-giving, something godly or encouraging and we use that one opportunity to tear apart those who do not believe as we do.  Let’s work at changing that and become more like Jesus, who “…Was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is silent so he did not open his mouth.”

If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong…

If I have faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.

If I give all I possess to the poor…but have not love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient, love is kind…it is not proud.  It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered…

Love never fails.

As we enter 2019, could God be challenging you as He has me? Will those you interact with, will those who read your social media posts, will those you work with and will your family hear about what and how you love or more about what you hate? We may have only one opportunity to say something kind, life-giving or loving. Let’s not miss that opportunity.








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