Five years ago today I did a wedding for a couple of young people who were weird and wacky. They had dreams of making it big in the music industry and living happily ever after. They went to school, moved around, and chased a dream. Dreams come true.
My youngest son and his wife celebrate 5 years of marriage today. I know that this does not qualify as happily ever after but it sure is a start. Few couples that I know have been willing to make the sacrifices and work as hard to make their dreams come true as these two. Paying their own way through school, taking jobs that seemed quite a stretch to achieve their goals and never giving up on seeking what they were looking for.
Today they serve in the music ministry in one of the largest and most dynamic churches in South Carolina, maybe even the USA. The music industry can be a brutal place to make a living and certainly to live out a Christian life. Staying true to your roots and to yourself and to each other can be extremely difficult, but so far so good. I have watched them take risks that many warned against taking and watch the rewards of those risks pay off now. As a pastor and a dad I can’t be more proud of where they serve and how they serve and what they have done so far.
Not only do they celebrate their 5th wedding anniversary, but this year they will also celebrate the birth of their first child, a boy. Although this will be our 7th grandchild, it is not less thrilling! Anytime that God blesses one of your children with a child it is incredible. Children are a blessing from God and grandchildren are the crown of the grandparents! We can’t wait to hold him in our arms and tell him of our love for him and our pride for his parents and our thankfulness to God for him.
It would be nice to be able to send them away for week as they celebrate their anniversary or to lavish them with other expensive gifts, but unfortunately that can’t happen right now. We feel as though we are the ones who have gotten the gifts with the way they live their lives and have blessed us with a grandson. But what I can do and will never stop doing is praying for their marriage, their children, and their ministry. I will always have great pride in them being my family and great humility in knowing that they are all a gift from God. And now, I have included them in a 2nd blog…what more can they want?
Five years ago today I did a wedding for a couple of young people who were weird and wacky. They had dreams of making it big in the music industry and living happily ever after. They went to school, moved around, and chased a dream. Dreams come true.
In the book of James, Christians are challenged with an “in your face” look at who we should be. Just in to the first two chapters most who claim to be Christians could walk away with a deep need to re-examine what it means to be a Christian. One of my favorite verses in the Bible is this one: James 1:22 Do what God’s word says. Don’t merely listen to it, or you will fool yourselves. Doing what we hear is a test of our faith. I know way too many folks who can quote the Bible very well and yet they do very little of what they quote. Apparently this is not a new problem since James was writing about it almost 2000 years ago.
James also says that faith without doing something with it is basically dead, or worthless. He tells us that even demons believe in God and even tremble at His name. What that means is that saying you are a believer is not enough. We must begin to do what the Bible teaches if we want to be called Christians. With that statement I mean others should be calling us Christians by the way we act, but we all know that most folks outside the church world call us hypocrites.
Can you imaging how many people would be following Jesus if He acted like many Christians act? What if He only quoted scripture and never did anything? What if he only said He was going to die on a cross and be raised the third day? Where would we be today?
By the same token, many people who don’t read the Bible, or don’t go to church, see people who are supposed to represent Jesus and all he taught and what they get is words and not enough actions. James said that if someone asked for food or clothes that really need them and all we do is tell them that we will pray for them that our faith is dead.
Faith should cause us to do good things for people. It should cause us to give because we know that God honors our giving. It should cause us to serve, because Jesus said the greatest among us will be servants. It should cause us to teach because you can’t make disciples if they don’t know what to do. It should cause us to lead children to worship and know Jesus because He said that they were precious to Him and that we must come to Him like a child does.
So here is my challenge. If you are a Christian, and you are not involved in doing what you hear taught from the word of God, start doing something. Here are a few suggestions:
You can pray. This is needed and was modeled by Jesus. Luke 18:1 Jesus used this illustration with his disciples to show them that they need to pray all the time and never give up.
Pray for someone, by name, that you know does not know Jesus. Pray for your church leaders that they are wise and not scared to do what they need to do. Pray for our nation, that we return to are Christian roots.
You can help in the children’s area at your church. You don’t have to be a biblical scholar. You just need to love kids and love Jesus. Mark 10:15-16 I can guarantee this truth: Whoever doesn’t receive the kingdom of God as a little child receives it will never enter it.” Jesus put his arms around the children and blessed them by placing his hands on them.
Not matter how big your church is, there is never enough help in that area. Some people rarely ever get to worship with “the big people” because they are loving kids. Even if you only help once a month it helps.
You can go out daily and invite people to your church. Luke 14:23 “Then the master told his servant, ‘Go to the roads and paths! Urge the people to come to my house. I want it to be full. This is nothing more than telling people, with enthusiasm, how much you love the Lord and your church. What? You don’t have enthusiasm about one or the other? Perhaps it’s because you are not doing what you have been taught and your faith is dead.
Its time to come alive and show your faith! Faith means you really believe it. You sit in chairs because of faith. You drive your car because of faith. Showing people what you know about Jesus should be just as natural because of faith. Like Nike says…Just do it!
copyrighted photo http://www.flickr.com/photos/mike_leach/
I had a wonderfully humbling experience today. I was talking to a couple about their upcoming wedding when it was brought to my attention that the future husband was not a Christian, but the bride is. I know that this is going to stir up a lot of feelings in people but I am hoping that you will understand the big picture. The Bible tells Christians not to marry someone who is not a Christian. In the Old Testament God told Israel not to marry those outside of the Jewish faith, so this is a consistency with God and there is a reason for it. Humans have this tendency to think about what is immediately in front of them and let God and His will be put aside for what we want. That often leads to sin and that is what God sent Jesus to die for, our sin. Because of that high price, He doesn’t want us to do things that will make it easier to sin and being married to someone who is not of the same faith as we are makes it easy to follow our spouse rather than God. This is not the total point of this blog but it does have its place here.
You see as a pastor I have to do what God says, even if I don’t understand it fully. I know it would be better for a couple to be married and live together than to not be and live together. But, living together before marriage is a sin too. My dilemma is that I can’t marry someone who God says shouldn’t be married even if I think it would be better than the other choice.
SO…I am talking with this couple and the guy is a very unique person who was saying a lot of the right things, but something was not sitting right with me. I thought that he was being argumentative, and so I was putting up my shield and getting ready to fire back but I just couldn’t get a peace about how I was trying to handle things. I was seeing our conversation getting nowhere and I kept remembering my earlier blog about judging others. I was judging this guy and I was convinced that I was using the right standards to judge and at the same time, something kept telling me I was wrong.
So I asked the young lady to leave the room and asked the guy if I could talk one on one with him. He said yes.
I told him first that I was wrong to draw some of the conclusions about him and asked him to forgive me. He did. I told him why I had my convictions and to the best of my ability why I had to stick by my guns about not marrying them, but I saw that he really had a good idea of what marriage was about and asked if he would explain how he thought of God. So he did.
He began to explain how he had been hurt in some previous attempts to seek answers and ask questions about his opinions of God. He said that other pastors had gotten defensive and very matter of fact on him and he felt like he was being pushed away, not by God, but by those who should be teaching him about God. So he decided to form his own opinions with as much conviction as he could have and trust that God was as understanding as he hoped that He would be. Sadly this guy understood God better than those pastors did, or at least acted.
I asked if I could show him in the Bible exactly what God wanted from us and the extent to which God had gone to forgive us and make us His. I told him the God loved him as much as he thought, and more. I was able to show him that the only thing that he was missing in his opinion of God was the point to which Jesus was the sacrifice for our sin and it was through Jesus that we receive forgiveness and eternal life.
He told me that it was really cool to be able to talk about this and get clarity about God and forgiveness and when I asked if I could lead him in a prayer to ask for forgiveness and salvation, he said, no I think I have the right words and he prayed the best prayer of salvation I have heard in a while, because it was real and it was from his heart.
Real quickly I want to say that he had told me when we first met that he didn’t go to church because he did not like crowds. I have heard that before, but not in truth. So I remembered a line I had used many times before and had to live it. Going to church does not make you a Christian any more than standing in a garage makes you a car. It helps you grow as a Christian, but is not the standard to judge by. What God wants from us going to church is fellowship and accountability. So I told him that if he wanted to, until he felt comfortable enough to come to church, I would meet with him as often as he would like and him and I would build a relationship and learn about God together. He accepted.
So I am proud to say that the wedding is on and I have a new brother in Christ and I am excited about building a new friendship with someone who taught me to act more like Jesus than a pastor, and in that I think I will be a better pastor.
Here is a good idea for a blog, even though the person who sent it to me will now think that she is special. She asked the following:
If Satan is an ‘angel of light’, how do we differentiate whether it’s God or Satan coming to us/leading us to or through something?
Is Satan able to respond to our prayers, too? To mess with us/tempt us/etc…? When we pray to God…can Satan hear and take action in order to bamboozle us?
I am always looking for something new to blog about and do try to respond to most of the questions or requests, so please send them.
Let me address the first part about Satan. He is not an angel of light. He disguises himself as one. 2 Corinthians 11:14 ~And no wonder, even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. His disguises are good ones too! This is his most effective tool against new believers and lazy believers. New believers because they have not learned how to recognize God’s voice and God’s will and Satan knows this. He also knows that all Christians will try to justify wrong behavior because it feels good or looks good, so Satan makes sure you see these factors. Lazy Christians because they would rather have someone tell them what God says than to read it for themselves and take the time to get to know God on a personal level. And that brings us to the second part of that question, how can we tell the difference?
Sometimes we can’t. As a new believer, or weak believer, or even a mature believer going through a tough time, our emotions can over take us and we can make a mistake and fall right into Satan’s trap. It happens to all believers. We must learn from those mistakes. Satan is not stupid. We should never look to try to out dual him. But in the same light, God has given us a full suit of armor to protect us, and our eternal life is in God’s hands and nothing can take that away.
Just like anything else we do, we get better the more we learn and the more that we practice. We begin to know that God’s word never contradicts itself and if we commit His word to memory it becomes harder and harder for Satan to fool us that way.
I like to think that I know my wife so well that if I hear her voice I know it. I also know her well enough to know that if someone else says that my wife says or did something, that I can distinguish the truth because I know her that well. I know that my wife would never say kill our children, so know matter who I would hear that from I know she is not saying it. That is very obvious. But what if someone told me that she said that she wanted to go to a baseball game that night? I would have my doubts because I know my wife does not like baseball, and it would not be her wanting to go. But knowing her that well took time and effort, and even though I love baseball, I know she does not, so recognizing the truth even against my dream of her one day becoming a Braves fan isn’t gonna happen no matter how bad I want it.
The next question is in the same lines of thought as the first, but can be complicated to answer. Simply answered; yes.
In Daniel chapter 10, Daniel has an angel come to him to say that his prayer had been heard but an opposing angel was fighting to delay or stop the response. Angels are used especially in the Old Testament, as God’s messengers. Our prayers take us into a supernatural realm that we don’t fully understand and Satan and the other fallen angels are part of it. This is one argument used for the claim of having a prayer language that is only between you and God, but I do not feel that is an accurate interpretation of scripture. If there was such a language, I would think that Daniel, of all people, would have it. The argument there is that the Holy Spirit is the one who gives us this language and somehow the Holy Spirit was not giving that out back then, but I thought that God was the same yesterday, today and forever. (This will be the topic of another blog I am sure).
Bottom line is that Satan wants Christians to be discouraged, disoriented, and disgruntled. He wants us to remain immature and weak and ignorant. God wants us to grow, and to know Him. He wants us to love Him enough to get to know Him to the point that we are not easily deceived. That takes time and effort. Read your Bible daily. Trust that the Holy Spirit will guide you in the truth and never let your guard down. Pray prayers that are in God’s will and you will not be confused about the answer. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes, our Heavenly Father will protect us because He loves us. And remember this verse: 1 John 4:4 ~Dear children, you belong to God. So you have won the victory over these people, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.
My youngest son and his wife are on their way to see us and have a baby shower tomorrow. She is due to have our 7th grandchild, a boy, in August. They live in Florence which is about 2 hrs from here, 1hr 5minutes if my favorite wife is driving. Because of our work schedules it has been really tough getting to see them, so this will be awesome.
It is hard to believe that our youngest is getting ready to have a child. They have been married for several years and between school and jobs have traveled most of their married life. Now he seems to have landed his dream job and settled down and they are ready to have 10-15 children and start a small farm. I can’t wait to have some fresh bacon and eggs picked right off the vine!
I know that many of you are still in awe that I am a grandfather. Actually, now that I read that word “grandfather” I don’t like the sound of it and prefer the term “those kid’s dad’s dad”. You may not be aware of this but my wife is older than I am. I was a child when we met and I was actually sold to her off a Russian bride/groom website. It was my 12th birthday when we got married and although I was scared, she wanted children right away and that explains the reason that I already have grandkids.
It was funny how in the early years she use to call me her “fine breedin’ stock” and how she use to giggle as I blushed…but that is another blog for another time.
I have lived a blessed life until now. No, I don’t expect it to change, but I am sure of my past. I have a great wife, who practically raised me too, great kids, who are all beautiful like their dad, and yes, even grandkids. I know that God has given me favor, because I prayed that each of my children would have a child just like them and so far, so good. I can’t wait to see how this one is going to turn out. He will probably be musically inclined, have great taste in women, love to fish, and like to tell on his siblings when they have the next 10 or so. He will love to play games with his dad and practically worship the ground that he walks on. Because this son was our “good child” it will be hard to name too many annoying things that the grandson should do.
No matter what he is like, I am super stoked about seeing him for the first time. No, I don’t consider that thing that looked like mom had swallowed a jelly bean, a real picture. I’m talking the little smiling, slobbering, face after he comes out of hiding. I am sure that he will continue the trend of great looking Fowler men who dazzle the world with their smile and woo the women, no matter how much older they are.
I live a blessed life. I am not sure what I did to deserve it, but I’ll take it. God’s grace is so awesome!
I just got a text and they are close. I wonder what we will eat for lunch?
I know that many of you who read my blogs were relieved yesterday that I did not post a new one. Of course there are a few who live to read my blogs and they were in a state of panic. But have no fear! I’m back. I was on a mission from God yesterday.
I have a friend who believes that God has called him into the ministry. If you knew him you would begin to question God’s judgement. Would God really call a hair dresser into the ministry? No, of course not. But, my friend is also a fisherman, and that is what gets him into the secret society of ministry and thus God’s judgment is perfect.
We meet a couple of times a month to talk about what he can expect once the transformation takes place. Most people, ordinary people, will never know or understand what a person goes through to be in the ministry. A real metamorphosis must take place. You must be stripped of all memories of who you were and reprogrammed into an almost superhuman. Those who know me well know my superpowers and think that I make this look very easy, but I was only a fisherman and never a hairdresser in my past life.
Here are some things that everyone in the ministry must be able to do. This is not a complete list, but it does highlight the need for such transformation into superhuman status.
Ministers must be able to please everyone, all the time. If your ministry leads to pastoring a church you must be able to adjust thermostats so that people sitting next to each other feel comfortable no matter how hot or cold it is. You must be able to listen to everything that is said to you in a course of 2 minutes as people are exiting the building and giving feedback on your sermon and what you preach next week. You must be able to preach next week and make them think you were listening even if you weren’t. You must be able to turn mere mortals into eternal beings while encouraging them to reach the superhuman level that you have and hoping they to are called into the ministry.
If your ministry leads you to being an evangelist, you must be able to preach sermons that no pastor could ever preach, while making everyone in that particular church love what you said, but hate the pastor when he tries to make those changes. You must be able to preach three sermons as if they were new every time you preach them, even if you preach them 100 times that year. You must be able to listen to every comment given in the 2 minutes as people exit the church, BUT, you don’t have to worry about remembering what they said cause they will never have you back anyway.
If your ministry leads to the mission field, you must learn to eat food that they only eat on the National Geographic channel and act like you like it. You must learn to preach sermons that every pastor in the US would love to preach and you must be prepared to have people act like they listened to you. You must learn to live in homes that have no cable and restrict your ability to watch the NFL. This is the most demanding of all callings and is why superhuman status must be obtained first
So this is why I missed my blog yesterday. Helping a mere hairdresser, but yes a fisherman, answer the call to be a superhuman. Minister’s lives are filled with challenges and struggles as we deal with you, the blog reader, and our beloved followers.
11 The person who is greatest among you will be your servant.
12 Whoever honors himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be honored.
The next time we meet, I will be working on humility.
I went to see a friend’s mom in the hospital yesterday because she was in a really bad wreck over the weekend. Sadly, a drunk driver crossed the median of the interstate and hit her car causing it to roll over and sending her to the ICU via helicopter. Just a couple of days after being there, she was removed from ICU and put into a regular room as she continues to improve.
As I walked into the room, I was surprised to see that she had no facial injuries, not even a bruise. Her daughter was showing me the pictures of the car and how it was crushed, especially on the driver’s side and we were both amazed at how anyone could have survived this. But I believe God wrapped his hands around her and protected her from any worse injuries.
So my reason for writing this is total disgust that there is not more outrage in America about the effects of what I like to call 2nd hand alcohol. 2nd hand alcohol is directly and undeniably responsible for more injuries and deaths in this country, and probably the world than 2nd hand smoke will ever be. Yet goody two shoes, nose in everyone’s business, I wanna feel gooders, raise all kinds of stink about the effects of 2nd hand smoke, and to be honest, the evidence is questionable at best at the amount of harm it does.
Our government has put restriction after restriction on who can smoke and where they can smoke and who can be around you when they smoke. They raise taxes to unthinkable levels all to restrict a free society from doing something that is perfectly legal, all because they can give a lab rat cancer by exposing it to 4000 times the normal amount of smoke it could possibly receive from a cigarette. There has never been one proven case of cancer in a human from 2nd hand smoke.
This is where I need to say that I don’t smoke cigarettes and don’t encourage anyone to smoke them. I am simply saying that if it is legal and you have to work that hard to show the dangers to others, perhaps it isn’t as dangerous as some would like it to be. BUT!!!
Alcohol kills others. No if, ands, or butts, about it, people die from the effects of others drinking. If they don’t die they end up in ICU’s with families worried sick about their loved one and wondering how and when they will make a full recovery. Alcohol causes more domestic violence than smoking, more automobile wrecks than smoking, and even causes more house fires than smoking. But I would not be surprised to see alcohol served at the meetings of the holier than thou bureaucrats who talk about the dangers of 2nd hand smoke.
If we are going to get serious about protecting our citizens, we need to stop trying to prove our pet peeves and start dealing with facts, like them or not. 2nd hand alcohol is the reason for my parents divorce, and they both smoked. 2nd hand alcohol was the reason I became an alcoholic at a young age and nearly ruined my marriage. 2nd hand alcohol was the reason for approximately 10000 deaths on our highways this year. More women and children are physically abused each month through 2nd hand alcohol than ever through 2nd hand smoke.
Sure alcohol is legal and I have no problem with someone who drinks and remains in control. The problem is that there is a fine line between you controlling alcohol and it controlling you. I have never been called to the hospital to visit a person who was hurt by a smoker, although I can picture a few scenarios in which that can happen. But I have been and continue to be called to comfort people who have been killed or injured by a drunk.
I pray for those who are enslaved to alcohol. If you or someone you know is abusing alcohol, get help. I am so glad that my friends mom is not dead and should make a full recovery. But her life and her family’s life weren’t the only ones ruined. There is a young man sitting in jail who will have to live with this the rest of his life. It was his 2nd hand alcohol that did the damage to my friend’s life.
That is why a man will leave his father and mother and will be united with his wife, and they will become one flesh.
Before the church was started, before sacrifices were started, and before the Bible was ever written, God created the institute of marriage. It was His idea to unite a man and a woman for the sake of being one unit working together for the better of each other and to grow a family. He did not create marriage to be 2 men, 2 women, a man and a bunch of women, a woman and a bunch of men, or any other combination that may or may not include animals.
He created marriage and told us that this would be the reason that a man would leave his father and mother. Yes, it is time to move out when you get married. There is not a healthy situation in which you and your wife should stay in your parents house. If they have lots of land and another house can be put on this land, then that may be suitable, but always remember that it says that he should leave his father and mother.
It tells us that the two, husband and wife, should be united. This means that they begin new life as one. They no longer have his stuff and her stuff and my stuff and your stuff, they now have their stuff. Bank accounts, bills, dreams, and disasters are now all shared, along with the responsibilities that come along with being adults. The more stuff you don’t share the more likely that the unity is challenged and the marriage will break down.
Next we are told that the two shall become one flesh. Many believe that this means that they will have a sexual relation and I agree, but, not just for the sake of having sex. The purpose of sex in this account to be one flesh has the meaning of reproducing. (Genesis 1:28~ God blessed them and said, “Be fertile, increase in number, fill the earth,…” ) That is why the idea that marriage is anything but a man and a woman is ridiculous. Only a man and a woman can make babies naturally. When the sperm and the egg join together, the two unite and become one flesh, thus fulfilling the command given to the couple.
Marriage can be a challenge that is greater than most anything we will do with another human. It is a life time venture that truly does take in the better or the worse, richer and poorer, and sickness and health. But like anything else in this world, if is valuable, it is worth working hard for. The most gratifying things in the world are the things that you work the hardest for. Marriage is no different.
There is such great wisdom in the Bible and we live in a time when we all need to seek wisdom, especially in our marriages. God is the creator and founder of marriage. He knows how they work successfully and how to heal them that are broken. We will take our dogs to the vet, cars to the mechanic, and computers to the geek, but we won’t take our marriages to a counselor. That is a matter of pride and that is selfish and that violates the command to be united.
As a veteran of 31 years of marriage, I am fully qualified to speak on all areas of pride, selfishness, and all things counter-productive to a healthy, God-based marriage. BUT…I am also the recipient tons of grace and mercy and patience that has allowed me to soak up a bit of wisdom. I have swallowed my pride and sought counseling and have been blessed with the healing from God of one of His most precious gifts, marriage.
My marriage is not perfect, but it is better than most. It is not broken, but has a few scars. It is strong though and a great example of how letting God have His way can allow the joy that He intended for a couple to be experienced on a regular basis. God used a wise man to counsel us and it helped save our marriage and strengthen it to the point that we can now help others. As part of my ministry, I have been blessed to be able to counsel others and will continue to do so, free of charge. Too often I hear that couples can’t afford counseling and therefore don’t seek it. Although I can’t promise to heal your marriage, that is up to you, I can promise to help and never let money stand in the way. I wish that every couple could experience the type marriage that I have and because of that, I will always offer free marriage counseling.
(You can reach me through http://www.thebodylive.com or respond through the comments section of this blog.)
This morning I was having date night hangover. NO, I did not go out drinking last night, but I did wake up, after very little sleep, and I felt like I was a bit discombobulated. I know many are thinking, ‘how can you feel that way and still use such a big word?’. Others are wondering if this is the proper use of the word. And still others, but a very small minority, really don’t care.
We had a mostly unpretentious night, that included dinner, coffee, and some casual conversation. The company was impeccable and the food was adequate and the coffee was less than stimulating, but then again, I only partially ingested it. It is not my preference to consume beverages of that variety, hot and caffeinated, at that time of the evening, but my wife can be impetuous about her coffee and because it was date night, I wanted to meet all of her expectations. At the end of the evening, I exceeded her expectations even though they were low to begin with, but my exuberance to impress her was flawless in its application and adaptation.
So this morning as I was preparing for my commute to the office I was looking for my Kangaroo cup because it allows me to receive refills of my favorite cold beverage free of exchanging any currency. This cup was the benefaction of a munificent comrade who attends the congregation of which I pastor. For some ambiguous reason I could not locate this cup and I felt myself become irascible.
My anxiety was alleviated when I finally located my cup. I was able to obtain my refill, free of charge, and greet the store attendant who had a lackadaisical demeanor, with newly found enthusiasm thanks to the locating of this cup. As I left the convenience store with my delightfully refreshing beverage and a new-found exuberance for the day ahead, I could only smile as I reflected on the amazing and almost comical way this day had unfolded in such a short period of time. The world had once again become amiable and enthusiasm abounded as I began to permeate the world with my overabundance of joy.
Here at the office I have continued to exponentially increase the positive direction of my day by indulging in an exegetical study of the word of God that is the illumination of the world and the verisimilitude writings of the omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent Creator of the universe. His salvation and redemptive attitude toward sinful homo-sapiens is incomprehensible and overwhelming in its ability to penetrate an impervious heart.
He loves us so much that words just can’t describe it.
1 Corinthians 13:4-7
4 Love is patient. Love is kind. Love isn’t jealous. It doesn’t sing its own praises. It isn’t arrogant.
5 It isn’t rude. It doesn’t think about itself. It isn’t irritable. It doesn’t keep track of wrongs.
6 It isn’t happy when injustice is done, but it is happy with the truth.
7 Love never stops being patient, never stops believing, never stops hoping, never gives up. Love never ends.
I am officiating a big wedding this weekend which made me start thinking about love.There are a few famous verses from the Bible that are read at almost every wedding before the vows are taken. I love to read and re-read them as a reminder of what love really is. Unfortunately too many couples enter into a marriage as in love as they will ever be and from that day it is a hopeless journey toward a divorce. It is sad that half of all marriages end in divorce and that doesn’t change among Christians. Maybe we don’t understand true love.
Society tells us that we can date until we find the perfect man or woman. Today there are any number of websites that can scientifically match you up with the perfect mate. We shop for our mates like we shop cars and even trade them in just as frequently. I keep waiting for the “buy here-pay here” wedding chapel to pop up in a neighborhood near you. Why we could even sell extended warranties on your marriage, how cool would that be? Or instead of a purchase we could just lease and have a new spouse every few years! Sound dumb? Well we are already acting like taking our potential spouse for a “test ride” is okay, so why not go all out?
My belief is that we do not fall in love, we fall into lust. We get trapped into focusing on the physical part of the relationship and the only emotions that we pay attention to are the warm fuzzy feelings that we get while dating. And if all that goes well, we move in together as a trial run, and only if we don’t fight too much, then do we even consider the marriage option. And then we decide to walk the aisle and tie the knot and we spend thousands of dollars for that special day all to have some guy in a suit ask you if you promise to take that person for whatever reasons, ’till death do you part. But, we don’t have any idea what we just said and don’t care when the sick, the poor, and the worse come along. All we want is the better, healthy, and rich.
I have been married for 31 years as of this July. I can tell you that I made mistakes before and after we were married, but I can also tell you that one day, we really got it. We realized that life was tough. (That required very little time and effort to figure out.) We realized that making it together was easier than making it alone. We realized that lust had turned to love because God was patient with us so we began to be patient. The love grew because we tried to be kind with patience. We stopped getting jealous because we were kind as we waited for each other to grow. We quit singing our own praises and started singing each others praises as we realized that we had nothing to be jealous about because of that kind person we had grown so patient with. We are still working on not being rude and selfish and irritable and stopped telling each other about the last time we did any of those wrong things because arrogance denies the needs of the other and keeps you from singing their praises and leads to jealousy which isn’t kind or patient. We stopped being happy with winning the fight and started telling the truth more instead of quoting the wrongs and being rude, selfish and irritable. That helped us to sing each others praises more and led to less jealousy, more kindness and patience became easier. So we never stop being patient, we always believe that our marriage will never end because of hope, and we never give up no matter what life throws our way, because love never ends.
It isn’t easy, but nothing easy is worth much anyway. We still have the lust for each other, but it is fueled by love and only focused on each other. Love never ends because it is alive and grows. Feelings come and go, but love is here to stay. Study the verses in the beginning and grow your love God’s way and you will have plenty of time to be like us…Still, warm and fuzzy after all these years.