July 24, 2012
God brings people in and out of our lives all of the time. Rarely do we have those super special people who stay around a long time. God has been very very good to me and has not only brought me a wife that has stuck around, but has brought me several friends too. A couple of these friends, needs your prayers. I am only doing this because it is easier to ask for forgiveness than to ask for permission and she would probably tell me no if I asked her if I could post this.
Sheila and I met at church in a very strange way. Her and her family lived just a couple of doors down from the church I worked at and she was using us as an occasional baby sitters for her children. Her and her significant other were not church people and did not plan on becoming church people. If the truth be known, they still aren’t church people; they are amazing people who know Jesus and have blessed our church by making it theirs now. I will condense this part quite a bit, but it is an amazing testimony. After a few weeks, she started coming, then James, and the next thing you know we are baptizing them and performing a middle of the week wedding. Over the next 8 years, they have become friends to the point of being family.
Here is the prayer need. James in the hospital ICU with a weird lung problem and the doctors are not optimistic about his recovery being quick nor full. I personally believe that God has other plans. Sheila has to work and many of our church folks are helping where we can. She is hard-headed and stubborn, but we are working around that. But I am asking you to pray for her specifically because the love of her life is very sick and she is hurting from it. She has amazing patience and stamina for persevering through tough times, but this is different as you can see. Pray for her to be strengthened and for patience and for God’s grace to be overflowing in her life at this time. She is by far one of the best people God has ever sent to our church and to me as a friend.
Pray for her two boys, both teenagers. That in it self is a need for prayer when everything is going just fine. But now they are faced with uncertainty and I am sure their faith is being tested. Pray that they will find extra patience with mom and that they will see just how awesome God is, even in the hard times, which is when we all need it most.
Pray for James. That his recovery will be faster than the doctors can ever explain and that the recovery is full. He recently quit driving a truck and has been home for the last few months and because of that has been in church regularly ever since. He has grown in his relationship with God and was really getting to find his place with friends and in serving at the church. It goes without saying that he loves his family and loves the Lord. But when something like this happens, even the strongest faith can be challenged.
Yep, every so often we get blessed with someone special in our lives and when they are hurting, you hurt. So I am asking everyone who reads this to take a minute to pray for my good friends. I will keep you updated as we hear the good news start to happen. Thanks for taking this time to read about this special need and thanks most of all for taking time to pray.
June 16, 2011
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.
May 23, 2011
Years ago I went to a convention in Atlanta and was convinced that I needed to be a better husband and that God was going to allow that to happen. I made a decision to go home and begin to try to love my wife like Christ loves the church. The change in my heart was real but the change in my flesh was slow to follow. But no matter the division within my being, I went home to be a better husband. Something must have happened, because my wife asked me after a couple of days, who are you and what have you done with my husband?
After a couple more days the intensity wore off. What I learned in theory became harder and harder to do in reality. I realized that Christ was a lot better at loving people than I was and that my love for my wife was constantly being challenged by my love for self. I also realized that this was a fight worth fighting because although not perfect, my wife was worth all the love I could give her.
I think this scenario happens in church too. We hear a compelling sermon and are challenged to take on the task at hand but time and self get in the way. Sometimes we are compelled for other reasons. Maybe we see someone at church doing a lot or looking important, and they very well may be. That can motivate us to step up our efforts to serve or be involved. But unless it is really God that inspires the change, it can often end in failure and if it isn’t God inspiring, failure may be a good thing.
We need to be careful though, when we start labeling failures. Many so-called failures are nothing more than a re-firing of God’s refining process. Impurities often take several cycles to come out, no matter what is being purified. This can be a most valuable learning period and lessons learned here are life changing, for real. If change was easy and every process was painless, we would think that all God does is wave a magic wand and problems go away. We would begin to think of Him as some sort of wizard instead of the loving Father that He is.
God knows who we are. He made us this way. Even all the so-called imperfections are part of who God made us to be. We come to Him as little children, sometimes in grown up bodies, but never the less, children in our faith. He takes us as we are, who we are, and molds us into who we need to be. If we will let Him, He will make us better husbands, wives, and anything else we need to be, for His glory. But it does take time and patience. Isn’t it funny that the first thing that 1 Corinthians 13 says about love in its definition of love is that love is patient.
God is patient. He knows our heart. He knows if we are reacting to an emotion or reacting to His call. He knows if we need to be still and be ministered too or if we need to get off our butts and minister to others. The key is to let God move our hearts and that always results in better outcome.
I think my wife will say that I am a better husband than the day I came back from that conference. I still don’t love her as much as Christ loves the church, but I am working on it. The point is that we know who we are, and God knows who we are, and sometimes He wants us to be who we are instead of what others think we should be. So if our desire is to be better in the things that God has called us to do, be patient, He will get you there. But shine in what you do for Him and be who you are for Him and that will usually result in others asking, who are you? Then your answer can be, I am His and I am loved, who are you?
May 12, 2011
In a world that thrives on instant gratification it can be extremely hard to keep your priorities in focus. I think that it is so funny, the way we get all uptight about things that don’t happen fast enough. I will probably show my age with a few examples, but that’s okay.
When I was a kid, we had a phone that had a dial. You actually put your finger in a hole and spun the dial to indicate a number and you had to dial every number of a phone number. No matter how fast you were, you could only dial as fast as the dial would spin. Now we don’t even remember someone’s number because our phones have a name or a picture to touch in order to place a call. But don’t you get ill when you touch the number you want to call and it take a few seconds for it to start the connection?
I think its funny when people I play games with online get upset because I use the whole 10 seconds on the timer to make my play. Think about that. You are playing a game. If you are doing this at work, you should not get upset with me for taking 10 seconds; you should be doing your job. If you are not working and you are playing for fun, how stressed are you with life if 10 seconds seems that long anyway?
Downloads are fun to watch people freak out over: that or waiting for a page to load. Either way, today it rarely takes more than a few second to a minute. When we got our first computer and put in the floppy disc and began loading the program, we went upstairs and began cooking supper as we waited for disc 1 to load. Then while disc 2 was loading we ate supper and for disc 3, we did the dishes and disc 4 we all got our baths. And that was for 1 program. By the way, do you even know what a floppy disc is?
One of my favorite things to watch is people driving. I make other drivers really mad because I drive the speed limit. Did you know that the speed limit is not how fast you must drive, but rather it is the fastest you can legally drive? But people will get right up on my bumper and bang the steering wheel, throw their hands up, yell, and even blow the horn at me. They really get ill when I point at the speed limit sign as we pass it. Rather than leave a few minutes earlier to get where we need to go, we tend to wait to the last possible minute that gives us any chance to even coming close to making it on time. So we drive faster. Even if we are going on vacation or out for an evening of entertainment, people want to get there NOW.
I try riding a bicycle to work every now and then and although it is only a 20 minute bike ride, I can get there in 5 minutes in my truck, and I get impatient as I ride. When I was a kid, I rode my bike everywhere and could get there super fast! I loved reaching the top of a hill and reaching top speed as you go down the other side. I tried that the other week and was yawning by the time I reached the bottom.
Society tells us that we deserve everything and we deserve it now. Instant access to movies, news, and games makes us even more impatient. We don’t have to wait to have our credit approved to by a car or a house. We don’t have to save to get a down payment. We don’t have to wait on the mailman to bring a letter, and we don’t have to wait to see someone when they get back from a trip. Instant credit reports online no money down schemes when we buy stuff, texts, Twitter and Facebook get our written communication to us instantly and Skype and streaming video let us show the world where we are and what we are doing as we do it.
Now we turn to God and He says wait. He says patience is a good thing. He does not text us right back if send Him an instant message. So we give up on God and turn to those who can tell us what we want to hear right now.
Think about this though. Everyone wants to live a good long time. I personally want to live at least 120 years and if I am ever put on life support, I want to stay plugged up as long as I can. I believe that will help others to have a job taking care of the bald guy attached to circuit breaker 13. But I really want to live that long and not have to rely on anyone to take care of me. I have a weird phobia about someone else helping me use the bathroom. Wouldn’t it be freaky to have someone holding the newspaper while you do your business?
But if you want to live a long time, you need to enjoy time. God has so many things that He wants you to do and many of them take years of patience. Some things you will not see fulfilled in your lifetime, yet the task and the journey is important. There is a line in a song by Aerosmith that says, “life’s a journey, not your destination.” Think about it and enjoy the journey. Slow down, be patient. Not everything is worth instant gratification.
May 11, 2011
Sometimes God puts you to the test. Is your faith strong? Do you trust Me? Do you still find the joy and peace, even in the storm? I know that we are all tested and yours truly is not excluded.
I think if I could rewind the whole day I would have chosen to over sleep instead of being punctual. I think I would have gone on a long ride on the bike and found a lake to sit by for a while. Then I would have had a great lunch with my wife and we would laugh as we look forward to the rest of the day. After lunch, I would have read my Bible and prayed some happy prayers and maybe even called a friend just to say I am thinking about you. But that is not the way it has gone, all the way through late this evening as I finally get to stop long enough to do a quick blog.
I was told this was therapeutic and that it would help me get some stress out. I will let you know; one day.
My faith is strong. Yes, I trust God. My joy and peace are pretty good, even in the storm. I thank God for His patience as I live the life that He has given me. But my flesh and bones…right now they are just saying, “blah”.
March 30, 2011
At about 10pm last night I get a call from my renter, who lives about an hour and a half from me, letting me know that there was water in the floor and they think it is from the water heater. So I rise bright and early and load up my tools and make the drive. About half way there I pass a gas station that had gas for $3.29 per gallon and thought that by the time I get back this way when I finish I will stop and take advantage of that. I did not stop going, because I had about a half tank and if I waited I could fill up and have close to a full tank for when I get home.
So I arrive and sure enough the old water heater is bad. I remove it and head to a home improvement store where I purchase everything I need to replace the old one with a new one. Did I mention that this was a mobile home? Do you know where water heaters are in mobile homes? They are in a closet, behind a panel. If you have ever lived in a mobile home you know that closets are small and usually full. This was true here.
I am 6’3″ and do not fit well in mobile home closets. And it is hard to lift water heaters in such a small space when you are that tall.
I get everything hooked up and ready to turn the water back on. I have installed many water heaters and have gotten pretty good at it. So I turn the water on and look in the closet to see a stream of water shooting up to the ceiling and it is coming from the braided connector that was recommended by the plumbing expert at the home improvement store. He did not know that it was a defective one, in his defense. So I turn off the water, drain and disconnect the braided connector and head back to the home improvement store to get a replacement.
Back in closet with my new connector I go and once it is replaced. I turn the water back on and look in the closet again. I noticed some water running down the side on the new water heater so I grabbed a towel and dried everything off from where the defective connector had leaked. Still there was water running down the side of the new water heater. Guess what? It has a leak. So I disconnected everything, drained the water, and loaded up the faulty water heater and went back to the home improvement store to get a replacement.
Because the home improvement store was 20 minutes away, and I had made a few extra trips, I was running out my gas. I kept thinking, I will be on empty when I get back to that station that has the cheap gas. It was also getting to be around 3:30pm and so the 20 minute drive turned into an hour drive because on the way home I got behind every school bus that I possibly could.
Finally back in the closet, I get the new water heater installed, turn on the water, flip the breaker and BOOM! the mobile home blew up. There was absolutely nothing left in the place where the mobile home once stood except the new water heater. Okay, I am kidding about the mobile home blowing up, but I was think it would be about par for the course if it did. Everything worked fine, except for my back.
So I load up my tools and headed for home. I made a stop into a place where I could have it my way because I skipped lunch. I usually eat lunch each day at home with a hot blond and rarely get it my way, but the view is worth it.
I am cruising up the highway watching my gas gauge get really close to empty but looking forward to paying about 15 cents per gallon less than back in my home-town. As I exit to the gas station, and pull up to the pump I noticed that the price was now $3.48 per gallon and I am on empty so a pumping I will go.
My only bright spot comes from pulling into my drive way, opening the door to be greeted by my dog who acted as if I had been gone for weeks. I turn the corner into the kitchen and there is a hot blond standing in the kitchen, very near where our water heater is, and the water heater is not leaking. In fact it is working fine, as I used almost every drop of that hot water in a long and much-needed shower.
Plumbing worketh patience.