Archive from November, 2014

THANKSGIVING: GIVING THANKS TO GOD

This Sunday, while driving to church with my wife and daughters, I started to look at the houses in the community in which we live. I’ve looked at the homes in our community before, but for some reason I was taking a closer look then in times past. Perhaps it’s because we’re getting a new garage door. Isn’t it funny how our attention can be drawn to something, when previously it seemed unimportant, but it’s now more relevance to us? I guess that’s what got me looking at all these houses.

What impacted me the most was how Jesus used this moment to cause me to reflect back on my childhood growing up in the inner-city of Rochester. I remembered as a child, I would on rare occasions ride my bicycle through the suburbs. I remembered seeing all the lovely homes and thinking, God these people living here must be rich. I thought to myself I would love to live in a neighborhood like this someday.

Well, Jesus pointed out to me that that day had come. “Are you rich?” Is the question that came to my spirit, “No!” I said, “Well, neither are they,” was what I felt The Lord speaking into my spirit, “You are only truly rich when you have a relationship with me.” Wow! My old perspective was shaken in a new and fresh way. As a child growing up in the inner city, I thought that owning your own home meant that you were rich. But now, thanks be to God, I see so differently what it truly means to be rich.

I started to think about this upcoming Thanksgivings and how much I have God to thank for. The Lord has given me a wife, children, health, a beautiful home and so much more. When I meditate on all that He has done for me there is never an excuse for me not to give praise. There is no greater lesson that mankind can learn than to be thankful to God for all that we are or will ever become. For apart from The Lord, we can do nothing.

THANKSGIVING: A HEART TRUSTING AND OBEYING GOD

In the passage of scripture below, Moses instructs God’s people on how they should conduct themselves. Moses wrote Deuteronomy over two thousand years ago and it is just as applicable now as it was then. Deuteronomy chapter eight, should prick your heart and give God’s people reason to be filled with thanks. I guarantee that once you read these verses with an open heart and an open mind, you’ll have no excuse for not being filled with Thanksgiving.

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Nov 23, 2014 - Marriage    4 Comments

MARRIAGE: A WORK IN PROGRESS PART II

Last week’s post was an encouragement that marriage is hard work. I ended with a reminder, to us all, that marriage is a work in progress. So what is progress? I took this definition from the Webster Dictionary: the process of improving or developing something over a period of time. And what does work have to do with progress? A lot! You can’t have one without the other. Work is the effort that you put towards developing your marriage over time, period! It’s until death do you part.

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2 Corinthians 3:3-6 Clearly, you are a letter from Christ showing the result of our ministry among you. This “letter” is written not with pen and ink, but with the Spirit of the living God. It is carved not on tablets of stone, but on human hearts. We are confident of all this because of our great trust in God through Christ. It is not that we think we are qualified to do anything on our own. Our qualification comes from God. He has enabled us to be ministers of his new covenant. This is a covenant not of written laws, but of the Spirit. The old written covenant ends in death; but under the new covenant, the Spirit gives life.

Paul in his letter to the Corinthians, describes to them how the Old Testament law revealed the condition of the human heart … the failure to keep man’s end of the contract. But at the right time God sent His only Son, Jesus, to die for our sins on Calvary’s Cross. What was once written upon stone, then ink and paper, is now written upon the Christian heart. Praise God we are no longer bound to a contract we are unable to keep. Thanks be to Him we are under the new covenant of grace! And shouldn’t that be how it is in marriage?

God ordained marriages to be a covenant not a contract. A marriage contact is binding so long as the both keep it. A marriage covenant binds both until death. This covenant is held together through grace, by grace and in grace … the grace God gives to us and the grace we give to each other. This covenant resides in the dependance on Jesus, through faith, to keep us together as we become one. God’s covenant calls for the two hearts to beat as one … learning from your mistakes which will cause you to grow together. You also learn from your successes and you celebrate them. This, in turn, keeps the momentum of hard work going. But most of all, you both are trusting and seeking Jesus’s help at all times. A covenant is based on a promise and a commitment that’s between God, the husband and his wife.

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Nov 16, 2014 - Marriage    8 Comments

MARRIAGE: A WORK IN PROGRESS

I told my wife,Amy, that I wanted to write about Marriage A Work In Progress. She jokingly said, “Honey, could you pick another topic. With these darn sinus headaches I’ve been having everyday, I just don’t have it in me to be tested in our marriage this week.” I laughed and said, “I get it!” What many of you may not know is that pastors and their families get tested first hand on the messages or sermons that they share. This seems to happen to Amy and I with each blog imagepost I write. If I’m writing about your faith being tested, our faith is tested. If I’m writing about anger, we find ourselves getting really angry over stuff. If I’m writing about being crisis-centered, we are faced with a crisis. So when Amy asked me if I could pick another topic I completely understood where she was coming from! Who wants to get a tested in the area of marriage? Not us! Well, I held off a week and Amy’s headaches have improved so we are going for it and are prayed up that we’ll be ready for whatever tests may come our way.

I actually wrote a post a year ago on marriage titled Marriage A Promise A Commitment.  This post continually shows up on my top five list, week after week, month after month. Why? I believe it’s because marriages are being challenged more and more and people are searching for answers and solutions that will strengthen and mend the bond of marriage.

Well, since the constitution of marriage originated with God, shouldn’t we seek God’s counsel regarding marriage? Genesis 2:24 Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh. Marriage was never intended to be governed by man, but by God almighty Himself. Man in all his efforts, without God, has failed to provide what only God Himself can give concerning marriage, sacrificial love. Husbands and wives need to stop thinking about what they want and, instead, their focus should be on what it takes to complement each other in all their unique differences. The Bible calls it becoming one flesh, meaning you become like minded, esteeming the other more then yourself.

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