Reset, Reflect, Refocus

Welcome to 2017.  I know I’m a few days late, and it’s been a while since I’ve posted.  I’m looking forward to this year being a year of amazing things.  2016 was a 2016 of a year, but like all the years that came before it, it had its ups and downs.  It’s all in how you want to look at the year you just left and the year you are going into.  We are 9 days in as of today, and if you are reading this, guess what, you are alive and have the internet.

I challenge all of you reading this to change YOU this year.  You are the only thing that YOU can control.  I titled this post: Reset, Reflect, Refocus for this main reason, we are 9 days into the year, and many of us have already forgotten the resolutions that we made, or didn’t make, or life has been life already these 9 days in.  So my challenge to you is to wake up everyday and reset your mind again.  Wake up with the attitude that today is gonna be a good day.

Reflect every night and everyday about what God did for you during that day and the day before.  Can’t think of anything?  Are you somewhere warm and dry?  Did you eat?  Did you find a parking spot at the mall?  Look back not only on the previous day, but on your previous days, months, years.  Look back at your history book with God.  The last time your electric was about to be shut off but wasn’t, the last time your car was running on fumes and you coasted into the gas station, the last time you were in the drive through and the person in front of you paid for your meal.  When was the last time you did something for someone else?  God, provides for us, not because we give to those we don’t know, not because we deserve it, not because of our actions, not because we are or aren’t “good” enough.  God provides for us, because he loves us.

As we start out this year refocusing on what is actually important, we can make the best out of our lives and situations.  Refocus your life, and check your priorities.  Make sure that you know why you are doing what you are doing, and that you haven’t just become a cold machine, that goes through the motions of life.  Look back on what you have been through, and figure out what you are going to let God do to improve the life’s of those that love you, and those that don’t even know you yet, through you.

Sometimes life is about taking the sourest lemons life has to offer and making something resembling lemonade…

Married Mondays – Noisy Reruns

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Hey everybody, welcome back to Married Mondays.  This week I want to talk about how things used to be.  You know back when you started dating or when you were still living in the honeymoon phase of your marriage.

In our marriages, when life gets in the way, we tend to look back at how things were.  We talk about the “remember whens”, and the “we used to…”We talk about the times from our past, and then we become like Dora, “I liked that too.”  This is where it stops, we talk about what used to be and don’t do anything to bring a spark back.  We get caught up in the noise of our daily lives, and just stick to viewing our lives in reruns.

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So my challenge to you this week now that Valentine’s is over, find some other way to show your spouse how much you care.  Don’t rely on just a couple days of days each year to show them how you feel, make everyday a special day.  Pick a random day to relive a day you often talk about.  Make sure you block out the noise that is daily life.  Focus on each other, focus on a remake not a rerun.

 

Married Mondays – Dig a little deeper

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Welcome to another Married Monday everybody.  I apologize now to anyone reading this with kids, as you now have a song from The Princess and The Frog stuck in your head.  If not you do now.  Or maybe I brought up a bad memory of 2 days ago when you had to dig a little deeper just to find your car.

Where I’m going this week, is that we need to take our communications to another level.  Many times we know that something is bothering our spouse.  Over time we learn their tells, we know when something is off.  Too many times we get caught up in our lives, we get caught up in doing things to take our minds off of things, we work to get away from things, we leave work to get away from things.  But it is when we get home, when we try to veg out, when we don’t really want to get into what is going on outside.

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If you or your spouse are they type that tends to shut down and veg out, when you’ve had a rough few days, don’t shut them out.  When you see this start happening in your marriage, go ahead and give the other person a little time to relax open up on their own.  But don’t let too much time pass.  Knowing the other person, you can tell when things are just off.  It’s at this point, if they aren’t opening up, you have to start digging.  Use your words wisely, and dig carefully.  Not because of what you will uncover, but to continue to be thoughtful, because no matter how long you have been together, sometime things are just hard to explain.  Sometimes we will shut down and not really know that we are doing it.

Dig deeper whenever things feel off.  It is your responsibility to dig.  It is your responsibility to call the other person on their BS, when they aren’t fully saying what is going on.  When you dig, and explain what you are seeing, the release will be better for both of you.  You are a team, you are there to help each other through whatever is going on.

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So I challenge you this week, to watch, to dig, and to keep each other accountable.  Keep each other lifted up.  Keep each other communicating.  Be there for each other and listen to each other

But I’m not a very good person

So in contrast to my other post,But I’m a Good Person,  I want to flip things around for you a little bit.  Again along the lines of Grace being for ALL not SOME.  Many people feel that they have too much baggage for God.  Too much wrong in their past for God to love or to use them.

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So I wanted to give you a list of jacked up people in Bible:

Let’s start here:

Matthew 1:1-2, 6

1The [a]record of the genealogy of [b]Jesus [c]the Messiah, the son of David, the son of Abraham:

Abraham [d]was the father of Isaac, [e]Isaac the father of Jacob, and Jacob the father of[f]Judah and his brothers

Jesse was the father of David the king.  David was the father of Solomon by [h]Bathsheba who had been the wife of Uriah.

Abraham — Yes, Father Abraham, didn’t believe God could make good on His promise of having a son, because his wife was barren.  Had a son with a hand maiden.  After his wife got pregnant, he sent off the hand maiden and her son.  So here we have an adulterous dead-beat dad…

Jacob — Ever heard the story of Jacob and his brother Esau.  Twin boys, Jacob was momma’s boy.  Manipulated his brother into giving up his birthright.  He also with the help of his mom, tricked his dad Isaac who was dying and going blind, taking his brothers family rights, and making his brother his slave.  To the point that his brother Esau wanted to kill him.

David — David was a great man of God.  He was a loved ruler of Israel.  But verse 6 above says a lot.  David had Bathsheba’s husband killed so that he could be with her, after he got her pregnant while her husband was away at war.

Genesis 9:20-21

20 Then Noah began [j]farming and planted a vineyard. 21 He drank of the wine and became drunk, and uncovered himself inside his tent.

Noah — Builder of the Ark, after the flood got drunk and naked.

Exodus 2:11-12

11 Now it came about in those days, when Moses had grown up, that he went out to his brethren and looked on their [c]hard labors; and he saw an Egyptian beating a Hebrew, one of his brethren. 12 So he [d]looked this way and that, and when he saw there was no one around, he struck down the Egyptian and hid him in the sand.

Moses — Leader of God’s people out of Egypt, Holder of the 10 commandments;  was a murderer.

Joshua 2:1, 8-9

1 Then Joshua the son of Nun sent two men as spies secretly from Shittim, saying, “Go, view the land, especially Jericho.” So they went and came into the house of a harlot whose name was Rahab, and [a]lodged there.

Now before they lay down, [b]she came up to them on the roof, and said to the men, “I know that the Lord has given you the land, and that the terror of you has fallen on us, and that all the inhabitants of the land have [c]melted away before you.

Rahab — One of a few women in the bible with her own story.  She was a harlot.  She protected the Israelite spies in Jericho.

Are you feeling any better about what is in your past yet?  God has used murderers, drunks, prostitutes, tax collectors, and cheaters.

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No matter what your situation is, no matter what you have done in your past, no matter how ruined you feel that you are, God can and will use you.  All you have to do is listen to Him, when he is calling to you.  He is waiting on you to call out to Him and ask for His grace and forgiveness.  He is waiting on YOU to say, Lord I know I’m a sinner, and that I am far from you.  I want you in my life.  I want to receive your forgiveness and grace.  Lord please forgive me and come into my life and make me new.  Use me Lord, to reach those around me that are far from you.  Clean me Lord and restore me.  I know that it is only though you that I can be saved.  It is only through you that I am made whole.  Thank you Lord for making me whole and saving me.  Thank you for your grace and your love and your mercy.

Remember that Grace will always win…

Married Mondays – Plans

plans letter pressWelcome back to another edition of  Married Mondays.

We all make plans.  Before marriage we plan out our career, our future wedding, our future life, we plan what we think that person we marry will be like and who it will be.  We plan in our heads what they will look like, how the engagement will happen, we plan that she will say yes…  We get married and we plan our lives together, we plan for a house, we plan for family.  We plan to do ______ when we have ______.  We plan for the whens.

But what happens to the IFs.  Many times the IF is the negative part of the process.  We never really look or think about the “what ifs” in life.  When you are working together as a team to “plan” for life, you have to look at the what if scenarios; What if one of us lost our job, what if we can’t have kids, what if we fight, what if a job requires us to move…  These are the plans that you never want to talk about.  These are the plans that will do one of two things when they have to be discussed, they will bring you closer together or pull you apart.

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No one wants to sit around and plan for these what ifs but making sure that you are together is the biggest part of these plans.  Making plans for life and what you want to do, finding the vision of you what you both want out of your marriage and

Working together, communicating, and staying honest are they ways that you will be able to get through anything.  No matter what life throws at you, working together and keeping a strong faith in God, trusting God and trusting each other, you will be able to make it through.

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But I’m a good person

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Over the past couple weeks our pastor has been doing a series called Grace too good to be true. This is been one of the most amazing message series I have heard in a long time.

It has been a reminder that we are all messed up, some more than others, but we were all once in the same place. We were all once outside of God’s grace and mercy. There are “good” people out there that do really amazing things, but they haven’t given their lives to God. There are people on death row that have realized the wrongness of what they have done, and have asked God for forgiveness and He has brought them into his circle of grace and mercy.

It’s not a matter of the things that you have done or the things that you do.  The closer that you are to God and the closer that you draw into Him, the harder it’s going to be to sin or to look to sin.  Many people will look around and say, “Well at least I’ve never _____,”  “At least I’m not doing _____”  Fill in what ever Holier than thou reference you want in these blanks.  This is the problem with Churches and Christians today.  So much time is spent calling out the sins, and belittling those that fit those molds.  God poured out His grace on the cross for ALL not SOME.   

John 3:16-17

16 “For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. 17 God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him.

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I want to take a minute to brag on our church for a minute here as well.  We recently changed our mission statement to the following : “ Helping people far from God find God.”  This simple statement sums up what we are about.  Out other big question that we always ask is: “If we ceased to exist, would our city miss us?”

At the end of the day, being a good person isn’t what it’s all about.  Being a good person makes you likable.  Being a good person may make you feel better about yourself.  But what is your standard of good?  Have you ever told a lie?  Have you ever, looked at someone lustfully that wasn’t your spouse?  Have you ever left work with a pen or sticky notes?  If you answer yes to all three, you are a Lying, Thieving, Adulterer.  This make you no better in God’s eyes than someone who is a murderer, a drunk, (insert your better than sin here).  Your story shouldn’t be that, “I’m blessed by God because I do this, _______.”  Your story should be, “ God has blessed me with this even though I’ve done this.”  It’s not about what you can do for God, it’s more about what God can use you for.  When you are doing His work for His glory, you may not be the best person, but you will be living a blessed life.

John 8:1-11

But Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. Early in the morning He came again into the temple, and all the people were coming to Him; and He sat down and began to teach them. The scribes and the Pharisees *brought a woman caught in adultery, and having set her in the center of the court, they *said to Him, “Teacher, this woman has been caught in adultery, in the very act. Now in the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women; what then do You say?” They were saying this, testing Him, so that they might have grounds for accusing Him. But Jesus stooped down and with His finger wrote on the ground. But when they persisted in asking Him, He straightened up, and said to them,“He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” Again He stooped down and wrote on the ground. When they heard it, they began to go out one by one, beginning with the older ones, and He was left alone, and the woman, where she was, in the center of the court. 10 Straightening up, Jesus said to her, “Woman, where are they? Did no one condemn you?” 11 She said, “No one, [a]Lord.” And Jesus said, “I do not condemn you, either. Go. From now on sin no more.”

Are you living you life comparing yourself to others or are you comparing yourself to Christ?  Are you living up to the calling that God has placed on your life?  Do you know the calling that God has on your life?  Do you know that it is God’s grace that has saved you?  You don’t have to get your life right before you come to God.  He will help you through that.  He will change you.  You don’t have to worry about changing yourself, that will come.

Married Mondays — Busy

IMG_0236Happy Monday everybody.  We have just come out of some very crazy times with the Holidays.  Many of us spent many days or hours on the road.  Many may have wished to go back to work, or just to get some place quiet.

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busi·er busi·est

1a :  engaged in action :  occupiedb :  being in use <found the telephone busy>

2:  full of activity :  bustling <a busy seaport>

3:  foolishly or intrusively active :  meddling

4:  full of distracting detail <a busy design>

So many times, when someone asks how things are going, the go to answer is either good or I’ve been busy.  Being busy becomes our excuse for not doing somethings.  Being busy becomes our normal, we rationalize our busyness, and let it over take us.  We get to the point in our days and our lives that everything is scheduled.  We plan out our meals, our days, our weeks, we work around practices here, concerts there, events, meetings, etc.  But at what point have we become too busy for ourselves and our loved ones.  Out of the 24 hours in a day, if you are asleep for 8, at work for 9, and traveling for 1, you have 6 hours left in the day for eating, showering, chores, events, classes, and family.

You have to make sure that the your busy life, is proper activity.  Are you just busy to be busy?  Take a deep breath and make sure that your priorities are in line.

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If you are finding yourself not knowing what day or time it is, finding your self not knowing the last time you took 30 minutes to talk to your spouse.  Don’t get to the point that you are so busy that you become strangers.  Make sure to take time EVERY day to catch up with each other.  There are some days that some things just don’t get done, and they will be there tomorrow.

Don’t let yourself get too busy with all of the noise in life that you miss out on who is right in front of you.  Go to bed 30 minutes early, but stay off the internet, keep the TV off, and put the book away, and be there with each other.  Be present, take the last 30 minutes or more of your day to slow down.  At the end of the one thing that you can’t get back is time with family, time with your spouse, time with those you love.

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Married Mondays – Guarded

Happy 2016 everyone.  It was a great break and opportunity, to reflect, recharge, and refocus.  As I was going through what to post this week, I had a couple things kind of pop up and smack me in the face, leading me to this post.

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To me Guarding your marriage, and guarding your loved one, is as DJ Khaled would put it, A Key to Success.

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I won’t post the image here, but I saw a Facebook post last week that depicted the story line of an affair using stick people.  Everything started out great, you got married you had kids, one person went to work, one stayed home, a friend comes over for coffee, one thing leads to another, and shortly after there are divorce papers, child support and additional house payments.  All because someone else was there to listen and make the other person feel special.

It is your job in your marriage to make you spouse feel wanted, feel special, to feel appreciated.  If you are having problems at home, don’t talk to someone at work about the issues that isn’t your gender.  Problems and “friends” of the opposite sex, will cause you 99 more problems.  If your having problems, Facebook, Twitter, (Other social media site here), is not the place to air your dirty laundry.  This just opens the door for someone to come in and be the sympathy card.  Cheating and affairs don’t always start physical.  Guys, we unknowingly flirt, ladies you will unknowingly flirt.  No I’m not saying that you can never talk to a person of not your gender, but be careful your vocabulary.  Be careful of your body language.  Be cautious of your time.

Guard your words, your actions, and your time.  Your words of encouragement should be for your spouse first.  Your actions, you helping out, should be for your spouse first.  Your time, make sure your spouse, and your family come first.  Your marriage is sacred.  If you aren’t paying attention to your spouse and holding each other accountable for all of their actions, you are not guarding your marriage.

You have to talk and communicate with each other.  You also need to be sure that your not keeping things bottled up inside waiting on them to ask you.  Yes, “We need to talk…” is scary as anything, but without facing reality, you will never have a successful and vivbrant marriage.  If there is one person in the world that you can be truly real with, be your honest to goodness real self with, it is your spouse.  Walls should be around your marriage not through it.

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Your marriage is a living thing, it is the two of you.  If you don’t take care of it, if you don’t nurture your relationship with each other, of course it’s going to die.  We have to guard against complacency and the myth of that could never happen to us.  We just entered a new year 4 days ago, do you remember what you were doing this time last year?  Do you remember what you did together last week?

As we get moving into this new year, I want to challenge all of you, to not worry about your resolutions, don’t worry about losing the 20+ pounds, don’t worry about stuff.  Focus on making each day the best day of your marriage.  Focus on being fully involved in each others lives.  Guard against the things that take your focus off of each other.  Guard against complacency.  Guard against any thing else that can and will attack your happy life together.  There is nothing that you can’t get through together, as long as you stand strong and stand guard together.

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Married Mondays — Holidays

Hey everyone thanks for all of the follows and like through out this series.  I have decided to take a couple week break to truly practice what I post.  I challenge you over the next few weeks to truly focus on your family and on your spouse most importantly.  Take time out for each other even though it may not seem like there is time.  Invest in each other, and make sure to show your love not through stuff, but through true dedication to working on your marriage and to building each other up.

Have a wonderful Holiday, Merry Christmas, Happy New Year.

I’ll talk to you all again in January.