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.

Feel-good NFL news alert: Devon Still says daughter Leah beat cancer

Leah Still has officially beaten cancer, according to an inspiring and overjoyed message her father posted to Instagram on Tuesday morning It’s a happy ending to one of the most touching stories NFL fans have followed in years. Leah’s battle with a rare form of pediatric cancer became news during the 2014 NFL season, when…

http://feeds.mashable.com/~r/Mashable/~3/tUSEGNvqQTQ/

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.

 

Married Mondays – Trust

Happy Monday everyone, and welcome back to another edition of Married Mondays.  This week, I want to talk about trust.  Trusting your spouse is not complacency or naivete.  Trust is not control or guilt.  Trust in a marriage is knowing that you are both looking out for the interest of the team.  You are taking care of your marriage, you are doing the things that you promised to do when you took your marriage vows.

When you begin thinking, “Oh that could never…” or “we don’t have to worry about that…” you run the risk of becoming complacent.  You run the risk of your spouse not knowing that you know they are worth fighting for.  You can more easily loose the spark in your relationship, when you become complacent.

Trust, to be is being open and honest with your spouse.  It comes back to communication.  Even the small things that are going on make sure that your spouse knows.  We all think differently about things.  Take this for example:

“Honey it’s me. I don’t want to alarm you but I was hit by a car as I was leaving the office. Paula brought me to the hospital. They have checked me over and done some tests and some x-rays.

The blow to my head was severe. Fortunately it did not cause any serious internal injury.However I have three broken ribs, a compound fracture in the left leg, and they think they may have to amputate my right foot.

Wife’s Response:    “Who is Paula?

Or this video:

 

But in all seriousness, in thinking about the Christmas story in the Bible and the events that led up to Mary and Joseph traveling to Bethlehem, there was some true trust in each other and trust in God.  A firm trust in God and what He has for you and your marriage, will push out any distrust between you.  The more you trust God the more you will trust each other and all of those in your life.

Matthew 1:18-24

18This is how Jesus the Messiah was born. His mother, Mary, was engaged to be married to Joseph. But before the marriage took place, while she was still a virgin, she became pregnant through the power of the Holy Spirit.
19Joseph, her fiancé, was a good man and did not want to disgrace her publicly, so he decided to break the engagement quietly.
20As he considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream. “Joseph, son of David,” the angel said, “do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife. For the child within her was conceived by the Holy Spirit.
21And she will have a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”
22All of this occurred to fulfill the Lord’s message through his prophet:
23“Look! The virgin will conceive a child!
She will give birth to a son,
and they will call him Immanuel, which means ‘God is with us.’”
24When Joseph woke up, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded and took Mary as his wife.
Trusting in God and trusting in each other, are the pillars that a marriage and your life should be built upon.  Let me also say that trust is not something to be abused.  If there are trust issues in your relationship, work to resolve them.  Trust issues and fights will break down your marriage, they will break you down as a person.  Not to be corny but, Honesty is the best policy, is truth. You are a team, you are together one person, you should have no secrets from each other.  If you scroll though your spouses camera roll/text messages/emails/(insert social media stream here), you shouldn’t be surprised by what you see.
Work with each other, talk out any issues that you have, with cool heads.  Listen to each other, fight for each other not against each other.  If you need to rebuild that trusting relationship.  Don’t hold past issues in the way of rebuilding that trust.  Yes broken trust is hard to repair but it’s not impossible unless you make it impossible.
This week, talk with your spouse.  Make sure that they know that you feel that your marriage is worth fighting for.

Married Mondays – Old School

Over the past few weeks, I know that I have repeatedly, wrote about shutting off your devices and spending good old fashioned quality time with your spouse and loved ones.  This week I want to step past just talking about things to do with your spouse and hit on things to do as a family.

As we get further into the holiday season, take time to focus on what truly matters most.  Many of us just finished up Thanksgiving, and still have days worth of left overs.  Many of us went out for Black Friday sales on Thursday and through the weekend, and many more of us will be spending time going through all of the Cyber Monday/Cyber Week deals.  These aren’t the things that matter.  What truly matters is looking at what you can do as a family to touch those around you.  Maybe, as a family, you can start a tradition of doing Operation Christmas Child(a little late for this one now,) Angel Tree, Toys for Tots, or working with one of the many other charities out there.  As a family we have made it a point to do something every year.  For less than you would spend on junk that you don’t need, you can use that on someone else.  We tend to fill our lives with stuff, and we retreat to our STUFF to make us Happy, but then we just need the newest thing, or the thing that is better than someone else’s.  And we get stuck in a cycle of want.  Let’s put it in perspective, the phone that many of you are reading this on, will cost you over $600 ($10-30/month at a time.)  If you feel that you can use that same phone for a year longer, what could you do for someone else, for another family, for someone in another county.  As a family take a moment to do something for someone else.  We are now a global community, from your house in the US, you can with a simple click, buy chickens for a family in another country.

This week’s title I took from the book my daughter is reading right now Diary of A Wimpy Kid : Old School.  It has taken her a little while to understand what it is really about.  From what I have seen of it so far is one of the things that I have been touching on over the past few weeks.  Stepping away from technology, actually communicating with words from your mouth, and enjoying what is around you.  Enjoying the outdoors, enjoying company, enjoying each other.

For our marriages and for our families, shutting down the electronics, and spending time playing, using your imagination, talking, and being present changes everything.  The past couple weeks, my wife and I have had the chance to just chill at the house after the munchkin has gone to bed.  It has been awesome to unplug, not watch a show or anything, but spend time together with the Christmas tree on.  We have been able to take this little bit of time to catch up with each other, and put into practice what I’ve been writing these past few weeks.

Also as we get further into the holiday season, I encourage you to make sure that you are taking time out as a couple and as a family, to refocus and rebalance your needs and wants.  Focus on the things that you can do together as a couple and/or as a family, that don’t involve the TV, computer, or game system.  Pull out an old board game, do something that requires imagination, and give them your full attention.  The worries of tomorrow can wait until tomorrow.  Don’t make you family, your spouse, your loved ones, compete for your attention. Go Old School, shut down and have family time.