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 – 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.

Married Mondays – Thankfulness

All over social media the past couple weeks, people have been posting days of thankfulness.  It’s this time of year that people are focusing on what they are thankful for.  It’s this time of year that we are spending more time in the next 45 days with family than many of us have all year.  But holidays aren’t what I’m talking about this week.  I truly hope that you aren’t only expressing your thankfulness for your spouse this time of year and just because your friends on Facebook are saying what they are thankful.

As life catches up with you, days, weeks, months may go by without you telling your spouse that you are thankful for them.  You probably tell them you love them every day, but are you saying this out of habit and are you just going through the motions of marriage.  It is easy over time to become complacent and accidentally start taking each other for granted.  We must daily and whole heartedly make sure that our spouses know how much we love them and how thankful we are for them.

Taking each day, making it special, and recognizing the good things that happen every day.  Even the worst days, have a bright moment.  That moment of thankfulness in the day might not come until you get back home, or until you get that phone call right at the perfect time.  No matter how bad you think that your day has been, there is always someone who has it worse.  We live in a nation of “First World Problems,” we live in a time that has forgotten how to be thankful.  We live in a time, that we easily get lost in wanting.

So this week, my challenge to you, is to take the time to stop and look around at what you have, who you have in your life, and reflect on your blessings.  Each day find at least one thing to be thankful for, and share it with your spouse.  Find something everyday that your loved one does that goes unnoticed and make sure that you recognize it.  Take time together to write down things that as a couple you are thankful for, write down what you are thankful for in your relationship, and remember each day that you have someone that loves you, and that is at least one thing to be thankful for.

Married Mondays — United

Welcome back to another Monday!  I’ve gone back and forth on what to talk about this week.  I’ve finally went with being United.  To me this takes being a team, being partners, being there, to another level.  When you get married you are referred to as one mind, one body, and one soul.  You are United.  You stand together as Mr. and Mrs.  You are now one unit.  Again, you will have different strengths and weaknesses, you will have different opinions on things at times, but when it comes to big things you must be united together.

Standing up for something, believing in something, standing strong together, is how to truly build you relationship and shape the future for generations to follow.  It is being united as parents, that shape your children’s futures.  Just being partners in your marriage works for a period of time, then for many that season of life ends and another season starts with a new life coming into yours.  Now the decisions have gone from what do you and I need, to what do WE need.  Life changes.   The partnership and sharing of responsibility now becomes, who is changing the diapers, the diaper genie, doing the 3 AM feeding…  Face it if it’s both of you together that’s great but at some point someone is going to be in someone’s way.

And it’s easier as the kids are younger, but even at an early age, your kids will know if you aren’t united.  If one is the “fun” parent and one isn’t, kids are going to play at that.  They don’t know that they are picking one over the other, their kids they want to have fun and be kids.  And kids are kids, not bargaining chips, not leverage.  Your kids are going to model their future relationships off of what they see in your house.  If that is a life of manipulation and fighting, they are more likely to go toward that type of relationship in the future.  If they see parents, that are truly in love with each other, that take time for each other, and time for the kids, that show that they know where the proper priorities are, they are more likely to have a relationship that is long lasting.

I am very happy to say that my wife and I both come from families that were like that.  After around 30 years or more of marriage, our parents are still together.  We had great examples growing up, and I feel that is why our marriage has been successful up to this point.  We saw what it looked like, to work as a team, stick to decisions, and be dedicated to each other.

This week I challenge you to make sure that you and your spouse, are on the same track.  Make sure that you have the same vision for your family.  Make sure that you are setting the example for your kids, of what a God filled, love filled marriage looks like.  And if you still can, thank those you helped shape your marriage and your life.

Thank you Bob and Deb and Rick and Jazmina, for shaping us and being an example of how to work through things and be united.

Kids say the darndest things…

It’s very true that our kids say the darndest, most brutally honest things, they get it from somewhere.  Everything our kids do, they have learned it some place, from someone, somehow.  A number of the things that they pick up, we don’t really mind, but it isn’t always the good things they pick up on.

Our kids look to us for what to do in social interactions and in all situations.  Face it, you talk to your friends and co-workers completely different than you do around your house with your family and children, well maybe.  None of us really think about some of the things we say or do, until they are repeated or done by our kids.  There are so many kid’s today that are constantly in trouble, either at school or even the police, because of poor guidance or honestly a lack there of.

We have to guide our kids in the right ways try our hardest to keep them from doing just really stupid things.  I mean yes there is a fine line from being an over-protective parent, a controlling parent, and a crazy, but that is part of being a parent.  Face it, as a parent you are to be a parent not your child’s friend.  Now don’t get me wrong, you need to be there for your children, but being the cool parent, isn’t always going to be the best thing for your kids.  Now I’m not saying that I’m “World’s Greatest Dad” and should teach classes on how to be a father, but sometimes you go somewhere and you just think – I’m not doing so bad a am I…

We all have seen the kids, that make you think I wish they were your kid, or make you want to slap their momma.  Pushing your kids to be respectful to others is one thing, but more than that, we have to push our kids to respect themselves.  Too many kids today are “depressed” but are so privileged they don’t know what to do with themselves.  We have pushed to far into the “everyone did great”, and the everyone gets a trophy mentality that there is no winner.  This is where the problem comes along when these kids grow up and become part of “the real world,”  if something isn’t handed to them, they don’t know what to do.

Let’s push our kids to respect themselves and others.  Let’s push to break our kids of these entitled attitudes.  Start the push from within yourself.  Let you kids see you working hard for what you have and what your family has, teach them the value of money, time, love, and true friendship.  Let’s see our kids change the direction of their generation and our world.

What makes today different?

What makes today a different day, What makes what you are doing today different?  What are you doing today to make a difference?  We all start out each day with the same 24 hours, but what are we doing in our hours to make a change.  So many times we go through our days just out of routine, we go through the motions.  Life just becomes the same ol’ different day.  But it is when we choose to go outside of our normal routine, step out of our comfort zones, that we change our lives, we change the lives of the ones we love, and we change the lives of all of those around us.

Take the time each day, even if it is just one small thing, it could make a huge difference in someone else’s life.

Check out these videos and hopefully you can find some new or renewed inspiration for tomorrow…