Let’s Just Settle Down

My dad had many sayings. When my friends and I got rowdy as a kid, he would sometimes utter, “You boys need to settle down.”

Now in my 60’s and having been exposed to so much in the Christian and religious world for these years, could we as pastors/Christian leaders just settle down?

My background is one of . . . growing up in a pastor’s home (My dad was Church of the Nazarene until his Army days in Korea, and then came to understand the security of believer in Christ, thanks to a godly chaplain who taught him the Word!); The Wilds Christian Camp (Doc Hay, Rock Royer, Major Brooks, etc.); Bob Jones University (college and seminary plus a host of its graduates including all of its presidents to date, Bible Conference speakers, faculty, etc.); Tennessee Temple University graduates; the Sword of the Lord crowd; my Southern Baptist grandfather who pastored in Kentucky and southwest Virginia; the GARBC; the many men who fellowshipped in what was for years known as the Fundamental Baptist Fellowship (Now Foundations Baptist Fellowship); Dallas Theological Seminary grads; being mentored personally by the likes of J.B. Williams, J. Robert Martin, Randy Patten, Reynold Lemp and many others; plus being influenced from a distance by the likes of Charles Stanley, Chuck Swindoll, Adrian Rogers, Henry Blackaby, David Jeremiah, and more.

In more recent years, my background continues to be of the many mentioned above plus Men’s Prayer Advance, 9Marks, T4G, CoRE Conferences, plus many, many books authored by Tripp, Ortlund, Wells, Bridges, Payne & Marshall, Thomas, Huegal, Ryrie, Walvord, Pickering, etc.

“What’s the point?’, you may ask.

Well, I want to say that for all of us in ministry, none of us have it all figured out; none of us knows all the facts about everyone or every situation; none of us know more than our God; none of us have the absolute right methodology; none of us are the standard; and none of us have arrived!

For all of us in ministry, none of us have it all figured out . . . none of us have arrived!

We all come from various backgrounds and are all influenced by a diverse group of people, churches, institutions and movements, but we are saved by grace through faith alone in the cross work and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. We are one in Christ. We are made complete in Christ. We are sealed by the Holy Spirit. We are children of the living God!

Therefore, understanding that there are clear, biblical points of separation and the application thereof, such as preeminently, the Gospel (Galatians 1:1-10), may I say that we need to . . .

  • Give one another the benefit of the doubt.
  • Be gracious and kind.
  • Stop making fun of our brothers on social media whether you agree with him or not. (No wonder the lost world doesn’t want our Jesus, seeing the way we lampoon one another.)
  • Throw away our Pharisaical microscope.
  • Give one another space to grow in sanctification.
  • Cheer our brother on when he’s down. When revival breaks out where he pastors but not where you serve, rejoice and praise God with him!
  • Personally call up the brother we have issue with instead of talking about him behind his back or on social media.
  • Exchange the time of criticizing and posting for time on our knees in prayer.
  • Let God handle error by His righteous standard rather than us being “the enforcer.”
  • Meet with your brother for coffee; get to know him and disciple each other.
  • Confess and repent of our arrogance and pride.
  • Exercise grace.
  • Remember, we will live forever together in Glory!

Throw away your Pharisaical microscope.

In times past, I have jokingly said, for instance to a group of four men, “There are only four people in the world that’s perfect. That’s me and you three, and . . . I am doubtful about you three!”

Proverbs 22:4 recently challenged my heart again . . . By humility and the fear of the LORD (not man) are riches and honor and life.

May I suggest that we soak our soul often in the truths of Colossians 1:15-18 and go deep in meditation and prayer in Philippians 1:1-2:18?

Let’s join Paul in prayer . . . And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and all discernment, 10 that you may approve the things that are excellent, that you may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ, 11 being filled with the fruits of righteousness which are by Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God. (Philippians 1:9-11)

Let’s just settle down.

Get Off the Interstate: Meals, Lodging & Strolls in Weaverville, NC

“So teach us to number our days” prays Moses as recorded in Psalm 90:13. Not years but days. So much is missed in our life if we do not live in the moment, the day, and enjoy the scenic route!!

So you’re travelling on Interstate 26 between Asheville, NC, and Johnson City, TN. Exchange the hustle and bustle of four-lane life for a slower change of pace. Here you go!

Well-Bred Bakery

Nestled on the corner of N. Main and Florida Street, you will enter a piece of bakery paradise!

For breakfast, how about the Quiche which comes in three flavors or the Chorizo Breakfast Burrito or . . . have mercy, the Pecan Streusel Roll!!!

Coffee? Yes . . . Jamaican Me Crazy!!

For lunch, I highly recommend their Turkey Pretzel Roll or Grilled Cheese and if available, the Tomato Soup!

Don’t leave without taking a Ginger Molasses Cookie or a Mountain Éclair to enjoy later.

There is limited outdoor seating on the front sidewalk and along Florida Street.

Many times over the years I have left the interstate for a coffee and cookie at Well Bred!!

You will want to stroll the couple of blocks on either side of Well-bred on Main Street of this cozy community.

Stoney Knob Cafe

Be ready for eclectic décor and excellent food! Their website says it well!

Begin with a trendy location just 10 minutes from Asheville, NC. Stir in a whimsical blend of artifacts and artful spaces. Season with provocative offerings of American, Greek and European cuisine. Add a dash of funk and a smidgen of comfy cool. Top it off with owners who bring tremendous heart and skill to the table, treating you more like family. Garnish with smiles all around.

Denise and I, and friends, have tried many of their menu offerings over the years and have never been disappointed. For lunch, I suggest the Jamaican Shrimp Wrap or Tacos Pescado. For supper, how about the Meatloaf or Salmon or Chicken Piccatta!!

I’m ready to stop typing and head on down the road to the Knob!!!

Sourwood Inn

You have to be going there on purpose to find it, but once you drive down the lane, you are surrounded by the stillness of it all! Yes, you are tucked away from busy life, yet you are minutes from the Blue Ridge Parkway and the uniqueness of Asheville, NC.

Our stay included the Trillium Room, which had a great view, plus playing ping pong and pool. Rest and enjoying each other’s company was enhanced by the sitting room and a walk around the property. This would be a great place for a birthday or anniversary celebration!

So, number your days. Live in the moment. Plan or be spontaneous!

Scenic Route Marriage Tip: Husbands, you may be wired to get from point A to point B in the quickest, shortest time possible. Unwire and surprise your wife with an intentional get-out-of-the-car-nofastfood meal or get a cookie and coffee and enjoy time seated on the sidewalk with your sweetheart! Live today!

It’s A Mad, Mad World!

That’s my impression from my stroll down the main drag of Gatlinburg, TN, recently.

  • Few people smiling or laughing.
  • Harsh words being spoken to others, especially to children and other family members.
  • One woman spewing out foul language because she has pulled into a blocked street and folks are not “parting the Red Sea” for her to back out onto Parkway.
  • Impatience on display.
  • Many store clerks looking like their job is a misery to their soul.
  • T-shirts declaring the woe-filled and proud hearts of so many.

All this and more in one of the vacation capitols of America!

This is supposed to be “the happy place!” Right?

Really????

But, this is the case almost everywhere you go today. Why?

1. Man tries to fill his empty, eternal soul with temporal, earthly things. There is nothing in the world that will ever completely satisfy mankind. There may be momentary satisfaction, but it leaves a desire for more or something else.

In the midst of all this unhappiness, I saw new attractions, new restaurants, a gazillion moonshine stores (Isn’t that what brings great joy, so we’re told????), new stores, new products on the shelves, etc. This should make people happy, full of joy, right?

2. Man without a personal relationship with Christ does not have the fruit of the Holy Spirit.

Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, 21 envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. 24 And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. (Galatians 5:19-24)

As my wife and I strolled up and back down Parkway, our hearts were saddened and grieved by the thousands who are choosing to live this way without the Prince of Peace, The Joy of Jesus, the Savior of our souls.

May I encourage you to read the three links given in the last sentence above?

When the angel announced the birth of Jesus to shepherds in the field, his first words were “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people” (Luke 2:10). That “great joy” was the truth that the God who had seemed far off had come to them in human flesh. He was to be called “Immanuel,” which means “God with us” (Isaiah 9:6–7; Matthew 1:23). Those who saw Him saw the face of God (John 14:9). He had come to rescue, to save, to heal, and to make mankind right with God (Isaiah 61:1; Luke 4:17–21). That was cause for great joy! (gotquestions.org/joy-to-the-world)

The only cure for a mad, mad world is the Gospel! The Good News!!

(Photo from trekearth.com)

Get Off the Interstate: Meals & Lodging from Corbin to Lexington, KY

Travelling can become a very boring routine no matter your destination!

Do you take the interstate on all of your trips?

Do you only eat at fast-food chain restaurants?

Do you just stop for a quick restroom break and it’s back to beatin’ the pavement?

Suggestion: Slow down, get off the path everyone else is taking and enjoy the journey! Take the scenic route! Getting “there” is not the main goal. It’s living in the moment that God has given and making investments in the lives around you. That includes the people in your car and the many outside your vehicle!

So, let me give you some trip tips to make the journey more enjoyable.

I will begin in this post with the section of I-75 between Corbin and Lexington, Kentucky. Here’s a few neat spots to stop for a meal or overnight lodging.

MEALS

Local Honey, London, KY

  • Quaint downtown, delicious food, romantic atmosphere but kid-worthy, excellent service!
  • We had two of their appetizers for lunch recently! Wow!!
  • Four minutes from Exit 41, I-75

Boone Tavern Hotel, Berea, KY

  • Quiet dining for all meals in an elegant, historical setting!
  • Tavern Classic for breakfast, Kentucky Hot Brown for lunch, or deep fried deviled eggs for starters and shrimp and grits for supper!! Oh yes, the spoon bread, too!!
  • Six minute drive from Exit 76, I-75

LODGING

Boone Tavern Hotel, Berea, KY

  • Check out the website and see the prices. Add breakfast and you are set!
  • Friendly staff, very nice rooms, cozy and comfortable!!
  • Hope you get to meet the jolly, friendly bell hop, too!!
  • You’ll want to stroll around the block and step into the fudge shop, coffee & tea shop, sandwich shop and/or candle store.
  • Need some exercise? Good running or walking path on North Main Street!

There’s much more to see in America than Buc-ee’s!!!! So, check back with me in the days to come as I share other neat places on the scenic route . . . off the interstate!!

Scenic Route Marriage Tip: Side trips like these provide time to talk, listen, hold hands, share, kiss, slow down and enjoy the gift of marriage! Helps you get out of and stay out of the rut of mindless routine that traps many marriages.

Heart Transplant

Since the heart is perverse and desperately wicked (Jeremiah 17:9), can it be changed?

Can our deceitful heart be transformed into a truthful heart?

Can our our hypocritical heart be converted into a holy heart?

Can our idolatrous heart be changed into a worshipping heart for God?

Yes! The heart of change is having the heart of Christ.

The heart in scripture represents all that we are. As in water face reflects face, so the heart of man reflects the man (Proverbs 27:19). It’s our inner person (Proverbs 4:23; Ephesians 3:16-17). The functions of the biblical heart involve your will, emotions, spirit or soul and mind.

To have the heart of Christ is to first of all be born again (Read John 3:1-18; Regeneration).

Second, to have the heart of Christ is learn of His heart as you study His earthly life from (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John) and the Christ-life (Romans 6-8; Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians) as the Holy Spirit reveals Him to you (John 16:12-15).

While sitting on my back porch meeting with the Lord as I read His Word, the Holy Spirit revealed Christ’s heart to me again. As I began to read Luke 15, a passage of three parables about lost things Jesus used to answer the accusations of the Pharisees, a statement from the Pharisees about Christ spoke to my heart. And the Pharisees and scribes complained, saying, “This Man receives/welcomes sinners and eats with them” (15:2).

Why does Jesus welcome sinners; those who are lost? Luke 19:10 says, For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.

At that moment the thought came to me, “The heart of Christ is to receive, to welcome sinners who are broken in their sin, hell-bound and without hope.”

Then I was reminded of Bill Pickel, a man who lived out the heart of Christ, and it could have been said of him, “He received sinners and ate with them.”

During my junior and senior years of college, I served as youth and music leader at a church in upstate South Carolina. Every weekend I would stay at the Pickel’s home. Often he was not home, sometimes arriving back home around 2-3:00 in the morning.

Why? He was out spending time at some local beer joint . . . loving, listening, caring, and sharing with sinners the Good News of Jesus Christ. Sometimes he brought these broken men into his home for a meal or a bed. Many of them he saw humble themselves before the Lord, repent of their sins, and receive Christ as their personal Lord and Savior.

Yes, Bill was criticized by the “religious Pharisees” because he had the audacity to found in a beer joint. Nevertheless, Bill chose to live out the Christ-life and “eat with sinners.”

What have you learned about the heart of Christ today as you gazed into His Word? But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord (2 Corinthians 3:18).

What has the Holy Spirit revealed to you today of Christ? How has the Holy Spirit worked in your heart to bear the fruit of Christ through your life (Galatians 5:22-23)? He can do the same in your life as He did in Bill Pickel’s life.

The lyrics of a favorite song in our home when our girls were young said, “Change my heart, O God. Make it ever new. Change my heart, O God, make it more like you.”

Divorce-Proof Your Marriage #6

One Year & 41 Years of Marriage

A marriage declines over a period of time. As I said at the beginning of this series, no man decides on a whim to get a divorce.

Sadly, the decline occurs when marriages experience more “withdrawals” than “investments.”

Obviously, if you continue to use your debit card without putting any funds in the bank, your withdrawals will overcome your investments and your are overdrawn. You have a negative bank balance.

Some husbands and wives are overwhelmed in their marriage; their “marriage bank account” is depleted and dry.

If that is you, may I encourage you make the following investments?

Investment #1: Believe that no marriage is too far gone to be recovered and renewed by God’s grace.

The absolute, preeminent starting point for every sin, heartache, issue, perplexity, uncertainty, fear, sorrow, risk, hardship, etc. is with God (Psalms 61:1-3; 66:1-5; Matthew 11:28-30).

Read, meditate and pray through each of the passages of Scripture given above and below and others, calling out to God on behalf of your spouse and your marriage. The best investment you can make is prayer! Please don’t underestimate the power of God in prayer! He is able, and His grace is sufficient!!

Ah, Lord God! Behold, You have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power and outstretched arm. There is nothing too hard for You. (Jeremiah 32:17)

He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength. Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint. (Isaiah 40:29-31)

And God is able to make all grace [every favor and earthly blessing] come in abundance to you, so that you may always [under all circumstances, regardless of the need] have complete sufficiency in everything [being completely self-sufficient in Him], and have an abundance for every good work and act of charity. (2 Corinthians 9:8 AMP)

Investment #2: Forgive one another now and often.

Our old sin nature and our heart will lie to us telling us that we don’t deserve such treatment; that we have a right to be happy; that holding a grudge and seeking revenge is the way to go!

At this point, you must look at the cross and see Christ taking your place as your substitute (Isaiah 53:4-6; 1 Peter 2:24), paying the price for all your sin by His blood and forgiving you all of your sin, past, present, and future (Ephesians 1:7; Colossians 1:13-14; Hebrews 9:22). Now you are no longer under condemnation or the wrath of God (Romans 5:8-9; 8:1).

With that view, if you are born again; a follower of the Lord Jesus Christ, then you cannot hold a grudge over your spouse, pour out your wrath upon him or her, or keep a record of wrongs done to you, in other words, get “historical.” Just as you have received the covering and removal of your sin by the precious blood of Christ in forgiveness, you must forgive, too!

There’s a form of debt in your marriage (and all relationships) far more dangerous than financial debt.

It’s relational debt.

“And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.” (Matthew 6:12)

In the Lord’s Prayer, Jesus is not talking about personal finances or budget. Instead, he’s talking about something that’s supposed to happen in healthy relationships—forgiveness.

Why is it such a struggle to forgive? Why don’t people forgive at all? The sad reality is that there is short-term power, albeit destructive, in refusing to forgive the other person. There are dark “benefits” in keeping someone else in our relational debt.

Keeping a record of our spouse’s wrongs gives us the upper hand in the relationship. There is power in having something to hold over another’s head. There is power in using a person’s weakness and failure against them, so in moments when we want our own way, we pull out some wrong against our spouse as our relational trump card.

How ugly and selfish is that?

It seems almost too obvious to say, but forgiveness is a much better way than unforgiveness. It’s the only way to live in an intimate, long-term relationship with another sinner. It’s the only way to negotiate through the weakness and failure that will daily mark your marriage.

Forgiveness is a relational transaction that needs to occur in moments when sin has gotten in the way of the unity, love, and understanding between a husband and wife (or any two people for that matter).

Paul David Tripp

Forgiveness lifts the burden off our shoulders of bearing wrongs and restores what has been broken.

The more you are willing to pursue forgiveness, the more you experience its blessings. It’s the only way to deal with hurt and disappointment. It’s the only way to have hope and confidence restored. It’s the only way to protect your love and reinforce the unity that you have built. It’s the only way not to be kidnapped by the past.

Canceling relational debt is a beautiful and necessary thing, not only for your marriage but in every single relationship in your life. (Paul David Tripp, Wednesday Word, 2/23/2022)

What investments will you make in your marriage today? Grace and forgiveness will restore any broken relationship if you will “lay down your sword” and run to the cross in utmost humility. (James 4:1-3, 6-10)

Divorce-Proof Your Marriage (4)

So, you just had another disagreement.  Cross, jabbing words were spoken.  Anger is written all over your face.  The strength of the door frame and hinges have been tested again.  You are courtroom sure that you are in the right! What are you going to do? 

The fourth way to make sure your marriage does not end up in divorce is to humble yourself and not wait to seek help.

Marriages don’t disintegrate over night.  They eventually reach the critical point when:

  1. You think “hiding it under the rug” will make the problem go away.
  2. You refuse to accept that you have a problem.
  3. You think you can work it out on your own by your own schemes.
  4. You are too proud to ask for help.
  5. You are more concerned about what someone might think of you.

If you are in this situation, stop fooling yourself into thinking it will get better. 

First, admit to God your problem/sin as well as your insufficiency to correct it. 

Second, be honest with your spouse in a loving manner. 

Third, call on a trusted friend, pastor or mentor who will give you loving, forth-right biblical counsel (not tell you what you want to hear).

Forth, repent and change. 

Last of all, walk by faith in the principles and promises of God’s Word.

Proverbs 11:2  When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with the humble is wisdom.

Proverbs 11:14  Where there is no guidance, a people falls, but in an abundance of counselors there is safety

Proverbs 26:12  Do you see a man who is wise in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.

Ecclesiastes 7:8  Better is the end of a thing than its beginning, and the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit.

James 4:6  But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”

If you are in vocational Christian ministry and your marriage needs refreshment; perhaps a caring, listening ear, and/or a place to just get away, please contact me at bcbcpastor@comcast.net. My wife and I would love to connect with you!

Divorce-Proof Your Marriage (3)

Years ago, country music artist, Barbara Mandrell, made popular a song entitled, Sleeping Single in a Double Bed. The song laments the husband’s departure and how lonely the nights are without him by her side. I’m not condoning the song, but sadly, this song title is played out in many marriages night-after-night.

So, what’s another way to divorce-proof your marriage? Don’t make a habit of sleeping single in a double bed.

The Word of God says, Marriage is honorable (esteemed worthy, precious, of great price, and especially dear) among all, and the bed undefiled (pure); but fornicators and adulterers God will judge. Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you” (Hebrews 13:4-5). 

What are some things we can learn from this passage that would correct this marriage-killer?

  1. Marriage is honorable because God ordained it at creation (Genesis 2:18), and it is recognized as such by all three persons of the Trinity (Matthew 19:1-9; John 2:1-11; Ephesians 5:18-33).
  2. Marriage is honorable as a lifetime commitment between one woman and one man (Genesis 2:18-25; Malachi 2:16; Matthew 19:1-9; Ephesians 5:18-33).
  3. Marriage is honorable because it is physically and spiritually fulfilling.  When marriage is not given its rightful place, then discontentment and covetousness sets in.  The temptation to “graze in other fields” and think that what you have is just not good enough leads to a broken home and a reproach to Christ. Just as Christ said He would never leave us or forsake us, so should a husband and wife follow suit.  The plans and provisions of God for man and woman is sufficient for all of life.
  4. Marriage is honorable and the bed is too.  The marriage bed refers to sex within the boundaries of marriage.  Take heed to the following from Pastor Steve Cole:

But the Bible affirms the pleasure of the sexual relationship in marriage, both for men and women. Solomon instructs his son to let his wife’s breasts satisfy him at all times, and to be exhilarated with her love (Prov. 5:19). The Song of Solomon extols the joys of sex in marriage for both partners. Paul tells both husbands and wives that they do not have authority over their own bodies, but their spouse does, and that they have a responsibility to meet the sexual needs of their mate as a preventative to immorality (1 Cor. 7:2-5). Sarah refers to sexual relations with her husband as having pleasure with him (Gen. 18:12).

Sex in marriage is directly related to the interpersonal relationship. God designed it that way. There must be mutual sensitivity, caring, and respect in the relationship between husband and wife as the foundation for the enjoyment of the sexual aspect. But I am emphasizing what Paul states, that it is a God-given preventative against sexual sin (1 Cor. 7:2). I once counseled a couple where the husband had fallen into adultery. He and his wife had not had sexual relations in over ten years and she assumed that everything was just fine! He was really angry about this, but he hadn’t said anything. When a neighbor woman became friendly, he fell. Sadly, the couple eventually divorced. It all could have been avoided if they had followed the clear teaching of Scripture: “Stop depriving one another” (1 Cor. 7:5).

So, you want to divorce-proof your marriage, then honor what God said is honorable!  Here are some practical steps:

  1. Go to bed together.  Turn off the TV, the computer, the video games, etc.  If you are making a habit of staying up while your spouse goes to bed, you are not creating an environment of intimacy, love, care and prayer.  One of the sweetest things you can do before drifting off to sleep is pray while holding hands and together casting all your care on the Lord.
  2. Put the children in their bed.  I realize that our little ones can be frightened by storms, for instance, but your children need to know that your bedroom is your haven, not theirs.  They have their rooms.  Our children should never become a hindrance to a healthy marriage.  What a paradox—you let the children sleep with you and it becomes an obstacle in your marriage because you have put them before your spouse. Then if a divorce happens, the children are the ones who get the worse end of the split!  Even in reference to the bed, you need to show your children what a real, honorable marriage looks like.
  3. Make your bedroom a place you really want to be.  If the marriage bed is called honorable by God, then make the bedroom honorable.  Make up your bed in the morning and have nice blankets and covers on your bed.  Make your bedroom inviting.  Don’t stack stuff up on the dresser or leave clothes piled up on the floor or your bedroom looking like a dungeon.  Make your bedroom a castle even on a meager budget.  Add some romantic touches like candles, music, pictures with love quotes, etc.
  4. Don’t go to bed angry.  Ephesians 4:26 reminds us, Do not let the sun go down on your anger.  Anger has destroyed many marriages.  Here’s where praying and forgiveness, whether you feel like it or not, would be so helpful to diffuse and correct any situation of anger.
  5. Don’t make up excuses for not sleeping together.  So, for instance, your husband snores. Get some earplugs, medical help, play music, whatever, but let your marriage vows of “for better, for worse” be fulfilled here.  Now, I realize that health issues may cause you to sleep elsewhere, but if all is well, please sleep with your spouse. Make up for time away a night during the day! Remember, your flesh and the devil will give you all the excuses you need to destroy your relationship.

God is able, and He is faithful (1 Corinthians 10:13; 2 Corinthians 9:8)

No more sleeping single in a double-bed!!

Divorce-Proof Your Marriage (2)

41st Anniversary Dinner Date at Beauty Spot on the AT

As I mentioned in the previous post, no one stands before the preacher on their wedding day and says, “I wonder how we can get a divorce?” But as time rolls along, the shine wears off of that glorious wedding day, the demands, conflicts, pressures and distractions of life crowd in, and husbands and wives begin to take each other for granted.

Furthermore, no married couple ends up in divorce court because they decided on a whim to take a drive downtown to visit the judge and end their marriage! But, sadly, somewhere along the line, the marriage begins to deteriorate and divorce becomes a potential reality.

Here’s another way to divorce-proof your marriage.

  1. Reject living your lives on two separate tracks

Genesis 2:18, 23-25,  And the Lord God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.  And And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man. Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh. And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.

God intended for a husband and wife to have a close, intimate relationship by cleaving to one another, sharing life together and not living on two separate tracks.

One of the ways to accomplish God’s plan, no matter how long you have been married or how old you are, is to go back to doing the things you did when you dated before marriage or in those early years of marriage. 

Too many couples stop dating after they are married.

Man likes a conquest, so when he finally is married, he has conquered.  In his mind, since he has won over his bride, it’s time to move on to the next conquest.  Therefore, he often leaves his wife in the dust!

Dating can be so much fun!! 

Now, I have to admit that my dating life in high school and college for the most part was hazardous at best!  I will say that my eyes lit up like Christmas morning when I went to college and heard that there were three girls to every one guy!!  Hubba, hubba!! 

No matter, dating comes with its own set of actions that quite frankly need to be carried on into and through our married lives.  To maintain and enjoy the grace gift of marriage, put some spice back into your life!  Act like you are dating again.  Go through the list below and start enjoying each other again. 

Remember when you dated?

  • You were always thinking about each other.  No way you could have a profitable day at school or work because he/she was always on your mind!
  • You looked for every chance to be with each other.  School or work would not end soon enough!!
  • You left little reminders here and there to remind your sweetheart of your love and devotion.  It might have been a note left in a conspicuous location, their favorite candy bar, a “call up on the radio and request their  favorite song” reminder, a romantic card sent through the mail, a phone message, etc.
  • You held hands as you walked through the amusement park.  You were always looking for that ride that gave you good reason to snuggle up!  You were just hoping that she would be afraid and seek the shelter of your arms!!  You shared some popcorn and a Coke as you sat under the shade tree and looked so adoringly into each other’s eyes.  Fun times at the amusement park!
  • You talked for hours and hours and hours and hours on the phone!
  • You dressed up for each other.  You wanted to look sharp!  You smelled good, too. 🙂
  • As a man, you always paid the bill on a date, opened the car door for her, seated her at the table, showed her great respect, and was her protector.
  • You had fun together!

Take some time to read Song of Solomon 1:7-19 as a couple. Note how the Shulamite and the Beloved are talking to each other, praising each other, adoring each other. They were intentionally spending time together . . . perhaps on a date!

Husband, plan a date with your sweetheart this week? Enjoy the wife of your youth (Proverbs 5:18).

RIP or LITF

RIP . . . you see this attached to a social media post almost every day. The sentiment is there, but do we really know what RIP means? Do we know what we are saying? What’s its origin? Is it a blanket statement for all deaths?

Wikipedia says, “’Rest in peace’ (Latin: Requiescat in pace) is a short epitaph or idiomatic expression wishing eternal rest and peace to someone who has died. The expression typically appears on headstones, often abbreviated as R.I.P. or RIP. The phrase was not found on tombstones before the eighth century. It became ubiquitous on the tombs of Christians in the 18th century, and for High Church Anglicans, as well as Roman Catholics in particular, it was a prayerful request that their soul should find peace in the afterlife.”

Of the questions in the first paragraph, I think the last one is the most important one. 

Can we say RIP for every death? 

For all who die in Christ as a true born again believer, yes; for all who choose to reject Christ’s offer of salvation; no.

The parable of the rich man and Lazarus give us a good answer (Luke 16:19-31).  For the rich man, he is in the place of torment, apart from God, as is the current state of all unbelievers.  For Lazarus, he is in Paradise just as Jesus said to the thief on the cross, “Today, you will be with Me in Paradise” (Luke 23:43). Another comforting truth for believers is found in 2 Corinthians 5:8 which assures us that we are immediately in the presence of the Lord upon death.

So, do unbelievers rest in peace?  Peace nor rest can be found in a place of torment.  Furthermore, to randomly attach RIP to someone that you are uncertain of their eternal state is careless.

The worst tragedy today is that unsaved people around the world died and entered into eternal torment. The greatest blessing for believers today is that many around the world entered into eternal rest, joy, and peace in the presence of Christ.

So, could RIP be placed on your tombstone with complete certainty? 

If you are not truly born again, a genuine follower of the Lord Jesus Christ, would you take time to watch the following video?  It will mean the difference between RIP or LITF (Living in Torment Forever).

Please don’t take death and eternity lightly!