Feeble and weak, he shuffled a bit wobbly toward the couch carrying a prized possession. In my 89 year old father-in-law’s hand was a photo mousepad. As he sat down on the couch next to me he said, “This is a picture of Mil (Mildred) and me after our first date.” He then proceeded to tell, with great delight, a bit of laughter, and a tear of joy how he got his sister to sit in the back seat of the car so the girl of his dreams would join him in the front seat. And as they say, “The rest is history.”Continue reading “He Adores Her”
My wife is a planner, organizer, and a go-getter! I owe the warmth and coziness of our home, demonstrated in so many ways, all to her. And, she doesn’t just sit on her accomplishments, she maintains certain areas of our home with daily care. According to her, if she didn’t, “it would get away from her!”
This reminds me of marriage; it too requires daily maintenance. If not, “it’ll get away from you!”
What are some daily maintenance needs to keep your marriage moving forward in the early days and even after 40 plus years?
Touch one another. A warn embrace, a long kiss, an arm around her shoulder, holding hands, sitting close to each other at church, massaging her shoulders, etc. How easy it is to become mechanical and monotonous in your relationship. Furthermore, do not let your children and schedule drive you apart. Spend time daily in each other’s arms. If you don’t, your marriage will get away from you!
Listen to one another. Last night after supper, we sat at the dining room table and talked for 30 minutes or so. No one was in a hurry. We shared about the day and about a huge burden on our hearts. We connected and made an investment in our marriage. If you don’t, your marriage will get away from you!
Forgive one another. This is an ingredient that is so necessary to maintain your marriage on a daily basis. Because a marriage is made up of two sinners, grace and forgiveness are extreme necessities. Here’s great biblical counsel—Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you (Ephesians 4:31-32). This is an action that must be obeyed no matter the circumstances. If you doubt this is true, look at the cross. If you believe it is impossible, look in the empty tomb. If forgiveness is not a sweet (and sometimes hard, but always right) part of your marriage, it’ll get away from you!
What will you do today to maintain your relationship in a way that honors God and keeps your marriage from getting away from you?
I am so glad my wife and I like each other.
We have spent many hours together this month due to my bout with covid.
So what have we done to merry up Christmas and keep our marriage on the scenic route?
- Trust in forgiveness and the grace of God. When you are not feeling well, you can be demanding and words can have an edge. Throw in our hearing issues, and . . . . Therefore, just like every day of marriage, you must rest in the grace of God and forgive, not apologize.
- Give each other space. My wife has taken up the hobby of water color painting. She has received refreshment from going to her craft room in the afternoons and/or evenings and losing herself in a winter scene.
- Read Paul David Tripp’s, Come, Let Us Adore Him: A Daily Advent Devotional, that our daughter gave to us.
- Go for a drive just for some sunshine and a change of scenery. My wife’s Jeep is good for that. Now that I am gaining ground, I feel like driving. So, I’m her chauffer dropping her off at the door as I wait in the car.
- Movies. Denise and I are not TV watchers, but we have joined the ranks as we viewed many Christmas movies as well as some others. In the early going of this bout, I had to just sit and be still. No movement. We enjoyed White Christmas, Mrs. Miracle, The Christmas Edition, Elf, The Christmas Lodge, It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year, Christopher Robin, Father of the Bride, It’s a Wonderful Life (my very first time), etc. Miracle on 34th Street awaits.
- 12 Days of Christmas. Denise and I have shared in this way of exchanging gifts several times over the years. For twelve days, before going to bed, we give a gift to each other. In the early days, we kept it to around $1-5 gifts. Of course, inflation has struck and it’s around $1-$20. How did I shop? Thank you Amazon delivery and Walgreen’s curbside pick-up services!
- Listen to hours of Christmas music via Amazon Music on Alexa. This has helped with a light-hearted atmosphere all through our home.
- Enjoy the fireplace at our meals.
- Share with each other what the Lord said to us through our daily Bible reading or sermon podcasts. This has been a blessing of joy, tears, conviction, challenge and encouragement.
- Nothing much. A few days, my wife was on her own. Well, she had Liza Jane, family communication, friends and the rigors of being a sweet caregiver. But as for us, some lonely hours.
Well, here it is two days before Christmas, and we still like each other! (And love one another, too!) God is so very good. Merry Christmas!!
The book of Jonah is quite an interesting book because there are so many interesting literary uses by the author. For instance God’s prophet, Jonah, twice is willing to be killed but the pagan sailors and the people of the sinful city are found worshipping God after they are spared from death. The pagan sailors and the people of Nineveh worship Jonah’s God. Jonah prays in the whale and most likely repents. However, his actions do not back up his repentance in the chapters following his prayer. He gets angry about the plant dying that covered him, but he cared less about the sailors, people of Nineveh and animals dying.
Several times the phrase “go down” is used. He went down into the ship, down to Joppa, down into the fish. Several uses of personification are used as well. In verse 4 the original reflects that the ship was thinking or considering breaking up. It is a very interesting book that uses several literary devices in order to help the reader have certain characteristics of the story emphasized in certain ways
We need to see this theme in Jonah: God’s sovereign compassion in the midst of man’s decisions.
Think about all the moves Jonah made and then the moves God makes sovereignly:
- God’s prophet runs.
- God brings pagan sailors to himself because of Jonah running.
- Jonah runs.
- God creates a storm and prepares a fish to be on call to swallow Jonah.
- Jonah delivers an 8 word message.
- God uses that 8 word message to bring an entire pagan city to repentance toward God.
- Jonah sat outside the city to watch the explosion of the city (popcorn and soda in hand).
- God builds a plant then destroys it with a worm.
God’s Compassion to the sailors. Those poor sailors they have to throw out all the cargo. How are they shown compassion? It could have been worse they could have died even though they were pagan. Pagan sailors acknowledged Gods sovereignty and they feared him with a great fear and offered him sacrifice and gave vowels. They may have really truly come to God.
God’s Compassion to Nineveh. Nineveh is described as a great city that has great wickedness, but God doesn’t destroy them.
God’s Compassion toward Jonah. He spares his life. He also gives Jonah shade. More than anything He shows great mercy even though Jonah is opposing God’s will for his life.
Here is the application for us. God uses wicked and sinful people to accomplish his purposes, like us. He is God and we are not. Often we seek our own wills rather than the will of God. We believe our decisions surpass God’s, so we sin. However, even when we seek our own will God is continuously compassionate and merciful to us. He sovereignly overcomes our bad decisions and works good through us. We can be condemning, critical, selfish, and uncompassionate to people around us. Consider the key verses of the book of Jonah which are 4:10-11, And the Lord said, “You pity the plant, for which you did not labor, nor did you make it grow, which came into being in a night and perished in a night. And should not I pity Nineveh, that great city, in which there are more than 120,000 persons who do not know their right hand from their left, and also much cattle?”
Asked another way, Isn’t God a better decision maker than you because His character is better than yours? Who is the god of your life, you or Him?
- Are there any Christians I will not forgive?
- Are there any unbelievers I refuse to love?
- Is there anything in my life that I am choosing my sovereignty over God’s?
- Are there any current events that I am struggling to entrust to God over what I think should happen?
- Who do I need to pray for asking God to bring them to salvation?
- Talk to God about how you have seen his sovereignty in your decisions recently or in the past.
- Praise the Lord for his specific acts of compassion and rulership to you over the past years.
- Specially praise God for the Gospel where He has shown His Lordship and compassion in your life!
Well, I did it again!! Third time!
First time, I totally destroyed it.
Second time, I broke off a piece but was able to glue it back on.
Third time, well, look at the picture above!
When it happened last week, my wife was standing in the garage watching me. She threw her hands into her face and wildly gestured that I was about to hit the side of the garage door frame, but . . . it was too late! Me, well, I was absolutely frustrated and seeing dollar signs! And in Cunningham fashion repeating to myself, “Dear, oh, dear!!”
Bless her heart, when she got in the passenger side of her Jeep, she simply said, “It’s just stuff.”
There are so many applications to this story.
- In eternity, it will not matter. Yes, I need to be a good steward of what the Lord has entrusted to me such as a vehicle because it belongs to Him . . and it is my wife’s Jeep! But it is just stuff that I will leave behind someday. So why get so uptight about it (Revelation 21:1-7).
- Once again, the frail condition of man was on display. As for man, his days are like grass, as a flower of the field, so he flourishes (Psalm 103:15).
- Plastic does not compare to metal. So much of this world’s things or desires are plastic and hold no value or longevity. 1 John 2:17 reminds us that the world is passing away along with its desires.
- Just as the mirror shattered, so does some of the things in this life. As I read this morning, Those who trust in the LORD are like Mount Zion, which cannot be moved, but abides forever (Psalm 125:1).
- Getting old along with failing eye sight are reminders of a better day when Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him (1 Corinthians 2:9).
- Everyday is a reminder of our total dependence upon God for wisdom, strength, endurance, and supply. I am weak. The Lord is my strength and my shield; in him my heart trusts, and I am helped; my heart exults, and with my song I give thanks to him (Psalm 28:7).
- Here’s another time to preach the Truth to myself and not listen to myself.
- I am not in control of anything! Even my driving. Before destruction a man’s heart is haughty, but humility comes before honor (Proverbs 18:12).
Although I do not drive my wife’s Jeep very often, and now you know why (hahaha), every time I look in that mirror, I’ll want to say, “For cryin’ out loud,” but I will be reminded of one or more of the lessons of life as listened above.
Might as well go ahead and enjoy the journey. We are not Home yet!
Recently while listening to an angry man, those words were uttered and then ended with a bit of a smile as if it made his indignation acceptable.
Folks, we live in an angry world! And you are asking me, “Did you just climb out from under a rock?!?!”
Well, truth is, in the past few weeks I have heard and seen the fruit that comes from that root. Anger, wrath, bitterness from an evil heart destroys.
What does the Bible say about anger? Please take time to read these passages and let them sink into your heart.
- Psalm 37:8 Refrain from anger, and forsake wrath! Fret not yourself; it tends only to evil.
- Proverbs 14:29 Whoever is slow to anger has great understanding, but he who has a hasty temper exalts folly.
- Proverbs 15:1 A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.
- Proverbs 15:18 A hot-tempered man stirs up strife, but he who is slow to anger quiets contention.
- Proverbs 16:32 Whoever is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city.
- Proverbs 19:11 Good sense makes one slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook an offense.
- Proverbs 29:11 A fool gives full vent to his spirit, but a wise man quietly holds it back.
- Ecclesiastes 7:9 Be not quick in your spirit to become angry, for anger lodges in the bosom of fools.
- Ephesians 4:26-27, 31 Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice.
- Colossians 3:8 But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth.
- James 1:19-20 Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; For the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.
Anger rooted in a selfish, sinful, deceitful heart (Jeremiah 17:9) always produces fruit that damages and often destroys lives, homes, churches, marriages, and the world around you.
If you are person given to anger, please soak your soul in these truths from God’s Word. Repent, be reconciled, and memorize these passages. Better to think on truth that sets you free than on the offense that will eat you up inside and cause your heart to be outwardly exposed.
To be angry about trifles is mean and childish; to rage and be furious is brutish; and to maintain perpetual wrath is akin to the practice and temper of devils; but to prevent and suppress rising resentment is wise and glorious, is manly and divine. (Isaac Watts)
Go ahead . . . punch him in the mouth. Then, who’s the fool?
The title of Thursday’s blog posts is so named that I may share various things that are on my heart about life in general. Hence, today, I ask the following questions:
- Is there sin in your life that you have not been honest about before the Lord?
- How do you handle sin in your life?
- What affect does unconfessed sin have on your life, heart and body? Does it leave you in despair, with a sense of hopelessness? What is the cause of that despair?
- When you confess your sin, how does forgiveness affect you?
- What is your view of God and His forgiveness?
- What is different about you after you have confessed your sin?
Now, read Psalm 130, very slowly and meditatively. Once you have read this psalm, take 30 minutes and listen to the following message by Dr. Steve Pettit: Psalm 130 Sermon
When you are done listening; when you have confessed your sin, is Psalm 130:5-7 the song of your heart?