Stir the Embers! (3)

What “log’ have you added to the fire of your marriage in the last 24 hours?

Just as you must continue to stoke a campfire to keep it burning, you must do so in marriage, and that on a daily basis.

How easy it is to take our wife for granted.

Too many relationships are built on what the husband or wife does or doesn’t do for each other.

Today, husband, take your wife by the hand, look her in the eye, and share with her the reasons why you love her. Do not mention any of her actions, what she does or does not do. Share from your heart her inward qualities, her character traits.

“Sweetheart, I love you because you are . . . .”

Find a quiet place to be alone. Take your time. Be real. Enjoy the moment. Confess sin if need be. Encourage her. Be one. No finger pointing.

Then, pray for your wife with thanksgiving acknowledging the work of God’s grace in her life in the past, the present and the days to come.

Stir the embers!!

Stir the Embers! (2)

“Feed the fire!”

That’s another way to say, “stir the embers.”

I love my firepit out back! There’s just something special about a fire on a cool evening, fixings for s’mores, my wife, and the sun setting behind us.

My family and others laugh at me about how much I love building a fire. One thing is for certain, if I don’t feed the fire or stir the embers, it will go out. And, I’m always a bit disappointed to see a good fire come to an end because guests have left or it’s time to call it a night.

As my wife and I approach our 41st wedding anniversary, we are reminded that stirring the embers is a constant need if any marriage is to thrive and survive!

Marriage is a blessed grace gift from God that He owns (Genesis 2:18-25; Matthew 19:4-6), and He enables its fulfillment even in the toughest of times (1 Peter 3:1-7; 4:1-11; 5:5-10).

Here’s five “logs” to add to the fire of your marriage lest it fade and die out. You do not want to just be married in name only, sadly so distant from each other.

Log #1 Keep on dating long after you have been married! This can happen at home, in the backyard, at the kitchen table, at the coffee shop/bookstore, at the beach, in the mountains, downtown, or in another country.

Log #2Do not let your children come between you and your spouse. You vowed to love and cherish your spouse until death do you part. You promised to let no one come between you and your spouse.

One of the greatest securities you can offer your children is to have a fun, loving, devoted, gospel-driven marriage!

Log #3 Hug and kiss! Repeat. Hug and kiss! Repeat. Hug and kiss! Repeat. — Like you wanted to and did when you were engaged!! Don’t fall into the trap of quick pecks/kisses!

Log #4Leave loves notes or cards around the house, in a book, on the mirror, attached to the stirring wheel in the car/truck, or via texts.

Log #5Make prayer with each other a priority on a daily basis! Even if you are out of town, call on the phone.

How’s your marriage fire right now?

Do the embers need to be stirred?

Well, have at it! Throw a log on the fire right now!!

We’re Still Havin’ Fun!

0512161945_hdr.jpg

Today, Denise and I celebrate 36 years of marriage!  What a ride!  We’ve had our “ups” as we anticipated what may come ahead, our “downs” that almost took our breath away, and “twists and turns” that had us leaning against each other and the Lord with our hands in the air or holding on for dear life!

Truth is, the journey has been, is, and will continue to be fantastic!!  Outside of my personal relationship with God the Father through Christ Jesus alone (John 3:16; 10:28-30; Romans 10:9-13), being married to my precious, adorable sweetheart has been the best part of my life!

Having said that, today has not turned out as expected or planned.  Our original destination for two nights was a beautiful bed & breakfast tucked back in the woods along Watts Bar Lake, Whitestone Inn.  That had to be cancelled Monday morning.

Plan #2 was the option of a) Brunch at Well-Bred Bakery, Weaverville, NC, and then Afternoon Tea at the Biltmore Inn, followed up with a drive up the Blue Ridge Parkway to a cottage on Watauga Lake, or b) Brunch at Blackbird Bakery, Bristol, VA and dinner at The Mast Farm Inn, Valle Crucis, NC, with a stay at the cottage.  That had to be cancelled last night.

For a long time now, I have cut out the Love Is cartoons from the newspaper (Yes, I still read a daily newspaper!), and leave them somewhere for Denise.  Today’s cartoon sums up our 36th Anniversary.

Love Is cartoon

No matter, we are still havin’ fun . . . even though Denise has been sick since last Thursday with last night being the worst. (Doesn’t sound like much fun to her, I’m sure, bless her heart.)

What a gal!  Even though she didn’t feel good, she got up, fixed her hair, did the makeup routine, and put on something she knew I liked and would be comfortable for her.  I “scolded” her for going to such trouble, but her reply, “I wanted to look good for you on our anniversary.”  Tear in the eye right there and an enlarged heart!  She’s a keeper!!

Near noon she said in the words of Pooh Bear, “My tummy’s rumbling.”  “What sounds good to you,” I asked.  Her reply surprised me, “Onion rings!”  Well, that demanded a take-out order from Cheddar’s for a World-Class Chicken sandwich, cole slaw, and onion rings.  As we sat on the back porch, one of our most favorite spots in the world, we enjoyed our meal, although she didn’t eat much, and I read my anniversary card from her.  . . tears and an enlarged heart, again!

Today is a very special day for us, and we like to make much of special days.  But in reality, today is like any other day because being married to Denise is special and marriage is very special.  That’s why we work at it every day, seriously.

We’re still havin’ fun, and she’s still the one . . . ‘til death do us part or Christ comes in the rapture (1Thessalonians 4:13-18).

What’s fun special about your marriage today?  It’s your choice.

From a pastor’s heart,

Dale

winnie-pooh-quote-3

Sneak Attack

Today is one that has gone down in infamy in the history of this great land of ours.  I remember exactly where I was the morning of the first strike on 9/11.  Even as I write this, there is sadness in my heart for all who lost their lives and were injured as well as anger toward the aggression of our enemies. There is much to be said about these attacks that came without warning.  This was a day that changed our country forever.

Every day, marriages are also under the aggressive attack of the Enemy.  Since marriage is the first divine institution created by God (Genesis 2:18-25), is a picture of Christ’s relationship to the Church (Ephesians 5:18-32), and is the very foundation of society, Satan will do all he can to destroy it!  His devilish plan—sneak attacks.  He doesn’t just “show up” at your front door and say, “I’m here to destroy you!”  He worms his way into your relationship in small ways along with his accomplice, your old sin nature.  Before you know it, your marriage is weakened and eventually gone forever.

What are some of his sneak attacks (temptations):

  1. If you are a believer, you did not read God’s Word and spend quality time in prayer this morning. And you think that just one morning without meeting with God won’t hurt anything.  Then, the next day the same thing happens.  Before you know it, you have gone a week without spending time with your God. You cannot have a great relationship with your spouse unless you are involved in an intimate, heart, life-changing relationship with Christ.  You think you can get by, but unless your vertical relationship is right, your horizontal relationship will not be right.  Don’t think you can outbox God on this one! (Luke 10:38-42; 2 Timothy 3:16-17)
  2. You let that small irritant in his or her words or actions go without being resolved. You dwell on the offense through the day, and that small thing becomes huge in your sight.  You start adding up offenses.  Instead of attacking the problem, the enemy has you attacking and blaming the person.  In the words of Barney Fife, you must “Nip it in the bud!”  If not, the enemy has built up a stronghold in your marriage, and down you go!  (1 Corinthians 13:4-8a; Ephesians 4:25-32).
  3. You think the grass is greener on the other side! When you were pursuing each other, dating, and absolutely enthralled with one another, you believed that life would just be an empty existence without the other person by your side forever!  Now, you are just two individuals existing in a marriage without any spark, life, fun, enjoyment, edification, and commitment.  Now, instead of her being your “drop-dead gorgeous honey,” she’s the old lady.  Instead of him being that “hunka, hunka hunk of burning love,” he’s the old man!  No more terms of endearment.  No more hugs.  No more passionate kisses.  No more opening the car door for her and treating her like a lady.  No more respect and encouragement given to him.  So, that girl at the office or that man next door starts looking enticing.  BE CAREFUL!  No marriage is beyond repair and restoration in the sight of God (Romans 5:20-21)!!!!!!!  This whole decline started small.  There is hope (Genesis 18:14; 1 Corinthians 10:13).  Run to the cross, humble yourself and repent (James 4:6-10).  Confess your sins to each other and start praying together again (James 5:16). Go back to your dating days and do the things you used to do and the things that God intended for you to enjoy in marriage.

9/11 was a day you will never forget in American history!  The day your marriage is history because of those sneak attacks that you never took care of is a day that will go down in infamy.  Just as America is constantly trying to ward off those sneak attacks, do the same in your marriage.  Start today!