Monthly Archives: April 2019

Marriage Retreat

We just finished our third Marriage Retreat at Odell Lake Lodge in the month of April. Each one had about 22 couples, so discounting the several couples who came to all three to help there were about 60 couples who came this year. Patty and I spoke at all three and we both had a wonderful time fellowshipping with everyone and getting to know people as we ate with them and shared about our lives in general and also about our marriages. The quality of marriages in our church is all over the board. There are some very unified, spiritually strong, loving, and joy filled marriages, and then there are those that are characterized by anger, bitterness, resentment, fighting, and lack of love. Patty and I are going to celebrate our 50th wedding anniversary this August and we have a very good marriage, characterized by unity, care for one another, enjoyment in our relationship, and a very strong spiritual oneness. The difference is that those who have good marriages work at it. They always want to grow in their marriage relationship so are constantly seeking advice and counsel. Proverbs is clear saying dozens of times in 31 chapters, “In abundance of counselors there is victory”. So many are to proud to seek help, but even the best marriage can use help. Couples who have been married for 50 years and have a good marriage ought to be sought out often for counsel but it doesn’t happen much. Humble, teachable people grow and are blessed by God. Self sufficient, prideful people think that they can do it on their own, but they are wrong and will pay a high price for their arrogance.

Bitterness kills marriages and all relationships

The warnings in the Bible about bitterness are everywhere. Simply put there probably isn’t anything we can do even just a little bit that has more consequence to it than being bitter and its coralarys. The opposite is to forgive anybody of anything quickly no matter how bad what they did to us is and no matter how many times they have done what they have done. It seems a bit overboard to say it like that but Jesus is quite clear on this. We have been forgiven of everything by Him because of His death on a cross, and He commands that we forgive quickly anybody of anything. The consequences of failing to do this is Jesus not forgiving our sins, which means He will not hear our prayers, we will not have peace or joy, we won’t be able to understand the bible, we won’t have any power, and many more equally bad deals. The way I have learned to deal with these situations where I feel hurt, offended, irritated, or just plain judgmental about their life style or performance especially as it relates to and affects my life or the life of someone close to me is to make them a major recipient of my prayers for a season. In the evening when I do most of my praying I think of anyone who I am annoyed with all the way up to hate and every feeling or attitude in between. I pray God’s blessings on them and then ask God to give me the strength to forgive them as He has forgiven me. Every time a negative thought pops into my head about this person I pray, “Father, thank You for forgiving me of all my sins, I choose to forgive this person of all that they have done because You have forgive me. Please bless them with great success in life.”

The Trinitarian Marriage

Some marriages are husband and wife. Other marriages are God, husband and wife. Marriages that have God as a member have huge advantages over the marriage that don’t.

Revelation 3:20 Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me.

God becomes part of a couples marriage who invite Him to be part. When He is an official member of our marriage relationship because we invited Him to be, He gives us strength to do the things that are very difficult to do, but so important. The command to husbands in Ephesians is to love our wives to the same degree that Jesus loved the church and gave his life for the church. That is an impossible command without God’s strength. God gives us the wisdom to know what to say and do in any and every situation that could come up in a marriage.

The Trinitarian Marriage

Some marriages are husband and wife. Other marriages are God, husband and wife. Marriages that have God as a member have huge advantages over the marriage that don’t.

Revelation 3:20 Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me.

God becomes part of a couples marriage who invite Him to be part. When He is an official member of our marriage relationship because we invited Him to be, He gives us strength to do the things that are very difficult to do, but so important. The command to husbands in Ephesians is to love our wives to the same degree that Jesus loved the church and gave his life for the church. That is an impossible command without God’s strength. God gives us the wisdom to know what to say and do in any and every situation that could come up in a marriage.

Anger

I feel angry a lot. I am always in a hurry, and something or someone is regularly interrupting my pursuit of getting everything crossed off my todo list, and I get instantly angry. Though I feel the emotion of anger off and on all through most every day I seldom act angry or say something in anger. I have had that as one of my major commitments in life for a number of years. When I think and remember many times in the past when I acted and spoke in anger to family members, friends, acquaintances, and perfect strangers I cringe, and wish I could take them all back. One of the most significant lessons I ever learned in life is that I don’t have to act the way I feel. I can be self-controlled, patient, gracious, kind, tender-hearted, and quickly forgiving by choosing to be, because God commands it, and depending on God’s strength as I do.

Keys to overcoming anger; (1) Memorize and meditate on anti-anger verses in the Bible.

Psalms 37:8 Cease from anger and forsake wrath; Do not fret; it leads only to evildoing.

Ephesians 4:31 Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice.

(2) Never make excuses, justify, or blame others for your anger. Until you say to yourself, there is no excuse, ever for dishonoring a person by my words spoken in anger, you will not conquer the emotion of anger.

(3) Every morning make a commitment for that day that you will not act or speak in anger to anyone no matter what they did or said, and ask God for His strength to keep the commitment.God’s power flows to commitment.

Death

I was part of the Memorial Service today for Chuck McGehee who died Saturday morning from a year long battle with liver cancer. It was a nice service with many friends and family members sharing their memories of Chuck’s life. What really made it nice was that Chuck was a faithful and fully devoted follower of Jesus Christ. The confidence that he is now with Jesus enjoying all the beauty of heaven and the amazing joy of being in the presence of Jesus is what makes a service like today such a positive one. The Apostle Paul said that we don’t grieve at the death of a loved one like the world does because they have no hope. Death is the end of the line for them, everything is over, capoot, nothing matters any more. For me and all who are followers of Jesus, death is the real beginning of life not the end of it. I can’t imagine how unmotivated I would be if I believed that when I died I just turned to dirt and that was it, everything was over and all that I did would soon be forgotten.

Ecclesiastes 3:11 He has also set eternity in their heart,

Romans 1:19-20 because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.

God has put in us the awareness of Himself, we know there is a God, and we also know that we are eternal, we don’t just die and turn to death, we know that in our heart. So why would so many say they don’t believe in God? The Bible says that people deny the existence of God because they don’t want to be submissive to Him, they want to be their own god, deciding what is right and wrong. It is the original temptation by the devil all over again.

But those who deny the existence of God are really being more honest or real than the person who says that they believe in God, in Jesus as their Savior, but live their life with no thought about following, obeying, loving, or serving Jesus as Lord of their life. Such people are not saved, not headed for heaven, and are the reason many people choose not to follow Jesus, because it doesn’t appear to make any difference.

Chuck was the real deal. He loved Jesus, followed Him, and worked hard to love people in obedience to Christ. I look forward to the day I enter into Glory, get my new body, see my Dad and all those who are already there.

Worthy

In the beginning God created man in His image and likeness to live and fellowship with Him forever. This life, on this earth was not the primary goal of God, it is a tool and method of finding out who was worthy to live with Him, and to make them more worthy by means of trials and challenges.

2 Thessalonians 1:5This is a plain indication of God’s righteous judgment so that you will be considered worthy of the kingdom of God, for which indeed you are suffering.

2 Thessalonians 1:11 To this end also we pray for you always, that our God will count you worthy of your calling, and fulfill every desire for goodness and the work of faith with power,

Ephesians 4:1 Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called,

It is an interesting concept in that we are counted as worthy by God because we counted ourselves as unworthy.

2 Corinthians 3:5-6 Not that we are adequate in ourselves to consider anything as coming from ourselves, but our adequacy is from God, who also made us adequate as servants of a new covenant,

Our worthiness grows as we serve God, doing his work, blessing people, teaching, praying, and giving.