Monthly Archives: September 2021

How to Find a Good Wife part 4

Pastor Mike has been preaching on the family and the last couple of weeks his sermons have been on marriage. That is what prompted me to write these last several blogs as a complement to the information taught on weekends. Another reason that I decided to write these even though most have already heard the stories I used, is because 1 Peter 3 teaches that husbands are to honor their wives, so I decided to write something about marriage and to write it in such a way as to honor Patty.

The fourth quality I was looking for was a woman who understood and was comfortable with the roles of husbands and wives as described in the Bible. A vital part of that was that she would be submissive to me as her husband. My definition and mental image of how that would work was almost totally defined by what I had grown up with and witnessed between my Dad and Mom.

Sometime during my Junior year in High School, our church had a visiting missionary, and he spoke on marriage. The only thing that I remember him saying that has stuck in my mind all these years was, “the perfect illustration of a relationship that was based on authority and submission was Jesus Christ and God the Father.” He went on to say, ”Jesus was God, equal with the Father. Jesus was all-powerful, all-wise, but He was submissive to the Father in everything.” The purpose of the authority and submission in the Trinity was to facilitate unity; even in a perfect, sinless relationship authority and submission were required for the sake of unity.

Once we started dating regularly we saw each other and spent time together almost every day, and it wasn’t very long before I recognized that we got along quite well. In our conversations, our walks, and various activities Patty had a natural and gracious way of practicing deference toward me that made me feel like a king, and made her very attractive to me.

I was on the school baseball and basketball team, and in both sports we practiced during the regular dinner time in the cafeteria and ate after everybody else was gone. The people who worked in the kitchen would put food on those big metal dishes with multiple divided off areas, one per guy, and then put them in the oven to keep them warm for us. Patty worked in the kitchen as part of her school financial aid program, and she was often working when we came in to eat. All the guys got their own platter of food out of the oven and sat down, but when Patty was working she would bring mine out to me. The guys started giving me such a hard time about it that she began to bring everyone’s out. Once she figured out our schedule she would have them all set out on the table waiting for us when we walked in.

It didn’t take me very long to decide that I wanted to marry her.

How to Find a Good Wife part 3

The third characteristic that I was looking for in a girl that I would marry is that she would be tough. Not tough in an unfeeling, rough kind of way, but tough in a being able to handle trials without complaining kind of way.

Back when we attended college in Portland there was a permanent Theme Park with zillions of rides at what we called Jantzen Beach in the area just before you got on the I-5 bridge to Vancouver, Washington. It was a place that a lot of kids in the college I attended went to for dates. So I asked Patty if she wanted to go to Jantzen Beach and go on a couple of rides with me. I thought it would be a great way to get her to sit real close to me as we were flung around on a whirling ride.

She sounded excited when I asked her, so off we went. There weren’t many people there at the park the night we went, and when we got on what was called the octopus we were the only riders. The Octopus had eight long arms like spokes on a bicycle that went around and around. At the end of the eight long arms were eight smaller arms that had a seat for two at the end of each one and these went round and round as well. So the seats for two were going round and round in two dimensions very fast, and the whole thing would stop suddenly and change directions. Because there was no line of people waiting to ride the Octopus the guy running it just let us keep on riding.

I didn’t know it then but Patty gets motion sickness very easy, and she started getting sicker and sicker and vomited. I started yelling as loud as I could at the guy to stop and let us off, but he just let it keep going round and round, round and round. Finally after what seemed hours he stopped the ride and let us off. We went to a bench and just sat for a long time. Finally as they were shutting the place down for the night I suggested that we head back to school. Patty could barely stand up and she walked with a distinct bent-over posture that made her look like an old, homeless guy that frequented that place. After we got back to the campus parking lot I walked her back to the girl’s dorm and as she went in the door she turned around and said to me with a smile, “Thank you very much for taking me tonight, I had a wonderful time!”

As she walked off into the girls dorm I stood there with my mouth hanging open thinking, now that is one tough girl. Patty was the mother of eight kids, and the wife of a church-planting pastor and I don’t remember of ever hearing her complain or grumble about anything. Yep, she is one tough girl.

How to Find a Good Wife, part 2

In my wife hunting effort as a 19 year old I came up with five characteristics that I wanted in the woman I married. I arrived at them as a result of some advice from my Dad, my observations of what I deemed good marriages and bad in our community and church, and the home I grew up in. I am not exactly sure what it was, but our home life and family culture was incredibly secure and positive and resulted in us kids having healthy self-worth and an attitude of confidence so that we believed we could do just about anything. As a dumb 19 year old I was smart enough to recognize that as much as I loved my Dad, and as much wisdom as I gained from him it was my Mom that created the environment in our family that I valued so much, and I wanted to have a family like ours.

The second characteristic on my list was someone who was incredibly patient, who wouldn’t get her feelings hurt by every bad move her husband would make, didn’t get irritated or angry at people who made her life difficult, and who was always nice no matter what happened in her own life circumstances.

Even at the age of 19 I knew that a girl like that was extremely scarce, but I was determined to find such a rare gem.

After the “Fred haircut prompt,” I got up the nerve to ask Patty out on a date ; much to my surprise, she accepted, and we began to “hang out” together. I asked her if she would like to drive up to my home in Trout Lake, about a two-hour drive, see the cows, Mt Adams, and meet my parents. She agreed and even sounded excited about the trip.

After arriving, doing all the introductions, having a little tour of the area and our farm, and eating lunch together, Patty asked if any of our cows were tame enough to ride; she had always wanted to ride a cow. Dad responded that there was one old cow that would probably put up with someone on her back. We went out to the area where the cows were starting to congregate because it was getting close to milking time. We cornered the one Dad thought would be tame enough, and he held the cow’s head while I helped Patty up on her back. The cow just stood there, and Patty asked if I could get her to walk around a little. To this day, I don’t know what possessed me, but I slapped the cow on the butt, and she started to buck and run. Patty wouldn’t do very well in the rodeo because she only lasted two bucks before she flew up in the air and landed in the manure on her hands and knees, getting covered with the juicy, smelly stuff, and dripping off of her hair.

I very quickly went to help her up, thinking that any future with Patty just ended, but much to my surprise she was laughing. I thought, she must not have seen me slap the cow. She said, “I only wanted a slow walk! but, thank you, I won’t forget that experience!” That was amazing, but even more amazing is that she has been like that for 54 years of marriage to me.

How to Find a Good Wife

When I went to College I was wife hunting. I wanted to get married, I was going to be a successful dairy farmer, and every successful dairy farmer I knew had a good wife. I didn’t want to just get married, I wanted to marry a good wife, like what is described in Proverbs 31. So when I say I was wife hunting, I was’t looking for an available female close to my age, I was looking for someone special that would be a very good wife, a perfect wife. How does a 19-year-old boy go about hunting a wife? He comes up with a list of character traits like in Proverbs 31, but not quite so long. I had a list of five character traits, that were clear, easy to understand, and hopefully easy to spot. I was determined not to compromise on these character traits even if she was mind-numbing beautiful.

The first one was that she would be someone who was nice to other people, not just to other nice people, people who were easy to be nice to, but to people that it would be hard to be nice to, people that no one else was nice to.

One day I was walking through campus, and I saw Fred wearing a sport coat, a tie, and his hair was cut and combed. Fred was a really smart guy in our class but he was strange. He had a stroke when he was a young kid and it affected him physically in a number of ways, and it really affected his brain. As I said he got good grades but he didn’t know how to relate to people. He regularly said very inappropriate things, he never showered or brushed his teeth, his clothes were always dirty, his hair was long and messy, and he invariably had his shirt buttoned up in the wrong holes. Because of the way he was he didn’t have any friends, most of the kids on campus avoided him. So when I saw him all spruced up looking very sharp I was surprised to say the least. I asked him what was going on and he said “I got a haircut! so I decided to take a shower, shave, and brush my teeth, then I decided to dress up a little, so I bought myself some new clothes.” I said, “all that because of a haircut?” He responded with an emphatic, “yep!” I then asked what prompted the haircut and he said, “Patty asked me if she could give me one and I said sure! I wasn’t going to turn down a free haircut from a pretty girl!” Patty who,” I responded, “Patty Burtner, nicest girl I know.”

My wife hunting beeper started to go off. I wonder how she is on the other four? I think I will find out.


I write regularly about self-control because it is so important in living a righteous and holy life. Most Christians don’t plan on sinning, they just can’t seem to win in the wrestling match with the devil, the world, and their own flesh, and they don’t know how to get strong enough to win that daily war. Self-control is exactly what it sounds like, controlling self, which is doing what you want to do instead of what the devil wants you to do, doing what you know is the right thing instead of what the world pressures you into doing, and doing the hard thing that produces results instead of the easy stuff that your flesh is addicted to.

The apostle Paul often compares living the Christian life with athletics. In 1 Corinthians 9:24 he says that athletes exercise self-control in every area of their life to win a prize that will not last, but Christians exercise self-control in every area of their life to win a prize that will last for all eternity.

The key to growing in self-control is to focus on the finish line, the day we stand before Jesus at the judgment seat of Christ and are held accountable for the life we have lived for Him and are rewarded for what we have done with our life that matters.

Every morning in my prayer of commitment, I pray to the LORD and say, “today, Lord Jesus, I will live my life as of it is the last day I have before I stand before you and give an account of what I have done and am rewarded for my accomplishments for the Lord.

Self-control is all about what motivates you.

My Goals

I just finished writing my goals for 2022. It is a little early, but I like to have them done by the time I start my leadership classes so that I can use mine as an example on how to write goals. Learning how to write good, motivational goals is one of the major things that those who are in my leadership classes will learn. Leadership I is all about personal growth in character, becoming a person who God will use to do his work. Leadership II is all about bearing much fruit as a disciple of Jesus, and everyone learns what the key principles are for being a highly productive person. Leadership III is learning how to communicate clearly, how to teach others effectively, and preach when the opportunity arises so that the hearers are well taught and motivated to do what you are teaching them to do.

I have 73 goals this year because I will be 73 years old next month and I have written one goal per year old I am since I was 18 years old. Some of the goals I set this year don’t really need to be goals because I have done them long enough that I would do them whether I made them a goal or not, such as my Bible reading goal. I put these in my goal list because of the teaching and modeling I do with them in my leadership class, and I want everyone to have a Bible reading goal so I put mine in. One of my guiding principles when I write my goals is that every year I will learn a new skill that I have never learned before, I will go someplace I have never been before, and I will do something that I have never done before. I also try to have several BHAG’s, “Big Hairy Audacious Goals.” One of my BAGS’s is to pedal my bicycle 4,000 miles to Yorktown, Virginia this summer. That should be a fun goal, an exciting goal, and a very hard one, that is why it is a BHAG.

One of the diseases common to all people is one called “rutitus”, (spell checker had fun with that one!). Rutitus is the tendency that people have to get in a rut, that is, they do what they have always done and they do it the way they have always done it. Rutitus is caused by a combination of a fear of failing, the security and comfort that doing the same old things the same old way brings, and it is just plain easier.

One of the purposes of goal setting is to push ourselves out of the ruts that we are in. It is one of the reasons that is hard to get people to set goals. People like their ruts for the reasons that I have already mentioned.

Conditional Strength

Living righteously takes a huge amount of inner strength, which all comes from God. God loves to give His strength to people who love Him and who are serving Him. He gives His strength to people who meet the conditions that He has established. The more faithful that we are in meeting the conditions the more strength that He gives us.

Probably the most basic of conditions to receiving God’s strength is reading the Bible. In the Bible there are dozens of different blessings that God gives to those who love His Word, who read it, memorize it, meditate on it, and who study it.

A few of the blessings that we receive when we faithfully read the Bible are;

Peace amid chaos. Psalms 119:165 Those who love Your law have great peace, and nothing causes them to stumble.

Extraordinary wisdom to know what to do and say in any and every situation. Psalms 119:97-100 O how I love Your law! It is my meditation all the day. Your commandments make me wiser than my enemies, for they are ever mine. I have more insight than all my teachers, for Your testimonies are my meditation. I understand more than the aged, because I have observed Your precepts.

Growing righteousness. Psalms 119:9-11 How can a young man keep his way pure? By keeping it according to Your word. With all my heart I have sought You; Do not let me wander from Your commandments. Your word I have treasured in my heart, That I may not sin against You.

A healthy soul. Psalms 19:7 The law of the Lord is perfect, restoring the soul.

A growing righteousness. 1 Peter 2:2 like newborn babies, long for the pure milk of the word, so that by it you may grow in respect to salvation,

A supernatural strength. Psalms 138:2-3 For You have magnified Your word according to all Your name.
On the day I called, You answered me;
You made me bold with strength in my soul.

Some people will say to me, “how much do I have to read the Bible?” It all depends on how much of God’s many cool blessings that you want.

God Loves Some more than Others!

A number of year’s ago in my sermon I said quite emphatically, “God loves some of you here this morning way more than some of you others.” I may have even sung my personal song that I sing all of the time, “Jesus loves me more than you!” I then went on and made my main point in the sermon, which was based on 2 Corinthians 9:7 “God loves a cheerful giver.” I was preaching a sermon on giving in preparation for our special offering for our Foreign Missions ministry.

After the service, a visiting lady stormed up to me and began giving me a significant scolding for my lousy theology. I let her vent for a few minutes, and then when she stopped for a second to take a breath, I asked her if she was in the habit of giving some of her money sacrificially and cheerfully to God’s work. She stopped talking and stood and just looked at me for the longest time, I assumed she was trying to think of something to say, then she just turned around and left and I haven’t seen her since. Not a good way to attract people to come back to a church service again.

One of the things that motivates me to pursue holiness diligently is the fact that God indeed is closer relationally to those who are pressing on to righteousness than those who are changing little. I desire God’s face to shine upon me. I want to please Him with my life. I want to sense His pleasure in my lifestyle and attitude.

Psalms 5:12 For it is You who blesses the righteous man, O Lord, You surround him with favor as with a shield.

Psalms 11:7 For the Lord is righteous, He loves righteousness; The upright will behold His face.

Psalms 33:5 He loves righteousness and justice; The earth is full of the lovingkindness of the Lord.

Psalms 37:29-31 The righteous will inherit the land
and dwell in it forever. The mouth of the righteous utters wisdom, and his tongue speaks justice. The law of his God is in his heart; his steps do not slip.

Proverbs 15:9 The way of the wicked is an abomination to the Lord, but He loves one who pursues righteousness.

Psalms 5:4-6 For You are not a God who takes pleasure in wickedness; No evil dwells with You. You hate all who do iniquity. You destroy those who speak falsehood; The Lord abhors the man of bloodshed and deceit.

Blind Pharasees

Matthew 23:25-28 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and of the dish, but inside you are full of robbery and self-indulgence. You blind Pharisee, first clean the inside of the cup and of the dish, so that the outside of it may become clean also. Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which on the outside appear beautiful, but inside you are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness. So you, too, outwardly appear righteous to men, but inwardly you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.

Jesus says “woe” eight times to the Scribes and Pharisees. They obviously got some things wrong to get that much scolding from Jesus. In verse 28, Jesus says something interesting; he said that “outwardly they appeared righteous to men, but inwardly they were full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.” On the outside they behaved pretty good, why? What was their motive?

Matthew 23:5 But they do all their deeds to be noticed by men.

Matthew 6:1 Beware of practicing your righteousness before men to be noticed by them; otherwise you have no reward with your Father who is in heaven.

The biggest hurdle we have in pursuing righteousness is motive. It is so hard to keep our motive pure, and to pursue holiness to please the Lord rather than people. We can see people, we can hear people and it only takes a minute for our motives to move from North to South, wham, just like that and we can go days before we notice, and by then we often don’t care.

One of the warning signs that our motive for pursuing holiness has moved from pleasing God to pleasing people is that we get our feelings hurt easily, and we get weary in well-doing.

You don’t want to be a person who does all the right things for all the wrong reasons and doesn’t even know it. What a shame when you stand before Jesus at the “Judgment Seat of Christ” and everything you have done with your life is burned up.

If I am Saved by Grace, Why Pursue Righteousness?

1. If a person is genuinely born again, headed for heaven, not hell, they have had a heart change, the Holy Spirit is now living in them, and as a result they want to become holy like God, they have a desire to do good put in them by God. If the desire to be holy and righteous is not in you it is probably because you aren’t truly saved.

Philippians 2:12-13 So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.

2. God loves righteousness, and righteous people are His favorites.

Psalms 146:8c The Lord loves the righteous;

Luke 1:6 They were both righteous in the sight of God, walking blamelessly in all the commandments and requirements of the Lord.

Luke 1:30 The angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; for you have found favor with God.

3 John 1:11 Beloved, do not imitate what is evil, but what is good. The one who does good is of God; the one who does evil has not seen God.

3. God uses righteous, holy people to do His work. That super motivates me.

4. Those who are pressing on to grow in character, holiness, and righteousness sense God’s pleasure in them and, as a result, have a strong sense of self-esteem.

5. Those who are never standing still but always pressing on to grow and change, to become holy and righteous we do very well at the judgment seat of Christ, they will receive many rewards that will last forever.

6. Those who love righteousness will have a special power given to them from God and it will impact their entire life.

7. The righteous will have much better relationships with other people, especially family and friends.