04 August 2011 ~ 0 Comments

Thoughts on an Ugly Issue

Ed Stetzer writes a blog with a big following. Literally thousands. Is that because he is a good writer? Articulate? Intelligent? Knows how to make a blog site look great? Well, that could have something to do with it!

A lot of people also read Ed because he’s not afraid to tackle the tough issues. Ed is not scared of controversy. Plus he addresses issues we need to think about whether they are ‘comfortable’ issues or not.

Tough issues.

Like pornography.

He’s currently writing a series on it. It is an ugly issue and perhaps it makes you feel a bit uncomfortable. The statistics are painful, yet we need to know them. We need to be informed so we can properly act.

Here is Thursday’s Quote of the Week from Ed, plus his blog site. I challenge you to read his blog. If nothing more than so you will know how to pray for our society, our families, your marriage.

Quote of the Week …

Addressing the issues of marriage, pornography, and homosexuality in biblical ways will enable a church to engage with its community and thrive in many ways. We must resist the temptation to acquiesce to culture through silence. The church should hold up the “new alternative lifestyle” (men married to women for life in a sexually pure covenant relationship) and live it out.

Ed Stetzer

(I told you he was articulate!)

http://www.edstetzer.com/2011/07/the-pornification-of-american.html#comments

14 July 2011 ~ 0 Comments

A Word of Inspiration for Father Figures

Here is a cool statement on how critical a father figure is to a kid. It is from Randy Hemphill of LifeMinistries. Will talk about him in another blog for sure. Dads and dad-like men, stay on the wall. Keep working, investing, influencing that young guy you hang with. Spend time with them while you can. It flies by so quickly.

Anyway, here is the TQOTW (Thursday Quote of the Week):

“A boy without a father figure is like an explorer without a map.”

07 July 2011 ~ 0 Comments

Ever Thought You’d Married the Wrong Person???

Maybe there IS a time you can wonder if you’d married the wrong person. Maybe.

Enjoy the Thursday Quote of the Day:

“The only time in my married life I have ever thought I might have married the wrong woman is when I saw Paula Deen. It wasn’t her pretty hair or pretty smile. It was because this woman puts a stick of butter in everything!”

– Comedian Aaron Wilburn

23 June 2011 ~ 0 Comments

A Father’s Day Gift Worth Waiting For

Thursday afternoon I looked at my calendar and saw that I had one more counseling session and my week would be made. A 4:00PM with a Joshua Smith. Didn’t know him and I was soon to find out why. (Normally I don’t share – wouldn’t DARE share the name of someone I am seeing, but this is a little different. You’ll see.)

You see, Joshua Smith is a fictitious name. My two daughters, Jennifer and Natalie, made him up. They scheduled the appointment with my assistant, Susan. Then, at 4:00PM promptly, they showed up and informed me that THEY had the last hour of my day plus a lot more. For Father’s Day they “kidnapped me”, taking me to several fun things for the 3 of us to do together.

We went to Sonic for the customary drink. Then they took me to Golf USA in M’boro. They had shorts for me, my clubs, sun screen for my hair-challenged head. I probably hit my driver better than I had at any range in my life. The girls took their swings and actually hit the ball well, too. Before we left we played a round of miniature golf as well. I mostly remember laughter there.

The weather cooperated the whole afternoon with a cloudy day, no rain and lots of breeze. (Thx, Lord.)

We then ate dinner at Longhorn’s, one of my favs. Then, we capped off the evening by getting a cookie at Julia’s.

As we drove home I told them it would have been just as much fun if we 3 had simply walked in the park. It wasn’t the money spent. It was the TIME we shared. It was the effort in planning. It is usually the butt of a joke nowadays, but this time it correctly applies: it was the THOUGHT that counted.

Thank-you, girls, for a wonderful and memorable, and personalized Father’s Day. And thank you, God, for the blessing of such beautiful daughters. One is a wife and mom herself these days. The other is engaged and eagerly pursuing a Master’s degree to soon become a Physician Assistant. So proud of both of them and the men in their lives (David, Jonathan and Josiah).

Sorry if all this sounds sappy or bragging but when you are blessed, it’s just hard to contain. So thanks for letting me share such a special blessing with you.

16 June 2011 ~ 0 Comments

A Quick Look at Marriage & Divorce from the US Census Report

Every once in a while you need to hear some good news on marriage. Here is such a word, from the US Census Bureau of all places. You can check our more info at the link found in the quote.

Our Thursday Quote of the Week:

According to the Census report, Number, Timing, and Duration of Marriages and Divorces: 2009, more than one-half (55%) of all U.S. married couples had been married for at least 15 years, while 35% had celebrated their 25th anniversary. Another 6% had even passed their 50th or golden anniversary. These latest figures for duration of marriages is from 1 to 2 percentage points higher than in 1996, indicating what the Census Bureau called “both the leveling of divorce rates and increases in life expectancy.”

It doesn’t solve all the world’s problems but it is always good to hear that the divorce rate drops down, even if just to the “leveling off” point. Hey, you gotta celebrate when you can!

09 June 2011 ~ 0 Comments

Facts vs Feelings – Must It Be One or the Other?

Recently I saw Ken Davis, a comedian who was very good. Does many Fortune 500 companies every year. Has performed before US presidents. Funny, off beat, strong believer. A lot of humor I could relate to at my age. Good stuff. I bought some of his material at the end of his performance. Some DVD’s and CD’s. I also bought a book of his called Sheep Tales where I found this week’s Thursday Quote of the Week.

In Sheep Tales’ intro, Ken describes the dynamic between fact and feeling. Between emotion and truth. A fresh approach to a subject I am enthralled with because so many people leave their spouses because they’ve “fallen out of love”. That kind of ‘love’ is feeling only. It comes and goes with just about every spouse once in a while.  It will take you from spouse to spouse to spouse, all because you’ve “lost that loving feeling”. (No that’s not the quote this week.)

Anyway, here is Ken’s angle. It suggests that feelings and truth can be married (sorry for the pun) in an effective way. They can work together for good. Here is his thought:

I came to perceive the truth about the fragile relationship between fact and feeling. Emotion alone is deceitful and misleading. Truth alone is cold and tedious. But emotion driven by truth is something else entirely. It endows truth with a heartbeat. It brings biblical truths to the door of our hearts, where we might embrace them and welcome them to settle in and take residence.

Not bad for a comedian, huh? As I said, good stuff. Reminds me of Rocky Balboa when telling someone he was considering marrying Adrienne. He said, “I got gaps. She’s got gaps. Together, we got no gaps.”

Feelings can deceive you. Truth can be cold. But together, they got no gaps.

So in times of marital stress, deciding on that new job, in the midst of temptation, or any other significant time of your life, marry the feelings with the truth. Especially consult the One who called Himself the Way, the Truth and the Life. That’s the Truth who should always drive our lives.

02 June 2011 ~ 0 Comments

There is Courage and Power in Encouragement

Two quotes this week. One from California and one closer to home. A lot closer.

Quote one:

Bob and Yvonne Turnbull are long-time marriage enrichment leaders from California. What a passion for marriages! You can find them at http://www.turnbullministries.org/. Don’t know them personally but I have followed them for years. They are good guys. Check them out.

Encouragement means to instill courage in another.  In this case your mate.  It might mean you encourage them when things at work are tough or they have a new assignment or job.  Be their cheerleader.  Encourage them to do their best.  Give support and comfort to your mate in the mundane times of life as well as the critical times that they need it.  At least once a day, say something complimentary to your spouse.   Scripture encourages us in 1 Thessalonians 5:11 – “So speak encouraging words to one another.  Build up hope so you’ll all be together in this.”

I like the ‘courage’ angle of encouragement. Often when I counsel believers I pray that God will give them confidence of who they are in Christ. When they realize the truth that comes from knowing who they are and what they can do in Christ (like “all things” – Phil 4:13) they face their issues stronger and attack them with assurance that He is with them. Confidence, courage, the ability to get off dead center and do something – these can be found in a simple act of encouragement to your mate.

Quote two:

When speaking to women’s groups, my wife often tells them,

“Be your husband’s builder, his cheerleader. He has enough critics.” (Hey Selma, you just made the Thursday Quote of the Week!)

So be your mate’s encourager today. Instill some courage in your spouse.  It can be powerful. Encourage him spiritually. Brag on her sexually. Say something good about the way you saw her parent today. Boast about him (in front of him) about the great job he does at work. Then watch your mate soar. It will probably come back to you in the form of a better marriage. It often does.

26 May 2011 ~ 0 Comments

If You Don’t Like the Weather …

“Woodland Baptist Church is having church at 6:30 tonight. We have a basement if we need it. “

– Maurice Hays, pastor of the west TN church

What’s with all this weather? More than twice the number of tornadoes for the year already? FOUR TIMES the number in April! Hail breaking windshields in Dallas? Volcano erupting once again in Iceland? Old Man River flooding like crazy!?!? I remember Johnny Carson’s line years ago when the weather was so bizarre:

Mother Nature needs a Midol.

On a more serious note, one of the most heart-wrenching stories (and there have been a lot of them lately) is found at the link below. A young woman tells of her brave husband giving his life to protect hers. WOW. It’s about a 2=minute clip.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21134540/vp/43170303#43170303

Please pray for the people affected by the weather, and know that God is in control. He is sovereign and is working His plan,

whether we like it or not

whether we understand it or not

whether we agree with it or not.

And believe it or not, He does love us and wants NONE of us to perish.

I know from experience that sometimes trusting God in the midst of confusion can be one of life’s greatest challenges. It can also be one of life’s greatest growing points. Pray that the weather victims can experience the latter, even if they need to go through  former to get there.

12 May 2011 ~ 0 Comments

Appetite for Approval … Howard Stern … Works-for-Love

I counseled a woman this week who blatantly stated that she is trying to do good things so, in her mind, Jesus would forgive her for divorcing her husband. I have sensed that kind of “works mentality” before yet never so clearly.

It is a mind set all of us face to some extent at some times in our lives: how can I be more approved and therefore feel more adequate about myself?

Jim Daily of Focus on the Family had a great article about Howard Stern lately. (Yes, that Howard.) Stern confessed his obsessive need for approval. He put it this way:

The curse is I take it so seriously. I gotta know, do you think I did a good show and are you satisfied? That’s the neurosis and that’s the source of all problems for me.

Daily further quoted from a book I am going to read on this matter:

The human heart’s desire for a particular valuable object (human affirmation) may be conquered, but its need to have some such object is unconquerable. How can we break our heart’s fixation on doing “some great thing” in order to heal ourselves of our sense of inadequacy, in order to give our lives meaning? Only when we see what Jesus, our great Suffering Servant, has done for us will we finally understand why God’s salvation does not require us to do “some great thing.” We don’t have to do it, because Jesus has. from Dr. Tim Keller’s Counterfeit Gods

We seek approval from our peers and our Lord by doing. Oh it might be our belief that we are saved by grace; however, if I do just a bit more, how can it not get even more on His “good side”?

What helped the lady I met with was sharing a simple thought I heard long ago. (I’m full of simple thoughts!):

* you cannot do anything to make God love you any more than He does; and

* you cannot do anything to make God love you any less.

God loves you. Period. Regardless of our behavior. Get out of the works-for-love mode. While He is not wild about disobedience, He loves us. We do not serve a tolerant God, but a patient One. No one has tried His patience more than me and every time I have chosen to get back into a right, tight, close walk with Him, He is there, faithful as the first time I called on Him.

Certainly there is nothing wrong with seeking the approval of God. We all want to “make Him happy” and I get that. Just understand that His love is there. If you are a follower of Christ His love is there. Period. Always.

10 May 2011 ~ 0 Comments

Challenging Kids and the Quality of Marriages That Parent Them

Feeding your marriage while raising your kids can at times be tough to do. I don’t know anyone who gets it down perfectly but then again, healthy marriages and healthy parenting isn’t about perfect, is it?

I like articles that make you think. Here is a brief article from the Dayton Daily News (the what? Right!) on whether or not “challenging children” cause bad marriages.

http://www.daytondailynews.com/lifestyle/do-challenging-children-cause-a-bad-marriage–1154521.html

Most of these tips apply to marriages with any children – challenging or not. Use them in your marriage, as you parent your kids. You can do both effectively, you know. (Note that I said effectively, not perfectly!)