It’s Not Just Another Friday!


It’s Good Friday!

“All Fridays are good!”, you may say.

Yes, but not as good as this one.

This is the one that reminds us of what Jesus did on the cross for you and me. He died for us. He died for the people you like and the people you dislike. He died for the people who live good lives and for the people who have destroyed other’s lives by their selfishness. He died for those who have received Him already and He died for those who currently worship other gods. He died for those who we feel deserve His forgiveness and for those we think deserve hell. He covered it all by His sacrifice.

No one is excluded.  

So, have you accepted Him?  The choice is our own.  Jesus will not force us to serve Him but it is important to remember that He is the only way to heaven.  Sound narrow-minded?  If there were other ways to get there, His death would not have been necessary.  

“Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”  John 14:6

He died for us because He loved us enough to do it and He still loves us.  No matter what we’ve done, said, thought – He loves us.  Hard to imagine that type of love isn’t it?  That’s the awesome thing about it.  It’s an incomprehensible love so much greater than our own.  

Jesus loves us, He died for us, and He wants a relationship with us.  What a wonderful day to remember all of these things as we prepare for Easter Sunday – the celebration of not only His death but His victory over it.  You see, He didn’t just die for our sins.  He rose again on the third day so we could have victory over them!

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life.” John 3:16

 

Blue Lights In My Rearview… My Up-Close Experience With The Law.


So tell me… have you ever been stopped by a police officer?

If you have, I think most will agree that it’s a pretty uncomfortable experience!  It starts when you look in your rear view mirror and see the police car behind you.  You quickly look down to check your speed.  Then look back to the mirror.  Your speed.  Your mirror.  Your speed.  Your mirror. Then you wait… wait for those lights… yep, there they are.

The blue lights.

Yesterday morning I saw the blue lights and, after finding a nice spot on the side of the road, the officer walked up to my window and told me why I was pulled over…

“I pulled you over because you didn’t come to a complete stop at that stop sign back there.”

After the officer’s assessment I had mere milliseconds to choose my reaction, which ended up being a polite… “OK.”   This seemed sufficient since – after they checked my license, registration, and proof of insurance – I was allowed to leave with just a warning.

After it was over  I began to think of all the reasons that I should not have been pulled over in the first place.  There were no other cars at the intersection, no pedestrians, and I’m really quite sure that I did stop at the stop sign.  But you know what?  Those reasons don’t matter.  The one with the authority judged my actions and my opinion doesn’t affect that judgement.

Many times people argue with each other and even with God about what is written in the bible.  We dispute it’s meaning, it’s relevance, and it’s importance as if we have some impact on how God will interpret His own word.  The bible is God’s word, not ours.  It shows the plans that He has for us, how much He loves us, and what we need to do to live for Him.

God is not a man, so he does not lie.  He is not human, so he does not change his mind.  Has he ever spoken and failed to act?  Has he ever promised and not carried it through? Numbers 23:19

God is not like man.  He is holy and He is pure.  The rules that He has are for our good, not for our destruction or pain.  His directions are clear and He does not mix words to confuse us or to provide Himself a way out of a difficult situation.  He does not do things out of selfishness.

There will be people who will spend eternity in hell thinking of reasons why it is unfair for them to be there.  Reasons that they should have been the exception.  Why their sin was not that bad.  Why God should have been more understanding, more fair.  But their reasons will not matter.

Like the officer who pulled me over, God gives us plenty of warnings throughout our life.  He shows us undeserved grace and mercy.  But one day He will have to judge us according to the way we lived.  Did we really know Him?  Did we love Him with all of our heart?

Today, decide to take God at His word.  When we see something in our life that does not line up, don’t reason it out or make excuses for its existence.  Live a pure life before God.  If we do that, we won’t just meet Him as a judge…

We’ll be joined to Him as our Father.

Thank you to  MikeSchinkel for today’s photo.

How Retreating Was One Of The Best Things I’ve Ever Done.


Retreating?

In most cases, the thought of retreat seems weak and cowardly. When a group retreats it means the battle is lost and the injured survivors gather together, bandage their wounds, and hope for the best. Well let me tell you, the couple’s retreat we attended this past weekend was anything but weak and cowardly! It was filled with great teaching, powerful worship, and valuable time spent alone with the most important person I know on this earth – my wife!  This past weekend has better equipped my wife and I to go forward as a team into whatever or where ever the Lord leads.

Instead of a Couple’s Retreat, it could be called a Couple’s Challenge!

I mentioned Friday that I would review what I learned this past weekend.  The speaker, Dr. Devon Blanton, has an extensive background in counseling and nutrition and was able to shed light on many areas that affect our marriage.  Things as simple as how a poor diet and the lack of sleep affect our mood, to more detailed things like knowing how our spouse processes information helps us be better communicators.

So here are just ten of the things that I learned or was reminded of this weekend…

  1. Time alone with my wife is not just a nice idea, it’s a mandatory requirement for a strong marriage.
  2. Getting rid of distractions makes time with my wife much more enjoyable.
  3. Having Communion with my wife is an awesome experience!
  4. My wife and I process things differently. The more often I can remember that, the better our marriage can be.
  5. I’m reminded how much fun my wife and I have when we are alone together.
  6. Eating a proper diet and getting enough rest has a huge impact on our marriage.
  7. I’m reminded of how important respecting my spouse is. What her and I do, share, and discuss may very well be no one else’s business. Fortunately, we’ve lived by that standard throughout our marriage and I believe it’s one thing that we’ve done well.
  8. You don’t have to spend hundreds of dollars to have a priceless weekend with your spouse.
  9. I’m reminded how much fun it is to have secret jokes with my wife. Things that only her and I know about.
  10. I’m reminded that no matter how good our marriage is, we can always learn more. More about each other, about being a better partner, and more about what God has to say about our marriage.

Again, this couple’s retreat was not for the weak – it was a challenge! We had about 32 couples attend and now that we are armed with the tools for better, stronger marriages, we are responsible for putting it into action!  I hope that the other couples who attended had as much fun as my wife and I did.

If you have never attended a Christian marriage/couple’s  retreat, find one in your area and put it on your schedule!

Did you attend the 2012 SFWC Couple’s Retreat?  If so, share what you learned!