If your Gonna Fight, You Might as well win!

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ,” Ephesians 1:3

Do you ever fight in your marriage?

I once heard an older couple who had been married for many years say that they had never fought in their marriage. I didn’t laugh out loud at the time, but I questioned the truth of the statement. After being married for more than 18 years, I have concluded that fighting in marriage is a normal thing. Although, it needs to shift from fighting each other to fighting together.

If you’re gonna fight, you might as well win…We need to fight to have a blessed marriage!

The marriage relationship is the most important relationship next to a relationship with Jesus Christ.

I was reading a book recently that described how our marriages are in a war. Given the statistics on marriage, divorce, and single parent homes; the reality is, we must fight if we are going to have a marriage that is blessed. Just make sure your right hook is not going towards your spouse but the enemy of your marriage.

A blessed marriage brings joy and happiness to the husband and wife.

A blessed marriage brings stability to a child’s life.

A blessed marriage brings security to a community.

A blessed marriage is what God intended in the first place.

5 Things to Fight For:

  • Fight for time to enjoy your spouse (meal together, good movie, walk in the park, cuddle on the couch, etc.)
  • Fight for times of prayer together with your spouse.
  • Fight for times of praying alone to ask God to bless your spouse.
  • Fight for Good Thoughts about your spouse.
  • Fight FOR your spouse NOT against your spouse.

The verse above is not speaking of marriage but it provides a truth that I am applying to marriage. The marriage that is IN Christ, has every spiritual blessing available to it. Go ahead, ask God to help your marriage realize every spiritual blessing that is yours IN Christ!

High School Orientation Already!

“There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love.” 1 John 4:18

Last evening my wife and I took our oldest son to his high school orientation evening (I’m that old!). After the initial talk, we went to the student center where all the clubs were represented. I walked by the “leadership” club with my son and asked what it was all about. The first thing the student said was, “we just wanna spread the love”.

Earlier that morning, I didn’t do a very good job of “spreading the love”. I had one of those interactions with my wife that afterward, I wish I could have pushed the rewind button and started over. I will not go into all the details because I don’t care to share with you how lame I really am. But, when my wife asked me a question of how she could support me, I gave her a response that put her on the defense.

After analyzing my response, I came to understand how that response could have made her feel that way. I came to realize that my response was rooted in fear. The Bible tells us that “perfect love casts out fear”. Fear causes us to respond in ways that are not loving. Fear causes us to say things that are the opposite of love because to love is the opposite of fear.

What areas are you responding out of fear rather than love?

Husbands, Wives…Dads, Moms…we need to grow in our love so that our interactions can be loved based rather than fear based. To grow in Love is to grow in Christ, to grow in Christ is to grow in Love!

Fear causes separation, Love brings together

Have a Great Week!

Claim God’s Promises for Your Marriage!

“And he will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither; and in whatever he does, he prospers.” Psalm 1:3

The promises above are incredible!

The promises above are out of this world!

The promises above can be yours if you want them!

Are you prospering in your marriage? Is your marriage growing? Is your marriage fulfilling?

I want to encourage you to open your Bible to Psalm 1 and read verses 1-3.

Go Ahead, Read Psalm 1:1-3 before you continue.

Everyone can grow in their marriage. Everyone can do better as a spouse. You know the answer to the common question, “Good.” That’s how many people answer: “How is your marriage?”

Rebecca and I have a great marriage! This is not without MUCH effort. This is not without struggle. The fact is, relationships are work. The amazing thing is that God promises that the person who is willing to meditate on His Word regularly and consistently will prosper in ‘whatever’ he/she does.

Want a stronger marriage? Meditate on God’s word regularly and consistently.

“How can you say that, Randy? How does that work?”

God’s Word teaches us to Forgive. God’s Word teaches us to Love. God’s Word teaches us to look out for others more than ourselves; this is called being Unselfish. God’s Word teaches us to Think Right.

Go ahead, claim the promises of God for your marriage!

Have a Great Week!

Regaining the Joy of the Dance

“Set me as a seal upon your heart, as a seal upon your arm…” Song of Solomon 8:6

This morning Rebecca and I woke up to this view. We are staying on the Oregon Coast while attending a marriage conference. In this blog, I am going to give you some of the teaching that we received last evening at our last teaching session led by long time pastors in our conference.

Regaining the Joy of the Dance by Tom and Roberta Hurt (Retired Pastors from OCEC)

  • Betrayal – The Loss of the Dance!

“Stay Alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.” 1 Peter 5:8

Betraying your spouse doesn’t happen in a moment but over a slow fade (ref. Casting Crows “Slow Fade”)…we need to have boundaries in our lives!

  • The Road Back – Practice Your Individual Dance Steps!

“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive…” 1 John 1:9

“Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other…” Ephesians 4:32

“confess your sins to each other and pray for each other…” John 5:16

The Road Back involves: Pursuing God, Repentance, Humility, Boundaries and Accountability

               Bonus thought from Pastor Tom: Satan lives in lies and secrets

  • Restoration 101 – Learning to Dance Again!

“Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.” Ephesians 5:21

Find new activities that you are your spouse can do together

  • Restored – The Joy of the Dance!

“Set me as a seal upon your heart, as a seal upon your arm…” Song of Solomon 8:6

“Two are better than one…A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.” Ecclesiastes 4:9, 12

The way you think about your spouse is the way you live towards your spouse. Make sure your thinking is right towards your spouse.

If you have betrayed your spouse or have been betrayed, please consider these steps. Having a strong marriage takes work but it is totally worth it.

Heavenly Father, please bring restoration to marriages in our churches. May our marriages become a blessing to You, Lord, and an example to the communities that we live in. Amen.  

A Piece of Camelot

“O my strength, I will sing praises to Thee; For God is my stronghold, the God who shows me lovingkindness.” Psalm 59:17

This morning, on my prayer walk, I was asking God to continue to change me into the man that He wants me to be. I asked God to help me be a husband and a father that brings love, joy, and peace to my household. I said, “God, please help me bring a piece of Camelot to my home.” I borrowed this idea from a book I recently read by Stu Webber.

The home is supposed to be a place of safety.

The home is supposed to be a place of rest.

The home is supposed to be a place full of joy and peace.

The home is supposed to be our little piece of Camelot.

I love the verse above because it shows us where are True Home is…with God!

Husbands…Wives…Dads…Moms…you have the privilege of working towards having your own piece of Camelot at home.

How do we get there? How do we achieve this?

  1. Smile…work at keeping your expressions full of joy.
  2. Use Kind words…work at speaking to your family in a way that lifts them up and not tear them down.
  3. Think…think on God’s Word, you’ll be amazed at how it lifts your spirit.
  4. Pray…Ask God to help make you into a person of love, joy, and peace.

Having a piece of Camelot doesn’t take money…it doesn’t take perfection…it doesn’t take a round table…

Having a piece of Camelot takes intentional effort to be the people that God designed us to be in the first place!

Have a Great Week!

Responding to the Fire

“The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in lovingkindness.” Psalm 103:8

As I type this, I hear the low roar of our woodstove. There is something comforting to me about a contained roaring fire that brings heat to my home. As hot and strong as the fire is right now, it didn’t get there on its own. I got up out of my chair seven or eight times to interrupt my reading to tend to the fire. Add a piece of wood, rearrange the wood, add a piece of wood, open the door, add a piece of wood, close the door…responding to the fire in the right way this morning led it to burn hot.

As a parent and a spouse, the way I respond to my family can either weaken or strengthen my relationship with my family member. Just as my responses to the fire in the woodstove this morning led to a strong fire. My responses can lead to a stronger family. My responses are highly important to building a strong bond between us.

God is compassionate and gracious. God is slow to anger. God is full of lovingkindness. God expects me to live by His example. God gives us the example of how we should respond to our family.

Is there an area that you need to improve your responses to your family? I certainly need to continue to grow in this area.

One way to grow in this area is to spend extra time thinking on the parts of scripture that reveal the character of God. As we think about God’s word and His character while trying to practice it; God starts adding His character to our lives.

Want to start today? Try spending some time in Psalm 103:8-10.

Have a Great Week!

Family Rest

“Rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him; do not fret because of him who prospers in his way,” Psalm 37:7

My wife and I love to sit and watch the ocean! We love to watch the waves crash on the shore and the mist dissipate into the air! There is something soothing and restful about watching the ocean.

Waves by nature are not peaceful. Waves by nature are not restful. Waves are destructive. Waves are forceful. Waves are full of terror.

There is One is who stronger than any wave…there is One who can provide safety when the waves are crashing…there is One who says, “do not fret…rest in Me…wait for Me”

One of the best things you can do for your family is to practice resting in the Lord. Have times of resting in the Lord individually. Have times of resting in the Lord as a family.

At the beginning of each year, my family takes a retreat. At this retreat, we practice resting in the Lord. I don’t have room in this blog to share the details. But, it starts with a choice. We choose to take a retreat centered on God and spending time with Him.

Do you have a time that you and your family rest in the Lord?

Choose today to plan a time for your family to rest in the Lord.

Have a Great Week!

Fill’er Up…family!

“And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God. May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy, giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light.” Colossians 1:9-12

Fill’er up!

That’s what I used to say when I went to the gas station when I lived in Oregon. I don’t say that near as often now because I have to pump my own gas. Truth be told, I enjoy pumping my own gas because I don’t have to wait for an attendant to wait on me.

Fill’er up!

On New Year’s Day, my family asked God to do this! No, not to fill our car with gas. We asked God to fill our house with Him. Until New Year’s Day, we had not prayed and anointed each doorway in our home. We thought that the start of this New Year would be the perfect time to do that, so we did.

We took turns reading scripture (above) at each doorway, anointed the doorway with oil of gladness, and prayed over each room represented by that doorway. In doing this, we dedicated our house to the Lord telling Him that we want Him to be pleased with everything that goes on in our home along with renouncing and rebuking any evil that has been in our house previously.

I believe the Lord is pleased with any action a family takes to stand on the authority of His word and draw closer to Him!

What actions do you think the Lord would want your family to take in 2018 to stand on the authority of His word?

Let me encourage your family in 2018 to ask God to…

Fill’er up!

Happy New Year!

Cheese Pizza…Best Christmas Present Ever!

“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers or sisters of mine, you did for me.” Matthew 25:40

We drove up to the church and saw that someone was sleeping in the entry way. My youngest, Riley, asked what I was going to do… “I’m going to ask’em to leave”, I replied.

My boys and I were headed to the church to put up some Christmas lights in the fellowship hall at church. That’s when we saw this person sleeping outside the church. My first instinct was, “I’ve got to ask this person to leave.” We already have a ministry that allows registered guests to sleep in their cars in the parking lot. This alone has caused some anxiety with the neighbors falsely saying that we have started a “homeless camp”. I certainly can’t allow a homeless lady to sleep outside next to the church.

When I walked up to the lady, I greeted her and she just started crying. She started telling me that people yell at her, nobody gives her a chance, and she doesn’t think she can make it another winter. I sat down with my boys beside me and just listened. After finding out more about her and her story, finding out she has been on the street for 7 years, I asked if we could get her something to eat. She said her favorite is cheese pizza. So, me and the boys got pizza, brought it back to the church and had dinner with her. While we were eating and talking together, she said to us, “this is the best Christmas present ever”.

I wrestle within myself how to best handle these situations. I didn’t really want to take the time that evening. But then again, there are two reasons I did.

First, Jesus said that helping those in need is just like helping Him. Therefore, when I take time to help those with less than; it is as though I were doing it for Jesus.

Second, my boys were with me. I’m so thankful they were. They got to see their dad take time to care for a fellow human being. They certainly get to see me do this more than that evening. But the reality is, this time it was with a person that most would not take time for.

As the evening was coming to a close, I was walking to my office and my youngest ran up to me to ask if we had any water bottles. He asked if he could give her one.

Helping your children see how to treat a fellow human being even when many would not give them the time of day might just be the best Christmas present ever.

Merry Christmas!   

Going Together on a Journey!

“And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the city of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family of David, in order to register, along with Mary, who was engaged to him, and was with child.” Luke 2:4-5

My wife and I love to go on journey’s together! We love to go far, we love to go near, we love to take side roads, we love to go together! Not only do we love to go on driving journey’s together, but we love this journey called “life” together. As much as we love to go on journey’s together, so far, we have not gone on a journey together like Joseph and Mary did that led to the very first Christmas.

I wonder what it was really like for Joseph and Mary to take this journey to Bethlehem. Can you imagine? It was a 70 – 80-mile trek on foot and/or donkey. Sleeping in the outdoors, cooking over an open flame…I know…I can hear you outdoors people saying, “Big deal!” Well, on top of that, Mary was pregnant.

Going on journeys can be a lot of fun, but they can also be a lot of work, can bring much pain, and make you feel like giving up. I thank the Lord for some key couples in my life that are going through some pretty tough journeys together and which give me a great example to follow in supporting my spouse. I also thank the Lord for my wife who has stuck by my side in our journey together. There is nothing quite like having someone by your side that you know will support you no matter what.

Joseph and Mary give us some instruction to follow for our journey…go together!

Merry Christmas!