Snowpocalypse 2.1!!

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Marriage and Family

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Dewater 4

“the good hand of his God was upon him. For Ezra had set his heart to study the law of the Lord, and to practice it, and to teach His statutes and ordinances in Israel.” Ezra 7:9b-10

Well, if you are in the Vancouver / Portland area, you probably have 5-10 inches of snow on the ground. I can’t take credit for the title of my blog today. I must give credit to Zach Marquez. Zach, thank you for your inspiration!

I love the snow! I love playing in the snow at night with my family! And, I love hitting my sons with snowballs as they run away from me; it’s always harder to hit a moving target! As I ready my Bible and drank my coffee this morning while watching the snow outside, I learned about Ezra aiming at his target.

How often do you think about the adjustments that you need to make to be a better son, daughter, husband, or wife? The scripture above really hit me this morning.

Ezra, “set his heart” to know God, to do what He said, and then to teach others the same. To “set your heart” can give a word picture of “adjusting weapons to hit a target”.

We don’t normally think of weapons when we think of relating with our family, or at least I hope you don’t! But, this gives us a picture of making adjustments to be able to hit the target we are wanting to hit.

Lately, I have noticed that my fuse has been a little short with my wife and boys. I do not want to hurt my family; therefore, I need to make some adjustments in my thinking and attitude so that I hit the target of loving them.

What is your target in your relationships? Is your target to have fun together? Is your target to grow in relationship together? Is your target to be the best son, daughter, husband, wife, or parent, you can be?  Is your target for your family to grow in Jesus together?

Whatever your target is, are you hitting it? If not, what adjustments do you need to make?

My encouragement for us this week: Consider the adjustments that you may need to make in order to hit your target. Ask God to help you make those adjustments.

Have a great week!

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Choose

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Jesus Talk

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

Do you ever feel like you don’t have enough strength to tell people about Jesus? I struggle with that more than I care to admit. Almost daily is the answer. And yet, that is the one thing that Jesus was concerned about before He left this earth.

I’m so proud of my boys! After we came back from our family retreat, they both have taken opportunities to start talking to their friends about their faith. No, my boys are not perfect, far from it. But, they are beginning to understand the importance of sharing their faith with others. It has been so exciting to see.

How can we use the verse above to help us in witnessing? First of all, we need to constantly draw strength from the right source. Without His strength, our witness will be weak and flabby (kinda like me after the holidays). There’s a good parallel between staying in the exercise gym for physical strength and staying in the word and prayer for spiritual strength. I have also found that those two can be intertwined. When we are choosing Him by staying in His word and in daily fellowship with Him, we get to experience Him being our stronghold, our safe place.

Second, God shows His lovingkindness to those who choose him! This needs to be a major part of the message we share. “For God so loved the world that He gave His Only Son…” (John 3:16). Obviously, the other side of the story is that those who don’t choose Jesus should be afraid because they have rejected Him and therefore, will not receive God’s lovingkindness.

My encouragement for us this week: Let’s make sure we are living in the stronghold while telling others that they can experience God’s lovingkindness if only they will choose Jesus!

5 Steps to Make Sure You are living in God’s Stronghold:

  1. Choose to Meditate on God’s Word Everyday
  2. Choose to Have an In-Depth Conversation with God Everyday
  3. Choose to Do the Right Thing Everyday
  4. Choose a Good Attitude Everyday
  5. Choose to Talk to Someone About Jesus Everyday

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“So he was reasoning in the synagogue with the Jews and the God-fearing Gentiles, and in the market place every day with those who happened to be present.” Acts 17:17

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Be Right This Year!

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Marriage and Family

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Then the Lord said to Noah, “Go into the ark, you and all your household, for I have seen that you are righteous before me in this generation.” Genesis 7:1 ESV

This generation is worse than any other!

Have you ever felt that way? Is it true? I think there is a lot that would need to be considered if one were going to really make that judgment. Although, one generation comes to mind when evaluating which one is better than the other. Noah’s generation.

Noah’s generation was so wicked that God wiped them off the face of the earth with a global flood. And yet, God said that Noah was righteous in his generation.

I don’t really want to compare this generation to Noah’s generation, although, by the standard that I read in the Bible, there is much evil and wickedness in this generation. In fact, I believe there is so much evil and wickedness, it is dulling our moral senses. How are you protecting your family from this?

It seems evident from scripture that God’s will for me and my family is to be righteous. Righteousness and dull moral senses don’t go together. The passage above says that Noah was righteous before God. I wonder what that looked like…

If Noah lived today, I wonder what areas his righteousness would have influenced; would it have influenced his:

  • Movie selection?
  • Music playlists?
  • Tweets?
  • His Facebook browsing?
  • Pursuit for Purity?
  • Bible reading?
  • Prayer life?
  • Work ethic?
  • Attitude toward every person?

I think Noah’s righteousness probably touched every area of his life. There are a few items I personally need to work on. How about you?

Pursuing righteousness through an intimate relationship with Jesus increases our families’ ability to be right before God in this generation.  

My encouragement for us in 2017: Be right before God this year by pursuing righteousness through an intimate relationship with Jesus!

5 Steps to Pursue Righteousness through Jesus:

  1. Read the Bible every day.
  2. Pray every day.
  3. Make right choices every day.
  4. Seek counsel from a godly person weekly.
  5. Practice Jesus being your Lord every day.

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Play, Pray, Partake!

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Marriage and Family

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Dewater 4

“And when the days for their purification according to the law of Moses were completed, they brought Him up to Jerusalem to present Him to the Lord” Luke 2:22

Drive here, drive there. Visit this side, visit that side. The holidays are great and the holidays can be tiring. Family is amazing and family can be stressful. It would be wise of parents to practice slowing their families down to present themselves and their children to the Lord.

Tomorrow, our family is going to do just that. We are headed to our 4th annual Dewater God Retreat. This is a time for us to slow down. This is a time for us to build relationship with each other. This is a time for us to build relationship with God. Play, Pray, and Partake is the name of the game. We are going to play as a family. We are going to pray as a family. And, we are going to partake as a family.

Play. We will play in the pool together. We will play board games together. Playing together as a family leads to stronger relationships with each other and also can help lower the barriers that have been built up because of life. Play can lead to Pray.

Pray. We will pray together. We will pray when we start our drive to the location. We will pray before meals. We will pray before our Bible studies. We will pray to bring in the New Year. We will pray before bed. We will pray before we watch a movie. Praying together as a family leads to stronger relationships with each other and God. Some families might find it hard to pray together, especially if you have not practiced it. It’s important to have times of play to build relationship to pray. Pray can lead to Partake.

Partake. We will partake of God’s Word together. We will partake of some teaching videos together. We will partake of some good food together! Strong relationships are built on a steady diet of partaking together. Many families partake of entertainment together. Many less partake of God together. If you want to grow in partaking in God together, consider getting more intentional about your play and pray which will help you partake of God together.

How does your family practice play, pray, and partake?

My encouragement for us this week: Figure out ways for your family to play, pray, and partake together!

Have a Great Week with your family!

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Life as Normal

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Jesus Talk

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Praying on Street Corner

“And when they had performed everything according to the Law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee, to their own city of Nazareth.” Luke 2:39

It’s the day after Christmas. I’m at my in-law’s house. I love my father-in-law and mother-in-law. They have been such a strong support to my family! Presents have been opened. Much food has been consumed.

Tomorrow, we go home to Vancouver. Tomorrow, we go back to life as “normal”.  I wonder what it was like for Mary and Joseph to go back to their “normal” life of raising the Savior of humankind.

They just celebrated Jesus’ birth. They just dedicated Him to the Lord. They just experienced many people give glory to God over their new born baby.

What now? How do we go back to life as normal after celebrating the birth of the King of kings and Lord or lords?

Let me suggest that we take the example of the shepherds. After they had gone and seen the baby Jesus, it says that they “went back, glorifying and praising God for all that they had heard and seen, just as had been told them” (Luke 2:20). No, we didn’t see the baby Jesus. Nor did we receive the message from the angel. But, those who know Jesus should be glorifying God by telling others about Him!

As we go back to life as “normal”: Let’s tell others about our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ!

Have a Great Week telling others about Jesus!

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“So he was reasoning in the synagogue with the Jews and the God-fearing Gentiles, and in the market place every day with those who happened to be present.” Acts 17:17

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A Season of Joy: Joy of Forgiveness

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Christmas Eve Communion Service – No Audio Posted

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Past Recordings

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I Love Christmas!

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Marriage and Family

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Dewater 4

“for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.” Luke 2:11

I love Christmas! I love the season! I love the weather in the NW! I love the family time! I love the beautiful decorations! I love yummy hot chocolate! AND, I love our family tradition on Christmas Eve!

On Christmas Eve, we go to Christmas Eve communion service. Then, we race home, change into comfy clothes and get back into the car to go to get a favorite coffee/hot chocolate drink. Then, we drive around and look at Christmas lights. After we are done looking at lights, we go home, eat our special dinner and watch the Nativity movie. We love it!

Then, Christmas morning, we get up; we read the Christmas Story (Luke 2) and then open our stockings. Then, my wife makes us French Toast. After breakfast, we open our presents. Then, we will head to worship service (how fitting for Christmas!).

It’s important to have family traditions (around Christmas and other times of the year). Christ centered family traditions build the following:

  1. Relationships
    1. Being together and interacting with each other is necessary in building a relationship.
  2. Trust
    1. Being together, interacting with each other, and following through on those things you commit to builds trust in your relationships.
  3. Hope
    1. Being together, interacting with each other, and following through on those things you commit to begins to build a structure on the foundation of your relationship that will last into the future.

As much as I love our family traditions, what I love the most is the reason we celebrate Christmas. The reason we celebrate Christmas is the fact that Jesus came to save us from our sins!

How about your Christmas family traditions? What does your family do?

My encouragement for us this week: Figure out what your family Christmas traditions are and continue building that strong family structure on the foundation of Christ!

Merry Christmas!

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Merry Christmas with Jesus!

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Jesus Talk

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Praying on Street Corner
“Behold, the virgin shall be with Child, and shall bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which translated means, “God with us.” Matthew 1:23

Jesus lived with us! The God of the universe! The Creator all there ever has been and forever will be! He took on sinful flesh, so that we could be reconciled to God!

Last evening, my family and I played some games, ate some snacks, and watched a movie. (By the way, if you are trying to decide between The BFG or Pete’s DragonThe BFG!, no contest!) The best part of last evening was the fact that our family was together. I was with them and they were with me!

God came to be with us! “Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6b). He came to be with us so that we could be with Him! Now, His people are waiting for His return so that we can forever live with Him on the new earth!

Christmas is all about Jesus. Take away Jesus and you take away Christmas. There is no meaning to Christmas without Jesus.

Just as the most special thing about playing games or watching movies as a family is being together. The most special thing about Christmas is being with Jesus and sharing the good news about Him!

Are you with Him?

My encouragement for us this Week: Be with Jesus!

How do you start being with Jesus?

  1. Ask Him to forgive you for living to please yourself, tell Him you are going to start pleasing Him.
  2. Start reading your Bible every day to get to know Him; consider starting in the book of John.
  3. Start praying (talking) to Him every day.

Have a Merry Christmas with Jesus!

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“So he was reasoning in the synagogue with the Jews and the God-fearing Gentiles, and in the market place every day with those who happened to be present.” Acts 17:17

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A Season of Joy: Joy of a Home in Heaven

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Lighting of the Advent Candle – Micah 5:2-5a
“But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah,though you are small among the clans[a] of Judah, out of you will come for me
one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times.”

Therefore Israel will be abandoned until the time when she who is in labor bears a son, and the rest of his brothers return to join the Israelites.

He will stand and shepherd his flock in the strength of the Lord, in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God. And they will live securely, for then his greatness will reach to the ends of the earth.

And he will be our peace when the Assyrians invade our land and march through our fortresses. We will raise against them seven shepherds, even eight commanders,

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Past Recordings

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Take Joseph

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Marriage and Family

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Dewater 4

“And Joseph her husband, being a righteous man, and not wanting to disgrace her, desired to put her away secretly.” Matthew 1:19

When things don’t go your way; when you don’t get what you want; When your feelings are hurt…How do you react?

Marriage can be the most wonderful thing in the world. It can also be one of the most difficult things in the world. The person you have committed yourself to is and should be the most special person to you. Likewise, you want to be the most special person to him/her. Our words, our actions, and our thoughts are all connected when it comes to loving our spouse. Everything we say, everything we do, and every thought we allow ourselves to dwell on either work towards a very successful marriage, or towards a struggling marriage.

But that sounds like lots of work! It is! Having a great relationship is work. There’s a difference between have a great marriage and just living life together.

As for me, I’ve got some serious work to do. Furthermore, I’ve got much that I need to allow God to do in my heart in regards to how I react to my wife.

Take Joseph. Things were not going his way; he wasn’t getting what he wanted; it certainly hurt his feelings. And how did he react? Was he angry? For sure! Did he show his frustration? Most likely! Did he make himself feel better by shaming Mary? No! Joseph cared more about God and more about Mary than himself. He refused to disgrace her by only thinking about himself.

As for me, I want to be a husband like Joseph. I want to be a righteous man that thinks more about what God desires and what my wife needs than tend to my feelings.

My encouragement for us this week: Be a righteous husband or wife. Give thought to how God wants you to react to your spouse and then choose to do what’s best for them. A successful marriage will be the result!

Have a great week being a righteous spouse!

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June 9, 2019 FACEBOOK LIVE RECORDING
(Recording will be added here after the service)
 

What If My Brother Abandoned Me?