Working Hard and Smart

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Marriage and Family

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Dewater 4

“How blessed is the man who finds wisdom, and the man who gains understanding.” Proverbs 3:13

I have the best marriage in the world!

I am married to my best friend!

Marriage is work, but so worth the effort!

This week my wife started commuting back to school. She completed her first year of nursing last spring and now is moving ahead for her RN. With my wife’s commute, our boys in new schools, my new job, and our new community; this school year is going to be a challenge for our family. In all of this, wisdom and understanding is key to having a marriage that thrives.

Are the statements above your feelings toward marriage today, this week, this month? I am finding that these are not common feelings among the majority of married couples. And yet, God is the one who instituted the marriage covenant from the beginning (Genesis 2:24). When God makes something, not only is it supposed to be a blessing to Him, but it is supposed to be a blessing to us. Marriage should be a blessing to both the husband and wife! This doesn’t mean it’s easy. Marriage is work, but it is a work that is worth the effort! Those who work hard and smart at their marriage will experience the blessing that marriage can be; even in the busyness of life.

When my wife got home from school yesterday, she shared with me that she listened to a couple of broadcasts on marriage from Focus on the Family. This was so excited to me! My wife was listening to teachings about marriage that were helping her have wisdom and understanding to grow our marriage!

So, what does it mean to work hard and smart at marriage. I believe some very helpful application comes from the scripture above when we think about it in light of marriage.

Working Hard to find wisdom will bless your marriage. Proverbs is full of exhortations to search out wisdom. Wisdom does not come from the amount of years one has been alive, nor the amount of years one has been married; Wisdom comes from the Lord (Prov 2:6).  Seeking God for wisdom to be a good husband or wife is the hard work that results in a great marriage. Seek God for wisdom to be a better spouse!

Working Smart to gain understanding will bless your marriage. To understand something or someone is key to having a successful relationship. There are many tools available to gain understanding in regards to marriage and relationships. Work smart by gaining understanding to help your marriage grow!

My encouragement for us this week: Work hard and smart to seek wisdom and gain understanding for your marriage!

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Let It Change You!

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Jesus Talk

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Praying on Street Corner

“And we also thank God constantly for this, that when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men but as what it really is, the word of God, which is at work in you believers.” 1 Thessalonians 2:13

Have you ever read a paragraph, chapter, or book and realized that you really didn’t get it? For some reason, your mind didn’t hang onto the words that were reading. Maybe you were day dreaming of something else as your eyes were following along the sentences; you thought you were reading until you got to the end and realized that you really didn’t read it because you have no idea what you just read. Unfortunately, that happens to me way more often than I would like to admit to.

How about with your Bible reading? Unfortunately, it is no different when it comes to my Bible reading. This morning, I got to the end of a section, and I realized my mind was somewhere completely different. And so, I started over. And then I came to the last statement in the verse above:

which is at work in you believers.”

This statement was a wake-up call to me this morning. The sentence leading up to this statement gives us what is at work in these believers; “the word of God.” I looked up the phrase, “is at work”, to really get a grasp of what is being said here. This phrase means to “produce an effect”.[1]

The word of God is to “produce an effect” in the people that read it. It is not to just go in one ear and out the other. It is to go in, fill our mind and our heart until the message penetrates us so deeply that our thinking and actions become what God desires.

Let’s apply this:

Since God’s word is to “produce an effect” in me; What does this mean for me?

  1. As I read God’s Word, I need to meditate (think and mull over) on it so that it can really produce change in my mind and heart. I need to work at getting something out of it so that can become God’s man.
  2. I should be prepared to give God’s word to others when I have the chance so that it can “produce an effect” in them that God desires.

When I allow God’s word to change me, I will grow in my desire to share His word with others!

My encouragement for us this week: Work at allowing God’s word to change you. Don’t just allow the words to escape you; really work at allowing God’s word to penetrate your heart and mind. As we do this, we will become more effective in sharing His word with others.

Have a great week being changed by God’s Word and giving His word to others!

[1] Dr. Spiros Zodhiates, AMG’s Annotated Strong’s Greek Dictionary of the New Testament, 2117.

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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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Family Meetings Make Me Laugh!

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Marriage and Family

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Dewater 4

“Let this be a sign among you, so that when your children ask later, saying, ‘What do these stones mean to you?’ then you shall say to them, ‘Because the waters of the Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the Lord; when it crossed the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off.’ So these stones shall become a memorial to the sons of Israel forever.” Joshua 4:6-7

Did you have family meetings growing up? I did. Every once in a while, my parents would gather us four kids into the living room and have a serious talk with us about the day to day life of our family. As I recall, it usually centered around the theme of chores; they were probably not getting done and so we needed to meet and talk about it again. I really don’t remember all that we talked about, because I was too busy laughing. You see, I didn’t like getting in trouble, and whenever we had a family meeting I felt nervous like I was going to be in trouble for something. As my parents started talking, I would start laughing from my nervousness. I would laugh uncontrollably. I couldn’t stop. I think I have a block in my mind as to how my parents dealt with that.

Last evening, my wife and I had a family meeting with our boys. The first thing on our agenda was to add to our memorial rocks. We have a tradition in our house to write down on rocks things that God has done in our lives. We store these rocks in a large vase and then once a year we go through them together, one by one, and remember what God has done. There may have been some laughing last evening, but not for the same reasons as I was growing up.

How about you? What traditions does your family have to help you remember what God has done? The scripture above is one example of when the Israelites made a memorial so that their children would remember what God had done for them. In the world that we live, with all the bad and evil going on, it is so easy to forget the good things that God does in our life. To the degree that our families remember Who God is and what He has done for us; it is to that degree that our families will continue to pursue after Him!

My Encouragement for us this week: Take time with your family to remember what God has done!

If you are thinking, ‘I’m not sure what God has done for me or my family’, then spend some time seeking Him and He will help you remember. You could also talk discuss it with a friend or family member to remember what God has done. Try starting with the cross and go from there!

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New Paint

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Jesus Talk

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Praying on Street Corner

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which on the outside appear beautiful, but inside they are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness.” Matthew 23:27

Did you know that pastors paint? I guess probably not every pastor paints, but this one does! This morning I painted one of the women’s restrooms in our church building. It is amazing to me how much cutting in there is in a restroom like that. It took me twice as long as I had expected it would take. Cutting in along the ceiling, cutting in around the light fixtures, cutting in around the toilet stalls where they are connected to the walls. It is such a relief when I get a section cut in so that I can grab the roller and roll the big surface.

In the passage above, Jesus was rebuking the religious leaders of the day because they were only concerned with their outside; what other people saw. They wanted to look good in front of men, but they were not concerned with caring for what was on the inside, their heart. Jesus let them know that the inside is just as important as what is happening on the outside.

Well, painting a restroom is kinda like caring for the inside. It is so nice to have clean, fresh painted walls. New colors, fresh paint smell, a good look. It is important to care for the inside!

What does painting a women’s restroom have to do with talking to people about Jesus? Great question. The thought came to me as I was cleaning up from the job, ‘in order to be truly effective in reaching people for Jesus, we need to pay attention and care for the inside as well.’ Obviously our women’s restroom is on the inside of our church building. But I am referring to the inside of you and me; our hearts! As we strive to reach people for Jesus, we need to make sure that we pay close attention to what is going on inside of our hearts.

My encouragement for us this week: Allow Jesus to wash and paint any surfaces inside of you that may need it this week!  Jesus is concerned with your heart just as much as He is concerned with those you are reaching!

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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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Family Transformation!

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Marriage and Family

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Dewater 4

“And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.” Romans 12:2

One thing my family really enjoys doing together is having a movie night. Often times, we will get pizza and have dessert while we watch the movie. After our last movie night, we were getting ready for bed, and my younger son came into the room. He said, “Dad, why didn’t the elders show up when those guys said they would? Were they lying?” My son’s question was in reference to the part of the movie when Navy Seals were going to rescue someone and they had told the enemy what he wanted to hear so that he would do what they wanted him to do. This was a hard question for me and I wanted to make sure that I answered it the way God would. I knew that whatever I told my son would mark his thinking for the future.

The scripture above tells us something about what we are supposed to be doing with our thinking. You see, the world has a mold or form (ie. Jello mold), that it wants to pour us into. God tells us not to be poured into their form, but to be transformed. This transformation doesn’t happen on its own. It doesn’t even happen by simply reading this one verse and agreeing with it.

The culture in which we live says, “The Navy Seals weren’t lying, they were doing their job to protect someone.” Culture goes on to say that “lying is OK if it helps someone, including yourself.” Is this what I want my son to learn? That if he can help someone or help himself, it’s OK to lie?

God’s word is the only thing that can transform our minds into what God’s wants them to be. Proverbs 23:7 says, “For as he thinks within himself, so he is.” You see, the things we allow our mind and heart to dwell on, that is what we are going to become.

How would you have answered your child? What passage from God’s Word would you have used to help guide your answer?

My encouragement for us this week: Help yourself and Help your Family be transformed by God!

5 Steps You can take to Help Yourself and Help Your Family Be Transformed by God:

  1. Read God’s Word Out loud together
  2. Make a Bible Reading Plan for Your Family to Follow daily/weekly
  3. Pray Together Out loud as a Family
  4. Listen to God Honoring Music
  5. Help Your Family Memorize scripture

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Grow and Show

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Jesus Talk

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Praying on Street Corner

“Let love be genuine.” Romans 12:9a

Have you ever been around someone who says they love you, but for some reason it just doesn’t seem like it is real? Something about them just doesn’t seem to match up. Unfortunately, I think this happens with Christians all the time. The world has Christians under a microscope. And for good reason too! The world knows that if Christians are going to live the way they are supposed to, their words and actions should be consistent. And that is what Paul is getting at in this verse when he tells us the Romans that their love should be genuine, or sincere. One of the worst things a Christian can do is talk about Jesus’ love and then not have real love themselves for people.

The people around you; your neighbors, people in the grocery story, people at the restaurant, your co-workers; they need to know the love of God by knowing what He did to pay the price for their souls. The best way to show this, is for you to grow and show your love for them!

My encouragement for us this week: Grow and Show Your Love for People!

But, don’t forget, at some point we need to talk to people about Jesus. It’s a nice idea to say that we can just show them through our actions, but to effectively reach people for Jesus, it will take both our actions and our words. Real love is shown through a consistency between our words and our actions.

Ps. Here are two steps you can take to grow your love for people.

  1. Pray and ask God to grow your love for people (it worked for me!)
  2. Listen to teachings about how to treat people  (start with Five things I know about people – John Maxwell)

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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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New Schools!

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Marriage and Family

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Dewater 4

“But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.” Acts 1:8

Well…though we moved here a couple months ago, it feels as though the new journey begins, again, today. My boys started at their new schools today. It may seem like a little thing to some, but starting over in a new town, at a new school, with new friends, new teachers, new sights, new smells… it can be overwhelming.

For me, after three months, I haven’t settled into a daily routine that I am happy with yet, there are some very challenging things happening in ministry (good things too!), but… God is good!

A couple weeks ago, I took my family away for a few nights to have time together before the school year started. We played together, we prayed together, and we spent a couple hours each day in God’s Word together. I felt strongly that I needed to help my family be prepared for another start in this journey. As head of the household, it is my responsibility to help my family connect with God.

The verse above stuck out to me recently. It’s a reminder to me that God has me and my family here for a specific purpose; to be His witnesses! When the Holy Spirit comes upon us, He gives us power to be His witnesses, even when we are in a new town, new schools, new job, new everything.

You and your family may be going through some challenging things right now, or some new circumstances that are uncomfortable. Don’t lose sight of the fact that God is still wanting to give you His power to be His witness through whatever circumstances you find yourself in today. You may be thinking right now, “I thought his Jesus Talk blog was on Monday’s?” They are! This is my marriage and family blog. Being witnesses for Jesus is for the whole family! The question is, what are you doing to facilitate your family having the Holy Spirit come upon them?

My encouragement for us this week: Build times into your family’s schedule to seek God together so that the Holy Spirit can give you His power to be His witnesses! Sharing Jesus is the responsibility of every Christian no matter what their age. 

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That’s Not PC!

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Jesus Talk

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Praying on Street Corner

“Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous. For the Lord knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish.” Psalm 1:5-6

Do you ever get tired of allowing culture to dictate the things that you talk about? Have you spent much time thinking about what would happen if ‘PC’ went out the window and people started talking more about the wicked and the righteous? It’s a pretty big deal… Maybe we should start talking more about it.

Wicked and Righteous….what’s the difference? Think, wrong and right. One is wrong, one is right. Can you guess which one? You got it! But it’s not enough to just say, wicked people are wrong and righteous people are right. It has everything to do with a person’s relationship to God. A person is either in a right relationship with God or their relationship to God is wrong.

Wicked people get their identity from their sin. And, since the Bible says, “For the wages of sin is death”, therefore, “the wicked will not stand in the judgment” (Romans 6:23 & Psalm 1:5a). Meaning they don’t have a case because they have been judged already because they have not believed in Jesus (John 3:18). Therefore, the wicked have been judged already and the judgment will be the formal proceedings of their entrance into destruction, Hell.

Righteous people on the other hand get their identity from Jesus. Those that believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and trust in the work that He did on the cross are made righteous (Romans 519). Righteous people are those who have given their life over to Jesus. The righteous love Jesus, the wicked love themselves.

Why does it matter? Well,

Wicked people will live forever…

Righteous people will live forever…

The difference is… one will live with eternal suffering, one will live in eternal enjoyment.

Now, that’s not real ‘PC’… but it is something worth talking about because one day, people will not have a choice anymore…

My encouragement this week: Let’s start talking to people about the difference between the wicked and the righteous. Of course, this always needs to be done in a spirit of gentleness and respect (1 Peter 3:15).

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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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How Are You Adding Value?

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Marriage and Family

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Dewater 4

“But I have this against you, that you have left your first love. Remember therefore from where you have fallen, and repent and do the deeds you did at first” Revelation 2:4-5

Do you remember how you fell in love (or rather grew in love) for your spouse? Were you instantly attracted to his/her looks? Was it their humor? How about the way they interacted with others? What was it that caused you to love your spouse in the first place?

I use the above passage of scripture in wedding ceremonies. It is the perfect passage because it is speaking of a bride and her groom. The groom is Jesus and the bride in the passage is the church in Ephesus. Did you know that we (Christians) are the bride of Christ? Jesus says to His bride that she has left her first love (Him). Notice that His next words are NOT, ‘therefore I am going to leave you, hate on you, or speak poorly to you’. No! His very next words are, “Remember therefore from where you have fallen, and repent and do the deeds you did at first.” His words are encouraging His bride to remember the times of when she was growing in her love for Him. He goes on to encourage her to turn from her ways that caused her to get to this point and start doing what got her to the place of loving Him in the first place.

Two Self Assessments We Should Take from this Passage:

  1. Have you fallen from your love for Jesus?
  2. Have you fallen from your love for your spouse?

I recently listened to John Maxwell speak at a leadership conference. His main point for his time was, “Everyday, add value to people’s lives”. I am going to assume something. One of the things that caused you to love your spouse in the first place was that he/she added value to your life. Which, in turn caused you to want to add value to their life. A happy marriage results from two people striving to add value to each other’s life on a daily basis. I can try to add value to many people’s lives as I go through my day, but if I don’t add value to my wife’s life today, then I have not been the husband that God wants me to be.

“Do the deeds you did at first”… Both for your love for Jesus and for your love for your spouse! As you grow in your love for Jesus, you will also grow in love for your spouse!

My encouragement for us this week: Strive to add value to your spouse today, tomorrow, and the next day…. You will see your relationship grow!

Have a great week adding value to your spouse!

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More KNOW, More TALK!

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Jesus Talk

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Praying on Street Corner

“And many believed in Him there.” John 10:42

Have we given up on statements like this? Have we settled for bleak results in our Christianity? Or, are we ready to see people come to Jesus by the 10’s, 20’s, or 100’s?

‘It can’t happen!’ You say! Why not? We see statements like the scripture above many times in the Bible. Why can’t we see this happen in our day? What led the many to believe in Him right there, in that time? Let’s answer that.

Look at verse 41. It says, “And many came to Him and were saying, “While John performed no sign (miracle), yet everything John said about this man was true” (John 10:41). First of all, it says that John didn’t perform miracles. So, it’s not like John was doing tricks to help people know who Jesus was. But, what does it say? It says that John had been speaking about Jesus and that what he was speaking was true. And what was the result? “Many believed in Him”.

Two things that I get from that:

  1. I need to be talking to others about Jesus.
  2. I need to continue to fill my mind with what the Bible says about Jesus.

Can you imagine if everyone who claimed to be a Christian would actually do those two things? WOW!!! People would come to believe in Him by the 10’s, 20’s, even 100’s!

I know what you might be thinking. “Maybe Randy, but people are looking for proof these days and most Christians don’t know how to combat that.” To which I would reply. It’s not our job to prove Jesus. It’s our job to KNOW Him and TALK about Him to others. The MORE we KNOW Him, the MORE we will want to TALK about Him to others. Furthermore, the MORE Christians TALK about Jesus, the MORE Christians will want to get to KNOW Jesus.

My encouragement for us this week: Know Him more and talk about Him more. Think about how much you got to know Him and talk about Him last week. Then, make sure you try to get to know Him and talk about Him more this week.

Have a great week knowing Him and talking about Him! Let’s see MANY come to believe in Him!

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

What If My Brother Abandoned Me?