Husbands

Proverbs 18:22 (NASB) 

He who finds a wife finds a good thing

And obtains favor from the Lord.

Below is the script from a letter that a gentleman from church gave me a couple years after my wife and I wed. This letter is pinned to the bulletin board in the archery shop.  I pass by it daily, but in complete honesty, it’s been a few years since I have read it, or even paid it any mind.  

When he presented me with the letter, he made a gift of a set of sockets, as well.  Tools, that he knew I would make use of, but hoped would serve as a reminder of the tools found in his letter and the tools God equips us with in His word.  Just today, as I prepared to draft what I thought was to be this week’s writing, this letter caught my attention.  It drew me in, and God’s words, through this man, laid heavily on my heart.  Husbands, please read this, not once but at least twice.  Then, I want you to think on it for a good long moment, pray and open God’s word before moving on with your day.  Have a blessed weekend.

 

Scott,

As my bride and I sat at your wedding, the Lord clearly spoke to me about these sockets; He told me to give them to you as a reminder to never get a divorce, never.  I don’t know why God Almighty told me this, I only know that it is important that I tell you.  He also told me that whenever you use them or think of them, remind yourself that God gave you Becky (Rebecca or Becca) as a gift from Him.  His words, not mine.  And, as a happily married man of 35 years (I am led to tell this from my heart) you should show and tell her often how beautiful she is, and how much you love and need her… Women grow in Christ, and in marriage as they are fed compliments from you.  She needs several non sexual hugs each day– that can be tough, as life gets busy… Always thank her and remember that your wife gets tired too– always help her.  I do all the dishes, wipe tables and some of the floors and it is truly a blessing, even if it’s just one small thing…  The one thing that a woman needs in a marriage is security– she needs to know that you will always be there.  Tell her that.  A man needs respect; you will get this when she knows that you will always be there.  You must tell/show her security first…  Keep your marriage fresh; do funny different things…  Stop and pick some wild flowers or roses… Or offer to rub her feet or back.  Notice her jewelry.  Just do something crazy.  Go for a walk…  God has clearly showed me His presence in 2 dreams and one at 2 pm in the afternoon– this was an epiphany!  It was clearly from our Creator.  I only say this for perspective and these were many years ago.  At the back of our church, I know it was God.  Please understand that I am not implying anything; I am simply being obedient to my God.  Praise God that I have had the privilege to minister to other men through the gift of tools.  One in our church and my nephew, who was in prison for 5 years.  Yours is the third.  I love you and my wife and I wish you many, many years of life together-serving Him.

Because He Lives                                               

Song of Solomon 8:6 

“Put me like a seal over your heart,

Like a seal on your arm.

For love is as strong as death,

Jealousy is as severe as Sheol;

Its flashes are flashes of fire,

The very flame of the Lord.”

In full pursuit of the greatest Trophy,

Scott Pace

Pathways

Do you have a pretty good idea what all you are going to do today?  Even if it doesn’t go exactly as planned, we usually have a fairly good idea of how the day will go.  In reality, we have seemingly limitless choices of things we could do or where we could go each day.  If you got in a vehicle and drove for five hours, there are thousands of different destinations, but more often than not, you end up at the same one, your own driveway.  One hundred years ago, most children ended up working the same job their parents did, and now many parents tell their kids ‘you can do anything you want’, which is not entirely true, but at least gives them more options.  There are many kids that want to be an astronaut when they are young, but very few who will qualify, and even fewer who will make the cut (most recently 14/18,000).  Of the thousands of different paths we can take each day, we usually take the most familiar one.  So, is this good or bad? 

Show me your ways, Lord, teach me your paths.  Psalm 25:4

Most of us are creatures of habit.  We have mostly the same morning routine, eat the same thing for breakfast most days, have the same drinks each day, and mostly go through the day in the same manner we always do, with a few variations.  Doing the same thing is comfortable, and predictable, and most of us like to know what to expect.  Doing something different puts us outside our zone of comfort and leads to more uncertainty.  Then again, with greater risk comes greater reward, or great failure.  So, developing good habits is key to walking on a good path.  Along those same lines, bad habits can derail us from a good path as well.  We all know of stories of seemingly good people, pastors, and notable celebrities who seemed to have the ‘perfect life’ and had it all come crashing down because of some poor choices.  We may know the good path, and can show others the way as well, but ultimately, each one of us must make a choice on which path to take. 

Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it.  But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.  Matthew 7:13-14

In an age where we are inundated with hundreds of options and distractions on our phones and the internet, television, radio and other media, we may feel lost in a sea of useless misinformation.  When my life starts getting unbalanced or a bit overwhelming, I try to step back and take a break from needless distractions and go back to a path that has proven to work well.  For me, that is increased prayer and time in the Word.  When you have other noise and distractions coming at you from various sources, it is more difficult to hear from God than when you are alone.  Try to make it a habit to leave some margin in your life so that when you are running between your obligations, you have room for opportunities to listen, or stay a few more minutes and visit with someone who may need it.  May your paths lead to greater joy in living and serving as you walk with the Lord.

Give careful thought to the paths for your feet and be steadfast in all your ways.   Do not turn to the right or the left;  keep your foot from evil.  Proverbs 4:26-27

Yours in Christ,
Clark

Worry Killers

Have you ever felt anxious or worried about the future?  I know I tend to.  In high school, I worried about where to go to college and for what.  When I got engaged, I worried about being married and sharing toothpaste. When we got pregnant with our first kids, I worried about finishing college while providing for a family on one income.  Finishing college, I worried about finding the right church to work in.  Taking a job in Alabama as a youth pastor, I worried about connecting with a different culture. Today getting ready for a fourth kid, I worry about all of my kids getting enough attention and dad from me.  

What I have learned about worry, is it consumes my thoughts and causes me to not act myself.  I try to control things I can’t and frustrate people in my worry.  I have learned worry is a killer of my emotions, my creativity, my engagement level, my leadership.  I try to convince myself that worrying is critical thinking toward a solution.  Then I pray.  In prayer, the word, and Godly counsel, the Lord has shaped me.  He has changed the way I have faith, how I think, how I love my wife, how I parent, how I make decision, even how I pray.  Worry kills the good that comes from me. 

Matthew 6:25 “That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn’t life more than food, and your body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are? 27 Can all your worries add a single moment to your life? 

33 Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need. 34 “So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.

Can it really be that simple… Seek His Kingdom, obey His ways, and he will give you what you need?  YES!!!!!! Some of you get hung up on the word need.  We tend to see “need” in what we think we “need.”  What if we need to fail to stop trusting in ourselves?  What if God allowing us to fail prevented a bigger failure that could cost you even more?  What if God knows you need humbled in front of others to put a lid on your pride?  What if God is letting you miss a payment to find how the borrower is slave to the lender?  What if your perspective of what you need is led by what you see and God’s perspective of what you need is wider than you see?  

I believe God really likes me.  I really believe I am an adopted son in a Kingdom not of this world.  I believe God has a plan for my life and it is a better plan than I could write for myself.  I believe my bent toward worry is based on a false sense that I am in control of the outcome.  When I look at my problem I worry… When I look at Jesus my problem does not seem as big.  I am not saying this is easy or Jesus removes fear.  I believe He give us courage to do it while afraid. So where are you worrying today?  Where are you trying to control the outcome?  Get in prayer, obey God’s ways and trust He knows what you need.

Recklessly, Obsessively following Jesus

Brandon Sereg

I Have Been Given a Book…

In most evangelical churches here in Nicaragua the church calendar unimportant. The overwhelming majority of churches do not hold special services for Christmas, and for most Easter is celebrated as if it were just another Sunday (this is largely to differentiate protestant churches from Catholicism). However, one Sunday that does receive special attention is Dia de la Biblia. This Sunday churches throughout Nicaragua will celebrate Dia de la Biblia (Day of the Bible), which commemorates the Bible being translated into Spanish. Most churches will go all out on Sunday morning, and it will be a day full of celebrating the gift of God’s Word. I love that we take a whole day to celebrate God’s Word in such a large way, because I can’t imagine life had I never heard it. 

One of the most dramatic events in scripture, in my opinion, occurs in 2 Kings 22. This takes place after the Temple of Jerusalem has been destroyed and the people have long forgotten about God’s Word. As construction crews were beginning reconstruction a man name Hilkiah found the Holy Scriptures deep in the rubble. He gave it to the King’s secretary, which is where we pick up the story: 

 Then Shaphan the secretary told the king, “Hilkiah the priest has given me a book.” And Shaphan read it before the king.When the king heard the words of the Book of the Law, he tore his clothes. And the king commanded Hilkiah the priest, and Ahikam the son of Shaphan, and Achbor the son of Micaiah, and Shaphan the secretary, and Asaiah the king’s servant, saying, “Go, inquire of the Lord for me, and for the people, and for all Judah, concerning the words of this book that has been found.” II Kings 22:10-13

I love that verse: Hilkiah the priest has given me a book. It seems so simple and mundane. We receive books, or at least recommendations for books, all the time. Yet, look at the impact the reading of this book has. As soon as the King has heard God’s Word his life, and the lives of his people change. He repents of his sins by tearing his clothes, he calls on his assistants to study it in-depth, and he calls upon the whole nation to begin living by it. Suddenly the lives of all the Israelites takes a dramatic turn for the better, all because someone found a book, and someone else chose to follow it. Friends, that’s the power of the Bible! It’s the Word of God given to us to direct our lives, to inspire us, to transform us, and to share the message of salvation with us. It’s not just any book, but a gift directly from God for us. Let’s not let this book get berried under all the rubble of our lives: our schedules, the messages of the world, our own desires, etc. Instead, like Josiah, lets excitedly dive into the Word, letting it transform our lives and the lives of others around us. 

Expect the Unexpected

Judges 3:7 New International Version (NIV)

Othniel

The Israelites did evil in the eyes of the Lord; they forgot the Lord their God and served the Baals and the Asherahs.

Israel experienced a revival in the land when they cried out to God. You know what God does when you cry out? The unexpected happens. God raised a man by the name of Othniel, son of Kenaz.

It says that the Spirit of the Lord came on Othniel and he went to war and overpowered his enemies. The land has peace for 40 years according to Judges 3:11. Peace from physical oppression because they went to God instead of their own spiritual idolatry.

We are experiencing revival in our church. We are receiving new members, baptisms, and freedom from our own idolatry. This is because we are crying out to Jesus. We need you and we need your help.

Prayer meetings are occurring. Nights of prayer are happening. People are joining small groups in record numbers. Why? I believe we are expecting the unexpected. We are praying for people to come to know Jesus as their Savior and Lord.

What about you today? Are you expecting the unexpected? Ask God to fill that space in your heart. Expect the unexpected. He is still in the reviving business.

Strength and Courage

Michael

 

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