3 Ways Marriage Blesses Your Socks Off

Happy 3rd Anniversary, Marissa!!!

Let’s press into marriage!  This is not what culture says

Happy 3rd Anniversary, Marissa! A.K.A. Best 3 years EVER!

culture’s environment does not propel this. But as residence of God’s Kingdom, marriage is something to look forward to and to take action of faith toward. I know you’ve heard me before encourage guys to not wait around but if you know who you want to pursue to marry, do it!  Three years ago on February 23, 2014, I married the love of my life. That week when we set up our joint bank account, the personal banker told us that he is waiting years for marriage until he has a certain amount of money, a house, etc… My wife, who listens to the Holy Spirit well, in her sweet voice reply. “We highly recommend marriage”.  In like-heartedness, here are three ways marriage will bless your socks off:

  1.  You’ll experience Jesus like never before!  When you are single, the blessing is you have  time and an undivided mind to do more for the cause of the Gospel. When you’re married, the covenant of your marriage represents the Gospel and helps you experience and be the Gospel to others: “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her, so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless (Ephesians 5:25-27).”
  2. Where one is weak, the other is strong!  You probably know this without me even typing it slowly… I’m slow at… well at just about everything I do.  Marissa is the opposite.  She’s the most efficient person i have ever met.  You already know who takes care of the details.  Not me.  I’m a visionary. I struggle with the details.  I meet  people EVERYWHERE I go.  That’s not her. She meets more people through me but she goes deeper with fewer friends.  She teaches me about that through her life.  The wisest man ever lived explains this well:  “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor:  If either of them falls down, one can help the other up.  But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up (Ecclesiastes 4:9-10).”
  1.  Someone is ALWAYS on your side! When I was single, it was just me. Yes, I had Christian community that would bear some of my burdens.  But day in day out, it was me. I faced oncoming situations with the help of God and community.  Being in tight-knit Christian community now prepares you for marriage. Then when you get married, you join a team.  One plus one equals three. Marissa and I as a team with Jesus leading, there is always someone on her side and on my side in God’s calling that He walks us into. When we’re attacked by Satan or circumstances of life, there is always someone with me to help overcome. Solomon also fleshes this out in his words: “If two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone.  Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves.  A cord of three strands is not quickly broken (Ecclesiastes 4:11-12).”
Are you ready to get your socks blessed off?!  Marissa and I really encourage you to press into marriage or if your married, we encourage you to press into the covenant of marriage God blessed you with.  Like Marissa said ever so sweetly: “We highly recommend marriage.”
What does it look like for your to lean into the covenant of marriage? What other blessings do you see in marriage?  Comment and let’s carry on the conversation below.  We’re praying for 20 new monthly supporters this month for the “Heart for the Kingdom” campaign. Please click here, fill in your important monthly amount and click “make this a monthly gift”. Meet, mobilize and multiply with us.  All giving is tax deductible.
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Are You Thankful For The Right Things?

How to shift your perspective.

fullsizerenderOne thing that I love about being the mom of a toddler is that I can get way more stuff done now than I could before I had a baby. Wait, you must have read that wrong. Nope, that’s what I wrote. Explanation? I’m a firm believer in the power of prayer, and now that I’m much busier with my family and have less time to “do” other things, I have more time to pray. And I know that the Holy Spirit can do much more through my prayer than I ever could do through works.

As I’ve been spending more time in prayer, God has been transforming both my prayer life and my outlook. In Matthew 16, right after Peter confesses Jesus as the Christ, the Bible says that Jesus began showing His disciples what His future held, including that He would be killed. When Peter responded by telling Jesus that would never happen to Him (Matthew 16:22), Jesus said:

“Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me. For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.” Matthew 16:23

At first glance, that seems like a pretty dramatic response on Jesus’ part! All Peter said was that all the horrible things Jesus said would happen to Him would not happen. Was it so bad for Peter to hope that Jesus would not be killed? So bad as to be called Satan?? A lot is said in the last sentence of Matthew 16:23: “For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.” The thing that made Peter’s seemingly innocent remark so wrong, was that he completely lost sight of eternity in his desire for Jesus not to suffer. Jesus went on to say:

“If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?” Matthew 16:24-26

We’re called to take up our cross and lose our life in Matthew 16:24-25. And why? Because nothing on earth, not money, not a nice house, not even our health and safety or that of our family are more important than the state of our souls.

Around this time of year we talk a lot about being thankful and counting our blessings. Don’t get me wrong here… there is nothing wrong with being thankful for earthly things that you have been blessed with. All blessings are from the Lord (James 1:17). And as a parent myself, I know God loves to see His children happy when that happiness isn’t putting our souls, or the souls of others, in jeopardy. However, I do think it is possible that we can lose sight of eternity if all we daily thank God for are earthly blessings.

For example, I often hear people talk about being thankful for each day you wake up and for every breath God gives you, and saying things like “I woke up today, so it’s a good day.” But my question is, if you hadn’t woken up today, if instead of opening your eyes today and taking your first morning breath in this fallen world, if you had instead opened your eyes and seen the face of Jesus in all His majesty in Heaven, would it have been a bad day?

What if instead of the majority of our prayers being about the earthly health and comfort of ourselves and those we love, we pray for the eternal standing of those around us? What if we recognized that this life we’re living right now is just the 30 second intro to our real life that begins after death?

To help with this shift in perspective, consider waking up tomorrow and instead of thanking God that you’re alive to live another day, thank God for your promised future of one day opening your eyes and being in Heaven instead of in this fallen world. And if you’re a parent, especially if you struggle with fear when it comes to the earthly wellbeing of your children, focus on thanking God that one day your children will experience His majesty in Heaven rather than focusing your prayers on them being safe and healthy.

Let’s take Matthew 16:24-26 very seriously by recognizing that we and those we love will experience pain in this life, but that it’s nothing to fear because we only spend a short time on this earth and we have the promise of an incredible eternity. Take some time to ask God to transform your outlook into His and for the freedom that comes from making God’s focus your focus.

Are your prayers in line with God’s heart for you and for the world?

Are you praying out of a place of trust, or out of fear?

What has God put on your heart to pray for that we can be praying alongside you for?

We’d love to continue this conversation with you in the comments below!

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3 Ways The Father Honors His Son

 
Marissa and I recently have been part of an incredible parenting class with our church.  ThisFullSizeRender week we learned that daughters have an innate need for security and sons, like men, have a need to be honored.  So I asked God to show me how to honor Oliver.  Then I asked God, “How did you honor your son, Jesus?”
In the beginning of 2015, I encouraged my friends and 20s to choose a character trait of God to explore more this year.  Since I’m about to be a dad, I chose God’s character trait of a father and asked God to show me His Father characteristics.   He answered my prayer and showed me in His Word three impacting ways God the Father honored His Son Jesus:
 1 The Father lets His Son know He is pleased with him.
     Notice that God did not tell His Son why He is pleased with Him,  nor did The Father share what actions Jesus did to please him.  Jesus’ Dad simply was pleased with Him because of who He is, His identity, being His Son:
“And a voice came from heaven: ‘You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.’” – Mark 1:11
2 The Father gives His Son away for a God-given purpose.
     God did not smother nor was He over-protective of His Son, Jesus.  In fact, the Father honored His son by giving Him away! Not just for any reason but for His God-given purpose, to redeem humans back to Himself:
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”  – John 3:16
3 The Father lets His Son be involved in what He is doing.
     We’ve all heard of the dad who makes himself too busy to be with son.  And if his son tries to be involved with what his hero, his dad is doing,  the dad shrugs and tells his son to get out of the way.  But God, the Heavenly Father, never did this to his son but quite the opposite.  Because the Heavenly Father loved and honored Jesus, He let Jesus be involved in what the Father was doing:
 “Very truly I tell you, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does.” – John 5:19
What a Heavenly Dad!  This spurs me on to honor my son, Oliver!  I’m going to continually let Oliver know I am please with “who” he is.  I’m not going to suffocate his destiny but release Him in His God-given purpose.  Oliver is my second ministry under my marriage.  I will strive to never do anything to make Oliver feel like he is in my way, rather I will welcome him to be part of my calling in life.
What other ways may we show boys honor?  Feel free to carry on the conversation.