Category Archives: Marriage

4 Reasons Satan Wants You To Get A Christmas Divorce

image4 copyMy heart has been troubled recently by the number of marriages that are in crisis.  Some are small blips on the radar were one person says something they wish they hadn’t and in 3 days – 1 month they will be fine.  However, there are others that seem to be at a breaking point and near the cliff of divorce.  These are great people who know what is right and are fighters by nature, but yet it seems that the will to keep going has been zapped from them.  

In my quieter moments of prayer, I felt God reminding me to check the calendar.  It’s Christmas.   The happiest time of the year for Christians as we remember the birth of Emmanuel, God with us.  We celebrate, sing songs, watch goofy cartoons on TV, and hoards of people will flock into churches all over the world even if it is just for their yearly pilgrimage.  Yet as the holiday cheer is flowing in the worlds of the Believers it is a painful and tortuous reminder to someone else.  Satan and his minions of evil.

You see this Christmas is the ultimate reminder of when their battle was lost forever.  It reminds them they are doomed for eternity in hell.  It reminds the darkness of the world that they will never be able to defeat Light.  But unlike some of us, Satan will not go down without a fight.  Before Jesus closes the books on Evil for good, Satan is determined to bring as many people as he can down with him.

I believe his greatest and most focused target is marriages and what better time to turn up the heat then around Christmas.

Here are 4 Reasons why I believe Satan wants you to get a divorce this Christmas.

#1 – A Christmas Divorce Will Ruin Future Christmases

If you want a bad, sure fire way to remember a college spring break then get a bad tattoo.  If you want a sure fire way to have pain in your future Christmases, then get a Christmas Divorce.  Divorce is usually a long term solution to a short term problem.  Your future may look bleak right now, but believe me that Satan is lying when he says it will be better if you were divorced.  Don’t let Satan fool you, you can make it through!

#2 – A  Christmas Divorce Will Destroy Your Kids

One of the saddest things I see is a family torn apart at the holidays.  Sure kids of divorced families rake in extra presents at Christmas.  Usually it’s because each parent tries to compensate for the lack of quality time they spend with their kids at these times.  I’ve yet to hear of a child cry themselves to sleep at night for more Fisher Price stuff, but I do know of kids that would give anything to have their parents back together.  Satan wants you to believe that the best gift you can give your kids is for your to be happy.  Don’t believe it.  Happiness is fleeting but joy comes in the morning for those that trust in God to get them through.

#3 – A Christmas Divorce Fills You With Bitterness and Unforgiveness

A Christmas Divorce will also give you a lump of coal in your spiritual stocking called Bitterness and one of those disgusting green and white candy canes called Unforgiveness.  Satan wants you to be as miserable, lonely, depressed, and hopeless as you possible can.  Believing that ending your marriage will solve your problems will play right into his hand.  Don’t believe his lies!  Keep fighting and know that God wants you to work together to get over this hump and you CAN!

#4 – A Christmas Divorce Takes The Focus Off Jesus and Onto You

As I said, before Satan hates Christmas because it is all about Jesus, God’s Son, The Savior of the World, Emmanuel.  The entire world seems to turn their attention towards Him this time of year even if just for a moment.  Satan hates that.  The damage caused within a family from divorce is visible and heart breaking.  The damage caused by divorce in your spirit is soul breaking.  A Christmas Divorce is allowing Satan to turn your head away from Jesus and onto yourself.  It becomes about my needs, my happiness, my future, my satisfaction, and my desires.  Christmas is about God giving up His desires for eternal perfection and instead taking on human destruction.  What we need to do at Christmas is not throw in the towel, but rather put the towel over our arm an ask “How may I serve you out of love?”

Please know my heart.  If you are being abused or are being cheated on I believe God would want you to get you and your kids out of the environment.  However that is only 5% of the people in the world I believe.  For the other 95% please keep fighting for your marriage.  Getting help is not giving up.  Getting help is showing true strength by reaching out for counseling, a pastor, a friend to come along side you so you can beat Satan in the face for good.  God wants to see your marriage survive and thrive.  Let Him in so you can do that.

So keep Christ in Christmas yes, but more importantly keep Christ in your marriage and fight through any struggle you may have knowing that Emmanuel is with you.

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“If You’d Just Fix YOU, We’d Be Fine!” – Marriage Conflict Delusion

Relationship-Spats-Horiz-WebI’m not sure if you heard about this phenomenon, but married people fight. I know!  It floored me too when I read an article on it this week on my USA Today App.  :)

Ok, ok, I know your screen is dripping with sarcasm so I’ll stop the charade.

 

It’s no secret that in marriage there are times of peace and times of war.  The truth is that disagreements are inevitable.  Especially when you consider that sometimes marriage feels like putting two territorial jungle cats into a cage and watching them fight for dominance.  No matter what the breed of cat or the type of relationship we have we all fight for the same thing.

We battle for “self”.

How can I get my quota of “self” as high as possible so I experience the least amount of change and the highest amount of satisfaction.  We all look into the mirror and judge our expectations of one another off of our current state of being.  After all, it’s gotten us this far and we feel pretty good about who we are so why wouldn’t the other person not want to have some of my way of doing things in their life so they could feel good too?

It seems so simple.

Yet, when the other person doesn’t yield and won’t buy our “How To Be Me In 5 Easy Steps” Starter Kit for $39.95 we get mad and start to resent them.  We dig our heals in physically, emotionally, and spiritually and prepare for war.  This is when communication gets shut off, sex is used as a weapon, and becoming roommates in your own home begins.

One of the most common battle cries from one camp to the other, especially when one person sobers up enough to realize they need help, is “I don’t need help, YOU do! “, “If you get fixed everything will be fine.”, or “You need counseling to figure out your issues, because your broken not me.”

Now listen, there are times when one person needs to get more help over another.  Addiction and abuse are mistresses in your relationships and until that third party is taken out true healing cannot begin.  In those cases one person does need to seek help before moving on, but the other person also will need help too.

However, for the majority of marriages out there the notion that one person needs to “just get fixed and everything will be better” is not only untrue, arrogant, and prideful, but unBiblical as well.

When a couple steps forward before God and desires to become married they are not just doing it so they can wear a dress, have a party, and go on an exotic vacation.  The commitment is far greater than the size of the bar tab at the end of the evening.

The commitment is a covenant between themselves and God where in they submit their “self” and embrace the “we” or the “one”.  These aren’t just clever words that pastors think up so divorce rates go down, but rather these are the words of Jesus himself!

Listen to what he says about marriage to a group of religious Pharisees trying to find loopholes for divorce in the gospel of Mark.

“‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two, but one flesh.  Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.” – Mark 10:7-9

Jesus, quoting Genesis 2:24, is saying that when you step across the relational line and vow to marry one another things change.  You no longer think in terms of “I” but in “we” which means that you can’t look at one person or the other person as the problem because you both are.  One person isn’t the sick one you both are sick.  One person doesn’t need help you both need help. One person doesn’t need counseling you both need counseling.  The reason is that in God’s eyes He can’t see you as anything BUT one united person!

King Solomon drives at the heart of why this is so important in Ecclesiastes when he says

“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

By telling your spouse they need to get fixed while you stay home and keep being “awesome” you are in essence telling them “you are on your own buddy, good luck getting up.”

That’s not how God designed Christian marriage to work.  Sure, it’s how the world will tell you things should work, but we don’t buy what the world is selling.  We believe God has a better plan and His plan is laser focused on working together through any challenges we may face.

Listen, is it going to be hard to work through some stuff in your marriage?  Yes, but you didn’t sign up for easy, you signed up for “richer/poorer, life/death, sickness/health” remember!  You signed up to follow Christ in your marriage to be “be Holy as He is Holy”.

Here’s the bottom line:

The best way for Satan to break up your marriage is to get you isolated and alone so he can fill you with lies, pride, and despair.  The only way to combat him is for you both to have a God honoring, Satan destroying, and joy-filled marriage that is united together through any and all circumstances.

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5 Ways To Have A Better Father’s Day Next Year

fathers-day-2Father’s Day came and went.

Another moment in time when we stop to recognize men for being fathers.  A day that says “thanks dad” by grilling meat without green stuff, buying dad a tie or mug, and letting him sneak in a nap without anyone getting on his case for being lazy.

Yet I know there are dads out there, like me, that would love to have looked back on the last year and done a little better as a dad.  We can all think of areas we wish we could have done a little bit more or done a whole lot less when raising our kids.

Sure this can be a monotonous exercise bordering on insanity, but here are

5 things I believe we can do as dads this year to enjoy our next Father’s Day.

 

1. Realign Your Priorities

This year let’s start by realigning our priorities.   Maybe this year we can say “no” overtime and “yes” to playtime with our kids so we won’t look back with regret.  Let’s reorganize the “org chart” of our life and strive to put God first, wife second, kids third, and everything else after that.  If we reorganize now we will have less to regret later. Work tasks can be completed, lawns can still be mowed, and the gym will always be there but our kids keep growing and marching forward with or without us.

 

2.  Love Your Kids’ Mother 

If you want to be a better father start by being a better husband.  One of the greatest gifts we can give our children is a strong marriage to observe and emulate.  Now, I understand there are lots of single parents out there who are both mom and dad at times.  I realize you have a tremendous uphill climb that I pray God strengthens you through.  However there are plenty of dads out there who are married and they need to step up and love their wives.  The pity party is over, it’s time for action.  Rise up off the couch, get out of bed, come home on time, quit a softball league or 6, and invest time and energy into your family.  That’s what they care about maybe, we should too.

 

3.  Put Your Kids To Bed 

There are so many ways we can interact with our kids. But I know for me, few can compare with bedtime.  Sure it can be crazy, yes kids stall to squeeze in a few more seconds of “freedom”, and I too want to sit on the couch just as much as the next guy, but something magical happens when my kids snuggle in for bed.  It’s as if they are the most open to talk, let their guard down, and listen.  Take this time to talk with your kids about their hopes, fears, and future before they drift off to dream about it anyway.  But don’t stop there.  Pray with them too and let them know that both of their dads love them very much.  The lower case “d” dad and the big “D” dad.

 

4.  Lead Your Family To Church

Nearly every dad I’ve come across wants their children and family to know about God.  I’m willing to bet 98% of the guys I talk to want that, but less than 5% of that group are willing to be the leader in making it reality.  They will either pack up the wife and kids and send them to get their “God fill-up” or they will treat God like a fad diet and yo-yo their spiritual life until they just quit altogether.  Don’t make your wife be the spiritual initiator in the family this year.  You set the pace for the family and make going to church is as important as watching the football game.  After all, what good will it do if your kids know the Bears starting line-up by memory, but have no idea who God is when it’s all said and done?

 

5.  Read Your Bible

I guarantee every morning my kids will see two things when they get to the kitchen.  A cup of coffee on the counter and my Bible right next to it.  I pray that when my kids grow up they remember that.  But even if they don’t, I will still have a cup of coffee and my Bible every morning.  Why?  Because I read my Bible to further my relationship with God not to look cool to my kids.  However, as I read my Bible I can’t help but see how God wants me to be a better father, husband, and man.  The bottom line is that if I’m in the Word I’m less likely to be in the World which means I’m hard at Work.

So get to work men!  There’s a better Father’s Day in your future if you do.

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10 Lessons From 10 Years Of Marriage (Part 2)

While you are reading this I’m most likely finishing a book, snorkeling with some freaky fish, or floating around the lazy river at the resort for the 500th time, but anyway you slice it I’m still enjoying my time in Mexico!  It’s our 10 year anniversary treat and Cherie and I have been looking forward to for a loooooooooong time.

This week I’ve taken a moment to reflect on my past decade of marriage and jot down 10 lesson’s I’ve learned.  You can take a look at the first 5 later, but right now here are the final 5 lessons I’ve learned from 10 years of marriage.

Lesson #5 – Kids Are Icing On The Cake

After years of trying, God final blessed Cherie and I with two beautiful children Aniston and Easton.  Though we continue to be amazed with how God is able to multiple love infinitely with each addition to our family we still come back to the fact that our relationship is #1.  Children are great but they are just the icing on the cake.  We’ve learned that to be the best parents we can we need to be the best married couple we can and to be the best married couple we can be we must pursue God as best as we can.  Without the right Foundation you really have nothing.

Lesson #4 – My Wife Hates Surprises

It only took me 10 years to realize that my wife hates surprise parties or surprises in general.  Believe me, I know get it and will not be trying to sneak one by her.  This was important because as we live life together I get to know Cherie more and learn more about her.  I pray I never stop uncovering new nuances to the love of my life.  Lord knows I’m a piñata of surprises and annoyances, but we both love even this part of the journey too.

Lesson #3 – Marriage Takes Effort

The white picket fence technicolor family is a myth.  There is no such thing as a wife that wakes up in the morning with make-up on and there isn’t a man out there that enjoys mowing the lawn in Dockers.  Marriage is about the sweat pants and morning breath of life.  It is being patient, kind, loving, forgiving, and serving even when you didn’t think you left the light on or the toilet seat up.  Marriage takes effort and it’s not always fun, but it’s always worth it.  Don’t give up when things get tough.  Keep fighting!.

Lesson #2 – I Still Don’t Like Sweat Potatoes 

My wife has done a great job of helping to open my eyes to new things throughout these past 10 years.  Turning the lights off, hanging up clothes, and the difference between lights and darks have been ground breaking epiphanies for me. However I still hate sweat potatoes and I always will.  Not even my wife’s gorgeous blue eyes can convince me.  I’ve learned that it’s ok to still be me and not be who my wife wants me to be.  Just because the Bible says you become one when you get married doesn’t mean you become twins.  It’s ok to be an individual and that’s a good thing.

Lesson #1 – The Best Is Yet To Come

Although I can look back on the last 10 years of marriage and be more than overwhelmed with the amazing things God has done I know the best is yet to come.  I know I get to grow more as a husband and daddy.  I know there will be graduations and sports games.  I know I will beat my head against the wall in frustration, hold my head in hands full of tears, and grab my sides in joyful laughter.  But most of all I know I will be more in love with Cherie every day that God gives us together.  The best is truly yet to come.

I hope a few of these struck a chord with you or atleast encouraged you along your journey.  We don’t have it all figured out and there are markers along our road these past 10 years to prove it, but as I look back I can see more fingerprints of God than anything else.  His grace sustains and guides us daily and I pray He does the same for you.

Well that’s it for now so I’ll see you later probably smelling like Aloe Vera!

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10 Lessons From 10 Years Of Marriage (Part 1)

As you read this, I will either be on a plane or on a beach in Mexico celebrating 10 years of marriage with my amazing wife Cherie.  Ok, so our anniversary was in August, but let’s face it I’d rather be getting sunburnt while you’re freezing in snow so I feel better about myself.  :)

10 years is a long time…like a decade long…like how long Friends was on TV long…like how many years it’s been since I’ve had hair long…it’s a long time.  I realize that there are many more sets of 10 ahead of Cherie and I, but this first 10 years has afforded me the blessing of learning a great deal about life and marriage.

My hope is that these 10 short lessons I’ve learned will also bless you.  Perhaps they will even encourage you to enjoy what God has done in your life regardless of the challenges you may be facing.

Here are the first 5 Lessons I’ve Learned…so far:

Lesson #10 -  You Aren’t Fully In Love At The Wedding

At our wedding I was in love with Cherie more than anyone I’d ever met in my life, but I didn’t know how much I loved her until 10 years worth of life together.  When I said “I do” my love balloon was barely full of air, but I thought it was busting at the seams!  Over the years I’ve seen that more love can fit into that balloon than I ever thought possible the more in love I become with her.  Love is truly like wine as it only gets better with age.

Lesson #9 – Money Doesn’t Make A Difference

Our first Christmas we celebrated with a dead ficus tree, 1/2 of string of lights, one ornament, and microwave dinners.  We didn’t have two pennies to rub together but it was awesome.  Now that we do have a few pennies to make friction with we still remember the ficus and that money doesn’t make a difference in our happiness.

Lesson #8 – I Love Going Home

Cherie and I both work very hard and love what we do, but there is no better feeling than the anticipation of going home.  I’m so glad that we have a relationship that we WANT to be with each other.  This takes effort, but the return on investment is completely worth it.

Lesson #7 – I Still Date My Wife

One of the best things about being married is dating my wife.  Ten years in and we still plan outings, concerts, dinners, or just trips to the coffee shop to be together.  I know that when I look on my calendar and see an appointment for a 6:00 PM meeting with a hot brunette I still get butterflies.  One of our greatest strengths as a couple is that we still pursue one another and love being together

Lesson #6 – LIfe is Hard And God is Good

Although we have a great marriage and have loved our first 10 years together life is still hard.  Jobs, bosses, coworkers, infertility, sickness, family, friends, moves, and on and on I could go have created difficulties.  Yet through it all the fact that we both lean into God for our strength in all things has sustained us.  We have been faithful to Him and He has been oh so faithful to us.  Yes, life is hard, but God is amazing.

I know that I thank Him daily for the life He’s given me and the privilege of 10 years with my best friend.  Take a second to thank Him for the blessings in your life and ask for his continued guidance in your life.

 

Stay tuned…1-5 is next time….

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3 Lies Satan Wants You To Believe About Marriage

Marriage is one of the most powerful and illogical things God created.  Its power is found in two lives being joined as one, by love, through God to live a lifetime together.  Their influence expands exponentially as they become parents, grandparents, and mentors to the next generation of married couples.

The practical reality about marriage is that it brings one broken man and one broken woman together in hopes that each other’s strengths will fill in the cracks of weakness in each other.  That’s why it’s illogical.  Two wrongs don’t make a right, but somehow we naively believe this will happen in our marriages.

Satan thrives for the naive and his lies target that unassuming part of our spirit when it comes to our marriages.  Our battle as couples is to not buy into these 3 lies Satan will try to spring on us.

1. My Spouse Is My Everything

When we get married the greatest underlying lie Satan wants you to believe is that your spouse is your god.  He wants you to put all your hopes, dreams, strength, and faith into them and not your heavenly Father.  If he can get you to do this, you will set your marriage up for the very least difficulty and at most massive failure.  Placing your spouse as the cornerstone of your relationship is setting unreachable expectations and putting them in a position they are unprepared for and unqualified to assume.  Only God can be the rock of your life.  He is the cornerstone by which all things find their strength and stability.  Don’t believe the lies of Satan that your spouse is your everything because those words are coming form the Prince of Nothing.

2.  Now That I’m Married I Can Coast 

Satan will also convince you that getting married is the ultimate goal of your relationship.  He wants you to throttle down and coast for the rest of your married days because after all the dress is gone, the presents are open, and the party is over baby.  Now it’s time for sitting back and living a life of mediocrity like the rest of the world is doing.  God has a different plan.  His plan is for the wedding to be the beginning of your journey together.  In fact I’d go so far as to say that His hope is that as you look back on your marriage that the wedding was actually the worst day of your life!  A marriage is rooted in Christ and pursuing Christ only gets better with age.  It gets more loving, patient, kind, and forgiving which all take effort and work to obtain.  I’m sorry but a marriage bonded by the love of Christ can’t coast, it’s gotta get up and go!  Leave Satan coasting on the side of the road sucking his thumb as he limps through his last days of freedom.

3.  My Spouse Will Fix All My Problems

Getting married doesn’t guarantee you a life mechanic, but Satan wants you to believe it does.  He wants you to believe that in your spouse is found the answers to all of your inadequacies, failures, and annoyances.  That with enough time together and enough proximity to your spouse’s “better life” you will osmotically improve your character, personality, and flagellant control.  Guess what?  Even after a lifetime together you will still stink.  Your spouse is not your life coach, they are your life partner. In a Christ centered relationship you should desire to help each other become more like Christ, not a cleaned up version of yourself.  Don’t try to look into Satan’s mirror to work on your faults.  His image will always look like the ones at the circus as they bend and distort with every move.  It will serve us better to look into the perfect law of Christ and work off of that steady model.  That model doesn’t require self-help, it demands Savior-help.  Let Satan’s lies be the warm blanket he snuggles up with at night and let God be the sustainer and author of your life and marriage.

My friends, marriage is tireless work but it’s worth every drop of sweat.  It provides an opportunity to show Christ in vivid action and it can ripple far beyond anything we can imagine.

It is imperative to not let marriage be less than God designed it to be and also not more than it was meant to be.  God never designed for it simply to be a piece of paper and a tax write off, but he also never designed it to be what defines you as a person.  Marriage was created by God to bring Him glory through the lives of two broken people, bonded as one, following a risen Savior.

If we keep our eyes focused on Jesus while hand in hand with our spouse, we will never have to wonder who we are, where we’re going, or what is important.

Keep your eyes fixed on Jesus, your souls the property of God, and your foot firmly on the throat of Satan.

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4 Lies Satan Wants You To Believe About Being Single

90% of all people will get married, but until that time being single can be difficult. In fact it can be down right lonely and frustrating as you see all of your friends being picked off by cupid’s arrows.  There’s also a growing group of singles being formed as a result of divorce.

Satan will use anything he can to keep you from a relationship with Jesus.  In fact he will even lie to you about why you don’t have a relationship right now to do it.

Here are 4 lies that Satan wants you to believe about being single.

1.  You Have No Value

Satan will lie and assign your worth and value to whether you are in a relationship.  He will constantly remind you that without a partner you are not worth anything.  The lie will burrow so deep in your spirit that you will start to believe it.  The truth is that the only one that is worthless is Satan.  God has a much different view of things because he is overwhelmed with you.  Psalm 45:11 says “The king is enthralled with your beauty; honor him for he is your Lord.”  That’s right, The Creator of the Universe, the Alpha and Omega, The Beginning and the End, God is enthralled with you and Satan is a tool.  Don’t believe the lies of Satan.  Believe the One who is the source of your worth.

2.  Your Past Is Too Dark

Satan has an amazing ability to keep a perfect scorecard of all of our mistakes.  In fact it is one of his best skills.  Satan will always keep a deck of cards with him of all you’ve done in your life and when the time is right he will start dealing them out.  Right when you start to think maybe he or she likes you or that this could be a good person to get to know he’ll start dealing.  He will always makes sure you remember how bad you really are and because of that no one would want you.  Satan’s lie is flawed by the greatest factor.  Jesus.  Jesus loved you and me enough to die for our sin.  It’s the greatest example of being wanted in the history of the world.  Don’t believe the lie of Satan that your past is too dark because your future is brilliant with Christ.

3.  You Should Settle

Satan has a cunning way of making you lower your standards.  His sadistic lies will seep into the pores of your soul and you will begin to believe that the man of your dreams isn’t dreaming of you.  His solution is for you to lower the bar, reduce your standards, and to settle with someone you know isn’t right for you.  God’s plan flies in the face of that garbage reasoning.  God’s plan is for you to first fall deeply in love with Him, start running after Him, and as you’re running look to your left and right.  If someone is running the same pace with the same mission you’ve found a relationship worth working at.  If you have to look backwards…they ain’t the one for you.  You will only lose your stride, focus, and purpose if you do that you will be settling.  Don’t believe the lies of Satan to settle he did and look where it landed him!

4.  God Will Leave You Too

Satan’s most evil lie to you as a single person will be that, just like everyone else, God has abandoned you.  He’ll say you’re single because you don’t have enough faith and if you were faithful God would have given you someone in your life.  He’ll make you believe that since you are all alone your life is destined to be miserable.  Thank goodness God punches Satan in the throat with the Truth.  Deuteronomy 31:6 tells us “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”  Don’t believe the lies of Satan because the truth in what he says applies only to himself.  He is alone and is destined to be that way for eternity.  Even if you are single until Christ comes back, you are never alone when you are in relationship with Him.

Your life is not defined by single or married.  Your life is not defined by married or divorced.  Your life is not defined by successful or failure.  Your life is defined by whether  or not you have a relationship with Christ.  If you have that…you have everything.

Work to have the strongest relationship with Christ so when you find your running partner, you will never have to wonder where your worth comes from.

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5 Lies Satan Wants You To Believe About Divorce

One of the most painful things I see as a pastor is families torn apart by divorce.  Being a Christian doesn’t seem to insulate you from the divorce virus either.   50% of all Christian marriages will fall into divorce’s vicious snare this year too and many of them will end because of 5 lies Satan wants you to believe.

Married friends, here are 5 lies Satan will whisper in your ears to get you to call it quits on your marriage.

1.  God Wants Me To Be Happy

Satan wants you to buy into the idea that above anything else your happiness is preeminent.  He wants you to believe that the person at the office, the girl on the screen, or the guy at the gym will provide the “fun” and “happiness” that your spouse isn’t providing.  If you believe this, divorce becomes the means to obtaining the mirage known as happiness.  The truth is divorce will give you anything but happiness.  It will rob you of your joy, peace, trust, and will stain not only your life but your entire family.  Happiness is not found in the lies of Satan.

2.  My Kids Will Be Better Off

Satan wants you to look at your children and believe they would be better off if you and your spouse didn’t fight anymore and lived separately.  He whispers in your ear that if you just get rid of him or her your kids will be less stressed and will thrive!  After all don’t they deserve better?  Sadly we listen to Satan and not our kids.  Ask any kid of divorced parents (excluding abusive situations) and they will tell you the splitting of their home destroyed a piece of them.  “Better off” isn’t a perfect family with no problems it’s a family that stays together despite ups and down.  “Better off” is two parents that fight for their family and don’t bail when things get hard.  “Better off” is setting an example for your children so that they are not scared of relationships for life, but gives them an example to emulate.  “Better off” doesn’t listen to the lies of Satan.

3.  My Spouse Deserves Better

Satan wants you to be a martyr by believing the lie that your spouse deserves better than you.  He will remind you of all your wounds, baggage, and faults and then juxtapose them against what appears to be your spouse’s perfection.  He’ll tap and tap and tap against your spirit until you open the cage door on your marriage so that you can allow your spouse to fly free.  The glaring problem with that logic is that it requires you to have operation of your spouse’s mind, spirit, and decision making.  Somehow you  arrogantly put yourself in charge of what they want and you decide their future for them.  Guess what?  That ain’t your decision to make…that’s 100% theirs.  Grow up and stop listening to the lies of Satan.

4.  Things Will Never Get Better

Satan loves to tell you that your marriage is hopeless and things will never get better.  He will trap you in the darkest corner of the cave of your relationship and have you hold your hand up to your face to show you there is no hope of seeing light.  He wants you to believe that the best has already happened and the future is not bright but dark as night. So why try?  It’s better to just cut your losses, part ways, hit the reset button, and lick your wounds as you limp away.  Hopefully you can heal up enough to grab another Kleenex in the box of life and find a new partner.  One with more hope.  Can I remind you of something?  Life is tough and when you enter into marriage it becomes part of your life so therefore marriage is tough too.  Buck up buttercup and get back in the fight.  Stop making long term decisions for short term problems.  Satan is a pathetic, lying, scum of the earth whose only goal is to rob you of any hope.  Don’t give in to him when God has a light that breaks through all darkness and can sunburn your marriage with His light.

5.  Divorce Isn’t That Big Of A Deal To God

Satan’s biggest lie is that God doesn’t really care that much about your marriage and whether or not it survives.  God has bigger things to worry about than whether or not you and the Mrs last until death do you part.  He has a whole universe to keep from spiraling out of control so why in the world would He care if you leave him for the “greener grass” on the other side of the street?  The problem is that God cares about all the things that He is a part of and that He made.  Marriage is no exception.  He is the bond, the glue, the third strand, the binding force that adheres us to our spouses in good marriages and bad.  It’s a sacred union that God in fact used as the imagery for the relationship of the church on earth and Jesus himself.  Don’t believe the lie of a lonely and hopeless Satan who has no chance of reconciliation with the father.  Instead believe the Truth of the Father who gave His one and only Son not only to save you from your sin, but to save your marriage from anything it’s up against.

So stop listening to the lies of Satan and start listening to the voice of Christ telling you that you CAN make it.  Put the pen down, stop the lawyers, put an end to the finger pointing and embrace the peace found in reconciliation.  Let the God of healing do what He does best.  Heal you.

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Papa John’s Pizza and Jesus

My family and I don’t live in a gated community.

We don’t live in a remote village.

I’m pretty sure Google Earth will locate our townhouse with great ease.

All of these factors add into the puzzle that is pizza delivery to our townhouse.

It never fails that when we place a delivery order for a pizza the person gets lost.  I repeat it NEVER FAILS.  And this is not like back in the day when if the pizza didn’t get there in 30 minutes it was free.  Now a days people don’t care anymore and once they finally do get to our house we get the lukewarm, soggy crust, not even worth eating it but charge me full price anyway pizza.

The other night Papa John’s took the cake.

For context, Cherie and I love Papa John’s because we used to get it all the time in college.  It was  just one of our things.  I know there is waaaaayyyy better pizza in Chicago, but we still like to grab a little P-Johns from time to time to reminisce.

So anyway we called in a delivery order and what Cherie and I have tried to do in an attempt to help is to tell the people on the phone how to get to our house.  We give them the closest major intersection and even tell them that my black truck will be in front of the house.

The other night after Cherie ordered the pizza she went through our routine of helping to land the pizza plane on our runway.  All of sudden she looked at the phone like she got disconnected and said “They just hung up on me!”

Turns out that while Cherie was telling them how to get to our house, the person on the other line said “We got it!” and hung up on her.

(dramatic pause)

Now my wife is an even tempered woman but I thought her naturally curly brown hair was going to straighten itself she was so mad.  Her words were clear, correct, and coarse, “They better get that pizza here on time and not call us or we are done.

He got lost…we got a call…they lost a customer.

Sadly, we may never eat another Papa John’s pizza again because we’ve had it with poor customer service and people that just won’t listen.

Thank the sweet Lord for THE Palermo’s Pizza on Rt. 30 in Frankfort because they are the bomb.  Love you Paulie!

Anyway….

What struck me is that this is how we treat God ALL the time.

God will give us directions to redirect our life from pain, suffering, or to find true joy.  But in the middle of Him talking we will say “I got it!” and storm off.  We think that the Cliff Notes are good enough because after all the full version just takes too long to read.

This normally results in us going part of the way towards God’s plan, but then getting lost, confused, or burned out so we give up.  All the while God is on the other end of the phone saying, “I wasn’t through yet.  I have more to say!”

Here are just 2 examples:

Marriage

God says, “A man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.” – Genesis 2:24

We hang up, and forget to remember that love, respect, submission, protection, cherishing, and a litany of other things are needed beyond just putting on fancy clothes, swapping rings, and listening to poorly written best man speeches.  Yet we think that’s all that we need and we wonder why 1 out of 2 Christian marriages fail.  They fail because we fail to listen and to obey.

 

Love Your Neighbor

God says, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” – Matthew 22:39

We hang up and thrust ourself into social issues, feeding the poor, protecting the environment, and anything else that may look like our “neighbor” in need.  Yet we find ourselves still longing for something.  The problem is that we’ve neglected to remember that the first part of the command is to actually “Love the LORD your God with all heart, soul, mind, and strength.”  We replace our neighbor for God as #1 in our life and we find ourselves spiritual spent and wondering why.

 

We have to be careful as Christians that we don’t take the parts of God’s word we like and do those and neglect the others.  We should be cautious to think that “I know how this ends” and walk away to start doing instead of continuing to listen longer.  If we don’t, we will have a half-baked Faith that may look done on the outside, but still needs some work on the inside.

Don’t let your faith be like the pizza guy that said he “got it” and ended up losing the whole point of his business as a result.  Heed the words of Solomon when he says

“To answer before listening—
that is folly and shame.”

Proverbs 18:13  

Spend your time pursuing the fullness of Christ and not your own version of Christ.  If you do that you will discover the a texture of holiness you never knew was possible.  The good stuff is often found in the details tucked away in the areas we’ve skipped past.

Good Rule of Thumb:  Stay on the line until God hangs up.

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4 Things Wives Can Do To Crush Their Husbands

God designed marriage to be led by the man, but this doesn’t mean we don’t need support.  In a vast number of marriages I see an excessive amount of burden placed upon the husband that doesn’t have to be there.  Some of it is self-inflicted, which I outlined in 5 Things Husband Can Do To Make Your Wife Want A Divorce, but some of it is caused by their wives actions and words.  These are crushing blows to their husbands, but they are also things that can be avoided if not eliminated.

Ladies, I would have you consider the following 4 areas and see where some of them may be true of you.  Realize that outside of God, who we as husbands desperately respect, desire confirmation and attention from is you.  What you think of us carries a great deal of weight and can either lift us up or bring us to our knees.

These are 4 things that wives can do to crush their husbands.

1.  Never Encourage Him

The expectation to provide for our families is interwoven into our spirit as men.  Generally we don’t need a reminder that this is what is expected. However, although we appear rough, tough, and confident we still have a small boy inside of us that thinks we are terrible at everything.  So if the one closest to us that we love won’t take the time to encourage us and appreciate our efforts who will?  A small word such as “You know I don’t say this enough, but you are really good at your job and I just want to thank you for working so hard for our family” or “I just want you to know you are a great dad” goes a long way to sustaining us.

If you want to crush your husband never encourage him.

2. Speak To Him Through Your Kids

One of the most difficult things I see in marriages is when their kids are used in tough marital times.  More often than not wives will childishly speak to their husbands through the kids.  I’ve seen it done blatantly such as, “Johnny, go tell your father that if he wants dinner he needs to get his fat butt off the chair and get in here.”  I’ve also seen it passively done where the whole family is in the room and you hear things like “Well Suzy, your ‘father’ must think I’m a maid because he can’t seem to pick up his own laundry off the floor.”  Not only is this highly immature and unfair to your children, but it also makes a man feel even more like a child inside and does nothing but tear him down.

If you want to crush your husband speak to him through your kids.

3.  Use Sex As A Weapon

I’m willing to bet 95% of men are more sexually driven in marriage then women, but I’m also willing to bet that 100% of women know that.  Wives that use sex as weapon do some of the most damaging effects to a marriage. To these women, sex becomes a tool in their manipulation toolbox.  They use it as a dangling lure to get what they want, a gift only given out at birthdays and Christmas, and it becomes a form of corporal punishment when they are “too tired” or want to make sure the husband “pays for what he did”.  The problem is that this is completely unbiblical, plays right into Satan’s plan, and crushes your husband.  To reject your husband time after time is not only crushes his spirit, but it also makes him more likely to slip into other avenues to pursue that feeling.

If you want to crush your husband use sex as a weapon in your marriage.

4.  Never Pray For Him

I would ask this simple question of you today wives.  When was the last time you prayed for your husband? Now, I’m not talking about passive aggressive prayers like “God, I pray that he gets off the couch and mows the grass today” or “God, please help my husband to not be such a Grade-A jerk all the time.” but rather a genuine prayer to God for your husband.  When have you prayed for his day at work, for him as a father, or for his walk with Christ?  We may never know that you are doing it, but I can guarantee we know when you’re not.  We know it because we feel like we are all alone and that our strength is weak.  Our souls need others praying for us and more than anything we need you to be praying for us.  You are the ones that know us best and the ones that are our 2nd love of all time.

If you want to crush your husband never pray for him.

I’m the first to say that men need to step up and be better in their marriages.  We need to start being the men of God called us to be, but ladies you play a great part in this pursuit.  You can’t simply sit on the sidelines while you watch us train to become who you want us to become and then reap the benefits when it happens.  We need you to be an active part of the process and supportive.

To a man, if we had the choice of being respected by our friends, boss, or wife we’d choose our wife every time.  We need your help and the way in which you support us has the power to crush us or lift us up to levels we never thought possible.

It doesn’t take much, but a little from you goes a long way.

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