Tuesday, February 28, 2012

There It Was There it was


It just stared at me. I used it, I went by and over it, I ignored it. But I had made a choice, so I had to face it- my floor.

I have made two decisions in these days with people important to me. I am giving up chocolate- which, more than any other food, has controlled me, as I support friends who are breaking habits with God’s help. The second is to exercise and lose weight, as I support my son in growing strong in Christ.
But both of these decisions are made not just in public, but in private. No one but God and I actually know if I exercise or avoid all chocolate. So I have to, daily, commit to making those choices part of who I am and what I do. So I face the floor, and my exercise, each day.
And every day I choose right instead of easy strengthens me, and every day I choose ease or comfort instead of strength weakens me. I am a disciple, and the choice I made makes the choices I make each day which make me the man God wants me to be. No one but we and God know if we are living the life all the time. But the choice we made makes the decisions we make and those decisions make the person we will be.
May God bless you with light, strength and power to let the choice you made in Christ make you through the Christ-like choice you make today.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Mom's Birthday (2008)


Today is a special day for me- my Mother’s birthday. Dad taught me to have courage, and to give respect and love to others, and to have honor. Mom showed me a life hidden in Christ, and taught me to love God passionately and to do the common everyday things I need to do each day. Gone for 8 and 10 years, I still miss them every week, if not every day. Love your friends and family, care for those God puts in your path, and rejoice that you have been given this day with them!

"Pastor Joe, Should we get married?

Couples ask me this question. Some don't ask, already knowing what I will say.
But I love couples. I love marriage. But I don't love failed couples or marriage. So I say:
Yes, you can pray about getting married. If you can answer yes to 7 questions:

Love question- Do you love your intended with 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 love? Do they love you that way? This is what love is supposed to be- if you don't have it, don't call lust or infatuation love.
Faith question- Does this person help you grow closer to Christ? If they don't, being with them now IS NOT God's will for you. I am sure.
Purity question- Do you love Jesus and the person you love enough to say no to sleeping with each other? - This is a test of faith, self-control and character- Matthew 6:33!- Also, if you can't say no to illicit sex now, what makes you think you can once you get married? Living together before marriage triples the possibility of divorce or infidelity in marriage.
Time question- Have you been in an exclusive relationship more than 24 months? That's how long infatuation lasts- then you are left with what might or might not be under that. Don't confuse passion with true love.
Honesty question #1- Do you lie to each other for any reason? Then don't get married
Honesty question #2- Have you talked with this person and another (preferably a pastor or counselor) about your past, plans and structure of family, faith, plans, dreams, money, sex, communication, fighting, health choices and family influence? If you haven't, you set yourself up to fail.

Family question- Do your friends & family, & your intended's, think this person is good for you? If they don't, do you know why? Could they be right? Approach this in the cold light of possibility. Listen to those who love you, even if you don't agree right away.
Future question- are their dreams for career, family, finances & faith compatible with yours? If not, understand that something will have to change, and make that change BEFORE you get married. Don't start a failed marriage because you were headed different places to begin with!
Final question- did you ignore any of these? Have you gone through these issues in prayer and with your intended? Are there Godly people who agree that this could be God's plan for you? Then go ahead, seek God for a final answer, and plan to serve this person in love, no matter what they do, for life- that's what marriage is about.