Treat Her As You Should…

TreatHerAsYouShould

In the same way, you husbands must give honor to your wives. Treat your wife with understanding as you live together. She may be weaker than you are, but she is your equal partner in God’s gift of new life. Treat her as you should so your prayers will not be hindered.” — 1 Peter 3:7 (NLT)

 

It’s sad to admit this…but we husbands can brush this verse off A LOT…a whole heck of a lot more than we should.  In a world that tries desperately to grab our attention through social media,  politics, gossip, economics, sports, religion, music, whatever…husbands can find themselves in a place where honoring their wives is at the back burner of priorities in their life.

This is wrong…this is weak…this is damaging…and men, we are openly defying God’s responsibility for us as husbands and partners in marriage when we place everything else ahead of our bride.  The first command Peter gives in this verse is an awesome one; because not only does it tell us to honor our wives, but it also offers a way in which to do that very thing!  When Peter says to, “treat your wife with understanding,” he’s saying that we need to get to know her…and the honor of getting to know our wives is something we should never take for granted.

So how do we do this?

I think we can do this two ways…COMMUNICATION and OBSERVATION.

What does your wife like and dislike?
What are her strengths and weaknesses?
What makes her happy?
What gets her frustrated?
What are her dreams and desires?

These questions and so many more can be answered by first simply asking them to our wives and then listening to her…this is the essence of communication and I promise men…it’s not as difficult a process as the world would have us believe it us.

But what if it gets intense or emotional?  I’m not comfortable with that kind of thing…couldn’t I just read a book on how to understand a woman better?

Let me say this first to all of us husbands…we need to suck it up, be men, and get to knowing our wives better no matter what the process takes us through!  Could it get intense?  Yes.  Could it get emotional? Absolutely.  But getting to know our wives mean’s proving that we’re more than just a mere financial provider in our marriage…we’re a partner…and we’re invested in our wives and in our marriage.  Sure, you could find a book on how to understand women better, but you can’t forget the reality that your wife is not like every other woman in the world.  She is unique, special, and fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14).  It is and should be our desire to know our bride in all the beautiful ways God made her.

The second way we can get to know our wives is by observing them.  I think in today’s world observation can get a bad rap because people find it creepy or lazy for some reason.  Truly though, we men should all take the time to observe our wives being wives and even mothers.  Through this process we can see how our bride loves and serves the people around her and us as their husbands.  We can clearly see what motivates and makes our wives thrive through the process of observation.  We can also see what doesn’t help them.  It’s not needless staring…it’s studying and taking visual note of what we as husbands can do to honor and praise our wives.

Guys, when we honor our wives, we treasure her.  We place great value in her and think of her often…we make sure she is protected and loved.  Peter is saying in the verse above that we should elevate our wife to a place of great honor…they should be one of our greatest treasures in this life.  How do you speak to your wife and how do you speak of your wife to the world?  Is it honoring?  Respectful? Loving? Adoring?  Our wives will never take the place of God, but we are commanded to love and praise her…to lift her up…through word and action…she is worth this and as husbands we should want to do this for her.

There are no excuses and God won’t accept any.

In fact, Peter gives a clear warning to husbands who don’t honor and praise their wives by saying, “Treat her as you should so your prayers will not be hindered.”

Husband…are your prayers being hindered?
If you’re being honest, does your prayer life suck badly?

Could this be the reason why?

I’m calling all husbands to do some reflection and see where their hearts are towards their bride.  This blog post is not about judgments or guilt trips…it’s about men being honest and standing up for our wives the way we should.

It’s time…

Let My Words Be Few

LetMyWordsBeFew

As a writer it’s easy for me to over use my words sometimes…figuratively speaking, in those moments my words are a great chocking ball in my throat that fights to come out and be heard.  The problem is, not everything I have to say is worth hearing…not everything I have to say is edifying or above reproach (Titus 2:8) like I desire it to be.  If we’re honest, we all face this at some point in our life, don’t we?  The truth is, sometimes we all can get so busy talking about life and purpose that at some point we find ourselves living on the outside of those very things…living out by our words alone instead of action…we exist instead of thrive.  We stand idle instead of learning…we regress instead of grow.

Brothers and sisters, sometimes the thing to do is to stop talking and simply live, learn, grow, thrive, and love.  Stop and take a breath…breathe in the truth of God all around you and let it change you from the inside out.  Be more than words…be purpose…be truth…be change…be more.  Do all of this in the passion and pursuit that Jesus has so lovingly displayed to us in His Word and in our lives every day.  Don’t be the one that misses out on God’s beautiful purpose for your life because you’re busy trying to over talk about it.

Take in Solomon’s wisdom:

“Don’t talk too much, for it fosters sin.  Be sensible and turn off the flow…” (NLT)

We have to do more than just talk about change in our life…we have to live that change.  We have to do more than just talk about a future vision for ourselves, our families, and God’s people…we have to reach out and seize it.  Our desire to see the truths and purposes of God in our life come to fruition has to be greater than our surface desire for other people to hear about it and be impressed by our sentiments.  Because that’s what all our words are until we work with God to see them fulfilled…just sentiments.

We have to reach beyond the surface if we want to experience change….and if we want the words we say to carry any purposeful weight at all…we have to be willing to turn off the flow of them sometimes and let our actions alone speak the truth of God’s purpose in our life.  Sometimes that very thing is indeed the best thing.

“You are God in Heaven and here I am on earth…so I’ll let my words be few.  Jesus I am so in love with You.”  –Matt Redman

Trusting Jesus: Beyond The Universe

CourtneyGuestPostThose of you that know me know that I love to write and that it’s a real and passionate part of who I am. Most writers are equally hungry readers as well, and the art of reading actually inspires and develops a writers talent in so many ways. I have read and taken in many great and inspired writers who have influenced my own craft since I was a kid…but in this last year I have had the honor and blessing of being influenced by my fiancee, Courtney Hale‘s writing in so many different ways…and let me tell you family and friends…she’s the real deal…she’s extremely talented…and I’ve been a lucky man to have not only been able to read her public writings, but the ones she writes to me personally as well. Courtney has many amazing posts on her Facebook page that I encourage all of you to read…but trust me when I tell you…this post that she shared today is amazing and so much more…I’ll be honest…it’s the best writing I’ve ever read by anyone…and there was no way I was not going to share it with all of you. So please, take the time to read this awesome guest post and find the peace and purpose it so beautifully presents.

GuestPostHeaderThe other day Ma Jean & I were sitting on the glider in her back yard, enjoying the shade, talking to birds, & just contemplating life & God’s creation. Since that day, I haven’t been able to shake the overwhelming sensation of awe that I feel.

Have you ever really stopped to think in depth about how extremely small we are? We live on this tiny planet, completely surrounded by a vast, infinite universe, full of the unknown. We’re a mere blip on the radar of an expanse that we can’t even begin to comprehend… and I think that’s exactly the way it was intended to be.

Humans are highly intelligent creatures… so full of knowledge, always learning, always growing, continually progressing to the next level of discovery… but some things weren’t meant to be discovered. Some knowledge wasn’t meant to be obtained. We spend so much of our lives eager to reach for the stars, and often grow weary when we can’t… but what if that’s the point? What if, despite our best efforts, God puts a halt to those discoveries simply to keep that yearning in your heart?

I don’t know a single person who could sit before me and tell me that their ultimate goal in life isn’t to feel true happiness & contentment… it’s what we ALL strive for on a daily basis. Whether knowingly or unknowingly, we wake up in the morning, hoping for a better day… longing to have that satisfaction that people are “supposed” to have… thoughtlessly pondering the mere possibility that we’ll be completely and totally pleased with every single aspect of our life for an entire 24 hours. I also don’t know a single person who could look me in the eye and tell me that they’ve experienced the 24 hours that I’ve just described. No matter how incredibly beautiful our lives are, there is always at least one tiny molecule of a thought tugging at our heart strings, keeping us from feeling the perfection that we long for… that we ALMOST had.

Now, the question is… what are we going to do about it? Are we going to be distraught, and feel defeated because we can’t make life work? Or are we going to open our hearts to Jesus, and FINALLY trust the fact that we weren’t created to know it all, see it all, feel it all, experience it all, or do it all. Sure… we all live with that desire for more… that constant need for something that we have yet to gain… but I think the truth none of us really mind to consider is that the fulfillment of our deepest desire is not of this world. Our complete happiness & contentment isn’t meant to come now… not here.

I will be the first to say that I LOVE life. I love this world, I love enjoying it’s beauty, and I love every tiny creation within it… but I don’t love any of that more than I love the promise of a future with God that surpasses all of Earth’s goodness. I’m also not afraid to say that I AM curious. Living life with eyes wide open is an amazing practice… and the knowledge we have to gain here is something that I feel with all of my heart God DOES want us to experience… but I don’t mistake that knowledge for power. Instead, I choose to trust that God has all of the power… every ounce of it. You see, it takes a very small mind to believe that you know all the answers. It takes someone special to walk blindly in faith, and trust what he/she can’t feel, see, or touch… and God made us all SO special.

Out of all of the tiny blips on this tiny earth, in the insanely vast universe that I mentioned in the beginning of this massively long post… God created US in His image. How awesome is that? How incredibly lucky are we to have the honor to look into the mirror and see a resemblance of God in our faces? How blessed are we that, of all creation, God chose US to be His people? We are His sons and daughters. We are His future… and He is ours, if we choose Him to be. I don’t know about you(although I hope and pray everyone reading this will agree), but I will FOREVER choose God. I will forever cherish the strength, wisdom, and guidance He provides… and, regardless of whether or not my experiences in this world are amazing or less than satisfying, I will rest my head knowing that it will always be incomparable to what is yet to come.

Happiness. Contentment. Peace. Health. Love.

If we could have all of these things here on Earth, in the midst of our fleeting lives, we would jump at the chance… would we not? Yet, when the promise of an eternity experiencing each of these blessings at their fullest is at our fingertips, so many feel the need to resist it. My solution? Don’t. Don’t resist God’s love… just breathe it in! Take that leap… share your new journey with someone who will encourage you… be excited about the new road that you’re on, & take time to truly understand how special you are, because you ARE. But most importantly… YEARN for Him. Ache for more… dream of the presence of God, and all of the beauty that comes with that experience… and share those dreams with the world.

God delights in our obedience… & someday, His followers will experience blessings that are EVEN MORE unimaginable than the very depths of the universe. The possibilities are endless… literally. Embrace it.

 

FEAR….

FEARWe all have them… fears.

Fear of the unknown…
Fear of loss…
Fear of rejection…
Fear of failure…
Fear of being hurt…
Fear of dying…
Fear of a purpose we’re not ready for…
Fear of not being good enough…
Fear of being judged…
Fear of making the wrong choice…
Fear of standing up for what is right because of what others might think…

FEAR

It’s real…it’s strong…and it’s something we all deal with in our lives. Maybe not all the time, but at some point we all face a fear that keeps us up at night. The kind of things that make our bodies pulse and tremble…our thoughts buzz quickly from one notion to the next at jet plane speeds wondering what might happen tomorrow. It’s a frustrating reality as well as one that can catch us off guard; before we know it we can let our fears take control of our thoughts and actions and we act not as ourselves. Our fear can drive us to a place of panic, and once that transition takes place…we risk birthing insecurity and bleeding it all over the people around us.

It’s important…heck, it’s vital that we put FEAR in its proper place; because the truth is FEAR can be used to motivate, or it can be used to cause destruction in our lives.

Will you let FEAR cause you to fight for your relationship or end it?
Will you let FEAR drive you to pursue your dream or keep you at a standstill?
Will you let FEAR push you to speak out for Christ or will you stay silent?
Will you let FEAR motivate you to get out and discover the world or sit quietly and simply exist?

The awesome thing is that God gives us the tools to fight FEAR head on…but these tools are only effective if we choose to move forward in life…turning our backs risks exposure. I’ll explain what I mean by that in just a minute; first let’s look at our tools to fight our FEAR.

And this is why you need to be head-to-toe in the full armor of God: so you can resist during these evil days and be fully prepared to hold your ground. Yes, stand—truth banded around your waist, righteousness as your chest plate, and feet protected in preparation to proclaim the good news of peace. Don’t forget to raise the shield of faith above all else, so you will be able to extinguish flaming spears hurled at you from the wicked one. Take also the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” –Ephesians 6:13-17 (Voice)

  1. TRUTH is our first tool and it’s important because it allows us to see truth from lies. So much of our FEARS our fueled by deception. It’s true, on our own we can’t face and conquer our FEARS, but that’s where our faith comes into action and we rely on God to show us the truth…and that TRUTH is…we are not alone…and with Jesus we are more than conquerors. (Romans 8:31-39)

 

  1. RIGHTEOUSNESS is our next tool and understand this is not our own works of righteousness. This righteousness is that of Christ’s, ascribed by God and received by faith. The righteousness of God guards our hearts against accusations, judgments, and charges of the world. Our hearts will always be a part of the battle and we must be humble enough to let God guard them.

 

  1. PREPARATION is our third tool and it helps us to understand that life is anything but predictable. We’re going to face challenges and we’re going to have doubts about ourselves and each other; brothers and sisters these things are going to happen…but we have to press on and move forward. If we’re prepared, then when we feel the pressure of life…we’ll push back.

 

  1. FAITH is our fourth tool and it inspires us to believe in the impossible. Listen, we’re going to face times in life when we FEAR the situation we’re in is far too big for us to handle; but that’s when God will come next to us and reveal that with Him all things are possible (Matthew 19:26) and our FEARS will crumble. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not a quick process, but it is one that matters and will not only increase our faith in Jesus, but increase our faith and confidence in the person He has called us to be.

 

  1. SALVATION is our fifth tool and it’s the most important tool we have. Salvation protects all that we are and gives us purpose…it gives us the strength to stand tall against the lies and attacks we face…and that includes the attacks from within. Without salvation we’ll struggle to believe that we have purpose and are worth everything to God.

 

  1. GODS WORD is our final tool and it is our ultimate weapon. While all our other tools are defensive in nature, Gods Word is offensive and we can use it to overpower negativity and hopelessness in our lives and in the lives of other. Gods Word is truth and it inspires all those who choose to listen (Matthew 11:15)…even ourselves.

 

So these are our tools and with them we can face FEAR head on with God and live our lives free of worry, insecurity, and doubt. We can live our lives purposed and confident in the person He has created us to be. This knowledge will allow us to trust in others and inspire them to stand tall for Christ as well.

It’s important that you take notice though that all these tools are meant to be used for a life moving forward and pushing against FEAR. If we turn our backs and are exposed even slightly, we risk letting FEAR back into our lives. This shouldn’t scare you…it should instead motivate you to keep pushing forward.

Waiting…

WaitingThe sound of their laughter illuminates my senses…the air is thicker…the colors all around me are brighter…I can feel the thud of my heart as it slams against my chest, proclaiming joy.

I look into the smiling faces of my two little girls and for the first time see completion in their eyes.  I look into the smiling face of the love of my life and see that same evidence…completion…God-breathed…family.

As I take in the life around me and I feel the joy in my own heart swell beyond the borders of my chest, life seems to slow down. Everything around me starts to move at a slow pace…revealing images I have dreamed about my whole life…family…completion…my best friend and soul mate, the beautiful love of my life…my daughters with excited –swollen cheeks of bliss as they move about the room.

We’re all together now and we’re all living out the beauty of Gods plan…the beauty and nature of His loving kindness. I look at Courtney and her eyes blaze a deep heavenly blue, while her smile is radiant in the happiness she has found.

We’ve been waiting for this…we never gave up no matter how hard life got…we never gave up.

I hear King David in my head say, “Don’t give up. Wait for the Eternal in expectation, and be strong. Again, wait for the Eternal.” (Psalm 27:14)

This truth…this concept…waiting for God…we all struggle with this reality…there is no one in the world completely patient…there is no one in this world who hasn’t found difficulty in the “waiting” seasons of life. We live in a world of instant gratification and quick satisfaction….many of our needs, wants, desires, dreams, and wishes can and are pursued and fulfilled sooner rather than later.

But we can’t do these same things when it comes to waiting on God…we can’t fulfill these same quick pursuits of the heart by creating our own self-fulfillment.  The product(s) of our own creation will ultimately leave us hollow and feeling un-purposed. Yes, we have been created to succeed in our life and accomplish so much…but we can never forget that everything we do, we do to bring glory to the Lord…and this includes the times in life that we must practice waiting on Gods best.

It’s not a perfect journey…we’ll stumble and fall at times…we’ll grow impatient…but if we can be strong about the desires of our hearts…no matter what they are…if we can wait on God…His will and the process by which to get there will be so much sweeter and so much more purposed and rewarding.

So often we quote God’s scripture and say things like, “Good things come to those who wait.” (Lamentations 3:25) The problem is our Christian culture has made a habit of turning Gods Word in to easy or cheap clichés and we’ve lost the significance of Scripture like this. We miss the truth that while in waiting for Gods best, we are also seeking it. So while we’re waiting on God, we’re not sitting idle and accomplishing nothing. Everything God does has a bigger much grander purpose…and it’s going to be accomplished in His time…we just have to be willing to wait to experience the beauty of His purpose and His desire for us all.

“He will fill your mouth with laughter; your lips will spill into cries of delight.” (Job 8:21)

Some of you might be thinking, “I’m a long ways from laughter and cries of delight…you have no idea what my life is like.”  You know what? You’re right…I have no idea what your life is like nor would I even try to compare my own life with yours. The truth is we’re all on a journey and we’re all apart of Gods great story…but we all don’t share the same experiences or realities…we all face very unique lives.

I hope you’ll let me tell you this though…if you’re willing…if you’ll wait for Gods best in your life, no matter what it is; I promise…Gods going to reveal His love and plan for you…and He’ll do it in such a way that you’ll wonder why you were ever impatient…you’ll wonder why you ever doubted He would come through.

It’s not an easy process brothers and sisters…but anything worth it never is.

Trust Jesus…be strong…have faith…believe…someday you’ll find that laughter you’ve been missing…someday you’ll experience cries of joy that you never thought possible.