Tuesday, December 30, 2008


A new year is about to come while we say goodbye to another. What was this past year for you? What memories will you carry over to the new year? Some things we'd like to forget but other memories we don't ever want to loose. Like a loved one we lost or a blessing we gained.

Mark those memories and use them for God's glory.

We moved from Philadelphia to North Carolina. Our hearts and minds are filled with rich memories of our years "back home." Nothing can take them away but we miss the people and shared experiences of life. Though the move was hard it was also a reminder to us of God's faithfulness to us in every season of life.

We are making new memories with Jesus who is the same, "yesterday, today and forever." Marriage is learning to lean on each other and at the same time reminding each other that the Lord is who holds us together.

Change is often difficult and can bring unique strains on any marriage but the focus must be on that which never changes. What made our years good in Philadelphia was not just the people and the familiar surroundings but the fact that the Lord was with us and blessing us. Seeing God work in His church and through His people will be eternal memories for us.

That season of life will hold a special place in our "memory album" but we look forward to the new memories He will bring in this new season.

Happy New Year!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Is Anybody Listening?

In a culture of noise and soundbites it seems like everybody has something to say. We all want to get a word in or give our opinion to influence a situation or person. In one sense it is good to see people engaging issues in our culture and be willing to speak up yet I fear at times the goal is to get the last word.

I wonder, have we lost the quiet art of listening? This is evident in many contexts but we are especially susceptible to it in our marriages. When I feel misunderstood by my wife I seem to try harder to make sure she understands. I do that by speaking more and listening less. "If she would only stop talking I could explain everything!"

LISTEN: "Know this, my beloved brothers; let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger." (James 1:19)

It's amazing how much anger can be subsided by the absence of words. If your husband or wife knew you truly wanted to hear and understand what difference would that make? The anger and anxiety builds up when I know that after finishing my two sentences there will be two or three paragraphs in response!

Go and read how well Jesus listened and as a result how his words made an eternal difference. (i.e. the Samaritan woman in John 4)

I would suggest the next time you have a misunderstanding with your spouse, instead of getting the last word you take the lead to listen. Tell him or her that you promise you want to hear their concerns and that you will not respond for at least 10 minutes. This will give both of you the chance to prayerfully reflect on the situation and then respond with fewer words perhaps more graciously seasoned.

Monday, December 1, 2008

What's The Problem?

It's amazing how similar the issues of marriage and our own Christian life can be. We strive for consistency in our walk with Jesus but often find ourselves inconsistent and discouraged. In the same way we want to have harmony in our homes yet seem to get easily frustrated and confused.

The Apostle Peter addresses some of this in his second letter when he declares that the problem for many of us professing Christians is not so much a lack of effort as our own "spiritual amnesia." In verse 9 of chapter 1 he says, "Whoever lacks these qualities (vs.5-8) is so nearsighted that he is is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins." In other words we are too concerned or obsessed with what is in front of us. We have lost sight of the cross.

That's not a mild bump in the road. If we fail to remember and see what Jesus has done we default to what we must do. That leads to fatigue and frustration. Jesus has done it all and paid it all.

The solution is not simply to "let go and let God" but to hold fast to the cross and the promises He has given us. If our desire is to live a life of gratitude for His precious gift we will seek first His honor and the welfare of others.

Think what that would do to our daily walk and especially our marriages!