Song Of Solomon 1:15 You Are Beautiful

How beautiful you are, my darling! Oh, how beautiful! Your eyes are doves. Song Of Solomon 1:15

Love scenes are portrayed in many books and movies in many different ways. The description of love between two people can be described in many ways, depending on the culture of the people involved.

One of the things that is common for a man to say about a woman he loves is that she is beautiful. A young man in love with a woman cannot stop telling her how beautiful she is. When first falling in love with someone, a person does not see any faults in the person. All they see is love and beauty.

It is only when a person gets closer to another person, do they often see faults and problems in the person. Many people will at that point walk away, realizing the person is not as good as they thought. People get married quickly, then a few short years later get divorced because one spouse was not as beautiful as was originally thought.

Solomon tells a story of the love between a man and a woman. It is a deeply felt love and the process of it growing more and more.

This love can be seen between God and every person. God sees you as a beautiful person. Not necessarily a beautiful person right now, but who you are and can be in Jesus. Before you are forgiven of your sins, you are seen as a person dressed in filthy rags that is dirty. There is little beauty to be seen at that point.

Once you come to Jesus, however, and are forgiven of your sins, you are clothed with His beauty and righteousness. God’s love for you has always been there. If He did not love you, then why did He send His only son to die on the cross for you?

People often look at themselves as only filthy dirt and unworthy of any love. God sees you as His bride, that is lovely and beautiful.

Allow yourself to be cleaned up by the forgiveness that Jesus provides. Accept the love God has for you. He is looking at you and saying that you are beautiful. Do you believe that in your own life today?

I pray today that you will know God’s love for you; that you will know the forgiveness Jesus provides you; that you will know how beautiful God is; and that you will love God as He loves you.

Ecclesiastes 11:5 The Path Of Wind And Understanding God

As you do not know the path of the wind, or how the body is formed in a mother’s womb, so you cannot understand the work of God, the Maker of all things. Ecclesiastes 11:5

Sitting around a campfire is something many people love to do when they go camping. Once the fire is built, they will consider which direction the wind is blowing to decide which side of the fire to sit on. No one wants the wind to blow the smoke or flames directly into his face.

Although doing this will work for a short time, the wind usually will change directions. A person sitting around a large campfire may have to move several times to keep the smoke out of his eyes. The wind keeps changing direction and he cannot know when or where it will blow next.

Along with not knowing the path of the wind, people do not really know how babies are formed in the womb. Scientists can understand a lot of the technical side of the development of a baby, but they still do not understand how the baby can have life. As much as scientists know, so far they cannot create life from something that is dead.

God is the One who gives the wind its path to go on. He is also the One who forms a baby in the womb. He understands both those ways perfectly.

Just as you cannot know the path of the wind or exactly how the baby is formed, so you cannot fully understand how God works. God works in ways that are above your ways. He can see the big picture of life from beginning to end. He knows what is going to happen long before it does happen.

When you look at your path in life, often you may see a mountain or a wall in your path. You do not know how to get over or around it. God can show you with way.

God can take things that look bad and messed up, and turn it out for good. He works all things for your good, if you will allow Him to do so.

You may try to understand God ways, and some of them you will, but you will not understand everything. This is where you must let go and trust God. Trust that He knows what He is doing.

I pray today that you will trust God’s ways of doing things; that you will not reject God’s path for you when you do not understand it; that you will know God’s peace in His path for you; and that God will reveal His path for you to take.

Proverbs 29:15 A Rod And A Reprimand

A rod and a reprimand impart wisdom, but a child left undisciplined disgraces its mother. Proverbs 29:15

People often talk about the need to discipline a child in order to have the child grow up correctly. Many parents always love the statement, “spare the rod, spoil the child.” Some will take this to extremes, even to the point of abuse. While others reject all discipline.

Arguments are continually made about how children are no longer disciplined. Their being undisciplined is argued as being the reason schools are now so dangerous.

While it is true that children should be disciplined for doing the wrong thing, there is one other group of people who need to be included in discipline. That is all the believing adults.

Every believer in Jesus claims God as their Father.

As a result of God being their Father, this means that each one is His child.

God in His great love is willing to discipline His children. The purpose of the discipline is to get each one back on the right track and keep them from walking or living in sin.

The dangerous part is that most adults do not feel that they need to be or should ever be disciplined. Adults often feel that they have “made it” and can do what they want, when they want and how they want.

Think about how many teenagers became adults and then spent the next few years partying and running around, just because they could do it. Later they start to settle down and remember the words of their parents and realize how wise they were.

As an adult believer in Jesus, you must also be disciplined at times by your Father. There are times you make bad choices and go down a path God does not want you on. Because of God’s great love for you, He will take the time to discipline you.

Just as a parent disciplines his child to keep him on the right path and bring honor to his mother, so God will do the same with you.

You will gain wisdom when you listen to God’s discipline in your life. His discipline will set you on the path for an abundant, fulfilling life.

Are you willing to accept it?

Or will you fight God, as a rebellious child?

I pray today that you will see God’s discipline in your life; that you will learn from God’s discipline; that God will reveal His great love and mercy to you; and that you will live your life for God.

Spiritual And Physical Storms

Last month my wife and I had made it to our 25th anniversary. As a couple the journey has been great! However, during that journey there have been many challenges along that way, though not with each other. As we hit that anniversary date, we wanted to celebrate it in some special way. We did not want to just go out for a dinner date and a movie. It needed to be a get away for at least two or three days.

Our children pulled their money together and gave us a gift of a 3 day, 2 night getaway of our choice. With a lot of searching my wife and I finally chose a location to go to and things to do that would be relaxing and new for us. It would be several weeks after our anniversary, but at a time when we could both be gone. This time would allow us to be away when our older children could be home to watch the younger ones, and at a time we would not miss any church. It would also be the first time we have been away for a vacation alone in several years.

As we prepared to go on this trip, things started to rise up that threatened to prevent the trip from occurring. The Sunday night before the trip was to begin, our house had two trees fall on it, doing a significant amount of damage to the house. You can read about that here: God’s Protection And Favor. At the time this occurred, we seriously considered canceling the trip, much against our desires.

Along with this disaster that had occurred, I also found out that the job I had planned to work at during the summer would most likely not happen. I work during the school year as a teacher and so I do get paid during the summer, but it is not very much. I wanted to work a another job just to help boost the pay some. It was a job I have worked at the last three summers. Now I did not have that job and it did not look like I would get it.

Our house had a huge hole in the ceiling and a wall was missing, and I did not have a summer job yet. Do we leave or not? With a lot of prayer, we chose to continue with the trip, though somewhat nervous for the sake of the children at home.

On the morning of the trip, we had loaded our vehicle and proceeded to leave. As I started to drive down the road, immediately after leaving our driveway, I noticed the suburban was pulling fairly hard to the right. This was new and unusual.

I drove for about two miles and the pull kept up. There was some wind, but not enough to push the vehicle like that. I chose to pull over and see what might be the problem. It was the front passenger tire that was causing the problem, it was flat.

We live about 15 miles from town and did not have a working jack to be able to change the tire ourselves. I prayed that God would give me favor in driving into town to the tire shop we use. The tire was still under warranty. He did give us favor and we made it all the way there safely. In about 45 minutes our vehicle had been brought in and the tire was repaired. All that was wrong was a screw had somehow lodged into the tire. The shop pulled it out and put a plug in place.

We were back on the road for our trip, though about one hour later than expected.

On this trip a lot of what we were planning to do was located outside. The weather was supposed to be fairly nice with only a slight chance of rain.

As we got closer to our location we were headed to, the sky had some dark storm clouds that had formed. The thing that I caught as interesting was that the dark clouds were on one side of the highway, while the other side was nearly completely cloudless.

My wife, in her great wisdom, looked at the sky and saw something about them. She saw it as a visual representation of what was going on in the spiritual realm of life. The spiritual forces of this world was trying to attack us and discourage us. God had a plan for us, and the forces of the world wanted to stop it. Satan wanted to get us to lose faith in God and complain.

It would have been easy to complain to God about what had been happening. It would have been easy to say that God was against us. It would have been easy to give in and give up.

However, that is not what God wants to have happen. He wants us to trust Him and lean on Him in times of trouble.

Looking at the sky, there was clear sky on one side, and dark clouds on the other. It appeared to be a spiritual sign of what was going on. The dark forces fighting against the forces of God.

We continued on the trip and had a great time. During those few days, we did not get one drop of rain on us at all, though it appeared several times as though it may rain. Neither did it drop any rain on our house at that time.

Although it was a bit scary to leave our children home alone after such a great disaster, God did take care of them and blessed all of us. They were also able to get out and have some fun and relaxation.

God had blessed all of my family during this time. He had overcome the dark forces that work against us. He overcame our fears and strengthened us.

My wife and I are looking forward to the next 25 years of our great marriage!

I remember the verse in the Bible: For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Ephesians 6:12

I want to encourage you that when you are going through struggles in this life, remember that the dark spiritual realm is against you. That is who you are fighting against. God is on your side and has already won the battle. Trust Him. Do not be discouraged.

Just as the weather was fighting for either clear skies or for a storm, so there is a battle going on for your life. God and His angels are fighting for you, not against you.

As you go into the battle for your soul be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Ephesians 6:10.

A Great Journey Still Fresh As New

photo.JPG

A word of warning, this post is much longer than my normal posts. Even longer than my extra posts that I do every so often. May you be blessed as you read it.

I have been on a great journey in this life that started twenty-five years ago today. It was May 16, 1992 that my wife and I said “I do” to each other and were married. It has been an amazing journey that many stated would never survive.

I was a young man who went to Trinity Bible college, a small bible college in a very small town in North Dakota. The college made up nearly half of the town’s population. The town only had one stoplight in town.

At the end of the Fall Semester of 1989, I felt God lead me to drop out of college for a time. I was a member of the ND National Guard at the time. The very next year, the war in Kuwait came up. I had volunteered to go over in the battle. I returned home in July 1991 and returned back to my job as a certified nursing assistant in a nursing home.

In August, my boss asked me to help train in a new worker on a shift I normally did not work. I met this new worker and noticed that I liked something about her, but was not sure. As I trained her in and worked with her, I started to get to know her.

The more I knew her, the more I liked her. Without telling anyone that I liked her, I proceeded to get to know who she was by talking with her and others who knew her.

On October 10, which just happened to be my birthday, she went with me to a Christian comedian concert. There were supposed to be three other friends going that night, but the night before the concert each one had to back out for various reasons. She was still willing to go.

We spent a good portion of the day together. Everywhere we went people thought we were a couple already. This even included some of my own friends who knew me. Yet, at this point we were not going together.

At the end of the day, I knew that I really liked, no loved her. I prayed very hard all that night. I did not want to just date another girl. If I went into a relationship, I wanted it to be for marriage and for life. I needed to know if she was the lady God wanted me to marry. I felt in my spirit that she was the one, but I needed God to confirm it.

The following morning as I was walking on campus of the college, God chose to confirm it. He did it through three different friends of mine, none of whom knew that I was even interested in her. They had no clue what they were saying or talking about when they told me what they felt God wanted them to tell me, but I knew what it was about.

At that point I went to the campus bookstore and purchased a card that basically asked her to go with me for life. Indirectly it was a proposal. Amazingly, she said yes!

Over the next two months we started dating each other. By the middle of November, we knew that we would get married, but I did not want to officially propose to her until I talked with her father. Right before Christmas break I proposed and made it known to everyone. We set a wedding date for May 16, 1992, six months later.

During the time of engagement, my wife-to-be got very sick. Doctors could not determine what was wrong. We went to many doctors building up a very large medical debt. My small paying job was not enough to really cover the expenses of two houses. I had chosen to provide for all of her needs, besides I was going to be marrying her.

Many people were trying to tell us that the marriage would not work out. This included people in and out of the church. It was a difficult time because we both knew that God had called us together.

Right before the wedding, her health had returned, unexplained. God had blessed us with a very beautiful wedding and a two week honeymoon.

After a year of extreme financial hardship, in a town with no economy or jobs at all, I decided to join the army to get a better paying job. This moved us to Colorado. While there our first daughter was born. Shortly after the Army moved us to Germany. We stayed there for four and half years, and two of our boys were born there.

While in Germany God had blessed my wife with many Godly women to help and guide her in her life. She made several friends there that she is still friends with to this day.

The Army then chose to move us to Texas. We did not want to go there at all, and fought it hard, but God had His reasons. We finally gave in to God’s will and went. Before getting out of the Army, one more son was born.

During the time in Texas I had to be gone for several weeks to a month at a time, many times for trainings. It was a difficult time being separated. God held us together and kept us going forward despite all the challenges. God opened the door for me to get my ministerial certification shortly after getting to Texas.

In 2001, right before the 9-1-1 incident, God allowed me to get out of the army. God had blessed us with getting out, since a month later our country was under war again.

In our church I had become the children’s pastor shortly after getting out of the Army. It was a fun time, though there were some difficulties. The hardest part was financial stress. I could not seem to get a job that paid very well. Somehow God helped us survive and blessed us with two more children.

Later I felt God lead me to become a full pastor of a small church in Central Texas. It was a very difficult move for my wife because she had made a lot of friends where we were and did not want to leave them again. Leaving friends was something that seemed to keep happening in our life.

The move became even more difficult when half the church left right after I took it over. I found out that the church was not doing as well as they had appeared on the outside. After struggling to help it grow and keep the doors open for two years we closed the doors and left the ministry. I could not find another position at all. I felt like God closed the doors on us. I believe that maybe someday God will re-open those doors.

My wife struggled with that because she wanted to be a pastor’s wife. She was also struggling hard to raise our six children, at that time.

After working at it for twenty years, God allowed me to finally graduate college with a General Church Ministries degree from Southwestern Assemblies of God University in Texas. It was a long, at times difficult road, but God had blessed it.

I started working several different jobs and kept getting laid off. Finances were extremely difficult to manage. Somehow God provided for our needs and kept us going. The one thing that was always very strong for us, was our love for each other. My wife supported me in whatever I felt God was leading me or us to do. I supported her in homeschooling our children.

Although my wife has never really worked a job for pay since we have been married (with exception to a couple of short time work jobs), she has worked very hard. The process of taking children to different events or trainings on a regular basis. The work of determining meals for a large family, that half will choose not to eat. The work of ensuring chores are done. And many other things keep her busy and working extremely hard.

Since then God has blessed us with two more wonderful children and a house with some land. We still have some struggles financially, but God has been amazing in providing for our needs. We have had vehicle breakdowns, sickness too numerous to count, injuries, loss of jobs, death in extended family members, false accusations, and many other challenges. The two things that gives sense to why we have survived is love and God, and both of those are one and the same. God is described as love. When we have God, we will have love. When we have love, we will have God.

We have kept a strong love and commitment to each other and to God. Both of us are constantly talking about each other and about God. Our relationship with God comes first, then our relationship together, and finally our relationship with our children.

God has blessed us with our children. Three of them are now adults but are active in the church and in ministry. The next three down are old enough now to be active in ministry in our church also.  The youngest two, I expect, will be active some day in ministry when they get old enough.

As I look back on this journey that started twenty-five years ago today, it often seems as if it just started yesterday or at least just a few days ago. My love for my wife has grown over the years. It has not diminished as many claimed it would. We have never entertained the thought that we should not be together or that someone else would be better. My wife, nor I have ever thought it was better when the other was gone away.

I want to encourage you, that if you are in a relationship or already in a marriage, keep that commitment to love each other and God as God loves you. Do not entertain thoughts of being with someone else. When you say, “I do,” say it for life, no matter what comes up or what happens.

God is with you and will never leave you. With God all things are possible. A marriage that lasts for a lifetime, though uncommon in this world, is not impossible with God at the center.

I can say with Solomon: He who finds a wife finds what is good and receives favor from the LORD. Proverbs 18:22

God has given me what is good and I have found favor with Him in my wonderful marriage of twenty-five years and counting!

photo.JPG

I have been blessed with these twenty-five years and will be blessed for the next hundred and twenty-five on this great journey of marriage and family.

 

Psalm 150:1-6 Praise The Lord

Praise the LORD. Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty heavens. Praise him for his acts of power; praise him for his surpassing greatness. Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet, praise him with the harp and the lyre, praise him with the timbrel and dancing, praise him with the strings and pipe, praise him with the clash of cymbals, praise him with resounding cymbals. Let everything that has breath praise the LORD. Praise the LORD. Psalm 150:1-6

The book of Psalms ends with a psalm telling everyone to praise the Lord. Throughout this psalm the psalmist lists ways to praise Him and what to praise Him for.

The reasons for praising God are for His acts of power and His greatness.

Some people may say that they have never seen any of God’s great acts of power. This is not true. Every person on this earth has seen God’s great acts of power in creation at a minimum. All a person has to do is look at all of creation to see what God has done. Look at the number of plants and animals. Look at the stars in the sky at night. Look at the great mountains and seas. All of these things show God’s great power in creating things.

Believers may also look at the power God demonstrated in Jesus. The power to raise from the dead, and the great power to forgive and remove all sins. He has given you true life. These things show His surpassing greatness.

If these things do not make you want to praise God, nothing will.

Praising God can be with your voice, and it can be with instruments. The idea is to make a great noise praising God. Use every method you possibly can to praise God. Make the noise of praising God so loud that the world will hear you praising Him.

Do not be like some and just praise God quietly in your heart, in the back seats of a church on Sunday mornings. Let the world know that you love God and how great He is.

Sing praises out loud so that all can hear. Do not be ashamed of praising God.

Find a reason to praise God today.

Let everything that has breath praise the Lord! Praise the Lord!

I pray today that you will know God’s great power and greatness; that you will have a song of praise on your lips all day long; that you will find reasons to praise God; that you will find new ways to praise God; and that you will not be ashamed to praise the Lord.

Psalm 147:10-11 What God Delights In

His pleasure is not in the strength of the horse, or his delight in the legs of the warrior; the LORD delights in those who fear him, who put their hope in his unfailing love. Psalm 147:10-11

The world likes to look at what a wealthy or successful person has and admire it. They consider how large the house is, what type of car they drive, how big of a paycheck is made, the position a person has at work or in the community, and many other things. Things like this is what people delight in either seeing or having themselves.

Power is the other thing that people like to look at and admire. Men love to admire a car that has a lot of power. People often crowd around a person who has high authority or influence in a community. Those who have a great ability in some field are often sought out by others trying to learn how to have that same ability.

God does not look at those things and find the same great delight that man does. Seeing someone in high position or very successful does not excite the Lord at all. God already owns everything, so having it means very little to Him. He also has absolute power, so power and position mean nothing.

He finds great delight in those who fear and trust Him. God already has the ability to do anything and everything needed. He gets excited when a person will  trust Him to do what is needed for him every time and all the time.

God’s love for you is perfect and unfailing. God will not and cannot do anything that is not for your benefit. The real challenge is do your really believe that?

If you really believe that God does every thing He does for your benefit, then you must stop trusting in this world and the things of this world. Put all of your trust in God and Him alone.

Allow God to lead you in the path you are to take. Trust that His love is so great that you will not be harmed. You may get harmed physically, but your spirit will live for eternity with God.

Where is your hope today?

Is it in the things of this world?

Or in God’s unfailing love?

I pray today that you will know God’s love for you; that you will trust God’s love for you; that you know God delights in you following Him; and that you will not trust the things of this world.