Dear Son, Words of Wisdom #24

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Dear Son, The woman you choose as your wife, will make all the difference in your life.

It was my senior year in college. I had all but given up hope of finding my wife and decided to focus on finishing well. I had put down my radar, and then she walked in. I am not sure how we missed each other over the last three years, but we did.

After only a few dates, I knew that we would be together for the rest of our lives. It wasn’t just that I wanted to be with her. It was that I could not imagine life without her.

Luckily, your mother had the same thing in mind and heart.

It was the best decision I ever made (besides the decision to follow Jesus). There has not been a greater influence in my life for good. No better source of love and encouragement. No greater source of grace and strength. No better friend. God has blessed us in our marriage.

But for the grace of God, the opposite could have been our reality. Over the years, I have seen suffering and destruction resulting from a bad choice in marriage. Some failure was caused by bad decisions after marriage, but many just chose the wrong person. Not that good things can’t come out of a bad marriage, but do everything you can to make it great.

Some of the best advice I found is in Proverbs 31:

A good woman is hard to find,
    and worth far more than diamonds.
Her husband trusts her without reserve,
    and never has reason to regret it.
Never spiteful, she treats him generously
    all her life long.
She shops around for the best yarns and cottons,
    and enjoys knitting and sewing.
She’s like a trading ship that sails to faraway places
    and brings back exotic surprises.
She’s up before dawn, preparing breakfast
    for her family and organizing her day.
She looks over a field and buys it,
    then, with money she’s put aside, plants a garden.
First thing in the morning, she dresses for work,
    rolls up her sleeves, eager to get started.
She senses the worth of her work,
    is in no hurry to call it quits for the day.
She’s skilled in the crafts of home and hearth,
    diligent in homemaking.
She’s quick to assist anyone in need,
    reaches out to help the poor.
She doesn’t worry about her family when it snows;
    their winter clothes are all mended and ready to wear.
She makes her own clothing,
    and dresses in colorful linens and silks.
Her husband is greatly respected
    when he deliberates with the city fathers.
She designs gowns and sells them,
    brings the sweaters she knits to the dress shops.
Her clothes are well-made and elegant,
    and she always faces tomorrow with a smile.
When she speaks she has something worthwhile to say,
    and she always says it kindly.
She keeps an eye on everyone in her household,
    and keeps them all busy and productive.
Her children respect and bless her;
    her husband joins in with words of praise:
“Many women have done wonderful things,
    but you’ve outclassed them all!”
Charm can mislead and beauty soon fades.
    The woman to be admired and praised
    is the woman who lives in the Fear-of-God.
Give her everything she deserves!
    Festoon her life with praises!

I pray God will guide and protect your heart until your path is complete.

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Dear Son, Words of Wisdom #20

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Dear Son, Remember who you are.

“Rewind it please,” you requested.
So I pushed the rewind button on the VCR. The whirling sound began as The Lion King videotape circled back to the beginning. You must have watched it 1,375 times, and I joined you on many of the viewings.

One scene always got me.

Simba lost his way in life. He turned his back on his family and destiny…all because of a lie. He settled for something less because he forgot who he was and what he was created to be.

Rafiki to the rescue. Rafiki reminds Simba who he is. Rafiki returns Simba to himself beyond the lies and guilt to the powerful words of his father Mufasa, “Remember who you are.”

There will be times in life you will fall.
      Remember who you are.
There will be times you will succeed.
      Remember who you are.
You will face distraction, distortion and destruction.
      Remember who you are.
You will be tempted.
      Remember who you are.
You will be cheered and jeered.
      Remember who you are.
You will want to give up.
      Remember who you are.

“You are God’s masterpiece. He created you in Christ Jesus, so you can do the good things He planned for you long ago.” Ephesians 2:10
“And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue His work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.” Philippians 1:6

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Dear Son, Words of Wisdom #11

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Dear Son,
In all you do (even if it seems small or stupid), give it your all, as if you are doing it for God, not people.
Love, Dad

As you continue through school and launch out into the workplace, you will question the task and responsibilities you are given.  At times, you will feel that it is a waste of time or beneath you. You must have the proper perspective and patience.

Perspective changes everything. In order to have a proper perspective, we must understand who our boss actually is. Colossians 3:23 sheds light, “Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people.”  When we understand God is our boss, it gives dignity and elevates any task.

In life, we tend to categorize activities as either spiritual or human. We imagine that going to church or on a mission trip is spiritual but doing homework or mowing grass is just human activity. When we understand all we do is for God, nothing should be viewed as small or stupid.

You will also need patience. When you are new, you will have to prove yourself. Trust is built over time. In my own career and as I manage those in my care, I find the words of Jesus to be true, “If you’re faithful in small-scale matters, you’ll be faithful with far bigger responsibilities.” Luke 16:10

Do not let your current task or responsibilities suffer while you are waiting for the big, important stuff. Meet each task with willingness, energy and creativity. It will be noticed and rewarded.

Many times we think we are ready, but there are so many lessons to learn and endurance to build. God has great things ahead of you, but you must prepare yourself for that day. I love God’s response to Jeremiah when he felt like God was not moving fast enough, “If you have raced with men on foot and they have worn you out, how can you compete with horses?” Jeremiah 12:5

Pray that God gives you the perspective and patience to become the man of God you are intended to be.

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Sometimes It Feels Like God Will Never Show Up…Just Ask Abraham and Sarah

We all have friends or family members who are always late.  It doesn’t matter how early you tell them to be there…they are going to be late.  It doesn’t matter how important the event is…they are going to be late.  Sometimes it feel like God is slow.  It feels like He is not going to show up, but He is never late.

Abram’s Counsel to Sarai, c. 1896-1902, by James Jacques Joseph Tissot

God waited 75 year to send Abraham on his special mission.  God waited until Abraham was 75 years old to let him know that he was going to be the father of a great nation.  The only problem was that Abraham did not have any children, but Abraham believed God.

After about 12 years, Abraham still did not have any children, and his wife, Sarah, was getting a little antsy.  She felt like God was not fulfilling His promise fast enough.  So Sarah came up with a plan to help Him along.  She convinced Abraham to have his child through one fo their servants, Hagar.  This plan worked, but it was not God’s plan.  The child proved to be problem for years and generations to come.  So Abraham and Sarah had to continue to wait for God to fulfill his promise.

Finally, when Abraham was 99, God showed up again to fulfill His promise.  Abraham waited for almost 25 years. Both Abraham and Sarah laughed at the thought of having a child now, after all this time, but God fulfilled His promise.  When it seemed impossible, when it seemed to be too late…God showed up.

Many of us are waiting for God to do something in our lives.  We feel like God is taking too long and we try to take care of it ourselves.  We must remember that God is never late, His timing is perfect and He will keep his promises.  Read the story of Abraham in the 3-Hour Bible to find out how Abraham and Sarah made it through the wait.

How To Become Like Someone Else…Maybe Even Jesus

I was reading some tweets this morning and an image grabbed my attention.  So I did a little research to find the origin.

The image came from an ad campaign, “Become Someone Else” by the Lithuanian Agency called Love for Mint Vinetu.
The image is engaging, but I was also liked the thinking behind the image.  Here is the concept the agency used:
“When one reads books, he/she starts living it and identifies (or not) with main hero. These print ads for the Mint Vinetu bookstore, which sells lots of classics, focuses on the idea of becoming someone else. And provokes people to try on different personas.”

It is true that we are greatly affected by what we read.  In fact…we can be transformed.  In Romans 12:2, Paul writes, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”

What we read and think about is important.  Paul goes on to write in Philippians 4:8, “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”

We Become What We Read
Reading is transformational. So why not read the Bible and be transformed.  Here is my attempt at at similar image.