Taking the Epistle

A biblical journey through the epistles

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Loving a Lymie – Viewpoint from a non-Lyme sufferer

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Loving a Lymie – Viewpoint from a non-Lyme sufferer

First of all this article is not a complaint, I love my wife and I am doing this to increase awareness of something that has been difficult to overcome. I write this in the spirit of honesty and to try to increase awareness of Lyme as a whole. I urge you if you know someone who suffers from Lyme or want to increase awareness of this disease then please share this article and the articles that are linked to this one.

Who am I?

You don’t know me, chances are we have never met and had it not been for this blog article I doubt you would ever have read any words I have written. Normally I write articles of a devotional type length about different parts of the bible but this has been on my heart because this is my daily life because of the woman I love. If you want an introduction to me then check out my “about” or “testimony” page if at all interested in the person writing the article. (I do warn you, I am rather beige!)

My wife wrote a beautiful blog of the same name at the following link (Keeper ministries) and I am not going to repeat much of what she said, she is a much more powerful written and oral communicator than I am as I tend to write with my heart on my sleeve and let my passion go before allowing my common sense and ability to tidy up the verbiage. You probably do know my wife, a beautiful dynamic lady who despite what this incredible but terrible illness has done to her still manages to keep her head held high with a decent amount of dignity.

To give you an introduction I married my wife on a beautiful sunny day in California in 2005 and the lady I married was an outgoing wonderful friendly person who is the strongest person I ever met (she still is all of these things and more) but over the last few years my wife has been cut down with an illness that whilst we are still diagnosing the full extent of what she has we are fairly sure that it is Lyme or at the very least a co-infection of Lyme that has literally zapped the life out of my good lady. Obviously this is a labor of love and an exercise in knowledge sharing and any comment that would be posted below I would be happy to reply as they come in.

What is the point of this?

The point of the article is to try and get some dialogue going, whether that be on the comments part here or on the various Facebook pages or social media pages that Lyme sufferers go to for support. You see, whilst I have seen the effects first hand I have no idea what you are going through. I can’t feel the pain and despite the facts that I can see the results of the pain I can only sympathize as opposed to empathize because really I do not have a clue. Honestly, I wish I could give my wife a “pain vacation” because she could really do with a day off.

Why is this happening?

Who knows? Only God can really answer that one. I trust Him even although I do not understand and I know that God can do miraculous healing and rather selfishly it is what I ask most for in my prayer life mainly because my wife has been through so much and it truly has opened my eyes to a world where you cannot diagnostically see the effects of the illness but you understand that it has taken so much from the victim and the first thing I noticed when checking out who was affected by this illness is that it is not discriminatory, it does not choose based on ethnicity, obesity, skin pigmentation or any other factor. It could quite literally happen to anyone and why it happened to my dear Chelsea I have no idea. Maybe I prayed too hard for an opportunity to show my love, who knows?

Where and when did this happen?

We have no idea, it could have been a tick, it could have been anytime, all I know is my wife has been sick for years and have progressively been getting worst and I could give you a phone book of doctors that have passed her off to the next guy because they couldn’t diagnose her. Chelsea felt like she was being passed on and passed over, I was getting frustrated because I wanted some kind of answer as to what was going on with her and I wanted to start a road to trying to get her better or if that was not possible get us on the road to getting the symptoms to a manageable level.

I also wanted (for my wife’s sake) some validation that she was ill because I was starting to feel like very few people were attempting to understand that she was actually sick! It is difficult to cancel things at the last minute like bible studies, parties we were meant to attend or even something as simple as having folks over for dinner becomes that more challenging if the paid is too much to bear.

How do I feel?

Honestly? I am a mixture of emotions and if I was being selfish and could have all of my prayers answered I would want her to be well and I would wish for us not to have all of these crazy medical bills and I wish we could carry on with our hopes and dreams. My wife has such a talent for music and whilst I am amazed at what she has managed to accomplish before collapsing in an exhausted heap I wish she had the ability to enjoy what she loves. Myself I have always desired to be teaching the Word of God and I wish I could get back to that but I am fortunate in that I have a good job (3 actually) I still have my wife and we have been blessed with a beautiful daughter who is wonderful and truly is the other love of my life.

Do I need to do more?

Of course! My wife does what she can however I do not like asking her because she still homeschools and does other stuff that most other Lyme sufferers would not even attempt. We have no defined roles and if I want to be leader of my home I have had to learn that I can do that as well by being in front of the washing machine, sink, cooker, vacuum cleaner or whatever people would say are not “men’s jobs” in a chauvinistic manner, truth be told it is a team effort and I do what I can but I also admit I get lazy sometimes. I am not perfect and if you have advice, life hacks, shortcuts or anything that could make our lives not as complicated then I would be grateful if you would share. Whether that be planning meals so we don’t have to eat out or just ways to get a more fluid process then I would be grateful.

She doesn’t like to ask me to do things and I am learning slowly when things are getting too much for her. Don’t get me wrong I often get it wrong and I am grateful for the patience she shows me. This is not a short term scenario and I know what I signed up for, I promised on my wedding day that I was going to love her “in sickness and in health” and I often joke with her “when do we get the healthy part?” and it truly is a test of love because the girl I fell in love with was vibrant, outgoing and such a servant. She won me over without a word and has shown me such an example of Jesus that it turned my life around.

Isn’t Lyme covered by most doctors and insurances?

Actually no, most are reading from out of date statistics and often times if your insurance plan covers anything at all they will usually only cover antibiotics for a certain time and whilst that works in some cases it does not work in all. Lyme doctors often have to go out of network and personally my wife and I travel three hours to see a Lyme specialist who is about 200 miles away from where we live and that is a fortunate situation as we have someone who will see us in the same state as often times people have a way worse commute than we do. I have found that most Lyme doctors are out of the insurance networks and because of this it can be a very costly exercise to go and visit these specialists. You can’t put a cost on healthcare and I would gladly empty everything I own to have my wife treated.

How long will this go on?

You are in it for the long haul and I truly am, if I have to be a full time carer for my wife I am prepared to do so should things go south. It is not always roses in the garden and sometimes there has to be some hard graft put in but my number one priority is my wife and then my child. I am called to serve them first and foremost and then afterwards do whatever externally I am called to do. We see the following said about love in 1st Corinthians 13 (Our family chapter)

1st Corinthians 13:4 (ESV) Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant 5 or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; 6 it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. 7 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 8 Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. 11 When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. 12 For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known. 13 So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

It is a high calling to bear all things, believes all things, hopes and endures all things. Problem is, I am not Superman and I fail more often than I succeed (just ask my wife) but the main part is that I am willing and my desire is to have this article spread in order to try and advance the cause of Lyme and maybe make some contacts who are in the same boat as me.

God bless and I pray this was a blessing and please feel free to like, share or comment on here or whatever social media platforms you use as the Lord leads you to, as always I love questions about this or any other article so please feel free to fill in the form below, all comments are moderated to avoid profanity.
TTE
TGBTG
SDG

 

Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ – Romans 5:1-11

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Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ – Romans 5:1-11 – 05/01/2016

Romans 5:1 (ESV) Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. 3 Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4 and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, 5 and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. 6 For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. 7 For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— 8 but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. 10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. 11 More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.

This is a series in the book of Romans, for the home page in our study and to see other studies then please click here or our main epistle page is here. My aim is to go through the Book of Romans as the LORD wills.

Let’s start in verse one of chapter five…

V1 Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Paul has spent chapters 1-4 showing us the reasons that we are justified by faith now we have established that we see that Paul moves on to teaching more theology but at the same time explaining what he means by his past statements and showing correct teaching. He states that we are “justified by faith” harks back to Romans 1-3 where we were shown to be guilty before God and Paul showed the need for a savior. That is important because if you do not recognize your need for salvation then you may have issues accepting Jesus as your messiah. Even although we are guilty, God never meant for that to always be the case and we are “justified by faith” in Christa and what he has done for us on the cross.

This is why Paul states we “have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” to quote the hymn writer “Jesus paid it all” on the cross. Paul evaluates this claim and shows how great that sacrifice was. Can you imagine that God would want communion with you so much that he would send to you the most precious in his eyes to die in your place in order that justice be served on your sins and that you can have peace with God?

“Peace with God” is a wonderful phrase showing that we are no longer against God or at odds with him due to sin. This is not a “catch all state” and we are still required to have faith and we are required to actually want salvation as God will not force himself upon those who do not wish to serve him. Like most peace treaties there is a negotiation and winners and losers, in this battle however both man and God win because God gets his beloved creation back and man has a way to be reconciled to God.

V2 Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God.

Paul shows us that we have this position with God not through our own will, our own merits, skills or attributes; we have it entirely through God’s grace. None of us are favored by God and we are all there through grace, it is by grace that we are saved and we see that in Paul’s letter to the Ephesians…

Ephesians 2:4 (ESV) 4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— 6 and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

That explains it way better than I ever could, we were dead in our sins before we were redeemed and our redemption is secured by our faith, talk about finding a precious jewel in a dollar store! That is reason alone to hope in the glory of God. We have an all access pass to the maker of heaven and earth, what a joy!

V3 Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4 and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, 5 and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.

Paul mirrors what is said in the book of James when he talks of “rejoicing on ones trials” let’s be honest, who does that?

Paul uses a great word for “sufferings” and he states that we can rejoice in them, I am sure that in your life you have had times that you would rather not talk about and trials that have flamed you to within an inch of your spiritual life and you have been tested. Perhaps you would rather just close that door to that part of your life and forget about it. What if God had a plan for that suffering in your life? What if you were to be used in the same way that this test became a testimony and you were able to ‘save someone else’s life” just because you have been through those things. Paul states that testing does the following…

  • suffering produces endurance
  • endurance produces character
  • character produces hope
  • hope does not put us to shame

James 1:2 (ESV) Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, 3 for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. 4 And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

So instead of begging God and saying “why me?” instead say “why not?” and I know that this is easy to put down in paper and when you are in the trenches it is a whole different story. I know that I would much rather not go through what God has me go through and just have the character and hope but that is not God’s way and Paul states why below.

Isn’t that the way with God? I cannot count the amount of times I have asked in faith in prayer for more money and rather than God just dropping me a check in the mail (that has happened too) he will often times give me the opportunity to earn money through overtime or a second job will come through.

Paul writes that “and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” Paul rounds that reasoning by stating that hope will not disappoint us and put us to shame because of God’s love. God when he created the heavens and earth created everything “good” and has intention to make it good again. Paul states this with great clarity but not having a cold theological feel to it. Paul realized this was life changing but also people lived their lives through this and by this.

God will pour out his love, it is not rationed and Paul desires us to have experience of this part of God. God desires us to know the Holy Spirit in its fullness. We have the Holy Spirit in our lives, but we have to ask ourselves if we are living in the fullness of the Holy Spirit and walk day by day dependent on the Holy Spirit?

V6 For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. 7 For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— 8 but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

God came and rescued us while we were weak, not strong! This is very God, that he would come to the most undeserving, to the weakest, to the ungodly and the wicked. Basically us! The very ones that Jesus was drawn to because he and the father are on the same mission. To heal the sick and to redeem those who wish redeemed. That is why Christ died for the ungodly and he did so at the right time. God knew what he was doing and his timing is always better than ours. (This is also reconfirmed in Galatians 4:4)

Think about it, God waited for an Empire to come along that would have an open border system all through their Empire, for a stable economy, for the right time for prophecies to be fulfilled. History may say that the gospel was hampered by the Roman Empire through persecution, but the ability to have it spread to three continents was enabled by the easy passage throughout the Empire.

If you had any doubt that God loved you then verses seven and eight will really open your eyes. God loved us so much that even although we were still against God, God showed that amazing love to send Jesus to the cross to be our substitute and give us that opportunity to be with him in heaven. God loves us much more than human love because even personally, there are not many I would gladly lay my life down for even although I am assured of heaven once I pass from this earth and I know that I am quite literally justified by the blood of Jesus.

V9 Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. 10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life.

We are saved from the judgment of God for our sins; we are saved from the penalty of what our error had condemned us to. We are saved by the love of God against the wrath of God, if the wrath of God was great how much greater will the love of God be? God literally reached out to his enemy, offered his own son, the firstborn without spot, blemish or sin and not only reconciled but adopted us into his family. What love and what saving grace being saved through the life of Jesus!

V11 More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.

Jesus is the key to Salvation, this much is true, there is no longer a need to cling to a holy law that you could never keep in the first place because our reconciliation with God was through Jesus. Jesus states this more clearly than I ever could in the tenth chapter of the Gospel of John…

John 10:7 (ESV) So Jesus again said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. 8 All who came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. 9 I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture. 10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. 11 I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.

Lord willing, in our next article in Romans we will look at verses twelve through twenty one in chapter five when we look at the second part of Paul’s explanation where he looks at the death of Adams sin and the new life in Jesus Christ. I pray that you are able to join us as we go through the bible, line by line and precept by precept.

God bless and I pray this was a blessing and please feel free to like, share or comment on here or whatever social media platforms you use as the Lord leads you to, as always I love questions about this or any other article so please feel free to fill in the form below, all comments are moderated to avoid profanity.
TTE
TGBTG
SDG

The creation of Man – Genesis 2:4-9 – 03/08/2016

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The creation of Man – Genesis 2:4-9 – 03/08/2016

Genesis 2:4 (ESV) These are the generations of the heavens and the earth when they were created, in the day that the LORD God made the earth and the heavens. 5 When no bush of the field was yet in the land and no small plant of the field had yet sprung up—for the LORD God had not caused it to rain on the land, and there was no man to work the ground, 6 and a mist was going up from the land and was watering the whole face of the ground— 7 then the LORD God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature. 8 And the LORD God planted a garden in Eden, in the east, and there he put the man whom he had formed. 9 And out of the ground the LORD God made to spring up every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

This article is designed to be a slightly more in depth article than I did in the “creation series” elsewhere on this website, Lord willing I hope to look at the full creation week and examine the case for a Biblical creation from the mindset that the bible is accurate and a honest and truthful source of history in how we came to be here. I am not here to attack other mindsets as I appreciate that not everyone shares my view of a biblical history and I do welcome lively debate on the subject regardless of your thoughts or beliefs on how the earth was made.

In order to look at this from a biblical context we must first look at the text in question starting in chapter two verse four…

V4 These are the generations of the heavens and the earth when they were created, in the day that the LORD God made the earth and the heavens.

In Genesis 1:1-2:3 we see a brief summary of all creation was created and often times we see critics of the bible point to the texts in Genesis 1 and Genesis 2 and claim that there is a discrepancy or contradiction in the scriptures. I must first advise that this is not the case. Genesis two is simply giving part of the creation account in much greater detail.

It would be like you inviting me to a party and charging me with the task of bringing chips, soda and dip for the chips. On the way there I text you and reconfirm that I am in the supermarket buying chips and dip. Imagine then I send you a further text telling you that I went to WalMart and bought a bag of Doritos, a bag of Cheetos, two bags of potato chips, 3 2 liters of soda, some fruit punch for the kids and 3 different dips. The second text gives much the same information as the first but in much greater detail; this is the same situation in this text.

The writer states that “These are the generations of the heavens and the earth when they were created, in the day that the LORD God made the earth and the heavens.” That this was narrated to the writer as the writer was not there when God created, the writer was not omnipresent with God and he got the generations/genealogy/history directly from God who was indeed the primary witness.

We see the use of the word LORD in this passage, the name that was so holy to the Jewish people that they would remove the consonants and from that we get our pronunciation “Yahweh” and somewhere along the line some pronounced JHVH as “Jehovah”. When you see the name LORD it stands for the name of God, the bread giver, the true LORD of everything, the name that demands our reverence. The capitals are important as they show the correct translation.

V5 When no bush of the field was yet in the land and no small plant of the field had yet sprung up—for the LORD God had not caused it to rain on the land, and there was no man to work the ground, 6 and a mist was going up from the land and was watering the whole face of the ground—

The first thing that strikes me is that there has been no rain upon the land. This gives a great indication of what the climate was like that rain was not required to make the plants grow. The waters above the waters provided the perfect atmosphere to be inhabited and make things grow. Of course we have this confirmed by the fact that creation was deemed as “good” at this point having no death, no decay and only positive creation on the earth. The writer of Genesis two rewinds to before there was vegetation on Genesis one and we get a reconfirmation of some highlights of some of the points in chapter one.

God made the scene in an aged format, the rivers were rivers without rain, the plants sprouted without being planted, the trees had fruit ready for man to eat, the vegetation happened on the same day it was created. We don’t read on this day God planted a seed and six months later it came up. We are reminded of the order of creation in verse five in that man had not been created yet.

Verse six gives an indication of the tropical paradise by the description of how the mist was going up from the land and causing a precipitation cycle that did not require an actual rainfall. God had the creation all planned out to be a self-sufficient creation prior to the fall. We will go into that in greater detail LORD willing when we get to Genesis 3. All we need to complete this creation picture is the arrival of man…

V7 then the LORD God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature.

So we were formed from DUST! Do you still have that self-pride and self-worth problems? I look at the creation in two ways, that we are who we are meant to be because we are made in God’s image so please do not doubt your value from a loving Father God, but we were made from the lowest materials available so please use this as a balance to keep your pride in check.

We have life by the gift of God; even in the beginning life did not happen except through the breath of God. Man became a living creature (or soul) and you will not see anywhere in scripture that God breathed life into the animals and despite the fact that we are made of something that is of little worth (when was the last time you saw someone spending millions of dollars on dust?) with the basest of components, it is literally next to nothing but with the touch of God it became his beloved creation.

V8 And the LORD God planted a garden in Eden, in the east, and there he put the man whom he had formed.

Here is the employ that God has for the man, he puts the man in the garden he created called Eden, this was a made to measure garden for Adam and was made to be the perfect place to live in. This is the creation that at the end of the creation week was called “very good”. At this time only Adam is mentioned, we are not introduced to Eve until later, all we know at this time was that this place was created for man, it truly was man’s special place, created just for him.

V9 And out of the ground the LORD God made to spring up every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

The last description we have of the garden is that it is beautiful, blossoming garden that God has created every tree to blossom and spring forth that is both pleasant to the eye and functional for good food. Talk about the easy life! God literally created everything that man could ask for, what a paradise but that does not sound much like the death and decay that we face today…

We see that God created two trees amongst the other trees and these have special significance and we will see why in the next article.

Lord willing, in our next article in Genesis we look at verses ten through seventeen where we understand the rivers of Eden and God gives man one rule to obey. I pray that you are able to join us as we go through the bible, line by line and precept by precept.

God bless and I pray this was a blessing and please feel free to like, share or comment on here or whatever social media platforms you use as the Lord leads you to, as always I love questions about this or any other article so please feel free to fill in the form below, all comments are moderated to avoid profanity.
TTE
TGBTG
SDG

Mark Driscoll launches Phoenix church and why I am okay with it!

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Introduction?

I read on several Christian themed news sites within the last 48 hours that the worst kept secret in West Coast Christianity is now official, former Mars Hill Pastor Mark Driscoll is to set up a new church in Arizona in the Phoenix area entitling this new mission as “The Trinity Church”. I am proud to say that I have quite a wide spectrum of Christianity as far as viewpoints on my social media feeds but even I have been surprised about the veracity of criticism levelled at Pastor Mark. I thought I would add some words to the debate, these are my personal words and by no means are representative of any of the ministries that I am involved in. I am not a paid pastor and really I am speaking as myself only, but I feel led to add my voice to the mix and that I have to do so as possibly a voice that may look at some of the thinking behind the criticism of this man of God.

I am of no doubt of a few things, having heard podcasts of the man himself in his previous position as pastor of Mars Hill and as a former leader of Acts 29 I know that the man is a truly gifted teacher of the word of God. I am not all “doe eyed” and a supporter of any man or any man’s ministry because they have a name but God has certainly used Mark to reach many people and modern Christianity is a better place because of his input. Personally, I have never met the bloke but I do know him by his positive impact to others in the ministry that he was blessed to be a part of for Jesus.

Why isn’t he pastor of Mars Hill anymore?

For further clarification I had written an earlier blog on Mark Driscoll, The board at Mars Hill in the Seattle area accepted Mark’s resignation in October of 2014 after a group of former Mars Hill congregants made certain allegations about him accusing him of using his position as a Pastor wrongly and there were allegations of what could be construed as bullying.

I am not going to defend what he was accused of because I was not there and to be honest I have no idea what went on or whether 100% of the accusations were 100% true or is it a case that as emotions have ran high, have things been pulled out of context, exaggerated or possibly manipulated because let’s face it, when you mention Marks name there are folks out there with an agenda.

Type in Mark Driscoll into a popular search engine and you will already see sites that have the words “Mark Driscoll” and “Controversy” in the headers, the title, I am not saying he hasn’t flown close to the wind or ben a choirboy in the pulpit, man he had even turned so many people away because people would rather report that he used a four letter word in a sermon as opposed to any decent application or life changing message of the gospel that could be applied to someone’s life.

What was he accused of?

As covered a little bit above he is accused of the following according to Wikipedia…

“In May 2013, now former Mars Hill elder Dave Kraft filed formal charges (under Mars Hill Church bylaws) of “mistreatment” against Mark Driscoll and other leaders at Mars Hill. He specifically accused Driscoll of being “domineering, verbally violent, arrogant, and quick-tempered”. Kraft further argued that this “established pattern of… behavior” disqualified Driscoll from church leadership.[note 1] Mars Hill Church’s Board of Advisors and Accountability responded, saying that they sent one hundred letters to former elders and staff in an effort to substantiate Kraft’s charges. They received eighteen responses, which they reviewed, and determined them to be “non-disqualifying” with respect to Driscoll’s leadership position. However, the Board did initiate a “reconciliation process” to address “many offenses and hurts that are still unresolved”. Dave Kraft worked at Mars Hill from 2005 to 2013 and was Driscoll’s personal “coach” during that time.”

Other controversies include an issue with a company used by Driscoll to promote a book who used methods to manipulate sales figures on a book that would later be designated to be on the New York Times bestseller list and another book he faced accusations of plagiarism. Lastly as the controversies raged it was found that Driscoll had posted online messages under a pen name of William Wallace II and the content of those messages.

How should we react biblically?

Paul talks about these very things in the epistle of Ephesians…

Ephesians 4:29 (ESV) Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. 32 Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.

I say this because really, unless you were personally hurt by Driscoll, or any of the group that call themselves “Repentant Pastors” (They have their say here) or anyone associated with him or the Mars Hill movement then really you have no axe to grind and you may just have an agenda against a man who was popular for a wee while in Christian circles. From what I see, he is not guilty of any heresy, he is not prohibited from leadership and has taken a year out to pray, contemplate and reassess and he is starting again in a new city with a new group of people and I have no doubt that he probably will have learned so much from this on a personal level in what must have been a terribly challenging season as a pastor, but I do know that if this is truly his calling (I cannot speak for the man and do not know his heart) then he must follow Gods plan for his life.

Should you do have that axe to grind then I do urge you to do as Paul commands here and use your words to…

•       Build up
•       Not corrupt
•       Fitting for the occasion
•       Giving grace to all who will hear
•       Not grieve the Holy Spirit
•       Be kind
•       Be forgiving
•       Be tenderhearted

And the reason is stated here also “as God in Christ forgave you” and this is no great theological mystery, this is Sunday school stuff here, if you think Paul is talking nonsense then will you take it from Jesus Christ in the gospel of Matthew chapter 18?

And here is what we should not be…

•       Bitter
•       Filled with wrath
•       Filled with anger
•       Filled with malice

People will use words like “I am protecting the flock of Christ” or “I am being a watchman” or my personal favorite “I am exposing a wolf in sheep’s clothing” and I agree that false teachers should be exposed, however many folks who do these “exposés” are often times being divisive for the sake of being divisive. Again I wrote about that in my article “Why is division long?”

So you are okay with it?

I am okay with Mark going back into pastoral ministry because like him, I have messed up, I have been extended grace and I have extended grace to others. The main difference between me and Driscoll is I don’t have hundreds of people waiting to pounce on my every failing. For that reason I hope that I never have “a name” or “popularity” in the Christian circles because once you “make it” the knives come out.

You expect that from the world but you expect more from your Christian brothers and that works both ways in the forgiving stakes and I would hope that those who want to flame Driscoll would not wish the same on themselves. The guy is like me, a flawed sinner who is saved by grace just wanting to use the talents and giftings that God has given him for his glory and if he truly is doing it “Soli Deo Gloria” then I wish him all the best and I pray for impact in the souls that he is sent to minister to. I pray for life change, revival and Jesus name to be praised in that city; wouldn’t that be a better main story? Let’s advance the kingdom of Jesus!

God bless and I pray this was a blessing and please feel free to like, share or comment on here or whatever social media platforms you use as the Lord leads you to
TTE
TGBTG
SDG

 

 

 

Happy Thanksgiving from Taking the Epistle – Be thankful, forgive and love one another – Matthew 18:21-35

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Happy Thanksgiving from Taking the Epistle – Be thankful, forgive and love one another – Matthew 18:21-35

Matthew 18:21 (ESV) Then Peter came up and said to him, “Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?” 22 Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy-seven times. 23 “Therefore the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his servants. 24 When he began to settle, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents. 25 And since he could not pay, his master ordered him to be sold, with his wife and children and all that he had, and payment to be made. 26 So the servant fell on his knees, imploring him, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you everything.’ 27 And out of pity for him, the master of that servant released him and forgave him the debt. 28 But when that same servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii, and seizing him, he began to choke him, saying, ‘Pay what you owe.’ 29 So his fellow servant fell down and pleaded with him, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you.’ 30 He refused and went and put him in prison until he should pay the debt. 31 When his fellow servants saw what had taken place, they were greatly distressed, and they went and reported to their master all that had taken place. 32 Then his master summoned him and said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me. 33 And should not you have had mercy on your fellow servant, as I had mercy on you?’ 34 And in anger his master delivered him to the jailers,  until he should pay all his debt. 35 So also my heavenly Father will do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother from your heart.”

As I was praying about whether to share this thanksgiving or not I came across an old bible study that I had done for our Sunday evening “Agape bible study group” and it was entitled “forgiveness part one” and the basis of the bible study was the verses above which I am sure you can understand why I would use this as a good example when we would be speaking about forgiveness but why would I use this example or why did I receive confirmation to do these verses for a Thanksgiving post? Please let me explain…

For me this passage of scripture is in two parts…

•       The initial question from Peter regarding how often shall we forgive
•       Jesus responds with a parable, describing a situation that is recognizable to help them understand.

Peter starts this whole passage of scripture off by being Peter and lets be fair to Peter, we are all a little “Peter-like” sometimes when he starts off well by asking a question and if he had left it there then we would have commended Peter for his pursuit of knowledge, however Peter does what he does and this is why I relate to him so well by giving a “holy answer” as to appear correct. Jesus blows his mind by stating that he should not hold a standard “3 times and you are out” or an elongated “I will do it seven times” but you should do it seventy times seven, not hold an account of forgiveness but actually have that heart of forgiveness and that is why he tells the parable.

What does this have to do with Thanksgiving?

Quite a lot actually! Today we will gather together with people who we have prearranged to do so, in some cases and especially if it is a family situation you will have to forgive those who have slighted us or wronged us because let us face it, we will tick each other off occasionally. We all have folks in our lives that do things that rub us up the wrong way but on holidays such as this then we will attempt to rise above this. To achieve a sense of true thankfulness you have to forgive first. Jesus talks about the heart of forgiveness when you are going to sacrifice in the following passage of scripture…

Matthew 5:21 (ESV) “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.’ 22 But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire. 23 So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24 leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.

If you are being truly thankful then you must rid yourself of the things that eat you up, as Jesus says here in Matthew 5 be reconciled to your brother (whether he accepts it or not but do your part) and then with clean hands and a clean heart offer your gift at the alter (or your praises to God) and this is as true today as it was when it was written, I have experience of this as recently someone I had been ministering with was hurt by actions taken and I felt that I had to have it resolved by the following Sunday as I did not want to offer praises to God without reconciliation being offered. I wanted to resolve the issue with my spiritual brother so I could be genuinely thankful for what the Lord had done for me.

Give thanks with a grateful heart

In the Matthew 18 parable we see that the servant who had been forgiven of so much did not show the same restraint to one who owed him much less and do you think that he was thankful for his current situation? He still had his wife and children and they were not in slavery, he still was in favor by the ruler, and he had been forgiven a great debt and had you have been in the same situation would you have been praising God for all that had been done for you, having a heart of thankfulness for the blessings bestowed upon your life as you had been given a great gift and one that could not possibly repay or would you respond as he did.

The forgiven man goes out into the street and does he show thankfulness or give thanks? Do you think that as he was throttling the man who owed him a small debt he had a heart of thanksgiving? I would say of course not and we have to be careful today that we do not let the cares of this world, the slights that we think we have against folks, the gossip that we breathe against our friends or whether we are getting a big enough slice of the pie or whether we feel that someone owes us steal away the reason for this season that we are giving glory and thanks to God for all he has provided for us this far in the year and we gather the ones that we want to be around and want to spend quality time with. I lament that I will not be with my parents this year but I will give thanks for them when they are here in the New Year.

Examine what irks you about that person and establish whether that price is high enough to lose that person in your life. There is a flippant saying in Scotland that states “If you lend a friend 20 pounds and you lose that friend over it, it probably was a fair price for the friendship you had!” if the issue is money then that is easy! You either forgive or make arrangements that suit both parties to repay, or if the issue is pride then swallow it, if the issue is forgiveness then forgive them and pray for them, if they choose to be spiritually immature then that is on them. Do as much as you can, but if you forgive then do not bring it up anymore, bury it.

And thanksgiving does not have to be just one day a year and I challenge you this in this New Year give thanks to God regularly and give thanks often have love feasts on a regular basis and invest in your brothers and sisters, both family and spiritual. I am grateful for this holiday that we get to focus on God for all he has provided for us, but let us not just make it one day a year, let us be giving thanks with a grateful heart on a regular and ongoing basis. This year my wife and I had a Thanksgiving Love Feast last Sunday for 27 people in my small house and that is where the above picture comes from, what was really cool is that my wife looked up verses that spoke about giving thanks and our people read these out to set our hearts on God. We do this as well as meeting with her family (it is important to invest in your spiritual and relational family often) on the day itself and I commend you that if you know someone who will be alone this Thanksgiving then please invite them over and bless them because you know that as followers of Jesus we are to love one another and be a friend to the friendless.

Black Thursday

One of the modern trends that I hate (and this is from a guy who has done it on the first year folks were doing it) is that people swap time with the folks who made an effort to spend time with them at Thanksgiving in order to line up in the cold for the latest and greatest gadget at a rock bottom price, or to make their Christmas cheaper and that part is admirable, but instead of us using that money wisely we use it to cram one more gift into that budget and our stores on “Black Thursday” (formally known as Thanksgiving) turns from that picturesque image of people being genuinely thankful to running around to get more stuff and not actually be thankful for what we have and we end up looking like the opening scene of the movie “The Grinch that stole Christmas”.

Days like this I usually avoid as it brings out the worst in people, I have seen Target associates be verbally abused because there was a limited stock on a bargain, a woman swooping like a vulture when I put a crock pot back on the shelf, I have had carts wrestled from my hands as that lady “needed two” and lastly a lady organizing her kids at various stores like a military general on a cell phone to make the maximum impact at all the stores at the same time. It truly saddens me as a few hours after we claim to be thankful we go look to get more. At church on Sunday the pastor quoted that of all the stuff we buy, only 1% of what we buy as comfort items is still in use after 6 months, the rest are given away or stored “for future use”. (I bet you are thinking about your cupboards now)

God bless and I pray this was a blessing and please feel free to like, share or comment on here or whatever social media platforms you use as the Lord leads you to. I truly wish you and yours a happy and safe Thanksgiving season. Love your families and pleas give thanks to the one who has given you and forgiven you of so much.
TTE
TGBTG
SDG

Why Christians should J’adore Paris

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Matthew 5:4 (ESV) “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.

It has been quite a week hasn’t it, last Friday we learned of multiple assaults on the French capital Paris that were attributed to a terrorist group called ISIS. Personally having been there I know that it is a beautiful, vibrant and a city that is very proud of whom they are and it is a city that is no stranger to being attacked in such a violent manner.

As Christians it is difficult not to get caught up in the idea that “the perpetrators must pay” and “revenge is the only option” and whilst I am not surprised nor unhappy that France chose to retaliate within 48 hours and I would never criticize their national policy, I do feel that as Christians it is as the verse above states our job to comfort the mourning.

This attack was not just an attack on France it was an attack on our way of living. It was a reminder and a reinforcement that we do have people out there who do wish to harm us and wish us harm. As Tony Blair stated on the day of 9/11 when he said “We are all Americans today” I would say that “Je suis Parisiens” (We are Parisian) And for me that is why it has hit us on a level that we have not been hit since that fateful day in September 2011 and made us remember how we felt on that day.

Jesus spoke the words above as part of a greater sermon called “The Beatitudes” where Jesus said some words that were quite revolutionary at that time of Roman occupation where the mourning were not comforted, the meek were not inheriting the earth, the merciful did not always receive mercy. Jesus spoke words directly from heaven and touched men’s hearts in a way that empty religion could not. We as Christians should do likewise.

This suffering is temporary

Romans 8:18 (ESV) For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.

Paris you have been given a sucker punch right to the gut of the heart of your country and I pray for you and yours at this time. They have struck right at the heart of a city that was just beginning its weekend at the core of national pride, the national stadium where the beloved “Les Bleus” were playing an old foe Germany in an association football match to warm the team up before the big games in the same city the following year.

I grieve for those people who lost loved ones in the 129 souls that perished that night between the various places that attacks took place. My prayer is that they knew Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior and I pray with condolence and sympathy for you oh loved ones that you may find comfort in the “great comforter”.

I take solace in that I believe there will have been more people praying for France this week than at any other time since WW2. I stated on my Twitter feed this week the truth that is pictured above that “The last time France had so many allies was WW2” and despite the great sufferings you experience and grief is a real heart wrenching thing to go through, but there is Salvation in the Lord Jesus Christ and I pray for the nation of France to turn to Jesus at this dark time.

I shared this week on my Facebook wall the incredible testimony of my brothers at Calvary Chapel Paris who met for a service two days after the attacks and they did not just have an increase in numbers but in the fragility of death being so close it allowed people to examine where their faith was. It really made people look at the truth of Paul’s writings in 1st Corinthians 15…

1st Corinthians 15:54 (ESV) When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.” 55 “O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” 56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

I would urge you that behold now is the accepted time and now is God’s day of Salvation, (2nd Corinthians 6:2) and if you are not assured of your place in heaven I would urge you to either contact me to discuss or please let a pastor or minister know and we would be happy to talk you through accepting Jesus into your heart and being born again.

He heals the broken hearted

Psalm 147:3 (ESV) He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.

And this is the truth of the whole Bible that there is no hurt, there is no valley to deep, to depths in which we can plunge to that would not be able to be healed by God. I serve a big God that created us in his image, knows our innermost parts before we were knitted in our mothers wombs one who cares about you regardless of the wrong you have done or how far you think you have travelled to God, he is willing to have a relationship with you, that is why Jesus Christ died on the cross for your sins.

This message is for the Parisian as much as it is for the ISIS terrorist that you today could be in heaven if you put your faith in Jesus Christ. Jesus said in the Gospel of John chapter 14 verse 6 that “he is the only way to heaven” no one comes unto the father (God) except through him. I pray for a true revival in the city in a movement that moves hearts and minds and the nation repents and follows Jesus Christ. I read the following in 2nd Chronicles 7…

2nd Chronicles 7:14 (ESV) if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.

And this is my prayer, an abundance of prayer in Paris and a healing of the land! Please know my Parisian friends I do grieve with you and lament that this had to happen to you and as a Scotsman I have a special affinity towards the French due to our shared royalty and history. Most Frenchmen I have met have been good sorts and a credit to your country and my overall opinion of your country is favorable due to time spent there and people met. I have a great love personally for Paris as a city and have my own personal feelings about the attackers.

To any Muslims looking in

Jihad is not the answer! ISIS is not the answer! Jesus Christ is! He is the Son of the one true God and he spoke about how to recognize his true disciples and that is “if you had love for one another” (John 13:35) There are no virgins awaiting you in Paradise and you do not have to kill infidels in order to be assured of celestial paradise. I would love to speak to you regarding a relationship with Jesus. I pray for you and grieve that you have not found him as your Savior.

I pray this article was a blessing, feel free to share, comment or like on whatever social media platforms you use as the Lord leads.
TTE
TGBTG
SDG

Here is the PUNch line – Some silly humor

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We all love to laugh huh? Well in the place where I work we had some puns on our intranet in order to lighten the day, I wrote some down and researched some others to give a light hearted post for a change.

We read in Ecclesiastes 3 that there is a “time to laugh and a time to cry” so I wish to spread some good cheer today. Please enjoy the humor and mirth of people much funnier than me.

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I think want a job cleaning mirrors. It’s just something I can really see myself doing.

What do you call a bear without any teeth? A gunmmy bear

What do you call a fake noodle? an impasta

I started a band called 999 megabytes. So far we haven’t got a gig.

Whats the difference between a hippo and a zippo?
One’s heavy and the other’s a little lighter

Two peanuts were walking in a bad part of town.  One was a salted

Why did the Raisin take a Plum to the movies?
He couldn’t find a Date.

Why are chicken coops required to only have 2 doors?

Because if they had 4 doors, it would be a chicken sedan!

I was wondering the other day why a frisbee gets bigger and bigger as it gets closer. Then it hit me

Did I ever mention my Stepladder? I never knew my real ladder

Two budgies on a Perch. One says “Can you smell fish?”

Did you hear about the new corduroy pillows? They’re making headlines everywhere!

What do you call a Blind Dinosaur? Doyoufinkesaurus

I said to the Gym instructor, “Can you teach me to do the splits?” He said, “How flexible are you?” I said, “I can’t make Tuesdays.”

Did you hear about the two guys who stole a calendar? They each got six months.

What did the left eye and the right eye agree on? Something between us smells!

A farmer in the field with his cows counted 196 of them, but when he rounded them up he had 200.

If you ever get cold, just stand in a corner for a bit. They’re usually around 90 degrees.

Jokes about German sausage are the Wurst.

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I pray that this post amused you and feel free to check out the other articles on the site. Please feel free to share, like or comment below.
TTE
TGBTG
SDG

I swear to God!

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I swear to God!

Occasionally I get questions posed to me by different people from time to time to ask what the bible says about certain aspects of modern day life, this blog article is designed to give a longer answer to the question I was asked. I was asked by a lady who attends my Sunday evening bible study called “Agape” (I will not name her here but she will be aware of this articles presence) the following question…

What does the bible say about the use of “I swear to God”? (To give you a background the lady was uneasy as people she loved used the term and not her)

Are you taking the LORD’s name in vain?

Well there were two places in the New Testament part of the bible that I felt dealt with this rather well, but let us first look at a deeper issue. The deeper issue here from a doctrinal standpoint is, are they using the name of God in a flippant or vain way? Are they respecting the name of the living God? If they are using God’s name to justify a flimsy position that would seem shaky in an argument without it then I would suggest that they are. Or secondly, if they seem to be telling something that does not appear to be accurate and they move their argument towards truthfulness by using God’s name as a standard (because even if you do not believe in God, God’s name is associated with truth) but not meaning the reverence in their hearts to the very holy name of God then that is also problematic.

Where do I find biblical evidence for this problem?

In the Ten Commandments we are warned against this very thing. Let’s look at Exodus chapter 20…

Exodus 20:7 (ESV) “You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain, for the LORD will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain.

Heavy stuff huh? In the third commandment you will be held guiltless by the one true God and only just judge of the world! The name of God is holy, and in some Jewish and Hebrew circles they do not spell the name of God in case they misspell it (replacing it with G_d in many cases) such is the reverence for God’s name.

So I think we have established that it is a no-no from the 10 Commandments!

Is there anything in the New Testament? I want to follow that too!

Remember I said there were two places in the New Testament that dealt with this rather well, let’s look at these. As this blog is called “Taking the Epistle” let us first look at the Epistle of James chapter 5…

James 5:12 (ESV) But above all, my brothers, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or by any other oath, but let your “yes” be yes and your “no” be no, so that you may not fall under condemnation.

James commends us not to invoke the name of God in our arguments, he commends us to be men and women of our word, he said “let your yes be yes and your no be no!” let us not use words flippantly like “I believe that may be true” (when we know it is not) and we justify in our minds that we are not “technically” lying. He does not want us to be losing an argument or having a discussion and attach God’s name to something it has no business being in.

And lastly Jesus Christ himself said not too

Jesus said in the Gospel of St. Matthew chapter 5…

Matthew 5:33 (ESV) “Again you have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not swear falsely, but shall perform to the Lord what you have sworn.’ 34 But I say to you, Do not take an oath at all, either by heaven, for it is the throne of God, 35 or by the earth, for it is his footstool, or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. 36 And do not take an oath by your head, for you cannot make one hair white or black. 37 Let what you say be simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything more than this comes from evil.

And he goes a little further than James said and said “anything added unto this comes from evil” and do you believe that God wants his name attached to something that is attributed to evil? God is a righteous and just God. He does not lie; he is truth, light and the epicenter of all that is good. His name is worthy of praise and honor, not derision and defaming. This is the beginning of a slippery slope that will end in blasphemy and that is a road you do not wish to travel dear Christian.

Conclusion

There are many things in the bible that are unclear or could be left up for interpretation, but in my view and my belief in the holy scriptures is that if we are warned against doing something three times and told that it is a no-no in a clear fashion, (not something that can be twisted or really debated without perverting the meaning behind the scriptures) then perhaps God is telling you, this is important to me, please do not do it.

I hope that I stated the case well of why it is problematic from a biblical point of view to “swear to God” and if this is an issue in your life then please seek clarification from the scriptures and pray about it, always check out what the teacher is saying and I look forward to you sharing, liking and commenting on this article here or elsewhere on social media as the LORD leads you to. I pray this was a blessing!
TTE
TGBTG
SDG

Cellphone Idol

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Cellphone idol

As most of you know I went to a men’s conference (Calvary Chapel Northern California Men’s Conference) at the weekend and these conferences are good for me as it helps reassess priorities and lets me look at where I am going wrong or where I am in error.

I am just a man

I am not Superman, I do not have all the answers, I am just a fallen man who has realized that he is a sinner and needs the constant forgiveness of a willing Savior and I need the help meet that he has given me to fulfill what he has called me to do.

I am not even that good of a man, I am not an “all round nice guy” and if I was to describe myself openly and honestly I would describe myself in the following way… I am grumpy, I am moody, I am selfish and there are times where I would rather play games than knuckle down and do what needs to be done. So to say that I do well is not correct in so many levels. 

I am blessed however, I have an awesome wife who looks after our finances and runs our house well. When I need to help it is because she has too much on her plate due to her doing several money making schemes to help balance our budget as well as homeschooling and dealing with chronic pain. (I would urge that you check out her blog on the right hand panel of this website, it is called “Keeper Ministries”) I have no idea why she loves me but she does and she certainly deserves better than the chump that she settled for and she gave me the greatest gift of all in 2009 when she gave birth to our beautiful daughter. (That alone is a testimony to the faithfulness of God)

I am not a very technical man; I am hopeless at DIY, yard work and most other things that men pride themselves in. But even although I do not always have the best actions, my feelings and intentions are to love my wife. My aim is to love my wife as Christ loved the church and I am still a work in progress but I am getting there.

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Remove the parasites

Your wife (or husband) is the most important human relationship that you will have. He or she deserves your undivided attention. This is an area I have failed in since the advent of “smart phones” and I am really contemplating whether this is something I can even have in my life. On research I see the problem of “phone zombies” where people spend their lives attached to their phone so much they become incapable of having a decent human conversation. Some who know me would argue that I have never been capable of this, but we are truly disrespecting our partners if the phone becomes a “third wheel” in a relationship. This really hit home at the weekend when my five year old asked for the cell phone during lunch and I was really convicted about the example I am setting for her at such a young age.

For me it is a parasite in my life and I am looking at this and other things that cause contention in my home. If something is upsetting or troubling my wife then it is just not going to be there, I need to effectively lead my home and defend it from parasites. I have two people who are supposed to be dependent on my leadership and studies have shown that when a father is engaged in what his family are doing and is a leader in his home then the statistics on his legacy, his children going off the rails are massively reduced.

Biblical pest control

The only effective way to “bug bomb” these parasites is to clean house and replace them with the things of God, my wife needs a strong leader in the home, one who is never going to give up on her, one who values, takes seriously and will rise to the challenge of the vows he took on his wedding day. One who will love much, forgive even more and lead his family on their journey together in unison to serve God and follow Jesus Christ. That is my number one mission field, regardless of what I am externally called to do I am called first to be a father to my girl and equally as important I am called to love my wife. 

When I do pest control I want those parasites to be gone and by the same token you want to remove anything that is coming between you and your wife. I want my wife to be secured in the knowledge that when I say to her “I love you” it is not me “saying the right thing” or it is not me saying “I love you, except if this happens” I need to be as faithful to her as God is to me. She has to be a close second in my life behind my relationship with Jesus.

Defend your home from internal attacks

My wife is super house-proud and does not like being embarrassed when people come calling to our home. I am more of a “drop in, I have a 5 year old so watch where you step” so I have to mine sweep and know that if I have invited people over to an event such as a bible study, then I have to be aware that I will have to do my share of helping out, sometimes things will come up in your life that you would rather do, we all work hard so we all like to have fun and yesterday was our churches “Ice cream social” and I would love to have chilled out, ate ice cream and had fun, but I knew also that I had folks coming over and I was gone for 15 hours the day before so the adult thing to do in that situation is to help out. It might seem obvious but most guys don’t think like that! (Before I was married I didn’t)

Many house fires that engulf houses happen from within the four walls of the structure. Many more of them could have been avoided by simple precautions being taken and we need to do the same with our marriages. If we are causing disputes through simple neglect and hitting hot buttons that irritate then we are on a one way bus to conflicts-ville! I say that as one who is very clumsy in this area and I hate when I do it because I realize when i am in too deep that I am the one who has caused the problem.

Do something about it

This is what I am looking at now, I have had an unhealthy attachment to my cell phone for some time now and I am done! I think that what needs to happen is to down grade my device to one that just makes and receives calls and texts and do it for a purpose, do it for something better than another 5 minutes on Instagram, Facebook or whatever had sparked my interest in that day. When I look back on it the bulk of discussions I have been involved in could easily have gone on with or without my input so whether I was involved or not had no value and certainly had no value to the wife and daughter I was not spending time with.

This article is not fun to write, it is embarrassing and really chokes at my individual pride but I feel that it has to be said as in my discomfort I may actually help someone then it doesn’t matter what and how I feel. I feel that I have to be honest and actually say that I need prayer, if you could lift me up I would be super appreciative as I am a great believer that “the prayers of a righteous man availeth much”.

It’s only words and words are all I have

On this medium at least that is true, the true test will be in the taste of the pudding and whether I have the will, desire and resolution to back up these words and show my wife in actions that she really does mean as much to me as my lofty claims represent. A resolution is meaningless if it is not backed up with action. The country I now call home (The USA) would not be the USA if the signers of that really important document called the Declaration of Independence had rolled up the document and never actioned upon it then it would be likely that the USA would still be feeding a foreign Government and a foreign king. As someone who was born in Britain I find that idea horrifying!

Are cell phones bad?

Not at all, they are only inanimate pieces of machinery designed to serve a purpose as a communication device, it has no value spiritually unless it is being operated and even then it will go where the operator takes it. For me I had to come to the same decision I came to with alcohol I am going to have to remove it from my life. I am not 18 anymore, I am a grown man and I am not playing games anymore. This post was never about bashing cell phones and using smart phones and they are not “the devil” they can certainly do the devils work when placed into careless hands. I am not in any sin apart from the amount of time I spend on the silly thing!
 
Is my wife making me write this???

Actually no, if anything she blessed me with the following Facebook post this morning…

“Thank you for never giving up. Thank you for loving me even when I’m having bad days and am not the most pleasant of people. Thank you for praying for me and for being patient. Thank you for being dependable and faithful. Thank you for being a loving Daddy to our girl. Thank you for working hard at your job without complaint. Thank you for blessing others with your willingness to serve. I know I don’t say it enough, but thank you! Love you.”

And I want to be that man that she thinks I am! There are no words to describe how much I love this woman, I have my failings and my shortcomings and there are days that I think that I really have gipped this woman and that she really could have done so much better than me. Am I the most spontaneous guy in the world? Not even close! Am I the most romantic guy in the world? Only if the male species all went into a posthumous state while I was writing this. What I do well is that I do pray for her and I do try and I believe that if I spend some actual FaceTime (human interaction as opposed to the application) then she will understand that I mean what I say. 

What i need from you all

Is to hold me accountable! Share this post! Tell everyone who knows me! Pray for me! Appreciate my honesty and check in with me to see how it is going every now and again. Love my wife and I and again keep us in prayer. I know this is a little Proverbs 29:11 but please indulge me just this once.

God bless you one and all and I pray this was a blessing and please share, like and comment below as the LORD leads you too.
SDG
TGBTG
TTE

On Mother’s day spare spare a thought for the childless mothers

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On Mother’s day spare spare a thought for the childless mothers

DISCLAIMER:- This blog contains details pertaining to infertility, if you are sensitive to such subjects then please proceed with caution. My intent is to help and not cause hurt. Thank you for reading.

First of all I wish to say as a man who by God’s grace has been allowed to be a father – Happy Mothers Day!

Psalms 113:9 (ESV) He gives the barren woman a home, making her the joyous mother of children. Praise the LORD

God’s Provision

Those of you who know my wife and I will know that this verse is a very special verse in our testimony of God’s provision in our life. 

In my wife’s own words

The link (Keeper Ministries) I quote from will tell you in my wife’s own words why this verse is important to us so please understand that my intent is not to hog the limelight or give a “look at me” account, I write as someone who has half an idea of what I am talking about in this area.

The area I speak of is that of infertility, I  reminded in a daily basis due to the job I do that people just can’t get pregnant for whatever reason. I believe that God is the opener and closer of wombs and regardless of what science tells us people get pregnant when there is no scientific hope.

I get where you are coming from

I always feel for these people as I know the hours I put in praying for always the same thing. Lord please just give me a child and in God’s time we did have one. (You see the evidence in the picture above) My message is one of hope and encouragement as I have been there. People mean well but if you have been in this situation you will know and perhaps have fielded questions like this…

…Things you don’t say to folks who may not have disclosed issues in this area

1) why don’t you have more kids?
2) do you guys not want a family?
3) is there a reason you only have one child?
4) _____ (child’s name) is great but shouldn’t she have a brother by now?
5) (playfully) your wife not pregnant yet?

Improved prayer life

Everyone has different situations and you may be suffering from infertility and you don’t have that constant reminder that others are having kids. You may have that inner hurt that you feel that you are missing out, you may be in the situation that my wife and I are in where we have a child and are not pregnant with the second one. (Called secondary infertility) Let me say that is as hard as the first and It sure improves your prayer life.

Please spare spare thought for these ladies who may not celebrate mother’s day but certainly want to. Be in prayer for their needs and pray for their comfort. If you are the husband don’t say “Am I not better to you than 10 children?”

The Lord blessed us with three years of just us and a country move prior to answering our prayers and granting us our “Princess” who truly is the jewel in our crown, but I still remember the pain and longing for what I believed that God had witheld from me. It truly was a test of my faith.

The man goes through it too

I write this because the man goes through infertility just ashes hard as the lady does and I love my wife and always wish to honor, love and cherish her. My hope is that our testimony will help strengthen you the readers where you are.

If you are that person or know that person, love on them today, bear their burdens, seek help, be in prayer, get in contact especially the men, I have always thought there is a gap in ministry for those men who go through infertility and counseling and help for them.

If this is not you then please pass this on to someone that may benefit,  if you wish to talk more then use the contact details on the contact page.

Thank you for reading this article and I pray these words are a blessing to you and please share, like or comment below as the LORD leads you to.
SDG
TGBTG
TTE