Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Solomon's Giving Pattern

9 [The queen of Sheba] gave the king 120 talents of gold, large quantities of spices, and precious stones. There had never been such spices as those the queen of Sheba gave to King Solomon ….  12 King Solomon gave the queen of Sheba all she desired and asked for; he gave her more than she had brought to him. Then she left and returned with her retinue to her own country. (2 Chron 9:9,12)

22 King Solomon was greater in riches and wisdom than all the other kings of the earth. 23 All the kings of the earth sought audience with Solomon to hear the wisdom God had put in his heart. 24 Year after year, everyone who came brought a gift—articles of silver and gold, and robes, weapons and spices, and horses and mules. (2 Chron 9:22-24)

King Solomon was fabulously wealthy with goods and wisdom.  I’ve highlighted two parts of 2 Chronicles 9 to make a few points.

1.       The queen of Sheba gave him tons of gold and more – but Solomon gave the queen more than she brought to him!  This is the model set by God for us in all our relationships.  Our Creator God gives us infinitely more than we bring to him.  Parents give their children more than they give to them.  We should give our brothers and sisters in Christ, and not-yet believers more than they bring to us. 

Test yourself to see if you are following this pattern of giving.

And what did Solomon give the queen of Sheba?  Gold?  Horses?  I suspect not.

2.       In verse 23 we see that wisdom is what people considered most precious of all.  Even in our affluent cultures today [and we enjoy many things which even King Solomon did not have!], wisdom is the prized possession that people seek.  And where does wisdom come from?  God. 

Are you seeking wisdom above all else?  Do you recognize its True Source?

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Be Thirsty

Men, I challenge you to be thirsty and drink -- frequently, in copious volumes.  I'm concerned, looking around, that we're raising a generation of men and future men who think it's normal to be dehydrated.  "Oh yeah, well, I [drink a little] on Sunday mornings, right?  And I help my kids with their AWANA verses, so I drink some then, too."

I'm not talking about ethanol, Diet Coke (TM) or water, men.

I'm talking about the Bible.

I will say it again: I challenge you to be thirsty and drink frequently and copiously.  No more dehydration!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

How to Fight With Your Wife

Strange title, yes?

Husbands, we all need to know how to lead through the inevitable conflicts that occur with our wives.  Please note that I'm putting the responsibility on YOU to lead through it.

I'm not a professional marriage counselor.  I'm not a perfect husband.  I do write with some experience of what you should NOT do when disagreements come with your precious wife.  But instead of writing what NOT to do, let me keep you focused on what you should do.

1. Recognize that you are all-too frequently a selfish ass.  Chances are very good that you are the one being self-centered, pig-headed, and wrong.  Remind yourself that sins like pride will take you farther than you wanted to go, to places you didn't want to be, and cost you more than you wanted to spend.

2. Assume that your wife is operating with the best of intentions.  There is no reason to interpret her words and actions assuming she's aiming to sabotage your happiness, or make you less manly.

3. Put your relationship ahead of being "right" about an issue.  In a trillion years, will this issue matter?  (The relationship will.  A trillion years is well-short of eternity, brother.)

4. You have two ears and one mouth.  Listen and speak in that proportion.  Work hard at understanding her perspective.

5. Avoid making it personal.  If you hear yourself say, "When you don't..." you're probably steering into a deeper ditch.  There is no "formula" here, but you lead best when you work together to address problems and make decisions about issues.


If this resonates with you, then I encourage you to read the excellent book Love and Respect.   

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Are You Blessing Your Workplace?

  Are you blessing your workplace?  Do  you make a conscious effort to pray for the people around you, and the success of your boss and employer?  

One idea is to create a prayer trigger, something that reminds you to pray.  For example, I have an employee id badge that I swipe to get through the electronic locks on doors.  I've developed the habit to pray for my boss every time I swipe the id badge.  I've associated other prayers with booting up my PC in the morning, turning off the office light, walking by a printer, etc.  

I make it my goal to encourage 5 people every day at work.  That's another way I bless our workplace.  

I observe some of my co-workers intentionally bringing in food, finding and sending articles of interest to people, etc.  There are many ways we can serve others. 

Looking for some ideas on how to bless your co-workers and your workplace?  Check out this nice list of 30 suggestions.   What other ideas do you have?

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Fuel for Mealtime Prayers

Guys, here is an idea: build the practice of interceding for an unreached people group or a nation in your regular mealtime prayers.  The Operation World book is a terrific resource.  Here's another one: sign up for a daily email from JoshuaProject.net.

Help your family get their eyes off their plates and their Publish Poststuff, and learning about their not-yet brothers and sisters.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Bible Teaching Videos

I know a number of you teach regularly.  You might be interested in the videos I've been posted at my YouTube channel.  If you subscribe you can get an update whenever I post a new video.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Friendship in Marriage

Great post you need to read, on friendship being key to marriage.

Now, take 2 minutes and think prayerfully.  What will you do today to strengthen your friendship with your wife?

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Hold Her Hand

Some years ago I spoke with a beautiful couple on their 60th wedding anniversary.  They had walked together with the Lord for many years and simply glowed.  "What's the secret of your marriage success?" I asked them.

He beamed, immediately reached over and grabbed her hand, and said "Hold her hand!  I've never gotten into trouble holding her hand."  They both smiled, and I thought -- "Wow, there's a good practice."

So I commend you men: hold your wife's hand.  Hold her hand when you walk together, pray together, watch your kids play ball, whenever.  You have a license for this public display of affection, after all!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Be Strong In the Lord

Powerful lyrics!  Great for men on the front lines of marriage, parenting, and honoring Jesus!

Thursday, August 04, 2011

Practicing Unity on Disputable Matters

It's tragic when we see Christians fiercely divided over disputable matters -- so much so that I can only imagine how God's crummy enemies are cheering it on.

I recommend Steve Cornell's article to you: "How to Practice Unity On Debatable Matters."  It's concise, helpful.  This would be good to review with your wife and children.

Here's the summary:


Decision Making When Christians Differ
Using Romans 14 & 15 as a guide, Dr. Friessen suggested five points:
  1. Learn to distinguish between matters of command and matters of freedom (14:14,20).
  2. On debatable issues, cultivate your own convictions (14:5).
  3. Allow your brother the freedom to determine his own convictions – even when they differ from yours (14:1-12).
  4. Let your liberty be limited, when necessary, by love (14:13-15:2).
  5. Follow Christ as the model and motivation of servanthood (15:3-13).

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

What Do Men Need to Be Reminded Of?

I recently overhead part of a grocery store conversation where two wives were swapping stories about how much they had to remind their husbands to get things done.

I'm grateful that my beloved reminds me of upcoming events, of projects that need my attention, of things which I should know about but tend to slip from my attention.  I need to keep working on my craft of active listening and remembering things.

Since Joshua needed to be told to be courageous five times in short order (see Joshua 1-3), and the prophets and Jesus didn't hesitate to repeat important information, I don't think it's a sin to need to be reminded.  (There is sin associated with ignoring what we should know and do.)

But hearing these ladies I began to wonder, "what are the important things that men need to be reminded of?"  

Here are some ideas:

Jesus is Lord, King, Master, Teacher, and Friend -- He will never leave or forsake you.
Dying is not the worst thing that can happen to you.
You are not your own, you were bought with a price.
Others need to come first.
Love your wife.
God has children, but no grandchildren.  Train your children accordingly.
You need the Gospel every day.
You need the God's Word every day.
Be strong and courageous.  Do not be afraid! You were made for dangerous things.
Fight for your family, and defend the weak and helpless in the Name of Jesus Christ.
Exhibit self-control in word, thought, and deed.  Gentleness is strength under control.
What do you have that you have not been given?  Use it for God's glory.
Speak the truth in love.  Be discerning, and call out evil for what it is.
God loves you right now, the real you, but loves you too much to leave you there. Let go of what lies behind and strive forward in the adventure God has for you.
Life is hard. God is good.

Other thoughts?

Monday, August 01, 2011

Courage -- and the Presence of God

Fear is our natural state because of sin. Everyone working on behalf of evil will strive to keep you in a state of fear, so that you might be more easily controlled and managed and manipulated.  It makes sense for tyrants and schemers to squelch courage, because it is so important in standing against evil and for the truth!

6 Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their ancestors to give them.
 7 “Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. 8 Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. 9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.”
Joshua 1:6-9

Several dimensions of courage are seen here:
v6 – courage for the sake of others (“lead them into this land”)
v7 – courage to obey the law
v9 – courage to not fear when the opportunities to be afraid come

At the heart of courage is the presence of God.  “The Lord your God will be with you wherever you go." (v9)

So when you need courage, go back to the fundamental bedrock truth that God is with you, will never leave you, will never forsake you -- and stand there boldly!

(Adapted from a devotion by Pastor Kent Wagner)