Can You Be Trusted?

There are times when I struggle with trusting God, so it’s something I’m constantly working to get better at.

I invest time in His word. I thank and praise Him for His goodness, faithfulness and generosity. I try to take every thought captive and hold them up against the truth of His word. When I feel myself getting worried or anxious over my circumstances, I re-focus my eyes on Him. I have a long way to go, but I’m getting better.

While learning to trust God is crucial, there’s another question that’s just as important: Can God trust me?

I personally don’t know anyone who wouldn’t like to have more money or more influence or more answers to prayer or more success. I wonder what would happen though if God granted us the desires of our hearts.

What would happen if God answered your most passionate prayers? Would the world be a better place? Or would you just have more stuff and be more comfortable?

How would you handle 10x the amount of money you have now?  It’s tempting to think we’d be wonderfully generous with a large amount of money, but if we’re not generous with the amount we have now, that won’t change if we’re given more.

Psalm 37:4 says, “Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.”

When we delight in Him, He shapes our desires to be like His. If we’re not delighting in Him, then more than likely, our desires are more selfish in nature. And those aren’t the desires He grants.

In 2002, a West Virginia man won the Powerball jackpot of $315 million. Ten years later, his daughter and granddaughter were dead from drug overdoses. He’d also been sued multiple times. And once while he was at a strip club, someone drugged him and stole over half a million dollars in cash from his car. He later said, “I wish I’d torn that ticket up.”

Unfortunately, that story is not unique. Many lottery winners, professional athletes and celebrities get into a great deal of trouble as the result of their sudden great wealth and fame.

Of course, our natural reaction is to think that wouldn’t happen to us. We’d be different. We could handle the fame. The money wouldn’t change us. We’d be generous. We’d use it for good. And I’m pretty sure that’s what everyone says.

Great wealth or power or influence without character to match will crush us. It will also make us even more accountable to God. There’s a principle in His Kingdom: Whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them.” (Matthew 13:12)

If we can’t be trusted with what God has already given us, then why would He entrust us with more?

Maybe some of the answers to prayer God withholds are a form of protection, because He knows we can’t be trusted. We want a greater assignment, which requires greater resources, but we don’t have the needed character. Romans 5:1-5 says…

Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.

Character development for God-sized assignments takes time. It requires persevering through times of suffering, pain or confusion. It means being faithful with what we’ve already been given. It means learning to think more like God does. It’s a process of bringing our values in line with the values of His Kingdom.

So how are you doing with what you already have?

  • Are you seeking God and delighting in Him?
  • Are you sacrificially loving your husband or wife?
  • Are you raising your children to know Jesus?
  • Are you using your current level of influence for the advancement of God’s Kingdom?
  • Do you honor God with your wealth by giving generously?
  • Do you treat those around you with love and respect?
  • Do you use your time wisely and make the most of the opportunities God has given you?
  • Are you grateful to God for what He’s already given you?

The question really isn’t: can God be trusted?

The real question is…can you?

A Recipe for a Boring Marriage

On Thursday nights, I help lead a Young Life small group of college guys. Last week, we talked about marriage and I gave them the opportunity to ask questions. “Does marriage get boring?” was one of them. When I asked them what they thought, most of them seemed to think that it did.

How would you answer?

As I write this, Robyn and I are a little over 24 hours from hitting our one-billionth second of marriage. It’s fun that it just happens to fall on Valentine’s Day. (A billion seconds is about four months shy of 32 years for those keeping score.) So here’s what I can say about marriage becoming boring…if there’s some set period of time after which it happens, we’re not there yet.

Fortunately, our marriage is more fun and exciting and purposeful than it’s ever been. But can marriage get boring?

Absolutely. Here’s a recipe for growing a boring one…

Stop growing. Don’t read. Don’t listen to podcasts. Don’t expose yourself to new ideas.

Have no goals and pursue no desires.

Put yourself first and only meet your spouse’s needs if yours are met first.

Keep your focus on how bad your circumstances are and all the things that are wrong in your life and your marriage.

Constantly compare your spouse to others.

Go to any lengths to make your spouse understand you, but don’t try to first understand.

Live for small things like money, not great things like the Kingdom of God.

Let your appearance go.

Don’t seek help for the same negative emotions you’ve battled all your life.

If you must have sex, let it be infrequent and in the same way every time.

Let romance die after the newlywed phase.

Be serious all the time.

Be your spouse’s biggest critic. Most of your communication should be about what your spouse does wrong.

Hold grudges. Offer forgiveness sparingly.

Actually, this recipe is better for creating a marriage that ends in divorce. If, on the other hand, you’d like to create the marriage you’ve always wanted, download my complimentary eBook, “Friend and Lover.” You can get it here:

Friend and Lover eBook

 

Mother’s Day

On this Mother’s Day 2016, a tribute to my wife…

The greatest blessing in my life over the past thirty-one years has been my wife, Robyn. Through her, God demonstrates His love for me. Through her, He meets my needs and encourages me. Robyn is God-in-the-flesh to me.

When I meet with couples for marriage coaching or premarital counseling, I often tell them to learn all they can about one another’s needs and wants and then outdo each other in meeting them. Robyn does that. All the time.

Her wisdom and power come from her relationship with Jesus. She loves Him and trusts Him. She seeks Him and serves Him. He is before everyone and everything else. She begins her day reading His word and praying. And she often ends her day in the same way.

Last summer, while on assignment for a month at Sharp Top Cove (a Young Life camp), she worked six to seven days a week from early in the morning until late at night. I encouraged her to sleep later, but she continued to get up early to spend time with God. She learned long ago that people do not live by bread alone; rather, we live by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.” (Deuteronomy 8:3)

“Who can find a virtuous and capable wife? She is more precious than rubies. Her husband can trust her, and she will greatly enrich his life. She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life.” (Proverbs 31:10-12)

The Hebrew word that gets translated as “virtuous and capable” in that passage literally means: strength, might, efficiency, wealth, army and force. So to answer the writer’s question…I have. I’ve found that kind of wife. She’s more precious than any amount of money. I trust her completely. She greatly enriches my life. She’s brought me good, not harm for thirty-one years and counting.

At times, when I’ve felt myself slipping, she’s caught me. When I felt myself going under, she was my lifeline. When life was like a thick fog, she was my guiding light. Always giving hope. Always encouraging me. Always believing in me. Always pointing me back to Jesus.

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The #1 Thing a Husband MUST Do for HIMSELF

Hey guys, what would you say is the #1 thing you must do for yourself?

Get in better shape?

Read the Bible more?

Discover your true passion and gifting?

Get more sleep?

Cut down on the number of hours at work?

Those would all be good things, but not the #1 thing. Not as a husband.

The #1 thing you must do for YOURSELF…is to love your wife.

“…husbands ought to love their wives as they love their own bodies. For a man who loves his wife actually shows love for himself.” (Ephesians 5:28)

Think about it…when you love your wife, God says you’re actually loving yourself as well. So why is that true?

Well, when you love your wife, then she turns around and loves (and respects) you in return. And I’m not talking about love the noun. If all we did was say to one another, “I have warm feelings about you”…that wouldn’t do any of us much good, would it?

No, we’re talking about the love the verb. It’s active love. It’s doing things for each other that meet our needs and make us feel good about the relationship.

When we choose to actively love another by serving one another and meeting each others needs, THEN we feel love (the noun). And that’s when marriage is fun and exciting.

Husbands, do you know how to love your wife? I mean in a way that she truly feels it. In a way that helps her feel understood, cared for, valued and desired?

This is just some of what I cover in my new video course, “How to Understand Your Spouse and Transform Your Marriage.” You can check it by clicking the button. I’ve got a sale going until Saturday, December 5th at midnight.

Whether you’ve got a great Christmas gift already picked out or not, I promise your wife won’t mind if you add in a better marriage!

By the way, loving your wife well is also the #2 thing you must do for your children. I cover that and the #1 thing in the course.

Quick note to the wives: if you’re reading this, then I encourage you to check out the course and suggest to your husband that you work through it together over the next few weeks. It’s okay to not be subtle when it comes to creating an amazing marriage. As men, we often need more than hints!

Check Out the Course Now!

What Does Your Marriage Resemble?

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A week ago, we received word our daughter was going to be induced due to a low level of amniotic fluid, so we began the thousand mile drive to North Carolina. Fortunately, labor and delivery went well and our grandson, Wes, was born the next morning. We enjoyed four days with him before returning home to Arkansas late last night after a 16+ hour drive.

When I woke up this morning and looked outside, my grass looked like I’d been gone for much longer than a week. Actually, the grass is fine. The problem is the weeds.

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Even though I’d recently mowed the lawn and put down some fertilizer and weed killer, the yard doesn’t look good. The problem is that I didn’t use any weed killer last fall. I allowed the weeds to gain a foothold.

I’m sure you’ve noticed that if you do nothing, weeds will flourish and grass won’t. Growing weeds takes no effort at all. Just sit back, relax and soon your yard will be overcome with them.

On the other hand, a healthy lawn requires time, effort and at least a little bit of money. It doesn’t just happen on its own.

Marriage is the same way. If I do nothing, Robyn and I will drift apart and begin to experience serious issues in our relationship. Misunderstandings will increase. Our love for each other will grow cold. Selfishness will take root and grow stronger. Communication will suffer. Our sex life will become stale.

Stop for a moment and consider your marriage. What does it resemble? Would you describe it as a thick, lush lawn? Or a yard full of weeds? Most of us would probably say we’re somewhere in between, but would your spouse agree with your assessment?

Matthew 7:7-8 says…

 “Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.”

On the other hand, if we don’t ask, we don’t receive. If we don’t seek, we don’t find. If we don’t knock, the door remains shut. Do nothing and we get the results of doing nothing. Do nothing to build a stronger marriage and it’ll just get weaker.

How active and intentional are you when it comes to building a stronger marriage? I’m not just talking about praying, although that’s certainly a good thing to do, I’m talking about intentionally loving and serving one another. I’m talking about putting your spouse before yourself, communicating more, resolving conflicts appropriately and keeping your sex life fresh and exciting.

If your marriage is in need of some weed killer and fertilizer and you’re not sure where to begin, let me encourage you to download a free copy of my book, “Friend and Lover.” You can click here to get it. If it feels like you might need a little more help, then please check out my marriage coaching page. I would love to help you put together a game plan for building the kind of marriage you desire.