Posts Tagged ‘ prayer ’

How Did I Miss Seeing Something So Obvious?

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This blog has always been about me sharing with you things that I’ve learned the hard way, in turn hoping you can avoid the same pitfall that I so elegantly ran right through. Call me the “test pilot” for Husbands. Lord knows I have done my share of stupid over the past ten years of being married to my wife Valerie. So here I am again. Hoping to “wave off” other husbands from hitting the same pothole that I have just got done repairing my car from.

So what’s the pothole I’m spray painting a neon orange circle around this time? Well, it’s one that you would have thought would have been pretty obvious to a “Christian husband” like myself. In fact, I’m a bit embarrassed to admit I didn’t give it the importance that it deserves, for so many years. What is it?

Your relationship with your wife will never be as good as you think it should be, until you get your relationship with GOD where IT should be.

Remember that scripture where it says “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. (Matthew 6 (KJV))? Yeah, the one we quote all the time, and sing songs about, and as Christians, quote almost as much as John 3:16? That one. Well, turns out I always quoted it, but never thought it applied to my marriage. You see, my marriage had gotten to a point where it had taken over the spot that God says is supposed to be reserved for Him. Without even really realizing it, I had made my marriage, my wife – first in my life – hoping it would fulfill me. Hoping it would bring me happiness. Hoping it would meet my every need. And it didn’t. And for YEARS I lived frustrated. “I thought marriage was supposed to be amazing, and fulfilling, and meet my needs!” I would tell God. “Why doesn’t it seem like it’s ever as good as I think it should be!?” I put time into doing everything I thought I should, to make my marriage as GOOD as I thought it should be. Date nights, books, marriage blogs, I was the poster child husband. I did all the things everyone says will give you a great marriage, and it was good – but I still felt like there was some part missing.

There was. What was missing was me putting my relationship with my Heavenly Father before anything else. Before my wife, before my kids, before my marriage – FIRST. And I don’t mean just saying it. I don’t mean just going to church on Sunday, and then checking off your “time served” card. No, I mean a day-to-day RELATIONSHIP with God. A walking with Him. Every morning getting up and spending time in prayer. Every morning reading His Word like your life depended on it. Spending time in worship daily. Standing up in prayer and fighting for your family spiritually – coming against sickness, praying for God’s plan in their life to be fulfilled, praying for your finances, your wife. Praying that your home would be a place where God is honored. THAT kind of putting God first.

And you might be saying “Yeah yeah, I’ve heard this before. But how does this get me a better sex life? Or make my wife want me more? Or make us argue less?” I was at a men’s conference a little while ago, and one of the speakers said something I will never forget. He said:

“Maybe if you’re having a hard time getting your wife to submit to you, it’s because you’re having a hard time submitting to God”.

See? We get this whole marriage thing messed up guys! We get married and we look to the relationship to make us happy, fulfilled, and finally fill that hole that we’ve been looking to fill in our hearts and lives. But it’s never going to do that guys! Your wife will ALWAYS disappoint you in some way. She will NEVER be able to completely fulfill you in every way. Only GOD can truly fulfill us. Only GOD will never disappoint us. But we keep looking for her to do what she’s not designed to do. She was never created to be our god. She was created to be our partner/helpmate in this life, not our “all in all”.

Ok, so what happens when you start to put your relationship with GOD first? And not in a fake Christian, “Bible thumper” kind of way, but in an authentic seek Him every  day, be a leader by serving kind of way? You’ll start to notice a few things. You’ll start to notice how happy you are. How you have a joy that you can’t explain. You’ll start to notice how amazing your wife is. Her “big issues” that you’ve been trying to “fix” in her for years, seem really petty. You’ll start to notice how much you love her, in a way that isn’t based on her performance. You’ll start to notice the atmosphere change in your home, from one filled with tension, to one filled with peace. Your wife will start to notice the way you treat her differently than before. That you are serving her expecting nothing in return. That you are finally leading your family in the things of Christ. She’ll notice a difference in how you treat/discipline the kids. And you know what guys? She’ll be attracted to you like never before (yes, sexually too), because she is going to start seeing the heart you have in truly laying down your life for her and your family. And for some reason, this is incredibly attractive to our wives. 😉

God designed our priorities to run like this – God first, then your wife/marriage, then your kids, then work. It doesn’t work well any other way. Why? Because the one who designed it, knows how it runs best. How foolish we are to think we know better than the One who created us. But we somehow start to put our relationship with God on the back burner. “I’ll get to you soon God” we say. “God I’m really busy today, I’ll catch you after I get home tonight”. And it never happens. And we get more and more frustrated with how our lives are running, and God’s looking down at us running on the hamster wheel that we’ve created for ourselves, thinking we’re really going somewhere, and says “If you would just seek me first, all these other things would be added to you. Please just trust Me. Rely on Me. Seek Me. I’ll help you through this other stuff.”

Listen guys! We’ve got to stop with the half and half living! We’re either ALL IN with God, and we get rid of the porn, and we get rid of the things in our lives that we KNOW do no honor God, or we have NO RIGHT to expect any kind of blessing on our marriage, our families, our health, or any other part of our lives! God is a jealous God, and he says pretty clearly that we are to have no other gods before Him. NONE. You fill in the blank. What have you put in front of God? Work? Sex? Your Marriage? STOP! We have got to be the men that get on our knees and say “God I’m so sorry for not giving you the place in my life that you so deserve! I need your help God! I NEED you in my marriage! I NEED you in my family! I NEED you to fulfill me completely, and give me a vision for my family, and my marriage. Please forgive me God where I’ve put things ahead of You. Forgive me for expecting my wife to satisfy my every desire/need. Forgive me for not leading my family by being a SERVANT to them, and show me how to lay down my life for them, like you laid down Your life for the church.” 

That’s it! And then set your alarm 30 minutes earlier, and start spending quality time with Him daily. Pray over your family. Pray scripture over them. Pray for your finances. Pray for your marriage. Pray for the health of your family. And then watch. Watch how the days go by and the atmosphere starts to change. Watch as your family starts to see how dad is changing. How he’s more loving and tender with mom. How he disciplines us with love. And remember how it came. It came because you made the decition. It came Because you stood up and said “As for me and MY house, WE will SERVE the Lord!”

Something so simple. Put God first, and watch HIM move in ways you can’t even imagine. Your marriage will never be the same. 

 

 

Being the Spiritual Leader in Your Home; Something We Can’t Continue to Ignore

If you’ve been reading this blog for more than a few posts, you’ll start to notice I have a lot of things to work on. Things to get better at. Things to grow in. I write best from personal experience, so most of my posts are about things that I have been through, or am struggling with, or am working on. As a man, I notice that when there is an issue in my life that I need to work on, I don’t always hit it head on right away. Instead, I tend to convince myself that it’s not that big of a deal, or rationalize it by saying “well, I’m doing better than that guy over there”. My Pastor always says  “What you are not willing to confront, you are not willing to change”.  Well, I’m tired of not being willing to change because it’s easier to stay the same old way. It’s time that we as men get off our mental “couch” and start doing some of the work that God has called us as men, as leaders of our households, to do.

Eph 5:25-28 (emphasis addedHusbands, go all out in your love for your wives, exactly as Christ did for the church—a love marked by giving, not getting. Christ’s love makes the church whole. His words evoke her beauty. Everything he does and says is designed to bring the best out of her, dressing her in dazzling white silk, radiant with holiness. And that is how husbands ought to love their wives. They’re really doing themselves a favor—since they’re already “one” in marriage.

What are we as Men/Dads/Husbands doing to set an example of Godliness in our homes? Not perfection – Godliness. If God has set us as the “head of the home”, to lovingly lead, help guide, and take care of our families, a HUGE part of that is SPIRITUAL leadership. Now I’m not saying we all need to head to Bible school and become pastors (unless that’s what God has called you to do), what I’m talking about here is more PRACTICAL spiritual leadership – leading  by example. You’ve heard the saying “talk is cheap”. If you are telling your kids to do one thing, to behave a certain way, to be honest, etc –  and are not doing these things yourself, correcting your kids for these things comes up pretty hollow.

We need to get our own lives – our own example – in line first, and then correct our kids. No, we’re not perfect (your wife and kids are the first ones to know that), but there has to be a striving from us to be constantly improving! I like what is says in 2nd Timothy –

2 Timothy 3:16 (AMP) Every Scripture is God-breathed (given by His inspiration) and profitable for instruction, for reproof and conviction of sin, for correction of error and discipline in obedience, [and] for training in righteousness (in holy living, in conformity to God’s will in thought, purpose, and action

Just because an Olympic runner had a hard time running 1 mile when he first started training, do you think he just said “well, this sucks, I can only run a mile, so I quit!” No! He continued to push himself every day, until he could run 2 miles, then 4, then 10, until he had reached the goal that he wanted to reach. And the funny thing about training is that if you stop training, you start to go backwards. Using the example of our Olympic runner, lets say he got all the way to his goal mileage, and then quit for a couple of months, he would have to start back in the middle somewhere, and get back up to his goal. That’s why it is important that we continue to “train in righteousness” by reading His Word daily! Your wife and kids are looking at you to draw the line on things that are, or are not acceptable in your home – but how are you supposed to know what lines up with His word unless you are reading His Word? Things like –

• TV/Movies – Wondering why your kids have a sassy attitude, or are suddenly talking back to you when you ask them to do something? You might want to take a close look at what “kids shows” they are watching. That title says nothing about how appropriate the content is. Same rule goes for what shows/movies you and your wife watch. Just because you are “adults”, doesn’t make it ok to watch whatever you want. Be the one to speak up and say “I don’t think this is appropriate”, instead of waiting for your wife to mention something. Take the lead!
• Language/Respect – Kids are like sponges. The tone you address your wife with, is the tone that the kids will eventually use to address mom. Same goes with swear words, or inappropriate innuendos that may sneak into your daily vocabulary, sometimes without you really even noticing. There have been a few times now, where my kids have said something inappropriate, and after asking them “where did you hear that?” they replied “from you dad!” I know sometimes it’s hard to not let something slip when you stub your toe, or the kids bust a lamp or something,  but just remember, what you say, they will eventually say also.
• Honesty – This is a huge one where kids learn by example. Like to cut a few corners on the job here and there? Maybe not report exactly all your earnings to the IRS? Maybe you hit a car in the parking lot, but the damage was “barley noticeable”, so you didn’t leave a note? Remember the little eyes that are constantly watching what “dad does”, and are filing that away in their little heads for later in life.
• Devotions/Quiet TimeThis one is so important, I saved it for last. I have struggled with this one even before I had kids, and then after I did, I used them as another excuse as to why I “didn’t have time” for reading the Bible DAILY, or spending time in prayer. I have become better at it over the years, but it is still something I struggle with. Tell me if this scenario sounds familiar to you: You go to bed later than you wanted to because after the kids go to bed is the only time you have to get the stuff done you have to do like bills, spend time with your wife, catch up on all the “to do” items on your list. Since you went to bed late, you end up hitting the snooze button a few times before you get up, so it throws your morning late. Since you’re already running late, you tell God that you’ll have to catch him tonight after you get home from work. Of course when you get home, the kids all need something, your wife wants help with dinner, and your dead tired and end up rolling into bed at 11pm again, telling the Lord that you’ll do better tomorrow. Sound about right? So here’s what my wife and I did: We decided that when we get up in the morning, we can’t even TURN ON our computers until we have our devotions. It’s amazing how much better your morning goes, and how much extra time you seem to end up with, if you put Him first! This is something that HAS to become a PRIORITY in our daily lives. Our marriage, parenting, and closeness with the Lord, depends on it. Does it have to be first thing in the morning? No, but in the morning you are at least half awake. At night I find it hard to concentrate on reading the Bible sometimes, but everybody is different, do what works for you!

Don’t allow “good enough” to be the standard that you set for leading your family spiritually! God put you in that leadership role for a purpose! He’s not asking you to be perfect, He’s just asking you to lead to the best of your ability, and with HIS “ how-to manual” always by your side.