The Year Of Adjustment?

Today makes twenty-six years since I married my best friend. That isn’t just a sappy sentiment or something concocted to win me points. It is the truth. Robin and I were good friends before we ever started dating. We were such good friends that I seriously wondered if I had been permanently banished to the Friend Zone. God, in all His wisdom, placed us together and I can honestly say that my life is better because of it.

Certain anniversaries have special gifts. The first anniversary has traditionally been called the paper anniversary. The fifth anniversary is wood, the tenth is tin (or aluminum), the fifteenth is crystal, the twentieth is china, and the twenty-fifth is silver. I didn’t know what the twenty-sixth is so I looked it up. Turns out it doesn’t have a traditional theme or gift. The website I looked at says that it is often a year of adjustment. That may be the understatement of the year. The suggested gifts revert back to those for the first year anniversary. The same applies for the twenty-seventh, twenty-eighth, and twenty-ninth anniversaries. If that is true then I guess we’ll be adjusting until our thirtieth (which is pearl).

Honestly, there have been adjustments and tweaks every one of these twenty-six years. I think that’s probably true for all marriages. They require some give and some take from both parties. I know that’s how it has been for us and I imagine that’s how it will be for the rest of years. However, even with all the adjustment one thing has remained the same. She is still my best friend and I thank God for putting her in my life.

Grace and peace.

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What Do You Think?

Way back in sixth grade our English teacher encouraged us to find pen pals. I don’t remember where we got the names or how we chose them but I got a kid in Kentucky. If I remember correctly (and I might not) we swapped letters only a couple of times. I honestly forgot about it until I found a photo in an old book. It has his name and hometown (at the time) scrawled on the back in my unmistakable sixth grade handwriting. I started to wonder what might have happened to him so I put his name in the Facebook search feature. No luck. My curiosity wouldn’t let go so I Googled his name and the town he used to live in. Imagine my surprise when I got the information for an eye surgeon. This fellow’s bio says he practices in the same town he grew up in. I compared photos and have come to the conclusion that this is the same guy. I’m not posting his name (he might not appreciate that) but I’m putting up the two photos to see what others think. Is this the same fellow?

Grace and peace.

 

Oh My Soul

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:6-7 (NLT)

 

11 Why am I discouraged?
    Why is my heart so sad?
I will put my hope in God!
    I will praise him again—
    my Savior and my God!

Psalm 42: 11 (NLT)

 

Here’s another one I just heard for the first time.

Grace and peace.

Even If

We had a long and eventful weekend. Jamie turned twelve. She had friends over. We had family from North Carolina up. I started my second job. It has been a great weekend. I’m getting ready to crash because I have to be at work in Mansfield at 8:00.

We’ve got a lot of things going on that I don’t share. There are things we are facing that are uncertain at the moment. I would be lying if I said that my faith hasn’t been stretched lately. Sometimes it feels as if it is about to snap like a rubber band stretched beyond the point of resistance. The old hymn It Is Well plays a lot in my head. I do have a new song to add. In fact, I just heard it for the very first time tonight and it actually includes the refrain from It Is Well. I needed to hear this song tonight. It’s funny how God does things like that. Perhaps you need to hear it too.

Grace and peace.

Colossians 1:21-23

21 This includes you who were once far away from God. You were his enemies, separated from him by your evil thoughts and actions. 22 Yet now he has reconciled you to himself through the death of Christ in his physical body. As a result, he has brought you into his own presence, and you are holy and blameless as you stand before him without a single fault.

23 But you must continue to believe this truth and stand firmly in it. Don’t drift away from the assurance you received when you heard the Good News. The Good News has been preached all over the world, and I, Paul, have been appointed as God’s servant to proclaim it.

Col. 1:21-23 (NLT)

 

After sharing a hymn about how Christ is the center of all, Paul lets his readers know that they have benefited from his sacrifice. At some point all of us were enemies of God. Our sinful natures separate us from the Father and there is nothing we can do about. We are hopelessly lost on our own. However, because of Jesus’ death we are now able to be reconciled to God. Our sins are taken away and we can stand before the Father holy and blameless. It’s not that we are righteous, we take on Christ’s righteousness.

We still have a responsibility to remain in Christ. We have to hold on to the truth and live like it. The Good News of Jesus assures us that we have salvation but we must not walk away from it. We have to stand in the truth. That seems to get more difficult as time goes on but Paul is adamant about it. We didn’t save ourselves but we must  continue to believe and trust in the One who did save us.

Grace and peace.

Colossians 1:15-20

15 Christ is the visible image of the invisible God.
    He existed before anything was created and is supreme over all creation,
16 for through him God created everything
    in the heavenly realms and on earth.
He made the things we can see
    and the things we can’t see—
such as thrones, kingdoms, rulers, and authorities in the unseen world.
    Everything was created through him and for him.
17 He existed before anything else,
    and he holds all creation together.
18 Christ is also the head of the church,
    which is his body.
He is the beginning,
    supreme over all who rise from the dead.
    So he is first in everything.
19 For God in all his fullness
    was pleased to live in Christ,
20 and through him God reconciled
    everything to himself.
He made peace with everything in heaven and on earth
    by means of Christ’s blood on the cross.

Col. 1:15-20 (NLT)

 

I remember hearing a song by the band Thrice several years ago called Image Of The Invisible. I was in Bible college and a fellow student (Neil) played it before chapel. It was supposed to be DURING chapel but I guess some of the folks in charge didn’t think it was appropriate. Granted, the music is heavy and pretty intense but the lyrics are pretty good. In this passage (which is also a song) Paul explains how Christ is the image of the invisible God. According to Paul (and this early hymn) Christ is the reason for everything. The very “fullness” of God lives in him. He is the one who created this world and he is the one who reconciled it back to himself when we broke it.

Christ is also the head of the Church. I find that refreshing. Sometimes those of us in leadership roles struggle to figure out exactly how we should lead. I know that I have those days. The good thing is that I am NOT the leader of the Church. Jesus is. If I want to lead others I need to first follow him. I don’t have to have all the answers. I don’t have to figure it all out. I have to trust Jesus and follow his word. That’s what he created me to do. God is still invisible and so is Jesus. However, the Spirit is very real and is present. That’s the only way I can hold on sometimes. Paul’s words here remind me that it’s all about Jesus. That’s my what I put my faith in. That’s what I cling to.

Grace and peace.

Colossians 1:9-14

I didn’t write yesterday because it was Father’s Day and I enjoyed spending time with Robin and the two kids who are here. Chris is at camp this week. So, let me finish up Paul’s prayer at the beginning of his letter to the folks in Colosse.

 

So we have not stopped praying for you since we first heard about you. We ask God to give you complete knowledge of his will and to give you spiritual wisdom and understanding. 10 Then the way you live will always honor and please the Lord, and your lives will produce every kind of good fruit. All the while, you will grow as you learn to know God better and better.

11 We also pray that you will be strengthened with all his glorious power so you will have all the endurance and patience you need. May you be filled with joy, 12 always thanking the Father. He has enabled you to share in the inheritance that belongs to his people, who live in the light.13 For he has rescued us from the kingdom of darkness and transferred us into the Kingdom of his dear Son, 14 who purchased our freedom and forgave our sins.

Col. 1:9-14 (NLT)

 

Paul understands that there are some issues he is going to have to deal with but he once again reminds his readers that they are constantly on his mind and in his prayers. He only wants the best for them and in this case it is knowledge, wisdom, and understanding of God’s will for them. He encourages them in this matter so that their lives will not only please God but be an example for others to follow.

He also prays that they will have the strength to endure. He reminds them of the inheritance that they have in Christ and forgiveness he provided for their sins. They were bought out of spiritual darkness and should live as children of light. Paul prays that they understand this and live accordingly. Perhaps we should take a cue from Paul. We often look for reasons to correct and rebuke one another without encouraging them at the same time. I know that I respond much better to correction when it’s done in love.

Grace and peace.