3 Keys To Thriving In These Current Times

Happy Friday!

Just a quick thought. I firmly believe that faith, hope, and love are the single most important keys to thriving in life and for sustaining society.

As a Christian, FAITH is believing in a Heavenly Father who breathed everything into creation…who sent Jesus in human form to pay for the sins of his people…and who demonstrates pure love. Faith is knowing God is there, here with us 100% even though we cannot physically see Him.

Faith leads to HOPE. Through Jesus, we have the hope of eternity in Heaven one day. The hope for a better tomorrow here on Earth while we await His return. Honestly, with all the trials the world has been suffering just in the past 14 months, I cannot fathom how anyone has been on this journey without an unshakable HOPE. My hope in Jesus gets me out of bed each day, allows me to enjoy my family, and have a positive outlook despite all that I see going on in our world.

And finally, LOVE! There’s so much good here.

The love…

…God has for all of His creation.

…God has specifically and individually for YOU and I.

…Jesus modeled for us to have toward each other while he was here as a human.

…God longs for us to have toward Him in return, AS WELL AS loving OURSELVES well (Mt. 22:39).

“…the greatest of these is love.”

Why is love the greatest? Because it’s eternal. It will outlast all other gifts, blessings, and things of this physical Earth. Love is our shared connection to each other, to Jesus, and to Heaven in the here and now.

I’m going about my day today trying to constantly reflect on my personal faith, hope, and love. I hope this post blesses you somehow today.

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4 Important Ways To Make Your Marriage Last

Marriage requires work.  You’ve heard that before, right?  Well, on this day exactly 26 years ago my wife and I both vowed a lifetime of love and commitment to each other.  After 26 years I can tell you that it takes a lot more than work to keep a marriage alive.

It requires L.O.V.E.

Yeah, that might sound a bit cliche’ but hear me out.  The way I see it, both husband & wife must practice giving L.O.V.E. to one another in four unique ways. See if you agree.anniversary couple

LOYAL – As defined by Webster’s Dictionary:  faithful to one’s oath, commitments, or obligations. Simply put, we enter into marriage sharing a mutual commitment that this thing is forever.  We’re not keeping separate bank accounts or signing prenups as a back-up plan.  Allowing the thought, “In case it doesn’t work out” to resonate in our heads is like keeping a divorce attorney on the back burner. When my wife and I got married, we privately vowed that no matter how rough life might get we would never verbally or mentally consider the word ‘divorce.’  If we are not saying “I do” to forever, then why would we consider saying “I do” to today?

OPEN-HANDED – When our hands are kept open, things are able to enter and leave freely.  Keeping an open-handed approach in marriage helps to prevent non-essentials (relationships, possessions, hobbies, etc.) from shoving our spouse out of the way.  My wife and I are both 1st borns and Type-A personalities.  You know what that means?  Yup, we both love getting our own way.  So we really work at this one!

VERBAL – Here we go.  ‘Communication.’  Probably the most commonly referenced word in premarital counseling.  If you ask me, couples don’t divorce because of financial hardship, disagreements, falling out of love, or even affairs.  Those are all byproducts of poor communication.  Work hard to talk regularly about your worries, blessings, plans, needs, and even insecurities with your spouse.  Vulnerability and openness builds an unshakable foundation for your marriage.

ENTERTAINING – I don’t care if you’re introverted or extroverted.  Have fun together!  Try new things until you discover what you both enjoy.  And be flexible.  Give a little….for the sake of connectedness.  Recently, our dryer went out.  So, my wife and I have been grabbing coffee on the way to the laundromat and calling it a ‘date.’  That’s not for everyone, but it works for us.

“Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth.  Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” – 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 

What would YOU add to this list for keeping marriage healthy and vibrant?

 

Comments, prayer requests, and questions are welcome below.

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The Proof Is In ‘How’ We Love

As followers of Jesus, our most effective testimony of Christ lies in how you and I treat each other. More specifically, how we LOVE each other. It’s not a question of ‘if.’ Jesus called it a new commandment.

“…love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.  By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”  (John 13:34-35)

Agapao.02

Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case. Let’s be honest. How we conduct ourselves at the grocery store, driving through town, and yes…..even in church doesn’t always give the lost and broken in our community a reason to believe in a loving God.

To love like Jesus loves is a high calling. It is arguably unattainable. But that should not hinder us from working hard at it. The decision should be clear, coming from a heart of obedience. You and I should ‘want’ to practice loving everyone.

Let’s go a bit deeper with this. Jesus was not merely instructing us to get along with and like others. No, the Greek form of ‘Love’ that Jesus uses in this passage is agapaō.

Agapaō: to love, value, esteem, feel or manifest generous concern for, be faithful towards.

How might this alter our view of the grumpy grocery store employee? Or the person who cuts us off in traffic causing us to spill our coffee. If you and I were to pray for Jesus to give us the ability to experience real agapaō, how could that effect our thoughts toward those who are not like us? Those who make us uncomfortable?

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matthew 6:21)

If we choose to really value the need to love one another in the same manner that Jesus did, the heart piece will follow. The decision is ours to make.

Prayer:

Lord, give us a genuine compassion for one another. Make us a changed people in a way that proves who you are and that we are your people.

The Fruit of the Spirit in Leadership Pt. 1

photo by: believe-stock.deviantart.com
photo by: believe-stock.deviantart.com

This is the first of nine posts I’ll be doing on a series based on how the Fruit of the Spirit should drive our leadership.

So, to start us off in the right direction….how well do you love?

Love is the greatest virtue, so doesn’t it make sense that it should be our primary driving force in leadership?

It should be evident in…

…how we make decisions.

…how we correct others.

…how we handle stress.

The ‘Love‘ chapter in 1 Corinthians tells us this about love.

Love is patient and kind.  Love is not jealous or boastful or proud  or rude. It does not demand its own way.  It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged.  It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out.  Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.

Does this depict your leadership?  Maybe the better way to react to this passage is to ask, “Do those I lead see this in me?”

I’m taking time today to personally reflect on this in my own approach to leadership.  And may all of us be consistant in reflecting the love of Jesus to those around us this week.

Leave me a comment below or a personal voicemessage.