Support us in Missions!

india 05 rawc 945Most of you know I am a pastor; but, I do not get paid much, I have to raise my own support. YEA!

I usually do not ask for support much; just pray, but times are tough.

I am also a missionary to S/C Asia, where I help train other pastors, also a support raising thing…. I also webmaster 4 of the top 10 Christian websites (size, traffic and content), yet they do not pay much… I am also a board member of 4 major ministries that you would know, but board members cannot be remunerated (IRS and CA law). And, if you remember, last year we were robbed of our good computers and other stuff, and just have a 10 year old laptop that was once stolen by monkeys (had to replace the keyboard) that works, kind of. I use it to train 20,000+ pastors and the work for 4 of these major ministries. It is old and slow, hates ‘https’ for some reason and of course videos and freezes up, makes work time a tough time….

So, here is my support letter…. I need $ to live and work and do ministry. Yes, that is just crazy! A pastor must pay for food, housing, living stuff, bills and ministry stuff.

You see, some Christians think we are ‘magically supported’ (someone actually told me that at church this week, that I do not need to be paid or make money, as God will provide ‘magically’). And then there are many people who think I do not need support because I write books. But, I make less than $5k a year on that, can’t feed the cat on that. But in reality, our support comes from those we minister to, and our home church and other places where I pastor. But I minister to people in the 3rd world areas who can’t support, and I serve in churches that are overextended…

So, I have a need. Perhaps, you can pray about it… I do real ministry for real people in real time and need more ministry partners to continue this incredible work that glorifies our Lord…. I need to raise $2,000 a month more than what is currently coming in….

 https://www.paypal.com/xclick/business=richard@intothyword.com&item_name=Donation

intothyword.org

pastortraining.org

truespirituality.org

biblestudynotes.org

francisschaeffer.org

discipleshiptools.org

churchleadership.org

Thank-you for your consideration and prayers, be blessed!

Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. Philippians 1:6

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Extreme and essential leadership is action! PI

foot washing

What is real love in leadership? How is it shown by the fruits of it, like humility and service?

 

Read, John 13:1-17

Rather, what we may think is leadership; let’s look to servanthood in action. Look to our Lord, how did He lead? Did He give dog and pony shows or feel good messages to tickle people’s whims, or real effectual leading by example and heart?

Let’s look at the foot washing. Before the Passover festivities, Jesus knows His time on earth is almost over, so He takes an opportunity, during the eve of His betrayal and coming crucifixion, to teach a powerful lesson of servanthood and humility.

In so doing, He shows what real love is by the fruits of it-humility and service.

A lot was going on; two of His most trusted Disciples were going to betray Him, one overtly and one by fright and panic. It seems that the devil was having his day in the playroom with the full temptation and influence, but Jesus realizes what is going on. He knows what His mission is and that His power and authority are assured. He gets up from the table to do what only the lowest of slaves would do.

This was during the evening supper. What we would call dinner was also a time for visiting Rabbis to give instructions and teaching; Jesus follows this cultural setting. This may have been at the Passover right before His betrayal and execution-either the “Last Supper” or a meal prior to it (Matt. 26:26-28; John 12:2).

Jesus Got up. Jesus did not forsake or forget His role; rather, He willingly got up to serve, thus taking the place of a servant, a prequel to His role as Redeemer. Culturally, people were seated by their social rank: a Rabbi would usually have an honored position. For Jesus to get up from that position was an infringement to the social statutes of the times and an insult to any religious leader who may have observed it. 

Why did Jesus do that? He came to serve! This was a gesture of humility that was culturally honored, but rarely practiced, especially by people who would be considered elite. And who is more elite than God? People then sat or reclined on a pillow or a carpet at a low table with their feet outstretched away from the table and other’s view. Feet were considered socially disgusting, as they were often very dirty. Thus, Jesus would circle around the table behind people, which was very socially awkward, almost a taboo or something one of status would never do. This is why Peter objected so. He was not being disrespectful; he was trying to protect Jesus’ dignity. Jesus wanted to teach him a grander lesson.

Then Jesus did something even more humiliating, He took off His outer clothing.

An outer coat-like garment was removed, but not just to keep it clean; it was a gesture of extreme humility. This is a fulfillment of Isaiah 53 regarding the humble, suffering Messiah that Jesus demonstrated-not the warlike messiah that Judas and the people in general wanted.

So, everyone experienced shock and awe as they watched the Lord Creator of the universe remove His coat, put on an apron, and holding a dirty, disgusting bowl used to wash dirty feet before entering the home, He kneeled down to wash His Disciples feet. This caused a reaction of conceit for the prideful (like Judas) and wonderment to the devotees.

Peter was extremely perplexed over this and exclaimed, No Lord, do not wash my feet! But Jesus replied, you do not understand, but one day you will. Peter still protested and Jesus said if you do not allow me to serve, you cannot belong to me. So, Peter submitted and even asked Jesus to wash his entire body. Jesus explained to everyone that this was not about being cleaned or taking a bath; this was about something far greater and warned that there was one present who was not spiritually clean.

Jesus then said, you call me teacher and Lord, and wonder why I did this thing, but I call you to wash each other’s feet too. Allow me to be your example and do for others as I have done for you. A servant is not greater than his master, nor is the message more important that the one who sent it. You know this; so do as you have been taught and you will be blessed!

What was Jesus end game here? To show us all, the full extent of his love.

The “full extent” is what Jesus was about to show-His sacrifice for our sins! Jesus took on the righteous wrath of God for sin and paid the penalty, sacrificing Himself for us. Jesus not only set the example, but more importantly, also redeemed us. In addition, this refers to the “substitutionary atonement,” also known as “propitiation.” Christ was the innocent, sacrificial lamb who died for the guilty-for our sins, something which we could not do. The sacrifice of Christ was for us (Isa 53:4-12; Mark 10:45; Rom. 3:21-26; 1Cor. 1:23-25; 1 Tim. 2:6; Heb. 9:15). 1 Pet. 2:18-25)!

Jesus clearly tells us what a leader is and how one should act and work. It is not about pride or power or control; it is about being a servant.

A pastor or a Christian leader must not be in leadership just to command or be in charge for any reason beside how do I teach and exhibit Christ and what is the best way for me to do this? Leadership must not be to satisfy one’s pride or desires, or for personal gain. Rather, we are to point others in His direction by our example.

How and why is leadership learned from first being a child of God and a servant of Christ?

What happens when our direction comes from the latest ideas, or what we think will work?

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The Knucklehead Friends of Job

Beach Talk 2014

What do you do when the challenges of life come and things do not go our way?

“God’s voice thunders in marvelous ways; he does great things beyond our understanding.” Job 37:5

Job-Key verses: 1:8; 27:2-4; 37:5; 42:12

Timeline: Perhaps between 2000 – 1500 B.C. Job’s date is a mystery and possibly predates or is in the time of the Patriarchs as he is the family priest and has a long life. This is one of the oldest books in the Bible.

The Book of Job is about the struggle and suffering of humanity in a sinful world against the backdrop of God’s Sovereignty.

The central character is Job, a man of faith who had extreme wealth and literally lost it all. He did not deserve his suffering. He also had to deal with the various reactions and obtuse conversations with his friends who do not understand what God was doing. Their thinking, like many today is, “God blesses the faithful, so what happens is what you deserve or you sinned.” God does bless the faithful, wicked people do prosper and there are exceptions.

We are presented with a view of suffering and the bigger plan of God, where the question is not answered; rather, only God knows the ‘why’. We are to trust and rely on God’s Sovereignty.

There are so many questions to answer:

Why is there suffering?

Why do bad things happen to good people?

Why does God’s faithful suffer?

Where is God when life hurts?

The simple answer is God is here, He knows, and He cares!

Because, and life is not about our ideas and comforts or our plans and will; rather, we were created to know God and live for the Lord no matter what comes our way. Life is about our relationship to God and to one another, it is not about our jobs, money, cars, sex, power or even health. These are mere tools, not what life is meant to be about.

What do we do with the challenges of life when things do not go our way?

James gives us a clue in this phrase: Perseverance or patience of Job, the theme of this Book, means ‘endurance,’ as Job went through great sufferings, and he persevered. It is about one’s persistence in the face of adversity and confusion, when we can’t see what the game plan is or even the light at the end of the tunnel; yet, we trust in God and actively ‘hang in’ there anyway (James 5:11).

This is not hanging by doing nothing; rather it is hanging in the midst with all we can do.

By action and of faith, even with our fears, doubts, frustrations, and questions, so we can persevere. James uses this phrase to communicate encouragement for our staying power, as in “you can do it, too!” When God seems far away and no one seems to care about injustice or your concerns, God is still there caring! He will vindicate you and care for you. So, we can run and fight and do our best in dire times (Job. 42:6-12)!

Meanwhile the main enemy of God and humanity is at work!

Satan, his name means “the accuser” and is in direct contrast to Jesus who is Our Advocate. Satan is the accuser of those who are righteous. He is a “false accuser,” who throws things at other people to accuse, slander, and lead astray. He acts like a prosecuting attorney before God’s court to those he knows are innocent. In contrast, Jesus is the Defense Attorney. Satan is the “adversary;” he is the Chief Adversary both to God and to humans. Most likely, Satan no longer is able to go before God and accuse us because he has been thrown out of Heaven. At any result or rule, he does not have sway over a person of faith (1 Chron. 21:1; Job 1:2-12; Job 16; Zech. 3:1-2; Matt. 4:10; 13:39; Luke 22:31; John 13:2; 16:11; Eph. 6:11; Rev. 12:10).

We have the responses

What many Christians here today give too, when we go though the difficulties that others can’t’ wrap their heads on. When we are sitting on our mat asking what happened, what went wrong, we hear these classic responses:

• Eliphaz the Temanite. The first to respond, and probably the oldest, Eliphaz talks with fatherly wisdom from his experiences and theologizes Job’s situation without much compassion; he tells Job he got what he deserved. While Eliphaz has good knowledge, he is driven by assumptions and doe not real wisdom. Job is stating his just case and rightly rejects his advice (Job 4:8; 6-7).

• Bilbdad the Shuhite. He draws his insight from tradition and logic and also states that Job suffers justly as a result of sin. This is probably why none of them helped him when we can assume Job was generous with them (Job 8:2-4; 9-10).

• Zophar the Naamathite. Although he does ask Job to repent, he is also filled with assumptions. Zophar does not analyze or give advice; rather he insults Job. He kicks the man while he is down. He does not consider God may be up to something beyond their limited knowledge (Job 11).

• Elihu. He waits patiently, is probably the youngest, and is brash. He attacks Job and the rest of them, too. He thinks it is God’s discipline (Job 32:4; 32-37; 37:5).

So, they think it is all Job’s fault. Perhaps you find yourself in these situations, you try, and try, to do your best and fail anyway, or something bad just happens, and then get the blame.

Let’s look what they think Job did, it is all about sin.

Sin means to go against God, to miss His mark and thus be separated from Him. We tend to govern our lives by what we want, not always what is best for us. This theme beckons us to seek what God wants. You may think, hey, this is my life, and I can do what I want. Yes, you are right; and, yes, you can. However, God is intimately involved with us. God is no cosmic idea. He is our personal, loving God! So, you see, only an extremely arrogant, prideful, and dim-witted person would say Yes, I can do it on my own! God sees it all. He has the big picture of how all things in life throughout all of time and all persons are interwoven in His tapestry of love and redemption.

Do not seek to be a person who is a loose thread and liable to be unwoven (Eph. 6:12; James 4: 13-17)!

But, we do live in a sinful, fallen world and others bad choices, the corruption of all there is will converge upon us. The key is, what do I learn, what did I do, what do I need to do?

Sometimes, God has to get our attention through adversity.

Sometimes, we don’t have a willingness to listen.

Sometimes, we stop growing.

Sometimes, God has to break our pride and reorder our misplaced priorities.

Sometimes, others sin hits us too.

Sometimes, God is doing a work we do not understand yet.

The key is how we are able to receive Christ as LORD. Are we able and willing to understand?

Sometimes, our willingness and ability to understand does not come until eternity as it was with Job. The key is to trust and know He is in control; He will be there with us carrying us through. It is not about understanding ourselves; this is about understanding Him. Ask Christ to show you His deep hidden treasures, and be willing to listen and grow (1 Peter 1: 3-12; James 5: 7-12).

What do I do when I am in a trial?

When the storm clouds begin to form, it is not a time to be impatient. This is not a time to deny and ignore it, hoping it will go away. This is a time to seek Christ’s face in surrendered devotion and prayer. Use the time to seek the reason. Maybe you made a bad decision. Maybe you followed some bad advice. Perhaps, you have stopped growing-really growing-in faith and practice and service unto the Lord. Maybe you cannot find the reason; Job did not. We do know that God wants our attention. So, if you took a careful look inside yourself, immersed yourself in prayer and sought Godly advice, and still find no reason, please don’t get hung up on seeking the reason. Maybe He does not want you to know it, or you are not ready for it.

However, in many cases, the reason is in plain sight. We just need to get the distractions of fear, personal will, and expectations out of the way so that we can see it.

• You have a choice: Become better or bitter. (Job 21 :25 Heb 12:15) How can I avoid bitterness? Accept what cannot be changed (Job 11:13,16) Focus on what you still have, not what you have lost (1 Thess. 5:18).

• Remember what is important in life. Guess what? The important things do not include our things and our “stuff”. The important things are not our careers, education, looks, toys, power, or status. The important stuff in life? Relationships, not possessions, matter (Luke 12:15; 1 Tim. 6:7).

• Focus on Christ. This is the secret reservoir of strength which we may access completely and fully. This gives us the perseverance in tough times (Phil. 4:13).

• Place your trust and reliance upon Christ; this is where your stability comes from. (Isa. 26:3 Ps.112: 6.7; 125:1)

• Learn to listen. Listen to our Lord through your prayer and devotions. Listen to God-breathed wisdom and advice from the Bible. Seek the advice of wise friends and leaders who love the Lord. This is where our direction comes from (Jer. 29:11).

• God is our Redemption! Because of what He did, we can draw our strength from Him and rest in His protection. Remember, He always helps in times of trouble. If you do not see it, you are not looking (Psalm 46:2).

What do we do when others are in trials?

Be a church! Pray for them! Help them!

We can honor people who have been triumphant in suffering because it is encouraging to us because we have examples. When we witness perseverance in faith, we know we can, too! Yes, this means you! Whatever may be attempting to derail your faith or trying to move you off God’s path–spiritual warfare, toxic family members, disgruntled work situations, a debilitating illness–we can carry on because He appropriates us for a purpose; He carries us through!

What are we not to do?

We are not to make haphazard plans; we are not to forego personal examination or scorn wisdom. There are many passages that exhort us to plan carefully and effectively (this is the purpose of the Wisdom Books). Rather, the point is not to ‘do life’ without putting God first and foremost! We must be in His process, not ours, because He is personal and involved with us.

Where is Jesus Christ in this? God’s Sovereignty trumps our plight, because as Job proclaims, My Redeemer Lives! Jesus is shown by the Need of His work as Redeemer and Mediator. Jesus is the one who ultimately suffers, ultimately in our place (Job. 9:23, 33; 19:25-27; 33:23-24).

What are the true blessings and riches? How do they echo into eternity? How does this make you feel? How does this strengthen you?

But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. 1 Peter 4:13

© 2014, R. J. Krejcir, Ph.D., Into Thy Word Ministries http://www.intothyword.org

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Does God want us Healthy and Rich?

crucibleWhat happens when we are thinking and living without faith, with only our own perceptions and presumptions in view?

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. Isaiah 43:2

Do you have the prosperity gospel in mind? Thinking that being rich is meant for you? No, it is not important to God. Blessing to God is our faith and relationship development and deployment, and riches means the receiving of our atonement and our resulting gratitude and service to the Savior. These are far more impacting and effectual! Job challenges the mindset of the “prosperity gospel”; our suffering is not always because of God’s lack of favor.

Suffering is not always because we lack faith or don’t pray enough. God may be at work in alternative ways.

Yes, our sin and lack of faith will cause chaos; however, when we are faithful and things are not going well, please stay in prayer and keep the faith playing forward to His glory. Yes, immature and misguided people will attack you as Job’s friends attacked him; they do not know much about God and His plan and rely on presumptions and assumptions. We are to be practical, consider our ways: What we are doing, and what does the Lord require of you? Is it self-satisfaction, self-seeking, self-examination or seeking to glorify the Lord by self-surrender to His ways? Instead of confronting, be comforting (Gen. 12:1-3, 15-17; Luke 10:35; 2 Cor. 8:9, 14; Gal. 3:14; Phil. 4:6; 1 Tim. 3:3;; 6:5, 9-11; Heb. 13:5; James 4:13-16)!

We may not understand our problems or ever get a reason, as Job did not; however, we can still trust in God who loves us and is “caring” us through everything!

Do you accept His caring? It is sad how so few Christians, when faced with problems, will really seek and rely on God. It is heartrending how many-or how few–Christians respond to their brothers and sisters in peril and need. They tend to only see their situation and presumptions, cowering in bitterness and anger, even aiming that anger toward God. They do not see that He is, indeed, in control.

Thus, many Christians withdraw into isolation, bitterness, and denial, and avoid His true love and plan for them. We have to learn to learn; we have to grow, so we can grow. If not, we stagnate and our circumstances will sink us. We have been given victory! That is what the Christian experience is all about–our victory over sin and despair by what Christ has done on our behalf! If we do not declare the victory, we will only see defeat. Even though we already have the victory, we will be defeated (Psalm 71; 2 Cor. 4:7-12; James 1)!

And the words of the LORD are flawless, like silver purified in a crucible, like gold refined seven times. Psalm 12:6

The key word in the Bible about this is, Tested…be found, refers to a “crucible” for the refining of precious metals resulting in the quality that refinement brings. Refined refers to building character and maturity through difficulties, whereas extravagance tends to build only self-righteousness. Testing is compared to sufferings as a “crucible”–a container made from a refractory substance such as graphite or porcelain and used for melting and purifying precious metals (such as gold) at high temperatures to separate impurities so to produce a finer and more valuable material like 14-carat gold is refined into 24-carat gold.

What does this mean? We are purified and refined when we go through the effects and substances of life. These things have a purpose. Nothing happens to us without a reason that is meant to teach us and grow us as we work out our faith. This means that we are to trust in Him, not in our wealth or accomplishments. If we trust in what we have done, we are brought to complacency which creates spiritual deadness in both the believer and the church. (Job 23:10; Psalm 12:6; Prov. 17:3; Isa. 43:2; Jer. 11:4; 1 Cor. 4:3-5; 1 Pet. 1:5-7; 4:13; 5:1).

Does God test us?

But he knows the way that I take; when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold. Job 23:10

God does not test us to bring us harm nor does He seek to cause us to fail. Rather, He wants to see if our faith and commitment is real. He brings us into and out of situations where we can learn and grow in faith thus receiving our reward. We can take comfort in trials, as God is ALWAYS Sovereign over them! His purpose is to refine us, form us, mold us, improve us, restore us, grow us, and strengthen us.

Trials and testing can also be used to bring us to contemplate our attitudes, mindsets, and deeds so we can seek repentance and wake up to errors, so that we seek Him.

He does this much as a loving parent disciplines a child. Other times, God tests to bring about discipline, justice, and judgment. Jews believe that suffering brings atonement, but this is not what this means; rather, faith is a precious commodity to God (Gen. 11:1-f; Deut. 8:2; 13:3; Judg. 2:22; Job. 23:10; Rom. 5:3; James 1: 2-4, 12-16; 1 Pet. 4:17; 5:1-4, 8).

The greatest comfort we have as Christians is that our lives, experiences, and opportunities are not happenstance; we have a purpose! We have a God who transcends space, time, and thought, who knows us intimately, and who has a plan for each of us (Acts. 18:21; Rom. 1:10; 15:32; 1 Cor. 4:19; 1 Pet. 3:17).

1. Why would some people really rather have a limited, imperfect perspective of life without the perfect, eternal, loving God’s insight and plan?

2. Why are some Christians obsessed over the ‘prosperity gospel’? How is this not biblical?

3. What can your church do when people are going through tough times?

4. When we go through the troubles of life, we can either take shelter in Christ or seek to go it alone in our fears and pride. What do you do? What should you do?

Who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. 1 Peter 1:5-7

© 2014, R. J. Krejcir, Ph.D., Into Thy Word Ministries http://www.intothyword.org

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The key to building a healthy marriage is this: Love is action, and it is reciprocal!

married

As we will discuss in my new book, “This Is Marriage,” coming out soon, the prime key to building a healthy marriage is this–love is reciprocal! The husband loves and thus, the wife responds with respect and honor and so conversely–in the midst of their relationship with Christ as LORD! Christ and the church are the prime models for us in a lifelong commitment of monogamous marriage. Let’s explore some tried and true practical ways to make this happen.

Here are some simple tips from Scripture to put goodness in action by just watching how you use your attitude and words.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23

  • Always place Christ first and foremost in your life, and He will provide and guide (Matthew 6:33).
  • Always focus on building your faith and maturity first (Matthew 7:3-5).
  • Always pursue love even in toil as the mark of a true follower of Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 13)!
  • Always grasp on grace and how Christ loves you and your spouse, so you can give grace to them (Galatians 2:20-21)
  • Always pray together daily (Psalm 127:1; Matthew 18:19).
  • Always respect and love your spouse (Ephesians 5:1-2)!
  • Always be encouraging, listening, supporting, accepting, trusting, and respecting with love (Ephesians 4:2).
  • Always express your love to your spouse daily with a good attitude with, words, deeds, and kind touches (Solomon 8:6-7).
  • Always forgive mistakes and practice forgiveness (Colossians 3:13).
  • Never be arrogant, criticizing, threatening, nagging, blaming, complaining, punishing, or bribing (2 Timothy 2:22-24).
  • Always laugh and have fun together (Proverbs 17:22).
  • Always say “I’m sorry” (1 John 3:4-6).
  • Always communicate goodness, ask, don’t second guess, thank, praise and listen (Romans 12:19)!
  • Always put the needs of your spouse ahead of your own (Proverbs 17:9)
  • Never trust your heart; you can only trust the Lord (Jeremiah 17:9)!
  • Always be supportive of each other (Ephesians 4:2-3).
  • Never seek to change your spouse, you can only change yourself (Romans 12:17-18).
  • Always use words to build up your spouse, not tear him or her down. (Proverbs 25:11).
  • Always have enjoyable talks every day (Proverbs 27:6).
  • Never be defensive (Matthew 7:1-5).
  • Always say “thank you” and “we” (Proverbs 10:12).
  • Always go on dates, have fun together (Song of Solomon 7:11-12).
  • Never absolutely never give egotism, sarcasm or cynicism (Proverbs 17:4).
  • Never speak from anger (Ephesians 4:26).
  • Never ever threaten the relationship (Mark 1:15).
  • Always Give your spouse at least one compliment every day (Philippians 1:3-6).
  • Never take your marriage for granted (Colossians 3:23).
  • Always serve one another in love (Galatians 5:13).
  • Never talk badly about your spouse to others (James 1:19).
  • Always look for solutions, not problems (Proverbs 29:20).
  • Always do all the important things together (Philippians 4:13).
  • Always seek unbiased godly counsel (Psalm 37:30).
  • Always discuss outside friendships (like work relationships), never harbor secrets (Galatians 5:13).
  • Always agree to disagree, you will never agree on everything (1 John 3:18).
  • Never try to control your spouse (Philippians 2:2).
  • Never threaten splitting, leaving or divorce (1 Peter 1:22).
  • Always, in all you do, seek and glorify the Lord (1 Chronicles 16:11).

Seek yourself, and you will be sad and lonely in so many ways! Seek Christ and you will be fulfilled and content! Remember that the heart of any healthy relationship is love and respect!

Upgrade your mindsets to goodness!

 

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Love is a Verb, so is Marriage

Here is the Preface of my new book coming out on marriage.

God’s precepts on building a great marriage and Biblical instruction on making marriage work and succeed even in times of stress and turmoil.

“However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.” Ephesians 5:33

The world tells you that it is all about you; your needs to be fulfilled. That marriage is about making me—yes, ‘ME,’–happy! Look at all the excitement of the pursuit, the proposal, the engagement, the wedding plans and so forth. Jump ahead a year, two years or ten. What do you have? Do you have the thrill, the rush, the anticipation? For most, not so much. The fact is, that seeking to be fulfilled did not work out so well.

Why? There are two of you in the marriage, and you cannot be fulfilled and happy if you do so at the other’s expense; unfortunately, this tends to happen over time. Blessedly, there is a solution to bring back that excitement, hope, and wonder. The Bible has a better plan, and the Bible gives all the instruction to make a marriage work, a wondrous marriage. It is about understanding and applying what love and marriage really is to be about and the practice of real forgiveness. Of course, communication is important, too. If we do not know what marriage is supposed to be about and only focus on what we want it to be, we will fail. We will fail. If we refuse to know and practice real love, we will have only sadness and brokenness. If we are not willing to forgive, we have…nothing. We have nothing ahead, except broken expectations, disappointments, and hurts that create anger, bitterness, and a life of dysfunction ultimately ending in divorce or general unpleasantness!

Remember, though, you can have joy and real purpose in your marriage; you can escape a relationship rife with chaos and dysfunction. You and your spouse can have a successful marriage!

In this book, I will help guide you through the insights from God’s Word. That love may be a noun as a word, as in a person, or place or thing; but, it is more of a call to action, to be and thus, a verb. Thus, marriage too is a verb, a call to action.

The efforts and guidance for this endeavor is based on the Word of God and learning and distilling from more than 20 years of research and 19 years of humbling practice. (Remember, you have no need to rely solely on what I say; look it up for yourselves in the Bible.) You can build a good marriage if you want to learn to love, respect, forgive, pray, and be humble in your relationship with Christ and with your spouse, then you will succeed.

God tells us what makes a good marriage, fun, and enjoyable. This book aims to guide you, in Christ, to a wondrous marriage. The challenge in this book is for you who are already married and how to realize all the joy of a good marriage. If you are looking for advice and guidance about finding a potential spouse, I encourage you to still immerse yourself in God’s Word and, perhaps, check out my book, “Healthy Relationships.”

The ultimate goal of this book is to let you know that your marriage can be good. It can be fun. You can be close best friends.

Unfortunately, many marriages don’t seem to have this. I will not bore you with statistics, but over half of marriages are in trouble, and the rest, well only one eighth consider both husband and wife to be happy. The rest—you and me–want better marriages, but feel stuck, stagnant, even hopeless. They feel frustrated and hurt; they feel that maybe they’ve made a mistake and wish for a time machine, a do over button, or a redo switch. Too many feel that the fun, adventure, and happiness is in the past, but that is just not true. You can be close and grow closer together. Your marriage can be an exciting adventure that is meaningful and encouraging to both of you.

In fact, your marriage can be the best part of your life.

You perhaps are thinking, “What is the catch”? Okay, there is a bit of a catch. Like anything worthwhile and important, a good marriage requires work, commitment, and maintenance to be effectual. This book is about how to go about that. Like anything worth doing, you have to be willing to do it. You have to want a healthier marriage; you need to work on better communication. You do need to pray with one another. You have to know what it means to cherish and what is respect; you must learn what love is and what it is not. You have to see what God has for you, not just what you want. Finally, you must want it to get it.

Look at it like this. When you first started to drive, did you know what you know now? Are you a better driver now? I hope so. But, when you first started, I bet you thought you knew it all, you were so excited, you did not always listen to wise instruction. You made mistakes because you didn’t listen to advice and because life is about experience. You learned the rules of the road and gained valuable experience, because you practiced and worked at it. You worked at this because you needed to; you realized you needed this skill—it is a necessity. Marriage is much like learning to drive. Even with the feelings, desire, and intention to love, communicate, and forgive, we may not have had good role models, instruction, or counsel. Maybe we disregarded God’s Word or didn’t even know of God’s plan for us. You had all the hope, enthusiasm, the willpower and a wish to make it work. Slowly, you may have realized that marriage is tough and, instead of working on it or knowing how to work on it, you became disillusioned, frustrated, or complacent. Or, maybe you did work on it—read a book, listened to others, changed certain behaviors—without lasting success. Maybe, you have given your marriage, your “all” to no avail. So, you want to give up or shut down.

I encourage you to be bold and brave! In Christ, you CAN move from the darkness of hurts and live in the Light of Christ.

Surrendering to the Lord and reading God’s Word with the Holy Spirit in you guiding you, you absolutely will behold a wondrous revolution in your lives together. If you are already blessed with a good marriage, consider this a tune-up, building upon the hard work and commitment that you have already realized in a good relationship. You and your spouse is worth this much.

What spawned this endeavor?

In the 1970’s, Edith Schaeffer–and others–occasionally did marriage retreats; I was fortunate enough be at a few as a kid and later, to rediscover her notes. Upon finding the notes, I combined them with my own knowledge gained while researching and ghostwriting a book for an eminent Christian psychologist and used it for sermons and also Bible studies for couples. In my research, I noticed that critical biblical insights were overlooked. This frustrated me. I felt frustrated that so many books on marriage are written for the Christian world based on man’s psychological theories while God’s Word is barely addressed or treated as a buffet; even worse, some materials, even take God’s Word and take the Word out of context and twist it to serve the author’s purpose and not glorify Christ and His “true Truths.” Thus, the main points God has for us are missing. This is the fruit of the combined work and is designed to be used as a tool for a retreat, seminar, pastoral counseling, professional Christian counseling, sermon guide, and/or personal devotion and for me, a how to guide that I can keep going back to for advice and help.

How this Book was made?

This book is not about my theories or some personal agenda; rather, this work is based on God’s precepts on building a great marriage. What I have done here is read the Bible, conduct some real research and extract the prime precepts, practiced them and practically lay them out for you. While I understand that the concepts are easy and that the practice can be difficult, this is completely doable even in the most barren circumstances.

This love and marriage book is also based on over 25 years of careful exegetical research and pastoral counseling experience. Primarily, this series is based carefully on the Bible’s timeless truths. It is not about psychological fads or theories. The goal is to find the best real answers from the timeless truths for real help to those who just need to know or who are down and out and do not know where to go. The main viewpoints and directions are what the Lord gives us from His Word so that we can better prepare and practice for the second most important thing we will ever do in life (the first being our salvation).

In addition to the Word, research and experience, over 100 couples in fulfilling, long-lasting marriages were interviewed, which facilitated the “Tips.” To round this out, some key research was gleaned from the Schaeffer Institute, the Fuller Institute, and Fuller Seminary. Included in interviews and consultations were: Ray Stedman, Chuck Miller, Dr. John Gottman, Edith Schaeffer, Dr. Julie Gorman, Dr. Archibald Heart, John Stott, Dr. Clyde Narramore and many other professionals including many seasoned pastors and Christian counselors.

This is a work is also one of practice–the trials and errors of a married man who has made the mistakes and tried his best to be better, who has failed and has succeeded to be the best spouse that one can be. I have never been unfaithful, praise God; but, I have had to examine how faithful I have been in my loving and adoration, in my cherishing, forgiving, affections, even when times have been bad and daunting. I am a work in progress, as we all are.

You have in your hands a colossal endeavor that has been simplified and made practical for you.

You CAN build a healthy marriage that glorifies Christ as Lord.

Who is this Book for?

It is for me. It is for you. This book is for couples seeking pre-marriage counseling and for married couples who desire God’s call in their marriage or refreshment of the marital relationship. It is also for those who are having doubts, troubles, or hurts. It is for those who are feeling overwhelmed and, maybe, hopeless in their relationship. This is for those who just want to grow closer to the Lord and live in a marriage that is blessed and led by Christ. This is for those who just want a “how to,” one easy to read compressive book on marriage that has all they need and they can keep referring to. This is an invitation to come see what our Lord, through His Word, has to say about building a great lasting marriage.

How to use this marriage book

Like any book, just read it and be in prayer. Ask, How can I change and apply these precepts and be humble to make it work? You can discuss this with your spouse and/or in a small group. This book has a ‘tag-team’ approach. I will present a biblical description, such as an aspect of Love–what it is, how to know it, and apply it into your life and marriage. Next, I will present a key aspect on how to build an effectual marriage. In addition, we have discussion questions to challenge, inspire, provoke and help you process these true Truth from Scripture and the ideas distilled from those passages. Then we have dozens of “Marriage Tips,” that will help focus you in the right direction, give practical help and encouragement. Perhaps, read and practice one each day. See the Appendix for a complete listing.

How to use this marriage book as a workshop

In addition to using this personally in your marriage and in fellowship in small groups, you could also this in a workshop setting. This endeavor will be a seminar and or a devotional format. I suggest to have your people read the book first, or one chapter at a time, and then discuss the key points of need and do the questions. Perhaps go over one chapter for a day seminar or three chapters for a weekend retreat. Any chapter(s) can be used; however, the main ones I suggest are, Chapter 3 The Love Challenge, Chapter 6 Marriage where Real Love is Practiced, Chapter 7 Cherish and Respect, and you can have a seminar with a financial planner and do Chapter 18 Marriage Money Matters with the Appendix of Budgeting ideas, or a seminar with Chapter 19 Divorce Proof Your Marriage or, Chapter 20 The Marriage Tune-up!

The passages, main points, and some applications are given, so you can read, be challenged, equipped, inspired and encouraged, to make a wondrous marriage begin. In addition, I will take you into a journey of what love is and what it is not. You will get an aspect of love and a session on what a biblical marriage looks like to work on at your own pace.

Thus, this book can be used as a personal mentor for individuals and can be done individually, but it is best to do alongside with your spouse or fiancé, small group, or with a qualified pastor or counselor. This book can also be used for a community workshop or class.

I recommend that this be a journey to be done together as a couple, and you can share with a counselor or a small group or marriage retreat. The appendixes are additional resources for you and for counselors. It is best to follow a sequence that looks like this: Read the passages and curriculum, discuss with your spouse, be committed to listen, be open for criticism, be forgiving and remember the Fruit of the Spirit from Galatians, Chapter Five. Try to practice the ‘Tips” as much as possible. Then, follow through with a counselor or mentor, and remember to stay in prayer with an attitude of I can do this, I can have a wondrous marriage, I can make it work.

Let us look at how to prepare and build for a successful marriage.

First, read 1 Corinthians 7:1-11, 39-40, 13:1-13, be committed to learn, forgive and engage God’s Truth and apply His precepts to your life. The revolution for the healthier marriage begins.

Nevertheless, God’s solid foundation stands firm, sealed with this inscription: “The Lord knows those who are his,” and, “Everyone who confesses the name of the Lord must turn away from wickedness.” 2 Timothy 2:19

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Do angels have wings?

angels_wings

I was just asked a question that comes up this time of year, do angels have wings?

This church member said she saw a major news channel report, “Angels exist but do not have wings and are more like shards of light, at least according to a top Catholic Church angelologist.” My first thought, how do I apply for that job and how much does it pay…. But, the answer, no-one wants to hear. If you read the Bible and pay attention to every passage about angels, well, no, they do not have wings.

 What are Angels? They are God’s messengers who communicated God’s purpose to Biblical personalities. Angels are not chubby nice winged personalities that you see in Hallmark stores or movies, who fly around playing harps; rather they are are spirit beings (Matthew 2:13-23; Hebrews 1:14).

The word “Angel” means “messengers.” They are heavenly beings that live and work in Heaven. They are messengers sent by God to “minister,” as in to serve God and humanity.

These celestial beings may seem ominous to us, hence why in every encounter in Scripture where they were revealed, people fell to their feet. But, they are created beings and have limited knowledge and attributes. They have the same emotions and will that we have-the reason one-third of them fell-and they are curious and interested in the things of God-the reason two-thirds remained loyal to God. God had not told them everything, but now His plan is made known (Eph. 3:10).

Their central role is to serve God in heaven and have many different roles and levels of casts.

They can intervene to protect us, and also discipline us. They escort His elect to their heavily reward and glory, and when Christ returns, they will accompany Him in full force and magnitude. The role of angels is very important and needed, but we must never elevate them above what God intended. They are to be honored and respected and obeyed, but they are never to be worshiped or prayed to (Gen. 18; Matt. 18:10; Luke 16:22; Acts. 5:17-21; 12:1-10; Heb. 1:4-15; 13:2; 1 Pet. 1:12; Rev. 22:9)

Also, in the Bible the heavenly creature that have wings are Cherubim (Exodus 25:20; Ezek. 10) and Seraphim (Isaiah 6). They are not Angels.

The “Four living creatures” from revelation comes from Ezekiel, they are not Angels, they are figurative and Babylon descriptions, this possibly refers to a type of angelic who ministers to God, like the Seraphim  and Cherubim  their job is to act as protectors, guardians, and servants, giving their adoration. Their purpose is to showcase and point to that “God is Great” (Gen. 3:24; Ex. 25:17-22; 1 Kings 7:29; 1 Chron. 12:8; 28:18; Psalm 18:10; Isa. 6; Ezek. 1:6-11; Rev. 4:6-11).

Can we see Angels? Usually no, and you would not want to, as God’s “messengers,” they are non-sexual and non-corporal beings whose very presence will cause one to have a heart attack or at the very lease defecate your digested lunch out into your pants. Every time they manifest themselves, they first put the person they are visiting at ease, unless they are in disguise like with the encounter with Abraham.

In addition, they do not have wings or halos. And no, you do not want to encounter one.

They can communicate through dreams and life’s events without our knowledge, so we can remain sane and keep our pants clean.

So, how did we get the theme of wings on angels? From paintings depicted in the Middle Ages, when people, especially artists were not allowed to read the Bible.

Sorry folks, that is what the Bible teaches about Angles…they are forbidding not friendly… And, if God wanted an Angel to show wings, he certainly can do that…. Let’s just not fixate on stuff the Bible does not state or make important.

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