The Living Parable of Marriage

I am going to say something that is widely unpopular and will probably garner a few negative comments. But I feel very convicted to say this in light of the NUMEROUS marriages that I know that are falling apart and crumbling.

First of all, let me say, I speak from experience. Tiffany and I by no means have had the perfect marriage. In fact we almost divorced after only 1 year because of my addiction at the time and because of me being a legalistic jerk. She too had her own issues that she will tell you about if you ask her. But the bottom line is we quickly fell out of love just as quickly as we fell in.

That was 15 years ago. There’s too much to tell on a FB post as to how we survived what we did…the recovery process…counseling…numerous times of having no money…losing jobs…family struggles…communication problems…nearly losing our son…the shouting matches that got the police called on us…having a special needs child…and on and on.
What kept us together? God. And discovering a simple truth that many don’t know today. That marriage is not about MY happiness. It is about giving God glory.

As a minister of 20 years, that is what I see as the greatest death nail in the coffin of so many marriages. Its the same death nail of a person’s relationship with God. Its the same death nail of a church that is dying. Its the same death nail of a person who coming to the end of their life through self destruction. And that is this… they see marriage as something to get something out of it, instead of something to pour into, for the sake of giving God glory.

Caleb and the Comforted: How God Got Us Through The Most Difficult Time of Our Life

I was recently contacted by Mitch Washer, personal friend of mine and founder of The Comforted, a soon-to-be-launched blog and ministry dedicated to highlighting personal stories  of trial and tragedy and how God comforted people through the hardest times of their lives.

Tim, I hope you are well man. I am in the process of starting a new ministry called The Comforted. The idea comes from 2 Corinthians 1:3-11 where Paul talks about God as the God of all comfort and goes into detail about his sufferings and how God has brought him to a place of relying solely on Him and ultimately finding comfort. Not so that things will be easy for him, but that he may use that comfort and encouragement to comfort others who are or who have suffered. So God has put it on my heart to create a ministry based on that idea. So I need your help if and only if you feel comfortable. I would like a paragraph or two on a time you have suffered and had to rely solely on God.

Here is the article I submitted. I pray that it encourages you as the God of all comfort, comforts you.

Our story begins in October 2010 when my wife, Tiffany and I decided to take our two oldest boys, Colby who was 4 and Caleb who was 2, on what would be their first ever camping trip. We decided to go to Fall Creek Falls in Tennessee. And though we were late getting to the park due to getting lost we had a blast as we made our way down the trail, spending at least 45 minutes walking to the bottom to see the falls. It was then out of nowhere we heard the thundering and crashing of a boulder plummeting down toward us from 256 feet above. We didn’t have time to react or scream. As soon as we heard what sounded like a cannon blast it was all over. And then immediately the reality of the situation sank in. Our son Caleb had been struck in the head with the boulder while being carried in my wife’s arms.

Our Homes Are the Laboratory of Life for Our Children

Children need instruction to apply Scripture to issues of authority, obedience, conflict resolution, and God-given roles in relationships. Everyday life affords scores of opportunities to connect Scripture to life — from lost book-bags to broken friendships and poor test grades. Scores of training opportunities evaporate without notice as we hurry through our days thinking that devotional time with our children is enough. Our responses to the circumstances and crises of everyday life make our theology real.

Bible stories glow with illustrations of children whose knowledge of Scripture translated into obedient, bold action. David’s words to Saul sound naive and childish in the face of the Philistine army and the terrifying threats of Goliath, “Let no one lose heart on account of this Philistine; your servant will go and fight him” (1 Sam. 17:32). But David’s spiritual life and experience as a boy shepherd resounds with his right to speak. “But David said to Saul, ‘Your servant has been keeping his father’s sheep. When a lion or a bear came and carried off a sheep from the flock, I went after it, struck it and rescued the sheep from its mouth…. Your servant has killed both the lion and the bear…. The Lord who delivered me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine’” (1 Sam. 17:34–37).

Say Goodnight, Together

During our first few years of marriage, my husband Ted’s favorite late night companion was the website Free Republic.

Free what?

Free Republic. That would be an online gathering place for the politically conservative to discuss the latest in politics.

You see, prior to our union, freeping – as it’s called – was Ted’s go-to, end-of-the-day, wind-down activity. One that he brought with him into our marriage. Most nights, after I went to bed, he’d still be curled up on the couch with his laptop (yep, those were the dark days before iPads) having “spirited conversations” with other freepers.

While there wasn’t necessarily anything wrong with this in his pre-Ashleigh days or even in moderation after our wedding, it meant that our heads rarely hit the pillow at the same time. Maybe one or twice a week. Most evenings I’d head to bed, while he logged in a few more hours of screen time.

Perhaps you can relate. It could be that after that initial newlywed bliss wore off, you and your spouse have discovered that syncing your bedtime routines is a challenge. If so, I’m here to encourage you.

May It Go Well for Your Children

There are innumerable spiritual blessings for children who live under God’s structures of authority. They learn that God is good and kind. They learn that creatures find happiness as they know and trust God. They understand that the true nature of freedom is not autonomy (being a law to myself), but joyfully walking in God’s laws. They learn to trust God to work through their parents to bring blessing to their lives. They learn that true joy is not having my own way, but following the will of God. They learn that living as God has ordained is the best life a created being can have.

These are rich spiritual blessings. Children will never learn these truths if they are self-directed, autonomous people who think life is good only when they have no external restraints.

There are also practical ways it goes well with obedient children. People respond much more favorably to children who are under authority than to children who are wild and unruly.

Imagine planning a family outing with your children. You are going to spend the day hiking through some rugged and beautiful country and perhaps enjoy an overnight under the stars. You want to invite one or two other children along to be companions and to enjoy the adventure with your family. Who are you going to invite? A child who is wild and unruly? A child who will only listen to you if he happens to agree? A child who will complain when the firewood needs to be gathered? A child who will fight you over each step of the hike? You get the point. You are going to invite a child who is responsive to adult leadership. In scores of practical ways it will go well with the child who understands that God’s world is vertical.

[Read the rest of the article at Shepherd Press.]

Patience, Discipline, and Faith

In the context of God’s commands for parents, consider the text of Hebrews 12:5-11. Let’s focus on verse 11 of that passage:

“For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.”

There are three important parts to this verse.

The Secret to Finishing Your Marriage Well

“How would you like to spend the rest of your life eating breakfast across the table from me?” the man asked boldly.

The petite, dark-haired woman his words were directed at giggled. Perhaps her cheeks even blushed at such forwardness. “Big flirt!” she thought, secretly reveling in his attention.

The year was 1952. The place, a Midwest college cafeteria. The man, Lysle Schmidt, was my maternal grandfather. Well, he would be one day. The woman was Esther Imler. You guessed it, my future grandmother.

Yep, it turns out that my husband Ted isn’t the only guy I know who’s unafraid to utter the “M” word on a kinda-first date. Grandpa was all over that fifty years earlier. In both cases, the direct approach paid off.

Fingerprint #3 Sowing and Reaping When It Comes To Our Children

I want to just say, I am super excited that I get to share this very special post for you all. This was written by the most amazing woman I have ever known, my wife Tiffany. I know you all see me write quite a bit, but when Tiffany shared this story with me the other day, I told her she HAD to write it shown and share it with you all. It is yet again, a clear example of how God leaves His fingerprints for us and how He is intimately involved with every aspect of our lives. So here you go…

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In the beginning everything was perfect. Adam and Eve were complete, lacking nothing. But after the fall of man it created a deficiency in us that only Christ could fill. Now, thanks to all God has done, we have Him living inside of us. The fruit of the Spirit amazingly, is not something that we can obtain. They are freely given to us, the fruit of the love relationship, the romance we get to have with our Father. When we choose the Spirit, we walk in love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

As an oft worn out mommy of 4 I find myself searching for my joy, my patience, my kindness, etc. Often, when things get hectic around the house and when the kids are going crazy, I will respond to their misbehavior with—let’s admit it—something other than the fruit of the Spirit. Yes, the flesh, I think as Paul calls it.

But something hit me the other day.

One Flesh: 5 Questions for Your Marriage

“A man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh” (Genesis 2:24, ESV).

God’s instruction to married couples is clear. We are to be one flesh.

This is a much higher calling to marriage than the world offers. It is beyond commitment. It is beyond promise. It is beyond vows.