I Should’ve Worn My Steel Toe Boots Today

One of the things I love about God’s Word, is how it will let you know when you’ve missed the mark. As I sat listening to my Pastor teaching about the many fruits of the Holy Spirit, it occurred to me how much I was not walking in them. Ouch! God spent most of the morning stepping all over my toes; reminding me of all the times I had missed it with my boss last week.

Now one of the really cool things about God is even when He’s showing you where you’ve missed it, He does so in a way that reveals His desire for you to reach your full potential. He doesn’t do it in a way which makes you feel bad about yourself, but challenges you to do better.

As my pastor listed the nine fruits of the Spirit, it dawned on me I had missed using the first one…badly. Love is the first fruit and honestly if you get this one right, the other eight pretty much fall into place.

What does it actually mean to love however? I know a lot of people think of the mushy, hearts and roses, I love you stuff we are inundated with at Valentine’s Day when this word is used, but really this is more of a by product of love, and not actually love itself.

Scripture gives us the answer in 1 Corinthians 13:4-8. It says;

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. Love never fails.”

First off, in order to be sure I am walking in love, I have to ask myself a few questions; am I being patient and kind? Do I get jealous? Am I boastful, proud or rude? Do I demand my own way, am I irritable? Do I keep a list of who’s done me wrong and go over it again and again? Do I rejoice at injustice, or when truth wins out? Do I give up and lose faith? Am I always hopeful, and endure (without complaining) through every circumstance? Do I fail?

Honestly, I cannot answer these questions in a positive way right now, therefore it is evident I have not been walking in love. It’s a sad reality to face, especially at 53; you’d think I’d have this one figured out by now. The good news is though, I can make changes today and begin learning how to walk in love, changing the trajectory my life has been on. It won’t be too long until I won’t need my steel toe boots in church any more…

Living for Jesus and taking Him at His Word daily…

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I’ve Lost That Loving Feeling

You’ve lost that lovin’ feeling, whoa, that lovin’ feeling, you’ve lost that lovin’ feeling, now it’s gone…gone…gone…wooooooh.”

I made a statement once which I think angered a lady. We were part of a group discussion about marriage and I said most days I have to choose to love my wife, it doesn’t just come naturally. She responded by saying how awful this was and she believed love isn’t a choice but a by product of what happens when you find your mate. Her naiveté was showing, but she had only been married a few years and was still in the throws of the love induced hormones working in her brain.

I’m not a doctor, nor have I ever played one on TV, but I did learn about this little area in the brain which produces a chemical giving you that “lovin’ feeling”. It’s what causes us to be attracted to our spouse at first. It’s almost as if there wasn’t this chemical imbalance in our brain which steers us towards our mate we’d never give them the time of day; and this is exactly what God intended.

While this chemical helps us overlook little things which might aggravate us at first, once it stops producing we can get annoyed by them and feel as if we don’t love this person anymore. It’s at this point in our relationship we need to have a solid commitment and are willing to stick to our vows. This is where the choice to love someone comes into play.

My bride and I have been married for over twenty-eight years and there have been plenty of opportunities for both of us to have said to heck with this and throw in the towel; but we haven’t, we’ve stuck it out, sometimes slugging it out to work through our issues. Of course I don’t mean physically; this is not okay under any circumstance. We’ve had to work to see things from each other’s perspective (something which takes time and effort) and we agree to disagree from time to time. What we’ve learned, is to give in on the little things and stick to our guns on the bigger issues, but always from an aspect of I’m in this for the long haul, so we’re going to make it work.

When we first met and began talking about marriage, divorce was never an option for either of us. We made this commitment to each other before we ever said our vows. We both decided that whenever we disagreed about something, we would never speak of divorce. When we fight and yes in twenty-eight years together we’ve had plenty of opportunities for this, it has been easy to work through things knowing the other person isn’t willing to quit. There is a lot of comfort in this too!

I am totally amazed how quick younger couples give up nowadays. Instead of seeking counsel from older people who’ve been married for many years, and figuring out how to work through their issues, they just jump ship, missing out on what is one of the greatest things; sharing your life with another person .

I heard a man say the number one indicator of divorce is the avoidance of conflict. When you avoid disagreements, just agreeing for the sake of not having an argument, you are making a grave mistake in your marriage. Don’t get me wrong, I hate to argue, but I have come to learn if my bride and I don’t talk out our differences in the hope of resolving them, then our relationship is not going to get any stronger; and building a strong life together is worth the effort I promise you.

The next time it seems you’ve lost that “loving feeling“; knuckle down, stick to your guns and work it out. Don’t quit thinking you can find another person who will give you this feeling. You may, but in a short time you’ll just be back where you were with the other relationship. If you have questions, email me. I don’t know everything, but I do know a little bit having been married this long and I’m happy to help.

Email: godsfirstknight@yahoo.com

Are You Being Your Bride’s Superhero?

Let me ask you married men a question; do you know your wife’s love language? You know the things you do which show her you really love her? Just saying, “I love you.” isn’t enough, she needs to see something which proves your love as well.

In my home, I’m responsible for taking out the garbage. I see to it all our refuse is put in the trash container and placed by the curb to be picked up on Fridays. If our trash  can is piled high with its contents balancing precariously on top, this bothers my wife. Taking care of this household chore is just one of the many things I do which shows her I love her.

Guys, if you’re like me, you probably worked pretty hard in the beginning when you dated her; pulling out all the stops to impress your girl. If I was a betting man, I’d say you did a lot of crazy things to show her how much you wanted and desired her. The problem is we often stop doing these things after saying, “I do.” Too many men get upset after the wedding because the lovey dovey stuff seems to end and the nagging begins.

When I say nagging what I really mean is, she is telling you the things which bother her. Generally when someone is complaining about something, it’s not so much because they want to make your life miserable but more likely at a deeper level they are really telling you what bugs them.

The best thing would be if we actually just said what we mean, but in my married life I’ve found a lot of times I have to look for clues as to what is meant. It’s probably because she doesn’t want to just nag me as she wants me to find out what it is she needs.

In the movie The Breakup, there is a great scene about this. The couple is arguing about household chores:

Brooke: “I want you to want to do the dishes.”

Gary: “Why would I want to do the dishes?”

And this is the story of married life; the wife wants you to do something and we as men are usually clueless to what she is really saying. You see it wasn’t about him actually doing the dishes as much as his willingness to do them. This willingness to do something is usually at the heart of all disagreements.

Finding out the things my wife likes and doing them and figuring out what she doesn’t like and not doing these makes me out to be the superhero she needs me to be and what man doesn’t want to be his bride’s superhero? And part of this means I’ve got to be looking for the things which show her how much I love her.

This is why I lift the toilet seat and put it back down, why I put the dirty dishes in the dishwasher and generally look for things to do which say to her heart, this man of yours really loves you. It’s all about the relationship and I want ours to be the best.

Guys take some time and listen for what your bride is really saying to you. It will take work to be her superhero, but it is doable and in the end worth it.