“Does Love Pay the Bills?”

Many an “Armchair Philosopher” has said that “Love doesn’t pay the bills” and I used to agree with this for many years, but the more I learn about God and Marriage it has become abundantly clear that this is not true.

To explain further, I would have you first look at your own marriage as an example. To venture a guess, I would assume that most are married for the sake of love; at least I would like to think so.  When you were first married, you thought you could take on anything the world could throw at you; at least until children came along – it is okay to chuckle, I am.

If love is truly the foundation of the love between a man and woman, then why else would anything else matter?

After the marriage, has fermented a few years, this is when the “Love Thing” starts to get a little hazy for some. Not only do they have children now, they have bills; usually more than what is comfortable.  Now enter, STRESS.  Once this critter enters the picture the vision of Love starts to lessen and it now becomes the burden after all the other things or tasks get done.

Was God ever on the task list or was He moved to the bottom?

Now for my position on “Love Paying the Bills”. It does.  How, you ask?  Well, from the Christian perspective, God brought us together in our marriage and thus it is His plan.  By His love, we are brought together and by His love we will stay together.  All the things that we create in between are ours to deal with, but it will be love at the end of the day that makes it all happen; the relationship, the children, the job and the other accomplishments we try to give ourselves credit for.

When was the last time we thanked God for every blessing in our lives, even the ones we may not have agreed with?

The next time you find yourself struggling with the bills, the children or just life in general as a married couple try this; take it all in from the perspective as a gift of God, not another burden. It is because of God’s love that we have the blessings in our life and these gifts require maintenance.  If we choose not to approach the work to take care of the blessings with love and faith in God, we will fail.

Ephesians 2: 7 – 10. “For by grace you have been saved through faith.  And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.  For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”

Although it may not appear so on the surface, I believe that love does pay the bills. I would like to think of it as love outweighing all the things in our lives that make it appear complicated, stressful or meaningless.  God has given us the gift of love through Jesus Christ so that we may overcome these burdens; so, use it!

 

 

The Koifish Christian

“Minding the Net”

“Follow me and I will make you fishers of men…”  Matthew 4:19.

As I read this short verse it occurs to me that anyone who has ever been exposed to the story of Jesus Christ has heard this quoted many times by many pastors, Sunday school teachers, or evangelists simply trying to spread the gospel.

What concerns me is if we as Christians really understand what this verse means.  In any version of the story Jesus makes it sound pretty easy, but we may have to step back for a moment and take this verse in.

Have we taken the time to fully understand what is asked of us as believers?

Within this short verse is a lot of labor, sweat, tears and even physical pain.  In our world as we perceive it today we will struggle with perception or even empathy as it concerns the work Jesus and his disciples endured.  Good example; my feet get sore sometimes in comfortable shoes, I can’t imagine walking the miles Christ did in a pair of sandals that more than likely did not have gel insoles!

Would we go the distance with Jesus?

Now lets consider the confrontations Jesus had and literally standing alone with nothing more than the words given by the Father.  We are told not to fear death or even injury, but yet we shy away from a verbal confrontation about defending the faith.

Do we shy away for our sake or the other person’s?

The last part can be a little touchy, but are we selective to who we talk to about Jesus Christ?  Many Christians will talk about not being selective to those we invite into the doors of the church or how we determine who we share the gospel with, but I would guess that we are all guilty of being choosey, when it is not our place to do so.  Every person is made in the image of God and thus, we serve him, not the other way around.

Do our perspective goggles uncover the truth of God in how we see our fellow human beings?

My thoughts and prayers are for all of those who stand, walk or run to spread the truth of the gospel to every corner of the earth.  May God make your feet swift, your labor fruitful and message one that allows the seeds to be planted for the bountiful harvest to come!

 

Praise God in all He does for the smallest of blessings!!!

The Koifish Christian

“A Victory in the Rubble”

Rubble and stone mixed with dust do stifle,

Somewhere a child cries unceasing,

Nearby a man briskly walks by with a rifle,

From the desolation God’s work is increasing.

 

The children cry holding our hand,

War and devastation bring dark sadness,

Desolate and barren is their land,

Their dreams whither as each day passes.

 

A victory by the hand of God today,

Giving warmth in a time of need,

Formed by someone who chose to pray,

A blessing requested has been freed.

 

Earnestly, it takes the work of another,

Teaching their hearts not to be made of stone,

Eagerly, caring for a sister and brother,

Learning to live by the standard God has shown.

 

Taking the easy road was never an option,

Using God’s yoke to carry the heavy loads,

His Grace given through the Adoption,

Good News to those on wide and rough roads.

 

Giving of ourselves to wipe away dust caked tears,

Obedience to God by always loving our neighbor,

Heed the call by God to comfort a child’s fears,

It is through His Redemption and Will that we labor.

D.E. Jones

 

 

Thank you Victor for all the work you and your team do to bring the love and comfort of the Risen Lord and Savior Jesus Christ into areas of the world that need it most.

Go to this link for more information:  Victor Marx Homepage

 

 

 

 

 

“What Was the Final Score?”

In the world of marriage there is this thing known as the “What I did vs What you did” scoreboard. To begin my monolog, I will say that this can be one of the most destructive anomalies found in a marriage.

There is nothing more destructive to a relationship than attempting to compare yourself to another person and then try to change that person into yourself; it doesn’t work. As a matter of fact, it is a very destructive cycle found in marriages.  I don’t have any scientific evidence to back this up, but if I were a betting man, I will bet that you can recognize this in your own relationship or know of one like this.

I am not going to go down the path of psychology, but rather the path of practical and common sense. Regardless of our upbringing we have become familiar with the term “Teamwork” and the Bible is probably one of the first written documents to comment on the relationship of a married couple as a team; “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”  Genesis 1:28.

Being fruitful, multiplying and having dominion over the earth and everything it is going to take some serious teamwork on every married couple from that point up to today.  In the book of Mark 10:8 it says; “and the two shall become one flesh.”  I realize that some might take this to mean in a reproductive sense, but I think it is much more than that.  The wife and husband in essence wear the same color jersey and have different numbers, but they are on the same team.

As with any team there will be differences, but in actuality this is what makes the team strong.  Their individual strengths intertwine like the teeth on gears to make the team successful and when faced with adversity it is very difficult to separate them; or at least it should be.

When one of those gears attempts to go in the opposite direction and tries to make the other perform just like it, the teeth on the gears tend to wear down and create friction, which in turn produces negative results.  If the gears are working together, they stay together whether they are running fast or slow; one might have to help the other a little, but they are still together.

So as it pertains to keeping scores; DON’T.  Concentrate on what you have to do and not what the other does or does not do.  There might be underlying reasons that things are not going the way they should and this is where the two work together to find the root cause of the problem, eliminate it and move on.

In today’s world we are bombarded by multiple and complex external forces that in some cases can quite easily derail a marriage.  In my simple mind it seems to me that a healthy marriage requires maintenance and if the two take the time to show the other that their promise to the other means the world to them, the gears will simply keep turning and produce the wonderful things God had planned for both of them all along.

What Does God Say?

Lately, I have been hearing the term “Relative” in conversations online, in person or on television. In some of those conversations it seems that the idea of “Relativity” makes sense to those justifying or claiming their position based on an issue of morality.

As I am a simple man and not a philosopher, I do know that from a biblical perspective, there is no morality without God. I understand that some will argue that as a society we can determine good and bad, but I would simply reply with; the German society thought Hitler was good for their country and that exterminating Jews was what “Good” Germans should do. Were they right or wrong in their so called moral choice?

We might find some who will say that the Germans were right in their choice, but unless this person knows or believes in God, how can I possibly deduce that they know the difference between “Good or Bad”?

A society that begins to use “Relativity” in regards to their moral standing will always find themselves on a slippery slope to depravity and absurdity. God was and will always be the determining factor in “Right or Wrong”, “Good or Bad”. Where else can the idea of morality come from? From Conservatives, Liberals or politicians? Maybe each new generation will create their own version of morality based on relative experience? Unfortunately, every person has their own experiences so who gets to decide what is right or wrong?

On the subject of Relativity I am left with only one assumption; if anything is called “Relative”, I must start with how it measures up to the standards of God, not man. That being said, it will not be easy dealing with those who disagree with a biblical world view and nor will they find it easy to disagree with me.

As Christians we should not be in the business of pointing fingers; we should be in the business of loving our neighbor and love begins with the Truth.  Jesus Christ made it crystal clear how we are to treat each other and where the measurements of morality begin; with God.

So how can we do better at this?

What does God say?

“Where is Your Bucket?”

In my response to those of any political party or any affiliation to a group or groups who desperately oppose one another after our much disputed Presidential Election, I would offer the words of Booker T. Washington’s Atlanta Compromise Speech given in 1895 on September 18th.

His words were directed primarily at newly freed African American Slaves and the South which in some part included the white population, but in my opinion he was speaking to the America as a whole. The country had just gone through a devastating Civil War and healing was needed in every corner of the nation, regardless of the color of one’s skin.

Our faith in God will and should always be the most important aspect of who we are as a people, but more importantly we should also try to understand that we may not always be able to control the people or circumstances around us. However, what we can control are those things we are responsible for as citizens of a community.  The healing takes place in the smallest of them and begins with the hard work that is ours to do, a helping hand and a smile.

Mr. Washington was telling us then to put our differences aside and simply work together for the greater good, thereby, improving our own station in life. He never promised easy, nor has God for that matter when it comes to what He has called us to do for His Kingdom.  So I will leave you with the story and some words from Booker T. Washington that I hope will bring things into some sort of perspective for you if you are struggling to move on, forgive, befriend or simply get back to some sort of normal in your life.

A ship lost at sea for many days suddenly sighted a friendly vessel. From the mast of the unfortunate vessel was seen a signal, “Water, water; we die of thirst!” The answer from the friendly vessel at once came back, “Cast down your bucket where you are.” A second time the signal, “Water, water; send us water!” ran up from the distressed vessel, and was answered, “Cast down your bucket where you are.” And a third and fourth signal for water was answered, “Cast down your bucket where you are.” The captain of the distressed vessel, at last heeding the injunction, cast down his bucket, and it came up full of fresh, sparkling water from the mouth of the Amazon River. To those of my race who depend on bettering their condition in a foreign land or who underestimate the importance of cultivating friendly relations with the Southern white man, who is their next-door neighbor, I would say: “Cast down your bucket where you are”— cast it down in making friends in every manly way of the people of all races by whom we are surrounded.

Cast it down in agriculture, mechanics, in commerce, in domestic service, and in the professions. And in this connection it is well to bear in mind that whatever other sins the South may be called to bear, when it comes to business, pure and simple, it is in the South that the Negro is given a man’s chance in the commercial world, and in nothing is this Exposition more eloquent than in emphasizing this chance. Our greatest danger is that in the great leap from slavery to freedom we may overlook the fact that the masses of us are to live by the productions of our hands, and fail to keep in mind that we shall prosper in proportion as we learn to dignify and glorify common labour, and put brains and skill into the common occupations of life; shall prosper in proportion as we learn to draw the line between the superficial and the substantial, the ornamental gewgaws of life and the useful. No race can prosper till it learns that there is as much dignity in tilling a field as in writing a poem. It is at the bottom of life we must begin, and not at the top. Nor should we permit our grievances to overshadow our opportunities.” (Harlen, 1974)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reference:

http://historymatters.gmu.edu/d/39/

Louis R. Harlan, ed., The Booker T. Washington Papers, Vol. 3, (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1974), 583–587.

“Today is Mine”

Today I read a story,

Today I shed a tear,

Today I am happy,

Today I am blessed,

Today is here.

The story I read this morning brought back memories of my own past, along with the thoughts I grew up every day.  Who am I?  Where do I come from?  What was my mother like?  Did she love me?  Why did she choose life for me?

These and many other questions used to rattle around my brain growing up, but there was always something steadfast in my life and that was my knowledge of God.  From a very young age I always had a sense of God, but never knew the true meaning until I went to Sunday School as a child.  It was like; “yeah, I know who God is.”  It was never a question, it was more a matter of fact for me.

However; for some children the same cannot be said.  Some of these children who were given up for adoption did not know God or know the love He offered because of adoptive parents who either did not care or were abusive.  For them my heart to this day still aches.

It is for these children, even today that causes me to share my own story of being separated from my mother at birth and our eventual reunion 46 years later on my birthday.  In this and many other adoption stories there is a story of hope and strength.

The story I read today reminded me of how God can take care of children even when the parent is not able to.  For those like the one in the story, they were cared for by loving parents who did they best they could with what they had.  Regardless of the things like food, clothing and a roof to live under, the one thing that a child must have is love.  Without it, all other things do not matter.

For those of us saved through our mothers, who in their condition chose life for us because they had hope; a hope for a child that they knew they could not properly care for even though they loved them.  For this we will always be grateful, because somewhere deep down they knew that there was something greater for us to do.  Whether they believed in God or not; it was His plan and not their own that put us where we are today.

So for those whose story includes adoption; never give up hope nor your will to live each day as a gift from God and your mother.

Today is now,

Today you will succeed,

Today you love,

Today you are loved,

Today is yours.

 

 

“Build Your Road”

Each day we roll out of bed and make our way (half awake) through the house to start our day.  First it is to the coffee pot or in my case downstairs to let the dogs out of their kennels so that they can start their day.  I must admit seeing their wagging tails does perk me up a bit.  As far as this scenario plays out I think you know the rest, because eventually I get into my vehicle and head to work.

As that day begins each decision we make no matter how small builds upon the path we are on.  For those who believe in God we believe that no matter our thoughts, it is He who guides our feet.  Now this does not mean we walk around like zombies waiting for the next message to come down from God and then act upon it.  This merely means that for us there are little clues or even large ones that help guide our feet; the rest is up to us to make the right decisions.

When I look at the things I decide to do, each one is a pebble to be placed in front of me that will create the road I walk on.  Some pebbles are bigger or smaller, but each one nonetheless causes the road to be built.

For some people the decisions they make will be some of the hardest of their lives and it might seem like that pebble they have to place down in front of them weighs a ton.  Regardless of its weight it must be put down; we are the builders of our road and at times we will have to ask for assistance.

If you find that the pebbles to be placed on your road are too heavy, know that God sent down a stone that is the bedrock your road is being created on.  Jesus Christ is that foundation and with Him all things are possible.  Knowing this we must also see those times when we are too weak and must ask for help; it is okay.  This is exactly what God expects from us because He has already directed someone to be on your path to be that blessing.  Allow them to be the instrument God has intended them to be by receiving the blessing God has intended for you through them.

So think for a moment about all the pebbles you have laid down to build the road you are on today.  Is it wide enough?  Is it smooth enough?  Does it have a lot of curves or is it simply straight?  Is it built on flat land or in the mountains?  Whatever the attributes of your road; no one road is perfect.  Each are unique to the builder which makes them all the more interesting, thereby making the travel on them a wonderful adventure with God.

Don’t worry about the width of the road too much because God will always make sure that there is enough room for someone to walk on beside you and behind you.

Have a great day builders!

The Koi Fish Christian

 

“Everyone is an Expert”

Finding Facebook very interesting lately even though we all know most of the political or religious topics are really shared to pour gas on a fire so I will make this brief.

If you are preaching or attempting to preach Christianity to someone, be sure you have done your homework first. This is not in response to anyone in particular, but lately with the new federal law legalizing gay marriage all of a sudden all the preachers of love have come out of the closet and some of the comments I have read make me seriously doubt that they even own a bible or even read one in the last ten years.

First of all understand that the love Jesus Christ is talking about has nothing to do with wallowing in our sin and making others do the same with an absurd notion of what God wants for the world.  We are here for one thing and that is to serve God and to do everything to His glory.

God is selfish as He tells us in the bible so I am a bit perplexed by the idea that we somehow forgot that.  His word is given for us to follow, not make it up as we go along.

With this being said I am no way condoning mistreating someone based upon the struggles they have with sin.  Sin is sin whether it is homosexuality, stealing, murder, lying, etc…  We all have sin we deal with and none of us are better than any other as we are all born into it; only through Jesus Christ can we shed that sin and have hope for an eternal life.

I personally may not agree with homosexuality based on my beliefs, but I will not treat that person any differently than I do anyone else; unless you give me reason to give an apologia for my faith and then I will stay on my side and you can stay on yours with no ill will.  The love I would offer would be through Jesus Christ and His saving Grace, not of my own as I have nothing without Jesus Christ.

For those who are lost, have your eyes opened and from that light you see the open arms of Jesus Christ waiting for your return.  Repent and claim Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior.  The message has not changed for 2000 years and it is with good reason that it has not; God has not changed – we have.

Praise and serve God with all your heart and all your mind; in this you will find your burdens removed.

“To Be PC Or Not To Be PC?”

Can’t believe I turned to Shakespeare for this one, but when tough topics come up we have to be honest with ourselves and each other. In the news all we hear about is being politically correct. What does that mean anyway? Of course the answers some learned in their secular college course somewhere will come out, but to be honest, I think this is what got us into the mess we are in now.

My intent is not to pinpoint a college for a fault, but what I am referring to is the idea that political correctness was taken to levels unseen by everyone. Now, we are stuck with it regardless of how far it has come and I have an idea that many of those who raised banners for it are now stuck eating “Crow”, but in order to save face are unwilling to upset the status quo they find themselves in. Why? Because quite frankly it could mean losing jobs, friends and their livelihood.

It seems to me in my simple mind that if I am being honest, it is a better quality than lying to myself and everyone around me about my feelings and what I consider to be right or wrong. If I give up my beliefs and betray my feelings I have just handed who I am over to someone else; something I refuse to do regardless of the consequences. Anyway, I am not mine to give away as I belong to God.

For those who are struggling with choices they know they must make to save themselves; make the choice you know your heart is telling you.  God has put His Law on your heart and by this you will know that the choice you make is the right one. Do not let sin cloud your heart and repent.  Let God in so that you can honestly and clearly examine yourself; remember God have given you grace through Jesus Christ – He is your gift so honor and cherish it.

For those around you who claim there is no God or God’s Law does not apply or other absurd claims; they too know that God exists.  If they truly thought that God did not exist they would not fight so hard to prove otherwise. For those who would challenge you in this our foundation comes from the book of Romans 1: 18 – 25. Although you may come from a biblical world view it is simple. Do not let anyone be the judge over God and His word, but remember that our example is Christ and it is with Christian love we approach the lost; not free love as they might have you believe.

As Christians we are constantly told that we have to prove that God exists so I will simply reverse the table and use the same weighted balance; prove that He doesn’t.  Theory and hypothesis do not count as fact or truth. Remember that the Laws of Nature are used by science which also agrees with Laws of Logic, so just because I believe in something that cannot be considered tangible does not mean that I am the only one in the room that uses faith as my foundation.

Praise and Glory to God as He continues to use those who know Him and those who claim otherwise – All for His Glory!