“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

“Hallowed Be Thy Name”

How serious are we about this line in the Lord’s Prayer?

Using the name “God” or “Jesus Christ” in any manner that does not address either or give glory – it is considered blasphemy. This also includes your shorthand texting acronyms or using it as speech.

Do you agree or disagree?

Before you answer I want you to consider how you answer this question when asked; “Do you consider yourself a Christian or an Atheist?”

Before you answer with Atheist, I would ask this: “Why do you use the name of someone you don’t believe in?” If you say it doesn’t matter and I can say what I want, I would offer this.  If you are using the name of “God” or “Jesus Christ”, it tells me that your lips say you don’t believe, but in your heart you know He exists.  As a Christian I see you using the name of “God” in vain is your way of rebellion against the God you know exists.

Let’s be clear here; I do not see someone using the name of God in vain as a way to give glory, but what I do see is an opportunity for a Christian to bring God’s glory to that table. So the next time you hear someone using the name of “God” or “Jesus Christ” in vain; ask them why they prefer to use those names to curse.

At the end of this short bite on blasphemy I would ask you – the Christian, this; have we forgotten the line – “Thy Kingdom come, thy Will be done on earth as it is in heaven”? Don’t forget, He is coming back to bring judgement and a sword.  We are the stewards of His Kingdom here on earth so it seems to me that many of us who claim the title “Christian” need to punch in

“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.

 

 

“The Milestone”

As parents we go into the responsibility of raising children with many doubts and fears. What if I do or say something wrong that scars my child for life or maybe I disciplined them too hard; will they learn from the experience? Will I forget my own childhood and become a parent we all don’t want to be? These thoughts and many more run through our heads before they are even born; and so begins the adventure.

Before either of my children were born I had a relationship with God through Jesus Christ and knew that He was with me from a very young age. I felt that as a Christian raising my future children with the knowledge of God and a faith in Jesus Christ would help me get through the challenges a father may face when raising children. I must admit now that my wife was with my children much more than I because of my job during their younger years, but as they grew into teenagers I was able to help guide them through some of their toughest years.

Going back to the birth of my first daughter It was God who I turned to first when an emergency during her birth caused her to be placed in ICU for nine days. That first night of her birth I offered up my life to save hers if it were necessary and God chose for both of us to live and grow together. For this I will forever be grateful because she has grown into a fine young woman with a strong will and of good moral character. Above all she has also learned to know and trust in God through Jesus Christ.

My youngest daughter was born with a twinkle in her eye with her own unique spark for life. It was obvious from the moment she was born that she was going to be her own person with a free spirit who seeks out nothing but the best in people. One trait that she has is the ability to bring out the best in people. For some in her life they have been held down by either others or themselves and she has helped them become more than they thought possible. Yes, some might have not followed her as they might should have, but nonetheless she continues to be a light for others. This daughter too trusts in God through Jesus Christ and understands that through Him we have strength.

As a father who understands the world around us and the hardships we can face I learned as the girls grew older that it was my responsibility to prepare them for this world by being a good example and teaching them what I knew of it. Knowing that God must be put first, this was my first goal and although it was my goal both girls would have to choose God of their own free will and so they did. As the days, months and years go by I am able to tell by their actions and in conversations with them that they are both women of high moral character and have become someone to look up to.

Along with all the things we want for our children there is one thing that I worked the hardest on it was that my children would not be burden on society, but a positive influence on it. As with any of our children each is unique in their own way and we love them equally for it, thereby strengthening our connection with them. As adults we are already fortified in our beliefs and way of life, but for our children it is all new and now it is their turn. As they and of course we grow older we may actually disagree on things as they start to learn and form their own opinions. Some of these disagreements may simply be those times where we learn about each other, but it never means that our love for them is any less. It is actually then that we should love them more because in some ways they may actually be seeking guidance, but are unsure of how to ask for it.

This much I do know; when your daughter writes a letter thanking you as parents for being a positive influence in her life because of everything we did to help her grow, it not only melts your heart and starts the water works going, it also lets you know that as a parent you were successful. However, as the years passed by and they became a young adult the whole “Successful” thing kind of fell by the wayside as you realized that it was more important to have a strong and loving relationship with your child instead of some milestone that was met in your life.

Thank God for children and most of all for His own Son who He gave for our sake.

 

The Koifish Christian

“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

 

“Our Public Testimony”

Today I saw something that made me think of the status of Christians everywhere.  I witnessed a young lady sit down to eat a meal at a public eatery and before she ate any food she bowed her head and folded her hands.  I am assuming that she was thanking God for her food, but it also seemed as though she was trying to hide the fact that she was praying.

I will be the first to admit that I don’t always thank God for my meals when at the table, but I do thank Him at the beginning of the day or at the end of the day.  My practice may not be in with the best discipline, but I do thank God nonetheless. So, again, I am not without fault here.

What I would like to point out concerning how we conduct ourselves as Christians in public.  Starting with what the Bible says we are to never deny Christ or He will deny us; (Matthew 10: 32 – 33) 32. “Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven. 33. But whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven.”

As we are human and prone to forgetting things I find it fortunate that through the grace of God we have Jesus Christ and the ability to ask for forgiveness, along with the ability to pick up the Bible and remind ourselves of what Christ actually said.  So being my own worst critic and quick to be hard on myself when I don’t do the things I should, I love the fact that God has a way of reminding us of what is important and that sometimes He doesn’t work in mysterious ways to keep us on track with our physical and spiritual life.

When it comes to our confession of faith in Jesus Christ we should only fear a few things; God, something that can destroy both the body and soul, and offending the Holy Spirit.  Nowhere in that list does it say to fear another human being.  In my own experience if someone is offended it is because they are trying to suppress the truth of God and are feeling conviction from God and instead of agreeing to or complying with it, they become angry or “offended”.

So to give a bit of a warning; if you happen to see me or another Christian praying prior to eating their meal, maybe as a Christian approach us and let us know that we did the right thing; everyone can use a dose of support from other Christians.  If you are not a Christian, then maybe take the time to ask the person why they pray; you might be surprised by what you hear.

Jesus Christ is the risen Savior and in this truth resides the living God that we glorify in all that we do.

Praise God!!!

 

 

“Said the Grape to the Raisin”

The soul can be that very thing in each of us that has the ability to guide us, warn us and teach us.  When the soul begins to work in each of us it knows our heart, just as God does.  The only thing that the soul has to contend with is our “free will”.

In the spirit of not pointing fingers I will begin with saying that I too have felt that my soul felt like a raisin rather than a grape.  With that being said we know that the best wine comes from the best grapes and we also know that a lot of work goes into ensuring that the yield is only of the highest quality.

Some days I will admit that if my soul were used to make wine, I might actually end up with a glass of vinegar.  Now I know there are some out there who will say that wine can be made from raisins, but I have had it and it is just not the same.  Either way looking into my own soul is not an easy task; especially when it is asking me to.

How we choose to seek out our soul is up to the individual and I am not here to tell you how, but rather to go ahead and do it.  God is seeking a relationship with you here on earth long before your days are done here. Find a way to search it and realize what God has waiting for you.  If you are a Christian you know that it as simple as asking Jesus Christ to help you find what you need or to take away a burden that is keeping you from finding truth.  If you are not a Christian, then it is as simple as asking Jesus Christ into your heart, ask Him to take your sins and claim Him as your Lord and Saviour.

To help understand how the soul can be filled, turn to the music that God has inspired through the ages.  The hymns we sing in church are designed by God to awaken our souls and turn them from a raisin to a grape, filled with the rich essence of the fruit that pleases and nourishes.  Together we become the wine or simple grape juice that fulfills the thirst our soul has when it seeks that relationship with God.

One hymn that I like among so many is “Where the Spirit of the Lord Is”.  It is very short, but gets right to the point of having a spiritual relationship with Jesus.

So, will you be a raisin or a grape?

“Question of the Day”

The question of the day is certainly a Christian one, but I am not sure if I can answer the specific question, but I can offer the perspective of a Christian voter if that helps.  Today we are pressed by the question given to Scott Walker concerning Obama’s religious preference of that as a Christian and former mayor Rudy Giuliani’s comments about the POTUS and his love of America.

Being in the same position as Mr. Walker I find myself in a little bit of a quandary.  Since I do not have first hand access to the President I am not able to give an answer to the question, but I do have a perspective to share concerning Mr. Walker’s answer to the press.

As a Christian of course I would love to know the true answer to the question posed to Mr. Walker, but I think I am more concerned with his response to reporters when asked.  His answer seemed more like an attempt at skirting around what was really being asked.  I think what was really being asked is; “if you don’t know, then why aren’t you asking the same question or at least making an attempt to find out?”

When it regards the leader of a nation I am certainly hoping that this prospect can understand the question posed and that even though it might seem direct, it actually implies something greater than himself and that most people would understand that Mr. Walker may not have the answer, so just say that you don’t know and please don’t try to hide behind political answers when the questions are posed; just be honest.

For the former mayor of New York I would offer that a little more digging might be required to get the real answer to the idea of whether President Obama loves America.  From my perspective (seat) I would first like to focus on how the POTUS views America.  Does he see it the same way I do?  More than likely not, so then we have to look at his own history of being a citizen.  Now this subject in itself is a contentious one, but for this discussion I am avoiding it.

The focus of the view could be broken down into “My Home, My Land, My Country” or “My Stepping Stone”.  I think it would be quite easy to distribute many people into either choice, but now how do we think the POTUS sees it?  My personal opinion is that he sees it as “My Stepping Stone”.  The reason I say this is due to how he makes decisions from how I see them.  Looking into his past is a key here since America served as a stepping stone to get him where he is now and with that he has become very Socialist in his politics and his directions concerning government programs.

No, I do not agree with President Obama on many things and did not vote for him, but I would ask that we be fair in our observations and judgements when it comes to evaluating who he is as a person.  We all love our country for various reasons and because of the rights we are given under the Constitution we can verbalize our ideas of how that is all put together.  As a Christian I will always turn to God for answers, but sometimes the answers are plain and sometimes simple, but the most obvious is love which for some reason can also be the hardest.