I thought about you today.
I may not know your name, but I thought about you.
- You are a single parent trying to get yourself and children out the door for work and school. Just like yesterday, you know you forgot something.
- You see all these back to school posts, and wish deeply that you had a child you could post pictures of. You would be a great mom.
- You have a child, but they are sick, not just stomach virus or cold sick, I mean sick. They have been in and out of hospitals more than anyone should have to bear.
- You are going to a job you tolerate, that just pays enough for you to almost make ends meet.
- You are having to decide which bills you will skip this month, just so your family can eat.
- You are fighting cancer. You do not know how long this battle will be. But you are fighting.
- You are watching your spouse fight cancer, or your parent.
- You are (or your spouse is) getting forgetful. This scares you. Dementia and Alzheimer Disease seem to run in your family.
- You are fighting again. Over little things, but there is something major under the surface. You promised until death, but is this what you signed up for?
- They left you for someone else. You are questioning your worth. What did you do wrong? Could you have saved the marriage if you just . . .?
- You lost your job. “Downsizing,” they said. “Early retirement option” or “Voluntary Reduction of Force” they called it. It doesn’t feel voluntary, you are still young and want to work.
- You were turned down again – for the loan, for a job, for a degree program – rejection is hard to bear.
- You lost your home, more than a house, there were memories there. You can see what joy in the den 30 years ago when your daughter and her friends had that slumber party. But now the fire, the storm, or the flood took it away. What are you going to do?
- You wonder if anyone cares.
I care. I thought about you. I don’t know your name. Maybe I do know you, maybe I see you daily or weekly. Maybe I do not know all of your struggles. But I have prayed for you and I know that the Father and Creator knows your name.
I don’t know you, but He does!
I heard this a while back and while the scenario is false – there is no second chance after death – there is some truth in the story about what makes heaven possible for everyone of us.
A man awoke one morning after having a dream that disturbed him. When his wife asked what he dreamed, he related it: “I dreamed that I died but could not pass through the Pearly Gates because Peter said I had to have 1,000 points to my credit. He asked me to relate my record of religious activity on earth. I said, ‘I attended church services every Sunday.’ He said, ‘Good, that’s worth 50 points.’ Then I added, ‘I visited the sick some.’ He said, ‘Good, that’s 50 points. What else did you do?’ I said, ‘I gave to good causes.’ He replied, ‘That’s another 50 points.’ I said, ‘My points are not adding up very fast. The way you are counting them, if I get to heaven at all, it’ll be totally by the grace of God.’ Peter replied, ‘That’s great. Learning that is worth 1,000 points by itself!’
Consider one of my “go to” passages about grace that never uses the word,
“For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person — though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die — but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Rom 5:6-8).
This morning I just thought I would share some blessings we have a children of God.
Blessed are Those who Read, Hear, and Keep God’s Word
- Rev 1:3; 22:7 (specific to the book of Revelation)
- Are you reading, hearing, and keeping God’s word?
Blessed are Those Who Are God’s Children
- Rev 20:6 – Share in first resurrection
- Rev 22:14 – Wash their robes
- Are you washed in the blood of Christ?
Blessed are Those Who Remain Faithful
- Rev 19:9 – Invited to the marriage of the Lamb
- Matt 22:1-13, Will you be found ready?
Blessed are Those Who Stay Awake
- Rev 16:15 Vigilance, watching, waiting.
- Do you longingly anticipate the coming of our Lord?
Blessed are Those Who Die
- Rev 14:13 – in the Lord
- How will those you leave behind remember you?
- How will others remember you?
- What legacy for the Lord will you leave?
Today Amy and I complete the first 27 years of our marriage and begin the next 27. A number of years ago a friend from my teen years called to tell me that he and his wife (another friend) left him after 23 years of marriage. Just before we ended our phone conversation, he lamented, “Scott, this is one of the hardest things I have ever been through. I hope you never have to go through this.”
I don’t know all that happened to bring about an end to their relationship. I know that like in most cases there were mistakes made by both husband and wife. I do know he still loved her and to him this came out of the blue. With help early on, maybe they could have worked things out.
Back to mine and Amy’s anniversary and our marriage.
Amy and I come from a long line of love, both sets of our parents have been married over 50 years. We both committed to “death to us part.” Someone gave us this piece of advice when we were getting married: Weddings are easy, marriage is hard. For that reason we have a Divorce Avoidance Plan in place. A plan that I now share with you.
Divorce Avoidance Plan:
- Make sure your spouse knows you love them. Tell them and show them daily.
- Date, date, and date some more. Dating does not have to be expensive. A date can be as simple as a walk around the block. Continually do things together.
- Hold hands often. Get caught holding hands in public. Read about that here.
- Continue to pursue (court) each other. Attempt to keep the romance alive.
- Talk about your day. Listen to what your spouse says and be empathetic to their stresses.
- Be in the same room as often as possible. Make an effort to be near each other.
- Guys – open the car (truck) door for her. This can be difficult when the children are small, but now that Andrew is in college and we are in the early empty nest stage of life, I need to get back to this habit.
- Send “flexts” – flirtatious texts – to each other when work or schedules separate you during the day. Excuse me while I grab my phone . . . Okay, I am back.
- Worship together. Sit together in worship assemblies and hold hands during prayer.
- Pray for each other – daily.
What would you add to this list? What things do you do?
Marital lies. Not the lies one might tell their husband or wife like, “I did not forget that tomorrow was our anniversary.” These marital lies are the ones we tell ourselves.
These self-lies are often the root of the arguments and irritants in our marriages.
- My wife (husband) should make me happy.
- My husband (wife) has to meet all of my needs.
- My spouse, because they love me, knows my needs without my having to tell her/him.
- I know how things should be done and my wife (husband) should be willing to do things my way.
- No matter what I say or do, my husband (wife) should not respond in an irritable or angry tone to me.
- My spouse should ask me about my day first.
I am sure that as you read the above statements you realized at least two things. 1) You tell one or more of these statements to yourself (or have in the past). And 2) You can see how unfair they are to your spouse.
Take a moment to look over these statements. If you see that you are telling yourself these lies, then learn to see them for what they are and try to think differently. Tell yourself that they are not true and try rewording them as truths. Take number 3 for an example. Tell yourself, “My spouse will only know what I need and be able to help fulfill that need when I communicate that need.”
Have a great marriage!
There are many things I do not know. There are many topics I lack enough knowledge about to comfortably join in when those topics are in conversation. Regretfully, I sometimes speak and show my ignorance. But there are some things I know and some things I think we can all know. What do I know?
- As children of God we know that there is a permanent dwelling for us in heaven. 2Cor 5:1 For we know that if the tent that is our earthly home is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.
- As God’s sons and daughters, we know that God is able to bless us through the storms of life. Rom 8:28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.
- We know that we are no longer our own, but now belong to the One who died for us, so now e live for Him. Rom 6:6 We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin.
- Although we do not know what exactly we will be like in heave, we do know that we will be like Him and with Him eternally. 1Jn 3:2 Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is.
These are only four of many things God says we will and can know. Take time today to look up “we know” in your Bible. What a blessing God gives in providing us confidence by knowing Him whom we believe, and knowing that He is able to keep His promise to us.
Today is Monday.
Yesterday was the day when Your people at Central (as well as many across the globe) gathered to worship You. We sang songs of praise, we sang songs of devotion. We lifted prayers to you to bless our worship, our spiritual family, our nation, and to be with our sick. We studied lessons from Your Word on remembering we are Yours and not our own. We gathered for a memorial and reflected on the sacrifice of the Christ for our sin. That was Sunday.
Today is Monday.
Today we are back at work, back at school or getting ready to return. Today we deal with the world and temptation. Please help us to stay strong.
Today is Monday.
Keep us safe. Give us courage. Let us remember Your Grace and let us remember to show grace to others.
Be with us, Lord. Today is Monday.
In Jesus name.
I pray your week is filled with love, compassion, and grace. Have a great day.