Lip Guards

In some professional sports like football and hockey, each player has to wear a mouth guard to protect their teeth in case they get hit by another player or puck.  Athletes probably value their teeth, and like myself, hate going to the dentist. If something is important to you, you protect it.
For some reason, this year I’ve been paying closer attention to the news, sports, etc., and have noticed that many people like to speak their minds without giving much thought as to how their words will affect others.  This, of course, doesn’t just happen with Twitter or Facebook, etc, but in marriages, too.  To speak one’s mind quickly and tell people how you feel just feels good to do. Maybe it feels powerful.  Maybe it just feels right.  But often times, it is not good.  How many times have you heard of people having to apologize for things they said “off the cuff”? How many times have you had to apologize for doing the same thing?
Proverbs 13:3 says, “He who guards his lips guards his life, but he who speaks rashly will come to ruin.”  I’m convinced that some people need lip guards all the time and all people need lip guards some of the time.  Although there hasn’t been such an invention yet (perhaps I will invent one and go on the TV show, Shark Tank!), we will have to guard our lips the old fashion way…through self-control and humility.  Self-control because…well…that’s obvious.  Stopping and thinking first is highly under-rated.  We also need humility because when we vent quickly, we often place ourselves, our needs, our desires, etc. above everyone else.  We don’t care how or what others think, including God.  We see our opinions as worthy of being considered and listened to when perhaps what we need to do is consider where our words may take us first.  According to Proverbs, our words may lead us to “ruin“…ruined reputations and ruined relationships.

Don’t let your reputation or relationships end up in ruins.  In humility, consider others’ thoughts and feelings first and whether what might be said would either build up or tear down.  Until the official physical lip guard is invented, this will have to do!

Moving Heaven

Have you ever watched a movie (or Hallmark commercial) that simply moved you?  There is something about the theme, or words spoken or action shared, that literally moved your emotion from one state to another.  Ever since my body chemistry changed from having children :), I’ve found myself emotionally moved by actions of love towards others, or forgiveness granted, of the loss of a loved one, and from a father expressing pride in his son.   These things often provoke unmanly watering from my eyes and I find myself in need of being rescued from Saint Kleenex, who is there for me when my nose runneth over.

I can’t help but recognize that in the same way, God our Heavenly Father is moved by what He sees in our lives, too.  When we show love to others, we move Him.  When we humble ourselves to seek forgiveness (Lk 15:7), we move Him.  When we lose loved ones, He is deeply moved by our grief (Jn 11:35).  When we reflect His Son, the Father is moved and His pride comes out as He utters the words, “Well done, good & faithful servant” (Lk 19:17).  He is moved by us and by our actions.  He is moved by our circumstances.  This is worth contemplating as we often focus on our own selves and lives and don’t often see how our actions move heaven.

In Luke 15:7, Jesus says “I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.”    Want to move heaven?  If you’re involved in sin… repent.  Share with others the Good news of salvation through Christ alone.  Let’s move heaven today!

The Heating and Cooling of a Godly Marriage

Have you ever walked into a room where a few people are present and the room just feels…chilly?  You feel awkward because you know you are walking into a situation where both parties are, how shall I say, cold towards one another?   But a separate time you walk into another’s house and you know that this home is warm and welcoming.  Why is the feel so different in these places?  What is it that creates this atmosphere of warmth versus a cold chill that makes you feel, well, uncomfortable? As we continue in the marriage blog series about Building a Godly Marriage, we see the Godly marriage being built just a little at a time.  The foundation has been laid, the plumbing and electrical have been installed, and now it is time for the heating and cooling.  The house is not a home until you bring in it that which makes it comfortable…a place where you would like to stay.  If it’s too hot or too cold, you’ll want to leave the home and go somewhere else where you can be more comfortable.  I’m not saying that the goal of marriage is to be comfortable, but you will certainly want to be comfortable in your relationship towards one another and find comfort in one another. Finding comfort in one another requires humility, genuineness, openness, concern, understanding, love, respect, thoughtfulness, grace, trust, patience, kindness, loyalty, among many other things.  To write about each one would take many pages, but for the sake of space and focus, only one need be discussed at present:  the attitude of humility. I recall my father-in-law explaining once that humility is “not thinking less of yourself, but thinking of yourself less often.”  Since the greatest threat to marriage is self-centeredness and leads to broken marriage, then humility must lead the way to oneness in marriage (as it is thinking of yourself less often).  In marriage, I choose whether pride or humility will guide my actions.  In communication, humility requests that I listen and understand first, while pride demands my being understood a priority.  In service, humility requests that I serve my wife and children, while pride demands that I be served and that they (wife & kids) serve me.  In getting needs met, humility requests that I consider the needs of others as well as my own, but pride demands that I get my needs met alone.  In how I spend my time, humility requests that I think of God and family first, butu pride demands that I do what I want, when I want. There is a distinct difference in where humilty and pride lead.  Pride leads to a chilly atmosphere and then destruction.  Humility leads to warmth and the desire to remain or return.  Think about the situations you may have entered and the atmosphere surrounding them.   What are the characteristics of the people creating the atmosphere (at least at that present time)?  What type of atmosphere are you creating in your marriage? The next few blogs will be a continuation of The Heating & Cooling of a Godly Marriage as we look at love & respect in a godly marriage (Eph 5). This portion was taken from the Marriage Seminar: Building a Godly Marriage.  For more information about this seminar from Foundations Christian Counseling Services, please call Fred Jacoby at 570-402-5088.

Prayer of Humility

Lord, give me strength to kneel; to turn away my pride

To help me be a man humble in Your eyes

To battle sins’ desires and surrender to Your will

and walk in faith unbending and peace, my soul, be still

 

Lord, help me not to rob You of the glory due Your name

By taking credit for things done and accepting all the fame

It’s not how great I am but how wonderful You are

For Your ever faithful mercy and Your love reaching so far

 

Lord, who am I compared to You; You are more than words can say

I am but a mere breath here and gone the next day

Though my heart and mind they wander for things of this world

I know my Spirit is only filled through Jesus and His Word.

 

So when I live each new day and do as I desire

May I consider Your ways first lest I grow weak and tire

Forgive me Lord for thinking that I am crowned a king

when I am but a servant to You, my God my King