When the sun goes down…

“Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold” – Ephesians 4:26-27

I would like to highlight the most important word in this verse…


I’d read this verse many times.  I believe I even started an argument one time with my wife about how we shouldn’t go to bed angry…that we needed to resolve the issues immediately.  Talk about giving the devil a foothold!

It was a good friend of mine – Michael Driggers that pointed out the purpose of this verse to me.  God is saying to me….to not let the sun go down while I am still angry.  It is my heart.  It is my thoughts.  It is me being challenged.

We have all heard the phrase – let’s sleep on it or maybe we’ll see it differently in the morning light.  It is a sound way to approach things.  Maybe the perspective will change with a little time and rest.  Or maybe – allowing yourself to stop, pray and release the situation to God is the best approach.  Pray humbly.  Pray with best intentions.  Do not allow the devil to have a foothold in your heart.

And do not start an argument with your spouse before bed over not going to bed angry at each other!

Be Strong.  Act Like Men.

Words Matter

“Do not let any unwholesome talk come from your mouths, but only what is helpful for building up others according to their needs, that it may benefit those that listen” – Ephesians 4:29

It is one of my favorite verses.  It is great advice.  And yet – it is a challenge for me at times.

Not in the good times.  Not in the easy times.  Not on my wedding day.  I included this in my written vows to my wife:

“I promise to always speak to your potential, to lift you up…..”

It is the difficult times that I find that challenge my talk.  It is when maybe I am frustrated or not getting my way.  It is when I feel like I have been harmed by words or when I feel the need to defend myself.

We know that it is not right.  We know that it is not loving or respectful.  I wish I could share a foolproof solution for making sure that you speak kind, loving words that build your spouse up.  I don’t.  I simply challenge you to memorize this verse with me.  Let’s place it in our hearts, and maybe our hearts will override our mouths in those difficult moments.

Imagine the change that we can make in our marriages if we can simply control the unwholesome talk coming from our mouths!

Be Strong.  Act Like Men

Praying with our wives

“Whatever you don’t pray about in your life you leave up to chance. And that’s not good enough when it comes to your marriage and family. So there is virtually nothing that you shouldn’t consider praying for and praying about. “

Do you pray with your wife?

It is important as husbands to pray with our wives. It helps solidify the love we have for them. It builds intimacy in the marriage. Skeptical? Let’s check the statistics:

1) About one-third of all marriages between active Christian couples who attend a church at least once a week end in divorce.

2) The divorce rate of active Christian couples who regularly pray together is less than 1 percent.

We don’t have to be Bible scholars. We don’t have to be eloquent. We just need to be sincere and intentional.

Here are a couple ideas of things to pray for with your wife:

Thanks, Praise, and Blessings – Thank God for his unconditional love for the two of you. Thank him for blessing you with your marriage, and your family.

Pray for Today – Ask God to be with you today and ask for His guidance, strength, and protection each day.

Pray for Forgiveness – It is important to ask for forgiveness of each other’s sins. You need to feel open and honest as you bring your concerns to the Lord. Ask that any conflict between you and your husband is reconciled.

Pray for Your Marriage – Ask God for peace and harmony in your marriage. Ask for oneness that becomes stronger each day. Pray that each of you will make your marriage a priority and stay free from conflict and strife.

Pray for your Wife – Pray that you will love your wife, cherish her, and take care of her needs above your own. Ask that God fulfils the desires in her heart and guides as she pursues her interests. Pray for your wife’s emotions and ask for God to protect your wife from thoughts that make her feel depressed, sad, angry, resentful, anxious, or that would fill her with self-doubt. Ask God to help her grow as a wife and mother in a way that brings her more joy and fulfillment.

Pray for Your Children – Ask God to watch over your children and keep your relationship with them strong and loving. Ask God to keep them out of harm’s way and bring Godly people into their lives. Ask that God help you be an example of wisdom, patience, and love to them. Ask God to help you make your family your top priority.

Be Strong. Pray Like A Man.

Let God be God

I enjoy backpacking. I’ve got a few hundred miles under my boots; however that does not qualify me as an expert backpacker. But I know what to do when a storm approaches. I seek shelter in a place that is unaffected by the storm.

In seeking God, you do the same. You focus on “a cut above” any storm life may bring. Like Job, you find peace in the pain. Like Job, you cover your mouth and be still. Psalm 46:10 says, “Be still, and know that I am God.” A command with a promise. Be still. Cover your mouth. Bend your knees. And, as a result, you will know that I am God.

Be still. Be quiet. Be open and willing. Be Strong. Act like Men. And let God be God.

Great Quote –

“The real act of marriage takes place in the heart, not in the ballroom or church or synagogue. It’s a choice you make – not just on your wedding day, but over and over again – and that choice is reflected in the way you treat your husband or wife.”

– Barbara De Angelis

Gardening Advice

It’s spring time. It’s time to start planning the garden. Planting beds need to be prepared. Seed needs to be purchased. It takes purpose and preparation to grow a successful garden.

I love growing a garden. I always enjoy taking a simple seed, planting it and nurturing it. It is amazing to have a single seed produce so many vegetables. Your wife’s heart is like soil in a garden. Nurture it every day with loving words and actions, or it will not produce very much in return.

PS – if you want to reap tomatoes, then you don’t plant corn.

Be Strong. Act Like Men.

Unpopular Opinions

Mike and Mike on ESPN where having people call in with unpopular opinions this week. It covered all sorts of things….sport, politics, etc. I thought it would be fun to offer an unpopular opinion about marriage.

Unpopular opinion #1: Our wives should be submitting themselves to their husbands.

It says so: “Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord.” (Ephesians 5:22)

How’s that working in your marriage? Let’s break it down…..

Does it bother your wife that God is the head of Christ? Probably not

Does it bother her that Christ is the head of man? No, in fact, she probably loves it and prays it will be more realized every day.

Does it bother your wife that the man is the head of a woman? Most likely. Of course it bothers her. But why? I imagine it is partially the culture that says a woman is not to be controlled by any man – girl power! I imagine that it is partly her sinful nature. Pray about those, but let’s focus on ourselves and the importance of our submission and attitude of servant leadership that will ultimately lead to our wives submission.

God has given us authority over our wives; however how many times do we take that responsibility and misuse it? We find it easy to point out that “the man is the head of the woman” while ignoring the first part of that verse. “Christ is the head of every man.”

Unpopular opinion #2: If you are not submitting yourselves to God; then you are acting worse than a wife that is not submitting herself to you.

Headship in your marriage is about order not who is better or more important. The husband is the head of the wife in his family and he has the responsibility of guiding his family to a closer relationship with the Lord. Headship is not about having the upper hand nor does it mean that your wife has no rights or say in the marriage. Take a few minutes in Ephesians 5…and God will make it abundantly clear about His commands to the husband.

Submit yourself in your relationship with God with all your heart. Through your leadership – she will see that you are allowing yourself to be lead by God. It will be easier for her to follow your lead.

Be Strong. Submit Like Men.

Marriage & Sacrifices

Hi Everyone.  It has been two months.  It was not a planned break.  Life….work, family, work, marriage, work.  I think you see the issue…work!  It is easy to get away from the things that are important.  It becomes too easy to make sacrifices in the wrong areas.

Marriage requires sacrifice…

When you were single – did you think marriage would be like having a roommate?  I mean after all how different could it be.  After you get married you begin to realize what “one flesh” means.

In marriage, every decision the wife makes affects her husband and vice versa. Decisions are no longer made for yourself but for the whole family, including the children. Your life is no longer your own, and sometimes what we want for ourselves isn’t the best for the family. Sacrifices must be made. Ephesians teaches both husband and wife are held responsible to give of themselves.

To the wife, Paul says:

Wives, submit to you own husbands, as to the Lord.  For the husband is head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church.  Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands. (Ephesians 4:22-24)

It isn’t easy to defer to your husband when you don’t agree with him. So marry someone you can trust with your life. Picture the guy you’re dating right now—can you trust him so much that you could submit to him in everything? It’s kind of scary, isn’t it?

This matter of sacrifice also applies to the husband. To him, Paul says:

Husband, love you wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her (Ephesians 4:25)

Paul is explaining that Christ loved the church so much He sacrificed Himself by dying on a cross, giving up His innocent life so the church could benefit. This is how great the love should be from a husband to his wife.

Are you willing and able to make the sacrifices needed to make your marriage the marriage that God intends it to be?

Be Strong.  Act Like Men.

Love To Die For

I wanted to share a great devotional I recently read.  A Love to Die For by Robert Nolan

Dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all He has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice — the kind He will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship Him. Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. — Romans 12:1-2 NLT

Day to day in marriage, there are the simple requests, such as, “Can you pause your TV show for a few minutes and help me with something?” Then there are the hassled but harmless asks, like, “I know you’re really busy, but could you possibly leave early today to pick up the kids?” And finally, there are the potential game changers: “Some things are really bothering me about our relationship, and I think we need to talk tonight.”

Marriage constantly requires and challenges us to place our spouses before our own needs. But this is exactly God’s plan to change us into His image — His personal holiness prioritized over our passing happiness. After all, what could be better for a self-centered sinner than to continually place someone else first in the name of love?

Today’s scripture talks about “a living and holy sacrifice.” A “living sacrifice” is an oxymoron, meaning two words that seem mismatched together. If a sacrifice is laid on the altar to die in the place of someone else, then how can it possibly continue to live?

Paul was talking about a state in which we live on the altar of Christ, giving up our “rights” to Him and serving His purposes instead of our own.

As humans, constantly sacrificing for someone else will eventually burn us out and we will fail, always in time defaulting back to our own desires. But as Christ-followers, submitting our will to God keeps us motivated and moving toward the service of others for His sake. That is a totally different perspective and one that is necessary for a growing and healthy marriage.

Think for a moment about the strongest marriages you know in your circles. Consider the marriages that you would most want to imitate. There is a strong chance that those couples also commit to being living sacrifices to the Lord, as well as continually dying to self with one another.

A great evaluation would be to filter your relationship through today’s scripture to ask: Are there any areas of our marriage in which we “copy the behavior and customs of this world”? And then the follow-up question: What area of our marriage has been the most transformed by the Lord?

Creating Connection

Today, simply affirm one another. Speak not only compliments but also encouragement regarding any recent places of growth and change that you have not recognized before. Learn how to speak blessings to one another, as we often read of people doing in the Bible. This gesture will always be humbling, will push back pride, and will create a “die to self” moment, when all focus is placed positively on the other person.

How did your affirmation and encouragement affect each other?

Was there anything shared that seemed to have a strong impact?

How might continuing to voice positives encourage a “living sacrifice” marriage?

If you think a compliment of your mate, speak the compliment to your mate.

Have you ever noticed….

What you focus on in your life eventually materializes and becomes your reality?
If you focus on negative things or things you don’t want, then you tend to notice and attract much of those things in your life. If you focus on positive things or things you want, you tend to notice and attract much of the same in your life.

But… you may be wondering why I am telling you all of this? How does this apply to my marriage?

In order to have the marriage you want, you need to focus on the kind of marriage you want vs. focusing on the kind of marriage you don’t want. It’s as simple as that. By focusing on what you want – the positives in your marriage – you start to notice more positive things in your marriage and also, end up creating a more positive marriage.
If you focus on a quality you don’t like about your wife, then I bet you could think of even more qualities you don’t like about her. As a result, you may see her and treat her based on your already negative perception of her.

If on the other hand, you focused on qualities that you admire and like about your wife, then you could think of even more qualities you like and admire about her. As a result, you will see her and treat her based on positive realities of her. This change leads to you treating her in a positive way which could lead to her making changes in the way she sees and treats you.

A good quote to remember and apply:

“The person who works well four days out of five ought to be praised four times as often as he’s dumped on. But guess what. That’s exactly the opposite of what happens. The 80% of the time that he works well will simply go without comment because that’s what he’s supposed to be doing.” – Fran Tarkenton

Be Strong. Act Like Men