Olympic “Lawn Care”

Posted on August 4, 2012. Filed under: Culture, In the News, Relationships, Spiritual Growth | Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

What’s your favorite summer Olympic sport to watch? I’m pretty cliche enjoying gymnastics, swimming, and track. I know everyone says it, but what these people can do with their bodies is incredible. Obviously they’ve been given certain talents, but the dedication that they have to developing their skill is mind blowing. I just want to be able to consistently catch a frisbee.

This got me thinking about my lawn. Stick with me, this is going somewhere. The first thing I notice about a house is the lawn, which can tell you something about the tenant. For example, lawn gnomes usually indicate someone has an unhealthy fascination with Tolkien books. But if it’s freshly cut, edges are trim and clippings have been blown away, someone takes a lot of pride in their work. Like olympic athletes, a person who takes care of their lawn dedicates their time and energy for a higher purpose.

Ok, so not exactly the same thing. But both do require time and dedication to achieve the maximum desired outcome. In fact, almost everything in life is like this. Going to the best college requires dedication throughout high school.  Getting promoted means dedication in the workforce. Having a great marriage means dedication in your relationship.  In effect, you reap what you sow, whether its your garden or throwing a javelin.

The Bible says, “Don’t be misled—you cannot mock the justice of God. You will always harvest what you plant. Those who live only to satisfy their own sinful nature will harvest decay and death from that sinful nature. But those who live to please the Spirit will harvest everlasting life from the Spirit” (Galatians 6:7-8).

Decay and death? Isn’t that a bit too extreme? Not really when you think about it. Why do marriages end in divorce?  Why are so many of us carrying a few too many pounds? Why do we go through highs and lows in our walk with God? Because we allow it to happen.

Whether it’s relationships, our health or our careers, things falter and eventually ‘die’ because without willful thought, we’re always going to turn inward, seeking to gratify ourselves. We naturally neglect what we shouldn’t, letting life simply happen to us and to our relationships. Instead, we need to invest time and resources to that which matters most. Take time to pray. Have an uninterrupted conversation with your friend. Read a book on improving your marriage even if it’s going great. Practice hand-eye coordination with your toddler…

Craig Groeschel wrote, “When the grass is greener on the other side, it’s time to start watering your lawn.”  The next time you’re admiring an athlete’s skills, another couple’s intimacy or maybe just their lawn, ask yourself, “Am I sowing what I expect to reap? Is it time I water my lawn?”

 

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Why I’ll Be Getting A Rock For My Anniversary

Posted on August 1, 2012. Filed under: Culture, Relationships, Spiritual Growth | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , |

This time of year is very special to me or a few reasons. My husband and I were married August 4th, our son was born August 11th (no, not the same year), but more importantly for my readers, I started The Renewed Way on August 1st last year. It’s our one-year anniversary! And you know what that means – its time for a rock. A really, really big one.

Unfortunately for the men, rocks are biblical gifts. Unfortunately for the women, I’m not talking about diamonds. I’m talking about the sedimentary kind (the most emotional of the 3 types of rocks).

After Moses died, Joshua led the Hebrews into the land of Canaan, but before doing so had to cross the Jordan River (a mile wide in flood stage at the time). Miraculously, God dried up the river to let the Hebrews pass on dry land. While God seems to be a fan of water, it appears He’s not so much a fan of getting wet. When everyone had finished crossing, the Lord commanded one man from each of the 12 tribes pick up a stone from the river bed and place it where the Hebrews camped that night. So Joshua told his 12 leaders:

“Each of you must pick up one stone and carry it out on your shoulder—twelve stones in all, one for each of the twelve tribes of Israel. We will use these stones to build a memorial. In the future your children will ask you, ‘What do these stones mean?’ Then you can tell them, ‘They remind us that the Jordan River stopped flowing when the Ark of the Lord’s Covenant went across.’ These stones will stand as a memorial among the people of Israel forever” (Joshua 4:4-7).

God wants us to commemorate the important events in our lives, and it would appear marking these events with inanimate objects as a reminder is biblical (provided you aren’t financing it, of course). We are to share the celebration with others so they too know how awesome the achievement is. But most importantly, we need to remember that the achievement isn’t about you. It’s about your wife. But seriously, it’s about God and what He has done in your life.

Notice Joshua didn’t say, “Yeah these stones are to remind your kids that I was an awesome general” or “These are to reaffirm that I’m still committed to sharing the next X years with you” or “Here’s a nice stone to buy me some wiggle room for a little while.” He gave all attribution, rightly so, to God and the miraculous work that He had done. Anniversaries shouldn’t be about all that we’ve accomplished over a period of time; they should be about all that God has accomplished in our lives.

The Lord has blessed me with 5 years of marriage to an amazing husband and through this relationship He has taught me a bit about patience, faithfulness and of course, love. Through motherhood, He has given me a whole new appreciation for patience, gentleness, and certainly plenty of joy (Galatians 5:22-23).

As for this blog, over the past year God has blessed me more than I ever could have imagined, and it’s my prayer that some of my posts and maybe a few of my bad jokes have blessed you as well.

PS – Mike, you can get me a rock for our anniversary as long as it’s one so big you have to carry it on your shoulders.

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Father’s Day Edition

Posted on June 17, 2012. Filed under: Culture | Tags: , , , , , , , |

As I was shopping for Father’s Day cards I realized America doesn’t have too much respect for dear ol’ Dad. According to Hallmark, the only thing that will pull Dad away from having a beer while he’s watching TV in a cloud of his own flatulence is a rousing game of golf (though, admittedly, I did let my son get a bathroom humored card). If you turn on a “family” TV show, Dad is typically caricatured as chauvinistic absent-minded fool.

Homer Simpson

Homer Simpson (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

While I realize television characters and card illustrations of fathers are made in jest, I do think it’s a pretty accurate depiction of how degraded the man’s role in the American family has become. It seems that that the responsibility for the family is increasingly falling on the shoulders of Mom, rather than Dad. In many families,  Dad may (or may not) bring home the bacon, but Mom does too and also determines how finances are allocated, how children are raised, what church to attend and the rules that govern the household while Dad enforces whatever Mom decides is law. And when 50% of marriages end in divorce and 40% of children are born out of wedlock, many times Dad simply isn’t around at all.

Even though it’s ‘normal,’ having a physically or emotionally absent Dad has it’s downsides. Boys without fathers are twice as likely to drop out of school, twice as likely to go to jail, and four times as likely to be treated for emotional/behavioral problems as boys with a father. Girls are more likely to become sexually active earlier in life, have lower academic performance, and are more likely to use drugs and alcohol without an engaged father.

Despite what the world says, God has high expectations for fathers. Of course women have roles to fulfill (certainly the never-ending pile of laundry), but responsibility for the family ultimately rests on men of God (1 Cor 11:3, Eph 5:23). Most husbands love the idea that their wives and children should submit to their authority, however they don’t care for the responsibility of command. Men cannot take a passive role in their children’s lives; leaving them to learn the ways of the world from music, movies, and public schools. Instead they must remain engaged, providing for their families as Paul said, “But those who won’t care for their relatives, especially those in their own household, have denied the true faith. Such people are worse than unbelievers” (1 Tim 5:8). ‘Providing for’ does not only entail physical needs. God calls men to be leaders for their families, “ Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger by the way you treat them. Rather, bring them up with the discipline and instruction that comes from the Lord” (Eph 6:4). God revealed His instructions for life to us in the Bible. God’s instructions cover how to relate to one another in marriage, friendship, and other relationships, how to handle our finances, how to view politics and our work. He even covers vomit-eating dogs (Prov 26:11). God calls Christian men to be active, constantly teaching their families about Him and demonstrating His love through their actions (Deut 6:4-9). They are to live a life worthy of their families’ respect.

This Father’s Day take time to reflect on the awesome responsibly God has entrusted on Christian fathers. Don’t just give him a card or a tie, offer him love, respect, encouragement, a prayer and if he’s been especially good, the remote.

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