Saturday, June 21, 2014

A Wife of Noble Character - Proverbs 31.10-31

Today Debbie and I celebrate our 39th anniversary. As I think of her today, my mind goes to Proverbs 31, which describes a wife of noble character. I love the word noble. It means, “Great; elevated; dignified; being above every thing that can dishonor reputation; exalted; elevated; magnificent; stately; splendid…”

Here are a few thoughts about her from Proverbs:

1.     A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies. I love how this speaks of Debbie’s worth…far more than rubies. Do I treat her as someone with great worth? I want to treat her with love, respect, honor and worth for the rest of our lives.

2.     Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value. I have full confidence in Debbie. She has earned my trust over and over again. She communicates and has an open and teachable heart when we have differences.

3.     She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life. I cannot think of a time when I felt harmed by Debbie. She has brought good to our family all 39 years so far.

4.     She selects wool and flax and works with eager hands. Debbie is one of the most diligent women I know and eagerly works with her hands. She is an amazing artist and loves doing business. It has been awesome to see her flourish.

5.     She gets up while it is still dark; she provides food for her family and portions for her servant girls. She considers a field and buys it; out of her earnings she plants a vineyard. She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks. She sees that her trading is profitable, and her lamp does not go out at night. As an artist, she often gets up early and stays up late when she is working on a painting or project. She cares not only for her family but for many other people. She has more energy than most people I know.

6.     In her hand she holds the distaff and grasps the spindle with her fingers. Debbie holds a paintbrush in her hand and creates the most amazing works of art. I love seeing God’s gift in her speak to the world.

7.     She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy. Debbie has one of the most caring and generous hearts for so many. She cares, not only for our family, but for many poor and needy people. I learn from her heart all the time.

8.     When it snows, she has no fear for her household; for all of them are clothed in scarlet. She makes coverings for her bed; she is clothed in fine linen and purple. Debbie has to wrestle with fear and insecurities about the future, like many other women. Her nature and nurture play into this but she is always calling me to higher ground in terms of wise stewardship and preparation for the future.

9.     Her husband is respected at the city gate, where he takes his seat among the elders of the land. I cannot imagine a man who could feel more respect from a woman and wife. Debbie loves and respects me so much and it blows wind in my sails every day. Because of her love and respect, I feel I can go into every day and do battle at the city gate and in the land.

10.  She makes linen garments and sells them, and supplies the merchants with sashes. Debbie makes paintings and renderings and murals and sells them. Our friend, Fran Lamattina, called Debbie, “a transactional female.” I love that term as it describes her as an excellent businesswoman.

11.   She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come. I love these words and description…strength and dignity…I love Debbie being strong with dignity. She knows how to handle her strength. She uses it with grace, discernment, discretion and proper judgment.

12.  She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue. I refer to Debbie as my, “Lady of Wisdom.” She is one of the wisest women I know. She seeks the Lord, is prayerful and careful as she offers her wisdom and instruction.

13.  She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. Debbie is one of the most diligent people I know. There is no idleness in her. She is constantly watching over all aspects of our home and domain. I feel very safe with her.

14.  Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: Debbie has raised four amazing children and I believe they would bless her in spite of all of our differences. I praise her because she is a woman of God who is seeking to walk in all of His ways.

15.  “Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all.” Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised. Give her the reward she has earned, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate. Debbie is a woman who fears the LORD. I praise her and give her the reward she has earned. She has worked hard for all of her life to be and become a woman and wife of noble character. I love you Debbie. Thanks for being, MY WIFE!!!


Sunday, April 06, 2014

On Turning 60

On 04.04.14, I turned 60. I leave the season and stage of "Domination" and move into the season of "Consolidation." Needless to say, I have many thoughts, feelings, dreams and desires still. As I think about this transition into the "Winter Season" of life, or as some called, "the 4th quarter," I am thankful for many things:

I am grateful for all the way my Savior has led me from the time He saved me on 11.03.1968 to present. He has led us on the mountain tops and through the valleys of life…and all the way He has been with us and comforted us.

He gave me a love for His Word. I have loved reading, writing, studying, applying and teaching His Word for nearly 46 years. Psalm 1 has caused me to delight in and meditate on His Word day and night.

Over the years, I have come to enjoy the "Great Dance" with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Until my last breath, I want to DELIGHT in the the Father and His Word, REMAIN in the Son and bear much fruit, and WALK in the Spirit and not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. The rest is details.

I am grateful for the love and respect of Debbie for close to 40 years. She is indeed the wife of my youth, my friend, my lover, my counselor and so much more. I love that our marriage and relationship has become deeper and richer and sweeter over time.

I am grateful for our 4 children who became 8. They each married amazing mates that we learn from all the time. Yes, we are all growing and fighting for oneness in our relationships, but they are an indescribable joy.

They gave us 11 beautiful grandchildren. I cannot hold them enough and tell them how much Pops loves them and is crazy about them. These words of love and life are so necessary in the minds, hearts and souls of all boys and girls. Never stop speaking words of love and life.

I am grateful for my 84 year old mother who has loved and prayed for me for 60 years of my life. She and her husband, Wayne, pray for us daily these days. What else could a man ask for?

I have been a pastor in three different churches over the last 38 years with a short 7 year run in business. I am getting crystal clear these days that my burden, vision, calling and passion is to love, serve and lead men…"Restoring man to his original design." I want to spend the rest of my life on earth  leading men to become better men.

If there is a big idea that I have observed and learned from my friend, Craig Butler,  it is this…LIFE is all about RELATIONSHIPS. It is about our relationships with our God and Christ, our spouse, our children, parents, brothers, sisters, friends, co-workers, neighbors and so many more. Keep investing in people and relationships. They last and matter.

So…as I "round third base," I give deep thanks to God for His amazing grace in my life and look forward with great anticipation to the future…a future full of life, love, hope, eternity and the glorious presence of our great God and King, Jesus.

Until then, giving thanks with a very grateful heart.


Sunday, March 23, 2014

Are you a "Man of Understanding?"

I never stop thinking about the kind of man I want to be and the men I want to help build. Proverbs gives some great insights about a "man of understanding." This is who I want to be and how I want to behave.

1. Delights in wisdom: Prov. 10:23 A fool finds pleasure in evil conduct, but a man of understanding delights in wisdom. 

2. Holds his tongue: Prov. 11:12 A man who lacks judgment derides his neighbor, but a man of understanding holds his tongue. 

3. Keeps a straight course: Prov. 15:21 Folly delights a man who lacks judgment, but a man of understanding keeps a straight course. 

4. Is even-tempered: Prov. 17:27 A man of knowledge uses words with restraint, and a man of understanding is even-tempered. 

5. Draws out the purposes in others: Prov. 20:5 The purposes of a man’s heart are deep waters, but a man of understanding draws them out. 


6. Maintains order: Prov. 28:2 When a country is rebellious, it has many rulers, but a man of understanding and knowledge maintains order.  

This is the kind of man I want to be. You?

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Danae's Reflections 30 Days Later

On March 10, thirty days after Olivia departed, Danae wrote
"I'm up thinking about what the weight of Olivia, (about 5lbs) felt like when I held her. My arms are painfully empty. I told Dave that for years I would hear stories about mothers giving their newborns up for adoption right after they gave birth. Holding their child and then handing them to their new family and new life. They wanted the very best life for their baby. They couldn't provide the best and so they made the hardest decision of their lives to surrender their child. They would go through the pains of their body wanting to nurse the new baby but their child was with another family. Recovering from child birth too would remind them of their loss every moment. I couldn't wrap my mind around how horrible it must be to do that. I used to grieve for mothers when I heard about them giving up their child like that. I also when reading the story of Moses would have that same grievous feeling in the pit of my stomach for Moses' mother as she had to send her child off, her beautiful baby into the arms of another woman. 

For me I carried my daughter for 8 months.  I couldn't even express the joy of being a mother to my daughter. Dave and I felt like we were equipped to raise her and ready to welcome her into our home. I gave birth and then I too held her, looked into her eyes, loved her more than life and then February 10th 2014, I handed her over to her new family, the father that would now raise her instead of me. Her home is in heaven and I don't get to see her. But I can know though, that she is with the best possible family in the universe. She is loved even more incomprehensibly to me, she is loved even more than Dave and I can love her. So I'm grievously thankful, mournfully excited for her to be raised in heaven."

Learning from my children…again!