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February 15, 2018, 9:45 AM

Catch the Foxes (Relationship Destroyers)



Little things really do matter.   Take for example a roadway that under the stress of daily use forms small little cracks.  Then over the years water runs through it, sometimes that water freezes, causing more stress.  Then it thaws and the cycle repeats itself and eventually a pothole is created. Potholes then over time can cause problems for vehicles and pedestrians. Sometimes the problems are immediate but most of them are so subtle that we don’t think anything of them.  The problem with the small cracks is we pay little attention to them, putting them off, “I’ll get to that…” We never do and before we know it the small has grown and subtle damage is now not so subtle.  We throw our hands up in frustration and even in despair.  How could it get so bad so quickly?  It didn’t.   The same can be said about our relationships especially in our marriages.

Hear the words of the Shulamite woman found in the Song of Solomon 2:15 “Catch the foxes for us, the little foxes that spoil the vineyards, for our vineyards are in blossom.”  (ESV)

She is telling the love of her life deal with those little yet pesky foxes, so that our love that is blossoming won’t be spoiled.  

My wife and I have been married 18 years going on 19 this coming May.  If there is one thing I have learned it’s this.  The enemy doesn’t always use brute force when it comes his attacks. His attacks are often subtle if not mundane. He uses little things in his effort to destroy our lives our relationships, our marriages.  

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” John 10:10 (ESV)

What are the little foxes in your relationship that could spoil the love you share with your spouse? 

  1. Lack of gratitude- We have a tendency to take each other for granted over time, don’t! 
  2. Unrealistic expectations- this is when we desire to be served more than we serve.
  3. Idols (kids, money, social media, etc.…) Anything that you place your value and trust in other than God is an idol. 
  4. Pornography (Visual and Emotional Porn) (Matthew 5:27-30)
  5. Assume the worst
  6. Unresolved conflict (Ephesians 4:26-27)
  7. Toxic Tongue- think before you speak
  8. All work and no play (Ecclesiastes 9:7-10)
  9. FamLIARity.  Did you ever notice the other word that lies within “familiarity”?  You truly never know someone completely but you can always get to know them better and over time. People change, you change. People “familiar” with me 23 years ago wouldn’t know me today. You’ve heard it said, “familiarity breeds contempt” Stability is as must in our marriages but leave room for adventure and spontaneity. 

So, what’s one to do?  Catch the foxes!  Be diligent in your pursuit of those things that can slowly poison your relationship(s) ultimately bring death to them. 

“Be sober-minded; be watchful.  Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion seeking someone to devour.” 1 Peter 5:8 (ESV)

  1. Guard your hearts and minds in Christ.  Be in the Word!  Remember who your first love should be? (JESUS)
  2. Learn to love and serve as Jesus did.
  3. Deal with the foxes swiftly.

Today you have the opportunity not to just show your love and appreciation but to start doing it every day while keeping your eyes and guard up. Catching the foxes that could if left unattended ruin the vineyard of your relationships. 

 

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January 11, 2018, 3:40 PM

Treacherous



You have probably heard it said no matter where you live, if you want the weather to change, give it a few minutes.  It's amazing how much the weather can affect our lives.  

Yesterday was 58 degrees and windy, but isn't always in Kansas.  Today I am sitting at home with my family due to a little ice on the roads.  It's so cold, our dog Skywalker, doesn't even want to go outside.

We have plans for ping-pong a movie or two on Netflix, and a board game. We have plenty to keep us busy and the fridge is full.  

But as I sit here, I am struck by what a little ice can do to our "freedom" and it reminded me of what a little sin can do in our lives too.  

Sin traps us and keeps us isolated: Isolated from God, and isolated from each other.  Sin limits the depths of our relationships.  Sin, like the ice, is treacherous and even deadly.  

Sin takes away our freedom. It holds us in bondage, through guilt and shame. Sin is a thief.  

But we don't have to let it be. We don't have to be trapped by sin any longer.  Christ made sure of that on the cross.  Sin doesn't have to keep us from anything or from anyone.  

Christ came to set us free.  Christ came to give.  Christ came so we could truly live.  

Don't let sin rob you of your freedom just like we aren't going to let a little ice ruin the day. Instead may you find freedom in Christ, just as we have found joy and warmth through family and the security of our home.  

 

James



Comments

01-11-2018 at 4:59 PM
Terry Weldin
Amen!
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September 2, 2017, 12:00 AM

Live Life Today?



"yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring.  What is your life?  For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes."  James 4:13

I have discovered over the years that there isn't a one of us that doesn't like some kind of plan.  We want to be in the "know".  We want to have a say in what happens in and around our lives.  

Many of us have planned not only for today, but tomorrow, and the days and years to come.  The thing is what are we planning for?  We plan and organize our days around what we deem important and necessary.  We plan for our future, job change, marriage, college, retirment etc.  

There is an old saying you may or may not be familar with.  "The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry." 

Unfortunately, you and I know this to be so true...our plans are often disrupted and not always for the better either.  

Who plans for things like cancer, death at an young age, hurricanes, floods, job loss, spouse walking out, car accident that leaves on paraylyzed.  We all know that everyday brings some new challenges but most of us never imagine the worse and that is a good thing.  If we were to constantly be thinking about the worst that could happen, most would never do anything out of fear.  Scripture makes it clear that the only good fear is that of the Lord.  As followers of Christ fear shouldn't have a place in our lives.  Yet somwhere there has to be a balance.  

We shouldn't be afraid of what could happen, since we don't know,  and we shouldn't plan without seeking  His will either.  So what are we to do?   

How about we invite God into our plans and seek His desire for us.  How about we plan around what matters most in this world?  We plan around our relationships.  We plan daily to walk in relationship with Christ and with others.  Life is short.  In all my years of ministry the biggest regrest of those who were about to pass on, were not about what they wished they had bought but whom they wished they could have spent a little more time with.  

Today my family and I are headed to Lawrence KS, to watch the Jayhawks play a little football, as much fun as the game and all the festivities will be, what matters most is not the end result of the game or the food we may eat, but the experience that we are going to share together.  

Plan your day around your relationships, first with the Creator and our Savior and then with those God has blessed you with your family and your friends!  You and I are not guranteed tomorrow, so live life today! 

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August 21, 2017, 6:21 AM

Holy Spirit Sighting



As I sit outside I am reminded of God's creative genius and his tremendous love for each and all of us.  Our Heanvenly Father has given us so much.  He's give us Christ then Christ on the Cross, the hope of the resurrection and for those of us who have put our lives in His hands, the gift of the Holy Spirit.  

The Holy Spirit is a gift that helps us all to navigate this life as we move closer each day to the life to come.  The Holy Spirit has many roles from teaching us the ways of God through His Word or just simply reminding us what Jesus has taught.  The Holy Spirit is there to help us move around and stay away from the many pitfalls of this life that lead us to sin.  He helps us recognize what truly is sin and what isn't.  He can keep us from danger!  Yet we have to be listning...and when we are listening we must be ready to move, when the Spirit tells us, to go where He leads.  

In so many ways we have out of fear or simply out of spiritual ignorance have diminished the role the Holy Spirit plays in the life of the Christian.  We think silently how can we even now that He really exists.  It's easier for us to believe in the Christ and his life, death and resurrection than in the Holy Spirit.  Why?  Because we have historical evidence from eye witnesses to documents that over and over again have been proven to be historical accurate and full of truth. 

I would like to offer to you today that you too can know that the Holy Spirit is alive and well and that He truly does exists.  How?  Glad you asked!  

Can you see the wind?  If you answered yes, I hate to break it to you, but you are wrong.  What. you see is evidence of the wind...when the tree moves it reveals the unseen.  The same could be said of you and me when it comes to the Holy Spirit.  We can even see it in the lives of the disciples and all that they did after Christ ascension.  The Holy Spirit is seen when you and I allow Him to "move" in our lives, when we surrender.  

Evidence for the Holy Spirit is either seen or not in how we live our lives.  It's in how we love!  It's in the peace that is seen in our lives during difficult times.  It's evident in one's joy for life. The Holy Spirit is evident in our kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and in our self-control.  

"I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing."  John 15:5 (ESV)

"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law." Galatians 5:22

In other words our lives are the branches that reveal the Spirit of God through the fruit that we bear in this world!  Is the fruit in you life sweet and does it give a taste of God that leaves people wanting more...or is your fruit, bitter leading people to toss God aside? 



Comments

08-21-2017 at 7:19 PM
Joann Milan
Awesome brother, preach it!!!
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August 11, 2017, 3:18 PM

Despicable Me?



There are days, and then there are days....you know exactly what I mean.  There are days I seem to have it together.  I am focused, dialed in to Christ and the rest of my world just seems to hum along like a high end sports car flying down the highway.  Those days are marvelous and filled with excitment and contentment.  I'm a better person, husband, father, friend and minister... I love those days!  

 

Then there are those "other days" where I'm not dialed in to Christ.  I'm distracted by the winds of selfishness and earthly desires.  I'm anxious over the storm clouds that seem to be moving faster over the horizon...On those day's I'm not like high end sports car, humming down the highway, no I'm more like a boat on the sea being tossed to and fro, praying it holds together.  

 

On those days the waves of guilt from sins I've committed to those committed against me batter me, the winds of failure, they taunt me.  My sins, my failures they whisper....you can't, you won't, how could Jesus use me, how could God love me?  On these days I complain and whine, I yell and am mean...I'm despicable...me. I can't stand myself!  What kind of husband, father, friend and minister does these things?  I'm in over my head, I'm drowning.  

On those days, my gaze has turned to my past and I miss the present and I forgot about the future. The thing is my past doesn't define me, not what I've done or what others have done to me, my failure's they don't deifne me any more than my success or the things of this life do....only one can define me. Christ, he alone  defines me, he alone sets me free from the guilt and stain of my past...only he can give me strength to rise from my greatest failures...only he can see me through the darkest of nights...it's only his whisper that should echo in my mind. His whisper of don't look back, look ahead!  "I have a plan and you are a part of that plan!  I have things for you to do and oh, are they so wonderful.  Trust in me and move forward into who I have created you to be.  I took what was desipicable and have made it not only acceptable, but exceptional."  

Today no matter where you are and no matter what's happening in your life or has happened, you can move forward in Jesus.

"For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed to us."  Romans 8:18   Better days are ahead! Move forward!

"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.  The old has passed away; behold, the new has come."  I am a new creation, being made daily more like Christ.  Move forward!  

"No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God." Luke 9:62.

Kingdom people move forward from the ordinary into the extraordinary.

Kingdom people move forward from our sin and shame.  We move forward in our thinking, transformed by the renewing of our mind. (Romans 12:2) We move forward in love and in service.  

 

Move forward today in to God's plan and purpose for your life!!