A conversation came up last night about being married, being a parent. My wife said that people often talk to here about how she and I do things. She said “people that flow together have learned to flow during times when ‘flowing’ was not happening”. We had some difficult times in our marriage. But we had to put aside the “d word” (Divorce) and decide that it was for our children. That the legacy of marriage and security was greater than the desire to be separate.
I share the following story from June of 1997.
Is it me, or has the world stepped up its efforts at getting to Christians? I know the enemy, could not, would not take things lying down. In the last few days, I have been forced to ask myself, many questions. It usually begins with these two; The first is am I where I am supposed to be? The second, am I praying and taking time for the Lord? As a church leader I feel the obligation to work these out now, even as I did before I moved to the leadership role. And with these questions in mind, I almost always come back to this one place.
Rejoice in the Lord always! “You mean when my wife is leaving, my kids took off and the world is barking at my door?” Yes. “When the bills are unpaid?” Yes. Praise the Lord and the enemy scatters. Unlike Miriam, I feel encouraged to praise Him on this side of the “sea”, because I believe He sees all, and all I have to do is follow.
I realized my “problem list” was greater than my “thankful list”, so that meant that the problems had to be dealt with. How? Praise! People have flooded in here in the last few days, with all types of things. Much had to do with discontentment. Paul said that he was content. Content with beatings, shipwreck and jail?!?!? One man sat here last night and said he could handle that it. It was the little things. I know. You never trip over the elephant in the living room, just the shoestring.
Let it be known, my wife and I covet your prayers. Since the decision on the tent to go ahead, we have been under attack in every area of our life, and yet let me make this heard. WE ARE OK. We are standing in the victory of Jesus Christ and walk in His power. Share your needs. Do not be so self-centered that you get removed from Christ-centered. When you share a need, the burden, it is cut in half. THIS burden is not yours to bear alone. Jesus said to cast all your cares upon Him.
My daughter, turns 16 this week, and there has been a miraculous change in her over the last few months. As her step-dad, we have gone around many times. She was planning on moving to her dad’s this month. Miraculously she realized to leave, she would give up her Christianity. The seed of the righteous shall not perish. I have a new daughter who calls me, dad.
A year ago, we began our public ministry, and I can tell you, it was only then I learned about crying. Yesterday, my heart broke in anguish over the couple, headed for separation. Last night, they resumed communications and left together. Praise God. Another person, suggested he was called elsewhere, and perhaps he is. I cried. Another man who has come from the depths of the world, was injured yesterday, and may be out of work. This is the longest he has had a job. Guess what? I cried. And yet, I also praise God for His goodness. I rejoice that my name is written in the Book of Life.
Yes, we need prayer. I ask that if any of you have this placed on your heart, please pray for us. I know that the upcoming tent will break loose bondaged captives of years. So, I press on. When it gets this intense, I know that God is preparing something great for this area, and somehow the enemy is privy to this information. God has shown me the power of His might in the past. I get excited about praising Him.
I told God that if it was only me in this church, I would be there. This is the day that the Lord hath made, I will rejoice and be glad in it. Today, praise Him. For He is worthy. Look not to your circumstance or situation, put look to the Lord. Praise Him in all things. We love you and pray for you.
So, let me tell you the rest of the story. My daughter left some months later. For some 10 years we were apart. A few years later my son was involved in a terrible car accident. I fought over family, health and even death. I still praised Him. Without Him what else do I have?
My wife and I are both on our third marriage. Nearly 22 years later we are both “on it”. Despite loss of jobs, sickness and “just weird” stuff, we are here.
Anyone can praise Him when it is going well. Your praise when it isn’t is “your evidence” of the hope inside. I often go to sleep thanking Him, praising Him. I don’t know if changes the situations all the time, or it changes me, but I know it changes Him. The God who “changes” not has a weakness. You!
When my kids (Or grandkids.) crawl up in my lap and tell me that they love me, that is praise. When they tell me that they are grateful or thankful for me, that is praise to me as well. When I walked in the house of my granddaughter the other day and she was jumping around, shouting “Poppa”, that is praise. A little more enthusiastic than my going to bed “praise” but I know it changed my heart!
Praise Him. I admit, I often watch “praise breaks” on video. Enthusiastic, loud praise. It does something to me.
My daughter who left came home one day. She and I are “good” and we are okay. I miss her when I do not see her, as much as I do my other children. (With all this technology, I am just waiting for the “poof, you are here” camera! Or translation. I will take either!)
Marriage can often be challenging, hard even. Praise Him. Children can bring you to the edge of things. Praise Him. Situations will come and they will go. Praise Him.