Archive for June, 2015

Marriage: Love Over Compromise

Posted: June 26, 2015 in Faith, Stories

Marriage - Love Over Compromise Picture

Quick Note: We received this blog in an email earlier this morning…before any of the Supreme Court rulings had taken place. This was not written with any of that in mind. So, we hope this honest story is just the encouragement someone needed today because God’s timing is better than our timing!

I overheard some guys having a conversation in the gym today where one of the guys was asking the other for some advice about his relationship with his wife. The man that was looking for advice asked, “Was the reason I married my wife MY OWN will or was it GOD’S WILL?” He admitted that he did not have a personal relationship with God at the time they got married, but has started to develop a relationship since then. He seemed to be questioning the current relationship with his wife saying that they weren’t seeing eye-to-eye on some things and were going through a rough patch. His friend gave him some relationship advice to try to compromise and said, “If that doesn’t work then you will know you did all that you could…”

When I heard this, it got me thinking…COMPROMISE……..THAT’S IT????????????

I have been happily married to my wife for 2 and 2/3 years now…and they have been the best years of my life thus far! I will be the first to admit that I do not know everything there is to know about marriage and I know that I mess up all the time, if not daily, in my marriage. But what I have learned in these years is our marriage is not just a series of compromises. Our marriage is built first and foremost on the love for our Savior. It is built on our love for each other. It is built on the love of our family. It is built on trust. It is built on understanding. It is built on patience. It is built on vulnerability. It is built on communication. And yes, it is built on compromise…

I recently did a book study with the guys in my small group. We read and discussed the book What Radical Husbands Do by Regi Campbell. This book is a great read for anyone going through a rough patch in their marriage and even for those people who are just trying to be better husbands! The book really challenged me to change the way I looked at my marriage. I am here to SERVE my wife, which is radically different from the way the world tells us to live as a married couple. My job as a husband is to show my wife the same love that Jesus showed the church. My job is to lead her through serving her!

So back to the story…What advice would I give this man? I obviously don’t know all of the details of his relationship, but here is what I would say…

First, I would try my best to answer his question about his will versus God’s will.

  • Although you may not have been close to God when you started this relationship, He was close to you! God had this planned for you since you were born. HE has brought you two together to bring Him glory. Take comfort in the fact that you can now be the Godly husband that your wife deserves!

The advice I would give about his relationship is:

  • FIGHT! Fight for your wife! Show her the husband that God wants for her. Cherish her. Love her. Laugh with her. Cry with her. Talk with her. Surprise her. Buy her flowers for no reason. Binge watch Netflix with her. Throw away the back up plan! SERVE HER!!!!

Video Summary

Many of you have probably read the story of The Good Samaritan in the Bible. A man, beat up, stripped of his clothes, and half dead was on the side of the road. Three men were walking down the same road, a priest, a Levite, and a Samaritan. The priest and the Levite passed by on the other side of the road, but the Samaritan took compassion on this man…”he took pity on him” the Bible says. So much pity that he took him to an inn and as he gave the innkeeper two denarii he said, “Look after him and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.”

We are called to love on others…even when it is hard or inconvenient. “Love your neighbor as yourself” Jesus said.

Is there anything else you see about this story?

Try putting yourself in the shoes of the man beaten and stripped on the side of the road.

I know I have been that man on the side of the road before…beaten up by life and just broken. It was Jesus who picked me up, brushed me off, and helped me get back on my feet.

So, when it becomes hard to love on others…remember what Jesus did for you at that time in your life. Remember the people who He put around you that showed you love no matter the circumstances. Jesus is the ultimate example of love and He is the reason we are able to love…His love pours out of us.

Another takeaway from this devotional is to not get so caught up in making your devotional time something you can check off of your list. Really listen in on what God is trying to tell you during that time. We all get caught going through the motions every once in awhile and sometimes we just in need of a little wake up call! So, if anything, we hope this devotional will cause you to refocus that time you are spending with God and open your heart to ALL that God is trying to tell you.

Againstiflow Devo: Be Still and Know

Posted: June 11, 2015 in Faith

Patience is the capacity to accept or tolerate delay, trouble, or suffering without getting angry or upset. People are not born patient. We want instant gratification and we want it now. Google provides us with the information we search for in about 5 seconds.  Chick-Fil-A provides us with a delicious chicken sandwich in 60 seconds. We are used to and love instant gratification. What if we can’t have what we want when we want it? We have to be patient.

Patience is a word that God has set on my heart for quite some time now. I picked the word patience to be my word/theme for the year. I have never been a very patient person, so it has been quite an adjustment. A year and half ago I made a huge transition in my life by moving from Greenville, SC to Atlanta. My move has forced me to practice patience in multiple areas of my life. I’ve had to be patient in the process of making friends. I’ve had to be patient in the process of finding a church. I’ve had to be even more patient in the process of trying to get involved and serve at my church. And then, the elephant in the room, I’ve had to be patient in seeking a potential lady friend.

Romans 8:25 says, “But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.”

Romans 8:25 hits the nail on the head for me. When I first moved to Atlanta it was impossible for me to see the life that I wanted in such a new place…so I had to wait with patience. I wanted to duplicate the friendships that I had in Greenville. Impossible. I wanted to go all in with a church and volunteer in any way they needed me. Not realistic. I’ve wanted a companion who has my back and I can hang with. Hard to find.

I had a choice. I could sulk and complain about my new ATL life or I could embrace it.

Romans 5:3-4 says, “More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope.”

The definition of patience says to accept or tolerate the suffering without getting upset or angry. I would be lying if I said that I wasn’t angered at some points, but I combated the anger with prayer, late night work outs, and FaceTime sessions with my best friends. Also, I would say the best thing for me to do when I would start feeling sorry for myself was to shift my mindset from my life and my situation to others lives and their situations. I have tried to make more of an effort to stay connected with my family and close friends. It is crazy how much joy you can give your grandparents with a simple 5 minute phone call. Take the focus off of yourself and ask yourself, “How can I build up others?” We can all find ways to feel sorry for ourselves. Don’t do it.

Patience is definitely something that you acquire as you get older. I would encourage anyone reading this to just stay after it…don’t give up. Don’t allow yourself to get too down. Every morning when you wake up you have the opportunity to choose your attitude. If at this moment you are not where you want to be in your life then find comfort in knowing that God is not done working through you. Be still and know that He is God.

IMG_846413 When Jesus heard what had happened, he withdrew by boat privately to a solitary place. Hearing of this, the crowds followed him on foot from the towns. 14 When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them and healed their sick.

15 As evening approached, the disciples came to him and said, “This is a remote place, and it’s already getting late. Send the crowds away, so they can go to the villages and buy themselves some food.”

16 Jesus replied, “They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat.”

17 “We have here only five loaves of bread and two fish,” they answered.

18 “Bring them here to me,” he said. 19 And he directed the people to sit down on the grass. Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the people. 20 They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over. 21 The number of those who ate was about five thousand men, besides women and children.

Matthew 14: 13-21

As the Easter church service was going on it came time to give your tithes and offerings. The basket was being passed around and it got to a homeless man. Instead of him just grabbing the basket and passing it on he dropped in two dimes…20 cents. 20 cents can’t really get you ANYTHING, but you know what…that is all this man had to offer.

In the story above the disciples wanted to send the people home because they didn’t think they had enough food to feed everyone. Jesus replies, “They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat.” They gave Jesus 5 loaves of bread and two fish…to feed five thousand people. That seems about as insufficient as this man’s 20 cents.

In this situation Jesus wanted something for His disciples. He wanted them to be a part of a miracle! Jesus could have fed all of those people on His on without a problem, but He didn’t and because the disciples had faith they got to be a part of the work of God.

This homeless man is a man of faith. He gave all he could offer because he knows that God can take the little he has to offer and make a miracle out of it. What seems insufficient in our hands can be multiplied if we have enough faith to hand it over to God.

God doesn’t want something from us…He wants something for us! So give Him your time…even though your schedule is busy…give Him your talents…even if you think they are insufficient…and experience first hand what God is doing around you…because the opportunity is there…sometimes we just never take that leap of faith…or we never make that sacrifice…because we don’t realize the opportunity that God has put in front of us.