Category Archives: Fireproof

Fireproof

I was looking at the gun in my hand at the shooting range the other day and a thought came to mind: guns have safety features that prevent most, if not all, spontaneous firings. Without effort on the part of the operator, like me pulling the trigger, the gun is no more harmful than the monitor in front of you. But point it in the wrong direction, push the right buttons, or mishandle it in any way, and it can become a deadly weapon.

I wish I had some of the same safety features on my mouth. I’ve been known to shoot off at the mouth a time or two. I have learned that words can be as harmful to one’s self-esteem as guns can be to one’s life. Words have the capability to shoot down aspirations, hurt feelings, and kill the dreams of many well-intentioned people. And just like the gun, my mouth is harmless apart from my own actions. Don’t I decide what comes out of my mouth and what direction my words take? If I am as careful and responsible with the words I fire out of my mouth as I am with the shots I fire from my pistol, then no one should get hurt.

Here’s the great paradox: Words have as much potential to generate good as bullets have to create danger. They can be used to speak hope into hopeless, desperate situations; possibility into impossible circumstances; potential into powerlessness; victory in the midst of overwhelming odds; life into a miserable, mortal existence; and light into darkness. Words can be affirmative ammunition to penetrate and ignite a weary soul. Words have power, the power to butcher or the power to nurture; the power to annihilate or the power to stimulate. The power does not rest in the words themselves but in the people using them.

The takeaway:

Words don’t kill, people do. How will you use your words today?

The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole person, sets the whole course of his life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell . . . but no man can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. ~James 3:6,8

The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit. ~Proverbs 18:21

He who guards his mouth and his tongue keeps himself from calamity. ~Proverbs 21:23

The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks. ~ Luke 6:45

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. ~Ephesians 4:29

No one will ever remember what you say or what you do but they will never forget how you made them feel. ~Unknown

What if we related the Gospel to people on the basis of how awesome they could possibly be in Christ more than how screwed up they presently are without Him? ~Pastor Steven Furtick

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Marriage: The Double Black Diamond

Tina and I went on a “romantic” ski trip this past weekend with three other couples, experiences ranging from novice to expert in both skiing and relationships. Being a trip of dual purposes (skiing and romance) make for an easy comparison. After nearly eight years of marriage on the second time around for both Tina and I, I can say without a doubt that marriage is one of the toughest things that you will ever do in life. Not getting married, of course, that’s the easy part; staying married and keeping the union tight is the challenge. It can often seem like an uphill battle,  a losing one at that.

If you’ve got only a modest knowledge of skiing, you know that “double black diamond” is a label given to the most difficult skiing terrain. The slope is often very steep with many obstacles, mostly bumps (called moguls), and narrow passes that you must negotiate in order to keep from planting your face in the hard-packed snow, or worse yet, breaking your neck. Double black diamonds are reserved for advanced skiers only as they can make mush of the bones of a novice. Well I’m here to tell you, marriage is very much the same way. Look at the parallels below:

skiing-marriage

Are these requirements? Only for successful unions. With a greater than 50% divorce rate, even in Christian homes, the warnings signs are there. Do you ski on past the signs knowing that it’s either you or the schmuck beside you that won’t survive the mountain? If so, ski at your own risk!

In order to survive the treacherous conditions that await to assail you on the Double Black Diamond of marriage, heed the warnings, go back to the basics, start from scratch, bruise your back side some to avoid breaking the bond of marriage; become a seasoned skier first, and only then will you conquer the Double Black Diamond of marriage without ending up on the rocky cliff of divorce.

Here’s a trail map that will guide you down some of the Green Circles and onto the Double Black Diamonds:

  • The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman
  • Love and Respect by Dr. Emerson and Sarah Eggerichs
  • The Love Dare by Stephen and Alex Kendrick
  • The Every Battle series by Stephen Afterburn and Shannon Ethridge
  • Moments Together by Dennis and Barbara Rainey

Happy trails!

He So Loved. . .

John 3:16––I never thought of it as a marriage or relationship scripture until last night. Tina and I were doing week 2 of the Fireproof Your Marriage study when it cited John 3:16 followed by this question: “Do you know God’s love, and are you reflecting that love to your spouse?

The way that I heard this question in my spirit was profound:

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son. . .” The Lord gave up His most precious belonging (His son Jesus) for the world (you). He has set the example of love and how you should love your spouse. So what are you going to give up for your spouse today?

What is it that seems to be your most precious asset? What is currently taking priority over your relationship with your spouse? What vice is coming between you and your spouse that could wreck your marriage? It can be something as harmless as spending too much time with the kids to something completely destructive to the marriage relationship like having an affair. What is it in your marriage/relationship? Is it your job. . . Coaching the kids’ team. . .  Being the kids’ proverbial soccer mom. . . ESPN. . . Oprah / The View / Soaps. . . TV in general. . . Alcohol / Drugs. . . Pornography. . . Shopping/Overspending. . . An affair. . . Golfing with your buddies. . . Gossiping with your girlfriends. . .  THE LIST GOES ON!

Here’s the challenge. For the next 30 days, put it to the test. Recite and, more importantly, act on the following:

For I so love my wife/husband that I gave [thing taking precedence over your relationship right now] up, that if I believe it I shall have a marriage that will not perish but have eternal life.

Do this and I have faith that the same power of God that redeemed the world through His sacrifice will resurrect a lost and dying marriage for you!