You’ve no doubt heard how pearls are formed. They are formed when an irritant like a grain of sand enters its shell. It’s natural response is to create a barrier around that irritant to protect itself. The result, of course, is a polished pearly white stone with little to no blemish.
Likewise, God sent Christ into this world as an irritant, with a message so offensive that the world would put Him to death. Out of that, you were washed clean of your sin and made into a precious gem in the eyes of God. You are a pearl for which He paid the highest price, the life of His only begotten son.
You are valuable to God!
Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it. ~Matthew 13:45-46
The so-called “credit crunch” hasn’t seemed to slow the number of credit card offers that come to the house. They kind of remind me of dating. Of course, the only dating I’ve done for years is with my wife but I’m referring to the courting process, when you are dating someone new.
Both parties are in their “introductory period” trying to induce the other party to commit to longer, more binding terms. Like the introductory credit card deals, each are oftentimes offering attractive, sometimes irresistible terms to lure in the other party. That’s why your little peculiarities don’t seem like that big of a deal when you’re dating. She doesn’t seem to care that you leave the toilet seat up or that your priority every weekend is 18 holes. And he doesn’t seem to mind that you’ve just spent $300 on yet another outfit or that you’re gabbing on the phone with your BFF for hours on end everyday. Or she’s impressed by the fact that you planned a romantic dinner date and he’s impressed that you not only approve of but even encourage him to have all of his buddies over for the game each Sunday.
However, let that introductory period run out, and the teeth come out. I find it bizarre that the financial industry calls it “interest rate;” who in their right mind is interested in paying 8, 12, 20 or any percent on money borrowed? In fact, that’s about the time I start to lose interest. And that’s the same with dating. When it’s time to begin paying the the full price, when the grace period is over, the terms don’t look so impressive anymore. By that time, though, they got you. A commitment has been made, personal items have accumulated, you’re carrying some of each other’s baggage, you might have even purchased property together (like a house or car), you’ve got time invested that you just don’t know is worth giving up to start the process over again.
Most people miss or overlook the fine print, the details of the terms for when the intro period expires. This is a precarious position to be in. You failed to cash out when the gettin’ was good and now you’re stuck with the charges. Don’t over-commit. Keep at a distance until his or her real character starts to show through. Be careful not to settle for a sales pitch when you can find favorable terms that are permanent. Take it slow and cautious, don’t rush into things until you know full well what the penalties might be if your mate turns out to be a ferocious wolf (like my ex-wife) instead of the friendly puppy that you see in the beginning.
Posted in Commitment, Credit, Dating, Love, Marriage, Random Thoughts, Relationships
Tagged Credit Cards, Dating, Love, Marriage, Relationships
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:
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
Posted in Dating, Family, Fireproof, Friends, Love, Marriage, Random Thoughts, Skiing, Wife
Tagged Dating, Love, Marriage, Skiing
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!