Live Your Dreams- They Will Surely Pass You By….. If You Don’t
Whether you are ready or not, change most often has to happen in order for growth to occur. It is a difficult thing, because a lot of times when we think of change, it makes us uncomfortable, and it often brings pain.
The pain that change brings comes about because we have to take a closer examination of where we are and where it is we want to go. We get so comfortable in the chair of the present, we are afraid to get up out of it to grow.
What in life do you want to change?
We have a God-given call in life and passion that we desire, but the fear of change and growth brings too much discomfort. In order for change to occur, get rid of the easy chair.
I encourage you to pursue your passion. Take the steps necessary to overcome the fear and doubt. God has great plans for you to be in His will.
Many people sit idly by and spend too much time thinking about what if. But when you do this, life will assuredly pass you by.
Don’t get caught up in the what ifs. You need to have a method to get to where you want to go.
What is it that you want to do? Do you have a big dream that gives you that fire in the belly. Is it something that wakes you up in the middle of the night that stirs you so much that you can hardly stand it?
You need an action plan. One that will take you where you want to go.
One of the exciting things about life, is God gives each one of us that fire in the belly. That desire to make an impact on life.
Take action today on achieving your dream. Write down your goals, put together an action plan. How are you going to get there? Get yourself an accountability partner. This is someone that will speak honestly to you, and push you to grow.
When you set the wheel in motion to attain your dreams, you will feel so much like you have found your calling. The calling that you have had all along, but one that would not start rolling until you first got out of the easy chair.
The question is often asked of Christians, “How do you stay so happy during this difficult time?”
As a husband and father who is trying to put all of the pieces back together myself, I struggle at times with the uncertainty and finality of things. I want to get there now.
But I know that God wants me to share what he has told me in His word.
You make known to me the path of life;
in your presence there is fullness of joy;
at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.
After my brain tumor surgery, I awoke and could not see much of anything except for a little light and shadows. I was totally blind. It nearly scared me half to death. For the rest of the day I had physicians coming in and out of my room asking me if I could see.
By nightfall, and early into the next morning as I was being constantly observed, my vision got to the point that I could barely see light. Just when I thought it couldn’t get worse, it did.
The nurse on staff quickly paged the surgeon who wanted to take me back into surgery.
I pleaded with them to wait. I wanted to make sure that my family and friends would be praying for me during the next surgery.
Although I am still considered legally blind, God did something that night. He miraculously allowed me to obtain some of my vision back. I continue to work through being legally blind today.
But as tough as it has been to be considered blind and to get it back together, I have to remember that God didn’t send the Jews to the dessert for a weekend retreat. Nor will he solve all of my problems in a weekend.
It is up to me how I choose to look at my circumstances. I can look at it the way that the world does and dwell there and miss God working in my life, or I can choose the positive, which is to look at my circumstances the way God would have me look at it, and see God working in my life.
It is in the work of God that gives me joy, and wherever God is working He wants us to take pleasure.
Isn’t it it great to see God working rather than not working? Isn’t it good to know that God has chosen you for the blessing of suffering?
In suffering there is ample opportunity, which includes “joy in the juncture”, to shine for Jesus and to let the world know that no matter what the peril, you continue to look upward to your heavenly father. That you accept the opportunity to bless others with your unmoved and unfaltering faith that comes from knowing Christ.
The question asked should not be “Why do bad things happen to good people.” The question should be “What are good people of faith going to do with the blessing and opportunity that they have been given?”
Besides, in life’s ups and downs, when you are on that upside, you know that there is bound to be a downside.
Joy in the juncture cannot be of our own doing. If left to ourself and on our own, we would self destruct in the hard times.
Be Free To Live With Joy In The Junction
What enables us is the power of God allowing us to be free from ourselves and to not lean on our own understanding. As believers in Jesus Christ we have a higher calling that is so much greater than ourselves.
The hard times that we face, whether it be overcoming a job loss, recovering from the loss of a loved one, debilitating health problems, divorce, or financial hardship are not pleasant. But in the midst of all the striving, Jesus gives us peace. Through Christ we have overcome the world. Your faith overcomes anything that the world can throw at you.
Many times as Christians, we relinquish our faith and try to overcome the challenges on our own. When this happens it is because we were already leaning more on our own understanding rather than leaning on the understanding of God’s will for our life. This is where we often make painful mistakes along the way. These mistakes will cause us grief one day when we realize that we didn’t give Jesus our everything. We will one day soon come to the final realization the He gave everything that he had to give and we did not reciprocate. The knowledge of this will be regretful.
Joyfully however, for those who continue to prepare for the battle ahead, and put on the full armor of God, will be rewarded in simply knowing that through it all, they were faithful and gave Christ everything they had in return.
In the difficulty there is opportunity…
What will you do? Will you lean on your own understanding, or move forward in the direction of Christ and receive the reward and blessing in knowing that you gave Jesus everything that you had to give.
I write to you, fathers, because you know him who is from the beginning. I write to you, young men, because you are strong, and the word of God abides in you, and you have overcome the evil one. (1 John 2:14 ESV)
What the world says about being an overcomer is wrong. All you need is to abide in God. Because of your faith, you have strength to overcome. Because of your faith, you continue to be strong and an overcomer.
“Greater is He that is in me, than he that is in the world.” 1 John 4:4
When God’s power is in you, you are an overcomer. This is great news!
When I learned that I would need surgery, I felt God’s power in me more that I can ever remember. I knew this was something that I had to do.
When I decided to go through with the surgery, I felt a sense of peace that came over me. I knew that I would be alright no matter the outcome.
I took refuge in Christ. He helped me to get through. He reminded me of his love for me. How he had always carried me before. How he would not let go of me now.
When my sky darkened with the news of a brain tumor, yes my heart sank, but Christ lifted me up, and told me to not fear.
He gave me a verse that is my favorite one to this day. It is my family’s favorite verse. It goes like this:
Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. (Isaiah 41:10 ESV)
As we retreated to the beach before the surgery, we all read this verse out loud many times until we each had it memorized. We knew everything would be alright.
God wants you to grasp all that he has for you. Whether in the best times or the worst, the power of God and the faith that He gives will allow you to rely solely and entirely upon him.
Today, make a decision to grasp everything that he has for you.
In the midst of what Christ has for you today, reach out and grasp.
With the unfortunate passing of Percy Sledge today, who was well known for his great hit song “When A Man Loves A Woman” I suddenly stopped and reflected on the words of this song. It made me reflect on just how much that I love my wife. I would lay down my life for her.
The song resonates within my heart as I think of how much I love my sweet wife. I reflected on how I first laid my eyes on her as the doors were opened the day she began her walk down the isle on our wedding day. That was more than eighteen years ago. We had no idea what lie ahead. But we were more than ready to do life together.
I hope you are finding that life together with your wife, although it may be challenging, is also rewarding and fulfilling at the same time. In the heat of the moment it is easy to want to bail out, but when you wait and cool off in the rain, you will happily return to your vows again.
But the most important thing is to always remember that you may not consistently feel the same feelings for her that you had for your wife on your wedding day. But you did vow to love her unconditionally. That was a decision and not a feeling. For that reason alone, your choosing to love her is just that. Love is a choice. Love is not a feeling.
When a Man Loves His Wife
There is something more beautiful than I could have ever imagined about doing life together with my wife, my best friend Edie. She is absolutely amazing in all the ways that I can count and more. When I think of her personality, I think of Mary from the Bible. While Mary sat calmly at Jesus’ feet listening, Martha was busy with all of the preparations.
My wife is a Mary in every sense of the word. Calmly listening, calmly caring, and building on the better things in life. The things that matter the most- relationships.
I am blessed to call her my wife. I am blessed to call her the mother of our three children, Kaitlyn, Grant, and Mandy.
Don’t regret later what you don’t dare to do today.
I am challenging all Dads to step up and finish strong. We are being attacked. I Daddy Dog Dare You!
Being a Dad is one of the best things that has ever happened to me.
Just the name DAD has so much resonance.
The name DAD is probably the best thing that can happen in a lifetime. Second to marriage and being a husband, it brings more purpose and fulfillment into the life of a man.
As a man we purposefully pursue the dream of becoming a husband and eventually a Dad. Although we all have our own ways of doing things, being a dad pretty much means the same thing- responsibility, caring, raising of a child, nurturing, provider and many more.
You are the Top Dog- The Daddy Dog
But somewhere along the line life got hard. You grew older and more tired of the day-in and day-out and the daily grind- the chastising boss, and the weary wife and mom of your kids.
Did I mention the crazy kids?
Being a Dad means to carry the burden of all those things. It means toiling over the soil of whatever occupation that you’re into. It means coming home at night, shrugging off the incessant dust and cobwebs of the day, and putting on the face of Dad.
We all need reminders…
You see, they don’t know what you go through. They don’t know that you were tried and tested today. They don’t know that you wonder how it got this way. They don’t know how tough this has gotten for you. Like a dead-end job or how an ensuing financial hardship has you on the brink.
They just see the face of Dad.
But as tough as those hard times are, you are called to be brave, you are called to be strong, and most of all you need to have Faith.
You had your turn as baby, toddler, child, student, husband. But now it’s your turn to be DAD, and their turn to be baby, toddler, child, student, etc.
“It is time to live the life that is expected of a father, and to fulfill the honor of being called a Dad.”
The name Daddy Dog Dare came to me as I was thinking of how to communicate something to all the dads out there. The dads that are so topped off, they feel that they can’t take it anymore.
In one of my prior blog posts, Being Dad In The Storm, I mentioned how tough that life can be at times. And that in life we have to do hard things.
“We know that we have to sail the ship right into the eye of the storm without abandoning ship.”
“You’ll never dare to steer the ship if you never grasp the ship’s wheel.”
It will take all of the courage you can muster. Especially when you don’t know what is waiting on the other side.
All you see are the rocks, all you hear is the crashing of the waves, and all you taste and smell is the salt in the air.
Although your life may be in a state of disorder, there is a beautiful rainbow on the other side just waiting for you and your vessel.
If we as Dad’s will stick with the plotted course before us, we will eventually be rewarded when the storm has passed. But as any sailor knows, he will be on the lookout for the sunshine along the way. That is what makes the journey as Dad worth it all.
Take the Daddy Dog Dare today and commit to it every day.
Getting To The Other Side
Getting to the other side requires humility. The humility that is willing to die for the self and to completely recognize the higher calling that God has for your life.
When things are going smoothly and we achieve that goal or get that job, we usually rely on our self. You did it Dad!
When things get hard, we cry out to God. This is usually the way that it goes. We are creatures of habit.
But what we have failed to do is to completely rely on God in all of our circumstances. Both good and bad. And when fortune and that dream job or goal is attained, we give all honor and praise to our Heavenly Father. We rely on Him for our provision and blessings.
In relying on God during the good and the bad, it prepares us for the storms in life ahead- the faith reserves. We are storing up our harvest getting and ready for the hard days ahead.
But if the hard times come, and there is nothing in the faith tank, enduring the tough journey ahead makes us want to abandon the ship.
This is one of the main reasons that so many Dads are leaving their families today.
It is because the Dad who became so self-reliant fails, he cannot face his failure or his wife and family because he has spent so much time building his own image of Dad.
God never intended for the image of Dad to be a worldly image. He created us to be in His image.
When Jesus walked the earth, He gave us the perfect image to follow. An image of sacrifice, meekness, humility- the life of a servant.
Take the Daddy Dog Dare
As a Dad, we have to start each day this way, the way that Jesus himself lived. Anything other than that will only take our eyes off of Jesus, and instead we will see the rocks, we hear the crashing of the waves, and we taste and feel the salt in the air, we taste fear.
I Daddy Dog Dare you to take the challenge today. If you are tired and spent I ask you to do this: Stop what you are doing, pause the worry and the anxiety. Take on the power of God.
Do not abandon ship, but stand firm in your faith living sacrificially for your wife and your children to show them the true love of a Husband and a Dad. It’s not the money and things in life that they want, all that they want Dad, is you.
Your helplessness in not being able to change your circumstances is getting you nowhere. Only the power of God can do this. The Armor of God…
The Whole Armor of God:
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak. (Ephesians 6:10-20 ESV)
I remember some wise words I received from an older gentleman three days before I was to be married to my beautiful wife Edie.
He knew that I was about to be married and he told me that him and his wife had been married for more than 50 years.
When I asked him what the secret to a long and happy marriage is, he said “Two very simple words. Yes Dear.”
Although we both laughed about it, he was very serious.
He said that when you try your best to keep your wife happy, you in turn will be happy. When the wife is happy, everyone is happy.
I have taken marriage very serious and remain convinced that marriage is work. Not all work, but you have to work at it.
When we received counseling from our pastor, he told us that “If either of you go through marriage with one eye on the exit door, your marriage will not work.” He said that no matter how tough times are or how much you think you married the wrong person, you are married to the one that God gave to you.
My wife and I continue to tell each other that “You are God’s Gift To Me.” It may seem small, but the fact is that it goes a long way back. Eighteen years ago my wife wrote that on a card that she gave to me on the day we were married. I’ll never forget it.
This is something at our core that we embrace together. Our marriage has not been easy. And we have gone through some rough times very recently as I restart my career.
As a husband I keep my wife close to me. I am always working to improve our relationship and although I am not perfect, she knows that I love her.
Marriage is a daily walk. Every day that you work on your marriage are also the days that you are saving your marriage.
I have worked it out with my wife for many years now. We have been through one of the most difficult times in our lives. But we are walking through this together.
Perhaps your marriage is struggling. I hope not. But whether it is or it isn’t, the day to start saving your marriage is today.
Some of the ways that I have served my wife may not be the most luxurious or most creative, but she know it is what I can offer her.
So I thought if I can share some of these on my blog and help one person, then it’s all worth it.
Here are my top ten ways to serve your wife:
Be the Spiritual Leader– Nothing resonates more with your wife than to know her husband is leading her on her spiritual walk. It is what you were chosen for. It speaks volumes when you read the Bible, study God’s word together, and pray together. Don’t ever stop doing this. You are saving your marriage.
Regular Date Nights– Nothing more needs to be said here.
Iron Her Clothes– Yes hubby, you can do it. And not just once, but every time she needs it. She will think something is up.
Clean the House– You will please her to no end when the house is cleaned and remains picked up. It’s hard at times, but there needs to be some sacrifice here. (You can get the kids to join in the fun.)
Cook Dinner For Her– Just because you work all day and come home tired, that doesn’t give you an excuse to lie on the couch while she toils in the kitchen. Ever hear of a Crock pot? (I’m trying to help here.)
Take the Kids Away– One thing a Mom needs most that she doesn’t get enough of, and that is quiet time in the house.
Make Her Favorite Beverage in the Morning– My wife loves her PG Tips British tea in the morning. I make it for her every morning that she will have it. I am happy to say that I have made her thousands of cups of tea.
Color Coordinate Her Clothes In the Closet– I know it doesn’t sound like much for a man to do here, but it goes a long way. Remember you are doing this for her, and the harder it is for you to do because of the man that you are, the more she will appreciate it.
Do the Laundry– When a wife and mom is over worked and under appreciated, no one in the house will be happy. That means you dad.
Go On Long Walks Together– One of the most important things in marriage is communication. Walking together produces positive feelings and also allows more time for discussion about what’s on your minds and life in general.
This list doesn’t require that you spend money, except perhaps during those important date nights.
Anyone can do these things.
Share what you do to build on your marriage every day.
This is what we say about life when the skies grow evermore gray and the cloud of doom lurks at our door.
But speaking as a dad I know just how much we want our perfect life. If there was ever anything else but success, we feel imperfect, and that is not acceptable.
“Failure is not an option.”
We’ve had it all figured out. The plans we started making when we were young cannot fail. Think of what people will think of us if we do.
I Cannot Fail…
Perhaps the hardest thing about failure as a dad is the struggle with the unknown. We want to fix things right away. We feel powerless in the circumstances we are experiencing.
We want to fix things but the barrage of waves continue with a crashing cadence that is deafening in the dark.
I know because I have experienced this as a dad too. And it is going to be okay.
Being a dad resonates within our heart and soul and the very core of who we are. And that core portrays who we are inside.
It is true what they say- That life goes on.
The only unfortunate thing about life going on is whether you abandon ship or not.
What is in you core?
Does the bombardment and crashing in the midst of the storm make you stand firm in your faith and arise to the occasion. Does it flare your nostrils and your intention to stand firm in your faith?
The sacrificial dad dies to self.
Some dads feel the personal need to fend for themselves and fall into the temptation to flee for the hills leaving yet another broken family without a leader. It is your pride and your fear of what will happen to “you” that will become overpowering as you dad, give into self.
The selfish dad rises to self.
I have personally witnessed too many dads failing family. Some were dad’s mere choice of leaving the family for infidelity. Some were when the dad simply was not spiritually prepared to stand in the gap and let the power of God work in the midst of the storm.
Being Dad In the Storm is not going to be easy and you can’t do this on your own.
You have to start preparing for your life’s storm now!
Whether the storm that you are in comes from a poor decision that you have made, bad health circumstances, or from a financial hardship, you can make it through this.
We have to intentionally sail the ship right into the eye of the storm. We cannot abandoning ship.
It is a hard blow to have to go through these circumstances whether they are from a poor decision we have made or not. Unfortunately some things happen that are completely out of our control.
Whatever the storm you are going though, the most important thing you can do for you and your family, is to be Dad In the Storm.
It is during the hardest times that who you are will come forthright.
You can make it through this storm dad. Take the ship’s wheel.
It will be okay.
Stand firm in your faith and put on the “Whole Armor of God”.
If I could capture a moment in time it would be the day that I celebrate my love for my girls and the privilege that it is for me to be called Daddy by them.
Each year we load up in the car and go to our annual “Daddy Daughter Dance” hosted by Circle Christian School.
It is a special time for us to celebrate the relationship that we have and to shake it out on the dance floor. Its not about how you dance, but rather that you get to dance and celebrate each other.
For me it is a time to pause and reflect on the passed year and re-evaluate my relationship with my girls and to set new priorities. I am reminded each year how fast time is going, how little time that I have left with them, and just how much they need their Daddy.
They don’t think about my inabilities, my imperfections, or my provision (I am so happy about that) they just want to celebrate their relationship with their Daddy.
The fact that they have a Daddy that is there for them, a Daddy who gives them security, affection, and treats them with a loving hand and kind words means the world to them. What they celebrate is that they have a Daddy who would do anything for them that will help build up a morale character development and that helps them to eventually become a Godly woman that fears the Lord.
Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain,
but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
My time with them is precious. The two hour dance time that we have flies by like the years have. But there is no time to look back for there is a lot of building yet to be done.
The most important thing for me in the moment while we all melt together on the dance floor for that one last song “Butterfly Kisses”, is to always remember whose that they are, they belong to the Lord. I only have them for a short while. And as I slow dance with them in the darkness of the room, with those bittersweet tears quietly rolling down my cheek as I pray over them, I thank God for the blessing of “Daddy’s Little Girls.”
I Love You Kaitlyn and Mandy. You mean the world to me. “Sign Sign Sign.”