Warning so that

2 Timothy 3:16 states, All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness.”

Numerous sources agree there are approximately 800,000 words in scripture ultimately encouraging us to be more like Jesus.   I can humbly confess to times when I wasn’t interested in being taught, being admonished, being corrected, and especially not trained to be righteous.  My attitude ruled with  selfishness and pride, uttering, “I am in charge of my own life, decisions and future; and that seems to be working just fine for me.”

On a recent trip to the beach, a crystal clear picture unfolded before my eyes of this tendency most of us have to “lean on our own understanding”.  At every public beach access, a flag system instructs beachgoers of the current ocean conditions.

This sunny afternoon, the double red flag was flying. Clearly displayed concise understanding:  WATER CLOSED TO PUBLIC.  Rule followers obediently embraced the warning of a double red flag… those “others” trusted their own decision-making, determining their own rule of safety.  Several self-sufficient souls ignored the warning flags and ventured into the water.  Waves crashed around one young man who, at first watch, embraced the unpredictable crests.  Moments later the massive whitecaps erupted around him. 

Emergency responders were already in route to summon the swimmer to shore – the scene changed quickly:
“call him out of the water with a sharp reprimand.”
“save him from the water with a lifechanging rescue.”

This young man’s regard for the flag system skyrocketed to a healthy reverence… as did the gathered crowd witnessing the incredible rescue.

Watching this dramatic rescue was powerful to the bystanders, but the young man who lived the rescue will share the story with a breathless enthusiasm.  His experience, his story, his appreciation for his salvation can and will be useful.

I wonder if he might briefly share this way:
I fully understand that the authority of the flag system is in place to teach me, to correct me, to train me in the right way for good, so that I stay safe and now, I can tell my story.  My experience is now useful for myself and others.

Maybe, just maybe, he wasn’t aware of the flag system. 
Maybe, just maybe, he hadn’t known of the system’s value.
Maybe, just maybe, he didn’t seek the wisdom of the authority.

Our Bibles are available to us 24/7 literally at our fingertips.  As Christ followers, we have chosen to place ourselves under His authority.  We speak clearly in the waters of baptism, I believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God, my Lord and Savior. 
Those words of declaration, “Lord of my life” demonstrate surrender, giving up my control, my attitude, my decisions to the authority of God through the sacrifice of Jesus and the power and presence of the Holy Spirit.

Pick it up, tune it in, get the app – Open your Bible and find His promises, His ways, His heart for your life, so that you can share the good news of Jesus through your story.

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.  Romans 15:13

It's a little thing

Pausing unexpectedly, just before guiding the giddy bride and groom  to repeat their wedding vows, the pastor turned to the wedding guests lining the crowded pews.  Speaking for the happy couple, he simply said,

            “In honor of our sweet couple, they have asked a favor of you.  Men, if you are sitting next to your wife, would you take her hand and tell her you love her.” 

The young bright-eyed couple gleefully watched a humble request blossom into a powerful precious moment sparking smiles, giggles, and even a tear or two.  It was a little thing that encouraged a roomful of guests.. and the couple themselves. 

Numerous informative books offered on marriage.  I searched, and the result was overwhelming – 33,600,000 available for research, review and purchase. 

Gloomy statistics offer 40-50% of marriages, whether Christian or not, fail. 

With the startling statistics and the plethora of resources available, where do we turn?  Many books give communication tools, others offer date night tips, while several encourage gift giving guides.

Frank and I have read, recommended, and found wisdom extended and insight gained in many of these books. 

Recently, though, (maybe it’s an empty nest with 34 years of marriage), we’ve found our advice for marriage significantly simplified.   Two words actually:  Serve selflessly.

Sharing real life examples brings effective evidence, so in a recent stroll down the beach, we brainstormed. 

His words:  You love to cook, and I love to eat anything you cook, so there’s a win!  Some days, you work late, and as much as I love to eat whatever you cook, I throw a couple of baked potatoes in the oven and call it dinner, hoping that will relieve even your thought of dinner.  It is a little thing.

Her words:  I do love to cook.  I love to cook for you, but can I tell you what a gift it is for me to walk in the door to yummy baked potato aroma… especially when you add my favorite sweet potato!  It is a little thing.

One more monumental gift my husband offers:  every single night before going to bed, he makes coffee and sets the timer so that when I wake up in the morning, fresh coffee greets me.  I am served!

Every morning before leaving before work I make our bed.  Frank has battled chronic pain for many years, and even though he will likely return to rest within an hour, the smooth inviting place of rest awaits him.  He is served.

What if we wondered aloud to our spouse, “How can I serve you today?”

The most helpful Book we’ve read about marriage?  That Book, the Bible, offers this charge to serve with absolute clarity:

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus. 
Philippians 2:3-5
Can I just challenge us all…
Go make the bed
Fix the coffee
Grab the hand of the one you said, “I do” to, and say again, I love you.

Find a little thing