What Do You Really Want in 2016?

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From Luke 18……

As Jesus approached Jericho, a blind man was sitting by the roadside begging. When he heard the crowd going by, he asked what was happening. They told him, “Jesus of Nazareth is passing by.”

He called out, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”

Those who led the way rebuked him and told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!”

Jesus stopped and ordered the man to be brought to him. When he came near, Jesus asked him, “What do you want me to do for you?”

“Lord, I want to see,” he replied.

As we look ahead to a brand new year, our Lord asks us the same question –

“What do you want me to do for you?”

This simple question provokes many other questions in heart. Would God really do that for ME? What do I ask him for? Is my motive right? Am I selfish?

The blind man knew exactly what he wanted, and he didn’t hesitate when asked. It was the most burning desire of his heart. Was it selfish? Absolutely. Did God receive glory from it? Absolutely.

Jesus said to him, “Receive your sight; your faith has healed you.”Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus, praising God. When all the people saw it, they also praised God.”

Don’t be hesitant or afraid to ask God for the desire of your heart…He knows it anyway.

May His work in you bring you much joy and Him much glory in 2016…….

Rob

Prayers Not Answered? Check your Marriage.

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Read: 1 Peter 3:1-7 & 1 John 3:18-22

We all want our prayers to be answered, to get results. But many times we feel like they are falling on deaf ears.

One of the keys to insuring that  our prayers are powerful and effective lies in examining our marriage relationship. – in particular, our response to what God says about how we are to treat each other.

God tells husbands in I Peter 3:7 to “be considerate/understanding as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect/tenderness…so that nothing will hinder your prayers.” He expects husbands to express love to their wives by considering their needs above our own, laying our lives down for them (Eph. 5) and showing them grace, respect and love. Otherwise, our prayers will be hindered.

Hindered means to “obstruct”, “get in the way of”, “thwart”, “delay the result of”.

I don’t think any husband reading this actually wants God to take this stance when he reaches out to Him in prayer.

Wives are also responsible. In 1 Peter 3, God tells wives to “be submissive, and if their husbands are not believers, (or not deliberately walking with Christ) “they may be won over” by their wives’ pure and reverent behavior” . Simply obeying this Scripture will prove much more powerful and effective in drawing your husband to the Lord than nagging, coercing or preaching. Don’t bother to ask God to do it for you if you aren’t willing to obey what He says.

How we treat our spouse holds the key to experiencing powerful results in our prayer life. When our heart is humble and forgiving toward our mate, God is pleased. And “if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God and receive from Him anything we ask, because we … do what pleases Him.” (I John 3:21-22). What pleases Him is for us to “do” what He commands us to do in our relationship with our spouse.

Since God created marriage, He knows that we have a 100% chance of enjoying a successful, fulfilling marriage if we just follow His playbook.

Are your prayers powerfully effective, or do you feel like they simply hit the ceiling? Maybe you need to look to your marriage for the answer.

Ask Him to help you obey what He says, and to do what He asks you to do as a spouse. (see Phil. 2:13)

God will always answer a prayer like that.

Rob

Morning Talk with Father

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Every day I am amazed that the Creator of the universe, the Creator of everything, the everlasting Father, the Almighty I Am – not only allows me the privilege to engage Him in conversation, but actually desires to meet with me and commune with me. Me, yes me – not just Billy Graham, or some internationally-known TV evangelist – but me. Every day, all day long, He seeks my friendship, love and engagement. This still blows me away.

Then, as I am reading along in His love letter to me, He shakes me with a bit of truth (I can only handle a bit at a time), and speaks to my stilled soul. Like this morning:

1 John 3:21-24: Dear friends, if our conscience doesn’t condemn us, we have confidence before God and can receive whatever we ask from Him because we keep His commands and do what is pleasing in His sight. Now this is His command: that we believe in the name of His Son Jesus Christ, and love one another as He commanded us. The one who keeps His commands remains in Him, and He in him.

Because I am a husband of nearly 39 years and am passionate about marriage and marriage ministry – He seems to rifle my attention to how His words apply to His design/heart for marriage. Thoughts like:

  • Are there any thoughts regarding my relationship with my wife that condemn me today?
  • Am I keeping His commands regarding marriage, and thus doing what is pleasing in His sight in my relationship?
  • Am I truly loving (verb) my wife as He has commanded?

Here are but a few of His commands directed at me (and you) as a husband:

  • Do not deprive my wife of my body (sexually and also physically) 1 Cor.7:2-5
  • My #1 earthly priority every day should be to please my wife. 1 Cor. 7:33
  • I should love my wife “as” Christ loved His bride, and “gave Himself up for her” Eph.5:25
  • I should love (agape) my wife unconditionally, and never “be harsh” with her (words, tone, actions, etc.) Col. 3:19
  • I should be considerate towards her and treat her with the utmost respect/care if I want Him to answer my prayers. 1 Peter 3:7-12

Even though there are more – I think this will be enough to keep me busy for a while. How are you doing with these?

How would she say you are doing with these?

How would God (her Father) say you’re doing with these?

Loving deliberately,

Rob

The Effective Prayer of a Righteous Man

If you ever get stuck when you try to pray – try following the crafted prayer that follows to keep you on target, and keep you from drifting off into routine or selfish type prayers, or just drifting into praying quick and easy prayers, like “bless me today”. I pray this crafted (or scripted) prayer will help you and help change your paradigm of praying for yourself and your marriage. Print it out and keep it with you.

Rob

 

Crafted Prayer for Men

Open My Eyes

  • Lord, help me see You as a person and not a collection of success principles to follow.
  • Please give me a fresh glimpse today of Your passionate, unconditional love for me.
  • Help me sense Your presence with me throughout the day.
  • Would You become increasingly real and personal to me today?
  • Would you expand my vision of what is really possible in my relationship with You?
  • Help me see that life is really about hearing Your voice, and following You.

Search My Heart

  • Transform my cold heart and renew a passion for intimacy with You
  • Cleanse me of everything that keeps me from You.
  • Do a deep work in me to expose and root out all rebellion, unbelief and selfishness.
  • Forgive my stubborn independence, self focus and reliance, and prayerlessness.
  • Give me the desire and strength to overcome these sins in my life.
  • Please refine me and make me the man, husband, father and follower You want me to be.

Lord, Forgive Me

  • For not believing that You really love me, and are passionately wanting to lead me.
  • For rejecting Your authority in my life and choosing to run my life, my way.
  • For thinking of You as the servant of my agenda and not embracing You as my Lord.
  • For doubting that You are able to lead my life and provide for my ultimate fulfillment.
  • For making so many decisions without seeking what You want for me and my family.
  • For neglecting Your Holy Spirit and being afraid of Your presence and leadership.

Change My Focus

  • Help me to finally see that life is all about You and not about me and my agenda.
  • Help me take my focus off religious activity and fix my heart on walking with You.
  • Help me desire to know the God of the Bible, and not just the Bible itself.
  • Would you take the scales from my eyes and help me to see you in the events of my day?
  • Would you destroy every lie I have believed in doubting Your love, power and wisdom.
  • I choose to come under Your authority and leadership in my life. Help me do this.

Lord, Would You

  • Transform my heart today, and help me see that I am a sheep dependent on You.
  • Give me a passion to invite you to every event, meeting and conversation today.
  • Help me seek Your direction for decisions, and Your wisdom at home and work.
  • Help me seek Your will as to how I should invest my day and my evening.
  • Fill me with a new passion to meet with You each morning and throughout each day.
  • Help me see other people through your eyes and grasp Your love for them.
  • Help me have breakthroughs in my walk with You today.
  • Protect me from believing any lies of the enemy that make me doubt Your love for me.
  • Teach me to pray with authority and confidence and listen to Your voice today.
  • Give me grace today to set my mind on things of the Spirit and not my selfish desires.

Where are Your Fish?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It must be human nature. We seem to have to try our way first (and sometimes second, third, etc.) before we finally get frustrated enough to get out of the way and let Jesus tell us what to do. Something in us rebels against trying His way first. We know in our heads that His way is the best way, and yet we insist on trying it our way. I have come to the conclusion that, for me, it is simply a matter of trust. Do I really trust that His way is THE best way for me? Do I trust His heart to ALWAYS lead me to a better place? Do I really believe that His sovereign will for my life IS better than the one I imagine for myself?

In marriage, this tendency is played out every day. Did God really created this one and only woman for me (or could there have been another)? Does He really expect me to “love her as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her”, when He knows full well she is SO hard to love sometimes? Does God really have an adventure-filled mission for my wife and I together, even though I can’t see any signs of it now?

Being a husband, provider, protector, shepherd, lover, friend to a single woman for a lifetime – is a seemingly impossible task. How do we ever figure it out? How do I do this, and do it well? There are so many other important things pulling at me every day – my job, my future, my friends, my health, my enjoyment, my retirement, my advancement, etc., etc.

I love the story in Luke, Chapter 5, of Jesus’ encounter with a group of rugged, rednecked fishermen. Read this again –  When He had finished speaking, He said to Simon, “Put out into the deep water and let down your nets for a catch.” Simon answered and said, “Master, we worked hard all night and caught nothing, but I will do as You say and let down the nets.”

When they had done this, they enclosed a great quantity of fish, and their nets began to break; so they signaled to their partners in the other boat for them to come and help them. And they came and filled both of the boats, so that they began to sink. But when Simon Peter saw that, he fell down at Jesus’ feet, saying, “Go away from me Lord, for I am a sinful man!”

These guys, who knew their craft well, had fished all night long – and caught zippo. Here comes Jesus, a carpenter, and He tells them where to fish. Can you imagine their first thoughts? In spite of those cynical thoughts, they tried one more time, and did what He said. Wow – what a different result. Not just a dozen or so fish – which would have been lesson enough – but a boat load!

If we could ever get to the place where we asked Jesus “where to fish” in the first place, and then obeyed what He said, we would see His abundant provision in our lives, and in our marriages, like never before. Jesus never does anything half-way. They needed fish – they obeyed what He said – they got so many their boat began to sink. God is a God of abundance – a God of extravagance. He promises to do “above and beyond all we can ask or even think” if we will but trust Him.

What are the needs in your life and in your marriage right now? Where have you been “fishing” for answers?

Trust God and His goodness. He desires to shower you with His kindness, His love, and His provision. He knows where to fish, but we have to ask, and obey, in order to see our boat filled.

Try Him first this time.

Rob

Early

Early is a great time of day. Fish usually bite better early in the morning. Duck and deer hunters are typically more successful early.

Marathons and bike races are most often held early in the day.

Not surprisingly, the Bible says a lot about the benefits of early morning also. Many great men of God rose “early” to accomplish the tasks God had given them (Abraham, Moses, Joshua, etc.).

The Gospels tell us that Jesus rose “a great while before day” to go to a quiet place to pray – Mark 1). Jesus prayed all night long when given the awesome responsibility to choose his disciples. He desperately needed his Father’s wisdom and direction.

Mary went to the tomb “early in the morning”, and Christ appeared to her there. Luke and John tell us that people would come to the temple “early in the morning” to hear Jesus teach in the temple. It is very obvious that Jesus was an early riser. He knew he had a monumental job to do, and precious little time in which to do it. He also knew he could do “nothing on his own, but only what the Father told him to do”. He was desperate to hear from God about what he was to do in every situation.  Jesus was a very busy guy. Some days, an entire town came out to hear him preach, or came to get healed by his touch. He had to have grown weary. Surely he deserved to take some time off?

But he knew he had a job to do. He also knew he could not do that job without the continual help, advice, wisdom, leading, and power that only comes through fellowship with the Father. So….he got up early….and prayed.

What about you and me? Too busy to pray? Too tired in the mornings? Not a morning person?Not desperate enough?

What is our justification for not seeking the Source of all wisdom, power, grace, healing, blessing, patience and love? What really keeps us from bounding out of bed “early in the morning” to seek His face and bask in His wonderful presence? What are we missing out on?

There is no God like our God.

There is no time like “early”.

He is there. Waiting. Listening. Ready to fellowship with us. Ready to bless our socks off. Eager to speak to us, comfort us and lead us.

Make it a goal to hang out with your heavenly Father for 30 minutes (or longer) early one morning……and soon.

Enjoying Him early this morning,

Huz

 

My Psalm 100

Shout triumphantly to the Lord, (_______)!  my name
I should be exceedingly glad as I live my life in service to the Lord!
I will come into His presence with shouts of joy!
Knowing with confidence that the Lord is the one, true God—
He made me from nothing; I belong to Him.
I am part of His family, a sheep of His pasture,
As I draw near to Him my heart should fill with thanksgiving and praise.
Thank You Lord for all you have done for me. I bless Your name.
Because You are so good to me, and Your loyal love for me lasts forever;
I am confident You will be faithful to me and my family for generations to come.

Personal Psalm – Psalm 16

 

Keep me safe, O God,
for I have come to you for refuge.

I say to You, “You are my Master!
Every good thing I have comes from you.”
The godly people in our land are my true heroes!
I take pleasure in them!
4 But, troubles multiply for those who chase after other gods.
I will not take part in their sacrifices or even speak the names of their gods.

Lord, you alone are my inheritance, my cup of blessing.
You guard all that is mine.
6 Everything you have given me is such a blessing. What a wonderful inheritance I have in you!

I will bless the Lord who guides me;
even at night my heart instructs me.
I know You are always with me.
I will not be shaken, for You are right beside me.

No wonder my heart is glad, and I rejoice.
My body rests in safety.
10 Even when I die, you will not leave my soul among the dead
or allow me to rot in the grave.
11 Every day you continue to show me the way of life,
granting me great joy in your presence
and the amazing pleasures of living with you forever.

How to Pray for Your Wife & Marriage?

 

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The honest truth is that very few of us intercede for our wife and marriage with any degree of regularity. We assume if “it ain’t broke” we really don’t need to worry about fixing it. Question is – what are we missing out on? What could our marriage be like? In every other endeavor of life (fishing, hunting, golf, tennis, work, etc.) we put in countless hours and significant financial resources in order to excel.

What about our marriage? Do we really want to excel? Do we want to have the best, most fulfilling marriage possible? Or, do we settle for “okay”, or “pretty good”? Each of us knows full well, that we will get out of something what we put into it. We will truly reap what we sow.

SO – here is another tool to help you rise above “okay”. Print this prayer out and keep it with you. Pray it often, and see what God will do in your life, and in your marriage.

Crafted Prayer for Husbands

(From the Husband Book, Used with Permission)

Open My Eyes

  • Lord, help me the bigger picture and purpose for my marriage.
  • Please give me a fresh glimpse today of Your perfect provision in my wife.
  • Help me know how You would have me love her today.
  • Help me see my wife’s good and bad qualities as Your hand in making me like You.
  • Show me how to love her as You love Your church and how to give myself up for her.
  • Help me see that a strong marriage and Godly home life are primarily my responsibility.

Search My Heart

  • Transform my cold heart and renew a passion for relational intimacy with my wife.
  • Cleanse me of everything that has kept me from fully enjoying her as Your provision.
  • Do a deep work in me to expose and root out all self-centeredness, fear and pride.
  • Help her forgive my stubborn independence, self focus and reliance, and prayerlessness.
  • Give me the desire and strength to become the leader she deserves, as I follow You.
  • Please refine me and make me the man who earns her respect and love.

Lord, Forgive Me

  • For not believing that You made my wife specifically for me and brought her to me.
  • For rejecting Your goodness and thinking my wife was there to meet my needs.
  • For thinking of her as my servant and the one who would bring me fulfillment and happiness.
  • For doubting that You are able to lead my marriage and rejuvenate our relationship.
  • For making so many decisions without seeking her input and prayer.
  • For being so selfish and neglecting my responsibility to cherish and nourish my wife.

Change My Focus

  • Help me to finally see that You are interested in my marriage and are eager to lead me.
  • Help me take my focus off my self and focus on the needs of my wife.
  • Help me desire to know my wife at a deeper, more intimate level. Help me make time.
  • Would you “work in me to will and to do of your good pleasure” in my marriage.
  • Would you destroy every lie I have listened to about my wife not being what I really need, and allow me to experience great victory in our relationship today.

Lord, Would You

  • Show me how to love my wife today.
  • Give me a passion to know her and what I can do to please You as her husband.
  • Help me involve her in seeking Your direction for the decisions we must make.
  • Help me initiate prayer with her as we seek Your will as to how I should invest our days, and nights, our money and our time.
  • Renew a passion to love her, even when she is unlovely, and trust the results to You.
  • Help me give up my rights and expectations regarding marriage and simply follow You.
  • Help us experience great breakthroughs in our marriage today.

Your marriage matters,

Rob

Time to Pray?

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There aren’t too many husbands who have this “pray with your wife” thing down pat. We all have good intentions. We all mean well. We all know it is vital to our relationship and for waging effective warfare against the enemy.

Then, why is it so dang hard to DO – on a regular basis?

Experience has taught me that two forces in my life are the primary culprits: satan and busyness

Satan hates marriage, and he knows that a couple who prays is 100x mightier than a couple who does not. He is actually fearful of such a couple. They are a formidable foe to him and his schemes. The Bible is very clear that “wherever two or more are gathered in His name, He is in the midst of them.”  It also tells us ” if one can overpower him who is alone, two can resist him. A cord of three strands is not quickly torn apart.”  Matthew 18:19 says – “if two of you agree on earth about anything that they may ask, it shall be done for them by My Father who is in heaven.”

Clearly, a husband and wife together wield a great sword in the battle for their marriage, children, mission, etc. This is a major target area for the enemy to attack on a regular basis. One of the main reasons we should strive to pray with our wife on a regular basis is to wield the authority we have been given by Christ over the enemy, and to bind him away from our marriage, children, job, finances, ministry, and life. If we” resist the devil, he WILL flee” – that is a promise… but we must resist.

Busyness is the curse of our generation. We try to balance a marriage, raising children, keeping our job, having a relationship with God, ministry desires, hobbies, friends, keeping fit, staying socially connected, in-laws, extended family, school, career goals, etc. etc. It can be exhausting. By the time the kids go to bed we are pooped. There is little left for each other. Our sex life suffers and more importantly, our spiritual intimacy with each other suffers as well.

What’s a guy to do?

Please send your comments and advice – but here are a couple from me:

1. Don’t let the enemy take you on a guilt trip because you don’t get to pray with your wife everyday. ( Don’t get complacent either) We have been deceived into thinking that we must pray every day with her or we are second-class husbands. While daily prayer is a fabulous goal, in reality we may not get to every day. Start out by making it a goal to spend one good, face-to-face prayer time with your wife every week. Make an appointment. Put it on the calendar. Don’t miss the appointment. You will find that this is so refreshing and satisfying on so many fronts that you will want to add another “date” specifically to pray. Your oneness will grow, and your spiritual lives will grow as you see God’s hand at work in the affairs of your lives. In time, you will find that the two of you are praying more often, and it is a vital, don’t -want- to- miss -it, time in your life.

2. Don’t miss the opportunities God brings your way every week to simply stop in the moment, grab your wife’s hand, and say a prayer. Maybe it’s as you are leaving for work. Maybe it’s on the way to church, school, or the doctor’s office. Your wife wants so badly to hear you pray. It is a tremendous source of connection for her. It let’s her “in” your heart and soul. Listen to God throughout the day and ask Him for spiritual sensitivity to hear Him when He says “stop – pray now”. These do not have to be long, well-thought out prayers. Just heartfelt thank you’s, blessings, prayers for protection, peace, comfort – whatever He leads you to pray. If we truly are keeping our wife as our top priority (1 Corinthians 7:33), and are desiring to love her “as Christ loves the church” (Ephesians 5:25) – we will be thinking about her and her needs throughout our days.

Start with one “appointment” a week. Work up from there. You DO have the time. Be deliberate!

Listen for opportunities to stop and pray short, “head-of-the-house” prayers for your wife.

What is working for you and your wife?

Rob