Thursday, January 31, 2013

Gentle rebukes

Exodus 13ff

Shortly after celebrating the new year, Brandi and I started talking about IRS tax stuff, wondering if we would get a refund this year.  We really enjoy getting a refund.  (Theoretically, you could make more money if you put it into an interest-bearing account or CD or something instead of letting the government just keep it, but with recent low interest rates, it doesn't seem to be worth the trouble.)  Anyway, Brandi started tutoring this past semester and made a little money.  She was asking about figuring how much was withheld for taxes, medicare, and social-security, and I made some insensitive remarks about how I was probably paying more than "my share" of taxes from "my" paycheck.  This was stupid of me on several counts, not the least of which was the fact that it is my responsibility to provide for my family because God has given me a job.  Well, naturally, this discussion digressed into general and specific critiques of how Brandi and I "each" spend money.  Sadly, I hurt Brandi with some of the things that I said.

Coincidentally, I met our pastor Greg for coffee the next day, and when he asked me how I was doing, I couldn't help but mention this situation.  In short, he listened compassionately, and gave me a gentle rebuke.  I realized that God has given me opportunities to take care of my family, and he has "blessed" me with very nice living conditions, and I don't need to be ashamed of that.  Also, I have the capacity to wisely and strategically "splurge" on doing loving things for my wife, and I should be grateful for this opportunity. Of course, these are in context of giving financially and other ways to other people and ministries, but my primary ministry is to my wife and children.  I also acknowledge the point that Brandi made that I tend to value money to highly.

I met my Brother Josh for lunch, and, of course, shared with him what was going on.  He listened compassionately, and after giving a disclaimer that he is a single man, gave me a gentle rebuke and Biblical challenge of husbandry.  I realized that I have not been a very good husband the past two years.  But I want to be.  Generalizing, I have realized that I need to invest in my family with more intensity than I invest in my work.  As my Brother JJ says, "Work hard. Play hard."  So, I resolve to connect physically, intellectually, spiritually with my wife and each of my children on a daily basis.  I also resolve to support corporate and individual social experiences on a weekly basis. 

Heavenly Father, thank you for your truth, spoken through your Children.  Please help me walk in the way of Christ.  I love you, and I ask in the name of Jesus.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

potty training

Beau has been potty training over the past month, and it seems that his biggest goal is to be "a big boy".  A few weeks ago, we thought he had completed potty training, but then he regressed (he would pee in the toilet, but he pooped in his underwear several days in a row).  Brandi and I were frustrated because we didn't understand why he would regress.  This past week, he as done really well (not even wetting at night).  A few days ago, after he pooped in the toilet, Beau said, "Now I'm a big boy."   I nodded my head in acknowledgement, at the same time thinking that potty training is only one small aspect of being a "big boy".
It occurred to me that perhaps the Lord is patient with us in a similar way.  God is so patient with us as we go through spritual potty training on something in our lives, and then we think we are so mature.  He patiently begins to work with us on the next aspect for our maturity.
Heavenly Father, thank you for your patience with me.  Please forgive me when I think I am mature; help me humbly keep walking with you as you continue to refine me.  I love you, and I pray in the name of Jesus.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Happy New Year!

OK, so I'm two weeks late.  I've been resting, thinking, and getting back to working, so I got out of the habit of blogging.

My wife and I agreed that we would read through the entire Bible, in chronological order, this year.  So, we are already more than halfway through Genesis.  I also want to pay more attention to the geography (places and distances) as we read. 

A few observations from Scripture reading:
  • People tend to get pretty opinionated and defensive when you discuss creationism, young earth versus new earth, etc.
  • The issues of Adam and Eve's offspring marrying each other is a pretty big deal to some people.
  • What did God do with all of that water from Noah's flood?
  • It doesn't seem like Abraham's son Ishmael or Isaac's son Esau were taught to walk with God.

A few observations from life:

  • I worked too much last semester. While work is important, I need to keep it in balance with the other aspects of my life.
  • I need to be intentional about spending time with and investing in my wife and sons.
  • Similarly, I need to facilitate discipleship with my Brothers in Christ.

Heavenly Father, thank you for the opportunities that you have given me and the person you have made me.  Lord, please use me in advancing your Kingdom.  I want to be useful to you.  I love you, and I pray in the name of Jesus Christ.