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Happily Ever After

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Today, my husband and I are celebrating 22 years of marriage. It has been a great run. But it has been so much work.

I knew, we knew, it would be WORK getting married and staying married. But, there are things you know and then there are things you KNOW. After 22 years, we KNOW it is work.

We have experienced for better or worse days. We have endured for richer or poor times. We have lived through sickness and health together. After 22 years, I realize you cannot determine the success of marriage by the number of good and bad days. You cannot even evaluate it by the season you are walking through. A successful marriage takes a lifetime. It’s being able to look back on 22 years and say, “it is good, very good”.

When God created the world, on the seventh day, He rested. On the seventh day, He sat back and evaluated all He had created. Then, when He was done, He determined it was good. Why do we insist something has to be great to be valuable?

God didn’t say creation was great. He said it was good. Good is solid. Good is secure. Good tells us it is exactly the way it is supposed to be; the way God says it should be. And it wasn’t until He was finished that He was able to determine its goodness.

Are you trying to determine your marriage’s “goodness” after only a few short years? Are you evaluating its “goodness” by the season you are in? Are you calling success the happiness you feel today? It may be you have prematurely evaluated your marriage. Let God have a try. Let Him evaluate it and tell you when it is good in His eyes.

Most of us are just getting started. The first ten years we were still trying to figure out how to do this thing. Then we added children to the mix…like we had any clue about that either. Maybe you need to give yourself a break. Give your spouse a break. You are both still muddling through a lifetime. It will take a lifetime to create a successful marriage. Hang in there! God will make a way!

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Public Speaking 101

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As a pastor, I frequently attend meetings or groups that involve public speaking. Often, a person will be asked to say a few words who does not typically speak in front of large groups. Panic sets in; for me as well as the other person. I know they are nervous and I feel their pain.

Public speaking is still one of the top fears of many people. If you are like most people, you do not speak to large groups every day. You probably do not speak to large groups weekly. But you will be asked to speak publicly at some point in your life. It may be at a wedding or a funeral. It may be at a banquet or an anniversary party. It may even be on a Sunday morning when your pastor asks you to read something from the Scriptures.

So here are a few tips for those of you whose knees buckle at the thought of public speaking.

Breathe

Take a deep breath and relax. Concentrate of breathing slowly. It will slow your heart rate and keep you from shaking. And it will help you think more clearly.

Slow Down

You have something to say and it is important. We really want to hear it. Don’t worry about the “eye rollers”. They would roll their eyes at Rev. Billy Graham.

Just Talk

Don’t tell them you are nervous. Everyone already knows because everyone gets nervous. Even the one who speaks regularly gets nervous. If they don’t, then they should. So just get up, tell them your name, and start speaking.

Respect Time

Respect the time you were given. People are good with nervousness, note cards, and even stumbling over words. But they are not good with speakers running over time. So keep it short (including prayers).

Smile

Smiling is like breathing. It helps you relax. It helps them relax. You can get away with almost anything if you smile.

You will be asked to speak at some point in your life. Don’t shy away. Accept the challenge as a gift. Someone honored you enough to ask you to share your thoughts or your heart. You matter to them and you matter to God. So give God the glory and speak up with confidence.

Not in Vain

I was reminded this week that my prayers are not in vain. It was in a moment of incredible sadness, when I was certain God had forgotten all the tears I have cried for souls, that God came. In a random statement from a friend, God spoke. He said He was storing my tears and my prayers in golden bowls.
Others do not see or hear the prayers I pray or the tears I weep for them. They do not know the prayers YOU pray or the tears YOU weep for the ones you love. But God does! God hears your prayers and stores them in golden bowls. And, at the right moment, He will pour out the contents of your prayers into the hearts of those for whom you pray. Your prayers and tears will be turned into mercy and grace. And a fragrant offering will be lifted up to the heavens. So hear the words of Brandon Heath as if God were speaking into your life today:
This one goes out to the world changer
Shining your light in the face of danger
Oh, tell us what you know
You’re a saint, you’re a son, you’re a promise keeper
Bottom of the well, still digging down deeper
Oh, how far you gonna goChasing down hope
Moving on dreams
Taking that path
Maybe it’ll lead you home
Maybe it won’tNobody knows why your heart is broken
Nobody cries while your prayers are going up
But Love does
Nobody walks on the road you’re paving
Nobody sees all the souls you’re saving
Oh, but Love does
Love does
Love doesThis is for the one on the front line fighting
Ringing that bell over everybody
Oh, tell us what you know
Knocking down doors in the midnight alley
Looking for a life in a desert valley
Oh, how far you gonna goChasing down hope
Moving on dreams
Taking that path
Maybe it’ll lead you home
Maybe it don’t

You are a renegade
You’re an outlaw of Love’s crusade
And they don’t know who you are
They don’t know
They don’t know
But Love does
I’m telling you, Love does

Somebody knows
Somebody cries
Somebody feels
Love does
Somebody walks
Somebody sees
Somebody knows
Love does

 

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