Ron is getting better. Thank you for all your prayers.
This morning he pushed to get up early and participate in a phone conference for his work. He waited to take his pain medication so he would be clear headed. I could see the pain and struggle on his face.
Once it was over, I sat beside him on the bed and told him how very proud I was of his determination to get through this. He hasn't complained or fussed even once. He lets me know when he's in pain and needs medication. He said he wished it hadn't happened, but there hasn't been even one moment of anger or frustration. He hasn't yelled at anyone or acted out of sorts. He has been patient and kind and full of the grace of God.
As I praised him, I started crying. A small tear fell to the side of his eye. He smiled and told me how much he loved me. We hugged each other as we felt the love roll around us. This was not a sensual moment - it was totally a mental realization of how much we loved each other.
That moment.....that precious moment....was a great blessing to both of us. We were lost in love and felt gratitude and respect for each other. We felt blessed and content. If nothing else in the world was right, at that moment - we were right - and it felt good.
Ron is taking a nap and I'm looking out my office window at a gray snowy day. I thought of all the wonderful friends I have and how much you have meant to me. If I could give you all a present - a gift so huge it would prove how much I appreciate you - what would it be?
I thought of Ron and smiled. I wish I could help all of you feel what I felt this morning. Our family isn't perfect by any means, but I hope at least once in your life you experience a precious moment of pure love.
God's design for a loving family surely includes a lifetime of those special moments. Moments when your contentment and joy can't be contained. Moments that take your breath away with the warm touch of overflowing love. Like a mountain stream it trickles through your body cleansing everything in it's path, touching each little crevice with clear clean goodness.
I prayed for a quick way to help you understand what we experienced and how you can achieve it. I settled on one book in the Bible and one piece of advice.
Too many Christians forget that the Bible is not only a road map to live the Christian life - but it is a road map to a healthy and loving family. Every commandment the Bible has for your personal life, should also be carried out in your family life. Whatever "thou shalt nots" are proper for your personal life - those should also apply to your family life.
For example, if the Bible says you shouldn't lie - don't lie to your children or your spouse. Don't steal family time from your children. If it's wrong to cuss at the pastor then it's wrong to get angry and cuss at your wife. If it's wrong to mistreat a co-worker then it's wrong to mistreat your child. If you wouldn't pitch an angry fit with your friends, then it's wrong for you to pitch a fit with your family.
Husbands and Fathers - if it's wrong for you to own a slave - then it's wrong for you to treat your wife and children as slaves. If it's right - as the Bible says - that as a Christian you are to give to others - then it's right for you to sacrifice and give to your family.
Wives and Mothers - if it's right for you to go the extra mile for the women's group at church - then it's right for you to go the extra mile for your family. If you wouldn't dare scream at your Sunday school teacher, then don't you dare scream at your husband or child. And if the Bible says that jealousy is more cruel than the grave - don't you dare let it into your home.
I love the book of Philippians. I've displayed the following verses on my refrigerator for over 15 years. I've only taken it down several times to retype it on clean paper. Listen for the messages about families in these verses. As you read these verses think about how they apply to your relationship with your family.
1:6 Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
1:9-12 And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ -- to the glory and praise of God.
Now I want you to know brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel.
1:14 Because of my chains, most of the brothers in the Lord have been encouraged to speak the word of God more courageously and fearlessly.
1:18 But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice.
1:21 For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.
1:24 But it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body.
1:27 Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Then whether I come and see you or only hear about you in my absence, I will k now that you stand firm in one spirit, contending as one man for that faith of the gospel without being frightened in any way by those who oppose you.
2:1-4 If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.
2:12-18 Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed -- not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence - continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.
Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe as you hold out the word of life -- in order that I may boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor for nothing. But even if I am being poured out like a drink offering on the sacrifice and service coming from your faith, I am glad and rejoice with all of you. So you too should be glad and rejoice with me.
2:29 Welcome him in the Lord with great joy, and honor men like him, because he almost died for the work of Christ, risking his life to make up for the help you could not give me.
3:8-9 What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith.
3:13....Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
3:16 Only let us live up to what we have already attained.
3:17-20.....I have often told you before and now say again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their destiny is destruction, the god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is on earthly things. But our citizenship is in heaven and we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ.....
4:4-9 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable -- if anything is excellent or praiseworthy -- think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me -- put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.
4:12 I know what it is to be in need and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength.
WOW! Any family putting this book into practice will be successful! I am writing a booklet explaining how each verse relates to family life. You can pre-order the 16 page booklet by sending me an e-mail and asking for "The Philippians Family".
God loves you,