Children, Encouragement, Leadership, Training

Have You Spoken a Blessing Lately?

I have been reminded recently of the words of blessing that we can speak and receive.  Reading the Old Testament books of Genesis and Exodus lately has been that reminder.  The blessing of God to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and the blessing of fathers to their children were so present in these two books.  It caused me to think about the fact that “the blessing” might be somewhat missing, dormant or at the least decreased among us as believers today.  The fact that we have been blessed from the many saints before us to the blessings that we can speak into the future is evident in the chapters of these two books.  When God speaks a blessing He does not revoke it with a…”whoops, wrong one.”  When Jacob showed up after hunting his game and desired his father’s blessing it had already been deceitfully stolen and Jacob asked, “Do you have only one blessing, my father?” Because of Joseph, the Egyptian’s were blessed.  Even Potiphar realized blessing from the life of Joseph.  The scripture says, “The blessing of the Lord was on everything Potiphar had, both in the house and in the field.”  In the book of Exodus, a blessing was pronounced on your food and water and freedom from sickness if you will bless the Lord in your worship.  That’s pretty powerful.  After all the many plagues, when Pharaoh finally summoned Moses and Aaron in order to give in and let the Israelites leave Egypt he said, “Take your flocks and herds, as you have said, and go. And also bless me.”  (Ex 12:32) After all the issues with this leader, he has the audacity to ask Moses for a blessing.  Even the resistant and ungodly knew the power of the blessing from the righteous.images

You are a blessing to your family, your local church ministry, your work place and your neighborhood.  You can bless or curse with your words and it will stick.  In obedience to the Lord, we bless and receive blessing. (Dt. 11:26)  You can bless your natural and your spiritual children today.  You can bless others in prayer – praying a blessing forward.  Because you are blessed, when you show up a blessing is present to those around you.  When you lack confidence, know you have been blessed.  When you are feeling insecure or fearful, remind yourself of the blessing of God to you as a son or daughter of God.  When someone curses you or speaks negative about you, return a blessing to them.  Bless those who curse you…  (Luke 6:28)  Our Father loves to bless and so should we as His children.

Encouragement, Leadership, Small Groups

You’re not Losing Your Hair, Your Head is Growing Bigger

A friend of mine recently told me that after asking his physician about his hair loss problem the doctor responded with, “You’re not losing your hair, you’re gaining weight and your head is bigger.”   My friend’s response was to laugh, but if that were me, I would have been upset with the doctor for putting it so, well…bluntly. I wondered about myself, do I want the truth or do I desire a sugar-coated, let-me-down-easy and convenient near truth? Perhaps a combination of the two would be preferable – you know, a speaking close to the truth in love, because you LOVE me.images

Someone else recently shared with me they are “telling it like it is” and that sometimes “the truth hurts.” My response was, “Yea, right, unless it’s you on the receiving end of that not so objective ‘truth.’ ” God bless you for desiring to be truthful, but are you capable of handling it when it comes your way? For me, when that truth comes, all too often, I am thinking of my defensive response rather than listening intently. I am then coming up with why this person is wrong in my mind or making a personal judgment of them in order to cancel out what they are saying. Still, at other times, my rebuttal is to sight all the times of operating in just the opposite way of what they are critiquing. Honestly, when you’re thinking about your response you stop listening.

 If you ignore criticism, you will end in poverty and disgrace; if you accept criticism, you will be honored. If you listen to constructive criticism, you will be at home among the wise. Valid criticism is as treasured by the one who heeds it… In the end, people appreciate frankness more than flattery. (Proverbs 13:18; 15;31 25;12; 28;23 NLT)

Marriage, Postmarital

Ways in which Wives Hurt their Husbands

nagging-wife-screamingRecently I sat with a husband and wife who are in a long-term marriage. I couldn’t help but notice how he constantly looked to her for her nonverbal approval as he spoke or how nervous he was to say things that he thought his wife may take issue with. It was painfully obvious who was silently controlling the conversation and perhaps even controlling the marriage. Last week we talked about ways a man hurts his wife. Far too often we miss speaking of the ways in which a wife may be hurting her husband. The following are some observations for the ladies and a reminder of ways to affirm that man of God in your life.

She fails to thank him for the small and the large things he does daily.

She forgets to affirm him as a man, showing him respect.

She takes his love for granted.

She fails to enter into his world and do some things with him that he would really enjoy.

She puts off the sexual needs of her husband for her own convenience.

She corrects him publicly.

She fails to pray for and with him consistently.

She tries to be his coach or mother rather than his teammate, at times forfeiting his leadership in the home.

She puts him down in front of the children.

She forgets to touch him, hold his hand and be affectionate.

She forgets to ask him how he is really doing.

She fails to tell him how handsome he is to her and why she is attracted to him.

She forgets to say, “I am sorry, I was wrong.”

She holds on to a hurt in order to make him “pay.”

She controls most conversation or interrupts him when he stumbles with his thoughts or his response.

… And the wife must respect her husband. (Ephesians 5:33b)

Encouragement, Marriage, Postmarital

Ways in which Husbands Hurt Their Wives

IMG_0605Driving home from my office one winter day I heard the question, “When is the last time you thanked your wife for doing the laundry?” I couldn’t remember. There are those many mundane jobs that we as husband and wife accomplish on a daily basis and simply forget to be appreciative of one another’s servant heart. We each need that voice of affirmation from our spouse routinely. While it’s nice to receive a complement from a stranger, it’s far more significant to have your spouse speak or act in a way that simply blesses us. The following are examples of some of the failures that we make as husbands when we all too often take our wives for granted. See if you can identify with any of them and/or perhaps add to the list.  (The picture in this blog is Harold and Betty, my in-laws who are age 93 and 92, married for 74 years still loving Jesus and one another.)



He fails to thank his wife for all the daily mundane duties she accomplishes in the home without complaint.

He forgets to tell her how amazing and beautiful she really is to him.

He speaks more negative words than he does positive, encouraging and affirming words.

He fails to initiate praying for her and with her.

He puts her down publicly.

He doesn’t hold her hand or be affectionate with her outside times of intimacy.

He often fails to take the time to just listen to her.

He forgets to date her or date nights are too infrequent.

He puts off regular maintenance around the home or fails to help her with inside duties.

He complains about her spending rather than thanking her for spending wisely.

He speaks down to her, insinuating she is clueless.

He fails to accept her as she is without suggesting improvement.

He fails to consistently remember important calendar dates throughout the year.

He does not take responsibility and apologize for his mistakes, as well as, to be forgiving when his spouse apologizes to him.

He stops trying to win her with small gifts for no reason.

…. He who loves his wife loves himself. (Ephesians 5:28b)