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Friday, May 28, 2010

Twenty-eight Years? Is That All?

Tomorrow it will be 28 years since I made a vow before God and a few witnesses to take a Kansas girl as my wife. I was 19. After being married to this girl for 28 year I know why that plains State is called the land of aaahhhss. I use to hear of people being married twenty years and would think to myself, "Wow, that is quite a milestone." Now I wonder where my twenty plus eight years have gone. They are marked by a few big memories and if I sit and think a host of smaller ones, and if I have family and friends around and have my memory jogged it is twenty eight years that encompasses more than I can remember. They have all been spent with this one woman, who I still call Michele. I have never been too much with the "tootsy baby" or "honey bunch" or "sweetie pie". Don't mistake that for an inability to be romantic ;-) "Michele" that is my term of endearment.

I have lived with her over half my life.
I have lived with her 10 years longer than I lived with my parents and brothers.
We have had six children together, all but one is grown, and all but two are on their own.

We have fought together, played together; dissapointed each other, encouraged each other; supported each other, challenged each other; agreed, disagreed (she can't always be right....hehehehe); suffered together, rejoiced together; cried together, laughed together; frowned at each other, smiled at each other; we've had our ups, we've had our downs. Life goes on and every morning we wake up in the same bed and are happy to have it so.....

I have come home every day, and she has been there every day. We have struggled together and we have achieved together. The important thing is that we have just always been together for twenty eight years now.

We are not young any more. We both wear bi-focals and need to lose some weight. We've both had a brief scare or two concerning our mortality. I fear leaving her here, I fear being left we go on living and leave the leaving to Him who knows best.

We have lived the life of a Baptist preacher. There was never a time when the Baptist ministry was not what we were about, whether preparing, preaching, or pastoring our lives have been defined by God's call on my life. She married a Baptist preacher and in doing so became a preacher's wife. We have enjoyed the rewards of that calling and we have suffered the disappointments of that work. We have been loved and we have been hated but most importantly we have experienced it all together. I cannot think of a person with whom I would rather be hated.....

We have filled a 2100 sq. foot house (that desperately needs a coat of paint) to the brim. We have 200,000 miles (almost) on an eight passenger van. We still like pizza even after me working part time in the pizza delivering business for 17 years. (we have eaten a lot of pizza). Nobody knows like Dominos! We like to eat out (always have, always will).

We share the same convictions even if the whole world thinks we're crazy. We love our kids, we like to travel, we live for God, we long to be useful, and we look forward with hope.

I know we are at the very cusp of the "empty nest". The nest is already considerably less crowded and quieter. But even when all the fledglings have sprouted wings and taken their flight this little nest will still, by God's grace, be occupied by two little love birds. Tweet, tweet!

I love you Michele, thanks for being mine!

Monday, May 03, 2010

He Will Whet His Sword

The following is from the introduction of C. H. Spurgeon's message Turn Or Burn.  His text for the message was, If he turn not, he will whet his sword; he hath bent his bow, and made it ready.  Psalms 7:12

"If the sinner turn not, God will whet his sword.  So, then, God has a sword, and he will punish man on account of his iniquity.  This evil generation hath labored to take away from God the sword of his justice; they have endeavoured to prove to themselves that God will 'clear the guilty,' and will by no means 'punish iniquity, transgression, and sin.'  Two hundred years ago the predominant strain of the pulpit was one of terror; it was like Mount Sinai, it thundered forth the dreadful wrath of God, and from the lips of Baxter or a Bunyan, you heard most terrible sermons, full to the brim with warnings of judgment to come.  Perhaps some of the Puritan fathers may have gone too far, and have given too great a prominence to the terrors of the Lord in their ministry; but the age in which we live has sought to forget those terrors altogether, and if we dare to tell men that God will punish them for their sins, it is charged upon us that we want to bully them into religion, and if we faithfully and honestly tell our hearers that sin must bring after it certain destruction it is said that we are attempting to frighten them into goodness.  Now we care not what men mockingly impute to us; we feel it our duty, when men sin, to tell them that they shall be punished; and so long as the world will not give up its sin, we feel we must not cease our warnings.  But the cry of the age is, that God is merciful, that God is love.  Ay, who said he was not?  But remember, it is equally true, God is just, severely just and inflexibly just!  He were not God, if he were not just; he could not be merciful if he were not just, the punishment of the wicked is demanded by the highest mercy to the rest of mankind.  Rest assured, however, that he is just, and that the words I am about to read you from God's holy word are true: 'The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God;'  'God is angry with the wicked every day;'  'if he turn not, he will whet his sword; he hath bent his bow, and made it ready.  He hath also prepared for him the instruments of death; he ordaineth his arrows against the persecutors.'  Forsooth, because this age is wicked, it is to have not hell; and because it is hypocritical, it would have but feigned punishment.  This doctrine is so prevalent as to make even the ministers of the gospel flinch from their duty in declaring the day of wrath.  How few there are who will solemnly tell us of the judgment to come.  They preach of God's love and mercy, as they ought to do, and as God has commanded them; but of what avail is it to preach mercy unless they preach also the doom of the wicked?  And how shall we hope to effect the purpose of preaching unless we warn men that if they 'turn not he will whet his sword?'  I fear that in too many places the doctrine of future punishment is rejected, and laughed at as a fancy and a chimera; but the day will come when it shall be known to be a reality."