Friday, December 23, 2011

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas from the Writer's at Titus 2 in Action!

May God richly bless you and your family
 during this special season of joy as we celebrate Jesus' birth
and the upcoming new year 2012!

Love, The Thompson Family

The Combs Family

The Baldwin Family

The Beals Family

The Herring Family

Merry Christmas from Jason and Amanda Beth

Friday, December 16, 2011

Flee From Adultery

I planned on using the next few marriage posts to discuss the different needs men and women have. But since I will not be posting again until January, I am going to save it for the new year.

I wanted to share something my husband did recently that made me so proud of him.

My husband is a straight forward, tell you like it is, man. I've always admired that about him. There is no sugar coating with him. If you are doing something wrong, he'll tell you.

Recently one of his co-workers, who is married, showed my husband a rather explicit email he received from his ex-girlfriend. The man proudly showed it off as if implying, "Isn't that cool?"

Of course, my husband didn't hold back his opinion. "Are you crazy?" my husband yelled, while reminding him of his wife and children.

A few days later, my husband overheard his co-worker whispering on the phone at his desk at work. My husband knew he was talking to the woman, so he started sending him warning messages that popped up on his computer.

"Run!" he wrote. "Flee from it!" he warned. "Don't throw away your family" he reminded him. He then wrote a message illustrating his family as the light and the girl as the darkness, while admonishing him to choose the light.

After the man got off the phone, he came up to my husband and, with gratitude, thanked him for snapping him back to reality. He is a non-believer, but he surprisingly acknowledged Jesus in my husband for showing him the light.

Later that evening, my husband received a call from his co-worker's wife. Though she wasn't too happy with her husband, she was thankful my husband stopped him. She was grateful my husband didn't sit back and silently watch her husband be led astray by the seductive words of his ex-girlfriend.

"With persuasive words she led him astray; she seduced him with her smooth talk. All at once he followed her like an ox going to the slaughter, like a deer stepping into a noose till an arrow pierces his liver, like a bird darting into a snare, little knowing it will cost him his life." Proverbs 7:21-23

I am so proud of my husband for not keeping silent. I praise him for using Godly wisdom and fighting for that family.

"Brothers, if someone is caught in sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently." Galatians 6:1

If you are "flirting" around with temptation today, flee from it! Run and don't look back! The more this man "flirted" with the temptation, the more it blinded him from reality. If God hadn't used my husband to be the voice of reason, I'm sure he would have fallen into the deadly trap that would have cost him his family.

"Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins man commits are outside the body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body." 1 Corinthians 6:18

Amanda Beth

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Christmas is about Presents....

"What did you get for Christmas?" No doubt, that question will be asked a lot in the next few weeks. Let's face it, Christmas is about the presents, right?

No doubt, my family loves gift giving! We sponsored a young man through social services and bought his Christmas gifts, as we have for the past several years. We send gifts to children through our church mission, and make donations through our school. And of course we give and receive gifts from each other. We love presents!

But the truth is, many folks think Christmas is JUST about the presents. And that isn't true. Christmas is about Jesus. We do love to give gifts. But the gifts are to draw our attention to the gift of eternal life we received through Jesus coming to earth as a baby on the first Christmas, growing up, dying on the cross, taking our sins with him, rising up from the dead and conquering death for us all.

Presents are what the wise men brought to young Jesus to honor him. Gifts are not a bad thing. But when you think Christmas is only about the presents you get confused. Christmas is about Jesus, and the fact that he came to earth, and gave us His presence. And through the Holy Spirit we can always have His presence with us. Christmas really is about presence!


Monday, December 12, 2011

Faith like Mary

"Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own." Matthew 6:34

Especially at this time of year, I find myself in a whirlwind of planning, preparing and perpetually worrying. I don't mean to worry, truly, I mean to be joyful and remember in each moment the truth about Jesus, His birth and the MAGNITUDE of this event in the hearts of Christian people everywhere. I mean to be prayerful about the unsaved being saved and about lives being changed as a result of our precious Savior. I mean to trust Him, however I can see my faith billow in the breeze as earthly things and life impede our big picture of Jesus and His life in it's entirety.

As I fret and fritter about, concerned with bows, baubles and Christmas dinner, the Lord stirs in my soul a sweet reality that Mary, Mother of Jesus was not busying herself with fret or worry when the angel Gabriel came to her. A woman (quite honestly, a teen) Mary does not falter as the angel reveals to her that she would be conceiving in the most inconceivable way! Her reaction was not that of disbelief or resistance. No, this young lady, a virgin from an obscure village in Galilee revealed unusual faith and amazing humility. How can I justify my selfish desires for the "perfect Christmas" when Mary so eloquently and peacefully showed her faith, above all things, as Jesus entered the world? I can't.

This year, our family has experienced any number of technical difficulties. Each one inconveniencing us and challenging us financially. We have replaced car parts, appliances and technological devices; we have handled health issues and vocational hiccups. Each event has greeted us with an inital panic replaced quickly by God's assurances that our needs will be met. Faith like Mary..."I am the Lord's servant. May it be to me as you have said. "Mary's servant heart and unexplicable trust make her a magnificent role model for our busy lives. I pray today that I will have faith like Mary. I pray that regardless of what comes to me, that I will be able to say with conviction that I am His servant.

Not only during this Christmas season, but all year your faith like Mary's? Do we falter in the unexpected or shine beautifully reflecting the peace that passes all understanding?

May you bask in the peace that comes only from Jesus himself. Blessings for a peaceful and joyful celebration of our savior.

In His love,

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

God is the power!

My precious grandson, Bryton, uttered some deep truth a few months ago when we were riding in the car together. A truth that God had been laying on my heart for several days. A truth that I certainly know but at times live like I have forgotten. A truth that I needed to be reminded of that day.

As we were discussing the 'ugliness' of the devil, I was attempting to answer deep questions on a 4 year old level. Bryton  wanted to know why the devil  wasn't in hell and therefore be unable to mess in the lives of Christians. I tried to explain to him that for now the devil was able to roam around the world freely with God's permission, but that one day the 'ole devil would be cast into hell forever and would never be able to bother us again.

Bryton looked up at me with those sweet green eyes and said, "Why isn't he there now, Nana, God has the power"

Indeed, God has the power. In fact, God IS the power. I don't know why there are seasons in my life where I neglect the truth of His awesome and mighty power. Things get too hard for me and this flesh that I live in, but things are never out of the ability God possesses to rule over them.

"Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh;
is there anything too hard for me?"
(Jeremiah 32:27)

Too many times, I put limitations on God based on my own knowledge and ability. But He reminded me, through me sweet grandson, that God has no limitations! God's power always triumphs and I need to learn that control belongs solely to Him. No matter what trials we are facing and no matter what temptations are set before us, God is our answer. His POWER is the trump card in our lives! 

Thank you, Lord, that you are the power source in our lives. Help us to remember that you are all we need and that we need to relinquish full control of our lives to you. You are the power.


Monday, December 5, 2011

Thoughts on the Movie Courageous

Thoughts on the Movie Courageous

Occasionally a movie both entertains and challenges you. Courageous did that for Cheryl and me when we watched it at our local theater last week.

As a husband and father I was challenged to reassess my roles in both of these relationships. Do I honor my wife as I should? Am I consciously attempting to lead her closer to God? I was also encouraged in my role and inspired to keep at with joy. The role models in the movie for being a better husband were not based on guys who were doing it perfectly; they were guys who struggle with the every day issues of life. In the movie they failed, they suffered heart break, they wandered from active faith, and they had to realign their lives with what God wanted for them. They were very believable characters the rest of us guys could relate to.

Photo compliments of Jenny Ann Photography

All three of my kids are raised, so the parts of the movie that addressed parenting to younger children addressed a situation in my life that is long gone. But, that didn’t keep me from reflecting on my continuing role as a dad. Even though my kids are raised, and the nature of our relationship has changed (with the two older ones we are enjoying more of a friend relationship now than parent-child), I am still their dad. As such, I still have a responsibility to them to function as a husband to their mother and a father to them, though in a different fashion now. I am not responsible for their decisions and behavior, but I can still influence them. Courageous encouraged me to think about these things in a fresh and exciting way.

Photo compliments of Jenny Ann Photography

I appreciated the fact that Courageous addresses the role of a father in a way that is not condescending or judgmental. It is hopeful and encouraging. While the movie is about dads there is something for everyone. Men, women, teenagers and even children will enjoy Courageous and benefit from it. If you haven’t seen it yet, don’t wait much longer!

Warren Baldwin

Friday, December 2, 2011

Men's and Women's Needs

After Thanksgiving dinner last week, a few of the ladies and I decided to brave the crowds and go out Christmas shopping.

While we were driving to the mall, we got on the discussion of how funny it is when our husbands try to give us what they need, thinking it's what we need.

One of the women shared how she's worn out from going to school full-time. When she comes home from class in the evening, her husband can't keep his hands off her.

She jokingly expressed, "You want to turn me on? Do the dishes. That impresses me." We all laughed and agreed that helping with household chores and the kids is what helps us feel more affection for our husbands.

It's interesting how different God made men and women, and how different our needs are. And unless we learn what our spouses need, we will naturally try to give them what we need.

I have noticed this in my marriage. Many times I try to do things for my husband to show him my love. I do his laundry, make his lunch, clean up the house and have dinner ready when he comes home from work. Though he enjoys having clean clothes and meals prepared, he'd rather have my attention and affection. That is what draws him closer to me.

I, on the other hand, feel loved by my husband when he goes out of his way to help me around the house. When he surprises me by organizing the pantry or folding a basket of laundry, it shows me that he cares about me because he's thinking of me. Though I enjoy his attention and affection, I'm more drawn to him when he helps me.

How about you? Have you noticed that your needs are
different than your spouse's needs?

I thought for the next couple posts on marriage (12/16, 12/30), I would share the different needs men and women have. When I ran an online survey for my book, I discovered the needs men and women shared were clearly different.

I believe God gave us different needs to compliment each other, not to frustrate us. As we learn about our spouses' different needs, and lean on God to help us meet their needs, we will draw closer together and truly be one with our spouses.

"Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh." Genesis 2:24, KJV

Amanda Beth