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“Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; for He is faithful that promised; And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see THE DAY approaching!”

Hebrews 10:23-26

Some people love church, some not so much. Regardless, this is what the Bible says ... so we try our best to follow! It’s good encouragement to remember when times are tough & getting up early on “our only day off” isn’t exactly what we “feel” like doing.

Lately the Lord has been showing us just how irreplaceable our church family is. Not going to mention any names but I’d just like to take a minute to list some of the ways our church family has ministered to us just in the last few months. See if you can think of any other body of people on earth who would show love in action more than a church family who loves & follows Jesus.. who radiate HIM. His hands & feet visibly at work.

One church member mowed our yard & refused payment while our lawn mower was broke. One brought over a basket full of fruit & snacks with a precious card and devotional. One text early one morning an encouragement that was timely, as the Lord always is. Several cooked meals for us when we brought home our new baby boy. No schedule or organization need.. just people wanting to be a blessing. This being our 5th baby, we didn’t have a baby shower .. yet numerous people showed up at different times with sweet gifts & diapers which we can’t ever have enough of. Church members show up at music outreach events, hours away to across the US.. just to be there for us. They don’t just show up & watch, they encourage & help all they can with setting up/loading/watching kids/etc.

Some of our church family send cards in the mail with scripture to encourage us. They spend time on their knees praying for us. Some have left amounts of money throughout this ministry that no one would ever give apart for a move of God’s love. One member made a special trip to a store out of town to pick up a gift for our daughter that we knew she would love & then refused to accept payment after delivering it to my house. Some have gifted our kids with toy guitars. Some show up when we are working on our house (add on) just to help. Some have dropped off packages of meat. Some have given us gift cards to go on dates. Some offer to babysit. Some speak encouragement. Some even have invited our whole family of 7 into their home & blessed us with fellowship & dinner! A few families bag up the clothes their kids outgrow & regularly drop them off for us. They speak well of us even though we have flaws. We trust them & love them, forgive one another at times & are strengthened by the love of Jesus. The list goes on and on and on.

Being a part of a biblical based church has been one of the greatest blessings to our family. These people don’t do these things for recogition. A lot of the things done, they don’t even leave their name.

Their investment & love into our family just causes us to want to do that much more for other people as well.

When we take a minute to look over & consider how much a blessing our church family (& thankfully our blood family) are to us, it cannot be explained apart from just JESUS!

So you, be encouraged to be HIS hands & feet on the giving end today. If you aren’t a part of a family like this, I encourage you to pray that the Lord will lead you to a body of believers that you can serve & watch the chain reaction. Don’t go to be served, but to be a servant for others & watch His hands at work! Blessing & fulfilling your life like you couldn’t ever imagine!

John 13:35

“By this shall all will know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.”

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Can you believe Adam used to walk through the garden with God every day? No guilt, no shame, no sin, just him and God enjoying each other’s company. They had a time and place where they met in the cool of the day and here God is to meet him, but there’s no Adam... on the far side of the garden there’s Adam, hiding in the brush after having dinner with a snake. He’s scared to death because he remembers the words “in the day that you eat of that tree you will surely die.” Can you imagine being Adam in that moment and hearing God’s voice echo through the garden, “Adam, where are you?”.

The fear, the guilt, and the shame were all new feelings for him! The voice that he once ran to, he is now running away from. He did what most of us do now when we disobey God, he hid. I believe God still asks that same question to you and I at different times in our relationship. “Where are you?”. We all have seasons where we listen to the devil’s lies, make stupid decisions, and end up hiding from Him in our sin ... too ashamed to face Him. Or, maybe you hide out of fear because you see God as an angry judge with the rod in hand waiting for the opportunity to punish you. That is the furthest thing from the truth! Were there consequences for Adam’s sin? Yes, just as He said there would be. But is that why God was looking for Adam? No! He was coming to reconcile. Wherever you are in your relationship with Jesus, you need to know that His desire is to reconcile with you. Grace is a hard thing to understand, and even harder to accept. Yet without it, we are hopelessly hiding. There is no sin, no situation, no bad decision that He won’t forgive. His heart is to have a close relationship with you. Don’t let sin steal that from you. I pray that you don’t waste any more time not walking with Him. He wants to reconcile with you, and your desire is to be close with Him... so remove what stands between that relationship!

(Genesis 3)

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Updated: Sep 18, 2019

Integrity. One of the most critical aspects of marriage & often can be one of the most difficult to live out. Seemingly harmless situations that threaten the most important relationship of your life.. (apart from Jesus) What I want to talk about today, isn’t easy. It definitely strikes a nerve with people.. so I want you to know that I’m sharing it because it has been really good for my marriage and my walk with the Lord. I have a lot of people ask me why I use a flip phone. For starters, the phone itself is worth about $25 & my monthly bill is $30 LOL. Phones don’t tend to make it long in my pocket!! That’s not the main reason why I choose to use a flip phone though.. Whether we want to see it or not, there are a lot of things on smart phones that get thrown in our face. For example, when you pull up YouTube.. a lot of times there’s videos with women dressed provocatively that show up on the screen. You don’t even have to search for it. The search engine on Instagram .. a lot of times there’s pictures of immodestly dresses women there. SPAM friend requests on Facebook & Instagram or “suggested friends.” Snapchat.. you have the freedom to send an image that disappears. Even most smart phones in general come equipped with those “Private” or “Hidden” settings .. which can cause that much more temptation. I’ve been asked before if I’m just going to wear a blindfold all the time or been told that it just doesn’t bother most men. But personally, I know the danger of this temptation. The sad thing is, the more you see, the more it can numb your mind to the point where the things that should bother you, don’t bother you as much. Yet, the devil still uses that to affect your marriage. I realize, in our culture today .. a lot of things you can’t completely control, but the things that we can, we should get rid of. As men, we usually can’t erase the images that we see. Whether we want to acknowledge it or not, it can interfere with the way we see our wives. It can cause us to compare & also have unrealistic expectations for our intimacy. We can’t downplay this stuff because it’s one of the three main tools of the devil .. the lust of the eyes. This isn’t an area we should have any room for compromise, but something we should take very seriously. The Bible stresses to us to FLEE from temptation. We can’t be oblivious to some of ways the devil is trying to attack our families. As men, we are the doorkeepers of our home. If the devil misleads the man, he can mislead the whole family. I want to respect my wife & honor the Lord in everything that I put in front of my eyes. Our wives shouldn’t feel like they are in competition with other women for our eyes. By looking at those things, we can put competitors into a game that we shouldn’t even be playing. If Satan can cause something to interfere with the intimacy of your marriage and how you see your wife, he’s already broken one of the strongest strands. Also, another woman’s beauty is not for you to admire. That’s for her husband or future husband. Even if my wife doesn’t see the things I can “hide”... God still sees that and I want to honor Him. If I have to delete my “history” or can’t give my wife full access to my phone at any time .. those are things I shouldn’t have. I’m not saying people are wrong for having a smart phone .. but I am saying we need to recognize our temptation & remove it. It wasn’t too many years ago, the things didn’t even exist .. so it’s really not something we can’t live without! I have Madi a smartphone & we do all social media stuff for the music together. She keeps up with the emails & messages & lets me know when I have something I need to take care of. This has worked great for our family for 8 years. It has benefited our marriage tremendously & taken a burden of temptation off of my shoulders. Personally, this is something GOD wanted me to do. In the past, I have had a smart phone for a short time, but I chose to stick with a flip phone! I wanted to be obedient in that & I have seen Him bless it. Hopefully this will help you set some of your own boundaries to help protect you marriage or future marriage as well! I understand phones do have some benefits, but how much sacrifice are we willing to make to have them? I want to strongly encourage you to PRAY & ask the Lord if this is something He would have for your family. For me, (Madi) ... for starters ... we could talk on this for a few years LOL!! But condensed somewhat .. I absolutely LOVE and am sooo thankful that Jeramy doesn’t have internet access in his pocket! Not that I don’t trust him, but I appreciate so much that he chooses to guard his eyes and honor me through that! It makes me so mad when I am online at how often junk comes across there! I know I don’t compare to those women and I am so thankful that Jeramy strives to keep his eyes only for me!! During our dating years, I learned integrity in a whole new way! I learned that curiosity can be a “cover word.” If I have something to delete or hide, it’s wrong & dishonoring to my husband and the Lord! I always teach my kids .. “sneaky gets a spanking”.. and the same should apply to anything and everything I do. I’ve carried the weight of guilt too many times before & I absolutely hate it. To have a pure heart before the Lord & know my thoughts and my eyes are pleasing to Him is a great blessing! We can’t be deceived .. the devil is always looking for a way to cause us to fall or justify sin. He wants us to belittle sin & makes Gods way look “overboard” or “extreme.” Where do our eyes go when another man walks by? Hopefully the other direction! If our husbands could see our every glance & thought.. they should be well pleased & honored by what they would find! Remember the woman of Proverbs 31. “The heart of her husband safely trusted her.” There is freedom in honesty & integrity!! May we always strive to be BLAMELESS!! Proverbs 13:6 says, “Righteousness guards him whose way is blameless, but wickedness overthrows the sinner.” We LOVE you all & earnestly desire to see all of God’s people loving their marriage & being a clear portrayal to the world of the relationship Jesus has with us as His church!! Please don’t feel like you are being judged or we think we know all or have it all together!! These are just tools that have challenged us & also brought healing to other marriages we have counseled as well!! (And for another day.. we don’t have TV either LOL That would kind of contradict not having a cell phone 😅 Not just for the shows, but the commercials alone were enough to lead us to that choice! We HAVE a TV, but we just have DVDs for the kids mostly! Besides, who could honestly hear or have time for a TV with all these kids around 🤣) God HATES sin. We have to be careful not to compromise holiness that we are called TO BE... for the sake of entertainment. We share this because people have asked us about these things over the years .. & it has strengthened our marriage as well as our walks with the Lord. One of the most valuable things we will ever have in life is our marriage. These things have helped us not just stay together .. but have a good, good marriage that we both cherish!

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