I had a friend ask me once, “How’s married life treatin’ ya?” I answered him it’s treating me really well!

I started thinking about that question, how’s married life treatin’ ya. I think the question needs to be rephrased. You should ask “How are you treatin’ married life?” Marriage is something that some of us take for granted. It is something that we sometimes think should come easy; that we shouldn’t have to work to have a good relationship with our spouse.

I admit, I used to think that way myself; but for the past few months, my wife and I have been going to a Young Married’s bible study at Redeemer Covenant Church. In this class we have been going through the book Sacred Marriage by Gary Thomas. Reading this book has changed the way I look at marriage. In the first chapter, Thomas suggests that the puropose of marriage isn’t to make us happy, but it is to make us holy. My initial reaction to this was to say no way! What is this guy talking about! But the more I read the book, the more it makes sense to me. God designed marriage to reflect his relationship with us, with the church. Check out Ephesians 5:22-33.

When we become closer to God, when we honor God through our marriage, he will honor us. (1 Samuel 2:30) I try not to expect my wife to do things for me to make me happy. Don’t get me wrong here, I still want her to, I just don’t get disappointed when she doesn’t do things for the sole purpose to please me. When she does things to make me closer to God, that makes me happy.

Thomas also wrote a devotional that goes along with the book. You don’t need to have read the book to do the devotional, although it really helps. In the first chapter (there are 52 total…one for every week of the year) Thomas presents the question “Are you a God-centered spouse?” I never thought about that before…being a God-centered spouse. What does that look like? This idea is centered around 2 Corinthians 7:1 “Let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God.” He says that we should do things for our spouses “out of reverence (respect) for God.” I have started to change the way I think about why I do things for my wife.

I leave you with this to ponder… Do you expect your mate to do things that will make you more happy? or do you expect your mate to do things to help you become more holy? How do you treat your married life?


I am going to start to write again. It’s been a while, but I feel that I need to start this up again.

I almost cried today!  I got a picture message from my mom at 8:15 tonight of my brand new neice!!  She was born at 8:07.  Her name is Madison Renee Branch.  My older sister, Christina, is a brand new mommy!!  I am so happy for her and our entire family!!  This is a year of firsts for us, and this new baby is just the start of it.  My brother and I are both getting married this summer, so my family is going to be quite busy for the next few months.  Please pray for us and our sanity!  I am going to try and post a video blog of my new neice later next week, so keep checkin!

I read an article the other day on teachers and feedback.  I never realized the true meaning of feedback untilI had read this article. My prior view on feedback was telling my students what they did wrong or right.  I always thought that I was a good teacher because I was letting them know what they need to fix.  After reading this article I discovered that I was only halfway correct in my interpretation of feedback.  I not only have to tell the students what they are doing correctly or not correctly, I need to tell them how to fix their errors or why they are doing things correctly.  I have noticed a great difference in the way my students are responding to my comments, as well as a dramatic increase in retention!  I never thought that I would have this sort of impact on the way someone can learn.

Tonight during my small group at church, I decided that I would put some of this new teacher knowledge into my discussion with my Junior High Guys.  I read a passage to my guys and asked them to tell me what they thought about the passage.  They told me and I agreed in some cases and disagreed in other cases, and told why I did both.  Then they told me why they thought what they thought, it made for a very deep discussion for 6th and 8th graders.

My fiance and I went to a wedding thing today.  Apparently we won a free vacation for three days and two nights.  I was thinking, yeah right what is the catch.  Well there was no catch.  We really did win a three day two night vacation, all we had to do is sit and watch these people demonstrate and try to sell a product.  This product wasn’t some fancy gadget that does cool things, it was a product that every body uses all the time, the product was pots and pans and cutlery.  I won’t go into great detail here about them but if you want to check it out visit http://www.celebritychina.com and http://www.cordonbleucookware.com .  During the demonstrations, I couldn’t help but think why can’t we, as Christians, be more like sales people.  They made me feel completly comfortable while I was listening to them tell me every benefit to purchasing their product.  Why can’t tell people about Christ, and why they need Christ in the same way? Why don’t we?

My goal for this week is to tell at least one person about Christ and put it in terms that they can understand. I am going to “sell” Christ to them.  Let’s face it, without Christ, we are nothing.  We, as Christians, know it and it is essentially our jobs to let other people know about the amazing things we get to experience when we have Christ as our Savior.

In my constant quest to better my spiritual life, I started to read a book called “Messy Spirituality”. This book has really opened my eyes to several things, even though I have only read the first two chapters. The first thing that I have discovered about myself spiritually is that it is ok for me to be where I am right now, at this moment in time. I am at a place where I feel like I am going no where; in fact, sometimes I feel like I am only going backwards, like I am not really getting closer to God. This has really bothered me for a long time! It seems like no matter how much I pray or read my Bible, I don’t get anywhere. I don’t feel God’s presence like other people seem to. I really want to feel that. I feel like my life is a spiritual wreck! But you know what? It’s ok. Jesus accepts me for me, for who I am right now, for who I was yesterday. He drove his enemies crazy when he slammed the most “holy” people of his times. He was antagonized for hanging out with scum, with people whose lives were a wreck, people like me. He prefered the company of the imperfect to the company of the “perfect.”

How awesome and encouraging is that!! Jesus wants to hang out with me, even thought I struggle with a lot of things! He wants to be there to lift me up when I fail, to celebrate with me when I succeed, and to push me when I am feeling lazy!

The second thing that I have learned is this: When I feel like I have reached a spiritual apex and feel like I am on top of my game, I still need to look down hill for there is way more ground that I still have not covered.

I read this quote in the book and it really got me thinking.

He who thinks he is finished is finished. How true. Those who think that they have arrived,have lost their way. Those who think they have reached their goal, hae missed it. Those who think they are saints, are demons.

Henri Nouwen, The Genese Diary

Just when you think that you are at your spiritual best, when you think that you have done everything to make yourself the best you can be, look at the rest of your life. There is no such thing as reaching the ultimate goal of being spiritually complete. You may have grown so far in one aspect of your life, but there are still other things that need to be grown.

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