Friday, December 18, 2015

Simple Ways to Give this Holiday Season

First and foremost, I hope you are able and willing to give the gift of forgiveness to someone who has wronged you.

That is one of the greatest gifts we celebrate this holiday season. In Advent, we celebrate the anticipation of the arrival of the Messiah - the gift of God to humanity - Emmanuel which means God with us. The birth, life, death, and resurrection of Jesus will forever remain the pivotal and most important gift in all of human history.

We give gifts in the Christmas season to celebrate and remember the gift we've been given (Jesus, grace, forgiveness, hope, life, an eternal future).

Here are a couple of places my wife and I like to give:

CURE International provides life-changing medical procedures to children in places where medical care is not possible. I encourage you to at least look at their website and see what they have to offer.
Here is their link:

World Vision provides support to impoverished children all over the world from child sponsorship, to educational supplies, to disaster relief, to food, to medical supplies, to clean water, to almost anything you can imagine. Their gift catalog enables you to choose specific items as well as gifts that have matching grants to multiply your donation.

Both of these organizations give well over 90% (I don't know the exact number off the top of my head) of your donation to the people who actually need your help. Very little goes to overhead costs.

Here is World Vision's link:

Both of these organizations also bring the message of Jesus with the work that they do.

We would like you to consider helping support other marriages that are going through similar circumstances by committing to praying for softened hearts, forgiveness, repentance, and the full restoration and commitment of marriages.

My wife and I thank you for reading our posts. We wish you and your family a blessed and beautiful Christmas and New Year!

What Do I Do Now?

I've received so many questions from people asking what they should do now. The questions range from "I've forgiven him/her, now what?" to "We are staying together, but we just don't know how to put this behind us and move forward." to "How do I love him/her again?" and everything in between.

First of all, God bless you for choosing forgiveness. This is God's plan and desire for you. God is pro-restoration. We see that message played out all through history - from the first moment of disobedience and broken relationship between God and man in the Garden of Eden, to the Israelites continually turning their backs on God and then experiencing restoration, to the overall picture of a fallen humanity being offered grace and redemption through the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross. God prefers restoration over broken relationships and divorce. In fact, God "hates divorce" (Malachi 2:16). He also only allowed divorce in situations of infidelity because of the hardness of our hearts (Matthew 19:8, Mark 10:5).

Those of you who feel completely numb, broken, and hurt beyond anything you've ever imagined know firsthand why it's easy for a heart to become hardened in situations of infidelity.

Let's flip it around for a moment and take the spotlight off of the one who caused the pain in your relationship. Take a moment to hold up a mirror and ponder your own life and choices for a moment. You might think, How dare you do this to me?!? I was the one who was cheated on!!! Hold on a moment, don't get riled up yet. I just want to put things in perspective. Yes you've been hurt. Yes it never should have happened. Yes it's inexcusable. But, let's consider who Jesus died for.

All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. (Romans 3:23)
Christ died for the ungodly. (Romans 5:6b)
But God demonstrates his own love for us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8)
It is by grace you have been saved, through faith and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God. (Ephesians 2:8)
For God so loved the world that he sent his only son, that whoever believes in him will not perish but have everlasting life. (John 3:16)
You see, even though you might not have ever done something as painful as cheating or betraying your spouse, you still have fallen short of God's glory. Romans 5:6 calls us "ungodly" before our relationship with Him was ever restored. Even before you knew Him, when you were guilty of having a sinful nature, He chose to sacrifice His only son, Jesus, so that your relationship could be restored with Him. If you follow Jesus and profess Him as your Lord and Savior, you have been forgiven. You have been accepted into an eternal royal family, "Now if we are children, then we are heirs-heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ" (Romans 8:17).

Does that help a little bit? Does it help knowing that we all are guilty and rightly headed for God's judgment without His forgiveness? I hope it puts things into perspective a little bit.

There's also the danger that Jesus warned of in Matthew 6:15, Mark 11:26, and Matthew 18:35, that God will not forgive those who cannot forgive. What a problem that creates - someone accepts the free gift of salvation/grace/forgiveness from a Holy God, but then in-turn refuses to offer forgiveness to others because they are too hurt, hardened, or stubborn to do so. Does that sound harsh? I don't think so when considering the grace that's been extended to all of humanity. Think about this - Jesus even loves and died for ISIS, jihadists, terrorists, Hitler, cheaters, liars, murderers, pedophiles, child rapists, and every other hideous type of person you can imagine. I'm not saying all of those people/types accept His offer of forgiveness, but nevertheless He died for them to have the opportunity to be forgiven. He is willing to restore anyone into a loving relationship with Him, if only they will repent and seek His forgiveness.

There is also a pride and entitlement factor in refusing to forgive someone else. It's the mindset of "I deserve and I am worthy of God's grace because I'm not that bad. I can't fully forgive and move forward because this person doesn't deserve it. They've done something too wrong and painful to me." James 4:6 says, "But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: 'God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.'" It takes great humility to truly forgive and love a person who has done a great wrong to you. But that is precisely what God wants you to do.

Keeping that in mind, can you look into the eyes of the one who betrayed you and truly say, "I love you. It hurts, but I truly love you."


So, in practicality, take this moment and say to your spouse, "We will move forward. It hurts. It's difficult. But we will move forward." 


Find support in your local church. Make sure you're in a solid-Biblically based, uncompromising church that believes Jesus is indeed exactly who He claimed to be (the only way to God). "I am the way, the truth, and the life: no one comes to the Father except through me" (John 14:6).

If your spouse needs help, find a Celebrate Recovery program in your area. CR is a Christ-Centered recovery program for any and all addictions. Here is their website:

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

I've Fallen In Love!


If you've been following our journey, you'll know that there are good days as well as bad ones. Sometimes I've felt like the light at the end of the tunnel is a mirage, or figment of my imagination. There have even been times when I've pondered the value of my own life - after all the pain I've caused, wouldn't things be better if I weren't here at all.

Through it all, we persist and press forward.

The Bible tells us to "Consider it pure joy [emphasis added], my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything" (James 1:2-4).

That kind of mindset feels nearly impossible when you are in the midst of the storm.

Sometimes people tend to blame God, as if He were the instigator, the cause, or even the orchestrator of our problems, dilemmas, and tragedies. God is not the cause of our problems. Sin is the cause of our problems. Our world, once perfect, has fallen into sin through the willful disobedience of mankind. The current condition of things (sin, sickness, death, tragedies) is on our shoulders. When someone you love betrays you, that is not God's fault. We have free will. We make our own choices. The consequences of those choices sometimes hurt others. God loves us, and will never leave us or forsake us (Deuteronomy 31:8). Ultimately, and as difficult as this might be to grasp when you're in a difficult situation, "we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose" (Romans 8:28).

That being said, I wanted to share with you something that recently happened.

My wife and I were invited to attend a friend's wedding. Weddings are difficult for my wife, since she is torn and distraught about the value and meaning of our wedding since I betrayed our vows.

After the wedding, we attended the reception which was catered with delectable Italian food. There was also a live band playing some really great and fun tunes. At one point, they invited everyone to the dance floor. I am not a dancer. I've acted professionally for many years, and I've even had the lead in a few musicals. BUT - I've never danced. In fact, one musical I was in (Blood Brothers) included several dance numbers...none of which included me. The director attempted to put me in one dance number, and halfway through one rehearsal of that number he asked me to remove myself from the choreography.

With that kind of negative "I can't dance" cloud hanging over my head, I looked into the deep beautiful blue eyes of my wife as they sparkled in the festive lights of the evening and asked, "Would you like to go dance with me?"

She smiled and said, "Yes!"

We slow-danced, and then that song ended. Next up came a song with a much faster tempo...oh the pressure to run back to my seat was monumental! Regardless, I stayed on the dance floor with my wife. We created our own dance moves. We stepped in time with each other. My wife's smile was radiant! Not only were her feet dancing, but her eyes were dancing with joy as well. I looked at her and took everything in: the lights, the music, the aroma of good food, the laughter, the freedom from any burden or past mistakes, and my wife, my beautiful wife, enjoying herself like a carefree teenage girl! My heart soared! I fell instantly in love with her all over again. If I walked up to her in that moment for the very first time, I would have dropped immediately to my knee and asked her to marry me.

Here we are, nearly two weeks after the event and my heart is still warm. I'm in love with my wife more so than I was when I first met her in high school over 24 years ago.

You see? Miracles can happen. Hearts can change.

If you read these posts because you feel like you have no hope, please be encouraged! Pray for your spouse. Pray for their heart to change. Pray for your own heart to change. Pray for God's design for your marriage to be restored. Ask others to pray for you. Send a message to me - I'll be more than happy to pray for you as well.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Cleaning Out My Closet

I’ve mentioned before in previous posts that certain things- songs, places, whatever, can trigger negative memories for my wife. The post that gets into the most detail about this subject is called, "Forgiveness Can't Forget."  I can’t imagine the inner turmoil she must have suffered, walking through our house and sleeping in our bed through our process of restoration. It must have been agonizing. I soiled our home. I violated the serenity of our bedroom. I desecrated our bed. I created memories with another female, using items that belonged to “us.” I used “our” things to facilitate and to destroy the sanctity of our marriage.

Although we’ve redone a few things (new carpet, new bathroom tile…), there were still a couple of items left in our home (aside from the house itself) that caused negative feelings to emerge within my wife. One of those items was a set of sheets from “around that time.” The other thing was our bed frame. I threw the sheets into a pile of ‘donation stuff’ a couple of months ago and sent it away. But the bedframe was something my wife suggested that we move into the playroom (which had recently been converted into a guestroom).

I didn’t want anything in our house that could possibly trigger any more negative memories as we move forward, so I disassembled the bedframe. I then dragged it out to the curb and called the city sanitation truck for a bulky item pickup. I suppose it’s rather fitting for a garbage truck to come and dispose of that bedframe.

I consider my wife to be THE MOST AMAZING Godly woman I’ve ever met. Am I saying she’s perfect? Absolutely not. What I am saying though, is that she has taken God’s command to truly forgive, and lived it out.

The Bible tells us, if we forgive others, our Heavenly Father will forgive us – BUT if we do NOT forgive others, then God will NOT forgive us (Mark 11:25-26, Matthew 6:14-15). Maybe that’s one of the reasons it’s so incredibly difficult to be a genuine follower of Christ. Forgiveness is not easy, but by the grace of God, my wife chose to forgive.

I remember calling her names when she first told me that she forgave me. I called her “desperate” and “weak.” I told her that she didn’t have the courage to live without me. I loathed myself and I wanted her to give me the kind of hatred I deserved (according to the world’s standard).

I was using the language of the enemy – the father of lies. My wife was not weak in the slightest. She could have handled and managed life if we had ended up divorced. But instead, she chose the most difficult path. She chose to submit her fears, worries, pain, and any potential for weakness to Christ Jesus. That was the most powerful, strength-filled decision she could have possibly made.

Because of the way she chose to respond, I was given an incredible gift. I had been set free. I had been given much grace, love, and forgiveness. Once I received it, I then had the potential to love and forgive others in great ways. Jesus said, “whoever has been forgiven little loves little” (Luke 7:47b). I now walk through life with the potential to love and forgive in unending ways because of the way I experienced His forgiveness through the actions of my wife.

In reality, we all have that same potential. Remember, “God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). That means before we were even aware of our sin – before we were aware of the fact that we were offending and sinning against God – He sent Jesus to pay the price for our sin with His death on the cross. None of us has been forgiven little. We all have been offered the opportunity to be forgiven much.

The major difference between the forgiveness we experience between each other vs. the forgiveness we experience from God is the memory of the event. As human beings, we may offer forgiveness, but we can’t truly forget. We can forgive and move forward, but the memories remain. This presents a challenge in relationships as intimate as a husband and wife. That’s why I’ve tried to remove old reminders as best as I can, but it will never be enough. If we move to another house, we’ll still have the city, the state, and the specific places that trigger certain memories. If we move to another state, we’ll still have names, songs, or some other unforeseen ‘thing’ that could trigger a painful memory at any given time.

God has the ability to completely remove the stains and memories of our sins permanently. The Bible says, “For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more” (Hebrews 8:12). Isaiah 43:25 tells us, “I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more.”  There is also the vivid description of God casting our sins “into the depths of the sea” (Micah 7:19).

What a beautiful concept to carry around in life! We don’t have to get rid of old reminders of our sinful past. Once we “confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). We don’t have to clean out our closet, or our bedroom, or anything. Why? Because “if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” (2 Corinthians 5:17). We don’t have to clean anything out, because we are made completely new! This isn’t a donation of old stuff. This isn’t a new coat of paint to hide the grime underneath. This is complete transformation.

Go out and walk in that for a while.

Blessings to you!

Friday, October 23, 2015

In An Instant - Or, Something Is Rotten In The State Of Denmark

Something is rotten in the state of Denmark.
                                  - Marcellus (Hamlet 1.4)

 In An Instant

Things have been going really well. My wife has been lighthearted more often. Her smile is radiant. Her giggle prompts contagious laughter from others. An ease and pleasant normality has become commonplace in our home once again.

I can see and feel her trust beginning to grow.

…and then, in an instant…

The Setting

As is our custom, we were taking an evening shower together. As we stood in the soothing hot water, we recapped the day.

Our oldest wants to borrow the car for a date night. That’s fine, as long as he fills the tank.

Our 4th grade son has been a little mean to our 5th grade son. We’ll pay closer attention and be sure to address anything we see him doing.

As we continued down the list of our children, I suddenly realized that I had insta-gas. What did I eat? I’m not sure, but this backside pressure was something that didn’t even give me enough time to politely jump out of the shower. BAM!

Ok. That just happened.

Honestly, we’ve been marred for nearly 22 years. Flatulation happens. If she hasn’t heard me by now, something isn’t right. The problem is that a hot and steamy shower keeps odors locked in and amplifies the potential toxins.

So, I played it off with a sheepish grin and confidently declared, “Just call me Romeo.”

Her Response

Without missing a beat, she said, “I wonder who else you’ve felt comfortable enough to do that in front of.”


The relaxing and soothing moment jumped from pleasant to painfully uncomfortable in an unforeseen instant.

I immediately became silent. The weight of what I’d done in the past stood solidly on my shoulders once again.

After a seeming eternity of silence (when in reality it was probably only a few seconds), she asked me what was wrong.

I replied, “Well, we were having a nice time relaxing and talking, and then I let one go…and then you wondered ‘who else’ I’ve done that in front of. I feel badly that anything can remind you of what I’ve done. And honestly, no, I never did that in front of any of them.”

She said, “It doesn’t necessarily have to mean ‘them.’ You’ve had many girlfriends in your life, it might have happened with any one of them as well.” I felt like she was trying to soften the blow a little bit. Then she said, “At least maybe I have this. Maybe this can be something that you’ve only done with me.”



What’s the point of sharing all of this? I’m just trying to be real. Life gets better, but reminders of our sinful mistakes can be only a moment away. I was going to say that they can be only a breath away, but given the gassy nature of the situation, I wanted to air…uh, I mean err on the side of seriousness.

Also, it’s not that infidelity is a laughing matter, but through the pain and in our journey of healing, we need to learn to laugh again.

“But a man who commits adultery has no sense; whoever does so destroys himself” (Proverbs 6:32).

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

In Case of Emergency...

It's not if, It's when

I ride a motorcycle. I've never crashed or "gone down," yet. People say this all the time, "It isn't a question of if you're going down, it's a question of when."

So apparently, there's no getting around it. Eventually, one day, I'm going down on my bike. Because I have this awareness, I need to be prepared to the best of my ability both physically and mentally.

The Honeymoon Doesn't Last Forever

When a couple takes their vows on their wedding day, they don't actually believe the bad times will in fact accompany the good times. They can't fathom that sickness will ever occur, but only abundant health. They can't imagine that there will ever be times of financial need. And they certainly can't wrap their minds around the fact that their blissful celebration will ever eventually lead to arguments, discontent, and dare I say the deterioration of their feelings of love for one another.

Newlyweds - Fiancés and Fiancées -  Boyfriends and Girlfriends - and anyone else in-between: The 'It'll never happen to me' syndrome is a fabrication in your own mind. Feelings come and go. Happiness is a fleeting emotion that is subjective to any number of random factors at any given time. So the fact of the matter is, all star-crossed lovers will eventually have feelings that fade. It's not if, it's a matter of when.

Something Better than Happiness

Joy, my friends, is a much deeper and potentially unchanging anchor that can carry you through the longest deserts when temporal feelings of giddy-butterfly-filled-infatuation have long since dried up and withered away. The Bible teaches us to consider it "pure joy...whenever [we] face trials of many kinds" (James 1:2).

You see, joy is substantial. Happiness is fleeting and ever-changing.

If someone randomly hands me a $5 bill, I'm happy. Now the moment is gone and so is the happiness. It's that quick. Happiness is like a pleasant hiccup in my day. Sometimes it can happen several times per day, other times it might not happen at all.


Because happiness can lead us to believe that whatever triggered our positive response somehow equates to true satisfaction and fulfillment. The Apostle Paul wrote a popularly misquoted verse, "I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength" (Philippians 4:13). In context, he was writing about how he had endured both good times and bad. He had experienced hunger as well as times of plenty. Through all things and in all situations, he learned to be content (v. 11) because of his faith and hope in Christ Jesus. Therefore, he could endure all things through the power of Christ Jesus.

I hear this all the time, "I've fallen out of love." I even devoted a post to that subject entitled, "I've Fallen Out of Love." Many people use that excuse to justify either cheating or filing for divorce. Part of that comes from the ignorance of not understanding that love is truly much deeper than a skin-deep feeling.

It's better to tell you now; at some point in your marriage, you will experience a shift and change in your feelings for your spouse. Those changes will no longer feel like the initial so-called "in love" infatuation we all experience when a relationship is new. FYI: THIS IS NORMAL!!! 


Because feelings come and go. That's just the way it is. But does this mean that you don't love your spouse just because your feelings of infatuation have changed? Absolutely not. The feelings of infatuation erode to make room for a deeper and more mature mutual-submission, oneness, and love. There's a great book called, "Every Man's Marriage" where Fred Stoeker thoroughly examines the Biblical teachings of marital oneness, love, and mutual-submission to one's spouse. That book is a must read for any married man (or man who wants to one day get married).

How to Prepare

So now that you understand it's not a matter of if, but rather when, it's time to prepare.

This is not a fix-all solution. This is not an all-encompassing "I have all the answers" self-proclaimed-guruish kind of thing. This is simply a tool to help you focus. This is one tool out of many that can help you during a time of distress.  Here is a link to several other resources that provide amazing Biblical and Godly support for husbands, wives, and families: Forgiven Cheater Resources.

More than likely we have all seen something similar to the image at the top with the label, "Break Glass in Case of Emergency." I'd like to propose that you create your own 'break in case of emergency' box for your spouse.

Step 1.

Seclude yourself for an hour or so. Bring along something to write with and on. Begin to write out all of the things that you love and enjoy about your spouse/or soon-to-be spouse. Include the situation surrounding the first time you met. Be descriptive - include colors, sounds, smells, temperature, everything you can think of. Write out all of your favorite things about your spouse - be specific - include every detail from the contagious effect of their laughter, to the way they wear their hair, to the kindness they exhibit to strangers...whatever it is that YOU love about them. Include everything! Omit no detail. Make sure you have fully written down everything that captivated you in the first place.

Step 2.

Fold up, roll up, wrap up, do whatever you need to do with the things you've written down to securely seal into a box, canister, or container of some kind.

Step 3.

Pray. Pray for your spouse. Thank God for the unique traits and characteristics He designed your spouse to have. Ask for His love and protection to cover your marriage. (BTW - please continue to pray for and with your spouse on a daily basis even after this preparation is behind you).

Step 4.

Put this treasured box of descriptions somewhere safe. Leave it alone. Then go about your daily life with your spouse.

Step 5.

When the day comes that your feelings begin to change, and you potentially even ask yourself if you've fallen out of love...GET THE BOX! Take that box out of hiding and break it open. Spend another hour or more alone with the descriptions you've carefully written out. Spend some time praying for your marriage and for your spouse (in addition to the daily prayer you've already been faithfully keeping up with).

Step 6.

Take your spouse somewhere special and share the things you've written out about them. You don't need to share everything if you don't want to, but at least share some of the highlights. This will remind you of the treasure God has blessed you with as you look them in the eye and speak words of affirmation to them. In turn, it will also bless your spouse tremendously as they hear the words of validation that you've written about them.

P.S. Do this today. Don't wait until you're in panic mode.

Saturday, September 26, 2015


 A Call To Action!

YOLO!!!! A young man screams this as he takes a running leap off of a second story rooftop into a pool below.

YOLO!!! Chants a fraternity as a new (and underage) member succumbs to the pressure of chugging his first beer bong.

YOLO!!! A teenage girl tells herself as she makes the decision to let her boyfriend take her virginity.

YOLO!!! A husband whispers to himself as he justifies flirting with his female co-worker. What could it hurt? It's only flirting. He's already crossed the line and he knows it, but YOLO has become the catalyst to the exciting land of infidelity.

YOLO!!! You only live once. Those words have been whispered, spoken, shouted, screamed, tattooed, chanted, tweeted, and hashtagged by millions of people over the last several years, "Similar to carpe diem, it implies that one should enjoy life, even if that entails taking risks. The phrase and acronym are both used in youth culture and music, and were both popularized by the 2011 song "The Motto" by Canadian rapper Drake." (

The Momentum Behind The Words

We all know the sobering statistics:

100% of those who drink clean water will die.

100% of stringent exercise and healthy dietary regimens lead to death.

100% of healthy births lead to death.

The leading cause of death - at first glance - would appear to be life. Since we're all destined to die, we need to make the most of every situation. Nike says, "Just Do It." Popular culture tells us, "If it feels good, do it." The Ashley Madison slogan is, "Life is short. Have an affair." Even the Bible says, "Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die" (1 Corinthians 15:32).

If that's the case, then YES - YOLO - do anything and everything, regardless of the risk. Make the most of every moment, without consideration of the consequences. Take otherwise stupid risks for the sake of pleasure, adventure, and excitement.

The Reality

Isn't that interesting how someone can take a snippet out of the Bible and twist it to fit whatever they are trying to say? What I just did there with the 1 Corinthians verse is called proof-texting. That's where words, a verse, or a phrase is pulled out of context, then manipulated in an attempt to validate whatever argument or point the writer/speaker is trying to make. That is a dangerous game to play. If I had stopped there, how many people would have taken what I had written, and then used it to justify a foolish choice?

You see, in context, the Apostle Paul was writing to the church in Corinth to remind them of the evidence and proof of Christ's bodily resurrection from the grave, which in turn validates our bodily resurrection from death into eternal life through Jesus. He writes, "If the dead are not raised, 'Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.' Do not be misled: 'Bad company corrupts good character.' Come back to your senses as you ought, and stop sinning; for there are some who are ignorant of God- I say this to your shame." (1 Corinthians 15: 32b-34).

That makes things clear. Don't be misled by foolish teaching, there is indeed life after death. We need to come back to our senses and stop sinning. When I was having my last and final affair, I had not yet come to my senses. 

I now undoubtedly hear those words, "Bad company corrupts good character" with regret. My wife sensed something "off" about the woman as we were all involved in a group project at church. I dismissed her warnings and told her that she must be either imagining it, or that she was making something out of nothing. Even though my wife could not substantiate her concerns, she had a credible feeling that conversation, or any kind of friendship with that woman were not going to be beneficial. I justified my actions with a similar mindset of YOLO, pursued the friendship, and eventually had an affair. [A side note/lesson for all married people - ALWAYS VALUE AND TRUST YOUR SPOUSE'S CONCERNS - DO NOT DISMISS THEM.]

We Do Live Only Once   

The Bible makes it clear that people are destined to die once, and then face judgment (Hebrews 9:27).

The Bible also makes it clear that life is not the cause of death, but rather sin is the cause of death. Or to be more specific, "For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Romans 6:23).

Workers receive their wages for completing a job. Humanity receives death as our wages for sin.

So the age-old phrase, "Carpe Diem," as well as the recently popularized "YOLO," are certainly inspiring and soaked in reality when we consider the frailty of our lives and the uncertainty of how long each of us has left until we breathe our final breath.

How To Properly YOLO

Live every moment in life to it's fullest potential for the glory of Christ Jesus. "For everything in the world-the lust of the flesh...of the eyes...comes not from the Father but from the world" (1 John 2:16). "Flee sexual immorality...whoever sins sexually, sins against their own body" (1 Corinthians 6:18). Control your body with strict self-discipline, so that you will not be disqualified from the prize of Christ (1 Corinthians 9:27). Or don't you know? Your body is actually a temple of God, so honor Him with your body (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). "Flee youthful lusts and pursue righteousness" (2 Timothy 2:22a). "Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires" (Galatians 5:24).

You see, as believers in Christ Jesus, we are called to something much higher than simply giving into our carnal cravings. Those cravings can become intense and consume us if we don't keep our eyes fixated on Christ Jesus, the author, perfecter, and finisher of our faith (Hebrews 12:2).

Saturday, September 12, 2015

I'm Not The Only One

I've received several questions via email as well as an occasional comment on my posts regarding my thoughts/opinions vs. Scripture (The Bible).

I encourage you to look into my posts and compare what I'm saying in light of what the Bible actually teaches. If I say something that doesn't line up with God's Word, say something. Challenge me. Ask. I wholeheartedly appreciate being held accountable. If I preach, teach, or share thoughts, philosophies, or so-called wisdom based on anything other than the inerrant teaching of the Bible, then I am failing in my life's mission.

The Apostle Paul; one of the greatest missionaries and champions of the Gospel, the most prolific contributor to the New Testament, and an incredible testimony to the transformational work of the Holy Spirit, grace, and redemption - his words were challenged by one of the early churches.

"Now the Berean...were of more noble character...for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true" (Acts 17:11).

I believe every teacher/preacher of the Word of God should be checked up on, looked into, scrutinized, and held accountable on a regular basis. That is one of the things that we as teachers subject ourselves to as the Bible says, "Not many of you should become teachers, my fellow believers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly" (James 3:1).

To add a little refreshment and different but similarly aligned perspective, I invite you to check out the resources section of my website:
(I'm not tech savvy enough to enable a clickable link on the photo below. You'll have to click on the link above.)

There I've listed several resources, sites, and helpful places to find hope for your marriage, relationship, restoration, and growth in Christ Jesus. I am not being endorsed or compensated in any way by these sites. These are simply my personal recommendations of fantastic places to find Godly wisdom in the arena of sexual integrity, relationships, family, and restoration. This is by no means an exhaustive list. I will probably continue to add more sites as time goes on. 

If you have any sites like these that you would like to recommend, please let me know!

Blessings to you.


Monday, August 31, 2015

Make Your Decision Now

Many of you have read my posts because you are struggling with the counter-cultural idea of forgiveness and restoration after you have been hurt and betrayed.

Some of you have read my posts because you are simply curious what a 'forgiven cheater' would have to say - understandably so. The world watched with salivating excitement, conditioned by a tabloid-journalism-infused culture, as the Ashley Madison hackers released the names of those who had created accounts. Tabloid so-called journalism has created an unquenchable hunger within us to deem lives filled with self-destructive choices and mistakes as 'entertainment.'

Then there are those of you who are either entertaining the thought, dabbling with, or even fully engaged in an extramarital affair, or multiple affairs.

Today, I write to the third group of individuals - the cheaters. To be even more specific, I am writing to the cheaters who claim to be Christians.

First, I'll define cheating with a Biblical worldview.

Cheating: To allow any lustful thought or action while married.

I understand lustful thoughts are sinful for anyone, but in this post, I am specifically addressing people who are married. This includes, but is not limited to: porn, physical relationships with someone other than your spouse, emotional relationships with someone other than your spouse, even fantasizing about having a relationship with someone other than your spouse. (Obviously I'm not talking about a good close friend of the same gender. But that kind of relationship should not take priority over the relationship you have with your spouse either.) Intimacy on any level, of any type or kind, should be reserved for your spouse alone, aside from the full surrender and abandon you give to the Lord Jesus.

So you've crossed the line. You've done the unthinkable. You've betrayed the person you once claimed to love the most. Now what? 

This video makes light of the concept, but the underlying principle is soberingly true.

When a woman, caught in the act of adultery was brought before Jesus, He forgave her and commanded, "now go and sin no more" (John 8:11).

Sinning 'no more' doesn't mean you won't ever struggle or face temptation again. It does mean that you need to turn from your sin (to repent) and choose not to continue down that path.

Don't over-rationalize or overthink all of the ins and outs of your decision. "It'll be hard." "I've struggled with this for so long." "I don't think I even love my spouse anymore." ...and on and on the excuses, worry, and rationalizations goes...

This isn't your path. Your path doesn't look like this at all. Your path is clear. Your path will be straight if you keep "your eyes...straight ahead; fix your gaze directly before you" (Proverbs 4:25), "fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith" (Hebrews 12:2).

There are pragmatic steps that need to take place as I laid out in my post entitled, "Rebuilding Trust."

But the main point is, make your decision today. 

When I was in the midst of an affair, I felt darkness engulfing my life. I felt my heart hardening towards God. Somehow, I convinced myself that at the end of it all, after I was divorced, I could bask in the light of grace and forgiveness. I justified my terrible actions with a 'get out of jail free' card, just waiting to be handed out by a happy-go-lucky god I'd formed in my mind, loosely based on the Sovereign and Holy Lord of all creation revealed to humanity through the Bible. 

The Apostle Paul dealt with this same illogical issue, "What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?" (Romans 6:1-2).

You can't wait to make your decision. Who is to say how much time you have left? What if you drop dead in the next five minutes? What if you have some kind of catastrophic accident tonight? What if you are in the wrong place at the wrong time and meet an untimely demise? 

Don't put off your repentance. Choose life. Choose freedom. "Choose this day whom you will for me and my household, we will serve the LORD." (Joshua 24:15) Paul wrote to the church in Corinth, "I tell you, now is the time of God's favor, now is the day of salvation." (2 Corinthians 6:2). "Seek the LORD while he may be found; call on him while he is near" (Isaiah 55:6).

Once you've made the decision, stand by it. "Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming" (Ephesians 4:14).

The Bottom Line
You have two choices. The first choice is freedom, found only in Christ Jesus (John 10:10, John 8:32). The second choice is bondage and an ongoing cycle of self-destruction.

So ask yourself, "Do I want freedom, or bondage?" Once you've answered the question, move forward and commit to your decision without looking back.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

We Are Getting Divorced

The Text I Received From A Friend

Please pray for healing for us. We are getting divorced. We made a mistake getting married.

My Response Was This

I'm so sorry to hear that. We will continue to pray for you.

My Gut-Reaction

First of all dear friend, my prayer for you is that you will find the courage and grace to mend your marriage. I am sick on the inside. This epidemic of "WE MADE A MISTAKE GETTING MARRIED" has to come to an end. Remember, I said the exact same words to my wife - as I alluded to in my post, "I've Fallen Out Of Love." Our marriage has struggles, yes - but I am passionately in love with my wife. I never dreamed that I would ever be so completely satisfied and joyful in any relationship.

A Message To The Voices In Our Culture

All of you placaters and politically correct water-downers who have some kind of fear of speaking the truth - STOP. Stop placating. Stop watering down situations and helping to further the destruction of marriages, while turning your backs on the beauty of forgiveness. Stop encouraging people that there's somebody better out there. Stop telling people that they deserve better. Stop fostering the idea that a mistake had been made in the marriage.

Learn to speak the TRUTH in love, so that we can grow and mature in Christ (Eph 4:13).

We need to take collective responsibility for the epidemic of divorce and broken homes in our country.

Here Are The Three Sections Of My Friend's Text

Please Pray For Healing For Us.

Absolutely. Will do. Already on it. I prayed this morning before I even asked him how things were going. I prayed after I received his text. I am praying as I type. I will continue to pray as the hours and days pass in the future.

What am I praying for? Healing that looks like this: Forgiveness, Grace, Humility, Brokenness spilling into new life, RESTORATION.

Why am I praying for these things? Because it is what I am called to do. Because it is the WILL OF GOD. Because it is the right thing to do. MOST IMPORTANTLY - because it is feasible, plausible, and unarguably possible through Christ Jesus. My marriage is a living testament to that claim.

We Are Getting Divorced.

This is the popular track to follow. This seems easiest. End it all. Chalk this one up to experience. Live and learn. Cool. Let's throw a divorce party and move onward & upward!! (Yes, there is a growing trend of divorce parties, much like bachelor and bachelorette parties with people/businesses turning quite a profit.)

Things WILL NOT get better. Psychology Today reports, "67% of second, and 73% of third marriages end in divorce." TIME devoted an entire article to the subject, noting, "the replacement...doesn't actually restore the family."

So I ask you why. Why are you getting divorced? You can't take the heat? That's what up-close and personal relationships are like. Things get heated. Situations get uncomfortable. Sometimes people seem unbearable with their annoying traits and nagging voices and all the other things that drive you up the wall...wait...what about when the camera is flipped around? What does your spouse see in you? All of your flaws/annoying traits/blemishes.... BECAUSE WE ARE ALL FLAWED. Remember this, "for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" (Rom 3:23). The only perfect person is the Lord Jesus Christ. That's because He is God in the flesh. We can never measure up to that level of perfection.

Marriages are a direct reflection of the relationship between Christ Jesus and the church. "We all, like sheep have gone astray" (Isa 53:6). We all have been unfaithful to our God, over and over and over again. And yet, God demonstrated His love for us "while we were still sinners, Christ died for us" (Rom 5:8). Do you see that? When we were busy offending and snubbing God, Jesus DIED for us, in our place - He took our sin on Himself and gave us the opportunity to be made righteous and sinless in His sight. What does that mean? It means, He enabled forgiveness and restoration.

The three basic ideas of a marriage are this: 

1. Two separate people become one (Mk 10:8, Gen 2:24, Eph 5:31, Matt 19:5). Get it? Two sinful, selfish people with their own flawed egos enter into a relationship that was designed to last a lifetime.

2. A wife is supposed to submit to her husband (Eph 5:22-23). That means all of her hopes, dreams, and desires are to be submitted to her husband.

3. A husband is supposed to love his wife in the same way that Christ loved the church (Eph 5:25). That means, a husband is supposed to sacrificially lay down his life for his wife.

If those three basic idea were truly followed, there would never be divorce. There would be no abuse. There would be no infidelity. There would be no conflict. There would be no issue. There would be no epidemic. Why? Because there would be equal submission. There would be equal sacrifice.

We Made A Mistake Getting Married

No you didn't. You were madly in love with each other. You couldn't stand to be apart. You constantly thought about one another. Your heart raced when you first met. You wrote songs about your love. You spent time writing to each other, expressing your heartfelt passionate words of love.

You made mistakes along the way. Some of those mistakes hurt deeply.

You're making a mistake by getting divorced.

Stay the course, even when it feels difficult. Remember the vows you so freely spoke? Through good times, and bad...till death do us part... These aren't the best of times. But you vowed to stand together. You made great efforts to express your love. It's time to do that again. It's time to look into each other's eyes and see what Christ Jesus saw when He willingly laid down His life for you.

Put all selfish desires and ambitions to death. Put your spouse's needs first. Love unconditionally. Love without fail. Persist and pursue your love with relentless ambition.

I will continue to pray for you.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Renewed Vows of a Forgiven Cheater and His Wife

I forsook my vows. I ignored my vows. I desecrated the covenant of holy matrimony.

Now that my wife and I have taken the journey of restoration, we have also expressed our love for each other with an informal renewal of our vows. We each took the time to write new affirmations of love and vows for each other.

One day in the near future, we will have an official renewal of vows ceremony. Until that day comes, I would like to share with you what we've expressed to each other. This expression of love was the final 'dare' in a year-long couple's devotional called, "The Love Dare Day by Day."

Several references in our letters are personal and probably won't make sense, but the point of sharing this is to give hope and to inspire those who wonder if their love can ever be rekindled and healed.

 My Letter To Her

My Love,

I want to boldly proclaim my love for you. I want you to hear me, my heart, my mind, my soul, and my lips say that I am joyfully committed to you for the rest of my life. I have suffered throughout my life with burdens from the past that crippled me and stunted my growth and potential as a man. This was a result of my own immaturity. Thankfully, you have stayed the course. You have graciously received me back after the darkest hour of our lives. You have me now. You have my undying love for you, as well as a love that would be willing to die for you. You are everything I could ever hope or pray for in a wife. I truly thank God for you. In that, I want to make my vows clear to you. These vows will not be broken. I value this covenant commitment with my life. I believe that these words are a binding proclamation of my life, joined in union with your life.

I, [Forgiven Cheater], take you, [My Wife] as a life-long best friend, companion, lover, prayer partner, soul-mate, spouse, teammate, roommate, and number one fan – to have, to hold, to cherish, to admire, to support (in all aspects of that word), to cry with, to pray with, to laugh with, to sing with, to dance with, to cuddle with, to be an intimate ally with, to eat with, to live with, to suffer with, to endure with, to bless with, to freely play with, to absolutely and irrevocably become one with in body, mind, and spirit – no longer two individuals living life side-by-side, but rather as one unified whole person – completed by this fusion of two flawed individuals, living life as one flesh, one desire, and as one purpose, together, even when temporarily physically apart; through sickness and in good health, through good times and in bad times, for rich or for poor, while always holding Christ Jesus as our Lord and Ruler, until death do us part.

Love always and forever,
[Forgiven Cheater]

Her Letter to Me

Dear [Husband],

When you are a little girl you dream about being swept off of your feet.
You dream of the true Cinderella story.
However, as life unfolds you quickly learn that Cinderella is just a fairly tale.
That you are not Cinderella and the chances of meeting a prince were not possible.

I realize that my story is much deeper and much more complicated.
It seems to relate more to the tale of Finding Nemo.
It started with a human who was attempting to be funny by making fish lips.
From that moment I desired to be near you!
From that moment I knew that you were someone that I wanted to spend my life with.
I was swept away and fell in love in that instant connection.
Little did I know that I would love you so deeply, so intensely, so quickly.
I never expected to have my heart consumed.

The more I got to know you, it became clear that you were not just a normal guy.
You were much more.
You were complicated and raw.
You displayed compassion and love for others.
You had a real relationship with God and you made me want something more.
It wasn’t until I met you, that I realized that kind of relationship was even possible.
You made me dig deeper.
You made me strive to be a better person, one with integrity and love.
I lived in such a dark place as a child and you opened it up and shined light on it.
You gave me hope.
You gave me something to strive for.
You helped me see beyond myself and realize that so much more was possible.
That dreams do come true.
They just aren’t always the way you envision them.

Life has not been a fairy tale.
It has been an adventure.
One with daring twists and complicated plots.
I have had some of the most joyous moments in my life with you.
Many of my first were with you.
My most precious memories include you.
I would not trade anything for my experiences with you.
You allowed me to be a mother.
Something that I wouldn’t trade for anything else in the world!
The joy of unconditional love- a love like no other.
That is one of my most prized memories in this life.
That experience alone has made me grow and I couldn’t have done that without you.

Even cartoons experience heartache and loss.
They go through experiences that tear them apart, leave them hopeless, and heart broken.
I often wish that life didn’t need to include pain or suffering.
That we could learn valuable lessons a different way.
I can’t change those experiences.
I only hope to grow through them.

I promise, just like I did 21 years ago… To take you for better, or for worse; for rich or for poor, in sickness and in health, as long as we both live.

I promise to be your love, your best friend, your accomplice, your soul mate, your partner, your intimate ally, your side kick, your number one fan, your amigo, your secret admirer, your confidant, your secretary, your girl- forever…

I am yours and always have been yours. You have my heart, my life, my soul. You make my life complete. I am no longer in this life alone. I have you by my side. Just as God said, “the two shall become one.” This is my promise and covenant with you.

I am one with you!

I love you,