Introducing For The First Time Mr. And Mrs. Jordan Kamali

american_flagToday I was blessed with the pleasure of sharing in the marriage ceremony of Jordan Kamali and Natalie Stewart.  I have been blessed with the opportunity to officiate many wedding ceremonies.  It never gets old nor do I take for granted the privilege of being part of such a wonderful event.  My part as minister is miniscule compared to the commitment the two are making to each other.  The grandest part of the wedding is the understanding that God is taking two individuals from separate families and making them one in His sight.

It had been quite a while since I had officiated a wedding with the groom in his uniform.  Jordan is serving our nation as a member of the United States Army.  Jordan and Natalie made a beautiful couple.  I hope this day will stand out in their memories as one of the best of their lives.  It is my pleasure to say to Jordan and all who serve our nation, “thank you.”

This wedding will stand out in my mind in many ways.  It was touching to see Natalie give to Jordan the ring that had been his father’s wedding band.  Jordan’s father passed away a few years ago.  This gesture allowed his father Saadi to be part of the ceremony.  I am very certain Saadi would have been proud of his son and the bride he has chosen.

My friend Guy Lewis was supposed to take the pictures for the wedding.  Just prior to the beginning of the wedding Guy was having chest pains and had to leave in an ambulance.  Guy has had two heart attacks in the last few months.  He gave us quite a scare but it turned out Guy “only”  had pneumonia.  Guy is fine and the young couple are on their way to years of happiness.  This wedding will always stand out in my mind as something special.  Congratulations to Jordan and Natalie Kamali.  In His hand, dell kimberly

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Good Relationship Requires the Characteristics of Joseph

forgivenessJoseph is perhaps my favorite of all Old Testament characters.  Certainly as we read about his life we see God’s hand everywhere.  Joseph was a man of intense faith, great integrity, deep respect, and a willingness to forgive without cost.

As Christian men it is important we have these attributes in our lives if we are going to build good relationships with that special friend God has given to us.  In this article, as I discuss relationship, I am going to use the characteristics of Joseph’s life to describe how we ought to live our lives.  The characteristics of Joseph’s life are similar to the characteristics all Christian men should employ in their lives if their marriages are going to be successful. The following description is how your life would look if you were using the life of Joseph as an example to build a strong relationship.

  • Good marriages require men of deep faith.  Joseph was sold by his brothers into slavery when he was not much more than a boy. He could have allowed this to change his outlook on life forever.  Instead of allowing this event to alter his life he continued to trust God for direction.  There will be unexpected events in every relationship.  Maybe it’s financial, perhaps sickness, or even infidelity.  Whatever the event may be there will be times when things don’t go as planned.  At times like this it is easy to lose sight of God.  Good marriages need to be led by men of intense faith.  When intense faith is displayed it allows God room to work.  One of the major difficulties I have personally is giving God the ability to work.  I want to know and control the future.  Some of you may have this same trait in your personality.  More times than not this gets us into trouble.  We don’t know the plan of God anymore than we can predict the end of time.  Every relationship would benefit greatly if the man in that relationship could be like Joseph, a man of intense faith.  Give God room, let Him work.  Only then can relationship mature in the way God wants.
  • Good relationship requires we be men of strength and integrity.  Potipher came to realize Joseph was special.  He knew God was with him.  As a result, Potipher put Joseph in charge of everything he had.  God tells us that Potipher was concerned with nothing but the food he ate.  This  gave Joseph tremendous power.  With power comes temptation.  Certainly the temptation to take care of himself was there. To make matters more difficult, during this time Potipher’s wife attempted to seduce Joseph.  A man relying on his power alone would have been doomed.  Joseph’s response to her was this, “How could I do such a wicked thing and sin against God.” Wow, we can see that Joseph was allowing God to be his rock and shield! Satan is always looking for an opportunity to take down a man of God.  It could be the temptation to lie or to steal to better one’s self.  It could be a woman as it was with Potipher’s wife.  Rest assured Satan will do his best to destroy both men and their marriages.  It isn’t if Satan comes after us it is when.  Good relationship requires men of great strength and integrity.  Strong marriages require men who refuse to give in to temptation.  Every man can be taken by Satan if he relies only on his own strength.  Joseph couldn’t have survived alone, he survived by the power of God.  To survive Satan we must rely on the Father.  When we sin in our marriages we aren’t just sinning against that special friend God has given us.  We need to realize when we sin we are sinning against God.  This is the type relationship which pleases God:   In it is a man who refuses to give up his integrity for a moment of pleasure.  In it is a man who is committed first to God then to the special friend God has given to him.  In it is a man who looks to God for his strength realizing he can’t defeat Satan by himself.
  • Good relationship requires men who believe in the power of the creator.  After Joseph had been accused by the wife of Potipher, he was placed in prison.  While in prison two men came to him with dreams.  By the power of God Joseph told them the meaning of the dreams.  The only thing he requested was that he be remembered when the one who was to live was released.  After the release Joseph was forgotten.  He could have been bitter but he wasn’t.  He knew the Father was in control.  Joseph put it in God’s hands.  His respect for the power of the creator was deep.  How many of us have had something happen in our lives that changed everything about our lives.  How easy is it to panic when we don’t know the future?  Most of us have faced a time in our lives when we didn’t know what would happen next.  Sometimes the most difficult thing for us to do is turn it over to God.  Men with this ability are an asset to any relationship.  Men do you have the ability to turn it over to God when you don’t know what is going to happen?  Can you be consistent in faith in God so that your special friend can be comforted by your faith?  Good marriages and any good relationship will have at the helm a man who has the ability to turn everything over to God, a man of intense faith.
  • Good relationship involves a man who is willing to forgive without cost.  One of the most amazing parts of the story of Joseph was when he brought his brothers to Egypt.  Looking back we can see the hand of God in the entire event.  If we had been Joseph do you think we might have been tempted to take our pound of flesh?  Joseph forgave without cost.  In any relationship bad things happen.  When those bad things happen we must to be willing to forgive without cost.  Things happen that hurt.  Sin causes scars in our lives.  It isn’t easy to forgive let alone without cost.  Most of the time when problems occur in relationship the two involved both think they are right.  Truth is most of the time both are wrong to some degree.  What an awesome marriage we could have if we forgave without cost!  Instead of getting our way what if we just said, “I forgive” and moved on.  Joseph was an incredible man.  He wasn’t the man he was except through God’s strength.  Good relationships are built by good men who trust in God, men who are willing to forgive without cost.

Joseph was a man whose characteristics, with God’s help, made him second only to Pharoah in power.  He was a great tool in God’s hand.  Men do you know what God has in mind for your family?  What kind of husband could you be if you would be a Joseph?  What kind of relationship could you enjoy if you let God choose the direction?  Men I challenge you to be a Joseph in your marriage.  With the help of God your marriage can be the closest thing to heaven you will know this side of eternity.

From His hand,  dell kimberly

Successful Relationship Requires the Concepts of Psalm 23

jesusOne of the first passages of Scripture many of us became familiar with was Psalm 23.  This is a favorite passage of mine and I am sure it is yours as well.  Do we really understand the concepts that are taught in this passage?

The role of the shepherd and the sheep is one we have trouble grasping in our culture.  There is no stronger relationship on earth than that of shepherd and sheep.  A sheep depends on the shepherd for his very existence.   The first part of the 23rd Psalm is describing the security the shepherd brings to the sheep.  He feeds, waters, and protects the sheep.  He is their security blanket. David was describing his dependence on the Lord for these things.  This is the primary teachings of this passage.  However this could apply to many facets in life including the relationship between the husband and wife. My intent is to apply this passage to the marriage relationship.  The husband has the responsibilities of the shepherd in this application.  This is really about the security a woman needs in her life.  The following description is how relationship should look when the concept of Psalm 23 is applied.

  • The Psalms 23 concept makes relationship a place where the woman’s needs are met.  Verse one says, “I shall not want.”  If this concept is applied to marriage, the husband’s responsibility is to make sure all the needs of the relationship are met.  I shall not want doesn’t mean she will have everything she wants physically.  What it does mean is the husbands responsibility to make sure he can be depended on by the wife to provide all things necessary.  He is her security.  He is the one on earth in whom she can place her trust and pride.  This is an overall concept which means he wraps her life in his so that she doesn’t have to worry about the dangers of this life.  He is her rock and her shield.
  • He makes her to lie down in green pastures.  It is the husband’s responsibility to make sure that the wife has what she needs. All of us need sustenance but the wife needs more.  The greatest thing a husband can provide for a wife isn’t diamonds, it isn’t even housing or food. The best thing a husband can provide for his wife is security.  This is what proper security looks like.  It looks like a relationship where the bills are paid, the children are correctly disciplined and all is in order for the woman’s life.  Husbands the Psalms 23 concept requires that we provide this for her.
  • He leads me beside the still waters.  When man was cast from the garden sin was introduced.  The peace and tranquility that Adam and his wife had known were gone.  Chaos had been introduced. Husbands we have a responsibility to provide “still waters” in her life.  The home should have an absence of chaos.  Some of this falls on the woman.  I have known women who are all about drama.  I am sure you have as well.  This isn’t an excuse husbands.  If we apply the Psalm 23 concept to the relationship we must lead our wives to the “still waters.”  If there tends to be drama in the home it is the responsibility of the husband to remove that drama so  the “still waters” can exist.
  • With the right shepherd in a relationship even death can’t shake her.  This is the ultimate compliment for a husband.  For our wives to believe in us to the point that would follow us even in the shadow of death is the greatest gift any wife can give to her husband.  To be the kind of husband a wife can believe in to that degree is the greatest gift he can give to her as well.

How do we sum up the Psalm 23 concept in the relationship of the husband and wife? What does it look like?   It looks like relationship where boundaries are set and roles defined.  It is a husband who will provide the depth of consistent leadership, This leadership  provides a security every woman craves.  It is found in the woman who follows the leadership of the husband without question because he has provided that consistent, deep leadership in much the same way the Lord provides it for all of us.  Men we are after all created in God’s image.

From the hallow of His hand,  dell kimberly

Successful Relationship Requires We Practice the David Reaction

Successful relationships require we practice the David reaction.  Before you say I don’t want to act like King David think about these facts.assurance

In Scripture King David is referred to as a man after God’s own heart.  It would be difficult to have a greater accolade given to any individual than this one given to David.  Yet, I look at David and my question is probably similar to yours.  What made David special?  David was at the very least a liar, a thief, an adulterer, and a murderer.  How could David be all these things and still be a man after God’s heart?  David wasn’t a man after God’s heart because of his actions.  David was the man he was because of his reactions.  When David realized his mistakes he was sorry for what he had done.  He did the best he could to correct his misgivings before God.  How does this apply to relationship and the part of men in particular?

Please allow me to show you how the David reaction should look in any successful relationship:

  • The David Reaction requires that our mistakes upset us.  When David was approached by Nathan after he had committed the sins surrounding Bathsheba, David burned with anger.  Sin ought to make us angry.  Wrong ought to upset us. It is easy to be angry if  someone else does the wrong.  Our problem is being upset with ourselves when we are the problem.  David was clearly upset with what he had done.  We need to be upset with what we have done when the wrong has occurred as a result of our actions.  Too often our response is to blame someone else.  She made me do it.  It isn’t my fault.  We are like Adam in the garden,  “It isn’t my fault, it’s this woman you gave to me.”  How many of us want a mate willing to own up to things they have done and be upset with their own choices when those choices are bad.  Think about how much better relationships could be if we were upset with ourselves when we “messed up.”
  • The David Reaction requires we own our mistakes.  When David was shown by Nathan his sin with Bathsheba his response was simple.  He said, “I have sinned against the Lord.”  He made no excuses, he blamed no one but himself, he owned his sin.  This is the first response we must offer if our relationship is to be what is wanted and needed.  Husbands how would our wives respond if we simply owned up to our mistakes?  No excuse offered and no whining. What if we would simply say, “I made a mistake, I am sorry.”  Wives how would your husband feel if when you were wrong you accepted blame without excuse.  We are living in a culture not willing to do this.  Our response often is to say, “it isn’t my fault!”  What kind of relationship would we have if we were willing to admit our mistakes?  How many arguments could be avoided, how many families saved if we could admit the bad choices and mistakes we make?  It isn’t am I going to make a mistake or bad choice.  Simply put, the real question is this, “how am I going to deal with it now that it has been done?”
  • The David Reaction requires we deal with the consequences and move on with our lives.  When David realized what he had done he accepted the consequences and moved on with his life.  Often marriages are crippled or destroyed because of our inability to accept the consequences and move on.  I have talked with many couples who were still dealing with issues that had taken place years ago.  Deal with the issue and move on with your life.  What David did concerning Bathsheba was a sin before God and a disgrace to the kingdom.  David’s response wasn’t to complicate the sin by making another poor choice.  David accepted what he had done and then dealt with the situation.  It had to be a temptation for David to have put Bathsheba away. This would have been the easiest thing for David to do. Instead,  David made the choice to bring Bathsheba into the Palace.  Everyday for the rest his life Bathsheba would be a reminder of what he had done.  This sin left some terrible scars. David didn’t make the easy choice, he made the right choice.  How often do we see someone make a bad choice in a relationship and then complicate the problem by making a second or third  bad choice.  Marriages and relationships fail when they could have been saved if the problem had been dealt with and the partners had simply moved on with their lives.

Successful relationships will incorporate the David response.  It isn’t a question of will we make bad choices.  The real question is how do we deal with bad choices when we make them.  -dell kimberly-

For Better or for Worse

In this picture Gretta Berry is feeding her husband Wayne.  Gretta is 92 and Wayne is 94.  This is exactly what Scripture means when It speaks of the wife being the helper of her husband.  In today’s society we don’t  often see this committment.  When God created husband and wife he said for this reason a man should leave father and mother and cleave to another and they should become flesh.

Marriage is intended to be one man and one woman for one lifetime.  It is easy to  forget the committment we make to each other.  When we marry we generally pledge we shall be together for better or for worse,  for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health so long as we both shall live.  This covers almost anything we can imagine.  We are committing to each other and to God a lifetime together.

God hates divorce.  We speak of terms like “innocent party” and “Scriptural divorce”.  These terms are not from Scripture.  These are terms man has invented.  These are not from God.  In a divorce there is always more than enough blame to be shared by all.  Divorce always contains sin.  What we often fail to understand is divorce isn’t a life sentence.  It can be forgiven, but there are still consequences  we all face.  Divorce hurts everyone it touches.  This is one of the many reasons God hates divorce.

We need to teach our children marriage is forever.  Those who are contemplating marriage  need to  choose wisely.   If we could only have one automobile in our lifetime we would choose an automobile that was an absolute fit.  We would choose wisely.  Should we do any less in marriage?  If we could instill in our children the truths of marriage they would understand marriage is always intended to be for better or for worse.

Marriage

marriage1Today I spoke with a young couple who will be married in April of this year.  It is such an honor to be asked to officiate a wedding.  This is a first time wedding for both of them.  As we were sitting together talking you could see the excitement in their eyes.  I  stressed the things normally   considered important.  We talked about the permanency of marriage and the adjustments each would be required to make.  When  two individuals start a  family there are always more adjustments than can be   imagined.  We discussed the details of the wedding along with all the important decisions that had to be made.  We talked about the usual such as money, budget,  where will you live, and where will you attend worship?  In our discussion we talked about the important values and concepts that must be considered before two become one.  We talked  about God’s view of marriage and the importance of their immediate commitment to each other as well as to the Lord.  Many years ago I learned the more you talk about these issues prior to the ceremony the less you have to deal with them after the wedding. 

One of the things I shared with these two  is something I share with every couple.  Before I do a wedding I give  the couple  a list of rules to fight by.  All people have differences during their marriage.  This is especially true during the initial adjustment period.  Everyone needs to be able to discuss differences in an acceptable way.  I prepare for each couple a list.   It is in no particular order, nor is it by any means conclusive. If we will consider this list as differences appear it could prove to be invaluable.  Perhaps this list will also be of value to you.

  • Never lie.  Trust is a foundation element of marriage.
  • Stay on the subject.  Don’t let your discussions wander.
  • Families are taboo.  The way mama did it doesn’t matter.
  • Let past arguments stay in the past.
  • Never make comparisons.  Comparisons to the ex, the in-laws, etc.  are never good.
  • Avoid accusations
  • Speak to each other as you wish to be spoken to.
  • Avoid going to bed angry.
  • Don’t allow yourselves to both be angry at the same time.
  • Remember to whom you are speaking.

God has determined that marriage is for life.  We need to treat marriage with the utmost thought and respect.  We can be certain  in regard to marriage, we will usually get out of the marriage exactly what we put into the marriage.  The rewards are certainly worth the effort.

-dell kimberly-