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Every year during the month of January many in Christian churches spend time fasting as a first fruits offering, a way to give God the first of the new years. The church where I serve has done this for many years. I thought I would share with you two, only two important points about fasting, points that will help you.

One: It’s not supposed to be hard. Our bodies need food and when we don’t give it to them they rebel with hunger pangs, dizziness and other negative side effects. In addition to the need to have food for health and survival we Americans are accustomed to eating, eating a lot and eating a variety. Our social lives surround food. We sit at the lunch table talking about what we will eat for supper. It’s harder in our culture because food plays a bigger roll here than in many places.

Two: It’s not for your glory. If you’re drawing attention to the fact that you are fasting then you have your reward. Your reward being that other people know you’re fasting and possibly admire you or feel sorry for you. J

esus is recorded in the book of Matthew chapter six saying, “When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show others they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that it will not be obvious to others that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.

We fast for the Glory of God. Read Isaiah chapter fifty-eight and see the results of fasting. Here is the list.

  • To loose the chains of injustice.
  • To untie the chords of the yoke.
  • To set the oppressed free.
  • To break every yoke.
  • To give food to the hungry
  • To clothe the naked.
  • Your light will break forth.
  • Your healing will appear.
  • You will call and the Lord will answer.

Wow. That’s pretty impressive but there is no way a man can get or take glory for those results. The glory goes to God. If your fasting for attention or for your glory, STOP and go get something to eat. You’re wasting your time. That’s it! I believe in fasting and I believe that it brings great results in our lives. Blessings on you.

Below are links to good books on fasting.

For Sermon Audio on Fasting Click This Link.

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Today we hear of yet another mass murder. One that again involves a school and children. If you have a heart this news grieves you.

Already the liberal, anti-gun talking heads are crying out for gun control.

The problem is not guns. The problem is sin and the rejection of God by a nation that once stood on Godly values.

There was a time (we’re told) that chewing gum was the number one disciplinary problem in public schools. Then it began.

  • Prayer was removed from the public schools.
  • Eventually God and any mention of Him was removed from schools even to the point that students are persecuted in many schools for their faith and threatened with trouble if they have the nerve to mention God.
  • God has been ejected from the town square. Demonic organizations such as the ACLU have fought and won court battle after battle to have things such as Nativity Scenes removed from government property.
  • Prayer has been removed from just about anything that doesn’t take place in the private confines of a church building.
  • Wars are being raged over our national declaration “In God We Trust,” to have it removed from our currency.
  • Now we hear on the news that the pledge of allegiance is bad because of the phrase ‘Under God.”
  • Now Christmas is under attack because it’s a Christian Observance.

And we wonder how it is that a nation, a world has become so violent. So, anti-good.

Many churches and church organizations are not helping the cause.

  • In many pulpits the Gospel has been watered down as to not offend anyone.
  • Churches have become liberal in the attempt to draw the “seeker” into their church and in doing so have omitted the many times that God confronts us through His Word about our sin.
  • In a time when we should be calling our Christian troops to attention and preparing them for battle we have fewer worship services because we need “family time.”  I’ll tell you what we need. We need to be teaching our children the importance of the house of God and learning the Word of God.

It’s not just the liberals and the churches. Christian parents are responsible too. That’s right. It’s time we take responsibility.  I understand that what I’m about to say may not be you. You may not fit the description of the parents I mention below but, you know someone who does.

  • It’s more important to some Christian parents that their children are popular than Godly.
  • Parents allow their children to be exposed (in the home) to music, television, internet, games and more that are violent, sexual and even perverted.
  • Many Christian Parents find it easier to just ignore or look the other way when their children are going down the wrong path. It’s just easier to look away and have peace than to confront and battle the forces of darkness that are coming into their home and their family.
  • Some Christian parents will spend hundreds, if not thousands of dollars to make sure their child excels in the world of Little League Baseball and other athletic activities. Some of these same parents will not come up with less than a hundred dollars to send their son or daughter to a Christian camp.
  • They can pay for baseball gloves, tennis rackets, automobiles, popular labeled clothing and more but roll their eyes up in their heads in disgust when the kid wants to go to church camp or participate in an activity in their church and money is involved.

I could rant on and on. My point in all of this is that the lack of gun control is not the reasons we live in a violent world.  This world is in a violent, ungodly state because God has been rejected and even some who claim to be Christian put just about everything above God in their priorities.

The end of time as we know it is about to be over. Jesus is coming! Are you Ready?

2 Timothy 3:1-5

3 But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!

Please pray for those who have lost their loved ones in todays horrible event.

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This post is based solely on my observation and one quote. There are not statistics or hard evidence, just my personal concern.

My generation, the baby boomers are getting old. As a matter of fact I am on the tail end of that generation and I’m 52.

As a father, pastor and observer I’ve noticed what seems to be a trend among what are now young adults. For the sake of this post young adults are anyone who is old enough to be out of undergrad school and younger than 35.

My observation is that there are a lot of these young adults who are not adults at all. They refuse to grow up.

I’m blessed with three grown children. The oldest is my son Adam. Adam is thirty years old and is a challenged young man. He still lives with his mother and I because of his challenges. Despite his challenges Adam is heavily involved in our church, helps his mother keep the house clean, does the kitchen every night and volunteers at our local hospital.

My daughters are twenty-five and twenty-one. The oldest, is a college graduate, married, has a child, is a schoolteacher, and is involved in leadership at our church. The youngest is a graduate of a medical institute. She has a job as a medical assistant, has her own car, which she purchased and is paying for. She is engaged to be married (3 more weeks), and is involved in leadership at our church.

I am extremely proud of my children. They are mature, responsible ADULTS.

I know others who are. At our church there are many young adults who have worked hard to get educations or just went into the work forces and are working hard. I’m proud of them.

Then there are those who seem to be unable to grow up. I’ve know thirty year old men (boys) who are not challenged yet they still live with parents, don’t work or work just enough to support their McDonalds habit. They don’t contribute to society but they do know how to achieve at the latest video games. Instead of being responsible, going to bed at a decent hour and then rising in the morning to go to a job, they play video games or watch television until the wee hours of the morning. They then sleep the best part of the day away. When I see some of these young adults and ask how they are, their response is always, TIRED. Tired? How can you be twenty something, live with parents, have little responsibility and be tired?

I thought I was a slow starter but by the age of twenty-five I was married, had a child, had attended college to prepare for ministry and was the senior pastor of my first church.

I’m concerned about these young adults.

I’ve just started reading a new book.  The title is WRECKED- When A Broken World Slams into Your Comfortable Life by Jeff Goins. I haven’t gotten very far but this morning I read a paragraph in this book that talks about this very subject.

Goins says; “Words like “initiation” and “rite of passage” and “pilgrimage” tend to ring more true to our postmodern ears. But what is our pilgrimage? We have no great war, no epic struggle to embrace, no cause to call out the best in us.

So what do we do instead? Did you know the average age of a gamer is thirty-two? Now, I don’t see anything inherently wrong with diversion and games, but that is certainly telling about our culture, isn’t it? Instead of raising families or creating culture, we are sitting in our living rooms with our eyes glued to the television, simulating life. We are escapists, cowards, and thieves. We hid, occasionally stealing crumbs from the table of those living the good life. We are avoiding the truth that screams at us from the stillness: “There is more. You are more than this.” So we anesthetize the truth with busyness (or laziness, my addition) maybe if we just do more, this feeling of emptiness will go away. And we won’t actually have to do any real work.” [End Quote] Again that quote is from the book Wrecked by Jeff Goins.

I would be interested to know what you think. Click on the comment ballon at the top of this post and leave your input. Also if you like any post you see at JeffScurlock.com you can share them on your social media networks by using the buttons below. THANKS!

Follow this link to Jeff Goins Book WRECKED.

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stand

 Some believe that when you become a born again Christian that problems are supposed to vanish and that life is to be blissful. Wouldn’t it be awesome if it were the case?

All through the Word of God we are told that in this life (the temporal one) we will have battles and difficulties.  Jesus told His disciples; “These things I have spoken to  you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

The fact that Jesus has overcome the world is awesome,  but He does say that we are going to have to deal with some stuff. The word that the New King James Version translates as “Tribulation” simply means trouble. Jesus said, “You will have trouble.”

So to the point; What do you do when you’ve done everything you know to do and you don’t know what to do?  The Apostle Paul talks about spiritual warfare and the trouble of life in Ephesians 6 and He, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit tells us the only thing we can do when we know we have covered all of our bases.

“Therefor take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and have done all to stand.”  Ephesians 6:13  Did you see it? HAVING DONE ALL, TO STAND.  Paul goes on to talk about the Spiritual Armor but don’t overlook the importance of standing.

Stand with resolve that you trust God, no matter what.

Stand with the confidence that you have done your part and God will take care of the rest.

When the heat of the battle rages you declare with your mouth, “God I’m standing because I trust You.”

When the money is gone, stand.  When the doctors report is bad, stand. When you deal with conflict, stand. Plant your feet firmly on the rock Christ Jesus. Put your confidence in what He has said in His Word and STAND.

 

 

 

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Psalms 46:10a He says, “Be still, and know that I am God;…

It’s amazing how busy we become if we don’t carefully monitor our obligations. Life becomes a series of stacks on top of a desk with all sorts of to-do list, appointments, obligations, hobbies and more.

What does the scripture mean when it says “be still?” I think it means that we can be so busy, so loaded down with the actions of life that we forget to step back and let God be God in our life.

So often I find myself overwhelmed with life. Overwhelmed with the pressures and stresses of my calling and all the other parts of life that are important. When that happens I sometimes forget to let God be God in my life. I forget that He’s got my back and that I can depend on Him to help me. So, instead of stepping back in stillness I race to solve life’s problems, put all my effort into every project and wind up making a mess of things.

I think I’m so smart but God is smarter. I feel that I have to defend myself but God said that He would be my defender. I try to fix stuff that only God can fix and all the while I’m just making a big mess out of something that God could have handled, had I gotten still and let Him.

Sometimes we just need to be still. Just sit back and let God help us with His presence and His wisdom and His ways which by the way are far above our ways.

I started with Psalms 46:10a “Be still, and know that I am God:’ Now I’ll share it with you in it’s context.

Psalms 46:9-11 He makes wars to cease to the ends of the earth. He breaks the bow and shatters the spear; He burns the shields with fire.  He says, “Be still and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” The Lord is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress..

Does it sound like there is any thing that God can’t do? BE STILL!

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Are you stressed out? Do you struggle to sleep? Do you have stress headaches? Are you irritable and difficult to be around because of stress?

There are lots of reasons why people become stressed. I wouldn’t even begin to try and cover them all but here are a few things that cause stress in my life.

  • Finances
  • A busy schedule.
  • Too many un-finished projects or what Felicia and I call open circles.
  • Conflict: Usually caused by misunderstandings but hard to resolve.
  • Health Issues
  • Fatigue
  • Apprehension about the future.
  • And some things I won’t mention specifically.
So what should we do about stress? Here are nine things that I think are important.
  1. Make responsible decisions with your money.Sometimes financial stress is because of uncontrollable circumstance, the loss of a job, or an unexpected expense. Many times financial stress is the result of poor, irresponsible decisions. So be responsible today to prevent stress tomorrow.
    1. Financially responsibility begins by putting God first with your money. Tithing.
  2. Don’t take on unnecessary obligations. If your calendar is too full clear some things off of it.
  3. Finish some of those unfinished projects. Felicia and I call it “Closing Circles.” Start with the smallest/easiest projects that are hanging over your head and deal with them. Once the small things are out of the way you can concentrate on the big ones.
  4. Deal with conflict.  Conflict happens. It might be with your spouse, someone at work or your church. It has been my experience that some things are better left alone while others need to be met head on. Only you will know.
  5. Take care of your body. I must be painfully transparent and tell you that I have lived most of my adult life in poor health and am just now really taking control of it by loosing weight and trying to do the right things.
  6. Get plenty of rest. Most experts agree that adults need at least seven hours of sleep per night. Late nights and early mornings lead to fatigue which leads to stress. Going back to the last point, I have learned that when I eat right, I sleep better. I feel so much better and am dealing with way less stress.
  7. Exercise. Again in the spirit of transparency I have struggled with discipline in the area of exercise. Not because of laziness but because of allowing myself to be too busy with other things. Make time for exercise. Put it on your schedule as an appointment and keep that appointment. I am now beginning an exercise regimen. I don’t want to sound hypocritical. I do know that through the years when stressed a good brisk walk or lifting some weights, golf or shooting basketball has done wonders.
  8. Instead of worrying about it, PRAY ABOUT IT.   Philippians 4:6&7  Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.what do you do about stress? I’m not a doctor and I can’t give you any real scientific data but what I can do is tell you how I deal with stress
  9. Be Positive. Think positive, talk positive and avoid people who want you to be negative.     Philippians 4:8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.
  10. Spend time with the most important people in your life. Your Family.

You can overcome stress. Yes there will still be those days that you will forget to do the things to cut stress off at the pass but, when you realize that stress is settling in, don’t wait.  Do something about it.

Leave a comment. Let my other readers and I know how you battle stress.

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You’ve heard people say it; “all that church cares about is money.” Well their right. I hate to tell you this but all your church cares about is your money. They want you to come to church on a regular basis and give every dime you have. If you will do that then the pastor MIGHT come to see you when you’re in the hospital.

The pastor might come to the funeral home when a loved one passes away if you will give the church enough money. They don’t care that you have needs, hurts or other problems. NO! Oh they might act like they care but it’s only because they want your money. Actually all your church cares about is money.

“Why does the church take up so many offerings?” I’ve heard that question too. The answer? BECAUSE IF THEY TAKE MORE OFFERINGS THEY HAVE A BETTER CHANCE OF GETTING MORE OF YOUR MONEY!!.

Why are they so consumed with getting your money?

  • So that the pastoral staff can make more money.
  • Because it cost a lot of money to be a member of a private country club.
  • Or it could be because they have a goal of having a certain amount of money just sitting around so that the board and pastor can boast of the riches of the church.

Some pastors have a lot of nerve.  Some of them actually preach on tithing and some of the really crazy ones do it more than once per year.  Why? MONEY, MONEY, MONEY!

Just get over it. It’s always been that way and it’s always going to be that way. Don’t give the church your money. Just look the other way when the offering plate comes by. Or better yet, take about $4 and fold it three times so that it looks like it’s a lot more. Then people will think your actually tithing or giving sacrificially.

Gotcha! I hope that you have figured out by now that up to this point everything I’ve said is….well,…. sarcasm.

Why is it that for some money is important everywhere but their church.  I’ve never heard anything so ludicrous as “all that church cares about is money.”

I’m a pastor and I can tell you with total honesty before God that I care much more about the people who are under my care than getting their money. But I also care enough for them that I want them to be blessed.  In God’s economy blessings come from giving. At our church we pass the plate two times during our Sunday services. Once for tithes and offerings. These are the funds that go into our general fund and are used to operate the church. The second passing of the plate is specifically for the purpose of paying for a new facility.

We also give opportunity for giving a third time. We don’t pass the plate but there is a point in our service when we are greeting each other and there is a plate in the front for missions. These funds are used to support missionaries who are all over the world doing God’s work.

So we receive money so that we can operate, pay for a building and help spread the gospel around the world.

Here are a few reasons why you should be a cheerful giver.

  • Because the Tithe belongs to God.
  • Because we are commanded to reach our community and the world and surprisingly enough that takes a lot of money.
  • Because operating a church is expensive.
  • Because God blesses those who are generous.
  • Because it’s more blessed to give than receive.

This week I have had two precious families experience the loss of a loved one. I ministered to them the best that I could (with God’s help). Why? I don’t know how much money they have given to the church. I could find out but I didn’t. I ministered to them because they are part of our household of faith.

Why does your pastor preach the Word? Because, he cares about you, and wants you to grow as a Christian. Why does someone from the church come by the hospital when you’re sick?, Because they care.

I could go on and on but I won’t because this post is already twice as long as my typical post.

I’ve heard people say, “All that church cares about is money.” They even quit coming to church because that’s what they want to believe. Are you one of those? If so, have you quit going to Wal Mart?

You will go to Wal Mart, buy things you don’t need, stand in line to give them your money and then tell them thank you when they take your money.

The church where I pastor is full of generous people. As a pastor I am grateful for them because they understand. The percentage at our church of those who tithes are much higher than the national average.  I hope for your sake and for the sake of your church you understand too.  Do you?

Now in the spirit of total openness.  As a pastor I look at finance reports and budgets every week. I want the people at our church to tithe and give why?

  • I want them to be blessed.
  • I want the church to be blessed.

Go to church and support your church with tithes and offerings. God will bless you.

 CLICK HERE TO GET THE BOOK, THE BLESSED LIFE BY ROBERT MORRIS. It’s the best book on tithing I have ever read

CLICK HERE TO GET MY BOOK, THE EYE OF A NEEDLE

CLICK HERE TO SEE A LIST OF BOOKS THAT I HAVE READ THIS YEAR AND RECOMMEND.

I must begin by telling you that the best book I’ve every read is called The Blessed Life, The Simple Secret of Achieving Guaranteed Financial Results by Robert Morris. If you haven’t read it, you should. Follow the this link to find the book.

Why is it that some Christians seem to be overwhelmed with blessings on their lives while others can’t seem to get a break? The Bible is full of answers. The Bible is also full of antidotes for your problems.

Take for example the very first Psalm and the lessons that it teaches us. Those are the lessons that I’m sharing with you and the five-lifestyle qualities that guarantee a blessed life.

Number One:  Don’t follow the life leadership of people who reject God.

Verse 1a: Blessed is the man Who walks not in the counsel of the Ungodly.

I’m not talking about being a good employee when the boss is not a believer.  I’m talking about letting the wrong people have access to your life.  So let me ask you. Who has access into your life? Whose opinion means something to you? What kind of media influence do you have in your life? Internet, television, magazines, books, music, etc., etc

Number Two.   Don’t follow the example of those who have rejected God.

Verse 1b: …..nor stands in the path of sinners. Who are you most impressed with? Who in the world do you wish you were the most like? Who are your hero’s?

Number Three, Be careful how you use your tongue.

Verse 1c:….l nor sits in the seat of the scornful. What kind of conversation do you get the biggest kick out of? Do you gossip and talk about people in a negative way?  Do you use your social media to spread rumors, attack others character or to air out your own dirty laundry?

Number Four, Delight In the Word of God.

Verse 2a: But his delight is in the law of the Lord.   Have you fallen in love with the Word of God? Remember: Before you can fall in love with something you have to get    to know it. You will not fall in love with the Bible, the Word of God if you don’t spend quality time with it.  There are no blessings if the Word of God is not part of your solutions.

Number Five, Make Living your life God’s way an all of the time priority; day and night.

    1. 2b:… And in His law he meditates day and night.
    2. Put God first.
    3. Pray about everything.
    4. Ask God what His will is.

The Results

  • You will be strong and healthy, spiritually, emotionally and physically.

Verse 3a: He shall be like a tree planted by rivers of water.

  • You will be fruitful in season.

Verse 3b: …that brings forth it’s fruit in it’s season. Life is comprised of seasons. Good and bad, dancing and mourning. planting and harvesting.Don’t give up before you season of fruit get’s here.

  • You will not give up when going through the hot trials of life.
  • Verse 3c: … whose leaf also shall not wither.
  • Whatever you do will prosper.

If you have a problem with anything in this post your complaint is with the Bible and not me. I believe in the Word of God and in what it says. You can live this blessed life.

I’d love to hear from you.

Follow this Link To Robert Morris’ book The Blessed Life.

Follow this Link to My Book The Eye of A Needle

For a list of other books that I have read and recommend follow this link.

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If you haven’t done so you might want to read Christians and Alcohol and A Pastor and A Beer. Part 1 First.

A few weeks ago I did a post that I called A pastor and a beer. Two things came out of that post. Number one it was my highest viewed post of all time. There is lots of interest in the subject. Number two it turns out to be controversial, especially if you are being critical of the use of alcohol by Christians and especially Christian leaders.

Hopefully you have read at least two of my previous post; the first being Christians and Alcohol and the second, A pastor and A Beer.

I am all about grace and the new covenant. I’m thankful that there is now no condemnation (Romans 8:1).  Thank goodness that we have a better covenant. “But in fact the ministry Jesus has received is as superior to theirs as the covenant of which he is mediator is superior to the old one, since the new covenant is established on better promises.” Hebrews 8:6

I’m trying my best to make this subject one of example and witness and not one of heaven or hell, sin or righteousness.

Alcohol is a controversial subject even in secular circles and is blamed for a lot of bad things in society. Please go back and read Christians and Alcohol.

My point with A Pastor and a Beer (part 1) was why? Why would an influential pastor who has never been a drinker, not in High School, not in college, suddenly decided that alcohol is going to be part of his life? And then decide that he needs to tell the whole world like it’s some sort of a badge of honor that he’s proud of.

Yes we have a new covenant but even the apostle Paul dealt with the subject of doing things that are not necessarily wrong but are a bad example, things that would cause a weaker Christian to stumble. Go read 1 Corinthians 8.

We do have a covenant of Grace, however we (Christians) have been called to a higher standard. Not because we want to make it to heaven but because we represent the Kingdom of God and want to bring glory to Him and not our liberty.

I know this subject is controversial but I do want to know what you think. Please comment on this page by clicking the comment button below.

Follow this link to get my book, The Eye of A Needle.

Below are Links to the two books that I’m currently reading.

5 Levels of Leadership. John Maxwell

Wrecked: When A Broken World Slams Into Your Comfortable Life. Jeff Goins

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If you haven’t done so, I recommend that you go back and read parts 1-3 first.

Again I must make sure that when I say marriage you know what I’m talking about. Marriage is a union between one man and one woman.

#1 In my last installment I told you that #1 was having a Christian marriage and make sure that Jesus Christ is the Lord of your lives.

#2 Grow Up! Felicia and I married very young (seventeen and nineteen) and had to grow up together. However I’ve seen people get married in the fifties and struggle because of immaturity. Here are some bullet points of immature things that will hinder a marriage.

  • If you always have to have your own way.  If you are a selfish person who must have your own way then DON’T GET MARRIED!  If you can’t give into the desires of another person, even if it’s not what you want to do then DON’T GET MARRIED.  If these traits describe you and you are already married then you have only two choices. Live in a bad marriage or grow up. Some say that marriage is 50/50 but that is seldom the case. If you want your marriage to work. If you want to stay married a long, long time then there will be many days when you are going to have to give it all when your spouse is giving nothing.
  • If you think you know it all.  I hate to tell you this but no one knows everything and any person can learn from any other person. If you spouse doesn’t have the opportunity to have an opinion and be heard your marriage is in trouble because of immaturity.
  • Pouting! Can a person be any more immature than when they are pouting? We all have to process hurt feelings and it may take a few minutes or a couple of hours. If however you think your going to get your way by pouting for days…. GROW UP!

Growing up is hard to do but extremely necessary for a successful marriage. Felicia and I had a rough time those first couple of years just trying to become adults together. Now thirty-three years later we are still in the process. Marriage is always a work in process.  “Until death we do part.”

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Click Here to see my book reading log for 2012 and the links to those books.