January 31, 2007

I Corinthians 15:58  “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.”

Mark 10:9  “What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.”

Actually, they were my aunt and uncle.  I called them Mom and Dad because they raised me from the time that I was three months old.  They met while working at a hotel in Sturgis Michigan in June of 1940.  Three weeks later, they were married.  My oldest sister, Sally was born in 1941.  Later, because of Americas entry into world war II, my Dad went into the navy and served in the Paciffic.  He was on a supply ship and, as a result, never saw actual combat.  He had albums full of pictures that had been taken on various islands following major combat operations.  I was always amazed that all of the palm trees were blown away from about 4 ft up.  Tree stumps everywhere, in nearly every picture. 

He returned home as things were winding down and returned to work at the White Pigeon Paper Mill.  My sister, Sandy was born at the leading edge of the “baby-boomer” generation in 1946  Later on, they opened up a greenhouse/pet shop which my folks both operated while Dad continued working nearly 7 days a week at the paper mill.  In 1965, they were granted legal custody of me at a time when their youngest daughter was 18 and thoughts of not having to raise kids would normally have been a reality.  They willingly took on this commitment, and as a result, I had two of the best parents that one could ask for.   

In all of my years, my folks were always very busy.  In 1974, they sold the properety in White Pigeon, closed the greenhouse, and moved to Constantine to continue operating my Grandpas farm.  (He passed away in 1970)  We raised cattle initially, but later changed over to swine as the profit margins were greater and the turnover was faster.  (I don’t know why I’m going ito all of this)  Dad retired from the paper mill in 1982 after 42 years of service and full time farming, his longtime dream, became a reality. 

In their later years, my folks were finally able to do some travelling.  I was happy for them as they had been tied down for as long as I could remember.  In 2000, my Mom lost a battle with liver cancer, and this past December, my Dad passed away at a nursing facility in Sturgis.  They had met as teenagers, married three weeks later, and remained together for sixty years.

During the time that I was a kid, they would have some incredible squabbles over nothing that would at times last for two or three days.  They seemed to have their own way of “handling things” The sheer numbers of these arguements became less after moving to the farm but would still pop up and I often  thought to myself, “this might be the final showdown.”  They remained together through it all.  They really loved each other “for better or for worse” despite not always seeing eye to eye.

Today, such stories of commitment are nearly unheard of.  Folks will often “live together” or will “try out” this marriage thing.  If it doesn’t work out, they split up and an astronomical divorce rate is the result.  A landscape filled with single parent households, or grandparents raising their grandkids because the parents “have a life.”  I know of such situations personally.  Ours has become a self-serving, instant gratification society.  Kimberly and I will have been maried fifteen years on March 28.  It’s amazing that we know of very few who have been together this long.  The way that I look at my parents steadfast commitment in amazement, people look at us in similar fashion.  We have very defined differences concerning ideas, but we love each other, we love the kids, and “for better or for worse” means exactly that.  Any relationship is what you make of it and any one of them will require work and steadfastness. 

Our older son Matthew has autism.  I have heard folks say to me “I don’t know how you can handle it.  I couldn’t do it.”  Well the truth is you just do what has to be done.  He has special needs, but he has a personality that’s undeniably “Matthew.”  I pray for him much and my desire is that he would be deliverd from this, but you still work through things and you love the Lord Jesus; no matter what.  Commitment means being there regardless of the advice of those around you who watch from afar.  (This post has absolutely nothing to do with what I was originally going to talk about.  This is one of those “here it is just run with it” mornings.) 

Lamentations 3:22-23  “It is of the LORD’S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not.  They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.”

What a comforting scripture.  When I think back at all of the times that I’ve failed the Lord it truly is amazing that he has still put up with me.  It is incredible that Jesus really is able to save us to the uttermost, seeing he ever lives to make intercession for us.  Gods mercies are new every morning as verse 23 states.  The more that you think about it, the more incredible it becomes.  He sees everything from an eternal standing, and he remembers our frame. 

I John 2:1-3  “My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not.  And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous:  And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.  And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments.”

We don’t have a licence to openly live in rebellion.  If we love the Lord, we’ll desire to live for him.  Folks outside of the faith look at us oftentimes with a “don’t do this” or “can’t do that” mentality and in the process, miss the entire picture.  When you love someone, you desire to please them.  When you are born again, the old desires begin to go away; replaced by an everlasting love that never wains.  A fellowship with the Almighty that will carry you through the darkest valley or the most trying of situations.  A peace that the world can never give and can never take away.

I Peter 4:19  “Wherefore, let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator.” 

He remains faithful.  Jesus truly is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.  I’ll be wrapping this up, but I just wanted to think about things concerning commitment in an age when many seem to be only committed to themselves.  I would encourage all who know the Lord Jesus to not allow any form of discouragement or anything in this world to cause wavering.  We’re all in this present evil world together but we have our affections set on the world to come.  I was originally going to talk about Hebrews chapter 11 this morning, and so I’ll close with this passage from the “hall of faith” chapter.

Hebrews 11:8-10  “By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he would after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went.  By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise:  For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.”

One more thought came to me as I was typing that in.  A city “with foundations”  The works of our hands, regardless of how great their physical foundations may be, will not abide forever.  The city whose maker is God “hath foundations.”  It will never pass away.  Now I need another closing verse.

Ephesians 3:20-21  “Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us,  Unto him be glory in the church by Jesus Christ throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.”


  1. Thank you for sharing this and especially about you folks. Genuine commitment founded in an authentic love can overcome mountains of opposition. Because of the Lord’s commitment to us, we can overcome all that seeks to harm, undo and overcome us, personally, maritally, familially and corporately. Oh to be in union for sixty faithful years, to know and be known for such a season.

    Our Lord is so very faithful, he is our hope and the glue of our marriage. While we have only shared 35 years this May in marriage, they all, everyone, are truly a testimony to His faithfulness and the strength and power of His love, the glue of our very lives together in Him. For he is and remains our source, our hope and of course our very love, one for another.

    Thank you for this, once again!

    Blessings in Christ Jesus!

  2. I am blessed by your sharing this morning timbob, as always. Last night many of the same thoughts were running through my mind, resulting in several half finished posts, but here you tie some of these together so nicely.

    Richard and I have been married 31 yrs, since I was only 17. His marriage proposal was hilarious, something like “so were going to get married, huh?” and then he went on to talk about how he didn’t believe in divorce which was definitely my view too, though neither of us were christians at the time.

    I could count on one hand how many arguments we had the first 18 years, maybe three. I never provoked him and knew when to be quiet.
    Then I found my voice. uh oh. many things in our relationship changed for the better, but not without some storms first.
    Thankfully by the grace of our Lord Jesus we survived, but we did so because we were, and always will be, committed to our marriage.

    I always tell young people before they marry that if they consider divorce as an option, rest assured they will take it. They simply must be committed to a lifetime together, no matter what, because while it may not seem possible while madly in love, storms will come, they always do.
    First is our commitment to Jesus, then to one another.

    Marriages have their seasons of bliss and of trial. Raising a family always throws more challenges into the mix, especially when you have a gift like your Matthew, and especially in a mixed spiritual household.
    I am praying for your family timbob, Jesus is ever so faithful!

    For us it was when our teenagers fell into drug addiction, and all that accompanies it at the same time Richard was backsliding, and I was left trying to do and hold everything togehter, serving at the church four days a week, helping run the business, care for the horse, raising six children, the oldest in deep rebellion and the youngest, 5 little boys packed into one (nice way of saying hyperactive ); dealing with police and courts and on it goes…
    wow; I am getting too personal here I fear. Sorry.
    But I share this hopefully to encourage you that there is hope,even in a mixed household. God is faithful, ever and always faithful.

    You can imagine how thankful I am for the husband I have today. The bonds are strengthened in Christ, and His faithfulness to grow us together through the hard times rather than apart. Even though we are very different, Jesus is our common thread ,weaving our lives together in His grace and love. The closer we become spiritually, the better in every way.
    Yes, I am thankful and blessed.
    We need to have the same “till death do us part” commitment in our relationship with the Lord, but in Christ Jesus it is,” till death we are forever fully united and one forever”!

    Rambling I am this morning…

    Bless you brother timbob, and thank you for sharing your heart and life!

  3. timbob,

    Hearing you talk of your son reminds me of mine. Andrew is a “special” little man that has to face challenges that most people have no clue or understanding of. I continually hear the same phrases as you do such as, “I couldn’t do it” or “I don’t see how you do it.”

    Andrew’s challenges are also my challenges but I have learned to pray to God in both good times and bad times and then to hold on to the hope that God gives me. I know you do the same and I know that whether things are going good or bad, God gives us hope and strength.

    Thanks for sharing!!


  4. Thanks for the comment! I was looking at your blogroll and saw Corrie Ten Boom. I saw the movie of her story as a little girl and it definitely was one that made a difference in my own heart.

    You are a blessing-

  5. timbob, I am having bloggers remorse. My comment seems rather negative and it wasn’t intended to be so. Rather than say too much more, let me just say that I dearly love and appreciate my husband! He has always been faithful,solid and trustworthy.
    It’s just much better now that we are in the same place spiritually; I admire his faith and tenacity for the Lord, for souls, for the Kingdom and esteem his walk far above mine.

  6. Thankyou for sharing your story…your folks were wonderful…I have been married for almost 29 years and sometimes I wonder how we ever lasted..but we are commited to each other, we get over our disagreements …My parents have been married just on 57 years… they battled with each other too…My dad now has dementia and lives in a nursing home…My mum goes into depression over this because her life as she knew it is gone and she has taken on a different role as his care…but you can still see their love….my father recognises her, but not in the same light…My eldest daughter has a very rare dwarfism , so Tim bob I know exactly your feelings…

    and thankyou for stopping by my blog…as you would have noticed my poem was about my dad..

  7. Thanks to all of you for sharing from the heart. My wife and I had been in failed marriages before we met. We will be married 22 years in June but it has been incredibly tough. Half way through our marriage we moved from California to the East Coast leaving behind all family, friends and careers. We have a son who will turn 16 in February…yikes.

    I think that selfishness is the real killer in most families. It is our selfishness that the Lord intends to sand away by using individuals in the family unit. Some cannot take the pain and leave. Growing up is indeed hard to do.

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