Monday, May 25, 2009

How Well Do You Know Your Spouse?

By Norman and Ann Bales

Do you remember the Statler Brother's novelty song, "I'm the Official Historian of Shirley Jean Burrell"? The lyricist professed to know everything about Shirley Jean from her middle name to the "funnies she don't read."

How much do you know about your spouse? To help you figure that out, we've devised a simple test. Take it if you dare.

__ yes __ no I know my spouse's birthday.

__ yes __ no I know my spouse's clothing sizes.

__ yes __ no I know my spouse's favorite restaurant.

__ yes __ no I know what my spouse is likely to order at his/her favorite restaurant.

__ yes __ no I know his/her "hot buttons" - those words, events, and circumstances that are likely to trigger an angry reaction.

__ yes __ no I know when my spouse is angry.

__ yes __ no I know when my spouse is really angry.

__ yes __ no I know the names of his/her grandparents, aunts, uncles, and first cousins.

__ yes __ no I know his/her favorite colors.

__ yes __ no I know his/her favorite book, TV show, movie, song, sport, and sports team.

__ yes __ no I know the things I like that he/she cannot stand.

__ yes __ no I know what he/she wants most in life.

__ yes __ no I know what he/she believes about God, Christ, the Holy Spirit, faith, love, death, heaven and hell.

__ yes __ no I know where he/she would like most to spend a vacation.

__ yes __ no I know the "house language" of my spouse's workplace - those terms, expressions and issues that generally don't mean much to people who aren't involved in that specific work environment.

__ yes __ no I often know what my spouse is thinking before he/she says a word.

__ yes __ no I sometimes think I know what his/her thoughts are, but then I later discover that I missed it a thousand miles.

In the book A Severe Mercy, Sheldon Vanauken tells the bittersweet story about he and his wife, Davey. This story has profoundly influenced us. Their relationship flowered brilliantly before it was cut down in full bloom by Davey's untimely death. They were genuine soul mates, sharing every interest of life - favorite foods, literature, recreation, music, and inquiring spirits. The secret to their love was getting to know one another in large and small ways. If we are to enjoy satisfying marriage relationships, such sharing is essential to maintaining its health.

It's important for us to work at knowing and understanding our marriage partners. It's a lifetime task, but it bears wonderful fruits because all of us have a desire to know those whom we love the most, as well as a desire to be known. It involves listening, shared activities, conversing, and spending large chunks of time in each other's presence. But there is more - something not quite tangible, not quantifiable. It's a willingness to recognize the fact that there's still more to learn. It's the expectation of surprise. Perhaps we can explain it this way. One day you'll find yourself chatting with each other in a relaxed environment. One of you will reveal a thought or a feeling. The other will say, "I never knew you thought/felt that way." That simple encounter can open up a whole new world of understanding. Suddenly you'll realize there are still new heights to climb in your relationship.

Happily married couples know each other well, and they never stop learning new things about each other.

How well do you know your spouse? Do you know the "funnies she don't read?"

- Norman and Ann Bales; via The Family Friend, a monthly newsletter published by the Calvert City church of Christ, Calvert City, KY. It is an excellent resource for articles relating to the family. To learn more consult the congregation's website:

Monday, May 18, 2009

Memorial Day

By David Ferguson

     Paul wrote in Romans 13:7, "Render to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honor to whom honor." This is Memorial Day weekend, and in that vein let us, too, give honor to all whom honor is due. Let us remember all of those who have gone before us who have made the ultimate sacrifice in order that we can still have those freedoms we cherish and hold so dear.

     Memorial Day, originally called Decoration Day, honors those who gave their lives in our nation’s wars. It was shortly following the conclusion of the War Between the States that General John A. Logan inaugurated the holiday in 1868. Citizens began placing flowers on the graves of those who fell in battle, and now the fallen from all wars are commemorated.

     While Waterloo, New York was officially declared the birthplace of Memorial Day by President Lyndon Baines Johnson in May 1966, it is difficult to prove conclusively the origins of the day. It is more likely that it had many separate beginnings. The cities and towns that suffered so much loss during those war-torn years that split apart our nation contributed honorably to the growing movement that culminated in General Logan giving his official proclamation on May 5, 1868. It seems to have been a natural manifestation of our nation’s collective grieving process.

     Paul compared our Christian life to that of a soldier: "But I counted it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus, my brother and fellow-worker and fellow-soldier, and your messenger and minister to my need…." (Philippians 2:25) And to Timothy he wrote, "Suffer hardship with me, as a good soldier of Christ Jesus." (2 Timothy 2:3) He also admonished us as soldiers to put on the whole panoply of God: "Wherefore take up the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and, having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; withal taking up the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the evil one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God…." (Ephesians 6:13-17)

     As members of the Lord’s army, and citizens of His kingdom, let us also not forget our own fallen ones who have given their lives for the sake of the gospel: Stephen, Paul, Peter, James, etc. But most importantly, do not forget the sacrifice of the One Who made it possible for us to have the hope of eternal life: Jesus Christ.

     May God bless you and yours!

- David R. Ferguson preaches for the Lakeland Church of Christ in Mattoon, IL.  He may be contacted at   You may also want to visit the congregation's website at

Monday, May 11, 2009

Graduation Days

By Jimmie Z. Gribble

Tis the season! No, not that season. It is the season for graduations. Most colleges and universities have already had their graduation ceremonies. High schools are in the process of graduating seniors. Our grandson graduated from fifth grade, and is going into sixth grad. He said that he is no longer an elementary student, he is now a middle school student. For most graduates it is a happy day, and rightly so. They have completed the necessary subjects and assignments, so they are able to either move out of school, or move up in grades. Do you remember your graduations days?
Beloved, there is a "graduation day" coming for all of us. It is a day, the day, when we will move out of this physical life and move into that spiritual realm. God’s word says, “And as it is appointed unto men once to die…” (Hebrews 9:27a). Either we will die, as this scripture says, or we will be changed as the scripture says. Paul wrote, “Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed” (1 Corinthians 15:51-52). This graduation day, whether we are ready or not, whether we have completed “everything” that we want to accomplish, this graduation day is coming.
There is also another “graduation day” for all of us. It is the day, the day of judgment, when all of us will stand before the great Judge. Jesus said, “When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: 32 And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats” (Matthew 25:31-32). It is a “graduation day” because we will move on that day, move to either come or depart. Jesus said, “Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: 41 Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels” (Matthew 25:34, 41).
Beloved, just as a student has to complete his assigned subjects and work, we have to do what the Lord instructs us to do. Jesus said, “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 7:21). This has been written to say this, “Are you ready for graduation day?" Both of these “days” will come whether we are ready or not. They will come whether we are prepared or not. Since these statements are true – if you are not ready – get ready now!
Beloved, listen to all of God's word; God will do thee good!

- Jimmie Z. Gribble, Portsmouth, VA; via the Belvedere Beacon, the weekly bulletin of the Belvedere church of Christ, Belvedere, SC. Ken Chumbley preaches for this congregation, and he may be contacted at their website: or e-mail:

Monday, May 4, 2009

Just For Mom

By Jennie Lou Carson

When I was just a tiny tot,
   A problem, this I know.
I brought you many headaches,
   And I caused you grief and woe.

For years you cared for me, but now
   My baby days are through--
And turn-about's fair play, dear Mom,
   Now I'll take care of you.

It always makes me happy when
   I find some little thing
That perhaps may make you happy- -
   Make you laugh and want to sing.

But no matter what I do for you,
   I know 'twill never be
Enough to ever pay you back,
   For what you're done for me.

The years are swiftly rolling by,
   And gray is in your hair;
Don't think that I don't know, Mom,
   That I helped to put it there.

But as long as God permits me
   To stay beneath the blue,
I'll do my best to show you, Mom,
   How much I care for you.