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Standing Strong, Standing Firm Ephesians 6:10-13


General Dwight D. Eisenhower said “War is a terrible thing. But if you’re going to get into it, you’ve got to get into it all the way.”

I sense that many Christians are defeated in their Christian lives because they are not seriously engaged in the warfare to which we are called.  What keeps them from using God’s power?

  1. We don’t sense danger or recognize the power of the enemy.
  2. We don’t have all the weapons. We have never been taught the significance and importance of those weapons.
  3. We are untrained in the use of those weapons. Without practice, no soldier can be ready for battle.
  4. We may be in a comfort zone. Perhaps We are nowhere near the battle or We are somehow compromising with the enemy.

Ephesians 6:10-13 (ESV)  10  Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. 11  Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. 12  For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. 13  Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm.

The word “finally” signals the beginning of Paul’s conclusion to his letter. At the beginning of this letter, Paul prayed for believers to know God’s “incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is like the working of his mighty strength, which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms” (1:19-20 niv).

The power that raised Christ from the dead empowers God’s people as they prepare for the spiritual battle they must face on this earth. The struggle occurs in the spiritual realm and must be won with spiritual weapons.

What might keep one from acknowledging this battle? Perhaps they came to Christ under a false “sales pitch.”

  • They were told, “Jesus will solve all your problems.
  • He will give you peace and joy.
  • He will give you a happy family life.
  • Come to Jesus and enjoy all of these blessings and more. He promises you abundant life.”

And so they signed up for what they thought would be a wonderful life of peace and happiness.

  • All of those claims are true, but they’re only half of the picture. Jesus promised to give us abundant life (John 10:10), but He also said that He was sending us out as sheep in the midst of wolves (Matt. 10:16). That picture might not fit your idea of an abundant life!
  • Jesus promised peace, but in the same breath He said that in this world we would have tribulation (John 16:33).
  • He assured us of His love, but He went on to say that the world would hate and persecute us.

John 15:12-13 (ESV) 12  “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. 13  Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. 18  “If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. 19  If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. 20  Remember the word that I said to you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours. 21  But all these things they will do to you on account of my name, because they do not know him who sent me.

It is vital for our survival as a Christian that we realize that when we became a Christian, we were drafted into God’s army. Daily we are engaged in a battle with an unseen spiritual enemy that seeks to destroy us. Otherwise, when trials hit, you will think that something is wrong. You will wonder why God has allowed this. You won’t understand the reality of your situation.

When a man’s ministry is effective, the enemy will work overtime to bring him down. It may be through internal problems in the church or through key leaders who turn against him or through discouragement or through temptation to moral failure.

To be strong in the Lord, you must be in the Lord. I won’t belabor the point, but I need to say that Paul’s command to be strong in the Lord rests on his first two chapters, where he makes it clear what it means to be in the Lord. To sum up his treatment, he wrote (2:8-9), “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.”

To be strong in the Lord, you must know your own weakness.

This is a continual, lifelong process that begins at salvation. We cannot trust completely in Christ to save us until we come to some awareness that we are helplessly, hopelessly lost and unable to save ourselves by our own good works.

Our pride blinds us to our true condition. It makes us think that we have some measure of strength in ourselves. In reality, the strong Christian is one who has come to see more and more of his own weakness and propensity towards sin. That awareness drives him to depend all the more on the Lord’s strength.

To be strong in the Lord, you must know the Lord’s strength.

Satan is a powerful foe, but he is only a created being, whereas God is the eternal, almighty Creator of the universe. Christ has already defeated him at the cross and resurrection of Jesus (Col. 2:15).

(Genesis 18:14 (ESV) 14  Is anything too hard for the LORD? At the appointed time I will return to you, about this time next year, and Sarah shall have a son.”

Jeremiah 32:17 (ESV) 17  ‘Ah, Lord GOD! It is you who have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and by your outstretched arm! Nothing is too hard for you.

Standing firm against the enemy is the result of putting on God’s full armor.

It’s not a matter of “letting go and letting God,” where you are passive and God does it all. Nor is it a matter of gritting your teeth and doing it yourself, with occasional assistance from God. Rather, it is a blending of His power and our striving.

Putting on God’s armor means that in every trial and temptation by faith you appropriate Christ’s strength in place of your weakness.

By faith you cry out to Him for deliverance and strength to persevere. By faith you rely on His promises.

Stand firm against the enemy by growing in biblical understanding. Paul wrote the first three chapters of this letter to set forth the necessary doctrinal foundation of all that God has provided for us in Christ.

Strong Christians are doctrinally grounded in the truth of Scripture. Unless you know the Word well, as Jesus did when He defeated Satan, you will not stand firm in the evil day.

We fight a spiritual battle, but we might well ask, who is the enemy? It’s not the nonbeliever, although occasionally you will meet a person so full of evil and rebellion against God that he or she actually declares himself or herself the enemy of Christianity.

The secular media or world systems work relentlessly to undermine God’s truth, but they are not the enemy either, although they are often tools in his hands.

Our enemy is Satan and the spiritual “forces of evil.” Satan, the deceiver (Genesis 3), the accuser (Zechariah 3), the destroyer (1 Peter 5), is the adversary of our souls and of the souls of our friends and loved ones.

Our enemy is powerful, but he is also a defeated foe.

Paul states (2 Cor. 2:11), “so that no advantage would be taken of us by Satan, for we are not ignorant of his schemes.”

Satan launches repeated attacks on the credibility of Scripture, whether through evolution or by attacking the person of Christ. Satan lures us into sin by portraying it as pleasurable and by hiding its consequences. He uses discouragement, pride, selfishness, the love of money, lust, and many other traps to lure us away from the Lord.

Standing firm against the schemes of the devil means that we stand firm on the core doctrines of the faith. We cannot budge on the Trinity, the person and work of Christ, biblical salvation, or the inspiration and authority of Scripture.

Conclusion

John MacArthur observes (ibid., p. 378), “Ephesians begins by lifting us up to the heavenlies, and ends by pulling us down to our knees.”

I read about a missionary years ago in the jungles of New Guinea who wrote the following letter to his friends back home: “Man, it is great to be in the thick of the fight, to draw the old devil’s heaviest guns, to have him at you with depression and discouragement, slander, disease. He doesn’t waste time on a lukewarm bunch.

“He hits good and hard when a fellow is hitting him. You can always measure the weight of your blow by the one you get back. When you’re on your back with fever and at your last ounce of strength, when some of your converts backslide, when you learn that your most promising inquirers are only fooling, when your mail gets held up, and some don’t bother to answer your letters, is that the time to put on mourning? No sir. That’s the time to pull out the stops and shout Hallelujah!

“The old fellow’s getting it in the neck and hitting back. Heaven is leaning over the battlements and watching. “Will he stick with it?” As they see who is with us, as they see the unlimited reserves, the boundless resources, as they see the impossibility of failure, how disgusted and sad they must be when we run away. Glory to God! We’re not going to run away. We’re going to stand!”

Malcolm Gladwell wrote a best selling book (Outliers) that showed us that we have to do something 10,000 times to fully reach the place where we are an “competent or an expert.”

If you want to complete a marathon, you have to run hundreds of training miles. If you want to learn a foreign language, you have to spend some hours memorizing declensions and conjugations. If you want to play the piano, you have to learn the scales and how to read music.

And if you want to accomplish anything for God, you have to spend time with the spiritual disciplines: Bible study, prayer, church involvement, fasting, serving.

Being a Christian is a living relationship with our living Lord Jesus. But like any other relationship, if you want it to be deep and meaningful—beyond the superficial and empty formalities—it takes time and commitment.

 
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Posted by on August 6, 2020 in ephesians

 

Beliefs Matter: It Really Does Make A Difference What We Believe About the One Spirit Ephesians 4


One New Year’s Day, in the Tournament of Roses parade, one of the more beautiful floats suddenly sputtered and quit. It was out of gas. The whole parade was held up until someone was able to get some more gas for the float. Do you know which float it was? The one representing the Standard Oil Company. With its vast resources of oil, its truck sat there helpless.

We need to talk today about the One Spirit, which is our power supply? How has your power supply been working for you this past week?

It matters what we believe; it affects spiritual health.   Eph. 4:5 speaks on seven 1’s which serve to unite us. As we are One Body, we also possess One Spirit, which works in each of our lives.

 How do we begin? Obviously the Spirit is holy (divine) – God is Father, Son, & Spirit.

The Spirit is spirit. He is not flesh and blood, is not tangible. That makes for much of our difficulty in grasping a better understanding of him.

he Spirit is not the same as the word. The phrase “the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” (Eph. 6:17) says that the word is the Spirit’s sword, so the word cannot be identical with the Spirit.

If we say “the weapon of the soldier is a rifle,” that does not mean the soldier is a rifle. Rather, the rifle is distinct from him, it is his weapon, an entirely different entity. So if the sword of the Spirit is the word of God, then the word of God is a separate entity from the Spirit, it is his weapon.

  • The Spirit is personal – a he, not an it
  • The Spirit lives inside every Christian: (Romans 8:9 NIV) You, however, are controlled not by the [flesh] but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ.
  • (1 Corinthians 12:12-13 NIV) The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ. {13} For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body–whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free–and we were all given the one Spirit to drink.
  • The Spirit is powerful: I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being,
  • The Spirit living in us is a down payment on our future inheritance: (2 Corinthians 1:21-22 NIV) Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, {22} set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.
  • The Spirit living in us indicates we are God’s children: (Romans 8:16-17 NIV) The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. {17} Now if we are children, then we are heirs–heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.
  • (Galatians 4:6-7 NIV) Because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.” {7} So you are no longer a slave, but a son; and since you are a son, God has made you also an heir.
  • The Spirit is involved in transforming us. (2 Corinthians 3:17-18 NIV) Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. {18} And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.
  • He also intercedes for us in prayer; convicts the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment; empowers us to speak boldly; and gives us gifts.

We can tell whether we really believe God’s truths by how we live our lives. Belief isn’t tested so much theoretically as practically. Again, the reason God wants us to believe his truths is not merely so we can pass a doctrinal test; rather, it is so that we will have healthy spiritual lives. If we examine our lives, that’s how we clarify what we really believe. So do you believe in the One Spirit?

One important way is to see whether we believe in One Spirit:

(Romans 7:6 NIV)  But now, by dying to what once bound us, we have been released from the law so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit, and not in the old way of the written code.

What does that mean? How can we tell which way we are in fact approaching it?

Some characteristics of the old way of the written code:

  • Law, rules, focus on externals (attendance, conformity, concern over that which is outward and appearances)
  • Pride and superiority or guilt and inferiority
  • There’s comparison and concentration on human effort
  • And it is exhausting (Galatians 3:3 NIV) Are you so foolish? After beginning with the Spirit, are you now trying to attain your goal by human effort?
  • If this is your pattern, Jesus wrote this: (Matthew 11:28-30 NIV) “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. {29} Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. {30} For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
  • Biting and devouring others (Galatians 5:15 NIV) If you keep on biting and devouring each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.
  • Being a control freak, “It is our determination to be independent by being in control that makes us unavailable to God” Richard Neuhaus.
  • “Those who are filled with the Spirit have died to that determination, surrendered their right to be in control, and made themselves radically dependent on and available to the Holy Spirit.” Stephen Seamands

Some characteristics of the new way of Spirit

  • Belong to Jesus as if married (Romans 7:1-4 NIV)  Do you not know, brothers–for I am speaking to men who know the law–that the law has authority over a man only as long as he lives? {2} For example, by law a married woman is bound to her husband as long as he is alive, but if her husband dies, she is released from the law of marriage. {3} So then, if she marries another man while her husband is still alive, she is called an adulteress. But if her husband dies, she is released from that law and is not an adulteress, even though she marries another man. {4} So, my brothers, you also died to the law through the body of Christ, that you might belong to another, to him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit to God.
  • Is your relationship by marriage dominated by rules & regulations for your spouse???
  • Bear fruit to God (Galatians 5:22-26 NIV) But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, {23} gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. {24} Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. {25} Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. {26} Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.
  • “Ministry, if it is to be fruitful—not merely productive—must be through the Holy Spirit,” Stephen Seamands. Productive: means it likely comes from us…from our effort.
  • Changed being (2 Corinthians 3:17-18 NIV)  Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. {18} And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. (whole lot easier to act compassionately if we are in fact compassionate)
  • You know the love of God (Romans 5:5 NIV) And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.
  • Choose to go along with the Spirit: (Galatians 5:25 NIV)  Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.

(Ephesians 4:30 NIV)  And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.

(1 Thessalonians 5:19 NIV)  Do not put out the Spirit’s fire;

How do you change to the “new way” of the Spirit

  • Deliberately stop thinking in terms of rules (cf. die to the law). Am I good enough? (of course not!). Is it a sin to…? God didn’t give us law, lists, etc. that was totally dominate our thinking…this isn’t the usual language of the new way in the Spirit.
  • It’s legalistic in its way of thinking
  • Instead, start thinking in terms of relationship, pleasing someone we love who is close to us.
  • Re-envision your Christianity in terms of being in a relationship with God. (remember, I will not leave you as orphans, children of God).
  • Talk to him respectfully but as in a real relationship, open yourself up to him, pour your heart out to him, greatest commandment is to love God w/ all our heart, soul, mind, & strength, what does that mean?
  • I’ve done this and that…”what else do you want me to do?”
  • What does it mean to love our spouses or our children or our friends? The idea of WWJD is pretty good, except that it has become pop religion and frequently doesn’t have much substance to it.
  • Can we really do WWJD or even know WWJD if we aren’t also doing what he did regularly in terms of spending time alone with God?
  • Give God opportunities to write his word on our hearts (pray, open, read, meditate)—this fits fruit-bearing. You must come to a personal understanding of what that means

 If we want the power of God to transform our lives, we need to do some work and also make ourselves available for God to do some work to transform us deep within by the power of his Spirit.

 
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Posted by on July 30, 2020 in God

 

Beliefs Matter: It Really Does Matter What We Believe About: One God


A mother asked her son to tell her what he learned in Sunday School.  The boy said, “We learned how Moses and all the people of Israel built a huge expansion bridge across the Red Sea, then crossed to the other side, set explosives on the bridge, and when the Egyptians started to cross, they blew it up! 

The mother was shocked and asked, “Is that really what your teacher said?”  “Well, no Mom,” her son replied, “But if I told you what really happened, you’d never believe it!” 

It’s true that God has done some absolutely remarkable things. And it’s also true that a lot of people in this county and state don’t believe most of it.

It’s our task today to learn a more about our amazing, awesome God!

Psalms 19:1: The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. (let some nature slides proceed)

About 1400 years ago, the pope was Gregory the 1st. Later he came to be referred to as Gregory the Great, a title I’m not sure he would have accepted personally, based on something he said about God: “Almost everything said of God is unworthy for the very reason that it is capable of being said.”

That’s a little bit extreme, yet it underscores the awesome challenge of seeing what God is like. This one is the most challenging. We’re wrapping up this study Beliefs Matter…we’re come to the final of the seven ones.

 (Deuteronomy 4:35 NIV)  You were shown these things so that you might know that the LORD is God; besides him there is no other.

(Deuteronomy 6:4 NIV)  Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one.

 (Isaiah 46:9 NIV)  Remember the former things, those of long ago; I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me.

God is over all. He is supreme, high above all material and sinful things. God says, “I dwell in the high and holy place” (Isaiah 57:15).

God is through all. He is so omnipotent and powerful that He can do all things. No barriers limit His power.

God is in all. His power energizes the atom of all creation. He dwells not only in the high and holy place, but also with him that is of a contrite and humble spirit:

(Isaiah 57:15 NIV)  For this is what the high and lofty One says– he who lives forever, whose name is holy: “I live in a high and holy place, but also with him who is contrite and lowly in spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly and to revive the heart of the contrite.

Ways We Can Know God – Avenues we can pursue later.

  1. That challenge is underscored by God’s very name, his name is one way we can know him. Often called God or Lord (Master), but also has a name LORD. It’s not Jehovah as translated in (Exodus 3:13-15 NIV) Moses said to God, “Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ Then what shall I tell them?” {14} God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I AM has sent me to you.'” {15} God also said to Moses, “Say to the Israelites, ‘The LORD, the God of your fathers–the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob–has sent me to you.’ This is my name forever, the name by which I am to be remembered from generation to generation..

Take a minute and look at the words closely.

Hebrew Word for God: ‏אֱלֹהִים‎  Transliteration: elōhîm

Hebrew Word for LORD (His Name): ‏יהוה‎  Transliteration: yhwh

Hebrew Word for I AM: ‏הָיָה‎   Transliteration: hāyâ 

Strong’s Talking Greek & Hebrew Dictionary

Footnote in your study Bible at vs. 14: I AM WHO I AM is another way of saying: “I will be what I will be.”

Footnote in your study Bible at vs. 15: The Hebrew word for Lord sounds like and may be derived from the Hebrew for I Am in verse 14.

God is telling us that “You can’t put me in a box.”

I will do & be in surprising things. Let your mind go back to the Exodus; I don’t think anyone could have guessed that. Think of the creativity, the awesome power, the marvel of God in leading His  people out of Egypt.

His remarkable deeds in the past show us something of what He is, but at the same time they don’t limit Him. He will be what he will be. What an appropriate name for God!

One way you tell if we believe in the one God is by whether we try to put him in a box.

OLD TESTAMENT NAMES FOR GOD

JEHOVAH-MACCADDESHEM…….Exodus 31:13 meaning “The Lord thy sanctifier”

JEHOVAH-ROHI……Psalm 23:1  meaning “The Lord my shepherd”

JEHOVAH-SHAMMAH…….Ezekiel 48:35  meaning “The Lord who is present”

JEHOVAH-RAPHA………Exodus 15:26  meaning “The Lord our healer“

JEHOVAH-TSIDKENU……Jeremiah 23:6  meaning “The Lord our righteousness”

JEHOVAH-JIREH………Genesis 22:13-14  meaning “The Lord will provide”

JEHOVAH-NISSI………Exodus 17:15 meaning “The Lord our banner”

JEHOVAH-SHALOM……..Judges 6:24  meaning “The Lord is peace”

JEHOVAH-SABBAOTH……Isaiah 6:1-3  meaning “The Lord of Hosts”

EL-ELYON…………..Genesis 14:17-20,Isaiah 14:13-14  meaning “The most high God”

EL-ROI…………….Genesis 16:13  meaning “The strong one who sees”

EL-SHADDAI…………Genesis 17:1, Psalm 91:1  meaning “The God of the mountains or God Almighty”

EL-OLAM……………Isaiah 40:28-31  meaning “The everlasting God”

2. Another way we can know him is by his avatar (computer user’s representation of himself). What does God say about Himself? How does He represent Himself?

(Exodus 34:6-7 NIV)  And he passed in front of Moses, proclaiming, “The LORD, the LORD, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, {7} maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin. Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished; he punishes the children and their children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation.”

God is both merciful & just. I can’t tell you when or for how long he will be merciful or just, He will be what He will be, but I can tell you he will be both merciful and just. One way we can tell whether we believe in the one God is whether we strike a balance between justice and mercy.

Justice: we’ll take sin seriously! Mercy: we’ll take forgiveness seriously!

3.Another way we know him is by words others use to describe him.

(Isaiah 6:1-5 NIV)  In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord seated on a throne, high and exalted, and the train of his robe filled the temple. {2} Above him were seraphs, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying. {3} And they were calling to one another: “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory.” {4} At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke. {5} “Woe to me!” I cried. “I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the LORD Almighty.”

When we see God, we are amazed, humbled, and we are made aware of our own sin. It changes us!

I am skeptical of those who speak of “God appearing to them” for a lot of reasons, but first of all they don’t talk about being flat on their face…they tend not to be humbled, but rather ‘puffed up’ in pride…they aren’t aware of their sins.

4. Another is refuge our place of safety & comfort.

 (Psalms 62:5-8 NIV)  Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from him. {6} He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will not be shaken. {7} My salvation and my honor depend on God ; he is my mighty rock, my refuge. {8} Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge. Selah

I believe God will take care of us, not always when or how we think He should—He will be what he will be—but He will take care of us.

Does your first choice when in need of refuge reflect your belief in the One God? More ways we can tell whether we believe in the one God are whether we worship him in his holiness and whether we find security & comfort in him as our refuge.

5.Another way we know him is by his commandments. He insists on our total devotion.

(Exodus 20:2-3 NIV)  “I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. {3} “You shall have no other gods before me.

Based on this act, He gives commandments.

(Colossians 3:5 NIV)  Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry.

We might not literally bow down in worship before these items, but when we put them first by our actions and thoughts, they seek to replace the “One God.”

A very telling way we determine whether we believe in the one God is by whether there are other gods in our lives. We are monotheists: we only worship one God.

6.One of the very best ways we know him is through Jesus.

(John 1:1 NIV)  In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

(John 1:14 NIV)  The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

(Colossians 1:15 NIV)  He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.

(Hebrews 1:1-3 NIV)  In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, {2} but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe. {3} The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.

If you want to know what God is like, study Jesus closely. As you read the way he interacts with people, put yourself in the account & you’ll see how he feels toward you.

For the last several weeks, I’ve been saying that belief matters. Though we may not all agree on everything, there are some matters that are really important. Eph 4 tells us what some of those matters are.

I say again today what I’ve said enough in this series that you may be tired of hearing it: we don’t determine whether we really believe these things by inquiring whether we agree with them but rather by the way we live our lives.

For today’s message, we find out whether we believe in the One God by:

  • whether we try to control him & say what he will and won’t do or let him be what he will be
  • whether we take sin seriously & also take forgiveness seriously
  • whether we worship him and him alone
  • whether we make him our refuge
  • whether we have other gods in our lives

Faith is a journey, so if our lives indicate we don’t really believe all these things, that’s not surprising. But we do need to continue on the journey.

Because these seven beliefs mentioned in Eph. 4 really matter: One body, Spirit, hope, Lord, faith, baptism, & God. These hold us together as God’s people.

  • May we always be known as a church that believes something & is not afraid to say so.
  • May we always believe that these seven Ones matter.
  • And may we also be a church whose beliefs are apparent by the way we live our lives.
 
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Posted by on July 23, 2020 in God

 

Beliefs Matter: One Faith: A Call To Arms! – Philippians 1:27; Jude 1


A note posted on a religious website, discussing sexuality as a spiritual experience…says “it is OK be monogamist OK to be Gay,  Bi, Straight; OK to be different; OK to follow our own path; OK to make our own choices without being judged, particularly in this community.”

The truth tells us that while people may indulge their sinful desires in that way, we don’t please God like that.

How do we know? Where do we go for direction? We believe there is One Lord, and today we see there is one place where we can go to find the written directions. The “one faith” does not refer to the act of believing, but to the body of doctrines which we believe. The one faith is the Gospel.

(Philippians 1:27 NIV)  Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Then, whether I come and see you or only hear about you in my absence, I will know that you stand firm in one spirit, contending as one man for the faith of the gospel

(Jude 1:3 NIV)  Dear friends, although I was very eager to write to you about the salvation we share, I felt I had to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints.

It is not scriptural to speak of “many faiths” or “interfaith activities” as many do. There are not two faiths nor several faiths. There is only one faith that leads into God’s presence and that is the faith founded by the Lord Jesus Christ.

Contrary to what Oprah and others are teaching, there is no other approach to God. If a person wishes to live with God—to be approved and accepted by Him—that person has to approach God through the faith of the Lord Jesus Christ.

(2 Thessalonians 2:13-14 NIV)  But we ought always to thank God for you, brothers loved by the Lord, because from the beginning God chose you to be saved through the sanctifying work of the Spirit and through belief in the truth. {14} He called you to this through our gospel, that you might share in the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.

The point is this: every believer has come to God in the very same way—by believing in the Lord Jesus Christ. Faith in Him is the only way, the only true faith. Therefore, standing before God and having come to Him through the same faith, there is no room for any differences. We all stand on the same ground, on the same level: the ground and level of faith.

If you want to be a member of this congregation, realize that we believe there is One body, One Spirit, One Hope, One Lord, and One Faith.

Jude 1:1-4 (ESV)
1  Jude, a servant of Jesus Christ and brother of James, To those who are called, beloved in God the Father and kept for Jesus Christ:
2  May mercy, peace, and love be multiplied to you.
3  Beloved, although I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints.
4  For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.

Why did Jude write this letter?

To warn his readers that the apostates were already on the scene! Peter had prophesied that they would come, and his prophecy had been fulfilled.

He wrote to “exhort” them (Jude 3). In the Greek language, this word was used to describe a general giving orders to the army; hence the atmosphere of this letter is “military.” Jude had started to write a quiet devotional letter about salvation, but the Spirit led him to put down his harp and sound the trumpet! The Epistle of Jude is a call to arms.

The Army (Jude 1-2)

The Captain of the army is Jesus Christ, and the soldiers He commands are people who share a “common salvation” through faith in Him. Jude called them saints and addressed them as sanctified.

Not only are God’s saints set apart, but they are also preserved. This means “carefully watched and guarded.” The believer is secure in Jesus Christ. This same word is used in Jude 6 and 13 (“reserved”) and also in Jude 21 (“keep yourselves”).

The Enemy (Jude 3-4)

I must confess that I sympathize with Jude. I would much rather encourage the saints than declare war on the apostates. But when the enemy is in the field, the watchmen dare not go to sleep. The Christian life is a battleground, not a playground. Jude wasted no time in identifying the enemy.

They were ungodly (v. 4b).

This is one of Jude’s favorite words. While these men claimed to belong to God, they were, in fact, ungodly in their thinking and their living.

They were deceitful (v. 4c).

They “crept in unawares.” The Greek word means “to slip in secretly, to steal in undercover.” How could false brethren get into true assemblies of the saints? The soldiers had gone to sleep at the post! The spiritual leaders in the churches had grown complacent and careless. This explains why Jude had to “blow the trumpet” to wake them up.

They were enemies of God’s grace (v. 4d).

Why did they enter the churches? To attempt to change the doctrine and “turn the grace of our God into lasciviousness” (Jude 4). The word lasciviousness simply means “wantonness, absence of moral restraint, indecency.” A person who is lascivious thinks only of satisfying his lusts, and whatever he touches is stained by his base appetites.

Many scriptures warn us that the apostates would argue, “You have been saved by grace, so you are free to live as you please!” The apostates, like the cultists today, use the Word of God to promote and defend their false doctrines.

They seduce young, immature Christians who have not yet been grounded in the Scriptures. Every soldier of the Cross needs to go through “basic training” in a local church so that he knows how to use the weapons of spiritual warfare.

They denied God’s truth (v. 4e).

Jude was affirming strongly the deity of Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is God! But the apostates would deny this. They would agree that Jesus Christ was a good man and a great teacher, but not that He was eternal God come in human flesh. The first test of any religious teacher, as we have seen, is, “What do you think of Jesus Christ? Is He God come in the flesh?”

Anyone who denies this cardinal doctrine is a false teacher no matter how correct he may be in other matters. If he denies the deity of Christ, something will always be missing in whatever he affirms.

They were ordained to judgment (v. 4a).

Jude did not write that these men were ordained to become apostates, as though God were responsible for their sin. They became apostates because they willfully turned away from the truth. But God did ordain that such people would be judged and condemned. The Old Testament prophets denounced the false prophets of their day, and both Jesus Christ and His Apostles pronounced judgment on them.

Why should these men be judged by God? To begin with, they had denied His Son! That is reason enough for their condemnation! But they had also defiled God’s people by teaching them that God’s grace permitted them to practice sin.

How, then, should the church respond to the presence of this insidious enemy? By earnestly contending for the faith.

“The faith” refers to that body of doctrine that was given by God through the Apostles to the church. The word doctrine is found at least sixteen times in the Pastoral Epistles alone.

What does it mean to “contend for the faith”? The Greek word is an athletic term that gives us our English word agonize. It is the picture of a devoted athlete, competing in the Greek games and stretching his nerves and muscles to do his very best to win.

You never fight the Lord’s battles from a rocking chair or a soft bed! Both the soldier and the athlete must concentrate on doing their best and giving their all. There must also be teamwork, believers working together to attack and defeat the enemy.

Sometimes you hear well-meaning people say, “Well, it’s fine to contend for the faith, but don’t be so contentious!” While it is true that some of God’s soldiers have been the cause of quarrels and divisions, it is also true that some of them have paid a great price to defend the faith.

As Christian soldiers, we must not fight each other or go around looking for trouble. But when the banner of Christ is in danger of being taken by the enemy, we cannot sit idly by, nor can we ever hope to win the victory by wearing kid gloves.

Paul admonished both Timothy and Titus to make sure the believers were being taught “sound doctrine,” which means “healthy doctrine,” doctrine that promotes the spiritual health of the local church.

While individual teachers and preachers may disagree on the fine points of theology, there is a basic body of truth to which all true Christians are committed.

He exhorted Timothy to entrust the Word to other faithful men (2 Tim. 2:2). You and I would not have the Word today were it not for faithful believers down through the ages who guarded this precious deposit and invested it in others.

The church is always one generation short of extinction. If our generation fails to guard the truth and entrust it to our children, then that will be the end! When you think of the saints and martyrs who suffered and died so that we might have God’s truth, it makes you want to take your place in God’s army and be faithful unto death.

False doctrine is a deadly poison that must be identified, labeled, and avoided. We must always speak the truth in love, and the weapons we use must be spiritual. At the same time, we must dare to take our stand for “the faith” even if our stand offends some and upsets others. We are not fighting personal enemies, but the enemies of the Lord.

It is the honor and glory of Jesus Christ that is at stake. “Fight the good fight of faith” (1 Tim. 6:12).

The Victory (Jude 5-7)

Jude 1:5-7 (ESV)
5  Now I want to remind you, although you once fully knew it, that Jesus, who saved a people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed those who did not believe.
6  And the angels who did not stay within their own position of authority, but left their proper dwelling, he has kept in eternal chains under gloomy darkness until the judgment of the great day—
7  just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding cities, which likewise indulged in sexual immorality and pursued unnatural desire, serve as an example by undergoing a punishment of eternal fire.

Jude reached back into Old Testament history and gave examples of God’s victory over those who had resisted his authority and turned from the truth. The point Jude was making is that God judges apostates. Therefore, the false teachers who had crept into the church would also one day be judged. Their seeming success would not last; God would have the last word. 

The sin of Israel was rebellious unbelief (Heb. 3:12). The sin of the angels was rebellion against the throne of God. The sin of Sodom and Gomorrah was indulging in unnatural lust. Unbelief, rebellion against authority, and sensual indulgence were sins characteristic of the false teachers.

The conclusion is obvious: the apostates will be judged. But, meanwhile, God’s soldiers must stay on duty and see to it that these false teachers do not creep into the ranks and start to lead people astray.

Jude 1:17-25 (ESV)
17  But you must remember, beloved, the predictions of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ.
18  They said to you, “In the last time there will be scoffers, following their own ungodly passions.”
19  It is these who cause divisions, worldly people, devoid of the Spirit.
20  But you, beloved, building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit,
21  keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life.
22  And have mercy on those who doubt;
23  save others by snatching them out of the fire; to others show mercy with fear, hating even the garment stained by the flesh.
24  Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy,
25  to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.

What can we do practically to oppose the enemy and maintain the purity and unity of the church?

For one thing, we must know the Word of God and have the courage to defend it. Every local church ought to be a Bible institute, and every Christian ought to be a Bible student.  The pulpit needs to declare positive truth as well as denounce error.

Second, we must “watch and pray.”

The Christian life must never stand still; if it does, it will go backward. The enemy is already here and we dare not go to sleep! Spiritual leaders in local congregations need to be alert as they interview candidates for baptism and church membership. Congregations must exercise discernment as they select spiritual leaders.

Finally, we must have the courage to maintain a position of biblical separation from those who deny Christ and the fundamental doctrines of the Word. This does not mean that we separate from fellow believers over minor doctrinal differences, or that we practice “guilt by association.” God’s true army needs to stand together in the battle for truth.

 
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Posted by on July 15, 2020 in ephesians

 

The Anatomy of a Backslider: Learning From One Who Knows By Experience


In 2 Peter 2:20-22 we read of the real possibility and serious
consequences of backsliding:
“If they have escaped the corruption of the world by knowing our Lord and
Savior Jesus Christ and are again entangled in it and overcome, they are
worse off at the end than they were at the beginning. {21} It would have
been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than to
have known it and then to turn their backs on the sacred command that was
passed on to them. {22} Of them the proverbs are true: “A dog returns to
its vomit,” and, “A sow that is washed goes back to her wallowing in the
mud.””

It is interesting that we find this passage coming from the inspired pen
of Peter…for if anyone knew “firsthand” the reality and dangers of
backsliding, it was Peter! He discovered these truths the night he denied
Jesus!

The process of backsliding is a gradual one, often overtaking a person by
surprise; and lest we fall from our own steadfastness…we shall
carefully examine the process that led to Peter’s denial of Christ.
Notice how Peter’s own words in his epistles are designed to prevent the
same from happening to us!

THE ANATOMY OF A BACKSLIDER
A. PRIDE – Mark 14:27-31: “You will all fall away,” Jesus told them, “for
it is written: “‘I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be
scattered.’ {28} But after I have risen, I will go ahead of you into
Galilee.” {29} Peter declared, “Even if all fall away, I will not.” {30}
“I tell you the truth,” Jesus answered, “today–yes, tonight–before the
rooster crows twice you yourself will disown me three times.” {31} But
Peter insisted emphatically, “Even if I have to die with you, I will
never disown you.” And all the others said the same.”

1. In a boastful manner, Peter claims he will not fall away or deny
Christ!
2. In doing so, Peter takes the first step in backsliding: “pride”!
– cf. _Pr 16:18
3. Why is this the “first” step?
a. Because the first step in entering the kingdom is humility –
Mt 18:3-4
b. So if we lose “humility”, we take that first step backward
4. Paul’s advice to the Corinthians is very apropos in this regard
– cf. _1 Co 10:11

B. LAZINESS – Mark 14:32-42: “They went to a place called Gethsemane, and
Jesus said to his disciples, “Sit here while I pray.” {33} He took Peter,
James and John along with him, and he began to be deeply distressed and
troubled. {34} “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of
death,” he said to them. “Stay here and keep watch.” {35} Going a little
farther, he fell to the ground and prayed that if possible the hour might
pass from him. {36} “Abba, Father,” he said, “everything is possible for
you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.” {37}
Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Simon,” he
said to Peter, “are you asleep? Could you not keep watch for one hour?
{38} Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit
is willing, but the body is weak.” {39} Once more he went away and prayed
the same thing. {40} When he came back, he again found them sleeping,
because their eyes were heavy. They did not know what to say to him. {41}
Returning the third time, he said to them, “Are you still sleeping and
resting? Enough! The hour has come. Look, the Son of Man is betrayed into
the hands of sinners. {42} Rise! Let us go! Here comes my betrayer!””

1. Told to keep watch, Peter kept falling asleep
2. It was therefore lack of diligent preparation which caused him
to be caught off guard for what was to follow
3. The same thing can happen to us!
a. Without diligence, we too can be found unprepared – Lk
21:34-36
b. More often than not, it is a “gradual drifting” that catches
us off guard – Heb. 2:1-3
c. But when we are proud of ourselves, we become lazy, and
that easily leads to the next step…

C. COWARDICE – Mark 14:54: “Peter followed him at a distance, right into
the courtyard of the high priest. There he sat with the guards and warmed
himself at the fire.”

1. Note that it says “…Peter followed Him at a distance”
2. Now that Jesus had become unpopular…
a. Peter stays far enough away so as not to be identified with
Him
b. Peter was unprepared for the challenge of facing ridicule and
persecution
3. Without diligent preparation, we too can become guilty of
cowardice!
a. Ashamed to be seen carrying a Bible
b. Ashamed to be seen giving thanks
c. Ashamed to be seen with other Christians
d. Perhaps even ashamed to let others know that we are
Christians!
4. And yet, Jesus has made it clear what He thinks of “cowardice”
Mark 8:38; Rev. 21:8
5. When we are ashamed of Christ, it is natural for to fall into
the next step of backsliding…

D. WORLDLINESS – Mark 14:54: “Peter followed him at a distance, right
into the courtyard of the high priest. There he sat with the guards and
warmed himself at the fire.”

1. We now find Peter sitting with the servants of the High Priest
and warming himself by the fire
2. Ashamed to be seen with Christ, it becomes easy to mingle with
those of the world and enjoy their comforts
3. But one cannot be “comforted by the fire” of the world, and not
be “burned”!
a. Close contact with that which can harm has its effects! –
Prov. 6:27-29
b. So it is we cannot “flirt with the world” and walk away
untouched! – 1 Cor. 15:33
4. By the time we become “friends with the world”, it is only a
short time before we take the next and final step of backsliding…

E. DENIAL – Mark 14:66-71: “While Peter was below in the courtyard, one
of the servant girls of the high priest came by. {67} When she saw Peter
warming himself, she looked closely at him. “You also were with that
Nazarene, Jesus,” she said. {68} But he denied it. “I don’t know or
understand what you’re talking about,” he said, and went out into the
entryway. {69} When the servant girl saw him there, she said again to
those standing around, “This fellow is one of them.” {70} Again he denied
it. After a little while, those standing near said to Peter, “Surely you
are one of them, for you are a Galilean.” {71} He began to call down
curses on himself, and he swore to them, “I don’t know this man you’re
talking about.””

1. Away from Christ, at comfort with those in the world, Peter
finds himself denying His Lord and Savior!
2. In so doing, he has put himself in grave danger – Matt. 10:32-33
3. Though we may never actually deny Jesus in “words”, we can
easily backslide to the point of denying Him in “action”…
a. We are called to worship Him…but make excuses why we cannot
b. We are called to serve Him…but render little or no service
c. We are called to stand by His side and suffer for His
name…but stand afar off in the safety of the world’s comfort

[When we deny the Lord, our backsliding is complete; unless we repent,
the only thing left is to one day face the Lord, where we will fully
realize the error of our ways!

For Peter, he fully realized his sin when the Lord turned and looked at
him there in the courtyard:
Luke 22:60-62: “Peter replied, “Man, I don’t know what you’re talking
about!” Just as he was speaking, the rooster crowed. {61} The Lord turned
and looked straight at Peter. Then Peter remembered the word the Lord had
spoken to him: “Before the rooster crows today, you will disown me three
times.” {62} And he went outside and wept bitterly.”

Imagine the feeling in Peter’s heart as those eyes of His Savior pierced
his soul! Like
Judas, Peter wept bitterly over his sin.

Unlike Judas, Peter had “godly sorrow” that results in true repentance (2
Cor. 7:10-11). And years later, we find Peter writing the sort of things
that would prevent us from making the same mistake he did…]

ADVICE FROM ONE WHO LEARNED THE HARD WAY
A. TO GUARD AGAINST “PRIDE”…
1. Peter enjoins “humility” – 1 Peter 5:5-6
2. Indeed, “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble”

B. TO WARD AGAINST “LAZINESS”…
1. Peter commands “diligence” – 1 Peter 5:8-9
2. Note especially his words in his second epistle – 2 Peter
1:5,10; 3:14

C. INSTEAD OF “COWARDICE”…
1. Peter charges us to “glorify God” – 1 Peter 4:16
2. Think not of what it means to you, but what it means to God!

D. INSTEAD OF “WORLDLINESS”…
1. Peter tells us to “abstain” – 1 Peter 2:11-12
2. Remember that we are “sojourners and pilgrims”, destined for a
better place than the things of this world have to offer!

E. INSTEAD OF “DENIAL”…
1. Peter exhorts us to ever be ready to “give a defense” – 1 Peter
3:15
2. By careful preparation, we will “defend” Christ, and not “deny”
Christ!

CONCLUSION
1. From one who learned by the hard road of experience, let’s heed his
advice lest we one day backslide ourselves, and in so doing deny the
Lord! – 2 Peter 3:17-18

2. Remember too that when Peter saw the eyes of his Lord, he realized the
error of his way…
a. Fortunately for him, there was still time to repent
b. But for us, when we see Jesus “face to face”, the time to repent
will be gone…it will be the time for judgment!

3. If we realize that we are guilty of backsliding…
a. Repent now, do not wait until you stand before Jesus
b. Do it now, so that your “face to face” encounter with Jesus will be
terrific, not terrifying!

 
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Posted by on July 9, 2020 in Article

 

Suggestions gleaned from 49 years of a happy marriage


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The key to a successful marriage is treating your spouse as the ‘most important person in the world’ every day and putting their needs ahead of your own.

  1. Listen
    To be truly heard is the longing  of every human heart, and your wife is no exception. It sounds simple, but  listening can be harder than it seems with so many distractions around us and within us. Set aside some time every day to look into your wife’s eyes and really listen to what she has to say. You may be surprised at what you hear. (James 1:19Matthew 11:15)
  2. Communicate
    Don’t make her guess what you are thinking or feeling. Talk.
  3. Sing  Her Praises
    Shamelessly brag about her good qualities and quietly pray about her bad ones. Her reputation is your reputation. (Proverbs 31:28-29)
  4. Pray For Her
    Praying on your wife’s behalf  not only enlists the help of the Almighty, but also puts her and her needs at the forefront of your heart and mind, right where they belong. (Philippians 4:6Matthew 18:19)
  5. Value Her Individuality
    Your wife is wonderfully unique. Don’t compare her to your mom, or your ex-wife, or your old girlfriend.  Your mom may make the best chocolate chip cookies in the world, but unfavorable comparisons won’t win you brownie points.
  6. Put the Seat Down
    Perpetually raised toilet seats are a pet peeve of wives everywhere. And while you’re at it, tidy up a bit. A little consideration goes a long way. (Philippians 2:4)
  7. Throw  Your Dirty Clothes in the Hamper
    It’s likely just a few steps from wherever you are dropping them anyway. Make this a habit, and it will let your wife know your don’t consider her your personal maid.
  8. Turn  Off the T.V.
    Lay aside the video games, pocket the iPhone, and shut off the computer, as well. It is staggering how many hours we waste gazing at some sort of screen instead of  interacting with the real people in our lives. Consciously set limits on your tube-time, whatever form it takes. Use the time saved to invest in your marriage: take a walk with your wife or play a board game together instead. (Psalm 90:12)
  9. Loosen  the Purse Strings
    We all have to keep an eye on our budget, but an occasional splurge can be well worth it. Seemingly frivolous things like flowers, jewelry, and overpriced restaurants let her know that she is more valuable to you than a number in your bank account.
  10. Practice  Servant-Leadership
    All organizations have a  hierarchy. It’s impossible to function without one, but being a leader isn’t the same as being a dictator. The best role model is Jesus Christ, not Joseph Stalin. Jesus washed his disciples feet and then died on their behalf. It’s a challenge to exercise authority while maintaining a spirit of humility, but that is what being a godly leader entails. (Matthew 20:28,Philippians 2:1-8Mark 9:35)
  11. Remember that Intimacy’s a Two-Way Street
    Unfortunately, men are  notoriously selfish in the bedroom, yet are dumbfounded when their wives are less than enthusiastic in this arena. Make this area of your relationship as pleasurable for her as it is for you and it will pay huge dividends. It may mean washing the dishes or helping with the kids, so that she has energy left at the end of the day. It may mean cuddling  and candlelight, so that she can relax and let the worries on her mind drift away. If you aren’t sure where to begin, just ask her, and then listen. (1 Corinthians 7:3)
  12. Give Her Time to Herself
    Everyone needs an occasional break to rest and recharge, and this is especially important for a wife who is at home all day with young children. Yet it’s very easy to neglect this legitimate need unless you regularly and intentionally schedule time  for it. (Luke 5:16)
  13. Set Aside Couple Time
    Soak in the tub together each evening or go on a date night once a week — whatever gets the two of you alone on a regular basis. (Genesis 2:24-25)
  14. Be Careful with Female Friendships
    We all have friends and colleagues of the opposite sex, but tread cautiously. Not all affairs are physical ones. Honoring your marriage vows means remaining faithful in thought and word as well as in deed. (Matthew 5:27-28)
  15. Use Good Hygiene.
    It is amazing how meticulous guys can be prior to marriage in their attempts to impress a girl, but once they walk down the aisle, all bets are off. Clean up a little; I promise it won’t kill you.
  16. Limit the Gross Stuff
    Few women find burping nearly as hilarious as the typical guy does. Good manners are always a win. (Ephesians 5:4)
  17. Be Patient
    In whatever way this applies to you and your situation, apply it. (1 Corinthians 13:4Proverbs 14:29)
  18. Cherish  Her Children (they are your children, too)
    A mother’s bond to her children runs immeasurably deep. When you invest time or energy in them, you are investing in her as well. Kindness to them counts as kindness to her. (Malachi 4:6)
  19. Choose Her Over Hobbies and Buddies
    Invariably there will come times in your relationship when you will be forced to choose between your wife and something else that you enjoy. Always choose her.
  20. Provide for Her Needs
    This is so much more than just putting food on the table. It is all-encompassing. Whether it is physical needs, emotional needs, spiritual needs, you name it — do your best to provide. Sometimes life’s circumstances hinder us in one area, but we can compensate in another area. Often the effort is as important as the outcome. (Galatians 6:2)
  21. Dial Down the Anger
    Your caveman instincts are handy on the battlefield, but horrible for a happy home life. Every outburst or flare-up is a relationship setback. To go forward, the first step is to stop going backwards. Learn to control your temper or it will control you, your marriage, and every other aspect of your life. Just because your wife puts up with it and your co-workers tolerate it, doesn’t make your short fuse an asset. Do whatever it takes to gain victory in this all-important struggle that has haunted man since Cain slew Abel. (Ecclesiastes 7:9,Ephesians 4:31)
  22. Cut Out the Condescension
    If you have been blessed with a quick wit, you can either be the life of the party or a pain in the neck depending on the circumstances. Condescension is anger’s younger brother. It isn’t as loud or as dramatic, but it can be equally hurtful and all the more so for its subtlety. Lay off the snide remarks, the sarcasm, and the belittling. Speak to your wife in the same way that you would speak to a respected colleague. She is, after all, your partner in the most valuable investment of your life — your family. (Ephesians 4:29Colossians 3:19)
  23. Actively Seek Your Wife’s Insights
    Value her input and give it a preferential place in your decision-making process. (Proverbs 19:2012:15)
  24. Learn to Forgive
    Freely forgive your wife’s past, present, and future offenses. Forgiveness is at the heart of the gospel and at the heart of every meaningful relationship. (Ephesians 4:32Colossians 3:13)
  25. Verbally Express Your Love
    There are lots of ways to show your love, but women still like to hear it spoken.

Obviously no list is comprehensive, and one size certainly doesn’t fit all, but hopefully this one will prompt you to compile a list of your own, tailor-made for your own wife.

 
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Posted by on July 2, 2020 in Marriage

 

“You will be safe in God’s care“


In the 1800s, when he was just a small boy, John Todd lost both of his parents.  A kind-hearted aunt raised him until he left home to study for the ministry.  Later on, this aunt became seriously ill, and in distress wrote Todd a letter.  She asked whether death would mean the end of everything, or could she hope for something beyond?

Here is the letter John Todd wrote in reply: “It is now 35 years since I, as a boy of six, was left quite alone in the world.  You sent me word you would give me a home and be a kind mother to me.  I have never forgotten the day I made the long journey to your house.  I can still recall my disappointment when, instead of coming for me yourself, you sent your servant, Caesar, to fetch me.

“I remember my tears and anxiety as, perched high on your horse and clinging tight to Caesar, I rode off to my new home.  Night fell before we finished the journey, and I became lonely and afraid.  “Do you think she’ll go to bed before we get there?” I asked Caesar.

“Oh no!” he said reassuringly, “She’ll stay up for you.  When we get out of these woods, you’ll see her candle shining in the window.”

“Presently we did ride out into the clearing, and there, sure enough, was your candle.  I remember you were waiting at the door, that you put your arms close about me—a tired and bewildered little boy.  You had a fire burning on the hearth, a hot supper waiting on the stove.  After supper you took me to my new room, heard me say my prayers, and then sat beside me till I fell asleep.

“Some day soon God will send for you, to take you to your new home.  Don’t fear the summons, the strange journey, or the messenger of death.  God can be trusted to do as much for you as you were kind enough to do for me so many years ago.

“At the end of the road you will find love and a welcome awaiting, and you will be safe in God’s care.“

 

 
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Posted by on June 25, 2020 in God

 

Honor Your Parents – Ephesians 6:1-3


If our faith in Christ is real, it will usually prove itself at home, in our relationships with those who know us best. Children and parents have a responsibility to each other. The fact that Paul took the time to directly address those who were regarded by some as the “lower” and “less important” members of society (wives, children, and slaves) shows that he raised them to a level of importance and responsibility in the body of Christ. All Christians are to be responsible in their positions, living as Christ would have them live.

6:1 Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.NKJV Continuing the theme of Christian submission, Paul turned next to children. He assumed that children would be in the congregation of believers as this letter was read. His command to them is simple: Obey your parents in the Lord.

This is not an absolute command; when a parent tells a child to do something unbiblical, immoral, or unethical, the law of God supersedes the will of the parent. But aside from those extremes, children are to obey their mothers and fathers. This is the way God intends it. It’s easy to see the immediate practical benefits of this for both children and parents because parents usually really do know best.

God requires children to obey because children need to rely on the wisdom of their parents. Jesus himself submitted to the authority of his earthly parents, despite his authority as the Messiah: Luke 2:51 (ESV) And he went down with them and came to Nazareth and was submissive to them. And his mother treasured up all these things in her heart.

All young children will, at times, disobey and test their parents’ limits. As they get older, they will understand why God wants them to obey. Obedience that recognizes parents’ authority can carry over into recognizing God’s authority. God’s plan for his people includes solid family relationships where there exists respect, obedience, submission, and love for one another. When both parents and children love God, all of them will seek to obey and please him.

The parent-child relationship is the arena in which the child is to learn to submit to and respect his elders and those in authority over him—including God. Do you require your children to obey you? Do you help other parents by setting a good example for them in this area? Don’t be misled or dissuaded by the media or our permissive culture. Let the Bible be the voice of wisdom that cuts through the noise of our society. If you love your children, teach them the value and blessings of obedience.

6:2-3 “Honor your father and mother,” which is the first commandment with promise: “that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth.”NKJV Paul added the authority of the revealed law to the natural law described in 6:1, quoting the fifth commandment, recorded in Exodus 20:12, Honor your father and mother. Obeying and honoring are different. To obey means to do what another says to do; to honor means to respect and love.

What does it mean to honor our mother and father? The word “honor” literally means to give weight or heaviness. To honor someone then means that we take them seriously.

Children are to obey while under their parents’ care, but they should honor their parents for life. Paul described this as the first commandment with promise, that of prolonged life.

In the Ten Commandments the first to deal with human relations is this duty toward parents. When the law was first given through Moses, severe penalties were established for the rebellious son who refused this command.

Exodus 21:15 (ESV) 21:15  “Whoever strikes his father or his mother shall be put to death.

Exodus 21:17 (ESV) 21:17  “Whoever curses his father or his mother shall be put to death.

Deuteronomy 21:18-21 (ESV) 21:18  “If a man has a stubborn and rebellious son who will not obey the voice of his father or the voice of his mother, and, though they discipline him, will not listen to them, 19  then his father and his mother shall take hold of him and bring him out to the elders of his city at the gate of the place where he lives, 20  and they shall say to the elders of his city, ‘This our son is stubborn and rebellious; he will not obey our voice; he is a glutton and a drunkard.’ 21  Then all the men of the city shall stone him to death with stones. So you shall purge the evil from your midst, and all Israel shall hear, and fear.

It is entirely possible to obey without honor—who hasn’t seen a child do what he or she is told, but with clenched fists and teeth and an “I’m only doing this because you’re making me” attitude?

Romans 1:18-30 (ESV) 1:18  For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. 28  And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. 29  They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, 30  slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents…

As children obey the command to honor their parents, they show an attitude of love and respect that they carry over into their relationship with God. Such an attitude provides a community that helps provide for and protect the aged. On the individual level, as each person cares for older people, the elderly live longer, and the younger people help pass the values down to the next generation.

Jesus came into sharp conflict with the Pharisees over their failure to keep God’s will in the way they taught men to neglect their elderly parents. By making a voluntary commitment (“corban”) of their estate, they thought they were free to defy the express command of God.

Mark 7:9-13 (ESV)  9  And he said to them, “You have a fine way of rejecting the commandment of God in order to establish your tradition! 10  For Moses said, ‘Honor your father and your mother’; and, ‘Whoever reviles father or mother must surely die.’ 11  But you say, ‘If a man tells his father or his mother, “Whatever you would have gained from me is Corban”’ (that is, given to God)— 12  then you no longer permit him to do anything for his father or mother, 13  thus making void the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down. And many such things you do.”

1 Timothy 5:8 (ESV) 5:8  But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.

Some societies honor their elders. They respect their wisdom, defer to their authority, and pay attention to their comfort and happiness. Christians should act this way. Where the elderly are respected, long life becomes a blessing, not a burden to them.

By next year, experts tell us that one in six people will be over sixty-five years of age. Honoring our aging parents will be crucial as our Christian duty.

The family is primary to God as a means for blessing and guiding human lives. With the failure of so many homes in the different ways already identified, the will of God is being thwarted too frequently. One of the rules for right living points to the need for keeping the family strong through proper relationships between children and their parents.

We should honor our parents because the day will come when we cannot show them the honor we would like to give. Some don’t have your parents with you any longer. I hope you don’t have to look back with regret. I once told my parents that I appreciated all they had done for me…my mother promptly said this: “Do you know what you can do? Do it for your own children.”

Obedience must be learned, and it is the job of parents to teach it to their children. “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6). Children need to cooperate with their parents in creating a good home. Parents should not have to fight their children for control of the family.

Train up: – Mold & Shape. Dedicate by training

  • Strong’s: “chanak figuratively, to initiate or discipline:- dedicate, train up.”
  • Same word translated “dedicate” (Deut 20:5; 1Kings 8:63; 2 Chron. 7:5) – Training is dedicating a child to God. James Dobson tells us that we should learn the special characteristics of each child (if we have more than one). They each respond to instruction in different ways. Discover those things and tailor what we say and do with them.
  • When we had our daughter, at one point I told Terry that I would yield to her insights as she grew older…and she said/did something similar when we had two sons. Mother-daughter…Father-son.
  • How? – Guide them in what they need.
  • Train: Hebrew word khaw-nak’ chanak – literally means “to put something in the mouth.” A Hebrew nurse would prepare a concoction to be given to the infant in order to prepare them for nursing.
  • Matthew 5:6 (ESV) 5:6 “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
  • We seek to “create a thirst for God, for a life patterned after Jesus, for God’s Word and God’s will.

In America, several factors tend to undermine honoring parents.

(1) Because of the rapid increase of divorce, children are often called upon to honor one parent and to despise the other. Neither parent can seem to tolerate the thought of the former mate having the respect of their child. If this were not bad enough, Freudian Psychology has provided each generation with an excuse to blame all of its problems on family members from our past. Countless expeditions into the parental past has provided many individuals with an expensive excursion into past history in order to pin the blame for their sins on someone else, often one or both parents.

(2) Honor is due to more than just parents. The New Testament requires the Christian to honor all men.

Romans 12:10 (ESV) Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.

1 Peter 2:17 (ESV) Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God.

(3) The way in which one relates to parents changes with conversion. When a person comes to Christ through baptism, there are a number of significant changes. When a person becomes a child of God by faith, God becomes a Father to them in a new and previously unknown way. While God was once denied, and His authority rejected (Ephesians 2:1‑3), now He is our Heavenly Father, with final authority, authority which has priority over all others, including fathers and mothers. As we have seen from our Lord’s teaching, faith in Christ may alienate children from their parents.

(4) The way in which one relates to parents changes with marriage. Marriage is usually the first of several dramatic changes in the child’s relationship with his parents. From the time our children enter the teen years, we are “working ourselves out of a job.” We’re preparing them for the time when they will leave our home and make their own decisions/mistakes. We are always there for advise, of course, but it is best IF it is offered when “it is asked for.” The parent‑child relationship and the resulting authority is temporary, the husband‑wife relationship is permanent.

(5) Honoring parents may someday require parenting parents. It is an irony indeed, but those who were once cared for by fathers and mothers often find themselves caring for their parents in their final years of life.

 
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Posted by on June 18, 2020 in Family

 

Righteous Anger – Ephesians 4:26-27


Ephesians 4:26 (ESV) Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger

“Be Angry!” (4:26a)

The words, “Be angry!” just doesn’t sound right, does it? We are uncomfortable with a command like this. We find ourselves trying to avoid or explain this away, because anger does not sound godly.

The words, “be ye angry,” are a present imperative in the Greek text, commanding a continuous action. This orgē, this abiding, settled attitude of righteous indignation against sin and sinful things, is commanded, together with the appropriate actions when conditions make them necessary.

We must remember that there are two kinds of anger.

There is the “anger of man” which “does not achieve the righteousness of God” (James 1:20), and the anger which is an expression of God’s righteousness. We are commanded in our text to be angry in a way that is righteous, that is a reflection of God.

Þ  God was angry at the unbelief of Moses, which caused him to resist obeying the command of God to go to Egypt and confront Pharaoh, insisting that he let God’s people go (Exodus 4:14).

Þ  God is angered by the mistreatment of those who are helpless, the strangers, the widows, and the orphans (Exodus 22:21-24).

Þ  God was also angered by men turning from trusting and worshipping Him, to the worship of idols (Exodus 32:10; Deuteronomy 6:14-15; Judges 2:13-14; Ezra 8:22).

Þ  God is angered by the grumbling and complaining of His people (Numbers 11:1, 10).

All of these offenses which arouse God to anger seem reasonable enough, but there are times when men may commit offenses which seem minor to us, and yet which provoke God to anger.

One such case is described in 2 Samuel chapter 6. The ark of the covenant had been captured by the Philistines, and was kept for a short time as a trophy in the house of their god, Dagon.

The problem with this was that God shamed their “god” and caused a plague to fall on those in whose city the ark was being kept. Eventually, the ark was returned by the Philistines, transported on an ox cart.

One could expect the Philistines to transport the ark this way. They did not know any better. But God had stipulated in the Law that the ark must be carried by the Levites, by means of poles that were place through rings in the ark.

The Israelites forgot this and began to transport the ark on an ox cart, like the Philistines. When the ox stumbled and the ark seemed in danger of falling off the cart, Uzzah reached out to stabilize the ark and was struck dead by God.

This angered David, who could not understand this outburst of anger at first. Only later, upon reflection, did he realize how important obedience to God’s instructions was. And then, when the ark was transported, it was done as God had instructed (see 2 Samuel 6:1-19).

Our Lord Jesus was also angry.

There were times when Jesus was terribly and majestically angry. He was angry when the scribes and Pharisees were watching to see if he would heal the man with the withered hand on the Sabbath day (Mk 3:5).

It was not their criticism of himself at which he was angry; he was angry that their rigid orthodoxy desired to impose unnecessary suffering on a fellow creature.

He was angry when he made a whip and drove the changers of money and the sellers of victims from the Temple courts (Jn 2:13-17). Because were cheating the worshippers in the exchange of money/sacrifices, they were getting between “the worshipper and God.”

Godly men were also angered by unrighteousness.

Moses, who was initially unshaken by Israel’s worship of the golden calf, became angry when he finally came down from the mountain and saw the extent of Israel’s sin (see Exodus 32:1-20).

Earlier, Moses was angered by Pharaoh’s hardened heart, and his refusal to listen to God and to let the Israelites go (Exodus 11:8).

It would appear that David was angered by Goliath’s blasphemy (1 Samuel 17).

David was later angry when Nathan told him the story of the rich man who stole a poor man’s little lamb, not knowing that he was the villain (2 Samuel 13:21).

The anger which is selfish and uncontrolled is a sinful and hurtful thing, which must be banished from the Christian life.

“Be Angry, But Do Not Sin” (4:26)

If feelings of anger are sometimes unavoidable, there are two things the Christian can do to avoid letting his emotions get him into trouble. The first is “do not sin.” An action taken in the heat of anger is almost always the wrong action.

Only God can properly execute wrath and vengeance (Rom 12:19).

Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry,

The second action the Christian must take is to get rid of anger within the day.

Few things have higher priority than seeking reconciliation with a brother: Matthew 5:24 (ESV) ..leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift. ). Animosity must not be harbored as a growing resentment.

One definition of agape (love) is that “it does keep a record of wrong.” Another way of saying something similar: it does not bring up the past.

My standard: IF I do not take of an issue that brings anger which could lead me to sin, on that day, then I forfeit the right to bring it up the next day.

DON’T GET BURNED! If vented thoughtlessly, anger can hurt others and destroy relationships. If kept inside, it can cause us to become bitter and destroy us from within.

Paul tells us to deal with our anger immediately in a way that builds relationships rather than destroys them. If we nurse our anger, we will give Satan an opportunity to divide us.

Anger must be dealt with as quickly as possible. Used correctly, anger can motivate us to right a wrong, redress a grievance, correct an injustice.

Used improperly, it can burn us and everyone else around us.

Are you angry with someone right now? What can you do to resolve your differences? Don’t let the day end before you begin working on mending your relationship.

If anger is not always evil, it can easily turn one to evil. Anger, like greed, is often the root of various evils. Ungodly anger may become the root of some of the evils addressed in Ephesians 4 and 5. Anger may prompt one to speak to a brother in a way that is destructive.

Just as our speech may edify or build up others, it can also tear down and destroy. Anger which is not properly resolved may lead to slander or false testimony. Anger has prompted people to steal. Anger has caused some to be unfaithful to their mate.

Even anger that begins as righteous indignation can turn sour, becoming ungodly wrath. This is why immediately after Paul commands us to be angry, he warns us to be angry, but not to sin.

As you can see from the text, Paul’s words, “Be angry, and do not sin,” are cited from a psalm of David, Psalm 4:4.

David composes this psalm out of his own distress. Unrighteous men have scoffed at David’s honor, making it a reproach. They have loved what is worthless and deceptive. David agonizes over the wickedness of such men, and calls upon God to deal with them.

Paul adds a dimension which David does not mention in his psalm. It should provide the Christian with strong motivation for heeding Paul’s admonition to avoid sinful anger.

He warns us that we are not to “give the devil an opportunity” with respect to anger. How can this be?

Several opportunities are apparent. First, Satan may take advantage of unresolved anger to promote some other sin, such as slander, strife, or even physical violence.

Satan would surely seek to use our anger to create divisions within the body of Christ. Many churches have been split over petty differences.

Satan, as the accuser of the brethren (Revelation 12:10) will surely use our sin, spawned by anger, as an occasion to accuse us before God, and perhaps may use us to accuse our brethren. Satan recognizes anger as a fertile field, capable of producing all kinds of sin, and sin is his specialty.

Paul gives but one method here, by which we may avoid letting righteous anger turn to sin. He instructs us not to “let the sun go down on our anger.”

While righteous anger is to be slow to originate, it is to be quickly dispelled. Anger has a kind of corrosive effect. Anger is designed to prompt us to act, to get us “off the dime” of passivity.

Paul does not tell us what we should do here. I believe that other Scriptures do spell out what is usually required of us.

In short, the process of “church discipline” is the course of action we should take. This process for dealing with our anger toward a brother is Christ is outlined in several texts, and is illustrated in others.

The first step in the process is confrontation. The one who has offended us, or who has acted in a way that dishonors God is to be confronted with his sin. This is to be done as privately and on as small a scale as possible. If the wayward one repents, the matter is settled. If not, then the matter must become more and more public, until it is resolved.

If the sinning saint persists in sin, he must finally be put out of the church, and deprived of the benefits of its fellowship. In the case of the brother who accepts correction, our anger should be converted to forgiveness.

If the brother is disciplined, our anger should turn to grief. In any case, our anger should not be allowed to linger on, turning to bitterness.

In those cases in which our brother is angry with us, we also have a responsibility to bring matters to a conclusion that dispels anger and which reflects the righteousness of God.

We are to go to that brother who has an offense against us, and seek to bring about a reconciliation as quickly as possible (see Matthew 5:23-26).

4:27 and do not give the devil a foothold.

When emotions are out of control, the devil steps in to exploit the situation. Whether in an action taken in the heat of passion, or in a smoldering resentment, the devil is given room to operate.

Characteristics of Righteous Indignation

 (1) Godly anger is God-like anger, it is an expression of the anger which has toward the actions of men. Godly people are angry when God is angry. It is anger which is consistent with the holy and righteous character of God.

(2) Godly anger is legal anger. It is wrath based upon men’s violation of God’s law, and it is anger which is lawfully expressed.

(3) Godly anger is not explosive, and is only slowly provoked. God’s anger does not have a hair trigger.

 (4) God does not take pleasure in expressing His anger in the judgment of men.

The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9).

 (5) Godly anger is always under control. Godly anger does not lose its temper. Ungodly anger is excessive and abusive; godly anger never is.

But He, being compassionate, forgave their iniquity, and did not destroy them; And often He restrained His anger, And did not arouse all His wrath (Psalm 78:38).

Conclusion

We ought to reserve our anger for when we see God dishonored or people wronged.

If we are to take this text seriously, we must also say that we should see more righteous anger than we do. If God is angered by sin, then we should be angered by it as well.

We need to confront the sinner, and without minimizing the sin, to seek its solution in genuine repentance.

In many marriages that end up on the rocks of divorce, the root problem is anger that has not been righteously expressed and dispelled.

In many families, the division and discord stems from a failure to obey Paul’s instructions concerning anger.

In many churches, the unity of the body of Christ has been hindered by the lack of righteous anger.

Let us seek to be both good and mad to the glory of God and for the health and unity of His body, the church

 
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Posted by on June 11, 2020 in ephesians

 

Love and Respect Ephesians 5:33


Indebted to Dr. Emerson Eggerichs for his insight*

Many of us have heard these words in our life: Do you take this woman/man to be your lawful wedded husband/wife, to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer, to love and to cherish, till death do us part.

They are words said before our spouse, our family, our friends, and God.

When home is ruled according to God’s Word, “angels might be asked to stay with us, and they would not find them-selves out of their element.”

Why do many Christian marriages fail? Somebody is out of the will of God.

Ephesians 5:33 (ESV) However, let each one of you {husband} love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.

This verse is the often unknown secret to the communication code in our marriage relationship.

  • Love is her deepest need and respect is his deepest need.

Love: a profoundly tender, passionate affection for another person; a feeling of warm personal attachment or deep affection, as for a parent, child, or friend.

1 Corinthians 13:1-13 (NASB)
1  If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.
2  If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.
3  And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing.
4  Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant,
5  does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered,
6  does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth;
7  bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
8  Love never fails; but if there are gifts of prophecy, they will be done away; if there are tongues, they will cease; if there is knowledge, it will be done away.
9  For we know in part and we prophesy in part;
13  But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love.

It is what you say but just as much what “you do.” It is the husband regularly doing “loving actions” or “acts of kindness.” But don’t misunderstand, husbands, what I am saying. They also need to hear those special words “I love you.” But the words without the action(s) don’t mean as much.

Respect: to hold in esteem or honor; to show regard or consideration for. esteem for or a sense of the worth or excellence of a person, a personal quality or ability, or something considered as a manifestation of a personal quality or ability: I have great respect for your judgment.

It is deference to a right, privilege, privileged position, or someone or something considered to have certain rights or privileges; it is a proper acceptance or courtesy; it is acknowledgment.

  • Without love she reacts without respect, and without respect he reacts without love.

Marriage Report Card

No marriage is perfect

Will YOU do anything about it if there’s an area that needs improvement?

Are both of you ‘set free’ to talk about these issues?

How Being a Strong Christian Will Help Us

Christians are concerned about others.

Christians practice love.

Christians want the best for others.

Christians have a positive sexual ethic.

Christians can forgive.

  1. Make A Commitment

“Till death do us part.”

86% of the people who said that they were unhappy were happy five years later.

  1. Make it a Priority

Continue to work at marriage.

The greatest thing you can do for your children is to love your spouse.

  1. Make Marriage Fun!

Some middle age crisis are because all the fun has gone out of marriage.  It’s all work and no play!

Ecclesiastes 9:9: “Enjoy life with the wife of your youth.”

Enjoy sex:  Song of Solomon.

Learn to have fun with only a little money.

  1. Learn to Communicate, Talk, and Fight!

Learn to listen. 

Learn to talk.

Be friends first!

Learn to fight fair.

  1. Deal with your Demons!

Find out what you’re doing to harm your marriage and heal it.

Dictatorship?   Financial irresponsibility?

Temper?    Pornography?

Substance Abuse?

You name it…get help!

  1. Have God at the center

From God we learn the marriage skills of:

Kindness   Forgiveness

Unconditional Love  Faithfulness

God will help us!

 Buy Me A Rose Lyrics
 He works hard to give her all he thinks she wants…A three car garage, her own credit cards. He pulls in late to wake her up with a kiss good night. If he could only read her mind, she’d say:

Buy me a rose, call me from work, Open a door for me, what would it hurt; Show me you love me by the look in your eyes. These are the little things I need the most in my life.

Now the days have grown to years of feeling all alone, And she can’t  help but wonder what she’s doing wrong. Cause lately she’d try anything to turn his head. Would it make a difference if she said:

Buy me a rose, call me from work, Open a door for me, what would it hurt; Show me you love me by the look in your eyes. These are the little things I need the most in my life.

And the more that he lives the less that he tries To show her the love that he holds inside.
And the more that she gives the more that he sees…This is a story of you and me

So I bought you a rose on the way home from work, To open the door to a heart that I hurt. And I hope you notice this look in my eyes Cause I’m gonna make things right For the rest of your life. I’m gonna hold you tonight. Do all those little things …For the rest of your life.

 
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Posted by on June 4, 2020 in Marriage

 
 
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