If Thy Hand Offend Thee

Matthew_5:30  And if thy right hand offend thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.

 

I never did post anything about On Course Youth Conference that took place two months ago. Truly, it was a wonderful conference that our young people were blessed to be able to attend. The preaching was powerful and anointed, and it was beautiful to see the response of so many young people during altar service times. Although this conference is geared toward youth, there have been many times where God has talked to my heart through the preaching of the Word.

The message that Brother Paul Bertram preached with the above Scripture as his text is the one that stands out the most in my mind. He shared with us the true story of Aron Ralston, an experienced outdoorsman who through a freak accident had his hand pinned under a boulder, from which he was unable to break free. After being trapped for 5 days in this condition, Aron realized that his hand was rotting under the boulder, and the only way he was going to be able to survive was to cut off  his hand. So, he did. It still makes me cringe when I think about it.

Brother Bertram began to talk about how we can hold onto things that can slowly kill us spiritually. An area he dealt with a lot was cell phones. These devices are so popular in our society, and while they are very useful, they can also cause great harm to us spiritually when we use them inappropriately or devote too much time to them to the neglecting of more important things. God dealt with me during that service about something on my phone. It wasn’t a sin but something that was becoming  a weight, and I knew God was speaking to my heart to delete it, and so I did. I’m so glad that God cares about us enough to show us areas in our lives where we need correction or things in our lives that could become stumbling blocks!

We do need to exercise caution with cell phones and technology. It seems everywhere I go nowadays, I see people staring at screens, whether it be cell phones, laptops or I-pads. I wonder what would happen if we spent as much time in prayer and Bible reading as we do on our devices. I wrote the following while musing on that a couple of weeks ago. While it is a satirical piece, and I don’t really believe getting rid of our cell phones would bring instant revival, limiting the time we spend on them and dedicating more time to seeking God would certainly help.

Cell Phone Phenomenon

We stare at it while we cross the street.

It must accompany us when with friends we meet.

Oh, why can’t we seem to leave it alone;

this technological wonder we call the cell phone?

 

The husband and wife go out to dinner

to have quality time alone;

as they sit across from each other,

both of them on their phone.

 

And what shall we do with our cell phone next?

Should we start a photo stream or send out a text?

Our day is just not complete, it seems

without sending or receiving the latest memes.

 

Of course, there are amusements and games galore

to keep you awake until 3 or 4.

And there’s pressure to upgrade to the latest.

That I-phone 1,000 is just the greatest!

 

The apps to choose from can catch your breath.

There is even one to predict your own death!

Oh, all the wonders the cell phone is giving.

Before its’ time we weren’t really living.

 

It’s a glorious device upon which we spend time,

almost without care, reason or rhyme.

It’s so easy to squander the minutes away

held in the cell phone’s hypnotic  sway.

 

You may think I’m totally under delusion,

but my ponderings have brought me to this conclusion.

If cell phone time was replaced with prayer and reading the Bible

we’d have an earth shaking, devil chasing, Heaven sent revival!

4/20/17

 

Who Is She?

She glides through the village with perfect poise and grace,

a look of steady purpose, determination on her face.

Along the pathway she approaches the first passerby

who rudely cruises on his way with an irritated sigh.

The market place, the destination, where the lady arrives next

to a host of indolent youth that sit around and text.

She tries to catch their eye, begins to lift her voice

but they seemingly ignore her, definitely by choice.

Though what she has to offer, is better than silver and gold,

they won’t hear her instruction. She’s left out in the cold.

She’s been around a long time, before earth’s grand creation;

before so many traded her for pride, self -exaltation.

Yet, it is by her, that some kings and princes reign.

She gives to common men, a life that is not in vain.

All are truly blessed that choose to keep her ways

applying her sound counsel all their earthly days.

Fools that reject her will suffer eternal shame.

“Who is she?” you may ask. Wisdom is her name.

 

5/2/17

Inspired by Proverbs 8

Desperate Faith

She was an outsider, but she had an urgent need.

And coming to the Master, she thus began to plead.

first, for the Lord to have mercy, and then for a healing touch

for her demon tormented daughter that she loved so very much.

 

Though it may have seemed rude and almost absurd,

Jesus answered her not a word.

And even His disciples came and did say

They desired for Him to send her away.

 

“I am sent to the lost sheep of Israel” was what Jesus replied.

Perhaps the woman felt that her hope had died.

It seemed as though the conversation was looking rather grim

but the woman asked Jesus for help, as she came and worshipped Him.

 

The next words coming from Jesus that He spoke outloud

would truly offend someone who was arrogant and proud.

It’s not fitting for me to take the children’s bread

and cast it to dogs that they may be fed.

 

A dog is what the woman was called.

There are many that would have been appalled.

But the woman’s response made it plain to see

that in her heart was humility.

 

Truth Lord, but even dogs are able

to eat crumbs that fall from the master’s table.

Then Jesus marveled and thus did state

that truly this woman’s faith was great.

 

The moment at last had come to fruition.

The woman received her desired petition.

Her daughter was healed that self same hour;

made whole by Jesus’s mighty power.

 

How good it is, this story to know,

of determined faith that wouldn’t let go.

With happy outcome, her story ended.

In Jesus, she chose not to be offended.

 

So what about me, and what about you?

When the need is great, what will we do?

If answers aren’t instant, will our prayers still persist?

Will we have a faith that won’t cease and desist?

 

Should God respond in a way that we don’t understand

Will we still choose to lift up holy hands?

If He answers in a way that seems like a slight

will we still choose to walk in the light?

 

It’s up to me and it’s up to you.

When there’s dire need what we will do.

If things don’t make sense or we have to wait,

may Jesus find in us a faith that is great.

 

4/17/17

 

Mat 15:21-28  Then Jesus went thence, and departed into the coasts of Tyre and Sidon. 

And, behold, a woman of Canaan came out of the same coasts, and cried unto him, saying, Have mercy on me, O Lord, thou Son of David; my daughter is grievously vexed with a devil. 

But he answered her not a word. And his disciples came and besought him, saying, Send her away; for she crieth after us. 

But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel. 

Then came she and worshipped him, saying, Lord, help me. 

But he answered and said, It is not meet to take the children’s bread, and to cast it to dogs. 

And she said, Truth, Lord: yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table. 

Then Jesus answered and said unto her, O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt. And her daughter was made whole from that very hour. 

 

Luke 7:23  And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me. 

 

 

 

The Remedy

Sin

enslaves

grips the soul

like heavy chains

but Jesus can loose the binding shackles

if we will choose to obey the gospel

God’s Holy Word

when applied

makes us

free!

 

This type of poem is called a Double Tetractys. To see how to write one click the link.

http://www.shadowpoetry.com/resources/wip/tetractys.html

4/12/17

Acts 2:37,38  Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do? 

Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. 

Romans 6:17,18  But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. 

Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness. 

 

Hebrews 5:9  And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him; 

Way To Go, Mike Pence!

Vice President Mike Pence has a long established policy for which he has received flack from those of a liberal mindset.  It has been his long standing rule to never dine alone with a woman other than his wife. I think that is commendable that he would want to safeguard his marriage! Click the link below to read the article about Vice President Pence.

https://www.onenewsnow.com/perspectives/bryan-fischer/2017/04/03/in-praise-of-mike-pence

My close associations are of the same mindset, and I could not imagine it being any other way. Our young people also do not date one on one but go out with groups or chaperones. It’s called having safe boundaries, and it’s a concept that does not make sense to the carnal mind.

The following poem says it so well.

 

The Ambulance Down In The Valley

Twas a dangerous cliff, as they freely confessed,
Though to walk near its crest was so pleasant;
But over its terrible edge there had slipped
A duke and full many a peasant.
So the people said something would have to be done,
But their projects did not at all tally;
Some said, “Put a fence ’round the edge of the cliff,”
Some, “An ambulance down in the valley.”

But the cry for the ambulance carried the day,
For it spread through the neighboring city;
A fence may be useful or not, it is true,
But each heart became full of pity
For those who slipped over the dangerous cliff;
And the dwellers in highway and alley
Gave pounds and gave pence, not to put up a fence,
But an ambulance down in the valley.

“For the cliff is all right, if you’re careful,” they said,
“And, if folks even slip and are dropping,
It isn’t the slipping that hurts them so much
As the shock down below when they’re stopping.”
So day after day, as these mishaps occurred,
Quick forth would those rescuers sally
To pick up the victims who fell off the cliff,
With their ambulance down in the valley.

Then an old sage remarked: “It’s a marvel to me
That people give far more attention
To repairing results than to stopping the cause,
When they’d much better aim at prevention.
Let us stop at its source all this mischief,” cried he,
“Come, neighbors and friends, let us rally;
If the cliff we will fence, we might almost dispense
With the ambulance down in the valley.”

“Oh he’s a fanatic,” the others rejoined,
“Dispense with the ambulance? Never!
He’d dispense with all charities, too, if he could;
No! No! We’ll support them forever.
Aren’t we picking up folks just as fast as they fall?
And shall this man dictate to us? Shall he?
Why should people of sense stop to put up a fence,
While the ambulance works in the valley?”

But the sensible few, who are practical too,
Will not bear with such nonsense much longer;
They believe that prevention is better than cure,
And their party will soon be the stronger.
Encourage them then, with your purse, voice, and pen,
And while other philanthropists dally,
They will scorn all pretense, and put up a stout fence
On the cliff that hangs over the valley.

Better guide well the young than reclaim them when old,
For the voice of true wisdom is calling.
“To rescue the fallen is good, but ’tis best
To prevent other people from falling.”
Better close up the source of temptation and crime
Than deliver from dungeon or galley;
Better put a strong fence ’round the top of the cliff
Than an ambulance down in the valley.

Joseph Malins

There will always be those who will mock, ridicule and deride those who want to protect things that are sacred, but thank God for boundaries and those who are willing to put them up!

 

Wise husbands could learn from Mike Pence

how to put ‘round your marriage, a fence

dine alone with just your wife

for she’s the love of your life

to do otherwise is just dense.

4/5/17

 

 

 

If You Don’t Read This, We’re Not Getting Married!

divorce tract

I don’t remember exactly where I was when he handed me the tract, but I still remember the shock I felt when I saw that capitalized word in bold orange print.

DIVORCE

Why would I want to read such a thing? I was engaged to be married to the man of my dreams, and I had been taught that divorce was practically a cuss word that should not be a part of my vocabulary. “No,” I replied, “I don’t want to read this.” My fiancée’s response stunned me for a moment. “If you don’t read this, we are not getting married!” he said with strong conviction. I knew he was serious, decided this must really be important, and so I read it.

I’m so glad that I did! We have been married for almost 34 years, and I have reread this tract several times over the years. I’m thankful for the godly principles that I learned through this pamphlet. The number one thing that has stuck with me is that love is a commitment. It is something that transcends feelings, which can be fickle things.

We made a commitment until death parts us in spite of

-moments when we may get angry at one another

-financial hardships

-the trials of life

-waking up in the morning with extreme dragon breath

-not being as drop dead gorgeous as we were in our youth(if we ever were really drop dead gorgeous-lol)

You get the picture.

The second most important thing that has remained with me is that my primary goal as a Christian wife is to help ensure that my husband is a success in the kingdom of God. If I am focusing  on doing what I can to help him be successful, and he is focusing on helping me to be a success in my relationship with the Lord, it leaves a lot less room for friction, fighting or fussing.

In reading the tract, there is a section where the author is counselling a woman on the phone who said she wanted a divorce. After the author explained these principles to her, they had a time of prayer while still on the call, and one of the things that the author prayed is that God would “burn these principles upon her heart and mind.” After reading the pamphlet for the first time, my husband to be and I talked, and we also prayed the same things: that the principles we read about would become a part of us and that we would never forget them. Since that time, God has reminded me on several occasions of that prayer and the tract that opened up my understanding to what love really is.

Through the means of copying and pasting, I am going to post that tract here. There are other things mentioned besides the two points I’ve written about here, such as things you should never say to your spouse and what to do if you think you’ve married the wrong person.  Whatever stage you are at in life, if you’d like to be married someday, if you’re currently married,   if  you’re engaged or if you’re divorced, I would encourage you to read this tract. Even if it doesn’t apply to you in your present situation, you might be able to share it with someone who could benefit from it.

My prayer is that it will be a blessing to you or someone that you care about and want to have a happy marriage.

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This article has been a long time coming. Just about every day we get letters asking us to tackle this subject. On several occasions we have planned to do a whole issue on it, but each time we began, we realized that the subjects and Scriptures involved were so heavily debated, and interpretations so varied, that we would just be stirring up a hornets’ nest to put “our” position in print. So we kept putting it off.

But as time has passed, we have become acutely aware of this tragic problem growing in the Church. First of all, my wife and I have many personal friends whose marriages have “fallen apart” during the past few years. These include many well-known Christian musicians and ministers. This has cut Melody and me to the heart as we have watched marriage after marriage disintegrate, hearing one excuse after the other why “we just couldn’t live together anymore…” Then we have watched while many of these people quickly got remarried, saying to us “Oh now I am really happy! God has really worked this out… Maybe it was His will all along!” Meanwhile somewhere, the former husband or wife is still aching, bleeding inside, and wondering, “What happened? Where do I stand now?” And then comes the guilt and torment.

We have also received letters from many wives and husbands begging us for help and advice on what to do. They paint the saddest pictures of fights and mistrust, broken promises, and worst of all – scared children who are innocently caught in the crossfire.

This article is not going to answer all your theological questions concerning divorce or remarriage: “Is it okay to do this?” “Am I allowed to do that?” “What if I’m already remarried?” These questions are among some of the hardest in scriptural study – and have been the cause of no end of debate among Bible scholars. The reason is because the Bible seems to be unclear in many of these areas. Of course “we” have an opinion on all of them (and so does every church on the block!), but we do not want to print merely opinion, we want to share rock-solid truth – ABSOLUTE truth! That is why this article is called “Everything You Should Know Before You Get A Divorce.”

We know that God clearly said, “I hate divorce!” (Mal. 2:16) And so we want to reach you before you make that fatal mistake. That is the best time to deal with sin – BEFORE it occurs. Sure God has made provision for repentance and healing, but the “who can’s” and “why s” involved in divorce and remarriage are so heavily debated in Church circles, we just want to stay out of the fray. (Please don’t write us and tell us what you think God will let you do; or “such and such a person can get a divorce and still be right with God.”) Frankly, the purpose of this article is not to deal with all the “what if’s.” We are interested in saving the marriages (and families) that are still able to be saved.

Just as Melody’s articles on abortion have been responsible for saving little human lives, we are praying that this article will save the family-lives of many homes, so that many little ones will be protected from the anguish of being brought up by separated parents – completely contrary to God’s expressed plan for the family in the Bible. It is never our purpose to “wrangle about words” (II Tim. 2:14), for “the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.” (II Cor. 3:6) We want to spread the Spirit of Christ, who “came so you might have life, and have it more abundantly!” (John 10:10) It is this “life,” full of victorious battles and overcome trials, that we aim to share in this article. – Keith

Marriage Passion Or Patience?

Some time ago I received a phone call from a very sad brother who had been trying to get a hold of me by phone for many days. He shared that his wife was about to leave him, and she wouldn’t listen to him or their pastor, and just didn’t want to talk about it anymore. He said that the reason he was calling me was that she really liked our Newsletter and had a lot of respect for me and our ministry. He felt sure – that if I was willing, she would talk to me and maybe listen to reason. I told him that I would be glad to try to share with her. So he left the phone, and in a few moments she was there on the other end, sort of giggling nervously.

I said, “I hear you wanna go and get a divorce and end your marriage.”

“Yeah,” she said.

I said, “Why?”

She said, “Because I just don’t love him anymore… anyway, even if we get divorced, I can still serve the Lord, and so can he.”

“Well,” I said, “concerning ‘love,’ the Bible says wives should love their husbands. It doesn’t say you should ‘feel’ love, it says you should LOVE! Love isn’t a feeling, it isn’t ‘romance.’ It’s an action based on commitment. In fact, it is COMMITMENT!”

There was silence on the other end for a few seconds. Then she said, “No one ever told me that before. I thought that if I didn’t FEEL love toward my husband, then what’s the use of trying to “act” loving. What’s the use of pretending there’s hope for our marriage when I didn’t ‘love’ him anymore?”

“I understand,” I said. “The world has perverted the concept of love so badly that people go from one relationship to another, one marriage to another, simply because the ‘love’ feelings are gone. The simple truth is that those feelings were never ‘love’ in the first place! They were merely ‘romantic emotions’ that come and go with the wind. They’re based on moods and circumstances, but mostly on the excitement and mystique of a ‘new’ relationship. As soon as the “newness’ wears off, you find yourself sitting across the dinner table from just another human being – and that’s when the challenge begins. You’ve made a bunch of promises – and a commitment to love and live together ’till death do us part,’ – and now you’d better find out what this word ‘love’ really means, or there’s just no hope for your marriage!”

Just then another long-distance call came in on another line and I had to go, so I prayed with that woman, right there on the phone. In the prayer I asked God to “burn these principles into her mind,” so that wherever she turned, all she could see would be God’s commandment to “love your husband!”

Well God’s power truly fell on us during that prayer! This couple later visited with us and shared that God really healed their marriage. This woman reported that within one half hour after our phone call, she was weeping and praying with her husband. She said that I had asked God to “burn” my words into her mind, and that’s exactly what He did! She shared that she had never understood before that love was not a feeling or an option, but a commandment – an action and a choice to keep the commitment she had made to her husband and God that she would always love him. How free she seemed! She was no longer a slave to her “non-loving” feelings; she now understood that love was something that God had not only commanded her to do, but had enabled her to do. And the feelings came after the obedience! She said that whenever she did the loving thing, she really FELT love for her husband. How grateful Melody and I were as we saw their tears and praise to God. And as their two little girls played at our feet, we had more cause to rejoice that God had spared these little ones by keeping their daddy and mommy from destroying the family they had.

The Children

How many times have you heard this: “They’re just staying together for the children.” I remember the first time I heard that. I wasn’t a Christian at the time, and I thought, “What a drag! How can they keep a miserable relationship together just for those kids?” Well, my wife and I now have three little precious ones of our own to bring up in the love and fear of the Lord. I now can see the reasoning of these tormented parents. They might not be able to stand each other, but they both love their children so much that they wouldn’t dream of forcing them to relate to two different parents living in two different homes.

In our current “liberated” society, fewer and fewer people have unselfish standards. And unfortunately, this “me first” attitude is spilling over into the Church. Instead of couples having a primary concern for their children, they reason, “If I’m not happy, what’s the use in keeping my children happy?” “Why, it would be better for the children to live without all this arguing…” More times than not, many of those involved in divorce came from broken homes themselves, and they have promised themselves, “I’ll never do that to my kids!” And this only adds to the guilt and condemnation later if they get a divorce.

I am not suggesting that couples stay together merely because they have children. This, in itself is not enough of a reason to keep a shaky marriage together. Many people avoid dealing with the real problems in their marriages by using the “children” excuse as the “only” reason to stay together. Then they just continue despising each other in their hearts, and things grow worse. What I want to deal with now are some rules that will help you avoid ever having to deal with this question – “Should we get a divorce or stick it out?” – by replacing it with this question – “What can we do to overcome the problems we’re having in our marriage, so we can make a loving home for our family, and glorify God?”

Never Say “DIVORCE!”

Awhile back I was talking with my neighbor David Wilkerson, and he shared with me his burden for all the marriages that were breaking up in the Church. He told me of ministers and church leaders he knew who were throwing in the towel. Then he said something that really hit home. “You know, Keith, God has shown me a principle that would really save a lot of marriages from ending up in divorce. Words are powerful things, and I believe that Christians should be taught that there is one word they should avoid at all costs: Divorce!

I can remember when Melody and I first got married, even though we weren’t yet Christians, I always said that I never would consider divorce as an option. That way I would always be forced to work through any problem. When Mr. Wilkerson shared his principle with me, I knew it was the truth. “The tongue is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.” (James 3:8) I believe that married couples should consider “divorce” the dirtiest word in the English language. It should never be used. (Better yet, it should never be considered as even a remote possibility!) You wouldn’t consider murdering your own child if he was uncontrollable, would you? You would try to work it all out. Oh, things would be trying and difficult, and you might lose your temper, but you would never consider killing him! That’s exactly what divorce is – the murder of a marriage and a family. And talking divorce is talking murder! Thinking divorce is thinking murder. That’s the only way to consider it. You must never, NEVER use that word as a weapon in an argument. And if you’ve already been using it, STOP now! If you have your eye on the door, you’ll never be able to straighten things out. The sooner you stop thinking and talking divorce, the sooner an atmosphere of love and trust will begin to form between you and your mate.

Other Things You Shouldn’t Say

One of the most destructive things you can say to your husband or wife is, “Bill doesn’t do things like that…” or, “Connie keeps her house looking real nice!” Whatever you do, don’t compare your wife or husband to others to make a point. God didn’t give you to Bill, He gave you to your husband, so you’d better start being grateful and quit looking at and talking about the “greener grass” at Bill’s house. And God didn’t allow you to marry Connie, so quit using her as an example to make your wife look like a total slob. You must begin by accepting each other the way each of you are, and then work from there in love and patience. Pointing to other people’s supposed lack of problems will only hurt. Deal directly with the problem itself without bringing anyone or anything else into it.

But I Married The Wrong Person!

That might be very true! It’s extremely possible that you went ahead and married the first person you “fell in love with.” Or maybe you got married because you felt insecure and were thrilled that somebody actually wanted you! Whatever your story is, if you got married for any other reason than obedience to God, to glorify Him, it’s more than likely you married the wrong person (or at least the right person at the wrong time – for all the wrong reasons).

Now before you breathe a sigh of relief and call your lawyer, hold on a minute. Even though you might have made your marriage commitment to the wrong person, even for completely selfish reasons, it is STILL a commitment, and God wants you to honor it!

“When you make a vow to God, do not be late in paying it, for He takes no delight in fools. Pay what you vow! It is better that you should not vow than that you should vow and not keep it. Do not let your speech cause you to sin, and do not say in the presence of God that ‘it was a mistake.’ Why should God be angry on account of your words and destroy the work of your hands?” (Ecc. 5:4-6)

Even though it may be true that you got married completely out of God’s will, you must realize that it is now God’s will for you to admit your mistake, ask His forgiveness, and then by His grace, make your present marriage A GODLY ONE! Don’t think it’s okay to get a divorce by using that quasi-religious excuse: ‘”Well, NOW I’m going to obey God and just “un-marry” the one He didn’t want me to marry in the first place!” It might sound like a “spiritual” reason to you, but very few people are going to believe you’re getting a divorce to “please God” – especially you! (Not to mention God.)

There is a wonderful promise in Romans: “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those that love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” (Rom. 8:28) How many things? ALL THINGS! That’s right, even our mistakes, our blunders, our downright stupid errors! God is in the business of taking garbage and making it into jewels – look at Peter (whom the Lord had to rebuke so harshly – Mark 8:32-33), look at David (and his adultery with Bathsheba – who later became the mother of Solomon – the next king of Israel!), and look at YOU! Why, if God couldn’t take someone’s miserable, mistake-filled life and turn it around for blessing and growth, hardly anyone would go to heaven!

The Purpose Of Marriage

When Melody and I first became Christians, we had been married about a year and a half. We began going to a church that had quite a lot of teaching on marriage and the family. We were grateful for this, because we had had quite a few fights during our first year together. One of the things our pastor shared has stuck with us through it all.

He began his marriage series by telling us what God’s purpose for a Christian husband was: To make his wife a success in the Kingdom of God. And the purpose of the wife? You guessed it: To make her husband a success in the Kingdom of God! But what does this mean? Does it mean making sure your husband makes a lot of money, or gets a promotion at work? Not at all. It means that our main function in marriage is to be praying for, encouraging, counseling, and correcting each other in love, so that our mate will fully please God in all they do. This is one of the most exciting teachings about marriage I have heard! After all, love means to serve others for their good. We should have as our goal to make our husband or wife the best Christian possible – in prayer, in ministry, in attitude, in service, in giving, and especially, in loving! If you truly make this your goal, you will have no time for the selfish attitudes that have caused all the arguments you’ve ever had.

The Scriptures are full of riches on this subject.

“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the Church, and gave Himself up for her; that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the Word, that He might present to Himself the Church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she should be holy and blameless.” (Eph. 5:25-27)

This Scripture shows us that the husband should take the lead in all spiritual things as the head and priest of the household. There should be a daily time of prayer and reading of Scriptures together (as well as a time with the whole family if you have children). No couple can fight and stay bitter long, where there is a deep and sincere time of prayer together. (And beware – when you find you can’t or don’t want to pray, the enemy has got a strangle-hold on your relationship – true prayer is the surest way to loosen it!)

But for you wives who now are going to bring out the excuse that your husband is not the spiritual leader he should be, and that is why you feel there is no hope for your marriage, the Bible has some medicine for you as well . . .

“In the same way, you wives, be submissive to your own husbands so that even if any of them are disobedient to the Word, they may be won without a word by the behavior of their wives, as they observe your chaste and respectful behavior.” (I Pet. 3:1-2)

Ah, the balance of the Word of God!

Finally… Love, Love And Love Again!

I cannot stress enough the principle that I shared with that woman on the phone who was convinced that divorce was the only answer because she didn’t “love her husband anymore.” Don’t fall for that trap! Love is not a feeling, it’s a commitment. I pray that God will burn this truth into your mind the same way He burned it into hers. (That’s what God means when He says, “I will write my laws upon their hearts,” Jer. 31:33. He wants our conscience always to be “bearing witness to the truth” – Rom. 2:15.)

Remember, God will not do your loving for you – YOU must love your husband or wife. That means choosing to do what’s best for them. It means not waiting for the right “feelings,” but doing the right and loving thing NOW – don’t worry, the right feelings will always follow the right action. Your marriage, your family, the body of Christ, and the cause of the Gospel depend upon you making the CHOICE to love – in all that you do.

“For love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things… let all that you do be done in love.” (I Cor. 13:7; 16:14)

 by Keith Green

 

 

Upon What Are You Building?

 

It’s hard to believe it is March already, and typically in this month we see or are reminded of budding blossoms, weather beginning to warm up, St. Patrick’s Day and shamrocks. When we think of the word “shamrock”, most of us immediately envision that green, three part clover leaf that is popular during this time of the year. However, the word “shamrock” can also be classified as a compound word, which is 2 words that come together to make one new word.

In the word “shamrock”, we see the 2 words “sham” and “rock”. By definition, a sham is something or someone that is pretended, counterfeit or feigned. When most of us think of a rock, we get a visual picture in our mind of a large mass of stone that forms a cliff or hill or perhaps a single stone of smaller size. Another definition of rock is “a person or thing suggesting a rock, especially in being dependable, unchanging, or providing a firm foundation.

Jesus spoke the following words in the book of Matthew about His own teachings.
Matthew 7:24, 25 Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock:
And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock.

The Bible, God’s Holy Word is a solid foundation upon which we can build our lives. If we are not striving to live our lives in obedience to God’s Word, then we are really building our lives upon a “sham rock”. If a spouse, loved one, movie star, super hero, etc. is #1 in our lives instead of Jesus, we are building our lives on a “sham rock”. If wealth, career, education, pursuit of worldly pleasure or some other thing is the master passion of our lives, we are building our lives on a “sham rock”. Jesus had this to say in contrast of the person who does not build their lives upon His Word.

Matthew 7:26, 27 And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand:
And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.

So what about you? Upon what are you building your life? Stormy trials and tests will come at one time or another into your life. If it is built upon the solid foundation of Jesus Christ and His Word, it will be able to withstand those storms. May we all earnestly pray that we will hear and do the Word of God, that we might have a solid foundation upon which to build our lives and be not only blessed here and now, but in the life to come!