RSS

Monthly Archives: August 2012

Developing a Healthy Marriage_pt.1

This is not an exhaustive list; however, I feel these aspects of a marriage relationship are top priority items that my wife and I have found very foundational to our relationship. Not only are these things healthy for your marriage, but these principles can be transferred to other relationships and dealings with people in general.

Webster’s 1828 Dictionary defines the word healthy as: being in a sound state; enjoying health; sound; as a healthy body or constitution. God desires our marriages to be sound, that is, entire, unbroken, not shaky, and complete. Marriages are supposed to be enjoyable, that is, happy, pleasurable, and satisfying to both husband and wife. God’s purpose for the marriage from the beginning in the Garden of Eden was for the marriage relationship between man and woman to emulate the spiritual relationship between God and man. God intended for the marriage to be productive and to make a positive contribution to society. God knows we cannot achieve this productive and delightful state on our own, so for this reason he has set forth several Connection Points in His Word for us to learn from and develop our marriage by. Consider these connection elements and put them into practice today and I am confident you will be on your way to developing a more healthy and enjoyable Christ-honoring marriage.

1.      The Christ Connection  

Jude 1:20 But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost.

1 Thessalonians 4:1  Furthermore then we beseech you, brethren, and exhort you by the Lord Jesus, that as ye have received of us how ye ought to walk and to please God, so ye would abound more and more.

This deals with your personal connection with Jesus Christ. It is clear from these verses that we need to build up our faith, walk to please God and continue doing so more and more. It is impossible to be a good spouse without first having a good relationship with our God. It is the word of Christ that dwells in us richly that teaches us to be the spouse we need to be, and it is the Holy Spirit that empowers us to carry out all Christ teaches us. When we read the Bible and spend time in prayer, we see how Christ tenderly deals with his bride, the church; it is here we learn how to treat our spouse. Build your personal faith and you strengthen your marriage.

2.      The Spiritual Connection

While most people focus and think about the physical connection of the marriage, it is the spiritual connection that provides the needed strength to press through the difficult days. Here are some proven ways to connect spiritually with your spouse.

    a.      Pray together

What a precious thing to hear your spouse talk to the Heavenly Father on your behalf. It is an empowering and securing feeling to know your mate has care enough for you to call your name before the Throne of Grace. It is also difficult to harbor resentment when you enter Christ’s presence through prayer. Prayer will “clear the air” between you and your spouse.

    b.      Share scripture

Scripture is a powerful tool of encouragement. By sharing a passage of scripture, you pass the blessing to the one you love. It may be a verse of scripture they need to press through the day. Try using post-it notes to plaster uplifting Bible verses where your spouse is sure to find them. This works with note, emails and text messages too.

*Note: avoid using scripture to “prove a point” to your spouse. If they are wrong, let the Holy Spirit deal with them. Use scripture to encourage and uplift.

    c.       Exchange prayer requests & praises

It is important for you to discuss what you are praying. This shows a level of compassion and concern for those things your spouse carries around in their heart. There is enough negative news, try spreading some positive praises. Talk about positive things that God is doing. Encourage your spouse to focus heavenward.

    d.      Set spiritual goals for yourself, your home and family.

It is important to set goals and visions for your home. This keeps the family focused on the important issues. It also motivates success. People feel more eager to follow when there is a plan laid before them. This also keeps us from drifting into uncharted waters that have the ability to destroy our home life. Set goals that reflect God’s holiness, reading the Bible more as a family, inviting friends & neighbors to church or coming up with ways to help others. Setting positive goals will keep us on the right track.

3.     The Communication Connection

Hebrews 13:16  But to do good and to communicate forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.

1 Timothy 6:18  “…willing to communicate”

*Communication here means, a partnership, participation, to connect and interact. It means to communicate and fellowship with others. The Bible also calls this a sacrifice.

There is no business or relationship that can grow or even function properly without good communication. Communication involves three things; a sender, a message to send and a receiver of the message. Often times talking turns into shouting and this is not communication. There are two senders of two different messages and no one is receiving or listening. Once the yelling starts, each person is on the defensive, thinking only of what they will say next.

The Bible gives us some thoughts on good communication:

  1. Heb. 13:16 connects doing good with communication. Communication is good.
  2. Heb. 13:16 also says communication is a sacrificial act. It takes restraint and godly character to listen and control your tongue.
  3. Heb. 13:16 says this behavior is well pleasing to God.
  4. 1Tim. 6:18 says we must be willing to communicate. Be willing to do the right thing, to make the relationship work.

Communication is not only necessary to solve problems, but consistent communication will also prevent problems. By talking to your spouse, you open certain lines that would otherwise be closed. You may start talking about one topic, but wonder into another topic, where you end up dealing with an issue or problem before it starts. Talk often, talk clear and talk nice. This will strengthen your marriage more than you expect.

*Look for part two of this devotion coming soon

 

 

“Your Fellowship in the Gospel”

Philippians 1:3-5  I thank my God upon every remembrance of you,  4  Always in every prayer of mine for you all making request with joy,  5  For your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now;

When Paul wrote his letter to the Philippian believers, he wanted them to know how much he appreciated their fellowship in the gospel. This church, along with others from the area were poor and barely making “ends meet” for themselves. But when they heard of Paul’s mission to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ, and of the needs of the persecuted believers in Jerusalem, they wanted to help. This church goes down in history, not as a wealthy church or part of the high society crowd but they are remembered for their fellowship in the gospel. For the contributions they were equipped to make.

Paul encourages these people that they are important. He assures them that every contribution, prayer and ounce of hard work they invested into the gospel work is important. Every recreational time they forfeited, every ball game they missed, and every sacrifice they made was a direct “positive impact” on the gospel mission. Every time you give yourself to the work of Christ, you are making a difference.  I say to you today, Christian, you are important to the work of Christ. God has given you certain talents, abilities and ideas that he wants to use for his work in your local church. Don’t squander away your gifts, but use them for Christ and your community. Make a difference! Invest yourself whole-heatedly into your local church ministry and serve Christ faithfully until he comes.

When we look at the work of most fundamental, Bible-believing churches in 2012, it doesn’t take long to recognize, that less than 20% of the people do 100% of the work. It seems most people would rather sit and draw, than to stand and do. For this reason many churches will creep through history and never come close to making the impact on their community that they’re capable of. The sad truth is that the message of the gospel will be limited to impacting those few people that the 20 percent can reach; that is after they care for all the needs of the church and their families. There are many families that will never be ministered too, so many homes that will never be reached, and so many children that will never hear of Christ. This is the epidemic facing the church and nation today, and because of it, another generation will grow & live without Christ, another generation will give themselves to the lust of the flesh and another generation will move farther from the truth of God’s word making it harder for the next generation of Soul-winners.

So what fellowship do you have in the gospel? What are you doing to win souls to Christ and support your local church that is trying to carry out the Great Commission of Christ? These thoughts are not for you to compare your actions or involvement to that of other Christians, nor to make anyone feel like their one talent is not as important as the Christian with ten talents. This is simply a call to ask yourself “What am I doing, and am I doing all that Christ designed me to do?”  God has equipped you with certain talents to use immediately, and as you grow in Christ he uses pastors and teachers (Eph.4:11-12) to further equip you for even more service as you grow stronger in faith. Work hard, be faithful and remember you are important to the fellowship of the gospel.

 
 
%d bloggers like this: