Marriage, Postmarital, Premarital, Singles, Uncategorized

The Ten Commandments of Marriage

Starting this week, I am going to create a series of blogs that I am calling The Ten Commandments of Marriage.  I hope you enjoy them and will share them with others.images-6

1. Thou Shalt Love God Above All Else

To love your spouse, your children or yourself above God is simply wrong. Jesus said we were to love God with all of our heart, mind and soul and then love our neighbor as our self. Your closest neighbor is your spouse, but love them next to God. Did you catch that “as you love yourself” part? That means, in order to be able to love another so deeply we must be able to know the love of God for ourselves. Unless we know and fully understand that He is madly in love with us, are fulfilled in His acceptance and know His approval, we will lack in our love toward our spouse. Ephesians says it this way, “…no one ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it, just as Christ does the church.” You cannot hate yourself, while at the same time, claim to love your mate. You are one.

2. Thou Shalt Not be Self-consumed or Walk in Selfish Ambition

Selfish ambition is being filled with immaturity and will kill a marriage faster than anything. Selfish ambition is defined in the Bible as acting on your own for your greater good, not walking in humility, interested only in yourself and, lastly, being filled with vain conceit (Philippians 2:3,4) We are strictly commanded to be like Christ who became a servant and even though He was God, never considered equality with God by giving up His divine privileges (NLT). Are you serving and looking for ways to serve your spouse on a daily basis? There is no 50/50 deal in marriage; it is a one hundred percent devotion to serve and care for the other first. Marriage exposes how self-centered we actually are and can either destroy our relationship or expose our need to change. Marriage is not about me or having my needs met, but rather asking God to help me partner with Him in blessing my spouse.

Encouragement, Marriage, Premarital

Celebrating 75 Years of Marriage

IMG_0229 My wife’s parents recently celebrated 75 years of marriage. It seems the long ago story was that they were asked by some friends of theirs to stand in as witnesses for an out-of-state wedding before a local Justice of the Peace. While there, Harold and Betty decided to do the same – “tie the knot.” They were the very mature ages of 19 and 17. After saying, “I do,” Harold dropped Betty off at her family home while he drove to his without mentioning a word to either of their parents. Recently, having the opportunity to sit down with them, we asked this pointed question, “What were your marriage secrets in maintaining a healthy relationship for seven and a half decades?” The following is written as they spoke it.

  1. We honored our wedding vows daily. We meant what we spoke to one another. Regardless of life circumstances, our vows were never in question.
  2. We both received into our heart Jesus as our Savior and made Him Lord of our lives early in our marriage. He made all the difference in the world for us and in raising our children.
  3. Having regular fellowship with like believers helped us and encouraged us to stay together. We were held accountable by those relationships.
  4. We felt responsible to bring up our eight children with the truth of God’s word. Now with many grandchildren, great- grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren they are our “mission field.” We pray daily for them.
  5. As we spend our days in our recliners, with our children now caring for us, we are trusting the Lord to keep us while we wait for Him to take us to our eternal home. We are ready to go home.

Thank you, Harold and Betty, for fighting the good fight, being a godly and loving example of marriage to your family and hundreds of other families. We love you!

Children, Encouragement

Building a Wall for Your Daughter

IMG_0357Recently my daughter sent me an email in which she proceeded to thank me for “building a wall and not a door” in her life. The reference was out of Song Of Songs 8: 8,9. The young girl who is a door does not know who she is, her worth, or her value, she lacks faith, depth, astuteness and wisdom. But, the tower of self-worth, self-confidence, self-respect, strength of character, integrity, honesty and humility protect the daughter who is like a wall. She knows whose she is and she knows her father’s love, acceptance and approval. She has value from godly training through her family and good judgment of the opposite sex.

She knows that she is “a catch,” a reward, gifted, intelligent and beautiful. Her strength is her confidence in her Savior and she need not take a second look at any unsuitable suitor. Neither does any young godly man intimidate her so she doesn’t need to dumb herself down in order to be led spiritually. In fact, she does not need to do or be anyone else other than who she has been created to be. She knows that she changes for only One, her Lord. Her father will not need to intimidate the young man who comes calling because she will have chosen wisely as her own dignity does the job. Frequently tell her she is beautiful, a gift from God, loved just as she is and continue to build the wall of Christ in her life. Neither she nor you will ever regret it and one day a young man of God will express appreciation too.1403706_604500141201_2141456521_o

Children, Encouragement

The Number One Inhibitor of Children

imagesKeeping with the theme of raising children, natural or spiritual, what do you think is the number one inhibitor of growth in a child’s life? What do you think is the number one killer of creativity? What do you think is the number one limitation placed on vision, hope and dreams? The answer, I’ve been told, is critical judgment. Imagine a parent consistently providing negative judgment and criticism toward a child especially after the child feels he or she has done their best. When wrong or harsh judgment is cast upon another human being, that person begins to suffer a creativity and an identity crisis. Teachers can identify those children who continually suffer from words of critical judgment with their heads bowed down and their insatiable need for encouragement.

Adults who have suffered from ongoing critical judgment lose creativity and pursue acceptance in every means possible. The life is often sucked out of them and they will gravitate toward any form of attention, especially the negative. They align themselves with lie-filled thoughts based upon what has been spoken over them. They believe these thoughts and grow up only to pass critical judgment upon themselves, continuing to reinforce everything negative. The Bible is clear that we are to judge sin and not one another (Romans 14:13; James 4:11,12) As parents ask the Lord to help you see the positive, to operate out of a spirit of praise and encouragement and to heap words of life upon your children. God knows they hear enough of the negative throughout their day from the world around them.images-2