Words are one of the most powerful things you could ever tackle. Watch your words, the action of your tongue! Words are like the rudder of a might ship.
James 3:4 Behold, the ships also, though they are so great and are driven by strong winds, are still directed by a very small rudder, wherever the inclination of the pilot desires.
3:5 So also the tongue is a small part of the body, and yet it boasts of great things. Behold, how great a forest is set aflame by such a small fire!
They are containers that either hold life or death. They will take you to one place or another. Your current life is a direct result of your past words. How’s that working out for you.
You can: Compliment or complain, Build-up or backbite, Bless or Bicker.
You can be a Vision Builder or a Vision Stealer
Like that mighty ship is turned, your tongue will determine the direction and path you and your marriage will take. If your ship has been going in the wrong direction for a while, it might take some time to turn it around, but it will be worth it!
Speak blessings, not cursing. Impart Hope! Never yell at your wife unless your house is on fire. Your wife is a delicate and petite flower! Ladies, build your man up and encourage him, chances are he doing more for you than you might ever imagine. Life and death are in the power of the tongue.
Also, don’t let people say just anything about you or your marriage, and just go unchecked! Don’t allow junk in. Don’t allow people to speak negative things about your spouse. I’m not saying to start a new battle on every front, and retaliate with a barrage of overwhelming opposite comments, and set them straight. Have a little more faith and trust in God than that; No weapon formed against you will prosper, and every tongue that rises in judgement against you will be show to be in the wrong. You don’t have to run around trying to fix everything with your great confession! If your spiritual antennas are even at half mast, you will see that there is usually a nice, loving way to keep a conversation on track and bring subtile correction.
Couples can show affective affirmation through words and actions. It’s as simple as saying “I love you” or “You’re my best friend” or “I like being with you.” Affirmative behaviors can be anything from turning the coffee pot on in the morning for your spouse to sending them a sexy email, to filling their tank with gas.
The key is to give consistent affirmation, ”rather than heaps of it at once.”
#1 Do your carnal, earthly friendships supersede your spiritual relationship and assignment? They can drastically hold you back from fulfilling what God has for you, if you let it.
#2 Do you tend to have friendships with others outside of your marriage that would rival your friendship with your spouse? This is dangerous ground. It can certainly be beneficial to have friends, and the Word of God encourages us to do so.
Proverbs 18:24 (KJV) A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.
Proverbs 18:24 (Message) Friends come and friends go, but a true friend sticks by you like family.
Did you know that you and you marriage have an assignment from heaven, and you can choose to walk in it or out of it. Make sure you have Godly friendships that are in their proper place. No friendship outside of your marriage should ever supersede, or even overly influence the friendship and relationship of you and your spouse! You must be cautious not to fall into the trap of becoming such great friends with someone else, that you begin to discuss things that only belong to you and your spouse. This is very dangerous ground! Have friends, but be willing to clearly define the lines of that friendship. You don’t have to get spooky about this.
Give your spouse the liberty and freedom to love other people in a Godly way. To have other friends! Not something weird, but something in line with Gods Word. If you don’t, you will openly display your distrust in them and set a tone you don’t want.
There are six very costly behaviors in marriage:
constant fighting, miscommunication, household chores, jealousy, keeping secrets and not getting along with your spouse’s family.
Sometimes you each just need some space. This is not a hard thing to do. It’s just a simple decision away. Just because you can shower together all of the time, doesn’t mean you should. When it comes to privacy, keep your love life and your sex life off of Facebook, Twitter and all social media! It’s ok to say that you love your spouse, but nobody needs to know the details of what goes on behind your closed doors . . . Nobody!
So, you need to give the freedom to your spouse to have friends, love others, talk to others, have fun with others, etc., knowing and trusting them to do the same.
The flip side to this is something to watch for: It is when the pendulum swings too far in one direction. When you begin to enjoy that freedom to the point that you want to stay away from your spouse, or stay away from the home. So many married Christians are just tolerating each other. They don’t want to get divorced, because they know enough about God’s Word that honestly believe that is wrong, but they don’t even like to be together. Most of the time, this is a direct result of miscommunication, or an ungodly outside influence; both of which can be fixed!
Determine with your spouse to only take positive steps in the right direction, no matter what the subject is. You could be making a medical decision, buying a house or car, or even making an investment. Carefully examine what you are doing, and why. You really can’t afford to just go lax on this and do whatever you want in life. There is a right way and a wrong way to navigate life. Make sure that what you are doing is in line with the Word of God, and not just something you are trying to do yourself. Be led by God.
Proverbs 20:27 The spirit of man is the candle of the LORD, searching all the inward parts of the belly.
Don’t make snap decisions. If you’ve got decisions to make, don’t just throw a dart at the wall, really talk about it, weigh your options and pray about it. Little mistakes that throw you off course just a little bit, will show up later as huge errors. Bad decisions can cost you lots of money, lots of time, lots of frustration, and lots of sleepless nights. Do the right thing all the time; make every attempt to always move forward. Men, the final decision may be yours to make, but pay close attention to your wife, as she may be very sensitive to the Holy Ghost too, and have great insight that will be very important. The important thing is to be in agreement, and continue.
The big three: money, communication, and sex. You know, if you will just spend wisely, talk a lot, and have sex often, chances are, you’ll be just fine! Just having a lot of these three things, and learning to balance them, will usually fix any problem in your marriage.
Get a will and a living trust going right now! Show your family that you love and care for them enough to provide for them if you should go. We live in Texas, and without a will, things could get sticky, take a long time in court, and cost your spouse a lot of time and money.
It has been said that a person will spend fifty or sixty years accumulating earthly treasure, then spend another 20 years or more trying to keep from losing it, but will spend less than two hours planning the distribution of it when he dies. This is real life . . . and death! This should be one of the top items on your to-do list when you leave here tonight. You will never know how much hurt it will bring your family if you don’t have one. You won’t have to go through it because you’ll be gone, but your family will be here.
I’m aware of the arguments against this:
You might say “I just can’t afford to do that!” You literally cannot afford not to. Even if you have to start by writing out a will on a legal pad and getting it notarized, that would be better than not having one at all.
You may say “I really don’t have all that much to leave.” Well, you are going to leave it all, and your family might just want ALL of the little you leave, instead of it being eaten up in probate court.
More Practical Planning
Get life insurance. Life insurance continues to provide for your family when you are no longer here to do it. This goes for husbands and wives!
Yes, I’m also aware of the arguments against this:
“I just can’t afford to do that!” Really! You can afford all the other things in your life. You can afford cable TV, Smartphones with data plans, Starbucks, Aluminum Alloy Wheels, new suits and dresses, car washes, and pets! If you have a pet, you could have life insurance! Which one would you rather have? You really can’t afford life insurance? Look your spouse in the eye tonight when you get home and tell them you love them, but you are not willing to secure their financial future. The fact is, You can afford it, but it might mean some sacrifice on your part to do it. If we need to have another financial seminar about this, we will; because I’m convinced that I can show you how to save money every month. You might not like what I have to say, but that doesn’t mean it’s not true, and it doesn’t bother me at all!
I also understand that there is a point in your life that you are doing so well financially, that life insurance may not be needed for your spouse. I get that, but I venture to say that most in this room tonight are not there yet. Some are, but most are not. Get life insurance for you and you spouse . . . . and don’t forget your children. I’m not being morbid, I’m being practical, and one day you may thank me for it.
Practical Advice: The Twice Principle
Don’t put yourself in the position where you are alone with someone of the opposite sex, other than your spouse. Office, elevators, etc.
Make no provision for sin in your life.
Example: Father tells his son not to go swimming, but the son takes his swim shorts just in case he is tempted.
Temptation is all around you everyday. You have to choose not to look twice! This one thing I do. Twice will get you! Remember LEAK, WEAK, SNEAK, PEEK, SEEK?
Seek – You don’t just start seeking sin. it all starts with a . . . .
Peek - to look quickly at something, or not very long. Just a glance is all it takes to get the ball rolling. But in order to peek, you first have to . . .
Sneak - to move about in a stealthy manner. You know you are in trouble when you have to conceal your actions, but you only get to this point because you are . . . .
Weak – liable to break or give way under pressure. Spiritual weakness. You are supposed to be strong and courageous, but weakness comes as a result of a . . .
Leak – to lose the contents of something. You had it, but you let it slip away. You chose not to stay full of God, to stay spiritually in tune, full of the Word and Prayer. Sin and wrong-doing starts right here!
Hebrews 12:1-3 Therefore since we have so great a cloud . . .
Keeping the ability to quickly get to sin will get you every time. Hidden computer folders, Apps for secretly hiding pictures, screen shots that cover up your actual computer screen, embedded files, JPG’s saved as PDF’s and files without extensions so they are not searchable, history cleaners, cookie eradicators, etc. Oh yeah, I’ve seen people use just about every way possible to cover sin. This is not just about digital downloads either, it just as easy to keep that magazine in that special hidden slot in the garage or shed. And, this is not just for men! Women can sin too. If you are picturing or imagining Fabio while you’re making love to your man, you are going down a trail of destruction. And if you are looking at porn and picturing yourself in there too, you are headed in the wrong direction.
The devil will set up traps for you. Will you fall for it? If you’ve messed up, at least make the decision to move forward. Why do I even bring this up? Because it is real, it can be a battle, and no one in this room is exempt from temptation. You will face temptation, and you better know how to deal with it when it comes. You need to be ready. This is all part of marriage maintenance.
1 Corinthians 13:4-8, 13
Love is patient, love is kind, and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 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. But now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
Paul is giving a very detailed description of God’s kind of love right here in Scripture. He said what God’s kind of love is (long-suffering, patient, kind), what it is not (envious, self-promoting, prideful), how it does not act (unseemly, selfish, easily provoked, thinking on evil, rejoicing in iniquity), and how it does act (rejoices in truth, bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things). And, He summed it all up in verse 8 by saying that God’s kind of love never fails.
These verses can be used as a checklist for us to see whether or not we are really operating in God’s kind of love. Sometimes we think we have done everything possible, but have we really used God’s kind of love?
1 Corinthians 13:4
(NASB) Love is patient, love is kind, and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant,
Long-suffering or Patience: The quality of bearing with and being long-tempered. It is the nature of being self-restrained in the face of being provoked, the opposite of anger. You could say that God’s love has a tolerance for and endures trying situations and people beyond an average standard. God’s love is patient.
The word “kind,” means having or showing a tender, considerate, and helping nature. Oh how things would be different if we would just be kind!
It seems that we’re always wanting to do something big for God, but the Scripture teaches us not to despise the small things (Zec 4:8-10). In other words, do not despise doing small acts of kindness day in and day out. It is the accumulation of these small deeds of kindness that makes true and lasting happiness for us all. Jesus said in John 13:17, “If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them.” In other words, it takes “knowing” the principles of love and their expressions and then doing them to bring forth happiness. What a great world it would be if we all learned just this one principle–”love is kind.”
Envy & Jealousy: Many problems arise from envy. James said, “For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work” (James 3:16). Envy and strife go hand in hand and open the door for anything the devil desires to do in people’s lives. Some people would never give place to the devil through confessing the wrong things, murder, adultery, or bank robbery, yet through envy, they give the enemy freedom to do his worst.
God’s kind of love is not envious or jealous, because it doesn’t seek its own welfare but the welfare of others. Envy is an indication of self-centeredness.
Charity vaunteth not itself, Not Bragging, Not Arrogant: Means that God’s kind of love does not brag about or promote self. A braggart is not operating in God’s kind of love.
Remember, as with every one of these characteristics of God’s kind of love, Jesus is the ultimate example.
1 Corinthians 13:5
(NASB) does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered,
In other words, God’s kind of love always behaves itself. God’s type of love will never drive a person to behave improperly. Anyone who claims to be motivated by God’s love and yet is acting contrary to God’s Word is lying. God’s Word and His love agree.
God’s type of love often involves emotions, but it is not an emotion. It is an act of the will. We can choose to love even when we don’t feel like it, and we can always conduct ourselves in a Godly manner, even when we do feel God’s kind of love. It is a choice!
Paul told Titus to have the older women in the church at Crete teach the younger women to love their husbands and their children (Titus 2:4). Now there’s an interesting idea! Most people believe that you fall in love and out of love. But, God’s kind of love is a choice.
Jesus didn’t feel some emotional sensation when He chose to die for us, but that was the greatest demonstration of God’s kind of love that the world has ever seen. Because He was consumed with God’s love, He acted properly, even when His emotions didn’t agree.
Seeks not her own: This is another reference to the fact that God’s kind of love is not self-serving or self-seeking. God’s love will cause people to lay down their lives for others (John 15:13), because they have literally forgotten themselves. Many times, when heroes are asked why they put themselves in jeopardy to save someone else, they reply that they didn’t even think about themselves; all they thought of was the danger to the other person. That’s God’s kind of love.
Therefore, God’s kind of love is the antidote to selfishness and pride. We cannot conquer selfishness by focusing on self. The only way to win over self is to fall in love with God more than with ourselves. It is in discovering God’s love that we lose self-love.
Those who have short fuses are not operating in God’s kind of love. When people are walking in God’s kind of love, they are easy to get along with. God’s kind of love does not carry a chip on its shoulder. God’s kind of love is positive. It focuses on the good things in others and in situations. God’s kind of love thinks on “whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things” (Philippians 4:8).
1 Corinthians 13:6
(NASB) does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth;
A person who is living in God’s kind of love will not rejoice in iniquity. God’s kind of love in individuals will cause them to rejoice in truth. God’s Word is truth (John 17:17). Therefore, those who walk in God’s kind of love will love the Word of God. Those who reject God’s Word and its values cannot claim to be full of God’s kind of love.
1 Corinthians 13:7
(NASB) bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
God’s kind of love bears all things. Those who say they’ve taken all they can bear are simply saying that they haven’t yet drawn on God’s kind of love. Human love has limits, but God’s kind of love knows no limits.
Sometimes we try to comfort people in difficult situations by telling them, “You can only take so much. After all, you’re only human.” Andrew Wommack says “the truth is that we as born-again Christians are not “only human,” we are also wall to wall Holy Ghost! We have the supernatural, God kind of love in us, and we can bear all things.
God’s kind of love keeps on trusting, and believing. People get hurt, and many times, they lose their trust in God or in people. They feel they could never trust again. Maybe they can’t, but God’s kind of love can. When they reach their limit on believing, God’s kind of love believes all things.
Hope is a product of love. Understanding the depths of God’s love will cause hope in people’s hearts, regardless of their situations. Those who don’t have hope aren’t experiencing God’s kind of love. God’s kind of love hopes all things.
When people feel like they can’t take another minute of their situations, that is a sign that they haven’t yet drawn on God’s kind of love. God’s kind of love endures all things. Too often, Christians resist in their own might, and when they hit their limit, they feel justified in quitting. After all, they tried. However, God’s kind of love never fails.
1 Corinthians 13:8
(NASB) 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.
Paul summed up his description of God’s kind of love by saying that it never fails. He was saying that it will never cease. We will still be walking in God’s kind of love throughout eternity. That’s why it is so important that we operate all the gifts of the Spirit through God’s kind of love.
Paul was not saying that it is inevitable that some prophecies will be inaccurate. Instead, he was saying that there will come a time when there will not be prophecies anymore. In eternity, when we know all things even as we are known, we won’t need the gift of prophecy anymore. He was contrasting the temporariness of prophecy with the permanentness of love, to increase the value we place on God’s kind of love.
Paul was contrasting the temporariness of prophesies and the gift of tongues with the permanentness of God’s love, to increase the value of love.
1 Corinthians 13:13
(NASB) But now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
This whole chapter has been a contrast between God’s kind of love and the gifts of the Spirit. Paul has shown the temporariness of the gifts and the eternalness of love, to elevate the position of love. Here, he stated that faith, hope, and love will abide throughout eternity, but the greatest of these three is God’s kind of love.
If I were to ask you to describe your house tonight, most of you would probably talk about the beautiful front door, maybe it’s square footage, or whether it was one or two stories, maybe even that it had a brick or wooden exterior. You might describe it’s location, or even tell me how pretty the flower garden was by the entryway. But, it would extremely uncommon for you to tell me how solid a foundation it had! How flat and even and level it was. If I asked you to describe your house, you probably wouldn’t tell me how the footers were dug, and the plumbing pipes were laid in the ground, or even how great the electrical conduit was that came through the concrete foundation.
Yet, without that, none of the rest would work!
So, Tonight, I want to talk to you about Marriage Foundations.
Let’s start by looking at:
Ephesians 4:14-16 As a result, . . . . As a result of what?
Ephesians 4:10-13 He who descended is Himself also He who ascended far above all the heavens, that He might fill all things. (How’s He going to do that?)
And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers,
for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ;
until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fulness of Christ.
Now, Back to Ephesians 4:14-16 As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves, and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming;
but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him, who is the head, even Christ,
from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by that which every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love.
If you compare the body of Christ or even your marriage to a brick building, you would see that the bricks would topple if they weren’t joined together. The concrete mortar forms those bricks into a solid wall, that is held in place by the effectual working of every other brick. Yet, even a solid brick wall is of no value if it doesn’t sit upon a solid foundation.
So, What is a Foundation?
A platform or base on which to build. A very important starting point.
The foundation must be built first, because it is the thing that holds the entire structure together – It is the platform.
It’s even a barrier of protection from what is below.
More time and money can be spent here to ensure the entire structure is ready to be built, and will be solid. Bass Performance Hall – 300 year building.
A foundation is “One of the most important things you’ll never see!”
Always value the importance of a strong foundation! When building a large structure, hundreds of thousands of dollars could go into work that no one will ever see. Besides the obvious concrete, . . . huge pipes, long cables, and deep footers have to go in underground before you can even begin to build what everyone will see. If you are ever tempted to fudge a bit on the foundation, a wise architect will always jump in and caution you, saying: “Nothing is more important than the foundation.”
Here are 5 things to consider about foundations and marriage!
1. A good foundation is essential for the health and well-being of a building. It is also essential for the health and well-being of a marriage. Your marriage needs a solid foundation!
2. A building cannot withstand much stress or pressure without a solid foundation. Likewise, a marriage cannot withstand the storms of life without a solid foundation. Things will come to test your marriage.
3. A building’s entire strength depends proportionally on the strength of its foundation. There is a direct connection. Also, the strength of your marriage depends on the quality and strength of its foundation.
4. The greater a building’s height, the greater the importance of its foundation. The higher you want your marriage to go, the greater the importance of the foundation you choose to build.
5. The foundation of a great building is not readily visible, yet it is essential. The foundation of your marriage will not be immediately noticeable, yet it is essential for the strength, growth, and quality of your marriage.
Also consider this:
Like trees, foundations don’t move, they are stationary. There is a difference between a solid foundation home, and a mobile home. Have you ever seen a really strong 5 or 6 story mobile home? There’s a reason for that.
The right ingredients ensure proper hardness of the foundation. Some of those ingredients are: Righteousness, purity, holiness, prayer, commitment, faithfulness, obedience, and trust.
Individual Godly Foundations prepare you for a Marriage Foundation.
The Marriage Foundation prepares you for a Family Foundation.
The Family Foundation prepares you for a Church Foundation.
One thing feeds the next thing!
Many things will try to break your foundation – your beliefs, your faith, family, friends, health and finances. Psalm 11:3 “If the foundations are destroyed, What can the righteous do?”
The foundations of your life will be challenged!
The foundations of your marriage will be challenged!
The foundations of your church will be challenged!
The foundations of Christianity itself will be challenged!
You need to be prepared for the attack of the enemy! It’s real, and that’s why you need to be strong in the Lord, and strong in His Word. When I stand up here and encourage you to read the Word all the time, I’m not just throwing useless words out there, I’m telling you how to prepare a foundation that cannot be shaken! This is real life! I’m telling you, the foundation of Marriage, the core of Christianity, and even Faith itself is being challenged at an alarming rate! You must be a carrier of God’s Word! It’s the only way you’ll be able to spot the counterfeit! You must maintain your Christianity and Marriage foundation. It’s up to you to water it, and keep it safe. Safe from what? Safe from adultery, sin, false religions like Calvinism.
Galatians 1:8-9 says But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.
Proverbs 4:23 Watch over your heart with all diligence, For from it flow the springs of life.
Just the other day, a satanic group unveiled designs for a 7-foot-tall statue of Satan it wants to put at the Oklahoma state Capitol, where a Ten Commandments monument was placed in 2012.
The New York-based Satanic Temple formally submitted its application to a panel that oversees the Capitol grounds, including an artist’s rendering that depicts Satan as a goat-headed figure with horns, wings and a long beard that’s often used as a symbol of the occult. In the rendering, Satan is sitting in a pentagram-adorned throne with smiling children next to him.
“The monument has been designed to reflect the views of Satanists,” and “The statue will also have a functional purpose as a chair where people of all ages may sit on the lap of Satan for inspiration and contemplation.”
The Ten Commandments monument was placed on the north steps of the building in 2012, and the American Civil Liberties Union has sued to have it removed.
This is Oklahoma, the middle of the heartland,” said Rep. Don Armes, “I think we need to be tolerant of people who think different than us.”
While Greaves acknowledges the Satanic Temple’s effort is in part to highlight what it says is hypocrisy of state leaders in Oklahoma, he says the group is serious about having a monument placed there.
On its website, the Satanic Temple explains that it “seeks to separate Religion from Superstition by acknowledging religious belief as a metaphorical framework with which we construct a narrative context for our goals and works. “Satan stands as the ultimate icon for the selfless revolt against tyranny, free & rational inquiry, and the responsible pursuit of happiness,” the website says.
Has God Really Said?
When you carry an anchor, it is a mobile thing, but when you drop anchor, it stabilizes you because it is stationary! You hold the anchor, then the anchor holds you!
Acts 16:26 And suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken: and immediately all the doors were opened, and every one’s bands were loosed.
4531 – Shaken; to waver, agitate, rock, topple or destroy; figuratively, to disturb, move, shake.
Revelation 21:10 – Start
Revelation 21:19 The foundation stones of the city wall were adorned with every kind of precious stone. The first foundation stone was jasper; the second, sapphire; the third, chalcedony; the fourth, emerald; 20 the fifth, sardonyx; the sixth, sardius; the seventh, chrysolite; the eighth, beryl; the ninth, topaz; the tenth, chrysoprase; the eleventh, jacinth; the twelfth, amethyst.
Now, you might say that your marriage foundation doesn’t even come close to resembling that! You might even think that your marriage needs Foundation Repair! Good news, you’re in the right place!
If your foundation is crumbling, there is hope! You can get foundation repair. Water the edges of your foundation with the Word of God, and your words. Words are containers – life and health, or death and destruction.
There are many principles that, if practiced, can help you build a solid marital foundation.
“Commitment” is not a popular word these days. Our society emphasizes individual rights, personal freedom and mobility. The idea of giving these up because of dedication to another person or loyalty to a relationship makes a lot of people feel trapped.
But don’t think you can have it both ways. You can’t build a divorce-proof marriage and remain unbending toward your personal rights. That doesn’t mean you give up all your freedoms or choices, but it does mean your commitment to the relationship supersedes your individual rights.
Commitment means putting your spouse’s needs above your own. Instead of becoming irritated and disappointed that your needs may not be getting met the way you thought, how about becoming satisfied when you focus on your spouses needs and how you can creatively meet them?
Someone once said, “Communication is to love as blood is to the body.” Take the blood out of the body and it dies. Take communication away and a relationship dies.
The kind of communication I’m talking about isn’t just exchanging information; it’s sharing feelings, hurts, joys. That means getting below the surface and examining the hows and whys of daily life. But it’s not easy since men and women are different in this area. Research makes it clear that women have greater linguistic abilities than men. Men, that means she talks more than you! A woman typically expresses her feelings and thoughts far better than her husband and is often irritated by his reluctance to talk. Every knowledgeable marriage counselor will tell you that the inability or unwillingness of husbands to reveal their feelings is one of the chief complaints of wives.
Like conflict resolution, communication is a learned skill — and it’s often hard work. Watch your words!
We live in an instant world — Solid State Hard Drives, ATM’s, Smartphones, Online Bill Pay, microwave popcorn. . . you name it! The problem is we can’t heat up a marriage in the microwave. Relationships just don’t work that way. Marriage, takes time and care to become a really beautiful thing. That means learning patience.
When you put two people — any two — in the same house, you’re going to have irritations and annoyances. Beyond the day-to-day quirks, patience is needed for the long haul. It may take years for you to develop the kind of relationship that’s satisfying to both of you. A lot of people just don’t have the patience to wait around for things to evolve. But if you’re willing to sit tight and hang in there, your marriage can be wonderful.
We’re more than a bundle of feelings and physical sensations. There is an inner core of our being, an eternal part of who we are, that represents the deepest, most permanent aspect of marriage.
Research shows that couples with strong religious beliefs are far more likely to stay together than those without them. It’s the shared morals and values that hold a husband and wife together. This solid foundation is a fortress against the storms of life.
For Miriam and me, our Christian faith has been the bedrock, the foundation of our relationship. We understand that our 24-plus years of marriage, would not be possible without guidance from the Word of God, and direction and comfort from the Holy Spirit.
You can’t let go of the things that you know! This is the foundation!
Paul Harvey in April of 1965: “If I Were the Devil”
If I were the Prince of Darkness I would want to engulf the whole earth in darkness.
I’d have a third of its real estate and four-fifths of its population, but I would not be happy until I had seized the ripest apple on the tree.
So I should set about however necessary, to take over the United States.
I would begin with a campaign of whispers.
With the wisdom of a serpent, I would whispers to you as I whispered to Eve, “Do as you please.”
To the young I would whisper “The Bible is a myth.” I would convince them that “man created God,” instead of the other way around. I would confide that “what is bad is good and what is good is square.”
In the ears of the young married I would whisper that work is debasing, that cocktail parties are good for you. I would caution them not to be “extreme” in religion, in patriotism, in moral conduct.
And the old I would teach to pray — to say after me — “Our father which are in Washington.”
I would promote an attitude of loving things and using people, instead of the other way around;
I would dupe entire states into relying on gambling for their state revenue;
I would convince people that character is not an issue when it comes to leadership;
I would make it legal to take the life of unborn babies;
Then I’d get organized.
I’d educate authors in how to make lurid literature exciting so that anything else would appear dull, uninteresting.
I’d threaten TV with dirtier movies, and vice-versa.
I’d infiltrate unions and urge more loafing, less work. Idle hands usually work for me.
I’d peddle narcotics to whom I could, I’d sell alcohol to ladies and gentlemen of distinction, I’d tranquilize the rest with pills.
If I were the Devil, I would encourage schools to refine young intellects, but neglect to discipline emotions; let those run wild.
I’d designate an atheist to front for me before the highest courts and I’d get preachers to say, “She’s right.”
With flattery and promises of power I would get the courts to vote against God and in favor of pornography.
Thus I would evict God from the courthouse, then from the schoolhouse, then from the Houses of Congress.
I would attack the family, the backbone of any nation.
I would make divorce acceptable and easy, even fashionable. If the family crumbles, so does the nation;
I would convince the world that people are born homosexuals, and that their lifestyles should be accepted and marveled;
I would persuade people that the church is irrelevant and out of date, and the Bible is for the naive;
I would dull the minds of Christians, and make them believe that prayer is not important, and that faithfulness and obedience are optional;
Then in his own churches I’d substitute psychology for religion and deify science.
If I were Satan I’d make the symbol of Easter an egg , and the symbol of Christmas a bottle.
If I were the Devil I’d take from those who have and give to those who wanted until I had killed the incentive of the ambitious. Then my police state would force everybody back to work.
If I were Satan, I guess I would leave things pretty much the way they are.
Jesus spoke about two different foundations for a life. His statements are equally applicable to a couple building a home and marriage together:
Matthew 7:24–27 Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded on the rock. Everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not act on them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and it fell—and great was its fall.
Is there an insider’s secret on how to make the most of time and build a marriage on the solid-rock foundation of Jesus Christ? Yes, it’s called discipline, and it’s not popular.
I am not proposing a lifeless list of legalistic tasks that will turn the Christian life into a graceless, joyless religion based on works. But rather basic exercises that will change a flabby, weak faith into a strong one.
▪ Prayer, Bible Study, Worship, Giving, Fellowship, Service, Witnessing.
So much emphasis is placed on the Wedding Ceremony, the dress, the flowers, the location, the tux, the lighting, etc. It’s all about the start. That’s ok, as long as there is also a balance of maintaining the marriage too. The wedding is the ceremony, but the marriage is the celebration! I believe more emphasis needs to be placed on maintaining and finishing. I’ve seen some awesome and very expensive weddings over the years, but that’s just the start, just the beginning. Many of those beautiful weddings have marriages that are now no longer! Even though many, many thousands and tens of thousands of dollars were spent on the wedding, not nearly enough time was spent maintaining the marriage. The start can be great, but the finish is still more important.
I’m always amazed at how people who have been married for a good period of time, can so easily fall into the trap of thinking they have it all together. That there are no problems on the horizon, that somehow they are exempt from marriage maintenance. Be careful when you stand, lest you fall. Don’t take your marriage for granted. It has to be maintained. You are not exempt from temptation, you are not exempt from stress and strain, financial pressure, child pressure, job pressure, medical pressure, or time pressure, at any age, or at any point in your marriage. Even if you’ve been married for quite a while, it can be easy to relax your marriage responsibilities, and before you know it, you’ve got a problem. So, no marriage, no matter how mature or secure, is exempt from pressure, temptation and attack. But at the same time, every marriage has a 100% chance of complete success, if you do it God’s way! I’m not telling you this to scare you, or make you feel insecure, or unstable, but to make sure you understand that God’s Principles found in His Word are for everyone, not just newlyweds!
So, “How To Stay Married.”
Step 1: Don’t get divorced!
It sounds simple enough, but obviously it takes some doing too. Nobody really likes to talk about divorce, but I think we need to approach it head on! If the option of divorce is on the table, you’ll eventually take it. Sure, it might not happen right away, but if it continues to be an option, the devil will make sure to align the circumstances so that the atmosphere is at least favorable for divorce.
Almost all couples go into marriage pledging to stay together through thick and thin. “Till death do us part,” “to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish,
until we are parted by death. This is my solemn vow.”
Yet fewer and fewer couples seem willing to honor that promise.
Married couples today are under more stress and face more temptation than at any time in recent history, and largely because of this, people are simply afraid of making a commitment to marriage. It starts with the fear of making the commitment to get married, then it graduates to the fear of keeping the commitment to stay married.
But I think the most disturbing statistic on marriage is the large number of empty nesters who are choosing to divorce. A recent study conducted by the National Center for Family and Demographic Research at Bowling Green University showed that the divorce rate for those over fifty has doubled in the last two decades. Today, 25 percent of all divorces are between couples over the age of fifty. In the past, marriages that lasted that long almost always went the distance, but that’s not the case anymore. Empty nesters are divorcing at their highest rate ever.
And, on the other side of the coin, the divorce rate in America is declining rapidly, but only because fewer and fewer are deciding to get married at all. It used to be called “Shacking-Up!” Now it’s called cohabitation! It’s the “un-covenant covenant.” It’s agreeing to live together and share some things, without a real commitment to each other. The Bible still calls it sin, no matter what you call it.
So, what am I saying? I’m saying “Remove the option of divorce all together!” “Take it completely off the table.” Let your spouse know that it is not an option for you, That it never will be an option, that you are not willing to go there, that this marriage is forever! You need to tell them that! Then, from that time forward, do not entertain divorce, don’t talk about divorce, don’t think about divorce, don’t argue about divorce, don’t use divorce as blackmail to get what you want . . . you get the picture!
If you are here, and you have divorced in the past, and you are married right now, then the one you are currently married to is your spouse, the love of your life, your eternal mate! Pastor Bob Nichols says that you “start where you are, and move forward from here!” You don’t stay together for the kid’s sake, or for investment sake; You stay together for God’s Covenant sake! You made a holy promise and covenant. Don’t take covenant lightly.
Divorce should not, and cannot be an option if you are going to stay married!
Step 2: It’s Time To Lower Your Standards!
Your spouse is the one you married, they are not the one you saw in the ad, or on TV, or in that movie! Actually, if you knew all the flaws that all those perfectly tanned, beautiful people, they would never draw your attention! There’s not enough surgery, or pills, or acting classes to get you or your spouse to be like all the unrealistic, false advertisements out there. Every picture of every man, and every woman is Photoshopped to an unbelievable level. Many times, those models don’t even end up with the original body parts, but have someone’s else’s eyes, lips, legs, or butt. Everything is stretched, toned, and plumped, and manipulated in computer software. Those super models have been lifted, and tucked, and puffed in all the right places to give you the appearance that it is even attainable. It’s not, in fact, It’s Not Even Real! And smooth-talking Matthew McConaughey has certainly got to have a spray-on tan! It’s all fake!
Now am I saying that it’s okay to just stay ugly? To never exercise, or eat right, or put make-up on, or be a sweet-talker, No! I’m not even saying you’re ugly, I’m saying that God made you . . . .YOU! He didn’t mess up when He made you, and if He had a second shot at making you again. . . He’d do it again, exactly the way He did it to begin with! Husbands and Wives, don’t expect your spouse to be someone else; they are God’s design and perfect creation, and He made them just for you! Glory to God! God knew what I would need, and He made Miriam specifically for me! You should take care of yourself, but not to the point that you’re obsessed with trying to be like somebody else. If your barn needs painting, paint it! Do what you can do to please your spouse with your appearance, practice good hygiene, comb your hair, brush your teeth, trim your nose hair. But when you see your spouse, just know that “that’s the one for you!” That’s your Mr. Dreamy, that’s your Super Model!
So, in fact when I say that It’s Time To Lower Your Standards, what I mean is lower your worldly standards, and take on the standards of God’s Word.
Step 3: Your spouse is so needy!
Your spouse is completely different than you. They have different emotions, different desires, different body parts, and completely different needs. It’s up to you to learn and understand the differences. When God made Adam, he made him whole, but not complete! He needed Eve. Eve was not just another creation, she was the completion to a creation already started. Adam needed Eve, and Eve needed Adam. It’s a covenant thing.
Everything about our society tells us to guard our independence, to look after ourselves, to seek what will meet our own needs and not let anyone get in our way. But God tells us the exact opposite.
One author put it this way:
Society tells us marriage is about finding the right person.
God tells us marriage is about being the right person.
Culture tells us marriage is about meeting our own needs.
God tells us marriage is about sacrificing our needs for our spouse.
The world tells us marriage is about happiness.
God tells us marriage is about holiness.
With God, things are seldom as they seem. God tells us if you want to find yourself, you do it by losing yourself in service to others. It’s in losing yourself that you find true contentment and joy. There is no better example than the marriage covenant.
God gave us the perfect formula for a happy, divorce-free, marriage, right here in scripture. It doesn’t take any special skill or ability to understand. It certainly doesn’t take a Bible scholar to interpret it. It’s a simple plan that reveals for us the secret to a marriage that is filled with hope and purpose and is completely indestructible.
What it does take is a willing heart and a humble spirit.
The problem is, that this part of scripture has gotten a bad rap from husbands and wives, mainly due to misunderstanding. Therefore, even though it is so desperately needed, it is also so often skipped over because of it’s wording.
This plan is laid out for us in the fifth chapter of Ephesians.
Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.
Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church. . . . Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her. . . . In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church. . . . Each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.
Ephesians 5:21–25, 28–29, 33
Like it or not Ephesians Chapter 5 is in the Bible. God inspired it, man wrote it down, and we can read it. It’s not going away. It never needs to go away! It is quite literally the model for marriage.
In the Ephesians 5 model of marriage, women are told, “Submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord” (v. 22). Many women today recoil at the thought of submitting, but probably only because we’ve misconstrued what it means to submit. You know, sometimes you can gauge what you believe, by whose side you take when something is in question.
Women, if the thought of submitting to a man makes you sick to your stomach, you are actually believing more what the lesbians believe than God’s Word. The LGBT crowd (lesbian, gay, bi-sexual & trans-gender), thats’ girls that like girls, boys that like boys, boys and girls that like boys and girls, and boys and girls that no longer consider themselves a boy or a girl, but want the best of both worlds simultaneously!
That plain enough for you?
That crowd has spent decades getting it ingrained into society that women don’t ever need a man, period. That’s not what God’s Word says. You see it everywhere, in almost every ad now. The man can’t figure out how to turn on the TV, so the woman has to come help the stupid idiot out.
When we submit ourselves to Jesus, we don’t fear being dominated or controlled or abused. What we’re doing is giving him a place of honor and respect and leadership in our lives. It is in this same spirit of humility that women are told to submit to their husbands. To hold them in a place of honor and respect and leadership. Not to become subservient or allow themselves to be abused but to treat their husbands with admiration and esteem.
I know that this is not an easy thing to do, especially with husbands who have done little to deserve their wives’ respect. Many women are quick to point out, “If I gave my husband that kind of honor, all it would do is encourage him to keep being bad!” Most of their time is spent nagging and complaining because they want to discourage irresponsible behavior. One wife said, “If he ever starts acting like Jesus, I’ll be happy to treat him like Jesus.” Women are afraid of giving respect to a man who they feel doesn’t deserve it, because it just might make things worse.
Whenever I talk to couples about the Ephesians Chapter 5 model, neither the husband or the wife wants to be the first to change their behavior. A natural defense mechanism kicks in, and they immediately become hesitant and fearful.
Jimmy Evans says “But one thing I’ve never seen in the passage is a disclaimer. God never tells wives to submit to their husbands only when they deserve it. He never tells husbands to be loving and sacrificial after they get the respect they need. The Christian life isn’t about reacting to others based on their behavior. It’s about responding to others according to the principles of Scripture, regardless of how we’re treated.”
“You and I are called to a higher standard of behavior. As Christians, we commit to being imitators of Christ. To turn the other cheek when we’ve been wronged. To treat others as we would have them treat us. To put the needs of others above our own needs. You and I are called to live according to our faith, regardless of our circumstances and what those around us choose to do. The Ephesians 5 model of marriage is an extension of that calling. We respond to our mate based on the principles God set before us, regardless of how our mate responds.”
When a husband steps out in faith and begins loving and nurturing his wife the way God intended, the wife starts to soften. Before long she is treating him with the respect and dignity he always longed for. She begins submitting to his leadership and trusting him to make wise choices.
When a wife takes the initiative and starts treating her husband with respect and honor, he starts living up to her expectations. He begins leading with integrity and character. He starts to become the man she longs to have.
If you lined up a hundred men in a room and asked them one at a time to tell you what they need and desire most from their wives, two surprising things would happen.
First, every one of them would be able to answer that question. Second, their answers would be very, very similar.
Most men have four basic needs that they want met by a marriage partner. We’ll talk about two of them now:
They need to feel honored and respected by their wives. We’ve already been talking about this one tonight.
They need sexual intimacy.
They need friendship – a wife who enjoys doing fun things together.
They need domestic support – a wife who takes care of the home.
Paul addressed the topic of sexual intimacy in his first letter to the Corinthian church.
But since sexual immorality is occurring, each man should have sexual relations with his own wife, and each woman with her own husband. The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband. The wife does not have authority over her own body but yields it to her husband. In the same way, the husband does not have authority over his own body but yields it to his wife. Do not deprive each other except perhaps by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.
1 Corinthians 7:2–5
Paul understood that unmet needs within the covenant of marriage are a very dangerous thing. When men and women don’t meet their partner’s needs, it gives Satan a powerful foothold for temptation. This is true with all marital needs but especially when it comes to sex.
Men have a deep physical and emotional need for sex. And women have been given the gift of sex. When women choose to withhold that gift from their husbands, it creates a breeding ground for sexual sin and temptation.
Men don’t just desire sex from their wives. They need it to feel fully whole and complete as marriage partners. When we enter into the covenant of marriage, we actually surrender the rights to our own body to our partner. In Paul’s words, “The wife does not have authority over her own body but yields it to her husband. In the same way, the husband does not have authority over his own body but yields it to his wife.”
Nowhere in Scripture are we given a more graphic example of what it means to become one flesh. In marriage we willingly commit to granting our partners full and complete access to everything we have, including our bodies. It is the ultimate act of service and humility.
Just as a man needs a wife who will tend to his basic needs and desires, a woman needs a husband who cares about her needs and makes it his job to fulfill them. What she most needs from him can be summed up in four basic categories. Let’s talk about the first two:
Women need security. They need to know that their most basic needs are taken care of, that they are secure physically, emotionally, and financially. They need to feel nurtured and cherished and loved.
Women need affection. They need nonsexual intimacy and care.
Women need communication. They need a husband who will open his heart and communicate honestly, without reserve.
Women need leadership. They need a husband who is willing to take charge and guide the family.
Love was designed to grow deeper and stronger with time. To become even more intimate and rewarding. To meet our deepest needs and desires. To not only last but to grow healthier and fuller with age.
If you want to stay in love, you have to stay in like!
Your job is to discover and meet your spouse’s needs.
Here are some free tips:
Compliment and complete.
Think the best of your spouse
Tell your spouse that you love them
Talk the best about them
Cover your spouses faults
Be kind to your spouse
Live in the same house
Sleep in the same bed
Kiss your spouse often
Have sex often
Touch your spouse – hold hands
Where the rubber meets the road!
Seven things essential to your marriage!
At times, it may be hard to tell if I’m talking to you about the church or your marriage. Thats because the two are so closely related that it can be hard to tell them apart.
Ephesians 5:31 FOR THIS CAUSE A MAN SHALL LEAVE HIS FATHER AND MOTHER, AND SHALL CLEAVE TO HIS WIFE; AND THE TWO SHALL BECOME ONE FLESH.
V. 32 This mystery is great; but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the church.
Husbands and wives are to see more clearly what God meant marriage to be, by looking at a picture of Christ’s relationship with the church. Some things are a must!
Now, many of you are already familiar with NASCAR; the National Association of Stock Car Auto Racing. It’s loud, powerful, destructive, compelling, fulfilling, very abrupt, highly competitive, occasionally contains major crashes and injuries . . . And Yes, I am still talking about NASCAR and not your marriage!
But we could draw some comparisons between the racing world and marriages. In both cases, in order to start strong, get traction, accelerate, stay on track, and finish the race, there are some things you need to know: So tonight’s message is titled “Where the rubber meets the road!” We’re talking tires on the pavement. It can also be a metaphor for a defining moment; a phrase referring to the traction or movement that takes place when the two touch, it’s the moment of truth, the point where there are challenges, issues, and problems to be resolved. Where you must get down to the nitty-gritty. I mean you can practice all day, but the real race is where the rubber meets the road and they’ll know how good you really are.
So, there are some essential things you need in your marriage:
1. You need God - God is the Power Source, the engine that makes everything in your marriage work. I’m challenging you tonight to take a close look at your trust level in God. Sometimes we can get to the point that we become self-reliant. Things are going well, maybe your marriage is not having problems, maybe you’ve got enough money, whatever . . . and we find ourselves not needing to trust Him as much – and just like that race track, it’s a dangerous place to be! We need God! We need to Trust God!
Proverbs 3:5-6 NASB
Trust in the LORD with all your heart,
And do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He will make your paths straight.
Proverbs 3:5-6 Message
Trust GOD from the bottom of your heart;
don’t try to figure out everything on your own.
Listen for GOD’S voice in everything you do,
He’s the one who will keep you on track.
We need God! We need to involve God in our marriage, and expect that He really will make the difference. I’m talking raw faith. The truth is, we need God just as much when things are ok, as when they’re falling apart. So, how much are you trusting God, and how much are you just doing on your own? Only you and God know that answer.
- You need God’s Word - The Fuel That Powers The Engine
In the early 1900s, almost overnight, cars began appearing, and a problem was quickly identified: There was nowhere to buy gas! Gasoline was being sold by the bucket at general stores, pharmacies, and hardware stores. There were no gas pumps at first; just funnels and buckets. But it didn’t take American entrepreneurs long to fill that void. Standard Oil of California claims it opened the first drive-in gas station with pumps in 1907—and the rest is history.
The lesson has been well learned over the last century: Without fuel, there is no power. If you want to live a life of power, you will have to be fueled by the truth found in the Bible. The specific truths that will renew our mind are found in, and always based on, the clear teaching of Scripture. The truth of God will teach us, chastise us, enlighten us, correct us, and train & instruct us in how to live a life that is pleasing to God, and support a long, healthy, lasting marriage!
2 Timothy 3:16 NASB
All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work. (Including your marriage)
2 Timothy 3:16 Message
Every part of Scripture is God-breathed and useful one way or another—showing us truth, exposing our rebellion, correcting our mistakes, training us to live God’s way. Through the Word we are put together and shaped up for the tasks God has for us.
So the question is, How full is your spiritual fuel tank with God’s truth? You Must Check Your Own Gauge!
How often are you filling your heart and mind with the truth of God’s Word? How consistently are you having personal Bible study, sitting under biblical preaching and teaching, and talking with your friends about sound theology and discussing the Bible with others?
The symptoms of “bad fuel or low fuel” in a car can be many: failure to start, rough riding, sputtering, backfiring, noisy, and so on. If you’re experiencing any of those symptoms in your spiritual life or your marriage, it’s time to check your gauge. Pay attention to your fuel level. Make a plan for personal Bible study and fill your tank with God’s truth.
- You need your spouse - This is the Traction or Connection
It certainly seems like this would be a no-brainer – you need your spouse in your marriage . . . but, I’m not talking about just having her around, I’m talking about understanding your need for her! It’s not enough to just exist in the same house, your marriage needs to thrive! There can be misunderstandings along the way to be sure, but they don’t have to be marriage deal breakers.
1 Corinthians 11:11 However, in the Lord, neither is woman independent of man, nor is man independent of woman.
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her;
Ephesian 5:25 Message
Husbands, go all out in your love for your wives, exactly as Christ did for the church — a love marked by giving, not getting.
1 Corinthians 11:12 ESV
For as woman was made from man, so man is now born of woman. And all things are from God.
Husbands, you need to recognize how much you need your wife! Wives, you need to recognize how much you need your husband!
- You need the Church Body - This is the Team or Pit Crew
Romans 12:3 For through the grace given to me I say to every man among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith.
V. 4 For just as we have many members in one body and all the members do not have the same function,
V. 5 so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.
You need the Body of Christ. When you don’t feel the need of the Body, you are thinking more highly of yourself than you ought to. You are not an island unto yourself; you need others, and others need you.
1 Corinthians 12:12 – 27 Message Bible
V. 12 You can easily enough see how this kind of thing works by looking no further than your own body. Your body has many parts—limbs, organs, cells—but no matter how many parts you can name, you’re still one body. It’s exactly the same with Christ.
V. 13 By means of his one Spirit, we all said good-bye to our partial and piecemeal lives. We each used to independently call our own shots, but then we entered into a large and integrated life in which he has the final say in everything. Each of us is now a part of his resurrection body, refreshed and sustained at one fountain—his Spirit—where we all come to drink. The old labels we once used to identify ourselves—labels like Jew or Greek, slave or free—are no longer useful. We need something larger, more comprehensive.
V. 14 I want you to think about how all this makes you more significant, not less. A body isn’t just a single part blown up into something huge. It’s all the different-but-similar parts arranged and functioning together.
V. 15 If Foot said, “I’m not elegant like Hand, embellished with rings; I guess I don’t belong to this body,” would that make it so?
V. 16 If Ear said, “I’m not beautiful like Eye, limpid and expressive; I don’t deserve a place on the head,” would you want to remove it from the body?
V. 17 If the body was all eye, how could it hear? If all ear, how could it smell?
V. 18 As it is, we see that God has carefully placed each part of the body right where he wanted it.
V. 19 But I also want you to think about how this keeps your significance from getting blown up into self-importance. For no matter how significant you are, it is only because of what you are a part of. An enormous eye or a gigantic hand wouldn’t be a body, but a monster.
V. 20 What we have is one body with many parts, each its proper size and in its proper place. No part is important on its own.
V. 21 Can you imagine Eye telling Hand, “Get lost; I don’t need you”? Or, Head telling Foot, “You’re fired; your job has been phased out”?
V. 22 As a matter of fact, in practice it works the other way—the “lower” the part, the more basic, and therefore necessary. You can live without an eye, for instance, but not without a stomach.
V. 23 When it’s a part of your own body you are concerned with, it makes no difference whether the part is visible or clothed, higher or lower. You give it dignity and honor just as it is, without comparisons.
V. 24 If anything, you have more concern for the lower parts than the higher. If you had to choose, wouldn’t you prefer good digestion to full-bodied hair?
V. 25 The way God designed our bodies is a model for understanding our lives together as a church: every part dependent on every other part, the parts we mention and the parts we don’t,
V. 26 the parts we see and the parts we don’t. If one part hurts, every other part is involved in the hurt, and in the healing. If one part flourishes, every other part enters into the exuberance.
V. 27 You are Christ’s body—that’s who you are! You must never forget this. Only as you accept your part of that body does your “part” mean anything.
You and your spouse need the Church Body!
- You Need To Be In Church - This is the Right Gear for the race!
Hebrews 10:23 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful;
V. 24 and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds,
V. 25 not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more, as you see the day drawing near.
Exodus 20:8 – Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.
I know, I know, I know . . . the sabbath day might not be on Sunday, it might not be at 10:00 AM CST, and Christmas certainly isn’t on December 25th! Blah, Blah, Blah. Well, what day, what time, what minute, will you ever give God? It’s a matter of your heart! Is Monday your day? Tuesday? Is Ever? Going to Church and being around other believers is not just about seeing how much of your time we can take up, or just what you can get out of it, it also about what you can do for others. How can you help? What can you bring to the table? What need can you meet?
Men, nothing will show your wife and your family more about your Godly leadership in the home, than leading your family to, and keeping your family in Church on a consistent basis. How powerful is it to say that you are going to hear from God today at Church, and to see how God may lead you to help someone else. Ladies, your willingness and support of your husband and family to go to church consistently, completely solidifies the Godly family unit, and continues to demonstrate to your family and to others that you are putting God first place. It’s a very powerful thing!
6. You need to be involved - This is the Momentum!
Firefighter Rick Vasquez described for me one day the 4 levels of a house fire. See if you can relate to this: “We are talking about involvement”
- Nothing showing – smoldering, but no visible activity
- Light smoke – the beginning signs of some activity
- Some flame – some signs of limited activity
- Fully involved
Some of you might have what I like to call a James Bond anointing: You are Shaken, but not Stirred! You love the shaking of the Holy Ghost, but are never really stirred up enough to get involved.
The moment you switch from a “I couldn’t care less” attitude, to becoming actively involved in the Church . . . the momentum shifts, and kicks into high gear! You begin to take ownership. Your care level begins to soar! All of the sudden, you see the gum wrapper on the carpet, and actually feel compelled to pick it up, you notice the lady struggling to carry her baby seat through the closed door, you see the man on crutches trying to get up the steps by the bookstore, you see the frustration and tears on the face of the parents who just lost their child to cancer . . . and you begin to weep too! Why? Because you are involved, and you care, and the Love of God is in the process of being shed abroad in your heart by the Holy Ghost.
See, Jesus came to serve, rather than to be served. A good example of this was when he washed the feet of his disciples in John Chapter 13, a job that was traditionally done by some lowly slave. But, through this act, Jesus demonstrated the heart of a true servant, and set an example for us to follow. Each time we serve another, when we serve our spouse, we are becoming more like Christ.
Jesus also gives us the greatest commandment in Matthew 22 “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” We show our love by demonstrating service to others, including our spouse, and this also shows Gods love for them.
God created us for serving! In Ephesians, Paul writes “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” Ephesians 2:10.
God has blessed each one of us with different gifts and abilities. In 1 Peter 4:10 we are instructed to, “…serve one another with whatever gift each of you has received.”
You need to be fully involved in your marriage!
- You need to keep moving - This is where you Continue Steadfast to reach the Finish Line!
Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance, and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,
V. 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
V. 3 For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you may not grow weary and lose heart.
Galatians 6:9 And let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we shall reap if we do not grow weary.
Gal. 6:9 Message Bible
So let’s not allow ourselves to get fatigued doing good. At the right time we will harvest a good crop if we don’t give up, or quit.
Philippians 1:6 Message
There has never been the slightest doubt in my mind that the God who started this great work in you would keep at it and bring it to a flourishing finish . . . .
Stay on course, lock arms with your spouse, make the commitment, stay true to God and His Word . . . and you WILL finish this race!
Financial troubles are very real, and they can crush your marriage!
They can cause friction and arguments, bitterness, contention, blame, hopelessness, and even snuff out your future plans. They can ruin your mindset, keep you down and gloomy, destroy your sex life, steal your time, and on and on. Let’s face it, Financial troubles are horrible! That’s exactly where the devil would love to leave it, but we are going to smoke him out tonight! It’s high time we directly address your personal and business financial problems, lack, debt, and all the other junk that comes along with money problems. We are going to break the back of lack tonight, and delay, and hinderances, and we are going to see God’s best come forth! I’m going to quickly share a few things that on my heart tonight from the Word of God, and then we are going to pray over your financial matters! In God We Trust! Do you really?
So, what is it that makes the difference in your finances? What is it that takes you from where you are to where you want to be? How do you do it?
Psalm 119:130 The entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple.
Psalm 73:17 Until I went into the sanctuary of God; then understood I their end.
Take a deep breath. Relax, and understand that God wants this for you, more than you want it for you. In 3 John 2 John wrote “Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth.” But, the same Bible that brought us that, also brought us 2 Thessalonians 3:10 “For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat.”
The Bible, taken as a whole, presents a giant cooperative effort on the part of God and man. He has done His part, now it’s up to us to take Him at His Word, trust Him, and cooperate with the Word He has given us.
When is your financial problem a product of your own poor decisions, and when is it an attack, and when is it both? You know, it really doesn’t even matter, because it needs to be tackled by the Truth found in the Word of God, regardless!
What can you do about it? What can you say about it? What can you believe about it?
1. Let’s talk about Giving, and Mixing Faith With Your Giving. Why do I put Giving first, right along with taking a deep breath? Because God put giving first! You can’t talk about finances and increase without talking about giving.
Galatians 2:20 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.
Luke 6:38 Give, and it will be given to you; good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, they will pour into your lap. For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return.
John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
Deuteronomy 15:7 “If there be among you a poor man of one of thy brethren within any of thy gates in thy land which the LORD thy God giveth thee, thou shalt not harden thine heart, nor shut thine hand from thy poor brother:” Powerful truth! Be obedient to give what He says to give!
The harvest you reap on your credit card purchases and bank loans are immediate, but sometimes the harvest on your seed sown could take a while! Usually when you satisfy the immediate, you forfeit the future! The curse of the monthly payment. We no longer count the cost, we have learned to divide the cost into 60 equal payments and only count 1 of those payments as the cost!
Luke 14:28 For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it? We no longer consider whether we HAVE enough to FINISH it, but only whether we HAVE enough to START it. We’ve got it backwards!
We could go a long way to helping ourselves! You could stop buying stuff you don’t need. Don’t get ahead of God and try to get the stuff you want before you have the money to get it. That’s called debt. It will hurt you, steal your future, crush your family, and ultimately kill you with stress, if you let it. You must see debt for what it really is, a killing machine. This world’s system is specifically designed to drag you into debt at every possible turn. Everything you read, see, and hear is all trying to convince you that what you currently have is not good enough anymore, even if you just got it. Your phone is not good enough, your TV, your car, your business, and even your wife! After all, there is always a newer model available! There is always better out there they say. You shouldn’t be content with what you have . . . after all, God would want you to have better, because you are a child of Almighty God! Watch it! It’s a lie. God certainly wants you to have nice things, but He wants to be the one who gets it to you, not you financing it before it is the right time. Wait on God to bless you, rather than you blessing yourself, labeling it as God’s Provision, and then complaining about being in debt.
1 Timothy 6:6-9 says “But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and raiment let us be therewith content. But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition.”
Discontentment simply means that you are not willing to wait on God to get what I need. Contentment simply means; Thank You God for what we do have, and we are willing to wait on Your timing for us to have the next thing.
Mixing Faith with your giving, is to believe that what God said about your situation is true, regardless of what you currently see.
2. There are Three Parts to a Financial Problem.
- What the enemy says and does – The Attack.
- What God says and does – The Authority.
- What we say and do – The Agreement.
So, what does the enemy say?
WARNING: This may make you mad!
What are you going to do now? You can’t make it from here. After you lose this job, how are you going to feed your family then? Your parents didn’t do well financially, and neither will you. You have already passed your peak; you just never could make it happen. You will struggle all your life with money. Your expenses will always exceed your income. Just go ahead and prepare for lack. The more you follow God, the worse it gets. You can’t have nice things, you are just destined to live, scraping the bottom of the barrel. Others will succeed, but you will not. Your time is now past, you’ve already missed the opportunities for your success. You’ll never get out of debt. You’ll never have a nice car. Expenses will continue to rise, your income will continue to decrease, and it’s not going to get any better. Better clothes for your kids – forget about it. Your business is going to flop, so why even try? Can’t you see by now that you just don’t have what it takes to start a business. Even if you got some money, you’d just lose it quickly. From this point on, it is just going to be one problem after another, one breakdown after another, one failure after another. Don’t you get it? . . . . you are too old, too inexperienced, too under-educated, too financially burdened, too risky for promotion, too medically challenged, and nobody wants you. Don’t you think it’s time you faced reality; you’re just not going to make it. If it’s not working by now, obviously God doesn’t want you to prosper. Let’s face it, you and your spouse are destined to struggle, and so are your children after you.
You see, the devil tries to make your future appear doubtful, and to seem unpredictable, unsettled, unstable, unsteady & uncertain.
So, what does God say? There is a practical, Godly side!
“The thief comes only to steal, and kill, and destroy;” John 10:10
“He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature (native language); for he is a liar, and the father of lies.” John 8:44
“Neither give place to the devil.” Ephesians 4:27
“Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.” Ephesians 6:11
“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walks around, seeking whom he may devour:” 1 Peter 5:8
“Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” James 4:7
“Plan carefully and you will have plenty; if you act too quickly, you will never have enough.” Proverbs 21:5
“. . . unwise people spend their money as fast as they get it.”
“The Lord shall increase you more and more, you and your children.”
“Offer the sacrifices of righteousness, and put your trust in the Lord.”
“He who is generous will be blessed . . .” Proverbs 22:9
“It is more blessed to give than to receive.” Acts 20:35
“But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19
So, the Word is clear about where God stands on the issue of your financial blessing. But, that is not the only factor involved . . . .
If you know of an expense that is absolutely going to come to you; like property taxes, tires for the car, etc., then plan for it and set money aside, rather than just hoping that it will not come. Our 25th wedding anniversary is coming in April of next year . . . .
So, what do you say? What is your confession?
“I am filled with the knowledge of God’s will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding. His will is my prosperity. (Colossians 1:19; Psalm 35:27.)
God delights in my prosperity. He gives me power to get wealth, that He may establish His covenant upon the earth. (Deuteronomy 8:18; 11:12.)
I immediately respond in faith to the guidance of the Holy Spirit within me. I am always in the right place at the right time because my steps are ordered of the Lord. (Psalm 37:23.)
God has given me all things that pertain to life and godliness, and I am well able to possess all that God has provided for me. (Numbers 13:30; 2 Peter 1:3-4.)
God is the unfailing, unlimited source of my supply. My financial income now increases as the blessings of the Lord overtake me. (Deuteronomy 28:2.)”
As I give, it is given unto me, good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over. (Luke 6:38)
I honor the Lord with my substance and the first fruits of my increase. My barns are filled with plenty, and my presses burst forth with new wine. (Proverbs 3:9-10.)
I am like a tree planted by rivers of water. I bring forth fruit in my season, my leaf shall not wither, and whatever I do will prosper. The grace of God even makes my mistakes to prosper. (Psalm 1:3.)
The blessing of the Lord truly makes me rich, and He adds no sorrow with it. (Proverbs 10:22.)
My God makes all grace abound toward me in every favor and earthly blessing, so that I have all sufficiency for all things and abound to every good work. (2 Corinthians 9:8.)
The Lord has opened unto me His good treasure and blessed the work of my hands. He has commanded the blessing upon me in my storehouse and all that I undertake. (Deuteronomy 28:8,12.)
I delight myself in the Lord, and He gives me the desires of my heart. (Psalm 37:4.)
The Lord has pleasure in the prosperity of His servant, and Abraham’s blessings are mine. (Psalm 35:27; Galatians 3:14)
Christ has redeemed me from the curse of the law. Jesus has delivered me from poverty and given me wealth. God is able to make all grace (every favor and earthly blessing) come to me in abundance, so that I may always and under all circumstances and whatever the need, be self-sufficient—possessing enough to require no aid or support and furnished in abundance for every good work and charitable donation!
Therefore, I will be enriched in all things and in every way, so that I can be generous, and my generosity as it is administered, will bring forth thanksgiving to God.
I have given and it is given to me good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over. Men give to me—all the time. I do not lack any good thing, for my God supplies all of my need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.
The Lord rebukes the devourer for my sake, and no weapon that is formed against my finances will prosper. All obstacles and hindrances to my financial prosperity are now dissolved. (Malachi 3:10, 11; Isaiah 54:17.)
So, whether we are talking about you personal finances, debts, assets, start-up businesses, disappointments of the past, past failures, business failures, personal bad financial decisions, or whatever, we are going to start tonight and break the assignment of the enemy and speak the Word of God over your situation!
- Actually pray, and speak to your situation! Right here, we could stop and talk about all kinds of practical things you could do to help your situation, but that’s in the bonus material in my blog. This is where the rubber meets the road. You can talk about prayer, text others about prayer, Facebook post about how much you pray, tell others that you are praying for them, have a prayer journal, get in a posture of prayer, have a prayer cloth and a prayer closet, and even memorize scriptures on prayer. But, at some point you need to actually PRAY!
That’s what we are going to do tonight!
Resist the devil, and Insist on God’s Best!
Father, You are great and You perform great deeds. You alone are God. We thank You for Your unfailing love for us that never ends and Your mercies which never do cease. Thank You, Father, for being our strength, our shield, our provider and our Savior. Thank You for blessing us with jobs that provide us with income. Thank You for promotions and raises. Thank You for favor with our bosses and co-workers.
Father, we confess that we will save, spend and invest money in obedience to Your perfect plan for our lives and our families. We confess that as You bring financial blessings into our lives, we will remember that You give us the power to get wealth. We declare that we are set on high above the nations of the earth because we diligently obey Your voice and observe Your commandments, carefully. We declare that all that we set our hands to do is blessed because You have commanded blessings on our storehouses, including our savings, our investments and our retirement accounts. We declare that as Your blessings overtake us, we will be able to lend money to many and not have to borrow from any. As we bring the tithes into Your house, we expect You to pour out blessings so large that we will not have room to receive them. Lord, we declare that we will be faithful stewards of Your financial blessings and we expect You to confirm Your Word and make us rulers over abundant wealth. We call forth a new anointing of entrepreneurship, new ideas and new businesses. We call forth a spirit of excellence and prosperity in our finances and in all areas of our lives.
Father, we pray for promotions and financial increase. Help us to build business and personal relationships with others, and give us favor with the business community. We pray for a breaking of old mindsets and generational curses of poverty and lack within our families.
Forgive us for repeating patterns of financial failures, and living beyond our means and misusing the finances you have entrusted to us. Thank You that You will not withhold any good thing from us, as we walk uprightly before You. Forgive us for words and thoughts of doubt and unbelief. Father, forgive us for walking by sight, rather than walking by faith.
Now say this with me out loud!
- Every mountain of lack, be removed from my path.
- Every devourer assigned to my finances, be destroyed.
- Every dollar of stolen wealth, be restored to me seven fold.
- Whatever I may have lost to the enemy, I take back by force in Jesus’ name.
- You spirit of poverty, I put a stop to your activities in my life.
- Every lack in my life, be consumed by God’s overwhelming abundance.
- Every power manipulating my blessings, be disarmed.
- Every seed I’ve sown, bring forth your assigned harvest.
- Every storm threatening my harvest, be calm.
- According to the word of God, let harvest time follow my seed time.
- Let the wealth of the ungodly, be transferred unto me.
- Let my desert be turned into pools of waters, and let my parched ground be turned into springs.
Now, Father, in the name of Jesus, we are in agreement that the recession, the depression, inflation and every other economic downfall does not belong to us! We’re the children of God, not the children of the world. We’re the children of light, not the children of darkness. We walk in the light as you are in the light Lord. You are our source. We lay hold today of every promise, every word You said, every oath You declared to Abraham. You will perform that oath and that promise to me and to my household. We declare it. We claim it. We receive it. It’s done. Hallelujah. We are blessed. Glory to God.
In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
BONUS MATERIAL: Things you can do starting right now!
- Stop Spending! Stop digging! Stop buying stuff you don’t need. Don’t get ahead of God and try to get the stuff you want before you have the money to get it. That’s called debt. It will hurt you, steal your future, crush your family, and ultimately kill you with stress, if you let it. You must see debt for what it really is, a killing machine. This world’s system is specifically designed to drag you into debt at every possible turn. Everything you read, see, and hear is all trying to convince you that what you currently have is not good enough anymore, even if you just got it. Your phone is not good enough, your TV, your car, your business, and even your wife! There is always better out there they say. You shouldn’t be content with what you have . . . after all, God would want you to have better, because you are a child of Almighty God! Watch it! It’s a lie. God certainly wants you to have nice things, but He wants to be the one who gets it to you, not you financing it before it is the right time. Wait on God to bless you, rather than you blessing yourself, and then complaining about being in debt. 1 Timothy 6:6-9 says “But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and raiment let us be therewith content. But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition.”
Discontentment simply means that you are not willing to wait on God to get what I need. Contentment simply means; Thank You God for what we do have, and we are willing to wait on Your timing for us to have the next thing.
- Accept help from above. Listen to financial counsel. Other people who have been where you are, and are now free, can help you get out of where you are. You would trust the muscle bound guy at the gym to show you how to workout, but you won’t trust the debt free guy to show you a better financial plan? Think! There are people who know more than you, that have gone further than you, that have more experience than you . . . you should find them and trust the Godliness in them to help out of your mess. Just because you have lots of money, does not mean you are a financial expert. I’d rather talk to someone who has walked it out and learned valuable lessons, than someone who was handed it all, but doesn’t know what to do with it.
- Get out of debt. Don’t go back into debt. You’ve got to get out of debt! Get free and stay free, as much as possible. This usually requires walking out a plan, not just trying something until it works. This involves patience; something we all need more of. It took years of dedicated spending to get to where you are, can you give God some time to help you get out?
- Make smart decisions. What ever you do, don’t pick up your old habits and start right back in again . . . spending your way right back into the hole. You may wonder why God hasn’t just caused someone to hand you $100,000 to fix your problems. Well, if he did, you’d probably just turn around and blow it on the same stuff again, because you haven’t actually gone through the process of learning how to handle money correctly.
When you think of hiding, you tend to think of hiding an object, or hiding something that you are doing, and that is true, but it’s not the only thing that can be hidden.
The same thing is true of seeking! It can go either way, but it’s really important which way it goes! You can hide things, and you can seek things! It is very important what you hide and what you seek!
We are the ones who determine which way it goes. Our decisions determine which path we will take. Which path our children take, our friends, co-workers, and most importantly – our marriage! We have a choice! We make decisions everyday regarding our selfishness, our sin, our conversation, our our complimenting, or our complaining.
3:1 If then you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.
3:2 Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth.
3:3 For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God.
So, what are you hiding? What are you seeking?
Sometimes, what you are seeking, leads to what you are hiding. Example: hiding pornography – some go to great lengths to cover and hide sin.
Jesus thought it was important enough to ask this question!
John 1:38 And Jesus turned, and beheld them following, and said to them, “What do you seek?” What are you after?
See, you can hide your sin, or you can hide yourself!
You can seek wrong, or you can seek righteousness!
You can go either way, but know this . . .
. . . what you do, does affect others! No doubt!
You can believe a lie, or you can believe the best.
You can comfort a person, or you can contaminate them!
You can speak healing, or you can speak hypocrisy!
What you say, and what you believe, does make a difference!
Let’s talk about lip service:
You can say that you love someone, and still leave them; that’s not God’s love!
You can say you are here for someone, yet be so distant that they can’t hear you! That’s not God’s way of helping!
4:1 Therefore seeing we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we faint not; (let’s just look at it in terms of a marriage ministry)
4:2 But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God. God has great sight! He sees the heart! There is no hiding from Him!
17:6 I have called upon Thee, for Thou wilt answer me, O God;
Incline Thine ear to me, hear my speech.
17:7 Wondrously show Thy lovingkindness,
O Savior of those who take refuge at Thy right hand
From those who rise up against them.
17:8 Keep me as the apple of the eye;
Hide me in the shadow of Thy wings,
Psalm - Chapter 91, known as the protection Psalm
91:3 Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence.
91:4 He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings
shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler. (something surrounding the person)
You stay hidden and strong because of great trust in the Lord!
Matthew 6:33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
Hebrews 11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. You can Seek God!
We should be seeking Him, and His Kingdom! A lot of the problems we have, and bad life situations we run into, would be completely eliminated if we would just do this! Seek Him!
No doubt, opportunities to sin and participate in wrong-doing will present themselves to you continually, but they do not just leap onto you and overtake you all at once. That’s wrong thinking.
This is equally true for women and men!
There is a progression to doing the wrong thing and the right thing! It’s step by step.
Seek – attempt or desire to obtain something. You don’t just start seeking sin. it all starts with a . . . .
Peek – to look quickly at something, or not very long. Just a glance is all it takes to get the ball rolling. But in order to peek, you first have to . . . .
Sneak - to move about in a stealthy manner. You know you are in trouble when you have to conceal your actions, but you only get to this point because you are . . . .
Weak – liable to break or give way under pressure. Spiritual weakness. You are supposed to be strong and courageous, but weakness comes as a result of a . . . .
Leak - to lose the contents of something. You had it, but you let it slip away and dry up. You chose not to stay full of God, to stay spiritually in tune, full of the Word and Prayer. Sin and wrong-doing starts right here!
But remember, you can stop hiding your sin, and start hiding yourself. You can stop seeking selfishness, and start seeking the Kingdom.
Your marriage is a ministry. It’s an example to your spouse, to your children, to your church, to your co-workers, and to complete strangers.
We live in a world full of Distractions, and if you are not watchful, you will find yourself setting a poor example!
- iPad, receipts, billing, texting, forms, medical stuff, car problems, etc. Everything can be going on, except the Word of God. But that’s what you need the most!
You have Influence, and you are an Example!
John 13:15 For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you. (He has shown us how to do it)
1 Timothy 4:12 Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity. (He has told us to do it)
1 Peter 2:21 For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps: (He has told us to do it the same way He did it)
Hebrews 4:11 Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief. (He has warned us about doing it incorrectly)
When something or someone gets your attention, and you choose to take your eyes off what God has for you.
When you leave what God has for you, to go investigate something or someone else. Separation begins here!
When you begin to believe that this new thing you
discovered, may be better than what you were originally
doing for God. Separation continues.
When you have decided that the new thing is better, and you abandon what God had for you originally.
When your choice to move away from God’s original plan for you, has now resulted in a holding pattern, causing a delay in it’s fulfillment and a blockage in your life. And Others!
When you completely abandon God’s plan for you, and
choose to walk a different path altogether.
- Think of three specific ways you know you tend to seek the wrong things.
- Recognize and think about how this affects your spouse and your family.
- Determine this month to hide yourself, and put great trust in the Lord.
Nothing Safe About Secret Sin
Jesus taught repeatedly that sin bottled up on the inside, concealed from everyone else’s view, carries the very same guilt as sin that manifests itself in the worst forms of ungodly behavior. Those who hate others are as guilty as those who act out their hatred; and those who indulge in private lusts are as guilty as actual adulterers Mathew. 5:21-30
Here are three reasons secret sin is especially bad.
1. Because God sees the heart.
The Bible tells us “God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart” 1 Samuel 16:7
No sin . . . not even a whispered curse or a fleeting evil thought is hidden from the view of God. In fact, if we realized that God himself is the only to see or hear our secret sins, we might be less inclined to write them off so lightly.
Not only that, secret sins will not remain secret. “The Lord [will] bring to light the things hidden in the darkness” 1 Corinthians 4:5 Jesus said, “There is nothing covered up that will not be revealed, and hidden that will not be known. Accordingly, whatever you have said in the dark shall be heard in the light, and what you have whispered in the inner rooms shall be proclaimed upon the housetops” Luke 12:2-3 Those who think they can evade shame by sinning in secret will discover one day that open disclosure of their secrets before the very throne of God is the worst shame of all.
It is folly to think we can mitigate our sin by keeping it secret. It is double folly to tell ourselves that we are better than others because we sin in private rather than in public. And it is the very height of folly to convince ourselves that we can get away with sin by covering it up. “He who conceals his transgressions will not prosper” Proverbs 18:13
All sin is an assault against our Holy God, whether it is done in public or in secret. And God, who beholds even the innermost secrets of the heart, sees our sin clearly, no matter how well we think we have covered it.
2. Because sin in the mind is a fruit of the same moral defect that produces deeds of sin.
When Jesus said hatred carries the same kind of guilt as murder, and lust is the very essence of adultery, He was not suggesting that there is no difference in degree between sin that takes place in the mind and sin that is acted out. Scripture does not teach that all sins are of equal enormity.
In His Sermon on the Mount Jesus was pointing out that anger arises from the same moral defect as murder; and the one who lusts suffers from the same character flaw as the adulterer. Furthermore, those who engage in thought-sins are guilty of violating the same moral precepts as those who commit acts of murder and adultery.
In other words, secret sins of the heart are morally tantamount to the worst kind of evil deeds, even if they are sins of a lesser degree. The lustful person has no right to feel morally superior to a fornicator. The fact that she indulges in lust is proof she is capable of immoral acts as well. The fact that he hates his brother shows that he has murder lurking in his heart.
3. Because hidden sin involves the compounding sin of hypocrisy.
Those who sin secretly actually intensify their guilt, because they add the sin of hypocrisy to their offense. It also produces an especially debilitating kind of guilt, because by definition hypocrisy entails the concealing of sin.
Hypocrisy therefore permeates the soul with a predisposition against genuine repentance. That is why Jesus referred to hypocrisy as “the leaven of the Pharisees” Luke 12:1
Hypocrisy also works directly against the conscience. There’s no way to be hypocritical without searing the conscience. So hypocrisy inevitably makes way for the most vile, character-damaging secret sins. Thus hypocrisy compounds itself, just like leaven.
Your secret life is the real litmus test of your character: “As he thinks within himself, so he is” Proverbs 23:7 Do you want to know who you really are? Take a hard look at your private life . . . especially your innermost thoughts. Gaze into the mirror of God’s Word, and allow it to disclose and correct the real thoughts and motives of your heart.
Everything I say tonight is for you, and not your spouse!
How many in here tonight believe that God is a great God?
Okay, men, how many of you really would like to be a great man, a great husband and father? You want to be important, to make a difference?
Ladies, do you really desire to be a great wife, a great mother, a great lady?
How many of you know and understand that a great marriage requires going with God’s flow, and doing things His way?
Relax, take a deep breath, there are no trick questions here!
When the Bible speaks of greatness, it says things like “he that is greatest among you shall be your servant.” Matthew 23:11
In Mark 9:35, Jesus said “If any man desire to be first, the same shall be last of all, and servant of all.”
Service With A Smile! : )
In the Kingdom of God, the way up is down!
Servanthood: Want to be the greatest?
Then become the servant of all. Serve one another!
There is an interesting story in John Chapter 2: The story of Jesus’ first miracle: READ IT!
The headwaiter did not know where this fresh wine had come from, but the servants who drew the water knew! It was the servants who were in on the ground floor of the miracle! They were right there, handling the beginning of a complete turn-around in a marriage, but it all started with service to someone else! They did what Jesus said to do.
The conversion from water to wine occurred while in the hands of the servants, not the leader, not the bridegroom.
John 2:7 Jesus said to them, “Fill the water pots with water.” And they filled them up to the brim. Jesus said to whom? Who filled them up?
John 2:8 And He said to them, “Draw some out now, and take it to the headwaiter.” And they took it to him. Jesus said to whom? Who took it?
Servanthood is very important . . . to your marriage!
Service is key! It is the key to having harmony in your home. If you want more harmony, you need more service.
Service is the seed, Harmony is the harvest!
Everyone would like to have the fruit of the Spirit displayed in their life. Who wouldn’t want to have more love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control? We want all these things, but I’m telling you that Service is the delivery method! You’ve got the fruit of the Spirit, but service is the bowl that the fruit is in. It’s the container! It’s the thing that encapsulates or holds the fruit of the Spirit. Service is the one thing that delivers these others great things into your marriage. When you need a medicine delivered into your body to help fix something, the doctor will use a syringe and a needle to get the medicine where it needs to go. That’s what service is like, it’s like that syringe & needle that contains what your marriage needs, and it breaks through the outer layers of built up walls and strife, to deliver the goods! A good doctor will administer the right medication.
That’s why even the words “Minister” and “Administer” are so closely related.
1 a member of the clergy.
2 (minister to) attend to the needs of (someone):
ORIGIN from Latin minister ‘servant,’ from minus ‘less.’
verb [ with obj. ]
1 manage and be responsible for the running of:
2 dispense or apply (a remedy or cure):
3 give help or service:
ORIGIN from Latin administrare, meaning ‘to’ minister
See, I’m just administering the medication of the Word tonight directly to your marriage. Service is the key that unlocks the otherwise locked door, and delivers the package right to you. God wants you to have and walk in the fruit of the Spirit in your marriage, but he uses your service to your spouse as the means to get all that goodness in there! Praise the Lord!
Galatians 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
Romans 6:22 But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life.
When you are truly serving your spouse, you will not walk in the opposite of the fruit of the Spirit. You can’t Serve and Slander at the same time!
This should make it a tad bit easier to swallow the Ephesian scriptures:
Ephesians 5:22 Wives, submit (or serve) yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.
Ephesians 5:25 Husbands, love (or serve) your wives, even as Christ also loved (or served) the church, and gave himself for it;
See, You are basically serving one another!
Which is exactly what Galatians says:
Galatians 5:13 For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.
So, you are probably thinking, how can I get in on this whole servanthood thing? How can I become a better servant to my spouse?
There are a lot of natural things you can do to serve your spouse:
Gentlemen, you can: Compliment your wife, take a walk with your wife, hold hands with your wife in public, give her a massage, tell her that you love her at times other than when you want to have sex, kiss her goodbye when you leave the house, you can let her know that she is the only one for you . . . ever, you can tell her that she is pretty (and not just looks alright), you can open the door for her, you can put the toilet seat down, you can not leave your dirty socks inside out, you can help with the dishes, you can clean the kitchen . . . and on and on! Serve!
Ladies, you can: Compliment your husband, you can spend time with your husband, encourage your husband, you can value your husband’s advice and opinions, you can work with your husband in making tough decisions, you can appreciate your husband’s job and the provision it brings to the family, you can draw attention to his positive qualities . . . and on and on. Serve!
1 Corinthians 13:4-8 says that “Love is patient, love is kind, and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth;
bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.
Don’t ever act independent of the Word of God; you will fail!
Here are some other scriptural things you can do starting right now!
- You Can Simplify
2 Corinthians 11:3 - But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtlety, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.
- Fix your eyes on Jesus – Hebrews 12:1-3
- Return to your first love
- Don’t make the problem bigger than it actually is!
2. You can “Let,” and you can “Let Not.”
Colossians 3:15 And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.
John 14:1 Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.
John 14:27 Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.
Romans 6:12 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body that you should obey its lusts,
3. Determine What You Really Need?
What do you really need? House, car, food, A/C, cell phone, internet?
The Bible says you have Need of Patience!
Hebrews 10:36 For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise.
Hebrews 10:36 (Message Bible ) But you need to stick it out, staying with God’s plan so you’ll be there for the promised completion.
“People will tell you what you want to hear, but God will tell you what you need to hear!” – TH
Let me ask you: Are you really doing your best in your marriage? Really? Remember, I’m talking to you, not your spouse. Are you really genuine, or are you just faking your way through? Are you really contributing to your marriage, or are you just holding their past mistakes over their head; controlling them with it? There is a point that you have to let go of the past and move on . . . to decide that you are going to go “all in” for your marriage.
You may need marriage maintenance, or you might need a marriage miracle.
Joshua Chapter 2.
After she made a deal with the spies, she then lowered them down, out of her window with a rope (v.15). Then she gave them some last minute escape instructions (v.16). But every mission of attack must have a signal that everyone agrees on, and in (v.18), the spies said “when we come into the land, you shall tie this scarlet thread in the window.”
So, how long was it before they “came into the land?”
- In the hills by Jericho – 3 days
- The journey back to Joshua – 3 days
- Joshua rises early in the morning – chapter 3 – 1 day
- Chapter 3:2 – 3 days
- Chapter 3:5 – 1 day
- Journey to the Jordan River – 3 days
- Chapter 4:14 – stones in the river after crossing it – 1 day
- Chapter 4:19 – tenth day of the first month – 1 day
- In chapter 5:2, God instructs Joshua to make knives out of flint and circumcise the whole nation, and in (v.8) it says that they remained there until they were completely whole. I check with a medical professional on this whole procedure, who specializes in circumcision recovery, and she said with today’s medicine, about 2 to 2.5 weeks. – 17 days
- Chapter 5:10 – 14th day – 4 days
- Chapter 6:12 – 1 day
- Walking around Jericho – 6 days
- Day of Jericho’s destruction – 1 day
Total of about 42 days!
42 days Rahab had to prepare to tie that scarlet cord in the window.
But, how long did she wait? Joshua 2:21
“How long will you wait to do what you know will really help your family? Your children? Your marriage?
Joshua chapter 2 is the principle, what you do is the practice!
Wouldn’t you do anything to help your marriage, to serve that beautiful lady that God brought to you, to honor that wonderful man God put in your life? Wouldn’t you do anything to bless them, encourage them, help them, lift them up?
Waste no time in doing what you know is right!
This might be Tonyology, but I don’t believe she lowered the spies 30 feet down to the ground, and then raised them back up to get the scarlet cord they were talking about. I believe she already had in her possession the whole time, the very thing that God used to turn her whole family around!
Hebrews 11:31 By faith Rahab the harlot did not perish along with those who were disobedient, after she had welcomed the spies 1in peace.
James 2:24-26 (Message)
- Write down three ways you recognize and appreciate that your spouse already selflessly serves you.
- Recognize three ways that you know you could better serve your spouse.
- Determine three specific ways you will start today to serve your spouse.
Great News! You can now listen to, or download the audio from the Conqueror’s Club meetings. Praise the Lord!
Just follow this link: http://www.calvarycathedral.org/archives/30
If therefore there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion,
make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose.
Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind let each of you regard one another as more important than himself;
do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.
Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor.
For if either of them falls, the one will lift up his companion. But woe to the one who falls when there is not another to lift him up.
Furthermore, if two lie down together they keep warm, but how can one be warm alone?
And if one can overpower him who is alone, two can resist him. A cord of three strands is not quickly torn apart.
Not Me, But We!
- “We” means that you are not in this alone!
- We think of marriage as two coming together, and it is, but it’s also more than that. A Godly marriage is actually “three.”
- So your marriage has the potential of having the Lord’s help, right in the middle of everything that might be going on! He’s the one that makes the big difference!
Ecclesiastes 4:12 (NASB)
A cord of three strands is not quickly torn apart.
Ecclesiastes 4:12 (KJV)
A threefold cord is not quickly broken.
Rope is made up of three strands. Each strand has many individual fibers. The strands are then woven, mingled, braided together to form a strong cord. They are all woven in the same direction! If not, it quickly comes unraveled and frayed. If one strand is lost, the cord is much weaker, and will eventually snap under the load. All three strands are needed to “friction” together, or hold on to each other. The three strands tend to “rely” on each other to hold the weight.
A good cord, when kept clean of dirt and debris, is always ready for use, and can withstand tremendous, instant pressure. It can actually flex under the weight and absorb the weight and bounce back. Rope that is not cleaned or cared for with be too abrasive and cause small fractures in the individual strands, and break under pressure.
If the husband clings to God, and the wife clings to God; since there is only one God, they will all end up together.
Once the three strands are together, braided and working, it is important to remember that cord is made for a purpose! You have a purpose. Wonderful, strong rope that is just coiled up and laying there, is not serving it’s purpose. What is your purpose? You need to find this out from God. Of course there are general, global purposes like winning the lost, reading the Bible, prayer, and so on, but I mean find out what your specific purpose is . . . family, influence, service, etc.
Ephesians 4:1 – 3
I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, entreat you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called,
with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing forbearance to one another in love,
being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
It’s a lot easier to declare peace than it is to achieve peace! As soon as marriage begins, the enemy will try to bring conflict, and conflict can, if unchecked, destroy the peace of any relationship. It takes work on the part of both husband and wife to keep peace reigning in their marriage. It is human nature for two human beings spending a long time together in close proximity together to face conflicts. You tend to have different goals, interests, tastes, likes and dislikes. So, according to Ephesians 4, unity of the Spirit can only be preserved when the bond of peace is established and maintained. Peace has to be achieved first, maintained second, and walked out daily from there. We have to learn that the fruit of the Spirit promotes peace!
If you want to keep getting the same results, then just keep doing the same thing! But, if you want better results, then you are going to have to do something differently! It’s time for you to break out! Lay your pride aside, and follow the Words of Jesus!
The phrase “Not Me” appears only 8 times in the Bible
But, the phrase “But We” appears 53 times in the Bible! Things like:
But We . . . .
. . . will serve the Lord
. . . will bless the Lord
. . . believe
. . . also joy in God
. . . speak the wisdom of God
. . . have the mind of Christ
. . . shall all be changed
. . . are made manifest unto God
. . . are bound to give thanks
. . . will remember the Name of the Lord
. . . will give ourselves continually to prayer, and the Word
. . . preach Christ crucified
. . . have this treasure in earthen vessels
. . . do all things for your edifying
. . . shall live with Him by the power of God
. . . see Jesus
We is better than Me!
But from the beginning of creation, God made them male and female.
For this cause a man shall leave his father and mother,
and the two shall become one flesh; consequently they are no longer two, but one flesh.
What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate.
Let no man “untwist, untangle, unbraid, unravel, unwind, or unthread.”
You have a Treasure sitting right next to you! But, you have to see the treasure as priceless, valuable, and having worth! Valuable enough to look at, and touch, and spend time with, and influence in a Godly way. Are you intent on one purpose? That’s what Philippians was saying. Do you have humility of mind, or are you only looking out for your own good?
We’ve got to stick together! You need your partner, and they need you! Marriage is not a 50/50 deal, it’s 100/100/100! Like Pastor Nichols says, “Love is giving your best, with no strings attached, except Faith in the seed you have planted.”
No marriage is impossible with God! No marriage is too hard for God! Every marriage will benefit from hearing the Word of God!
So, now that I know how much God is on my side, what can I actually do about my marriage?
No matter what the condition of your marriage, the Word of God will help your marriage!
1. Set A Positive Goal For Your Marriage – Take The High Road!
Is your goal to have a happy and nurturing relationship. If your goal is proving yourself right, you may be on the wrong track. Always keep your goal in mind and make sure your actions are aligned with your goal. This may sometimes mean not pointing out how right you are no matter how much evidence you have.
2. Always See The Best In Your Spouse – God Does!
After all, God made them just for you! That wife of yours is God’s daughter. That man of yours is God’s son. Wow!
3. Change Begins With Me – And Ends With We!
If you just let go, and let God change you, you will see that His kind of change can be very contagious.
4. Watch your words! Words are powerful. You can:
Compliment or complain, Build-up or backbite, Rejoice or regurgitate, Bless or Bicker, Love or Lie, Edify or Erase, Bring Joy or Bring Jealousy, Minister or Maim, Treasure or Taint, Guide or Gossip, You can be a Vision Builder or a Vision Stealer!
You tongue is like the rudder of a mighty ship. It determines the direction and path you will go. If your ship has been going in the wrong direction for a while, it might take some time to turn it around, but it’s worth it!
Speak blessings, not cursing. Impart Hope! Never yell at your wife unless your house is on fire. They are delicate and petite flowers! Ladies, build your man up and encourage him, chances are he doing more for you than you might even imagine. Life and death are in the power of the tongue.
5. Keep An Eye Out!
You have great influence. Avoid the very appearance of evil. Don’t see how close you can get to evil and not get caught, run from it! Your spouse is watching to see what you do and how you react to certain things. Always show them that you are under God’s influence and are attempting to do the right thing. They want to know that you are willing to stay away from anything that is even questionable, and anything that will come between you.
6. Walk In Forgiveness!
At some point, you’ve got to actually forgive your mate, let them know you forgive them, and commit to move forward in your marriage. Everyone has done stupid stuff, people do blow it. But even God chose to forgive us while we were still dead in our trespasses and sins. Choose to love and forgive first. This may be difficult, but it is necessary.
- Write down three things about your husband or wife that you really value – things you really appreciate, or for which you really are thankful. Does he earn money to provide for you and the children? Is she a good mother and wife? Are they kind? Affectionate?
- Recognize three ways you have been selfish – ways you know need to change, and determine to focus on God’s Word to change them.
- Determine three ways you can put you spouse first.