Daring Faith: The Key To Miracles- What Happens When We Have Faith Part 3

Part 3- What Happens When We Have Faith

What Happens When We Have Faith

In our previous blogs we have been looking at faith. We defined faith, and we looked at two examples of people in the Bible who exhibited such faith. Today we are going to continue our discussion and talk about how to apply what we have learned to our lives.

There are two ways we can look at what happens to us.  We can look at what happens through eyes of fear — or we can look at what happens through eyes of faith.  That’s really it — there are no other options that I can think of.

A good example of this is the story of the Jews entering the Promised Land. Moses led the nation of Israel out of Egypt. However, Pharaoh changed his mind and decided to get the Jews back. As he and the Egyptian army crossed the Red Sea after the Jews — God destroyed them. From there the Jews traveled in the desert for 2 years, until they came to a place called Kadesh. Here they’re made plans to cross the Jordan River and go into the Promised Land.

This was the land that God promised to give them to be their permanent country, but before they went in, Moses said, “I am going to send in a team of 12 scouts to scope out the land”. So, he does, and when they return from their scouting trip, they give a mixed report. Two of them (Joshua and Caleb) say, “It’s an incredible place — God gave it to us — so let’s go take it.”  But the other 10 said, “Yeah, it’s a great place, but…… they came up with a lot of reasons why they couldn’t go in.  Joshua and Caleb were seeing with eyes of faith, but the others were seeing with eyes of fear. So, the Jews decided not enter the promised land, and they wandered in the desert for next 38 years.

We can learn some lessons from this story about looking at life with fear. I want to discuss three scenarios. Let’s look at the first one.

When we look at life with fear, we exaggerate our problems.

Le’s go back to the story of the Jews. God had dramatically delivered them from bondage in Egypt, so you think they would be filled with courage and confidence. However, when they arrive at the Promised Land, they were filled with fear and worry. How quickly they forgot. But before we fault the Jews — we have to realize that we do the same thing. We often look at our problems with eyes of fear — and when we do that — we make them bigger than they really are — and we often want to give up.

Let’s look at Numbers 13:27-28.

“This was their report to Moses: ‘We entered the land you sent us to explore, and it is indeed a bountiful country—a land flowing with milk and honey……….  But the people living there are powerful, and their towns are large and fortified. We even saw giants there, the descendants of Anak!’” 

This was the report of the 10 fearful scouts. They accurately reported the land was bountiful. But they said the people living there were powerful — their cities are fortified and large — and they saw giants!

However, Caleb had a different perspective. Let’s look at Numbers 13:30-33.

“But Caleb tried to quiet the people as they stood before Moses. “Let’s go at once to take the land,” he said. “We can certainly conquer it!” But the other men who had explored the land with him disagreed. ‘We can’t go up against them! They are stronger than we are!’  So, they spread this bad report about the land among the Israelites: ‘The land we traveled through and explored will devour anyone who goes to live there. All the people we saw were huge.’ We even saw giants there, the descendants of Anak. Next to them we felt like grasshoppers ….”

The majority report was negative, but that’s not unusual. The majority report is almost always negative.  The majority are almost always looking with eyes of fear and not eyes of faith.  Only two of the scouts had faith — Joshua and Caleb.

Here’s something else that’s always true — people naturally listen to worriers and naysayers. Negative attitudes are contagious.  Initially all the Jews were excited about going into the Promised Land, but when the 10 scouts came back and said, “We can’t do it” — everybody changed their mind and became infected with negative attitudes.

What’s ironic is 38 years later — when the Jews finally did take the promised land — the people living there said.

“We have lived in panic for 40 years because we heard about the 10 plagues of Egypt”. We heard what your God did against Pharaoh. And we were scared to death!”

The Jews needlessly wandered in the wilderness for 38 years because of their exaggerated fears. And that’s the problem we often encounter.  When we look at life with eyes of fear — we exaggerate our problems.

That’s the first issue with being fearful. Next week we will look at a second issue. See you then!

Daring Faith: The Key To Miracles- What Happens When We Have Faith Part 2

What Happens When We Have FaithPart 2 of What Happens When We Have Faith

Last week we started a new blog series about faith. We started by defining faith. We used the definition in Hebrews 11:1, which says,

“Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see.”

Today we are going to continue our discussion and look at some examples of people in the Bible who exhibited this kind of faith. Let’s start with Noah in Hebrews 11:7.

“It was by faith that Noah built a large boat to save his family from the flood. He obeyed God, who warned him about things that had never happened before. By his faith Noah condemned the rest of the world, and he received the righteousness that comes by faith.”

To help us understand this passage we need to look at several related passages in Genesis. Genesis 6:9 says Noah was a righteous man, and he walked in fellowship with God. Genesis 6:13 says God told Noah that He was going to flood the earth and destroy every living thing. He also told Noah to build a large boat, and He gave Noah the blueprints to build it.

OK, so imagine what Noah must have thought. He’s in the middle of the desert, and God wants him to build a big boat. This thing is 450 feet long, 75 feet wide and 45 feet tall. That’s 1 1/2 times longer than a football field and it’s three stories high. That’s going to take a lot of wood — not to mention all the work. Noah didn’t have access to a union hall to get carpenters, so he had to rely on his family for labor.

Genesis 6:22 says Noah believed God, and he did what God told him to do. That’s fits the definition of faith that we just talked about. I’m sure Noah didn’t understand everything God told him. He probably had never seen a flood, so that was beyond his level of understanding. He was the middle of the desert where ships were not normally in use. And while He was building the ark, he probably got a lot of ridicule from his neighbors. Plus, it was hard work.

He had to find the trees — he had to cut them into lumber — and then put it all together. And he didn’t have any power tools. But Noah believed God, so he built the ark. And then God told Noah to collect pairs of animals and put them in the ark — with all the food they needed. That was a monumental undertaking too. Noah was not a ship builder or zoo keeper, but he did what God told him to do. That’s faith.

OK, let’s look at one more story. Let’s look at Abraham in Hebrews 11:17-18.

“It was by faith that Abraham offered Isaac as a sacrifice when God was testing him. Abraham, who had received God’s promises, was ready to sacrifice his only son, Isaac, even though God had told him, “Isaac is the son through whom your descendants will be counted.” 

The Bible tells us in Genesis 22 that God spoke to Abraham and told him to sacrifice his son, Isaac, on Mount Moriah. Sometime earlier God told Abraham that Isaac was the child though whom he would have many descendants. So, imagine what Abraham must have thought.

“God — I’m confused”.  You promised to give me a son, and you did — even though Sarah and I were well past child bearing age. You told me I was going to have many descendants through him — as numerous as the stars in the sky. And now you are telling me to kill him!” But then Abraham said, “OK — I’ll do what you say”.

That also fits our definition of faith. Hebrews 11:19 says,

“Abraham reasoned that if Isaac died, God was able to bring him back to life again……” 

Abraham never doubted God — even though circumstances demanded otherwise.

These are just two stories of many stories about people in the Bible who had the faith to believe God. There are many other stories we could look at, but I think you get the idea. Next week we are going to talk about how to apply this definition of faith to our lives.

See you then …

Daring Faith: The Key To Miracles- What Happens When We Have Faith

Today we are starting a new blog series called “Daring Faith — The Key to Miracles”. In this series, we are going to take a good look at faith.

To start with let’s look at Romans 1:16-17.

“For I am not ashamed of this Good News about Christ. It is the power of God at work, saving everyone who believes—the Jew first and also the Gentile. This Good News tells us how God makes us right in his sight. This is accomplished from start to finish by faith.  As the Scriptures say, “It is through faith that a righteous person has life.”

Let’s also look at Hebrews 11:6.

“And it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him.” 

Ok, so what is faith? A good definition of faith is in Hebrews 11:1.

“Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see.”

Notice the expressions, “Confidence that what we hope for will actually happen”. And “Assurance about things we cannot see”. So, what is it that we are hoping for — and what is it that we can’t see? The answer is WHAT GOD SAYS IS TRUE. In the Bible God gives us over 7000 promises about various things He says He will do. Each promise requires that we believe He will do them. We don’t know when or how, but we believe He will. That’s faith – expecting God to do what He says He will do.

For example, In Romans 8:28 God says He will make everything work together for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose. Our lives may be completely messed up right now, and everything might be on fire — but we believe God’s promise. We believe HE WILL work out circumstances for our good, and we are confident. Why? Because we believe God’s in control — and HE WILL DO WHAT HE SAYS HE WILL DO. That’s putting faith in God.

Hebrews 11:1 says faith is the assurance of things we cannot see. So, if we are going to put our assurance in something we can’t see – it had better be reliable. If we put our faith in other things (like ourselves, other people, politicians, money, etc.) we will soon find out that they are not reliable. However, there is nothing more reliable than God, and what He says is true.

Next week we will dig into this and see how we can use it. See you then …

When We Are At The Breaking Point Part 2

Stress (Part 2)

Last week we began a discussion about how to deal with stress that is affecting our lives in a negative way. The first method we discussed was releasing our frustrations. Today we are going to talk about another approach for dealing with stress when it is building up in our daily lives.

A second approach is RESIST becoming bitter.

Bitterness often happens when we are under stress and think we are stuck. We start feeling resentful. We think, “This is unfair — I’m a good person — This shouldn’t be happening to me.”

But the truth is problems happen to everybody — that’s life – we can’t avoid them – so, we need to deal with them. Unfortunately, many people choose unproductive methods for doing that. They will say ” I’m never going to let anyone hurt me again — I’m going to build a wall — I’m going to retreat into myself.”

Let me tell you, that approach never works. The truth is we can’t prevent problems from happening, but we can control how we respond to them. We can decide if we are going to live a life of bitterness or live a life of happiness. Contrary to what a lot of people think, it’s a choice that we can make.

After many years in ministry I have observed that there is no correlation between circumstances and happiness. Many people think, “If I could just get my circumstances lined up the way I want, I would be happy.” “Or if I could get all my problems solved, I would be happy.” “If I could just get married, or have kids, or have a certain career, or whatever, I would be happy.” But that isn’t true. We all know people who have everything in life and are still unhappy. On the other hand, I’ve known people who have gone through terrible circumstances and still maintain a happy and cheerful heart.

Hebrews 12:15 says that bitterness is a devastating force in our lives.

“Watch out that no bitterness takes root among you. It causes deep trouble, hurting many in their spiritual lives.”

Bitterness doesn’t change anything. It doesn’t change the past. It doesn’t affect the future. All it does is mess up today.

So, what’s the answer? How do we avoid bitterness? The answer is gratitude — it’s being thankful. Studies have shown that gratitude is the healthiest emotion we can possibly have. So, when you are in the crucible, I exhort you to find something to be thankful for. Count your blessings. You can’t be grateful and bitter at the same time. It’s one or the other. When you invite gratitude into the front door, bitterness automatically goes out the back door.

Let’s look at 1 Thessalonians 5:18.

“No matter what happens, always be thankful, for this is God’s will for you.”

I hear people say, “I wish I knew God’s will”. Well, here’s one expression of it. By the way there are thousands of expressions of God’s will throughout the Scriptures. They are found in what is called the promises of God. In this case God says, “No matter what happens, always be thankful.”

There is an interesting story about Corrie Ten Boom that demonstrates this. She was a Dutch national who was interned in the Ravensbruck concentration camp in World War II. One day she and some of the other prisoners in her barracks decided to thank God for the lice. There was a horrible infestation of lice in the camp.
Lice were into everything — their clothes, their hair, etc. So, you might be wondering why in the world would they be thankful for that? Well, as it turned out the German guards would never go into their barracks because of the lice. That meant they could have as many Bible studies and prayer meetings in their barracks as they wanted, because the would never be discovered. The point of this story is you can always find something to be thankful for – no matter what the circumstances. You just need to have the proper mindset.

OK, that ends our discussion for today. Think about this and determine how you can apply it to your situation.

Next week we will talk about another method for dealing with everyday stress.


When we are at the breaking pointWhen We Are At The Breaking Point

If we don’t have any stress in our lives, chances are, we are pretty close to being dead. We all need a certain amount of stress in our lives to accomplish what we have to do. Stress can stimulate energy and effort to get things done. However, it’s also true that too much stress can be bad. In fact, unrequited stress can bring us to the breaking point.

So, what do we do when we find ourselves in that situation? In this blog we are going to look at five suggestions that the Bible offers for dealing with stress.

The first thing the Bible suggests we do is RELEASE our frustrations.

Release — that’s a wonderful word. In Mathew 11:28 Jesus said, “Come to me and I will give you rest.” He was talking about release. Whenever there is stress in our lives, there is always related emotions. Things like anxiety, worry, fear, depression and so on. And many times, when we are under stress, we ignore these emotions. We do that is by pushing them down. That’s swallowing everything up and pretending it’s not there. It’s wearing masks and ignoring pain. There’s a name for that. It’s called stuffing.

Let me ask you a question. Do you think that’s what God would really like you to do? In other words, does God want you to be phony? Does He want you to be a hypocrite? Feeling one way and acting another? I don’t think so.

No, God wants us to be real. He understands we have these emotions. He created us and gave us the ability to feel them. But He wants us to acknowledge them — He wants us to identify them. And THEN He wants us to express them to Him. He wants us to release them, because He knows if we don’t, they will hurt us.

Let’s look at Psalm 62:8.

“O my people, trust in Him at all times. Pour out your heart to Him, for God is our refuge.”

A refuge is a safe place. God says “Pour out your heart to Me, because I’m safe”. God says, “You don’t have to worry about Me.”

So we can go to God and say, “Lord, here it is! “Here’s how I feel, the good, the bad and the ugly.” “I’m stressed. I’m frustrated. I’m irritated. I’m angry. I’m depressed.” “I’m mad at you.” God says tell me all about it.

Let me tell you something about our feelings. If we don’t deal with them now, we’ll have to deal with them later, because feelings will pile up. If you let them pile them up, they’re will explode. It’s like taking a bottle of coke and shaking it. That’s what stuffing does. God says don’t repress your feelings. Don’t pretend they don’t exist. And don’t rehearse them. That’s hanging on to them until they gets bigger and bigger in our minds. God says, “Talk to me”.

Let me ask you, have you ever been so stressed out that you couldn’t pray? Have you’ve thought, “God’s nowhere to be found”. “He’s not even within fifty miles.” “And I don’t think He cares anyway.” Well, let me tell you, that’s not true. That’s a lie straight out of the pit of hell. God never leaves us. There may be times when you might think so, but He never does. God sees and knows everything that’s going on.

Let’s look at Psalm 31:22.

“In panic I cried out, ‘I am cut off from the Lord’. But you heard my cry for mercy and answered my call for help.”

God is always available. He always hears, and He says release your frustrations to Me anytime, anywhere, anyplace.

OK, that’s the first thing we must do when we feel stressed out to the max. Next week we will talk about a second thing we must do.

Have a good week!

Why Get Married Part 4 of 4

Why Get Married Part 4 of 4WHY GET MARRIED? (Part 4)

Today we are going to finish our discussion about why God designed marriage.

God designed marriage for the preservation of society.

Marriage is the fundamental building block of every community, state, nation, society and culture. History reveals where marriages are strong — cultures and nations are also strong, but they decline when the reverse is true. To me it’s obvious where our nation is headed right now. I don’t think America is getting better. It’s not getting stronger. It seems to be going the other direction. Why? Well, there are many reasons, but I think one of the major ones is because we don’t put a high value on marriage and family. Focus has shifted to individuals. The mantra has become — it’s all about me. I’ve got to do what’s best for me. I think we’ve made individualism an idol. Proverbs 14:34 says,

“Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a disgrace to any people.”

OK, let’s move on and look at another reason why God designed marriage.

God uses marriage to develop a reverence for Christ.

This is probably the most profound reason for marriage. Take a look at Ephesians 5:21.

“And further, submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.”

The context of this passage is marriage.

Let’s look at Ephesians 5:25-33.

“For husbands, this means love your wives, just as Christ loved the church. He gave up his life for her to make her holy and clean, washed by the cleansing of God’s word. He did this to present her to himself as a glorious church without a spot or wrinkle or any other blemish. Instead, she will be holy and without fault. In the same way, husbands ought to love their wives as they love their own bodies. For a man who loves his wife actually shows love for himself. No one hates his own body but feeds and cares for it, just as Christ cares for the church. And we are members of his body. As the Scriptures say, “A man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one.” This is a great mystery, but it is an illustration of the way Christ and the church are one. So again I say, each man must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.”

In this passage Paul likens the relationship of Jesus and the church to the marriage relationship. He says, “For husbands, this means love your wives, just as Christ loved the church. He gave up his life for her….”

The most sublime demonstration of love possible is to give one’s life for someone else. In Jesus’ case He gave His life for the whole human race. Paul says that’s the way husbands must love their wives. Paul quotes Genesis 2:24 where he says, “A man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one.” He says this is a great mystery, but it is an illustration of the way Christ and the church are one.

There is no better way to understand love in marriage than to understand Jesus’ love for the church. The problem is we get distracted by the culture we live in. Our culture demeans, discourages, ridicules, redefines, and dismisses marriage. People go to Las Vegas to get married and twenty-four hours later they get divorced.
Celebrities spend millions of dollars in the preparation of their weddings, but the preparation often lasts longer than the marriage. People go from one relationship to the next to the next in serial marriages. All this conflicts with God’s commands.

Sometimes when a couple is married for 50 or 60 years or longer, it makes the news. People are amazed. Why? Because it’s counter culture.

Twice in the Bible Jesus says that there is no marriage in heaven. Why did He say that? I think it’s because the six purposes of marriage that we have discussed in our past blogs will no longer be needed in Heaven. Heaven is a perfect place, so we will be connecting with everybody perfectly. We won’t need marriage to facilitate that.
There will be no need for further propagation of the human race. Everybody will have been created. There will no further need for the enhancement of our lives because we will be fully enhanced. We will be perfect, and our character will also be perfected. In Heaven society will be perfect, so there is no need to advance it either.
And finally, we will express the proper reverence for Jesus.

But here on earth that’s not the case, so the six purposes are still needed, so marriage still matters. We must continue to honor it. We must continue to follow God’s directions for it. And that is one man — one woman — for life. Husbands must love their wives as Christ loved the church, and wives must love and respect their husbands Amen and amen.

See you next time…

Why Get Married Part 3 of 4

Why Get Married Part 3 of 4WHY GET MARRIED? (Part 3)

In our last two blogs we have been talking about “Why Get Married”. We talked about various reasons which are in the Bible. Today we going to look at another biblical reason for getting married.

God designed marriage for the perfection of our character.

Certain character qualities can only be developed in relationships. It’s only through relationships that we learn to be unselfish, other directed, caring, empathetic and loving.

When we were born, we were completely self-centered. Nothing on the planet is more self-centered than a new baby. A baby doesn’t have the capacity to think about anyone else. All they can think about are themselves. I’m too hot, I’m too cold, I’m hungry, I just pooped, I need to be cleaned up… The first concept a baby learns is “I”!

Human maturation and development is the process of realizing it’s not all about “I”. It’s about learning that happiness comes from being unselfish — serving others — and being loving. One of the major goals of life is to grow from selfish to unselfish. Unfortunately, there are some adults today who haven’t adopted that goal.

Life is a process of learning how to love other people. Why is love the most important thing in life? The answer is because GOD IS LOVE, and God wants us to become like Him. He wants to love others as He loves others, and He wants us to learn to be unselfish.

God uses the marriage relationship as one of the primary places where these qualities can be learned. Marriage is a lifelong course in learning to be unselfish. Once we are married, “me” gradually becomes “we”. When we are married, we learn pretty quickly that we can’t always do whatever we want to do. One of the first things we have to learn is compromise.

God wants to make us like Jesus. That’s His number one goal for our lives. That means He has to change our character, because our character is the only thing we are going to take to Heaven. It won’t be our cars, our careers, our houses or anything else related to this world.

God uses the marriage relationship to do that. The marriage relationship provides numerous opportunities to take focus off ourselves and onto our spouses. But you might say, “But my spouse is not even a Christian.” So what! It doesn’t matter. They don’t have to be saved for you to focus on them. God still uses them, because they’re close to you and they have the most impact.

Here’s a statement worth memorizing:


I know that’s counter culture, but it is the truth. And by the way — the holier you become the happier you become. Studies show that we are the happiest when we are loving, giving, serving, sharing, and unselfish.

I have heard people say, “My goal in life is to be happy”. Unfortunately, that’s an elusive goal. Happiness was never meant to be a goal. It’s a condition that can only be achieved when we are lined up with God’s plans. Let’s look at Romans 12:9-10.

“Love sincerely. Hate evil. Hold on to what is good. Be devoted to each other like a loving family. Excel in showing respect for each other.”

That’s an excellent summary of what God wants to develop in us. I like the idea of excelling in showing respect.
Excelling means we get better and better.

Before I was married I thought I knew how to love a woman. Boy was I wrong! I knew nothing about love. Nothing. After 38 years of marriage I have learned a few things. God has been working in me. But even so I still have a long way to go, because I am far from perfect. That’s why marriage is a lifelong process.

Well, we have gone longer than I originally planned, so I am going to wait until next week to talk about the next biblical reason for marriage.

In the meantime have a great week!

Why Get Married Part 2 of 4

Why Get Married Part 2

In today’s blog, we are going to continue our discussion on “Why get married”. To this end we are going to look at a second purpose of marriage which is:

God designed marriage for the multiplication of the human race.

That’s right. That’s how we all got here. You’re here because your mother and father got together, and they caused your first two cells to join. That’s God’s idea.

Let’s think about that for a moment. Everybody God planned to create came into existence through sex. And His preferred vehicle for sex was marriage. Let’s look at Genesis 1:27-28.

“So God created human beings in his own image. In the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. Then God blessed them and said, “Be fruitful and multiply. Fill the earth and govern it. Reign over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, and all the animals that scurry along the ground.”

Notice His first command was, “Be fruitful and multiply” — “Fill the earth.” That, by the way, is probably the only command of God that the human race has been able to keep! And we’ve done a pretty good job. Today there are approximately seven billion people on the planet — and counting.

Let’s look at another important passage — Malachi 2:15.

“Didn’t the Lord make you one with your wife? In body and spirit you are his. And what does he want? Godly children from your union. So guard your heart; remain loyal to the wife of your youth.” Malachi 2:15 NLT SATAN

Once again, we see that God created marriage, and He designed it to be a union between the husband and wife.
We also see that He wants children from the union. Now, this is not an indictment against childless couples. There are lots of reasons why couples do not have children, and many of them are out of the couple’s control.
God is not disappointed with these couples. He has other purpose for them.

Ok Let’s take a look at a third purpose of marriage.

God designed marriage is to enhance the quality of our lives.

I want to break this one down by the individuals involved in the marriage relationship, so let’s start with the kids. When children are born, they are completely helpless. They can’t feed themselves, dress themselves, change their diapers. They can’t even turn over, and this dependence continues in various ways until the child reaches maturity. So, we can see from this that God has designed marriage to accommodate the development of children.

However, when marriages break apart there are devastating effects on this process. Studies have shown that children from single parent homes don’t do as well in school as those from two parent homes, and they are less likely to go to college. Children from single parent homes are more likely to be involved in substance or alcohol abuse. They are more likely to experience depression. They are more prone to suicide. They are more likely to spend some time in jail.

These same studies reveal that kids develop better in nuclear families.

Unfortunately, we live on a broken planet. Not everything works right. So, the likelihood of children growing up in a fractured home is high. Satan is indeed live and well, and the family is one of his favorite targets.

These same studies have information on how marriage affects men and women. For example, men and women who marry and stay married have lower rates of depression. They earn more money and have greater net worth. They live longer. They have fewer injuries and illnesses, and they are generally happier.

Alright, what’s all this saying? I think it’s saying that when you do life God’s way, things work better. Let’s look at Proverbs 14:26.

“Those who fear the Lord are secure; he will be a refuge for their children.”

Wow! How many of you know that passage is in the Bible? For people who “fear the Lord” God will provide a place of refuge and security for their children! That’s an incredible promise of God. It’s a promise we need to believe and implement.

In my counseling ministry, I’ve heard couples say that they are staying together for the sake of the kids. For many years that was considered to be the honorable and noble thing to do. But today people often laugh at that statement. “Staying together for the sake of the kids?” “What are you talking about?” “You’ve got to do what’s best for you.”

Let me ask you. Why do you always have to do what’s best for you? Can’t we do something that’s best for somebody else? Somebody who’s perhaps needier or more vulnerable than you are? The answer is yes – absolutely. It’s called maturity. It’s called unselfishness. It’s called love.

OK, that’s it for now. Next week we will continue talking about why get married, and we will look at some more purposes of marriage.

Have a good week —

Why Get Married Part 1 of 4

Why Get Married? Part 1 of 4WHY GET MARRIED?

In our blog today we are going to start a new series entitled “WHY GET MARRIED? Let’s begin by looking at what Paul says about marriage in 1 Corinthians 7:7.

“But I wish everyone were single, just as I am. But God gives to some the gift of marriage, and to others the gift of singleness.”

Paul says God controls who gets married by giving the gift of marriage to some and the gift of singleness to others.

OK, so how do we know which gift we have? The answer is quite simple. If you have any desire to get married – now or in the future –then it’s likely that God has given you the gift of marriage. And since He has given you this gift, He has somebody in mind for you to marry.

On the other hand, a person with the gift of singleness will say, “I’m perfectly happy to live the rest of my life and not be married.” “Marriage is not a priority for me — my life is complete and fulfilled without it.”

Hebrews 13:4 talks about marriage. It says,

“Give honor to marriage and remain faithful to one another in marriage”.

This is how God wants us to view marriage. Notice He gives us two commands. To everybody He says honor marriage. To those who are married, He says remain faithful. Unfortunately, these ideas are not in vogue in our society today. In fact, it’s the opposite. Today, many people dismiss marriage as irrelevant — as unnecessary — as an impediment.

The main reason for that kind of thinking is that the purpose of marriage is not clearly understood. Forty or fifty years ago, if I asked people what was the purpose of marriage, most of them would know. And many would cite biblical reasons. Today that’s less likely, because society has turned away from the Bible and is moving toward secular humanism.

Today many people think marriage creates problems and causes complications. You will often hear people say, “I didn’t have any serious problems until I got married!” But let me tell you, that’s wrong thinking. Marriage doesn’t create problems — people do. Actually, marriage reveals problems. If I’m negative to begin with, my marriage didn’t cause that. If I’m a perfectionist, or an alcoholic, or a codependent, or whatever, my marriage didn’t cause that either. Marriage is the joining together of two sinners, and they bring their sin problems with them.

Sometimes in counseling I come across people who say, “I’ve been married several times, but it just doesn’t work.” My question usually is, “What do you think is the common denominator? If you have been in several failed marriages, maybe the problem is you!”

Now, the Bible says marriage has several important purposes. Let’s look at the first one.

God designed marriage to connect men and women together.

Let’s look at 1 Corinthians 11:11.

“But among the Lord’s people, women are not independent of men and men are not independent of women.”

From this we can see that God designed a connection between men and women. Unfortunately, today’s attitude is that men and women don’t need each other. But that’s not what God says. We are made in God’s image, and that includes both men and women. God thought up gender, and He designed men and women to need each other, and He designed the marriage relationship to fulfill those needs.

When God created Adam, He didn’t create Eve right away. Why did He delay? Why didn’t he make them both at the same time? I think he wanted Adam to realize that he was incomplete. Adam must have asked God about it. He saw all the animals paired together — male and female, and may have said to God, “What about me?”

That’s when God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a companion who is right for him.” That was the first marriage. God made Eve to compete Adam, and He made Adam to complete Eve. In Mark 10:6-9 Jesus said,

“But God made them male and female from the beginning of creation. This explains why a man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one (completeness). Since they are no longer two but one, let no one split apart what God has joined together.”

This is a very informative passage of Scripture. First it says marriage is God’s invention. Secondly it says is marriage is between a man and a woman. There are many different kinds of human relationships, but marriage is the ONLY one where a man and a woman are mandated to become one.

And thirdly the passage says that marriage is to be permanent. It says what God joins together – no one should separate.

Now I understand that these ideas are not popular today. BUT THESE ARE GOD’S IDEAS. Marriage is for a man and a woman to become one in a permanent relationship.

OK, that’s the first purpose of marriage.

Next week we will look at the second purpose. Until then, have a great week …

Lasting Joy part 3

Lasting JoyLasting Joy part 3

In our last two blogs, we talked about what the Scriptures say about recovering our joy. Today we are going to finish our discussion and provide more information about how to do this. Let’s look at the next step.

A fourth step we can take to recover our joy is SPEND TIME WITH GOD.

Do you know that God wants to spend time with us? That may be hard to imagine. He’s got a whole lot of things going on, doesn’t he? Why would he want to spend time with us? Well, throughout Scriptures God invites us to do that. Jesus said, “Come to me all you who are weary and burdened.” God says, “If you seek me you will find me.” God also says, “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.” And there are many other passages that extend the same invitation.

One of the best ways to spend time with God is by having a daily quiet time. There are two major activities in quiet times. They are Bible study and prayer. As we pursue these activities, we can become friends with God. Isn’t that amazing? In John 15:15 Jesus called us friends. He said,

“I no longer call you slaves, because a master doesn’t confide in his slaves. Now you are my friends, since I have told you everything the Father told me.”

Friends want to spend time with each other. One of the best ways we can spend time with God is through the Scriptures. And doing that will consistently produce joy in our lives. Take a look at Psalms119 — verses 92 and 143

“If your instructions (God’s Word) hadn’t sustained me with joy, I would have died in my misery.”

“As pressure and stress bear down on me, I find joy in your commands (God’s Word).”

Both verses talk about the joy that comes from God’s Word.

Prayer is also critical to maintaining our joy. In John 16:24 Jesus instructed His disciples about a new way to pray. Let’s look at what He said.

“You haven’t done this before. Ask, using my name, and you will receive, and you will have abundant joy“.

Jesus says we can pray using His name, and not only will we receive what we ask for, but He says we can also have abundant joy. Using Jesus’ name means that He is endorsing what we are requesting. Does that mean he will endorse anything we ask for? No, there’s another condition. What we ask for has to bring glory to the Father. Let’s look at John 14:13.

“And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father.”

So how does praying like this produce abundant joy? Well, when we ask for something that meets these conditions, we know Jesus is going to do it and that brings joy.

Here’s one more thing we can do during our quiet time. We can sing. Psalm 95:1 says, “Sing for joy.” And the Bible tells us to do that in many other places as well. I read about a psychologist who would often prescribe singing worship songs as therapy. He said he would ask his patients to sing these songs over and over. He said there was great power in these songs, and he saw how they created joy in people’s lives. And he said you don’t even have to be a very good singer.

So, here’s what I want you to do now. I want you to find a simple worship song and sing it. It doesn’t matter what it is. It could be, “Jesus loves me” or “Amazing Grace’ or “I love You Lord” or any other song that appeals to you. It doesn’t matter which song you pick. Just sing it over and over, and see what happens. I know you will be very surprised.

OK I would like to close with an invitation.

If you’ve never opened your life to Jesus Christ – if you’ve never accepted His offer of friendship — you can do that right now. I am going to pray, and I ask you to make this prayer your very own.

Dear Lord Jesus, I don’t understand it all, but I realize that you love me, and I need to learn about Your love. I don’t understand all about the cross, but I want to accept what you did for me. Thank you for loving me. Thank you for dying for me. I ask you to forgive all my sins. I ask you to come into my life and make me a new person. Please help me to understand it all as I follow you. And as I begin to follow You, Lord, please produce Your joy within me. In your name, I pray. Amen.

I hope you prayed with me. See you next week …