Today's Bible Reading:

Marriage

The Beautiful “Why?” Behind Purity

After this picture of Bre and Josh went viral, Bre decided to share the story behind the image. It's worth your time today.

Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous. (Heb 13:4)
Moments before I was to walk down the aisle my soon to be mother in law came in the dressing room where my bridesmaids and I were all gushing with giggles and fluttering about finishing last minute details. "Sweetheart, your groom has called for you!". In a nervous tizzy I said, "What?! I'm not ready! I have to get my shoes and..." She had already taken my hand and led me to a corner, where my groom was waiting. I barely sat down; I was filled with so much anticipation! So much excitement! So many nerves! "Is he going to like my dress? Does my hair look pretty? Can he see me?!" Right around the corner sat my soon to be husband, I so was nervous he might see me yet secretly hoping to catch a glimpse of him. In my excited state I was the first to speak, "Hi sweetie! We're getting married today!" "I know baby and I want to pray with you before we do." There we sat around the corner hand in hand, and together we bowed our heads. People were rushing about; the wedding coordinator directing people here and there, the photographers snapping photos and the bridal party enjoying each others company. Yet in that moment, in the quietness of our hearts and minds, my husband and I were alone in the presence of our Savior, Jesus Christ.

Read More »

God Notices the Little Things. Do We?

And [Jesus] sat down opposite the treasury and watched the people putting money into the offering box. Many rich people put in large sums. And a poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which make a penny. And he called his disciples to him and said to them, "Truly, I say to you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the offering box. For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on." (Mark 12:41-44)

God notices and appreciates the little things. Little things are powerful. They can accumulate to have positive and negative impacts on our homes.

Little things affect our marriages. Most husband-wife relationships that have grown to be strained are not so because of one-time, massive, easily-identifiable "meteors" that suddenly and unexplainably fell out of the marital sky. Most of the significant problems we experience in our marriages can be attributed to the multiplication of the little things---a selfish choice here, rude disregard there. Attitudes produce actions. Actions evolve into habits. Habits undeniably impact life at home. Given enough time, the little things can snowball and cause serious damage at the very foundation of a marriage.

Children who are not taught to appreciate and participate in the little things are set by their parents on a trajectory of ingratitude and self-centeredness. Mom is not the maid. Dad is not the ATM. Children are not entitled to everything their hearts desire, nor should they be treated as immune to sacrifice or free from accountability. When the little things are taken for granted, erosion of the heart is experienced that can eventually lead to devastating consequences.

Read More »

The Great Commandments Apply at Home

"Which commandment is the most important of all?" Jesus answered, "The most important is, 'Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.' The second is this: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no commandment greater than these." (Mark 12:28-31)

If no commandment is greater than these, no environment needs them more than our homes. When God first commanded the children of Israel to love him with all their heart, soul, and might, he directly attached his expectations to everyday life at home.

"These words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates." (Deut 6:6-9)

By God's design, home is "where the children are led to know Christ in his beauty who loves them so." Home, as God envisioned, is "where the altar fires burn and glow" (B. B. McKinney). Home may be "where the heart is," but nothing matters more in Christian homes than the heart of God.

Read More »

Could Your Home Use a Good Spring Cleaning?

The home was God’s idea, but life at home isn't always perfect. Or easy. Or pleasant. Or like we expected it to be.

On this first day of Spring, might the Bible provide some help? Many of us know it's time for a good "Spring cleaning" around our physical houses. But what about our homes? Our marriages? Our parent-child relationships? Our individual lives of integrity?

Here's a Spring Cleaning Checklist to get us thinking about the issues that matter most:

  • What sort of clutter has built up? (Luke 8:14)
  • Is your garbage disposal working? (James 1:21)
  • Are your mirrors clean? (James 1:22-25)
  • Are you keeping an eye on your filter? (Phil 4:8)
  • Is your alarm system functional? (Prov 22:3)
  • What needs to be thrown away for good? (Gal 5:19-21)
  • How's the laundry coming? (Col 3:5-14)
  • Are you getting the fresh air you need? (1 Cor 13:4-8)
  • Have all the necessary locks been installed? (Eph 5:3-4)
  • Are things as secure as they need to be? (Prov 4:23)
  • How's the foundation? (Matt 7:24-27)

Read More »

Marriage Matters Workbook

Marriage Matters: Keeping the "Holy" in Matrimony is a new workbook in the Courageous Living series by Wilson Adams.

Why do we place so much emphasis on a wedding and so little on a marriage? Perhaps it's because every bride dreams of the "perfect" wedding. She walks down the aisle in a white gown as the crowd rises to attention while the cute little flower girl drops rose petals in her path. It's the perfect setting as Cinderella weds Prince Charming.

But what about tomorrow? And all the tomorrows thereafter? No one plans for that. Yet here is a fact each bride and groom must grasp: After every wedding, there comes a marriage! Carriages will turn into pumpkins, wedding gowns go into a box destined for the attic, and Cinderella wakes up as Florence while Prince Charming turns into Fred. And that's when the real work begins.

My wife waited in line to offer congratulations and best-wishes to the lovely couple. She hugged the bride and heard her say, "I'm just glad the hard part is over." Julie smiled and said, "Honey, I hate to break it to you, but... the hard part is just beginning."

It's true. Too many enter into a relationship with rose-colored glasses only to discover that it takes a tremendous amount of work and selfless sacrifice to succeed in marriage. Maybe that's why only 50% survive. And out of the remaining half, how many do you think are genuinely happy?

With these challenges in mind, Adams has written 12 "Marriage Matters" chapters.

Read More »

“There is No View from this Room Worth Having”

Motel Room

Proverbs 13:15 can be translated, "The way of the transgressor is hard." The Bible certainly seeks to point that truth out in a variety of ways. Proverbs 5:1-4 is one such example.

__________ My son, be attentive to my wisdom; _____________ incline your ear to my understanding, __________ that you may keep discretion, _____________ and your lips may guard knowledge. __________ For the lips of a forbidden woman drip honey, _____________ and her speech is smoother than oil, __________ but in the end she is bitter as wormwood, _____________ sharp as a two-edged sword.

The way of the transgressor is hard. We expect to hear that from the Bible. From The New York Times? Not so much. That's what makes this article by Wendy Plump---a woman writing from the perspective of one having had an affair and suffering as the victim of one---so worthy of note.

Read More »

Protect Your Marriage by Establishing Boundaries

Boundaries to Protect Your Marriage

I was asked to contribute this article for the January 2013 (“Stopping Divorce”) issue of Pressing On, an e-magazine for growing Christians. If you haven’t already subscribed, you’re missing out on some great monthly content.

Boundaries to Protect Your Marriage

“The prudent sees danger and hides himself, but the simple go on and suffer for it” (Prov 22:3).

You never get used to it. The tears. The excuses. The perplexed looks that reflect shattered hearts.

I’ve sat and wept and prayed with far too many broken men and crushed women who wish they had established and respected safeguards in the past to protect their marriages that are disintegrating in the present. I’ve never sat or wept or prayed with a faithful spouse or fulfilled couple who regretted having established and respected marital boundaries. Guardrails don’t inhibit happiness; they lead to and protect happiness.

The prudent recognize the dangerous threats of the modern world to their marriages and hide themselves behind boundaries of wisdom and mutual respect.

The simple scoff. “It’ll never happen to me.” “No one’s gonna tell me what to do.” “If my wife doesn’t like it, she can get over it.” “That part of my life is none of my husband’s business.” The simple scoff and go on, but they and their marriages eventually suffer for it.

Read More »