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Often marriage problems don’t come from a couple’s issues with each other — the root cause is a breakdown in an individual spouse’s personal relationship with God!
In Scripture, we see that the purpose of marriage is something much bigger than just two people — it's meant to be a picture of Christ and the Church. But what's a picture for? Something that created to express the real thing!
We’ve all heard the storybook tales of the prince and the maiden who married and lived “happily ever after.” When we look around our world today, it would be easy to become cynical about the possibility of a “happily ever after” marriage. Is it really possible, or are those stories just for children’s books, romance movies, and young girls’ dreams?
Could it be that faithful believers who are serving the Lord, doing good works, boldly proclaiming the truth, and standing firmly against error and compromise are actually neglecting their chief priority? Is it possible that in loving our churches, our families, and our communities, we may be neglecting to cultivate a love for the Lord Himself?
In today’s modern culture, we are bombarded with advertising. Christians who do not have a proper defense against covetousness can easily fall prey to impulsive spending. The opposite of covetousness is contentment. A contented man is a grateful man who has learned to rest in what God has provided for him, regardless of what God may have granted to others.
We might think that we are living in the worst days of humanity, and that the temptations to immorality that we face in our own generation are the strongest temptations ever faced by man. This is not necessarily the case. Young men of the New Testament, such as Timothy and Titus, faced everything that we face today—in a different format—but nothing new in vileness or availability.
The emaciated monk wept bitterly, kneeling on the floor of his cell at the monastery. Try as he might, he could not break the chains of impurity and sin in his life. The pious monk had renounced the world. He had tried unsuccessfully to flee all temptation. He had taken the Augustinian vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience. In his search for absolution, the man had left a promising legal career and had given away all of his worldly belongings. He had come to the monastery to find peace and seclusion from the world. However, even there away from all evil, he had discovered to his horror that his own heart was full of sin. Masses, candles, beads, fasting, penance, and even painful flagellations (beatings) could not drive lust, pride, and sin from his heart.
Idolatry and adultery were twin sins that hindered the nation of Israel from enjoying the blessing of God. Both sins have underlying causes springing from serious matters of the heart, not just merely choosing wrong actions. Idolatry is rooted in unbelief; adultery is rooted in unfaithfulness.
Marriage is God’s first human institution. Before He instituted the state or the church, God first made the family. When the Creator took the rib of Adam and fashioned Eve as a “help meet” for Adam, He said, “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh” (Genesis 2:24). It would be wise for us to recognize God’s purposes and His right to determine how marriage should function.
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Each one of us can fulfill five basic roles throughout our lives. We can also help others fulfill these roles in their lives. These life roles include being a mature person, a skilled provider, a loving marriage partner, a wise parent, and an effective proclaimer.
There are times in life that we are called upon to lay aside our own natural reasoning and to act instead upon the command of the Lord. Such a time came for a common laborer in an obscure rural village two thousand years ago.
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Every important relationship in life must be built on loyalty. Marriages must be based on this quality, or they will not survive. Leaders look for this quality as a primary qualification for those who serve.
When your heart is desperate, it’s hard to simply pray a quick, soft prayer—you are more likely to cry out with emotion and passion! God promises to hear these cries for help, to work and to receive glory for rescuing us in the midst of despair. “Call upon me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me” (Psalm 50:15).
Human authorities are accountable for how they exercise their authority. . . . Those under authority are accountable to God for their responses to authority.
The most important decision we will make, after salvation, is probably the decision of marriage. It affects every area and every day of life! God has given each one of us a natural desire for companionship, yet there are essential lessons we can learn from His Word that invite blessing into our lives, regardless of whether we are single or married.
Every individual, family, and situation is unique, and therefore, each courtship is unique. What worked well for one couple might not be the best choice for another couple. The concepts presented here are helpful guidelines and a possible pattern to consider.
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Every courtship is unique because each couple and their circumstances are unique. More significantly, God’s ways are unique, and He has creative, timely, and even miraculous ways of bringing a man and woman together for marriage. In every courtship, both individuals and families should diligently seek God’s direction.
The enemy will do all he can to keep us from being open with our spouse about our sexual failures. Satan will convince us that confessing them will only bring hurt and confusion, that God has already forgiven us, and that they are sins of the past that have been dealt with. However, until we are open with our marriage partner regarding all failures—past and present—we will remain in bondage.
Somehow the most important thing I learned from this setting was that looking good on the outside was what really counted. The standard we measured everything by was, “What will people think?” No one shared openly about past or present sins and struggles. Thus, when I began to experience struggles and failures of my own, I didn’t dare tell anyone.
Christ’s victory over sin and death has set us free from bondage. What then is the freedom we have in Christ? It is the freedom to do what is right! You know you are free when you can make the choice to resist temptation and follow after righteousness.
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