You know, I don't always have to have my own way. That's what the Bible says. Do we always have to be right? Have you ever heard a husband and wife talking, "Well, when we went back on that trip to the Grand Canyon back in nineteen eighty-one..." She says, "Honey, I think it was in nineteen eighty. I'm sure it was nineteen-eighty." "Oh, no, it's...." And there they are. Who care when it was? They went. That's the main thing. We don't always have to be right. Let's look at Ephesians 5:21. I think we should be willing to admit if we know we're wrong, or even be sorry. This seems to say that I don't always have to be right! It says to Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. We should be submissive. We don't always have to have our own way. I value our relationship more than I value being right all the time. That means a lot to me.
The world needs less head-strong people, and more HEART strong people! We need people who have a heart. Jesus can give you a super strong heart. I think, in marriage, the word, "Flexibility" is not a bad word. The word "adaptable" is not evil. The word, "submission" is a good word, especially when it comes to having a happy home.
The hot horseshoe inspector was a far cry from the ideal husband. Look at the book called, "The Song of Songs." In the King James Bible it says "The Song of Solomon." Notice a wife's Bible description of her wonderful husband: Song of Solomon 5:16 His mouth is sweetness itself; he is altogether lovely. This is my lover, this my friend, O daughters of Jerusalem.
Can you say that about your husband's mouth? It's altogether lovely. Keep your mouth sweet. Your disposition lovely. Should we ever yell at our husband or wife? No, we shouldn't, unless the house is on fire. Can your spouse say that you are the best friend? That he is your lover? Notice how this wife brags on her husband. This is public praise. If you have something in the Bible, it's very public, isn't it? We should brag on our spouse, our partner. A sure marriage strengthener! Compliment each other.
Modern Marriages surely do need strengthening. One of the signs of the last days is in I Timothy 4:1-3 The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron. They forbid people to marry.... Have you ever heard of somebody forbidding to get married? "Don't you dare get married!" Well, we sometimes tell our teen-agers that when they're real young. Don't get married. Forbidding to get married.
Allow me to quote something for you: "Marriage has existed for the benefit of men, (I'm not reading from the Bible) and has been a legally sanctioned method of control over women.... We must work to destroy it. The end of the institution of marriage is a necessary condition for the liberation of women. Therefore it is important for us to encourage women to leave their husbands and not to live individually with men." From the document: (Declaration of Feminism, page 10 and 11, 1986). A part of the new women's rights feminism movement. That's what they stand for.
Dr. Mary Jo Bane, in Tulsa World, August 21, 1977, said: "As for divorce, it makes for a better family life. There is no merit in holding families together just for the sake of it. For this reason, divorce improves the quality of marriages!"
God's word says in the last day they will forbid marriage. As a result of such pressures, it is increasingly difficult for us to figure out what a family is. What is your definition of "Family"? Is a nuclear family a family? How about an Extended family? How about a Single parent family? Is that a family? What about a Blended family? What if two men that live together have adopted a young boy, are they a family? What about two lesbians that have adopted a girl, are they a family? It's getting more and more difficult, isn't it?
Adults in America in 1998 who are UNMARRIED now number 77 million. This is double the 1970 figure. A dangerous trend! Since 1970 the number of men living alone has tripled. (See Christian Science Monitor 7-22-1998) That's amazing!
The typical "Family" in which the husband is the sole provider, like my family when I grew up in Hartford City in Indiana. We lived on Wabash Avenue, my dad went to work in the laundry, my mother stayed at home with my sister and myself. That was our family. The typical "Family" in which the husband is the sole provider, and the wife and two kids stay at home exists now in America in only about six percent of homes. (Bottom Line, 4-30-90, page 9.) Ninety-four percent of families are not like that in America today.
Knowledge has increased, but quality of life has backslidden. Sixty percent of American children born today will live in a single parent home by the age of eighteen. Sixty percent of them by the age of eighteen! I did not know this: "Did you know that eighty percent of the children sent to the juvenile courts in Tennessee in 1996 came from single-parent homes!" (Chattanooga Free Press, Associated Press, 6-30-97) In Memphis it was ninety percent! Ninety percent of the juvenile court cases came from single-parent homes. That's amazing! That is an outstanding figure: ninety percent from broken homes! Broken from divorce or death. What a price to pay! And now any youngster can be tried as an adult. You've heard what's been happening out there in Montana. These two boys and their girl-friends went and pistol- whipped a young man, tied him to a fence. Somebody found him. He thought he was a scarecrow. You've been listening to the news, haven't you? And he died. We have kids killing kids. Surely we are in the last days.
What explains kids taking guns and shooting each other in school just so they can get their leather jacket or get their designer shoes? What is going on in America today? We have children lined up for the electric chair! Surely we're living in the last days! I believe there is an explanation for this. What is wrong when a child comes into a school and kills four classmates and his teacher in an Arkansas school? I think one of the biggest causes is Abortion. You may think that I have skipped a cog here. "You're thinking that abortion is the cause of all these things? Yes, I am! Abortion! I'll tell you why. When children begin killing children they are just mimicking adults who choose abortion to exterminate the unwanted child. They're just doing what we're doing. That's all.
Children learn very fast. What they are learning today is the lesson adults are teaching them: they are a burden not wanted. As soon as they're born we ship them off as quick as we can to the "day-care-center". We really don't want them. Thirty-one million unborn children have been aborted in America so far. We have children here in Chattanooga that are being dumped in the trash- can. You've heard that on the news this week. Too many children are dumped into day care so that busy career-oriented parents can pursue materialistic things.
Bad Conduct at day care is dealt with by Ritalin. Our Children are suffering depression. We treat it with medication. The FDA is now approving more and more drugs for children that used to be used exclusively by adults. So why are we shocked when our teenagers turn to illegal drugs? We forget that they have been drugged since childhood. And we did it. We are the cause of this.
Too many parents tranquilize their own stress with beer and alcohol and drugs. Too many are divorcing. As a consequence, too many children have no family tree... no roots. And with no past our children have no future. It is up to us adults to give our children a past that is decent and respectable that they can appreciate.
What advantage is there in accumulating all these materialistic things of life that will someday be sold at an auction anyway? When you die, somebody else is going to get that stuff. It is high time that we put Jesus Christ back into our homes and to put our family first. Zechariah 4:6 So he said to me, "This is the word of the LORD to Zerubbabel: 'Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,' says the LORD Almighty." Not by money. Not by possessions. It doesn't matter how much of the things of life that we have as long as you have food on the table. I grew up in a very humble home. Up north there are still some places that are poverty-stricken. You don't have to have wealth to have a happy home. What you need to have is Jesus. What you need is love at home, love of the Lord. When the Spirit of Jesus is working in the daddy's heart, it's working the mommy's heart. That's what kids need.
When children kill it is an extreme cry for help. What they need are Godly parents that have a hand on the Savior. And they love them and pay attention to them, and spend time with them. They need a stable environment. Our children need adults that know Jesus Christ. That's what we need!
Malachi 2:14,15 ... the LORD is acting as the witness between you and the wife of your youth, because you have broken faith with her, though she is your partner, the wife of your marriage covenant. Has not the LORD made them one? In flesh and spirit they are his. And why one? Because he was seeking godly offspring. So guard yourself in your spirit, and do not break faith with the wife of your youth. God wants you to raise godly children, and you don't do that by keeping them home from church. You don't do that by sending them to Sabbath School and you stay home. You do that by having family worship. You do that by reading the Scriptures, by letting your children see you in prayer. That's what God wants.
Now, you may be divorced. That's in the past. I wouldn't worry about it. Well, we're worried about what God is concerned about right now; it's you and your future. Whatever has happened in your past life, forget it. Let's go on from here and do what God wants us to do today.
You may say: Well, I'm single and I'm pregnant. You may say, have I ruined my life? NO, you have not ruined your life. You've started life with less than the ideal. That's true. You have made a sinful mistake. But you can be forgiven. God can forgive you and the church can forgive you. You can still be blessed. You can still bring your child to Sabbath School and church every week. God can lead you to a good companion and still make something beautiful out of your life. So, don't give up.
I John 1:8,9 If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
God's ideal is for you to wait until marriage. Now, Christmas is one of my favorite times of the year. We always have a Christmas tree. When I was a kid, I used to go under there and just pick up those packages and move them, you know. Oops, it's heavy on one end. I think I know...Well... Rattle it, weigh it. What if you went in three weeks before Christmas, here's your package under the tree. You snuck in there one day, you opened up the package, you enjoyed playing with the presents. How would you feel on Christmas morning. Would you be as excited? Would you be as happy as you would have been? So, what I'm saying is, Don't open the package until you get married. Does that make sense? You'll be far happier, you'll be far better.
I believe God made sex, and sex is wonderful. But God placed it in marriage and that's where it belongs.
A boy and girl here in Chattanooga had intimate relations two times. They used Condoms both times. She got pregnant! She said, "Why Me?" When you first hear that you are expecting you ought to be exhilarated. That ought to be the happiest moment of your life. It should be wonderful news. Certainly not bad news. There are thirteen girls pregnant right now at a local high school. Wait till marriage. Jesus wants you to wait. If you didn't wait, that's okay, God can bless you. But your ultimate happiness will be better if you wait. And I'm urging you to wait. And others would urge you to wait.
The best thing, I think, that we adults can do for our teenagers is to show them that marriage works! Let's have a happy home. Let's show them that our marriage is great, that marriage gets better over the years. Jesus can help you achieve a majestic marriage.
Pray for your home. Job did. I want you to see what Job's habit was. This ought to be a habit of every Christian parent. Job 1:5 When a period of feasting had run its course, Job would send and have them purified. Early in the morning he would sacrifice a burnt offering for each of them (His children), thinking, "Perhaps my children have sinned and cursed God in their hearts." This was Job's regular custom. He prayed for his children. We can do that as adults. We should do that. The best thing you can do for your children is to set a right example in front of them.
There was a couple that were getting divorced. They stood in front of the judge. They had been through the whole trial. His attorney, her attorney. The only problem was: they had a little six-year-old boy. This was the last day. Here they were standing before the judge and the judge was going to determine who gets custody of this child: she or he. And here they were in the last moments of that. They were both standing there, both very bitter, looks of hatred toward each other. They wanted the decision to be in their favor, of course.
Finally the judge turned to the son who sat forlornly near his mother and kindly asked, "My boy, which of your two parents do YOU want to live with?"
After moments of silence, the boy burst into tears and sobbed, "I.. I want - to - live - with both of them!"
The husband and wife looked sadly at each other. They were silent. In a few moments, tears started to fill their eyes. Finally they came together and embraced each other. They hadn't done that in a long time. They told the judge they would try again to be reconciled. Three emotional people left the court room with the little boy in the middle. And do you know what? I'm happy to tell you, it worked. Their marriage did make it! They're together. They saved the marriage.
I think divorce, like embalming, is a process which should not be begun too soon. All too many are divorced when there is still hope for life.
If you want an affair, you go out and have an affair with your own partner. That's a good affair to have. You ought to be involved with each other. The word affair means, relationship. Oftentimes An outside affair is a vain attempt to find a little bit of a paradise on the side. Monica Lewinski tried that. It worked for while. It usually does for a while, but I want to tell you that it often fails because it itself will become a relationship that has to be worked on on a long term basis, and when that happens the paradise become a noose around your neck that will hang you or impeach you.
Proverbs 6:24-27 ...keeping from the immoral woman... Do not lust in your heart after her beauty or let her captivate you with her eyes, for the prostitute reduces you to a loaf of bread, and the adulteress preys upon your very life. Can a man scoop fire into his lap without his clothes being burned?
If you are married, stay together. Make it work. You don't need a new partner. You don't need a new outside lover. You and your partner are unique. You bring assets and qualities that you can't find in anybody else. You've got all the materials for constructing a fantastic marriage if you are committed to doing it.
COMMITMENT is a key word. I used an exciting story in a wedding ceremony. A youthful couple got married. Their love was vigorous and deep. He graduated from college and he eventually became a teacher there. His goal was to be president of that great university. After many years his qualifications justified his promotion to president!
At this zenith in his career his dear wife came down with an early case of Alzheimer's. Eventually she became confined to her bed. Finally she did not even know that he was her husband. She got so bad that she needed around the clock assistance. He resigned his position at the university to care for his wife. People said, "Why do that? Hire someone else to care for her. She does not even know who you are. You're making a mistake."
He said, "You are correct. She does not even recognize that I am her husband. But I know that she is my wife! and I will not leave her." And he saw her every day. Hew was with her as best as he could be. That union was successful because over the years commitment was brought into it.
You can be committed to a great marriage, your marriage. Make it into a great marriage. Pray that God will help you to make it into a great marriage. Let's recommit our lives to our Savior, Jesus Christ. Let's recommit our selves to each other. God can help us. And He will help us. He can help you to have a great marriage. Not a red-hot horseshoe marriage but a great marriage. God bless you.
Opening Hymn: #183 I will sing of Jesus love. Scripture, Responsive reading: #827 Closing Hymn: #482 Father lead me day by day. 981017GETTYS#138
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last updated 12/14/98 by Bob Beckett.