A Happy Marriage 

Malachi 2:15
“But did He not make them one, having a remnant of the Spirit? and why one? He seeks godly offspring. Therefore take heed to your spirit, and let none deal treacherously with the wife of his youth.”

Malachi has a lot to say about marriage. He warns the people of the danger of marrying badly, by choosing an ungodly spouse. He refers to marriage as both, “The Lord’s holy institution which He loves,” and as a “Covenant.” He exhorts husbands to think of their wife as a companion, and to be careful not to deal treacherously with the wife of their youth. And he declares that God hates divorce because of the impact it has upon the children.

There are many reasons why we should treat our spouse and our marriages with the upmost care.

1. A happy wife makes for a happy life. Paul put it like this, Ephesians 5:28 “So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself.”

Love is a very interest thing. It is not an emotion, but something that affects all the emotions. It is something that can be stirred up or neglected, so as to become almost dormant. Solomon warned young men not to stir up love before its time (Song of Solomon 8:4) and Jesus warned about a time when peoples love would grow cold (Matthew 24:12). Since love can ebb and flow, it is important to make installments of love in our marriages. We need to realize, we will fall in love with the things into which we invest love. Years ago, I turned a closet into bookshelves. It was not the fanciest nor the most artistic piece of furniture in the house, but I loved it because of all the hours I had spent making it. If your marriage has grown cold, it is time to make some love investments into your spouse.

2. Your witness depends upon it. God designed marriage as a way to testify of His love for the world. Ephesians 5:32-33 “This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church. Nevertheless let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.”

When God wanted to illustrate the relationship He wants to have with us, He compared it to the most loving and intimate human relationship we could ever experience. I often think of this verse when I see the face of a groom, as his bride makes her way down the aisle. The sheer joy he is expressing gives us a glimpse into the the way God feels about mankind. Our marriages were designed by God to show the continued love God has for us. It is to illustrate His daily care, His nurturing hand, and His ability to forgive and love, even through difficult times.

3. It’s for the family. Marriage was designed by God as a greenhouse, where godly offspring are to be grown. Malachi 2:15, “But did He not make them one, having a remnant of the Spirit? and why one? He seeks godly offspring. Therefore take heed to your spirit, and let none deal treacherously with the wife of his youth.”

The healthiest environment for children to be reared is one where both mom and dad love the Lord and each other. It has often puzzled me when I hear adults claim they have ended their marriage for the sake of the children, because almost every adult whose parents divorced when they were children, speaks of how devastated they were by that event. In some cases, people who have had substance abuse issues, trace the start of their problem back to the time when their parents split up. I understand it is not healthy for children to be in an environment where their parents are constantly fighting, but I also understand that difficulties in marriage, are not the reason to end a marriage. They should be the catalyst causing us to work on our marriages.

If your love for your spouse has grown cold, or if it feels like their love for you has waned, perhaps it is time to make some investments into your marriage. Think back to how you expressed love to the wife of your youth. Reflect upon the ways you put her needs above your own, and showed her how much she mattered to you.

It will be worth the investment.

Pastor Jim

 

Sowing In Tears 

Psalm 126:5-6
Those who sow in tears shall reap in joy. He who continually goes forth weeping, bearing seed for sowing, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him.”

Genesis, Chapter 1, describes the creation of the universe. We read the earth was without form and void until God spoke, and all things were brought into being. There is a clear contrast between the chaotic state of things before God spoke, and the orderly universe that He designed. Ever since that day, man has been discovering laws that govern the physical world. These laws were designed by God to keep order, and we have learned to trust in them . I believe it was Sir Isaac Newton who was attributed with the quote, “What goes up must come down” in response to his findings about gravity.

Here, the Psalmist speaks of another basic law of nature, the law of sowing and reaping. Scientific laws are formulated by observation and experimentation. The law of sowing and reaping is a principle that is discovered, not in the lab with test tubes, but on the field by farmers. For centuries men have cleared the ground, tilled the soil, planted seeds and awaited the harvest. For centuries men have not been surprised by what they gathered in. If the farmer planted corn seed, he harvested corn, if he planted millet, he harvested millet.

Over and over again, this basic law has been proven throughout the history of mankind. It is the Word of God that brings this same principle out of the natural world and into the spiritual one. When writing to the Galatian believers, Paul declared, “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life” (Galatians 6:7-8). What is true in the natural world, is also true in the spiritual one. Whatever seed we put in, is the fruit that will come out. If we sow into our lives things that will tantalize the desires of the flesh, we will find that the battle against the flesh will be too great for us to withstand. If we sow into our lives, the building blocks of a healthy relationship with Christ, i.e. daily reading of the Word, prayer, Christian fellowship and service, we will find we are reaping a strong, and vibrant relationship with Christ.

Paul added one more element to the law of sowing and reaping when he declared in Galatians 6:9, “And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.” It is this basic idea that the Psalmist is referring to here. We live in a world where things come to us instantly.

When we are hungry, we take pre-cooked meals, microwave them, and within minutes we are eating. When we want to find the answer to a question, we grab our smart phone, Google it, and within seconds have more answers than we could ever read. In fact, if our device takes more than a few seconds to load, we complain about how slow the connection is, and begin to covet a newer, faster model. We must realize, there are some things that take time. Some things are governed by the law of sowing and reaping. They may take consistent sowing, over a long period of time, before we ever see the desired results.

Personal righteousness, victory over easily besetting sin, and winning loved ones to Christ, are things that often require long periods of faithful sowing. Instead of losing heart, we ought to rejoice in the promise given here,

“Those who sow in tears Shall reap in joy. He who continually goes forth weeping, bearing seed for sowing, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him.”

Pastor Jim

 

Invest In The Future

Proverbs 13:7
“There is one who makes himself rich, yet has nothing;
And one who makes himself poor, yet has great riches.”

Solomon is suggesting it is possible to have earthly possessions and yet to possess nothing of true value. At the same time, it is possible to have next to nothing, and have great wealth. He is not saying wealth is evil and poverty is good, but that within God’s economy, some things are of much greater value than others. The Bible teaches us there are three things that are eternal, and investments made in these areas will give a person lasting riches.

First off, God Himself is eternal. Before the universe existed, there was God. He is the un-caused cause that brought all other things into being. He is the source of all life, and the one who holds all things together. He is the one to whom we will give an account when our lives run their course. While it is not wrong to make capital investments and to store up for your family’s future, we must not do it at the expense of investing in a relationship with God. The most important investment we make is a decision to follow Jesus Christ.

Second, the Word of God is eternal. The writer of Hebrews explained that one day the heavens above us and the earth we stand upon, will be folded like a garment and replaced, but the Word of God will last forever (Hebrews 1:11-12). Every promise of God is eternal, and every investment of the Word of God in our lives, will bring eternal benefits. Often, the thing that keeps us from investing time in the Word, is the fact that we do not think it makes a difference. The reality is, when time has run its course, and the things of this life are a distant memory, we will still be reaping the benefits of our investments in the Word of God.

Finally, the Bible teaches us that the souls of men and women are eternal. God has done everything possible for each and every person to spend eternity with Him. He sent His Son to die for us, His Spirit to draw us, and His church to be an influence to win us. When we realize how much others matter to God, and we seek to influence them for eternity, we are making investments that will outlast time. The most important place where these investments are made is within the home.

There is nothing wrong with making earthly investments. There is nothing inherently wrong with riches, or with enjoying much of the pleasures that come with wealth. However, there are things of much greater value than stocks, portfolios, profit margins and real estate holdings. The things that matter most, are the things that last forever. Don’t neglect to store up riches where they really matter.

Pastor Jim

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