RelationshipsQ&A: "How to Parent When There is No Father?"

Q and A is your opportunity to ask questions regarding the Bible, church, or just about anything regarding Christian faith and life. Submit questions on the response form in your bulletin or E-mail the Church Office.

How to Parent When There is No Father?

Obviously, this is not the ideal situation; however, single-moms are not without hope.  I know because I was raised by a single-mom!  There is much that could be said in response to this question, but I’ll try to just mention a few key principles.  These principles and ideas come both from the Word of God and from those who have walked this path before you!

Principle #1: Begin each day with the Lord (prayer & meditating on His Word). 
My mother has told me on numerous occasions that she would not have survived as a single-mom raising 3 kids without the strength, comfort, wisdom, and hope that came from Christ and His Word.  This is, by far, the most neglected area of life for many single-moms, and it’s easy to justify simply because life itself can be so exhausting.  All the more reason to make this top-priority! 

If you need some guidance in this area, find a mature Christian, and ask them how they do it.  Keep it simple, but regular.  If you are new to having devotions, I recommend that you start with the book of Proverbs.  There is one chapter for each day of the month (31) and it is basically a parenting manual!  Don’t make it a burden; just take time to talk with the Lord, and listen as He shares His truth and wisdom through His Word.  Jesus said, “Apart from Me, you can do nothing” (John 15:5) and I believe He meant it. 

Also, keep in mind; your children are watching you.  I believe this is one of the greatest gifts that my mother gave to me!  Honestly, I don’t remember ever waking up and NOT seeing her sitting in the family room with her Bible in her lap, praying.  This had a profound effect in my life!  My children will have the same testimony.  They have never known anything different, and I attribute that to the faithful example of my godly mother (Deut. 6:4-9).

Principle #2: Develop a parenting plan, and stick to it.
There is no question that being a single-parent is going to be more difficult and demanding in some ways for the obvious reason – you have to wear all the hats!  Having said this, it doesn’t mean that life has to be miserable and frustrating.  One thing that will help a lot is to develop some simple routines in family life that teach skills and build character in your children.  The more that you learn to work together as a team (with your kids), the less exhausted you will be.  Included in this plan will be routines that teach honor, cooperation, responsibility, hard work, accountability, and discipline.  I recommend that you check out the resources available at the National Center for Biblical Parenting –  Especially helpful are the FREE email Parenting Tips!  There are also many articles, books, and CD’s full of helpful ideas.  

Principle #3: Team up with other single-parents (of the same sex).
Talking with other single-parents can be a source of great encouragement, prayer support, and creative ideas.  Consider starting or joining a single-parent support group or ministry in your church.  Again, there are many good resources out there – inexpensive, or even free, if you are willing to do just a little searching.  Your efforts will be rewarded with new friendships and help in practical ways.  I know of some moms who call each other on a weekly basis just to “debrief” and pray with each other.  This is the “one another” ministry the Bible speaks of, and sadly, many parents miss out on this.  Consider it a wise investment in your child’s future. 

Principle #4: Invite other godly male influences into your child’s life.
Talk with your pastor about this to see whom they might recommend.  Other men can teach your children things that will be good for them that you may not be able to.  I remember when I was about 13 years old, my mother asked an older man in our church, who had finished raising his three sons, to take me hunting.  He did, and it turned into an annual event for the next few years that was both fun and instructive for me during a time when I needed the example of a man.  I learned some important things from that kind and generous man, and I’m grateful that my mother was brave and wise enough to do that for me.  I realize that, for some moms and kids, this might feel especially “risky”, but there are still plenty of good, trustworthy “mentors” out there that could be a blessing in your child’s life.  One final note on this one: the goal is not to find a “father” for your child or a relationship for you.  I say this respectfully, but it’s a common cycle that some have fallen into, and it often leads to further hurt, confusion, and disappointment.  Stay accountable, and keep your intentions clear.

Principle #5: Don’t waste any more time and energy looking back.
The Bible teaches us to move onward and upward in Christ as we walk by faith (Phil. 3:12-16).  Take encouragement in the promises of His Word (Rom. 8:1, 28), and you won’t be so easily fooled or distracted by the enemy (Satan).  Too many moms allow themselves to be “crippled” by guilt for the past, discouragement in the present, and fears of the future.  If you are in Christ, you are forgiven and free, and totally secure in Him.  He never promised that you would have peace with the world, the flesh, or the devil – but you can have peace with Him – so push those distracting thoughts off onto the Lord, and get on with the business of enjoying, loving, and training your children for His glory! 

You have a high and holy calling, mothers!  It is a lot of hard work that will require humble faith and plenty of the grace of God, but it’s totally worth it!  In the Lord, you can do it.  Your children are a heritage from God (Ps. 127) and He has a soft spot in His heart for you and your kids.  Don’t grow weary in doing good; you will reap a harvest in due season if you don’t give up (Gal. 6:9).

Posted via email from Christian Issues Digest

RelationshipsQ&A: "How Do You Carry Over Consistency at the Other Parent's Home?"

Q and A is your opportunity to ask questions regarding the Bible, church, or just about anything regarding Christian faith and life. Submit questions on the response form in your bulletin or E-mail the Church Office.

How Do You Carry Over Consistency at the Other Parent's Home?

I think one of the hardest things for any single-parent to accept, is the fact that you simply don’t have control over much of what happens while your children are staying with your ex.  Having said this, it doesn’t mean that you don’t have influence.  This is where your faithful instruction and example come into play.  While it is true that you should always be aware of the potential effect of a bad example, don’t underestimate the power of a good example! 

Over time, if your children are trained well in your care, they will come to see and appreciate the “benefits” of living in your home.  One of those benefits is boundaries.  Don’t be deterred from setting reasonable, consistent boundaries.  They define your children’s freedom, and provide them with much-needed security.  Warning: even good boundaries and reasonable discipline will produce frustrated kids if not established in the context of loving relationship. 

What this means is, you must work hard to connect with your kids in meaningful ways each day.  I know that this is a real challenge, but it is a sacrifice worth making, and it may be simpler than you might imagine.  It’s the little everyday things that matter to a kid.  Here are some examples:

  • Talk with them, and listen without being critical.
  • Hold them, and show tender affection.
  • Make meals together (doesn’t have to be elaborate), and don’t make a big deal of “messes”.
  • Enjoy and laugh with your children (life was hard for us growing up, but that’s another “gift” my mother gave us kids – she kept her sense of humor).
  • Read the Bible to them at bedtime, pray together, and tuck them in.
  • Have “family nights” each week or once a month where you play games, make cookies or pop-corn, and watch movies with good, redemptive themes.
  • Do NOT “bad-mouth” the other parent, but DO “coach” your child (patiently) through life.  Let them know (without being defensive) why you do things the way you do, but always speakrespectfully of the other parent.  Don’t saddle your child with your emotional pain.
  • Maintain and on-going dialogue about the Lord in everyday life without sounding “preachy” – simply acknowledge God in the things you do, and take time to thank Him regularly.
  • With older kids especially, step into their “world” and do things they enjoy, without violating righteous boundaries. 

The bottom line is this: if you are a delight to be around, and your home is a safe, secure, and peaceful place with an atmosphere of joy, then you won’t have to worry as much about the influence that the people or atmosphere in the other home is having on your child.  The way to recognize a “counterfeit” is to become more familiar with that which is genuine.  Give your child the gifts of peace and joy.  Make your home a place where your child experiences genuine love and freedom within acceptable, righteous boundaries, and they won’t be easily led astray by the things that are less than God’s best.  It’s all about relationship. 

Finally, persevere in prayer for your child, and never forget that God is with them.  Take time to read the story of Joseph (Genesis 37-50) and be reminded that many people that God ultimately uses in a special way just happen to grow up in less than ideal circumstances.  There’s no doubt about it, parenting is definitely a faith journey, and God is in control.  There’s a reason we call Him“Redeemer”. 

P.S. The above response, in some ways, assumes that the other parent is un-cooperative or even antagonistic toward your efforts as a Christian parent.  I’ve written from this perspective simply because, sadly, this is often the case.  However, to be fair, it is not always this way – thankfully.  In cases where your ex-spouse is willing to cooperate, it is always wise and preferable to try and work out a basic approach to parenting that you both can agree upon.  This plan should include how you handle discipline, responsibilities in the home (chores), and things like entertainment, friends, and privileges.  I recommend an excellent resource by Ron Deal, entitled – The Smart Stepfamily.    Check out his website:  It is FULL of excellent, practical ideas on how to make life and transitions smoother for your child as they share time in each home.

Posted via email from Christian Issues Digest

MyAnswer: Billy Graham "When Trouble Enters Your Home."

When Trouble Enters Your Home

After two months of married life my wife and I seem farther apart than ever. In fact, we both wish we had not married. Can you tell what has happened to our love, for we did love each other?

If your love was real there is every reason that you should continue to be in love. Right now you are experiencing a period of adjustment that is always a testing time. Problems are new for both of you, and you probably both wish to have your pattern of life remain intact. This you cannot do. You must face the fact that you will both have to yield in many things and change some or many of your established habits and ways. Time will solve much of this problem.

   There is an immediate step you can take, and it is one that has met the need of countless young couples. There are basic spiritual problems and conflicts. When two people are unable to make adjustments, there is a third party who will become a part of your home and your union and He can solve this problem. Jesus Christ can transform your personal life and can transform your home. He can do it by causing you both to end living for self and to begin living for Him. He will make a new relationship for you.

My husband and I have been married a little more than a year. Until I became a Christian we got along very well, but since I received Christ we seem to argue all the time. I am at the point of leaving him but want your counsel.

The Apostle Peter had something to say about this. He said: "Ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that even if any obey not the word, they may without the word be gained by the behavior of their wives" (I Peter 3:1).

   This is no easy assignment, but the responsibility is upon you, not on your husband, to live a life that will challenge him to make his own decision. This cannot be done by nagging and lecturing, but by the manifestation of a spirit of meekness and submission that he has not discovered in you before. Whether it is the husband or the wife who is the Christian, as a Christian he must always accept and expect some ridicule and even mistreatment for the faith. Just bear this in mind: no one is in a better relationship to win the other to Christ than a life partner. If you fail, probably no one else will succeed.

My wife and I have been married for four years. A short time after we were married, all the romance went out of our lives. How can we regain the love we once had?

A romance enjoys the stimulation of high human emotions. Most of them run, quite naturally, under their own power. But a successful marriage is something two people must work at if they want the spark of love to continue. The wife you see when you come home in the evening with her "dishwater" hands, is quite a different person from the girl you once courted with stars in her eyes. And, I dare say that when you come home from your work, that you bear little resemblance to the Don Juan you used to be before you were married. You now see each other, not in an artificial aura, but beneath the glare of reality. But marriages need not bog down if both husband and wife make the least effort to be a good mate. The woman who has taken you with all your faults, for better or for worse, in sickness and in health, should have your utmost respect and love — and vice versa. Courtship is the vestibule to marriage. As mature, married people, you cannot go back to your courting days. But your love can deepen as the years go by. You have entered a deeper, closer relationship than courtship. Don't long for the porch when you live in the house. If you would put half the effort into marriage that you put into your courtship, you'd be surprised how things will brighten up.

My husband and I were forced to marry when we were children. We are not really happy because we both wonder if it would not have been better to make our own choice. Would we be doing wrong to separate?

It seems to me that the only thing bothering you is that you didn't make the choice yourself. Your letter doesn't lead me to believe that you really do not care for each other. Now that you have lived together for a time and have made other adjustments, it would be your best assurance of happiness if you simply accept the fact that you are man and wife, and not think in terms of what might have been your own choice. I cannot approve the plan of someone making the choice and forcing you to accept it, but now that it is an accomplished fact, why don't you do what is necessary for a satisfactory married life. In America today we place too much stress on the romantic aspect of marriage and too little on the practical. If you can respect each other, and if you are people who have some common interests, then if you would lay a spiritual and Christian foundation, you could have a more than average happy life together in spite of the unusual way in which you become man and wife. Let Christ be in first place for both of you.

I have absolute proof that my husband is being unfaithful to me. We have been married ten years and have three children. What shall I do?

There are three things you must consider and in all three you must ask God's guidance and help. First, your husband's soul is at stake and he needs to recognize his sin and ask God's forgiveness. Ask God to give you the grace and wisdom to face your husband with this sin and let him see that you love him and are concerned over his soul's welfare. It may be that God will use you to resolve this problem and win your husband at the same time.

   Second, yourself: your heart is heavy and your pride is hurt and this is a great burden which you have. Again you must pray for the love and grace to do the right thing. You can leave your husband but the problem is still not solved. If he can be won back, it will be far better.

   Third, you must consider your children. If you separate from your husband your children immediately face the problems of a broken home. This can have serious consequences for them. They need a father, just as you need a husband. Also, despite what he has done, he needs his wife and children. Let me urge you to pray earnestly about this and then act in the wisdom and strength God will give you.

I have a fine husband but I have been unfaithful to him. Now I realize how very wrong I have been. What should I do?

In the Bible we are told that when David realized that he was guilty of a similar sin he cried out to God for forgiveness and that he was forgiven. Read the 51st Psalm after reading II Samuel chapters 11 and 12. Here you will see that conviction of sin, sorrow for sin and turning to God for forgiveness are the steps to cleansing and pardon. David's sin had been known to many and the prophet Nathan told him he had caused "the enemies of the Lord to blaspheme." In your case public confession of your sin could do more harm than good. You should refuse to again associate with the other guilty parties. Having confessed your sin to God and asked Christ for forgiveness, ask Him also for the strength to live a life for His glory. Show your husband how dearly you love him. Try to be the best wife,

homemaker, mother, neighbor, and friend possible. Remember you can never do this in your own strength. Ask God daily for the necessary power to overcome sin and live for Him. Spend time in Bible study and prayer. If you do these things you will find the sordid past will become only an unhappy memory because Christ has become both your Saviour from sin and the Lord of your life.

My husband is in many respects a good man and a fine Christian, but he does not like to work and is constantly absent from his job. I'm afraid he will soon lose it. He says that he doesn't worry because God will provide. Do you think God will provide in such a case?

From the beginning God so ordered the world that there would be adequate supply for man's need. Through sin, God ordained that this yield of the earth would come only through the sweat of man's brow. Work is a part of our lot in life, and to seek to avoid it is to seek to revoke one of God's basic laws of life. There may be some physical reason why your husband lacks energy, and this should be checked through your family physician. There may be a psychological reason why he avoids it, and in such a case, a competent counselor might help him. When he says that God will provide, he is telling that he is most impractical in his view of God and the promises of God. Work is co-operation with God in securing the supply. God will work with those who adjust to His laws and ways. Man's life is most happy in co-operation with God in every way. Point out to your husband the way of working with God and in making provision for daily needs through work.

My wife and I have been having bitter quarrels as to whether to have another child right away or not. We have three wonderful children and I want another immediately. My wife would like to postpone it.

Surely a woman is entitled to choose when she will undertake the burden she alone must carry in bearing a child. Motherhood is a beautiful, spiritually exalting experience, despite its hardships, if it gives expression to the heart's longing for a child. But when it is unwelcome and accompanied by consequent bitter thoughts and emotions it is merely a tragic, unlovely, physical ordeal. No woman should be called upon to pass through it involuntary or should she be obliged to live in constant dread of doing so.

   In my opinion you are totally in the wrong. You and your wife should lovingly and prayerfully agree on this point.

   The very fact that you are having quarrels indicates that your home is not a victorious, Christian home. I would suggest that you start Bible reading and prayer immediately; that you go to your wife and confess that you were wrong, asking her forgiveness. I am sure you will get it. Any home that is based on anything else than spiritual affinity is in danger.

Many nights each week my husband doesn't come home until nearly twelve o'clock. I still love him and don't want a divorce. What should I do?

Tell your husband you love him, and try to show it in little ways. Don't greet him with nagging and complaints. When you expect him home see that the house is in order, and be as careful of your personal appearance as you did in the days when he was courting you.

   Don't imagine your husband is doing wrong if there is no just cause, but ask him directly what is keeping him out late. If it is pleasure, arrange more often to go out with him. Perhaps it will be necessary to make it plain to him that if your marriage is to continue he must be loyal to you, but first do all in your power to restore the love which once bound you together.

   Have you both forgotten God? Marriages don't go on the rocks when a husband and wife take Christ into their home. Set aside a time each day to read the Bible and pray together. This has saved many marriages, and may help to save yours. If you both love God, and surrender your lives to him, the gulf which now separates you will disappear.

My wife is expecting her first baby and her disposition has changed so I hardly know her. Sometimes I feel that she hates me and it is breaking my heart. What can I do?

I believe your physician can explain your problem to you and give you sound advice which will clear things up for both you and your wife. I am told that such changes occur at times like this and that they usually clear up spontaneously after the baby comes. Your wife needs your love more than ever and although it may be hard for her to reciprocate she will know that you are trying to be loving and considerate and it will help. I presume that you are a Christian, but in any case let me urge you to take Christ fully into your heart. Thank Him for this new life which is being entrusted to you two and pray daily that you may be given the wisdom and strength to raise this little one for Him. Let me also suggest that there is no married couple which has not encountered problems of adjustment and clashes in personality. These things can all be met and solved by exercising the mutual love and consideration which all Christians should have one for the other. Nothing helps more in a home than the family altar, a time when you and your wife join together in reading a portion from the Bible and praying together.

I recently married a widow who does not cease to talk about her first husband. I become very weary of this and wonder if I made a mistake in marrying her. Do you think there is anything unusual about this?

When a man marries a widow he should be ready to listen to a certain amount of talk about the first husband. He should be very

realistic about the matter and not forget that the love of youth is much more romantic than the love of middle age. She probably married her first husband because of romantic love. She probably married you for more practical reasons. You do not need to feel that she is unhappy with her marriage to you, and you would be far better off to accept her reminiscing as the desire for something you are failing to give her. Perhaps what she wishes more than you know, is for you to make some expression of love for her that you have not made. A box of candy or some flowers will do much to make her realize that it is better now than before. Neither can you afford to let your marriage continue without the benediction of God's presence in your lives.

I married a young man who had completely misrepresented himself to me. Right after we were married, I found he had been married and divorced, though he did not tell me, I had to find it out. I also find that he had been unfaithful to his former wife. Because of legal problems in his divorce I was able to have the marriage annulled. Now I am troubled over this, for I wonder if it is the same after all as a divorce.

There is a technical difference, for you did not have full information. I wonder that you would actually marry a young man with such limited knowledge of him. Did you not realize that marriage is a lifelong agreement? I rather believe that you base your marriage ideals on an emotional level, to the exclusion of the intellectual and reasonable. Whatever you may choose to do in the future, you must always be cautioned by this blunder. You must also recognize that the Lord was not leading you in this instance. Had you been in fellowship with Him, He would have led you along so that such tragedies would not come to pass. The reason I am not able to give you a clear answer is that I have no way of knowing the extent to which you consummated your marriage. This private knowledge would give you the answer, and you would then be able to make your next decision.

My husband became seriously involved with another woman. He has become a Christian and is thoroughly repentent but we decided to move to another town. Now this woman has followed us to this town. What shall we do?

Not knowing the status of the other woman, I can only advise you in a general way. I feel that you and your husband are to be congratulated on your mutual love and trust one for the other. You both have passed through deep waters and God has evidently given the forgiveness and grace needed. Let me urge you both to stick together as never before and to make all of your plans accordingly. I would completely ignore this other woman. If she makes advances, as well she may, be sure that she is given to understand that this affair is finished and that her presence is unwelcome. In all of this, let me urge you two to pray each day for guidance to meet the problems which may arise. Ask God to give you the wisdom and love and good common sense which will insure that this difficulty is met in His way. If the woman is a schemer, be particularly careful that she does not maneuver you or your husband into a compromising situation. I appreciate the difficulty and embarrassment of your situation but you have a source of help and blessing in the Lord Jesus Christ which will certainly see you through. Finally, pray for this woman: ask God to convict her of her sin, as he did your husband. She has an eternal soul for which Christ also died.

I am a Christian but my husband isn't. I think he makes unreasonable demands and is most of the time very disagreeable. How much must I take from him before I rebel and walk out on him?

No one can tell you the answer to such a question, without knowing exactly why you disagree so violently. It would seem to me that the Christian must always manifest the greater patience and understanding. Your willingness to submit to him at all cost, providing it does not violate your Christian devotion to your Lord, is that which will be most effective in winning him to your Lord. Insisting on your own rights will not always achieve the desired end. You don't really want to rebel and walk out. As a true Christian you want to influence him to recognize your Saviour and thus become a new person.

   Only Christ can make a new person out of an old one. None of the ugly qualities of your husband are really the man you married, but they are that man under the domination of the forces of evil and of Satan. Pray that he will become a new person in Christ for the Bible says: "If any man is in Christ, he is a new creation" (II Corinthians 5:17).

I always thought that my wife was faithful to me. Last week she confessed to an affair with another man, and would not have done so except for the fact that she had experienced a religious conversion. Should I go along on a regular marriage basis?

Anything I would say might be interpreted as a liberal view on morals. Certainly the marriage vows should be adhered to and faithfulness is expected of both persons. But you must remember that if the religious conversion was genuine and one wrought of God, then everything has been changed. Your wife has become a new person in the eyes of God and you might well reckon her in that way yourself. She is not today what she was when she was unfaithful. This is the time to begin things over again. It is the time for new vows and a new family relationship can well be counted as beginning with her conversion. The Bible says: "If any man is in Christ, he is a new creature [creation]; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new."

My husband is unfaithful to me, and I am told he is running around with teen-agers. We have a ten-year-old son. Shall I call it quits or what can I do? I am miserable.

You didn't tell me your husband's age, but such antics are not unusual for a man who is entering into waning manhood. His tendency is to blame his disinterest on the irresponsiveness of his mate, and in blindness to his condition, he seeks stimulation elsewhere.

   However, I notice that you say "I am told he is running around with teen-agers." Women too pass through a stage when they become very suspicious of their husbands. Nature signals that the days of productiveness are coming to an end, and the first thought is: What will my husband do? Will he seek companionship elsewhere? Many marriages have broken up at this point, and in many instances the wife's false accusations were to blame. Before I did anything at all, I would make certain that my suspicions were justified. These are days when you need each other more than ever. It is tragic for people in middle years to dissolve their marriage. Above all, take Christ into your life. He will give you love and the desire to understand your husband. By all means don't call it quits, as you say. Make every effort to face this problem with faith in God, and in a mature way. The chances are that you can work it out and perhaps your happiest years together lie ahead.

I am married to a very wonderful person. In spite of the fact that I respect him very highly, I have fallen in love with another man who shows me the attention I crave, while my husband seems to take me for granted. I feel I can't break off with the one I love, but don't know how to bring the news to my husband. What is the right thing to do?

There should be no question concerning what is right. If you want God's answer, it would be that you forget the passing infatuation and settle down like any mature individual would. It is easy for another to show you attention when it only involves periodic favors and demonstrations without all of the responsibility of being married. If you still consider your husband a wonderful person and if you respect him, you are playing the part of a foolish child to entertain thoughts of infatuation which belong to high-school-age people. As far as taking you for granted, you should consider that a flattery, for it manifests the complete confidence he has in you. No doubt a woman likes to have much more romance than a man, but you have no assurance you would have more from your friend. Follow the Bible admonition and be obedient and submissive to your husband, and you will find him much more affectionate than you think. Secondly, this infatuation is a sin in God's sight. Confess it and allow this experience to bring you to a true relationship with Christ and your husband.

I was a divorced woman and several years ago I married a wonderful man whom I deeply love. Since then I have joined the church, and am living what I consider a Christian life. Now I am not sure if God will forgive me for my past sin if I continue to live with my husband. I have prayed for guidance but it seems that I receive no guidance from God. Please won't you tell me what to do?

You are one of the thousands caught in the modern vortex of divorce. But two wrongs do not make a right, and it is difficult to unscramble eggs, as we say. You say you are worried that God will not forgive you. Such worry is unfounded for the Bible says that he will forgive every sin that we truly repent of. Another separation would only make matters more complicated.

   Since your past life is the chief matter of your concern, I would try to make up for lost time and lost opportunities by trying to improve the future. The Bible says: "Forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forth to those things which are before, I press toward the mark of the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus." Satan would divert your gaze to the dark past, but God would have you look to a bright future of service and usefulness. Let the faithfulness of the future match the unfaithfulness of the past.

How many times should I accept my husband coming back to me? He has already left me three times and now wants to come back home again.

A good wife will do whatever she can to maintain the ties and bonds of the home. However, unless there is a real change of heart on your part and on the part of your husband, this same old process will go on indefinitely. What you need is something that will bind the home together. There is nothing that compares with a mutual faith in Christ to unite husbands and wives and to provide a proper foundation for a happy and satisfying home relationship. Christ teaches we are to forgive seventy times seven. With forgiveness, tenderness, understanding, love and prayer you should try to win your husband to Christ. He will never be different till he has a new nature.

Is it necessary to confess all of the details of a sinful life to one's mate after marriage. If so, should this confession include the names of anyone in sex sins?

It is unfortunate in a marriage if there is an array of sordid memories of past sins on the part of either partner. If young people could only realize that a happy marriage depends not only on the present, but upon the past, they would be less reluctant to enter into loose, intimate relations with anyone and everyone. Many a marriage has been imperiled by the backlash of past sins, which were not just confessed, but "found out."

   As to the necessity of confessing past sins to one's mate, I don't think this is always advisable nor necessary. I have known of homes that were wrecked by such confessions. The main thing is to confess any past wrongs to God, resolve to be true to your marriage vows, and absolve the black past by a spotless present. The Bible says: "If we confess our sins unto Him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."

When I was very young I married, but our marriage ended after less than two years. With my second husband I have had two lovely children, but I am troubled all the time about something I heard concerning divorce and remarriage. Am I living in sin because I had a husband and separated from him?

Until we come to Christ, all of our lives are sinful and wrong. That is why God has provided a salvation that covers and removes all of our sins and makes a new creature out of a sinful and sinning one. Because you have trusted Christ, He has forgiven all of your past sins. The Bible always speaks of the sin of the people of God, putting away a husband or wife for the express purpose of taking another (Matthew 19:1-10).

   My counsel to you is to simply thank God that He has actually forgiven your past, and then purpose to live entirely for Him. Be the kind of devoted wife and mother you should be in the light of your present Christian faith. If God has forgiven your sins, why should you continue to refuse to forgive yourself? You are not glorifying God as you should unless you take His forgiveness and the freedom He secures for us (Galatians 5:1).

I've been married for eleven years to a man twenty-four years older than I. For five years he has been sick with a heart condition. He is good to my child and me, and is a good provider. I believe my health would be better if I left him, as he complains every day. What must I do?

You have evidently forgotten the vow you took at the sacred altar: "I will love, honor, and obey, in sickness and in health, until death do us part." You should have considered the difference in your age, and reckoned that your husband would age faster than you before you entered into the marriage contract. You say he is good to your child and you and is a good provider. It seems the only thing he has done wrong is to get ill, and he certainly has no control over that. I suggest you repent of your selfishness, and ask this good man to forgive you for ever entertaining the thought of leaving him. With an attitude like yours, I doubt if a younger man would put up with you. Pardon me for being so frank, but I would like to shock you into thinking straight about this problem. Thank God for a good, though aging husband, and provide some happiness for him in his trial of affliction.

How can people untangle their lives? I have been divorced and am married for the third time. My wife has been married twice. Both of us know that we have been sinners and about a year ago we both were genuinely converted. But we see no way to clear up the mess we have made of our lives, and of the lives of others in the past.

You both have given your hearts and lives to Christ and you will just have to leave the entire matter in His hands of love. It is a moral, physical and legal impossibility for you to recover the lost years or to change those things from the past. When you accepted Christ as your Saviour you asked Him to take you just as you were. You have sinned but true repentance has brought true forgiveness. Our Lord said that He had come to save sinners, not the righteous. Therefore, you have the right to trust in His love and His redeeming work in your hearts. There are sins for which restitution can be made. In your case restitution must show itself in lives lived for God's glory and in helping others to find and know the same Saviour Who has saved you. Do not spend your time living in the past — look forward to a future spent in close fellowship with Christ. There is no sin too great for Him to forgive, so thank Him for His grace and mercy and praise Him every day.

I would like to clear my conscience. You see, I was married, then I deserted my first wife with two children, and now I am married illegally to a younger woman with no children. I have not divorced my first wife. What would be the Christian thing to do at this time?

You understand that it is difficult to give a clear answer, for there must be other details in your tangled affair that you have not disclosed. It is clear that you have wronged both women, and in addition have offended God through your past conduct. On the surface it seems that you are clearly the husband of your deserted wife, and that your present situation is not a marriage either in God's sight or the state's. You are also responsible to your children. The wrong you have done can never be undone and you must bear the scars of it throughout life. The better thing would be to resume your first responsibility; that is, if your former wife will have you. Then you are obliged to do all in your power to amend the wrong done to the woman with whom you now live. Finally, you must rely on the pure mercy of God for His forgiveness. Christ died for all who have sinned and come short of God's glory. Your only hope for eternity is with Him. Confess Him as Saviour, and turn from your sinful way of life to serve Him.

My husband has become seriously involved with other women, yet he thinks that I do not know about it. His friends say that he feels that he is doing no wrong in carrying on what he terms a clandestine friendship. Do you think I should tell him that I can no longer stand his unfaithfulness after almost nine years of married life?

I must frankly say that your meek silence is in part to blame for your husband's philandering. He either thinks you don't love him, you don't care, or that you are not smart enough to know what is going on right under your nose.

   By all means make him face up to this matter, and do it immediately. It may shock some sense into his head and awaken him. He's had it pretty good up to now, he thinks. Why shouldn't he continue affairs, if there is no conscience on his part, and no complaints upon yours? It evidently hasn't occurred to him that he is breaking God's law by committing this sin.

   It is surprising what a show of spunk on the part of a wife can do in mending the ways of an erring husband. I've known men to grow up over night when wives reminded them that from now on it is an "either, or" deal. When either mate flouts God's law of faithfulness in marriage, someone must pay, and it might as well be the guilty one.

I am greatly concerned about a matter of importance. I was married and two children were born. My husband became involved with another woman and we were divorced. Shortly afterward I married a good man who has been a faithful father to my children. After studying the Bible and praying for God's will in our lives, I have become puzzled as to whether I was right about my remarriage, even though I was the innocent party in the divorce. Have I sinned and caused my husband to sin?

According to Jesus' words, divorce is never permitted except for unfaithfulness. He said: "Whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall remarry her that is divorced committeth adultery" (Matthew 5:32).

   Some interpret this to mean that in case of unfaithfulness, the innocent party is justified in remarrying. Others say that the divorce is justified but that remarrying is not allowed. It all boils down to a matter of conscience. You say you are praying about the matter. I am sure you will be given guidance and direction.

   Some things are difficult to undo. Eggs cannot be unscrambled — scars cannot be removed. You are remarried and another divorce would only make matters more complicated. My prayer is that God will make known His will to you and give you peace. Christ can forgive all past sins and mistakes. Come to the Cross and let Him touch your life.

My husband is away on business most of the time. Do you think it advisable for me to plan some life of my own and not depend on him for all of my happiness? Would it be wrong to have men friends?

When you made the marriage vows, you promised to remain faithful through all experiences. "For better or for worse" is the usual promise. Now you seem to regret having made the promise. But it is thrilling and wonderful to discover how the Christian view of life answers the most difficult questions.

   For the Christian, marriage is a union in which three, not just two, people are involved. Those three are the husband, the wife, and Jesus Christ. Both the husband and the wife are completely committed to Jesus Christ first, and then to each other. Both seek to do His will, and not their own. By such an arrangement, happiness in the home is secure. Unhappily, you have depended on your husband alone for your happiness, and now you feel you must include a substitute in his absence. But this will only lead to grief. I urge you to consider Christ, taking Him into your life and into your plans. The Bible says: "Delight thyself also in Him, and He shall give thee the desires of thy heart."

On account of my husband's business, I am left alone much of the time. A woman becomes weary with other women at times, and I wonder if any harm would be done by having occasional friendship with a man friend who frequently invites me to dine with him?

If past experience can teach us anything, it is that such platonic friendships frequently lead to serious trouble and the broken home results. If you knew what your husband's business demands were before marriage, you had better live up to your vows made at that time. Have you talked it over with your husband, telling him of your need of his being home more than he is, or are you just playing the part of the spoiled child who wants everything for his own benefit. It probably isn't enjoyable for your husband either.   I would suggest three things. Try to have a frank talk with him at the next opportunity. Perhaps some solution can be reached. Make it a spiritual matter, in which you take your problem together to the Lord in prayer. Someone has rightly said, "More things are wrought by prayer than this world dreams of." Finally, you had better face the blunt fact that your desire for male friendship in your husband's absence is bound to lead to intimacy that you now cannot foresee, but which happens in most such cases.

Is a clandestine friendship an innocent thing for a married man to indulge in if he is not actually unfaithful to his wife?

I can but wonder why you ask this question, for an uneasy conscience has prompted it in the first place. How can a "clandestine" friendship such as you mention, be an "innocent thing"? Unfaithfulness to your wife goes much deeper than a physical relationship with someone else. Participating in a secret friendship with another woman involves several moral issues which need to be frankly faced. You are wronging your wife, for she had the right to expect of you the unshared devotion and of personal loyalty which evaporates when you begin seeking the close friendships of others. You are also wronging this other woman, for you have no moral right to give her the attentions such a friendship naturally involves. You are wronging yourself because you are fostering a divided relationship, which can, and so often does, lead to marital infidelity. Finally, you are sinning against God for He has told us that the husband-wife relationship is one of earth's sweetest and must be cherished with every power at our command. Instead of doing this, you are living a double existence and you are playing with fire. What can so easily start as an "innocent friendship" has within it the seeds of untold sorrow for all concerned and of the eternal loss of your soul.

Six months ago my widowed mother came to live with us. She is smart, capable, and loves us all but has proceeded to take over our home and is trying to completely dominate me, my husband, and our three children. We all are Christians and I want to do the right thing.

The right thing for you to do is to have a frank and honest showdown with your mother. Do this only after you have asked God to give you wisdom as you talk. Then, be sure that you show her the love and appreciation that she deserves. At the same time, make it clear that it is necessary for you and your husband to run your home according to the best wisdom and experience that you have. I have the feeling that your mother will recognize the mistake she is making and change her attitude. If she does not, then I would prayerfully consider making arrangements for her to live nearby where you can exchange visits but where at the same time you will have the freedom to run your own home. Before you do any of this it may be most wise for you to re-evaluate your own conduct and the way you conduct the affairs in your house. It is just possible that some of the changes your mother has tried to institute are wise ones. In all of this, take your husband into your fullest confidence and take no step without first asking God's blessing and help.

My husband is permanently invalid. We are both rather young, and I feel I am missing much of life. Would it be right for me to commit him to a home?

When you were married, you promised to cleave to each other until death do you part. You will have to answer your own question on the basis of your promise made at that time. If a home or hospital is needed to give medical and therapeutic care, you would be right in sending him. If he needs the spiritual uplift that comes from the love of a faithful wife and the security of his own home, it would be both your joy and privilege to give him that care. Unless you are financially unable to maintain the home, it would appear that the right thing is to make a happy home for him. The Bible teaches that God made husband and wife to be one. Certainly in this time of his greatest need, you would not be the wife you should be to turn him over to impersonal hands to care for him so that you might have some freedom. This could be the most glorious and thrilling period of your life — serving a loved one. Certainly God would honor it.

Both my husband and I are very religious people. In spite of this, every two or three weeks my husband wants to go and see a burlesque show. He insists that he is doing nothing wrong — just looking. I think it is a sin to look at such things, don't you? It worries and upsets me.

The kind of conduct that your husband seems to enjoy indicates that though he may be religious, he is not closely following the teaching of the Word of God. Romans 13:14 clearly tells us that we are to put on the Lord Jesus Christ and make no provision for the flesh to fulfill the lusts thereof. Your husband cannot long stand the flames of passion without committing some sin sooner or later. It is an unnatural expression of the normal and wholesome sex life of any person, Christian or otherwise. Jesus said: "Everyone that looketh on a woman to lust after her, hath committed adultery with her already in his heart." This is the great danger, and no man can fix his gaze upon such expressions of sensuality and live an effective Christian life.

I was recently converted, and have been trying my best to get my wife converted. All I get is a sarcastic reply. She says it won't last, and that I had better live it before I start preaching to her. What should I do? I would like to have her experience what I did.

It is well that you desire so much the conversion of your wife. Every true believer seeks especially the salvation of his loved ones. Quite often, however, such things are the least understood in the home. Perhaps your wife is sincere when she says it may not last.

I would offer these suggestions. First, give her a demonstration of what the Christian life is before you begin to persuade her too much. She will wonder what has taken place when she sees the change working out in everyday life. It won't be long until she will know that it is a lasting change, and then she will desire what you have found in Christ. Read I Peter 3:1. Second, show her that a Christian husband is far better than a non-Christian husband. All of the virtues of manhood are raised to the highest in the life of one who is surrendered to Christ. Finally, pray for her. More things are wrought through prayer than this world dreams of. God will answer your request in due time and you will have the joy of seeing her converted and your prayers answered.

My husband is not a Christian and will not go with me to church. He also insists that I engage in worldly things. I disapprove of these things, and he thinks that I am just being mean because he has refused to go with me to church. Am I wrong?

If you try to draft your husband into going to church, you are just as wrong as he is in trying to force you to do things which are against your convictions. Rather than being overinsistent that he go to church with you, it would be more advisable that you quietly and devoutly live the Christian life before him, and thus make it an attractive thing, rather than the boresome thing he evidently thinks it is. Many good wives are well intentioned, but get over anxious that their husbands immediately conform to their views. Often their insistence takes the form of "nagging," and no person is ever led to Christ in such a manner. I would suggest that you sweetly hold to your convictions and faithfully and patiently live the Christian life before him. No normal husband can long withstand the impact of a consistent Christian wife who prays for and longs for him to share her faith with her. Your disappointment may be part of the price you must pay for not marrying a Christian man in the first place. But "all things work together for good to them that love the Lord."

My husband, not being a Christian, resents my conducting family prayers and refuses to take part in them. Should I continue to have devotions with my children even though my companion will not take part?

My answer to your question is an unqualified "yes."

   I strongly believe that if you are faithful in your witness for Christ in the home and continue having devotions with your family that your faithfulness will have a lasting influence on your husband and children.

   But remember this: as spiritual leader in your house, your family will be watching your acts as well as listening to your words. I cannot conceive of your husband being able to long resist becoming a Christian if your conduct is thoroughly Christian.

   Many well-meaning, devout mothers, in their anxiety to see their home united in the Christian faith, sometimes become almost demanding and often cantankerous in their zeal. A nagging wife will never win an unbelieving husband to Christ.

   Yours is not an easy place to fill. The Bible teaches that the husband is to be spiritual leader of the home. So, you are forced to double duty because your husband is spiritually remiss. May God's Spirit guide you, may Divine wisdom be given you, and may heavenly patience be yours, until your family is completely united in the bond of Christian fellowship.

My teen-age daughter has an incurable disease. Should I continue to send her to school?

This is a question you must ask your physician. If she is still physically able to attend school, it would seem much wiser to let her attend school and lead as normal a life as possible and I believe that is what he would advise. As a Christian, let me advise you to make her life as bright and happy as possible, at all times letting her know that the hope of each of us is in Christ alone and that through faith in Him our sins are forgiven and we have eternal life. Try to make heaven seem a glorious place and something all of us should look forward to. Let her learn to read the Bible as a daily and happy experience of God talking to her. Make the fourteenth chapter of the Gospel of John and the last two chapters of the book of Revelation very real to her and try to speak naturally of all of those who know and love Christ going to be with Him some day. In this Christian instruction, be sure to make the home life as normal and happy as possible. Have her friends in for meals and to play games. Read interesting books aloud. Try to have as much laughter as possible in the home. God has given you a heavy burden but He will give you the grace and the wisdom to bear it for His glory if you will but trust Him for help.

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ClassicDevotionSeries: "DAILY FELLOWSHIP WITH GOD" -Andrew Murray


  • 1. The first and chief need of our Christian life is, Fellowship with God.

    The Divine life within us comes from God, and is entirely dependent upon Him. As I need every moment afresh the air to breathe, as the s sun every moment afresh sends down its light, so it is only in direct living communication with God that my soul can be strong.

    The manna of one day was corrupt when the next day came. I must every day have fresh grace from heaven, and I obtain it only in direct waiting upon God Himself. Begin each day by tarrying before God, and letting Him touch you. Take time to meet God.

  • 2. To this end, let your first act in your devotion be a setting yourself still before God. In prayer, or worship, everything depends upon God taking the chief place. I must bow quietly before Him in humble faith and adoration, speaking thus within my heart: "God is. God is near. God is love, longing to communicate Himself to me. God the Almighty One, Who worketh all in all, is even now waiting to work in me, and make Himself known." Take time, till you know God is very near.


  • 3. When you have given God His place of honor, glory, and power, take your place of deepest lowliness, and seek to be filled with the Spirit of humility. As a creature it is your blessedness to be nothing, that God may be all in you. As a sinner you are not worthy to look up to God; bow in self abasement. As a saint, let God's love overwhelm you, and bow you still lower down. Sink down before Him in humility, meekness, patience, and surrender to His goodness and mercy. He will exalt you. Oh! take time, to get very low before God.


  • 4. Then accept and value your place in Christ Jesus. God delights in nothing but His beloved Son, and can be satisfied with nothing else in those who draw nigh to Him. Enter deep into God's holy presence in the boldness which the blood gives, and in the assurance that in Christ you are most well-pleasing. In Christ you are within the veil. You have access into the very heart and love of the Father. This is the great object of fellowship with God, that I may have more of God in my life, and that God may see Christ formed in me. Be silent before God and let Him bless you.


  • 5. This Christ is a living Person. He loves you with a personal love, and He looks every day for the personal response of your love. Look into His face with trust, till His love really shines into your heart. Make His heart glad by telling Him that you do love Him. He offers Himself to you as a personal Saviour and Keeper from the power of sin. Do not ask, can I be kept from sinning, if I keep close to Him? but ask, can I be kept from sinning, if He always keeps close to me? and you see at once how safe it is to trust Him.


  • 6. We have not only Christ's life in us as a power, and His presence with us as a person, but we have His likeness to be wrought into us. He is to be formed in us, so that His form or figure, His likeness, can be seen in us. Bow before God until you get some sense of the greatness and blessedness of the work to be carried on by God in you this day. Say to God, "Father, here am I for Thee to give as much in me of Christ's likeness as I can receive." And wait to hear Him say, "My child, I give thee as much of Christ as thy heart is open to receive." The God who revealed Jesus in the flesh and perfected Him, will reveal Him in thee and perfect thee in Him. The Father loves the Son, and delights to work out His image and likeness in thee. Count upon it that this blessed work will be done in thee as thou waitest on thy God, and holdest fellowship with Him.


  • 7. The likeness to Christ consists chiefly in two things--the likeness of His death and resurrection, (Rom. 6:5). The death of Christ was the consummation of His humility and obedience, the entire giving up of His life to God. In Him we are dead to sin. As we sink down in humility and dependence and entire surrender to God, the power of His death works in us, and we are made conformable to His death. And so we know Him in the power of His resurrection, in the victory over sin, and all the joy and power of the risen life. Therefore every morning, "present yourselves unto God as those that are alive from the dead." He will maintain the life He gave, and bestow the grace to live as risen ones.


  • 8. All this can only be in the power of the Holy Spirit, who dwells in you. Count upon Him to glorify Christ in you. Count upon Christ to increase in you the inflowing of His Spirit. As you wait before God to realize His presence, remember that the Spirit is in you to reveal the things of God. Seek in God's presence to have the anointing of the Spirit of Christ so truly that your whole life may every moment be spiritual.


  • 9. As you meditate on this wondrous salvation and seek full fellowship with the great and holy God, and wait on Him to reveal Christ in you, you will feel how needful the giving up of all is to receive Him. Seek grace to know what it means to live as wholly for God as Christ did. Only the Holy Spirit Himself can teach you what an entire yielding of the whole life to God can mean. Wait on God to show you in this what you do not know. Let every approach to God, and every request for fellowship with Him be accompanied by a new, very definite, and entire surrender to Him to work in you.


  • 10. "By faith" must here, as through all Scripture, and all the spiritual life, be the keynote. As you tarry before God, let it be in a deep quiet faith in Him, the Invisible One, who is so near, so holy, so mighty, so loving. In a deep, restful faith too, that all the blessings and powers of the heavenly life are around you, and in you. Just yield yourself in the faith of a perfect trust to the Ever Blessed Holy Trinity to work out all God's purpose in you. Begin each day thus in fellowship with God, and God will be all in all to you.



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    A book of modern social inquiry has a shape that is somewhat sharply defined. It begins as a rule with an analysis, with statistics, tables of population, decrease of crime among Congregationalists, growth of hysteria among policemen, and similar ascertained facts; it ends with a chapter that is generally called "The Remedy." It is almost wholly due to this careful, solid, and scientific method that "The Remedy" is never found. For this scheme of medical question and answer is a blunder; the first great blunder of sociology. It is always called stating the disease before we find the cure. But it is the whole definition and dignity of man that in social matters we must actually find the cure before we find the disease .

    The fallacy is one of the fifty fallacies that come from the modern madness for biological or bodily metaphors. It is convenient to speak of the Social Organism, just as it is convenient to speak of the British Lion. But Britain is no more an organism than Britain is a lion. The moment we begin to give a nation the unity and simplicity of an animal, we begin to think wildly. Because every man is a biped, fifty men are not a centipede. This has produced, for instance, the gaping absurdity of perpetually talking about "young nations" and "dying nations," as if a nation had a fixed and physical span of life. Thus people will say that Spain has entered a final senility; they might as well say that Spain is losing all her teeth. Or people will say that Canada should soon produce a literature; which is like saying that Canada must soon grow a new moustache. Nations consist of people; the first generation may be decrepit, or the ten thousandth may be vigorous. Similar applications of the fallacy are made by those who see in the increasing size of national possessions, a simple increase in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man. These people, indeed, even fall short in subtlety of the parallel of a human body. They do not even ask whether an empire is growing taller in its youth, or only growing fatter in its old age. But of all the instances of error arising from this physical fancy, the worst is that we have before us: the habit of exhaustively describing a social sickness, and then propounding a social drug.

    Now we do talk first about the disease in cases of bodily breakdown; and that for an excellent reason. Because, though there may be doubt about the way in which the body broke down, there is no doubt at all about the shape in which it should be built up again. No doctor proposes to produce a new kind of man, with a new arrangement of eyes or limbs. The hospital, by necessity, may send a man home with one leg less: but it will not (in a creative rapture) send him home with one leg extra. Medical science is content with the normal human body, and only seeks to restore it.

    But social science is by no means always content with the normal human soul; it has all sorts of fancy souls for sale. Man as a social idealist will say "I am tired of being a Puritan; I want to be a Pagan," or "Beyond this dark probation of Individualism I see the shining paradise of Collectivism." Now in bodily ills there is none of this difference about the ultimate ideal. The patient may or may not want quinine; but he certainly wants health No one says "I am tired of this headache; I want some toothache," or "The only thing for this Russian influenza is a few German measles," or "Through this dark probation of catarrh I see the shining paradise of rheumatism." But exactly the whole difficulty in our public problems is that some men are aiming at cures which other men would regard as worse maladies; are offering ultimate conditions as states of health which others would uncompromisingly call states of disease. Mr. Belloc once said that he would no more part with the idea of property than with his teeth; yet to Mr. Bernard Shaw property is not a tooth, but a toothache. Lord Milner has sincerely attempted to introduce German efficiency; and many of us would as soon welcome German measles. Dr. Saleeby would honestly like to have Eugenics; but I would rather have rheumatics.

    This is the arresting and dominant fact about modern social discussion; that the quarrel is not merely about the difficulties, but about the aim. We agree about the evil; it is about the good that we should tear each other's eyes out. We all admit that a lazy aristocracy is a bad thing. We should not by any means all admit that an active aristocracy would be a good thing. We all feel angry with an irreligious priesthood; but some of us would go mad with disgust at a really religious one. Everyone is indignant if our army is weak, including the people who would be even more indignant if it were strong. The social case is exactly the opposite of the medical case. We do not disagree, like doctors, about the precise nature of the illness, while agreeing about the nature of health. On the contrary, we all agree that England is unhealthy, but half of us would not look at her in what the other half would call blooming health . Public abuses are so prominent and pestilent that they sweep all generous people into a sort of fictitious unanimity. We forget that, while we agree about the abuses of things, we should differ very much about the uses of them. Mr. Cadbury and I would agree about the bad public house. It would be precisely in front of the good public-house that our painful personal fracas would occur.

    I maintain, therefore, that the common sociological method is quite useless: that of first dissecting abject poverty or cataloguing prostitution. We all dislike abject poverty; but it might be another business if we began to discuss independent and dignified poverty. We all disapprove of prostitution; but we do not all approve of purity. The only way to discuss the social evil is to get at once to the social ideal. We can all see the national madness; but what is national sanity? I have called this book "What Is Wrong with the World?" and the upshot of the title can be easily and clearly stated. What is wrong is that we do not ask what is right.

    Posted via email from Christian Issues Digest

    RayStedman: "The Purpose Of Marriage"

    The Purpose Of Marriage

    A devotion for January 18th

    Read the Scripture: Mark 10:1-12

    For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh. So they are no longer two, but one (Mark 10:7-8).

    There are a great many implications in this statement. First, you recognize that it does away with all such notions as homosexual marriages. There are no such things. These pathetic misrepresentations are but a poignant commentary upon the twisted, distorted ideas that prevail in society today. It takes a man and a woman to be married. Marriage is one man and one woman, and it always has been, from the beginning.

    But what our Lord makes clear is that this relationship is the highest relationship possible in life. It takes priority over all others. Closer even than the tie of blood is that of marriage, in the mind and heart of God. It is a closer relationship than with any children who follow. People are to become husbands and wives before they become fathers and mothers. This indicates a priority of relationship. A man is closer to his wife, and a wife to her husband, than they will ever be to their children. Though we may not feel that way, nevertheless, it is the truth.

    What, then, is the purpose in marriage? It is to become one. This is what marriages are for. Two people who are disparate, distinct, and different individuals, with different personalities, different gifts, blending their lives together so that through the process of the years they become one flesh--that is what marriage is. It is not something that happens instantaneously when you get married. The wedding service does not make you one. The first act of sex after marriage does not make you one. It begins the process, but it does not finish it. It takes the whole marriage to accomplish this. Marriage is the process of two people becoming one.

    Therefore man and woman are not to live together as roommates. Marriage is not going your separate ways and having your separate careers and merely sharing a house and a bed together. Nor are they to split up over every problem or difficulty that arises between them; they are to work them out. They are not to separate; they are to choose to be together, to spend the rest of their lives together, in order that they might merge their lives together. Therefore they stop being rivals and start to become partners. A successful marriage, therefore, is not one without problems; it is one where the problems are being worked out, where the husband and wife do not split but stick together, face up to their problems, discover the hardness of heart that is there, and learn how God can soften it. In other words, it is a process, not a single production. It is a pilgrimage, not a six weeks' performance. It is intended to be a public portrayal, not a private predicament. It is a lifelong contract, not a renegotiable franchise, as many presume today.


    Thank You for these plain and clear words that help me understand what is involved when we choose a wife or husband and what Your purpose is in it. Help me to walk in these ways.


    Life Application: Has the cultural perception of marriage corrupted our perception of God's plan for this foundational relationship? How does malpractice of marriage violate God's intention?

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