Christian couple holding hands together

How Can You Make Your Marriage Stronger?

As much as movies and Hollywood would like you to think otherwise, there is no such thing as a perfect marriage. Every couple has their own issues they deal with. In fact, I don’t know of a single married couple who hasn’t had a fight before. Unfortunately, many couples choose to forego the fights and ignore their problems so that they fester. This weakens the relationship tremendously and inflicts lots of pain and emotional damage. That is why we see so many couples today filing for divorce or choosing not to get married altogether. As Christians, we should understand how important and sacred marriage is. We may never have the “perfect marriage,” but we can all do some things to make our marriages stronger to the glory of God.

Pray and Read Together

This one probably seems obviously, but I cannot stress just how important praying and reading the Bible together is in a Christian marriage. These two things totally affect the overall health of your marriage. If you aren’t regularly praying for your spouse, as well as, encouraging and reminding one another of God’s Word, you need to start today. It is important that a couple grows spiritually together, for the Bible says, “the two shall become one flesh (Genesis 2:24; Ephesians 5:31).” If I choose to neglect prayer and the reading of God’s Word, I am essentially neglecting and being unloving towards my wife. The Bible is clear that the more we love and pursue after God, the stronger our marriages will become.

Put Your Spouses Needs Before Your Own

I don’t know about you, but I can be very selfish at times. Not only that, but sometimes I complain about having to get up from the couch to do something for my wife. This is so wrong, and it shouldn’t be so! Ephesians 5:25-28 reads:

“Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.  In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.

God has commanded us as husbands to love our wives with a passionate, sacrificial, unconditional love, that is, the love of Christ. And He has commanded wives to submit to their husbands as the Church submits to Christ, its head (Ephesians 5:22-24). In other words, selfishness and pride have no place in a Christian marriage. If the Bible says to “do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves (Philippians 2:3),” shouldn’t that include our spouses?

Be Completely Honest

Not much needs to be said here other than “a healthy marriage is an honest marriage.” One of the major reasons couples get divorced is because of secrets and lies. Jesus said in John 8:32 that “the truth will set you free.” A marriage that glorifies God is one that is built on the firm foundation of Christ, who is the Truth (John 14:6). Are you telling your spouse the whole truth? Is there something you are hiding or need to confess?

Develop Intimacy With One Another

When many people think about the word intimacy they usually think about sex or physical affection first. While sex is one way Christian couples develop intimacy, it isn’t the only way. However, it should be said that strong, godly couples not only have sex, but they really enjoy sex as it is a gift from God. Sex is sacred, holy, and should be protected as such by both the husband and wife; Hebrews 13:4 says, “Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous.”

As stated above, sex isn’t the only way to have intimacy with your spouse. Every husband and wife should think of ways other than sex to develop intimacy. Whether its spending quality time together, planning a trip, giving her a gift, or simply telling her how much I love her, I can do plenty of things to become closer with my wife every day. Ultimately, that’s what marital intimacy is all about; it’s about spending time with the other person in order to know them and appreciate them fully with love, specifically the love of Christ.

Final Thoughts

If it is your desire to see your relationship with your spouse grow stronger then take steps today towards seeing this happen. But let me be clear, nothing in your marriage will change apart from the work and help of the Holy Spirit. In our own strength, we cannot enact the change or growth we so desire. But God can and He will! So, take some time for you and your spouse to pray together and ask God to change you both from the inside out. Brothers and sisters, if and when we devote ourselves to Him, He will “do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us (Ephesians 3:20).”

 

abortion and the god Molech in the Old Testament

21st Century Molech

“You are not to make any of your children pass through the fire to Molech. Do not profane the name of your God; I am Yahweh.” Leviticus 18:21

There is an interesting command God gives to the Israelites in Leviticus chapter 18. It is sandwiched between other commands concerning prohibited sexual relations and forbidden pagan practices. God specifically calls out Molech, a god of the Canaanite people. According to ancient historians, worshipers of Molech would sacrifice their infants to Molech to ensure prosperity for their future. It is said that the Canaanite people would also get rid of their illegitimate children by way of child sacrifice. I even read somewhere that poor families would sell their infants to those who did not have babies of their own.

It is important to understand what was going on when people worshiped Molech. The Canaanites would heat up a statue of Molech until it was red hot. The statue usually featured a bull-like figure with outstretched arms that slopped down like a slide into a fire pit. The infants literally melted before the eyes of those in attendance. Keep in mind that the child’s parents were among those watching. Yet, they were told not to cry or shed a tear lest they forfeit the blessing that would come as a result of their sacrifice. In fact, the Canaanites would play loud flutes and drums to drown out the sound of the infant’s screams.

Wicked is not strong enough a word to describe what was going on here.

Going back to the command that God gave Israel, we see that He abhors such behavior and practices. Don’t forget that the command was given amidst other commands about  sinful sexual practices. This type of “worship” would be tempting to those who either didn’t want their child or felt this was the way they could take hold of their future.

Make no mistake, Molech is still being worshiped today. He has just taken on a more modern, 21st century look. The drums and flutes have been discarded, but there is still plenty of noise to drown out the cries of the infants. In both situations, the baby is offered up so that the parents might have a “better life.”

God was patient with the Canaanites for 400 years before He sent His righteous judgement. When will His patience run out with us? Oh Lord, have mercy!

Attraction Won't Keep You Married

Attraction Won’t Keep You Married

Have you ever wondered why some of the most beautiful couples in Hollywood end up getting divorced? These people have no shortage when it comes to looks, but it seems that they just can’t make their marriages work. Apparently, their attractiveness is not enough to keep them “happily ever after.”

This isn’t true of only Hollywood A-listers; it is true for every couple in the world. Sure, physical attraction can be the thing that draws a couple together, but just like two magnets, they can be separated with enough force. Let me be clear: physical attraction is wonderful and good in marriage, but it is not supreme. It cannot and will not carry you through life’s toughest storms. Marriages that last are built upon a much more solid foundation—love. I am not talking about infatuation or romance. I am referring to an unconditional love which flows from our personal relationships with the Lord, Jesus Christ.

Do you remember the story of Rebekah and Isaac in Genesis chapter 23? Abraham told his servant to find Issac a wife who was from the land of his ancestors. As Abraham’s servant was praying for success in carrying out his master’s instructions, he met Rebekah there at the well. To summarize the story, Rebekah agrees to go with Abraham’s servant and to marry Isaac, someone she had never met. Rebekah had no idea what Issac looked like or what his personality was like. She decided in her heart that she would love him no matter what she found when she got there. She believed in faith that this was God’s will for her life. The Bible spends only one verse talking about Rebekah’s physical beauty, but it says that she was very beautiful. The Word of God spends the rest of the time explaining how beautiful she was inwardly.

I am sure that Isaac was overjoyed when he saw Rebekah for the first time. But Rebekah’s beauty alone did not keep their marriage alive, especially during the twenty years that Rebekah was barren. No, something much stronger kept them together. It was the covenant they made with one another before God. It was their hope in the promises of God and trust in His faithfulness to keep them.

I praise God that physical beauty is not what fuels Christ’s love for the Church. He loves us with an unconditional, sacrificial love. At this point, we are not the spotless bride of Christ without blemish, but one day we will be (Ephesians 5:22-33). We know that there is nothing that can separate us from the love of Christ (Romans 8:38-39). May our marriages testify to this glorious truth and mystery every single day (Ephesians 5:23). So, let us not be as magnets whose strength can weaken and poles shift. Instead, let us be as threefold cords who are not easily broken, who are held together by God (Ecclesiastes 4:12).

beautiful wedding bouquet

The Glory of a Godly Woman

Yesterday, my wife and I were essentially incapacitated. Both of us were suffering with some sort of food poisoning. I won’t go into the graphic details, but just know that it was absolutely awful. Praise God that we are feeling much better today. Also, we would like to thank everyone who prayed for us and offered to help us yesterday. We felt very loved.

My wife definitely had worse symptoms than I did. Despite this fact, she did not grumble or complain when I told her I needed to lie down. Never once did she get upset with me yesterday. Instead, she constantly checked in on me, made sure I was taking medicine, and wasn’t overexerting myself. She has done these things in the past when I was sick, but never have we both been this sick at the same time. I was overwhelmed by God’s glory and grace shining through her.

Proverbs 31:10-12 says this about my wife:

An excellent wife who can find?
She is far more precious than jewels.
The heart of her husband trusts in her,
and he will have no lack of gain.
She does him good, and not harm,
all the days of her life.

In some Christian circles, especially at Christian universities, the search for a godly wife is more of a joke than an earnest prayer before God. In fact, Proverbs 31 has become a source of banter among young Christian men and women. I don’t know if it is still popular, but I remember #P31Success being a popular hashtag when I was in school.

Young men in Christ, be serious in the search for a woman who fears the Lord. One day when you are sick as a dog and your mom and dad aren’t there to take care of you, you are going to wish you had married a Proverbs 31 woman. And because marrying a beautiful woman is such a top priority for many of you, let me just say this: I have never met a truly godly woman who was not exceedingly beautiful. If your main goal is to be with the “hottest” girl on campus, man, you’ve lost before the race has even begun.

And MacKenzie, if you are reading this, I want you to know how thankful I am to be your husband. I know full and well that I have done nothing to deserve you or the beautiful little girl you brought into this world. I love you with all of my heart.