Monday, May 31, 2021

Preparing Kids for Marriage

 Some statistics:

89% of adults will marry (only 9% say don't want to get married)

The average American spends 2/3 of their life in marriage

If a person marries ... it'll affect every aspect of their life.
(physical, emotional, social, financial, vocational, recreational)

IF you marry, Nothing will have a greater affect on your life (with the exception of Salvation)

(We know) a good marriage is a source of great pleasure, joy, comfort, satisfaction, happiness!!
(on the other hand, a troubled marriage creates frustration, disappointment, sorrow, pain, etc.)

Vast majority say "when I marry, I expect it to be for life".

100% say, "if, when I marry, I want it to be a success."

Question:  Why are we not more focused on preparing kids for marriage???

Some thoughts on "How to" prepare a Child for marriage.

#1.  Be Intentional
Compare time, effort focused on sports they'll probably never play again?!?

#2. Pray for your child - James 5:16

#3.  Pray for your child's future spouse - James 5:16
Pray specifically, pray early - example:  Pastor's wife prayed for their children and grandchildren, and future spouses from the time they were very small.

#4.  Evangelize your child
On one hand, only the Holy Spirit can draw, save
However, you CAN (a) introduce them to the Faith
     therefore,            (b) giving them opportunity to decide
This is NOT pushing. It = influence!!  - take them to church instead of sending them.
Example:  the success rate of committed Christians and marriage!!!

#5.  Disciple your child
Deut. 6:4-9
Eph. 6:4
Parental duty!  We tend to think "evangelize ..... then disciple", BUT ... the reverse often = effective!!! 
Start discipling early in hopes it will influence acceptance of Christ.

Example:  The marital satisfaction level = highest among couples who attend church together!!!

#6.  Discipline your child
A selfish, spoiled brat makes a lousy spouse!!!
Prov. 19:18, 13:24 - issue is not spanking.  It = correction, training, etc. - Heb. 12:5-11

#7.  Focus on Godly character - Mal. 2:15 - character supersedes all other things.
Emotional health seeks its own level, so... do you want your child to choose an emotionally healthy" mate..??

*Child raising tidbit* - A recent wave of research shows that children who eat diner with their families are less likely to drink, smoke, do drugs, get pregnant, commit suicide, and develop eating disorders.  additional research found that children who enjoy family meals have larger vocabularies, better manners, healthier diets, and higher self-esteem.  The most comprehensive survey done on this topic, a University of Michigan report that examined how American children spent their time between 1981 and 1997, discovered that the amount of time children spent eating meals at home was the single biggest predictor of better academic achievement and fewer behavioral problems.  Mealtime was more influential than time spent in school, studying, attending religious services, or playing sports. 

#8.  Teach Practical marriage skills
Example:  finances, housework, sharing the load
Also.... compliment, apology, forgiveness, compromise, arguing "to resolve" ....

#9.  Teach respect for the opposite sex
On one hand, gender competition = example:  Day Camp offerings - boys against the girls
However, gender competition is rampant in situation comedies

#10.  Model a Godly marriage
60 of learning that affects behavior is based on watching someone we know and trust.  (this works toward Positive AND Negative!!)

Basic beliefs and behavior are formed by age 13.  Which doesn't mean can't change, ... but = must change ... which = effort!!

The greatest predictor of a successful marriage = the successful marriage of the couple's parents.

Which leads to:  Do you want your kids to have a successful marriage???

Then:  (1)  WORK ON YOURS
and    (2)  MODEL THAT WORK 

Question:  what if are divorced?  single?  failed marriage?
Answer:  can still be a good model!!
   -  how to handle divorce in a Christian manner
   - how to live as a single parent
   - how to treat your ex
   - how to properly seek a new partner

Point:  God's Word has wisdom, advice, instruction for living ... Regardless of Marital Status!

Add:  This goes far beyond your kids, grandkids.  You have NO IDEA who's watching you .. who you are influencing.

Matt.   5:14-16 
What a great place to M.A.D.  (AND to personally benefit in the process!!)

Monday, May 24, 2021

Dealing with Personal Baggage in Marriage

 Marital issues divided into 2 categories:

I.  PROBLEMS CAUSED BY the marriage

II.  PROBLEMS  BROUGHT INTO the Marriage - (consequences of two becoming one!)

The 2 Categories:

I.  Things not a problem in a single bed (single household), (but NOW = double bed!)

II.  Things WERE a problem in a single bed (single household) (and NOW in double bed!)


I)  Problems created by marriage - by the union (marital developments, Becoming issues!

     housekeeping issues - the mating of a slob and and neat freak

     financial issues - saver vs spender

     simple expectations/assumptions  "mama picked up after me.  Therefore, so should you!"  "daddy covered my overdraws, so should you"

     sexual intimacy - how much?  how often? etc.

     faith issues - which church, any church? how serious? involved?

     political views - (if not discussed before mariage!)

     in-laws - (how to honor parents while cleaving to spouse?  

     holidays - spent where, how celebrated, Santa Claus

     Vacation - Spa?  or backpacking in the high country?  (deer season!)

     weekend mornings - morning person vs night owl

     child discipline - how?  by whom?

     TV ? chick flick or blow 'em up movie?  

     Thermostat ??

     dogs or cats ? both? none? inside or outside?

These = BECOMING ISSUES which were not issues before the marriage.


II.  Problems brought INTO the marriage - ie:  problems that already existed and were brought into the marriage;  Baggage Issues.

     touchy, over-sensitive,easily upset, OR IN-sensitive!  short fuse, hot temper, argumentative, quarrelsome

     mouthy, rude, impatient (even mean, cruel) demanding, unreasonable, pushy, inconsiderate, stubborn, unyielding, uncommunicative, un-compromising, unforgiving, unconfessing  ie:  never admit fault, therefore never apologize

These are character flaws we bring INTO the union!  - Rom. 3:23

    stingy, greedy, uncaring, unsharing, sullen, grumpy, always angry, always depressed (NOT clinical)

    lazy, irresponsible, deceitful, untrustworthy (OR - suspicious & untrusting!)

    abusive; low self esteem OR prideful, egotistical  

    Maybe an addiction, alcohol, drugs, pron, gambling  (these may not have existed before the marriage, but are NOT a result OF the marriage.)

These = BAGGAGE ISSUES - not caused by the marriage, but brought into the marriage.

All these are Becoming Issues and BAGGAGE Issues..

Becoming Issues = differences, preferences, habits, etc.
Baggage Issues = character flaws; at odds with God's will

Becoming Issues can (and should) be dealt with as a couple!  (talking, giving, taking ... finding common ground)

Baggage Issues = individual must fix it themselves!  (spouse can help but cannot fix)

Focus today = "Baggage Issues"

But look beyond marriage because affects all in the home!



(1)  What we call Character flaws - the Bible calls SIN!! 
      acceptable behavior = Righteousness
      unacceptable behavior = SIN
Anything that is contrary to what we were designed for.

(2)  having baggage is not necessarily Sin!!  (example:  POW, abused child)  It = our response to baggage that may be sinful.

(3)  Everybody brings some baggage into the marriage.  (from hand bag to U-Haul) - Rom. 3:23

(4)  Not dealing with baggage allows it to fester, grow, become deep seated and hard to extract.

(5)  The Biblical concept of dealing with baggage is easy to understand, but difficult to execute.  (the old man dies hard)

So.... How to Biblically deal with Baggage within marriage/home.

#1.  Discover God's will for your behavior
Which means ... Exposure to His Word!!! - which is:
     (1) Instructive  2 Tim. 3:16-17 - all scripture is God breathed
     (2)  Effective - Heb. 4:12
     (3)  Extensive - example:  Eph. 4:22-32 

Question:  How much time given to knowing His Word, will?

#2.  Open your heart and mind to what the Word is saying.
You will yourself to "Hear" the Word AND the Holy Spirit

#3.  ADMIT!!!  1 John 1:9 is Between 1 John 1:8, 1:10!!
Choices:  (1)  go with what your think/feel
              (2)  Go with what GOD says

#4.  REPENT - put feet to your decision, do what should do
UnBiblical Alternatives - denial, downplay, indifference, stonewalling, blame transfer, defeatism

#5.  WORK at it!! - Phil. 2:12-13 = joint effort - God's going to help you!
     Gal. 5:22-23 - fruit = joint effort!!  Work at it continually. 

#6.  Continue to WORK at it!  Rom. 6:11-14 
SALVATION (immediate) vs SANCTIFICATION - lifelong process of being practically holy.

Do you want to be God's man in a Godly home?
Then deal with baggage  

Do you want to be God's woman in a Godly home?

Do you want to be Godly Parents ina  Godly home?

This stuff is easy to understand, BUT difficult to practice

BUT -- the Outcome is worth the Effort!!

Closing Scripture:  John 8:31-32

Monday, May 17, 2021

Care and Feeding of Your Buffalo/Butterfly

 We are in the family series.  Much helpful material!

On one hand, marital problems ARE common (hence many jokes about marriage)
However, a recent survey commissioned by E-Harmony shows:

64% - "very happy in my current romantic relationship
19% - "not happy but willing to remain in the relationship
only 6% - desperately unhappy

So,,, on one hand, not as bad as we might think (esp. portrayal on TV)
However, is some dissatisfaction in every marriage!

Some (much) of that dissatisfaction is the result of the marriage of a 'Buffalo and a Butterfly'.  ie:  nothing more than the differences between male and female.

Biblical passage - Eph. 5:22-33

According to Paul "men ...... love"   "women ..... respect"

Question:  is there really that much difference?  in Love and Respect? 
On one hand, "Yes"
However, not easy to define, describe, distinguish

Whether or not we can define and describe the difference in Love and Respect, the question boils down to this:

What does your spouse desire from you ... that is a legitimate, God-given need .... that you are capable of meeting, providing...?  (at least to some degree)

Prov. 3:27-28 - if this is true of neighbor, how much more of spouse?

Compare principle addressed in:  Rom. 13:7, Rom. 14:19, 1 John 3:16-19
(again, if true of neighbor, ....?)

Scenario =
(1)  Disappointments (which recur and accumulate)
(2)  Dissatisfaction (hunger)
(3) feelings of deprivation  (feeling starved!)
leads to
(4)  suspicions  (ie he/she knows my need and refuses to meet it)
leads to
(5)  withdrawal or lash out
leads to;
(6) more hurt, dissatisfaction, withdrawal, and therefore less likely to meet known legitimate needs.

I.  The need is more than to Be loved, be respected ...
the need = to FEEL loved, respected!

hence, we need to learn to communicate in a way that satisfies that need.

II.  This 'need' is legitimate, God-given!

III.  The need doesn't have to be met for the marriage to Survive ... but to thrive!!  

MEN many places your wife can experience love, but 'marital love' can come only from you!!

WOMEN:  your man can find respect in many places but the respect he longs for most comes only from you!

Providing Love and Respect = a marital responsibility!  Eph. 5:33 = a command

to refuse to provide this is disobedience.... - 1 Tim. 5:8

to refuse to provide this is foolish!  - Prov. 14:1 - touchstone Vs. #1

                                                     John 13:17 - touchstone Vs. #2

 Closing Scripture:  Prov. 24:3-4


Monday, May 10, 2021

Buffaloes and Butterflies

 Disclaimer:  this covers typical marital situations.  Not necessarily extreme situations.

I.  Why Your hubby is such a clod.

(1)  He's human - Rom. 3:23 - therefore seriously flawed

(2) He's a male human - Gen. 1:27 therefore every cell in his body is different.  Including BRAIN CELLS!!! 
Note:  This is by God's Design!!

(3)  He's ignorant - does NOT mean stupid!!!
It means untrained, unlearned, uneducated in (A) the opposite sex (differences)
                                                                    (B)  marriage   Example:  requirements for license? 

(4)  He's forgetful - acting in a manner that pleases a butterfly .... on one hand CAN be learned,
                                         However, will never come naturally!!

(5)  He's confused - because butterfly language, logic, thinking, feeling .... just doesn't make sense to him!!

 II.  Why your wife is such a nag   Prov. 27:15-16, 21:19

(1)  She's human - Rom. 3:23 - therefore seriously flawed   Rom. 3:23 is NOT gender specific

(2)  She's a female human - Gen. 1:27
Gen. 22:21-23 - Adam knew this was different BUT knew it was for him!!
Every cell is different - including BRAIN CELLS!!  God designed us to be different and still fit!

(3)  She's ignorant - though more apt to research and learn.  Nevertheless, where is this taught from a Biblical perspective?

(4)  She's forgetful - because living daily in Buffalo mode will NEVER come natural to her!!

(5)  She's confused - Buffalo language, logic, thinking just doesn't make sense to her!


(6)  Both - hurt - let downs, disappointments, things said and done in anger, slights, accusations, etc.

On one hand, we can heal from wounds, BUT (1) they tend to accumulate and (2) especially in the absence of apology and forgiveness!

NOTE:  The differences are not going away.  God wired them in to us.
The differences are not teh problem!!!!  (they existed in Eden!!)

The Problem = dealing with differences in a Sinful Manner!!!!

III.  Is there any hope? 

Hope is found in:

(1)  Salvation - conversion - new heart, new perspective - 2 Cor. 5:17

(2)  God's Word(s) - wisdom, truth, correction, instruction

(3)  Additional education - (1) about yourself first, then (2) about spouse

(4)  "establishing good will" 

(5)  Consistent effort - and .. it's worth the effort .. for you, and yours!!

 Touchstone verse for the series:   Prov. 14:1

 Closing Scripture:  Psm. 25:4-5

Monday, May 3, 2021

Leftovers! From Jeremiah

(things we haven't had time to touch on)

Jeremiah preached at a very difficult time.  - 40 years without success.  Was discouraging and disappointing.

I)  .....Concerning Sin - Jer. 17:9
Jeremiah said a lot about sing .. this verse sums it up!  Sin = anything contrary to God's will - by commission or omission.  Jeremiah predicted the exile to Babylon. 
"heart" = problem then and now - Rom. 3:23  All problems stem from someone or someones refusing to do God's will!
Compare  Judges 21:25.  IF is no universal moral code .. THEN that's OK.  BUT Scripture says:
(1) there IS a universal moral code  
(2) we are obligated to it
(3) to defy it is detrimental .... to individual, to nation
Question:  What should "the righteous" (Christians, believers) do when the nation rushes to sin? 
Answer:  live righteously!  Examples:  Daniel, Paul

II)  ....Concerning discipleship, ministry, services    
Look at Jesus' words to this - Matt. 16:24-25
Point = following Christ NOT for weak willed people!  - is for people who are willing to commit!
NOW... God's word to Jeremiah ... Jer. 12:5 - I will give you everything you need, not everything you want.

III)  ...Concerning motivation to serve - Jer. 20:7-9
Can't always feel motivated
Can give attention to 'lack of feelings' - 2 Tim. 1:6-7
Question:  How to fan into flame?
Answer:  Pay attention to the fire!!! 

IV)  ....Concerning Judgment - Chapters 46 - 51
Point = the wicked will be used by God
But ... they will still answer for their wickedness!!  Example:  Babylon.  They attacked Israel and took the people into exile for all the wrong reasons.
Jer. 50:1-3, 18, 31, 51:24, 56 - the Lord will repay in full.

New Testament parallel - 2 Tim. 2:20-21 - Example:  you can be used as a flower pot or a chamber pot, but God will use you.

V) ...Concerning grief, sorrow - "Laments" = funeral songs
On one hand, is OK to grieve, cry ("Jesus wept" at Lazarus' grave)
However, remember .. the God that allows grief today is the God who brought joy yesterday and  tomorrow!!

Example:  The Lament - Lam. 3:1-9
The conclusion = Lam. 3:19-24

In Jeremiah we see....
I)  God is a loving God  (He weeps over His people)
II)  God is a righteous God (He judges sin ... rightly!)
III)  God is the Omnipotent God  (He can bring about BOTH ... judgment and mercy!)  Perfect judgment and perfect mercy at the same time.

Therefore:  He is WORTHY of worship!!! 

Closing scripture:  Lam. 3:25-26, 31-32