A judge in Texas earlier this year effectively denied a U.S. citizen her constitutionally protected due process rights, choosing instead to order her to appear before an Islamic tribunal where her testimony is considered inferior. And when her lawyers sounded the alarm — the judge doubled down…
It’s Father’s Day weekend. Here in Idaho, the women just finished an annual women’s-only bike ride that attracts participants from around the world. At one point, I contacted them on social media to ask if there…
Seven years ago, Bloomberg Businessweek’s cover story told professional women, “Freeze Your Eggs, Free Your Career.” The story told of a woman in her late 30s, single and successful in her career, who spent $19,000 to have her eggs frozen. She planned to focus on a career now and keep open the possibility of marriage and kids later…
Genesis 2 is what I call the detailed report of those things in Chapter 1 God knew we would have questions about. It starts with God finishing creation and resting on Day 7. Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary breaks it down this way, with our text comes from the last part of the Chapter:
The first sabbath. (1-3) Particulars about the creation. (4-7) The planting of the garden of Eden. (8-14) Man is placed in it. (15) God’s command. (16,17) The animals named, The making of woman, The Divine institution of marriage. (18-25)
The concept here, the direct intervention from God is plain for all to see; “It is not good (beneficial) for the man to be alone;” and since we are talking about the beginning of creation, some 6000 years ago God had to intervene and create a woman just as He had a man. The interesting thing here is the HOW. God could have used the same dust formula but chose instead to use v.21, the rib the Greek word here is Telsa’ and can only mean a rib, so God makes a woman from a man so that they would be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.
Yesterday was Valentine’s Day, and here in America at least it is a B I G deal. Everyone spends like crazy trying to prove their “Love” for one another with some token or extravagant gift. According to the National Retailers Association, the following chart shows Americans spent less this year but still a staggering $21.8 BILLION on Valentine’s Day gifts.
While I get the importance of telling your wife you love her, I think we should never forget that some trivial or even some extravagant gift can never replace true biblical love.
I offer the following for your edification:
Ezra being informed, by some of the princes who complained unto him, of the marriages of many of the Israelites with the people of the land, the Canaanites and others, was greatly grieved and distressed, Ezra 9:1-5, upon which he made a confession of their sins to God, with great shame, sorrow, and contrition, and deprecated the evils which they deserved, Ezra 9:6-15.
Upon Ezra’s prayer and confession, it was proposed by Shechaniah, that those who had married strange wives should put them away with their children, which they swore to do, Ezra 10:1-5, and proclamation was made throughout the land for all to meet at Jerusalem in three days’ time, and accordingly they did, Ezra 10:6-9 when, at the exhortation of Ezra, all agreed to it, and persons were appointed to see it done, and the work was finished in the space of three months, Ezra 10:10-17 and a list of the names of those is given who had married such wives, and now put them away; of the priests, Ezra 10:18-22, of the Levites, Ezra 10:23,24, of the other Israelites, Ezra 10:24-44. – John Gill’s Commentary
If you enjoy Pastor Sills sermon, here is a link to the rest of his series on Ezra. https://christchurchfareham.co.uk/our-sermons/sermon-series-ezra-spiritual-restoration-in-jerusalem-and-fareham/
Geoff Thomas Sermon on Ezra 9 man of Prayer
Divorce Is Down During COVID
“Stressful” doesn’t really begin to describe a year like 2020. Between the pandemic, the lockdowns, cancelled classes, lost jobs, and an election to rival trench warfare, you would expect a heavy toll on marriages and families. But a recent piece in the Washington Post offered some of the best news we’ve gotten in quite a while. Divorce rates in the United States have declined, and marriages have grown stronger — during the pandemic…
How We Rebuild a Culture of Commitment
JOHN STONESTREET WITH SHANE MORRIS
Economic factors do, of course, affect marriage rates. Even before COVID closed everything down, single breadwinners could find it quite difficult to support a growing family. In recent decades, the “marriage gap,” the different marriage rates between upper and lower income Americans, has become more pronounced, with marriage becoming more and more a luxury of the wealthy.
At the same time, it’s a worldview mistake to think that economics alone can explain what’s happening to marriage. As Bradford Wilcox with the Institute for Family Studies reminds us, “there was no marked increase in divorce, family instability, or single parenthood at the height of the Great Depression.” By contrast, Cornell sociologist Daniel Lichter points out that some of the biggest drops in marriage rates, at least in recent years, have occurred during economically prosperous times.
The bigger factor here is not money but culture.
Exhibit A: As marriage has receded, cohabitation has increased in both numbers and social acceptability. Pew reports that a quarter of unmarried young adults are living with a partner. That’s the highest percentage since our record-keeping began.
The rise of cohabitation has followed not only a shift of attitudes about out-of-wedlock sex, but about the institution of marriage itself. Several years ago, another Pew study found that more than half of young people in America thought marriage was “obsolete.” As one pastor remarked on Facebook, young people who pursue the skills necessary for marriage are often treated as if they’re wasting their “real” potential, and those who get married in their early or even mid-twenties can inspire a level of shock and shame that was once reserved only for couples “living in sin.”
Even worse, our culture’s current portrayal of the “good life” involves career-minded singles living in chic urban apartments, sowing their wild oats on casual dating and hookup apps, and leading lives incompatible with a spouse, much less children.
The road to rebuilding a culture that values marriage will be long and arduous, but we do have some clues about what works when it comes to creating and preserving that kind of culture. The Institute for Family Studies reports that, contrary to a popular but mistaken talking point, the institution that remains the single best refuge for marriage is the Church. It is still true, even today, that among the surest predictors that a couple will get and stay married is how regularly they attend religious services. That’s why bringing people to God and bringing people together are so often a package deal.
Even so, the Church simply must first embrace her God-given task of re-catechizing His people about what marriage is. Too often, the Church is trying to put a band-aid of sexual morality on the gaping wound of bad Christian thinking about marriage that is often no different than the larger culture: That marriage is either a lifestyle accessory, a waste of youth, or an institution of personal happiness. We won’t know what marriage is, or how to do it, unless we know what God created marriage for.
Hint: Though companionship is certainly a wonderful side-benefit of a healthy marriage, God didn’t create marriage to solve Adam’s loneliness problem. Check the text again: He created marriage to solve Adam’s aloneness problem. It’s an important distinction that not only explains what marriage is for, but sets the groundwork for all of the moral expectations God gives us about sex and marriage.
Even after the wedding, the Church is still the best place to strengthen marriages, a necessary task if we are to see the kind of culture where people think of lifelong marriage as part of the good life. Recently, J. P. DeGance joined me on the BreakPoint Podcast to talk about a unique, data-driven approach to help pastors identify struggling marriages and then works to help save them in their communities. Working with pastors and churches in Jacksonville, Florida, DeGance’s organization, Communio, saw the divorce rate drop 24 percent in just three years. That’s many times faster than the national average.
Saving existing marriages is essential to encouraging new ones. How many young people are out there that have never seen a single marriage work? How can we expect them to trust an institution that, in their view, not only consistently fails but also causes so much pain and heartbreak when it does?
J.P. DeGance will join Katy Faust, Pastor Bob Fu, and Student for Life president Kristan Hawkins for Module 5 of our upcoming “Truth. Love. Together” virtual event. He’ll be talking about how the Church can help restore a marriage culture. The Truth.Love.Together event is absolutely free. Sign up and learn more here.
Tim Counts | April 03, 2020
It happened again. My wife and I heard of yet another Christian couple—whom we knew and loved—ending their marriage. I felt sick. I couldn’t rid my mind of the years, likely decades, of unrest that would trickle from this.
It seems as if Christians are beginning to be okay with their marriages mimicking the world’s broken marriages. We are growing accustomed to leaving the gospel on the sideline when it comes to our wedding vows. Divorce has become something of a car crash: unpleasant, destructive, but sometimes simply inevitable. A wreck, however, pales in comparison to the ripple-effects of divorce. A fractured marriage not only affects the family, it devastates our witness as ministers of grace to a broken world.
But just consider the impact of a couple who says and actually means their wedding vows—”for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death do us part.”
Several years ago, I officiated a memorial service for a woman who had had a long fight with Alzheimer’s. She rarely recognized her husband the last years of her life. Yet week after week he drove four hours to be with his bride. On his last visit, something changed. She held his face in her hands and whispered, “I love you.” What a beautiful picture of the stubborn, never-wearying love of the gospel—a love that gives and forbears, even in days and years of forgetfulness.
The following are two biblical truths that help us to understand why God calls us to reflect the gospel by keeping our marriage covenant.
Satan Hates Your Marriage
In marriage, we do have an enemy, but that enemy is not our spouse. Understanding that will make all the difference. That enemy is the one who delights in deceiving, distorting, and dividing. Satan has hated marriage from the beginning, just as he hates all of God’s good creation.
When God created Eve and then led her to Adam as his bride, the Scriptures says: “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh” (Gen. 2:24). Immediately following God’s institution of marriage, the enemy of marriage enters: “Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the LORD God had made” (Gen. 3:1). In the following verses, we see the immediate results of Satan’s temptation. Eve tempts her husband to sin. And Adam resentfully points the finger, blaming his wife and God for his sin. Satan wasted no time, creating a chasm of resentment and struggle between man and his wife.
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Satan continues to hate marriage to this day. Why? Because God formed this institution to reflect the relentlessly-loving relationship between Christ and His bride—the church (Eph. 5:31–32). When we throw in the towel on our marriages, when we are unfaithful through infidelity or pornography, when we stop fighting for our marriages with a holy stubbornness, we fail to reflect the One who never stops assuring His bride, “No matter what, I will not let you go.” We too quickly let Satan win.
Jesus Will Never Leave His Bride
Jesus will never leave nor forsake His bride. Sally Lloyd-Jones described God’s covenant love as His “never stopping, never giving up, unbreaking, always and forever love.” Oh, that our marriages could be described like that. When Jesus came to earth as God in the flesh, He put skin on unconditional love. He showed what love looks like towards the unlovely—the prostitutes, the tax collectors, to those who had nothing to offer in return. When we display Jesus’ love by maintaining our marriage covenant, we become a practical demonstration of the love of Christ to a broken world.
Jesus will never leave His bride. Followers of Jesus shouldn’t either.
Yet Jesus does more than provide an example of stubborn love. The good news of the gospel is that believers are given the strength to live and love righteously. Because of Christ’s life, death, and resurrection, we can lean into the embrace of Jesus to find the strength to love our spouse.
I remember hearing the testimony of a young couple who had been on the brink of divorce. The husband had battled anger for years. The wife had committed adultery. After he and his wife had separated, the husband repented and turned to the Lord. In an attempt to reconcile, the husband looked at her and said, “Do you believe that Jesus died on the cross for your sins and rose from the dead?”
Yes, was her replay.
He continued: “And do you really believe that God could raise a dead man back to life and not breathe new life back into our marriage?” Restoration soon flooded this relationship—God breathed life into brokenness.
If Satan seems to have the upper hand in your marriage, if you are weary of trying to love your spouse with whatever endurance you can muster, the gospel has a better word for you.
Cling to Christ as you seek to reflect His faithful love to your spouse:
O love that will not let me go,
I rest my weary soul in thee;
I give thee back the life I owe,
That in thine ocean depths its flow,
May richer, fuller be.
[Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in August 2018 and has been updated.]
How to Teach Your Kids the Ten Commandments
by David Qaoud
Although my ministry primarily sees that I work with adults, I recently had the opportunity to teach a one-hour class on the ten commandments to young teenagers. I provided a handout and back and forth commentary on the subject. Below you will find part of my teaching approach. Feel free to use it and adapt it to your audience.
1. Read the Ten Commandments Aloud
The ten commandments will be found in Ex. 20:1-21 and Deut. 5:1-21. The first thing to do is to open up your Bible and read the ten commandments aloud. You read from Exodus and let your kids read from Deuteronomy (or the other way around). Either way, it’s important to start by actually reading the commandments.
You could also consider providing literary context for the ten commandments. Explain why God gave them to the Israelites, why the ten commandments are in the part of the Bible that they are in and not in another place, what happened before and after the giving of the ten commandments, and so on.
You can mention that God rescues the Israelites from Egypt first, then he provides the ten commandments. You can say that they are meant as a guide to show the Israelites how to live, that they reveal one’s need for a Savior, and that they all apply today in equal measure. This will bridge into an overview of our subject.
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FEBRUARY 7-14 – IS NATIONAL MARRIAGE WEEK
Five Moral Principles of Marriage
American Pastors Network President Sam Rohrer: God’s Model for Marriage Communicates Truth
For Christians, says American Pastors Network (APN) President Sam Rohrer, defending marriage between one man and one woman may seem easy. Whether examined historically, physiologically, emotionally, economically or morally, biblical marriage is best.
“But the moral argument is strongest because it precedes and underpins all others,” Rohrer says.
As the nation observes National Marriage Week Feb. 7-14, APN hopes all couples—married or soon-to-be-married—will consider five moral principles of marriage that Christians must not only understand and live out but also nurture and defend in the culture.
- Marriage is God’s idea.
God’s plan is best because God alone is Truth, Creator and Judge.
“Our opinion on marriage doesn’t really matter,” Rohrer says. “We have no vote, but we do have a choice. As the Source of all Authority, God’s plan for male and female, marriage, human sexuality, children and family prevails. Only He has the right to legitimately define it and to demand that we observe it.”
- God’s plan establishes biblical marriage as foundational for strong families.
Biblical marriage is the cornerstone of authority in human society.
“God’s foundation for societal order is upheld first by the pillar of family authority, then civil, then church authority—all nurtured by God’s purpose and limitation for each,” notes Rohrer. “No nation can be blessed by God without strong families. No family can be strong without a strong marriage at the center. And no marriage can be strong without following God’s plan for marriage.”
- No other combination besides one man and one woman works in God’s plan.
This principle presumes one man and one woman, united and committed, as one flesh—before God.
“Therefore,” Roher adds, “no government possesses the authority to legally alter or redefine marriage or family. It has no more moral or jurisdictional authority to redefine marriage than to declare natural law invalid or declare immoral actions, such as theft, murder or rape, moral.”
- To preserve the integrity of marriage and the family, it must be kept holy.
Heterosexual infidelity, sex outside marriage, homosexuality or marriage between multiple men or woman all violate God’s order.
“No violation or variation of marriage or engagement in human sexuality, other than within the bounds of marriage between one man and one woman, is acceptable without bringing predictable consequences to individuals, communities and nations,” Rohrer says.
- Ephesians 5 gives truth about marriage.
God declares that physical marriage between one man and one woman is holy and mirrors the spiritual relationship between Christ and the Church.
“God’s plan of redemption through Jesus Christ and His relationship to the church is the picture of true love and unity between God and man—and why all efforts to redefine God’s design is a direct attack on God Himself, His plan of redemption and Jesus Christ,” Rohrer concludes.
Rohrer adds that the American Pastors Network emphasizes the authority of Scripture for deciding all issues, including marriage, and urges pastors and parents to defend and live out God’s model in their pulpits and in their homes.
In this vein, APN hopes thousands will join the ministry for its national prayer movement called “52 Tuesdays,” in which the faithful from around the country will come together to pray for the moral and spiritual renewal of our nation every Tuesday leading up to Election Day 2020.
This dedicated season of prayer not only addresses the important 2020 presidential election but also other topics close to Christians’ hearts, such as marriage and family. Prayer warriors nationwide can add their name to the growing “52 Tuesdays” list here.
Note the text was slightly modified from the original without changing the content to make it easier to reblogg here.