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Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Thinking Biblically on Election Day Tuesday

With election season right upon us, I thought it might do some good for us to be reminded of three truths about God’s relationship to America and the nations of the earth. First, God is the Sovereign Lord over every nation. Regardless of a nation’s political hierarchy, whether it is democratically governed or ruled by a despot, God is the ultimate and final authority in every land over every government. Therefore, regardless of whether the Republicans or Democrats win the White House and Congress, the day after the election—Tuesday—the same Ruler will be governing on His throne—Jesus Christ, the King.

Second, remember the kindness and severity of God (Rom 11:22). Acts 14:16-17 teaches that God shows kindness to the nations of the earth. We shouldn’t forget then, that in His kindness, God is the One who blessed America and made her great. Equally clear, Jeremiah 18:5-10 teaches that through His judgment God brings about the fall of nations that reject Him and His ways. Our Christian influence then matters. Like Israel of old (Jer 29:4-7), the church should live out our God-given convictions in love for the welfare of America. That means we should use our Bible-centered way of thinking, living, and yes, voting, in a day and time when our nation and leaders openly reject God and His ways. Does this mean that we must vote only for Christian politicians? No.

The third truth is this: All governing officials in every land, whether they believe in the God of the Bible or not, are His servants, and they will answer to Him (Rom 13:1-7). This means that Christians can, in good faith, vote for non-Christian governing officials who they discern will biblically bring about the welfare of America because they best align with the morals and worldview of the Bible. In these days, with what obviously seems like the wrath of God pouring out upon our heads (Rom 1:18-32), I hope this advice helps.

Until Jesus returns, may all true American Christians do all that we can for the welfare of America.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Biblical Advice for Brothers Who Want to Find a Wife Part 2

I love everything about weddings. I love their beauty. I love the mystery how out of all the billions of people on earth one man and one woman fall so in love that they vow to join together in a lifelong monogamous union. I love that out of all the ways God reveals His glory, He uniquely designed marriage to display His love for His people. With all that marriage offers and is (leading Peter to call it “the grace of life”) why would any godly brother let it pass him by? If you don’t want marriage to pass you by, then keep reading and let me offer you five more tips of biblical advice on how to find a wife.

1st Pray for a Wife
I know this sounds obvious, but first you must pray. John 15:7 promises, “If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.” God wants us to pray. He is the One who commands, “ask for whatever you wish!” By abiding in Jesus’ words, our prayer will be, “Father let Your will be done in my life, not mine.” When we pray in God’s will (and praying for a wife is), then we can be assured that He hears us. Persevere in prayer, brothers, God is not trying to trick you. He promises that “we must not only believe that He is, but that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him” (Heb 11:6). So while God commands us to pray, He also promises to answer! Therefore, in order to find a wife, pray fervently. There is nothing that I prayed harder and longer for than for a wife. There was a saying that went around some years ago using the acronym for pray called P.U.S.H. It stood for Pray Until Something Happens. God answers prayer! His answer might be “no,” “not this one,” or “wait,” but He will answer, and you must pray believing that. So keep PUSHING until you get a wife!

2nd Lead Your Sisters
Back in the day, farmers used to pray with a hoe in their hand.  That meant that although they prayed depending on God to do everything, they knew that God would work His answer out through them. Not surprisingly, the surest way to not find a wife is to pray and then avoid spending time with sisters in Christ. That being said, the Bible doesn’t call single men to be Casanovas. In 1 Timothy 5:2, Paul through Timothy commands single men to treat women “as sisters in all purity.” So before you can be a good husband, learn to be a good brother. Single men, leading means initiating! You must organize times in your church to encourage your sisters in Christ. You set up fun events like bowling outings. You plan ministry trips to the Union Rescue Mission. Always escort the single sisters in your church to banquets. Be gentle, hold doors, greet them, encourage them. In other words, lead while you are learning to be good platonic brothers/friends. And establish your brother-sister relationships in such a way that you maintain the godly reputation of being a one-woman kind of man (1 Tim 3:2). Don’t be a flirt, and don’t casually enter in and out of so-called dating relations.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Biblical Advice for Brothers Who Want to Find a Wife

According to a Washington Post article dated 2011, the proportion of adults who are married has plunged to record lows. It went on to say . . .

The marriage patterns are a striking departure from the middle of the 20th century, when the percentage of adults who never wed was in the low single digits. In 1960, for example, 72 percent of all adults were married. The median age for brides was barely 20, and the grooms were just a couple of years older.

NY Times similarly reported:

Married couples have dropped below half of all American households for the first time, the Census Bureau says, a milestone in the evolution of the American family toward less traditional forms. Married couples represented just 48 percent of American households in 2010, according to data being made public Thursday and analyzed by the Brookings Institution. This was far below the 78 percent of households occupied by married couples in 1950.

For anyone working in an urban context, that’s a stunning stat. In 1950, eight out of every ten households in America were occupied by married couples.

A Pew survey done last year gives helpful insight to this seismic shift in attitude towards marriage. It determined that more than four in ten Americans younger than 30 consider marriage passe. D’Vera Cohn, a Pew researcher, concluded that many young adults today “…see marriage as an obsolete social environment.”

In an urban context, it’s worse. African American women are the least likely in our society to marry. In the period between 1970 and 2001, one study showed that the overall marriage rate in the United States declined by 17 percent; but for blacks, it fell by 34 percent. Such statistics led Howard University relationship therapist Audrey Chapman to point out that African Americans are the most uncoupled people in the country. Sociologist Andrew J. Cherlin lamented, “I was stunned to learn that a black child was more likely to grow up living with both parents during slavery days than he or she is today.”

In another Washington Post article written by Joy Jones, whose title came from one of her black 6th grade students, “Marriage is for White People,” wrote:
  • I was pleasantly surprised when the boys in the class stated that being a good father was a very important goal to them, more meaningful than making money or having a fancy title.
  • "That's wonderful!" I told my class. "I think I'll invite some couples in to talk about being married and rearing children."
  • "Oh, no," objected one student. "We're not interested in the part about marriage. Only about how to be good fathers."
  • And that's when the other boy chimed in, speaking as if the words left a nasty taste in his mouth: "Marriage is for white people."

It is obvious from these stories and statistics that for many Americans marriage is no longer esteemed as it once was. And sadly for far too many Christians, the world’s way of thinking (Rom 12:2) has successfully influenced the attitudes and actions of Christians.

But what do the Scriptures say about the importance of marriage? If Christians will be Christ-like, then they have to learn how to think biblically. So what significance does the Bible place upon the institute of marriage?

  • The Bible explicitly teaches that God made marriage.
  • In the OT, God, Himself, performs the first wedding ceremony.
  • In the NT, Jesus performs His first miracle at a wedding, allowing His presence to affirm the beauty and dignity of marriage.
  • The people of God in the OT are extolled as God’s wife.
  • In the NT, the church is given the lofty title of the bride of Christ.
  • The love between a man and a woman is marveled over as one of the great mysteries in life. Proverbs 30:18-19 says it this way:
There are three things, which are too wonderful for me,
four which I do not understand:
The way of an eagle in the sky,
the way of a serpent on a rock,
the way of a ship in the middle of the sea,
and the way of a man with a maid.
  • The Bible teaches that marriage itself existed as a mystery throughout the history of the world to be unveiled in the NT as the God-ordained picture of what His love relationship with His people would look like.
  • In the beginning, only after God officiated the first marriage did He say, “Behold it is very good.”
  • And interestingly, the end of history reaches its apex with the marriage supper of the Lamb.

From this brief survey, it would be hard to conclude anything other than the fact that the Bible places a tremendous amount of importance on marriage.

There is even an entire book of the Bible—The Song of Songs—dedicated to expressing the wonder and joy of marital love. And because these truths are so self-evident, I am not sure that there has ever been a time in history, or a place in the word, where there has been a need to appeal to men to seek and find a wife.

But here we are today, faced with this life and death challenge for the church and our society—men, even Christian men, in critically high numbers are not getting married. As marriage declines, a million other biblical expectations will decline with it. So what does the Bible teach about the significant of marriage? Let’s look at that together.

1st The Bible Teaches All (Including men) that Marriage is Important

Hebrews 13:4, says “Marriage is to be held in honor among all.” The meaning of the verse is clear, regardless of how outdated the world may consider marriage; regardless of the number of people shacking. The Bible says “to all” Christian men and to whoever else will listen, that marriage is to be held in honor. That is to say that marriage is to be thought of as valuable as gold and jewels. It is to be sought after like a great treasure and to be held in high regard and with great respect.