Balance or Yes & No

wooden fenceIt’s not that we don’t know right from wrong. We do. We simply all too often make either emotional or reckless decisions in a moment of weakness, hunger or fatigue.

We know right from wrong, we just don’t know how to prioritize right from wrong.

Most of our selfish and reckless decisions are sourced from the fact that our priorities are fluid. We haven’t decided, before we are presented with a decision, what our values and priorities dictate. Your greatest weapon in achieving your goals is deciding before hand what you say yes to and what you say no to and then being intentional about sticking with those principles.

Even if, however, you are able to do that, there is then the difficulty of choosing between good things and better things. As Jim Collins so aptly presented to us, The enemy of great is good enough.

It is those reasons that make balance one of the most important things necessary for a healthy life spiritually, mentally, emotionally, and physically. We are only one person, and our mind and spirit and intellect must do everything they will do in the only physical body we will ever have. An imbalance in any of those areas will affect who you are as a person.

The state of your body affects your mind and the state of your spirit affects your body. There’s only one way to disconnect your mind, body and spirit from each other. It’s called death.

So as long as you are alive, and as long as you intend to pursue physical, spiritual and emotional health, you’re going to have to learn to find balance. That will require you learning when to say, “Yes” and when to say, “No”.

As much as we would like to convince ourselves otherwise, there is no neutrality in life. We make choices every day. Not making a choice is a choice in itself. Everything you say “yes” to also means a thousand other options you said “no” to. Everywhere you are is a myriad of places you aren’t. Everything you receive defines the things you reject and vice versa.

Learning the power of saying “Yes” and “No” to the right things is key to achieving balance.

The great power of Christianity is that, for most of us, If we get God in His rightful place everything else effortlessly lines up. The truth is, it’s not so much us putting God in His rightful place ( He’s already there) as it is us placing ourselves in our proper place under Him. When we realign our will with His will we find ourselves in the peace that is promised in His Spirit.

Sometimes we’re afraid to say no to some people and things because it often feels harsh and severe. We would like to be seen as nice people, as being kind. But sometimes saying no is the kindest, most important thing you can do for yourself, your family or another person.

Often, we can be very cruel in our intents to be kind. It’s not kindness to continue to enable individuals to self destruct. It’s not kindness to fatigue your own mind and body to such a degree that you rob yourself of rest and your family of your complete presence. Often the kindest thing we could do is learn to say, “No”.

Sadly, it is often the little things that end up being our real problems. It turns out, you really should sweat the small stuff because often the big stuff is simply an aggregate of the small stuff that we didn’t properly sweat. Our priorities were fluid, our values unsettled, and, because of that, we didn’t know when to say yes or when to say no. The little stuff aggregates and then we have a big problem.

John Piper says in his book, A Hunger For God,

“The greatest enemy of hunger for God is not poison but apple pie. It is not the banquet of the wicked that dulls our appetite for heaven, but endless nibbling at the table of the world. It is not the X-rated video, but the prime-time dribble of triviality we drink in every night. For all the ill that Satan can do, when God describes what keeps us from the banquet table of his love, it is a piece of land, a yoke of oxen, and a wife (Luke 14:18-20).

The greatest adversary of love to God is not his enemies but his gifts. And the most deadly appetites are not for the poison of evil, but for the simple pleasures of earth. For when these replace an appetite for God himself, the idolatry is scarcely recognizable, and almost incurable.”

Airplanes need two wings, and both are necessary to stay in the air. People have two legs, one to remain planted while the other one moves, enabling us to walk forward or backward. Roads have two sets of lanes, each going in opposite directions. The truth is, you need Yes and No to achieve balance in life.

Yes to God. Yes to good things. Yes to rest. Yes to faith.

No to the tyranny of the urgent. No to good things that rob from better things. No to exhaustion.

Learning how to use Yes and No is one of the greatest skills you will refine in your pursuit of balance.

Perpetual Adolesence

20131205-011158.jpg It is certainly an unfortunate tragedy that Paul Walker’s life ended so young and we all naturally sympathize with his family and friends who lost a loved one and a family member.

However, I would surmise that if Paul Walker was given a second chance he would challenge all of us to never act as equally reckless as he and his friend were this past weekend.

He leaves behind a daughter and a message. Perpetual adolescence must end.

Whatever you idolize will determine what you also demonize. Our culture idolizes reckless adolescent behavior and so we demonize responsible adult behavior.

I realize my comments will most likely be misunderstood and this will be an unpopular post. Nevertheless, I feel like it needs to be said. Real men don’t risk their lives for an adolescent thrill. They put the needs of their children, wives and families ahead of their own adolescent drive towards selfish, reckless behavior.

You’ll not hear the media comment in this regard. The message we hear from Hollywood, the music industry, and the magazine aisle is that we should pursue self gratification and adventure at any cost. The ultimate evil to be avoided is not selfish, reckless behavior but boring, monotonous, adult behavior.

Our culture celebrates the adolescent. Television reality shows like The Bachelor and Big Brother, sitcoms like Two and a Half Men and How I Met your mother, as well as the litany of reckless and indulgent films offered to us by Hollywood every year, have indoctrinated us to believe that the worst day of a man’s life is the day he has to grow up.

I’m sure, if he were somehow able to comment, Mr Walker would choose to do things differently that day. He, I’m sure, would have chosen watching his teenage daughter grow into an adult and someday walking her down an aisle over the momentary thrill of high speeds on a California highway.

The Scriptures weigh in on this subject. 1Corinthians 13:11 says, “When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.”

That’s good advice.

When you become a man it is time for adolescence to end. Men should not remain boys because when they do everyone around them suffers.

One of the leading indicators of potential incarceration is a fatherless home. One of the leading causes of poverty is fatherless homes. 85% of youths in prisons grew up in a fatherless home [Fulton County GA jail populations, TX Department of Corrections, 1992], 63% of youth suicides are from fatherless homes. 90% of homeless and runaway children are from fatherless homes [US D.H.H.S., Bureau of the Census].

Fatherless boys and girls are: twice as likely to drop out of high school; twice as likely to end up in jail; four times more likely to need help for emotional or behavioral problems [US D.H.H.S. news release, March 26, 1999].

What’s the point?

The point is, while we celebrate the antics and thrills of the perpetually adolescent men surrounding us, we are encouraging one of the most destructive behaviors, not only to ourselves and our families, but to society.

As a culture, we’ve celebrated selfish, reckless behavior in men and enabled men to vacate their responsibilities to the children they create and the women they pursue.

Every little boy, every little girl, every mother, every wife, and every city needs men who have put aside childish things and have learned how to behave and take responsibility like a man.

The truth is that marriage to a woman often beckons men to a higher calling then they would naturally be inclined to achieve. As unfortunate as it is, the reality just might be, if Paul Walker had been married to his daughters mother, he most likely would have been more inclined to request that the driver of the speeding Porsche Carrera slowdown, if nothing else, for his wife and daughters sake.

In a culture of celebrated feminism and the idolization of the adolescent, there needs to be a clear call from the church for men to put aside perpetual adolescence and begin to behave responsibly, maturely and in an adult manner.

We need less boys and more men.

The Ark

Dorothy Church near Drumheller, AlbertaIt does not require advanced observational skills to know that our world is corrupt. The Psalmist tells us that the Lord “daily loads us with benefits” (Psa. 68:19). In that same prose the newspaper daily loads us with woes.

We are inundated by our media with the horrors of power in the hands of corrupt politicians, of passions and diversions that end in disaster, the corruption of love and intimacy and the devaluing of person-hood in the aged and unborn. Some of these realities, like the atrocities of convicted Philadelphia abortionist Kermit Gosnell, are too disturbing to even approach.

Our world is fundamentally flawed. It seems no sooner does one evil dictator die that another takes his place. Scandal is followed by fallout and reaction which is often followed by even more scandal.

If the disease of the human condition wasn’t enough we also have to face the awful disasters that nature brings. So far, just in 2013, there has been devastating tornadoes in Oklahoma, a Nor’easter dump almost 23 inches of snow and ice on New England, dozens of earthquakes, wildfires in Colorado, flooding in Central Europe, and a meteor hit Chelyabinsk in Russia. Even the Earth, with its thorns and thistles, has been corrupted by the curse of sin (Gen. 3:17-18). The scriptures are true when they say that the Earth groans and waits for its redemption (Romans 8:18-23).

It wouldn’t be quite so bad if we could find a place of solace in ourselves but the awful truth is we are complicit as well. It’s one thing to shake our head at the demise of culture and the reckless, selfish behavior of others. It’s another thing altogether to look inside and realize the same decay is alive in me.

Many Christian movements have a tendency to hide in response to our culture. They insulate, hunker down and attempt to ignore the world and the culture around them in order to protect it’s decay from effecting all that they value. As a husband, parent and Pastor it is easy to understand the desire to run, hide and seclude everything and everyone you value. However, that is not always possible, nor is it necessarily a believer’s best or only response to the disease of our culture.

The Israelites, slaves in Egypt, were under the threat of Pharaoh. Fearing the swelling number of Israelites he ordered the midwives to kill all the boys born to the Hebrew mothers (Exodus 1-2). Fearing God, scriptures say, that the midwives disobeyed Pharaoh and let the baby boys live. Seeing that the midwives wouldn’t obey, “Pharaoh commanded all his people, “Every son that is born to the Hebrews you shall cast into the Nile, but you shall let every daughter live.” (Exodus 1:22 ESV)

So it came as a surprise to me when I read the next 3 verses. Jochebed, Moses mother, after hiding him for three months in their house, could hide him no longer. So she made a little ark and she put him in the river.

The river. The thing that was drowning all the others babies. The river was her problem. Why would she put him in the river?

The unfortunate reality is there is no avoiding the river. I would love to fully encase my children in bubble wrap, hide them in our house and shelter them from all the evil and pain in the world. I would very much enjoy the ability to prevent the families in our church from having to deal with divorce, death and disaster. But I can’t. I cannot keep them from the river. Everyone faces the river.

Thankfully, I am not totally powerless. I may not be able to keep them from the river but just like Jochebed I can put them in something that can keep them from the rivers effect. When it came time for Moses to face the river, Jochebed put Moses in an ark. So while others were drowning in the river Moses was drawn out of the river. Even his name, which means “drawn out”, testifies to the preserving power of the ark.

It was an ark that preserved Noah’s family during the great flood. It was an ark that preserved Moses in the river. It is still an ark that preserves the righteous today. You and I can place our families, friends and loved ones in the church! The church of Jesus Christ is an ark of safety (Heb. 11:7) that, though we cannot avoid the river, we can be preserved from the rivers effect.

The local church is the hope of the world. It preserves and declares and protects. It exists for the sake of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and His followers.

Thank God for the church!

Mothers

daisy ladybug fieldMen and women are different. Very different. Men and women are different in their nature, their strengths and their design.

Yet the message young women get from western culture is one that does not vary all that much from what it tells young men. Go to college, get a job, commit to a career and if you have time, and if it fits your lifestyle, get married and have children.

However, The Bible has something completely different to say. The message scripture sends to young women, older women and mothers is one of honor and value. That working in the home, caring for a husband and children is to be valued and honored.

What you do is important. What you do is a blessing. What you do in the home, in caring for children and your husband, should be taught to others and passed down to the generations that follow you (Titus 2:1-5).

Women and mothers are to be honored, protected and valued (Matthew 19:19).

Children come from the Lord and they are not an inconvenience but a blessing (Psalm 127:3).

Grandchildren are the crown of the aged (Proverbs 17:6).

In the ten commandments, right in between statements like, thou shalt have no other Gods before me and thou shalt not murder, is the fifth commandment. Honor your father and mother (Exodus 20:12).

Jesus used the last few moments before his death to care for his mother (John 19:26).

All throughout scripture we see, contrary to the Bible’s critics, the Word of God calling men to honor, protect and provide for women and children. The Bible exalts and blesses the role that women are called to play in society and in the home.

Men, through your actions, your lifestyle and your words you should and can affirm and fortify the Biblical role of your wife and mother.

Here’s a few practical ways you can affirm the role of your wife and mother.

Go to work and provide for her and your children.

Keep your mind clean and your eyes, as well as your hands, off other women.

Read your Bible and pray every day. Preferably with them.

Tell the truth.

Clean up after yourself. She may be a mother but she’s not your mother.

If any woman in your life is going to be offended in your behavior make sure it’s not your wife. If that means you have to be rude to co-workers or clients so be it. Your wife comes first.

Don’t laugh at or tell jokes that demean, demoralize or sexually objectify women.

Take her, and any children you may have, to church.

Spend more time with them than you do your buddies.

Hold doors, chairs and coats like a gentleman.

Treat people, even people you don’t like, with respect.

Keep the weekends for your family.

Tell her that you value her and what she means to your family.

Buy her things. Nice things.

Set a weekly date night.

Give her time alone and time with her friends.

Send her flowers for no reason at all.

These are just a few suggestions. Have you got any to add? Leave a comment below.

What Makes A Life

baby mobileIf there’s one thing the main stream media (MSM) loves it’s a juicy tale. Give us a celebrity divorce, a baby daddy, a hostage, some good old fashioned money laundering, adultery or murder. We’ll even take a cruise ship full of poop and make it a sensation!

However, something strange has happened the last few weeks. A man by the name of Kermit Gosnell, a Philadelphia abortionist, is accused of some of the most horrific crimes I’ve ever read. Crimes so awful I will not list their details here. Suffice it to say the nickname his office has gained, “House of Horrors”, is appropriate. Yet the MSM says nothing.

The details are horrific. Horrific. I certainly understand the desire to avoid willingly letting oneself being awash in these atrocious details. But to ignore it completely is indicative of, at the very least, a bias and an a priori position regarding abortion. In her opinion piece for USA Today, which you can read here at your own discretion,  Kirsten Powers points out the near total media silence on the details and trial of Kermit Gosnell. It makes the claim seem true that if the facts contend with the MSM narrative of any given issue then their response is to simply ignore the facts.

My contention is that the media has not ignored this story because it inaccurately or unfairly depicts the abortion industry but because it all too accurately displays what abortion looks like and what it really is. The murder of babies.

Many pro-abortion activists have used a series of philosophical arguments to advocate for the legality of abortion. Let’s examine them.

Self-Awareness: One individual told me that the difference is self-awareness. His contention was that self-awareness is what makes us fully human and grants us the person hood that is so morally sacred and protected by the laws of the United States. Since an embryo has no self-awareness (that we’re aware of) then it has no person hood or value to protect. It can be removed, like a tumor, at the will of its host. Considering the claim that the capacity for self-awareness bestows value on human beings leaves me with more questions.

When we are asleep we are not self aware. Do we lose person hood when we are asleep? Or maybe when we’re comatose? Are individuals that are impaired, suffering from dementia or other neurological disorders void of person hood? Of course not. Even if they lack immediate self-awareness the potential is there for self-awareness and that is what makes us a human being as opposed to every other living thing on the planet. Our intrinsic humanity in design.

Self-Awareness is no more a reason to advocate for abortion than sleep is. Though an embryo may not be aware yet of its fingers, toes or heartbeat it retains the potential, if uninterrupted, to acquire that self-awareness of person hood and that is what makes it fully human and fully deserving of the sacred right to life.

Size: They’re so small. Not even .25 of an inch until the sixth week. Pro-abortion advocates would say that there is no moral problem with eliminating something the size of a pea.

Using this logic we can conclude that larger people have more rights than smaller people. Embryos are smaller than newborns and toddlers are smaller than adults. My wife is smaller than me. Does that grant me more rights to person hood than her? Of course not. Size has no bearing whatsoever on whether it is morally or rationally acceptable to end a life. Size doesn’t equal value. If that were true than men, which are generally larger in size than women, have more rights as a person than women.

Furthermore, at 12 weeks, the average fetus weighs half an ounce, is 2 inches long and has almost all vital systems fully formed. At 16 weeks it weighs up to four ounces, is up to 5 inches long, has eyebrows, lashes, teeth and hair filling in. At 22 weeks the average size is 10 inches, weighing 12 ounces, the face is fully formed, gender is visible, the baby can hear and taste. It may be small but so is my sister. Size has no bearing on the person hood or value of a life.

Level of development: While it is true that a baby in gestation is less developed than a newborn it has no bearing on their person hood or the adults they’ll one day become. The only difference is a few days. Every living human was one day a fetus in gestation. It is the human process through which we must all travel. If anything, it is indicative of our humanity.

There is no moral or rational reason level of development should be relevant in determining person hood. A three year-old girl is less developed than a teenager. Should older children have more rights than their younger siblings? A newborn is far less developed than an adult male. Is David Beckham more of a person and endued with more rights than a newborn? Of course not.

What about those who never fully develop certain abilities or physical systems? What about the boy born without eyes or hands? What about the little girl born without legs? Is she somehow less of a person because she is not as developed as others? Do they have less of a right to life?

Acknowledging limited levels of development, instead of allowing, should actually deter from any pro-abortion position as it indicates the humanity and person hood of a body. If left uninterrupted it has the potential to fully develop into a self-aware human being. The key word there is, “uninterrupted”.

Environment: Some say as long as it is in the womb it’s not a person yet and it can be “terminated”. This to me is some of the most egregious logic used to defend abortion.

A mother’s womb should be the safest place in the world. Instead, the awful truth is, it has become as dangerous, particularly to African-American babies, as the most violent inner city in the nation. As Scott Klusendorf said here:

Where you are has no bearing on who you are. Does your value change when you cross the street or roll over in bed? If not, how can a journey of eight inches down the birth-canal suddenly change the essential nature of the unborn from non-human to human? If the unborn are not already human, merely changing their location can’t make them valuable.

We don’t gain or lose rights or person hood based upon where we are. Using location, and most of all the womb, to defend abortion is mind-boggling to me. A person outside the womb is a person in the womb. Just because we can’t see a baby in the womb does not mean it’s not a baby until it’s born. Environment has no moral or rational bearing on person hood.

Degree of Dependency: Some say that because the fetus depends completely on the mother for it’s survival it is the mother’s choice to keep or terminate the pregnancy. There are two problems with this reasoning.

First, it places the value of a human life on whether someone wants it alive or not. Why then not make murder legal? If a pregnant woman is assaulted and loses the child she is carrying the courts can charge homicide because the mother wanted the child. How then, if a mother chooses abortion, is it not also murder? Simply because she didn’t want it? An individuals worth to another individual has no bearing on it’s person hood, value or intrinsic humanity.

Secondly, it makes the degree of dependence one has on forces outside of itself the test of person hood. If that is the case then the handicapped, injured, comatose and those with medical afflictions have lost their person hood. Again, Scott Klusendorf weighs in:

If viability makes us human, then all those who depend on insulin or kidney medication are not valuable and we may kill them. Conjoined twins who share blood type and bodily systems also have no right to life.

Simply put, our level of dependence on forces outside ourselves does not reasonably determine our humanity, person hood or intrinsic value.

We may have different levels of self-awareness, differing sizes, location and levels of development but we are all human and all endowed by our creator with a right to life and person hood. I believe God is the giver of life and as such no man has the right to take it in the womb.

So what makes a life?

When a man and a woman conceive a child in the woman’s womb, from the moment of conception, morally, rationally and most of all Biblically, that is a child. Some may choose to call it an embryo, a zygote or a fetus. That’s fine. But it’s a baby and it’s a person and it has a right to live as much as anyone outside a womb.

The awful truth, and the story our culture is desperately trying to avoid, is that abortion ends a life and there is no good reason.

Thoughts for Dads

Superhero TootsiePopMy son has been running around the house with a cape and a mask making noises and jumping around. He’s not in trouble or needing attention. He thinks he’s a superhero. He’s being male. No one has to teach little boys to shoot guns with their finger, to make explosion noises or to do karate. They just do. It’s very natural for a boy to want to be a hero.

Men are called to lead. It’s built into our nature. It’s part of our being. It’s why we compete, hunt and sport. We are born leaders. God designed man to lead the home and the family.

That is not to say that women don’t have leadership abilities. Mothers and wives are responsible for their homes as well only in a different degree than men are. It was Eve that believed the lie of the serpent but it was Adam that God called to account for the spiritual condition of himself and his wife. Simply put, God’s ideal is that men be responsible for the provision, protection and spiritual health of the family.

When God wanted us to understand what His relationship with His people would be He employed the analogy of a Father and his children and a husband to his wife. We have a heavy calling as fathers and husbands to bear the image of our Father.

The scriptures often speak of God in the nature of a Father.

“As a father shows compassion to his children, so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him.” (Ps. 103:13)

“The Lord reproves him whom he loves, as a father the son in whom he delights.” (Prov. 3:12)

“Father of the fatherless and protector of widows is God in his holy habitation.” (Ps. 68:5)

It is of utmost importance that men, especially in our increasingly decadent and reckless culture, model the fatherhood and husbanding of God. We can and should honor God in how we treat our families. What the world knows of the Father we serve will be the sum of what they see in the Christian Fathers they know.

I never knew my father. My wife and I met him for the first time when I was 23 years old. It was Godly male leadership in the church, and the example of good Christian men, that helped me understand that God wanted to be my Father and that I could trust Him. It has been Godly male leadership in the church that has helped me understand what it means for me to be a good father and husband. Do not underestimate the value of Godly, Biblical, male leadership.

I’d like to also say that fathers and husbands in ministry need to be especially careful not to make ministry an idol to the detriment of their family. We commit idolatry when we place the ministry of the church above ministry to our families. We often forget that, according to 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1, our ministry in the home is what qualifies us for public ministry in the church.

God has called dozens of men to your city to carry the Gospel. If you were to die today He would raise someone up to Pastor your church. However, you are the only man called to your wife & children.

Pastor Mark Driscoll of Seattle offers 11 practical ways for men to lead their families on his blog. He says:

As men, we bear a greater burden before God for the well-being of our families and our church. Our wives and children should flourish under our loving leadership.

By the grace of God, you can be who God has called you to be, do what God has called you to do, and love as God has loved you.

As men, we will never in this life experience perfection, but by the grace of God we can experience progress every day until we enter perfection in the life to come. So don’t sulk, don’t sin, and don’t settle, but instead strive.

Here are 11 practical tips for husbands to strive to lead their family well:

1. As the family leader, model humility, honesty, repentance, service, study, and worship. Your life preaches at least as loudly as your words, so teach and model humble godliness by the grace of God.

2. Make sure everyone in your family has a good, age-appropriate Bible that they regularly read. Read the Bible yourself and with them so they are encouraged to read on their own.

3. Make sure you have some basic Bible study tools available for your family in either print or digital form and that everyone learns to use them. If you do not know where to begin, ask your pastor or a godly student of Scripture in your church about things like a good Bible commentary, concordance, dictionary, and atlas.

4. Buy good Christian books for everyone in your family to read. Include Christian biographies among those books.

5. Choose good books that you and your wife can be reading together, including books of the Bible, and discuss what you are learning.

6. If there are Bible-based classes offered in your church, attend with your family.

7. Redeem your commute by listening to good sermons and classes, many of which you can download for free.

8. Have dinner together with your family most nights, and use that time to pray together, keep a journal log of prayer requests for other people, and read a portion of the Bible and talk about it together.

9. Pray for each member of your family every day and let them know you are praying for them.

10. Place a hand on the head of each of your children every day and pray over them. Then kiss them on the head and make sure they often get a loving hug.

11. While either snuggling or holding hands, pray with and for your wife every day and remember to include the reasons you are thankful to God for her that day. If these things have not been common in your home, it is very likely that your family has been aching for them and will be thankful for your loving leadership as the head of your home.

Do you have any other suggestions? Are there any things you’re intentional about to show your kids you love them and Jesus loves them? What kind of things did your dad do that showed you, not only that he loved you, but that Jesus was real in your family and that God loved you? Let me know in the comments below.

Marriage

wedding ringsI enjoy many aspects of the ministry but I particularly enjoy weddings. It’s not just because I like cake. I like what weddings represent. Weddings are hopeful and idealistic. They point to promise, covenant and faith for tomorrow. They acknowledge God, our devotion to one another and our place in community. Weddings are testimonies that people still believe in each other and the possibility of better things and I appreciate that.

Weddings are a grand declaration that we still believe in one another. We believe in better things and better days. That, even when our world is very, very ugly and we’re tempted to despair of it, we still have reason to smile. Weddings are days when families get together to celebrate and consecrate a new union that testifies of faith, hope and love. I like cake, but I really like weddings.

Marriages are entered into every day by the hundreds yet it is greater than a cultural event. Though marriage is administered by law it is more than a legal contract. Though it is respected by society it is more than a civil union. Marriage is, above all else, a sacred covenant, instituted by God, upheld by His law, blessed by His hand and is to be honored by all men.

It is on purpose that weddings take place in a church, with a minister officiating, the reading of scripture, prayer, sacred vows and celebration. Marriage is a sacred covenant and the presence of God is necessary for it to be a success.

The first miracle Jesus ever performed was at a wedding when he turned the water into wine both honoring the wedding with his presence and blessing it with the miraculous. We read the story in the book of John 2:1-2: “And the third day there was a marriage in Cana of Galilee; and the mother of Jesus was there: And both Jesus was called, and his disciples, to the marriage.” That’s a good call to make.

Call Jesus into your marriage. Invite him to be seated at every table, the guest in every room and the counselor in every decision. It is on purpose that weddings take place at a church, with prayer, the reading of scripture and a minister officiating. Marriages need the presence of God and take faith. Faith in each another, faith in your marriage, and faith for the future.

Scripture teaches that a husband ought to love his wife and give himself for her as Christ gave himself for the church. It also teaches that the wife ought to love her husband and be faithful to him in all things and that by honoring God’s law, and by forsaking all others and their individual fortunes, the two will become what the Bible calls, “one flesh”. Marriage is a covenant between one man and one woman, for life.

Covenant. That’s an old fashioned word meaning an unbreakable promise. That’s the hope and the beauty of marriage. It’s built on a promise. It’s not built on emotion or transitory feelings. It’s not built on our worthiness or charm. It will not be the weakness or the strength of a Bride and Groom’s character that will determine the outcome of their marriage. It will be their faithfulness to their promise. Your character may fail but your marriage doesn’t have to. Even if integrity is found lacking a marriage can still survive if the bride and groom simply keep their promise.

It is this promise that will keep them together, grow their family, bless their home and protect their children. It is this promise that will bless their community through them. Marriage is the most valuable promise you can make and the most important to keep.