Monday, February 20, 2017

God’s purpose with your marriage- Your Best Friend

There are often complaints by women that the husbands spend most of their time away from home. They spend most of their time away with friends or visiting parents. On the other hand, husbands complain that the wives are always busy with children and do not care about their husbands.
Let us see what the Word of God says on such an issue:

1) Your Friend is your equal

We find details of friendship between husband and wife and that they are equals in Genesis 2:15-25. God gave man the responsibility of cultivating and guarding the earth. He took charge of the animals and named them. But out of the animals there was not any that was suitable for man’s companionship. Man desired to have an equal. He needed someone who would stand beside him not someone over whom he would rule. That is according to Genesis 2:20, which says, “The man gave names to all the tame animals, to all the birds in the air, and to all the wild animals. He saw many animals and birds, but he could not find a companion that was right for him.”

God then made a wife for the man. She was an equal to the man and that is why she could be his friend. She was part of him. Man did not rule over her. The man and his wife worked together and became one flesh according to Genesis 2:24. There was no hidden thing between them. They trusted each other perfectly. As a result they were not ashamed to be together according to Genesis 2:25, which says, “The man and his wife were naked, but they were not ashamed.” Adam and Eve were best friends. God meant for marriage to be that way. The husband and wife must completely trust each other. They must reveal and share their thoughts and bodies. No one should rule the other. They must help and support each other. God’s desire was for the husband and wife to be each other’s best friend. That is the purpose for marriage.

2. Your spouse should be closer to you than any of your parents

Let us look at these scriptures; Genesis 2:24, Matthew 19:5, and Ephesians 5:31:
Gen 2:24 That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife. In this way two people become one.
Mat 19:5 And God said, 'That is why a man will leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife. And the two people will become one.'
Eph 5:31 The Scriptures say, "That is why a man will leave his father and mother and join his wife, and the two people will become one."

The husband brought his bride to his parents’ house when they married during the time the Bible was written. This is what is practiced in many areas of Africa as a custom. However, God is saying the husband must also leave his father and mother when he gets married. Families should not interfere in the marriage. When a husband has to choose between his wife and his parents, he should be by his wife according to Ephesians 5:31-33:

Eph 5:31  The Scriptures say, "That is why a man will leave his father and mother and join his wife, and the two people will become one."
Eph 5:32  That secret truth is very important--I am talking about Christ and the church.
Eph 5:33  But each one of you must love his wife as he loves himself. And a wife must respect her husband.
They are now one. They both have to honor their parents and listen to their advice. The two are now close friends.

3. Marriage is more important than your children

In the scriptures we read in the preceding point, we read nothing about children. This shows that marriage is complete in the sight of God even if there are no children. It is people who attach the issue of children to validate a marriage especially boy children. However, according to the Word, children are an added gift and a blessing to parents. Marriage is a foundation for taking full responsibility of your children. If a husband must choose between his wife and children, his wife must come first. The same applies to the wife, her husband must come first. A proper foundation needs to be laid. The children must know that their parents are one. Otherwise, a wrong foundation will crack.

4. One husband one wife

Genesis 2:24 does not talk about wives. God made one wife for Adam. Even today God is talking about one husband and one wife for each other according to Malachi 2:15. It says, “God wants husbands and wives to become one body and one spirit. Why? So that they would have holy children and protect that spiritual unity. Don't cheat on your wife. She has been your wife from the time you were young.” The first man to have more than one wife in the Bible is Lameck according to Genesis 4:19-24. We are told that he was a wicked man. Now, you can fully give yourself in love only to one person. Between lovers, no one can tolerate rivals just as God cannot tolerate it with His people according to Exodus 20:5, which says, “Don't worship or serve idols of any kind, because I, the LORD, am your God. I hate my people worshiping other gods. People who sin against me become my enemies, and I will punish them. And I will punish their children, their grandchildren, and even their great-grandchildren.”

There is no room for the second person in a man’s or woman’s heart. Marriage is the most important relationship on earth between two people. This relationship is likened to the relationship between Christ and the church according to Ephesians 5:24-32. As God loves His people, so should a husband love his wife. As the church gives herself to Christ, so should the wife give herself to her husband.

We have learned that one of the purposes of marriage was for a man to have a companion. That is a friend who is his equal. What that means is that the woman should be suitable for the husband. Husband and wife should be friends. The two become one flesh. No other human relationship should supersede that of husband and wife. So strive for oneness with your spouse. If you need coaching on relationship issues you can contact me here.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

How to Effectively Lead your Family as a Leader

Families need help. But before one can help them effectively, we need to first look at our own families before we can effectively help others.

How is your family life?

Jesus said these words in Matthew 7:3-5:
Mat 7:3  "Why do you see the speck in your brother's eye but fail to notice the beam in your own eye?
Mat 7:4  Or how can you say to your brother, 'Let me take the speck out of your eye,' when the beam is in your own eye?
Mat 7:5  You hypocrite! First remove the beam from your own eye, and then you will see clearly enough to remove the speck from your brother's eye."

If we want to use this command to work among families in our churches, a church leader must first look at his or her family life.

Problems at home can destroy a Leader’s work

The family life of a church leader is very important. Many leaders suffer from problems at home. It is not easy for a church leader to advise an unhappy family and a young couple when his own family life is not happy. Failure to solve his own problems renders him powerless to effectively advise others. The leader needs to first learn how to lead his own family, otherwise he cannot be a good example and his family problems will break his heart.
On a positive note, if a leader is a good husband and father, he can be an inspiration to his church. God can heal unhappy families. That is good news. Everyone needs to understand that family life is very important. That includes mine and yours.

Your family life comes before your work

Any church leader needs to understand that we are first of all children of God. Secondly, we are fathers or mothers. Thirdly, we are pastors or whatever profession we are in. This order ensures a balanced and disciplined life. The qualification of a church leader is clearly stated in 1 Timothy 3:2, 4-5:
1Ti 3:2  Therefore, an elder must be blameless, the husband of one wife, stable, sensible, respectable, hospitable to strangers, and teachable.
1Ti 3:4  He must manage his own family well and have children who are submissive and respectful in every way.
1Ti 3:5  For if a man does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God's church?

The Lord in His wisdom knows that if a church leader’s home is poorly managed, it will be a heavy burden on him. He cannot be effective on his work. Before a church leader is ordained, there has to be an examination of his qualification with regards to God’s standards. His church and the kingdom of God can be severely damaged if the church leader is not faithful to his or her spouse and does not correctly lead his or her children.

People need good examples

What can a leader do to touch lives? A church leader can influence others in two ways. The root of a leader’s power is the way he lives what he teaches according to 1 Timothy 4:16, which says, “Pay close attention to your life and your teaching. Persevere in these things, because if you do so, you will save both yourself and those who listen to you.”

What will make people better respond to what we preach is for our own words to agree with our lives. The way we conduct our lives should be living sermons. Good examples make others to obey Christ more.
According to the Scriptures, people grow and learn by hearing the Word, seeing someone live it, then choosing to obey the Word, and finally gaining personal experience. We have the following scriptures as support to what has just been said.

“Likewise, keep practicing these things: what you have learned, received, heard, and seen in me. Then the God of peace will be with you.”(Philippians 4:9).
1 Peter 5:2-3:
1Pe 5:2 Be shepherds of God's flock that is among you, watching over it, not because you must but because you want to, and not greedily but eagerly, as God desires.
1Pe 5:3 Do not lord it over the people entrusted to you, but be examples to the flock.

In conclusion, there are many Christians who came to the Lord and their marriages and families were saved through good examples of godly living by their church leaders than just their words. It is important to study and learn more about godly family life since church ministry depends on it. After learning, let us first apply it to our own homes. Then we can effectively teach the people of God through words and by example.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

God’s Plan for Marriage: God Joins Couples Together- Part 1

What is God’s plan for marriage? God’s plan for marriage is revealed in the Bible. God joins a couple together. Nowadays most young men and women want to move together before marriage. They normally say that no one needs to get married these days, married people divorce in any case. Now, let us see what God says about marriage so we can help people who are faced with marriage problems.

Why do we get married?

According to Matthew 19:4-6, the Bible reads as follows:
Mat 19:4 He answered them, "Haven't you read that the one who made them at the beginning 'made them male and female'
Mat 19:5 and said, 'That is why a man will leave his father and mother and be united with his wife, and the two will become one flesh'?
Mat 19:6 So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore, what God has joined together, man must never separate."

The Pharisees asked Jesus about divorce. The Lord then explained what marriage is, its origin, and the reason why God joins people together. Jesus used the two chapters found in Genesis to respond to their question. According to Genesis 1:27, the Bible says, “So God created mankind in his own image; in his own image God created them; he created them male and female.” In Genesis 2:24 we read, “Therefore a man will leave his father and his mother and cling to his wife, and they will become one flesh.” God formed Eve from Adam’s rib and then brought her to be Adam’s wife. So we can see that it is God who joins people together.

God brings people together through marriage

It is God who joins a man to a woman in marriage according to Matthew 19:6, which says, “so they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore, what God has joined together, man must never separate." Mark 10:9 says, “Therefore, what God has joined together, man must never separate." God joined Adam and Eve. So Jesus reaffirmed God’s plan for marriage. God joins couples together. He puts the two in a yoke and expects them to be bound together for the rest of their lives.

There are different ways lovers meet and become a couple through marriages. Some know each other from childhood. Others meet in different places like school, church, at work, or in their sports activities, etc. Some couples are introduced to each other by friends or parents. But at the end of it all, God joins people together.
God wants couples to learn from Him on how to conduct their marriage life. He wants to help couples. God wants to walk with them through the long journey of marriage life. As long as a couple allows God to be part of their lives, He will be there. God makes you suitable for each other as a couple. The challenge comes when a marriage partner is unwilling to learn and change. No one enters into marriage perfect. Each partner grows in marriage life. However, when each partner is willing to learn and change, the two get perfected for each other. So the oneness improves.
It is important to treat your marriage life as a call from God because it is. Whatever you do in marriage is important. A husband and a wife have different roles to play in marriage. The two who are now one have a responsibility to build a happy marriage. You serve God through your marriage. Each must care for the other. Make each other happy. That is God’s plan for marriage. He joins couples together. Therefore, it is important for a couple to get a marriage coach so they can learn more about marriage. In any field, no one can be an expert without learning and then practice what they have learned.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

God Uses Families

Family was God’s idea from the beginning of time. So it was God’s original intention for marriages to be happy. This was to ensure that all children could grow up in happy Christian homes. Today, there is a challenge in family life. As a result many children lost respect for their parents. They no longer obey them. There are also children who grow up in homes with single parents.

What do scriptures say about family?

1) God made the family

Where did a family originate? We indicated earlier on that a family was God’s idea. That means it was never initiated by man. Families did not just happen. The idea of family came with God before Adam and Eve fell into sin according to Genesis 1:28, which says, “And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.” We note from this scripture that marriage, family and home did not result from sin. These institutions have been part of human society since the time God created the first people.

There is a need for strong and healthy families. We learn from scripture that the home and family come first in terms of importance. Even though we read of nations, tribes, and governments, they cannot take the place of the family.

2) God works through families

The Word of God tells us about the great heroes of faith. It tells us of holy people of God. But it does not end there. Behind those heroes of faith we are told of either one or both of their parents. These heroes include among others; Abraham, Moses, Joshua, Samuel, Gideon, David, Isaiah, Paul, Peter and Andrew, James and John, and others. The parents of these heroes shared in the glory of their children as they also contributed in their make-up as servants of God. So through the indication of their parents, God is showing us that families have a role to play in God’s great plan.

When making a covenant with Abraham, God included his children. God promised to be the God of Abraham and his descendants forever. God works through families according to the following scriptures:

Genesis 15:5, “And he brought him forth abroad, and said, Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them: and he said unto him, So shall thy seed be.”

Deuteronomy 7:9, “And Noah went in, and his sons, and his wife, and his sons' wives with him, into the ark, because of the waters of the flood.”

Psalms 105:8, “He hath remembered his covenant for ever, the word which he commanded to a thousand generations.”

We can see from the above scriptures that indeed we serve a God of families.
I am glad that through the covenant with Abraham, God brought every nation into His family according to Galatians 3:28-29, which reads as follows:

Gal 3:28  Faith in Christ Jesus is what makes each of you equal with each other, whether you are a Jew or a Greek, a slave or a free person, a man or a woman.
Gal 3:29 So if you belong to Christ, you are now part of Abraham's family, and you will be given what God has promised.
We learn from this covenant that families are important to God. God is not just interested in the believer, but He is also interested in their children. He is a great loving God.

3) God uses families to bless children

Scriptures show us that the right place for educating and training children is family. God clearly tells us as parents how we should train our children to know, love, serve, and obey Him. The Lord uses Christian parents to teach their children about what is right and wrong, and how to know and serve God. Even though Pastors are well qualified to teach our children, they cannot replace the parents because children spend most of their time with their parents. Furthermore, the characters of children are formed during the first six years of their lives and they are with the parents at these ages.

The other important point is that children do not only learn the ways of God by what they hear, but they mostly learn by what they see their parents do. So as parents we show our children what it means to be a Christian. What you do in the presence of children is very important. Understand therefore, that children are learning and that will be part of their characters.

According to Proverbs 20:7, we read, “Good people live right, and God blesses the children who follow their example.”

Proverbs 13:20 says, “Wise friends make you wise, but you hurt yourself by going around with fools.” So children learn from the wisdom or foolishness of their parents.
We learn that God the Creator hates other gods. He expects His people to only worship Him. God wants us to teach our children to serve the right God. Look what Deuteronomy 12:2 says, “But the nations that live there worship other gods. So after you capture the land, you must completely destroy their places of worship--on mountains and hills or in the shade of large trees.”

So as a parent teach your children what you have also learned through your personal experience with God. Children must learn to know, love, and obey the God of their parents.

4) Everyone must be part of a family

As much as people now love to be independent, it is important to be part of a family. Someone who is cut off from a family is nothing any more. As coals can only glow when they remain together, every person needs to be part of a family. When a family is broken down, the lives of young people are ruined. In order to build God’s church; we must build strong and happy families in our churches.

In conclusion, may it be indicated that since God initiated families and works through families, He instructs us to build happy families. A healthy family life and love at home is very important for the children. This is also important for the growth of the kingdom of God. So it is important for parents to be born again so they can properly teach and train them in the fear of the Lord.

First be Happy with Yourself before you can be Happy with Your Life Partner

Do you enjoy your own company? Are you happy with yourself? Many people do not enjoy their own company. That is one reason why they quickly move from one love relationship to another. If you follow up on why such is happening, you find that they are scared of living without a love relationship.

Mat 22:39 The second most important commandment is like this one. And it is, “Love others as much as you love yourself.”

In order to be able to love anyone, you must first love yourself. Enjoy being with yourself. There are people who enjoy other people’s company. That is understandable because we are social beings. But if you hate spending time with yourself such that you cannot live without other people is unhealthy. This extends to the issue of love relationships. After separation with one’s love partner, some people can’t live by themselves. They cannot live happily as singles.

Before you can expect happiness from a love relationship, learn to enjoy your life even if you are single. True happiness should not be expected from other people. This is because if they fail to bring you that happiness, you will live a sour life.

Make your life beautiful on your own. Build your life based on good values. Be happy as a single individual. Create your own joy and happiness. If that happens, you will attract people who will share your values, people who are happy. If you find or attract a happy life partner, you will be a happy couple. Happiness is contagious. So if you can’t be happy with yourself, you can’t expect your life partner to bring you happiness. They say, “Like attracts like.”