Illustration results for 1 corinthians 7
MARRIAGE: PREPARATION IS KEY
"Promises are no substitute for preparation in marriage. Just because you say 'I Do' does not make you able. Just because you say 'I Do' does not make you capable. It only makes you accountable. And when you are accountable for something you are not capable of doing, you become miserable. Preparation is the key, not promises."
(Andy Stanley in sermon "New rules for Love, Sex and dating: If I were you.")
A little girl walking in a garden noticed a particularly beautiful flower. She admired its beauty and enjoyed its fragrance. “It’s so pretty!” she exclaimed. As she gazed on it, her eyes followed the stem down to the soil in which it grew. “This flower is too pretty to be planted in such dirt!” she cried. So she pulled it up by its roots and ran to the water faucet to wash away the soil. It wasn’t long until the flower wilted and died.
When the gardener saw what the little girl had done, he exclaimed, “You have destroyed my finest plant!”
“I’m sorry, but I didn’t like it in that dirt,” she said. The gardener replied, “I chose that spot and mixed the soil because I knew that only there could it grow to be a beautiful flower.”
Often we murmur because of the circumstances into which God has sovereignly placed us. We fail to realize that He is using our pressures, trials, and difficulties to bring us to a new degree of spiritual beauty. Contentment comes when we accept what God is doing and thank Him for it.
A. Todd Coget
[Are Fathers Necessary?, Citation: Charles Colson, How Now Shall We Live (Tyndale, 1999)]
In How Now Shall We Live, Chuck Colson notes the disturbing realities that plague children who grow up without a father:
Children in single-parent families are five times more likely to be poor, and half the single mothers in the United States live below the poverty line.
Children of divorce suffer intense grief, which often lasts for many years.
Even as young adults, they are nearly twice as likely to require psychological help.
Children from disrupted families have more academic and behavioral problems at school and are nearly twice as likely to drop out of high school.
Girls in single-parent homes are at a much greater risk for precocious sexuality and are two and a half times more likely to have a child out of wedlock.
Crime and substance abuse are strongly linked to fatherless households.
Statistics show that 60 percent of rapists grew up in fatherless homes, as did 72 percent of adolescent murderers, and 70 percent of all long-term prison inmates.
In fact, most of the social pathologies disrupting American life today can be traced to fatherlessness.
Why are children aborted? The Alan Guttmacher Institute (the research arm of Planned Parenthood) states:
• 1% are victims of incest or rape
• 1% had fetal abnormalities
• 4% had a doctor who said their health would worsen if they continued the pregnancy
• 50% said they didn’t want to be a single parent or they had problems in current relationships
• 66% stated they could not afford a child
• 75% said the child would interfere with their lives.
Statistics cited in Rescue Update, June/July 1989, Southern ...
Sermon Central Staff
THE IMPACT OF DIVORCE
Today, there is a generation of children of divorce that has grown up. Elizabeth Marquardt is author of Between Two Worlds: The Inner Lives of Children of Divorce. This scholar, a child of divorce herself, drew from her own experiences and also surveyed 1500 adult children from divorced and intact families. Then she interviewed 70 of them at length. Her book focuses on college graduates because they could be said to be reasonably successful, and they wanted to know how divorce had affected them.
One of the insights of the book was on marriage. The essential task of marriage is to make one home from two conflicting selves and this struggle is the ideal context for a child to grow spiritually and emotionally. When the family stays together, this struggle goes largely unnoticed by the children. After divorce, the conflict no longer rests on the parents shoulders but takes root in the heart of the child.
Now it makes sense. Every negative factor: alcohol and drug abuse, poor grades, promiscuity and other sexual deviances, suicide, and criminal behavior are two to three times higher in children from broken homes than intact homes. Those kids are acting out their hurt.
In times past, people use to advise a couple, "Stay together for the children’s sake." My generation believed it was better for them to not be raised in a home filled with conflict, and besides life’s most important goal was for us to be happy. Now a generation of adults who were children of divorce is saying grandpa and grandma were right.
She discovered another interesting insight for the church. The church by and large focused on helping the parents but ignored the children. The religious leaders did not reach out to them. The adults that were interviewed said they needed a stable society that faced reality and refused to deal in happy talk--saying things like, "Children are resilient." The church needs to find a way to defend the most vulnerable in our membership. God help us.
Jim and I went to Home Depot in Logan, Utah to get some supplies for the building project on the campgrounds where our mission team was staying. We’d found most everything but one particular size of lumber. A young man, an employee, 21 years old, offered to help. We discovered he was from Alabama. How did he get from Alabama to Utah, we asked. He came by way of a baseball scholarship. That resulted in a great baseball discussion.
I’m assuming a young man from Alabama must be a Baptist or Charismatic. I asked what church he attended. He told us he attended an LDS ward. In his home his father was a Southern Baptist but his mother was a Mormon. The parents decided to not impose one faith or the other on their children. They would let them decide. On Sunday morning, Chris would go to the LDS service. He implied that on Sunday evening and Wednesday he went to his father’s Baptist church.
He began to explain that both faiths were similar and taught good character. I interrupted and said they may appear to be similar but fundamentally they were diametrically opposed to one another. One taught the only way to salvation is by the grace of God through faith in Jesus Christ alone. You cannot earn salvation. The other said you had to be good to earn salvation. They are as different as black and white, night and day, oil and water.
I told him either his Baptist daddy is right and his mother is wrong, or his mother is right and his daddy is wrong. The two could not both be right. Which meant if his daddy is right, his mother is going to go to hell. If his mother is right, she would go to a greater heaven and his dad would be in a lesser heaven. We never got contentious. We maintained a friendly spirit, and he agreed with what I said.
Afterwards, Jim and I were jazzed over that conversation. How was it possible for that Baptist daddy to allow that to happen to his son! How could he be content with his son going to hell, and his wife? Obviously, we don’t know the whole story, but it appears that the one that lived their faith was the mother. The Christian father was to bless his son and persuade him to choose Christ. Instead, he allowed the boy to be damned.
Another point. If we understood his story correctly, the Baptist church had two opportunities to the Mormons one.
I know you love your children. Love them enough to stay put in marriage. Love them enough to live your faith. It powerfully shapes them for God.
A final reason to stay put in marriage is your partner may be saved.
(From a sermon by Ed Sasnett, Reasons to Stay, 6/23/2010)
Sermon Central Staff
THE YEAR OF THE YES
Playwright Maria Hedley had her fill of terrible dates. Most of the dates she went on she thought the guys would be great candidates but they were totally unsatisfying. She got sick of her own taste and decided that fate couldn’t mess up her love life anymore than she could, and it might just do a better job. So she decided to take her personal tastes out of the equation and put aside all her preconceptions. Instead—-as she vowed to her roommate one morning—-for the next year she would date every person who asked her out. In the past, Maria had refused a deli worker’s invitation because she assumed he hadn’t read enough books. A taxi driver’s offer was refused because Maria thought they wouldn’t have anything in common, and she said no to short guys though she was short.
All of that changed. It would be the Year of Yes. She ended up dating half of NYC. There was a homeless guy who thought he was Jimi Hendrix, a subway conductor, a mommy-obsessed millionaire, even a woman who asked Maria to have her baby, a 70-year-old salsa dancer, a Colombian Cowboy/Handyman, her high school nemesis, whom she’d spent seven years rejecting, and a mime. He proposed with hand gestures and body language.
She tells about this in her book The Year of Yes. Maria said she went looking for a new kind of love, and found a new kind of life. She advises making an effort to talk to new people. Their stories can enrich your life.
(From a sermon by Ed Sasnett, The Gift of Singleness, 6/23/2010)
Satan’s worldwide convention:
Satan called a worldwide convention. In his opening address to his devils, he said, “We can’t keep Christians from going to church. We can’t keep them from reading their Bibles and knowing the truth. We can’t keep them from forming an intimate, abiding relationship with Jesus. Once they gain that connection with Jesus, our power over them is broken. So, let them go to their churches, let them have their conservative lifestyles, but steal their time, so they can’t gain that relationship with Jesus. This is what I want you to do. Distract them from gaining hold of their Savior and maintaining that vital connection throughout their day!”
“How shall we do this?” shouted the devils. “Keep them busy in the nonessentials of life and invent innumerable schemes to occupy their minds. Tempt them to spend, spend, spend and borrow, borrow, borrow. Persuade the wives to go to work for long hours and the husbands to work 6 to 7 days each week, 10-12 hours a day, so they can afford their empty lifestyles. Keep them from spending time with their children.
As their family fragments, soon, their home will offer no escape from the pressures of work! Over stimulate their minds so that they cannot hear that still, small voice. Entice them to play the radio or CD player whenever they drive. To keep the TV, VCR, DVD, PC, Game Boy, and their XBoxes going constantly in their home. See to it that every store and restaurant in the world plays non-biblical music constantly. This will jam minds and break that union with Christ.
Fill the coffee tables with magazines and newspapers. Pound their minds with news 24 hours a day. Invade their driving moments with billboards. Flood their mailboxes with junk mail, catalogs, sweepstakes and every kind of newsletter and promotional offering free products, services and false hopes.
Keep skinny, beautiful models on the magazines so their husbands will believe that external beauty is what’s important and they’ll become dissatisfied with their wives. That will fragment those families quickly!
Even in their recreation, let them be excessive. Have them return from their recreation, exhausted, disquieted and unprepared for the coming week. Don’t let them go out in nature to reflect on God’s wonders. Sen...