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People today have more ways to connect than ever, but are disconnected more than ever. We have cell phones, texting, internet, My Space, Facebook, Instant Messaging, but we are disconnected from the people in the room with us. Families need spiritual unity. Marriages need to be one in the Lord. Husbands and wives need to be in spiritual agreement.
Don’t divorce your unsaved husband or wife. Why? Paul gives this reason: The believer may have a positive, spiritual influence on their unbelieving mate. The unbeliever may get saved due to the believing spouse’s example and lifestyle. 1 Corinthians 7:14: “For the unbelieving husband has been sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife has been sanctified through her believing husband. Otherwise your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy.” I think this is what Peter had in mind as well when he wrote these instructions in 1 Peter 3: “Wives, in the same way be submissive to your husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, when they see the purity and reverence of your lives.”
I think a perfect illustration of this is in the life of my in-laws—Harold and Dorothy Wills. When they got married, mom was a believer and dad was an unbeliever. And dad was content to stay married to mom so they never even considered divorce. Now, Dorothy was careful not to nag Harold with the gospel. She simply prayed for him, answered his questions about the Lord when he asked, and endeavored to live the Christian life in front of him. Finally, in 1987, after 48 years of marriage, at the age of 75, Harold Wills accepted the Lord as his Savior. And I’m convinced that my father-in-law is in heaven today because of the patient, faithful witness of his wife, Dorothy.
So let me encourage you. If you are married to an unbeliever and he or she is content to remain married to you, then don’t divorce. Share the gospel with your unsaved spouses. But don’t nag them with it. Rather, pray for them. And live an exemplary Christian life in front of them. Who knows? Maybe your example will eventually lead them to Christ.
Sermon Central Staff
There’s an old story about Dr. Benjamin Warfield. He was a theology professor at Princeton Seminary. While he was still at the height of his academic powers, his wife got sick. And she became an invalid. He took care of her for ten years. During that ten year period, he never spent more than 2 hours away from his wife. Even though she was handicapped, she still loved to read. And so Dr. Warfield would sit at her bedside day after day. And read to her. He was always gentle and caring with her.
One day, someone asked him, "Have you ever thought about taking your wife to an institution?" Then you could write bigger books and have a bigger ministry." But Dr. Warfield said, "No way. My wife is my ministry. I will never leave her side. I am going to love her and take care of her as long as God grants us life."
That’s how the Lord Jesus feels about us. He will not walk away from us. He will not abandon us. He will not throw us away like yesterday’s news.. He will minister his love and his compassion to us just as Dr. Warfield did for his wife.
(From a sermon by Marc Axelrod, Justice and Compassion For All, 8/16/2010)
PRAYER DOESN'T CHANGE GOD, IT CHANGES ME
In a scene from Shadowlands, a film based on the life of C.S. Lewis, Lewis has returned to Oxford from London, where he has just been married to Joy Gresham, an American woman, in a private Episcopal ceremony performed at her hospital bedside. She is dying from cancer, and, through the struggle with her illness, she and Lewis have been discovering the depth of their love for each other. As Lewis arrives at the college where he teaches, he is met by Harry Harrington, an Episcopal priest, who asks what news there is. Lewis hesitates; then, deciding to speak of the marriage and not the cancer, he says, "Ah, good news, I think, Harry. Yes, good news."
Harrington, not aware of the marriage and thinking that Lewis is referring to Joy’s medical situation, replies, "I know how hard you’ve been praying .... Now, God is answering your prayer."
"That’s not why I pray, Harry," ...
An Emergency-room doctor wrote, "Recently we saw another preview of hell in the Parkland Hospital in Dallas. A woman struck down by a drunken driver. A college student lying semi-conscious following a head on collision with another drunk driver who himself was critically injured. The drunk's companion was dead. Four other drunks with lacerations and stab wounds waiting to be treated. Night after night, year after year, the same bloody trail of horror, major automobile accidents, stabbings, rapes, wife-beatings, the nightly emergencies treated and released or admitted to the hospital or pronounced dead on arrival; and almost always the bloody trail is lead by that honored man of distinction, the weekend drinker, not the alcoholic.
I wonder if there is that much joy to be gained from the total consumption of all beers and whiskies ever made, ever to equal even a small fraction of the innocent suffering, the damaged bodies, the broken marriages, the discarded children, the total brutalities and crimes that will inevitably accompany its use.
What a quiet place our emergency room would be if beverage alcohol were ever abolished from our city!"
James H. Cook, Jr.
I heard of a couple who, as they were paying for groceries in the check-out line, were discussing their soon to be 50th wedding anniversary, when the young cashier interjected by saying, "I can’t imagine being married to same man for 5o years!"
The wife wisely replied, teaching the young girl a lesson at the same time, "Well, Honey, don’t get married until you can ."
Annie Dillard, in her book The Writing Life, tells of an experiment that was done with butterflies. The experiment involved placing a male butterfly with a female butterfly of his own species. Then they placed a painted cardboard butterfly alongside them. The cardboard butterfly was bigger than the female — bigger than any female could ever be. The male ignored the living female butterfly next to him and went to the painted cardboard butterfly over and over again. Dillard adds, “Nearby, the real, living female opens and closes her wings in vain.” It is a picture of the world in which countless males are trapped today. Staring at painted cardboard butterflies they are squandering their own resources and defrauding the real, living, breathing females in their homes. But then you don’t have to establish a relationship with cardboard butterflies. You don’t have to put up with their failures — nor do they have to live with you and discover yours. There are no expectations from you. You don’t have to communicate with them. An inviting smile is painted on their faces and they don’t even know you. Perhaps it is better that way.
When David Brainerd took the message of redemption to the North American Indians from 1743 to his death at age 29 just four years later, a revival broke out that impacted the Native American community. Baugh writes, "The revival had greatest impact when Brainerd emphasized the compassion of the Savior, the provisions of the gospel, and the free offer of divine grace. Idolatry was abandoned, marriages repaired, drunkenness practically disappeared, honesty and repayments of debts prevailed. Money once wasted on excessive drinking was used for family and communal needs. Their communities were filled with love."
In 1857, four young Irishmen began a weekly prayer meeting in a village school. The next year, more prayer meetings started and revival was the common theme of the preachers. The next year, 100,000 people were converted into the churches of Ireland in what is marked as the beginning of the Ulster revival of 1859. By 1860, crime was reduced and the judges had no cases to try. One county in Ireland reported no crime and the no prisoners were held in the jail. It was the greatest thing to hit Ireland since the ministry of Saint Patrick. Services were packed with people, there was an abundance of prayer meetings, family prayers increased, Scripture reading was unmatched, Sunday Schools prospered, people stood firm, giving increased, vice abated, and crime was reduced significantly.
In the Welsh revival that occured around the turn of the 20th century, 100,000 outsiders were added to the churches. Again from Baugh: "Drunkenness was immediately cut in half, and many taverns went bankrupt. Crime was so diminished th...
“Our Poor Choices--His Good Grace!” Genesis 16: 1-15 Key verse(s): 3: “So after Abram had been living in Canaan ten years, Sarai his wife took her Egyptian maidservant Hagar and gave her to her husband to be his wife.’”
Do you ever pray for discernment? People tend to pray for things that they feel are useful at the moment and fruitful for today and tomorrow. But discernment, you say? Just exactly what is it and why should I be including it in my prayers? Discernment is the ability to examine the situation, apply a good dose of experience, stand back and get a perspective on the recipe, and take the appropriate action at the appointed time. It’s what most people would call “good judgement.”
Chuck Swindoll writes: “I read this past week of a couple (let’s call them Carl and Clara) whose twenty-five year marriage was a good one. Not the most idyllic, but good. They now had three grown children who loved them dearly. They were also blessed with sufficient financial security to allow them room to dream about a lakeside retirement home. They began looking. A widower we’ll call Ben was selling his place. They liked it a lot and returned home to talk and plan. Months passed. Last fall, right out of the blue, Clara told Carl she wanted a divorce. He went numb. After all these years, why? And how could she deceive him...how could she have been nursing such a scheme while they were looking at a retirement home? She said she hadn’t been. Actually, this was a recent decision now that she had found another man. Who? Clara admitted it was Ben, the owner of the lake house, whom she inadvertently ran into several weeks after they had discussed the sale. They’d begun seeing each other. Since they were now ‘in love,’ there was no turning back. Not even the kids, who hated the idea, could dissuade their mother. On the day she was to leave, Carl walked through the kitchen toward the garage. Realizing she would be gone when he returned, he hesitated, ‘Well, hon, I guess this is the last time--’ His voice dissolved as he broke into sobs. She felt uneasy, hurriedly got her things together, and drove north to join Ben. Less than two weeks after she moved in with Ben, her new lover, he was seized with a heart attack. He lingered a few hours...and then died.” (Charles Swindoll, The Quest For Character, Multnomah, p. 42).
For more from Chuck, visit http://www.insight.org
The Eskimo’s are among the greatest hunter’s of the world, but there is one animal that is the most difficult for them to catch. This animal has the greatest intellect, keenest smell, and the sharpest eyesight. And yet for the Eskimo’s to survive they must trap and kill this animal before it destroys their way of life. The animal I speak of is the white wolf. The white wolf has a sense of smell that can detect the presence of a human up to 2 miles away. It’s suggested that his eyesight is so great that if man had the same eyesight he could read a newspaper from 150 yards away. It is their eyesight, sense of smell, and their cunning that make them the most difficult animal to bring down. And yet, the Eskimo’s have devised a tactic that never fails. And it is similar to the tactic that the devil uses to attack Christians. The Eskimo’s say there is no sense in going against all the ability that the white wolf possesses. The devil says there no sense in going against the power of God in you. To bring down the white wolf, the Eskimo’s take a knife and sharpen it to a razor’s edge, put it outside and let it freeze, dip it in blood, freeze, again and again until there is a thick coat of blood on the knife. Then they go out into the wilderness and plant it in the ground blade up. The wolf scenting what is on the blade, and sensing that there is no danger, believes he has a free lunch. There is nothing to be alarmed about, so he makes his way to the knife. The blood has drawn him to it, and he licks it and nothing happens, he licks again and again. But with each lick he is working his way closer and closer to what’s going to destroy him. How many Christian’s have been tempted to give into sin, tempted to mix God’s standards with the world’s, tempted to take that lustful glance, that first drink, to tell that little white lie, to cheat on a test, to cheat on their taxes, or to cheat on their spouse. and have taken that 1st, 2nd, 3rd lick not knowing that their getting closer to what’s going to destroy them. Now, the white wolf gets comfortable and licks faster and faster as he tastes the frozen blood. Then he gets to the blade and slices his tongue but doesn’t even know it, because he is numbed by the bloody ice. Now he is tasting his own blood, but he continues to lick until the blade is clean and his tongue is shredded. He never walks more than a mile before he bleeds to death and the hunter has won. The devil has planted blades all around us. And all he wants you to do is to get comfortable with the first lick. No one will ever see, no one will ever know. Your safe, there is no harm. But with every lick you’re getting closer to the blade, to destruction, to death. The blades that Satan offers appear to be beautiful, desirable, something to be longed for, something that will bring satisfaction & pleasure. But they will destroy your life. Countless Christians have been overcome by things that Satan has set in front of them and they lost everything that was truly dear to them, their home, marriage, family, and friends. I can handle it.