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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.
Do you remember the story about Tony Toto, of Allentown, PA.? He operated a pizza parlor there. Tony Toto survived at least 5 attempts on his life, all arranged for or carried out by his dear wife, Frances, & her lover.
Twice she arranged for assailants to beat him over the head with baseball bats. On one occasion she put a tripwire across the basement stairs in their house, hoping that he would trip over it & plummet to his death.
Twice she arranged for him to be shot. The first time she drugged his chicken soup so he would sleep soundly, & he was shot in the head, but miraculously survived. The 2nd time he was shot in the chest, but only sustained minor injuries. Now this is a picture of a real happy couple, isn’t it?
Even more miraculous than Tony’s survival was his attitude toward his wife once he found out she was responsible for all of this. Tony, a self?confessed lady’s man himself, said that he held his wife blameless.
When she was found guilty & sent to prison for arranging for his murder, he took their 4 children & visited her every week - every single week. Then when she was released from prison, she went back to their red brick home to resume her married life with Tony.
With his arm around her, Tony said, "We’re more in love now than ever before. I don’t understand why people break up over silly little things."
I’m Sarah, I’m sixteen;
Last night I failed.
I prayed for more strength,
So why did I yield?
He said he loved me,
Brought me flowers and all;
Then he took me upstairs
And caused me to fall.
I feel so ashamed,
So dirty inside.
He’s taken my heart;
Now I want to go hide.
I let down my parents,
And they trusted me so.
Can God forgive me?
I need to know.
If I had it to do
All over again,
I think I would run
To a close, loving friend.
The pain hurts so bad;
I want you to know,
So you won’t give in.
You’ll know when to go!
Yes, God can forgive!
It says it right here;
Jesus died for my sins,
So I never need fear.
My past is all cleansed;
I’m whiter than snow.
Yet my sin is still sin;
Consequences don’t go.
Today I start over,
My purity new!
I’m God’s little girl,
Straight through and through!
Abstain - yes, I must!
By God’s grace and power,
I’ll stay close to Him,
Hour by hour.
Hiding His Word
Deep in my heart;
When faced with temptation,
Next time I’ll be smart.
I know from now on
I’m determined to wait;
God has a man
Designed as my mate.
When that time comes,
And I know he’s the one;
The day I’ll be married -
Now that’ll be fun!
But until then,
To the Lord will I cling;
At just the right time,
My husband, He’ll bring.
I’m trusting Him now
With all of my soul.
The Lord holds my future;
That’s all I must know!
In the book, No Bad Dogs, by British dog trainer Barbara Woodhouse, she says dogs understand
love better than we do. She writes, “In a dog’s mind, a master or a mistress to love, honor, and obey is
an absolute necessity. The love is dormant in the dog until brought into full bloom by an understanding
owner. Thousands of dogs appear to love their owners, they welcome them home with enthusiastic
wagging of the tail and jumping up, they follow them about their houses happily and, to the normal person
seeing the dog, the affection is true and deep. But to the experienced dog trainer this outward show is
not enough. The true test of love takes place when the dog has got the opportunity to go out on its own
as soon as the door is left open by mistake and it goes off and often doesn’t return home for hours. That
dog loves only its home comforts and the attention it gets from its family; it doesn’t truly love the master
or mistress as they fondly think. True love in dogs is apparent when a door is left open and the dog still
stays happily within earshot of...
A. Todd Coget
[Good Won’t Get You There, Feda H. Babinski]
I’m standing there in front of gates like none I’ve ever found
They shine like golden ribbons as they glide across the ground
I see the stairs that never end how brilliantly they glow
I start to climb and realize there’s nothing down below
Then suddenly the two appear yes they must be my guide
They didn’t speak or show their face while they were by my side
We reached the top and I was placed in line with everyone
The two so quickly disappeared I guess their job was done
Such purity was all around so it just had to be
The day that would determine where I’d spend eternity
The line moved very slowly but since I’d been good and kind
I knew where I was going so I really didn’t mind
I watched so many walk away with wings as white as snow
The others were escorted out to where? I didn’t know
My turn had come to face the Lord but much to my surprise
I didn’t feel so confident when I looked in his eyes
I felt His power all around and nothing was the same
He opened up this golden book and asked me for my name
He said, "Where your name should appear there’s just a vacancy"
I said, But God I’ve been so good please look again for me"
God closed the book and tiny angels wiped his tears away
He said, "I hope you’ll understand what I’m about to say
Do you recall that poor old man who asked you for a dime?
You hurried passed and said to him that you did not have time
There also was a little child who wanted you to play
Again you didn’t have the time and pushed the child away
In line while at the grocery store she tried to hurry so
You grumbled as you passed her by because she moved too slow
You see, I came so many times but you turned me away
So now I don’t know who you are I’m sad for you today
If I’m not living in your heart you can’t be free from sin
So being good is not enough you must be Born Again"
The two appeared just like before they stood close by my side
This time I saw their faces and became so terrified
Through tears I was escorted to my final destiny
I had no one to blame at all except for one, just me
Then suddenly a ringing sound completely filled my head
I opened up my eyes and found that I was still in bed
Through sweat and tears I realized how real our dreams could be
And then I wondered just how long that God would wait for me
That night I gave my heart away I’m Born Again through prayer
God proved to me with so much love that "Good Won’t Get You There"
Why Mike Guglielmucci Lied to the World
The Australian musician who wrote "Healer" needed his own healing from a porn addiction. His tragic story should challenge us to embrace purity.
I play the song "Healer" all the time in my car. I can't get the tune out of my head. You probably know the words:
I believe You're my healer
I believe You are all I need
I believe You're my portion
I believe You're more than enough for me
Jesus You're all I need.
Thousands of churches have been singing the popular worship chorus since Australian youth pastor Michael Guglielmucci wrote it in 2007. The Aussie worship band Hillsong United has made it a global anthem, and it's especially popular among people battling illness. But the song took on a darker meaning in August when Guglielmucci admitted it was part of an elaborate hoax he created. When we sing "Healer' from now on, let's remember that Jesus wasn't lying when He promised to heal our broken soul.
Christians around the world felt shocked and betrayed when the 29-year-old minister admitted he had faked cancer for two years in a strange ploy to hide his secret pornography addiction. The fiasco has become one of the biggest scandals to rock Australia's Christian community in years.
In a tearful apology aired on Australian television several weeks ago, Guglielmucci said he faked symptoms and wrote bogus e-mails from doctors. He sat in waiting rooms alone while his family assumed he was getting treatment. He appeared in church concerts with an oxygen tube in his nose, deceiving thousands of mostly teenage fans into believing he needed a physical healing.
This talented but tormented young man eventually trapped himself in his own deceptive web. Church leaders asked him to confess his lies to the police, since he used the story to raise funds. He was stripped of his ministerial credentials and is now receiving psychiatric help. Aussie church leaders, including pastor Brian Houston of Hillsong Church in Sydney, had to make public statements to calm distraught churchgoers who feel betrayed and, in some cases, defrauded of their money.
I can't begin to imagine the pain that Guglielmucci's parents feel. (His father is an Assemblies of God pastor who read his son's apology to a stunned congregation outside Adelaide). I am sure trust has been severely damaged among members of Guglielmucci's family. But how do we respond when a leader fails us like this?
Thankfully, in Guglielmucci's case, he did not justify his behavior. His apology was read in churches all over Australia. He told a news reporter: "I'm so sorry not just for lying to my friends and family even about a sickness, but I'm sorry for a life of saying I was something when I'm not. From this day on I'm telling the truth."
Guglielmucci admitted that he began to weave his false story of illness in order to mask his addiction. Sometimes he felt so guilty after looking at porn that he couldn't go to work--so he called in sick. He dug himself deeper every day. His little lies grew to become a monstrous con job.
This man's pretend sickness was caused by a disease of the soul that plagues millions of people today, including many Christian men who wear masks to church to hide their shame. They haven't stuck tubes in their noses or broadcast their lies to teenage audiences like Guglielmucci did, but they are lying just the same to cover up their lust. They, too, need to come clean.
(Source: J. Lee Grady, Charisma.)
A candy maker in Indiana wanted to make a candy that would be a witness, so he made the Christmas
Candy Cane. He incorporated several symbols for the birth, ministry, and death of Jesus Christ.
He began with a stick of pure white hard candy: white to symbolize the Virgin Birth and the sinless nature
of Jesus, and hard to symbolize the solid rock, the Foundation of the Church and firmness of the
promises of God.
The candy maker made the candy in the form of a "J" to represent the precious name of Jesus, who came to earth as our Savior. It could also represent the staff of the Good Shepherd with which He reaches down into the ditches of the world to lift out the fallen lambs who, like all sheep, have gone astray. Thinking that the candy was somewhat plain, the candy maker stained it with red stripes. He used three small stripes for the blood shed by Christ on the cross, so that we could have the promise of eternal life.
Unfortunately, the candy became known as the Candy Cane - a meaningless decoration seen at Christmas time. But the meaning is still there for all those who have "eyes to see and ears to hear". We pray this symbol will again be used to witness to the wonder of Jesus and His great love that came down at Christmas.
The Candy Cane, used during the holidays, stands as an important Christmas symbol. A candy maker wanted to come up with an idea to express the meaning of Christmas through the imagination of candy. That is when he came up with the idea of the Candy Cane. There are several different symbols incorporated through the Candy Cane. First, he used a plain white peppermint stick. The color white symbolizes the purity and sinless nature of Jesus. Next, he decided to add three small stripes to symbolize pain inflicted upon Jesus before his death on the cross and a bold stripe to represent the blood he shed for mankind. Two other symbols are distinctive on the Candy Cane. When looked at, it looks like a shepherd’s staff because Jesus is the shepherd of man. Then if you turn it upside down, you will notice the shape of the letter J symbolizing the first letter in Jesus’s name. These five symbols were incorporated into this piece of peppermint stick so that we would remember what we really celebrate the Christmas season.
Jamie Rapp and Kevin Johnson.
In Christ We Have:
A love that can never be fathomed
A life that can never die
A righteousness that can never be tarnished
A peace that can never be understood
A rest that can never be disturbed
A joy that can never be diminished
A hope that can never be disappointed
A glory that can never be clouded
A light that can never be darkened
A purity that can never be ...
My in-laws—Harold and Dorothy Wills—retired here to the Bloomsburg area back in 1987. They knew of Bloomsburg because their daughter, Kathy, married Charlie and Kay Dyer’s son, Charlie. Barb and I were living in Washington, DC when Barb’s parents moved to Bloomsburg. And so we would make an annual pilgrimage up here to Bloomsburg to visit. That’s how we got to know about Shiloh Bible Church. This was the church my in-laws were attending. And we would attend here when we came up to visit. Well, one winter—back in 1989—Barb decided to take our son Joel—who was only a few years old at the time—and come up here to Bloomsburg to visit Grandma and Grandpa Wills. Barb left on a Thursday and was to return to Washington on the following Tuesday.
Well, when Barb would go away, I always made sure I kept the apartment clean. If I dirtied a dish, I would wash it and put it away. When I finished reading a book, I would put it back in its place on the shelf. Well, this particular time that Barb went to her parents was an extremely busy and hectic time for me. Between my duties as Dean of Students at the college and seminary, and the courses I was teaching at the college, and the churches I was preaching at on the weekend, I was on the run. And I didn’t do what I would normally do. I let the apartment go. There were dirty dishes piled up in the sink, books scattered around the apartment, clothes on the floor, bed unmade—the place was a mess. On Sunday morning I looked around and said, “After I get home from church, I’ll clean the place up.” But when I got home from preaching I was so tired that I just took a nap in the afternoon instead. I got up and started getting ready to go to another church to preach in their evening service. I looked around at the mess and said, “No big deal. I’ll just come home a little early tomorrow from the office and clean the place really nice so it will look good when Barb comes home on Tuesday.” Well, just as I was about to leave to go preach that evening, the phone rang. It was Barb. I said, “Hi, honey. How are things at your mom and dad’s?” Barb said, “Everything was fine. We had a nice visit. But I decided to come back a little early.” I said, “How early?” Barb said, “Well, we’re in York right now and so we should be home in 2 hours.” I said, “Oh, isn’t that wonderful.” I hung up the phone. What was I supposed to do? I didn’t have time to go to the church, preach, and come back to clean before Barb returned. And I couldn’t call the church and cancel my preaching so I could stay home to clean. I thought that I could perhaps go to the church, preach the shortest sermon on record, drive back home and try to clean up as best as possible before Barb arrived. But I realized that that wouldn’t work. So I resigned myself to the fact that Barb would return to an apartment that looked like a tornado had ripped through it.
When I returned from church that evening, Barb met me at the door. She looked at me and said, “What in the world happened here?” And so I looked at Barb and I did what any self-respecting husband would do. I blamed her. I said, “You weren’t supposed to come home until Tuesday!” Well, we spent the rest of the night cleaning the apartment. But I mean to tell you—had I known that Barb was returning Sunday, I would have had the apartment clean on Sunday. But she came back unexpectedly, and I wasn’t ready.
Listen, Jesus is coming again. He will return. But He hasn’t told us when He will return. So we need to be ready. We need to keep our lives clean and in order at all times. Knowing that Jesus could return at any moment motivates us to live a pure life. As John says in 1 John 3:3: “Everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself, just as he is pure.” Our position produces purity.
I like to illustrate God’s wrath with a lit match and a piece of paper. If I bring the flaming match into contact with the paper, everyone knows what will happen. The flame will consume the paper. This requires no red in the face anger toward the paper. It is simply a law governing these two substances.
In exactly this way, when we speak of God’s wrath, we are not describing red in the face anger such as we might exhibit. No, God in His purity and in His holiness is perfectly at peace. There is no rage in Him. Yet bring unholiness and sin into His presence and His holiness will consume that which is unholy and impure. Sin cannot abide in His presence. There is no compromise between God and sin any more than there can be a compromise between flame and paper.