Category: Christian Living

Important Biblical Principles On Giving

Important Biblical Principles On Giving

In chapter 16 of 1 Corinthians, we read that one of the most important ministries the apostle Paul had during his third journey was the gathering of a special “relief offering” for the poor believers in Jerusalem.

While this special offering was not the same as our Lord’s Day collection, it does give several important biblical principles on giving for believers today.

Giving is an Act of Worship

I believe it’s tragic when church members give only as a duty and forget that our offerings are to be spiritual “sacrifices” presented to the Lord (Philippians 4:18). Giving should be an act of worship to the resurrected and ascended Savior.

It’s interesting that Paul mentioned the offering just after his discussion about the resurrection. In the original manuscripts there were no chapter breaks, so the readers would go right from Paul’s hymn of victory (1 Corinthians 15:54-56) into his discussion about money.

Doctrine and duty go together, so do worship and works. Our giving is not in vain because our Lord is alive. It is His resurrection power that motivates us to give and to serve.

Giving Should be Systematic

Some Bible students suggested that many people were paid on the first day of the week during that time in history. But even if they were not, each believer was to set aside his offering at home and then bring it to the assembly on the first day. Paul did not want to have to take up a number of collections when he arrived in Corinth. He wanted the whole contribution to be ready (1 Corinthians 16:2).

If today’s church members were as systematic in their giving as they are in handling their other financial matters, the work of the Lord would not suffer as it sometimes does.

*Related Article: Biblical Principles of Tithing

Do you know that members of the Yoido Full Gospel Church, the largest Pentecostal Christian congregation in South Korea founded by Pastor David Yonggi Cho, would go to the bank days before worship day to exchange their old paper bills with new ones for their tithes and offering? And if they have no time to go to the bank they would iron them flat, making them crisp and looking new.

Preparing our tithes and offerings at home is a good practice to adapt. The word of God says, “Each one should give what he has decided in his heart to give …” (2 Corinthians 9:7). What better way to decide how much we should give than seeking God at home before going to church.

Giving is Personal and Individual

Paul expected each member to share in the offering, the rich and the poor alike. Anyone who had an income was privileged to share and to help those in need. He wanted all to share in the blessing.

Do not wait to get rich before you start giving to the Church. As someone once said, “Little can become a lot in the hands of Jesus.” Do you want God’s blessings? Be a blessing!

Giving is to be Proportionate

“A portion of the money you have earned” (1 Corinthians 16:2 NLT) suggests that believers who have more should give more. The Jewish believers in the church would have been accustomed to the tithe, but Paul did not mention any special proportion.

Certainly, the tithe (10% of one’s income) is a good idea to begin our stewardship, but we must not remain in that level. As the Lord gives us more, we should plan to give more.

Honor the Lord with your wealth - Proverbs 3:9-10

You must be familiar with the quote that says, “When God blesses you financially, don’t raise your standard of living, raise your standard of giving.” But when Brother Jess Cortez (a guest author of this website) exhorted tithes and love offering at Church, he said that God’s principle is actually the complete opposite of this.

Based on Proverbs 3:9-10, the sequence is: 1) Do not raise your standard of living, 2) raise your standard of giving, 3) and then God will bless you to overflowing.

Final Thoughts

Christian giving is a grace, the outflow of the grace of God in our lives and not the result of promotion or pressure. An open heart cannot maintain a closed hand. If we appreciate the grace of God extended to us, we will want to express that grace by sharing with others.


*Create your own Christian website for free like I did and share the love of God to the world, His goodness and faithfulness in your life. My recommended training platform will show you how to do that step by step.

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Jesus, You are the Calm at the Center of My Storm

Jesus, You are the Calm at the Center of My Storm

Living in a country that is visited by an average of 20 typhoons every year, I can understand the fear that the disciples felt when a furious storm suddenly came up while they were inside a boat in the middle of the sea (Matthew 8:23-27 & Mark 4:35-41). It’s pretty scary because you never know if you’re going to make it after the storm is gone. But if Jesus calmed the storm by rebuking the wind and the waves, He can also calm whatever storm we are facing.

The Bible tells us that Satan is the god of this world (2 Corinthians 4:4). So it’s no wonder that most of the time the world is in chaos. Living in a world that is ruled by the prince of darkness, we cannot expect things to get better, it could even get worse.

Every day we learn of terrible things that happen everywhere around the world and Christians wonder when this will ever end. But in the midst of all the troubles, we can always turn to Jesus, the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6) who will calm us even in the middle of a terrible storm.

Calm at the Center of my Storm Lyrics & Chords

It’s been a year since I published a post about how God sustained me physically, emotionally and spiritually. It was definitely one of the toughest times of my life in as far as my day job is concerned. It even came to a point where I thought I couldn’t take it anymore and all I could think about was quitting.

Praise the Lord Almighty for giving me the strength to keep on. I may be weak but God is strong and He will give me the grace to overcome every hurdle that I may have to face. I’m blessed to share with you that what I’ve been through has made me a lot stronger and taught me to trust God all the more.

*Here’s the article: Yes, I can Do All Things Through Christ Who Gives Me Strength

Another Year, Another Challenge

So I thought everything was going very well. Ministry is flourishing, my website is getting better with traffic (meaning visitors), I’m learning a lot more about and growing in His grace and knowledge and the extra working hours in my day job have been reduced.

There’s just one problem, a couple actually: I am in conflict with the head of my department (I call him Doc T) and my employers are having financial difficulties. In regard to the former issue, I’m not sure when and how things started to go south between me and Doc T.

We actually started out on a positive note; we were communicating very well, we were comfortable with each other. We even became friends while at the same time maintaining a professional relationship – that of a superior and subordinate. I very much appreciated how principled he was and wanted nothing more than equality among everyone in the team, regardless of race, nationality, and religion.

Romans 8:37

Then came that unfortunate day when my roommate/colleague and I got into some kind of conflict with a junior local staff, a big NONO, I must say! This is one thing a foreigner should never do in a country where discrimination is very common and rampant. Admittedly, it was a huge mistake for me to get involved and I had to learn my lesson the hard way.

In all fairness, Doc T tried his best to make it look like the problem is nothing more than a plain misunderstanding when we were called in for a department meeting with the HRO (Human Resource Officer). But after that, it became even more obvious that the management has sided with the junior staff, because she’s a local.

Well, Doc T got the message loud and clear from the HR: locals are privileged in this medical facility and you have to abide by that rule if you want things to go smoothly for you. And that’s when Doc T started treating me and other foreigners in our department differently.

How to Respond to People Who Do Not Treat You Well

Since then, Doc T would do anything just to please the locals, even at the expense of the foreigners (myself included). This was not only physically and mentally draining, but it was emotionally painful too. I tried to remain polite and respectful towards him, and so as my colleagues. But as they say, every person has his limit.

As a follower of Christ, I should know better than to get in conflict with anyone, especially with my superiors. And so I tried to keep my distance from Doc T, which he took as a sign of disrespect and animosity towards him. He even went as far as to accuse me of influencing our junior staffs to give him the “cold treatment.”

I was like, “What? Are you kidding me?” I was appalled, disappointed and troubled. I admit, I tend to overreact at times, especially when the attack is personal. Imagine being called “evil” (behind your back) by your superior just because you only talk to him when necessary, meaning, as it relates to work. I wonder if this is what they call “character assassination.”

Romans 12:18

Anyway, I thought it’s best to just let things subside, for now. I recognize that this is another bump on the road, which happened a week after I delivered God’s message in our local church on “The Christian’s Response to Trials.” If you are being used by God behind the pulpit, you know for certain that whatever sermon you preach, God will allow you to experience it firsthand. The word of God also exhorts us to live at peace with everyone, if it is possible (Romans 12:18 & Hebrews 12:14).

Choosing to Move Forward

Just because we’re followers of Christ doesn’t mean that we won’t have storms in our lives. But following Jesus faithfully will give us peace, even in the midst of those storms.

As for me, I could choose to wallow in despair or rejoice in tribulations. Bottom line is whatever storm I am facing right now, I am confident that God will help me through it, because you, Jesus my Lord, are the calm at the center of my storm.

Have you had experiences like this within your family circle, friends or colleagues? How did you handle the situation? Your testimony is very much welcome in the comments below.


*Create your own Christian website for free like I did and share the love of God to the world, His goodness and faithfulness in your life. My recommended training platform will show you how to do that step by step.

Create your own website for free here.

 

Jesus Washes His Disciples’ Feet: An Act of Love and Humility

Jesus Washes His Disciples’ Feet: An Act of Love and Humility

We live in a society where it is the “norm” for the rich and powerful to be ordering people around, while the poor and the lowly people are the ones serving. In this article, we will delve into a passage where our Lord Jesus changed this standard through His example.

You must be familiar with the scene where Jesus washed His disciples’ feet, recorded in John 13:1-17. (See also Matthew 26:14-39 & Luke 22:24-27.) But for us to conclude this as an act of love and humility on the part of our Lord, a good grasp of the Jewish custom of those days is much-needed.

Background of the Passage

Prior to Jesus’ meeting His disciples at the Upper Room, we read that Jesus had entered Jerusalem on Sunday, and on Monday He had cleansed the Temple. Tuesday was a day of conflict with the religious leaders as they sought to trip Him up in order to get evidence to arrest Him. Wednesday was probably a day of rest, but on Thursday He met with His disciples in order to observe Passover.

*Note: If you’re wondering how I came up with this flow of events, they are recorded in Matthew 21-25.

And reading from Luke’s account (Luke 22:24), we see that while Jesus was nearing the time of His death, His disciples had been arguing who of them would be appointed to the highest cabinet post in Jesus’ coming government.

Jesus Loved His Disciples to the End

When Jesus asked to meet with His disciples, He recognized that it was the time for Him to be glorified through His death, resurrection, and ascension (John 13:1). From the human point of view, it meant suffering, but from the divine point of view, it meant glory.

Jesus knew He would soon leave this world and return to the Father who sent Him, having finished His work on earth (John 17:4). At the Last Supper, on the night before He was about to suffer and die and be betrayed by Judas, Jesus did something interesting for His disciples to show them that He loved them even to the end.

Jesus Washes His Disciples’ Feet

Here’s the scenario: The evening meal was in progress and as the devil had already prompted Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot to betray Jesus and knowing that the Father had put all things under His power, Jesus got up from the meal, took off His outer garment, wrapped a towel around His waist and poured water into a basin. Then He began to wash His disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around Him (John 13:2-5).

Yes, the Savior did all that! So, what’s the big deal? It was customary in those days that whenever guests came to dinner, the house slave would wash the guest’s feet which were dirty from the dusty roads. There were even garbage and animal wastes on the roads because animals traveled up and down the same streets.

People in the olden times wore sandals

People wore sandals without socks in those days, making their feet very dirty. Take note that in the Jewish custom, people eat dinner around a low table so they didn’t sit on chairs. Instead, they leaned on pillows with their dirty feet exposed behind them. (This could be similar to Japanese or Korean dining today.) Isn’t it hard to enjoy a meal when there is a very bad smell?

However, at the last supper which was held at a private home, there was no slave present, and apparently, none of the disciples had offered to wash the feet of Jesus and the others. Then Jesus did something that must have almost seemed crazy; He began to do the job of the lowest household servant.

Imagine the reaction of the disciples. They must have been so shocked that there was stunning silence while Jesus was washing their feet one after the other. He comes to Peter who probably was able to regain his composure to echo what each of them must be thinking (John 13:6).

Customary Jewish or Japanese Dining
Photo Credits: Vix.com

Regarding the relationship between a teacher and his disciples, a teacher had no right whatsoever to demand or expect his disciples to wash his feet, in accordance with the Jewish laws and traditions. How much more unthinkable for the master to wash his disciples’ feet?

The Meaning & Significance of What Jesus Did

There are several reasons that prompted Jesus to wash His disciples’ feet. Apart from the obvious reason that their feet were dirty and needed washing, Jesus wanted to teach them humility and love. And as their Lord and teacher, He wanted to teach them by setting an example for them to follow.

Jesus knew better that actions speak louder than words. The disciples who had been following Jesus for 3 years must have heard Jesus preach multiple times about love and humility. Yet, they were still quarreling among themselves who should be greater.

And why was no one willing to humble himself and wash Jesus’ feet? Because they could not do this without having to wash the others’ feet as well – a clear admission of inferiority among their fellow competitors for the top position in their hierarchy.

Whoever wants to be great must be servant of all

It must be pride and feelings of animosity. Apparently, their sinful nature was still very much a part of them. So when Jesus wanted to teach His proud and arguing disciples about love and true humility, He didn’t just say it; He showed it.

In the succeeding verses (John 13:12-17), Jesus explains the reason behind His action and calls His disciples to follow His example. Jesus is saying we should serve others. If Jesus who is our master and Lord of all would choose to lower Himself to do the job of the lowest and least important servant by washing His friends’ feet, then we should always be willing to serve others.

Closing Thoughts

The servant (slave) is not greater than his master; so if the master becomes a slave, where does that put the slave? On the same level as the master! Jesus said “we ought to wash one another’s feet” (John 13:14-16). This is the attitude that marks His followers, especially among church leaders.

While the foot-washing is a powerful lesson in humility, let us not overlook the truth behind it, which is that Jesus did all this out of love. Love was what motivated Jesus to wash His disciples’ feet and He is telling us today that when we humble ourselves and serve, it should be out of love, not out of a sense of duty or responsibility.

Although foot-washing during Bible times was very common, it’s not common today. However, there are many things we can do to serve others as an act of love and humility. What practical examples from your everyday life can you give where Jesus’ example should be followed?


*Recommended Resource:

Full Service: Moving From Self-Serve Christianity to Total Servanthood by Siang-Yang Tan

Is servanthood a way to lead or a way of life? Leadership has its place in Christian ministry, but God calls us, first and foremost, to servanthood. Servant is not a modifier for some other activity but the foundation of the Christian life.

Siang-Yang Tan calls the church back to its primary role of being servants of Christ and other people. This genuine Spirit-inspired servant attitude will enable you to enter more deeply into God’s rest and grace and will revolutionize your life and ministry.

The How’s and Why’s of Praise and Worship

The How’s and Why’s of Praise and Worship

In my previous article “The Biblical Roots of Christian Praise and Worship,” I dealt with the Tabernacle of Moses from which praise and worship in churches today had its origin. In this article, we will look at the how’s and why’s of praise and worship. Why and how should the people of God praise and worship the Lord?

As a redeemed Christian, I am pretty sure you are familiar with the “praise and worship” part of the church service. Some even say it is their favorite part, aside from the sermon or message, of course. But how much do we really know about praise and worship?

The book of Psalms is a good place to start, for it is all about praising and worshiping God. Unfortunately, I won’t be able to tackle all chapters that deal with this topic and compress them all into just one article.

However, I am convinced that Psalm 95 gives us a basic understanding of praise and worship:

Psalm 95:1-7 (NLT)

1 Come, let us sing to the Lord! Let us shout joyfully to the Rock of our salvation. 2 Let us come to Him with thanksgiving. Let us sing psalms of praise to Him. 3 For the Lord is a great God, a great King above all gods. 4 He holds in his hands the depths of the earth and the mightiest mountains. 5 The sea belongs to Him, for He made it. His hands formed the dry land, too.

6 Come, let us worship and bow down. Let us kneel before the Lord our maker, 7 for He is our God. We are the people He watches over, the flock under His care.

Understanding Praise and Worship

The Hebrew word “Yadah” translated “praise” means “to stretch out the hand.” That is, to hold out the hands in reverence, to open the hands and let go of everything.

Alban Douglas made a very good point when he said (in his book 100 Bible Lessons) that if we hold the Lord in the highest state, respect or adoration, it would be easy for us to praise Him. That is because we only praise something or someone that we honor and regard so highly.

Why we praise the Lord

Worship, on the other hand, has several meanings in the Bible. Worship in Hebrew is “Shachah” meaning, “to prostrate, to bow down, to fall down or to stoop.” In the Greek New Testament, there are 3 words translated as worship:

a) Pruskuneo – meaning “to kiss (like a dog licking his master’s hand), to fawn or crouch to, to adore.” It occurs 59 times in the New Testament, carrying with it the idea of falling down to kiss the ground before a king or kiss their feet.

b) Latreuo – used 21 times in the New Testament, which means “to render religious service of homage.”

c) Sebomai – used 10 times in the New Testament, and it means “to reverence or hold in awe.”

Difference Between Praise and Worship

Basically, praise means looking up, while worship means bowing down. Do you know that some people who enjoy lifting their hands and shouting do not enjoy bowing their knees and submitting?

True worship is much deeper than communal praise; for worship involves realizing the awesomeness of God and experiencing the fear of the Lord and a deeper love for Him

How to Praise and Worship the Lord

The psalmist tells us that our praise should be joyful and enthusiastic – he even commands us to sing and shout, and wholly focused on the Lord (Psalm 95:1). How do we worship the Lord? By bowing down and kneeling before Him (Psalm 95:6).

Too often Christian praise is nothing but religious entertainment; it never moves into spiritual enrichment in the presence of the Lord. It is important to understand that praise and worship is not a show whose goal is to appeal to the flesh or natural part of man.

The verb “come” (Psalm 95:2) means “to go to meet God face-to-face, and be in His presence.” Do we have a personal encounter with God during praise and worship? Or do we treat this part of church service only as a form of entertainment?

Why We Praise and Worship the Lord

A. We praise the Lord because He is great and above the false gods of this world (Psalm 95:3).

The Scriptures are very clear God; we are to worship the Lord our God only (Luke 4:8; Psalm 45:11) and we are not to worship idols. God is a jealous God and does not want to share His glory with anyone (Exodus 20:5). No wonder that when God gave Moses the Ten Commandments, the command to not have any other god besides Him is first on the list (Exodus 20:2-3).

Unfortunately, many people in the world worship idols of wood and stone, either out of ignorance or because they do not believe in the one true God – the God of the Bible. Many worship idols of self, money, business, possession, power, pleasure and family.

True worship

Let us not forget how God punished the nations for ascribing worship and adoration to false gods. He even punished His chosen people, Israel, for repeatedly falling into the sin of idolatry as a result of living alongside these nations and intermarrying with them.

We should delight in praising God because He is not only the Creator of the universe but He also controls all things. The depths of the sea and the earth, and the heights of the mountains all belong to Him. The Lord knows what is going on in the waters as well as on the earth (Psalm 95:4-5).

*Note: Christians should not praise the Lord only in health and prosperity, but also in sickness and in adversity. We should praise the Lord in anything and everything (Philippians 4:6). Because the true Christian is one who can trust and praise the Lord even through blinding tears.

B) We worship the Lord because He is our God; we are His people and He watches over us and cares for us (Psalm 95:7).

The object of worship is God. He alone is Yahweh the Lord, the covenant-making and covenant-keeping God. He is our Maker and our Shepherd (Psalm 23). Jubilation has its place only if it becomes adoration and we fall prostrate before Him in total submission, “lost in wonder, love, and praise.”

*Are you a worship leader or an aspiring worship leader? Here’s a short video on how to make a line up for praise and worship:

Conclusion

In closing, let me just say that there are a lot more reasons why Christians should praise and worship the Lord. But in this age, when inventing clever new worship forms is a common practice and novelty is slowly replacing theology, the Word of God is a vital part of Christian worship. Hearing and heeding God’s word must be central if our worship, private or corporate, is to be truly Christian.

Praise and Worship

And whether we worship at home or in the church is immaterial. What matters to God is our spiritual condition. Our goal in praise and worship is not only to sing songs of praise and adoration for God; we must come into His presence in total surrender so we can hear His voice and be able to tap into His power and anointing.

What motivates you to praise and worship the Lord? How do you do it? Please let us know in the comments below.


*Are you interested to take up Christian drum lessons? Join worship guitar class right here.

Lessons from the Transfiguration

Lessons from the Transfiguration

There are lessons to learn from every passage in the Bible. The incident known as the “Transfiguration” reveals to us four aspects of the glory of Jesus Christ as King. This event is recorded in the gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke and although the 3 authors do not use the word “transfigure,” they all describe the scene (See Matthew 17:1-8; Mark 9:2-13 & Luke 9:28-36).

Mathew and Mark state that the transfiguration took place “six days after” Jesus predicted His suffering and death while Luke says “about eight days after.” However, these statements do not contradict; Luke’s statement is the Jewish equivalent of “about a week later.”

4 Aspects of the Glory of Jesus Christ as King

1) The Glory of His Person

As far as the gospel record is concerned, the transfiguration was the only occasion during Christ’s earthly ministry when He revealed the glory of His person. The word “transfigure” or “transform” gives us the English word “metamorphosis,” which means “a change in appearance that comes from within.” It’s like when a caterpillar builds a cocoon and later emerges as a moth or butterfly, this is due to the process called metamorphosis.

When Jesus transfigured before Peter, James and John, the glory of His person was not reflected, rather, it radiated from within. In other words, the change on the outside that the three disciples saw came from within Jesus as He allowed His essential glory to shine forth (See Hebrews 1:3).

2) The Glory of His Kingdom

The appearance of Moses and Elijah is highly significant. These two particular persons from the Old Testament represent the law (Moses) and the prophets (Elijah), both of which find their fulfillment in Jesus Christ (Luke 24:25-27; Hebrews 1:1-2). Moses had died and his body was buried (Deuteronomy 34:5-6), but Elijah had been raptured to heaven (2 Kings 2:11).

When Jesus returns, He will raise the bodies of the saints who died and will rapture the living saints (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18). Every single word in the Old Testament will be fulfilled and God’s glorious kingdom will be established (Luke 1:32-33) as promised. And just as the three disciples saw Jesus glorified on earth, so God’s people will one day see Him in His glorious Kingdom on earth and will actually reign with Him for a thousand years (Revelation 4:4-6).

3) The Glory of His Cross

The disciples had to learn that suffering and glory go together. Peter opposed Jesus’ going to Jerusalem to die (Matthew 16:22) for he was thinking like a human being. After all, most people want to escape suffering and death. So Jesus had to teach Peter that apart from His suffering and death, there could be no glory. Peter certainly learned the lesson, for in his very first epistle he repeatedly emphasized suffering and glory (1 Peter 1:6-8, 11; 4:12-16; 5:1-4).

Discipleship means denying yourself, taking up your cross and following Christ (Matthew 16:24), but you cannot do that if you selfishly stay on the mount of glory. When Jesus said that anyone who wants to be His followers must do the above, He was saying that whatever happened to Him would happen to them as well. If there was a cross in His future, there would be one in their future.

*Note: Today, a cross is an accepted symbol of love and sacrifice, but in those days, the cross was a horrible means of capital punishment. The Romans who came up with this would not even impose it on a Roman citizen, for this terrible death was reserved only for their enemies.

Philippians 2:8-9

By the way, we need to keep in mind that Jesus is talking about discipleship in Matthew 16:24-26, not sonship. We are not saved by taking up a cross and following Jesus, but because we have placed our trust in the Savior who died on the cross for our sins. We become children of God first, and then we become His disciples.

To become a disciple, we need to “turn from our selfish ways” in order to give ourselves wholly to Christ and share in His shame and death, as described in Philippians 3:7-10, Galatians 2:20 and 1 Peter 4:12-16). The good news is, suffering always leads to glory and that is why Jesus ended His sermon with reference to His glorious Kingdom (Matthew 16:28).

4) The Glory of His Submission

When Jesus told His disciples that He would have to suffer many terrible things at the hands of the elders, chief priests, and scribes, and be killed but be raised the third day (Matthew 16:21), Peter could not understand why the Son of God would submit to evil people and willingly suffer.

The transfiguration was God’s way of teaching Peter and the other disciples that Jesus is glorified when we deny ourselves, take up our cross and follow Him. The Christian’s philosophy is “Yield yourself to God!” in contrast to that of the world’s which is “Save yourself!” And so, as Jesus stood there in glory, He proved to the three disciples that surrender always leads to glory.

Jesus, who was in very nature God, humbled Himself and submitted in complete obedience to the Father, even to the point of death on the cross. As a result, God the Father exalted Him to the highest place and gave Him the name that is above every name (Philippians 2:6-10). Jesus has set the perfect example of ultimate obedience for us to follow. If we do as Jesus had done, that is, submit to God in all our ways, God is glorified.

Final Thoughts

We may have had glorious, personal experiences of encounter with the Lord Jesus during our devotion and worship; we may even have a spiritual “transfiguration” experience each day as we walk with the Lord. But as wonderful as “mountaintop” experiences are, they are not the basis for a consistent Christian life.

When we surrender our body, mind, and will to God, He will transform us from within so that we are not conformed to the world (Romans 12:1-2). As we behold our Savior in the Word, we are “transfigured” by the Spirit. This experience is known in theology as “sanctification,” the process by which we become more like the Lord, which is the Father’s goal for each of His children (1 John 3:2).

Why We Should Trust the Lord

Why We Should Trust the Lord

They say that you can never trust someone unless you know them. After all, why should we trust someone we do not know? It’s the same thing with God; we cannot trust Him unless we know Him. But other than that, why should we trust the Lord?

Reasons for us to trust the Lord

A. We can trust the Lord because He is trustworthy.

The Bible tells us that “God is not a man that He should lie, nor a son of man that He should change His mind…” (Numbers 23:19). Whatever the Lord plans and purposes to do, He can bring it to pass because He is powerful.

Getting to know God by reading His Word and spending time talking to Him will make us trust Him more and more each day. We will continue to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord as we read, study and meditate on His Word. The more we know about God, the more we will trust Him.

*Related Article: How to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord 

B. We can trust the Lord because He is faithful.

Faithfulness is one of God’s attributes. Even at times when we are unfaithful, God remains faithful and He will never change (Deuteronomy 7:9; 2 Timothy 2:13). We read the story of the nation of Israel on how they repeatedly rebelled and turned away from God. And yet, every time they called on Him to deliver them from the hands of their enemies, God was always there for them.

Why? Because He made a covenant with Abraham that He will make his descendant as numerous as the stars in the sky and the sands on the seashore; God promised to make them a great nation and a blessing (Genesis 12:2-3; Genesis 17:4-7; Genesis 22:17).

God also has a covenant with those who trust in Him. God promises many blessings to us and we can be sure that God will fulfill them because He is faithful. He is faithful to the nation of Israel and He is faithful to His bride, the Church.

Here’s a beautiful song by the Free Believers in Christ Fellowship International (FBCFI) Concert Team entitled “Trust in Me.”  

Trust in Me Lyrics & Chords

Can we trust God in times of trials?

Absolutely! We can and should trust God even when things in our lives and around us do not seem to be going the way we want them to be. God is omniscient, omnipotent and omnipresent; there is nothing that is hidden from His sight, nothing that He can’t do.

We all go through some rough times but we find comfort in knowing that God loves us, He cares about us and always has good intentions for us. Let us then “trust the Lord with all our heart, not leaning on our own understanding” (Proverbs 3:5). God wants us to always trust Him in all circumstances.

*Read the story of Joseph: Is God in complete control of everything?

Are you having a hard time trusting the Lord? Please do share your life-changing testimony on how the Lord has worked in your life the moment you made the decision to trust Him completely.


*Are you looking for Bibles, Christian resources and study materials, gifts, souvenirs, CD’s, DVD’s and more? Visit Christian Book Distributors with their Bestsellers!

Blessings in Psalm 119

Blessings in Psalm 119

Most Bible readers know that Psalm 119 is the longest chapter in Bible. However, only a few are aware that this chapter contains many blessings; it is also the chapter of the Bible that most magnifies the Word of God.

If we honestly and humbly apply the Word of God to our lives, God will surely share these blessings with us:

Note: Unless otherwise stated, all Bible reference texts are taken from the New King James Version (NKJV).

Joy

“I have rejoiced in the way of Your testimonies, as much as in all riches.” – Psalm 119:14

“Your statutes are my heritage forever; they are the joy of my heart.” – Psalm 119:111 (NIV)

“I rejoice at Your word as one who finds great treasure.” – Psalm 119:162

*Joy is more than just happiness; it is an emotion resulting from the anticipation, acquisition or even the expectation of something great or wonderful, such as salvation or eternal life. It is one of the fruit of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23).

Psalm 119:111

Purity

“How can a young person stay pure? By obeying your word.” – Psalm 119:9 (NLT)

*See also John 15:3 & Ephesians 5:25-26

*The word “purity” is synonymous with “holiness.” It means to be separated from sin and devoted to that which is good; to be morally clean and without blemish. Some may think that holy living restricts us from enjoying life to the fullest. On the contrary, living in purity allows us to live an abundant life – the life that Christ died for us to have before the world was corrupted by sin.

Hope

“Remember the word to Your servant, upon which You have caused me to hope.” – Psalm 119:49
(NLT)

*The modern idea of hope is to expect or to wish for something, but without certainty of fulfillment. You desire for something very much but have no real assurance of getting it.

*In the Bible, the Hebrew and Greek words translated by the word “hope” indicates certainty; it denotes “a strong and confident expectation.” From a biblical standpoint, hope is synonymous with salvation and all the blessings that come with it (past, present and future), as promised in Scriptures.

Right Values

“Turn away my eyes from looking at worthless things, and revive me Your way.” – Psalm 119:37

“The law of Your mouth is better to me than thousands of coins of gold and silver.” – Psalm 119:72

“How sweet are Your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth.” – Psalm 119:103 (NIV)

“I hate and abhor lying, but I love Your law.” – Psalm 119:163

*Values are those things that we deem important, for they provide direction and guidance in spite of how we feel. Values are what give us the reason why we do things and why we act exactly the way we do; they could be restrictive because of the boundaries they place around behavior.

*God, being the standard of good, is the source of all the right values. God is the absolute of truth, goodness, love and justice. In a world without God, what we call “good” would have no ultimate referent.

Comfort

“Your promise revives me; it comforts me in all my troubles.” – Psalm 119:50

“The law of Your mouth is better to me than thousands of coins of gold and silver.” – Psalm 119:72

“How sweet are Your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth.” – Psalm 119:103 (NIV)

“I hate and abhor lying, but I love Your law.” – Psalm 119:163

*God is a God of all comfort. Although He allows us to go through trials in order to build up our character, He Himself will comfort us. And the comfort that God gives will not only enable us to endure trials but so that we can comfort those who need comforting as a result of the troubles they’re facing (See 2 Corinthians 1:3-4).

New Life

“My soul clings to the dust; revive me according to Your word.” – Psalm 119:25

“I have suffered much, O Lord; restore my life again as You promised.” – Psalm 119:107 (NLT)

*What does it mean to experience new life? Here’s an article that expounds on the topic of regeneration: Born Again: A New Religion?

Peace

“Great peace have those who love Your law, and nothing causes them to stumble.” – Psalm 119:165

“My soul clings to the dust; revive me according to Your word.” – Psalm 119:25

“I have suffered much, O Lord; restore my life again as You promised.” – Psalm 119:107 (NLT)

*Peace can be defined as “harmony, tranquility or security.” Everybody wants peace, yet only a few seem to find it. The world offers empty promises of peace, but true and lasting peace only comes through Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace (John 14:27; Isaiah 9:6).

John 14:27

Freedom

“I will walk about in freedom, for I have sought out Your precepts.” – Psalm 119:45 (NIV)

“My soul clings to the dust; revive me according to Your word.” – Psalm 119:25

“I have suffered much, O Lord; restore my life again as You promised.” – Psalm 119:107 (NLT)

*Freedom could mean many things to many people. It could be viewed from a political or financial standpoint. What is freedom from a biblical standpoint? Freedom is not the right to do as one pleases. Rather, it is the power and capacity both to will and to do as one ought.

Integrity

“Remove from me the way of lying, and grant me Your law graciously.” – Psalm 119:29

“My soul clings to the dust; revive me according to Your word.” – Psalm 119:25

“I have suffered much, O Lord; restore my life again as You promised.” – Psalm 119:107 (NLT)

*When we speak of integrity, it always comes down to the issue of a person’s character, not just his words. As opposed to hypocrisy, integrity points to a consistency between what is inside and what is outside, between belief and behavior, our values and our practice, our attitudes and our actions, our words and our ways.

Wisdom

“You, through Your commandments, make me wiser than my enemies; for they are ever with me. I have more understanding than all my teachers, for Your testimonies are my meditation. I understand more than the ancients, because I keep Your precepts.” – Psalm 119:98-100

*Wisdom is defined as the ability to discern or judge what is right and true. The Bible tells us that wisdom comes from above; it’s a gift and it begins with the fear of the Lord (James 1:5; Proverbs 1:7).

Encouragement

“I weep with sorrow; encourage me by Your word.” – Psalm 119:28 (NLT)

*Encouragement is very important because, without it, hardship becomes meaningless; life feels pointless and burdensome. The word of God is the greatest source of encouragement; it helps us through times of testing and discipline and gives us the will to carry on while waiting for the Lord’s return.

Guidance and Counsel

“Your testimonies also are my delight and my counselors.” – Psalm 119:24

“Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.” Psalm 119:105 (NLT)

*God cares about each of us and wants to direct our lives. He has given us the Bible so that we might know His will and purpose in all areas of life. By God’s own direction, we are to entrust our way to Him for His direction and leading.

A Song

“Your statutes have been my songs in the house of my pilgrimage.” – Psalm 119:54

*The better we know the Bible, the more we will appreciate the great hymns of the church.

Conclusion

In closing, let me just say that in order for us to enjoy these blessings as promised by God in Psalm 119, we must not only read them; we must put them into action. James, the Lord’s brother, tells us to be “doers” of the word and not “hearers” only so we do not deceive ourselves (James 1:22).

Bible Verses About Stress and Anxiety

Bible Verses About Stress and Anxiety

Nobody is excused from stress and anxiety, not even Christians. We all feel stressed from time to time; we are anxious about our children, our finances, our health, our jobs. The long list could go on and on. Often times we find it pretty hard to find peace in the midst of a stressful situation. But what a great comfort to know that there are a lot of Bible verses about stress and anxiety telling us exactly how to deal with them.

Admittedly, my job has been the constant cause of my stress and although I trust God to take care of all my fears and worries, I still find myself stressing out every time I’m at work. I feel stressed thinking of the things that need to be accomplished. I feel stressed every time I see my co-workers not caring about getting their works done on time.

And whenever I get home and reflect on what happened at work that day, I realize how worked up I’ve been the entire day that I almost did not have time to thank God for all His blessings. Below are just 7 of the verses we can read and meditate whenever stress and anxiety kick in:

1) Psalm 55:22

“Cast your burden on the Lord, and He shall sustain you; He shall never permit the righteous to be moved.”

When we find ourselves in the midst of trouble, our first thought is: “How can I get out of this?” But as firm believers in the Lord, we need to ask, “What can I get out of this?” In the same way that David learned to rest in the Lord and found in Him peaceful refuge while hiding in the wilderness from Saul, let us learn to cast our anxiety unto the God who never changes.

In times when you find yourself in the midst of the storm, know that the Lord is forever faithful and He will never allow you to slip and fall. You do not have to fret and get stressed out, for the Lord will be by your side to rescue you; that’s His promise.

2) Philippians 4:6-7

“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”

The NLT (New Living Translation) uses the word “worry,” which means “to be pulled in different directions.” Our hopes pull us in one direction, our fears pull us the opposite direction, and we are pulled apart. Worry has definite physical consequences, such as neck pains, headaches, back pains and ulcers.

Do you know that worry can affect our thinking, our digestion, and even our coordination? Paul exhorts us to take everything to God in prayer. Talking to God about everything – not only the “big things” but even the so-called “little things” – will result in God’s peace that will guard our hearts and minds.

3) 1 Peter 5:7

“Casting all your cares upon Him, for He cares for you.”

What does it mean to cast all your cares or anxiety on God? Luke 19:35 uses the exact same form. Then they brought him to Jesus. And they threw their own clothes on the colt, and they set Jesus on him.” This simply means that if you have a garment on and you want an animal to carry it for you, you “cast” the garment on the animal so you won’t have to carry it anymore.

God wants to be a burden bearer; He is willing to carry your anxieties and burdens (Matthew 11:28; Psalm 55:22), the same way a donkey carries your baggage. But how is this possible? By trusting Him. Casting your cares on God means trusting Him to handle every situation because you believe that He cares.

4) Isaiah 41:10

“Fear not, for I am with you; be not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.”

As the Jewish remnant faced the challenge of the long journey home and the difficult task of rebuilding the Temple, they could think of many reasons to fear. But the one big reason for them not to be afraid: the Lord was with them and would give them success. God calmed their fears by assuring them and working on their behalf.

God’s promise in this verse is not only for the Jewish people; it’s for everyone who puts their trust in Him. However, you first need to recognize that God is greater than your personality. He is greater than your past timidity. Do not fear because He is your God, He is always with you; He will strengthen you and uphold you with His righteous right hand.

5) Joshua 1:9

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

Whenever Joshua faced an enemy and was tempted to be afraid, he would remember that he was a man with a divine commission, and his fears would vanish. Whenever things went wrong and he was tempted to be dismayed, he would recall God’s command and take new courage.

God does not only expect us to live strong and courageous; He has called us to live without fear because God is with us wherever we go (Hebrews 13:5). While we are to fear God and live in reverence of Him, Scripture tells us to live with confidence in God’s promises and power.

6) Matthew 6:34

“Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”

Worrying about tomorrow does not help either tomorrow or today. If anything, it robs us of our effectiveness today, which means we will be even less effective tomorrow. Focus on whatever God is doing right now without having to get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow.

The Lord has appointed to each day its own portion of pleasure and trouble. So never misappropriate the troubles that God has allotted for tomorrow. Do not ever bring them forward into today in the form of anxiety. But believe that God will take care of tomorrow because He is not only the God of today, He’s also the God of tomorrow.

7) Psalm 46:10

“Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations; I will be exalted in the earth.”

To “be still” literally means “take your hands off and relax.” Often times, we like to be “hands-on” people and manage our own lives, but God is God, and we are but His servants. Remember how Jacob often got into trouble because he liked to get his hands on circumstances and tried to play God.

There is a time to obey God and act, but until then, we had better take our hands off and allow God to work on His own time and His own way. When faced with a lot of stress and anxiety, let us learn to be still and acknowledge that God is the one and only victorious God.

Conclusion

Christians need not feel stressed and anxious. God is on our side and He has given us what we need in order to have peace of mind. He knows everything that’s going on in our lives, and although He can prevent or permit whatever He wants – including some things that could hurt us – He will work them all out for our own good; we just need to trust Him.

What do you think are the common reasons why Christians are stressed out and anxious? Had there been times in your life when you were overwhelmed with fear and worry? How did you deal with it? Please let us know in the comments below.

Lessons from the Unforgiving Servant

Lessons from the Unforgiving Servant

We know that Jesus often spoke in parables in order to teach and illustrate profound, divine truths. In the parable of the unforgiving servant which is found only in Matthew 18:21-35, Jesus teaches several lessons on forgiveness and how to deal with unforgiveness.

The Definition of Forgiveness

Forgiveness is the act of pardoning an offender. When you forgive someone, you basically dismiss or release that person from all charges against you.

In the parable of the unforgiving servant, Jesus equated forgiveness with canceling a debt. That is because, in the Bible, the Greek word translated “forgiveness” literally means “to let go,” as when a person does not demand payment for a debt.

The Frequency of Forgiveness

The passage begins with Peter asking Jesus, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him? Up to seven times? (Matthew 18:21)” By offering up the suggestion of the figure of seven, Peter thought that he was being over-generous and extremely loving. That is because many Jewish rabbis of that time taught that three times was the accepted limit.

But Jesus said to Peter, “not up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven” Matthew 18:22). Did Jesus really mean 490 times is the limit? And deny forgiveness at the 491st offense (70X7 =490)? Of course not! The idea behind “up to seventy times seven” is UNLIMITED forgiveness. Jesus is saying, There should be no limit to your forgiveness, Peter. So stop counting and just keep on forgiving!”

Hindrances to Forgiveness and How to Overcome them

1) Forgetting what we have been forgiven from.

Where the servant failed is in forgetting how much he was forgiven of. He forgot the merciful treatment his master gave him. He forgot how his master forgave him of his “unpayable” debt.

The denarius and talent were units of currency used in the New Testament times. A denarius is a Roman silver coin weighing 4 grams and is equivalent to a day’s wages for a common laborer and soldier (Matthew 20:1-2). While a talent which is a unit weight for gold typically weighed about 33 kg (75 lbs).

Item Unit Value
1 Denarius 4 g of silver coin A day’s wages
1 Talent (6,000 Denarii) About 33 kg of gold 16 years’ wages

 

The servant owed his master 10,000 talents (60 M Denarii) which is worth about 160,000 years’ wages, a tremendous amount of money which he could never pay in his lifetime in his own strength and ability. His co-servant owed him 100 denarii (roughly a hundred days’ wages), which was almost nothing compared to the debt forgiven by his master.

Note: Most commentators list the modern value of ten thousand talents as anywhere between $12 million and $1 billion US dollars.

Ten Thousand Talents

In the same way, we too have committed grave sins against God deserving of punishment. But because of God’s great love, mercy and compassion, He wanted to pardon us. He does not want us to rot in hell to pay for our sins that is why He Himself provided a way for us to be forgiven, even if it means sacrificing His only begotten Son on the cross of Calvary (John 3:16; John 14:6).

Let us not make the same mistake that the unforgiving servant did. Let us always make sure to remember how God forgave our enormous debt. In times when we are tempted to lose patience with someone or withhold forgiveness, let us remember the great mercy God has shown us when we needed it.

2) Anger that can lead to bitterness and revenge.

When we are offended, it’s but natural to feel hurt and anger. But anger in itself is not sin. Even Jesus got angry when He saw the people buying and selling goods in the temple (Matthew 21:12-13).

It’s what you do when you’re angry that might cause you to sin. That is why there is a warning in Ephesians 6:26-27 about not letting anger control us; we should not hold on to anger for more than a day. Because anger when not properly dealt with will lead to bitterness which in turn will lead to a strong desire to seek revenge against the offender.

“Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.” – Ephesians 4:31-32

Do you know that a root of bitterness can grow up in a person because of unforgiveness? This root can be buried deep inside your heart which not only blocks the flow of God’s love from penetrating deep within your heart; it also blocks the flow of God’s love for others through you.

When the king found out that his servant whose debt he canceled did not forgive his co-worker who owed him a much lesser amount, he gave him up to the torturers until he should pay all his debt. In the same way, Christians with an unforgiving spirit find themselves miserable, unhappy, tortured and slowly being eaten up by anger and bitterness. As a result, they would want to seek revenge against their offenders.

In your anger do not sin

Some of the most miserable people are those who will not forgive others. They live only to imagine ways to punish the people who have wronged them. But they are really only punishing themselves.

The word of God tells us not to take revenge but to leave it to God. “Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: ‘It is mine to avenge; I will repay’, says the Lord” (Romans 12:19).

3) Unwillingness to forgive.

Going back to the passage, the servant who was forgiven of his “unpayable” debt of 10,000 talents was unwilling to forgive his co-worker whose debt did not even amount to 1 talent. His co-worker begged him for more time to pay his debt but he refused and threw him into prison.

Often times Christians find themselves doing the exact same thing to their offenders. They find it hard to forgive despite knowing how God has not only forgiven them of their sins but were also declared righteous in the sight of God.

We often pray the Lord’s Prayer. We say, “Lord, forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us.” Do we really know what we’re asking? Do we know the depths of this prayer? When we ask God to forgive our sins, we’re actually asking God for something that we’re not prepared to give to others.

The Lord's Prayer

This is plain “hypocrisy.” We want God to just cover all our sins but we’re not willing to reach out and forgive others. This should not be! Any sin that others could ever commit against us is just like the hundred denarii; it is insignificant compared to the horrible sins we have committed and will commit against God all the days of our lives.

Why Should We Forgive?

1) We forgive because we have been forgiven (1 John 1:9; Ephesians 1:7).

The first point of being forgiven is acknowledging that we are sinners in need of forgiveness. And since we’ve been forgiven so much, we must also choose to forgive others.

2) We forgive out of obedience to the Lord (Colossians 3:13; Ephesians 4:32).

Having a proper understanding of how much we have been forgiven would make it easier for us to recognize how much “God in Christ forgave” us.

Having received God’s infinite forgiveness would naturally make us want to forgive others. We commit sin every day; in our thoughts and in what we say and do. And God is faithful to forgive us when we acknowledge our sins and confess them (1 John 1:9).

3) We forgive so that God will forgive our sins (Matthew 6:14-15).

Jesus warned that God cannot forgive us if we do not have humble and repentant hearts. The true condition of our hearts is revealed by the way we treat others. When our hearts are humble and repentant, we will gladly forgive our brothers and sisters.

4) We forgive so that our prayers will not be hindered (Mark 11:24-25).

One of the reasons we do not receive what we ask for in prayer is an unforgiving spirit. Do you want to live a victorious Christian life? Forgive. Want to experience God’s presence and power in your life? Forgive. Do you want to be effective in your ministry? Forgive. And you must forgive from your heart.

To forgive from your heart does not mean forgetting the offense. Let’s face it, no matter how many years will pass by, we will never forget the incident. Consider God’s perspective; He is an omniscient God, He knows everything and nothing is hidden from His sight.

But when God forgives, He will also “forget” our sins and “remembers them no more” (Hebrews 8:12; Isaiah 43:25). Well, it does not mean that God will suddenly have amnesia. It means God does not hold our sins against us anymore. This tells us that when God expects us to forgive those who have wronged us, He also expects us to not hold the person accountable for his sins any longer.

How to Forgive when it Hurts

You may ask, “How can God expect me to forgive when I am hurting so badly? And how do I forgive when I don’t feel like it?” We forgive by faith. Forgiveness just like loving our enemies is against our nature, so we must forgive by faith.

Corrie Ten BoomNo matter how hurt we are; whether we feel like it or not, we must choose to forgive. Forgiveness is a conscious choice that we make through a decision of our will, regardless of how we feel.

When asked about how she was able to forgive the people who have caused her a lot of pain and suffering, Corrie Ten Boom in her book Hiding Place made this powerful statement:

“Forgiveness is an act of the will, and the will can function regardless of the temperature of the heart.”

How to Know if we have Truly Forgiven

We must understand that forgiveness does not always come easy. It’s not a one-time choice that we do and then we automatically live in a state of forgiveness. Most of the time, forgiveness is a slow process.

For some, the act of forgiving may take a lifetime. The most important thing is we continue to forgive until the matter is settled in our heart. But how do we know if we have truly forgiven? Freedom comes as a result when Lewis Smedesforgiveness is complete.

The world’s worst prison is the prison of an unforgiving heart. Just like the unforgiving servant who was thrown into prison by his master, you are also imprisoning yourself and causing your own torment if you refuse to forgive others.

Lewis Smedes in his book Forgive and Forget says, “When you release a wrongdoer from the wrong, you set a prisoner free, but you discover that the real prisoner was yourself.”

Conclusion

One of the best ways to break down the wall of unforgiveness in our heart is prayer. If you have been wronged or badly treated by someone, why not begin praying for that person. And as you pray, God will give you new eyes to see and heart to care for that person. You will begin to see them the way God does – a guilty sinner who is in need of forgiveness just like us.

And if God did not withhold His forgiveness from us, who are we to withhold our forgiveness from others? It is normal for us to be angry toward sin and injustice but it is not our job to judge others in their sin.

If you have had experiences with having to deal with unforgiveness in your heart, please do share your testimony in the comment below.

What Did Jesus Teach About Marriage?

What Did Jesus Teach About Marriage?

What did Jesus teach about marriage? In Matthew 19:3-12 where the Pharisees and teachers of the law asked Jesus about marriage, divorce and remarriage, Jesus went all the way back to Genesis instead of beginning with the laws in Deuteronomy. By doing so, Jesus reminded His listeners (and the readers today) of the true characteristics of marriage as described in the original Edenic Law.

From the first marriage that God established, we learn positively what He had in mind for a man and a woman. If a marriage is built after God’s ideal pattern, the couple will not have to worry about divorce laws. Below are the principles that Jesus taught about marriage.

Marriage is a divinely appointed union.

God designed marriage, which means He knows best how it should operate. God alone can control its character and laws. No court of law can change that which God has established.

Since God designed marriage, it takes three to make a good marriage: God, the husband, and the wife. Steve J. Cole puts it this way: “Marriage is described as a triangle with God at the top. The closer each partner moves to God, the closer they move toward each other. And the further each moves from God, the further they move from each other.”

Marriage is divinely appointed by God

This truth is illustrated in the Garden of Eden when Adam and Eve disobeyed God. They did not only experience alienation from God as a result of their disobedience, they also experienced alienation from each other. When God confronted them, Adam began to blame Eve (Genesis 3:11-12).

*Related Article: What is the Will of God in Marriage? 

Marriage is a physical union.

Jesus says that when a man gets married, he shall leave his father and mother, be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. And as a result, they are no longer two but one flesh (Matthew 19:5). The term “one flesh” means that just as our bodies are one whole entity which is not divisible, God also intended it to be with marriage. Married couples are no longer two entities, but now there is one entity.

The “one flesh” union between the husband and wife is the fruit of more than just companionship or partnership; it is the expression of oneness found when two bodies are fused in perfect union – the deepest expression of intimacy.

And that is why in the marriage relationship, the Bible says that the wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. Likewise, the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does (1 Corinthians 7:4).

Marriage is a physical union

While husband and wife should be of one mind and heart, the basic union in marriage is physical. Because if a man and woman were just to become “one spirit” in marriage, then death would not dissolve the marriage as it says in 1 Corinthians 7:39, for the spirit, never dies.

So even if the couple disagrees, are “incompatible,” and do not get along, they are still married, for the union is physical.

Marriage is a permanent union.

God’s original design for marriage was for one man and one woman to spend one life together; no man should separate them because they were joined together by God (Matthew 19:6). God says nothing about trial marriages or divorce in His original law. Rather, God’s law requires that the husband and wife enter into marriage without reservations.

Our Lord’s teaching is that Scripture has only one basis for divorce, and that is sexual sin. If two people are divorced on any other basis and marry other mates, they are committing adultery (Matthew 19:9).

What God has joined together, let not man separate

However, it is important to note that the Lord Jesus did not teach that the offended mate had to get a divorce. Certainly, forgiveness, patient healing and a restoration of the broken relationship are possible. This must be the Christian approach to the problem.

Sad to say, because of the hardness of our hearts, oftentimes healing the wounds and saving the marriage becomes impossible (Matthew 19:8). For Christian couples, divorce should be the final option, not the first option.

*Read here: What is the Biblical view of Divorce and Remarriage?

Marriage is a union between one man and one woman.

Genesis 1:26-27 gives us an account of God’s creation of man. It says that God created man in His image and likeness and He created them male and female. The LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground (Genesis 2:7) and made a woman out of one of the man’s ribs (Genesis 2:21-22).

Marriage is between one man and one woman

God did not create two men, two women, two men and one woman or two women and one man. This tells us that gay marriages, group marriages, and other variations are contrary to the will of God, regardless of what some psychologists and jurists may say. God’s original design for marriage is between one man and one woman only.

Marriage makes possible the continuation of the human race.

God’s mandate to the first married couple was, “Be fruitful and multiply” (Genesis 1:28). From the beginning, God commanded that sex be practiced in the commitment of marriage. Outside of marriage, sex becomes a destructive force; but within the loving commitment of marriage, sex can be creative and constructive.

Be fruitful and multiply - Genesis 1:28

What about those couples who do not wish to have children? While Scriptures tell us to multiply and fill the earth (Genesis 1:28) and that children are a blessing from God (Psalm 127:3), there is no specific verse in the Bible that says every single Christian couple must have children.

And if it’s a sin for couples to not want to have children, what about those who are unable to have children? God does not expect all of us to have children. Although in general, bearing children in the context of marriage is the biblical norm, nowhere in the Bible did God condemn an infertile couple or those who chose to not have children.

Conclusion

In closing, let me just say that happy marriages are not accidents. They are the result of love, commitment, sacrifice, mutual understanding and hard work. If a married couple is fulfilling their marriage vows, they will surely enjoy a growing relationship that will satisfy them and keep them true to each other.

For those who are seeking a spouse, you are to seek for one who believes from the heart the scriptural truth of marriage and who is committed to live it out in all its implications, especially as regards divorce and remarriage.

If you are already married, you are to pursue your important calling of faithfully showing forth the beautiful mystery of the everlasting union and communion between Christ and His church.


*Recommended Resource: The Meaning of Marriage, eBook
By Timothy Keller

Are you and your spouse struggling to keep your marriage alive? You’ll welcome Pastor Keller’s wise insights about love and commitment. Drawing from his sermons, he frankly discusses difficulties couples experience and shows how God’s Word can provide a blueprint for a healthy, loving, and lifelong relationship.

An e-book that is perfect for couples, those preparing for marriage, pastors, and counselors.