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Marriage | The Good Stuff

Marriage | The Good Stuff

MondayMarriage should be honored by all and the marriage bed kept undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterers.  Hebrews 13:4

“It’s just a piece of paper.” “We’re married in God’s eyes.” “We live together, but we’re not ready for marriage yet.” “Marriage is an out-of-date concept.” God commands us to honor marriage because HE honors it. God likes marriage. He invented it (Genesis 2:21-24). But each of those statements is an example of the way a culture dishonors marriage. If want a relationship with God, we have to get on the same page. We don’t get to redefine what He created, abolish it, or trample all over it if we expect to be right with Him. He’s already defined it, put boundaries around it, and given us instructions about how to make it work.

But notice the warning lights flashing in this verse. Immediately after telling us to honor marriage, God goes straight to sex. He puts sex and marriage in the same sentence because they are inextricable. To have one without the other is to dishonor marriage. Premarital sex, affairs, homosexual unions, living together, and spouse-swapping all dishonor marriage because they step over the lines God has drawn. A quick glance at scripture shows us He’s serious about it. He reserves judgment for those who insist on drawing their own lines. So the first step toward honoring marriage is to honor sex as God’s gift to spouses.

Final Thought: If you have or are now violating God’s sexual boundaries, He offers forgiveness when you repent and stop it.

Prayer: Father, does my attitude about sex indicate that you are Lord of my life? In what ways have I dishonored marriage?        I repent now and ask you to cleanse my heart. Purify me so that I honor marriage in every way. In Jesus’ name, amen.

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TuesdayWives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting for those who belong to the Lord.  Colossians 3:18

“No man’s telling me what to do!” Rhoda declared. “I ain’t submitting to nobody just ‘cause he has a Y chromosome! Just ask any of my six husbands.” Most women may not be that vocal about it, but the idea of submission to husbands is not popular. And there’s a reason women feel so strongly about it. It’s part of the curse God placed on Eve for her rebellion against His authority. Genesis 3:16 records that God said, “You will desire to control your husband, but he will rule over you.” In other words, because Eve refused to submit to God, she and her daughters would have to submit to their husbands from then on.

But wifely submission is a dark cloud with a gold lining. Along with that submission comes special protection from God. He gently places the wife to the side and dumps all familial responsibility directly on the husband. If Jesus showed up at your house to check on the welfare of the family, he would ask to speak to the man of the house. “How is your wife doing?” He would ask. “Does she feel cherished? Valued? Are you making sure she has opportunities to use her gifts and talents? How about the kids? Are you teaching them to know me? Are you providing for them? Are you the kind of husband she can gladly submit to?” While the wife is an equal partner and responsible for her own choices, God places the weight of responsibility for the family on the husband’s shoulders. When a wife submits to godly leadership, she echoes Christ’s submission to the Father.  

Final Thought: Submission does not mean subservience; it means a wife is partnering with God in His design for the family.

Prayer: Father, your word talks a lot about submitting to those you placed in authority over me. So help me make wise decisions about whose authority I accept and help me submit when appropriate so I represent you well. In Jesus’ name, amen.  

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Wednesday Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with themColossians 3:19

“Pastor, I can’t do anything with that woman,” Evan moaned. “I know God hates divorce, but we argue so loud the neighbors can hear. I thought when we got married, she’d be like my mom was with my dad. She had hot meals on the table when he got home, kept the kids quiet so he could relax, never said nothing about his drinking, and never talked back when he had a tantrum.” The pastor sighed. “Didn’t you tell me your mother died young?” he asked. Evan nodded. “Yeah. Heart attack in her forties. Doc said Dad yelled her to death.” He looked up. “Am I doing that to my wife?” The pastor smiled. “Might be.”

Harshness is becoming epidemic in our culture. Everyone’s stressed, busy, and anxious. That stress leaks into our homes, and husbands in particular tend to unleash it on their wives. Much of that harshness is due to a lack of communication skills. It’s easier to yell than explain. It’s quicker to intimidate than negotiate. Part of God’s curse on Adam’s rebellion was that he would have to fight and scrape just to survive. That constant battle for survival creates thin nerves and often the family gets the brunt of it. But women don’t respond well to harshness. They usually retreat or retaliate—neither of which helps the marriage. A husband who learns to curb his harshness helps create a peaceful homelife so that everyone thrives. 

Final Thought:  How harsh are your words, actions, and attitudes?

Prayer: Father, I am often too harsh with people I care about. Help me soften my words and my tone to convey what you want me to communicate. Help me learn to speak to my family the way you speak to me. In Jesus’ name, amen.

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Thursday Husbands, in the same way, treat your wives with consideration as a delicate vessel, and with honor as fellow heirs of the gracious gift of life, so that your prayers will not be hindered. 1 Peter 3:7

There was a time when guys were men and women were ladies. Gentlemen didn’t swear around ladies and when a foul word slipped out, it was followed by profuse apologies. Boys were taught to stand when a woman or elderly person entered the room and girls were taught to expect such displays of honor. Ladies valued their reputations and behaved and dressed in a way that invited respect, not propositions. Sound like a scene from Andy Griffith? No, that’s God’s idea expressed in this verse.

God is BIG on honor and, as a culture, we’ve lost it. A husband will call his bride a name that should be reserved only for the lowliest kind of female. A wife will verbally castrate her husband in front of their wide-eyed sons. We use the foulest terms on a daily basis and then wonder where civility has gone. Even in the church, we’ve strayed far from God’s design. He commands husbands to treat their wives like treasures and when a wife feels like a treasure, she tends to act that way. But God also added a warning: If a husband treats his wife poorly, he should not expect God to be interested in his prayers. And if a wife brazenly defies her husband’s leadership, she should not expect to enjoy the protection God offers her and her children.

Final Thought:  In a godly marriage, honor rules the home and the atmosphere makes the Holy Spirit feel welcome.

Prayer: Father, am I living up to your standards for marriage? Are there areas of my life where I behave in a dishonorable way? Help me reclaim the honor you want me to display toward others and toward myself. In Jesus’ name, amen.

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Friday Each one of you must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.  Ephesians 5:33

“Can’t wait to see Disney on Ice!” John exclaimed. “Yeah, and I’m pumped about the monster truck show,” Ellie replied. Notice anything unusual about that conversation? John and Ellie’s interests were opposite those we’d expect them to have. While that’s possible, typically John would enjoy a truck show while Ellie would take the kids to Disney. Men and women are wired differently. They’re not supposed to see things the same way, or even enjoy the same kinds of activities.

But when it comes to marriage, we often assume our spouse should respond like we do. Jen gets her feelings hurt when Bryce isn’t excited about watching The Bachelor with her. But Bryce is equally disappointed when Jen makes excuses not to attend another hockey game. Men and women also different in the ways we give and receive love. It’s interesting that God never commands wives to love their husbands. Instead, He tells wives to show respect. That’s because men are designed to crave respect the way women crave love. When each is focused on meeting the need of the other, the marriage works. Problems erupt when Jen tries to shower love on Bryce and he doesn’t seem to appreciate it. Or when Bryce tells Jen that he respects her decision and she bursts into tears. Many emotional issues in marriage are connected to the ways we give and receive love and respect. When we understand how our spouse is wired, we know how to best meet his/her needs.

Final Thought: Husbands: How do you show love to your wife? Wives: How do you communicate respect to your husband?

Prayer: Father, teach me the difference between love and respect and help me to understand what the people closest to me need. I want to be a clear channel of both love and respect for those you’ve entrusted to me. In Jesus’ name, amen.