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Brew up some coffee and be sure to listen!  You might even give a call on the air at 1-888-LA-TALKS (1-888-528-2557).

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From this passage on divorce, we find vital principles for a healthy marriage.

Mark 10 1 And he left there and went to the region of Judea and beyond the Jordan, and crowds gathered to him again. And again, as was his custom, he taught them. 2And Pharisees came up and in order to test him asked, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?” 3He answered them, “What did Moses command you?” 4They said, “Moses allowed a man to write a certificate of divorce and to send her away.” 5And Jesus said to them, “Because of your hardness of heart he wrote you this commandment. 6But from the beginning of creation, ‘God made them male and female.’ 7 ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, 8and the two shall become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two but one flesh. 9 What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.”  10And in the house the disciples asked him again about this matter. 11And he said to them,  “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her, 12and if she divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery.”

Four principles for a healthy enduring marriage can be drawn from this passage dealing with divorce.  If these things are practiced, it seems such a marriage will be made divorce-proof.

1.  Men, step up and be a loving leader in your marriage.  It’s been said, “If mama aint happy, aint nobody happy.”  That may be true.  But even more so is this, “If daddy aint happy, aint nobody happy.”  A man sets the atmosphere of his home.

Note the emphasis on men in this foundational verse on marriage:  “A man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife.”  The man establishes the new home.  The man holds his wife close.

Simply stated, God calls men to lead.  Their influence (or lack thereof) will affect a home greatly.  When a man leads a marriage in a loving, Christ-like way, good things tend to follow.

So men, treasure you wives.  Serve them.  Love them.  Lead them.   Guide them.    Help them and be helped by them.

Notice the great contrast between the Pharisees’ words and Jesus’ words.  The Pharisees use the phrase, “Send her away.”  Jesus uses the phrase “Hold her fast.”  Go with Jesus’ way. 

2.  Beware the hardening of heart in your marriage.  Jesus identified hardness of heart as the root problem of all failed marriages.  It’s sclerosis of the heart, literally scleriocardia in the Greek.  Men and women become cold and hard hearted toward one another (or one toward the other). 

Such little things can lead to hardness of heart.  He said he’d be home from the meeting at 8pm.  8pm comes and goes.  9pm comes and goes. 10pm comes and her heart is angry and she just goes to bed.  She swallows her frustration.  Or, a man comes home a finds the house not in the order he desires.  His heart gets irritated.  He internalizes it. 

If your heart keeps absorbing these kinds of things, soon it will get hard. 

Keep your heart filled with love.  Always view one another through the kind and sympathetic eyes of love.  Don’t let bitterness fester.  Don’t let your affection to go dim.  Rekindle that love and tenderness of heart throughout marriage.

Take Hebrews 3:12-13 very seriously.

3.  Keep in view God’s all time blueprint for your marriage.   “A man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.”

This profound sentence is found first in Genesis 2:24, then in the Gospels (Mark 10 & Matthew 19), and then again in Ephesians 5.  It is God’s all time plan for marriage.  Notice it was established in the garden prior to sin and the curse.  Then it was reaffirmed by Christ as God’s plan during the age prior to the outpouring of his Spirit.  Then it was re-taught again by Paul in the post-Pentecost age when the Spirit indwells and empowers believers.

Leave, cleave and become one.  God’s all time blueprint for marriage, in the language of Wayne Mack.  God keeps it in our view througout Scripture.  There are treasures of wisdom and practical help in that phrase.  It’s all about the priority of marriage, the permanence of marriage and the unity of marriage. 

4.  Deny yourself and be a servant in your marriage.   All through Mark 8-10, Jesus emphasizes the key Kingdom principle: whoever will be great must be the servant of all.  The great ones are the deacons, the servants, the “table waiters.”  It’s all about helping in practical tangible ways. 

Your home gives you a great opportunity to live out Christian discipleship.  The heart of Christian discipleship is to be a servant of all.  This should begin with your spouse. 

You must be the deacons of all, lovingly attending to all those God places in your life.  This starts with those who are in your own household.  If you are going to be a great in the Kingdom, if you are going to be a disciple, you must order yourself last and be a servant.  Start with those living under your roof, and the especially the one sleeping in your bed with you.

~Jeff

Here is a headline that I read today from USA Today:  “Floyd Landis comes clean, accuses Lance Armstrong.”  

If only it was just one phrase.  Why did there have to be two phrases there?  If only the confession was all there was to report.  If there was nothing else except, “Floyd Landis comes clean,” my heart goes out to the man.  He used performance enhancing drugs, and now he is humbling himself to clear his burdened conscience.  But with the attachment, “accuses Lance Armstrong,” I’m sorry, but it just seems to reek with pride and vindictiveness.  And it seems an attempt to mitigate the damage done to his own reputation by diluting the offense.  “Ok, I did it!  But I’m not the only one.  Everyone is doing it.  Fine, I’ll ‘come clean.’  But I’m taking everyone else down too.”

But my heart does go out to Landis.  The same kind of pride that just seems to be dripping off his confession also lives in me, and must be subdued by the power of the Holy Spirit. 

I’ve been reading The Peacemaker by Ken Sande.  He has a section called “The Seven A’s of Confession.”   The second one is “Avoid if, but and maybe.”  Don’t use those words in a confession.   They ruin everything.  I wonder how many confessions I’ve spoiled with the word, “but”?  If the word “but” is ever added to a confession of wrong or guilt, believe me, that confession will lose the force and power for healing it would have otherwise carried. 

I write all of this to help us in our relationships and fellowship.  The time will come when one of us blows it, missteps or sins against another.  When that times comes, and confession needs to occur and guilt needs to be acknowledged, let’s remember how powerful humility is.    Let’s remember how deflecting, evading, excusing, and finger-pointing will deflate the whole thing.  Humility and honesty are very powerful.  Grace seems to flow abundantly to those who practice them.  God gives us the ability to do it in a way that honors him.

~Jeff


I found this beauty of a blog written by my friend Doug Eaton and had to post it!  It was written back in November of 2009 on “Godward Thoughts,” Doug’s blog site.  You should definitely check this blog regulalry and be edified by its content. 

It’s been such a blessing to have the Eaton’s in the membership of Bethel Grace.  I am very excited about Doug’s coming and future involvement in our teaching ministry.  Doug will be teaching in the Salt & Light class the next couple weeks, and then will spend some time with the Basic Truth class in June.

And now, the 10 ways daily Bible reading will enhance public worship.  They all rang  so true in my heart!  Blessings!

~Jeff

 
1. When a scripture is read you will already have some idea of the context of the passage and be able to draw more from it.

2. As you sing songs in worship you will recognize many of the passages of scriptures alluded to in the music, which will enrich the truths they are communicating.

3. You will better understand the significance of the ordinances like baptism and the Lord’s Supper, which will make you be able to see more of the imagery of the law and gospel in them.

4. As you study the text while it is being preached, you will be able to relate it to other passages of scripture not included in the sermon.

5. During discussion times you will better be able to contribute to discussions and edify others.

6. You will have a greater hunger for the word because you have been feeding on it and finding satisfaction in it. This hunger takes away much of the dryness that some people experience when attending church and makes it a pleasure to be in the house of the Lord.

7. In times of fellowship you will be able to apply the scripture to people’s lives as they talk about their daily joys and struggles.

8. It will reveal your sinfulness and give you strength as you fight against the indwelling sin in your own life, and make you better able to strengthen others. And better understanding this struggle produces contrition and begins to eliminate the pride which causes unneeded divisions in many churches.

9. As you desire success for your church, you will better understand what true church success is, and it will keep you trusting in the Lord who gives the increase instead of trusting in worldly tactics as you seek growth.

10. Since the Word moves us to prayer, you will be more prayerful as you spend time in the Lord’s house which is called a house of prayer.

This list is designed to let people know a few of the ways daily bible reading will enhance the corporate worship in bible teaching churches. If you attend a church where the bible is neglected and pop psychology is the main course, attending those types of churches while engaged in daily bible reading will only frustrate you. This is because you will find that motivational “preaching” neglects the main themes that run throughout scripture and replaces theology with therapy and replaces redemption with a self-help regimen. Of course even that frustration is a good thing.

-Doug Eaton-

Elder’s meeting tonight!  I am very thankful for the men I am called to serve with at Bethel Grace!  If you have not yet done so, you can become acquainted with the current Bethel Grace Elders on the “Elders’ Page” of our website.

We meet every other Tuesday from 5pm until 8 or 9pm.  We start with fellowship in the Word discussing biblical principles pertinent to our call as leaders in the church.  Then we pray for the church, the membership of the church, the mission of the church, and the night’s meeting.  Then we seek God’s direction and make decisions about various church affairs. 

I thought you might be interested in the materials we are studying and listening to together as elders.  Be praying for us, that the truths contained in these resources would seep into our hearts and help us grow as shepherds. 

How about if I keep you posted on this stuff, and you keep us in prayer?  The elders will pray for the rest of the membership of Bethel Grace, and the rest of the membership will pray for the elders???  Sound like a good plan?  I think so too.  Thanks!

~ Jeff

April 13
Scripture: I Timothy 3
Messages: “Elders: Taking Care of God’s Church,” Alistar Begg & “The Good Elder,” by Kent Hughes
Both these messages are on the Gospel Coalition Website.  Any of the sermons on these pages would be worth listening to!  I’d encourage you to browse the website and become familiar this great resource!May 11
Scripture: Psalm 34, especially verses 11-14
Reading: The Peacemaker, Parts 1 & 2 (which contain chapters 1-6)

May 25
Scripture: Ezekiel 34; I Peter 5
Messages: Elder Training Videos: “The Elder as a Shepherd,” “Prayer & the Word,” “Speaking the Truth in Love,” & “Marriage Support”
These materials are from Tenth Presbyterian Church.  Some of their notable pastors have been Donald Grey Barnhouse, James Montgomery Boice, and current Paul Tripp is an associate pastor.  All these materials are so practical and helpful.  I greatly appreciate the humility and wisdom of the one teaching, D. Marion Clark.  June 8
Scripture: Matthew 18
Reading: The Peacemaker, Parts 3 & 4 (which contain chapters 7-12)

The 59th National Day of Prayer will take place tomorrow, May 6.  Here is a list of prayer requests as an aid to your prayer.

I Timothy 2 1First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, 2 for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. 3This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, 4who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.

 In the Morning

Our President
Decisions that accord with God’s Word
Wise counsel to surround him
Upright character and integrity
Protection physically and spiritually
Courage and understanding to do what is right

Our Congress
Laws reflect true justice and goodness
Wisdom to prosper the nation
Correct decisions for social welfare & economics
Motivated by goodness not partisan concerns

Our Supreme Court
Wisdom in selecting Souter’s successor
Correct judgment in every case before them
Rulings in line with Scripture & God’s will

In the Afternoon

Law Enforcement Officers
Wisdom in crime prevention and prosecution
Persons of integrity and dedication on the force
Supernatural guidance in capturing criminals
Divine intervention in locating harmed people
Protection of officers at home and abroad

National Protection
Divine protection from terror
Victory in the war on terror
Safety for every man, woman and child
Frustration of the plans of evildoers
Insight for leaders on how to guard and defend

In the Evening

National Spirituality & Morality
The power of the Gospel spread abroad
A conviction of right and wrong in lawmakers
The work of the Spirit in hearts toward good
The purity of the church from worldly ways
The strengthening of the family unit
True biblical marriage honored
Sexual purity

The Health of the Church
The ability to stand firm in the Truth
To preach the full counsel of God
Strong loving leadership in each church
A deep desire for untarnished biblical teaching
Being hearers and doers of the Word
Boldness and love in actively spreading Christ

Family Worship

May 2, 2010

When it comes to books about theology and the Christian life it has been said for every new book one should read two old books. Wonderfully rich theology is contained in them. I wanted to mention one such book.

Thoughts on Family Worship by James W. Alexander
Which can be read for free at the link below.

http://books.google.com/books?id=n4gQAAAAYAAJ&printsec=frontcover&dq=thoughts+on+family+worship&source=bl&ots=sHudzZLa8n&sig=rG6dkvGwoMdcjH35MacTDIP8uwk&hl=en&ei=vRXdS4n_HpTWsQP517XBBg&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=4&ved=0CCkQ6AEwAw#v=onepage&q&f=false

I am the worship leader in my home

One of the primary reasons worship is misunderstood, misconstrued or otherwise neglected in the church is because it is being neglected in the home. Family worship as the name communicates is the collective worship given to God by the members of one household.

It would be incorrect to say that leading in scripture reading, singing of hymns and spiritual songs or in prayer, would be in addition to the responsibilities of a husband and father. More correct would be that these activities are the outpouring of a healthy family whose leader is fulfilling his responsibility to those entrusted to his care, through family worship.

Leading and modeling

After the initial understanding of the call to family worship many efforts in such an endeavor fall short still. A great leader once said I never ask my troops to do something that I would not myself do nor know nothing about. Family worship time should be an expression and an indication of each member’s personal worship and devotion time. In most cases, neither family nor individual worship will exceed that which is modeled by the father/husband as the shepherd of his family.

Methods of family worship

The author gives a suggestion and example of how a family devotion time might be conducted. Inquiries of the family as to the particular graces extended to them throughout the course of their day for which collective praises might be rendered and or further supplications of continued grace in those matters. The father/Husband might turn the family’s attention to a hymn that has blessed his own devotion time during the week. He might teach the hymn if necessary, lead the family in singing and probe the depths of the theological truths within the hymn and consult the scriptures for edification.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the father/husband has a particular role in molding the worshippers entrusted to his household. This is no small task and one that he does not go at alone. God has been using the godly examples of fathers, since creation, to teach their children what an acceptable sacrifice looks like. Able learned how to prepare his sacrifice to the Lord, no doubt, through the teaching and example of Adam and it was acceptable in the Lord’s eyes.

Blessings,

Alvin