Marriage Conference2023-01-18T18:33:01-04:00

It Takes 3 to Make 2 Become 1 Marriage Conference

“It Takes 3 to Make 2 Become One” will be an enjoyable event where we’ll discover how to realize all the blessings God intends every marriage to enjoy. This opportunity truly is for all marriages in all seasons. Please reserve Feb 24th and 25th on your calendars and plan now on attending, I know you’ll be glad you did. Seats are going to be limited. You can reserve yours now clicking the Register Online Button. The cost for the conference is $30.00 and is simply to cover the cost of the food and materials. Registration will close February 19th. The conference will be held here at Crossroad Community Church at our Georgetown campus on February 24th and 25th. We will meet on Friday evening from 6:30 to 8:00pm and on Saturday from 9:00am until 3:00pm. Lunch will be provided.


“What God has joined together let no one take apart”

Order and Structure of a God Shaped Marriage – God Shaped Husband and a God Shaped Wife

Hi, this is Pastor Ken, thanks for joining me once again for the Monday Marriage Message where together we search God’s instructions to experience highly successful marriages. Last time I concluded our series on the Order and Structure of a God Shaped Marriage. Today I want to begin looking at the prescriptions for both a God Shaped Husband and a God Shaped Wife.

In our most recent series the focus was on the order of authority within a marriage as laid out in God’s word. As a part of that study of 1 Corinthians 11:3, I did speak briefly to the actions of a godly husband and wife, as they pertained specifically to maintaining the God-ordained marital order and structure. Now I would like to delve deeper into the scriptural prescriptions for a God Shaped Husband and a God Shaped Wife.

One might ask why I keep using these terms for a husband and wife, and that is a reasonable question. First and foremost, I do so because as I have said many times before, the primary purpose of marriage as stated by God Himself is to reflect His character. Genesis 1:26 tells us that God chose to create mankind in His image and His likeness. Verse 27 tells us that in so doing He created both a man and a woman. In the very next chapter in Genesis 2:22-24 we learn that God created that first man and woman in a one flesh or married condition. Furthermore, He said that going forward He would join future men and women in marriage to recreate what He had accomplished with Adam and Eve. Following that understanding, it becomes abundantly clear that a marriage is intended to reflect God, therefore the participants of that marriage, the husband and wife need to be…God Shaped ones.

Second it is important to understand that if we were not called to live up to a standard as a husband or a wife, then each would need to determine for themselves how to do that best. A third grader can see the value and logic in having a standard for such an important undertaking, yet most married people can’t see that the bulk of their marital difficulties arise from trying to define for themselves if they are a ‘good’ husband or wife. Most people are not overtly evil, and the vast majority of us believe ourselves to be ‘good’ people. Therefore, most of us act as a husband or wife in good faith, thinking we are doing the best we can given our circumstances. Interestingly enough, I have noticed as a marriage counselor that most husbands and wives I encounter in my office do not believe that their spouse is doing the best they could.

Why do we find ourselves in marriages where we believe we are doing the best we can, but our spouse isn’t putting in the same effort? Why do our spouses agree completely with that assessment except that they think the tables are turned in the other direction? The answer is simple. We have attempted to dispose of the standard. We each are defining for ourselves what a husband should look like and how he should act. We rely completely on our own understanding to decide if a woman is being a good wife or not. These determinations are made based on a myriad of information. Our families of origin and the marriages we each watched growing up…that by the way were having many of the same difficulties we are struggling with. We also draw on our life experience and our own set of core beliefs to help us know how to interact as spouses. Among the most dangerous sources of information of how our spouse should be treating us is the alter-universe of comparison. Movies, books, songs, checkout line magazines…and don’t even get me started on social media…all of it designed by the enemy of marriage to cause us to think our spouse is mistreating us, and they are probably never going to live up to being what we and they know they should be.

Scripture identified the problem we run into when we each want to develop our own standard. Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 10:12 They use themselves to measure themselves, and they judge themselves by what they themselves are. This shows that they know nothing. Without a standard everything becomes acceptable…except when it no longer is. When that happens we want to find and dust off the one true standard, but because we have not been following its prescriptions ourselves it often gets misapplied. I couldn’t count the number of times I have had someone sit in my office and ask me to endorse their view (often a one-sided one) of what scripture says their spouse is doing wrong. The standard is crucial for success. As I said a few moments a go, most third graders can identify its importance. But, who gets to set the standard? The obvious answer is that God does. But, why? God isn’t even married after all. God is the author of the institution. He is the Creator of marriage and therefore is reasonably the only One capable or worthy to set the standard. Marriage is primarily intended to reflect Him, who better to enlighten us about how He acts, and therefore how we must act when imitating Him. There is simply no one better.

Psalm 19:7-11 say this of God’s instructions to us… The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul; The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple; The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; The commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes; The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever; The judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, Yea, than much fine gold; Sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb. Moreover by them Your servant is warned, And in keeping them there is great reward.

Finally, it is important to be a God-shaped Husband or a God Shaped Wife because it reminds us who we are responding to. In a marriage where we decide what is best and how we should act as a husband or a wife, we do so in response to one of two people. Us or them. What I mean by that is that If I choose to act toward my wife in a particular way because it is what I saw growing up and so I think it is the normal thing to do, I am responding to myself. This can have good or bad repercussions. When I was growing up, my view of a husband was being the one who had the final say. My father isn’t a chauvinistic pig…far from it, but in the final analysis what he said in our home was simply going to be the way it went. My childhood view of that helped me develop some core beliefs about marriage that are not altogether correct. When I was younger and a little less endowed with white hair I may or may not have encountered some marital difficulty as a result of that particular core belief. In those moments I was responding to myself, and my firm belief that I was acting within the bounds of my understanding of what a good husband was supposed to be.

More often yet, our actions are explained as re-actions. We say that we have acted in a particular manner because of the way our spouse acted toward us. After all, every action has an equal and opposite reaction…at least that’s what I learned in 3rd grade science. In all seriousness we often use the actions of another to excuse our own. “I know I shouldn’t get that way, but they are so selfish sometimes”! “I wouldn’t normally have said that, but you just made me so angry”. “I don’t like it when I can’t communicate with you peacefully, why do you have to be so argumentative all the time”? in each of these cases, and the hundreds of others that cause people to visit my office, those spouses are responding to one another. Sometimes most of their interactions have become a response to the other. As a young man I knew such a couple. The first thing they said to one another in the morning was in reaction to what one of them had said the day before. Their interactions were simply a perpetual response to one another and precious little of it was positive. When we determine what a good wife or husband should be and ours doesn’t live up to our standard, what choice do we have but to respond to them in a way that shows our displeasure with them?

All of that changes when we let God set the standard. When we decide we are going to be a God shaped Husband or a God shaped Wife, we will be interacting with our spouse but we will be doing so in response to God. If I am going to be a God Shaped Husband, then I have to look to God to know how to do that. When I consult Him through His written word and prayer, any positive action I take is one of obedience to Him. In those moments I am interacting with my wife but I am responding to the One who instructed me how to go about the interaction. Neither my wife or I wrote the bible, we did not invent marriage, so when we do what God says, it is in response to Him. A far better result occurs when I respond to God rather than myself or my wife.

In his book, Love and Respect, Dr. Emmerson Eggerichs says it this way “My response is my responsibility”. I like that. It is an empowering statement. I get to choose…will I respond to myself, and my idea of what a good husband would do? Or will I respond to my wife, will I act in reaction to whatever she has done to me? Will my responses to her simply be determined by the way she acts toward me? Or will I respond to God? Will I interact with my wife in the way He has instructed me to? The real question is…will I allow Him to be Lord, and take my correct position as His servant, and do exactly what He wants me to do?

Another understanding “My response is my responsibility” reveals is that I have to pay attention to what I am doing, not what someone else has done. I call this concept. “Eyes on your own paper”. I remember hearing a teacher or two admonish classrooms I was part of to keep our own eyes on our own papers. In other words, pay attention to what YOU are doing. Every time I have tried to inspect my wife’s actions to see how she could improve at being a wife…I fail to be a good husband. I have never maintained my ability to be a God Shaped Husband while telling her how she is currently failing at being a God Shaped Wife. Reflecting God is a full time endeavor and requires every bit of concentration we have. If I don’t keep my eyes firmly fixed on my own paper, I will fail bitterly in my attempts to be a God Shaped Husband.

Finally, “My response is my responsibility” keeps me mindful that no matter what is happening in my marriage, I have the ability and in fact the responsibility to make it 50% better. What I mean by that is this. No marriage is perfect, yours would be…but you and your spouse are in it. Mine would be…but my wife and I are in ours. We are all profoundly fallen people living in a profoundly fallen world and so we have a propensity to do profoundly fallen things. Every marriage is a struggle at times for one reason or another. Some experience deeper struggles, some experience longer lasting problems. Some of the struggles come from outside sources, some on further inspection we seemingly invite into the mix. Regardless of what the difficulties are, how big, long lasting, or how they got there, every spouse can choose to be a God shaped one. What about those situations where just one of you seems to know or even care that God has instructions for how your marriage is supposed to operate? If that is you…then be a God Shaped Husband, or a God Shaped Wife and through your obedience it will likely become at least 50% better. “My response is my responsibility”

Join me again next time as we begin to dive into God’s word and find the prescriptions for a God shaped Husband and a God Shaped Wife.

So now, accepting that your response is your responsibility, and that in your marriage you need to respond to God…Go be awesome.

Hi, this is Pastor Ken, thanks for joining me once again for the Monday Marriage Message where together we search God’s instructions to experience highly successful marriages. Today we will continue with our look at the Order and Structure of a God Shaped Marriage. This will be our eighth and final installment in this series looking at the differing roles of the Husband and the wife in the greatest of all human relationships.

Each of the episodes in this series have been based on 1 Corinthians 11:3. There the Apostle Paul wrote the following. But I want you to know and realize that Christ is the head of every man, the head of a woman is her husband, and the head of Christ is God. I used the first few editions in the series to consider the role of a husband, and the fact that according to our focal scripture he is directly responsible to Christ for his interactions with his wife. In the last few episodes we began focusing specifically on the important position of the wife within the marriage. In those we delved into topic of submission and what it really means for a wife to submit to her husband while understanding her value is equal to his in every way. Today we are going to look at the final phrase of this scripture verse and what it has to say about the Order and structure of a God Shaped Marriage.

As I mentioned in past editions of this series, we have been working our way through 1 Corinthians 11:3 phrase-by-phrase keeping with the very structure and order with which it was written. I have also made the point that this verse not only sets the God given structure of authority in the marriage of a husband and wife, but also the Godhead that marriage is intended to reflect. This is valuable on many levels but the one I want to concentrate on today is that the marriage of Adam & Eve, and every marriage since has been only a reflection of the greater Godhead that created all of them. In light of that, Paul writes that there is a common thread to the order of authority that runs all the way through the hierarchy. According to this scripture, this God ordained order for our marriages is actually part of the reflection. Allow me to read our focal passage once more, But I want you to know and realize that Christ is the head of every man, the head of a woman is her husband, and the head of Christ is God.

Let’s take a few minutes to look closely at this final phrase so that we can highlight what our marriages are supposed to be reflecting. “…The head of Christ is God.” According to this passage, within the Godhead there is also an order of authority. God the Father is in authority, and Jesus Christ the Son, who is the Father’s equal, willingly submits to the Father. The bible tells us that Jesus is God. The Apostle John began his gospel with that very truth. In John 1:1-4 John wrote of Jesus, In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.  The bible also points to the fact that Jesus is equal to the God the Father. Philippians 2:5-6 says Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God. This means that Jesus is God and that He understands that he has the exact same value as the Father. God the Father is not superior to the Son and the Son is not inferior to the Father. They are both perfectly holy and are therefore equal in their superiority over all things.

Our focal scripture from 1 Corinthians 11:3 tells us that the head of Christ is God, or in other words, God the Father is in authority over Jesus the Son. We can see that further explained if we continue to read on in the passage from Philippians we were just looking at. Beginning again in Philippians 2:5 and this time continuing on to verse 8 we read, Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God,…but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Verse 7 tells us that Jesus who is completely and totally equal to the Father chose to give up his standing of equality with the Father. It is highly important that we understand this did not make him unequal to the Father. The Son is still equal in value with the Father, He does however, voluntarily submit to the Father and recognize the Father as being in authority over Him. This verse goes on to indicate that Jesus was even taking on a servant role. This means that Jesus, The Fathers equal was choosing to interact with the Father in a servant / master type relationship. Verse 8 goes on to illustrate just how far Jesus was willing to submit to the Father in that relationship. It tells us that Jesus humbled Himself and was obedient (to the Father) all the way to being willing to die. Jesus knew this was not going to be a quick or painless death. It was death on a cross, which just for clarification was not only slow and painful but also considered by all a degrading way to die. The Romans used the public shame of crucifixion as an extreme deterrent keeping their subjects from revolting. Jewish people felt it was so degrading that it was not fitting that a dog should die in this manner. Yet Jesus Christ, the Messiah, the Son of God, equal to God the Father in every way, submitted to the will of the Father…even to the extent of being willing to die…on a cross.

In Matthew 26:39-42 (NLT) we can read of the difficult time of prayer Jesus had the night before his crucifixion. There it says, 39 He went on a little farther and bowed with his face to the ground, praying, “My Father! If it is possible, let this cup of suffering be taken away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.” 40 Then he returned to the disciples and found them asleep. He said to Peter, “Couldn’t you watch with me even one hour? 41 Keep watch and pray, so that you will not give in to temptation. For the spirit is willing, but the body is weak!” 42 Then Jesus left them a second time and prayed, “My Father! If this cup cannot be taken away unless I drink it, your will be done.” This passage illustrates the level of commitment Jesus had for remaining in submission to the Father. I appreciate that it exists. By allowing us to see into this very private time of prayer between Jesus and His Father we get to see that although perfect in every way, even in His submission to the authority structure of the Godhead, Jesus was not without the emotional struggle we also sometimes experience when submitting to authority. Though we can see that the struggle was very real for Jesus, as it often can be for us, we also see His resolve to submit, that the plans of the Godhead might succeed, and He did not falter, and He is our example.

Let’s continue now reading in Philippians and see what the result of Christ’s submission to the Father was. Philippians 2:9-11 say Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, 11 and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. So, in the Godhead (which our marriages are to reflect), the response to the willing submission of an equal is that the One in authority exalts the One in submission. In response to the willing submission of the Son, God the Father has highly exalted Jesus and given Him the Name that is above all other names. In other words, God the Father has responded to God the Son’s submission by speaking about the Son in ways that He speaks of no one else. God holds the Son in highest esteem and regard because the Son was willing to submit. Therefore, husbands understand this, your wife’s submission to you is deserving of your highest regard. She should have a name on your lips that is higher than any other name. There should be no one that you speak of with a level of regard anywhere close to the esteem you hold her in.

Our focal scripture for this series tells us about the marital mirror that God looks into desiring to see Himself. It tells us that when He looks at our marriages He sees a man and a woman both equal in value and joined as one by Himself. It suggests that marital mirror will consist of a husband who operates in loving authority as God the Father does. It also expects it will include an equally valuable wife who willingly submits to the husband’s authority in much the same way as Jesus, submits to the authority of the Father.

By concluding our focal verse, the way that he did, the Apostle Paul, by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit did a marvelous thing. If He would have spoken only of the order and structure of authority within the marriage, husbands alone would have been able to look to Jesus as their example because the head of every man (or husband) is Christ. However, by including Christ’s position within the order and structure of authority within the Godhead, the wife also has the opportunity to look to Jesus for her example. The husband can look to Jesus as his example of how to be one in authority because Christ is in authority over every husband. The wife can look to Jesus to see how to be in submission because Christ places Himself in submission to the Father. Because Paul included not only the order and structure of a marriage but also the framework of the Godhead, Jesus becomes available to both a husband and a wife as an example how each should fulfill their roles within the marriage. Paul shows us by the incredible work of the Holy Spirit just how to have a God Shaped Marriage.

As I said earlier, this episode will conclude our look at The Order and Structure of a God Shaped Marriage. In the weeks ahead I hope to expound on scriptural prescriptions for a God-Shaped husband and a God-Shaped wife.

So now, purposefully and willingly stepping into your specific; God-ordained, Christ-exemplified, and Spirit-empowered role in your God shaped marriage…Go Be Awesome!

Order and Structure of a God Shaped Marriage Vol. 7

Hi, this is Pastor Ken, thanks for joining me once again for the Monday Marriage Message where together we search God’s instructions to experience highly successful marriages. Today we will continue with our look at the Order and Structure of a God Shaped Marriage. This will be our seventh edition in this series looking at the differing roles of the Husband and the wife in the greatest of all human relationships.

Each of the episodes in this series have been based on 1 Corinthians 11:3. There the Apostle Paul wrote the following. But I want you to know and realize that Christ is the head of every man, the head of a woman is her husband, and the head of Christ is God. I used the first few installments in the series to consider the role of a husband, and the fact that according to our focal scripture he is directly responsible to Christ for his interactions with his wife. Last time we began focusing specifically on the important position of the wife within the Structure and Order of a God Shaped Marriage. In that episode we delved into the much misunderstood topic of submission.

Knowing that the concept of submission inside marriage is a bit of a touchy subject I considered carefully how I would approach it. As a pastoral counselor, I understand that teaching some of the precepts in God’s word can at times be problematic. This is not because there is some problem with what God’s word has to say, God’s word is infallible. It can be difficult based on our level of willingness to accept what it says as right and true. Sometimes that gives us trouble. Unfortunately, as human beings, when we don’t like, or personally agree with something we tend to close our minds to it by simply ignoring the subject all together. So, when there is a topic like submission that must be practiced to enjoy marital success, the challenge is to convey the truth without people metaphorically sticking their fingers in their ears and shouting “I can’t hear you…I can’t hear you!” With this in mind, I had to consider carefully how to best speak on the much misaligned concept of submission.

Psalm 19 tells us that all of God’s precepts are perfect, that all of His ways lead to successful living. It tells us that if we will take scriptural guidance seriously it will bring blessing to our lives. Nowhere is that more true than in the marital relationship. If we want the blessing of an amazing marriage, we must follow the prescription written by the author of marriage. Who would know more about the correct operation of successful marriages than the creator of the institution? Furthermore, as I have documented many times before, the primary purpose of marriage is to reflect who and what God is. Certainly there should be no arguing that God is most capable of giving us proper instruction as to how to best reflect Him.

If we are willing to forsake what we think about it in the natural, submission is actually a very interesting idea. It presumes the essential truth that the person offering their submission is equal in value to the person in leadership or authority. Slavery is accomplished when one who is bigger, stronger or of some greater ability forces the involuntary subservience of another. Slaves have no choice in the matter, they are forced to serve the one in authority. Submission is not slavery. When one submits, they choose to do so. Submission is an act of the will. I must volunteer to place myself under the submission of another, because I am an equal with any human authority I choose to submit to. This is also true of a wife’s submission to her husband, I pointed out last time how God used specific words when referring to Eve that clearly indicated her equal value to Adam. Every wife who chooses to obey God’s perfect precepts for marriage and willingly submits to her husband, who holds no greater value than she does, is also positioning her marriage to receive blessing.

While we are on the subject of submission there are few things I think necessary to note. First and foremost, regardless of whether we are speaking of the husband or the wife, ultimately how we interact with one another is in response to God. The scriptural prescriptions for a successful marriage have been given to us by God Himself. So far in this series I have looked to Ephesians chapter 5 for specific instructions to a husband and a wife as to how they can each align themselves with the Order and Structure of a God Shaped Marriage as laid out in 1 Corinthians 11:3. There we read that a husband must lay down his life (his goals, needs, and desires) for his wife (putting her goals, needs and desires above his own). Last time, we looked at how a wife is instructed to place herself in submission under the authority of her husband in all things. These are instructions from God’s word. These are not demands made by a spouse. Our adherence or lack thereof is in direct relationship to the level of submission we place ourselves in under God. It is truly essential to our marital success that we fully grasp this understanding.

As a husband, when I love my wife the way that scripture instructs me to, in other words when I meet her needs (physical, emotional and spiritual) simply because the need exists. I am doing so because I am submitting to my God who instructed me through His written word to act in that way. When I lay down my life (make my needs less important to me than my wife’s needs are) I am lowering myself in comparison to her that she might be elevated. Why do I do that? I do that because God’s word says I should, therefore those actions are in submission to God. If I choose instead to be selfish and put myself first, then I am being dismissive of God and His specific instructions to me as a husband. If I submit to God, then my marriage has greater ability to reflect Him, experience success, and be blessed.

When my wife Lynn submits herself to me in all things as she is instructed to do, in actually she is submitting herself to God. Not because I am her god, I am not…I can totally admit that I would make a terrible god. Ultimately, she is submitting to God because it is God who instructed a wife to submit to her husband in all things. Her submission to me then actually says far more about her relationship with God than it does her relationship with me. We are each solely responsible before God for our response to Him. Therefore, our obedience or disobedience to God is a reflection of the condition of our individual relationship with Him…nothing else. Consequently, we cannot use the unwillingness of our spouse to follow the commands given them by God to justify our non-compliance to the commands given to us. I cannot say with any validity whatsoever, that I don’t have to obey God, if my wife isn’t obeying God, and even though the wife is under the authority of the husband, she has no basis to make such a claim either. As Dr. Emmerson Eggeriches likes to say concerning this…“My response is my responsibility” I couldn’t agree with him more.

Having made that point, let me move to the next one. Ephesians 5:21 takes the position I just outlined a step further. It says Submitting to one another in the fear of God. Only when we understand that submission to our spouse is in fact, submission to God, and that our spouse’s choice to submit or not to submit to Him is to have no effect on ours, are we are able to rightly understand submission to one another. Here in this scripture, Paul points out that submission to God means submission to one another. While a wife’s submission to her husband is her responsibility before God, (Ephesians 5:22) there should also be mutual submission taking place at all times (Ephesians 5:21). Romans 12:10 tells us to Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another. In other words, our love for one another should spur us to submit to the needs and desires of each other.

In my humble opinion there is no other place in scripture that illustrates submitting to one another within the marital relationship quite like 1 Corinthians 7:3-4 – Let the husband render to his wife the affection due her, and likewise also the wife to her husband. The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. And likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does. The context of these two verses is undoubtedly speaking of sexual intimacy within the marriage. In that context these verses are self-explanatory (though admittedly slightly confounding) . However, when a scriptural principle illustrates truth at a certain level, that truth remains relevant at lesser levels as well.

Like any of God’s instructions we don’t like and want to dispel or ignore so we won’t be obliged to submit to them, we can try to argue that this scripture is an example of circular reasoning and therefore renders itself invalid. We would be in error to do so, and arguing something doesn’t make it so. In fact, I know it flies in the face of conventional wisdom and contemporary thinking, but I would argue that this scripture governs any action involving a married person’s physical body. My wife and I believe this scripture regulates a concept we have dubbed “Marital Veto Power”.

We agreed when we married that we each had veto power concerning the other. This is based on scriptures such as 1 Corinthians 7:4, Romans 12:10 and Ephesians 5:21, all discussed above. We believe we have the right (and dare I say responsibility) to tell the embodiment of the other half of our one flesh that we are not in agreement with a certain activity, and the other must comply. Allow me to illustrate. I love riding motorcycles. Prior to marrying me, my wife had never ridden one, but I had been riding them with my dad since the age of 5. He taught me to drive one myself at 12 years of age and I have been enjoying them ever since. On hot days I love being on the motorcycle and prefer the wind in my face to the air conditioning a car offers. When it is really hot the only thing that feels better than the wind in your face is the wind blowing through your hair too, so on those days, I like riding without a helmet. When we married, my bride told me she didn’t mind at all if I rode motorcycles, she just wanted me to wear a helmet when I rode. There are all kinds of valid studies that show that riders who don’t wear helmets statistically crash less and experience less head trauma when they do have accidents compared to those who wear a helmet. My wife did not find this information compelling at all. After some discussion it was agreed that if I was within town limits and the speed limit is 25MPH or less I am free to go helmetless, however, if the speed limit is above 25 MPH, I must wear my helmet. Because she feels that way, I wear my helmet each time that is the case. I often wear it even if I am downtown. I do not have authority over my own body, my wife does, and because I love her I prefer her and submit to her wishes. Let me say that Marital Veto Power should be used very sparingly otherwise it will simply be viewed as one spouse being a ‘control freak’ or ‘power hungry’ neither of which is a good look.

Submission isn’t a dirty word; it isn’t setting ourselves up to be a doormat. Submission is a voluntary act of the will that requires strength and understanding. It is not something that renders us weak or foolish but rather, strong and wise. Submission to each other is actually submission to God who instructs us to interact with one another in that way. Remember, how we interact with our spouse is in direct correlation to how we respond to God.

So now, responding to God as you should so that you can successfully enjoy a God shaped Marriage…Go be Awesome!

Order and Structure of a God Shaped Marriage Vol. 6

Hi, this is Pastor Ken, thanks for joining me yet again for the Monday Marriage Message where we search God’s instructions together to learn how to experience a highly successful marriage. Today we will continue with our look at the Order and Structure of a God Shaped Marriage. This will be our sixth edition in this series and we are beginning to shift our focus to the wife’s important role in the greatest of all human relationships.

Having been led to 1 Corinthians 11:3 as the focal passage for this series, and considering that the series is dedicated to structure and order, I have directly followed the very structure and order of the passage. Meaning, I have chosen to expose the truths contained here phrase-by-phrase just as they were written. In the Amplified Bible that verse reads as follows: But I want you to know and realize that Christ is the head of every man, the head of a woman is her husband, and the head of Christ is God. In the past episodes of this series we have covered the concept of Christ being the head (or the One in direct authority over) every man (or every husband in this context). Last time I introduced the next layer mentioned in this verse covering the structure and order of marriage and the Godhead it is designed to reflect. This portion of the passage identifies that “The head of a woman is her husband”. Though this means that the husband is the one in direct authority over the wife, I was careful to make sure that there was no misunderstanding that Paul was somehow saying that a woman had to go through her relationship with her husband in order to have a relationship with Christ. I shared several other scriptures that clearly dispel that erroneous notion. I also took the time to show that from the very words God used to describe and define Eve as a wife, there can be no doubt that men and women are equally valuable to the marriage. Both are equally necessary to their successful ability as a married couple to fully reflect God. In the past I have highlighted many of the ways that scripture points out the unique ability a woman to reflect God in ways men are not capable of doing nearly as well, if at all. When joined as one they become a marital mirror intended to reflect their maker.

I want to move forward now by restating something from last time. Some of the scriptures we will be looking at have for a very long time been the cause for dissention. I think much of the difficulty with them has come from misunderstanding and misinterpretation. I believe that those difficulties diminish if husbands don’t look at these scriptures as an opportunity to dominate, and wives don’t read them believing that God is saying they are not as valuable as their husband is. Selfishness is what makes husbands want to dominate, and causes wives to want to resist authority. That is why I believe our focal scripture to be so vital to this discussion. It does not simply say that there is a structure and order of authority within a marriage, it continues and illustrates that same structure and authority exists in the Godhead as well. Why is all of that important? Because if wives are to correctly understand their equal value with their husband in the marriage, and gladly adhere to its scripturally defined framework, they need to be able to see that just as Christ is supposed to be their husband’s example of how to love them, Christ is also their example as to how to be a godly helpmate.

Before we begin digesting scriptures that contain that easy-to-misunderstand word submission allow me to reiterate some important facts.

  • Submission to authority does not equate to inferiority.
  • Scripture clearly illustrates that even within the triune Godhead authority and submission to authority are necessary components of success.
  • Jesus Christ, the Son of God voluntarily offered His submission to the will of the father so that Their united purpose could be accomplished.
  • Though Jesus’ submission to God the Father was voluntary it was not optional if success was to be the result.
  • Jesus’ submission to the order and structure of the Godhead was crucial to the completion of the united will of the Godhead.
  • If marriage is to reflect the framework of the Godhead as designed, the prescribed marital structure and order of authority must also be adhered to.
  • Finally, a wife’s submission to her husband is voluntary on her part. She is in complete control of her decision to submit or not to submit. However, it is not optional to the success of a God shaped marriage.

With those truths in mind, let’s look at scripture and see what it says about a wife’s incredibly important role in the Order and Structure of a God Shaped Marriage.

There are several passages that define the valuable place a wife holds within the marriage and how she best fulfills that role. Ephesians 5 is probably the most well-known and I think the most comprehensive so we will begin there. Today I am going to read Ephesians 5:21-24 from the Expanded Version because although it makes for wordy sentences, it offers a broader view of what the original text actually means in our English language. There these verses read as follows: [Husbands and wives] Yield [Submit; Be subject;…yielding/submitting; grammatically linked to the previous sentence, and so part of being filled with the Spirit] to each other out of reverence [respect; fear; awe] for Christ.

Wives, yield to [submit to; be subject to;] your husbands, as you do to the Lord, because the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ is the head of the church. And He is the Savior of the body, which is the church.  As the church yields [submits; is subject] to Christ, so you wives should yield [submit; be subject] to your husbands in everything.

Several important notations about these verses must be recognized if we are to have a clear understanding of what this scripture is saying. In verse 21 there are several points we need to see. As husbands and wives our personal relationship with God should have a defined consequence in our marital relationship. Submission is to be a natural result of walking with the Lord. Certainly there can be no confusion about the fact that if Christ is Lord and we are but the servants in that relationship then we are to submit to His authority. Here Paul writes that out of a deep reverence or great respect for Christ as Lord, we need to also be ready to submit to one another. Furthermore, because this verse is the completion of the thought preceding it, we should also make the connection that this mutual submission between a husband and wife is a result of being filled with the Holy Spirit. So, according to Ephesians 5:21 if Jesus is Lord of one’s life and that person is indwelled by the Holy Spirit, if they are also married, the natural outpouring of their relationship with God will be submission to their spouse. The following verses lay out specifically what that mutual submission should look like for each spouse. In past episodes we saw how a husband is commanded to illustrate his submission to his wife and today we will look at what that submission looks like for a wife within the Order and Structure of a God Shaped Marriage.

Verses 22-24 speak directly to what a wife’s role is in that high calling. Wives, yield to [submit to; be subject to;] your husbands, as you do to the Lord, because the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ is the head of the church. And He is the Savior of the body, which is the church. 24 As the church yields [submits; is subject] to Christ, so you wives should yield [submit; be subject] to your husbands in everything. According to this scripture (and others we will reference later) a wife’s submission to her husband should look much like her submission to the Lord does. Paul is clear that just as the church submits to Christ (its head, or leader in authority over it) a wife should also submit to her husband. Paul states that the church submits to Christ in all things, and likewise a wife should submit to her husband in all things.

I have often heard the argument offered to this God-given instruction. Many have said to me that of course the church submits to Christ, Christ is God and is perfect. Christ would never lead His bride the church, in a way that is not absolutely the best for her. He would never lead in a way that might turn out badly. The defense these women site for not always (in other words in all things) following this command to them is that their husband is not perfect and is capable in leading in erroneous ways. Because of this they decide that their submission to their husband needs to be at their discretion. If they think that the direction of their husband is correct, then they have no problem with submission to it. If, however, they deem his leadership to be incorrect or not good for them or the family, they believe their submission to him should be optional. The problem with that is found in these very verses. If they are not being submissive to their husband (in all things) as commanded by God’s word then they have just become dismissive of their Lord, which puts them in the position of wrongdoing.

When it comes to offering our submission to the authority of an imperfect person, we need to experience a paradigm shift. Submission to authority isn’t about being right it is about doing right. Two episodes ago in this very podcast we looked at the way a husband submits to his wife. According to Ephesians 5:25-29 a husband is to lay down his own wants, desires and needs and first meet his wife’s wants desires and needs. He is to do this because they are one, and when he puts her first, he is putting himself first so to speak. Ladies, you are not perfect either, if your husband does not agree with your actions and attitudes is he freed from the requirement to love you as Christ loves the church? Is his love for you to be offered at his sole discretion? I think not. If he were to choose when to genuinely love you and when to put his own needs above yours, he would also be dismissive of the command of his Lord upon his life.

As one of several Pastors on staff at our church I have a Senior Pastor in authority over me. He is a good and godly man and I am fortunate to know that I can trust that he seeks God’s leading as he leads us. He is in fact a good and upstanding man…but he is not perfect. There have been times when I have disagreed with him in terms of what he thought should be the next step for us as a church. In those times I have sought him out privately to share with him my thoughts and to ask him to reconsider or give me further explanation if possible for his decision. There have been a few (a very few) times where I was still not convinced that his decisions were the best possible. In those it has been vital that I understand submission. I have to know that while my submission to him as the one in authority over me is voluntary (only I can choose to submit) it is not optional. It is not about being right; it is about doing right. God’s word tells me to submit to those in authority over me. When I submit I am doing what I have been commanded to do, I am doing the right thing. Will the action or activity I am submitting to always turn out to be the right decision, will it always work out best? No, but when it doesn’t, if I have been submissive and done my part to make every effort toward its success, then it will be the leader, not I who will be scrutinized. If I balk and do not submit and the idea fails, I will not be viewed as the one who diverted us from disaster, I will likely be pointed out as the one who was not supportive and therefore possibly the cause of the failure. Submission is not about being right it is about doing right.

Next time we will look more closely still at submission and what it means to success both in a marriage and within the Godhead that marriage is designed to reflect.

So now, understanding that submission in your marriage is a two-way street but that God says it is the one way to success, submit to Him by submitting to one another…and go be awesome!

Order and Structure of a God Shaped Marriage Vol. 5

Order and Structure of a God Shaped Marriage Vol. 5

Hi, this is Pastor Ken welcome back to another edition of the Monday Marriage Message where we search God’s instructions to experience a highly successful marriage. We will continue today with our look at the scripturally given order and structure of a God shaped marriage.

Since the beginning of this series, I have directed your attention to the God-given order and structure of a God Shaped Marriage found in 1 Corinthians 11:3. Once again, that passage in the Amplified Bible reads as follows: But I want you to know and realize that Christ is the Head of every man, the head of a woman is her husband, and the Head of Christ is God. As the focus of this series is order and structure, I felt it doubly important to follow the very order and structure of this focal scripture. Therefore, I dedicated the past several episodes to men as husbands, following the lead of Christ. We looked carefully at several different scriptures and noted just how husbands can interact with their wives, just as Christ our overseer, interacts with His bride the church.

We will now shift our focus to the second portion of this passage “The head of a woman is her husband”. Before we push further into the exposition of this verse allow me to clarify a point that I feel important to address. My concern is that there could be an unfortunate misunderstanding when considering this verse void of its context. One could take this verse to be indicating that a wife’s relationship with Christ must go through her husband. This is simply not true at all. Scripture is clear that a personal relationship with Jesus Christ is possible for anyone who believes in Him (John 3:16).  Others speak directly to believing wives who have unbelieving husbands, which should negate any argument that a woman (wife) cannot have a direct relationship with Christ. (1 Corinthians 7:10-16). Furthermore, Paul wrote in Galatians 3:28 that in Christ there is actually no distinction between men and woman, meaning that both are capable of joining with Him. With that concern addressed let’s move forward.

Just as I did concerning husbands’ interactions with their wives, we will now look at what the bible has to say about how a wife should interact with her husband. A wife’s position in a God Shaped Marriage is one of incredible importance. Eve’s God given title was that of a helpmeet. This is not a word commonly used in contemporary vernacular but the meaning has not been in any way diminished with its use. The idea of a helpmeet comes from the original Hebrew words [ezer] pronounced [ay’-zer], and [Neged] pronounced [neh’-ghed]. As I explained in the first edition of this series, these words used together, according to Strong’s Exhaustive Bible Concordance, mean an absolute counterpart to a perfect set.  Eve was created the absolute counterpart to Adam. She was so in every way having been literally created from Adam’s own flesh. God then proclaimed His desire to recreate that same result in others going forward. He decided that a man would leave his father and mother, be joined to his wife, and the two of them would quite miraculously become “One flesh”. Marriage is God’s process of recreating the one flesh experience of Adam and Eve in every man and woman that enters into this sacred relationship. Ladies, if you believe that it is God who joins a man and a woman in marriage, then you must also accept that when you marry, you become your husband’s helpmeet, his absolute counterpart.

Scripture describes God’s hand in the marriage process. Proverbs 19:14 in the Amplified Version says; Houses and riches are the inheritance from fathers, but a wise, understanding, and prudent wife is from the Lord. Men, it is high time we begin to understand that though God may not have put each of us to sleep, removed a rib and created for us a wife of our own flesh, she has been given to, and joined with us, by Him. What is the greater miracle, to create a perfect counterpart from our own flesh, or make us one flesh with someone in marriage and in so doing offer to us our absolute counterpart?

In the New Living Translation Proverbs 31:10-12 say this… 10 Who can find a virtuous and capable wife? She is more precious than rubies. 11 Her husband can trust her, and she will greatly enrich his life. 12 She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life. The idea of this passage isn’t that such a wife doesn’t exist or can’t be found, but rather that it would be beyond difficult for us to do so without God’s direction. There are two schools of thought concerning this. Some believe as I do that God loves us so much and cares so deeply for His institution of marriage that it matters to Him who we marry. Others believe that it is completely up to us who we marry and God restrains his work in our lives within the bounds of our absolute free will. Regardless of your belief about the level of involvement God exercises in who we marry, the following is still true. Jesus said that when a wedding takes place, God joins that man and woman and creates of them a “One flesh” condition identified as marriage. A man and a woman, as husband and wife, are the only ones who can experience that unique human relationship. God is integrally involved in every marriage, and so His Son Jesus concluded, “What God has joined let not man separate” (Matthew 19:6 & Mark 10:9)

So, how does a woman interact with her husband as his absolute counterpart in a God Shaped Marriage? Remembering that the point of a God Shaped Marriage is to reflect Creator God let us begin by revisiting our focal scripture. But I want you to know and realize that Christ is the Head of every man, the head of a woman is her husband, and the Head of Christ is God. (1 Corinthians 11:3) In this verse, when we look at the Godhead that marriage is supposed to reflect, we see that the Head of Christ is God the Father. Jesus is one of the three persons of the triune Godhead. The Trinity as we refer to it, is beyond our human ability to completely define but there are some truths we are able to extract from our limited understanding of it.

  • The Trinity consists of Father Son, and Holy Spirit
  • They each have differing functions but perfectly united purpose
  • God the Father is God, but is not and does not act as Jesus the Son or the Holy Spirit
  • Jesus the Son is God, but is not and does not act as the Father or the Holy Spirit
  • The Holy Spirit is God, but is not and does not act as the Father or Jesus the Son
  • Each One is completely God, and united, they are the one true God

Why is the notation of all of that important? Because ladies, if you are to correctly understand your equal value to your husband in the marriage and gladly adhere to the scripturally defined order and structure of your marriage, you will need to be able to see that just as Christ is your husbands example of how to love you, He is also your example of how to be a godly helpmeet. The Apostle Paul made the point in our focal scripture that the head of Christ is God the Father, but it is also important to look at what Jesus said Himself about that concept?

In John 10:30 it is recorded for us that Jesus said of His relationship with God the Father, “I and the Father are One. Here Jesus is making an incredible statement, He is self-identifying as being equivalent with God. This was so outrageous to those who heard it that they were ready to stone Him for blasphemy! In John 5:30 however, Jesus said “I can do nothing on my own. As I hear, I judge, and my judgment is just, because I seek not my own will but the will of him who sent me”. Are these statements contradictory? Not at all. In the one in John 10:30 Jesus is identifying that He and The Father are both equally valuable persons in the Trinity, just as a wife and husband are equally valuable persons in a God Shaped Marriage. In the second example from John 5:30, Jesus is illustrating that He and the Father work together toward their united purpose and the necessary structure and order to the Godhead that makes that work successful is identified by Paul in 1 Corinthians 11:3.

Jesus also made further statements that showed His voluntary submission to God the Father as a decisive act of cooperation bringing about the fruition of their united goals. In John 12:49 Jesus said, For I have never spoken on My own initiative or authority, but the Father Himself who sent Me has given Me a commandment regarding what to say and what to speak. (Amplified Bible) In John 14:31 Jesus told His disciples, “But so that the world may know [without any doubt] that I love the Father, I do exactly as the Father has commanded Me [and act in full agreement with Him]” (Amplified Bible) In John 15:10-11 Jesus made this interesting statement. 10 “If you keep My commandments and obey My teaching, you will remain in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and remain in His love. 11 I have told you these things so that My joy and delight may be in you, and that your joy may be made full and complete and overflowing”. This statement identified Jesus position as one in authority over us, as well as one submitting to the authority of the Father to serve our need. He said that His joy and ours is fullest when God ordained order and structure of relationship are followed. Ultimately, Christ’s submission to God the Father was summed up in His exclamation while under extreme duress in the garden of Gethsemane the night before His crucifixion, “Father if there is any other way…but not my will, but your will be done”!

In the next installment, we will delve deeper into the much-misunderstood concept of submission. However, I felt it critical before we did so to take time to lay the groundwork for the following statements.

  • Submission does not equate to inferiority
  • Scripture illustrates for us that even in the structure and order of the Triune Godhead authority and submission to authority are necessary components for success.
  • Christ (God the Son) voluntarily offered His submission to the will of the Father so their united purpose could be accomplished.
  • Though Jesus’ submission to God the Father was voluntary it was not optional.
  • Jesus Submission to the order and structure of the Godhead was necessary to the completion of the united will of the Godhead.
  • If marriage is to reflect the framework of the Godhead as designed, the prescribed marital structure and order must also be adhered to.
  • A wife’s submission to her husband is voluntary…however; it is not optional to success of a God Shaped Marriage.

So now, with willing hearts as both husbands and wives to act in the ways that Jesus does to the betterment of your God Shaped Marriage…go be awesome!

Order and Structure of a God Shaped Marriage Vol. 4

Hi, this is Pastor Ken thanks for joining me once again for the Monday Marriage Message where we search God’s instructions to experience a highly successful marriage. We continue today with our look at the scripturally given order and structure of a God shaped marriage.

Thus far in this series we have discovered that there is in fact a God-ordained order and structure to a God Shaped Marriage. We have identified where that order is outlined for us in scripture (1 Corinthians 11:3) and have acknowledged that order is reflective of the framework of authority found in the triune Godhead. In the last episode we began to look at how a God Shaped Husband interacts with His wife. There we focused on Ephesians 5:25 and the command given there for husbands to love their wives as Christ loved the church. We recognized it must be a selfless love, one where the husband puts the needs, cares, and desires of his wife above his own. Just as Christ did for his bride when He left the glory of Heaven to come to earth to fix her sin problem. We also saw that a Christ-like husband will understand the differences between himself and his wife, seeing them not as flaws requiring change but rather as things of beauty to be cherished. With this understanding, a righteous husband will be gentle with his wife, especially when she responds in different ways than he might.

Today we will continue with our look at Ephesians chapter 5 and how it illuminates the actions and attitudes of a Christ-like husband. Allow me to read from that passage again beginning with verse 25. Ephesians 5:25-27 says; 25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, 26 that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, 27 that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish.

Last time we looked at what it meant for a husband to love his wife as Christ loved the church. We carefully considered what the scripture meant when it says Christ’s love for the church was exemplified by His giving of Himself for her. I talked about the fact that this did not only elude to the fact that Christ died for His bride, though it was His ultimate sacrifice, and He offered it willingly for her good. In addition, we discussed some of the various ways we as husbands are given opportunities every day to lay down our lives for our wife. There the connection and application of the command were clearly defined. However, let me be abundantly clear here. The second part of this passage does not indicate that because Christ is in process of making His bride perfect for Himself, as men we can take license to direct our wives how they could be made perfect in our eyes. Remember, Christ is superior to His bride. He is perfect in every way, and we (His bride) are not. Therefore, in order for Him to become one with us, our perfection becomes a necessity. With that in mind there is a need for Him to sanctify and cleanse us so that He can present us to Himself the perfect match, just as He presented Eve to Adam, the perfect match. We on the other hand husbands, are not superior to our wives. Their imperfections do not render them incompatible to be joined with us because we too, are imperfect. Therefore, there is no need for us to interact with our wife in this same way.

If that is the case, why mention it here following the command to love our wife as Christ loved the church? Excellent question…I am so glad it has an excellent answer. When we take a closer look at the totality of the three verses I just read, we can see an interesting truth. In the past Christ loved the church by offering remedy for her sin problem that she was unable to fix by dying in her place. He offered His life as a substitutionary sacrifice and satisfied the high cost of her sin. The bible tells us that the wages of sin is death. In effect then, Jesus ransomed us by dying in our place, and so as that verse concludes, the gift of God is eternal life in Jesus Christ our Lord. (Romans 6:23). In the present, He is sanctifying His bride and cleansing her with the washing of water by the word. This simply means that right now, Christ is through His word making us perfect for Himself, a perfect match in every way. It is through our obedience to His word that we become cleaned. Jesus told Peter at the last supper, “You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you.” (John 15:3) In the future, this same passage tells us that He will present us to Himself…perfect…without blemish, spot or wrinkle or any such thing. He promises us that in the future He will take us to live with Him forever in His Father’s house. There, as His bride, we will have access to everything He has access to, just as a wife ought to have joint ownership of all that is her husbands’. From this passage we can conclude that Christ loves the church by taking complete care of her, past, present and future. There is no time when His focus is not on what she needs and what He is trying to bless her with. In this moment, Christ is trying to position us, His bride, to be able to take hold of all of the immeasurable blessing He has for us. In that way husbands, we can love our wives as Christ loves the church. We can love her all of the time and we can give our full attention and effort to the goal of making sure she is positioned to receive every available blessing.

This passage then continues with that very idea. Verses 28 & 29 say, 28 So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church.

The point being made here is that as Christ-like husbands, we give our wives the place of high regard that we give to our own bodies. This means two things. First, we meet our needs…and second, we avoid harming ourselves. We eat when we are hungry, because our body asks us to. We clothe ourselves when we arise from a warm bed, because our body asks us to. We seek medical attention when we are sick, because our body asks us to. We rest when we are tired, because our body asks us to. I could go on and on listing all of the ways we meet the needs of our body because our body calls out to us, pointing out its need, and we respond accordingly. We do not respond in anger, frustration or intolerance. We simply respond because there is a need. These verses make the point that when our wife voices a need…we should simply respond by meeting the need. Remember from our discussion last time that we don’t necessarily have to see her need as a need we also have. We are to interact with her by meeting her needs with the understanding that her needs may be different than ours, but that makes her or her needs no less valuable than ours are. So, as this verse points out, we meet our own needs, we should then also meet the needs our wife has in order that we might love her as Christ loves the church.

The second way I noted that we take care of our own bodies is that we do our best to avoid personal injury. The list I mentioned a moment ago highlighted how we meet the needs of our own body, but now I want to take a look at how we cherish it. Because we cherish this physical body God has given us, we try to keep it safe from harm. Some of that is done consciously as we take measures to make sure we don’t get hurt. For example, when we undertake a particularly risky activity such as cutting down a tree with a chainsaw, the wiser of us use specialized personal protection equipment to avoid injury. Other protective measures are purely instinctive, but still invoked because we cherish our body and we don’t want to get hurt. This would be illustrated by our instinct to run if we sense the tree we are trying to cut down begins to fall in our direction. In either case we do these things consciously and unconsciously because we cherish our body. In this scripture we are admonished that if we are willing to do these things for our bodies, meet our needs and protect ourselves, we must also be equally willing to do them for our wife because we are joined with her in a one flesh condition. As this scripture points out, He who loves his wife…loves himself, and Christ our example is busy doing these very same things for His bride, the church.

The next 3 verses are of great interest and offer an incredibly close-up view of how our marriages are intended to be reflective of God in a unique way. Many times I have used a mirror as an analogy for marriage. I conclude that analogy by saying that our marriages are intended to be a marital mirror that God desires to look into and see Himself. In the next few verses that analogy is taken to a new level. An infinity mirror is one that is actually made of two mirrors connected to one another and positioned such that what is reflected in one is reflected by the other and so on and so on…seemingly forever. These next verses illustrate how the marital mirror is actually intended to be an infinity mirror. Ephesians 5:30-32 reads as follows: 30 For we are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones. 31 “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” 32 This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church.

This scripture applies to both the husband and the wife. However, as we are currently engaged in a discussion of how men can be God shaped or Christ-like husbands, we will continue with that intimation and return to this passage later in the series as our focus shifts to that of a godly wife. Here men, we are reminded that as Christ followers, we are members of Christ’s body. We are His chosen bride. However, we do not enjoy that distinction alone as men. The Apostle Paul pointed out that we are equal heirs in the grace of God. In other words, our wives are also members of the church if they are Christ followers. Therefore, they are also members of His body. If we take more than a moment to consider this, then a new and profound truth is realized. If my wife is a believer, then she is one with Christ. Because they are one, how I interact with her is in actuality how I am interacting with Christ! Men we all know that if someone is unkind to our bride, we take it personally. Christ is no different. If I act negatively toward my wife, Christ says that He considers it the same as if I have acted negatively toward Him. I don’t know about you other gentlemen, but that isn’t something I want to occur. If someone is kind to our wife and offers help that is needed, we are grateful to that person, as if it were us they helped or were kind to. Jesus said He sees it the same way when we are kind to our wife. If our wife has placed her faith in Jesus Christ, the way that we interact with her is the way we are interacting with Christ himself according to this passage. For more on just how personally Christ takes our actions toward our spouse, I would encourage you to read Matthew 25:31-46, though I won’t be covering them here.

The passage in Ephesians 5 ends with its instructions to Christ-like husbands with the beginning of verse 33 – Nevertheless, let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself. The command here is simple and selfless, but never easy. Men, love your wife like you love yourself. Meet her needs… not the ones you think she should have; the ones she tells you she has. Avoid her being harmed. She reacts differently than you do, consider that and be understanding. Avoid allowing her to be injured even if such action would have no ill-effect on you. Love her like Christ loves the church…like Christ loves you.

So now, learning be a Christ-like husband like it matters…because it matters…Go Be Awesome!

Order and Structure of a God Shaped Marriage Vol. 3

Hi, this is Pastor Ken thanks for joining me once again for the Monday Marriage Message where we search God’s instructions to experience a highly successful marriage. We continue today with our look at the scripturally given order and structure of a God shaped marriage.

As I was considering the content for this series on The Order and Structure of a God Shaped Marriage, several ways of approaching the subject came to mind. As always, first and foremost, I want to remain consistent with the scriptures. The word of God is the definitive authority we have access to that offers us the direction we need to obtain a God Shaped Marriage. God determined the primary purpose of marriage to be reflecting Him, therefore any successful marriage will be a God shaped one. Order and structure in a marriage is as vital to making that marriage reflect God and His righteousness, as our skeleton is in helping us to stand upright. If marriage was initiated by God, and is therefore His creation, and if He created it specifically to reflect who and what He is, then His word is the only infallible source we have for how to meet that goal.

Within His word are many instructions designed to help us have God Shaped Marriages. Since that God given structure and order are necessary to marital success, I began this series with the one scripture I am aware of that most succinctly lays out the structure of both marriage and the Godhead it is intended to reflect. 1 Corinthians 11:3, But I want you to understand that the head of every man is Christ, the head of a wife is her husband, and the head of Christ is God.

I cannot think of a better way to move forward with the explanation of this foundational scripture than to follow it just as it is laid out. Paul begins this verse recognizing that it is important for us to understand this framework of authority, and he begins with men. The head of every man is Christ. In the first episode in this series I pointed out to husbands that we have drawn the short straw in this line up. To reiterate, God The Father, (a perfect being) is the head of Christ, (another perfect being). The wife, (an imperfect being) is under the leadership of her husband, (another imperfect being). In the order of authority given in this scripture, it is only the husband, (an imperfect being) who is under the direct authority of Christ, (a perfect being). Last time, I took great care to illustrate from God’s own chosen words that men are not superior to women in any way, shape or form, nor are women inferior to men. There I showed that though we were created with differing abilities, we were also created equal to one another in value. In the scriptural order found in 1 Corinthians 11:3 noted above, It is only the husband who must answer to one superior to himself. So gentlemen, let’s take a closer look at this standard given to us in God’s word, The head of every man is Christ.

The New Testament is full of examples of who Christ is, and how He interacts with us. While all of those scriptures have value helping us to know how we should interact with others including our wives, there are several passages that deal directly with how Christ interacts with the church, His bride. Those are the passages I am going to be focusing on here. If Christ is the authority in direct leadership over husbands, then those scriptures that illustrate how He interacts with the church are of paramount importance to men if we are to know how to interact with our wives in a way that lives up to the standard given to us.

The first of those scriptures we are going to look at is Ephesians 5:25. It reads as follows; 25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her…

There are several things from this scripture that I want to point out. First, there can be no mistaking this scripture to be one where the actions and attitudes of Christ are offered toward the church as His bride. There should also be no misunderstanding the fact that Husbands are clearly instructed here to offer their actions and attitudes toward their wives in a way that is reflective of, and in submission to, Christ.

Second I want to highlight that this scripture clearly states that husbands are to love their wives just as Christ loved the church and gave Himself for her. The male ego would like to focus on the fact that Christ died for the church. The reason for this is that if a husband then commits to being willing to die for his wife (something he is quite certain statistics show to carry a very low reason for concern) then he has just been a husband that is reflective of Christ. Sorry guys…that doesn’t cut it. Yes, if you and your wife are ever in a situation where one of you must choose to die so the other can live, husbands…you must be the one to choose to die. However, pre-committing to that unlikely eventuality is not enough to live up to the standard. Why? Because Christ actually died in place of His bride. So am I saying all men must die for their wife? No. However, Christ laid down His life for His bride in ways that we actually are given opportunity to do every day.

Jesus did not come into existence on the first Christmas night when He was born in a manger. The Apostle John begins His Gospel with the truth that Jesus has always been. Jesus was before everything we understand to be the beginning. Jesus is, according to scripture, the Creator of all that exists. He said of Himself in Revelation 22:13, I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, The First and the Last.” This is but one of His astounding “I Am”statements indicating that He is in fact one of the three persons of Almighty God.

As the great I Am, Jesus has always existed, and until His entrance into this world as one of His own creation, a little baby boy, He existed with the Father accompanied by the Spirit. There for all eternity past, they existed inseparably, reigning supremely, in the perfection of their Heavenly Kingdom. We on the other hand took precious little time upon our entrance to allow our selfishness and distrust in God’s loving instruction to give way to the introduction of sin into the perfect world Jesus had just created for us. With the high price of sin being death…we were eternally lost. When Jesus came into the world He had fashioned, He did so to remedy our sin problem. He came to offer His life as a sacrifice for our sin, lovingly and willingly offered in our stead. Jesus did not have need to come to earth…we had needof Him to come and to do that for us. Christ laid down His life for His bride. He laid down His perfect life that lacked nothing, to give us what we lacked, and could not obtain for ourselves. He laid aside His needs for our needs, His wantsfor our wants, His desires for our desires. Death was not the only way Jesus laid down His life for His bride…it was the final way. His death on the cross was the ultimate sacrifice, but He sacrificed for us every Nano-second He was away from the Father. Husbands, Christ is our example, He is the One in direct authority over us. As unfair as it might be that we are the only ones to have an authority morally superior to ourselves…it is what it is. We must learn to lay down our lives (in every way) for our bride if we want to succeed at having a God Shaped Marriage.

As I said our male egos cause us to look only at Christ’s voluntary giving up of His life as the evidence of His great love for us. We like to think that so long as we are also willing to do that…we have our bases covered. Unfortunately, when we take that attitude we have missed the point all together. The command to each of us is to love our wife as Christ loved the church. The evidence of His love gives us a standard to put the evidence of our love for our wives up against, but the command to us is to love like Christ loves.

According to the passage above, Christ sees Himself as our loving groom. His word instructs us how to be a loving husband, and illustrates that He interacts with us in that very way. In other words, if His word indicates we should treat our wife in a certain way, it is because He treats us in that same way. So when Ephesians 5:25 tells us love our wives, just like Christ loves His bride, we can look to scripture to find out how to do that. One example of that instruction is found in Colossians 3:19. In The Amplified Version that verse reads, Husbands, love your wives [with an affectionate, sympathetic, selfless love that always seeks the best for them] and do not be embittered or resentful toward them [because of the responsibilities of marriage]. When you consider this verse in light of the one from Ephesians 5 it takes on additional meaning. We have to be ready to lay down our lives for our wife if we are going to be able to love them selflessly, as Christ loves us. We should always be most concerned with what is best for them and not what we might think best for us in a particular moment. The continuation of this verse is most important. Men, if we want to be God Shaped Husbands, we cannot be found giving in to the needs of our wife through a clenched jaw or gritted teeth. In fact, that will ruin the entire reflection. For the joy set before Him, the bible tells us…Christ endured the cross. If we are going to be like Christ, laying down our needs, hopes and desires, and putting those of our wives’ first, ought to be the joy set before us. The endurance part is simply the employment of our decision to see our God Shaped Marriage emerge.  Paul cautions us here to avoid allowing our negative emotions to enter into a positive godly position at all costs. If we are going to get it right, we can’t view the responsibilities of a God Shaped Marriage as a thing to be despised. We must see it as a way that we can illustrate our love for our spouse, as Christ illustrated His great love for us.

I want to take time to look at one more scripture that is congruent with those above before I close this edition. In the New King James Version, 1 Peter 3:7 says, Husbands, likewise, dwell with them with understanding, giving honor to the wife, as to the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life, that your prayers may not be hindered. In this passage, we are instructed that a godly husband will interact with his wife in an understanding way. That he will give her honor as to the weaker vessel. This phrase is often misunderstood. Remember that in the last episode of this podcast I went to great lengths to point out that God’s word is clear…men and women were created with equal value. God’s word does not contradict itself, therefore this scripture cannot indicate that the weaker vessel is in any way inferior to the stronger one. I have heard this scripture taught quite literally to mean that a man should be gentle with his wife because her muscle structure is more fragile than his…that’s close, but I cannot fully agree with that to be the meaning. The use of the analogy of a vessel here is of great importance to a correct exegesis. A vessel has one job…to carry water without leaking. A weaker vessel, one made of crystal for example will hold water just as well as one made of iron. Both have equal value when it comes to transporting water. Unless…you knock them into the doorpost on your way into a room. If one is not gentle, and understanding of the limitations of crystal when bumped into a doorpost, the crystal vase will lose its ability to successfully accomplish what it was designed for. On another note, which is more desirable to have placed in the center of the table during a meal? Crystal or iron? The woman is the weaker vessel…the crystal one. She has equal value when it comes to accomplishing the given purpose…but she is different than iron and needs to be interacted with accordingly. Husbands we are being instructed here to understand that our wives will react differently than we do at times. That knowledge is supposed to elicit understanding and gentleness from us rather than harsh intolerance. We each have the same God given purpose…to be reflective of Him. We each have differing qualities that are useful to that end, but neither are more or less important than the other, in fact they are meant to work with each other to complete the reflection. As further proof that our valuation as men and women, husbands and wives are equivalent, Paul points out that both share equally in the grace of God, and they are partners in salvation. Finally, Paul points out that there is greater consequence than broken glass if husbands are not gentle with their wives…God will not honor a husband’s prayers if he does not honor God’s creation of a wife made just for him. Next time we will continue with our look at the God shaped husband, and how he fits into the structure and order of a God Shaped Marriage.

So now doing everything you can, and asking God for more of His power every day to help you have a God Shaped Marriage…Go Be Awesome!

Order and Structure of a God Shaped Marriage

Hi, this is Pastor Ken thanks for joining me once again for the Monday Marriage Message where we search God’s instructions to experience a highly successful marriage. We continue today with our look into the scripturally given Order and Structure of a God Shaped Marriage.

Last time when introducing the topic of this new series I presented the idea that every successful endeavor necessarily includes both structure and order. There I re-stated what Genesis chapter 1 & 2 speak of so clearly. Marriage is primarily intended to reflect the God that instituted it. God purposefully created mankind to reflect His image and likeness. Additionally, He created the first man and woman in a united condition, inextricably one, made of the same flesh and bone. Following that original union, God authored marriage as the format by which going forward a man and a woman would be joined by Him, affording them the same capacity as Adam and Eve to reflect their creator. I shared with you in that introductory episode that according to God’s Word even the triune Godhead has an order of authority. Therefore, marriage which is determined to reflect God necessarily must also have structure of authority. Finally, I shared that in 1 Corinthians 11:3 the structure and order of both the Godhead and marriage are identified and connected with one another outlining an overall framework of authority. Once again that scripture reads as follows. But I want you to know that the head of every man is Christ, the head of woman is man, and the head of Christ is God.

As we move forward in our look at the all-important God ordained structure of marriage, I want to begin with a crucial understanding. In the last edition I quickly made mention of the fact that the order of marital authority has nothing to do with the value of one person over the other. The structure of marriage absolutely has nothing to do with greater or lesser value found in a husband or wife. God’s word offers several explanations for why the order is what God has made it, but none of them have anything to do with the superiority of man or the inferiority of woman – because those ideals are completely and totally false. I want to dedicate this edition of the series on the Order and Structure of a God Shaped Marriage to dispelling that dangerous notion. Instead I hope to illustrate from God’s own word that men and women were and are created equally valuable in His eyes.

There are several errant beliefs we hold as people that cause us to misunderstand our equal value as men and women. Even in our contemporary society where many might say that a corrected equality has finally been established, our thinking is flawed, and actually takes us farther away from the truth of God’s word, instead of nearer to it. At the pinnacle of those misunderstandings is this, “Equality means possessing the same capabilities”. For all of history this thought process has been so simple to disprove that is was never even questioned until the last century. It is more than easy to see that men and women do not have all of the same capabilities. For example, women can give birth far better than men…men have zero ability to do so and with infinitesimal few exceptions, all mature women are physically able to have a baby. To that order, nearly all men are capable of fathering a child, while women have no natural ability to do so. When each of these differing abilities are joined, a man and a woman each play a crucial yet completely different role in the creation of life. Interestingly, when this takes place in marriage, that couple becomes more reflective of God who initially created life. In this as well as many other areas, men and women have dissimilar ability, yet equal value.

Following the science, there are many and varied physical differences between men and women that are not directly associated with reproduction. Some of those differences offer ability to one or the other that is easier to recognize than others. For instance, the existence of a woman’s breasts gives her the ability to nurse a child where her male counterpart has no such ability. A man’s ‘Adam’s apple’ exists because of the greater amount of cartilage surrounding a substantially larger voice box than a woman has. The increased size of the male vocal cords enable men to speak or sing in much lower octaves than the vast majority of women. Though these differences enable men and women to do things the other cannot, it does not in any way affect their overall value.

Many additional differences also exist. There are differences in the ways we think. We exhibit differences in our relational needs. There are differences in the way we use language, the ways we problem solve, the ways we resolve conflict, etc. The list of differences goes on and on. These variations between us give us many differing capabilities that can often be observed to follow along gender-lines. None of those differing abilities increase or decrease our overall value. While one may be more useful in a specific area, the other will have greater success in another, however, a man and a woman are endowed by their Creator with equal value. Interestingly, when it comes to the value God sees in us as men and women, though it is equal, it is also exponentially increased as a man and woman are joined as one. (more on that later)

For the purposes of this episode I want to focus on one specific scripture surrounding the necessity of the creation of the first woman, Eve. Genesis 2:18 says, And the Lord God said “It is not good that man should be alone I will make a helper comparable to him.” I have heard many teachings on this verse. Some good, some not-so-good. The poorest of these have indicated that God decided that Adam would be lonely and so He created Eve to keep Adam company and be a helper by keeping his needs met. Unfortunately, I believe this errant exegesis is only meant to serve unscrupulous men’s desire to utilize this passage to conclude that women are inferior to them in some way. In fact, a correct understanding of this scripture proves nothing could be further from the truth.

When we look at the original Hebrew, the phrase “it is not good” is indicative that it was not yet complete. Each day of the creation week, we see the opposite phrase spoken in the affirmative. Genesis 1:4 says: and God saw the light, that it was good. In verse 10 it goes on to say and God called the dry land earth and the gathering together of the waters He called seas. And God saw that it was good. Again in verse 12: And the earth brought forth grass, the herb that yields seed according to its kind, and the tree that yields fruit, whose seed is in itself according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. Further on in verses 16-18 we read: Then God made two great lights: the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night. He made the stars also. God set them in the firmament of the heavens to give light on the earth, and to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good. Again in verse 21: So God created great sea creatures and every living thing that moves, with which the waters abounded, according to their kind, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. The phrase is repeated again in verse 25: And God made the beast of the earth according to its kind, cattle according to its kind, and everything that creeps on the earth according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. Finally, we come to verse 31 after God made mankind and the statement is made once again but this time with special exclamation! Then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good. So the evening and the morning were the sixth day. In light of that, we know that as God concluded the various tasks of creation and He made the statement that it was good He was intimating the job at hand to be finished, or complete.

Therefore, in Genesis 2:18 when we read that God said “It is not good” we can surmise that He meant it is not complete or finished for man to be alone. In order to gain an accurate understanding, I think it important to do a bit of a word study of the original text. In this verse The Hebrew word [Towb] pronounced [to be] translates to the English phrase “It is not good”. According to Strong’s Bible Dictionary, the definition for this Hebrew word as used specifically in this reference means inappropriate for its use, or incomplete for its intended use.

The Hebrew word for “Alone” used here is [Bad] pronounced [bad]which means separated or apart from its counterpart. Much like if your salt shaker was in the dining room and your pepper shaker was alone in the kitchen. Though it was by itself, it would still be part of a set intended to be used together.

The final phrase necessary to have complete understanding of this verse is “A helper comparable to him.” The King James Version reads “A help meet.” This phrase comes from the Hebrew words [ezer] pronounced [ay’-zer], and [Neged] pronounced [neh’-ghed]. These words together, according to Strong’s, mean an absolute counterpart to a perfect set.

When you put all of that together, a good literal translation of Genesis 2:18 would read something like this: And God said, It will be inappropriate and mankind will remain incomplete for his intended purpose if man is an unfinished creation, so I will create an absolutely perfect counterpart to him (woman) and together they will be a complete complimentary matched set, each an equally valuable part of the whole, that will more fully represent Me. 

Eve was the absolutely, perfectly created, counterpart to Adam. She was equal in valuation to Adam in every way. She was not more than Adam and not less than Adam. He was not superior to her in any way; she was not inferior to him in any way. They were a perfectly created, matched set. Equal in every way, yet often completely different in function. Together their purpose was to reflect the image and likeness of God. The analogy I like to use for them was that of a mirror. A mirror’s purpose is to reflect whatever is in front of it. A mirror is made up of two components. A sheet of perfectly clear and perfectly flat glass and a polished silver coating. Neither the glass nor the silver by themselves are very effective at producing a quality reflection, but when married together, they form a mirror that reflects with absolute clarity. The glass is not superior to silver nor is the silver inferior to glass, they are simply different yet both crucial to their collective purpose.

Adam and Eve’s oneness was intended to reflect the image and likeness of God. The primary purpose of your marriage is the same. Adam and Eve were created differently than one another, just as you and your spouse were. Adam and Eve had equal value though differing individual abilities, just as is the case in your marriage. Those differences were not given to determine value, they were offered that together they might find the highest value…reflecting their supreme Creator, God.

Was there order? Yes. Adam was created before Eve. Did that make him superior? Not in any way shape or form. Eve followed Adam in creation, but only to illustrate his need of her help to fulfill their purpose. Next time we will delve into some additional scriptures that display the God ordained structure and order of authority within the marriage, as well as the blessing God was attempting to give us within that very framework.

So now, recognizing the incredible and equal value you and your spouse hold in your marriage…Go be Awesome!

All Things Considered…Knowledge Is Power

Hi, this is Pastor Ken, I want to welcome you to my Thoughts on a Thursday Podcast where I take some regular occurrence or personal story from my life and connect it to a scriptural truth. So here are my thoughts on this Thursday, October 26th 2023…All Things Considered, Knowledge is Power…

There is an old saying that Knowledge is power. I would argue that I don’t necessarily think that adage to be true, I say that “Knowledge employed is power”. For the purposes of this discussion…I stand corrected. Knowledge is power.

It is widely and correctly I might add, accepted that God is omniscient, He knows and understands everything. 1 John 3:20 tells us just that “God knows everything”. In Isaiah 40:28 it tells us that His understanding is unsearchable, or in other words, without end. God knows everything and He understands everything. When you ponder that for a moment, that idea is itself hard to comprehend. I have been accused of knowing more unusable facts than the average person. It is true that over my lifetime thus far I have accumulated a number of learned particulars that will probably never do me any good other than to amuse me. All kidding aside, I have spent a good deal of my life learning. I enjoy understanding things and knowing how they work. I suppose I do possess a lot of knowledge and understanding…about a very limited number of things. What makes omniscience amazing is far more than knowing and understanding all things. Omniscience also has the awesome, not-so-often considered ability to know and understand how all things interact with all other things and how all things said and done now, will interact with all things said and done in the future. Furthermore, Omniscience has the capability of espousing absolute truth about all things knowing all future variations that might affect said truths. In other words, God is able to say things knowing they are not only true when they are said, but that they will remain true eternally…no matter what happens or who interacts with those truths…all things have been considered…that is omniscience. That is our God. Knowledge is power.

Why do I bring all of this up today? I raise this for consideration because of a question I was recently asked. Did God really mean for us to follow all of His instructions or where they actually only intended for the hearers at the time, the ones He was speaking to directly? I have heard variations of this question many times over the course of my ministry. That particular petition usually occurs when the Bible contains some statute that the person asking the question has been considering but does not want to be forced to follow, otherwise known as coming under conviction. I think there are times when many of us wonder if what God’s word seems to be saying can really apply to a particular situation that involves us. Can a general work such as the Bible actually be trusted to have specific application to my situation, and all of the variables that pertain to it? It can and it does, if we believe it to be more than a literary work, and is instead trusted to be the written Word of the omniscient God.

If it is trusted to be the very word of the One true all knowing, all understanding God, and if that God is also immutable, meaning He cannot and does not change…ever, then His word has to be infallible. If God is omnipotent, meaning He is all powerful, and He is omnipresent, meaning He is everywhere all the time, then He is in fact able to make His word prove true even in the midst of your circumstances. God is in fact each and all of these things and more, and His word is trustworthy as nothing else is. Psalm 19:7-11 in the New Living Translation says;

The instructions of the Lord are perfect,
reviving the soul.
The decrees of the Lord are trustworthy,
making wise the simple.
The commandments of the Lord are right,
bringing joy to the heart.
The commands of the Lord are clear,
giving insight for living.
Reverence for the Lord is pure,
lasting forever.
The laws of the Lord are true;
each one is fair.
10 They are more desirable than gold,
even the finest gold.j
They are sweeter than honey,
even honey dripping from the comb.
11 They are a warning to your servant,
a great reward for those who obey them.

God’s word is true…ALL THINGS considered. It is applicable to your life and mine. When we come under conviction to submit to what it lovingly instructs, there is no better recourse for us than obedience. Only the Power of God and His word can bring us such knowledge and wisdom. God’s Knowledge is Power! However, for us “Knowledge employed is power” In our case, knowing is not enough. As I said earlier, I like to learn. As a result, I have learned many things along the way. I know more than a few tricks that will make tasks I do regularly easier or more efficient. If I do not employ that knowledge, If I do not do the things I know, then they cannot impact my life whatsoever. The only power that comes from my knowledge is the action taken as a result of that knowledge. The scripture I just read speaks of the perfection and the power of God’s knowledge. If I want to experience the power of His knowledge, I must act upon it. The bible tells us to not be hearers only but doers of the instruction found in the word of God. (James 1:22) James says that if we hear The Word but do not act upon The Word we are simply fooling ourselves that we somehow have power from The Word.

So, when we question if a certain part of the word should be applicable to us and our situation or not, let’s at least be honest about what that means. We all interact with other people every day. Some of those interactions are positive, some not so much. When the results are not what we want them to be, we often decide what course of action (re-action really) we should take to remedy the situation. If we do not consult God’s word for His prescription any reaction on our part will likely be errant and create further problems and completely circumvent meaningful resolution. We often wonder if those scriptural prescriptions apply to us because we do not want to respond as God’s word would suggest.

Questions as to the validity of God’s word in our specific circumstances usually means we are afraid that while biblical precepts may sound good and loving on the surface, if we apply them to our situation the person we are having a problem with won’t recognize the pain they are causing us. We conclude that if we can’t successfully express our displeasure, they are likely to continue to walk all over us, and keep causing us emotional harm. Considering that, how could scripture written centuries ago, apply to our situation? If it was only a book, that would be a valid question, but it isn’t simply a book it is the inspired written word of God. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 says All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man [or woman] of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.

We are the creation of God. He more than anyone, including ourselves, knows how we are intended to operate at peak performance. He knows what is best for us and has clearly stated in His word that He wants us to experience that abundant life. I shared with you last time that His word says in Psalm 32:8 that we can count on Him to help us know exactly what to do even considering the specifics of our situations. In that verse God says, I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you. He is literally saying that His counsel is offered to us with His eyes on our circumstances. How is He able to do that? Certainly through the work of His Holy Spirit living inside of us, but yes, also through His written word. How is that possible? The power of omniscience. God’s knowledge is power. It was true when it was inspired and penned centuries ago and it is still true today. It was truth in the circumstances that necessitated its initial inspiration, and it is no less true now and is still necessary for successful resolution.

There has never been, nor will there ever be a situation, or set of circumstances that will negate the Word of God. Nothing can or will ever occur that will render any of the truths of God unreliable. Omniscience does not allow for that possibility. God’s word, God’s truth is more powerful than a two edged sword, it is more precise than the best scalpel. God says of His own word, that it will never return void or unusable. That means that nothing will ever disprove it. It cannot be invalidated because…all things considered…and God has carefully considered all things, God’s knowledge is the highest form of Power that can impact our lives…if we employ it.

So now, being a doer and not a hearer only of the wisdom and power of God’s word…go be awesome!

A God Shaped Marriage Vol. 1

Hi, this is Pastor Ken thanks for joining me once again for the Monday Marriage Message where we search God’s instructions to experience a highly successful marriage.

In the last series we discovered 7 Biblical Principles for a Highly Successful Marriage. If you have not listened to that series of the Monday Marriage Message I invite you to do that. There you will see how God intends to use Compatibility, Understanding, Holiness, Selfless Service, Faithfulness, Forgiveness, and Love to bless your marriage, and make it Highly Successful, wonderfully fulfilling its intended purpose of reflecting Him.

The essence of every successfully married couple is an understanding that their marriage is not really about them, but rather about how together they reflect their God and the author of their union. We have explored that truth originally stated in Genesis 1:26-27 in several past episodes, and it is essentially the basis for each of the editions of the Monday Marriage Message I have offered for your consideration over the past two years.

In this episode I am hoping to introduce how this all-important truth is key to the Structure of Marriage. Everything successful is based upon structure and order. This is true of nature, science, mathematics, music, business and relationships. It is also true of our physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being. In all of these examples as well as others, structure and order are paramount to success. There are laws and rules that govern necessary structure and order if we are to trust mathematical equations, enjoy melodic performances, follow true science, or run a successful business venture. Most of the ills experienced in our world are the result of disorder or chaotic activity. Even physically, emotionally, or mentally speaking, when things are out of order, illness is the result. In relationships when intended or expressed order is not respected, dysfunction is the outcome. Even so in nature, when the balance of order is shifted the slightest bit, there are often dramatic consequences.

Relationships are not immune from the importance of structure and order. As of late there has been a renewed surge in the societal effort to ignore this truth, but make no mistake, the results will soon prove this latest attempt to be no more successful than any other in human history. Consequences of even greater familial and societal decay along with the well-documented and long-understood accompanying dysfunction will undoubtedly be the result…only this time in even greater numbers and more vastly affecting the human condition.

Marriage is not simply one of many equivalent relationships as so many would have us believe. If the marital relationship had been developed by mere man, that might be true. However, as the one-flesh relationship originated by God to recreate the original experienced by Adam and Eve, marriage is unique and vastly different than any other. (Genesis 2:23-24) It is the first human-to-human relationship identified in the bible. Because Adam and Eve were created married, (Eve was created from the very flesh of Adam) there was no relationship between two human beings pre-dating the one-flesh bond of Adam and Eve. As the first inter-human relational experience it is understood to be the primary one, therefore none is of higher importance. Only two forms of relationship supersede it, that enjoyed amongst the three Persons of the Triune Godhead, and the one between Creator God and His creation, neither of which is a purely inter-human relationship.

As I stated earlier and as many times in past episodes, marriage is primarily intended to reflect the character and nature of God. As a result, the structure and order of marriage is uniquely taken directly from the structure and order of the Godhead. Scripturally we recognize this truth in 1 Corinthians 11:3 where we read, But I want you to know that the head of every man is Christ, the head of woman is man, and the head of Christ is God. In a rudimentary way this passage lays the foundation for the order of marriage basing it directly on the structure of the Godhead. The order of the marriage is clearly laid out, the Wife is under the authority and protection of her Husband just as Christ is under the authority and protection of God the Father. It is truly unfortunate that this marital structure provided for in God’s word seems to cause so many couples difficulty and dissention, when it is intended to bring nothing but unity and blessing. Since the introduction of sin into the world, this structure; designed to build up and strengthen, has often been the source of contention and division. God made it known to Adam and Eve that this would be the case when He removed them from the Garden of Eden and paradise was postponed. In Genesis 3:16 God said to Eve, “Your desire shall be for your husband, and He shall rule over you”. The implications here are many and we will look at them closely and in greater detail in a future edition of this series. For the purpose of this discussion however, it is important to note that the order of marriage was not changing as Adam and Eve’s sin necessitated their ejection from Eden, but the willing acceptance of that order inevitably became difficult with the knowledge of both good and evil.

Lest anyone conclude that I am saying that women should know their place, and that men are somehow superior to them, let me emphatically state that nothing could be further from the truth. Scripture clearly states that the woman was created completely and totally equivalent in value to the man. The prescribed order is not based on value in any way, rather the structure of marriage is simply reflective of the structure of God who created it. Sin (a spiritual dis-order) is what caused our difficulty, not the God-given structure. Men ought not assume any undue pride in the stated order. In fact, Adam’s sin did bring an inequity into the order and structure of marriage…but it is slanted against the man’s favor not in it. Allow me to explain. In the passage from 1 Corinthians 11 that we looked at earlier, the stated order of authority is as follows; The head of every woman (the wife) is man (her husband). The head of every man (the Husband) is Christ, and the head of Christ is God the Father. In this order wives (imperfect beings) come under the authority of their husbands (also imperfect beings). Christ (the perfect Son of God) comes under the authority of God the Father (the perfect God). Men or husbands (imperfect sinful beings) are under the authority of Christ (the perfect, sinless Son of God). As men (or husbands) we are the only ones in this framework that are responsible to an authority morally superior to us. Men…we are not in a greater position in the structure of marriage than our wives are, we actually drew the short end of that particular stick. We are responsible for one who is like us, but to one infinitely greater than we are.

As the primary inter-human relationship marriage is indeed different than any other human connection. There is none other like it. Of all bonds human beings enter into, it is the one that matters most to God because it is the one He desperately hopes to look into and see His reflection displayed most completely. In the coming weeks as we delve into this series exploring the structure and order of marriage it is my hope that we will not only discover what the Word of God identifies as the order but that we will also come away with a much greater understanding of what that order signifies and why it is so important to a successful marriage. Please join me each Monday as we take the necessary time to discover how God’s prescribed order and structure for marriage is intended to aid us in realizing all of the benefits and blessings as we allow Him to develop of us A God-shaped Marriage.

So now, understanding that everything God purposes is for our good, accept the order and structure of your marriage as ordained by God Himself to be a total blessing in your life…and Go be Awesome!

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