We who preach and write, do so in a manner different from which the Scriptures have been written. We write while we make progress. We learn something new every day. We speak as we still knock for understanding...If anyone criticizes me when I have said what is right, he does me an injustice. But I would be more angry with the one who praises me and takes what I have written for Gospel truth than I would be with the one who criticizes me unfairly. -Augustine

Blueberry Bush Marriages, Part 2

In our last Lamplighter Moment, we discussed the parallels between a healthy marriage and a healthy blueberry bush. The first year you plant a blueberry bush, it’s necessary to cut back most of the new growth in order for the plant to take root. In Deuteronomy chapter 24, God gives first-year married couples the same sound advice–of cutting back–actually, it’s more than advice; it’s a commandment! In the first year of marriage, the husband should not go to war or be involved in any business. He shall be free at home one year to be happy with his wife. I call this the blueberry principle of marriage! If you want your marriage to be firmly rooted and not easily dried up during times of drought, then it’s essential that first-year married couples spend as much time together as possible, without any outside entanglements.

I know this sounds unrealistic, but with hard work, dedication, and planning, it can be done. We live in a day when young people are spending too much time prior to marriage in a fun and frolicking state of play. The months and years prior to marriage are foundational years. Men need to be industrious so that they have enough money to be out from under financial pressures. If there’s one thing that will take the joy out of a marriage, it’s money pressures.

And the first year is the most important because it lays the foundation for the rest of married life. Today, young couples both work and become involved in many worthwhile activities, except the one that God sees as important–spending time with each other in order to cultivate an intimate love relationship.

I believe that one of the reasons divorce is so prevalent among Christians is because of the violation of this principle. In fact, if you look closely at Deuteronomy 24:5 you will notice that God gives this instruction directly after his instructions about divorce. It would appear that God is giving us a Surgeon General’s Warning on how to stop the cancer of divorce–and be happily married ever after.

Escape Artist

She’s trying to escape before I snap the picture! Why? She doesn’t want anyone to think she had anything to do with the body and arms – I did those parts! Deb did the head, face, and hat. What a team! If she finds out I’ve posted this, she’ll have a fit! Please don’t tell!

Published in: on February 24, 2010 at 4:53 pm  Leave a Comment  

Divorce – For the Children’s Sake part 2

Recently we’ve been talking about Divorce and if it is better to stay together for the children’s sake. When I grew up, divorce was virtually unheard of in our small town. I remember as if it was yesterday when it was whispered around town that Mike’s parents were getting a divorce. The concept of divorce was so devastating that it wasn’t something parents even talked about in front of their children…and I’m not that old! From that day forward I remember growing up wondering if it would ever happen to my parents. Would I be among the small number of growing casualties? It is amazing what fears can put a choke hold on childhood. What has happened to our adult world that we value ourselves so much that we are willing to let our children suffer the irreversible devastating effects of our selfish choices? In the secular book, A Case for Marriage, researchers found that it is indeed better for children for mom and dad to stay married…even unhappily married! Research found that 23 yr olds who experienced a parental divorce before age sixteen had poorer mental health than children whose parents stayed together. Another study where the characteristics of over 2000 married couples were tracked recorded that divorce led to more problematic relationships between parents and child increased the likelihood that adult children would divorce themselves, and lowered children’s future education and career success. Each of these findings should be enough to cause couples to reconsider any rash decision for divorce. But the greatest finding of all is found in Malachi chapter 3 where God says: I hate divorce. And if God hates something, I think it is best to stay completely away…He knows what’s best for us and our children. For those who like to dig deep in the Scripture you should take a look at this passage in Malachi on divorce and compare the KJV with the ESV

Published in: on January 10, 2010 at 7:32 pm  Leave a Comment  

Malachi 2: 14-16 Divorce Additional

In the book of Malachi, I saw something that I have never seen before. The text seems to suggest that in marriage, God has given a portion of His Spirit that blesses the union, resulting in Godly children—if we as men remain faithful to our wives. Twice the text highlights “So guard yourselves in your spirit.” So many men today spend time building their bodies, their careers, and their hobbies; Paul in the NT writes that men ought to love their wives as they love their own bodies. Can you imagine what our marriages would be like if we actually loved our wives as much as we enjoyed golf, or Monday night football, or fishing? What many men don’t realize is that the result of not loving their wives as much as they love themselves is loss. Did you know that the average divorce costs between 10 to 20 thousand dollars? Did you know that in America, divorce is a 31 billion dollar per year business, resulting in 175 billion dollars in money spent virtually down the drain? Can you imagine what would happen to this economy if we just strengthened our marriages? Can you imagine what would happen to our children, our careers, our health, if we just loved our wives as we loved ourselves? The deficit would be erased the budget balanced in just a few years and the storehouse of blessings from heaven would be ours! I can’t think of a better stimulus package! “Because the LORD was witness between you and the wife of your youth, to whom you have been faithless, though she is your companion and your wife by covenant.” Did he not make them one, with a portion of the Spirit in their union? And what was the one God seeking, Godly offspring? So guard yourselves in your spirit, and let none of you be faithless to the wife of your youth. “For the man who does not love his wife but divorces her, says the LORD, the God of Israel, covers his garment with violence, says the LORD of hosts. So guard yourselves in your spirit, and do not be faithless.”

Published in: on December 3, 2009 at 9:00 pm  Leave a Comment