Archive for the ‘Marriage’ Category

On Marriage

Dear readers,
We have arrived at the month of June! Official summer is just a few weeks away, and we are so ready. June is traditionally the month of weddings. I’m not sure why this is so, but outdoor weddings obviously wouldn’t be nearly as practical in winter months.

The Memorial Day weekend was busy here at beautiful Lake Ericson, and busy weekends will be the norm until Labor Day. The lake level has been down, due to some trees and other debris in the tree guard at the spillway, but those will soon be removed and the lake filled to its normal level. If you get a chance this summer, stop by the lake and see the beauty of this place. You may be pleasantly surprised.

Back to the topic of weddings, this past Saturday Milrae and I attended the wedding of a young man we’ve known for many years. What a God-honoring celebration it was. This young man and young lady are committed Christians, and their lives reflect that commitment. The ceremony was a testimony to the blessing that come from two people following God’s plan and purpose.

In case we need reminded, God’s plan for marriage is clearly stated early in the Bible. After God made Adam, He said, “It is not good for the man to be alone, I will make a helper suitable for him…” So the Lord God took one of the man’s ribs, then He made a woman and brought her to the man. The man said, “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called woman, for she was taken out of man”.
For this reason, a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will be one flesh (Genesis 2:18-24).

On a personal note, somewhat related to this, at the end of this week, we will celebrate our 55th year of marriage. Those vows we made then mean so much more to me, than they did on that day so long ago.

Duane and Jessica, if you happen to read this, I pray you have a long and happy marriage. And know this, you have begun your journey in the best possible way.

Blessings to all,
Pastor Jerry

True Word

And…. the deep freeze continues. When I awoke before dawn Sunday morning, the house was making some strange noises. I believe they were cold induced.

I am privileged to have been asked to officiate at a wedding later this year. Some of my most cherished ministry memories involve weddings. I am thankful there are still those who understand the meaning of marriage. How refreshing!

In light of the current redefinition of marriage, I wonder how can you read the Bible, and not see that marriage is designed for a man and a woman? Yet there are those who insist otherwise. Here is the problem as I see it. The debate over most of the issues of our day centers around one thing: It is first and foremost about whether you believe the Bible and the One who inspired it. When we stand for the truth of God’s Word, we are accused of being unloving, along with other charges.

Love is being misunderstood, also. We need to love people enough to lead them to Jesus and let Him show them the error of their ways. It is not loving to let people keep living in sin without change. The loving response to sin is to make the sinner aware of their sin, and lead them to the One who died to pay the penalty for that sin.

Jesus said, “Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me.” I take this to mean we are to obey all his commands. The apostle John wrote, “We know that we have come to know him if we obey his commands.”

In his letter, Jude urged his reader to ‘contend for the faith’ (verse 3), followed by these words… “In the last times there will be scoffers who will follow their own ungodly desires.” These are the men who divide you, who follow mere natural instincts and do not have the Spirit.
But you, dear friends, build yourselves up in your most holy faith and pray in the Spirit. Keep yourselves in God’s love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life.
Be merciful to those who doubt; snatch others from the fire and save them; to others show mercy, mixed with fear—hating even the clothing stained by corrupted flesh. (Jude 18-22).

For Truth,
Pastor Jerry

God’s Family Plan

Dear friends,
Summer is here! When you live near a body of water, large or small, you can be sure there will be people celebrating summer. It is not any different here at Lake Ericson. Lots of people enjoying everything summer. Boats, beverages, bonfires, barbeques, and families playing together. Ah, those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer. The Ericson 4th of July tradition continued this year, with a parade and kid’s rodeo. Some things never change, and that’s good. Thanks to those who make it happen year after year.

Thinking of families, something that has been on my mind recently is the epidemic of fractured families, and the downplaying of the importance of marriage in general. The following commentary is distilled from a recent sermon titled “Families: A Gift from God.”

The Bible is quite clear in presenting God’s plan for the family, and its importance in how His world works. We read, “The Lord God said, ‘It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a suitable helper for him’” (Genesis 2:18). In Genesis 1:27-28, we read, “So God created man in His own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.”

A mom and a dad are always a woman and a man, no matter what the culture is promoting today. Each partner has responsibilities and gifts that complement the other. Together they are a complete unit. If one is absent, the whole system is unbalanced.

I believe the problem of broken marriages and all that goes with it, can be traced back to the abandonment of belief in God, and the complete rejection of his plan for marriage and families. However, it is not too late. Confession of our sin and repenting of it will bring a restored relationship with the Lord, and a return to his values and the resulting blessings.

Pastor Greg Laurie said this; Think of how different it would be if we just obeyed one of the Ten Commandments: “You shall not commit adultery” (Exodus 20:14). It would mean that families would still be together. It would mean that children wouldn’t be conceived out of wedlock and would have a stable father figure in their lives. You can take almost every social ill in our nation and trace it to the breakdown of the family.

Praying for healthy families,
Pastor Jerry

The Answer

Over the weekend, we participated in the wedding of a great young couple. I would describe it as a perfect example of marriage, as defined in the Bible. Two young people, committed first of all to their Lord, and then to each other. Congratulations to Adair and Anita Ballagh. You have set the bar high for those who are watching.

I enjoy the early part of the day; those first hours after sunrise are the best. Sunday morning, I was listening to a sermon by Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones. He had some good thoughts that apply to current times, maybe even more so today than when he preached.

He related that in his time, people were asking, what is the reason for the violence and all the unrest that is going on? His one-word answer to the question was this: Ungodliness! We do not have to look very far today, to see that he is right. In a godless society, immorality rises, when men exhibit godly behavior, morality returns.

According to Dr. Lloyd-Jones, when people turn their backs on the Bible, its instruction concerning morals, and the gospel of Jesus Christ, immorality is rampant. I ask, is this not a picture of society in our day?

We are failing to see the real problem, and in doing so, we miss the remedy. People who behave badly are told to “just be good.” If that doesn’t work, some try medication, or someone suggests it is a psychological problem and they call in mental health people to find the cause.

Here is the truth: The problem is the same as it has been since the Garden of Eden. Sin! People just can’t be “good.” Do you remember what the scripture says about being good? “There is no one righteous (good), not even one; there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God…. there is no one who does good, not even one” (Romans 3:10-12).

John the Baptist introduced Jesus as “the Lamb of God who comes to take away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). “No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God’s seed remains in him; he cannot go on sinning, because he has been born of God” (1 John 3:9).

So then, the answer to the problem of sin in the world is Jesus Christ!

Standing on His Truth,
Pastor Jerry

Marriage God’s Way

Finally, it rained! Now, it seems the wind takes center stage. At any rate, I guess it all goes with the territory. As someone said, it is part of living here.

I have not specifically addressed the issue of same-sex marriage and related topics in this column, but perhaps it is time I did so. Let me say first of all, I believe the concept is not even mentioned in the Bible. God established the institution of marriage as between a man and a woman (Genesis 2:18, 24; Genesis 5:2). I find no other description of marriage anywhere in His word.

This idea of people of the same gender having the right to enter into a marriage, is the furthest from what God intended. Those who believe the Bible is wrong in this area, or that it no longer is relevant, have believed a lie straight from the devil.

Now, I know there are those who will challenge me in this area, perhaps even quoting that scripture that says “judge not”. I cannot judge a person’s heart, that is God’s responsibility. However, I believe the Christian has the responsibility to call attention those things God has said are sinful. Remember, though, we are cautioned to deal with our own sin before attempting to help someone else.

I believe the Ten Commandments are commands, not suggestions, and they are not outdated. God’s word is true and He does not change. The things He calls sin are still sin. Just because the world is chasing after sensual pleasure and self-gratification of all kinds, doesn’t make it right or acceptable to God.

One more point that needs to be made here is this; being tempted to sinful behavior is not sinning. Giving in to temptation is sin. The good news is this: If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins. (1 John 1:9). The follow-up is that we turn from that sin (John 8:1-8).

The Bible is not hard to understand when it comes to what it calls sin. Most of the things we don’t understand are probably not that important in our daily lives. Here is a quote from Mark Twain; “It ain’t those parts of the Bible that I can’t understand that bother me, it is the parts that I do understand.”

In His love,
Pastor Jerry

Christmas Reflections

We are in that spot between Christmas and New Year’s Day. Sometimes it seems like the “lost week.” We are still tired from all the activities of the Christmas season, and not quite ready to face the challenges of turning another page on the calendar. I think I’ll take the time to share some personal observations of the last few days.

There is much excess in our celebration of Christmas. Very few would argue the point. This is seen in commercial advertising of all kinds. Businesses and companies are in competition for everyone’s Christmas dollars. People with limited incomes are coerced into spending money they don’t have, because they don’t want to be seen as uncaring or unloving at Christmas.

The Christmas story in the Bible centers on a family who has very little, but to this family was born the Son of God. It must grieve God to see what Christmas has become.

One thing I see and hear over and over at Christmas time is this: “It’s all about family.” Let me tell you, it isn’t all about family. It is about the birth of the Savior of the world. It is about God taking on human flesh, living among us and dying for our sins. God gave us marriage and families as part of his divine plan, and we are grateful that He did, but that is not what Christmas celebrates.

There are a lot of people attacking the sanctity and meaning of marriage these days, and I will defend the biblical definition of marriage and family to the end, but let us not put it in the place of the celebration of Christ’s birth and God’s plan to save people from their sin.

It takes a man and a woman to make a marriage and to have a family, but Christmas can be celebrated by people of all kinds, whether or not they have family, or even have the opportunity to be with their family. Christ came for all people.

In the words of the announcing angel, “Behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all people, today in the city of David, a Savior is born, Christ the Lord!”

Upon further reflection, I guess Christmas is about family…it is about the family of God. They are the ones who can truly celebrate the Savior’s birth.

In Him,
Pastor Jerry

What About the Children?

Dear friends,
We have new developments in moving our house. The plan is to get the concrete runners and the perimeter walls poured this week. The house mover has told me he can move the house in September. What fun! It also means I had better get busy getting the house ready for the move.
School starts in Wheeler county this week. Alex is a freshman this year, and his height has been officially measured at 6′ 3/4″. Needless to say, he has left grandpa and grandma in the dust…
I have no profound wisdom to share this week. I will just share an experience from our last visit to the grocery store. I hope what I am about to share will be food for thought.
You are probably aware of the new Coca Cola sales campaign that encourages you to share a Coke with a person named on the label. I admit to looking for my name on a bottle of Coke. So far, I’ve only found Alex’s name in our family, not that I send all my time looking at Coke bottles…
Back to the story: As we came down the soft drink aisle, there was a little girl sorting through the bottles on display. We asked if she was looking for a particular name. Her reply after some serious thinking was this: “How can I say this? I’m looking for one for Mommy’s friend, and one for Daddy’s  friend.”
This conversation made me very sad, but it is certainly a sign of the times in which we live. What is sad is the fact that we have all these children having to deal with things they shouldn’t be experiencing, because Mom and Dad are more concerned with their own “happiness”, than that of their kids.
Two verses of scripture come to mind here: 1) “Fathers, do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged” (Colossians 3:21). 2) “Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4).
I’m not just picking on fathers, there is plenty of blame to go around. However, as head of the household, fathers should make every effort to keep the family together.
I pray this little story will cause someone to stop and consider the effect that their actions will have on their children in the days and years to come.
In Christ’s love,
Pastor Jerry