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Monday, January 30, 2012

God's Unconditional Promises For Your Life

God’s Unconditional Promises
There are “unconditional” and “conditional” promises contained in the Bible and spoken by God.  An unconditional promise by God means that God will do “such-and-such” without us having to do a thing in return.  These promises are FREE, without a hitch, without a prerequisite in our lives.  We will be discussing 21 of these unconditional promises for our lives, taken from the New Testament.  It is God’s responsibility to make sure they are in place when we need them the most.


Matthew 11:30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
Matthew 19:26 … but with God all things are possible.”
Matthew 28:18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.
Acts 10:34 … God does not show favoritism
Romans 14:12 So then, each of us will give an account of himself to God.
2 Cor. 3:17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.
2 Cor. 7:10 Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.
Col. 3:11 Here (in Christ) there is no Greek or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.
2 Tim. 2:13 … he (Jesus) will remain faithful,
2 Tim. 2:19 … “The Lord knows those who are his,”
Hebrews 13:8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.
James 1:3 because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.
James 1:17 Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.
1 Peter 3:22 (Jesus) who has gone into heaven and is at God’s right hand–with angels, authorities and powers in submission to him.
2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.
Rev. 1:7 … he (Jesus) is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him.
Rev. 17:14 … he (Jesus) is Lord of lords and King of kings.
Rev. 20:7-10 … the devil, who deceived them, was thrown into the lake of burning sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet had been thrown. They will be tormented day and night forever and ever.
Rev. 21:27 Nothing impure will ever enter it (The New Jerusalem), nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life.
Rev. 22:3 No longer will there be any curse (in The New Jerusalem).
Rev. 22:5 There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign forever and ever.

Isaiah 40:29-31
He gives power to the weak
and strength to the powerless.
Even youths will become weak and tired,
and young men will fall in exhaustion.
But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength.
They will soar high on wings like eagles.
They will run and not grow weary.
They will walk and not faint.
Philippians 4:19
And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus.
Romans 8:37-39
No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.
And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Proverbs 1:33
But all who listen to me will live in peace, untroubled by fear of harm.”
John 14:27
“I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.
Romans 10:9
If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
Romans 6:23
For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.
The promises of God are powerful and awesome to grasp. I pray that these scriptures about God’s promises were helpful to you today.

There is a deeper lesson in all this. These unconditional promises actually relate God's redemption plan in Christ, a plan that was set forth before the beginning of time. To try to even understand it is beyond our grasp. To say that God is unjust or unfair is not true in the least. It is merely that we are unable to understand things that are finite. God is perfectly just in all His ways.

Paul gave some insight into this area when he said, "We have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to [God's] purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will." (Eph1:11)
Notice that Paul said our will does not figure in the picture. It is God's will that is at work. This is why I said earlier that nothing happens in a believer's life by chance. The apostle John certainly agrees. He said that our birth from heaven was not a thing of our will. He says, "[We] were born, not of blood nor of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God." (John 1:13)

When we were born again, it is because God opened our ears to hear and placed in our heart to respond.

We see this being worked out in a lady named Lydia. It says, "A woman named Lydia, from the city of Thyatira, a seller of purple fabrics, a worshipper of God, was listening; and the Lord opened her heart to respond to the things spoken by Paul." (Acts 16:14)

We also see this worked out in the life of a man called Peter. If you recall, Peter actually denied the Lord three times. Was that the end of the story? No, indeed. Jesus sought him out, restored him fully, and gave him the privilege of preaching the gospel at the very place where Peter became fearful of his life.

Yet there is something we may forget. Recall what the Lord said to the 70 who returned and were rejoicing over all the miracles that took place through the name of Jesus. What was the Lord's response? He said, "Do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice because your names are recorded in heaven." (Luke 10:20)

Peter's name had been recorded in heaven long before there was a world. Only God can do that. And Peter's name being recorded was not based on some goodness to be found in Peter. There was no goodness to be found in him. If any part of our salvation is based on our personal goodness, then no person will ever be saved. The Bible says there is none good. Not a single one.

But there is a point in all this --- Regardless of how well we think we understand the mystery of our salvation, the fact remains that God's unconditional promises do not rest upon how well we are able to perform. They are not our performance promises. Each of these promises rest upon God Himself. When He says that He will never desert us or forsake us, that promise cannot be broken.

Questions and Answers to share with your KOTH partner:
  1. Did you know that there were unconditional promises by God for you?  Which promise above struck you the most, and why?
  2. Can you find an additional unconditional promise of God found in Scripture and share it?
  3. Can you think of a time when you felt unworthy to receive God’s unconditional promises?
  4. How does it makes you feel to know that your performance in Christ does not matter when receiving these promises?
  5. Which promise will you share with a family member or friend this week?
  6. How can your KOTH partner pray for you this week?

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Discovering Your Spiritual Gifts




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Would you like to know what your spiritual gifts are?


This is a 4-page personality quiz (link above).  Following the quiz, the site will ask for your email address, and will then email the results to you.  contained in the email will be information on how you can use your spiritual gifts to help in your church and in your community.

Rom 12:4-6 (NAS) ...We have many members in one body and all the members do not have the same function... Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, each of us is to exercise them accordingly.

1 Cor 12:11 (NIV) All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he gives them to each one, just as he determines.

1 Cor 12:4 (KJV) Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit.

Rom 12:6 (NEB) The gifts we posses differ as they are allotted to us by God's grace, and must be exercised accordingly.

1 Pet 4:10 (TEB) Each one, as a good manager of God's different gifts, must use for the good of others the special gift he has received from God.

1 Cor 12:4 (NAS) But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually just as He wills.

Eph 2:21 (TCN) ...every part of the building, closely joined together, will grow into a Temple, consecrated by its union with the Lord.


Introduction

In the life of the local church there are two major problems related to the subject of spiritual gifts. The first is that far too few Christians are involved in any kind of ministry. They conceive of themselves as spectators rather than participants. None of these ‘spectators’ have the joy of being actively involved in ministry and of seeing God work through them in the exercise of their spiritual gifts. We shall assume that on the basis of our study in Ephesians 4:16 you would no longer consider this a viable option.

A second problem is with those who are actively involved in the ministry of the local church, but who are not functioning in a ministry which corresponds to their spiritual gifts.

Perhaps one reason why so many have chosen to do so little or nothing in the way of ministry in the local church is because they have seen how frustrated those are who are striving to accomplish tasks they were never intended to attempt. The primary qualification for most tasks in the church is a willingness to try, or at least too little fortitude to turn down the job.

The solution to both these problems is a proper understanding of the subject of spiritual gifts. You will understand that many books on the subject of spiritual gifts have been written and that no one message will deal with every important issue.

The Importance of Knowing Your Spiritual Gift

For various reasons, many have played down the importance of knowing your spiritual gift. Let’s begin our study of spiritual gifts by suggesting several reasons why it is imperative for every Christian to know his gift.

1. The prominence of spiritual gifts in Scripture. One of the ways we can measure the importance of a principle or a doctrine is to determine the amount of space devoted to it in the Bible. Subjects or doctrines which are merely implied are surely of less significance than those clearly stated. Matters mentioned infrequently should not be regarded as crucial as those frequently dealt with. Using this standard of measurement, the subject of spiritual gifts is a vital one, for we find gifts addressed specifically in four major portions of Scripture: 1 Corinthians chapters 12-14; Romans chapter 12; Ephesians chapter 4; and 1 Peter chapter 4. In addition to these central passages, spiritual gifts are mentioned elsewhere in the Bible. Spiritual gifts must be important to the Spirit of God Who inspired the writing of the Word of God and thus they should be important to us.

2. The elementary nature of spiritual gifts. When the book of First Corinthians was written, it was addressed to those who were obviously not very mature in the faith. There were many forms of carnality cited by Paul in this epistle. The things of which Paul wrote in this book were not matters of the ‘deeper life,’ but rather the elemental truths of the Christian life. Due to the emphasis on spiritual gifts in 1 Corinthians, we conclude that the doctrine of spiritual gifts is important and that it is foundational and fundamental to the Christian life.

3. Spiritual gifts are a matter of individual stewardship. When Peter spoke of spiritual gifts in his first epistle, he considered them a matter of personal stewardship:

As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God (1 Peter 4:10).

Peter meant that just as we must give account of our use of the material things God has placed under our control, and just as we must give account of the use of our time, so we must also be accountable for the use of our spiritual gifts.

Now it is very hard to be a good steward of something we know nothing about, and of something which we do not even know we possess. If you were given the responsibility of managing the assets of someone else, the first thing you would do is to take inventory of what resources were at your disposal. You would demand to know what assets you were to use wisely. So, also, the Christian cannot be a good steward in the matter of spiritual gifts without knowing what his gifts are:
  • Spiritual gifts are of great practical value and benefit to the believer.
  • Spiritual gifts are of such great practical value to the Christian he simply cannot afford to be ignorant in this matter. Let me suggest some areas of practical benefit.
Knowing your spiritual gift(s)will enable you to find your place of ministry in the local church. Since every Christian has a particular function in the body of Christ, and since your spiritual gifts equip you to carry out this function, knowing your gifts help you to plug in to the ministry of a local church.

Knowing your spiritual gift(s) will enable you to determine your priorities. One of the most common problems we all face is having more things to do than we have time to do them. Paul indicates in Romans chapter twelve, verses six through eight, that we should make the use of our spiritual gifts a priority in our lives. In simple terms, when we have too many things to do we must choose to function in the area of our spiritual gifts. You must know your spiritual gifts to set these priorities.

Knowing your spiritual gift(s) will be of great help in discerning God’s will. To extend our last point just a little bit further, knowing your spiritual gift(s) can be of great help in discerning the will of God. The choice of your occupation, whether ‘secular’ or ‘religious,’ should take into account whether or not it will help or hinder the exercise and development of your spiritual gift. If you are not gifted to teach, you have a valuable insight into God’s will when you are offered a teaching position. There is a very distinct relationship between knowing the will of God (Romans 12:1-2) and understanding your spiritual gift (Romans 12:3-8).

The Purpose of Spiritual Gifts

Probably the simplest definition of a spiritual gift would be this: A spiritual gift is the God-given capacity of every Christian to carry out his function in the body of Christ.
The thrust of the first half of Ephesians chapter four is that the effective functioning of the body of Christ is dependent upon the contribution of each individual part of the body. Spiritual gifts enable us to carry out our task within the body of Christ in a way which no one else can. Using the analogy of the physical body in 1 Corinthians chapter twelve, Paul reinforced this same concept. Every part of the body is essential to the well-being of the body. When one member fails to do his part, the body suffers.

There are two important corollaries to this truth that spiritual gifts equip the Christian to carry out his unique contribution to the body.

First, spiritual gifts are not primarily given to benefit the individual, but the entire body. Anyone who seeks a spiritual gift and employs it in order to give himself a kind of spiritual ‘high’ is missing the point of spiritual gifts. Perhaps this is the most serious criticism of the contemporary tongues movement. Not only has one gift been exalted above all the others, but the primary purpose of this gift seems to be self-edification.
Second, if spiritual gifts are given to enable us to carry out every essential function of the body then we should expect spiritual gifts which correspond to every function described in the Scriptures. This is precisely the case.

While we can see that all are to engage in the exercise of these functions, there are gifts which overlap these functions. It is those who are gifted in these various capacities who will excel in this particular function. If for every area of ministry there are those specially qualified for that ministry, it is vital to that ministry that those specially gifted in that area should be involved in that ministry.

(*All written information above was taken from http://bible.org/seriespage/spiritual-gifts-1-corinthians-121-11)
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Questions and Answers to Share with Your KOTH Partner:
  1. Click on the link at the top of the study.  Take the 4-page quiz and write down your top 3 spiritual gifts.
  2. Examine each of your top 3 gifts and write out what they mean for your life, and how you can use them to serve the church and/or your community.
  3. Knowing that God has given you these gifts, will you use them?  How?
  4. How can your KOTH partner pray for you this week?

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Round 2, "When Love Hurts" Emotional, Psychological, and/or Physical Abuse in Christian Marriages




When a bride takes her vows, she doesn’t expect violence to mark her marriage. But sadly, for some that is the case. It’s probable that you know someone who is the victim of verbal or physical abuse: a neighbor, a daughter, a sister, or a friend. This powerful 4-part series pulls back the curtain on the dark secret of abuse and offers hope and help to those caught in its painful cycle.

When Love Hurts: Understanding and Healing Domestic Abuse, When Abuse is Worse than Divorce, Part I
Product Number: DOD2049
http://www.dod.org/products/DOD2049.aspx
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When Love Hurts: Understanding and Healing Domestic Abuse, When Submission is Misused, Part II

Product Number: DOD2050
http://www.dod.org/products/DOD2050.aspx

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When Love Hurts: Understanding and Healing Domestic Abuse, When Apologies are Dangerous, Part III
http://www.dod.org/products/DOD2051.aspx

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When Love Hurts: Understanding and Healing Domestic Abuse, When the Church is Needed Most, Part IV
http://www.dod.org/products/DOD2052.aspx

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Round 2, Topic 3, "Sexual Unity In Marriage"




(*All information for this study taken from "Strengthening Your Marriage," by Wayne Mack)
Genesis 2:24, "For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother and shall cleave to his wife, and the two shall becone one flesh."

"Becoming one flesh is a broad concept but is generally recognized that there is no place where this total sharing is more beautifully pictured or fully experienced than in the sexual relationship of the man and his wife.

"Sexual intercourse is more than a physical act...it is a symbol of a spiritual relationship and the expression of complete oneness of two married persons in love.  In sexual intercourse, the couple becomes joined in an indissoluble unity, called "one flesh" in the Bible."

The Bible often describes marriage act in terms of a man "knowing" his wife.  "And Adam knew his wife Eve and she became pregnant."  Genesis 4:1.  "Now the man knew his wife and she conceived." 

What else can this mean but that the sex act is a means of deep sharing between a husband and wife.  They come to know one another in a very intimate way.

Sex is a means of expressing, confirming, enhancing, and nourishing our spouse.  According to the Bible, sex is a complete and total giving of oneself to their spouse.  It is obvious, then, that good sexual relations in marriage is an important act and genuine oneness in marriage.

It's sad, but true, that many marriages face some sort of sexual dysfunction or incompatability over the course of the marriage.  Many divorce lawyers will say that nearly every couple who seeks his services come because of sexual incompatibility.  There are also those who have sexual conflicts but never seek a divorce.

If God created and ordained sexual relationbs as an expression of unity in marriage, why is it that many couples have problems in this area?

1.  Unresolved Guilt.  Scripture warns us to be sure that our sins will find us out.  Numbers 32:23.  We may try to ignore our sin.  We may try to cover it up.  But sin will find us out.  Remembrances of past practices of heavy petting or promiscuity or selfish sexual practices continue to harass us...making it difficult to enjoy proper sexual relations with our spouse.  1 Cor. 7:2 warns against sexual immorality.  Hebrews 13:4 says, "Marriage should be honored by everyone, and husband and wife should keep their marriage pure. God will judge as guilty those who take part in sexual sins."

Such a guilt can only be corrected when the person faces her sin, acknowledges it to God, seeks cleansing through Jesus Christ, believes the Holy Spirit will change her attitude, and meditates on the Word of God.

"Do not be deceived; neither the impure and immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor those who participate in homosexuality will inherit the Kingdom of God.  And such were some of you.  But you were washed clean and were sanctified; you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God."  1 Cor. 6:9-11.
2.  Sexual problems of married couples may not really be sexual problems.  Just as a red "warning" light in our automobiles indicates an area that needs repair, so our marriages are the same.  Conflicts over money, religion, neglect, discourtesies, quarrels, and bitter words will in time adversely effect sexual harmony.  Feeling unwanted, unloved, unappreciated and neglected causes sexual discord.  One cannot a spouse who is feeling unwanted, unloved, unappreciated and neglected  to want to engage in sexual intercourse.  Sex may become hollow, empty, meaningless, and unfulfilling.  A lack of biblical love in a marriage may be the red light on the dashboard of marriage.

1 Cor. 13 speaks of Christian and Godly love:  "Love is patient, kind, humble, compassionate, gentle, forgiving, unselfish, courteous, considerate, sensitive, truthful, appreciative, and protective.  Let the husband and wife lovingly and joyfully fulfill their biblical roles toward each other; let them learn to communicate deeply and most of their sexual issues will evaporate.

3.  Sexual problems may be the result of ignorance or misinformation.  Somemarried couples are woefully ignorant of their mate's physical anatomy.   Many women don't understand the male temperament:  most men are very easily and very quickly aroused; they are stimulated by sight.  Without even touching a woman's body, a man may become aroused.  Jesus warns men about the danger of looking on women who are not their wives in Matthew 5:28.  The Book of Proverbs also admonishes men about the danger of being seduced by women.

Wives must realize that their husbands may desire sexual relations more frequently than they do.  It is the wife's responsibility to be mindful of her husband's temperament and to seek to be his helper by being willing to fulfill his sexual desires.  Failure to understand the male temperament puts an unnecessary burden of temptation upon a husband.

On the other hand, men are oftem more uninformed about termperaments and have accused his wife of being sexually cold and unresponsive.  He may wonder why his wife doesn't have the same desire and drive.  As a rule, women are not aroused as easily by men.  The sight of the male anatomy is not nearly as stimulating to a woman as it is to a man.  Soft words, unselfishness, consideration, genuine love, patience, kindness, appreciation, compassion, and tenderness are things that excite a woman and prepare her for a satisfying sexual experience with her spouse.

4. Not understanding God's biblical principles concerning sex in a marriage brings dysfunction.  God says "Sexual relations within marriage are holy and good." (Hebrews 13:4)  Your sexuality does not exist for yourself but for your partner and your partner's pleasure.  Sexual relations are to be regular and continuous.  Sexual relationships are to be equal and reciprocal. 

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Questions and Answers to Share with Your KOTH Partner:

  1. Read 1 Corinthians 7:2 through 5 and 9.  List everything you see in this passage about sex.  With whom is it proper to have sex?  What are the "marriage rights" of each partner in marriage?  What are some of the purposes of marriage and sexual relations?  What is God's answer to sexual desire?  How long should a couple refrain from sex?
  2. What does Proverbs 5:15-21 tell us about marriage and sexual relations?
  3. Read Song of Solomon 4:1-7 and 5:10-16.  Should a marriage partner be embarrassed or ashamed because he finds delight in his marital partner?  Is it proper to be excited about sex with your spouse?
  4. According to Matthew 5:27-30, how serious is the sin of sex outside of marriage?
  5. For those of you who are married, please discuss the following with your husbands:  *What pleases you about your sexual relations?  Is there anything about your sexual relations you do not enjoy?  Does the pattern of your sexual married life need to be varied?  If so, how?  Do you have any fears about sex?  What can you do to help meet the sexual needs of your spouse more fully?
  6. How can your KOTH partner pray for you this week?

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Round 2, Topic 2, "God's Blueprint for Marriage"


A good blueprint is just as necessary for a good marriage as it is for a building project. 

  • Did you know there are as many unhappy, unfulfilled marrages among believers as there are among non-believers?
  • This unhappiness is due to our failure to pay attention to God's blueprint for our marriage.
  • What, then, is God's blueprint for marriage?  What does God's kind of marriage look like?
This week, we'll be studying the topic of God's blueprint for marriage.

"For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother and shall cleave to his wife, and they shall become one flesh."  God makes this same statement about marriage four times in the Bible.  Genesis 2:24, Matthew 19:5, Mark 10:7-8, and Ephesians 5:31. 

First off, God's blueprint for marriage directs husbands (and wives) to leave their fathers and mothers.  This does not necessarily mean a geographical move but more of an attachment move.  You know, like cutting those apron strings?  That's what God is talking about in the verse above.  To leave your parents means that your relationship to your parents must be radically changed.  It means that you establish an adult relationbship with them.  It means that you must be more concerned about your mate's ideas, opinions, and practices than those of your parents.  It means that you must not be dependent on your parents for affection, approval, assistance, and counsel.  And it means that you must eliminate any bad attitudes towards your parents or you will be tied emotionally to them regardless of how far you move away from them.

It means you make the husband and wife relationship your priority of all human relationships.  Yes, you should be concerned about being a good daughter and mother, but you should be more concerned about being a good wife.

God's blueprint for marriage directs husbands and wives to cleave to one another.  In modern days, many couples seem to marry with the thought that if their marriage does not work out, they can always get a divorce.  When you marry, you vow to be faithful until death.  Marriage is not a matter of convenience, of chance or of the temporary. 

God says, "Marriage is a permanent relationship.  The husband and wife must cleave to one another."  (Mark 10:7-9).

Marriage is not a matter of blind chance but a deliberate choice!  A good marriage is based more on commitment than feelings or attraction.  According to Malachi 2:14 and Proverbs 2:17, marriage is an irrevocable covenant and contract to which we are bound.

Therefore, when two people get married, they promise that they will be faithful to each other regardless of what happens.

  • A wife promises that she will be faithful even if the husband is afflicted with bulges, baldness, buncions, and bifocals; even if he loses his health, his wealth, his job, his charm; even if someone more exciting comes along.
  • The husband promises to be faithful even if the wife loses her beauty and appeal; even if she is not as neat and tidy or as submissive as he would like her to be; even if she does not satisfy his sexual desires completely; even if she spends money foolishly or is a terrible cook.
  • Marriage means that a husband and wife enter into a relationship in which they commit themselves to each other...regardless of what problems arise.
"For it is said the two shall become one flesh."  (1 Cor. 6:16).   This is marriage and intimacy at its most elementary level, designed by God.  But becoming one flesh involves more than the marriage act.  The marriage act is surely the culmination of a complete oneness, the total giving of yourself to your spouse.  But God's intention is that when two people get married, they should share everything - their bodies, their possessions, their failures, their successes, their sufferings, their blessings.  A husband and a wife are a team and each must do for the sake of the other.  Each must be as concerned about the other person's needs as he is about his own.  Husbands and wives are no longer two, but one flesh.  And this one flesh must manifest itself in practical, tangible, and demonstrable ways.  God did not intend marriage to be merely an abstract concept but a concrete reality.  Total intimacy and deep unity are part of God's blueprint for a healthy marriage.

"Husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies.  He who loves his wife loves himself....each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband."  Ephesians 5:28, 33.

Total oneness is not easily achieved.  One basic hindrance to the achievement of oneness is our sinfulness.  As soon as sin entered into Adam & Eve's marriage, they knew they were both naked and were ashamed, and they began to cover up.  This attempt to cover up was evidence of their awareness of their sinfulness before God.  Immediately, they tried to hide their sin from God.

Even as sin entered and hindered the oneness of Adam and Eve, so our sinfulness is still the great barrier to marital oneness today.

Marital oneness is destroyed by selfishness, pride, bitterness, stubbornnes, neglect, impatience, harshness or cruelty.  It was sin that destroyed the oneness of Adam and Eve, and it is sin that detroys the oneness of husbands and wives today.

THAT BRINGS US TO OUR NEED FOR JESUS CHRIST!~

First of all, we need Jesus Christ to bring us into a right relationship with God.  Not only do we need Jesus Christ to bring us into a right relationship with God, we also need Jesus Christ to help us to be rightly related to each other.  Jesus Christ came into the world to destroy the barriers that exist between man and man, as well as between man and God.  Jesus Christ alone can take a sinful, selfish woman and man and enable them to leave father and mother, cleave to one another, and become one flesh.

"But now in Christ Jesus, you who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ.  For He himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility..." (Ephesians 2:13)

He gives men the Holy Spirit, who produces in them the fruit of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

He gives us the Holy Spirit, who enables sinful men and women to leave father and mother, to cleave to one another, and to become one flesh.

*taken from Strengthening Your Marriage by Wayne A. Mack
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Questions & Answers to share with your KOTH partner:

  1. Who originated the marriage institution?  (Genesis 2:18-25)
  2. What are the purposes of marriage?  (Compare Genesis 1:28; 2:18; Ephesians 5:22-32)
  3. According to Genesis 2:24, what is the primary human relationship in life?
  4. What does leaving mother and father involve?
  5. List some of the things that married couples must do to promote and manifest oneness in marriage.
  6. What are some of the barriers to deep oneness?
  7. Discuss your marriage in terms of leaving and cleaving and oneness.  Have you really left your parents?  In what ways is your marriage being adversely affected because you are following your parents' example of handling stress, facing problems, reacting to trials/tribulations, etc?  Is your spouse the number one human being in your life?
  8. Are you really committed to your mate?  How do you react to your mate's weakness, failures, needs, and problems?  Does your treatment of your mate depend upon his performance?  Must he earn your affection and approval?
  9. How would you rate the intimacy or sharing level of your marriage?  Do you think mostly in terms of "me" and "him," or "we"?  Think of the level of your spiritual, intellectual, emotional, sexual, recreational, financial, parental, communicational, occupational, and creative oneness.  Where is your oneness weak?  Where is it strong?  How can you improve your weak areas?
  10. Study Matthew 5:31-32 and 19:1-9 to discover how permanent the marriage relationship is.  Share them with your partner.
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For further reading, "Boundaries In Marriage," by Christian psychologists Drs. Cloud and Townsend, will help you establish healthy boundaries in a wounded and hurting marriage.