By faith Moses . . . [left] the fleeting pleasures of sin . . . for he was looking to the reward. (Hebrews 11:24–26)
Faith is not content with “fleeting pleasures.” It is ravenous for joy. And the Word of God says, “In your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore” (Psalm 16:11). So faith will not be sidetracked into sin. It will not give up so easily in its quest for maximum joy.
The role of God’s Word is to feed faith’s appetite for God. And, in doing this, it weans my heart away from the deceptive taste of lust.
At first, lust begins to trick me into feeling that I would really miss out on some great satisfaction if I followed the path of purity. But then I take up the sword of the Spirit and begin to fight.
- I read that it is better to gouge out my eye than to lust (Matthew 5:29).
- I read that if I think about things that are pure and lovely and excellent, the peace of God will be with me (Philippians 4:8).
- I read that setting the mind on the flesh brings death, but setting the mind on the Spirit brings life and peace (Romans 8:6).
- I read that lust wages war against my soul (1 Peter 2:11), and that the pleasures of this life choke out the life of the Spirit (Luke 8:14).
- But best of all, I read that God withholds no good thing from those who walk uprightly (Psalm 84:11), and that the pure in heart will see God (Matthew 5:8).
As I pray for my faith to be satisfied with God’s life and peace, the sword of the Spirit carves the sugar coating off the poison of lust. I see it for what it is. And by the grace of God, its alluring power is broken.
“Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat, but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.” (Luke 22:31–32)
Though Peter failed miserably, the prayer of Jesus preserved him from utter ruin. He was brought to bitter weeping and restored to the joy and boldness of Pentecost. So Jesus is interceding for us today that our faith might not fail (Romans 8:34).
Jesus promised that his sheep would be preserved and never perish. “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand” (John 10:27–28).
The reason for this is that God will work to preserve the faith of the sheep. “He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ” (Philippians 1:6).
We are not left to ourselves to fight the fight of faith. “It is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure” (Philippians 2:13).
You have the assurance of God’s Word that, if you are his child, he will “equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ” (Hebrews 13:21).
Our endurance in faith and joy is finally and decisively in the hands of God. Yes, we must fight. But this very fight is what God “works in us.” And he most certainly will do it, for “whom he justified he also glorified” (Romans 8:30).
He will lose none of those he has brought to faith and justified.
- Dateless days: Relationships are like flowers; they need the frequent care of water, nutrients in the soil, and daily sun light. Relationships similarly can’t grow without frequent care of one-on-one time, such as date nights. The time of couples focused on one another, creating emotional connection and building a stronger connection in the relationship. Don’t forget to water the relationship with adding on Dates!
- Computer love: Electronics are becoming more and more part of the Nigerian routine; however, the technology of text messaging and internet can create a wall between two people. I often see couples sitting side by side out to dinner, yet they vanished away into their own individual electronic worlds. Technology is getting in the way and distracting them from the relationship.
- Friendship Focal Points: For social butterflies, socializing is key and very significant for maintaining relationships. The problem for couples is when either one or both people put more emphasis on friendships and don’t create a healthy balance. When friendship is the main focal point, then the relationship shifts to the peripheral vision.
- No “Check-ins:” Quite frequently, partners may hear different messages than what their partner is actually meaning to say. The problem is that the simple step of checking in is overlooked and then reactions take over, starting the communication war.
- Back Burner Choices: When life gets tough, substance (such as drinking, shopping, eating, etc) is used to help alleviate stress and take away the emotional pain. Unfortunately, the choice of substance automatically puts the other partner on the back burner…creating the feeling as if they aren’t willing to navigate through the rough times by the side of their partner.
- Unsafe Zones: Safety is the comfort of your partner knowing that they can rely on you, get comfort from you, and know the . When someone criticizes, gets angry quickly, speaks down to, or over looks your emotional needs, it can create the sense of “it isn’t safe and my needs won’t be met.” This tends to push away partners and have them get comfort on their own or look for it in other ways
- Avoiding Tough Topics: Many people avoid tough discussions with their partner as a way to keep the relationship tightly connected; however it doesn’t create space to resolve issues. The partner on the receiving end may feel as you “go away” or “don’t care,” creating a feeling as if they have to hold on tighter, cling on, and get you to open up…which can actually push you further away.
- Email Snooping: An insecurely attached relationship can feel terrible, with fear and overly concern with what the other person is doing. Some partners take it upon themselves to do the investigation and search through emails to either confirm or deny their worst fears…a way to get comfort for their worry. The problematic part of this email snooping is that the insecure attachment does not get resolved, and the distress in the relationship becomes magnified.
- Holding on Too Tight: When the attachment is not secure, it can create a terrible feeling of fear of losing the relationship. Some people may want to feel secure and take away the discomfort by holding on very tightly and squeezing their partner extremely hard that they can’t breathe. When the holding is too tight, the partner on the receiving end will need to take a breath of air by pulling away….and the cycle of keeping the relationship insecurely attached continues.
- No Follow Through: Many people tell their partner one thing, and then do something different. For example, saying that you will be home by 6:00pm and then come home at 7:00pm. No follow through shows your partner that they can’t rely on you.
- Infidelity: An affair on the side WILL damage the relationship
Do you feel overwhelmed by grief and sorrow? Perhaps a loved one has died … or your spouse has left you … or you have lost something very precious, such as your job, your health, your home, or a relationship. No matter how deep your pain, God can help you find comfort and hope. As you read this booklet, pray that He will bring healing to your broken heart.
- Shock – In the days and weeks immediately following a devastating loss, common feelings include numbness and unreality, like being trapped in a bad dream.
- Reality – As the fact of the loss takes hold, deep sorrow sets in, accompanied by weeping and other forms of emotional release. Loneliness and depression may also occur.
- Reaction – Anger, brought on by feelings of abandonment and helplessness, may be directed toward family, friends, doctors, the one who died or deserted us, or even God. Other typical feelings include listlessness, apathy, and guilt over perceived failures or unresolved personal issues.
- Recovery – Finally, there is a gradual, almost imperceptible return to normalcy. This is a time of adjustment to the new circumstances in life.
- Grieve – Though grief is bitter, we must let sorrow run its natural course. Isaiah 53:3b describes Jesus as “a Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.” Denying or repressing pain can lead to emotional problems.
- Believe – We need to put our faith in God’s promises, trusting that our Heavenly Father knows best and that His understanding is perfect. Isaiah 55:9 says, “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.”
- Receive – God desires to give us comfort, but we must reach out and accept it. Through prayer and meditation on His Word, we can find a place in God’s presence where He will wrap His arms around us as a loving father would console a hurting child.
- Psalms 16, 23, 34, 91
- John 14:1-27
- 2 Corinthians 5:1-9
- Philippians 4:6-13
- 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18
- Revelation 21:1-22:5
- Ask God for guidance about when to speak and what to say. Use this booklet as a guide.
- Encourage the bereaved person to share his or her feelings, then be a good listener and don’t judge what is said. Romans 12:15b says, “Weep with those who weep.”
- Avoid platitudes. Let the person feel sorrow without implying that he or she should “cheer up” or “be joyful in the Lord,” as this could give the impression you are questioning the person’s spirituality.
- Don’t push or preach, but if the person indicates an openness, pray and share meaningful Scriptures.
- Do simple things without being asked, such as bringing a meal or mowing the lawn.
The concept of “covenant” is important in our faith because of its role in our relationship with God. Examples of God’s covenant with his people abound in Scripture: God’s promise to Noah never again to destroy the earth comes to mind; God’s covenant with Abraham, to give him a son and many descendants, and to bless him, is another example.
Consequently, Christian families also thrive by having “covenant relationships.” This begins with marriage. However, in the secular realm, marriage has been reduced into something less than a covenant. Marriage has become something like a loose contract. It has a solemn-sounding promise, but also easy stipulations for getting out of that contract. In several states, marriage can be broken simply based on “irreconcilable differences.”
As Christians, our relationship with one another is based on “covenant.” This means that there are principles involved much greater than a simple contract implies. And this applies especially in the case of marriage. A few states have even enacted (non religious) laws that allow a couple to enter into a “covenant marriage.” For a Christian, this implies that a marriage is a solemn pact. Although there can be troubles along the way, but marriage is not an institution to be entered into easily, nor broken recklessly.
Scripture tells us that marriage is not just a bond between a man and a woman, but also a lifelong commitment to duty. Apostle Paul writes in Ephesians: “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her” (Eph 5:25). And to the wives, Paul said: “Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord.” (Eph 5:22). Marriage is a calling to mutual service and love, to live with respect and grace. God’s will is for marriage to be a “wonderful relationship” that reflects his love towards us.
A wonderful relationship cannot be easily broken. It is not a simple contract, but draws us together in every way. Paul’s excellent reflection on love states:
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” (1Co 13:4-7)
He concludes this description of love by saying in the next verse: “Love never fails.” (1Co 13:8)
Covenant relationship gives us the opportunity to reconcile when there is discord. It recognizes that there can be anger and disagreement in families, but love always protects and gives hope. It is an encouragement for us to work on our marriages, and not abandon them. And it recognizes that marriage is a wonderful gift from God.