Category Archives: Markethive

Feeling Disillusioned With Church?

The church is the Body of Christ — not a building or a passive experience led by professionals

Written by GodLife on 05/06/2018

Series: Weekly Devotional

Tags: ChurchChurch And CommunityFellowshipGiftsMembership


…Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.

Ephesians 5:25-27

There wouldn’t be books named “Mere Christianity”, “Simple Church”, “The Church of Facebook” or “Jesus Without Religion” if we were all comfortable with the way we experience church. Why is there so much appeal in questioning, simplifying and getting back to the basics Jesus intended?

Maybe a better way to put the question is, why do people have such a habit of complicating things? Do you have a personal story about how church got complicated for you? I have several. One of my pastors had an affair with a close friend. Years later, at a different church, another was caught embezzling. After a cross-country move, I found myself in almost the opposite situation in a new church. A majority vote prevented an elder board from taking a clearly biblical action. Gossip had caused the congregation to forget principle and take the wrong side of an issue.

A church is a collection of people called out of the world to follow Jesus. We worship God together. We learn to follow Christ together. We commit to love and serve one another. We are visible as the people of God in our community with a mission to do good and expand His Kingdom among them by sharing our hope and good will. Churches are meant to be attractive — they can provide a sense of belonging to people who don't have a group with a clear mission with which they can identify. We can speak authoritatively to people who need answers about life and death, right and wrong, judgement and mercy. 

What kind of membership could be more important than that? The trouble is, churches are made up of people. Even God’s people get their priorities out of order sometimes. Here are three broad categories of problems “unchurched” Christians often have with churches.

Some problems are matters of preference — and we all have preferences

When you start attending a church, sometimes things that are part of that church culture are unfamiliar to you. The worship team may prefer piano and organ music with traditional hymns, while you're a fan of contemporary worship music you hear regularly on the radio. They might use a different Bible version from the one you prefer. The pastor's speaking style may not appeal to you. As a result, you may struggle to follow the order of service and understand what the messages are about. These are matters of preference and experience. There are far more important things to be concerned about. If you have more than one option for church fellowship, you may wish to visit many until you can relate to the worship and message style. Don't let secondary issues keep you away from church altogether. (Hebrews 10:24-25)

Some problems are personal — especially when it comes to your time and your stuff

It’s so easy to fade into the background. It sounds noble to draw no attention to ourselves, and to allow others take the visible and important positions in any group. But church isn't supposed to be a spectator sport. Church is us! It’s neither a building nor an institution run by professionals who don’t need others’ help. In the list of gifts given to the church in Ephesians 4:11, have you ever noticed that the gifts are people?

"And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers" (Ephesians 4:11).

The church is the Body of Christ, empowered to continue His mission in the world. (John 20:21) Peter says that because each believer has received a spiritual gift, the only way to be a good steward is to use it (in the context of your church fellowship) to serve one another. (1 Peter 4:10)

Some problems should never show up in church — and yet they sometimes do

It’s uncomfortable to share the stories I shared earlier. They may tend to give the impression that corruption is the rule rather than the exception. However, I’ve been around many churches, and I’ve been a Christian a very long time. Still, the moral and ethical failures I described in the introduction happen far more often than most people expect. When a pastor or other church official has an affair, steals money or otherwise uses his authority for wicked advantage, it leads some to despair and to feel betrayed. This is a sure sign of a deeper problem: allowing the professionals, those deemed especially anointed, to decide and do almost everything. The church is not the pastor. No pastor is incapable of sin. Both the Old Testament and the New Testament warn the reader about being led astray by unspiritual leadership. Therefore, it is very important to pray for those who God has provided to give us spiritual guidance and to help us in determining God’s direction for our life. “Pray for us, for we are sure that we have a clear conscience, desiring to act honorably in all things.” (Hebrews 13:18)

We should pray for our own leaders and the leaders of other congregations. When we start seeing this kind of thing happening a lot, it's not time to cynically withdraw from fellowship with all of God's people, but to see the “corruption” in our own lives and "Return, O faithless children, declares the LORD… And I will give you shepherds after my own heart, who will feed you with knowledge and understanding." (Jeremiah 3:14-15)


Pray this week:

Oh, God, teach me how to truly love your Church and to be an effective steward of the gifts you invested in me for her sake.
 


Do you have a story to tell? Do you wonder if your church has leaders abusing their authority? Are you beginning to suspect that you’re part of a “spectator” congregation?

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

Involved in Church

What should you do when you go to Church? If at all possible it is good if you can go to church services each Sunday.

Series: New Believers Guide


What should you do when you go to Church? If you know someone already at church, they can help guide you to activities that would be good for you. If at all possible it is good if you can go to church services each Sunday. Many churches have Bible studies or small groups that meet to study God’s Word; if so these can be a great help to you. You can also begin to help and serve others, even if you are just a very new Christian; maybe there are ways to minister to others at your church.

The Church is the Body of Christ

The Church is Jesus’ own body on the earth. The Bible says, “God has put all things under the authority of Christ and has made him head over all things for the benefit of the church. And the church is his body; it is made full and complete by Christ, who fills all things everywhere with Himself” (Ephesians 1:22-23). That’s what the Bible says, but what does that mean? Think of your own body. Your head tells the rest of your body what to do. If you want your arm to pick something up, it does it. If you want to step on something, your foot obeys the command. It is the same with the Church. We are the representatives of who Jesus is and what He wants done in the world. That means, when people ask the question, “Who is Jesus?”, they can look to the Church and find their answers.

"And each day the Lord was adding to their number day by day those who were being saved." Acts 2:47

 

"And when they prayed, the place where they had gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak the word of God with boldness." Acts 4:31

 

 

The Church Needs You

 

This is a wonderful responsibility. Being Jesus’ body means we act like He acts and tell others about Him. The Bible asks this question, “How can people have faith in the Lord and ask him to save them, if they have never heard about him? And how can they hear, unless someone tells them? And how can anyone tell them without being sent by the Lord?” (Romans 10:14-15). This is the main goal of the Church—to tell others about Jesus that they too may be saved and added to God’s family. You have an important role to play your part. Maybe God gave you the gift of singing so that you can sing about Him to others. Or maybe He made you to be a teacher and teach people about Jesus. Whatever role God has made you to play is a very crucial one, and His body cannot function at its best without you.

"And with great power the apostles were giving testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and abundant grace was upon them all." Acts 4:33

Day 21: What is Prayer?


How does it help you to think of the church as Jesus' body? When others observe your church family, do they see Jesus? If you don't have a church, you can still talk with other believers! 

 

https://youtu.be/b54tboVpS-I

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

You are a Full-Time Minister of God

Wherever Christians are — even if it’s a region in which no-one else can know you follow Jesus – God can use you to bless others.

Written by Hope on 09/06/2013
Series: Weekly Devotional
Tags: Evangelism, God, Jesus, Purpose, Work
"Now these are the gifts Christ gave to the Church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers. Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do His work and build up the Church, the Body of Christ." ( Ephesians 4:11-12)

What work do you do to provide food, clothing, and shelter for yourself (and your family)? The Apostle Paul did work as a tentmaker (some translations say "leatherworker"); however, he tirelessly preached Christ’s message, evangelizing to everyone he could and teaching new Christians. Today, sometimes, people say they are employed "full time" or "part time" in this or that job or career; as Christians, we could consider that earthly work as how we make our living. But because we are "living stones that God is building into His spiritual temple. What's more, you are His holy priests" ( 1 Peter 2:5), we can consider ministering for God our full-time work!

Spiritual Temple
Wherever Christians are — even if it’s a region in which no-one else can know you follow Jesus – God can use you to bless others. St. Paul wrote that "whenever we have the opportunity, we should do good to everyone" (Galatians 6:10). He encouraged Christians to "Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them" (Ephesians 4:29). In being sensitive to others, he instructed, "whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God" (1 Corinthians 10:31). By living for Jesus, we live as the Church — even if we can't physically attend a church — praising His Name with our actions and building one another up for His glory.

Holy Priests
"Holy" is used to describe something sacred, something set apart, something unique in the world. Born in sin, humans have natural, sinful desires; but as Christians, "you must be holy in everything you do, just as God who chose you is holy" (1 Peter 1:15). "When people do what is right, it shows that they are righteous, even as Christ is righteous" (1 John 3:7). That means we, as "priests," must follow the example our "High Priest" (Hebrews 8:1). Jesus gave us: loving and obeying God, and loving and serving others.

Prayer, Care and Share Jesus
The Prayer, Care and Share (PCS) guide is based on scripture in the Bible: ( Luke 10:1-9).What I’ve been sharing the last few weeks is a basic teaching to equip all believers of Jesus for their full time ministry every day wherever they go.

So, whether you are a student, accountant, domestic worker, home maker, IT specialist or CEO of a company; as a believer of Jesus, you are firstly a full time minister of the Lord, then secondly, you do the work of your occupation!

There are 4 steps in the PCS guide I've been encouraging. They are: Asking the blessing of the Lord on people, places and tasks; Building relationships with people who don’t know Jesus; Meeting needs by helping, encouraging or praying; and Telling people about Jesus (directly, or by answering questions about your faith). These are basic tools you can use to be a full time worker in God's harvest every day everywhere.

Pray this week:
God will help us understand how He has called us to love, minister to, and serve others.

You are 'set apart and holy' to the Lord… how does this affect your life each day? Do you show the world who Christ is by your words and deeds? Talk to someone about how you can show the world who Christ is.

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

I’m Unemployed Is God Punishing Me?

Thinking through God’s Calling and Your Opportunity

Written by GodLife on 30/04/2019
Series: Weekly Devotional
Whatever you do, do it from the heart for the Lord and not for people.

Colossians 3:23
Did you know that "God helps those who help themselves" is one of the most-quoted phony Bible verses out there? Remember this: God “know(s) the hopes of the helpless” (Psalm 10:17) and His “power works best in weakness.” (2 Corinthians 12:9) If you’ve been praying for a job for a long time, here are a few things to consider.

Consider God’s Calling
Does God have a plan for you? Yes. The bigger question is, "What is God’s plan?" We all have dreams for our life, but God’s plan is first. He does not want to just be a part of the plans I make for my life. God’s plan involves His “Kingdom” because He is the King, and we owe loyalty to Him. Sin is disloyalty to Him, and “The Lord will not hear me if I hold on to sin in my heart.” (Psalm 66:18) But there’s more to think about as you wait for an answer to your prayer for a job.

Consider How God Created You
Ephesians 2:1-10 shows that it’s God’s work, not ours, that is most important. “We are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. (Ephesians 2:10) You are unique for God's purposes. Sometimes it's hard for you to see your uniquenesses. Ask a trusted Christian friend to pray with you. Together, you can think through the things that make you different from others. This may open some doors you hadn’t thought about before.

Consider the Importance of Patience
Sometimes you might pray and submit yourself humbly to God, but still have to wait a while. Waiting for fulfillment makes the eventual answer unforgettable. The Bible says, "Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a dream fulfilled is a tree of life." (Proverbs 13:12) God’s calling for you is a holy calling, no matter what your job is. If you are certain you are where He wants you to be, you can be a grocery clerk, a truck driver or a dog catcher to the glory of God just as much as the preacher or full-time Christian worker can! “Whatever you do, do it from the heart for the Lord and not for people.” (Colossians 3:23)

Pray this week:
Father, help me put your plan first in my life. Show me what you want me to do.

What kind of work did God prepare you to do?

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

Social Security Number Scams

“She then proceeded to tell me that drugs were found in the car and that the addresses were already under investigation for drug trafficking.”

by Prince Of Petworth  October 4, 2018 at 1:45 pm71 Comments

Photo by PoPville flickr user Rich Renomeron

Ed. Note: At this point I assume every single phone call is a scam. When my mom calls, I’m like “Oh yeah mom, what’d you buy me for my 12th birthday? Faster, faster. SCAMMER.” Click. But that’s just me.

“Dear PoPville,

I just wanted to submit a warning to fellow DCers. Today, I received a phone call from a legitimate 202 number (I didn’t know the number and normally wouldn’t answer, but did in case it was a work call). When I answered, they asked me to verify my name (I did), told me that I was under criminal investigation, and asked if I knew anything about it. I said no.

I will preface the rest of the story by saying that I have a very common name and am a bit paranoid about identity theft (it’s happened to several of my family members). I only stayed on the phone as long as I did (12 minutes!) so that I could confirm that my identity was not actually stolen.

Anyway, the woman on the phone told me that they found an abandoned car that was registered under my name. She described the car, gave me two addresses that were associated with it, and asked if I was familiar with any of these. I said no. She then proceeded to tell me that drugs were found in the car and that the addresses were already under investigation for drug trafficking.

At this point, I asked how I could verify that she was calling from a government agency. She told me to type the number into google, and it came up as a DC MPD number. So she “confirmed” that she was legitimate.

She then told me that my information was also used to open several bank accounts and wire money overseas. She gave the names of the supposed recipients and asked if I knew them. I said no. She told me that, due to this activity, my social security number was frozen and that I would be issued a new social security number in 1-2 days. I asked her when these accounts were opened. (I just had a thorough background/credit check done this past month when applying for a lease). She said five months ago. I told her none of these came up during my recent background check.

I then requested to hang up and call the number back to verify that she was calling from the police number, and that I would be happy to talk to her more when I called her back. This is when she started to get really hostile. She told me I was behaving like a drug dealer and asked why I wasn’t willing to cooperate. I told her I was happy to cooperate, but to make sure this was real, I wanted to call her through that number. She proceeded to yell at me, feigning disbelief that I was “accusing” her of not providing real information when I was the one acting like a drug dealer. Then, she somehow called me using 911. I ignored the 911 call, and she said, “Are you getting another call? Because you’re breaking up.” I said yes, but that I wasn’t going to answer it. She asked who was calling (which I was another scammer red flag) and I said “911 but that doesn’t make sense.” So she said, “Now you’re getting a call from 911 and you’re not answering it?!” …and, again, told me I was behaving like a drug dealer. We went back and forth a few more times, with 2 more attempted calls from 911. By the end of the call, she told me that if I didn’t cooperate, the police were coming to my house right now to arrest me. She hung up, and the calls from 911 “magically” stopped.

Just to be sure, I called the number back right away. I told the woman who answered that I had received a call from this number, gave a brief description of what happened, and asked to confirm that the call was a scam. She was very nice, and said that yes, that it was in fact scammers. She said that scammers often call masked as their number to try to get information from people. After verifying that I hadn’t actually given them my information, she said that any official information would come through the mail and that the police would never call and say they were coming before they actually were.

If this happens to any others, I hope my story saves you 10 minutes or so and a morning of stress. Offer to hang up and call them back. If it’s real, they won’t care if you do. If they push back, just hang up so you don’t repeatedly get accused of being a drug dealer!”

Chris Corey

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

What Does the Bible Say About Sex Before Marriage?

Does the Bible teach that sex before marriage is a sin?

Written by Gary Schneider on 23/04/2019

Series: Weekly Devotional

Tags: MarriageSexAdulteryPre MaritalPurity


“Let marriage be held in honor among all…”

Hebrews 13:4

Does the Bible even call sex before marriage a sin?

A lot of people in today’s world aren’t sure. Our culture has told us that we should do whatever makes us feel good in the moment and that we shouldn’t even consider what the moral thing to do is.

Here are several verses to consider when thinking about sex before marriage:

1. 1 Corinthians 7:2

“But because of the temptation to sexual immorality, each man should have his own wife and each woman her own husband.”

In this verse, the apostle Paul describes any activity outside of marriage as “sexual immorality.” That means when we read of sexual immorality, it includes sex before marriage as one of many examples of sin.

2. Hebrews 13:4

“Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous.”

What does an undefiled marriage bed look like? It looks likes a bed that a husband and a wife share exclusively together. Any kind of sex that is before, outside or in addition to a married relationship of husband and wife is sinful according to the Bible.

3. Galatians 5:19-21

“Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.”

In this long list of sins, the sexual sins that Paul includes are sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, and orgies. It would be impossible to argue that the Bible approves of sex outside of marriage. Elsewhere, (1 Corinthians 7:2-5), Paul gives permission for sex between a married man and woman, thus all other forms of sex are sinful.

4. 1 Thessalonians 4:3-5

“For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality, that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor, not in the passion of lust like the Gentiles, who do not know God…”

Here, Paul contrasts a believer’s self-control over his body with living out of control, burning in passionate lust. The first is living a life that is pleasing to God and is holy, while the second is living a life that does not honor God. In which group do you belong? Does sleeping with someone you meet at a club or are not married to demonstrate control over one’s body, or is it done in the passion of lust?

5. 1 Corinthians 6:18-20

“Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body. Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.”

These verses speak to the basis of God’s claim on our body. A Christian is to refrain from sexual intercourse with anyone to whom they are not married because Christians belong to God. We have been given the great gift of God indwelling us — the Holy Spirit lives within us — so when we join ourselves to others through one-night stands or anyone we are not married to, we are violating our own body, the other person’s body and the Lord, who has purchased us by pouring out his own body and blood.

If you’ve had sex before marriage, don’t worry! Hope is not lost. God is more than able to forgive you of all of your sins — even the sin of having sex before or outside of marriage. 

1 John 1:9 promises us: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us, and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” Turn away from all sexual immorality and seek to live under God’s forgiving love. 

For those of us who do struggle with burning passion, just know that it is worth it to wait for the right time to enjoy the gift of sex. Pray that the Lord will bring you a faithful and God-fearing spouse. Sex is a wonderful privilege that comes with great responsibility. You will not regret living your life God’s way!


Pray this week:

Lord Jesus, you know all the ways I have sinned against you and disobeyed your Word. Please forgive me and cleanse my body, soul and spirit with your precious blood. As your child and as a temple of the Holy Spirit, I surrender my body to you. Thank you Jesus for strengthening me and blessing my future spouse with the same blessing that you now give to me. In Jesus’ name Amen. 


How about taking a first step and asking for God’s help? Are you willing to do that?

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

Receiving Blessings from God

The Receiving is the Blessing!

Written by Susan on 10/05/2016

Series: Weekly Devotional

Tags: BlessingsGodHoly Spirit


Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before Him.

Ephesians 1:3-4

God has already done it all!

If God has already provided all of His spiritual blessings for us, how do we get those blessings? Ephesians 1:3-4 and 2 Peter 1:3 say we have what we need already. “We have everything we need to live a life that pleases God. It was all given to us by God’s own power, when we learned that he had invited us to share in his wonderful goodness.” His provision is here – now. We need to understand and use the blessings He has provided. How do we do that?

How do we receive blessings from God?

You receive God’s blessings from His spirit. We must remember that spiritual blessings aren’t usually what we picture. The purpose of spiritual blessing are to make us “holy and blameless.” You have to know what pleases God before you can put His spiritual blessings into practice.

The “Fruit of the Spirit” is a great example of this: “God’s Spirit makes us loving, happy, peaceful, patient, kind, good, faithful, gentle, and self-controlled…” (Galatians 5:22-23I Corinthians 13:4-8a tells us “Love is patient, love is kind, and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails…” Do you want to love like that? You can! But it is not the fruit of your own heart. It is poured out by God’s Spirit. It is literally His fruit.

God’s Work, God’s Way

Think of it this way: if you own a business, paying all its expenses, you would not let your business sell a product people should not have. In the same way, God’s promised blessings are for living the life that pleases Him, not a life that opposes Him. Living by faith (1 John 5:4) means understanding what pleases God (Ephesians 5:10) and counting on Him to “hold back nothing good from those who walk in the way that is right.” (Psalm 84:11)


Pray this week:

Will you pray this week: Help me to begin to see Your provision of blessing in my area of greatest need. Make me able to see Your blessings in my life, and not lean on my perceptions.


Have you thanked God for His very specific presence in your life today? He is present, are you choosing Him over all else today?

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

What is God’s Blessing?

What does Jesus say about being blessed?

Written by Joy on 29/08/2015
Series: Weekly Devotional
Tags: Blessings, Favor, Jesus, Money, Wealth
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God…..” Matthew 5:3-12

To be blessed by God means having God’s favor and goodness. We often think of blessings as riches, high position, health, and happiness. However, Jesus’ famous words about blessings show us that God has a different definition of being blessed.

Who is Blessed?
Jesus’ list of blessed people in Matthew 5 include the needy, sad, meek, and persecuted. This might offend us since we value strength, confidence and independence. But Jesus says we must realize our need for God in order for us to receive His blessing. “These are the ones I look on with favor: those who are humble and contrite in spirit, and who tremble at my word.” (Isaiah 66:2b). Those who show mercy and bring peace, who desire righteousness and a pure heart, show they are true followers of God’s Word.

What are the Blessings?
Jesus never mentions wealth or position, health or happiness as blessings. Instead, he says the greatest blessing is to have a place in the kingdom of heaven and to be called a child of God. To be shown mercy by a Holy God, to know His grace and love in our lives, to know God in an intimate relationship — These are true blessings. “See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!” (1 John 3:1a).

Jesus paints a picture of a person that is more interested in spiritual rewards than things of this world. “Store up for yourselves treasures in heaven…” (Matthew 6:20). Jesus had no personal wealth, but he was still blessed. How? “It is more blessed to give than receive.” (Acts 20:35) Jesus gave his life for us. The blessing of giving is not material prosperity but an inner joy and peace that God gives us when we imitate His loving sacrifice for others.

How are We Blessed?
When Jesus tells us to hunger and thirst for righteousness, it reminds us of his words in John 6:35 – “I am the Bread of Life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.” Jesus is our ultimate blessing or gift from God. He is the only one who can cleanse us of sin and give us a pure heart so we can see God. (John 6:40) Through Him we become co-heirs to the Kingdom of Heaven, which is our greatest blessing.

Pray this week:
That God will reveal the amazing blessings He has given you through your faith in Christ.

Are you willing to give up the riches of this world for a great reward in Heaven? Talk to someone about the riches you might need to consider giving up.

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

3 Questions to Strengthen Your Marriage

How can you build a stronger marriage that ultimately glorifies God?

Written by Hope on 09/03/2014
Series: Weekly Devotional
Tags: God, Husband, Jesus, Marriage, Relationships, Wife
But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desires of the flesh. ” Galatians 5:16

How can you build a stronger marriage that ultimately glorifies God? This week’s questions will guide you toward a stronger godly marriage. And as today’s scripture tells us, it all starts with living in the power of the Holy Spirit.

1. Are We Lovingly Honest with Each Other?
We are called to “speak the truth in love” and grow “in every way more and more like Christ.” (Ephesians 4:15). A healthy marriage is built on mutual trust. Dishonest actions such as keeping secrets, telling partial truths, or hiding information about finances or relationships can hurt your spouse.

If you are concerned or hurt because of dishonesty in your marriage, use the example of Jesus to be lovingly honest with your spouse. Jesus often used scripture to speak the truth to others. Use scripture to remind your spouse of the covenant the two of you made before God and point out the expectations God has for each spouse. By doing this, you aren’t approaching your spouse with your emotions and accusing them, but you are approaching them with the word of God.

2. Are We Forgiving Each Other?
In all close relationships, people will offend each other. But the Bible tells us to “make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you.” We must remember that the Lord forgave us, so we must forgive others. (Colossians 3:13)

In strong marriages, forgiveness should be asked for and freely granted. We shouldn’t hold a grudge. Holding a grudge will quickly build an emotional wall between you and your spouse, and worse yet, it will invite Satan into your marriage (Ephesians 4:27)!

3. Are We Defending Each Other?
Speaking badly of your spouse to others can hurt your spouse emotionally and have a negative impact on your relationship with them. Make it your goal never to insult, correct or humiliate your spouse in front of others. This is a direct violation of the commands to love and respect each other.

If you must correct your mate, wait until later when you’re alone. In Matthew 18:15, Jesus says "If another believer sins against you, go privately and point out the offense.” Use this example in your marriage by pointing out an offense privately, not in front of other people. Your husband or wife should be able to trust you to be considerate of their feelings.

Pray this week:
That God will help you speak the truth in love.

What are some specific things you can be doing to strengthen your marriage this week? If you're not married, what can you be doing to prepare yourself for marriage? If you're not sure – talk with us and we'll give you ideas!

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

How Does God View Marriage?

What is God’s pattern for marriage?

Written by June Hunt on 16/04/2019
Series: Weekly Devotional
Tags: Husband, Marriage, Wife, Godly
A man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh. The man and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame.

Genesis 2:24-25
These two verses in Genesis establish the four elements in God’s perfect order for marriage.

Separation — “A man will leave his father and mother.”
Both the husband and wife leave the authority of their parents and become a separate family unit. In marriage, the loyalty to your parents should never be stronger than the loyalty to your spouse.
Bonding — “And be united to his wife.”
By an act of your will, bonding is a mental commitment to have a faithful, permanent relationship with your spouse regardless of difficulties.
Oneness — “They will become one flesh.”
Physical oneness is the consummation of sexual closeness. However, to achieve a lasting oneness, both of you should look for ways to bring pleasure to the other. Openly ask what is pleasurable and take the time to enjoy one another.
Intimacy — “They felt no shame.”
Emotional intimacy is encouraged when you seek to be vulnerable and transparent, honestly sharing with one another your feelings of frustration, failure, deepest disappointments and desires. Spiritual intimacy is achieved when you continue to reveal to one another your unmet needs, praying together, praying for each other and sharing what God is personally doing in your lives.
What Are God’s Purposes for Marriage?
God has a unique purpose for the marriage covenant. The marital relationship affords you the awesome opportunity to showcase Christ’s relationship to His bride (the church). In the same way that Christ sacrificially gave Himself to the church, you and your mate should be willing to sacrifice your individual desires for the sake of your marriage covenant.

“He who finds a wife finds what is good and receives favor from the Lord.” (Proverbs 18:22)

Partnership – ““Do two walk together, unless they have agreed to meet? (Amos 3:3)
God has given you and your mate to one another as partners for life. True companionship grows within the marriage relationship when there is emotional, spiritual and physical unity.
Pleasure – “Let your fountain be blessed,and rejoice in the wife of your youth” (Proverbs 5:18)
The marriage relationship and your mate are God’s special gifts to you. True enjoyment of your mate will grow out of self-control and a servant’s heart.
Parenting – “And God blessed them. And God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.’” (Genesis 1:28)
God’s first command in Scripture was for Adam and Eve to be “fruitful and multiply.” God desires that the earth be filled with godly offspring.
Perfecting – “For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.” (Romans 8:29)
In the intimate relationship of marriage, you become well aware of your partner’s shortcomings. Your partner is also well aware of your shortcomings! God uses both your weaknesses and strengths to sharpen and conform you and your partner to the image of Christ.
“Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant … you will be my treasured possession.” (Exodus 19:5)

Pray this week:
Father, please help my spouse and me to follow your pattern for our marriage.  Amen.

What aspect of God’s pattern for marriage do you need help with?

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member