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Sacrificial vs. Superfici...

One of the signs of the decadence of our church is that people have to be coaxed so much into giving what they ought to give freely. If you want to see the church coax people for gifts, turn on the television. You think I’ve got a thing against television preachers nowadays—and I am one. Write in and get TV Offer #37. Send us an extra gift, and we will sen...

What’s in Your Heart?

How do we know what’s in a person’s heart? We know what’s in a person’s heart by what they do with that which is in their hand. David was not able to build a house of God, but he went as far as he could in building the house of God. He raised the money. He collected the material. He had the plans drawn. He went as far as he could possibly go to...

Not Too Late to Serve the...

The parable of the laborers in Matthew 20 reminds us that it is not too late for you to go to work in God’s vineyard. He hired workers until the 11th hour. And the 11th hour was the last hour before quitting time. And even though they had failed up until that moment to find employment, when the Master called they answered that call and until the last hour our Lo...

Patron or Partner?

I read some time ago that one of the directors of the Rockefeller Foundation said that the members of that organization are either patrons or they are partners. A patron is a person who lends his name and his support to an organization. He occasionally will attend one of the annual meetings. There is some kind of slight attachment to that organization. A patron intend...

Partnering with God

I had the privilege this week of meeting Stanley Tam, the president of US Plastics in Lima, Ohio. He is a Christian businessman. I would have said a few years ago, and he would have said too, that he was the owner of US Plastics. But now he is only the president of US Plastics, because he has given his business to God. In fact he has written a book about his life enti...

A Good Investment

Pat Neff, who was at one time governor of our state and then president of Baylor University, said in all his life he had heard people, preachers in particular, say, “Lay up for yourselves treasure in heaven.” But nobody ever told him how. Until one day he figured it out for himself. If you want to lay up for yourself treasures in heaven, then you must inve...

Negativity Toward Giving

Some years ago I was preaching on stewardship and there sat in the service two men who had two entirely different responses to the sermon. One of them was angered and incensed. The other one was moved and blessed and helped by it didn’t say anything to me that day, but later pointed to that day and that sermon when he shared his testimony about tithing years lat...

Who Owns It?

A wealthy member of a small congregation invited the preacher home for lunch. And after lunch they went for a walk through this man’s vast ranch. They saw the lush green meadows, the fat cattle, the fruit trees, and beautiful buildings and after they had looked at all that this man owned, the rancher turned to the preacher and said, “You said today that al...

Financial Counsel in the...

Let’s just suppose by some stretch of the imagination that you have financial problems and you need some help. It’s not the kind of help that a loan would fix. Most people think that if they are having financial problems, all they need to do is to get a loan and that solves their problems. Sometimes that complicates the problem. The problem started at the...

Today's Devotional

Togetherness in Marriage

Celebrated English poet John Milton said, “Loneliness is the first thing which God’s eye named not good.” There is a loneliness in us that only God can satisfy. But there is also a type of loneliness—a longing for togetherness—that only another can satisfy. We all need the togetherness that only another human can provide. Ruth expresses the kind of togetherness I am talking about when she said, “Intreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God: Where thou diest, will I die, and there will I be buried: the Lord do so to me, and more also, if ought but death part thee and me” (Ruth 1:16-17).

This was Ruth speaking to her mother-in-law, of course. But it is equally a statement of the complete togetherness that is to characterize marriage. In marriage we need to be together in the following ways:

1. Physically. “Whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge.” God’s plan for marriage is that we leave our father and our mother and be with our mate. This leaving is to be total so that the new relationship can be shared totally. You should leave your parents geographically (get out of their house), leave them economically (get out of their pocketbook), and leave them emotionally (get out of their hair).

2. Emotionally. “Thy people shall be my people.” Marriage is more than the blending of two lives, it is the blending of two families. You do marry a person’s family. If life is shared in the deepest sense, it must include a person’s family also.

3. Spiritually. “Thy God shall be my God.” There can be no complete togetherness without a sharing of your faith. Spiritual unity (i.e., being committed to Christ) is more important than denominational unity (i.e., being in the same church), but it is best when both are shared. Marriage is best when you can say, “Our Father, our house, our children, our church.”

4. Permanently. “Where thou diest, I will die.” Every day the distance time-wise between the marriage altar and the divorce court gets shorter and shorter. This ought not to be. It is God’s plan that two people be committed together for life. It is only when this is true that we find our highest fulfillment in marriage.

We should all work to strengthen togetherness in marriage. It is one of life’s greatest blessings.

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