A Question for Pastor John F. MacArthur

4 11 2019

Dear Pastor MacArthur,

 

Your comments concerning Beth Moore and women like her seem shame-filled, judgmental and clearly challenged by the word of God and the life of His Son while on the earth.  Please consider these scriptures found in the book of Luke concerning those who supported Jesus’ ministry.

 

 

 

After this, Jesus traveled about from one town and village to another, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom of God.  The Twelve were with him, and also some women who had been cured of evil spirits and diseases: Mary (called Magdalene) from who seven demons had come out; Joanna the wife of Cuza, the manager of Herod’s household; Susanna; and many others.  These women were helping to support them out of thier own means.  (Luke 8:1-3)

 

These women were brave, courageous, supportive and bold.  They were unashamed to walk with Jesus and serve Him in His earthly ministry.  God’s word does not leave out their love and dedication to Him within public ministry and what an amazing example and inspiration to all women they become.

 

So, here’s my question for you Pastor MacArthur:  Should Jesus have told these women to “Go home?”





Some Thoughts to Consider When Contemplating Divorce

7 10 2019

Often the phrase, “Well, I’ll just divorce him or her,” is glibly spoken. If you are truly considering this option, then also consider some of these very real consequences.

  1. You may be dissolving the marital relationship, but you are not dissolving the relationship. As long as this person is alive, they can potentially still be in your life, especially if you have children together.  You will deal with many of the same issues outside of marriage that you dealt with in the marriage. And you will deal with them for a long time.
  2. You will definitely NOT be better off financially. You think finances were tough being married; you have not seen anything yet.  It is not just minus one income; it is setting up a whole new household and everything that goes along with that new household.
  3. Single parenting is a tough gig and gets tougher. As children grow and find their voice, begin to deal with their anger over the breakup of their parents, you will be targeted.
  4. Experts say it takes 7-9 years for a marriage to settle. If you have not reached this stage, you will face many of the same issues in the next relationship or the next marriage.
  5. Speaking of next marriage: were you aware that second marriages have a higher divorce rate than first marriages?
  6. If you are unable to reconcile your differences in your marriage now and think divorce is the answer, what will you do when the very same inability surfaces in your second marriage?
  7. Even if there is a breaking of the marriage vows in your present marriage, it is more profitable to the marriage in the long run if a couple can heal the present brokenness and grow in their relationship to a more stable and secure level of forgiveness and commitment.
  8. You will normally spend years attempting to untangle who you have become in your present marriage to who you will become in your second marriage.That untangling takes time and healing.
  9. The patterns you developed in your present marriage will be a part of your next relationship/marriage. Consequently, if you developed a trigger from your first marriage, it can become larger, even more magnified in your second marriage.
  10. How long do you think it will take you to “unmarry” someone? That healing is different for each and every person.

There you have it, well some of it.  I am sure I have missed many areas, but these are things in my short life that I have observed about the ending of one marriage and attempting to begin another. Can it be done successfully?  Yes, it can.  Is it as easy as you think it is?  No, it is not.  So please do not ask your friends who are not married or even those who are married for advice.  I suggest you ask those friends who have been through this very challenging life circumstance.  They will have a better handle on the truth and the reality rather than the feelings and the desired escape.





Seven Ways to Stop a Drifting Marriage

30 09 2019

Drifting is natural, it happens sometimes without giving it much thought.  Add to that our human propensity to get bored with the familiar rather quickly.  Once the romance wanes in our relationships, we can be tempted to drift.  We attempt to convince ourselves and our life mates that we’re not drifting, but we both know we are.

 

My daughter and I were out in a bay once when our boat lost its anchor. She went swimming after it.  We barely noticed how far and how quickly that boat drifted away from us with the outgoing tide.  It was just right there beside us a few minutes earlier.

 

What are the ingredients to a marriage that drifts?  All too often we experience unmet expectations. Our disagreements become more intense and we seem to have conflict more often. Perhaps even old, destructive life patterns reemerge.  Or, maybe we get behind financially and can’t seem to catch up.  We’re working more hours, away from home more hours and unhappy for more hours.  Now we’re feeling unfulfilled and it is so easy for marriage boredom to increase.

 

We didn’t mean for it to happen but life is full with our schedules, our children, yes, even our ministry.  We’re missing one another, we’re not communicating as we should and we left certain disciplines that help to maintain a healthy marriage.  Now we’re both feeling the sting of unmet needs and mumbling under our breath the negative things that bug us about our partner.

 

It can change; there is hope.  We can reverse the effects of drifting.  Here are seven steps we can take.

 

  1. Confess it to God and one other. Confession brings it into the light.  It puts the subject on the table so to speak.

 

  1. Get back to dedicated times of communication about the personal and the nonpersonal. Get back to sharing everything in conversation with feelings and real-life intimacy.

 

  1. Pray while you communicate.  Speak to God about your drifting from each other.  Share your heart with your heavenly Father and ask Him for solutions to the drifting issue.  Expect to hear those answers and then implement them.

 

  1. Get back to spending quality time together. There is no compromise; we need time together to relate, to have fun and to be friends again.

 

  1. Stop waiting on feelings. If you wait on feelings to return, you’ll never act.  Act first because right actions bring about right feelings.

 

  1. Write out your mission statement. If you have one, find it and read over it once again.  If you do not have a couple mission statement then you are missing out on writing down your reasons for marriage, your why.  Get busy and put into writing your marriage mission statement.

 

  1. Dream again about where you desire your marriage to go and to grow.  Vision is a focus for the future for the two of you. That focus runs adrift when we lose sight of us.

 

Rest assured, drifting can occur with each of us.  But it is not our game plan to stay there.  We must take steps to counteract the drifting that has taken place.





How Many Times Have You Fallen in Love?

3 09 2019

Journalist and author Mignon McLaughlin once said, “A successful marriage requires falling in love many times, always with the same person.”

 

After dating for over three years, Mary and I finally were able to marry. She completed her nursing degree and I was going into my final year of military service.  Our long-distance relationship of me living in southern Virginia and Mary living in Pennsylvania would come to a welcomed end.  We would stop saying goodbye for months at a time and end going to pay phones with pockets full of coins…finally.

 

We were newlyweds feeling as though we were playing house.  Everything was new: living together, sleeping together, eating most meals together and hanging out 24/7 together.  After an amazing two-week-long honeymoon, we settled into our new apartment in Newport News, Virginia, six hours from any family. It was glorious, fun, exciting, new and in our minds, permanent.

 

Yes, we were young and we were inexperienced.  We had no track record of marriage for ourselves, no experienced sexual lives, no marriage mentors or counselors, but we made it.  We prayed.  We found an awesome church home that became family.  We volunteered in ministry together.  We played together and we reached out in love to our neighbors together.  We grew in our relationship day by day, paying our bills, attempting to fill our apartment with furniture, communicating about everything and finding agreement in as many areas as possible.

 

We rarely had a disagreement because neither of us was disagreeable, rather we were happy, elated really.  We were in love.  Discovering the one you want to spend the rest of your life with, finding the one that captures your heart, well, it was remarkable.

 

That was 44 and a half years ago.  What has changed and how are we different concerning all of the above?  We’re gray haired.  (At least I think my wife has gray hair?)  We’re slower; more intentional.  We’re dealing with arthritis.  We’re grandparents.  We don’t hear as well.  We have annual physicals in which the doctor asks us questions we never thought we’d be asked.  But then again, we love doing the same things and have such similar thoughts from long-term agreement and communication.  We’re best friends and we accept our differences as marital strengths.  We love growing older together, still holding hands, still kissing and still saying “I love you” each and every day.

 

 

It’s good, really good and we truly give God thanks for one another. One of the keys to all of this is as quoted above – we just keep falling in love over and over with the same person!





Growing Respect in our Marriages

5 08 2019

Someone once shared with me these words, “I’ll respect him when he starts respecting me.” Still another said, “When she starts acting respectable, I’ll show her respect.”  Really? Since when is respect conditional upon another respecting you?

 

Do you show respect to your boss even when they are not in some way earning that respect?  Do you respect out of a desire to obey God, regardless of what you feel the other is or is not doing?  Were you aware of the fact that there are respect clauses in the Scripture?  Peter wrote that we were to “…treat them [wives] with respect,” and Paul wrote “…the wife must respect her husband.”  (I Peter 3:7; Ephesians 5:33) There were no additional words that stated if the husband or wife also showed respect.  Then again, there are no words that state we can demand respect — that’s not how it works.

 

Judas did a lot of disrespectful things as a disciple of Christ and yet Jesus still washed his feet along with the others.  The woman caught in adultery was not the most respectable and neither was the woman at the well and our Savior showed much respect and forgiveness toward them.  Perhaps your wife or your husband has not always shown you respect, but that does not give you license to return the same.

 

I love how author Gary Thomas weighs in on this very subject, “As our partners and their weaknesses become more familiar to us, respect often becomes harder to give.  But this failure to show respect is more a sign of spiritual immaturity than it is an inevitable pathway of marriage.”  He also notes, “When there is mutual respect in marriage, selflessness becomes contagious…. If you want to obsess about them [weaknesses], they’ll grow, but you won’t!”

 

How is respect growing in your relationships, especially within your marriage?





Marriage Minefields and Hidden Memories

22 07 2019

Marriage minefields are fields where we have buried or hidden devices (memories) just below the surface.  We actually move forward in life by frequently looking backward.  Most day-to-day life is not filled with new revelation but memory. Memory helps us to find our way home after work.  Memory is used daily in order to live life.  Life without the ability to recall even the slightest, most mundane details or important ones would be disastrous.

 

When we have an issue in marriage, we quickly go to our memory bank and pull up a pleasant experience, a neutral experience or a negative experience.  If we find ourselves connecting to a pain-filled memory, we can begin to sweat, experience an increased heart rate and be inundated with a flood of negative emotions. When this happens, we know we have connected to a memory minefield.

 

Some of our memories contain lies or misbeliefs and still others are inaccurate. It was not uncommon for John and Elizabeth (not their real names) to experience knock-down, drag-out arguments. In sheer frustration late one evening, John looked at Elizabeth and said, “That’s it; I’m out of here!” Immediately, Elizabeth went silent and fell to the floor in a fetal position, where she sobbed uncontrollably. Even though John ran immediately to his wife, knelt beside her, and desperately tried to console her, it was as if he had left. Elizabeth didn’t or couldn’t hear his voice or acknowledge his presence. John later discovered that when his wife was six years old, she overheard her parents fighting. Her father’s words rang out as he screamed, “That’s it; I’m out of here!” Elizabeth never saw her father again

 

John was not her father; he was her dedicated husband. However, when Elizabeth heard that same phrase, she immediately associated the words with her father’s words from her childhood. That former experience was automatically connected to the present experience. The characters were different, but in her mind the outcome would be the same. The deep, wrenching pain of loss she once associated with her father’s abandonment returned as if it was programmed for this exact moment. Everything in her being was telling her, “Now my husband is leaving me too.” The pain was unbearable, and those same feelings of abandonment returned with a vengeance.

 

Elizabeth was no longer fighting with John; she was wrestling with pain-filled memories planted in a minefield just below the surface. Was it the argument they needed to resolve, or was it Elizabeth’s past hurts that needed to be healed? From many stories like this one, I have come to believe that most relationship issues in the present have a connection to the past; therefore, what seem like marital issues are often individual issues. I am convinced that when Jesus heals our individual issues, sins, hurts, and disappointments, marriage relationship issues can also be healed. *

*Adapted from Staying Together, Marriage: A Lifelong Affair by Steve and Mary Prokopchak





Praise in Public; Construct in Private

15 07 2019

Many years ago, a wiser, older, more mature couple taught us this phrase: praise in public; construct in private.  By that phrase they meant to always provide a word of praise for your mate when with your family, at your work place, with your friends or in any social setting.  They also encouraged us to never, ever put our mate down, shame them, humiliate them or correct them in a negative sense in public.  We took this counsel to heart and have adapted it for our marriage relationship.

 

When in public, it is difficult to be in a conversation with a person who frequently speaks negatively of their spouse.  It is embarrassing and it is often shamed-filled.  When a life mate feels the need to continually place their partner in a negative light, I question their own esteem.

 

Concerning praise, the writer of Proverbs puts it this way, “Let someone else praise you, and not your own mouth; an outsider, and not your own lips.”  As married persons we are responsible to, called to, encouraged to speak praise of our life mate publicly.  If we do not have words of encouragement, then we should practice not speaking anything.

 

When we bless our spouse before others, we are blessing ourselves and when we speak negatively and put our spouse down, we are putting ourselves down.  How so?  When we marry, two have become one.  What affects one affects the other. Praise in public; construct in private.








%d bloggers like this: