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Courageous (2011): A film every husband and father should watch! November 8, 2014

Posted by Henry in Relationships.
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I don’t normally promote films and the like but I watched the film Courageous (2011) recently and I think every Christian husband and father should watch it. It was a very moving and profound film which highlighted the role of a husband and father from a biblical perspective. I don’t want to say anymore about it as I don’t want to spoil it for anyone who hasn’t seen it yet but please do watch if you can.

Courageous

Can I be a Christian and be Gay? February 12, 2010

Posted by Henry in Relationships.
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I never thought I would see the day when Britain, which was largely considered to be a Christian country, which was responsible for sending many missionaries to spread Christianity to distant lands, would legalise gay marriages. Nevertheless it’s the states’ prerogative to do as the state wishes. What I am appalled about however is that the church, the Church of England that is, and sister churches would appoint openly gay bishops/priests whose responsibility it is to shepherd the flock. I am appalled that the church can send the wrong message that one can be gay and be in a relationship whilst claiming to be following Christ at the same time. Now this has nothing to do with preaching hate (as some might want to claim) but everything to do with what God’s Word, the Bible, the very foundation of our faith teaches. If we can selectively cut certain sections of the Bible out as it suits us then why bother to follow it or claim to follow it? Let me state categorically here that I do not have a problem with gays anymore than I do with an adulterer or a thief, for all have sinned and come short of the Glory of God. The Lord told us to hate the sin but not the sinner and therefore I love gays too, which is why I am addressing this topic as I would like to see them come to the knowledge of truth in Christ.

 The first question to be answered here is whether being gay is a sin. I know some people will want to say that they were born that way and that God loves them as they are. However, whilst I will agree that God do love everyone hence the reason He sent His Son to die on the cross (John 3:16), I do not accept that God looks favourably on their sexuality. So what do we know from scripture? Quoting from the NIV version we read in Romans 1:26-27:

 26 Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. 27 In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion.

 Reading on to verse 32 we read that those who do such things along with all the other sins mentioned are “worthy of death”. Indeed scripture tells us that the wages of sin is death but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ (Rom 6:23). This is the ‘death’ that verse 32 of chapter one is talking about (in case anyone is of the mistaken belief that I am advocating violence against gays). According to the scriptures we are all sinners who were worthy of death but may have Life through the redemptive work of Jesus Christ on the cross if we believe the Gospel, confess our sins and repent. Do not be deceived therefore into thinking that you can be in a “loving gay relationship” and inherit eternal life. This is a lie from the pit of hell. It is stated clearly in scriptures, 1 Cor 6 that sinners including homosexuals cannot enter the Kingdom of Heaven:

 9 Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders 10 nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. 12 “Everything is permissible for me”—but not everything is beneficial. “Everything is permissible for me”—but I will not be mastered by anything. 13 “Food for the stomach and the stomach for food”—but God will destroy them both. The body is not meant for sexual immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. 14 By his power God raised the Lord from the dead, and he will raise us also.

What then? Can you continue to claim to be a “gay Christian” and not heed scriptures? Some of you might say you can’t help being gay but Paul says, “Everything is permissible for me but I will not be mastered by anything”. This is the challenge that all of us have to face as Christians in overcoming sin. The good news is that because Jesus Christ has overcome the world, we too can overcome the world.

Problems in your marriage? February 2, 2010

Posted by Henry in Relationships.
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There are many Christians today who are experiencing problems of one sort or another in their marriages. Some go down the route of divorce citing “irreconcilable differences”, and this can be witnessed even amongst pastors, whilst there are others who suffer in silence hoping that things will improve one day. Still there are others who live like “cats and dogs” in their homes and are constantly at each others throats. Couples who are experiencing such problems will often look at their neighbours or other couples in the church and wish that their marriage was like theirs. In an attempt to resolve their problems some may go to marriage counsellors; some speak to their pastors and other church elders; others sow a seed believing God for a miracle; whilst others even pray and fast. But no matter what method or formula they try they experience little or no improvement and they begin to doubt God or they blame the devil for attacking their marriage.

Now I do not want it to appear as if I am trivialising anyone’s experiences and whilst I am no expert on marriage I am fully aware of the fact that no individual is perfect and it can be challenging for two imperfect individuals to live together as man and wife. But one of the things I want to focus on is that whilst many people are looking this way and that for solutions to their marital problems, often they fail to look in the very place where the answers lie and that is in the scriptures. It was God who ordained marriage from the beginning of creation and He has already established in His word how married couples should live. But what is often the case is that Christians want the “perfect” marriage but are not prepared to observe the teachings of scriptures on the matter.

The first thing we learn from scripture is that woman was given to man (Adam) by God as a “help meet” or helper (Gen 2:18). Secondly we learn that “woman” was so-called because she came out of man (Gen 2:23). Thirdly we learn that because it isn’t good for man to be alone and that he needed a helper, God ordained that the man should leave his father and mother and cleave to his wife and the twain shall be one flesh (Gen 2:24). This is the basis of marriage as God ordained it. Jesus, in Matt 19:6, went further to say that ‘what God has joined together let no man put asunder.’ Since it is God who ordained marriage therefore God should be at the head of every marriage, especially the Christian marriage. The scriptural basis for this can be found in 1 Cor 11:3:

3 But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God.

Since Christ is the head of man, the Christian man needs to submit himself to Christ’s leadership in his marriage. And since God ordained man to be the head of woman, the woman should submit herself to her husband because this is divinely ordained. In looking back at Gen 2:18 as aforementioned, we note that woman was made out of man to be a helper to him. A helper therefore is someone who assists the leader but not lead themselves. But too often we have some women who seek to usurp the man’s authority in the home (or even in church) and this can be one source of the marital problems. Some women can be naturally bossy especially if they have management responsibilities at work and in the board room and they can become haughty or prideful towards their husbands as a result. However, they need to learn how to conduct themselves towards their husbands when they get home. It should only be one person wearing the trousers in the home and that is the man. The scripture, Eph 5:22-24, commands a woman to be submissive to her own husband:

22 Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. 24 Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.

 

For a wife to be submissive however the husband needs to take responsibility and lead. Often times a woman can lose respect for her husband if he appears weak and unassertive. Some men however can take assertiveness too far thinking that they have the right to shout at their wives, beat on them or make unreasonable demands. This is clearly wrong in sight of scriptures. One of the first responsibilities that a man has towards his wife is to LOVE her, as scripture commands:

25 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; (Eph 5:25)

This scripture is not to be taken lightly as it implies huge responsibilities. Imagine that Christ gave himself for the church by dying on the cross for it? This is the type of love that a husband need to have for his wife. Too often though during courting a man may say to his fiancée that, “I love you to death” but in reality he doesn’t really mean it. If this were true why it is that such a man would want to leave his wife as soon as problems arise in their subsequent marriage? Yet a man is required by God to love his wife even to the point that he should be ready to give his life in order to save hers. To extend the point further, scripture also commands in Eph 5:28-29 that a man should love his wife even as his own body:

28 So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. 29 For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church

 

We have already seen in Gen 2:24 that when a man and a woman are joined together in marriage they become one flesh. This is the reason therefore that a man should treat his wife as part of his own body as he has the responsibility of nourishing and cherishing her. Again this is one area of neglect on the part of some husbands which causes problems in Christian marriages. Too often a man expects a woman to take care of his kids, prepare dinner and look after the home but neglects his wife’s needs. His excuse might be that he works too hard and he is too tired but a man should make time for his wife. Although nourishing and cherishing may include providing shelter and food it encapsulates a lot of things including romance and meeting a wife’s emotional needs. If priority isn’t given to these areas, undoubtedly this may cause resentment on the wife’s part and cause her to be less submissive and trigger off a breakdown in the marriage. What is often the case is that one problem leads to another because when the woman gets resentful and do not want to be “affectionate” towards her husband then the man also get resentful and bitter. Scripture however commands the man to love and not to be bitter against his wife:

Husbands, love your wives, and be not bitter against them” (Col 3:19)

In the context of marriage however, how does one define love? To answer this we need to look at 1 Cor 13 (using the NIV version):

4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.  8 Love never fails.

If there is love in a marriage why is there envying and strife? Why, does a husband or a wife keep record of wrongs which they use against each other in future squabbles? Why is the husband or the wife so easily angered instead of being quick to forgive? Why is it that the husband or the wife finds it so hard to say I am sorry when they have wronged each other? Too often when married couples have their differences they go off to bed, even to separate beds, without seeking to resolve those differences. Yet the scriptures say:

In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry,” (Eph 4:26)

Talking about sleeping in separate beds, one of the areas that also often cause problems in a marriage is SEX. I know it is taboo and we don’t talk about such things but it is an area of marital life that is of vital importance and needs to be talked about. Often times when there are certain problems in a marriage sex is used as a weapon to spite the man (or the women in some cases). But what do the scriptures say regarding sex? Paul had this to say regarding sex in marriage in 1 Cor 7:

3 Let the husband render unto the wife due benevolence: and likewise also the wife unto the husband. 4 The wife hath not power of her own body, but the husband: and likewise also the husband hath not power of his own body, but the wife. 5 Defraud ye not one the other, except it be with consent for a time, that ye may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again, that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency. 6 But I speak this by permission, and not of commandment.

Although Paul does not speak by commandment here he knows only too well the problems that can arise if married couples neglect their conjugal responsibilities to each other. Paul points out that such neglect can lead to Satan tempting either or both partners to sin against the marriage, especially in the form of fornication. It goes without saying therefore that men, in particular, need sex but often times because most women do not have a high libido they “hold out” on their husbands. This can lead to feelings of rejection and sexual repression in men. It is important therefore for wives to be more accommodating towards their husbands in this area as Paul encourages. Sex is not everything but it is vitally important in a marriage because it is through the act of sex that the two become one flesh. Of course if there are physical problems that affect married couples coming together then they should seek medical assistance or advice without neglecting to pray also.

It is also important in a marriage to have communication at every stage. Couples need to talk to each other and express their feelings and desires. Marriage to a large extent is about compromise and for this to be effective there must be communication. Bickering and shouting at each other or giving each other the cold shoulder or playing the blame game does not facilitate communication. Communication should therefore occur in a calm and safe environment where both parties may have their voices heard. If there is love as defined by 1 Cor 13 (above) then this will facilitate good communication. If these biblical principles are adhered to I believe that all marital problems can be resolved to achieve a fruitful and lasting marriage.

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