Daily Devotions: Biblical Family
Exclusive - One Man and One Woman
"But from the beginning of creation, God made them male and female. For this reason a man
shall leave his father and mother and the two shall become one flesh; so they are no longer two, but one flesh."
Mark 10:6-8 (NASB)
Family. That word conjures a variety of feelings in the human heart; tenderness, joy, nostalgia; fear, anger, regret. Family. It should be the best, but has been, in some instances, the worst of experiences.
Family was conceived in the in nite, omniscient mind of God because He knew we were creatures who desire and need communion, not only with Him, but with other humans. We know He considered the family signi cant because it was the rst institution He formed. Before the church, before government, came the family.
But Jehovah has some guidelines for the family. He knew that, left to ourselves, we would miss the mark. He knew that our feeble efforts would result in those families we mentioned a moment ago; the ones that render only fear, anger and regret. So this week we will look at six critical guidelines for families revealed in Scripture.
The rst of these is displayed in today's Bible verse. "But from the beginning of creation, God made them male and female." God intended for a marriage to consist of one man and one woman. Numerous verses (Leviticus 18:22; Leviticus 20:13; Romans 1:26-27; I Corinthians 6:9) in both the Old Testament and the New Testament attest to the fact that any other combination is detestable to our Lord.
In our culture of political correctness, the concept of God's design for marriage as revealed in Scripture is increasingly dif cult for many to embrace. And yet,
if we believe the Bible and if we trust that God knows best and wants our best, we will submit to His supreme authority.
Exclusive - Purity Before Marriage
"Run from sexual immorality! ‘Every sin a person can commit is outside the body.' On the contrary, the person who is sexually immoral sins against his own body. Don't you know that your body is a sanctuary of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought at a price. Therefore glorify God in your body."
I Corinthians 6:18-20 (HCSB)
"Lord, prepare me to be a sanctuary." You are probably familiar with that chorus. Today's verse reminds us that our bodies are God's temple, His sanctuary. Though we were slaves to sin, He bought us at the cost of His precious blood. We are not our own and He has every right to instruct us in how to care for His possession.
God's Word makes it clear that we are to keep our bodies pure from sexual immorality before marriage (1 Corinthians 6:13; I Thessalonians 4:3-8). When we commit sexual immorality, not only do we sin against our partner, against our future spouse and children, and against God, we also sin against our own bodies.
Because of this, sexual immorality is one of those sins we will nd very dif cult to forget. The memories linger and haunt us. Certainly God will forgive if we repent. And then He remembers it forgiven for all time. But our human minds tend to keep dredging up our past. God is aware of this tendency and longs to protect us with His righteous standard.
Old Testament priests were vigilant to maintain purity in the temple sanctuary. They knew it was God's holy dwelling place. Your "sanctuary" is no less holy. So lift the banner high. Commit yourself to sexual purity. Make the commitment today to honor God with your body.
Exclusive - To Each Other In Marriage
"Marriage must be respected by all, and the marriage bed kept undefiled, because God will judge immoral people and adulterers."
Hebrews 13:4 (HCSB)
A few months ago my husband and I, along with several hundred other couples at Trinity Baptist Church, reconfirmed our marriage vows. At that time we made some solemn pledges to one another. And the wording on the covenant certificate was significant: "...believing that God intends for the marriage covenant to reflect His promise to never leave nor forsake us."
Today's passage may seem harsh and demanding, especially in the light of our modern fetish for immediate grati cation. Many assert marriage is outdated, unnecessary. But that idea does not reflect God's standard. Over and over in His word, God confirms the value, sanctity and relevance of marriage. As a matter of fact, the Lord puts such a high value on marriage that He likens our relationship with Him to the relationship found between two people in
Look back at those words from Trinity Baptist Church's marriage covenant. God has promised never to leave us or forsake us. We have a similar obligation, not only to Him, but to our spouse. We are to love, to cherish, and never forsake that one whom God has given us. This obligation also includes maintaining the purity of the marriage bed, which simply means husbands and wives refuse to engage in sexual activity with any one other than each other. To break our promise to our covenant lover is to break our promise to our Holy Lover. And today's passage promises that God will judge the immoral.
In the light of these thoughts, may each of us daily renew that holy covenant. Let us be true, faithful and pure; not only to our spouse, but to the Lover of our souls.
Exclusive - Only Believers
"Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light
II Corinthians 6:14 (NASB)
For centuries this verse has been declared from pulpits and by parents. And it has often been ignored by those considering a date or a mate. I heard it as a teenager, and my frequent response was, "But he's so sweet!" Perhaps. But personality is not the intention of this verse.
In Deuteronomy 22, the Israelites were commanded not to yoke an ox with a donkey. The two had different work styles, different natures. The correlation seems obvious. I heard the story recently of a lovely Christian young woman who was dating the seemingly perfect man, though he was not of her faith. A few months later she broke off the relationship. Her reason: "We didn't want the same things from life." She made a dif cult choice, but one that will stand her in good stead for the rest of her life. As Christians, our values and goals are eminently different from those of the world. "We do not want the same things from life."
Solomon, the wisest man who ever lived, taught us many priceless lessons in the book of Proverbs. But examine the book of Ecclesiastes. Written in Solomon's later years, Ecclesiastes is full of despair and negativity. Solomon had lost the joy of his faith. And why? He de ed God and married many pagan women. They practiced idolatry and the "wisest" man in the world joined them. He sought his own way, but lost his way to God.
When God gives a command, it is not for His good, but for ours. Decades of sorrow can be avoided by making a difficult decision today.
Exclusive - Children Are A Gift From God
"Children are a heritage from the LORD, offspring a reward from Him. Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are children born in one's youth. Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them..."
Psalm 127:3-5 (NIV)
These verses remind us that children are a heritage given to us by God, whether they come into the family through natural birth, through adoption, or through marriage. Though I have no natural children, God has taught me this lesson by giving me two wonderful step-sons and two precious grandchildren. And He has extended my heritage through many "younger" people who have come under my in uence and teaching (Genesis 33:5).
God gave us children to bless us and honor us. Before God revealed the great mission of John the Baptist, He told Zachariah the child would bring his parents "joy and delight." A new baby is thrilling to its parents, but as that child grows and matures in the Lord, we can see the lasting value of his or her life. Every other "thing" is momentary; but by God's grace, we can see our children in Heaven.
So how should we receive these precious gifts? Matthew 18:5 reminds us we are to receive them as we would receive Jesus Himself. Would we abort, abuse or neglect Jesus? Of course not! We would welcome Him as we should welcome these children; eagerly, enthusiastically, and with our whole heart (John 16:21). Parenting is God's highest calling for mankind. Exodus 20:6 instructs us that God shows love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commandments. Let us never fail to take seriously that admonition as we receive this precious gift of parenthood.
Exclusive - Training and Disciplining Children
"These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates."
Deuteronomy 6:6-9 (NIV)
We looked yesterday at the blessing of children. Today we will expand our look to include the responsibilities of parents. Although one of the reasons God has given us children is for our "delight and joy," the most important reason is for His honor and glory. And to that end, we must exercise parental guidance.
Every person was created for a speci c purpose: to be conformed to the image of Jesus Christ. But that doesn't come naturally. Our children must be brought up in the "training and instruction of the Lord." And that involves the procedures mentioned in today's focal passage: the repetition and reiteration of God's Word. And oh, yes. There is that other thing: Demonstration. As parents, it is dif cult to teach what we do not model.
And nally, there's discipline. Just as our Heavenly Father disciplines us, we must occasionally discipline our children. There's a verse seldom used when referring to the disciplining of children, a verse that may seem a bit harsh. But we do well to consider it as parents. Zechariah 13:9 speaks of placing God's people in a "re ning re." Ouch! But look again. Only the most precious minerals go into God's re. And the result? They come out pure, just as God's people, when re ned by Him, call on his name. As parents, we must allow our children to sometimes go through the re so they may "come forth as pure gold" (Job 23:10 HCSB).