My wife and I have only occasionally done anything special for each other on Valentine’s Day mainly because it comes so close after our February 7th wedding anniversary when we typically celebrate our love and marriage. This year, it was a very special 40th wedding anniversary for us. We were so young 40 years ago. Since then, we have learned the difference between romantic love which rises and ebbs like ocean tides and love as steadfast, settled commitment that endures through the toughest of challenges. God, who created man male and female, gave us both kinds of love to enjoy for a lifetime (Genesis 1:26-28; Song Of Solomon 4; 1 Corinthians 7:1-5; Ephesians 5:22-33).
Marital love between a man and a woman is of God’s greatest gifts to mankind (Genesis 2:18-25). I can say this not only in agreement with the general tenor of Scripture, but from my life experience. Before marriage as an unsaved teenager and not much better 1977 young adult new Christian, I was shamefully guilty of mistreating, lying to, cheating on and misusing the females I dated and/or went steady with. There was love, but it was very selfish and rooted too often in the temporary pleasures of lust. After fully surrendering to Christ in 1979 and later marriage as a lifetime commitment to one and oneness, I was forced by His will in His Word to change (Ephesians 4:17-32).
Because of the foregoing and after talking with my wife, we agreed that there are two major reasons we celebrate our love today to the glory of God and offer them as helpful instruction for especially younger engaged and married couples that read this. First, we purposely put Jesus Christ as Lord into and over our marriage and urge you to do the same. Second, we took divorce off the table for any reason except adultery or desertion as Scripture allows and urge you to do the same (Mark 10:1-12; 1 Corinthians 7:10-16). Every other issue that arises in marriage can be worked through because of the first reason we gave even if it requires involving professionals to help.
After the first couple’s fall, marriage as God designed it brings together two sinful mortal human beings that are by nature selfish and more often than not raised with different worldviews, values etc. It then requires that they in the bonds of mutual committed love blend their lives together as one. As the history of marital misery and divorce attest, sinful mankind has not done well with God’s perfect design of marriage (Proverbs 19:13; Malachi 2:13-16). As one example of what Christ can do when He is invited in and submitted to as Lord, He by the Spirit is able to renew each party’s mind about love as He has done us--selfish it is not (Romans 12:1-2; 1 Corinthians 13:4-8a)! We do not have a perfect marriage, but with the Lord’s help we are still celebrating our love 40 years later.
Happy New Year! By God’s wonderful grace those of us alive to see it have come into 2021! In Christ, there is cause for great optimism as we are yet closer to His return and otherwise, enabled in His strength to live for Him and serve His Kingdom purposes! Continuing to be filled with gratitude to the Lord for all of His blessings in 2020--not the least of which was His providing for my full-time salary while we also celebrated the Ministry’s 35th year, I am pleased to announce that as of January 1st I now, serve the Ministry as a part-time employee until such time as our finances in the Lord’s will can support my return to full-time status. I also labor as a volunteer.
I praise God who has marvelously made both my employment with the Ministry and volunteer labor possible through retirement. I also thank our Board of Director members Messrs. Alvin Johnson and Richard Anderson for discerning the Lord’s hand in all of this; unanimously deciding this was the right course of action as opposed to further crowdfunding considering how people are presently hurting financially. As a result, I will continue my day to day oversight of the Ministry as before. However, there are changes. I will be cutting back on some of the activities I have personally engaged in such as making social media posts. This blog will see more short posts like this one. I will announce other activity cutbacks when appropriate.
The Ministry is cutting back on some activities requiring my personal engagement to make timely room for new ones. This includes my entering the world of online instruction with the roll out of our Strong Man Virtual Institute this February.1 The institute will periodically offer short-term studies I will teach “live” via our chosen online meeting vehicle to the end of building up Christian participants. I will also occasionally pop up recorded or even “live” by way of our YouTube channels or other outlets to preach the Gospel and any other word from the Lord to save souls and call the disobedient to repentance. We have a thing or two more planned I will disclose in the Lord’s timing.
Again, I praise God who continues to make a place of service for me in the Body of Christ as He has done in 2021 even when men do not! I also thank Him for His blessed provision! To my God always be all the glory!
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