The Way God Intended

Song of Songs 8:6–7

Recommended Reading: Genesis 2:18–25; Matthew 19:1–9; Hebrews 13:4

This passage, perhaps as powerfully as any other in the entire Bible, defines and describes for modern readers God’s intentions when he invented and defined the institution of marriage.

Marriage as a concept lies deep within our collective psyche. Preschoolers role-play the family unit as part of their playground fun. Preteen girls dream of the day when they’ll walk down the aisle in a flowing white gown. Matchmaking businesses and Web sites thrive as people look for that elusive one perfect person to know and love for the rest of their lives. The vast majority of adults who live in Western cultures either are, have been or someday intend to be married. Such hopefulness in the face of a consistent 50 percent divorce rate! And yet, despite the well-publicized antics of the Hollywood set, marriage remains one of the key building blocks of family life and society as a whole.

And that’s just what God intended. The language in this passage is powerful as it speaks to the implications of marriage. One scholar has said that this passage “characterizes marital love as the strongest, most unyielding and invincible force in human experience.” Now that’s saying something! Despite the failure of individuals, the bar of God’s expectations for marriage is set sky-high. And note the implications of the last part of verse 7: True, lasting marital love involves deep integrity on the part of both parties. To paraphrase: “Money can’t buy me love.”

The power of marriage lies in the power of a promise, sealed with God’s stamp of approval, that one man makes to one woman. The promise to love another person “until death do you part” is as deep a commitment as one can make in this life. As one pastor put it, “The power to make and keep a promise is one of the strongest in the world, for it brings the promise maker within a millimeter of what it means to be like God, who makes and keeps his promises to his people.”

True, enduring, lifelong commitment is God’s expectation for marriage, and it has been since the Garden of Eden. That’s not to say that God expects us to be perfect as we relate to one another; we are, after all, still living under the effects of sin. But despite our failures, the goal for the respect we are to show toward the institution remains the same, “for love is as strong as death, its jealousy unyielding as the grave” (Song of Songs 8:6).

To Take Away

  • Are you married? If you answered yes, how does your marriage stack up to God’s expectations for the institution?
  • If you’ve never been married, what is your perspective on what this passage could mean for your future?
  • If you’re not married now but have been in the past, how can this passage influence your opinions and actions?

 

Reference: http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Gen.2.18-Gen.2.25,Matt.19.1-Matt.19.9,Heb.13.4

Why Christians should never Marry Non-Christians By: Dave Willis

Apart from your relationship with God, there is no moreimportant and more intimate relationship in the universe thanthe relationship of Marriage. It is a beautiful gift, designed byGod, to bring one man and one woman together in a physical,emotional and even spiritual bond. What I’m about to say might offend you, but as your Brother in Christ, I love you enough to offend you with the Truth, so heregoes…If you are a Christian and you are dating a Non-Christian, you need to break up! If you are already married,that is a completely different scenario, but if you aren’t married, I can say with Biblical certainty that God’s Will is NOT for you to commit your life to someone who is not following Him. Don’t take my word for it, listen to what God says on thesubject…

 

“Don’t team up with those who are unbelievers…How can abeliever be a partner with an unbeliever?” 2 Corinthians6:14-15

 

“The men of Judah have defiled the Lord’s beloved sanctuary by marrying women who worship foreign gods” Malachi 4:11“

 

You are not to give your daughters in marriage to their sons,nor are you to take their daughters in marriage for your sonsor for yourselves. Was it not because of marriages like thesethat Solomon king of Israel sinned?” Nehemiah 13:25-26

 

This Bible has a lot more to say on this subject and I encourageyou to study it on your own. This brings up some importantquestions that you might be asking…

 

1. But I really “love” this person. Isn’t that enough? No.

God is love and God loves you. He wants what is best for you.You might need to read just your view of love and marriage from what we see in Romantic Comedies to what we see in God’s Word. If you are willing to disobey God for somebody you want to marry then what you feel isn’t real love.

 

2. But doesn’t God want to me keep dating this person so I can lead them to Jesus? No. There is a much better chance that they will lead you to bed. I’m sure you have good intentions, but God never intended you to be a dating evangelist.

 

3. But we’re so compatible! We have so much in common? Isn’t that enough? No. If the most important relationship in your life is Jesus and the most important relationship in their life is something else, you’ll be pulling in two separate directions. That is an irreconcilable difference that trumps thefact that you really like the same movies and music.

 

4. So I should just break their heart and my own? Yes. If that’s what it takes. Too much is at stake to do anything else.You need to trust the broken pieces of your heart to God and know that He is pleased when our faith leads us to tough choices. As for your boyfriend/girlfriend, keep praying for them and believing that God will reach them. Before you jump into a new relationship, make Jesus the first and foremost relationship in your life and then trust Him to bring the right person in the right time.

 

5. What if I can’t find somebody else? Trust God. Pray and be patient. God will often ask you to wait for His Best, but He will never ask you to settle for anything less than His best!

 

6. What if I’m already married? Pray. Pray for your spouse and for yourself. The Bible is clear that if your spouse is willing to stay married, then you should stay married.

 

The bottom line is that we should all be willing to trade in our own opinions and our own feelings for God’s Truth.Following Him means that we are willing to trust Him evenwhen our feelings and emotions are telling us to do somethingelse. Know that God has good things in store for you.

 

“For I know the plans I have for you declares the LORD; plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11

A Letter from a Brave Filipina – Read if you are serious for change

To all Filipinos Everywhere:

I used to think that corruption and criminality in the Philippines were caused by poverty. But recent events tell me this isn’t true. It is one thing to see people turn into drug addicts, prostitutes, thieves and murderers because of hunger and poverty, but what excuse do these rich, educated people have that could possibly explain their bizarre behavior? And to think I was always so relieved when petty snatchers got caught and locked away in jail because I never fully realized that the big time thieves were out there, making the laws and running our country.

Every night, I come home & see these “honorable” crooks lambast each other on TV , call each one names, look each other in the eye and accuse the other of committing the very same crimes that they themselves are guilty of, is so comical and apalling that I don’t know whether to laugh or cry.

I have never seen so many criminals roaming around unfettered and looking smug until now. These criminals wear suits and barongs, strut around with the confidence of the rich and famous, inspire fear and awe from the very citizens who voted them to power, bear titles like “Honorable”, “Senator”, “Justice”, “General” and worse, “President”. Ironically, these lawless individuals practice law, make our laws, enforce the law. And we wonder why our policemen act the way they do! These are their leaders, and the leaders of this nation – Robin Hoodlum and his band of moneymen. Their motto? “Rob the poor, moderate the greed of the rich.”

It makes me wonder what kind of schools they went to, what kind of teachers they had, what kind of environment would produce such creatures who can lie, cheat and steal from an already indebted country and from the impoverished people . It makes me wonder what their children and grandchildren think of them, and if they are breeding a whole new generation of improved Filipino crooks and liars with equally negligible conscience. They all go to mass & receive communion! Heaven forbid!

I am an ordinary citizen and taxpayer. I am blessed to have a job that pays for my needs and those of my family’s, even though 30% of my earnings go to the nation’s coffers. I have complained time and again because our government could not provide enough of the basic services that I expect and deserve. Rutty roads, poor educational system, poor social services, poor health services, poor everything. But I have always thought that was what all third world countries were all about, and my complaints never amounted to anything more.

We see Scandalous government deals. Plundering presidents pointing fingers. Senators associated with crooks. Congressmen who accept bribes. Big time lawyers on the side of injustice. De Venecia ratting on his boss only after his term has ended, Enrile inquiring about someone’s morality! The already filthy rich Abalos and Arroyo wanting more money than they or their great grandchildren could ever spend in a lifetime. Joker making a joke of his own “pag bad ka, lagot ka!” slogan.. Defensor rendered defenseless. Gen. Razon involved in kidnapping. Security men providing anything but a sense of security. The average Juan de la Cruz could not even imagine in his dreams. Is it any wonder why our few remaining decent and hardworking citizens are leaving to go work in other countries?

They say the few stupid ones like me who remain in the Philippines are no longer capable of showing disgust. Many like me feel anger at the brazenness of men we call our leaders, embarrassment to share the same nationality with them, frustration for our nation and helplessness at my own ineffectuality. It is not that I won’t make a stand. It is just that I am afraid my actions would only be futile. After all, these monsters are capable of anything. They can hurt me and my family. They already have, though I may not yet feel it..

I am writing this because I need to do something concrete. I need to let others know that ordinary citizens like me do not remain lukewarm to issues that would later affect me and my children. I want to make it known that there are also Filipinos who dream of something better for the Philippines . I want them to know that my country is not filled with scalawags and crooks in every corner, and that there are citizens left who believe in decency, fairness, a right to speak, a right to voice out ideas, a right to tell the people we have trusted to lead us that they have abused their power and that it is time for them to step down. I refuse to let this country go to hell because it is the only country I call mine and it is my responsibility to make sure I have done what I could for it.

We can pray.. After all, they cannot be more powerful than God!

I implore mothers out there to raise your children the best way you can . I beg all fathers to spend time with their children, to teach them the virtues of hard work, honesty, fair play, sharing, dignity and compassion – right from the sandbox till they are old enough to go on their own. Not just in your homes, but at work, in school, everywhere you go. Be good role models.

I call on educators and teachers – . . Instill in them love of their country,, help us mold our children into honorable men and women. Encourage our graduates, our best and brightest, to do what they can to lift this country from the mire our traditional politicians have sunk us into. The youth is our future – and it would be largely because of you, our educators, that we will be able to repopulate the seats of power with good leaders, presidents, senators, congressmen, justices, lawmakers, law enforcers and lawful citizens.

I ask all students, young people and young professionals everywhere to look around and get involved .. . YOUR COUNTRY NEEDS YOU! Let your voices be heard. Text meaningful messages to awaken social conscience. Try your best to fight moral decay because I promise you will not regret it when you become parents yourselves. You will look back at your past misdeeds and pray that your children will do better than you did.

Remember that there are a few handful who are capable of running this country.. You can join their ranks and make their numbers greater. We are tired of the old trapos. We need brave idealistic leaders who will think of the greater good before anything else. Be good lawyers, civil servants, accountants, computer techs, engineers, doctors, military men so that when you are called to serve in government, you will have credibility and a record that can speak for itself.

For love of this country, for the future of our children, , I urge you to do what you can. As ordinary citizens, we can do much more for the Philippines than sit around and let crooks lead us to perdition. We owe ourselves this. And we owe our country even more.

Remedios C. Paningbatan
Administrative Officer
Office of the General Counsel
Asian Development Bank
Tel (632) 632-4248
http://www.adb.org <http://www.adb/. org/ <http://www.adb/. org/

Why is Good Leadership So Rare in Civil Government?

Great post from Rev. Steve Murrel.

Just sent the following to Evangelicals Today Magazine. My assigned column topic was “How Mature are the Filipino Voters?” or “Mature Electorate Produces Good Governance.” Not sure I hit the topic/target, but here are my thoughts for ET:
—————-
When I moved to the Philippines Ferdinand Marcos was President. That was 1984. Twenty-five years ago and five Presidents ago. During those years I have lived through good and bad leadership, both here and abroad.

Some naively think that if we could only elect an Evangelical president, then we would live happily ever after. I don’t think so. It is possible to be a good Christian and an inept leader. It is also possible to be a non-Christian and still be a good leader. It takes more than church membership and a consistent devotional life to qualify one to lead a nation a city or a barangay.

Having said that, I still believe the fear of God IS the best starting point for good leadership. So it would seem that nations with many godly people, would also elect godly leaders. Sadly, that is not the case. Nigeria has churches on every corner, including some of the largest churches in the world, yet it is consistently listed as one of the five most corrupt nations in the world. The Philippines is the “only Christian nation in Asia” and is also one of the most corrupt. Why?

I think we can find the answer in a Bible story. After many sad examples of poor leadership, the Book of Judges ends with these words: “In those days Israel had no king; everyone did as they saw fit.”

Why were there no godly leaders in Israel at this time? The only parable in the Old Testament (Judges 9) reveals why good leadership is so rare, especially in civil government.

Here’s a quick summary of the parable: The olive tree, the fig tree and the vine – the three most important and honored plants in Israel – when asked to serve in leadership, all had the same response: “Should I give up my fruit/oil/wine?”

Since none of the qualified plants were willing to “give up” and sacrifice in order to serve in government, they were stuck with the worthless bramble weed. I think the same thing happens too often in the modern world.

The olive, the fig and the vine instinctively knew that serving in government involves a “giving up” of something. But sadly, many potentially great elected officials never run for office because they don’t want to give up their privacy, security and high salary.

Until godly Filipino “olives, figs and vines” are willing to give up something in order to run for elected office, we will be stuck with worthless “bramble” bushes as leaders.

Related post: Does God belong in Civil Goverment?

DOES GOD BELONG IN CIVIL GOVERNMENT?

“….There is no authority except that which God has established. The
authorities that exist have been established by God. For rulers are not a
terror to good works, but to evil. For he is God’s servant to do you good.
….For he is God’s minister, an avenger to execute God’s wrath on him
who practices evil, so be afraid…for he does not bear the sword in vain.
For because of this you also pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s
ministers attending continually to this very thing…”.

Romans 13: 1-6

According to His-story, the Bible, all authority on earth, including government
authority, flows directly from God. He established civil government to be His
servant and His minister of justice. He gave the civil authorities the sword, so
they might serve and protect His people. God cannot be separated from His
creation. Therefore, any claim of authority by the government, the church or any
other earthly institution, must conform to His Word, or it is counterfeit and void.
The question we must ask ourselves as Filipinos is this: does our nation’s
government today conform to God’s design and purpose?

God’s Word gives us a blueprint of the proper structure and function of every
earthly institution, including marriage, family, church and government. This
biblical blueprint represents His plan for mankind’s existence on earth.
According to His plan, there are limits to the jurisdiction of each institution
established under His ultimate authority. For instance, God’s word teaches us
that we are to render “to Caesar (the State), the things that are Caesar’s, and to
God, the things that are God’s” (Matt. 22: 17-21). The Bible instructs that one
thing that belongs to the State and not the Church is the use of the sword to
protect the citizenry. Likewise, there are certain things that belong to God and
not the State such our worship of God (the Church), our children, and our own
consciences and lives. In these matters, the State has no authority and should not
interfere. God teaches us that lawful taxation by “His servant and minister of
justice” (the State), is “to do us good”, and is a proper function of civil
government. He also teaches us to try to settle disputes before going to court,
and that we must resist the tyranny of unjust rulers.

What kind of government do we have in Philippines today? Is it a government that
functions as God’s servant and minister of justice “to do us good”, or is it a
government that has attempted to separate God from His creation by removing
Him from our schools, our government institutions, our courts, and our daily
lives? Does our government function according to God’s design and
purpose, or according to the will of men?

Do our government officials defend and protect the most vulnerable among us from evil
and injustice, or do they conspire to expand their power and deny the Filipino
people of their rightful liberties? Are the majority of our highest elected officials
and government leaders are honest, honorable and loyal Filipinos
who can be trusted to protect and defend our Constitution? Or have most of them
betrayed their oaths to God and Country? Is our income tax system the creation
and instrument of God’s “servants and ministers of justice”, or of power hungry
politicians and irresponsible bureaucrats who squander the fruits of our labor
and arrogantly refuse to be accountable to the Filipino people? Do our judges
acknowledge God’s ultimate authority over our nation and our nation’s laws, or
do they kneel at a different altar?

Just who are we as Filipinos? What are the underlying values and moral
principles that constitute the foundation of our common identity? From what
source do we derive our concepts of truth, justice and equality? Do our laws and
government policies in Philippines reflect a common understanding of moral
truth—as given to us by our Creator–or do they reflect the flawed reasoning of
imperfect men? Have we become so dumbed-down by our government, schools,
mass media and religious “leaders”, that we no longer care if our “public
servants” lie, cheat, steal and betrays our trust? Nation founders of United States of America believed
that “all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with
certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of
Happiness”. Can we hold these truths to be self-evident?

In Philippines today there are essentially three views of the Church-State
relationship. They are represented by the following diagrams:**
a

Here, the State is sovereign over man and the Church, and dictates in civil and
religious matters. This relationship structure represents the secular humanistic
and socialist world-view.

b
Modern Christians have allowed the government to take control of the
Church in Philippines.
Many Christians today acknowledge that God is Sovereign over the (spiritual)
Church, but do not believe He has anything to do with the State. They believe
that God is separated by an impregnable wall from civil government.

c
God is sovereign over man. Through man, God exercises authority over the
government (the state), the church and the home. Each institution has separate
jurisdiction and must be kept separate. The Biblical View of the Church–State
relationship represents God’s plan for the structure and order of human society.
Listen to God’s Word on the subject:

“Listen now to my voice; I will give you counsel, and God will be with you:
Stand before God for the People, so that you may bring the difficulties to God.
And you shall teach them the statutes and the laws, and show them the way in
which they must walk and the work that they must do. Moreover, you shall
select from all the people able men, such as fear God, men of truth, hating
covetousness; and place such men over them to be rulers of thousands, rulers
of hundreds, rulers of fifties and rulers of tens. And let them judge the people
at all times. Then it will be that every great matter they shall bring to you
(Moses), but every small matter they themselves shall judge….so Moses
heeded the voice of his father-in-law and did all that he had said. And Moses
chose able men out of all Israel, and made them heads over the people: rulers
of thousands, rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens. So they
judged the people at all times; the hard cases they brought to Moses, but they
judged every small case themselves”.
Exodus 18: 19-26 (note: The above
Scripture outlines the role of civil government as God’s servant and minister of
justice on earth. According to His design and plan, we are to appoint able men
who fear God, men of truth, men who hate dishonest gain as our earthly rulers.
Do we follow this standard to selecting our government leaders in Philippines
today?)

“God, who made the world and everything in it, since He is Lord of heaven
and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands. Nor is He worshiped
with men’s hands, as though He needed anything, since He gives to all life,
breath, and all things. And He has made from one blood every nation of men
to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their preappointed
times and the boundaries of their dwellings”
. Acts 17: 24-26

“Do you not know that the Christians will one day judge and govern the
world? And if the world be judged by you, are you unworthy to judge the
smallest matters? Do you know that we shall judge angels? How much more
things that pertain to this life? (the Apostle Paul then rebukes the Christians
for their apathy and irresponsibility that allowed non-Christians to be in
control): “If then you have law courts dealing with matters of this life, do you
appoint those who are least esteemed by the Church to judge? I say this to
your shame…”
I Corinthians 6: 2-5
This “shameful” situation has become a reality in Philippines today. The battle for
God’s earth is being lost mainly because Christians have forgotten, or ignored,
God’s design and purpose for His earthly institutions.

The Reverend Charles G. Finney wrote: “The church must take right ground in
regard to politics…the time has come that Christians must vote for honest men,
and take consistent ground in politics, or the Lord will curse them. God cannot
sustain this free and blessed country, which we love and pray for, unless the
church will take right ground. Politics are a part of religion in such a country as
this, and Christians must do their duty to the Country, as part of their duty to
God….He will bless or curse this nation, according to the course they (Christians)
take”.

Do you believe that our nation was established with God’s blessing, and that “all
authority in heaven and on earth” belongs to Him? Do you believe that our
Constitution is a sacred document written by godly men with noble intentions?
Do you believe that every Filipino citizen is entitled to the unalienable rights of
life, liberty and property? Do you believe that the government should be
accountable to the people and made to comply with the Philippine
Constitution? Do you believe that Philippines has lost its moral compass, and
drifted far from our founding principles of liberty and justice?

Related topic: Does God Belong In Civil Goverment?