5.28.2022

PRAYER REQUESTS:

 




Green Pod:


To remain in the good favor of our Lord .... (Phillip Reeves)

Pray for all family & friends .... (Steven Crumley)

Pray for family ..... (B. Hudson)

Pray for parents' healing, Kim & Ricky, and for the people in Ukraine .... (Dustin Bolin)

Pray for restoration for family ..... (Scott Byars)

That God continues His work with us in Green Pod .... (Clifton)

Pray for the loss of Trey's father.

Pray for God to help guide my paths ..... (Jeffery Lang)



Yellow Pod:


Pray for the lost in Yellow Pod to find salvation .... (Jason Fowler)

Watch over my family and my daily walk with our Lord Jesus ... (Israel Jackson)

Pray for my faith walk with Christ .... (Tommy James)

Pray for God's Word to go forth and for my release date ... (Tyrone)

Watch over my mom, wife and daughter ... (Dominique Robinson)

Pray for my child's (Izzy) health and welfare ... (Stephen Smith)

Ask that the Lord would watch over my family ... (Kenny Tollison)



............



5.21.2022

What Should A Christian Do If Married To An Unbeliever?

 



What Should A Christian Do If Married To An Unbeliever? 


Perhaps you love someone and are trying to determine if you should marry that person. Likewise, you might be in search of what it takes to find and marry the right person. Or looking for a way to handle an unbelieving partner. In this writing, we’ll reveal the Biblical principles to guide you in making that decision. There is no book as old and rich as the Bible when it comes to getting information about marriage. The Bible tells us that God performed the very first marriage on the sixth day of creation week. Genesis 1:27, 28, NKJV says – “God created man in His own image…male and female He created them. Then God blessed them, and God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth’ ”. Marriage has been existing for as long as we have historical records.


Brethren, let no one deceive you, for marriage is a blessing from God to mankind. Indeed, God created marriage in the beginning. We should always keep in mind that it was God who initiated the very first marriage in the garden of Eden between Adam and Eve. We are trying to say here that marriage comes from God. God’s ideal for marriage was illustrated when he united Adam and Eve in an unbreakable bond. That is, one man and one woman joined together in a faithful and long-life commitment to each other. From creation, a husband and a wife were meant to work together for the establishment of a strong and godly family. Although human beings have not always followed this ideal path, it remains the best from God.


What Should A Christian Do If Married To An Unbeliever?

Before going deep into what the Bible says about who you should marry, there are a few things worth pointing to. It is without a doubt that there are currently lots of contradictions when it comes to handling the Christian marital aspect. A good Biblical foundation on what God is saying about marriage will prevent you from falling victim to unsound and diluted doctrines. The bond of marriage is so powerful that it joints two individuals into one flesh. The Bible is very clear on this divine truth. When God created Eve, “He brought her to the man. And Adam said, ‘This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh.’ . . . Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh” (Genesis 2:22-24). This is an account of the very first marriage celebrated by God himself.

Is It Right For A Christian To Date Or Marry A Non-Christian?

As a Christian, dating a non-Christian is unwise, and marrying one is not an option. 2 Corinthians 6:14 tells us not to be “unequally yoked” with an unbeliever. The imagery is of two incompatible oxen sharing the same yoke. Instead of working together to pull the load, they would be working against each other. Although this passage does not specifically mention marriage, it definitely has implications for marriage. The same passage further tells us that there is no harmony between Christ and Belial (Satan). Thus, there can be no spiritual harmony between a Christian and non-Christian. In addition, Apostle Paul reminds believers that they are the dwelling place of the Holy Spirit, who inhabits their hearts at salvation (2 Corinthians 6:15-17).


Following the fact that the Holy Spirit inhabits the bodies of Christians, they are to be separate from the world – in the world, but not of the world – and nowhere is this more important to be respected than in life’s most intimate relationship – marriage. In the same light, 1 Corinthians 15:33 says, “Do not be misled: ‘Bad company corrupts good character.’” It is important to understand that having any kind of intimate relationship with an unbeliever can rapidly lead to something that will become a hindrance to your walk with Jesus Christ. Note that we are called to evangelize the lost, and not to go intimate with them. However, there is nothing wrong with building quality friendships with unbelievers, loving them, praying for them, and treating them well. In fact, Christ commanded us to do this. But we should put limits for them not to corrupt our minds.


Is it a sin to marry a non-Christian?

Many people regularly ask whether or not it is a sin to marry a non-Christian. If you are one of such, then we think you are asking the wrong question here. The good question should be, “why would you want to marry a non-Christian?” Remember that God’s vision for marriage is that of a place where a “culture of two” is created. In fact, marriage is about sharing our lives, and about the “oneness” that emerges from that shared culture. Therefore, marriage becomes the central situation in which we grow to become what God intends us to be, the very context in which we lovingly raise our children to know and honor Him. Note that a great and successful marriage becomes a place of shelter, comfort, hope, and strength during challenging times, and a place of deep joy and thankfulness to God for His goodness.


In a Christian marriage, a shared belief in God provides a bedrock for the shared values that define the relationship and family. Thus, in light of God’s vision for marriage, the question, “is it a sin to marry a non-Christian?” reflects a strong willingness to settle. Marrying a non-Christian may, in the short run, bring satisfaction. But over time, the marriage is likely to become a source of pain as it is not centered on Christ. Today, there are many Christians around the world who are regretting their decision to marry a non-Christian. Although some still love their partners, they are missing so much of what God intended for their marriage. In situations that children are involved, the complications are higher. Imagine the case of a man asking the wife not to read Bible stories to their children nor pray with them because he thinks that God is a fantasy.


Why Christians Should Go For Christian Partners In Marriage

1) Christians are to marry only Christians – 1 Corinthians 7:39

1 Corinthians 7:39 says, “A woman is bound to her husband as long as he lives. But if her husband dies, she is free to marry anyone she wishes, but he must belong to the Lord.” In this Biblical verse, we are made to understand that a Christian must only marry another Christian. The phrase “but he must belong to the Lord” refers to a Christian. However, this is not the only Biblical verse where Christians are warned not to marry a non-Christian or unbeliever. This command was given as inspired by God’s Spirit to help us avoid the heart-ache that accompanies a Christian who marries a non-Christian. Likewise, 2 Corinthians 6:14 says, “Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness?


It is important to understand that the Greek word translated as “bound” literally means “to be pulled in opposite directions.” That is “bound” is a poor translation. The word truly refers to being pulled in opposite directions or being wrongly matched. This is to say that believers and unbelievers are opposites and they will pull in opposite directions. It is written in the Holy Scriptures that “What partnership have righteousness and lawlessness?” The couple will be pulling in opposite directions. The Christian partner will want to go to church, read the Bible, minister in the church, pray, obey God, and avoid sin. On the other hand, the unbelieving partner will not want to do any of these things and might even stand against them at home.


2) A Christian can marry any Christian of their choice – 1 Corinthians 7:39

1 Corinthians 7:39 says, “A woman is bound to her husband as long as he lives. But if her husband dies, she is free to marry anyone she wishes, but he must belong to the Lord.” We are made to understand by the Scriptures that an individual Christian is free to marry any believer that he/she wishes. The Greek word translated “wishes” is thelo. This word means “to wish, desire, want or to take pleasure in.” This is an indication that a Christian is free to marry any believer that he or she wishes. Since a Christian is free to marry any Christian that he/she desires, there are a few things worth considering. Both partners should see unto it that they share the same goals and visions for the future. This is a Biblical principle that can be adopted to make a successful marriage.


It is said that “make my joy complete by being of the same mind” (Philippians 2:1-4). The Greek word for “same mind” refers to being in agreement. It literally means thinking the same things. Likewise, Amos 3:3 says, “Can two walk together, except they be agreed?” Thus, it is very important for those planning to get married to see unto it that they are of like-minds. Also, both partners must understand and accept the differences in their backgrounds, cultures, and/or habits. 1 Peter 3:7 says to husbands: “live with your wives in an understanding way, as with someone weaker, since she is a woman; and show her honor as a fellow heir of the grace of life, so that your prayers will not be hindered.” This means that a husband must know and understand his wife. He should know her weaknesses, attitudes, desires, and learn to treat her well.


3) A successful marriage requires a level of spiritual maturity – Genesis 2:21-25

Surprisingly, a successful marriage is not necessarily all about love but spiritual maturity. Behold, love was not required for the marriage of Adam and Eve (Genesis 2:21-25). Adam was already alive and then Eve came forth. Note that they did not spend time before getting married. The Bible tells us that God created Eve and presented her to Adam. Interestingly, God did not ask Adam whether he loved his new wife nor did God ask Eve whether she loved Adam, her husband. Sinful behavior was not an issue yet. However, we can be confident that they in time loved each other, but that was not the primary reason that brought them together as husband and wife.


In fact, love was not the primary basis of marriage in the Old Testament era. A good example is Isaac and Rebekah. We are told in Genesis 24 how Abraham sent his servant back to his home country to the Ur of the Chaldeans, to find a wife for his son, Isaac, from among his relatives. The servant prayed and asked God to guide him, and behold, God guided him to a woman named Rebekah. Genesis 24:58 recounts how Rebekah agreed to return with the servant and marry Isaac. She was not asked if she loved Isaac because she had not yet met with him. Genesis 24:62-67 tells us that when Rebekah arrived and met her new husband, she entered his tent and became his wife. Love was not the basis for their marriage. Rather, it was respect and commitment. However, they grew to know and love each other.


4) A Christian partner will make it easy and/or possible for you to honor God’s commands – Leviticus 22:31

Leviticus 22:31 says “So you shall keep My commandments, and do them; I am the Lord.” If you desire God’s favor and abundant blessings in your marriage, then it is important to see unto it that you and your partner are keeping His commands. For those still planning to get married, it is worth evaluating their potential spouse for an obedient heart to God’s commands. This is what we refer to as figuring out and understanding the spiritual walk or behavior of your future husband or wife. Below are a series of questions that you can consider in order to better understand your partner’s spirituality.


Questions to consider:



  1. Is your potential spouse willing to have children? Remember that in Genesis 1:28, God commands couples to have children.

  2. Will your potential husband be able to support the family? Today, it is rather unfortunate that some husbands stay at home and expect their wives to meet household needs. The Scriptures clearly address this in 1 Timothy 5:8 – “But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.

  3. Are both the potential husband and wife walking in the spirit? As Christians, we are encouraged to walk in the Spirit (Galatians 5:16-23; Ephesians 5:17-6:5; Colossians 3:16-22). Undoubtedly, a spirit-filled husband and wife will have a “successful” marriage. Together, they will grow spiritually and control their household in a way that is pleasing to God.

  4. Is the future husband willing to love and treat his wife well? It is important to understand that God has commanded a husband to love and treat his wife well (Ephesians 5:25-33; Titus 2:6-8; 1 Peter 3:7, 8-9).

  5. Are both the potential husband and wife having a forgiving spirit? When an argument occurs, what happens? Does one of you have an elephant’s memory and repeatedly blame the other for your differences? Are you both humble or faultfinders? It is worth pointing to God’s call for us to have a spirit of forgiveness (Ephesians 4:31-32).

  6. Is the future wife willing to submit to her husband? Or, does she want control over her husband? Remember that God has commanded a wife to submit to her husband (Ephesians 5:22-23; Titus 2:4-5 and 1 Peter 3:1-6, 8-9).

5) Engagement period is genuine, fun, and done in the Will of God – Ephesians 5:25-27


Engagement is a trial period. This is a time of exclusive commitment to one another. It is a trial period that should be broken in case of any serious problem or area of incompatibility. However, the future wife should be able to respect and consequently be in submission to her future husband. Likewise, the future husband should be lovingly leading her into spiritual things (Ephesians 5:25-27). It is highly important for couples to maintain sexual purity throughout the engagement period. It is also recommended that the couple stay off any passionate kissing until the wedding day.


6) Marriage is a partnership in doing God’s work – Genesis 2


Genesis 2 makes us understand that marriage is a partnership in doing God’s work. Genesis 2:15–17 reports how Adam is Prophet/Priest/King in the garden kingdom where God has put him to rule within the constraints of God’s ultimate kingship (symbolized by the two trees: blessing and life for living under his rule; curse and death for rebelling against His rule). The rest of the chapter clearly details how Adam is incapable of fulfilling his calling to be prophet/priest/king alone. So, God presents Eve to Adam as a helper together with whom he will carry out the work and bring glory to His Name. Following this, we can say that marriage is a partnership. “It is not good for man to be alone” is not just true because man is lonely but also because man alone is incompetent. This is true even before the fall of man.


7) Marriage is harmed by sin – Genesis 3


Going through Genesis 3, we discover how marriage gets messed up by sin. Adam and Eve go from naked and unashamed to hiding from one another. In the curse, the Lord God pronounces how marriage post-Fall is a battle of one sinful will against another: “Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you” (Genesis 3:16). By this, we understand that all marriages are hard. However, in a Christian marriage, spouses have the opportunity to call one another to submit one’s sinful will to God’s perfect will. By marrying a non-Christian, you lose out on the blessing of having a spouse who calls you to submit your will to Christ.


8) The Old Testament warns against marrying unbelievers – Genesis


Across the Biblical book of Genesis, we see the significant effort being put in place for the people of God to marry only those who believe in Him. In Genesis 24, we clearly read about the extra mile that Abraham went in order to secure a believing wife for his son, Isaac. Likewise, in Genesis 27:46–28:9, we read about Rebekah and Isaac’s disgust at the marriage of their son to Canaanite/Hittite woman. Note that, this isn’t racism: it’s religious. In the conquest of Canaan, the Lord God gives strict prohibitions against intermarriage: Deuteronomy 7:3–4 says, “Do not intermarry with them. Do not give your daughters to their sons or take their daughters for your sons, for they will turn your children away from following me to serve other gods, and the Lord’s anger will burn against you and will quickly destroy you.” This very prohibition is repeated in Joshua 23:12.


9) New Testament texts imply the prohibition to marry unbelievers remain – 1 Corinthians 7:39


There is sufficient text in the New Testament to make us believe that the Old Testament prohibition to marry non-believers still holds. 1 Corinthians 7:39 says, “A woman is bound to her husband as long as he lives. But if her husband dies, she is free to marry anyone she wishes, but he must belong to the Lord.” Likewise, 2 Corinthians 6:14 says, “Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?” In addition, 1 Corinthians 9:5 says, “Don’t we have the right to take a believing wife along with us, as do the other apostles and the Lord’s brothers and Cephas?” This suggests that having an unbelieving wife would at least disqualify from ministry.


10) The New Testament reveals a clear and positive vision for marriage – Ephesian 5:21–33


Amazingly, the New Testament gives a clearer revelation of marriage: it’s a partnership that pictures the redeeming love of Christ for His Church. The main point of marriage is to picture the gospel of Christ (Eph. 5:21–33; Rev. 21:9–27). Beyond that, it also pictures the very relationship that exists between the Father and the Son (1 Cor. 11:3). Thus, to marry a non-believer is like two artists trying to paint two different pictures on the same canvas. While you are trying to paint the picture of Christ and the Church, your spouse is trying to paint something completely different.

What Should A Christian Do If He/She Is Married To An Unbeliever?


There are several challenges that a Christian who is married to an unbeliever encounter. Some of these challenges are having to choose between romance and winning a soul for Christ, difficulty to cultivate spiritual intimacy in the marriage, and the inability to build and maintain a quality marriage on the most crucial issue in the universe – Jesus Christ. As a matter of fact, being married to an unbeliever can be one of the most difficult challenges in a Christian’s life. Remember that marriage is a sacred covenant that joins two people together in one flesh (Matthew 19:5). It is difficult for a believer and an unbeliever to live in peaceful harmony (2 Corinthians 6:14-15). If one partner gets to know about and believes Christ after the marriage, the inherent struggles of living under two different authorities quickly become apparent.


Most Christians in such situations usually look for a way out of the marriage, convinced that this is the only way to truly bring honor to God. Surprisingly, God’s Word says the contrary. It is of great importance for us not only to be content in our situation but also to look for ways to bring glory to God out of our challenging circumstances (1 Corinthians 7:17). Amazingly, the Bible specifically addresses those married to unbelievers in 1 Corinthians 7:12-14: “…If any brother has a wife who is not a believer and she is willing to live with him, he must not divorce her. And if a woman has a husband who is not a believer and he is willing to live with her, she must not divorce him. For the unbelieving husband has been sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife has been sanctified through her believing husband…


Looking unto God when you are married to an unbeliever


Christians married to unbelievers will need to pray for the power of the Holy Spirit to enable them to profess Christ and live in the light of God’s presence (1 John 1:7). In addition, they should seek God’s transforming power to change their hearts and produce the fruit of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). It is important to note here that a Christian wife is obligated to have a submissive heart, even towards her unbelieving husband (1 Peter 3:1), and she will need to stay close to God at all times for His strength.


Amazingly, Christians are not meant to live solitary lives. That is, they can find support from outside sources such as the Church and Bible study groups. Being married to an unbeliever does not alter the sacredness of the relationship, so it should be the priority of every Christian to pray for his/her spouse and set a good example, thereby allowing Christ’s light to shine brightly in their life (Philippians 2:14). In the midst of your challenge, pray to the Lord God Almighty that if it is His Will, may He make you experience the truth that was revealed in 1 Peter 3:1—that an unbelieving spouse is “won over” and glory brought to His name.



**** To learn more on scriptural support, see “Groupings” at bestofchristianity.com/what-should-a-christian-do-if-married-to-an-unbeliever


……..


Desemond Mbantoh is a lover and servant of Jesus Christ who suffered and was crucified for our sins on the cross. In response to Jesus’ instructions to spread the Holy Gospel, Desemond owns and runs BestofChristianity.com.



















5.11.2022

WHAT DOES THE BIBLE SAY ABOUT ABORTION?

 While current culture is divided on the abortion issue, we search the scriptures and ask ourselves, "What does the Bible say about abortion?"


As a 22-year-old Christian who actively works in the body of Christ, I have noticed a startling trend in the worldview and belief systems of my Christian peers. When the issue, the sanctity of life, arises, it seems that young Christians split into three groups: the group of silence, the group of misplaced compassion, and those who ask, What does the Bible say about abortion? (a.k.a. the people of the Word). Let me attempt to break down these three groups generally to have a clearer picture of our movement’s current complications.

The Group of Silence

The “Group of Silence” consists of people who are typically familiar with the biblical emphasis on the value of life. This group generally agrees with the Bible’s assertion that, from the womb to tomb, life should be protected. However, their internal agreement with scripture remains locked within their fearful hearts. 


The Group of Misplaced Compassion

Many young Christians hold misplaced compassion favoring the situational fears of an unplanned pregnancy rather than showering mercy on the injustice of abortion.


Let me be very clear: Christians should display radical compassion toward ALL women who find themselves in a frightening pregnancy situation (1 Corinthians 16:14 and 1 John 4:8). However, our compassion must look different than that of the world. The world’s compassion will encourage women to have an abortion so they can follow their dreams and be successful. The compassion of Christ links arms with women and helps them believe that they will be great mothers. Most importantly, it equips them with the resources to continue following their dreams even after having their baby.


The People of the Word

This group consists of people who believe that life is worth defending. And they do this with words and actions. These people are not fearful about the world’s opinion of abortion; instead, they are only concerned with promoting Kingdom values.

From the peaceful protests of the March for Life to the cries that arose after the tragedy of George Floyd‘s passing, we find evidence that today’s young people are aching for Truth. The quest for Truth is a problem that only one man, Jesus Christ, can solve.


Being the body of Christ, the Church must take the initiative to extend our hands and hearts out to those who are desiring to know the Truth. Moreover, the Church must become the source of inspiration for those overcome with fear when considering speaking their views on abortion. This issue matters to God, so we must respond with acts of worship and surrender as we advocate on behalf of the defenseless.


What Does the Bible say about Abortion?

The Bible has a lot to say about abortion and the preborn. It consistently proclaims the utmost importance of protecting life in the womb. This portrayal is found in the Old and New Testament, particularly in the Psalms and in the life of Jesus while resting in Mary’s womb (Psalm 139, Psalm 51, Luke 1).


Scripture and Abortion

Two of my favorite passages where God emphasizes the value of life in the womb and His compassionate care for the preborn is found in Jeremiah 1:4-5 and Isaiah 49:1b. Both passages are astonishingly similar, as each prophet is reflecting on their call from heaven. Jeremiah’s account reads:


"Now the word of the Lord came to me, saying, 'Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you, and before you were born, I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.'"  - Jeremiah 1:4-5


Isaiah similarly writes with the same pattern of thought, saying:

 

"The Lord called me from the womb, from the body of my mother he named my name."    -Isaiah 49:1b


Both Jeremiah and Isaiah consistently heard from the Lord and were used as God’s mouthpiece for His people. In their long-lasting, personal relationships with God, both remain convinced that they were appointed to complete Kingdom work while in the womb. Both of the prophets write as if, from God’s perspective, there is no barrier between prenatal and postnatal life. God sees life from the moment of conception. The biblical idea that God can form a personal relationship with his people in the womb is further evidence that preborn children possess full personhood.



How Can We Pray?

As a young Christian, I plead with my peers to take the Bible at its Word. I encourage them to humbly allow the beautiful, authoritative words of scripture to mold the worldview they hold. Jesus is the way, the Truth, and the life. His thoughts are so much higher and so much more significant than ours.


To whoever is reading these words, pray with me that God breaks our hearts for what breaks his. Let us pray that the “Group of Silence” and the “Group of Misplaced Compassion” would lay aside any thought patterns of the world to become a unified “People of the Word.” We must fight, and we must be united.


………

 

Jess Ford is a writer and preacher that desires to equip and inspire Christians to live the abundant life available to them through surrendering to the Holy Spirit. Jess is passionate about the pro-love movement and is the son of Embrace Grace President, Amy Ford. Jess’ testimony speaks to the value of life in the womb. Jess graduated from ORU in May of 2020 with a degree in theology, and moved to Fayetteville, Arkansas to get married to his wife, Audrey Ford.  Learn more about Jess through his website: www.jessford.org









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