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Sermon Series:

A Biblical Vision

Kevin Harney
Kevin Harney

Lead Pastor

Shoreline Community Church

Main Passage:
Ephesians 5:21-33


You may not notice it and recognize it at any given moment, but you'll see the results of it There's a spiritual battle going on There's a real spiritual world and though we may not always kind of see what's going on or understand we see the outworking it in our world and Jesus was clear about this when he walked on this earth in John chapter 10 The beginning of verse 7 Jesus is speaking about this reality And he he talks about himself as the gate through which we come into eternal life. He talks about himself as the good shepherd. And there's a contrast to the thief, to the enemy of your soul, to Satan, who comes to steal, kill, and destroy. So as you listen to God's Word right now, this is again from John chapter 10 verse 7 and following. It won't be on the screen, everything else I do will, but I just want you to listen and let this kind of soak into your heart and notice the difference between the enemy and our savior Jesus. Therefore Jesus said again, "'Very truly I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. "'All who have come before me were thieves and robbers, "'but the sheep have not listened to them. "'I am the gate, whoever enters through me will be saved. "'They will come in and go out and find pasture.'" That's the green pastures of the Good Shepherd. Now the contrast, verse 10. The thief, the thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I have come that you may have life and have it to the full. I am the Good Shepherd. These are the words of Jesus. I am the Good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. There's a spiritual reality, there's a battle going on. And Jesus, who is the Good Shepherd, Jesus who is the gate who's opened the way to have a relationship with the Father. Jesus comes to give you life, and life abundantly, but the enemy comes to steal, kill, and destroy. That's true for every aspect of life. Jesus comes to give the best life, the enemy comes to destroy life. And so as you think about this, you look at our world, we see this happening. And there's different ways that the enemy will attack a church. And it was really interesting, yesterday when I was at the conference here, there were two breakout times and Sherry and I weren't speaking during that time. So I went and sat in on Pastor Ryan, your senior pastor's breakout. And he said at the very beginning of the breakout, he said, you know, there's different times and ways the enemy will attack a local church. He said, I think that the strongest point of attack of the enemy right now, the one who comes to steal and kill and destroy, is an attack on marriages. It's an attack on marriages to destroy the good things that God has given. And so Jesus, this is our prayer. As we're together today, many who are gathered are married at different points along the way, different seasons of marriage, different kind of health in their marriage. And Lord, all of us here have people we love and care about who are in a marriage relationship. So we pray we will see your truth and hear your truth and understand what you have to say living God About good healthy Jesus honoring marriages speak to every heart here. We pray in your name Amen Well as I open the scriptures today and also as we look at eight different Sort of practical ways to strengthen a marriage and make it honoring to Jesus and to make it healthy I want to let you know that if you're married all eight of the ideas that we'll talk about are going to be things that apply to you if you're not married but you have relationships with people six of the eight things can apply really quickly so if you're not married pay attention to all this is a marriage thing this isn't for me listen to God's Word because it will really speak to any relationship you're in and ways to make that relationship better and healthier if you have your Bible through your Bible apps would you go to Matthew chapter 19, we're going to begin in verse 4 and listen to these words that address the topic of marriage. There's at least four really distinct spiritual truths here that we're going to touch on, but kind of look for those as we read the scriptures together.

Matthew chapter 19, beginning in verse 4, He answered them, Have you not read that He who created them from the beginning made them male and said therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife and the two shall become one flesh so they are no longer two but one flesh what therefore God has joined together let not man separate there's at least four distinct and critical theological truth that we should know and carry into our hearts and our lives. Number one, marriage is ordained by God. Marriage is God's idea, God's design from the beginning in the perfect garden. Marriage, a man and a woman brought together by God in a covenant relationship to be fruitful and multiply. That's God's plan from the beginning. Believe that. Our culture may say in the enemy who comes to steal, kill, and destroy every good thing including marriage, the enemy will come and say, this is not a big deal. And God says, oh yes it is, from the very beginning. Second truth from this passage. Marriage is about a man and a woman, about a male and a female. And those two things are not interchangeable. And I know every family, every person in this world is going to connect with people that they get to know who have a different view on this or are living different than this. It's true in my extended family, it's true in my friendship circle. I know people that would disagree that marriage is between a man and a woman. But I'm talking about what the Bible says, not what culture says. And as Christians, that's what we hold to. I'm going to give you two really good theological words. You may have heard them before, you may know what they mean quite easily, or you might go, I've never heard those words. But I'm going to give you two great theological words. They're both about interpreting the Bible. The first word is exegesis. Exegesis is the idea that we let the truth of God come out of the text, exit the text, and come to our hearts and change us. So when you do exegesis, you let the spirit-breathed word speak to your heart. We get words like exit and exhale. It's the same root word. It comes out of. When you exit, you go out. When you exhale, your breath goes out. When you do exegesis, you come to the scriptures and you say, God, what does your word say? What is your truth? As it comes out, we let it change us. If my life doesn't line up with what it says, what comes out of the biblical text, I change my life to adjust to the biblical text in every area. Eisegesis is a different way to interpret the Bible. In eisegesis, I take what I think, what I believe, what I've learned in my culture, and I impose that on the Bible and I make the Bible agree with me. That's a really bad idea because you and I are wrong a lot of the time and our culture is wrong most of the time. So if we're shaped by the world and we bring that and we try to impose it on the Bible, that's not a healthy thing. So we should be doing, every time we read the scriptures, we do exegesis, we let the Spirit of God speak to our hearts, the Word come alive, and if we don't align with what the Word of God says, we change ourselves to fit the Word of God. Does that make sense? And we don't come and say, well, that's what I believe and the Bible doesn't agree, so I'm going to kind of manipulate and change the Bible to fit what I think is right. And let me tell you this, if you're doing exegesis, there's nowhere in the Bible where you can find the Bible giving a picture that men can become women, women become men, or that men should marry men and women should marry women. There's nowhere in the Bible. If you're coming up with that, you're coming with your preconceived cultural notions and imposing on the Bible. And this is a spiritual battle going on right now in our worlds. We can be gracious, we can be kind, but we have to stand strong on God's Word. Third truth from this passage. Christian marriage brings a spiritual change. When two people who love Jesus are married in a covenantal relationship before the living God, before their friends and family, and they make this covenantal commitment to walk together, to love each other. The Bible says the two become one. Something changes. When Sherry and I got married 38 years ago, 38 years ago, she was an individual, I was an individual. We're still individuals, but something happened when we got married. God created something new when the two of us came together and became one, and we're married in the sight of God. And God is doing something that would have never happened in my life because I'm married to Sherry in the same in her life. And so there's a deep spiritual reality that happens when two people are married in the sight of God. And number four, Christian marriage is designed to bring a husband and wife, a man and a woman, incredible joy. And Christian marriage is designed to bring incredible struggle. See what marriage is designed to bring struggle? Well, have you ever noticed that men and women are somewhat different? And when God says, come together, become one, and hang in there, that's going to bring challenges. It simply does. That's part of the journey. And so I look at it this way. If you if you want to make pure gold, what do you need? Heat, heat, fire, heat, heat, heat. And it refines and makes pure gold heat. If you want to make a diamond, how do you make it? Pressure, pressure, pressure, pressure, pressure over heat and pressure. It is. Can I get an amen from anyone who's married? It's like, is that okay to say that? But that's God's design because God's making something new and again, if you want to find gold, if you want a diamond, it's heat, it's pressure. If you want to become more and more like Jesus, one of the ways God may do that is ask you to get married because it will create that heat, it will create that pressure, it will create that place of learning and growth that will be powerful. We talked about, Sharon and I did the first session yesterday in the conference, was all about how we're uniquely different as men and women, but that's a good gift, because it grows us and it does certain things. We did a whole 40 minutes on that, and that'll be on your website if you want. If you say, I wasn't able to be here, but I wanna watch that and talk about those differences between men and women and how God blesses that. You can pick that up and look at that. A friend of ours, Gary Thomas, and Sherry and I have been friends with Gary and his wife Lisa for about 30 years, he wrote a book called Sacred Marriage. And the subtitle of that book was this, I think it's profound. Here's the subtitle of the book. What if God designed marriage to make us holy more than to make us happy? What if God called us into a marriage relationship to make us more like Jesus, more than to make us happy should being married bring happiness. Absolutely But if you if you if you're not married yet, you say well, here's my dream I'm gonna meet the perfect person and they're gonna meet all my needs. It's gonna be incredible. I can be happy all the time Wake up. Okay, it's not a It ain't gonna be like that there's gonna be amazing moments there's gonna be tough times When our boys were one three and five and we're trying to have this relationship, it was challenging. And so understand that God is doing something in us through marriage. And the people that you know that are married, pray for them, pray for their marriage because there's a huge attack on marriages.

Another passage, Genesis chapter two, at the very beginning in paradise, before sin has come in. Genesis chapter two, verse 18, and then verses 21 to 24. Then the Lord God said, it is not good that man should be alone. I will make a helper fit for him." And then down to verse 21, so the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man. And while he slept, he took one of his ribs, closed up its place with flesh. And the rib that the Lord God had taken from the man, he made into a woman and brought her to the man. And then the man said, and this is so intimate, and then the man said, this is at last bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh. She shall be called woman because she was taken out of man. Therefore, a man shall leave his father and mother, hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. Here's the spiritual reality in terms of marriage. You don't complete me, you compliment me. Sherry didn't, when I married her, it was like, it's not the Jerry Maguire, you complete me, you make me whole, you make my life perfect. No, that's what God does. That's reserved for Jesus alone, all right? My wife compliments me. We work together as a team. She'll affirm me, I'll learn things. I am so much of a better person after being married to Sherry for 38 years because she's different than I am. I'm still fundamentally a direct, blunt person, but I'm much more gentle when I do it. That's 38 years in the furnace of this woman. Did I say that out loud? Okay, sorry. And you know what she just said? It's true. It's true. There's ways that God has made Sherry. She'll be more direct and more kind of express things that she's got to hold back on because she's been around me. God's doing things in us. We compliment each other, but listen closely. And those of you that aren't married yet, if you've watched too many Disney princess movies, if you've watched too many romance shows, you may be thinking, son, I'm gonna wait till I meet that perfect person. Doesn't exist. And then you say, well, when I finally meet that person, they're gonna make me whole, they're gonna meet my needs, they're gonna make me happy all the time. No, God will bring some joy in your life through them, but they're not the ones that make you whole. If you have two people that are made whole in Jesus, and God brings them together, you have a whole lot better chance of having a great Jesus-honoring marriage. And so understand that we don't complete each other when we get married, we complement each other.

So what I want to do is I want to share with you eight different ideas for building a God honoring marriage. And these are very, again, six of these you can apply to other relationships, but two of them are uniquely for marriage, but I wanna walk through these and then just give you a few thoughts. I talked to probably four or five different people after the first service. One came up and said, we're hanging by a thread, but all eight things, I'm gonna try to do those things in my marriage. And I had a chance to pray for him. I'm not sure where you're at, but keep your heart open. Number one, how do you build a God-honoring marriage? By infusing prayer into your relationship. You need to infuse prayer, bring prayer into your relationship. Some of you married couples just don't pray together. Well, we do a prayer at dinner time, but I mean, pray together. Talk to Jesus together. You wanna honor God in your marriage, begin to develop this and grow this. And I'll tell you a little secret. I'm gonna share with you just one idea about prayer, but this has changed my and Sherry's relationship. For years, for a couple decades, I was really trying hard to like once or twice a week sit and pray with my wife because, you know, I'm a Christian man and a pastor and you're supposed to. And so I was working really hard at it, right? And something happened about 10 years ago and honestly, we prayed together probably four, five, six, seven, eight times a day when this changed. Here's what changed. I stopped looking for the right time and the right place for us to sit down with no distractions and have a prayer time together. We do that sometimes still, but what we do now is when we're just talking and walking through life and something comes up It's a joy. We'll just pray and thank God We don't even often times say let's pray. We don't change our voice to a prayer voice We don't you know, we don't we just start praying So we'll be it will be like driving and talk about one of our sons. We have a son, Zach, who lives in Idaho with his wife. And he and Christine have a little boy, Kel, and another child on the way. But before Kel was born, they went through miscarriage, miscarriage, miscarriage, miscarriage, and infertility. It was a long, hard road. So when they finally got pregnant the fifth time, we prayed through that whole thing. Well, if she got pregnant again, you better believe we started praying for this one. And it would be a different story, right? So we'll be talking as we're driving and we'll be talking and all of a sudden we'll be talking about you know that part of our family and Sherry might just just start like without it's anxious Lord Jesus be with Zach and Christine be with that little baby in her womb be with that child hold that child close bring that child and then when we're done watch this sometimes you don't even say amen it's true so does it count yes it counts you're talking to God and when we talk to God like he's right there with us. You know why we do that? Because He's right there with us, right? And so then maybe later on we're driving and we're talking about some friends of ours that have this real joy in their life. And I might just say, Lord Jesus, thank you for... we were talking about Don and Beth Porter the other day, who is the pastor of the church, Corinth Church, after I was the pastor, and we'll just pray for them and for their family. And then we'll just kind of keep driving, keep walking. And so, so prayer just weaves in and out of our day. So here's my challenge for you married couples. In the next 24 to 48 hours, as soon as you can, if you're talking about something that's joyful or there's a need, just roll into prayer. Just do it. Start praying. Don't ask the other person. Just roll into it. I'm starting to do this. We've been doing that for about 10 years now. I've been, it's become so natural. The five people I prayed with this morning, they're up here and stuff with me, I didn't ask any of them, do you want to pray? I said, grab my hand. I just started praying.

Because Jesus is there, and he's part of our conversations, part of our lives. Try it. It'll feel weird and awkward at first, but as you begin to do it more and more. My friends now, when they're with me, we'll be talking and they'll just roll into prayer for me, without even asking, can we pray? Because Jesus is there. And you invite them into the relationship. That's my challenge. Bring prayer. Weave it into your marriage relationship. Number two, saturating your minds and your marriage with scripture. Saturate your minds, saturate your heart, your marriage. Let scripture weave into your marriage relationship. And so here's my encouragement. Again, just one encouragement. Connect with God's word every single day. Either open this book and read it or listen to the Bible. Some of you drive a lot for work. You talk radio and stuff. Just put that off for a while. Say, I'm just going to listen for 10 or 15 minutes. You might find out you end up listening for a half an hour. You go, I listened to nine chapters of the Bible. Wow, it's amazing. You say, does that count? To listen to the Bible instead of read it? Yes, it counts. Do you know that for most of history and a lot of places in the world right now, people didn't read, people don't read, they hear the Bible read to them. On your phone, you can put in like the YouVersion app, and you can pick the version you want, you pick the passage you want, and at the top right corner there's a little speaker, you hit it, and your phone reads the Bible to you. Pretty cool.


Every day, get the Scriptures in your mind, get the Scriptures in your heart, and then, married couples. The rest of you can do this with friends, but married couples, try every day when you're listening to the Word or reading the Word, to find one thing that really touches your heart and share that with your spouse sometime during the day. You know, honey, when I was driving around for work today, I'd listen to the Bible, actually listen to the whole Gospel of John, but one thing that really hit me was this passage, and just share that with your wife. Do you know, some of you men, your wife would just be so overjoyed to hear her husband say, as I was listening to her reading the word of God, this thing hit me and I just want to share it with you. If you learn something each day and share it with each other, that weaves the scripture into your relationship. It's a great way to kind of just bring Jesus into all you're doing. Number three, blessing each other privately and publicly. You want to build a strong marriage you bless your spouse Privately you're in your home with your spouse every day You look for one thing that you can say. I love that about you. I so appreciate that Some way that you can verbally bless them with your words. And if you say I don't have anything to say, it's a blessing Look closer Men, there are so many things about your wife that are beautiful and praiseworthy, but you've gotten frustrated about this or that and you're not seeing it. Look closer, study your wife, get to know her, and find that thing every day you can bless. Wives, do the same thing for your husband. There's power in blessing. And then, bless your spouse publicly. I want to be really clear. If you've gotten in the habit, women, when you're with your girlfriends, where one says, oh, my husband, he does this, oh, I can't stand this, oh, he's like this, and the next one, oh, yeah, my husband, too, he's like that, oh yeah, and it comes around to you. What do you do? Usually, yeah, yeah, my, my, yeah, yeah, yeah. Or, or, even worse yet, do that with your children. Where you vent about their dad or their mom to them. Don't do that. Find the good things and praise those things. Even when they're not there. And, and, and when you do, it will change the whole tone. So guys, you're with some of your friends, you're talking, so my wife did this, she's always and she's complaining about that, my wife is always listening, she doesn't appreciate it, and it comes around you say, and you say, you know, I'll be honest with you, we have challenges, but I'm crazy about my wife. I love her. And I don't really have anything bad to say about her. Well, you're not coming out with us anymore. So I guess you're gonna ruin the whole tone of the conversation, right? But just bless privately, bless publicly, and watch your words. Some of you this next week, you're gonna hear people talking negatively about their spouse, and you're gonna be so tempted to jump in. Don't do it. You think one of the things you really love about him or her, you know, about your wife or your husband, and share that thing. It'll change the tone. Maybe somebody else will say, well, you know, there's things that I appreciate about my wife too, about my husband too. But bless wherever you can. Number four, how do we build a God-honoring marriage? By serving each other joyfully, by finding a way to serve our spouse. Here's my challenge. Every day, find one little act of service you can do that they don't expect and they haven't asked you to do. Just identify something that you can do. I got like a master's class lesson in this in the middle 90s I was pastoring in West Michigan here and we took a group of men to the promise keepers event at the silver dome. This is a long time ago. And during this whole event there were all these different speakers. I don't remember a single speaker. I don't remember a single topic. I just remember one time where one of the guys at the end of his talk he said, man I want to ask you all to kneel. He said, all the men that are married, will you kneel right now? Well you're in the silver dome, the floors are gross but you just kneel down anyways, because you're the promise keeper thing. So I knelt down and we prayed. And then he said, just quiet your heart. And I want you to think about one way you can serve your wife when you get home. Just think about one way. So I prayed, everyone prayed, and we moved on from the conference. So we're driving home on the bus. And one of the guys says, hey, a couple of men, share what, you married men, share what you felt like you want to do to serve your wife. And so one of the guys says, well, my wife doesn't like unloading the dishwasher, so for the next week, I'm gonna unload the dishwasher every day. And all the guys are like, whoa, heroic, what a guy! You know, and it's kind of like, ugh, you know. Another guy, this is absolutely true, another guy goes, I'm gonna give my wife four coupons for a massage from me. And one of the guys goes, is that a gift for you or for her? You know, but anyways, it's like, and so, and I'm listening, kind of thinking, oh boy, I think I overshot. And somebody says, Pastor Kevin, what did you feel like God wanted you to do for Sherry? And I said, well, I felt like what he put on my heart was, make the bed every day for the rest of your life. And all the guys are like, oh man. But let me tell you something, I begin every day with an act of service. I begin every day making the bed. And that includes putting up, put the pillows in place that are the pillows you're allowed to use, and then the quilt up and doing it like Sherry would want, and doing really well, and then putting the back row of pillows that you can't use, and then the middle row of pillows that you can't use, and then the front little pillow that you can't use and it looks something like this. So here's what I learned. Here's what I learned. That act of service. Okay, Kevin, you're the guy that gets up and preaches the gospel.Yeah.

But you know what? I start every day and I'm the guy who arranges the pillows. That's who I am. And as I make the bed, I pray for my wife. And God uses that to put me in my proper place. My first call is to be a servant. And here's what I did the math this week. I've made the bed close to 10,000 times since then. Really? I was double, I double checked my math on this. And even when I'm away at a hotel or something, I make the bed, even though they don't want you to, because I just, I make it and I pray for my wife and I also think I think I fluffed and straightened over 88,000 pillows I did the math all right but I've grown to love her as I do that what's one thing every day just look for make it part of your rhythm of the day that you could do this not asked for that's not expected small or large an act of service. The next thing we want to share, number five, I've asked Sherry, if she would actually share, and I asked Ryan's permission to invite Sherry to share this, because she understands it so well and has really given me a lot of wisdom in this area. So here's the next area.

So we are now serving in California, but for 20 years we lived in this area when we were raising our boys. And one thing that we learned, as you all know, is that when you're in one season and you're nearing the end of a season, you start to think about what it means to prepare for the next. So in the fall, when you're nearing the end, you start thinking, what am I going to have to do to get ready for winter? Well, and we live in Byron Center, we have an above-the-ground pool, and so we would, you know, close the pool up and then we would rake really well because it was better in the spring if it if we did the raking really well we dispose of the leaves we put the patio furniture away and so those things that we did in anticipation of the next season really helped as we moved along in the calendar year well in the same way we can do that in our marriages and it's wise to prepare for the next season of marriage. We can do that as well. And so just like we have, you know, winter, spring, summer, and fall, we have predictable seasons in our marriages. We know there's the newlywed stage, and you know, some couples move into the young children stage and some couples, for whatever reasons, maybe they don't have children. That's a stage that they have to really think about and prepare for how will they engage in the next generation. Maybe it's through the church or with extended family members. But those families that have young children, they know that in that season the kids are more in the house and that has a certain way. But as you begin to prepare for the next season where the kids are in elementary school and at that level and moving on in middle school and high school ages, that is a separate season in of itself. And then you have what sort of is what the first empty nest stage when the kids go off to college, which soon turns into the empty nest stage. And then you have retirement. And for those people who are growing older together, they're looking at what this last season looks like in life. But so Kevin and I have gone already through quite a few stages in our marriage with almost 40 years of marriage and we found that there are some key questions that we consider as we're ending one season and we're moving in to another season of marriage. And we just wanted to share those five key questions that we have used in our marriage and they have served us well as well because transitional time can be where trouble can happen and so if you're a little more prepared ahead you have a better chance of living that God-honoring marriage and so here are the five questions to prepare you for the next season in marriage. Number one, dreams. What dreams does God have for the season for both of us? And so you talk about that. What is God gonna do in this next season? You approach the next season not thinking about your losses, you know, or your gains even, but you're thinking about what does God have for you in this season. So as we were anticipating that this season we're in and I wasn't pouring a lot of time into the boys' lives anymore, we determined ahead of time that I'd probably go back to work full-time, in which I did at the church. But that was thought of before we were in that season. Second key question, sacrifices. What sacrifices is God asking each of you to make as you anticipate the next season? And so just to apply it to our own life, as we anticipated the season of empty nesting and our boys all getting married, it was so good for me to think ahead. What does that mean? And what's the sacrifice that that's going to happen in my life and and and we go to the scriptures And as I read the scriptures the Bible is telling me that as I get to that season where my sons get married That what I'm supposed to do is allow him to cleave to his wife. He's to leave us Well, that was a sacrifice for me. I love my boys. I love hanging out with my boys. But that is not my place then. But it was in preparation of that time that I was better able to think about that and prepare myself and be led by the Spirit so that I am able to let go and they become a unit with their wife and I'm not getting in the way. God prepared me for that season with that question of what sacrifices is God asking me to make. Third, needs. What needs will each one of you have as you move into this next season? So you're thinking about that. Next question, time together. What do you need to do to make time together a priority? This is so important in every season of the marriage because when you have three small children, you have to work. You got to work at 15 minutes a day, right? But if you're anticipating that you can be better prepared in that time what happens in our season the empty nesting is You have all this time, but you have to be careful that you actually are still making the marriage a priority We've seen people at our stage of marriage. They haven't thought about what it means for their marriage, their time together to be a priority, even when they have all this time together. And then finally, the fifth area that we found it was important to address as we entered into the next season was just finances. And so, you know, in the beginning of our empty nesting stage, we had three boys in college at the same time, one in LA, one in Chicago, and one in Grand Rapids. Well, good thing we prepared for that ahead, because if we hadn't, there would be a lot of stress going on. And even now we have all our grandchildren in different states. And so we've thought ahead about how we're going to do a good job, even as the Lord has called us, at least at this season in our life, to be grandparents at a distance. And we've thought and talked and prayed about how to do that and how to do that in a God-honoring way. So just as we prepared for Michigan and and it went better when we in the in the winter seasons, so if you take this time during transitions to prepare and get ready for the next season, you can honor God more fully. So if you're married, what's your next season? You might want to consider these five areas and just begin, particularly if you're at the end, nearing the end of one season and just ready to transition into the next, spend some time talking about these five issues. Thank you, sweetie. Many of us, the way we go forward in our marriage is kind of like this. We just kind of wander ahead and just things happen and we just, what's next? But when you actually stop, say, what are we coming into? What are we stepping into? And think through it and pray through it and talk through it. It makes a world of differences. And like Sherry said before, we've seen through the years, the years that it's in those seams of transition when the relationship changes, but a couple hasn't thought it through, that seems to be the place the enemy comes in and attacks. And that's when most marriages tend to fall apart. The five people that came for me for prayer after the first service, three of them were talking about different seasons and how they're trying to figure out how to live into the next season. So be thinking and be praying about that. Continuing on, number six, how do you go to God-honoring marriage? Communicating consistently. And like Sherry said, in every season of marriage, as a married couple you have to talk. You have to block out some time for that. It could be five minutes, ten minutes, but you do it every single day, every single day. When our kids were little, it was when the kids went down at night. When our kids were out, we still had to make that time. And so I challenge you in your communication as a couple, do your talk. And when I say talk together, I mean the phone's off, the TV's off, all distractions are gone. If you have a watch that brings data in and you're constantly, it's my 15 minutes to talk with my wife and you're constantly, yeah, yeah, yeah, honey, I'm totally with you. Call me later.

You know, it's like, then you're not totally with them. And so disconnect and connect with your spouse. If you do that every day for a smaller, large amount of time, it will make a world of difference. Number seven, build a God-honoring marriage by making room for play and laughter. Have fun together. Sometimes it's like, well, we plan every year, and we go away as a family for a week at this time, and go to the cottage, and then we have fun. The rest of the life is not fun. It's like, no, regularly, consistently. Sherry and I actually play cribbage or backgammon every night. Probably have the last 365 nights, probably 350 of them. And we make time, and the game takes like 10 minutes. But we found something that we both enjoy together. Find something that's fun for both of you, and weave it into your day, weave it into your week. Keep having fun together. Well, we got little kids, we can't spend any time together. You better figure it out, because someday they're gonna be launched, and you're gonna be staring at each other and saying, we haven't talked for the last 25 years. That's one of those scenes where the enemy comes in and attacks. And so make time, if you're not doing that, make it a priority, work on that together. Every day, every day, every day. And then finally, to build a God honoring marriage, forgiving and asking for forgiveness. Understand that you have to ask for forgiveness of each other and forgive one another. You will have a lot of practice if you're married. No one's closer to you. No one knows you better. There's no one else you've opened your heart to so much that when you do something, it hurts deeply because you've opened your hearts up. And so to look at your wife and say, Honey, I really messed up. I'm really sorry. Will you forgive me? This, on, two days ago, when we were doing our final preparation for the marriage conference, we had like this, just kind of gotten this thing, this little argument thing, and we kind of stormed off, kind of frustrated each other. About 10 minutes later, I was getting ready to go find Sherry. She walked in and she says, I'm really sorry. I said, I'm really sorry. Isn't it funny that we're getting ready for a marriage conference, we're having this, you know, but it's like, but we stopped, we actually prayed, and we moved on. What takes us about 10 minutes now, used to take us like an hour and a half or a day, but God's teaching us to get back. So be ready, and when your spouse asks you to forgive, here's what the Bible says, forgive one another as God in Christ forgave you. How did God forgive you in Christ? He laid his life down, gave everything. And so Jesus, this is our prayer. We understand this vision of what marriage is supposed to be.

We understand this beautiful thing that you've created. But we pray right now that you would help us to take seriously the sacred call to build a God-honoring marriage. I pray that each person will take what the word, your word is said to them today and these these eight little areas I pray every couple will take at least a little step forward in each area they need to and it will grow them to love you more and to love each other more God we thank you for the blessing of marriage for those that are longing to be married someday will you prepare them and prepare whoever you have for them Lord to those who've lost a spouse will you comfort them and hold them close to those are in the middle of it all, being married, would you let them take the next step, knowing that you've said, let no one tear apart what you brought together. God, help us stand in your power. Lord, we pray for those that would love to be married, and it hasn't happened yet. Give them patience, hold them close. Let them know that someday you may give them someone that would compliment them, but not complete them. But help us honor this great institutional marriage But help us honor this great institutional marriage you've given to us we pray in Jesus name amen

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