3 Keys To A Happy Marriage

(Or, any relationship.)

JOHN 13:17 KJV 17 If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them.

  1. Be thankful.

It all starts with attitude. If you don’t stay on the positive side, failure is inevitable. You cannot have a happy marriage without happy people. Have you noticed that unthankful people are never happy?

  1. Express your appreciation.

Let your spouse know by word and deed that you appreciate them. Be specific and lavish in your praise and thanks. Nothing encourages people like encouragement.

People love people who love them. If you want your spouse to love you, the best thing you can do is love them, and let them know it.

  1. Aim to please.

If you make them happy, you will be happy. True happiness is never found in trying to please ourselves. Fulfillment comes from accomplishment, and the greatest accomplishment is helping someone else in their life.

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Jesus Rose From Death

MATTHEW 28:5-6 NKJ 5 But the angel answered and said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. 6 “He is not here; for He is risen, as He said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay.

Jesus Christ’s resurrection is either the supreme fact in history or a gigantic hoax. If Christ’s resurrection is true — we ignore its implications at our own peril. If not, then Christianity is the biggest fraud in the history of the world.

Christ’s resurrection forces the question of Christianity’s validity from being merely a philosophical issue to being a historical one.

The resurrection of Jesus Christ is a fact verifiable from history. No one can challenge Christ’s resurrection — if they take an honest look at the evidence.

Only those who never study the evidence — or who refuse to listen to its testimony — could deny the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Many learned men have tried to disprove Christ’s resurrection — only to become believers instead!

Some people refuse to examine the evidence, because they do not want to believe in Jesus Christ and submit to Him as Lord.

The facts remain. Confucius’ tomb, Buddha’s tomb, Mohammed’s tomb, and Lenin’s tomb are all occupied.

But Jesus Christ’s tomb is EMPTY!

REVELATION 1:18 NKJ 18 “I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen. And I have the keys of Hades and of Death.”

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God Enjoys Happy Children

1 CHRONICLES 16:31 NET 31 Let the heavens rejoice, and the earth be happy! Let the nations say, ‘The LORD reigns!’

There is plenty to be unhappy about on earth. But we can always be happy about the Lord and what He has done for us. We don’t have to continually focus on the bad things happening around us.

When we rejoice in the Lord it makes us feel better, and the Lord enjoys it, also.

ZEPHANIAH 3:17 NLT 17 For the LORD your God is living among you. He is a mighty savior. He will take delight in you with gladness. With his love, he will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.”

God rejoices over you! He loves you more than you realize!

God created you to live with positive emotions. He is happy and He wants you to be happy, too.

DEUTERONOMY 12:7 NLT 7 There you and your families will feast in the presence of the LORD your God, and you will rejoice in all you have accomplished because the LORD your God has blessed you.

Under the Old Covenant God set aside times each year for His people to gather and rejoice in His goodness. We should learn from this that it is good to celebrate God’s goodness.

ISAIAH 65:18 NLT 18 Be glad; rejoice forever in my creation! And look! I will create Jerusalem as a place of happiness. Her people will be a source of joy.

God’s creation should cause us to delight in our wonderful Father God and His amazing ability, creativity, and love.

The Lord enjoys seeing His children grow up to become like Him. God likes us to be joyful and happy — just like He is. It is a choice we can make!

JOEL 2:21 NLT 21 Don’t be afraid, my people. Be glad now and rejoice, for the LORD has done great things.

Life is not always easy and perfect. The natural flow on earth is not happiness. But by faith we can look past our temporary circumstances to our eternal God. We can choose to rejoice and be happy regardless of our circumstances. This is part of God’s instruction that will enable us to walk in victory and overcome.

PHILIPPIANS 4:4 NLT 4 Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again — rejoice!

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A Relationship With God

HOSEA 2:19-20 NLT 19 I will make you my wife forever, showing you righteousness and justice, unfailing love and compassion. 20 I will be faithful to you and make you mine, and you will finally know me as the LORD.

Sometimes God illustrates His relationship with His people by using the human relationship of marriage, the most intimate relationship between human adults.

By using this illustration the Lord is trying to help us understand His feelings: His deep love toward His people, and the pain caused by their unfaithfulness and lack of love for Him.

EPHESIANS 5:31-32 NLT 31 As the Scriptures say, “A man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one.” 32 This is a great mystery, but it is an illustration of the way Christ and the church are one.

Whenever I have been tempted to complain about how my wife was treating me, the Lord has gently shown me how I was also treating Him in the same way. For example, if I thought she was not giving me enough attention, I realized I had been treating the Lord the same way. (I have a wonderful wife, but our relationship has had to grow just like every relationship.)

What a way the Lord has of illustrating things and teaching us!

God has feelings, just like you do. God is a Person. He does not enjoy being ignored, neglected, or disrespected any more than you do. Fortunately for us, God is not controlled by His feelings, but always acts in line with His Word!

God’s plan is not to force us to do His will. His objective is for us to freely desire to do His will. God gets no pleasure from forcing us to love Him or do His will.

God already made the first move and now waits for us to reciprocate. He loved us first and demonstrated it at Calvary.

Of course the devil, the father of lies, tries his best to deceive us into thinking God doesn’t care and doesn’t deserve our love. What a lie!

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Offering Time

2 CORINTHIANS 9:7 NIV 7 Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.

Most people regard offering time as a necessary evil, at best.

As usual, our ideas are much different than what the Word of God teaches.

God does not encourage giving just to meet the needs of His work on earth. No, God does it for our good, so that we can be blessed. (Also, to combat selfishness.)

Every offering time is an opportunity for us to worship God and express our love to Him in a tangible way. But God, being so good, has designed it so that when we do give to Him it also functions like planting a seed, which will produce a harvest of blessing in our life.

God designed His creation to work in such a way that money and blessing will come back to us in even greater measure than we give out.

2 CORINTHIANS 9:6,8 NIV 6 Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. 8 And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.

One way the devil tries to suppress the spread of the Gospel is by making people believe that messages like this are just to get money, as if preachers dreamed up the Bible for their own benefit. No, God planned all this, and He is smart enough to know that without adequate funding, those whom He has called to teach and equip His people will be held back, unable to be as effective as they should be.

When we give to those proclaiming the Word of God on earth, God considers it giving to Him, and a seed sown.

A farmer does not hate planting his crops. Farmers don’t whine about having to put their seed in the ground. No, they look forward with joy to the time of harvest they know is coming, because they understand how seeds work.

If we believe God’s Word, then we know our giving works exactly as the seed the farmer plants in the ground.

You don’t have to believe this (or anything God teaches us in His Word). But surely you can understand that refusing to believe God’s Word is NOT a way to please Him.

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Recognize Your Enemy

1 PETER 5:8-9a NLT 8 Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. 9 Stand firm against him, and be strong in your faith.

The devil is your enemy. His forces are the ones causing you trouble. (And their main target is your faith.)

God is not your enemy! God is for you. He is on your side.

People are not your enemies. They sometimes act like enemies — but they are not. They are only relatives in darkness who are believing lies and being influenced by the devil.

EPHESIANS 6:11-12 NLT 11 Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. 12 For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.

Although Jesus completely defeated the devil and gave us authority over him, the devil is still free to tell his lies and try to deceive people.

The devil is a liar and a deceiver (John 8:44, 2 Corinthians 11:14, Revelation 12:9). He robs people by getting them to believe lies. He attacks with thoughts of doubt and fear. We must resist those thoughts and refuse to speak them.

Be aware also that the devil may even try to misuse Scripture to deceive you (Matthew 4:5-7). So we cannot take Scripture out of context and try to make it say something which it does not really say, and which does not reflect God’s nature.

2 CORINTHIANS 10:4 NLT 4 We use God’s mighty weapons, not worldly weapons, to knock down the strongholds of human reasoning and to destroy false arguments.

We are involved in a fight of faith (1 Timothy 6:12), so we may have to struggle to hold on to faith in God’s Word (Hebrews 4:14, 10:23), and not give in to fear and doubt.

We receive God’s provision by faith so we must believe what God says. We must not allow the devil to rob us through doubt and unbelief.

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How Does God Bless Us?

Does God bless us by giving us everything we think we should have, even if it’s bad for us?

Does God bless us by always letting us have our way — whether it’s the best way for us, or not?

Does God bless us by letting us get away with self-destructive behavior?

Does God bless us by letting us mistreat other people with impunity?

Does God bless us by giving us more responsibility, more money, or more fame, than we can handle?

Does God bless us by allowing us to never face the consequences of our actions?

Does God bless us by never allowing us to struggle or overcome difficulty?

If God blessed us in any of those ways, He would not be a good Father.

God blesses us by changing us into what we should be. He makes us to BE a blessing. That puts us into God’s category, where we can enjoy fellowship with Him — which is the greatest blessing.

GENESIS 12:2 NIV 2 “I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing.

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A Christian Is Not Cursed Because Of Not Tithing

Tithe means tenth. So tithing is giving ten percent to God.

In Malachi 3:9 God told Israel they were under a curse. It was because of their disobedience. Their covenant with God required them to obey the Law of God, which included tithing, in order to enjoy God’s blessings and be free from the curse.

But we live today under a New Covenant which does not have the same requirements. Our covenant is a better covenant established on better promises (Hebrews 8:6).

The New Covenant is between God and Jesus of Nazareth, so it does not depend on the obedience of anyone else. We are included in this wonderful covenant only by receiving Jesus and thus being in union with Him. The Bible refers to this as being “in Christ.”

If you are “in Christ,” you get credit for all Jesus did. Now the blessings Jesus deserved belong to you. And Jesus already bore the curse you deserved.

GALATIANS 3:13 NKJ 13 Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree “),

Until you receive Jesus Christ you may be under a curse. And, even as a Christian, you may allow curses to come upon you through fear or your own negative words.

But you are NOT cursed because you don’t pay ten percent of your earnings to God, or to His representatives. You are also not cursed because of your failure to be circumcised, keep the Sabbath, eat kosher, or keep any other Old Covenant Law.

Some preachers do not yet realize that Malachi was directed only to people under the Old Covenant. It certainly took me a long time to understand.

When Jesus shed His Blood — things drastically changed. A New Covenant was established with God.

We must rightly divide the Word of Truth (2 Timothy 2:15) to prevent confusion in our thinking.

Right standing with God under the New Covenant can only be received as a gift (Romans 5:17). We receive this wonderful gift when we receive Jesus.

You are blessed and in good standing with God because of what Jesus did for you on the cross of Calvary — not because of what you do.

Giving money to God is not required in order to be loved, accepted, and blessed by God. Jesus paid the total price for us to be in good standing with God.

(But if you don’t desire to give, I would question whether you are truly born again. Having the love of God inside you causes you to be a giver, just as God is. So a real Christian should naturally desire to give.)

Giving is part of God’s plan for His family. In fact, it is part of our nature as His children to be givers. So we don’t need the fear of being cursed to motivate us to give.

Using fear to get people to give is not God’s way. God loves a cheerful giver according to 2 Corinthians 9:7. Fear cannot motivate anyone to give cheerfully!

Some may say “God won’t curse you for not tithing, but if you don’t tithe you won’t be blessed. And without being blessed, you will continue to stay under the curse.”

No, this is not the truth. Jesus took the curse you deserved and bore it away. When you receive Jesus you become an heir of God and a joint heir with Jesus (John 1:12, Romans 8:17). “In Christ” you have already been given all the blessings Heaven has to offer (Ephesians 1:3, Romans 8:32).

Jesus became poor to make you rich (2 Corinthians 8:9). Jesus took care of the curse. Jesus provided the blessing. It happens in your life because you believe it, not because of your giving — or any other good works on your part.

Testimonies of people who seem to have been blessed for tithing or cursed for not tithing are not giving us the whole picture. The vital heart of the matter was what they believed. If they believed they would be blessed or cursed, and talked and acted accordingly, that largely explains the result they got.

Voluntarily giving to support the work of God as an act of love, honor, and worship is the New Covenant ideal.

There is nothing wrong with giving ten percent of your income to support the spread of the Good News of Jesus Christ. But it is wrong to do it because of wrong motives, such as fear.

Tithing is also wrong if you are doing it in an effort to gain good standing with God. That is a work of the Law, and it cannot produce right standing with God (Romans 3:28, Galatians 2:16, Galatians 3:10).

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Eternal Life

ROMANS 6:23 NKJ 23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Eternal life, or everlasting life, is more than living forever. Eternal life is the life of God, the Eternal One.

The Greek word “aionios” is usually translated as eternal or everlasting in the New Testament. (From this word we get our English word “eon.”)

“Zoe” is one of several Greek words that are translated life. According to Vine’s Dictionary, zoe means “life as a principle, life in the absolute sense, life as God has it. . . . Eternal life is the present actual possession of the believer because of his relationship with Christ. . . .”

A note in the Translator’s New Testament says, “In the New Testament eternal life is that kind of life which is given to all true believers in Christ. The word `eternal’ draws attention to the quality of that life, not to its duration in a temporal sense. Thus eternal life can be experienced by believers even while subject to the temporal conditions of earthly life. Translators should be careful to avoid expressions which mean no more than a timeless continuation of life after death.”

More than three times as many scriptures refer to eternal life as a present possession, than as a future possession.

JOHN 5:24 NKJ 24 “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life.

There is only one way to get eternal life. When a person is born again by receiving Jesus Christ, eternal life is imparted to that person’s spirit — making them new inwardly.

1 JOHN 3:14-15 NKJ 14 We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love his brother abides in death. 15 Whoever hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.

From this passage, we see that eternal life is a present-tense possession which changes the nature of a person: turning them into someone who cares for others. Eternal life enables people to overcome selfishness.

Just as something with fish life in it could do what a fish does, so someone with God’s life in them can do what God does — which is walk in love.

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Think You Know Something?

1 CORINTHIANS 8:2 NIV 2 The man who thinks he knows something does not yet know as he ought to know.

1 CORINTHIANS 8:2 LB 2 If anyone thinks he knows all the answers, he is just showing his ignorance.

A problem we have is that we don’t know what we don’t know.

(Certainly, we can trust in God’s Word (the Bible) and know it is truth — as long as we are accurately reading it.)

Just like you, I evaluate things based on what I think I know. I evaluate myself. I evaluate others.

But are my evaluations correct? Do I know as much as I think I do? Am I using the right criteria? Do I really see the whole picture as God does? Am I really qualified?

What should we do? We have to make choices everyday — which implies making judgments in the sense of making evaluations. We have to proceed based on the best information we have at the time.

But just remember, not one of us knows everything. So walk humbly before God and mankind. Those you think are wrong today, you may realize tomorrow are actually right.

If we are wise, we will live in the constant realization that we need God’s wisdom and guidance in all we do. God is not too busy for you to talk with Him about every decision you face — no matter how small it is.

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