May 25

7 Biblical Principles Not About Marriage That Will Transform Your Marriage

by hisks from www.sxc.hu

So often when we study the Bible regarding marriage we look to the classic texts.  Passages like Genesis 2, Matthew 19, and Ephesians 5. Those are great texts on the topic, but the whole Bible shares principles that are helpful for this most foundational of all relationships.  Here are seven Bible principles I have chosen from Scripture that will transform your marriage.

  1. Both partners are sinners  (Romans 3:23).  Marriage is tough because people are flawed.  Each person will make mistakes.  We struggle with insecurity, jealousy, guilt, greed, lust, and selfishness.  We are often deceived by sin and act impulsively giving into our fleshly nature.  We must give our spouse grace and understand they are not perfect; we certainly should understand our need for them to extend grace to us.
  2. Your thoughts shape your love (Prov. 23:7; Phil. 4:8; Ex. 20:17).  As a man thinks, so is he!  We must choose each day to think good about our spouse.  We should adopt a mindset of gratitude and joy.  A mindset that says I am the luckiest guy in the world to be married to her.  Consciously choosing to think well of your spouse and focus on their positive qualities greatly impacts your marital happiness and success.
  3. The golden rule still applies in marriage (Mat. 7:12).  Jesus’ basic relationship rule is to treat others as you would like to be treated.  This principle shapes our behavior and actions toward others.  But for some reason we often neglect to see how it also applies to our spouse.  When you are frustrated and upset with your spouse, challenge yourself to follow the golden rule!
  4. Bitterness will flavor everything in a marriage (Heb. 12:15-17).  The Hebrew writes says that we should see to it that no “root of bitterness springs up and causes trouble.”  Bitterness lies below the surface, like the root of the plant.  The outgrowth of it in our marriages involve harsh communication, anger, and a closed heart.  We must not let bitterness from past wrongs and hurts live within our marriage.  We must work out our problems and extend forgiveness.  If bitterness is allowed to take root it will influence all of our marriage till it eventually overtakes it.
  5. Greed destroys a union (Mat. 23:25; 2 Peter 2:3; 14; Mat. 6:24).  Greed harms a marriage because it causes money to be prioritized over the spouse.  When one or both partners focus on material gain and profit, it strains the relationship.  It regularly creates excessive debt and requires over-working which hinder the closeness of the marriage.  Many couples have ruined their marriage because they were greedy!
  6. Look up and out (John 4:34-35).  Jesus, in speaking about a spiritual harvest, encourages his disciples to lift up their eyes and see that the fields are white unto harvest.  While we need to focus on our marriage, we also need to lift up our eyes to the needs of others.    When a couple chooses to not be wrapped up in their own problems, but intentionally work together to serve others, they often draw closer together.  They are able to put their individual lights for Christ together and shine brighter!
  7. Do all for the glory of God (1 Cor. 10:31: John 17:1-4).  Our marriages are about the glory of God. Satan desires to destroy every marriage, because it hinders the glory of God. Spouses must realize that more is at stake with their marriage than their personal happiness.  Quite literally the glory of God in the world is at stake.  We must deny ourselves and our own glory, yielding to God’s greater purpose and glory through our marriage.

The Bible contains many more Biblical principles that can transform our marriages!

Permanent link to this article: http://www.joshketchum.com/7-biblical-principles-not-about-marriage-that-will-transform-your-marriage/

May 23

Considering Past, Present, and Future Leaders!

by Svilen Millev at freeimages.com

The magnificent book of Hebrews is drawing to a close.  But before the writer puts down his pen, he offers three instructions for  Christians and their leaders.  In studying these instructions, I noticed that you can make application for three time stages.  Please consider your relationship to each of these leaders you have had in your Christian walk.

  1. Past Leaders “Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith” (v. 7).  The church likely had past leaders who had become martyrs for the faith.  They had good leaders who had departed for eternity.  He was reminding them not to forget their example.  Their influence still carries own despite their death.  They should consider their teaching of the Word of God and be encouraged by the outcome of their faith.  They won the race and made a difference in this world through their faith.  We must not forget our leaders!  We must imitate!  Each of us should pause and reflect upon past leaders we have had that have blessed our lives.
  2. Present Leaders“Obey your leaders and submit to them for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account.  Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you” (v. 17).  Christians are instructed to obey and submit to their leaders.  We should realize the blessing in having shepherds who watch out for our souls.  Our attitude toward present leaders should be to constantly compare them to past leaders, nor to criticize their every decision, but to obey and submit to them.
  3. Future Leaders“Greet all your leaders and all the saints” (v. 24).  While maybe only a simple salutation, this instruction to greet leaders can be applied toward future leaders.  The concept of greeting involves being welcoming, warm, and friendly to new leaders.  A Christian should realize that they will have leadership turnover through their lifetime.  They shouldn’t be prejudice to new leaders because they are young, new, or different.  We should greet them in the Lord.  We should honor them for their role and position they assume.  When a church gets a new preacher, a new elder, or new daacon the members should welcome them and greet them positively.  The new leader will need acceptance and encouragement as he assumes the awesome task.

Let me encourage you to consider your leaders–Past, Present, and Future.  Remember the past ones, obey the present ones, and greet the future ones with love.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.joshketchum.com/consider-past-present-and-future-leaders/

May 04

Your Child is Special, But Not for the Reasons You Think!

There is an unspoken rivalry existing in our world today.  None of us want to admit it, but we all think our kid is the best.  Ask our classroom teachers and our coaches.  They run into parents weekly that have a distorted view of reality when it comes to their “special” child.  Secretly we all believe our children are the best, and truthfully, better than others.  We look for evidence to justify our beliefs.  So, we focus on their awards, accomplishments, and unique qualities.

But we need to remember, from the perspective of God, they are NOT special because . . .

  • They are smarter than others and win academic awards.
  • They are stronger than others and score more goals.
  • They are prettier than others and have better clothes.
  • They come from a wealthy established family in town.
  • They are your child!

In truth, they are special and unique because . . . .

  • God sees them as special.  God created every child that exists.  Each child is made in the image of God and crowned with glory and honor (Gen. 1:26-27; Psalm 8:5).  God loves children and bestows significance upon their protection and nurturing in his word.  When you consider the diversity of children across our community, you realize that each one is different, but special.  God created them all after his image.  This makes them special!
  • Jesus treated children as special.  In Mark 10, a story is told about children coming to Jesus, and the disciples trying to stop them from getting to Jesus.  Jesus stopped his disciples and encouraged the children to come to him.  The Bible says, “he took them in his arms and blessed them, laying his hands on them” (v. 16).  Jesus valued children and demonstrated that love for children, and all humanity, as he died for them on the cross (John 3:16).
  • They have a soul.  An eternal spirit or soul is what makes every human different and special.  Each child will live in eternity forever and ever in one of two places;  heaven or hell.  Jesus warned us about causing little ones to sin (Mat. 18:5-6).   We must take our training of children seriously, because their soul is at stake.
  • They have a divine purpose.  The psalmist describes children as “arrows in the hand of a warrior” (Psalm 127:4).  Paul said that we are his “workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works” (Eph. 2:10).  Children are endowed with gifts and talents, which they have a responsibility of using for the glory of God.  God has a great purpose and mission for their life.

We need to be reminded of why our children are special, so we will not allow the world to define it.  If we focus on what they do and accomplish as reasons why they are special, then we set them up for disappointment when they fail.  Their worth should not come from their deeds, but from their intrinsic value bestowed upon them by God!

Permanent link to this article: http://www.joshketchum.com/your-child-is-special-but-not-for-the-reasons-you-think/

May 02

Faith is Trusting in the Unseen Promises of God!

What is faith?  We hear the term faith used so very much today.  From discussions about different types of faith to ones’ personal faith.  The term certainly has different meanings depending upon context and usage.  But a basic understanding of the term is needed to cut through the chaos.  Recently, I have been studying the book of Hebrews, which teaches us much about faith.  The Hebrew Christians are considering giving up their faith in Jesus and returning to the Jewish system of faith.  The writer of Hebrews extols how Jesus is far better than the old Jewish system.  He encourages these struggling saints to endure!  They are not to shrink back from following Christ, but rather are to “have faith and preserve their souls” (Heb. 10:39).

The writer then launches into a long chapter with many illustrations from past heroes of the faith (ch. 11).  This chapter is sometimes called the “Hall of Fame” of Scripture.  But God is not trying to pick out the greatest performers through the years to grant them an honor by being enshrined in a “Hall of Fame.”  Rather, God is trying to teach us what it means to live by faith.  His basic message is that faith means trusting in the unseen promises of God.  He has spoken throughout the epistle about the promises of God.  God’s promises are certain and dependable.  They are an anchor of our soul that help us to persevere.  These Hall of Fame members trusted in God’s promises, though they were unseen.  They were yet future and not in reality yet, but they lived and acted as if they were certain.

For example, Noah was warned by God about the flood, which involved future unseen events, but he responded with reverent fear constructing an ark for the saving of his household (v. 7).  Abraham left his home and followed the leading of God to an unknown land and trusted God would make from his offspring a great nation (v. 8-19).  Moses endured the afflictions of Egypt by keeping his eyes on Him who is invisible (v. 27).  The writer continues to discuss other heroes of faith.  But the point is the same; faith means trusting in the unseen promises of God.

This is the kind of faith God wants us to have.  A faith that is assured of the truth of his promises and lives everyday based upon those promises, though they are unseen.  This is a faith that will endure or allow us to “run the race that is set before us.” (Heb. 12:1-2).  Do you live trusting in the unseen promises of God?

Permanent link to this article: http://www.joshketchum.com/faith-is-trusting-in-the-unseen-promises-of-god/

Apr 30

10 Simple Ways to Show Your Wife You Choose Her!

from Freeimages.com – Paris by Luca de Luca

This is a post for all you guys out there!  I know most of you rarely read a blog post.  But I am glad you are reading this, even if you are just doing it because she told you too!

It is hard to stay focused on being a husband!  We are selfish with all of our pursuits, responsibilities, and interests.  We neglect to show our wife the care and love she deserves.  We still need to pursue her and let her know everyday that we choose her.

Here are some ways you can show her you choose her.

  1. Pick her up some $5 flowers at Wal-Mart.  You waist $5 all the time on some food for yourself.  So stop by and pick her up some flowers just to let her know how much you love her.  They will last a long time and will not take much of your time to purchase.
  2. Offer to blow dry her hair the next time she takes a night shower.  I am not talking about styling her hair.  I am talking about drying it so she doesn’t have to go to bed with wet hair.  Let her relax with a book or check Facebook while you dry it.
  3. Drop by Happy Hour at Sonic and get her favorite drink and take it to her.  If you can’t make the happy hour rate, then fork out a little more dough and surprise her.
  4. Vacuum out her vehicle.  If you have kids, the inside likely stays filthy, you may even have french fries still in there from 2016.
  5. Cook her supper, or for you non-cookers out there, text her about 4:00 and say I am picking up supper for us tonight.  
  6. Massage her shoulders, or whatever else is hurting her!  How many times do you hear about her neck hurting or her sore feet, but you do nothing about it?  Show her you care, by relieving some of her pain!
  7. Leave her a note she can find.  Tell her how much you love her and how thankful you are for her.
  8. It is spring, and she is probably wanting to work in the flowers or plant a garden.  Volunteer to help her and don’t be complaining the whole time about how she wants to do it.
  9. Hold her hand!  When was the last time you reached over while you were riding somewhere and held her soft hand!  Guarantee you she will be thrilled when you do this simple act.
  10. Say a prayer for her beseeching God’s protection, guidance, and love.  One of our jobs as Christian men should be to fight for our wives and family in prayer against spiritual forces of darkness.  Pray for her!

You don’t have to do all these things this week, or you may be Super Husband and knock them all out of the park.  You may have a way better list of things you could do to show your wife you choose her!  Remember love is demonstrated through the small acts we do everyday.  Now go give some love!  You know it will come back to you and bless your marriage!

Permanent link to this article: http://www.joshketchum.com/10-simple-ways-to-show-your-wife-you-choose-her/

Apr 28

500 Posts!!!

I just realized that the last post, How About a Ladies’ Night? was my 500th post.

Pretty crazy that I have written 500 posts!  I started in November of 2012.  I have slowed down some over recent months, but I still enjoy blogging and plan on continuing to use it as a medium to encourage Christians, share insights on faith and life, and spread the gospel.  My goal is still to “Seek the Reign of Jesus in our lives.”

Thanks for reading, subscribing, and encouraging me in this work.

To 500 more!  I think I can do it, if I can just get one more!

 

Permanent link to this article: http://www.joshketchum.com/500-posts/

Apr 28

How About a Ladies’ Night?

I am proud of our ladies at Seven Oaks.  This past Friday they held their 10th annual Ladies’ Night.  Many churches have ladies’ days, which are very effective and have their place in the church.  But our ladies wanted to do something different ten years back.  So they started a ladies’ night.

Ladies love to get dressed up and go out for a night out!  Most women are busy with kids, grand-kids, house chores, and work.  The Ladies’ Night gives them a special night to come together, where they still have their Saturdays free for other obligations.  It is a night about ladies coming together for fellowship and to be treated to a special evening.

The auditorium transformed to a banquet hall.

Our ladies decorate the tables, provide a great meal with scrumptious desserts.  Our young ladies from the church serve the meal.  Men from the church help serve in the kitchen.  Then they enjoy an after dinner speaker.  We have had various speakers over the years.  This year they did a unique theme called, “Bloom Where You are Planted.”  With this theme they asked twelve different girls and ladies from our church in various stages of life to speak about how they can serve God at their current age.  It was reported to be the best ladies’ night yet!  You can listen to the audio at this link.  Many of the speakers had never spoken or taught ladies class in a church setting.  The night has served as a great outreach for our church family. We regularly have numerous area congregations represented and lots of visitors form the community.  Maybe your church may want to have a ladies’ night!

All the Speakers This Year

Amanda and Brooke – Both did a     wonderful job with their duties!!

Some of our young ladies serving.

 

Permanent link to this article: http://www.joshketchum.com/how-about-a-ladies-night/

Apr 25

Don’t Let Satan Slow You Down!

by Christophe Libert at www.freeimages.com – Runners meeting

Sometimes, us as Christians, get too comfortable with sin being a part of our lives.  We allow it to hang around, rationalizing that the key is just not going fully into a life of sin.  We develop a thought in our minds  that the error is just falling away from the Lord and embracing sin.

What we may not consider is the effect sin is having upon our example for Christ.  Consider Hebrews 12:1-2:

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.”

The writer is encouraging Christians to run the race of faith with endurance.  Playing off of his race analogy he suggests that Christians should “lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely.”  He is warning us that sin can slow down our progress!  Yes, sin can cause us to quit the race and be disqualified, but we must realize it can also hinder us from being all we can be for Jesus! 

We must not let sin cling to us and weigh us down.  It harms our witness and discourages our service.  Christ has a great purpose and plan for our lives.  It is a shame when we let sin perpetually keep us from our full potential.  Satan may not have you soul, but he accomplishes at least part of his mission,  when he slows you down and mars the image of Christ within your life.  Let’s cast the sin off and run without restraint!

Permanent link to this article: http://www.joshketchum.com/dont-let-satan-slow-you-down/

Apr 20

Caleb Keeps Some Great Time While Leading His Song

You will have to ignore my loud voice at the start of this song, but this is so adorable of Caleb leading his song at Lads to Leaders this last weekend.  He has watched his brothers and sister move their arms at home and wants to be like them!

 

Permanent link to this article: http://www.joshketchum.com/caleb-keeps-some-great-time-while-leading-his-song/

Apr 18

Is he good or bad?

Moving Forwards 5 by svilen at free images.com

Amanda is teaching the kids about the Civil Rights movement and segregation in the South.  They are reading a historical fiction children’s book about Birmingham in 1963.  To accompany this study we watched a documentary yesterday made in 1997 called “4 Little Girls” about the 16th Street Baptist church of Birmingham bombing that killed four little girls.  As we were watching the documentary, Brooke and Landon, kept asking whether individuals in the show were good or bad?  In typical movies, especially children shows, the characters are easily distinguished as good or bad.  You have the hero and the villain.

Finally, I paused the movie, and with the help of Amanda, tried to explain that history and people can’t always be put into a category of good or bad.  That our history is not as clean and simple as fiction stories.  That the people did some bad things, but they also did some good things.

I get frustrated with our oversimplification of historical figures.  I am listening to a book now on Lee and Grant.  Recent history is wanting to make Lee and other Confederate leaders bad.  But history isn’t that simple.  We have to understand there is a bit of good and bad in all of us!

In fact, as I have been teaching the ladies’ class Hebrews 11 and studying these great characters of faith, i told them the story of us watching our documentary too.  You see Hebrews 11 contains Biblical heroes being praised for their faith, but many of them listed had noticeable flaws.  They weren’t all good, even though they made the good list!  In fact, the writer, who was writing for the purpose of encouraging Christians to persevere in the faith, focuses solely on the faithful acts of the saints he mentions.  He doesn’t talk about Abraham’s half-truths, Jacob’s treachery, Moses’ murder of the Egyptian, or Samson’s foolishness.  He talks about their faith!

This should give us hope.  We are not perfect either.  We are not all good, and we certainly are not all bad!  But being a Christian should mean living a life of faith.  Faith that perseveres and trusts in the promises. Faith that is accepted by the grace of God despite our flaws, failures, and down-right badness!  Let’s remember that God expects our faithfulness, not perfection; and let’s be merciful to others realizing they are not all bad either, just because they have some flaws!  

Permanent link to this article: http://www.joshketchum.com/is-he-good-or-bad/

Older posts «