July 9

Today's Bible Reading
     Joshua 11
     Psalms 144
     Jeremiah 5
     Matthew 19
''...for this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh." (Matthew 19:5)
            Second only to your commitment to the Lord is your commitment to your marriage partner. Our memory verse is used four times in the Bible to emphasize the importance of these sacred vows of marriage. The Scriptures are filled with the purposes for marriage. This relationship of husband and wife is the most beautiful picture of our relationship with the Bridegroom, the Lord Jesus. Marriage is very clearly set forth as permanent, because of the partnership created when two people make a promise not only to one another but to God. This wonderful relationship brings pleasure, provision, andprotection. One of the great purposes behind the importance of marriage is procreation. We cannot overemphasize the sacredness of this commitment. Our culture needs to understand that with same sex marriage, there can be no procreation.
            ''For the Lord God of Israel says that He hates divorce." (Malachi 2:16) If you are a married person, now would be an appropriate moment for you to renew your vows to God and the cherished partner He has placed in your life. There are no two marriages that are exactly alike. To try to compare the incomparable is a major error. Many couples see a marriage that they think is ideal without knowing all the facts. This is discouraging and magnifies your own inabilities, filling you with despair. You fear you can never meet the standards.
            Just as there are no perfect marriages, there are no standard marriages. The Word of God tells us, ‘‘Those that compare themselves among themselves are not wise." (II Corinthians 10:12) Remember that your marriage is unique, therefore incomparable. You cannot compare a Volkswagenwith a Jaguar, even though both of them are automobiles. You can never know the actual state of someone else's marriage. There are things you cannot see. You can know, however, that the seeds of marital success are already built into your marriage. You must water them and fertilize them.
            Be also aware that your partner is unique. You don't need a new partner. Your partner is the one God has given you, and the one you have vowed to love and cherish. This is the partner with whom you can find happiness. Don't make the mistake of comparing your partner with an unknown entity.
            Love is not something you think or talk about - love is something you do. You will not build a great marriage on romance and moonlight. You will build it on commitment. This takes the mystery and the myth out of it, the cheap sentimentality and irrationality. Love is an art that is learned and a discipline that is practiced.
            The European nation of Slovakianeeds a new sense of direction after the years of foreign rule, communist economics, and the separation from the CzechRepublic. This is a critical time for this nation as they decide to follow a direction of spiritual values or to go the way of materialism and become more politically linked with the European Union. Slovakiahas a strong Christian history and 83% of the people claim to be Christian believers. The majority is Catholic. Pray that God will raise up an army of fervent and radical believers in this European country that will change their culture for the glory of God.
''Faith is to believe what we do not see and the reward of the faith is to see what we believe''
St. Augustine