In the book The Case for Marriage, Linda Waite confirms that
“Unmarried people are far more likely to die young — especially men, who on average engage in riskier behavior when single than when married. Statistically, divorce is as dangerous to a man’s health as starting to smoke a pack of cigarettes a day. Nine of ten married men will live to be at least sixty-five, while only six of ten single men will. Nine of ten wives make it to sixty-five, but only eight of ten single or divorced women will. Married people have more money, and their money goes further. If you think about it, two can live almost as cheaply as one. Cohabiting doesn’t offer nearly as many financial benefits as marriage, because married couples make long-term plans and decisions. The secret is an added ingredient: commitment. Married people not only have far more sex than singles, but they enjoy it more, both physically and emotionally. One reason married people have more intimacy is that it costs them less in time, money, and energy. They have already made the huge investment in establishing and maintaining a relationship and can lie back and enjoy the dividends.” And, the long-term emotional commitment of marriage brings more intimate satisfaction than found with cohabiting couples. ”
So, if you want to be healthier, wealthier, and sexier… stay in a long term committed marriage. It is difficult to keep things fresh, to overcome differences, and stay with it, but it is worth it.
I went to lunch last year with a man who was struggling with his marriage. He shared with me the challenges of his relationship and temptation to “throw in the towell.” I listened intently and asked how I could help. He paused and said, “Tell me it’s worth the effort. Tell me to hang in there.” He spoke of the wear and tear of the past few years. He told me of his regrets of making work more important than family. He said, “I want to fix this, but it might be too late. Help me with my marriage. Do you have any advice?” I did encourage him and offer him some hope. God wants you to hang in there. Every marriage has seasons. Sometimes the winter season seems long, cold, and lonely… But HANG IN THERE!!! Spring is coming. There is a Summer in your future. If you will commit to changing the “dance” of your marriage, but making your spouses’s priorities your priorities. We all have reasons and stories as to why we “give, give, give,” and our spouse “takes, takes, takes.” But remember that it’s easier to see the “speck” in our spouse’s eye than to see the log in our own.
I’ve sat with dozens and dozens of couples contemplating divorce. Each time I hear the same lies come out of their mouths. “God would want me to be happy….” Maybe, but perhaps, God wants you to be Holy. Marriage will bring out the reality of how selfish the human heart really is. Marriage will challenge you to be holy and more mature by looking out for the interests of others (Phil 2) in ways you’ve never thought possible. I’ve heard “For the sake of the kids, we should get divorced…” Hmmmm…. be very very careful. Divorce is a mutating beast that evolves and transforms into uglier and uglier forms. If you and your spouse are struggling with money and communication, imagine how much harder it will be when you have twice the expenses, two places to live, and you still have to talk about money, kids, schedules, etc. There are some times when the Bible permits divorce, but mark my words. Divorce hurts. It hurts deeply and badly. A friend who was divorced once said, “I wouldn’t wish this experience on my worst enemy.” Another friend said, “Imagine the person who knows you best stands up in open court -before the whole world- and says, “I don’t want to be with you anymore. That’s just the beginning of the pain.”
Redbook magazine did a study a few years back that showed the direct correlation between faith, happiness, and sexual fulfillment. the overwhelming conclusion from their data was that people of faith have more dynamic intimate lives than those without faith.
This shouldn’t surprise us. God says that he created human beings in three parts: Body, Soul, and Spirit. When a couple connects on all three levels with physical, spiritual, and emotional intimacy… The results are powerful. We are able to “know” one another at a deeper level as we resonate with God’s hardwiring of our original design.
“For instance, Dr. Herbert Miles, author of Sexual Happiness in Marriage, surveyed 151 college-age couples six months to two years after they married. These couples had strong religious backgrounds and received marriage counseling concerning God’s plan for lovemaking prior to marriage. Dr. Miles found that 96.1 percent of these wives enjoyed regular physical satisfying pleasure in their marriage. These results show that young wives who commit themselves to following God’s principles for lovemaking free their bodies for total enjoyment of the embrace of their husbands.
I read Tim and Beverly’s books The Act of Marriage and The Act of Marriage After Forty. They surveyed 1700 couples from their Family Life Seminars for their book. This group consisted of couples with a wide age spread and different levels of spiritual maturity. However, 89 percent of the women reported succeeding in love with their husbands. When both the husbands and wives work at applying God’s principles to their daily lives, they enjoyed the results in their bedrooms.
A Redbook survey of 65,000 women also reported on the same subject. This survey found that the “very religious” woman reaped the most from the love embrace. The “slightly religious” woman was the most likely candidate to fail in all areas of her daily life including the sexual embrace. (Claire Safran, “65,000 Women Reveal: How Religion Affects Health, Happiness, Sex, and Politics,” Redbook ”
God’s wisdom is the compass. His principles mark the path. His grace is the fuel. Marriage makes you healthier, wealthier, and sexier. For more information, check out www.godonomics.com or check out this clip about a funny marriage conflict with my wife.
“…Communist regimes…turned mass crime into a full-blown system of government”. The estimated death toll totals 94 million, not counting the “excess deaths” (decrease of the population due to lower than-expected birth rates).”
Here is a summary of the carnage from the book:
65 million in the People’s Republic of China
20 million in the Soviet Union
2 million in Cambodia
2 million in North Korea
1.7 million in Africa
1.5 million in Afghanistan
1 million in the Communist states of Eastern Europe
1 million in Vietnam
150,000 in Latin America
10,000 deaths “resulting from actions of the international Communist movement and Communist parties not in power.”
“Courtois claims that Communist regimes are responsible for a greater number of deaths than any other political ideal or movement, including Nazism. The statistics of victims includes executions, intentional destruction of population by starvation, and deaths resulting from deportations, physical confinement, or through forced labor.”
So with the naked facts painting a evil and horrific picture of communism. Why do many today still have dinner conversations like, “Do you think Jesus was a communist?” or ‘I think the early church practiced communism…” Those statements are as naive and uneducated as hearing, “I wonder if Jesus and the early church were mass murderers?” and “I think Jesus would want us to promote a system that grants the State power to coerce and starve it’s citizens.” Why would the Dalai Lama support suggest a horrifying philosophy? Perhaps he’s lost his mind. Perhaps he’s getting old. Perhaps he needs to go to college.
The problem is the “redefining of history” and the redefining of words. Fifty years of progressive education has indoctrinated and brainwashed a generation into thinking the word communism and Marxism are synonymous with “Giving” and “Generosity.” They are not. Was the early church generous? Yes. Were they radically ‘others-focused” with their personal individual possessions? Yes. Did they promote and encourage the State to steal from one group and give to another? Never. Would any of the disciples say, “We were practicing communism?” Not a chance.
Christianity is a thinking religion. A rational mysticism. An empirical, historic event based on the facts of history -most notably the literal, physical, and documented resurrection of Jesus Christ. Let’s not fall for the perfect murder by dialing “M” for Marxism. Let’s remember the “M” stands for MURDER.
For more information about what the Bible teaches about liberty, prosperity, and generosity, check out www.godonomics.com For a lighter take on Marxism, check out the video below.
Chris Matthews said that Weiner was in trouble because his behavior offends ‘culturally backward’ Christian conservatives. Hmmmmm? If being offended by someone texting their “birthday suit” and undies to women they’re not married to is backward, then I guess I’m one of those people stuck in reverse. I was under the impression that when you are married, you are actually committed to the one you love. I am one of those silly upside-down people who thinks that faithfulness and purity are good things. Yes, silly me. Silly rabbit, morals are for kids. Morals are not for educated and sophisticated politicians and TV hosts. No, no. They know so much more than we do. They are so far “ahead” of us and so far above us that we wouldn’t understand. Apparently the new trend is to identify black as white and light as dark.
20 Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; Who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! 21 Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes, And prudent in their own sight! Isaiah 5:20-21
The Bible offers us a template for responding to immorality. Whether that immorality is a neighbor, a leader, or a politician, how should we respond to Matthews’s arrogance and Weiner’s immorality?
In the movie, Brewster’s Millions, Richard Prior has the chance to inherit billions of dollars if he spends millions in a short period of time. One of his schemes is running for political office…. Kinda. He runs for mayor with the slogan, “None of the above.” He bluntly trashes both his rival candidates while showing the “dog-and-pony show” that politics have become. He reveals that money drives our political choices, not character and principle.
Why is it that every election we vote and feel like we are choosing between the better of two evils? Is it the back and forth bashing of both candidates by the Donkey and Elephant machine? Is it the fact that the whole political process has become more of a beauty contest than principle exchange?
Why is it that our “leaders” and representatives from both parties are hiding their love children, running off with secret lovers, or texting their private parts to women they “barely know” -with an emphasis on “barely” as they bare it all. What happens in the mind of a rich and famous person to think anyone might want a picture of their tighty whiteys? Who thinks, “I bet a woman I don’t know would love to get a photo of my fruit-of-the-loom’s tonight?
How should we respond -as people of faith- to yet another moral failure by one of our country’s leaders? We could get in our Delirium and flip on the flux capacitor and head back to the 90’s and say, ‘Character doesn’t matter.” We could pretend that a governor with good economic sense can do whatever he wants with his private life in Argentina. We could critique the country for holding these people up as heroes when they are flawed human beings. We could “burn the witch” and condemn Congressman Weiner for his hypocrisy, immorality, and unwise behavior. How should a person of faith respond?
The Gospel (The main message of the Bible) challenges both extremes. One extreme is postmodernism. This approach is a “let live and let live” approach. We respond to the “underwear” emailer by saying that it’s not a big deal. These kind of archaic morals are outdated. We admit that everyone struggles with lust of some type. Lust for power, control, fantasizing, etc. We compartmentalize this to Weiner’s private life and say, “It’s not a big deal.” We condemn anyone who condemns the behavior as a hypocrite and judgmental. In this view, morals don’t matter. This view makes you proud and arrogant believing you are better than those “moralistic” judgmental religious people who are so conservative.
The other extreme is moralism. This approach is to think “I’d never do that.” This approach is to shake your head and say, “What’s wrong with this country.” This approach says that the real problem in the world is the loss of moral family values. This approach lets you look down on “those” people and “those” politicians who participate in “this kind of thing!” This approach also fills you with pride and arrogance because you feel superior to someone who did such a stupid immoral act.
The Gospel offers us a third way. It allows us to condemn Weiner’s acts as immoral, unwise, and hurtful. It reveals that his actions are far worse than merely “mistakes” that he admitted to in his 40 minute public apology. It says that actions and character matters and are far far more serious than we can imagine because they hurt us, our family, and a nation that looked to us for private and public leadership. BUT, the Gospel also reveals that “I am capable of those same stupid decisions.” Given the right situation…. Given the right pressure on my marriage and career… I too am capable of anything. The human heart’s capacity to lie to itself is unparalleled as the prophet Jeremiah said, “The heart is desperately wicked.” My heart is wicked. My heart could do that. This approach allows you to judge without being judgmental. It allows you to condemn while feeling condemned. It allows you to stand with the accused in need of grace while not excusing the behavior. This is grace.
Galatians 6:1 Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who arespiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted. 2 Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. 3 For if anyone thinks himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself.
The Bible tells us that when someone is overtaken with temptation… help them to be restored in a spirit of…. GENTLENESS. We will see condemnation from both liberals and conservatives in the news. We will see little gentleness tomorrow. And Galatians tells us to “consider ourselves” lest we are tempted… When we are tempted to think “we’d never do that” or tempted to think “We are better than someone who did that…” The Bible reminds us that we too are capable of “deceiving ourselves.”
So, how would Jesus Respond to Congressman Weiner, the Underwear Model. Three ways.
1) Forgiveness. Jesus would forgive him and offer him mercy when he truly admits the truth of what he did. Having walked with husbands and wives in affairs for years, I can promise you that an initial apology is usually the embarrassment of getting caught. The response that looks like genuine guilt can actually be a self-centered “poor me” complex. BUT when someone genuinely sees what they did as wrong and an affront to God, themselves and others, Jesus offers forgiveness.
2) Reconciliation There is a difference between forgiveness and reconciliation. You can forgive someone who doesn’t ask for forgiveness. You can be free from the poison of bitterness with or without their request. Reconciliation, however, takes two. We can’t make anyone reconcile. A Christian tries to keep the door open for reconciliation, but sets boundaries to reestablish trust. Reconciliation takes time. A Christian can forgive without being ready to reconcile. It takes two to tango.
3) Restoration. There is a difference between restoring trust and offering forgiveness. A public official (Pastor, priest, politician, etc) who voids the public trust should resign. Period. They need to get their private life in order. That is the priority. Then their own family and marriage need to be healed. Donkey or Republican., they need to resign. And maybe… Possibly… After enough time, inner work, grace, and rebuilding of trust, they might re-earn the chance to represent again. But too often Christians confuse forgiveness with restoration. And sometimes, the act of stupidity or immorality is so grievous that there is no chance for reconciliation or restoration. Often the consequences involve prison for the wicked acts of the heart.
I will forgive Weiner when he really asks for it. As a Christian I would have forgiven Clinton had I thought his apology was genuine. I have forgiven Gingrich who was the representative of my district when I lived in Georgia for similar acts. However…. Restoration is another matter. I am not convinced that enough time, trust and repentance have been built to offer the restoration to public office for any of them. Gingrinch has by forgiveness and reconciliation, but lost his ability for political restoration in office. I humbly know that I too am capable of anything, but public sins also come with public responsibility. The same is true in a marriage. You can forgive an offending spouse. You can offer the chance for reconciliation. I have seen dozens of marriages reunited after a horrible trainwreck. Restoration takes time. Rushing from forgiveness to restoration is a sign the repentance is not genuine.
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Gas prices are averaging over $4 a gallon nation wide. This summer promises to reach over $5 as economic uncertainty, continual federal printing, and economic uncertainty push the value of the dollar down. As the dollar goes down, gas goes up because it take more less valuable dollars to buy the same gas. What should we do? Don’t assume it will magically get better. Prepare for the new reality. As Joseph prepared for seven lean years by stocking away 20 percent of his money into margin and savings, so you and I need to squeeze our budgets and spending really hard to prepare for what’s coming: interest rates will be going up, prices of gas will be going up, and food prices will be going up. If you don’t have a budget, start one now. If you have no savings, better begin work on a $1000 emergency fund. Don’t think that doing the same think you’ve always done will prepare you for challenges ahead.
As you read through the Bible, you find yourself almost screaming at the characters, “Stop disobeying God, remember how it led you to slavery last time. Stop before it’s too late….” You see it as Abraham lies about his wife… Twice. Moses loses his temper -time and time again. Then there is the constant dripping of Israelite complaint, all through the book of Numbers. You see it in Judges, as the nation goes through the same enslaving cycle over… and over… and over again. You see it as you read through the book of Kings: Good king then bad king–good king and then another bad king. Each time God comes out, blows the whistle, and says, “Alright, one more lap around the wilderness boys. Maybe now, you’ll learn your lesson. It’s like most of the Bible is stuck in Bill Murray’s Groundhog’s Day repeating the same mistakes over and over and over again.
They run a lap and then go back to the same old patterns. The whistle blows sharply again, “One more lap around the wilderness.” Again and again they keep doing the same old things, getting the same old results.
As Proverbs 26:11 “As a dog returns to his own vomit, so a fool repeats his folly.”
This pattern applies to the alcoholic face down in his own vomit. It applies to the addict who keeps trying to escape reality through a quick fix. It is seen in the daily return to idols of status, performance, or appearance, over God to form our very identity. This pattern is also true when it comes to economics. The big difference is that an entire nation of harmless by-standers can be covered and mired in the folly that is regurgitated out of Keynesian Political leaders.
The economy went out drinking in the late 90’s–on pets.com and tech bubbles. They were out all night thinking that overspending, low interest rates, and borrowing from other nations taste great. But they were in denial, by not realizing that what tastes great today, can be “less filling” tomorrow. As the market attempted to experience the “morning after” in 2000, George Bush and Alan Greenspan decided to help sober up “mainstreet” and Wall Street, by passing out more liquor. Remember those wonderful stimulus checks that didn’t work, or the artificially HISTORIC low interest rates that would balloon in five years. Remember Dick Cheney saying, “We don’t care about deficits.” (If not, search youtube for the video “I.O.U.S.A.” for evidence on how bad the deficit is from David Walker the US accountant).
And then we hit the wall. We had the potential to sober up through the pain of the 2008 call to reality. The stock market sank, the market shook, and the cracks were showing. And what did our national leaders do? What did the change America voted for, look like? It looked like a dog returning to his vomit. Ben Bernanke had taken over for Alan Greenspan, and Obama had taken over for Bush; but they still operated out of the same playbook.
“Let’s see, turn to page 3– Inflate the currency by printing money. Page four– Borrow lots of money from China. Page 5–Use the National Credit Card to pass on deficits to our grandchildren. Page 6– Encourage consumers who have no money to keep spending. Page 7– Bail out companies that need to go out of business because of campaign donations. Page 8– Pray that it works long enough to get through the next election.
This is Short Term Thinking. (Vomit licking, foolish economic policy). God says a wise economy means 1) Sound Money –throughout Proverbs, He calls for honest weights. 2) Spending Less Than You Make, lest you become enslaved. 3) Leaving Freedom and Prosperity to the next generation, rather than a big fat bill from last generation’s trip to the pub.
God says, “The wise man sees danger and takes refuge, but the fool keeps going and suffers for it.”
And here we are. The fools keep going and we are suffering for it. Unemployment remains high. Gold hits historic highs weekly while oil keeps climbing. The S and P downgraded the economic outlook of America to negatice last week. The Economy lost 283,000 jobs last summer. Now, we think the public sector can stimulate the economy, by fabricating another “jobs bill.” Perhaps this time we will be ready to sober up. This time we will take the painful steps to a national 12 step program. It will be hard! It will be painful! It will not be easy! But delaying the pain only inflates the pain bubble that will burst. And God will compassionately and sternly say to us, “One more lap around the wilderness.”
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