Category Archives: Family

Can Your Mate become Your Idol?

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Recently, a wonderful young Christian lady asked me the following question in a private Facebook message:

How are you and Leah able to keep Christ at the front of your relationship and not let each other become an idol?

I asked her if I could use that question to develop a blog article, and she agreed. While I’m certain this is not a perfect response, I pray it causes all of us to think about our marriages in a truly Biblical and God-honoring way.

First of all, her question is outstanding and insightful. It shows that this young lady realizes that Christ must always be our top priority. It also shows that she realizes the responsibility of husbands and wives to love and respect each other.

However, it also shows insight into something most people rarely consider: it is possible for my mate to take the place of God; to become an idol. We may not want to consider that, but anyone or anything can push God from first place in our lives if we allow it. That, by its very definition, is idolatry. God, however, must always be primary, including even above my spouse.

It is a Struggle

We need to admit, first of all, that this is a real struggle. What is interesting to me, though, is that the Bible admits that it would be! In 1 Corinthians 7:32-35, Paul wrote the following words by inspiration:

I want you to be free from anxieties. The unmarried man is anxious about the things of the Lord, how to please the Lord. But the married man is anxious about worldly things, how to please his wife, and his interests are divided. And the unmarried or betrothed woman is anxious about the things of the Lord, how to be holy in body and spirit. But the married woman is anxious about worldly things, how to please her husband. I say this for your own benefit, not to lay any restraint upon you, but to promote good order and to secure your undivided devotion to the Lord. (emphasis added)

Paul writes that, for the one who is married, interests are “divided” (literally, “split into factions”). Without going deeply into the context, notice his purpose in writing these words. He said at the end of that paragraph that he wanted “to promote good order and to secure your undivided devotion to the Lord.”

In other words, God needs to be first, but it is understandable that this is a struggle when we are married.

A married Christian loves the Lord but also has his wife or her husband to consider. Then, there are those things that naturally come with marriage (finances, sexuality, and so forth) that weigh on the mind. It is easy to put the marriage–and even our mate–in the place of God as far as our mental energy and our efforts are concerned.

Remember the “Picture”

So, what is the solution? I am not sure there is a “three-step” or “five things” list I could share to keep this from happening. We love our mate and we desire to show that love and respect constantly.

I believe the key, however, is to emphasize and remember what is really pictured in a Christian marriage. Ephesians 5:22-32 is, I suppose, the most commonly used passage concerning Christian marriage in the Bible. Paul speaks to wives and husbands in a beautiful but straightforward fashion. Often, we emphasize the husband-wife relationship from this passage, as is right, but we fail to see the parallel that underlies it all.

Near the end of that beautiful passage, Paul writes, “This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church” (Ephesians 5:32).

How is that the key? Husbands and wives, when they enter the covenant of marriage, carry the vast responsibility of picturing the beauty of Christ’s relationship with His Church through their marriage.

Burton Coffman said it very well as he commented on this verse:

The exalted view, both of marriage and of the church of Jesus Christ, shines forth in this text. The sacredness of marriage is seen in God’s design of it, from the very beginning, to be a figure of the union of Christ and his church… (Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, and Colossians, page 214)

The way I keep my mate from becoming an idol is to always keep in mind that, through every aspect of our marriage, we are picturing to the world the relationship between Christ and His church!

That displays itself in financial decisions, because a husband and wife will make decisions that honor each other, but God will always be first in each decision. “Giving” will be first on the family budget (not last), but money will also be spent to show love and respect to the spouse, so the marriage remains strong in order to picture Christ and His Church.

It displays itself in the sexual relationship of marriage. Of all belief systems, only Christianity teaches that the body of a wife belongs to her husband and the body of a husband belongs to his wife (1 Corinthians 7:4). The coming together of a husband and wife in the conjugal relationship should be joyful, regular, and selfless, because that act alone can demonstrate the true intimacy of Christ and His church.

It displays itself throughout time. Not only do husband and wife simply remain together “’til death separates” them, but they stay devoted to one another throughout life, as well. The reason is because Christ is devoted to His bride (the church), and the church strives to remain faithful throughout time to the Lord.

Conclusion

Again, is this always easy? Of course not! We love our spouse, and we desire to show that spouse honor and love. However, if we will remember that, as believers, the primary reason we do so is to show the glorious picture of Christ and His church to the world, we can keep Christ as the central point of our lives.

And, when we do that, as the husband and the wife pursue Christ first and foremost, it is amazing how truly close, devoted, and intimate their marriage will be for a lifetime. Nothing else could ever compare to that closeness.


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AUTHOR: Adam Faughn

Episode 57: 20 Things I Want My Children to Know, part 3 [Podcast]

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Continuing our four-part series, on this week’s podcast, Adam shares 5 more things on his list of 20 things he wants his children to know.

To listen to part 1, click here.

To listen to part 2, click here.

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The Five Things Discussed on This Week’s Program

11. I want them to know manners.

12. I want them to know what it means to be a true gentleman/lady.

13. I want them to know how to handle rejection and failure.

14. I want them to love the New Testament Church

15. I want them to know that it is okay to have and express emotions.

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A Piece of My Mind

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I have been in the unique position recently to spend time talking with some dedicated Christian servants who happen to be older than me. I feel the need to share some of what they have been sharing with me:

  • They care about younger people, both children and their parents. This care has led them to expend amazing amounts of energy and creativity working on summer activities that are geared mostly toward these young families. And they are pleased that the young families turn out for these events. However, they are hurt and/or discouraged that some of those families only turn out for these events that are catered to the young families.
  • While they seem to work tirelessly, they are tired … but they won’t quit. One dear sister I know spent her days taking care of grandchildren and taking her mother to the doctor in another city before coming to teach her class each night of VBS. You see, to her, teaching children is just something that must be done even if you are tired. It is not an optional service. Another lady, eyes worn out from studying her Bible, is worried that there are some who think her “too old fashioned” with her teaching, but notice from where that teaching comes!
  • More than one respected Christian sister has talked to me about younger mothers coming to them for advice and when Biblical advice is given – such as “if they live in your home, they follow your rules” (Proverbs 15:24, 19:18. 22:15, 29:17) – the advice is shunned. That hurts. Why ask? Proverbs 19:20 still reads: “Listen to advice and accept instruction, that you may gain wisdom in the future.”

While my natural inclination is to give people a piece of my mind for hurting these loving servants of God, I’m trying to learn from their example, and that of my Savior, to instead offer a piece of my heart. Young ones – myself included – please don’t disrespect the advice of those who have walked this path before you. They are the very ones who got you to the place where you now stand. They taught you in Bible classes, listened to your teenage woes, supported your young dreams and continue to love and serve your young family. They have a strong and unique combination of having your best interest at heart and the experience and wisdom of years to see things you (we) cannot yet see.

The Bible is quite clear about which group of people in this world is most likely to have wisdom:

Job 12:12: “Wisdom is with the aged, and understanding in length of days.”

1 Corinthians 2:6-7: “Yet among the mature we do impart wisdom, although it is not a wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are doomed to pass away. But we impart a secret and hidden wisdom of God, which God decreed before the ages for our glory.”

It is up to us to understand and respect that and to follow the advice of the old preacher to his son in Proverbs 4:5 “Get wisdom; get insight; do not forget, and do not turn away from the words of my mouth.”

Oh … and don’t forget to say thank you! (That part is the piece of my mind! )


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Episode 56: 20 Things I Want My Children to Know, part 2 [Podcast]

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On last week’s podcast, Adam began sharing with you his list of 20 things he wants his children to know. If you missed that program, you can find it here.

This week, in part 2 of 4, he discusses five more things he hopes to instill in his children before they are grown.

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The Five Things Discussed on This Week’s Program Are…

6. I want them to know that the devil and hell are both real.

7. I want them to know how to properly interpret Scripture.

8. I want them to know the peace that passes all understanding (trusting in prayer).

9. I want them to know that God still works through providence.

10. I want them to know the joy of diligent labor.

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A Lump in a Shoe : An Illustration of Love

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Years ago, a good brother shared a story with me that I would like to share with you. I hope that it will have the same impact on you that it did (and does) on me.

He told me about a mother who asked her young son to shine her slippers. He worked very carefully. He did a wonderful job. She was so impressed that she gave her son a quarter. (Remember, this was years ago.)

The next time she wore those shoes, she felt a lump in one of them. She pulled the shoe off and found a quarter with a piece of paper wrapped around it. On the paper, in her son’s boyhood scrawl, were these words:

“I done it for love.”

What a tremendous and touching illustration of the proper motivation for Christians! We can act without loving, but we cannot love without acting.

Hopefully, all who wear the name of Christ will approach our relationship with our Father and with others just like the little boy did with his mother. Hopefully, we will simply do what we’ve been asked to do and what we are able to do with a powerful motivation.

Hopefully, we can honestly say that we “done it for love.”

If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging symbol.  And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.  If I give away all that I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing (1 Cor. 13:1-3, ESV).


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Episode 55: 20 Things I Want My Children to Know, Part 1 [Podcast]

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What do you want your children to know? I mean, what do you most want them to know, especially before they are grown and gone?

In this episode of the podcast, Adam begins a four-part series of the 20 things he has on his list for his children. This list is meant to help spur your thinking, as you seek to instill certain principles in their lives. We hope you enjoy this program, and will tune in next week for part 2 of the list.

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The Five Things Discussed on This Week’s Program Are…

  1. I want my children to know God (and not just about God).
  2. I want them to know that I love their mother more than anyone else in this world, even them!
  3. I want them to know a servant’s heart.
  4. I want them to know the beauty of a Christian marriage.
  5. I want them to know that the Great Commission is for all Christians.

More from A Legacy of Faith

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Subscribe to the podcast on iTunes

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Visit the show archives

Your Day Has Not Been Wasted

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…if you have reached out to someone with the Gospel of Jesus, the only message that can save their soul.

…if you have encouraged someone who is downtrodden.

…if you have been faithful to your spouse and shown that you would marry him or her all over again.

…if you have told your children you love them and spent time pouring into their lives.

…if you have drunk deeply from the Word of God and drawn ever closer to Him.

Then, no matter what else you might not have gotten done, or what you feel a failure for, your day has not been wasted.


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AUTHOR: Adam Faughn

About Video Games in Worship

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I see it virtually everywhere I preach, both at 9th Avenue as well as in various guest speaking opportunities. It is a trend that is disheartening to me, not just as a preacher of the Gospel, but also just one who loves the hearts of children and who wants to see them grow to love God and His Word.

It is kids playing video games during worship.

They bring their iPad, tablet, or phone and while many of us are singing “I Surrender All,” they are striving for a high score. While we are praying to God, they are playing baseball. While we are mining the depths of God’s Word, they are on Minecraft.

Parents, may I just ask: what are we teaching our children about worship?

It’s boring.

It’s only for adults.

It can’t compete with electronics.

It’s something you do if you can’t find something more interesting.

Those lessons, spoken or unspoken, are what your children are picking up when you allow them to play games during worship.

And I know that there are plenty of Bible apps and websites that are also being used by some. That said, I have randomly asked children at places I have spoken about what they were doing on their iPad (or other device) during worship. Never–not a single time–has it had something to do with the sermon. It has always–every single time–been about playing a game or watching videos. (Yes, I’ve seen kids with headphones hooked up to their tablet during worship. Not a good way to show that they are paying attention to the worship service!)

Is this what we want for our children? As we are gathering around God’s throne to praise His holy name, do we want our kids to be off in virtual gameland? If I may say so, I want my children right in God’s throneroom with me as I praise Him!

Excuses, More Excuses

“They can’t sit still through a whole sermon.” “They pick up quite a bit as it is.” “They don’t understand what’s going on.” “It helps me worship because they are still and quiet, at least.”

I’ve heard all the excuses. They just don’t fly. Worship is something that children must be trained in, and it starts when they are very little. What’s more, if they are trained how to act during worship when they are younger, children will most likely come to enjoy worship as they grow up.

Of course, children will be restless during worship (especially the sermon). That’s part of it, and it is understandable. But putting Temple Run in front of their face is not the answer. All that teaches our kids is that they can act up in worship, and they are rewarded for it!

What Can I Do?

I am not saying that children–especially smaller children–need to sit perfectly still during a worship service with just a King James Bible open to the text for the sermon.

But there are far better things to do, or even to give your children, than a video game (or social media access, for the older ones).

When they are really small, give them Bible pictures, Bible story “board-books,” or even small stuffed animals (and whisper in their ear, “God made the dog on day 6,” or “God made the birdie on day 5”). That way, though they have something in their hands, or that they are looking at, it is teaching them to focus on their wonderful Lord during these few minutes.

As they grow a little older, Bible story books are a good idea. Also, make sure they are at least trying to sing and that they are still during the prayers. They can do this much!

Another idea is to have little worship worksheets that they can draw and write on. (Note: We offer these for free in our “Training for Worship” pdf that’s in our store. Again, it’s free!) These sheets let them write the names of the songs or something we prayed about. Have your children draw a picture of something the preacher talked about on the sheets, or write down the verses he used in his sermon.

It’s Not Easy, but It’s Worth It

I know that all this means that you may struggle to worship at times. During those younger years, those children are forming such valuable thoughts in their little minds. Wouldn’t you rather struggle a little bit and have them grow up loving to worship and understanding what is going on?

Then please, not for the sake of the preacher, but for the sake of the souls of your children, nix the video games.

Replace Mindcraft with Matthew.

Replace Temple Run with Titus.

Replace sports games with singing with grace.

God is worthy of your effort. It will be a fight for awhile, but the eternal destiny of your child is in the balance. It’s worth every effort.

Resources

“Training for Worship” [Arrows in Our Hand podcast. Contains other helpful links, especially for parents of smaller children.]

“Training Your Children for Worship” [A Legacy of Faith podcast]


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AUTHOR: Adam Faughn

If a Picture is Worth a Thousand Words… (A Short Post on Modesty)

It has probably been over a quarter of a century since I first saw the cartoon reproduced below. I have tried at various times over the years to find it. I was unsuccessful until somebody posted it not long ago on Facebook.

I will let the picture speak for itself with only a few statements from me. 

First, in the past twenty-five years or so, even the outfit on the right would cover more than what some wear today.

Second, a similar picture could be produced showing the inconsistency in the wardrobe choices of some men and boys. What if a t-shirt and boxer shorts were on the left and what passes for swimwear for guys was on the right?

Third (and sadly), I know some who wear the name of Christ who need to consider this. I pray that all of us will.

WORLD'S STANDARD - GOD'S STANDARD


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Episode 54: “Small Changes, Big Results” with Scotty Studer [Podcast]

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Every person and every family would like to be better in various areas of life. Oftentimes, though, we see changes as massive and overwhelming. In his new ebook, Small Changes, Big Results, Scotty Studer shares 26 ways we can see great results in different areas of our lives with just a few simple but intentional changes. On the podcast this week, he talks about the ebook, and shares a few insights just for our podcast listeners.

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Get the eBook for Your Kindle

Small Changes, Big Results [Amazon Kindle store]

Other Resources/Links Mentioned in the Program

Screen Free Weekend” [previous podcast with Scotty]

Scotty Studer’s website

“Power for Today” [devotional magazine]

5 Minutes with God [Amazon]

5 Minutes with God, volume 2 [Amazon]

Meditations of My Heart [Sain Publications]