Category Archives: Marriage Memory Verses

What the Bible Says about This Election (and Every Other One)

I’ve been voting for about 30 years, and I have never, ever seen an election cycle in the United States as crazy as this one.

That said, I also hold a history degree, so I know that all of our talk about things never having been so contentious doesn’t hold up to what I’ve studied. For instance, you really can’t get more contentious than one region of the country shooting at the other and vice versa (American Civil War, 1861-65).

What the Bible Says about This Election graphic

I’ve noted on this blog that an election can cause stress in marriages. Despite their love for one another, spouses don’t always see eye-to-eye when it comes to voting. If you want proof, take a look at the maps from FiveThirtyEight.com that show the difference between if only men voted and if only women voted. I have to believe that contrast means plenty of couples disagree this year.

But as Election Day approaches (next Tuesday here in the U.S.), let me offer a biblical perspective. Vote for whomever you want — honor your conscience — but remember God’s focus is not on who runs the country but who reigns in your life.

God's focus is not on who runs the country but who reigns in your life. Click To Tweet

Psalm 146 says:

Praise the Lord.

Praise the Lord, my soul.

I will praise the Lord all my life;
    I will sing praise to my God as long as I live.
Do not put your trust in princes,
    in human beings, who cannot save.
When their spirit departs, they return to the ground;
    on that very day their plans come to nothing.
Blessed are those whose help is the God of Jacob,
    whose hope is in the Lord their God.

He is the Maker of heaven and earth,
    the sea, and everything in them—
    he remains faithful forever.
He upholds the cause of the oppressed
    and gives food to the hungry.
The Lord sets prisoners free,
    the Lord gives sight to the blind,
the Lord lifts up those who are bowed down,
    the Lord loves the righteous.
The Lord watches over the foreigner
    and sustains the fatherless and the widow,
    but he frustrates the ways of the wicked.

The Lord reigns forever,
    your God, O Zion, for all generations.

Praise the Lord.

Pulling out those two highlighted verses, we get to the crux of the matter: “Do not put your trust in princes, in human beings, who cannot save. Blessed are those whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord their God.”

That’s something God wants us to know about this election and every other one. Humans will fail us, God will not.

You can see this throughout the Bible with its kings — Saul, David, Solomon. Yes, we want great leaders, but God is ultimately concerned with being on the throne in our hearts.

And in our marriages.

That same passage applies to our marriages: “Do not put your trust in princes, in human beings, who cannot save. Blessed are those whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord their God.”

  • Your husband, a human being, isn’t responsible for making your life good or happy. Trust God to bring you meaning and joy.
  • When your spouse fails you, and they will, recognize they’re flawed, give grace, and put your faith in God to restore what was broken.
  • When it comes to the marriage bed, don’t look for answers among those who focus only on the human flesh, the physical side of sex. Seek out wisdom that starts with God’s design for intimacy in marriage — those who know that help and hope come from Him.
  • And remember that no matter what great advice I give, I can’t save your marriage. That’s a job for you and God.

Sometimes we put too much trust in the people around us and not enough in our Heavenly Father. Let me assure you that whatever the result of this election, those of us who worship God can have confidence that we’re fine. We have a true Savior.

Lean on that Savior not only this election season, but in your daily life and in your marriage. Remember who is really in charge: God Almighty.

Now give your spouse a kiss and go vote.

Be a Giver, Not a Taker

On Saturdays, I’ve been talking about specific verses and passages in the Bible, in hopes that we will learn and memorize more scripture to equip us in our lives and specifically our marriages.

In Acts 20:35, the apostle Paul refers back to something Jesus said, which isn’t recorded elsewhere. Not surprising, since Jesus surely said much more than what’s recorded in the Gospel accounts. Here’s that second half of that verse: “…remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ “

I’m betting you’ve heard that one before. Parents often use the better to give than receive line to make a kid surrender part of his spending money to the church collection plate or to share the bigger piece of pie with his sibling. But, not using it as a hammer, there’s certainly a lot of truth here — more blessed to give than to receive.

Be a Giver, Not a Taker: "...REMEMBERING THE WORDS THE LORD JESUS HIMSELF SAID: 'IT IS MORE BLESSED TO GIVE THAN TO RECEIVE.' "Admittedly, when it comes to sexual intimacy, I’m not always sure about this maxim. When the focus is on my pleasure, I’m sort of wrapped up in that joy of that moment that I think receiving is pretty darn good. But when I look more broadly at our sex life, I know the blessings that come from a giving nature.

We can truly enjoy the pleasure we bring to our husband, from the small affections we express to the shuddering climax we evoke from our beloved. There’s so much to enjoy from being a giver, not a taker:

  • The sly smile on his face when you offer him a look-see of your intimate places.
  • The excitement that sizzles under his skin when you suggest a new sexual activity or old one you both enjoy.
  • The improved mood of man who knows he’s loved in every way by his wife.
  • The confidence he feels in his abilities as a good husband and lover.
  • The sexual satisfaction that helps to keep his heart and mind focused on the good thing he’s got waiting at home.
  • The kid-in-a-candy-factory expression on his face during some great foreplay or right after you’ve made love.
  • The knowledge that you are following God’s design for sexual intimacy in your marriage.

Take that attitude into your marriage this week, and into your marital bedroom: It is more blessed to give than receive. What can you give your husband that would make him happy and you blessed?

And speaking of giving…

If you were here in September, you know that I announced this great giveaway with lots of goodies and the rules and blah, blah, blah. But then, my entire month was thrown into a tailspin. Long story short: My father died. The event of his death, though not the timing, was expected, and it was a positive goodbye to a life well-lived. But it did reek major havoc with my calendar.

At one moment of surrender, I said to myself, The giveaway is not happening this month. Some of the personal pressure I was feeling lifted from my shoulders, and I decided I’d reschedule when my life was a little more predictable.

So I’m rebooting! The giveaway starts today and will run through the month of November. It is indeed more blessed to give than receive, and I feel very blessed to have these items as part of my giveaway:

Sept 2016 Giveaway 1

Sept 2016 Giveaway 2

Total value = approximately $200! And here are the rules:

Hot, Holy, and Humorous 3D CoverThe giveaway is open to U.S. and Canadian residents only. (Sorry, international followers, I just can’t ship that far!) Find copies of my book in your local bookstore. It’s usually shelved somewhere in Christian Life: Marriage.

To Enter Once: Snap a picture of yourself holding the book in the bookstore and email it to j [at] hotholyhumorous [dot] com, identifying where the photo was taken (bookstore, city, state).

To Enter Twice: Snap that picture, email it to me, and include express permission for me to post it on social media (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest). I will not include a name unless you want me to do so, but I would like to include location.

To Enter Three Times: Snap a picture of yourself buying the book at the cashier and holding the book and your purchase receipt, send it to me, and you’ll be entered three times.

That’s it. Send me the photo anytime up through November 30, and I’ll randomly draw a winner the first week of December. If you win, you’ll receive the package just in time to wrap it up and put it under the Christmas tree for your spouse! (And don’t tell me you’ve already done all your Christmas shopping, or I might have to throw tomatoes at you instead. 😉 )

I’m excited to see where my book has shown up and to blessedly give away a great prize to one lucky reader.

The Beatitudes in the Bedroom: Experiencing God’s Promises

The Beatitudes. Lately, I’ve been covering how these principles can be applied to our marriage and marriage bed. However, I’d be surprised if some of you haven’t thought of an image like this during this series on my blog:

Bee - Attitudes!

(Yes, I used to work in Children’s Ministry.)

That’s really not a bad way to think about these commands from Jesus: They are attitudes that we take and people we want to be, whether we’re dealing with fellow church goers, co-workers or friends, or our spouse. And the be-attitude we adopt impacts how we view our world, including sexual intimacy in our marriage.

One more time, I want to give you the passage from the Sermon in the Mount that we refer to as The Beatitudes. If you’ve been following this series, you may be tempted to skim these familiar verses, but I encourage you to really read through them and let each sink into your mind and heart.

“Blessed are the poor in spirit,
    for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn,
    for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek,
    for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
    for they will be filled.
Blessed are the merciful,
    for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart,
    for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
    for they will be called children of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
    for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

Matthew 5:3-10The Beatitudes in the Bedroom: Experiencing God's Promises

There are two more verses that complete this section of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount: “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” They expand on the final beatitude of “Blessed are those who are persecuted….”

Now I firmly believe that God’s commands reach every aspect of our lives. But His promises delve into every crevice as well. What if, living according to the Beatitudes, your marriage experienced these promises? What if your marriage itself:

  • belonged in the kingdom of heaven
  • was comforted
  • inherited the earth
  • felt filled
  • received mercy
  • saw God
  • was called a child of God
  • knew the kingdom of heaven

Sounds pretty good, huh?

In wrapping up my own study of this passage, I read a little further in Matthew 5. Now the Books of Matthew and Luke both give an accounting of Jesus’ sermon, and while there is a great deal of overlap, their different perspectives give us a slightly take on what was said and when. No, this isn’t a problem in verifying the truth of what Jesus said; rather, it’s how eyewitnesses report the same incident — with main points that agree and enough variations in detail to conclude they didn’t rehearse a false story. But Matthew may have chosen what came next in his account, rather than this being the order in which Jesus delivered his words.

Still, I was intrigued when I read:

“You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.

“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”

Matthew 5:13-16

That’s how I often feel about the godly sexual intimacy. While it’s a very private affair, how we conduct ourselves in this area can become a public testimony to the world about our Christian commitment and our spiritual fruit.

As you pour yourself into sexual intimacy, as one of several forms of intimacy you can have in marriage, some of that goodness overflows and shows. Your relationship is holier, heathier, and happier. Your friends and family may never fully know what all is behind your better, stronger, sweeter marriage, but your light shines.

My prayer for you and your marriage is that you will be blessed. That you will be salt and light. That you will experience God’s promises.

Blessed are those…

Let’s be those. Let’s be blessed.

The Beatitudes in the Bedroom: Persecuted

On Saturdays, we’ve been looking into how the Beatitudes impact our marriage and our marriage beds. Once again, from Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount:

“Blessed are the poor in spirit,
    for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn,
    for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek,
    for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
    for they will be filled.
Blessed are the merciful,
    for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart,
    for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
    for they will be called children of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
    for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

Matthew 5:3-10

We’ve been through Poor in SpiritThose Who Mourn, The Meek, Hunger and Thirst for Righteousness, The Merciful, Pure in Heart, Peacemakers. And now we’ve reached the final one: persecuted because of righteousness.The Beatitudes in the Bedroom: Persecuted Bible verse

Some of you definitely feel persecuted when it comes to sexual intimacy in your marriage. I can already hear those of you who say your spouse has persecuted you for your perspective when it comes to sex.

I feel for you, but that’s not what this verse is talking about. Let’s break it down.

In the New Testament Greek, the phrase “persecuted because of righteousness” comes from three words: Dioko Heneka Dikaiosune.

Dioko. The New Testament Greek word Dioko is one of three words used to mean persecute. This particular word carries with it the notion of pursuing someone in a hostile manner. It’s not just mistreatment, but persistent pursuit to harass or oppress.

Where I live, in a well-churched suburb of Houston, I don’t think we have a good sense of what it’s like to be really persecuted. We certainly haven’t ever had to make a choice between confessing our faith and having our freedom or our lives. For that, I’m grateful — and I pray for those Christians in our world who live in places where they are outright persecuted.

But most Christians know what it’s like to be mocked by someone for their faith. That’s a low form of persecution, but it is harassment or even hostility. And yes, we can be mocked for our position on sexual intimacy in marriage. But, before I go into more detail, let’s get to the next Greek word.

Heneka. This is the word translated as because ofbut it’s also translated in other verses simply as “for” (see Matthew 10:39, 19:5). So why am I focusing on an itty-bitty preposition?

Because we might read, “Blessed are those who are persecuted,” and immediately start listing all the ways we feel put upon and harassed and mistreated. But God isn’t saying you’re blessed just because you’re having a bad day, a bad week, or even a bad decade. There are other verses that give you comfort and answers for that.

This verse says you’re blessed if it’s because of something. The reason why you feel like things are going badly matters. Some of us are experiencing bad stuff in our marriage because, truth be told, we aren’t fully seeking the next part of this verse.

Dikaiosune. I love this definition of the word used for righteousness, from Bible Study Tools: “integrity, virtue, purity of life, rightness, correctness of thinking, feeling, and acting.” When I consider applying those principles to my marriage bed, a beautiful image emerges. What if we all treated our sexual intimacy with integrity, virtue, purity of life, rightness, and correctness of thinking, feeling, and acting? What if we all aligned our desires with God’s design for sex in marriage?

Our marriage beds can be places of righteousness. Not simply in those black-and-white ways of having sex in marriage but not outside of marriage (which is definitely important), but with each choice we make in how we treat our spouse, what attitude toward sex we adopt, whether we pursue God’s plan for deeper love and intimacy through physical closeness, and how we express Christ-like love as we make love.

So bringing this all together…

What could it possibly mean to be persecuted because of righteousness — when it comes to the marriage bed?

I don’t think this is about feeling mistreated by your own spouse. Rather, I know spouses and couples who have tried to seek righteousness in this area of their marriage … and things got harder. It’s tough to admit that, because I’m always saying stuff like, “Work on your marriage bed! Things can get better!” Which is true, but that doesn’t mean that Satan, and other people, will be cheering you on as you seek righteousness.

See if you recognize any of these forms of harassment or hostility:

  • Your friends mock your desire for more and more intimate sex, saying that husbands should be glad they get any.
  • Your single friends suggest that marriage is where sex goes to die and mock your commitment to monogamy.
  • Others suggest skipping all the work needed to improve your sexual intimacy and taking care of your own self with sex toys or pornography.
  • You start to see improvement in your sex life, and other stressors begin to interfere: job stress, family problems, illness. As if Satan himself is attacking your desire to seek righteousness.
  • You try to speak up about godly sex in church or among friends, but get shut down for speaking about “private things” in public.
  • You iterate your commitment to avoiding lust of others — whether pornography, erotica, or simply TV/movie choices — and get ridiculed for being a prude.

You could probably add to list, and none of these is insurmountable. I certainly don’t know anyone whose stance on godly sex in marriage has resulted in a threat that they’ll be burned at the stake or hung in the public square.

But I have seen couples who have made real progress in the bedroom, and instead of having others celebrate their steps toward righteousness — life seems to attack them from various directions. I can tell you that every marriage blogger I’ve talked to about this says they’ve felt spiritually attacked in their marriage at one point or another.

So maybe there is some persecution because of righteousness in the marriage bed. But whatever. “…theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” I think I’ll take that trade.

Pursuing righteousness in your marriage bed has its own rewards between you and your spouse, but ultimately we do the right thing for the sake of God and His kingdom. We are His children, and our lives — all the way down to our sexuality — should reflect the Father.

Have you felt any persecution, or harassment, because of your stance or pursuit of godly sexuality? Has your marriage felt attacked in some way since you began working toward better sexual intimacy?

The Beatitudes in the Bedroom: Peacemakers

On Saturdays, we’ve been (slowly) working through how the Beatitudes impact our marriage and our marriage beds. Here’s that passage from Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount:

“Blessed are the poor in spirit,
    for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn,
    for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek,
    for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
    for they will be filled.
Blessed are the merciful,
    for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart,
    for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
    for they will be called children of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
    for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

Matthew 5:3-10

We’ve covered Poor in SpiritThose Who Mourn, The Meek, Hunger and Thirst for Righteousness, The Merciful, and Pure in Heart. Which brings us to peacemakers.The Beatitudes in the Bedroom - Peacemakers verse

I once again sought out the meaning of the primary word here — peacemakers — in the original New Testament Greek. As it turns out, this is the only time that word, eirenopoios, is used. But since it’s a compound word, you can break it down into two words just as you can in English — eirene for peace, and poieo for make. When I realized that, I thought, Now we’re getting somewhere! Only eirene (peace) is used 86 times in the New Testament and poieo (make) is used a whopping 519 times.

Look, I love y’all but this post isn’t my doctoral dissertation, so there is no way I’m researching all of those verses. Instead, let’s look at a few of the definitions of these words from the New Testament Greek Lexicon provided by BibleStudyTools.com.

Eirene

2. peace between individuals, i.e. harmony, concord
3. security, safety, prosperity, felicity, (because peace and harmony make and keep things safe and prosperous)

Poieo

1. to make: a) to be the authors of, the cause; b) to make ready, to prepare; c) to produce, bear, shoot forth

At this point, you’re probably thinking as I did: So it means exactly what it says — to make peace.

Only, I have to admit that the word for make includes a definition I like a whole lot, given what I do — “to be the authors of.” Think about that. When you’re the author, you get to say whatever you want, however you want, whenever you want, wherever you want. You decide what gets made. It sounds really powerful and marvelous when I put it like that, but the best writers do not take that freedom lightly. With that freedom, they recognize deep responsibility and the need to create something they can be proud of, others will gravitate to, and in line with their values.

Considering that, what does it mean to be a peacemaker in your marriage bed? I recognize that you are not the only “author” there — or shouldn’t be. It’s like you’re co-writing this epic called Marital Intimacy. But what do you bring to the page? Are your actions promoting “peace between individuals, i.e. harmony, concord”? Do you help to make your marriage bed a place of “security, safety, prosperity, felicity”?

If you’re honest, some of you recognize that no, you’re not a peacemaker when it comes to sexual intimacy in your marriage. Rather, you’re adding to the tension, conflict, and even hostility in your marriage regarding this topic. Or maybe it’s not that bad, but you do things that make your spouse feel uncertain of your love in this area, resulting in him (or her) feeling insecure, unsafe, and unhappy (the opposite of felicity).

How can you be a peacemaker? What gives you the right to call yourself a child of God when it comes to how you approach your spouse’s sexuality?

How about asking some questions?

  • What makes my spouse feel unsafe in the bedroom? Have I requested or demanded sexual acts that make my spouse feel disgusted, degraded, or simply not enough?
  • Do I know my spouse’s sexual history and how it impacts them? Do I recognize what sensitivities they have and where their trigger points are, and feel compassion accordingly? Am I working toward a healthier and holier approach in our marriage bed?
  • Do I make an effort to help my spouse feel good about their body and their sexuality? Do I honor the way God made them, in terms of their gender, personality, appearance, and uniqueness?
  • Do I try to communicate clearly what I want in our marriage bed, and then listen to what my spouse desires? Do I really consider and try to understand their point of view, avoiding defensiveness and counterattack?
  • Do I take all rejections personally or try to see the woundedness behind the walled-off parts of their sexuality and deal with that? Am I safe place for my spouse to share their concerns, worries, and hurts? Can I be counted on to work toward a more sexually intimate marriage while treating my spouse’s heart with tender care?
  • Do I appreciate the difference between a cease-fire and unity? Do I reject the status quo of contention or stalemate and pursue true harmony and concord between us? Even if that involves difficult conversations, rethinking my positions, and/or pursuing marriage counseling?
  • Do I confront our issues with the goal of sexual “prosperity” and satisfaction for both of us? Do I take the words “one flesh” earnestly, looking for ways to make the two of us as one in Christ (see Genesis 2:24, Matthew 19:6, Ephesians 5:31, and John 17:20-22)?

If we’re all being real, you know from that list that we are not perfect peacemakers. We have failed in some way to pursue perfect peace in our marriage beds. Thankfully, we have the grace of Christ, the opportunity for second chances (or 67th chances, if that’s where you are), the ability to change direction, and the promise of the Holy Spirit to guide us to a better path.

Start right here — with asking yourself what you can do today and tomorrow to promise true peace in your marriage bed. How can you pursue the harmony and unity God wants us to have, especially in this most vulnerable, beautiful, and bonding of experiences?

Let’s make love in our bedrooms, but let’s also make peace.

Let's make love in our bedrooms, but let's also make peace. Click To Tweet