Operation Safeguard: Part 2 by Dr. Abidan Shah & Nicole Shah

OPERATION SAFEGUARD 2 – Dr. Abidan and Nicole Shah, Clearview Church, Henderson

Introduction:  We are in part 2 of our message titled “OPERATION SAFEGUARD.” Last weekend, Nicole and I focused on the 10 kinds of homes we come from that impact what kind of marriages we will have. In today’s message, we will focus on the danger of isolation and the ways to intimacy in marriage. Once again, I want to invite Nicole to the stage. Last week, we heard from so many who come in person or watch online as to how much they loved and learned from our talk on marriage. We are hoping to do this periodically to help marriage and family in our culture today. As I mentioned last time, we are still in our series through 1 Peter. So, let’s turn there now.

1 Peter 2      11 Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul, 12 having your conduct honorable among the Gentiles, that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may, by your good works which they observe, glorify God in the day of visitation.

Context: If you remember from last week, 1 Peter can be divided into 2 halves: first half is from 1:1 – 2:10 and its focused on how the believers in Asia Minor saw themselves; the second half is from 2:11 – end and its focused on how the believers should live before the watching world, especially with regards to government, work, and marriage. Verses 11 and 12 of chapter 2 are the transition between the two sections. Last weekend, I pointed out 3 important words in verse 11 that set the tone for the application: Beloved (We are all in this together), Sojourners and Pilgrims (We are simply passing through), and War (We are in a spiritual warfare with the culture which surrounds us). Now, in verse 12, Peter told them how to win this war – 12 “having your conduct honorable among the Gentiles, that when they speak against you as evildoers…” Why are they considered evildoers? Because they are now believers and they don’t worship the old gods and goddesses. So, how do they combat such accusations? “…they may, by your good works which they observe, glorify God in the day of visitation.” The best ammunition against the lost world are good works of the believers that the lost world will brag about to God when he comes again. By the way, you cannot glorify God when he comes again unless you are saved. In other words, the gentile neighbors got saved by observing the good lifestyles of their Christian neighbors whom they were hating. Here’s the point: We don’t combat the lost world by copying their tactics of shouting matches, smear campaigns, and savage/senseless behavior. We combat the lost world with displaying a lifestyle that they admire and desire to emulate. In other words, we are called to win by recruitment not retribution. These are good works with regards to government, work, and marriage. Because of Valentine’s Day, we skipped over government and work, but we will be back. So, how can we have good works in marriage that our lost neighbors will admire and desire to emulate?

NICOLE:

Tragically, one hindrance to good works in marriage is ISOLATION. This is the heart of the problem for most marriages. God said in Genesis 2:24“Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” Unfortunately, marriages automatically drift towards isolation. What are the causes of isolation in marriages?

  1. Changes in our culture (devaluing of marriage, family, and children; over valuing of independence; influence of media and entertainment)
  2. Our childhood and expectations (from last weekend’s message)
  3. Selfishness (focusing on our spouse’s weaknesses and justifying our rejection of our spouse)
  4. Improper responses to the struggles in marriage (poor models, wrong advisors, no plan for crisis in marriage)
  5. Extra-marital affairs (Activities affair, Materialism affair, Career affair, Family affair, and Love affair)

Marriage is God’s idea and he desires ONENESS in our marriages for 4 reasons:

  • It reflects God’s image;
  • it gives us companionship in life;
  • it spreads a godly legacy;
  • and, it reflects the relationship between Christ and the church;

How can we have this oneness in marriage? There are 6 different intimacies (We are getting these from Tony and Alisa Dilorenzos):

ABIDAN:

  1. Spiritual intimacy – The first, and, I believe, the most important intimacy in marriage is spiritual intimacy. This is the relationship that the husband and wife have with Jesus Christ and each other. We talked about this last week, so we are going to dive deeper. This type of intimacy includes going to church together as a family, doing devotions together and praying together. As we talked about last week, our marriages should be a commitment between husband, wife and God. In this commitment is going to church to be spiritually fed together. This is so important not only for the husband and the wife, but also for the children as well. This sets the course for the rest of their lives. The decision to follow Jesus Christ is the most important decision you will ever make with the choice of a spouse second. Spiritual intimacy also includes devotions together as a couple. How? Choose a devotional book, preferably one for couples and decide how often you and your spouse will do them: every day, once a week, etc. We recommend at least once a week. If you can do every day, great! Also, end your couple devotional time with prayer. Either each one of you pray or take turns who prays after each devotion.

Don’t neglect your individual devotions because each of you need this as well. This is where scheduling is important. Nicole gets up every morning before the boys to do her devotions for uninterrupted time. It takes discipline.

  1. Intellectual intimacy – This type of intimacy is all about the issues you and your spouse consider to be important to your marriage. This could be goals for your marriage, values for your marriage and family or even creating a budget for your family. Intellectual intimacy requires communication. I can see the wives are excited with this one, and the husbands are tuning out! Maybe you can begin your communication with books life Connect Like You Did When You First Met or One Question a Day for You and Me. These will help to start great conversations between the two of you. If you are not sure if you need help in this area, ask yourself: do you know your spouse’s hopes and dreams? If your spouse asked you to pick up a toiletry item for them at the store, would you know the brand?
  2. Financial intimacy – This type of intimacy is sharing your financial situation. We step on some toes here, but first of all, couples should have a shared checking account. Too much mine and yours does not create intimacy. There is nothing wrong with having a husband’s and wife’s fun money account, but the main family accounts should be joint. We do understand that there are times that this is not easy. If one spouse spends indiscreetly, this can cause so much trouble. Also, if business and employees have to paid out of this account, this has to be done with trust. Having said that, your finances can be a great intimacy builder as you plan and dream for the future; or it can be an intimacy killer, if you both constantly disagree on how to handle your finances. If you and your spouse fit the latter category, maybe you should begin your financial planning sessions with prayer. Remember, God is the third person in your marriage. Also, if you don’t tithe as a couple, you will always have financial struggles. Abidan and I have found that if we are tithing, God provides all of our needs. It’s His money anyway, and He only asks for 10%.

NICOLE:

4.  Recreational intimacy – This type of intimacy is having fun together doing something that you both enjoy. This is where your hobbies might come into play. Is there something that you both enjoy doing? A sport, an outdoor activity, and indoor activity, or activities involving the arts. Here is a list that I got from Tony & Alisa Dilorenzo’s book Stripped Down, but you can find exhaustive lists on Pinterest or asking Google. If you don’t enjoy doing the same things as your spouse, make a list of your personal top 5 or 10 things you enjoy doing. Exchange lists and take turns going on dates doing something off your spouse’s list. You might find that you enjoy doing something that your spouse enjoys. At the least, enjoy being with your spouse.

5. Emotional intimacy – Other than spiritual intimacy, emotional intimacy is foundational for your marriage. This intimacy is the feeling of closeness to someone special in your life. You can have emotional intimacy with many people in your life: your parents, your children, your friends; but the most important person is your spouse. How do you start? Think back to when you met your spouse. You went on dates.

  • Keep dating your spouse. They don’t have to be extravagant; just spend time together.
  • Ask open-ended questions. These are questions that require more than a yes or no answer. We have 2 books in our resource room that can help with this part of emotional intimacy.
  • Share a hobby together. This is doing something together that you both enjoy. For example, sports, crafts, hunting, travel.
  • Get away for a weekend. For example, a nice hotel in the next city, a bed and breakfast, or a resort.

These are just a few ways that you can build and strengthen your emotional intimacy. Emotional intimacy is the gateway to great physical intimacy.

  1. Physical intimacy – This intimacy includes holding hands, hugging, kissing and sex. This part of marriage is definitely influenced by the way you were raised. What were your parents’ attitude towards sex? Their attitudes towards the subject of sex have affected the way that you view sex. Ladies, if your mother communicated to you that sex was a duty or was dirty; you need a mind shift. If you didn’t already know this, God created sex. He said that everything that he had created was good. Sin changed that. Genesis 2:25 “And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.” I know this sounds crazy, but you need to pray and ask God to change your attitude about sex. You also need to subscribe to the One Extraordinary Marriage podcast or Marriage 365 webcast, or both! Men, your wives need emotional intimacy to be ready for sex. Ladies, your husbands need sex to feel emotionally close to you. Some ideas to help you begin to work on your physical intimacy are:
  • Pray – Invite God into your bedroom, and He will bless it.
  • Do a sex challenge – decide how many days you will have sex, make the commitment and stick to it.
  • Adopt the intimacy lifestyle – Check out resources from Tony and Alisa Dilorenzo.

Isn’t it amazing that Peter included marriage in his list of good works that causes the gentiles to get saved! If your marriage was the gospel plan for somebody, how good is your gospel?

Invitation: Is your marriage drifting towards isolation or intimacy? Is Christ the center of your marriage? Are you saved?

Letting God Guide Your Love Life

LETTING GOD GUIDE YOUR LOVE LIFE by Pastor Shah, Clearview Church, Henderson

lettinggodguideyourlovelifeIntroduction: Today being Valentine’s Day, I’m deviating from our series on the Sermon on the Mount and I’m preaching a message titled – “Letting God Guide Your Love Life.”

Genesis 2   18 And the LORD God said, “It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him.” 19 Out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the air, and brought them to Adam to see what he would call them. And whatever Adam called each living creature, that was its name. 20 So Adam gave names to all cattle, to the birds of the air, and to every beast of the field. But for Adam there was not found a helper comparable to him.

Overall Background: Today’s message is unlike any I have ever preached. It’s been brewing in my mind for a long time. It addresses the common misunderstanding that many people have that all God cares about is our salvation. All He wants to do is get us from hell to heaven. That’s it. Rest of the stuff like relationships and finding someone to spend the rest of our lives with is our problem. Just don’t mess up and find someone out of God’s will. Then you’re doomed! Then you are out of God’s will. Sometimes we get such messages the loudest through Christian books on dating which communicate that all this relationship stuff is way down on God’s list of priorities. What He really wants to do is draw you closer to Himself. But don’t bother Him with all that trivial stuff like finding the love of your life and finding true love. That’s so unspiritual. By the way, when they do offer some principles on dating and love, they raise a standard that is totally unrealistic and unbiblical. The world loves this. They say – “That’s perfect. You get them saved and we’ll help them find love.” Today’s message is to help clarify all this.

But before we begin, here’s a question – “do you believe that God actually cares for all your needs, even love relationships?” Romans 8:32 He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? This means that in the midst of running the universe, He is just as interested in my love life. Here’s another question – Are you saved? You need this relationship first.

4 things we will learn about letting God guide our love life:

I. GOD CARES ABOUT OUR HAPPINESS. 

Genesis 2:18 And the LORD God said, “It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him.”

Background: After 7 times saying – “it is good,” “it is good,” for the first time God said, “it is not good” when He saw Adam sitting by Himself. He could have gotten on to Adam and told him to go work in the garden. He could have encouraged Him to go and explore the wonderful world He had created. He could have even told Him how much He needs to find His need for companionship in God – “Adam, I am sufficient for you.” Instead, God says – “The poor boy is lonely. He needs another person who is like him and yet different from him.” By the way, God did not leave Adam to figure things out for himself. Instead, verse 21 And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall on Adam, and he slept; and He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh in its place. 22 Then the rib which the LORD God had taken from man He made into a woman, and He brought her to the man. In other words, God created the solution for Adam’s loneliness.

What was Adam’s response? 23 And Adam said: “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; She shall be called Woman, Because she was taken out of Man.” What Adam is saying is “Thank you God! She’s like me but she’s different.” In other words, he didn’t need another Adam – a buddy to climb Mount Everest with or go scuba diving the Great Barrier Reef, or discover the wheel. He needed someone to cuddle up with. 25 And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed. That’s why marriage is between a man and a woman. No matter what the law says, that’s the truth.

Bottom Line: God cares about your need for companionship just as much as He cared about Adam’s need for companionship. Don’t listen to the lies of the Enemy that God has bigger things to worry about or God has forgotten you.

Application: Do you believe God cares about your need for companionship? Do you believe God has forgotten you? Ask Him to forgive you for not trusting Him.

II. PRAYER PLAYS A HUGE ROLE. 

Genesis 24:12 Then he said, “O LORD God of my master Abraham, please give me success this day, and show kindness to my master Abraham.”

Background: Here we come across the account of how Isaac met Rebekah. Abraham sent the oldest servant of his house, who ruled over all he had, to find a wife for Isaac.

Let me say something here – I feel for young people in the West, especially in America. Parents have such a hands off policy when it comes to their children finding a life partner. We have much to say about where they go to school or what sports they play or what career they choose but when it comes to dating or marriage, we leave them up the creek without a paddle. “Whoever makes them happy,” “as long as he/she treats him/her well,” and maybe something about his ethnic background. Earlier Abraham had made his servant swear to him – 3 and I will make you swear by the LORD, the God of heaven and the God of the earth, that you will not take a wife for my son from the daughters of the Canaanites, among whom I dwell; 4 but you shall go to my country and to my family, and take a wife for my son Isaac.” In a sense, they prayed. Meaning: We need to teach our kids the value of finding someone who is on the same spiritual wavelength as them. We need to pray for them and with them.

What did the servant do? When he came to the city of Nahor, he prayed – “O LORD God of my master Abraham, please give me success this day, and show kindness to my master Abraham.” But he went a step further in his prayer – 14 Now let it be that the young woman to whom I say, “Please let down your pitcher that I may drink,’ and she says, ‘Drink, and I will also give your camels a drink’—let her be the one You have appointed for Your servant Isaac. And by this I will know that You have shown kindness to my master.” Sounds like he is putting God to test but He’s actually looking for a sign from God. He’s looking for a young lady who will be godly enough and kind enough to give water to his camels. Sure enough – God answered his prayers and Rebekah did just that. Let me ask you – What if Rebekah had not done that? What if she had been lazy or self-centered or fooling around with her friends? We would have never heard her name. Prayer does not work in isolation from personal responsibility.

63 “And Isaac went out to meditate in the field in the evening…” Apparently, Isaac was a deeply spiritual person. He was praying. “…and he lifted his eyes and looked, and there, the camels were coming. Do you see how prayer is intricately woven in this account?

Application: How is your prayer life? Parents – are you praying for your children? Young people, singles – what are you praying for? Are you praying for the right one or are you praying – “God, make me the right one?”

III. LOVE IS A COMMITMENT.

Genesis 29:18 Now Jacob loved Rachel; so he said, “I will serve you seven years for Rachel your younger daughter.”

Background: Just like Abraham had counselled his son Isaac to marry someone on the same spiritual wavelength, Rebekah had also counselled Jacob the same way and he met Rachel and fell in love with her. He loved her so much that he was willing to work 7 years for her. In other words, he was committed to her. 20 So Jacob served seven years for Rachel, and they seemed only a few days to him because of the love he had for her.

Unfortunately, in our culture today, boys and girls bounce from one relationship to the next like bumblebees. Did you know that a bumblebee visits as many as 5,000 flowers in a single day?!! It may be great for a bumblebee but not for humans. It’s not a virtue. The world may call you a player but God looks down on it. It only reflects the emptiness of your heart. Then you know the rest of the account of how Laban tricked Jacob into marrying Rachel’s older sister. 26 And Laban said, “…we will give you this one also for the service which you will serve with me still another seven years.” Now Jacob served another 7 years for Rachel. How would that go in our culture of instant gratification? 14 years!

Love is a commitment. It’s not based on feelings but on facts. Jacob had found someone who had similar convictions. He fell in love with her and was willing to stay the long haul.

For e.g. When Nicole and I were engaged, her dad asked us this question – “What if tomorrow either one of you is in a serious wreck and they are no longer the person you fell in love with, what would you do? Will you be just as much in love?

Application: What do you believe about love? Is it just a feeling or is it commitment? Is it only about what makes you happy or is it about what makes the other person happy?

IV. GOD WORKS IN MYSTERIOUS WAYS. 

Ruth 2   5 Then Boaz said to his servant who was in charge of the reapers, “Whose young woman is this?” 6 So the servant who was in charge of the reapers answered and said, “It is the young Moabite woman who came back with Naomi from the country of Moab.

Background: As you know, we are talking about Ruth. She was married to an Israelite living in Moab. When he died, she chose to move to Israel with her mother-in-law. Keep in mind – she was a Moabites. Moab was the land on the eastern shores of the Dead Sea. I’ve been there. They were descendants of the incestual relationship between Lot and his older daughter. The people of Israel were not to have any relations with them because they had opposed them when they came out of Egypt. Nonetheless, now she’s in Israel with her mother-in-law trying to survive and she goes into the field of a man by the name of Boaz, who shows her favour. Listen to how Ruth responds to him – 10 So she fell on her face, bowed down to the ground, and said to him, “Why have I found favor in your eyes, that you should take notice of me, since I am a foreigner?” Did you notice the humility in her words? Later, Ruth showed interest in him even though he was older than her and listen to how Boaz responded – Ruth 3:10 “Blessed are you of the LORD…For you have shown more kindness…in that you did not go after young men, whether poor or rich.” Just like Ruth, Boaz was also humble and he redeemed her and she became his wife. But the narrative does not end there. Ruth became the great-grandmother of King David. God does work in mysterious ways.

Application: Do you believe that God can work just as mysteriously in your life? Do you trust Him or have you given up on Him?

The greatest love story in the Bible is not Adam and Eve or Isaac and Rebekah or Jacob and Rachel or Ruth and Boaz. It is Christ and the church. Ephesians 5:25 “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her…”

Jesus gave Himself for His bride the church. He is our model of how love should be. He didn’t wait for us to be perfect but He made us perfect.

Are you saved? Are you letting God guide your love life?

IF THEY MADE IT, YOU CAN TOO – 1 (Martin and Katie Luther)

IF THEY MADE IT, YOU CAN TOO – 1 by Pastor Shah, Clearview, Henderson, NC

WHEN BOTH ARE HARDHEADED

If They Made It, you can make it tooHave you ever looked at those great people in history and wondered what their marriage was like? “How did they do it?” “They couldn’t have problems like we have to deal with.” “They had to be so compatible.” “My marriage could never be like that.” This morning we will take a realistic look at the first such couple in history and our message is titled – “WHEN BOTH ARE HARDHEADED.”

Romans 13:8-10   8 Owe no one anything except to love one another, for he who loves another has fulfilled the law. 9 For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not bear false witness,” “You shall not covet,” and if there is any other commandment, are all summed up in this saying, namely, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 10 Love does no harm to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.

Overall Background: Listen once again to verse 9 and 10 – “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 10 Love does no harm to a neighbor. Before we start thinking about the family across the street or the people next door or someone at work, listen to what Martin Luther, the German Reformer, said, “The Christian should love his wife. He is supposed to love his neighbor, and since his wife is his nearest neighbor, she should be his deepest love.” And I would add the husband should be the deepest love for the wife.

Sadly in many homes, people are being stripped, robbed, and left for dead emotionally and mentally like the man in the Good Samaritan story. Many spouses are just like the priest and the Levite; they pass by on the other side. How beautiful is that marriage where one or the other spouse becomes the Good Samaritan, who came by and had compassion on that Jewish man. He stopped knowing the robbers could be nearby and rob him and beat him too. He bandaged his wounds, poured oil and wine. He set him on his animal and took him to the inn and took care of him. The next day, he even paid two denarii to the innkeeper to watch over the man and promised to return and pay for anything more that will cost. Sadly, many spouses are more like the robber than even the priest or the Levite. We are the one leaving our nearest neighbor stripped, wounded, and left for dead.

This morning we will look at the marriage of Martin and Katie Luther. Who were they? If it weren’t for Martin Luther, there wouldn’t have been a Protestant Reformation. If it weren’t for Martin Luther, you would not hear – “all you have to do is believe in Jesus and you’re saved.” If it weren’t for Martin Luther, you wouldn’t have that the English translation as it is today. If it weren’t for Martin Luther, there wouldn’t have been a John Wesley because Wesley read Luther’s preface on Romans and got saved. If it weren’t for Martin Luther, we would not have singing in church today.

What many people do not know is that he was married to a woman named Katherine and both of them were hard headed. Let’s look at their life.

luther-scala-sancta

1. THEY MET UNDER VERY UNUSUAL CIRCUMSTANCES: Martin Luther was an Augustinian monk and Professor of
Bible in the University of Wittenberg, Germany. He had struggled with his salvation for some time. He had been to Rome and seen all the holy relics. He had gone from place to place saying mass at all the holy churches. He even climbed the steps leading to the Chapel of St. Lawrence called the Scala Sancta – 28 steps. Supposedly these steps came from Jerusalem on which Jesus had walked down after he faced Pilate. It was said that if a person were to climb these steps on his knees, for each step, he/she would get 15 years of indulgence. Later he said, “I was no closer to God on the top than I was on the bottom.” He went home and began reading the Book of Romans and it dawned on him that God gives us His righteousness when we place our faith in Jesus Christ. “The just shall live by faith.” So on 31st October 1517, he decided to nail a pamphlet with 95 theses to the Wittenberg Door. Long story short – little did he realize that he had lit the flame of the Protestant Reform

Martin’s writings were creating quite a stir. Monks and priests realized that they didn’t have to be celibate in order to serve God. They began to renounce their vows of celibacy and began to get married. Even Luther thought about it but then said  – “Good heavens, they won’t give me a wife.” He was a hunted man, 41 years of age, condemned to burn at the stake. He didn’t want to marry someone and then jeopardize her life.ation. He was condemned as a heretic. All his writings were to be burned and he was to be captured or killed, whichever was easier. Martin had to go into hiding in the Wartburg Castle.

Herring BarrelOne day he received a letter from 12 nuns who were trying to escape from a nunnery in Nimbschen. This was no easy task. It wasin the territory of Duke George – someone who hated Martin. Duke George had already executed someone for trying to free these nuns. Luther came up with a plan. Through some connections he contacted the man who delivered smoked herrings to the cloister. 12 barrels filled with herring showed up at the nunnery. But when they left, they were not empty. Each barrel under the canvas had a nun. Two days later they arrived at the doorstep of Martin Luther. Three went home and nine were left. Now it was his job to find each of them a husband. These nuns were not very good at housekeeping. All they could do was pray and sing. Thankfully, he was able to marry all of them off, except for one. Her name was Katherine von Bora. She was a little feisty. She had been turned down once already. She even suggested – “Why don’t you marry me?” But after some thought, he agreed.

He admitted – “I am not madly in love.”

On June 10, 1525, Martin and Katie were married, quickly and secretly. There was only one couple there as witnesses. They did that on purpose. Everyone had an opinion and they were tired of it.

Can you imagine a worse way to start a marriage? A 41-year-old monk condemned as a heretic and a 26-year-old runaway nun. Your marriage might not have started well but it can finish well. It’s not how you start but how you finish that matters.

Martin Luther by Lucas Cranach

2. THEY DIDN’T SEEM VERY COMPATIBLE: Martin had grown up with a father who was hard to please. He was unhappy because Martin had joined the ministry. Throughout his life Martin struggled against those who were overbearing and unreasonable. Now he was a 41-year-old monk who had not made up his bed for over a year. His straw bed was rotting with sweat. He had a short fuse.

Katie was shipped off to the nunnery at 9 or 10 yeas of age because she was rude to her step mom. She had a quick tongue.

He loved the spotlight and she was somewhat shy. He was moody and she was very task oriented. But, neither of them hesitated to speak their mind. That’s a volatile combination!

They had one thing in common – they loved Jesus. If Jesus is at the center of your marriage, you can make it too. Martin once said – “To have peace and love in a marriage is a gift which is next to the knowledge of the Gospel.”

Katherine von Bora - Lucas Cranach3. THEY HAD TO LEARN TO MANAGE MONEY: Martin had taken a vow of celibacy, obedience, and poverty. Martin’s philosophy was “God has divided the hand into fingers so that money would slip through.” Very noble isn’t it? No wonder Luther was in debt!

Katie had better sense. The Archbishop Albrecht of Mainz had given Martin 20 guilders as a wedding present. That was about two months salary. Luther said – absolutely not! He was the man who authorized the purchase of the indulgences and he will not take his money. Katie stepped in and said – we’re taking it. You are 100 guilders in debt.

She had to hide money from Martin, so he wouldn’t give it away. Because of Katie, they were able to acquire some land and even a farm. Later Luther admitted, “The greatest blessing is to have a wife to whom you may trust your affairs.”

By the way, according to a survey done recently by the American Institute of CPAs, money is the top cause of conflict in marriages. Unless couples have a mature, biblical understanding of money, they will have problems.

Martin and Katherine4. THEY LEARNED TO APPRECIATE EACH OTHER: Katie had to work all day, taking care of their 6 children and animals and servants and farm. At times there were as many 25-30 people at the house. When the day was done, she just wanted to sit with her husband and have some adult conversation. Martin Luther was a scholar and a preacher. He preached 4 times and lectured and taught the students all day. All he wanted to do was just relax into a chair and read a good book. One time he even locked himself in his study for three days until Katie had his door removed. All Martin could say was – “Why did you do that? I wasn’t hurting anybody.”

In time they learned to appreciate and understand one another. Martin suffered with gout, insomnia, gallstones, kidney stones, constipation, dizziness, and ringing in his ears. Katie was a doctor to him. She used herbs, proper diet, and massages to help him feel better. Martin confessed – “I trust more in Katie and I expect more from Katie than I do Christ.” He would jokingly call her – “my rib,” “my master,” or even pick on her and call her Kethe (German) = “my chain.” Katie would call him “Doctor.” She knew how to cheer him up. One day he was all depressed and Katie showed up in a black dress. He asked  – “Who died?” Her answer – “God, the way you’re acting.” That cured him up.

Martin once said that marriage is a school for character. Did you know that your marriage is God’s workshop in making you more like Jesus?

Magdalena Luther Lucas Cranach

5. THEY FACED DIFFICULT TRIALS TOGETHER: Just two years into their marriage, Luther became terribly sick and suffered for about 8 months. Many of their friends died. Even their own son was ill and Katie was pregnant. Their house was like a hospital. During this time he wrote the song “A Mighty Fortress is Our God” from Psalm 46.

Later, the Luthers lost 2 of their children. The first one was their second child Elizabeth, who died when she was a year old. The second was their child Magdalena, who died when she was fourteen. This was a very tough time in their lives. Martin was facing some other problems and this just made matters worse. His health was also falling apart.

Yet, they made it because they had each other and they had the hope of eternal life in Jesus Christ.

Martin and Katie became a model couple for generations to come. It was not love at first sight. It did not have any fireworks. But it was real love. Once Martin remarked – “The first love is drunken. When the intoxication wears off, then comes the real married love.” They were married for 21 years.

If they can make it, you can too. Here are some important points:

–       It’s not how you start, but how you finish that matters

–       It’s about learning to understand and appreciate the other person.

Martin loved to say, “Let the wife make her husband glad to come home and let him make her sorry to see him leave.”

–       Each marriage requires 3 people – husband, wife, and Jesus Christ.

%d bloggers like this: