A Video Every Engaged Couple Should See

I believe in premarital counseling. Young couples need all the help they can get.

They need to understand what their vows really mean: “for better, for worse; for richer, for poorer; in sickness and in health; to love and to cherish; till death do us part.”

Down the marital road troubles will come. What then? Will the vows hold?

Sara and I stood before Ray Beeson on July 11, 1969, as he officiated at our wedding. Ray has been married to my sister Doris for 67 years.

Now Doris has advanced Alzheimer’s, as did my other sister Sue Porter who died last April.

Please watch the attached video of Ray and Doris as they go through this hard but blessed experience . . .

Together.

 

True Beauty

Recently I saw a picture of a woman I haven’t seen in over 50 years. When she was in her teens, she was quite attractive, but more than five decades have taken their toll on her face.

But that’s OK—provided she is beautiful on the inside.

Beyond externals

Isaac McNally made an interesting point regarding the Worthy Woman of Proverbs 31—it doesn’t say whether she was outwardly beautiful. After describing the excellence of her character, the passage does say, however, “Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the LORD, she shall be praised” (v. 30).

Addressing Christian wives, Peter writes, “Your adornment must not be merely external . . . but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God” (1 Peter 3:3-4).

As God sees it

Whether one is physically attractive or not, it’s what’s inside that counts. When God sent Samuel to anoint one of Jesse’s sons as king over Israel, Samuel was highly impressed when he saw the oldest son Eliab.

But God told him, “Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7).

God’s values and ours so often clash.

That’s why we need to be in the Scriptures daily, to re-program our thinking to be in line with His. Then we can appreciate what He counts as true beauty.

From the inside out.

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Scripture quotations taken from the NASB: http://www.lockman.org/

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The Future: How to Prepare

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The perspective of age

I’ve been a senior three times in my life: a high school senior, a senior in college, and now in the senior stage of life.

A congregation provided visitors with a card that requested the usual contact information, and also a place to indicate the visitors’ age categories: child, Jr. High, Sr. High, 20-30, 30-40, 40-50, 50+.

Many of us are in that 50+ slot—and have been for quite some time. How should we feel about it?

First, aren’t we grateful that God has allowed us to live this long? So many obituaries I see in the paper are for those who were far younger than I.

Second, don’t we feel an increasing sense of the preciousness of the time remaining? It’s true that the 50+ category may last longer than any of the other age brackets, but we don’t know that it will.

“As for the days of our life, they contain seventy years, or if due to strength eighty years, yet their pride is but labor and sorrow; for soon it is gone and we fly away” (Psalm 90:10).

“. . . you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away” (James 4:14).

Soon it is gone, wrote the Psalmist. Just a vapor, says James.

We speak of longevity, but never shortevity. Perhaps we should.

And third, doesn’t it make good sense to make diligent preparation NOW for what lies beyond? “Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men, but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil” (Ephesians 5:15-16).

The two stages

The future can be divided into two parts:

Future: Part I is whatever time remains for us in this world.

Future: Part II is eternity.

When we die, Part II begins. Part I is temporary. Part II is forever.

Part II is dependent on Part I. How we spend the first part determines how we spend the second (Romans 2:1-11; 2 Corinthians 5:10). We have a choice.

Satan seeks to distract us with the “worries and riches and pleasures of this life” (Luke 8:14). God calls us to raise our sights and make wise choices (Colossians 3:1-2).

“The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever” (1 John 2:17).

What does it mean to do God’s will?

It means trusting and obeying the Son He sent to be our Savior (John 8:24; 11:25-26; Hebrews 5:8-9).

It means turning from doing our own will to doing His (Acts 17:30-31).

It means being united with Christ in baptism (Acts 2:38; 22:16; Galatians 3:27).

It means remaining faithful to the end (Hebrews 3:6. 14; 10:35-39; 12:1-3).

“. . . so as to live the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for the lusts of men, but for the will of God” (1 Peter 4:2).

“. . . the one who does the will of God lives forever” (1 John 2:17).

 

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB: http://www.lockman.org/

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Old and New

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What does not last

From our backyard we can watch the demolition of a 1962 university residence hall.

Nearby is a residence hall under construction.

Someday this new facility may well be considered outdated and be replaced.

Such is life.

What does last

As a boy I heard a song on the radio called “This Ole House”—comparing the aging process to a house falling into disrepair–soon to be abandoned for something far better.

Paul wrote, “For we know that if the earthly tent which is our house is torn down, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens” (2 Corinthians 5:1).

This promise is for those who submit in obedient faith to “Jesus Christ . . . the same yesterday and today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8).

Is this your hope?

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB: http://www.lockman.org/

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Looking Ahead

What if?

When our son Monte was five, he asked his mom, “What if you and Daddy break your hip at the same time? Then we wouldn’t have any mommy and daddy to take care of us.”

“We’d find somebody to take care of you for awhile,” she said. “Besides, it’s usually old people who break their hip.”

He thought a moment, then said, “You’re getting old, aren’t you?”

What now?

How should a Christian feel about growing older?

“Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day. For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison . . .” (2 Corinthians 4:16-17).

Hope of glory.

Even with a broken hip.

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Scripture quotations taken from the NASB: http://www.lockman.org/

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The Perspective of Age

Growing older: pros & cons

I have been a senior three times in my life: in high school, in college, and now as one in the senior age group.

Like most who’ve been around awhile, I’m finding that growing older has its challenges. The body doesn’t cooperate like it used to (Ecclesiastes 12).

But then aging does have its advantages—in addition to the grandkids, retirement, and senior discounts, nice as those are.

Among our assets are happy memories, things we’ve learned along the way, and the satisfaction of accomplishments we could never have achieved without God’s help.

What experience teaches

We can know from personal experience that God really does keep His promises. “I have been young and now am old; yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken or his descendants begging bread” (Psalm 37:25).

It isn’t just a matter of aging gracefully, but of aging gratefully in the grace of God.

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Scripture quotations taken from the NASB: http://www.lockman.org/

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