By Johnny O. Trail — Mickey and Linda were married for around 60 years./1 Linda was immersed into Christ from an early age, but Mickey was not a member of the church. For many, many years she and others patiently prayed for him and engaged him in various Bible studies.
When I started at the congregation where Mickey and Linda attended, I was blessed to become friends with them early in the work. Since my grandmother’s maiden name was “Jacobs” and Linda’s was too, I always called her “Cousin” when she came into the building. As I watched them over the 10 years that I was a part of their congregation, their love for one another was very apparent. There was always a twinkle in his eyes and in hers when they were together. Still, she had a persistent fear—”would Mickey obey the gospel before his life was over?” Continue reading “Nine steps and 45 minutes to salvation”
To accompany a recent sermon on sexual immorality, I wrote the following summary points on sex and marriage, focusing especially on the former. They have been translated from Portuguese.
These are basically bullet points designed for people who are coming to know God’s will. They’re designed to be starting points for further study. Continue reading “26 Biblical points on sex and marriage”
“…from the beginning it was not so” (Matthew 19:8)
In 17 years of ministry (part and full-time), I have met with numerous married, and to-be-married couples. One thing I’ve found by this experience is that to-be-married couples generally understand the concept of adultery, and see it as a legitimate – if not the only – reason for divorce. Even if their Bible knowledge is somewhat limited, or they are not Christians, they will often say that this is the only legitimate grounds for a biblical divorce. I have this in writing from almost every couple I’ve married.
Yet, in nearly every troubled marriage that I’ve tried to help, one or both have a completely different, and non-biblical view of divorce and/or adultery. Continue reading “Five (unpopular) things Jesus said about divorce”
Valentine’s Day is a wonderful holiday where we focus on those we love.
It’s a romantic time that should bring joy to those who have good relationships. For those who don’t, well, it’s kinda cruel.
Of course, the holiday is economy driven and we fall in line and spend our money. Nevertheless, the day is important and we should express our fondness for that special person. Continue reading “Unselfish love doesn’t need Valentine’s Day”
What will it be like in heaven? Despite the word “heaven” being used so often in the New Testament (around 240 times), there are very few descriptions of what heaven will be like and even fewer that talk about what it will be like to be in heaven. I am confident there is a reason for this: how do you describe something that is so much more wonderful than anything on earth, using purely human terms? Continue reading “A wee view of heaven”
“Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal (the NIV says ‘pledge’) to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 3:21 ESV).
I often say to a couple who wants to get married that I am far more concerned with their marriage than I am with their wedding. It’s funny how people put so much emphasis on one day, and so little on what follows. They need to be prepared for life together, too! Continue reading “Of weddings and baptism”
Do you want to fight less and love more? Author and conflict resolution expert Laurie Puhn suggests the very first principle involves believing “Love Is Conditional,” even though “many of us are brought up to believe that romantic love should survive ‘no matter what.'” She explains how a belief in unconditional love is “one of the biggest saboteurs of relationship success.”
Well, she’s partly right. However, a solid scriptural viewpoint can acknowledge the value of her insight while pursuing a stronger and healthier approach to love. Continue reading “Love is in the air … or maybe not?”
The first two chapters of Genesis contain details of the Creation. Although some insist these are two totally different accounts of what God did, it would seem that what we have in chapter two is an expansion of what was summarized in chapter one: chapter one gives an overview while chapter two gives us a little more detail. Continue reading “A companion who corresponds to us”
After all the yelling, cursing, cheering and complaining about the nationwide legalization of same-sex marriages, what are we left with? Like anything else, what remains is the settling of a new reality. We all need to find our way in a changed world.
The sun has arisen on the same places and people under the same heaven. To the Lord, nothing has changed. His truth and will, established before the beginning of time, are still set in eternal concrete (Psalm 119:89). Continue reading “Since same-sex marriage has passed, what now?”
The foundation of fiction or narrative nonfiction is conflict. Without it, there isn’t a story. Writers devise problems for the sake of perpetuating the story and engaging their readers.
If David Copperfield had lived in a perfect world, Dickens wouldn’t have had anything to say. In fact, books, films or television shows would cease to exist without problems. Life is painful and difficult and art reflects that fact.
Yet, it’s more complex than that. Continue reading “Books, movies and marriage”