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The Word of God tells us that we are to "Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it" (Prov. 22:6). This means that we should train up our children according to the instruction of the Word.

Ephesians 6:1 tells us, "Children, obey your parents in the Lord [as His representatives], for this is just and right" (AMP). Children are to obey their parents as they would God. Their authority is first in the home. If children do not learn authority in the home, they will not respect authority when they leave home. If they rebel against authority within the home, they will rebel against authority outside the home! They need to be obedient to their parents so that when God speaks to them, they will be obedient to God.

Ephesians 6:2 continues, "Honor (esteem and value as precious) your father and your mother; this is the first commandment with a promise" (AMP).

This verse of scripture applies to everybody, no matter what age you are. It is not just for little children. We need to love our parents and honor and esteem and value them as precious. It is God's command and it has a promise. The promise is found in Ephesians 6:3, "That all may be well with you and that you may live long on the earth" (AMP).

If your parents are elderly, it is not enough to just help your parents financially when they need it. You need to show your love and affection. You need to fellowship with them. It is far more precious to them to share your life personally than just sending them a check each month!

Honor, esteem and value as precious your father and mother! This is the answer to a long life! Colossians 3:20-21 (AMP) are some of the most important verses of scripture that we can study. It says, "Children, obey your parents in everything, for this is well-pleasing to the Lord. Fathers, do not provoke or irritate or fret your children - do not be hard on them or harass them; lest they become discouraged and sullen and morose and feel inferior and frustrated; Do not break their spirit."

Some fathers are so harsh and cruel to their children. They do not give them anything. They are unyielding towards them. They break their spirit. They punish their child beyond reason. They dominate them until they are crushed!

I have made mistakes with our children. But I have gone in later and said, "Darling, I did not do right. I did wrong. I acted in anger. I was too hard on you." Then we pray together. We need to tenderly bring up our children in the fear and admonition of the Lord. Certainly we should discipline and spank our children, but you do not need to be harsh or hard. Love them afterwards. Build them up in love. Be Christ-like.

My children could doubt that the stars make their stately march across the heavens. They could doubt that the moon gives its borrowed light. But they could never doubt that marriage is wonderful. We have lived before them with such joy and happiness together. This is the richest blessing you could ever give your children.

If you make a mistake, go to your child and tell him you are sorry. Ask his forgiveness. Tell God you are sorry. First John 1:9 tells us that "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and cleanse us from all unrighteousness."

Thank God that the Blood of Jesus instantly washes away all sin. Fellowship is restored. The love of God will flow from you to your family again! Your joy will abound once again! In speaking to Spirit-filled Christians, Paul also says, "But to the married [people] I give charge, not I but the Lord, that the wife is not to separate from her husband" (1 Cor. 7:10, AMP).

God expects marriage to be permanent. When you are stuck with each other, you may as well decide to get along! Now if you are divorced, there is no condemnation. God gives the ideal in all situations. You cannot unscramble scrambled eggs! Start where you are. Walk in the light you have now. Start with the Blood of Jesus and go on!

First Corinthians 7:11 tells us, "If she does [separate from and divorce him], let her remain single or else be reconciled to her husband. And [I charge] the husband [also] that he should not put away or divorce his wife" (AMP). This is the ideal, but God forgives. He has made provision in case you have failed. His ideal is that you get married knowing that God expects it to be permanent.

Let us look further at the scriptures regarding the marriage relationship with an unbeliever. First Corinthians 7:12-15 says in The Amplified Bible,

To the rest I declare, I, not the Lord [for Jesus did not discuss this], that if any brother has a wife who does not believe [on Christ], and she consents to live with him, he should not leave or divorce her.

And if any woman has an unbelieving husband, and he consents to live with her, she should not leave or divorce him. For the unbelieving husband is set apart (separated, withdrawn from heathen contamination and affiliated with the Christian people) by union with his consecrated (set-apart) wife; and the unbelieving wife is set apart and separated through union with her consecrated husband. Otherwise, your children would be unclean [unblessed heathen, outside the Christian covenant], but as it is they are prepared for God - pure and clean. But if the unbelieving partner [actually] leaves, let him do so; in such [cases the remaining] brother or sister is not morally bound. But God has called us to peace.

If you have an unsaved husband or wife that just will not turn to God, they absolutely refuse to live with you and they leave you, then God says you are not morally bound. You are free. Your place is right in the arms of Jesus and in His love. He loves, restores and forgives. He is the God of another chance. He will love you all the way through your situation. He took a woman who had been married five times, living with a man though not married, and saved her, forgave her and made her an evangelist. He revealed to her that He was the great Messiah. (See John 4.) He loves people who have made mistakes and are in a mess.

His heart breaks to see them in trouble, heartache and sorrow. He wants to help them out of their problem. He does it by His love. He can take any situation and heal and forgive and set you on His path. Deuteronomy 6:24 says that as we love the Lord, He will preserve us and all that He does for us is "for our good always."

The physical side of marriage is a very prominent side of the marriage relationship. In 1 Corinthians 7:1 (The Amplified Bible), Paul tells us "It is well - [and by that I mean] advantageous, expedient, profitable and wholesome - for a man not to touch a woman (to cohabit with her), but to remain unmarried." Do not be living with a woman unless you are married.

You cannot take the Word of God and the promises therein and apply them to yourself unless you are legally married. Now if you have been living together as man and wife, you can get married. The Word of God is to instruct you in these matters. Once you have light in an area where you have been ignorant, then you can take the instruction of God and conform your life to it.

First Corinthians 7:2-5 (AMP) further explains,

But because of the temptation to impurity and to avoid immorality, let each [man] have his own wife and let each [woman] have her own husband. The husband should give to his wife her conjugal rights...and likewise the wife to her husband. For the wife does not have [exclusive] authority and control over her own body, but the husband [have his rights]; likewise also the husband does not have [exclusive] authority and control over his body, but the wife [has her rights].

Do not refuse and deprive and defraud each other (of your due marital rights), except perhaps by mutual consent for a time, that you may devote yourselves unhindered to prayer. But afterwards resume marital relations, lest Satan tempt you [to sin] through your lack of restraint of sexual desire.

That means exactly what it says! God will judge and not bless a husband or a wife who denies the rights of marriage to their partner because they are exclusively tied to that partner for that type of living and that manner of relationship.

The devil gets a hold on some people and they begin to use this to manipulate their mate. That is sin. The Bible says that we are responsible to each other in these matters. Know this also: Trial marriages are not of God. Do not give your body to anybody until after you are married. The person who uses you will afterwards despise you! Marriage can be heaven on earth if you will do what God tells you to do! Do you have a home filled with love? You can.

There was once a man that told me that his wife was leaving him. Her love had grown cold. They were not old. I talked to her and she totally convinced me that she was going to leave her husband. She just did not want him any longer. They were separated, living apart. But he had the Word of God down inside of his spirit. He said, "No, I will not give her up!" The Holy Ghost is in us to demonstrate that Satan is defeated. What good is it going to do to demonstrate it all over the world and let the devil take what is dearest and nearest to you?

Do you know what that man did? He went to her apartment. He took his Bible. He would not leave. He read that Word to her all night long. She would not listen. He would not give up. He rebuked the devil. He stood against the devil. He read the Bible by the hour - all night long. He would not give up his wife to the devil's strategy. He kept reading the promises of God. He stood firm against the devil. He would not leave. She just laughed at him. She told him that she no longer loved him. All closeness, all love was gone.

After hours of him reading and praying (she told me later) all at once, something like a black shadow arose off of her. She said, "I came to myself! The devil left and the love of God was still there!" They were reunited in the love of God. That was years ago and they remain happily married to this day. The devil was defeated.

Do not let the devil fool you. He will tell you that your marriage is over. That is the devil's lie. You are stuck with each other! Why not enjoy it! The same God that performs miracles, heals the blind and defeats satanic fear can put new love in your heart, drive the devil away and make your home a happy home.

The Christian home is the greatest testimony and the greatest strength to the Christian community today. Many of our prayers are hindered and sickness and trouble are upon us simply because we have not been willing to obey God on the matter of marriage. You husbands, be men. Do not be dictators and bosses. Be lovers. Be somebody who will build up, guide, guard and protect your wife. Make her proud of you. Wives, esteem and respect your husband. Do not insult him in private or in public. Respect him, adore him and love him.

Treat your children with tenderness and love in the midst of your marriage relationship and you will have heaven on earth! Obey the Word of God. See the good in each other. Confess love in your home. You have in your marriage what you have been saying you have. What do you say about your mate? How do you talk about them to others? Whatever you say they are, they are! If you would start telling everybody how wonderful they are, show your affection to them, and brag on them, you will find they have become these things. God calls the things which be not as though they were! (See Rom. 4:17.)

Many times we have made each other what we are now. As you change what you are saying, you will see a change in your mate. It may not happen overnight, but keep on confessing good and positive things about them. It will work! Pray for each other and thank God that He is making each of you what you should be.

Make this confession about your marriage partner: I love my partner in marriage. I love them, but faith without works is dead. I will tell them. I will act like I love them. I will show my love. I will demonstrate my love. Satan is defeated. We will have heaven on earth from this day forward in the Name of Jesus. Amen.

Source: Love and Marriage by John Osteen
Excerpt permission granted by Harrison House Publishers

Author Biography

John Osteen
Web site: Lakewood Church
The late John Osteen served the Lord Jesus Christ as pastor, evangelist, author, and teacher for sixty years. Ordained as a Southern Baptist, he received the baptism in the Holy Ghost in 1958, an experience which revolutionized his ministry into a worldwide outreach for Jesus Christ.

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