Resources for the members of the United Church of God

Update from the President: Jan. 10, 2019

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Update from the President

Jan. 10, 2019

Beyond Today Recording

Yesterday, three Beyond Today programs were recorded in our new studio. All of us who were part of the studio audience exclaimed how compelling all three presenters were! All three categories of content were represented: prophetic, doctrinal and Christian living. We have now produced 366 programs.

Darris McNeely: Three Signs Before Jesus Returns (364)
Steve Myers: Will I Go to Heaven? (365)
Gary Petty: Prayer: Key to Spiritual Growth (366)

The new spacious set gives the presenters greater freedom of movement. This, coupled with the live studio audience and the attractiveness of the set itself is producing a much higher quality program that we pray should engage our viewing audience in a greater way than before. Please join us in praying for the success of the program and that it will allow people to hear these words of life. All three of the programs recorded yesterday were indeed words of life.

Scott Ashley Teaching at Ambassador Bible College

Scott Ashley is teaching Harmony of the Gospels this week and next at ABC. We always appreciate him coming to visit. We also appreciate being able to consult with him in person on current publications that we work on.

Visit to Austin, Texas

This past weekend Bev and I traveled to Austin, Texas, and visited our congregation there. Elder Tim Seelig and his wife hosted us. We visited with Carol Lester whose husband Harold died in October.

One of purposes for being there was to celebrate Coleman and Waco pastor Stan Erickson and his wife Judy’s 50th wedding anniversary at an event that had been planned by their children. It was indeed a most wonderful way to share this happy moment with good friends.

We have been emphasizing the subject of marriage more of late. The November/December issue of Beyond Today had a marriage theme and the cover article was “How You Can Have a Lasting Marriage.”

Since we are living in a time when foundations of untouchable values are crumbling, we as a church need to be pro-active and positive in dealing with marriage. We need to revitalize our vision of marriage with a mature, practical outlook, well-grounded in God’s Word. If we approach marriage like we approach our spiritual conversion, we will do well.

Marriage serves not only you and your spouse, but also the Church and society. Marriage may more successfully handle activities such as caring for orphans and aged parents than do social agencies.

It is the best relationship for nurturing children.

A good marriage is a powerful witness for young adults to emulate, especially in a society that suffers from too many deficient role models.

I am happy to hear of upcoming marriages in the Church and pray for all of them to subscribe to God’s values that yield happiness.

I used the occasion of the Austin, Texas, visit to write a subscriber development letter to our nearly 15,000 donors and co-workers and highlighted the subject of marriage and offered our booklet Marriage & Family .

I’d like to share some of what I said in that letter:

Today I’m very pleased to offer you our special, absolutely free study guide: Marriage & Family: The Missing Dimension . Whether you are married or not, the material in this booklet will open your eyes to the subject of marriage and family as being much more than a biological or cultural event. This bond reveals a relationship between God and man, and is one spoken of throughout the Bible.

I have just returned from a special celebration of my friends’ 50th wedding anniversary. Their two children surprised them along with about 60 of us who delivered tributes and recollected memories past. I have known my friend for 54 years and his wife almost that long. It was a beautiful and joyous event of lives wrapped in love and held together with faithfulness.

The marriage relationship between a human male and female was created in the Garden of Eden and is described in the first chapters of the Bible. Here’s how it started:

“Then God said, ‘Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.’ So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. Then God blessed them, and God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it’ ” (Genesis 1:26-28 Genesis 1:26-28 26 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth. 27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. 28 And God blessed them, and God said to them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.
American King James Version×
).

And in Genesis 2:24 Genesis 2:24Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall join to his wife: and they shall be one flesh.
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: “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.”

An outcome of a faithful and loving marriage is children and family. All this was fashioned by God’s mindset—which the apostle John defines as, “God is Love” (1 John 4:8 1 John 4:8He that loves not knows not God; for God is love.
American King James Version×
). This is how marriage was created and meant to be. It is beautiful, loving, secure and produces good fruit. Having the mindset of God is the only way to genuine happiness and lasting fulfillment in a marital relationship.

The Bible does, however, relate a history of mankind trying alternative means for “love.” Polygamy and other aberrant relationships entered the picture. Man decided on new “rules” for marriage. But, they all had their problems and disastrous outcomes. The same is true now with same-sex marriages as well as all other life-styles deviating from what God intended.

The laws that govern marriage are as absolute as the laws of physics. All actions have predictable results. God did, however, allow man to tamper with these principles to see first-hand that non-compliance to His original instructions produces pain. Christ, when speaking about divorce, stated that what was “allowed” was not the ideal. Jesus said: “Moses, because of the hardness of your hearts, permitted you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so” (Matthew 19:8-9 Matthew 19:8-9 8 He said to them, Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so. 9 And I say to you, Whoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, commits adultery: and whoever marries her which is put away does commit adultery.
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).

God describes the relationship between Himself and His people as marriage . There are many biblical passages that speak directly of this. Examples of this include:

“For your Maker is your husband.” (Isaiah 54:5 Isaiah 54:5For your Maker is your husband; the LORD of hosts is his name; and your Redeemer the Holy One of Israel; The God of the whole earth shall he be called.
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).

“ ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.’ This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church” (Ephesians 5:31-32 Ephesians 5:31-32 31 For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined to his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. 32 This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.
American King James Version×
).

In the very end of the Bible the imagery of marriage is held up as the relationship between God and man: “Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband” (Revelation 21:2 Revelation 21:2And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.
American King James Version×
).

Our free 80-page booklet gives a physical as well as a spiritual explanation of marriage. You can download it immediately from our Beyond Today website at https://www.ucg.org/bible-study-tools/booklets/marriage-and-family-the-missing-dimension . Some of the material of interest covers God’s instruction manual for marriage, dating do’s and don’ts, popular sexual myths, divorce-proofing your marriage, bringing up moral children and much more.

Comments

 
  • Kelly Irvin

    Thank you for the update. I look forward to them every week. I was saddened to read your announcement about Harold Lester. He baptized me and gave me the laying on of hands back in 1985. I pray Mrs. Lester is well.