Gordon H. Richards

Copyright 2003-2005

Jesus tells us in Matthew 10:8 "Freely you have received, freely give." Although this material is copyrighted, I freely give you permission to make photocopies, electronic or all other types of copies of this material for distribution, providing credit is given to Love Without Borders Ministries Inc. In the event that the material is translated into another language the author would appreciate it if a copy of the translation is sent to him at the following address:

Love Without Borders Ministries, Inc.
Website: www.jesus4you.com
E-mail: jesus4you_com@yahoo.com


A SUCCESSFUL MARRIAGE

When two people first get married they have high hopes that theirs is going to be the perfect marriage. Their "journey" through married life is going to be like a ride in a boat on a fast flowing river. If they do nothing they will be washed down stream, hit the rapids, and possibly be shipwrecked. It now becomes necessary to use the oars and work at reaching their destination, which is up stream. Both must work at making the marriage a success.

HARMONY

1.  FALLING IN LOVE

There are three kinds of love. The first is Romantic Love. This is the kind of love that is found during the days of courtship. It needs to be kept alive during the entire marriage, regardless of what type of situations the couple find themselves in.

The second kind of love is Mutual Concern and Passionate Kindness, and is developed into a pattern of living. It enables the couple to continue loving each other, even when the problems come.

The third kind of love is Godly Love, which comes from God. This is the kind of love that enables us to forgive the other person even when they are at their worst. It gives the ability to go through the storms of life without quitting when big problems come along.

When a couple starts going together they see a lot of things that attract them to each other, both physical and mental attractions, as well as many things that are of common interest. New couples will have the tendency to overlook the faults or problems in each other. The statement: "Love is blind" becomes very obvious. Sometimes the problem is noticed, but the person says, "Ok, well that will work itself out." Each is looking toward a bright future with the other. This will only be possible when a committed effort is made on both sides to work out the problems together, instead of ignoring them, or trying to change the other person.

2.  WALKING IN LOVE

  Love is blind toward faults for a period of time. The faults or problems then become more conspicuous, and several options become available. The time for "walking in love" now begins. Each has to accept the other AS THEY ARE, and learn to love and live with the problems. This now becomes a choice of the will on the part of each person.

A marriage is heading for trouble when one, or both, have the attitude that they will change the other person as soon as they get married. This may work if the partner has a weak nature or wants to avoid a fight at any cost. One will end up not wanting to make any decisions, and the other will become domineering, which will lead to a poor marriage.

The better approach to changing a situation, is look for changes that need to be made in your own life. As you start to make adjustments in your own life, you will begin to reap a harvest of what you have just sown. You will see your mate make changes in his or her life as well. The changes in both lives will bring more love and unity in the marriage.

The success of the home will depend on mutual understanding, and sometimes requires delicate adjustments to take care of the differences in the backgrounds of the couple. Devotion and loyalty to each other is very necessary, but an understanding of the needs, and the ability to meet those needs must also play an important part if the marriage is going to be really successful.

The marriage must be considered as a duet that is harmonizing to bring out the best in each other. Musical notes, when played in the right combination, produce a pleasing sound. When musical notes are played in wrong combinations, they will only produce discord. When a band is playing in discord, the tendency will be to stop the music. Marriage needs to be treated differently. In order to bring out the best in the other person, both need to harmonize their words and actions, so as to bring out the best in the other person. This will meet each other's needs and help build up their confidence and joy. The motto should become "In honor giving preference to one another," Romans 12:10

Sometimes people have entered a marriage with a self-centered attitude, wanting to make sure that they get "what they deserve" out of the marriage. We are going to find that we reap what we sow. When we plant self-centeredness, we will reap a bumper crop of the same thing. It would be far better to plant the type of seed that asks: "Am I giving the best I possibly can to this marriage?" When each one thinks of the other person's happiness, they will reap a wonderful harvest of joy. The more we try to make our partner happy, the more we will see it coming back to us. Each one must make a continual genuine effort to make life more satisfactory for their partner.

Happiness can be affected by outward circumstances, such as sickness in the family, or the car breaks down, etc. Joy comes from within and is not affected by the outside problems. On occasion it is going to be necessary to make adjustments. Get rid of any spirit of complaining, unforgiving, or bitterness, so that a spirit of joy can start to grow. If this is not done, it will produce a bad harvest.

A good test to see if one has a successful marriage is to determine the amount of happiness you have when you're together. There will be things that annoy, but strive to increase the pleasing experiences and decrease the annoying ones.

A good marriage will produce mutual fulfillment in the lives of both partners. Goals in life, ambitions, etc., must be taken into consideration in order to produce a good, lasting marriage. A wonderful marriage will be more probable when each one is proud of their partner, and are happy to introduce their mate to others. This is not to be a phony act, but a caring lifestyle that must develop.

Love is not just a way of feeling; it must become a way of thinking and acting as well. When we start to mature in these areas we will find that the joy within us will start to grow in greater ways. Develop a lifestyle of not just trying to please us, but of demonstrating a life of love to others. This must not be just an emotional type of love, but a nature of caring for those around us. Love is a choice.

One of the scribes came to Jesus one time and asked Him what was the greatest commandment. The answer Jesus gave could also be used in the family setting. In verse 31 we could add: "You shall love your husband or wife as yourself".

Mark 12:30-31
30. "And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength." This is the first commandment. 31. "And the second, like it, is this: 'You shall love your (husband/wife) neighbor as yourself'. There is no other commandment greater than these."

John 13:34 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another.

There are two verses that give commands concerning our love for our mates, to be done whether we feel like it or not.

Colossians 3:19 Husbands, love your wives and do not be bitter toward them.

Titus 2:4That they admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children.

There are some who decide that they don't love their spouse anymore, and need to realize that love is a choice. They can choose to love, or they can look for reasons why they don't want to love the person. Frequently a problem comes which starts the person to think that the love for the spouse is lost. True love comes from God, who is willing to cause the old love to return if they want it to. The couple must make up their minds that they want God to help them overcome the difficulties. They need to ask the Lord to not just bring back the former love, but cause a love that is far better to come in and fill the spirits of both of them. Remember, Satan is out to destroy marriages any way he can.

On one occasion a lady phoned me from an area near Cape Town, South Africa. She and her husband were having marital difficulties. I asked what she wanted to do. Her response was that she wanted a better marriage. I pointed out that the enemy had stolen her marriage, and now according to Proverbs 6:30-31, she could claim seven times what she lost. I next asked her if she wanted seven husbands. She laughed and said that she wanted a marriage that was seven times better, which was the response I was looking for. When we are committed to finding answers to our difficulties, we will find that the Lord will help us when we ask Him.

The couple must make a strong commitment that they will stay together. They need to ask the Lord to help them honor that commitment. When problems come, they need to see if they can find answers for them. If there seems to be no answers, ask the Lord to show them what to do, or where to go to find help to overcome the problems.

Social pressures in favor of divorce may help the couple to want to get one, but that should not be an option. God gives us His view in the following verses:

Malachi 2:13-16
13. And this is the second thing you do: you cover the altar of the Lord with tears, with weeping and crying; so He does not regard the offering anymore, nor receive it with good will from your hands. 14. Yet you say, "For what reason?" because the Lord has been witness between you and the wife of your youth, with whom you have dealt treacherously; yet she is your companion and your wife by covenant. 15. But did He not make them one, having a remnant of the Spirit? And why one? He seeks godly offspring. Therefore take heed to your spirit, and let none deal treacherously with the wife of his youth. 16. "For the Lord God of Israel says that HE HATES DIVORCE, for it covers one's garment with violence," says the Lord of hosts. "Therefore take heed to your spirit, that you do not deal treacherously."

The Bible does permit divorce, but Jesus gave the reason behind wanting one in the following verse. He was stating that God allowed it because of the hardness of the person's heart. When we ask the Lord to help us, we will find that He gives the ability to overcome the problem that is making the couple contemplate divorce.

Matthew 19:8 He said to them, "Moses, because of the hardness of your hearts, permitted you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so."

What does Malachi 2:14 mean when it states: "She is your wife by covenant"? In Bible times the concept of a covenant was very common in the Middle East. The word "covenant" in its Hebrew form is used nearly 300 times in the Bible. In the simplest form, it is an all-encompassing agreement between two parties that covers a number of promises. This mutual understanding between the two people binds them with specific obligations. This agreement commits everything each has, to belong to the other person.

Covenants were frequently made, making reference to God as their witness. This was an indication that they were expecting God to hold them responsible for the fulfillment of the covenant.

One step in the covenant making was the ceremony of the exchange of names. This is seen when people accept Jesus Christ as their personal Savior. They are making a covenant with God, and as part of the exchange of names, they are called "Christian." In modern days the lady is no longer called by her maiden name, but takes on the last name of her husband.

The covenant of marriage was a life-long commitment, with the expectation that God was not only a witness, but was also going to enable them to live up to it. Breaking the covenant, or in other words, getting a divorce, according to Malachi 2:16, is an act of violence in the eyes of the Lord. God is claiming that we are dealing treacherously with our spirits when we were involved with divorce.

What can we do if we had a divorce in the past? When we come to Him and ask to be forgiven of mistakes we have made in the past, we will find that He will honor His promise in 1 John 1:9, providing the two conditions are met:

1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

 

 

Ask the Lord to forgive you of any feelings of bitterness you may have had toward your previous mate, and ask Him to give you the ability to forgive anything you may have against the person. Then expect Him to fulfill the following verse in your life:

Psalm 103:12 As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.
 

Making A Marriage Successful

PERSONAL APPEARANCE

Attractiveness is very important to win the attention of your mate. After the wedding it is equally important to maintain personal attractiveness if we are interested in having a happy marriage. Often people have become very lazy concerning personal hygiene after marriage, because their attitude has become "your stuck with me the way I am." This could cause many problems in the home, and will later be visible to others as well. It is not only necessary to maintain a good outward appearance, but one must have beauty of mind and spirit as well.

An old saying states that cleanliness is next to godliness. God told Samuel in 1 Samuel 16:7, that "Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart." The people of the world will judge us by our personal appearance, or the way we keep our homes. There have been times when some have said a lot about their relationship with the Lord, but frequently wear unclean clothing, or have the same kind of living conditions. Careless or lazy personal hygiene, or work habits are a poor testimony for the Lord. Frequently this might come from a poor list of priorities, or very self-centeredness. Problems will increase if a person would rather watch television, or talk to friends, instead of attend to home responsibilities. Once a small girl was told to clean her closet. An hour later her mother asked her why she had not started yet, and her response was, "Those were not my thoughts." Ask the Lord to help you overcome this weakness, if this is a problem.

Sometimes there seems to be a double standard, when a pleasant voice is used on the telephone or when there is company, but a rough voice is evident when they are speaking to their mate. Angry outbursts of temper will usually produce angry responses, and will only lead to problems later. Courtesy to each other is another area where we need to be on guard. We can be very courteous to others, but treat our mate with disrespect. Always remember that we reap what we sow. We need to sow loving and kind words, if we want the same response.

Stress can cause mood swings, and when these become too high, will frequently cause anger to flare. Frequently it is targeted at family members, because they feel they can get away with it. In reality this is temper under control, because normally if a similar situation developed in front of outsiders, the anger would be held in until later. An example of anger under control is seen when a policeman has stopped a person. He will hold his temper in front of the officer, but not control it after they drive away. The family members reap the results of his frustration or loss of temper.

HELPING EACH OTHER

Each mate has several strong points as well as a number of weak ones. The loving couple will make allowances for the weaker points instead of becoming critical over them. They must work together, helping the other where it is needed. Remember the strengths of one spouse are frequently the weaknesses of the other. The Lord has also caused the reverse to be true, which means the strengths of the second, can be the weaknesses of the first spouse. It is very necessary to concentrate on the virtues instead of the faults. Try to understand how the other person feels. Do not make fun of, or discredit your spouse in front of others. Emotional stress can come because of thoughtlessness, which can prove to be very irritating. One must cultivate the ability to heal little hurts quickly, before they pile up and get out of proportion.

When jealousy arises, it may be a signal of emotional insecurity, or it may be a resentment of some real or fancied problem. It may be unfounded, but hard to deal with. Start planting seeds of love, by doing things for each other. There will be a response, because the seeds will bear fruit. In the event that the problem was not imagined, the offending mate will have to make up his or her mind about losing this new love and affection. Repentance will be needed, as well as asking the Lord for help to not do it again.

It is a good idea to budget time so that you can have time together, instead of each going his or her own way. They could then become like two ships at sea that pass each other in the dark.

SHARING THE LOAD

A number of years ago a hunter took his dogs to go fox hunting, and released the dogs when they spotted a fox. The dogs chased the fox for some time, which finally ran into a hollow log. While the dogs were barking at the end of the log the fox entered, the fox emerged out of the other end and ran away. The dogs quickly chased after the fox again, but found they could not catch him. A little later the fox headed back to the log and repeated what it had done the previous time. After the fox did this the third time, the hunter saw that his dogs were becoming very tired, but the fox seemed to be completely rested by crawling through the log. He went to examine the log to see what was really happening, and in it he saw the mate of the one who was being chased. The two foxes were taking turns; the one was resting, while the other was running away from the dogs. They could have kept this up all day, but the dogs were in no condition to pursue the foxes any longer. We can learn from this fox family, if we are willing to work together. Teamwork is very important if we are desirous of overcoming a number of obstacles. On occasion there may seem to be nothing the one can do to help the other, but in reality there are always at least two things we can do. The first is to encourage the mate; the second is to spend time in prayer, expecting the Lord to undertake in the situation.

Many a family has had serious problems because of not sharing the load in the home. A husband may come home after work, and do as little as possible. He is expecting his wife to take care of everything in the house - because "he worked hard all day". If the wife is working as well, he needs to realize that he has to share in the responsibilities of the home in a greater way.

Working together in the home will give a great opportunity to develop unity, as well as strengthen the family. Sometimes one or the other holds back because this is what they saw in the home they came from. The couple must realize that bad habits or sometimes laziness of one of the parents does not need to be repeated in their home. They are starting a new home, and must work together to make their family the most caring family in the world.

Finances

OVERCOMING MONEY PROBLEMS

Couples need to be resourceful in marriage if they want to see living at its best. There will be times when things may be in short supply, and this can cause problems for the couple who is not resourceful. They must rely on each other's strengths instead of pointing out and emphasizing weaknesses or shortcomings. Living in an atmosphere of love, enables a couple to find their most fulfilling happiness together despite any problems they may face. The couples who build up their marriages, build up their happiness.

Many times money becomes a key factor in causing problems in the marriage. We may have no control over some of the problems that arise. An example could be an unexpected lay-off at work, an unexpected pregnancy when there is no insurance to meet the expenses, or a spending spree. It's important to get to the root of the problem. Careful planning is needed before problems come.

A PLAN FOR SPENDING

A problem that has affected many new couples is when they look at what their parents or friends have. They then get into debt very quickly in an effort to impress everyone, which becomes a fast road to trouble. It is very possible to have true happiness and not have much material things, because lack is not the greatest hardship. Having everything that the neighbors have, can sometimes lead to very serious emotional problems. Paul gave us some sound advice in the following verses:

1 Timothy 6:9-10
9. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition. 10. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. (NKJ)

1Timothy 6:9-10
9. People who want to be rich fall into all sorts of temptations and traps. They are caught by foolish and harmful desires that drag them down and destroy them. 10. The love of money causes all kinds of trouble. Some people want money so much that they have given up their faith and caused themselves a lot of pain. (Contemporary English Version)

PREPARING A BUDGET

Teamwork is very important in the preparation of a budget. Marriage is now a partnership, and both partners must be considered. The couple must not have the idea that they are competing with each other. They are to work together as a unit. Before they were married they did not have to answer to others concerning their spending. An attitude that will not work is where one spouse thinks that the money he has is his money, but the money that the mate has belongs to the family. One must get away from the "I-minded" way of thinking, and think in terms of "We-minded" or "Ours." When the budget permits, a certain amount of money should be set-aside for each, so that they may buy things without having to give an account as to how they spent it.

It is not necessary to buy new items when a couple is on a limited budget. Many second hand stores or places where they sell items that are marked down because of a small imperfection have been a big blessing to many couples. Often stores reduce prices to make room for more merchandise, and the wise couple can look for these sales. Get into the habit of asking the question: "Do we really need this?" "If we get this now, will we have to do without something that we will need more a little later?"

After comparing the income to their expenses, many couples find that they are invariably short every month. This is not the plan of the Lord for their lives, so something needs to change. It is necessary to receive wisdom from the Lord to overcome the problem.

James 1:5 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.

An ideal plan will be to ask the Lord to enable you to live within 70% of your income, instead of 110% the way some people are living. This later type of lifestyle is causing them to go deeper into debt on a daily basis. Why do we say live on only 70% of your income? The first 10% belongs to the Lord. Don't expect Him to bless you if you are not paying your tithes.

The second 10% should be used to plant seed into the kingdom of God. He wants to bless you, but He intends to give you a harvest based on what you are planting in excess of your tithes. When you plant nothing, you will not reap a harvest.

Expect the day to come when the harvest is coming in on a continual basis, from the many times you have planted, to cover all your expenses. The income from your work can now be used for extending the kingdom of God.

The third 10% is to be used for emergencies, vacations, as well as secular types of savings plans. Start expecting the Lord to undertake so that you will be able to increase this section in a big way, so that you will be able to help many in their time of emergency.

GOD WANTS TO MEET OUR NEEDS!

Many Christians have been responsible for building the obstacles that stopped their prayers from being answered. They did not believe or completely depend on God's Word. They became controlled by the circumstances around themselves, instead of depending on the promises of God.

In Psalm 24:1 we read the following words: "The earth is the Lord's, and all its fullness, the world and those who dwell there in." What does this mean? We do not own the land we live on, because it belongs to God. We are "renting" the field, which is the earth. This "rent" is given in the form of "tithes." It is not only given for the use of the world we live in, but also for reaping all the benefits God has for us including health and protection. The tithe or "rent" is not to be used to meet our expenses. God is expecting us to start planting seed - over and above the "rent" - IF we want to receive a harvest.

Many people are ACTING LIKE "SQUATTERS". The meaning for this word in a dictionary is: "A person who settles on another's land without right". This is how many people are treating the Lord. They are not paying the "rent" for all of His blessings, and then they wonder why they have problems in life. God starts to remove His protection from them, because they are acting like the servants in the parable, who were called wicked servants, see Matthew 25:14-30.

GOD WANTS TO STOP THINGS THAT WASTE OUR BELONGINGS

After reading Malachi 3:7-10, many have felt that they had to perform a duty, and so gave money to the church because they felt that it was an obligation. The One who is really obligated is God. He OBLIGATES HIMSELF to giving us a harvest, meeting our needs, as well as stopping the things that destroy our possessions. When we see that giving to the Lord is a PRIVILEGE, because of the benefits, we will become cheerful givers.

God gave us a pattern. Jesus started by giving us the world we live in. He gave us life, as well as everything around us. God showed His love to us in the greatest possible way, by GIVING us His Son.

John 3:16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

God's method was to GIVE FIRST, and THEN TO RECEIVE. He showed His love to us FIRST and then we were to give our love to Him. In order to receive blessings from God, we must FIRST GIVE. The satanic forces have bound many Christians with a spirit of poverty. They do not seem to really expect that God will meet their needs. This is because they copied the world that teaches, "In order to get, I HAVE TO TAKE." Their attitude seems to be "I must grab as much as I can before the others get to it". This is the exact opposite of what Jesus teaches.

Luke 6:38 GIVE, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.

A lady came to her pastor and asked him why she was always helping people as well as helping around the church, but was continually having a financial need. The pastor asked her: "Do people help you?" She immediately replied, "Yes." He asked her if people smiled at her when she smiled at them. She immediately replied, "Yes". The pastor's reply was: "You are reaping what you are sowing". We do good things for others, and we are reaping the same kind of harvest. When we smile at someone, they will smile back. He told her to start planting in a financial way, and she would see a different type of harvest.

STOPPING OUR HARVEST

Many Christians have planted seed in the past. They expected to get a harvest from the seed they had planted as well as the additional seed they were going to plant. Problems arose which caused them to stop planting. This may have been in the form of unemployment, illness, an accident with the car, or something else. They now felt that they could not continue to tithe or plant additional seed. They stopped their giving, which stopped the harvest from coming.
The moment we stop paying our tithes we immediately STEP OUT OF THE PROTECTION OF THE LORD. We have just stepped into the hand of Satan, which allows him to start a bigger attack against us.

The problems we face could be called lean times, or going through a time of drought. We need to pay attention to what Isaac did, see Genesis 26:1-3, 12-14. He was directed by the Lord to plant during the lean times. Frequently Christians look to their own resources, which stops them from giving to God. God is expecting us to look to Him, who wants to supply our needs according to His resources.

The person who thinks that he can't afford to pay his tithes, or plant any seed above his tithes is using his faith in the wrong direction. He believes that Satan WILL STOP GOD FROM MEETING HIS NEEDS. How is Satan capable of stopping God from blessing us? The devil can only do that when we allow him to. We must change our thinking to match what God's Word says.

Philippians 4:19 And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.

Is there a condition for the above verse? The condition is seen in Philippians 4:10-18. These people gave first and amply supplied the apostle's need. Since they GAVE FIRST or planted seed into his ministry, God supplied their needs. The key is GIVING FIRST or PLANTING FIRST, and then WE WILL RECEIVE THE HARVEST.

Generosity should start with our poverty, so that when we are well off we will have developed the habit of giving. When we are generous with our whole life, we will be generous with our giving. When we are stingy with our whole life, we will be reluctant to give as well. Many people have said that they could not afford to pay their tithes now, but in the meantime they are only "tipping" the Lord and become stingy people. They say that when they get a lot of money they will give large amounts to the church. They are only fooling themselves if they think they will change when they get rich. Jesus shows us in the following verses that they will not change:

Luke 16:10-11 

10. He who is faithful in what is least is faithful also in much; and he who is unjust in what is least is unjust also in much. 11. Therefore if you have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches? (NKJ)

Luke 16:10-11
If you're honest in small things, you'll be honest in big things; if you're a crook in small things, you'll be a crook in big things. If you're not honest in small jobs, who will put in charge of the store? (The Message)

In Psalm 24:1 we read the following words: "The earth is the Lord's, and all its fullness, the world and those who dwell there in." What does this mean? We are not the owners of the land we live on; it belongs to God.

We are "renting" the field, which is the earth, and this "rent" is given in the form of "tithes." Our tithes are only given for the use of the land we live in. Tithes open the door to give the benefits God has for us, which included health and protection. Many people see blessings, but are not tithing, and think that God is blessing them. God causes the sun to rise on the good and the evil and sends rain on the just and the unjust, Matthew 5:45. Some people confuse God's approval with His blessings, not understanding that their hard work will produce a harvest.

God wants to meet all of our needs, but He wants us to become SEED MINDED instead of NEED MINDED. He wants us to plant into God honoring ministries, with the idea of Him giving us a harvest from what we planted to meet our needs. Remember tithing is something we owe, and is not planting seed, which means we can receive a harvest from the seed that is planted, but not from the tithes.

2 Corinthians 9:6 But this I say: He who SOWS SPARINGLY will also REAP SPARINGLY, and he who SOWS BOUNTIFULLY will also REAP BOUNTIFULLY.

If you were to go to the grocery store and try to buy two week's supply of groceries for a family of six, with only twenty dollars, would this be buying SPARINGLY or BOUNTIFULLY? We would think that this would be very sparingly. If twenty dollars is considered sparingly at the grocery store, why do people think that they ARE SOWING BOUNTIFULLY if they give twenty dollars in a church offering? It is still the same amount of money. In the eyes of God it would be considered planting bountifully if that was all you had, and you had been faithful in tithing.

2 Corinthians 9:7-8
7. So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves A CHEERFUL GIVER. 8. And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for EVERY good work.

God is telling us, He wants to meet all our needs, but we are to plant first. If we plant nothing we will reap nothing. When we plant BOUNTIFULLY, in excess of our tithes, He gives us a BOUNTIFUL HARVEST. What type of planting is this Scripture referring to? Is it money? Many poor people don't have money so they would be excluded from this promise if it meant ONLY money. Matthew 10:42 points out that even a cup of water will not lose its reward.

A couple had two sons who were in High School, and were asked if they were setting money aside for a college education for the boys. The answer was, "No", because they were putting the extra money in a missionary offering every month. They were told that they were foolish because the boys would not be able to go to college. God honored their faith because they were planting seed and expecting God to give the harvest for the boys' educations. On the nights of their graduations, both boys were called to the platform and given full scholarships for college.

Many people have stated that they did not have anything to give. Philippians 4:19 shows that God will supply our need. If the need is seed, will God supply it? Most of the time He will NOT, because He only supplies seed to SOWERS. Only 18% to 28% of the people of most churches are sowers. Many Christians feel that they are too poor, or have nothing to plant. When they become willing to be sowers, and start to plant what little they have, they will find that God will fulfill the following verse in their lives:

2 Corinthians 9:10 Now may He who supplies SEED TO THE SOWER, and bread for food, SUPPLY AND MULTIPLY the seed YOU HAVE SOWN and increase the fruits of your righteousness.

Many Christians are NOT GIVEN SEED because they are "TIPPERS" and NOT "SOWERS". A tip is given in a restaurant, etc., to the person who provides a service, but the tip does not pay for the items.

God wants us to plant NOT JUST ONCE, but also many times. He returns the seed to us at the time of harvest so this can be used over again. God wants this to be A CONTINUOUS CYCLE. Giving to the Lord becomes a PRIVILEGE instead of a responsibility. God wants to work in your life, using your talents, your abilities, and your resources.

USING OUR ENERGY WISELY

On one occasion I started on a trip into Mexico, and in the first 12 miles I used a quarter of a tank of gasoline. I could have believed God to continue to give me the money to replace the gasoline, but this was not the will of God. He wanted me to look for the problem and then make the necessary corrections before I went any further. When we started to look for the problem we found five holes in the fuel line. After we replaced the line, we stopped the problem. Realize that many times corrections must be made in our own lives, before we will see God give us help or miracles, to overcome the problems we are facing.

Many couples are very efficient in various areas of their lives, but seem to be completely unable to take control of time. There are many people who are constantly late for their appointments or church services. They do not seem to be able to plan ahead or budget their time. This will frequently lead to frustration on the part of the other spouse. Corrections need to be made if they want to have a happy and lasting marriage. On many occasions poor planning will cause a lack of good stewardship with money God has entrusted to us. A question a person could ask is, "If God can't trust me with my time, why should He trust me by giving me extra money?"

My wife and I do a lot of traveling for speaking engagements in various countries. Many times we will see someone go to the store for two or three items. A little while later they will go back to the store for something else. Later on during the day they will go to the post office for their mail, and return to the store once more. All of these extra trips take time and cost money for the gasoline, as well as wear and tear on the car. Planning ahead will enable the couple to make one trip, or possibly a second, because of the children's school activities. This will cut down on how tired they are at the end of the day, as well as added frustration.
 

Overcoming Difficulties

PROBLEMS WILL ARISE

In James 1:2-4 we see the steps to real growth. The first one is to be happy when you have problems. Many people become very unhappy, or possibly lose their temper, and then can't think clearly to solve the problem. The second thing we see is that problems produce PATIENCE. We find that the immature person is not a patient person, because patience produces MATURITY. The third thing James shows us is that you now BECOME COMPLETE. The last thing we see is that the person LACKS NOTHING. Why is this possible? The person is now a mature individual and is expecting God to honor His Word and meet the need, as seen in the following verse:

Philippians 4:19 And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.

Sometimes the difficulty is easy to solve. On one occasion a grandfather was taking a nap. His small grandson came in and put some Limburger cheese on his mustache. When he woke up he immediately said that something smelled bad in the room. He went into the kitchen, where his daughter was baking some cookies. He then said, "Something smells bad in here." He next went outside to get some fresh air. He now said, "The whole world stinks." As soon as he washed his face he found that the smell was gone.

Once a lady was asked if she had ever been lonely. She stated that she was lonely every night when she went to bed. Her husband was greatly surprised to hear this because they slept in the same bed. He asked her why she felt that way. Her response was that every night when they got into bed, he turned his back on her when they went to sleep. He looked at her in surprise and said, "Don't you know that when I was in High School; I fell and broke three ribs. I always have a lot of pain when I lay on that side, so I lay on the other side." The solution to this problem was very easy; they changed sides in bed. If you are having some difficulty with your spouse, ask the Lord to help you find a solution to the problem.

On one occasion I had misplaced something. My wife asked me what I had been doing when I last had it. I thought of the different things I had done during the last hour, and where I had been, then I looked down and found that I was standing about three feet from where I had left it. When a problem occurs, and you don't see an immediate answer, try to think of what you were doing that was working before the problem started.

Don't give up if you still do not have the answer. Start expecting God to give you divine wisdom to overcome the problem, as seen in the following verse:

James 1:5 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.

Marriage is sometimes entered into as if a person is entering a dream world, where they all lived happily ever after. This is not true in the real world. Every couple is going to run into trouble, See Job 14:1; Acts 14:22; 2 Timothy 3:12; Hebrews 10:32 and 1 Peter 4:12. In the beginning each one has complete respect for the other. If this respect becomes damaged in any degree, it will become necessary to repair the damage as soon as possible. If this is not accomplished, the love between each other will diminish.

Start overcoming the problem by looking at the good points in your mate, and give complements on these things. Show your appreciation rather than frequently criticize. None of us are perfect, so try to improve the relationship BY YOUR OWN EXAMPLE. Paul gave us some good advice in the following verse:

Philippians 4:8 Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy; meditate on these things.

Often you hear the statement, "We're just incompatible." They are trying to leave you with the impression that they have a hopeless situation. This often reflects a person who is selfish and is unwilling to make any changes, and does not want to look for an answer. Most of the time the problem can be corrected by finding the misunderstandings and the things that bother their mate. As they start to grow in patience, and try to overcome the self-centeredness, the situations will take care of themselves.

Now is the time to create a mutual trust. The husband must help the wife meet the highest goals in her life, and the wife must do the same thing for her husband. When you take into account the major and minor goals of each, the selfish nature starts to be removed.

TREATING THE SPOUSE AS AN EQUAL

In some homes the husband rules the house with a very strong will, and the wife has to give an account for almost every penny she spends. She is afraid to make any decisions, lest her husband lose his temper. The rest of the family feels that they have to walk very carefully, because they seem to be walking on eggs. This attitude is not of God, and the man will find that later God will deal very harshly with him, unless repentance and a change of life takes place. On many occasions the children are waiting until the time comes when they can leave home.

God created Eve TO BE A HELPMATE to Adam, and not to be his slave. A lot more could be accomplished if they worked together, instead of having a boss-slave attitude. The man in this type of situation is doing his family a great injustice. What will happen to the wife if he first passes away? Because she was forced to be so dependent on him when they were together, she will find that it will be extremely hard to make decisions.

In some homes the wife rules the house with a very strong will. The husband finds that the rolls have been reversed. Frequently he is not consulted when decisions are made, and if he makes an issue of it, he may be threatened with a divorce, which God hates, see Malachi 2:16. None of these actions please the Lord, and the wife will find that she will eventually have an extremely bitter harvest. She may also find that her children will turn against her and possibly later mistreat her. Remember power struggles from either side will lead to a power drain for both.

On one occasion an elderly man with Parkinson's disease came to live with his son and daughter-in-law. At first she allowed him to eat with them in the dining room, Later as the disease progressed, she had him eat in the kitchen. One day he was shaking so badly, he caused his plate of food to fall on the floor and break. She became angry and started feeding him in a wooden bowl. She told him that since he ate like a pig, she would feed him in something like a trough. One evening she saw her small son carving a piece of wood with his pocketknife. She asked him what he was making. He told her that he was making a trough for the time she got old. Her son's statement convicted her, so she went to her father-in-law, asked for his forgiveness and told him that from then on he would eat with them in the dining room. She did not want to have a bitter harvest for her actions.

As helpmates, both are to work together with love and respect. Decisions concerning the children should be discussed together, so that the children can't play one parent against the other.

Does the tail wag the dog, or is the dog supposed to wag its tail? This sounds like a foolish question, but many times we see children running the family, instead of the parents being in control. The plan of God is for the parents to be in control, instead of having the child make a big fuss every time he or she doesn't get his or her own way. Paul shows God's plan for children in the following verses:

Ephesians 6:1-3
1. Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. 2. "Honor your father and mother," which is the first commandment with promise: 3. "that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth."

Violence among children and young people is on the increase in every country, because the children did not have boundaries set for them when they were small. As they became older they became very angry when they didn't get their own way. On one occasion there was a small mechanical horse outside a grocery store in a shopping mall. A small boy made a big fuss when his mother would not put the money in for him to get a ride. Next to the horse was a psychologist's office, so she went in to ask him if there was anything he could do. The Doctor told her that he was asked this same question about three times a week. He went out and said something into the child's ear. The child immediately stopped his yelling, and quietly went with his mother to get into the car. On the way home the mother asked him what the Doctor had said. He told his mother that the doctor would give him the worst licking he ever had in his life, if he did not stop his yelling. It is necessary for parents to set boundaries for their children, but punishment must be in line with the offence and the age of the child. Remember, God also has limits for us, and will hold us accountable for our inappropriate actions.

Ephesians 6:4 And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord.

At one time my wife and I had a group foster home, with fifteen teenagers living with us, as well as our own children. These teenagers had learned to con a lot of people. It was not surprising that they would go to one of us to ask permission for something. If they didn't get a favorable answer, the teenager would then go to the other one seeking a more favorable response. We invariably would ask them what the other one said. After they told us, our response would be, "In that case, my answer is the same." It is very important to work together, as well as to be consistent with children, otherwise they will grow up thinking that with a little effort, they can always get away with what they want.

DISAGREEMENTS

Differences of opinion are going to arise in every family. The way we cope with these differences will make a big difference in the outcome of the problem. The attitude of some people is: "I want to work together with you from MY POINT OF VIEW." This type of attitude will quickly bring problems. Good communication now becomes very important between the couple. On many occasions the one person is thinking what they are going to say next, while the other is still talking. The first person was not listening to what the other was saying. During times of big disagreements EACH SIDE should listen 60 to 70% of the time, and talk 30 to 40% of the time. The "listening" part is spent, part in listening and the rest of the time in thinking about what the other person said, instead of what they are going to say next. Frequently a person is expecting too much from the mate, and not enough from themselves. This should be reversed. Always look at the problem from the mate's point-of-view, which will cause good solutions to be found easier. The stumbling blocks will now turn into stepping-stones.

Disagreements are sometimes caused because the one has misunderstood the words or intentions of the other. Problems will sometimes get blown out of proportion because couples have allowed little grievances to build up. The difficulties should be cleared up as soon as possible before they are magnified and look insurmountable.

It becomes very important that we watch our words when we are having a disagreement with our spouse. The WAY we say things, as well as WHAT we say can cause a lot of problems in the future. When we do not give honor to our mate, we will find that our prayers will be hindered, see 1 Peter 3:7-12.

1 Peter 3:7 Likewise you husbands, dwell with them with understanding, giving honor to the wife, as to the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life, THAT YOUR PRAYERS MAY NOT BE HINDERED.

WORDS CAN BE LIKE ARROWS

In Psalm 64:3 David compared words to arrows. Before harsh words are spoken, while they are still in our mind, they don't hurt anyone. Once they are released they can cause great damage. After the words are spoken, we can apologize, but we need to realize that tremendous damage may have been done. The arrows (words) left your mouth and may have greatly wounded someone. Jesus tells us in the following verse that you will have to give an account for your words. James tells us that we should be slow to speak, which will help us to not wound people with our words:

Matthew 12:36 But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment.

James 1:19-20
19. Therefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath; 20. for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God.

BITTERNESS AND UNFORGIVENESS

Matthew 6:14-15
14. For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

Bitterness and an unforgiving spirit usually go together. The satanic forces will use these methods as well as the other things mentioned in Ephesians 4:31, to keep us in bondage, causing us to yield to many other types of temptations.

There will be times when a person thinks that he can't forgive someone who has wronged him. Regardless of what he thinks, God will not forgive him of the things that he has done, until he is willing to forgive the other person. No one with unforgiven sins can enter Heaven. Even if a person were to be able to claim that he has no sin, if he has not forgiven another person who has wronged him, God will not cleanse his past, as seen in Matthew 6:14-15, and Mark 11:25-26. When he is willing to forgive the person who has wronged him, then the Lord will give him the ability to forgive that person.

Satan uses an unforgiving spirit as a tool to keep many couples from having an effective spiritual life. Their prayer life, as well as the power of God working through them, becomes totally ineffective as long as they maintain this wedge between themselves and the Lord. The one feels that it is impossible to forgive the person who has offended him. The question should not be: "CAN I forgive the person?" but instead, "AM I WILLING to forgive the person?" As soon as we are willing, we can ask the Lord to enable us to forgive, and He will give us a forgiving spirit. Now, forgiving comes without any conditions.

Forgiving for us does not mean forgetting, although it can lead to forgetting. Forgiving must be a choice on our part. From the human standpoint, forgiving means to not hold the situation AGAINST THE PERSON ANYMORE. This will be possible when we allow the Holy Spirit to cause a change to take place in our lives.

The word "FORGIVE" means to cease to feel angry or resentful, and no longer hold it against the person.

The word "PARDON" has an additional meaning, which can include a remission or removal of the legal consequences of a crime, conviction, error or offence. Legal consequences may be removed, but natural or physical consequences may still remain. An illustration could be that in a fit of anger one mate threw something that broke an expensive item in the home, or worse yet, destroyed an eye of one of the family members. Forgiveness may be given, but the effect of the outburst of anger could last the rest of their lives.

Supposing a couple has a big argument over money, and later the wife goes out and buys $500 worth of things, but charges it to their credit card. She later realizes she should not have done it, so she asks her husband to forgive her. He is very willing to forgive her, but the "CONSEQUENCES" still have to be taken care of. Somehow more money has to come in, not only to get them out of their previous problem, but the new charges as well. We can ask our mates to forgive us when we have done things that we shouldn't have done, but we will reap what we have sown. Remember the consequences still must be taken care of.

Two examples are seen in the Bible. In the first case Moses asks the Lord to pardon - or in other words, remove the legal consequences from the people:

Numbers 14:12 "I will strike them with the pestilence and disinherit them, and I will make of you a nation greater and mightier than they."

Numbers 14:19-24
19. "Pardon the iniquity of this people, I pray, according to the greatness of Your mercy, just as You have forgiven this people, from Egypt even until now." 20. Then the Lord said: "I have pardoned, according to your word; 21. "but truly, as I live, all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the Lord; 22. "because all these men who have seen My glory and the signs which I did in Egypt and in the wilderness, and have put Me to the test now these ten times, and have not heeded My voice, 23. "they certainly shall not see the land of which I swore to their fathers, nor shall any of those who rejected Me see it. 24. "But My servant Caleb, because he has a different spirit in him and has followed Me fully, I will bring into the land where he went, and his descendants shall inherit it."

God had told Moses to step aside so that He could completely destroy the disobedient people who had come out of Egypt. Moses immediately prayed, asking God to pardon them. God said He would pardon them, which meant the legal consequences would be removed, and they would not be destroyed at that time. The physical consequences were not removed, which meant they would never enter the Promised Land, but their children would grow up to do so.

The second example is the time Jesus was on the cross. He asked God the Father to forgive them, but what happened to the consequences? We need to go back to the Sunday before the cross to see the prophecy.

Luke 23:34 Then Jesus said, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do." And they divided His garments and cast lots.

Luke 19:41-44
41. Now as He drew near, He saw the city and wept over it, 42. saying, "If you had known, even you, especially in this your day, the things that make for your peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes. 43. "For the days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment around you, surround you and close you in on every side, 44. "and level you, and your children within you, to the ground; and they will not leave in you one stone upon another, because you did not know the time of your visitation."

When Jesus asked the Father to forgive the people, what happened? First of all, He was setting an example for us to hold no grudges against others. Secondly, He was expecting God the Father to do two things:

If God the Father had not removed the legal consequences, divine judgment could have immediately been poured out on them. On one occasion in the Old Testament, a hole in the ground opened up and 250 people were swallowed up in it. Another example is when the physical consequences were not removed, as seen in the prophecy of Luke 19:41-44. A few years later the Romans destroyed Jerusalem, and tortured a large number of people.

EMOTIONAL UPSETS

Angry behavior is out of place, because things may be said that could be very difficult to overcome. When a person feels that they are getting very angry, they need to tell the mate that they need some time to cool down. Lack of self-confidence or frustration needs to be dealt with. Sometimes this takes place because we need to change some old habits.

There are times when we are bringing a problem that started outside the home, and then taking it out on our mate. A problem may have taken place at work, and the husband arrives home, then gets upset with his wife over some small thing. Since most flare-ups in the home are not really serious, couples should look for the root of the problem, correct it, and ask for forgiveness for getting upset over something small. Be slow to anger and quick to forgive and forget, see James 1:19.

Spiritual Growth

Love is of God, since it first came from Him. Spiritual matters must play an important part in the lives of the couple if they want God's blessing upon them. When this is not taken into consideration, the couple can have serious problems ahead, and may lead to shipwreck. God wants to bless the marriage, and His requirement is that they put Him first in their lives.

Matthew 6:33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.

The couple who makes God first in their lives finds that He will help them in a time of trouble. He will also meet their needs as they depend on Him and operate in divine faith. When they make an effort to live close to the Lord they will find that the fruit of the Holy Spirit will become a part of their lives.

Galatians 5:22-23
22. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23. gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.

Many couples treat prayer as a last resort, or as a fire extinguisher - to be used only in an emergency. God wants us to be in partnership with Him. He wants us to bring our needs to Him, expecting Him to meet them, just as a child takes his or her needs to his or her father. God wants to help us to be successful, and has promised in the Bible that He will teach us how to be successful and prosper. The key to this is to put God in first place in our lives.

Deuteronomy 8:18 And you shall remember the Lord your God, for it is He who gives you power to get wealth, that HE MAY ESTABLISH HIS COVENANT which He swore to your fathers, as it is this day.

Isaiah 48:17-18
17. Thus says the Lord, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: "I am the Lord your God, WHO TEACHES YOU TO PROFIT, WHO LEADS YOU BY THE WAY YOU SHOULD GO." 18. Oh, that you had heeded My commandments! Then your peace would have been like a river, and your righteousness like the waves of the sea.

The Lord is looking for people who are willing and wanting to be in a true partnership with Him. He will not only TEACH the person HOW to prosper, but will SEND business to him as well.

Early trains needed a rack rail to climb steep slopes, and some trains in very mountainous areas still use this system. A slotted middle rail is used to allow a pinion wheel on the engine to engage its teeth into the slots. When the wheel rotates in the slots, the train is propelled forward up the grade, at the same time preventing the train from sliding backwards. The Holy Spirit wants to work with us in the same way, helping us move forward in the will of the Lord, and not sliding back. This is possible in direct proportion to how we allow the Holy Spirit to direct us. He can bring provision and new life that will enable you to go over the top of the situation. It is necessary for us to realize that we need the power of the Lord, and then ask for His help.

Matthew 11:28-30
28. Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.

HINDERING OUR PRAYERS

Husbands and wives have an obligation toward each other. Satan loves to cause a division between them, and an argument will frequently start. This will stop the prayers of the couple from being answered. Understand that these are not just the prayers that were prayed that day. Many times they have been praying for several months, and are almost at the point of receiving the answer. The answers to our prayers will be stopped until we decide to get rid of the argument, root of bitterness, or other problems that will stop the answer. Sometimes it is necessary to bind the spirits that are causing the division.

1 Peter 3:7-10
7. Husbands, likewise, dwell with them with understanding, giving honor to the wife, as to the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life, THAT YOUR PRAYERS MAY NOT BE HINDERED. 8. Finally, all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tenderhearted, be courteous; 9. not returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary blessing, knowing that you were called to this, that you may inherit a blessing. 10. For "He who would love life and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips from speaking deceit. (NKJ)

Parents often blame their children for not being model children, not realizing that they have provided their children with a bad role model. The arguments, fights and bad examples of the parents stop their prayers from being answered.

DAILY DEVOTIONS

A baby that is not given food for a time may die of malnutrition. The same thing is true in the spiritual realm. It is very important that people be fed spiritually on a daily basis. People who do not have time, or allow time for Bible reading and prayer daily, will find that their spiritual life will fade away. They then miss the guidance of God and start getting into many more problems. God wants to be our Friend, and wants to help us daily, and this is possible when we allow time to communicate with Him.

PRAISING THE LORD FOR THE ANSWERS

Hebrews 13:15-16
15. Therefore by Him let us continually OFFER THE SACRIFICE OF PRAISE to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name. 16. But do not forget to do good and to share, for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.

Psalm 67:3-7
3. Let the peoples PRAISE YOU, O God; let all the peoples PRAISE YOU. 4. Oh, let the nations be glad and sing for joy! For You shall judge the people righteously, and govern the nations on earth. 5. Let the peoples PRAISE YOU, O God; let all the peoples PRAISE YOU. 6. Then the earth shall yield her increase; God, our own God, shall bless us. 7. God shall bless us, and all the ends of the earth shall fear Him.

There are times in our lives when we are faced with a situation and there seems to be nothing to praise the Lord about. That is the time when we must offer a sacrifice of praise FOR THE ANSWER WE ARE GOING TO RECEIVE. Praise becomes an avenue that allows the power of God to come to our aid.

It takes faith to keep on praising the Lord during the time of trials. The enemy wants to tempt us when we are faced with problems, so that we will change our praises to complaints. We need to resist those temptations to be discouraged, or feel sorry for ourselves, and spend more time praising the Lord. Faith and praise should always work together.

Remember that the Spirit of the Lord inhabits the praises of His people, see Psalm 22:3. Where are you having problems? Is it taking place in your marriage or home, work or business? Regardless of where it is, spend time praising the Lord for the answers that are going to come. Do not remind the Lord of the things that are going wrong. Remind God of the promises in His Word that you are depending on to overcome the problems. Praise Him that He is going to honor His Word, which will cause the problems to be overcome.

We are to praise Him WITH OUR WHOLE HEART. The more we sincerely praise the Lord, the more we will find that God will give us something to praise Him about. Many Christians limit their praising the Lord, to the times when they have something to be joyful about. They hurt themselves by doing this because they limit the power of God from flowing. There are times when we do not feel like praising the Lord, and it becomes necessary to spend time giving a sacrifice of praise to God, see Hebrews 13:15.

Troubles in the world are going to greatly increase in the near future. God wants to help us immensely during that time. This will only be possible if we raise our level of faith to match the needs that will be facing us. We raise our level of divine faith by spending more time reading our Bibles, see Romans 10:17.

It is also necessary to believe what we read, and understand what we believe, see Matthew 13-14, 19, Isaiah 6:9. The next thing that is needed is to act on what we believe.

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