Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever.
Lord, who wills that which is good, let me not follow the inclinations of my heart, but lead me to live always according to Your good will. Have mercy upon Your Creatures and upon me, a great sinner.
Heavenly King, grant me Your kingdom, which You have promised to Your beloved; strengthen my heart to hate sin, and to love You alone, and to do Your will. Have mercy upon Your Creatures and upon me, a great sinner.
Protector of Your creatures, by the sign of Your cross keep my soul and body from the allurements of sin, from the temptations of the devil and unjust people, and from all perils of soul and body. Have mercy upon Your Creatures and upon me, a great sinner.
Christ, the guardian of all, let Your Right Hand guard and shelter me by day and by night, while at home and while away, while sleeping and while awake, that I may never fall. Have mercy upon Your Creatures and upon me, a great sinner, today and forever,
O Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, do not permit vanity, self-love, sensuality, carelessness, nor anger to rule over me and steal me from Thy love, O my Lord and Creator, all my hope! Do not leave me without a portion of the blessed eternity. Grant also that I may follow Thy Holy example, that I may submit to the authorities placed over me. Grant me the clean soul, the simplicity of heart that makes us worthy of Thy love.
Renewing the mind is a little like refinishing furniture. It is a two-stage process. It involves taking off the old and replacing it with the new.
~ Charles Stanley
Now to Him who has given me grace in accordance with His gospel, in keeping with the revelation of the mystery hidden for many ages past, but now revealed and made known by the command of the eternal God, so that all mankind might find the obedience that comes from faith; to the only God, the God of wisdom and truth, be glory forever through His only son, Jesus Christ.
“Many marriages would be better if the husband and the wife clearly understood that they are on the same side.”
~ Zig Ziglar
“It was also said, ‘Whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce.’ But I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except on the ground of sexual immorality, makes her commit adultery, and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.”
Unlike some of the previous teachings, Christ does not seek to create an impossible standard here; rather, this is an illustration of the shift from simple legalism into a theology of inner goodness.
Marriage was a very different institution in the ancient world; it is Christ who gave us our concept of modern marriage. Polygamy was common, if a man had enough property to support more than one wife, but usually there was a “first wife” who would be from the same class as the man; and as we saw in the case of Isaac and Rebekah, the woman would have to be cajoled and wooed.
But men could also marry slaves (who were more akin to indentured servants than what we conceive as slaves). Mosaic law gave protection to these women; for example, a slave-wife would have to be treated with some respect and, if the man wanted to divorce her, she would have to be given signed papers, releasing her from both servitude and marriage. Slave women could not simply be used for sex, as in other cultures of the day.
But Christ required not simply legal protection, but love; marriage was permanent and, unless a woman committed adultery, divorce was simply not allowed. Christ’s teaching in Matthew 19 (and Mark 10) remains the Christian standard of marriage today: “So then they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.” (Mark 10:8-9)
This is an area in which we can clearly see the marked pull of society away from Christianity. We have chosen, instead, to move towards the heritage of total sexual licentiousness that ancient Greece bequeathed to the Romans and, eventually, us.
It also give us a clear view of “social Christianity” as it operates in churches and society today. Most people, even if they call themselves “Christians,” simply ignore this passage if they find it inconvenient. We hear Christ’s teaching about “one flesh” quoted when it is least needed: at weddings. But where it actually has teeth, for people whose marriages are troubled, it is stuffed under a pillow or in a drawer so that it does not embarrass the divorcing couple.
We say one thing and do another, and there is a word for it: hypocrisy. Let us remember always to be thankful and supportive of all the people and programs that seek to assist troubled couples, both in churches and the secular world.