Brethren, it is with great pleasure and immense gratitude that I welcome you to the final month of the year 2018. We serve a mighty and an amazingly awesome God. He has seen us through 11 months this year and He’s graciously ushering us into the 12th. We have addressed blessings of all kinds and commitment responsibilities as children of the Most High all year. This month I would like us to focus on the center of it all; the nucleus the Father intended for humanity – the Christian home. Hence, the topic, “The Blessed Family” (Genesis 1:26-28).
Marriage is the lifelong union of a man and a woman under God, both of whom are living, growing, and changing for God’s glory (Genesis 2:22-24; Proverbs 20:6-7). If any of these ingredients are missing, abuse of original intent is inevitable. “Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’? So, they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore, what God has joined together, let no one separate” (Matthew 19:4-6). People get married for different reasons to include social, financial, cultural, peer pressure, family expectations etc. However, there is biblical reason for God’s institution of marriage. Faithfulness and blamelessness reflected in the character of the LORD Jesus Christ are key (Ephesians 5:22-33).
Marriage is a journey by ship i.e. a voyage. Regular ships have two licensed captains with one being The Captain while the other is the Staff Captain, or second-in-command. This is similar to a plane having a pilot and a co-pilot. The ship of the marriage voyage requires the deep involvement of three parties i.e. the husband, the wife, and God. All parties must work by a defined protocol to ensure the ship arrives at its destination intended by God, the Author of marriage (Romans 12:1-2; Ephesians 5:24-27). A lack of understanding of, and adherence to, God’s foundational principles result in the alarming rate of dysfunctional and failed marriage relationships we see in our world today.
What Can Make A Ship Sink?
The RMS Titanic was an Olympic-class passenger liner owned by the White Star Line; built at the Harland and Wolff shipyard in Belfast, Ireland by 3,000 people spanning more than 3 years. At the time of her construction, she was the largest passenger steamship in the world. She had 9 decks with the capacity to hold 3,500 people, and ran on 16,000 horsepower at her top speed of 24 knots. The Titanic Ship was launched on May 31, 1911 in a grandiose occasion to celebrate a feat in human ingenuity. There were 2,200 passengers and crew aboard the Titanic when it left Southampton, England headed for New York City, USA, with lifeboats available for only 1,178 of them. But at 2:20 a.m. on April 15, 1912, the British ocean liner, Titanic, sank into the North Atlantic Ocean about 400 miles south of Newfoundland, Canada, killing at least 1,250 passengers on board. Passenger survival rate was as high as 60% for those in 1st class and as low as less than 25% for the crew members for multiple reasons. It took only 3 hours from impact to full submergence of the Titanic’s split halves in the Atlantic.
Safety precautions taken during construction primarily focused on compartmentalization to contain a hull breach. This was to keep the ship buoyant should even a fourth of these compartments be flooded. Many believed the ship was unsinkable but perhaps only the builders knew that the bulkheads to the numerous compartments were not capped at the top. Once the Titanic made impact with the iceberg and started taking in water, an excess of a fourth of the compartments got flooded. The tragedy that occurred was not limited to failure of ship construction and design, rather the training or lack thereof and negligence of the crew contributed significantly to the extent of life lost. The reporting protocol that might have saved more lives was ignored and abandoned at some point during the confusion that ensued due to conflicting interests and inadequate preparation.
We will examine three of the numerous reasons why a ship can sink. They are:
- Ship construction and design: The composite materials of the ship’s structure can predispose it to weakness. Tests carried out at the California Maritime Academy on the Titanic revealed that modern day steel is seven times more resistant to impact than that of Titanic’s. This fits with earlier studies showing that the Titanic’s steel contained more sulfur and phosphorus substances than most modern materials. These impurities can accumulate between the crystal layers of the metal and weaken its structure.
- Quality of the personnel (personnel and crew): Preparation, training, and experience matter a great deal and can make the difference in preventing the loss of a seafaring vessel. Interestingly, most members of a ship’s crew are not adequately trained to handle dangers when they show up. Jim Walker, author of a historical fiction book with the Titanic’s mystery as its backdrop, said “The majority of employees on the ship are [engaged] to sell food and alcohol. You have very few true, professional mariners.”
- Unforeseen natural hazards (e.g. icebergs, weather etc.): As with every field of human endeavor/pursuit, there will always remain elements beyond inherent and acquired knowledge, skills and abilities. Michael Bruno of the Stevens Institute of Technology, a proven leader in the field of Coastal and Ocean Engineering, said, “We’ll never build a ship, large or small to withstand an impact with a rock or…an iceberg for that matter. ” Captain Rick Comeau of the Maritime Simulation Institute agrees that possessing navigational warnings, being able to monitor other traffic, and even decide how close to get to points of danger may still not prevent the dangers from occurring.
What Can Make the Marriage Ship Sink?
There are many reasons a marriage can crumble. A select ten are itemized here as abuse (verbal, physical, emotional, psychological, financial etc.), excessive third-party involvement, infidelity or disloyalty, lack of accountability partners, intentional or unintentional spousal exclusion, creating a space within a space, spousal enablement by rationalization, loss of integrity, deliberate avoidance of helpful associations or fellowships, and prayerlessness.
A look at the available statistics on expressed reasons paints a dire picture.
- Marriage Stability: Does not think spouse still in love (men 11%, women 11%), regrets marrying spouse (men 17%, women 15%), will not do it again (men 11%, women 13%), feels a need for divorce or separation (men 11%, women 24%), does not feel safe with spouse (women 12%), does not see a great future ahead (women 15%).
- Communication Issues: Does not feel can freely discuss things that bother without an argument with spouse (men 47%, women 35%), men agree they do not meet their wives’ need for open & quality communication (40%), women feel controlled by their husbands (33%), women do not seek each husband’s counsel before making important decisions (28%), opinion does not count in family decision-making scenarios (women 17%).
- Quality of Relationship:
a. Men – 9% do not feel respected by wife, 12% feel wife not proud of him, 14% feel wife does not appreciate his efforts around the house, and 40% say wife disrespects him in public.
b. Women – 16% do not fell husband appreciates her as a person, 20% say husband does not show concern for her emotional needs, 25% deny husband sex often, 28% husband does not help around the house at all, 32% do not chat for even an hour in the whole day, 38% do not have family vacation time, and 79% would like more help from husband at home.
- Spiritual Environment: Do not pray together daily (men 33%, women 44%), do not read the Bible together daily (men 69%, women 69%), and women do not feel husband plays the role of the spiritual leader in the home (17%).
- Financial Issues: Men feel wife overspends (33%), do not know how much the other earns (women 15%), and women do not jointly own property with husband (32%).
- Open Door for Infidelity: Women feel husband overly admires other women (14%), women say husband calls other women often (16%), and husband still contacts his ex (21%).
What Prevents the Sinking of the Marriage Ship?
“Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the LORD. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with the LORD’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality” (Romans 12:9-13).
Marriage, like the Titanic, has two Captains as well as an invisible Lead Captain, God. The family unit is very important to God, and He calls men and women into the honorable estate of marriage to replicate the relationship between Jesus and His Bride, the Church. Psalms 127:1 says, “Except the LORD build the house, they labor in vain that build it: except the LORD keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain.” Likewise, John 15:5 says, ”I AM the Vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in Me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without Me ye can do nothing.”
In conclusion, God is still the Master Builder and marriage is a core institution of interest to Him, that is why He calls it “honorable” in Hebrews 13:4. Men and women are called into this honorable estate to replicate the relationship between the church and Jesus. When the ship sinks it is like crucifying Christ a second time or making a mockery of his investment in men. “Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore, do not be foolish, but understand what the LORD’s will is. Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit…always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the Name of our LORD Jesus Christ. Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ” (Ephesians 5:15-18,20-21).
- Dear Heavenly Father, I thank You for Your mercy that has preserved my life. Thank You for keeping me alive today and in good health. I thank You for your gift of life to me and my loved ones. Blessed be Your holy Name, in Jesus’ Name.
- On the authority of Your Word in 3 John 2, from now on, I start to experience all round progress in my life, destiny, health, marriage, career, business, and ministry, in Jesus’ Name.
- Dear Heavenly Father, according to Your Word in Isaiah 57:14, I come against every form of demonic stumbling blocks and satanic strong¬ holds that have constituted obstacles to my advancement and that of my family; they are hereby totally demolished, in Jesus’ Name.
- I speak against every evil garment & satanic apparel that the enemy has put upon me or my loved ones in the realm of the spirit that may have limited or hindered our progress. I command such to catch fire and be burnt to ashes now, in Jesus’ Name.
- Isaiah 8:18 says,” Here am I and the children whom the LORD has given me! We are for signs and wonders in Israel from the LORD of Hosts, Who dwells in Mount Zion.…”; Therefore, I and mine shall receive the goodness of the LORD…
- 1 Chronicles 13:14 says, “And the ark of God remained with the family of Obededom in his house three months. And the LORD blessed the house of Obededom, and all that he had.”
a. As you blessed the family of Obededom, Father, bless my family too, in Jesus’ Name.
b. Joshua 24:15 says, “As for me and my house, we shall serve the LORD.”
c. I will not bury any family member this year, in Jesus’ Name.
- Father, whatever hindered and delayed me in the past shall not hinder my progress and advancement in 2018 and beyond, in Jesus’ Name. The curse of hindrance over my life, family, and children is completely uprooted now, in the Name of Jesus.
- Pray for your Pauls, Timothys and Barnabases (mentor, mentees, colleagues).
- Father, You supernaturally accelerated the advancement of Prophet Elijah in 1 Kings 18:46 and he was able to outrun a chariot; divinely accelerate progress for me and my loved ones from now on, in Jesus’ Name.
- Father, I thank You for prayers answered; blessed be Your holy Name, O God! Amen.
O JESUS, I HAVE PROMISED
O Jesus, I have promised to serve Thee to the end;
Be Thou forever near me, my Master and my Friend;
I shall not fear the battle if Thou art by my side,
Nor wander from the pathway if Thou wilt be my Guide.
For the rest of the hymn, O Jesus, I Have Promised
For 130 creative ways to say “I love you” to your spouse