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Wednesday, April 27, 2016

What are you saying about your marriage? (Pt.1)

(Married Life Series)

When a couple gets married there is a part of the ceremony that involves the exchanging of rings. These little bands of silver or gold serve as visible evidence that the couple has entered into a covenant relationship before God and with one another. 

A ring placed on the third finger of the left hand indicates that you are no longer a single, unmarried person. The ring’s placement declares that you are now in a covenant relationship. 

However, the ring does not hold any type of magical powers to ward off people who pose a potential threat to the sanctity of your marriage. There was once a time, in generations past, that the wedding ring’s presence seemed to have carried a stronger moral significance than it does today, but it certainly did not eliminate inappropriate relationships from taking place; that is because the presence of the wedding band is not necessarily to communicate to others that you are in a covenant relationship, but more accurately it is to serve as a daily reminder to you of the vows and commitments you made before God and your spouse. 

The problem with a ring is that it can be removed or concealed, they can be lost, become too small, and in many workplaces they are not allowed to be worn for safety reasons. So, if that tiny reminder is not there around your finger, how in the world will people know that you are married?

So, today we want to speak about the importance of projecting in your marriage. Projecting is to present or promote a particular view or image. If we were to ask people you work with, your family, or closest friends to describe for us their perspective of your level of satisfaction in your marriage or the level of satisfaction you have with your spouse; what would they say? What are you saying about your marriage? Sometimes we are saying a lot more than we think we are!

Diamond rings and wedding bands can communicate that you are in a marriage relationship, but only you can communicate the level of commitment you have to that marriage and you can be certain of three things: what you speak says a lot, what you fail to speak says a lot, and what and who you give your attention to says a lot. 

What if the life or death of your marriage depended upon what you said about it? 

“Life and death are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit.”-Proverbs 18:11

What you have to say about your marriage can have a tremendous influence over your satisfaction level and commitment to your marriage. Words are like seeds being sown in a field. The seed you sow determines the harvest you get:

Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or else make the tree bad and its fruit bad; for a tree is know by its fruit. Brood of vipers! How can you , being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings for evil things.”-Matthew 12:33-35

Not only is a tree known by it’s fruit, so is a marriage! The fruitfulness of our marriage is seen in our words! So, how do we increase our satisfaction level and communicate our commitment? By heeding Ephesians 4:29:

“Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers.”

Pastor Scott Burr

Dayspring Community Church

Can you break through? (Married Life Series Pt.2)

(Married Life Series Pt. 2)

For the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” - Galatians 5:14

The characteristic of being selfless is one of the most important traits any Christian can possess. It’s so significant that Jesus said it is the second most important of all God’s commandments next to loving God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength. 

This type of selfless expression is far more than just verbal platitudes; such as a little “I love you” spoken to your spouse before bed. Rather it is s demonstration of honor:

Be kindly and affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another.”-Romans 12: 10

Truly selfless actions are deliberate. They are executed to demonstrate and give preference to another person. The goal is to esteem others greater than ourselves:

Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.”-Philippians 2: 3-4

Jesus had much to say about selflessness during His earthly ministry. In the Sermon on the Mount, He goes beyond what some may think of as being selflessness. It would be great if selflessness were as simple as helping a friend, going the extra mile at work or caring for an ill child. However, Jesus extends selflessness far beyond normal expectations to loving our enemies and praying for our persecutors. Jesus taught that it’s easy to love a friend or a spouse, even unbelievers do that; but a Christian is expected to love the unlovable, because this is how we become more like Jesus! 

As with everything Jesus taught, he also modeled selflessness:

Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men.”-Philippians 2:5-7

As followers of Christ, Paul challenges us to have this same mindset. Jesus came not for His own benefit, but for ours. He came to minister to us and die for us. Humanly speaking, Jesus gave up His will for God’s will and that is the very heart of the matter. 

Selflessness runs counter to human nature, which is why being selfless is so much more difficult than being selfish. It’s natural to care about ourselves, and we are encouraged to think selfishly from all sides. However, the Christian husband or wife must daily heed the words of the Apostle Paul:
I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I know live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”-Galatians 2:20. 

No believer, young or old, married or single, can live a selfless life without a constant abiding in the Lord Jesus Christ, for it is only through Him that our attitudes can be changed and molded toward unselfish behavior. 

Some of you today need to break through the selfishness barrier you have created in your marriage. You need to repent and then commit yourself to serving the Lord, by serving your spouse. 

Pastor Scott Burr
Dayspring Community Church

Friday, April 15, 2016

Can you break through? (Married Life Series)

(Married Life Series Pt. 1)

“But from the beginning of the creation, God ‘made them male and female. For this reason man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife. And the two will become one flesh; so then they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no man separate.”-Mark 10:6-9

Since the dawn of time mankind has been faced with many barriers. It was believed men could only go so fast, until we broke the sound barrier. It was believed that men could only go so far, until we put men on the moon. Breaking barriers has been a hall mark of the human spirit.

Barriers are obstacles intended to prevent movement, progress or access. Barriers can be good if they protect us from something that is harmful or dangerous, however they can be severely limiting if they keep us from reaching our potential; especially in something as important as our marriages.

Today we want to focus on the biggest barrier between you and a growing, healthy marriage. The greatest obstacle is not an issue of communication, finances, in-laws, or infidelity. The greatest threat to marriage is selfishness!

“What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you?”-James 4:1

As much as we hate to admit it; one characteristic that we all share is that we each possess an inclination towards selfishness. Disagreements and fights emerge within our relationships because either one or both of us is self-seeking. Quarrels arise from these selfish desires that wage war inside of us; disrupting the unity in your relationship.

“For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.”-James 3:16.

Some of you are thinking, “Well, that’s not me! I give and give and give; but it doesn’t make any difference!” Giving, however, is not an indication of selflessness! Giving can actually be a selfish act. If I give of my time, rights, or finances in order to appease or gain favor with another person, then my giving is not purely selfless! This doesn’t mean it was not done out of deceit, however it is not a selfless gesture. This is “giving to get” and the moment that I begin to expect reciprocation; it is no longer considered selfless.

So if giving more is not the answer to selfishness, how do we break through the selfishness barrier? The key is serving! Serving is about releasing not relinquishing. When I serve my spouse I am releasing my time, rights, talents and resources out of a divine love for Christ with no expectation of reward from them; because I know that I am gaining favor with God. We see this in Ephesians 5:22&25:
“Wives submit to your husbands, as to the Lord” & “Husbands love your wives just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.”

There are no “ifs”! Wives are not instructed to demonstrate respect only if their husbands love them and husbands are not instructed to love sacrificially only if their wives respect and honor them. It is mutual submission. It is a demonstration of divine obedience in which our actions are not intended to illicit a response from our spouse, but when lived out,with a right heart, they will bring honor to our God.

Pastor Scott Burr
Dayspring Community Church

Monday, April 11, 2016

I am the vine

“I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.”-John 15:5

Jesus and His disciples had gathered to celebrate the Feast of the Passover when Jesus arose and began to wash the disciples feet. When he got to Simon Peter, Peter protested and exclaimed: “You shall never wash my feet!” Jesus answered him by saying,
“If I do not wash you, you have no part with me.”-John 13:8

Jesus’ statement may not have made complete sense to Peter in the moment, however as the night went on and Jesus began to comfort His disciples; He did so by revealing Himself as the true vine:

“I am the true vine, and My Father the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit. You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.”-John 15:1-4

Jesus was about to leave them. His betrayal and crucifixion were already set in motion. The disciples were no longer going to enjoy His physical presence, but He promised that if they would abide in Him and allow His words to abide in them; He would nourish and sustain them. Just as a vine’s branches rely on being connected to the trunk to bear fruit, believers must remain connected to Jesus for their spiritual life.

Cut off from the vine, a branch is dead and dead branches don’t bear fruit! Jesus warned that dead branches have a bleak future:

“If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned.”-John 15:6

Just as a vinedresser expects the branch to bear fruit, our Heavenly Father expects us to bear fruit as well. The fruit we produce is that of the Holy Spirit:

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.”-Galatians 5:22

We cannot produce this fruit apart from Christ! In fact, Jesus declared in John 15:5 that apart from Him we can do nothing! In a recent commentary I read the writer stated: “No believer can achieve anything of spiritual value independently of Christ Jesus.” We must depend on Him for everything!

The indication of our connectedness is the fruit we bear! Are you connected? Check your fruit! Connected branches bear fruit. Fruitless branches indicate a lack of connection. 

Connected branches bring glory to God, because they bear the fruit of God’s Spirit:

“By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.”-John 15:8

The best indication of a life connected to God is evidence of the fruit of the Spirit in your life!

Pastor Scott Burr
Dayspring Community Church