February 11, 2010

“Enjoy life with your wife, whom you love…”
(Ecclesiastes 9:9)

Claudius was the Roman Emperor in the third century A.D.  He had a difficult time recruiting soldiers for the Roman army.  He believed the reason was that young men didn’t want to leave their wives or girlfriends to fight.  So Claudius outlawed all marriages and engagements in Rome for awhile in an effort to encourage men to join the army. 

St. Valentine was a priest in Rome during this time.  He thought the law forbidding marriage was preposterous and he refused to support it.  So, as tradition suggests, St. Valentine continued to marry young couples – secretly of course.  Eventually, Claudius discovered St. Valentine’s secret marriage ceremonies.  The Emperor arrested St. Valentine and threw him in jail.

While St. Valentine was imprisoned, many young people continued to visit him in jail.  They threw flowers and notes to him through his jailhouse window.  One young girl who visited him often was the jailer’s daughter.  She agreed that St. Valentine did the right thing by performing secret marriages.  She continued to visit St. Valentine until the day he was put to death. 

On the day he died, February 14, 269 A.D., St. Valentine wrote a note to the jailer’s daughter thanking her for her friendship and loyalty.  He signed it, “From your Valentine.” 

Thus began the tradition of valentine’s notes and cards.  Of course, Valentine’s Day has mushroomed into flowers, chocolates, jewelry, romantic dinners, and much more.  What a great tradition.  Let’s celebrate true friendship and love!

Heavenly Father,
Thank you for your perfect plan –
a man and a woman, married, loving each other,
and passing that love on to their children.
And thank you for Your example of true love
in giving your Son, Jesus, to die for my sin.
I love You, Lord.  Amen

The Sanctity of Marriage (Family Value #7)

November 11, 2008

The sexual revolution of the 1960’s and 70’s has certainly impacted our thinking on marriage and sex today.  But, God still values marriage – so much so, that the seventh command states in no uncertain terms, “You shall not commit adultery.”

The word “adultery” specifically refers to a married person having sexual relations with someone other than his/her spouse.  However, this command serves as the basis for maintaining sexual purity in all relationships.  So, it is expanded througout Scripture to include a variety of sexual sins…

  • extra-marital sex
  • pre-marital sex
  • homosexuality
  • lustful thoughts

But, let’s remember that God is not just a cosmic killjoy, trying to suck all the fun out of life.  God gives us boundaries for our protection and fulfillment.  So, to state it positively, God says, “Marriage is Sacred!”  His plan is simple – one man, one woman, living together in a committed, monogamous marriage relationship.  When we follow God’s plan, it leads to a truly meaningful and enjoyable life.

However, one of the current trends in our culture is “cohabitation” or “living together” prior to marriage.  In 1970, there were 523,000 couples living together; by the year 2000, the number had increased to over 5.5 million.  That’s an increase of 950% in 30 years.  In 1970, only 11% of couples lived together before getting married; by 1995, that number had increased to over 50%, and it is probably even higher today.

I certainly understand the fear of commitment today after having seen so many of our parents go through divorce.  Young people want to be “sure” before they make a “commitment.”  One typical couple explained their rationale like this…

  • “It just made sense.  We were in love.  I needed a roommate.  She needed a place to live.  And we were probably going to get married someday.  Living together would help us figure out if we were really right for each other.”

But, I am still baffled at how many Christian couples in churches have bought into the same way-of-thinking.  I don’t get it – how does a Christian get around this seventh command.  So, I pose a simple question for your response and my enlightenment…

  • As a Christian, how do you justify “living together” today?