We had a wonderful Fellowship dinner Saturday, but for a bittersweet reason. (I use the word “bittersweet” often lately about something hinged to something not-so-good!) The good part of yesterday is the fact that a couple of our precious church family is moving to Texas to be near their son. I cannot fault that at all. When my son retired from his nursing job in Florida and moved to Buckhannon, WV, it made West Virginia more nearly like Heaven to me. Now all three of my children are here, so I could NOT pray that Mike and Sandi Stutler would NOT move to Texas! Being near their son, in my eyes, was a much better alternative for them, but I cry if I dwell on their leaving very much.
Then later that afternoon I went to the Senior Center to meet with the Singing Seniors. Their own wonderful “band” group was playing when I got there, and audience was singing. Soon Rick and Bonnie Cutright (my pastor and his wife) arrived and played and sang beautifully, with audience joining in for some of it. The Jacko family, Don, Cheryl, Jeremy, Becca, Sean and Emma from the Elkins Seventh-day Adventist Church provided surprisingly beautiful music with string instrument accompaniment. Their youngest player, Sean, was playing the bass that was way bigger than he So cute! Someone called from the audience, “How old are you?” Sean answered, “Eight!” Then he was asked, “How old were you when you started playing?” He said, “Eight.” It was amazing. It was a very enjoyable time for all of us, I believe, but I wish more folks would come and enjoy the time with the Singing Seniors. Cheryl Jacko is teacher and Principal of the Highland Adventist Academy in Elkins. If you are interested in a Christian education for your children, go to https://www.highlandadventistschool.org/about/facuty-and-staff. Music is a big thing at that school and they usually have concerts in the Elkins community throughout the year.
28 Fundamental beliefs of the Seventh-day Adventist Church continue with Number 23:
MARRIAGE and the FAMILY
In spite of the fact that most couples, on their wedding day, look forward to a long life together, divorces continue to increase, and some marriages end before the reception has been paid for! In spite of their hopes and dreams when parents bring their babies home from the hospital, 70 percent of parents stated that they would not have children if they had it to do over again (based on the responses of 10,000 parents who answered a question by Ann Landers).
We are always shocked at the breakup of a home, parental abuse, inadequate child care, the disrespect of children for their parents, and the lack of communication between family members.
Marriage counselors, pastors, educators, and psychologists all try to offer positive solutions to these family problems, but their best advice is based on principles for marriage and family life that have been established by God in His Word. After all, every principle mentioned in the Bible, whether or not it is specifically directed to the family (such as the golden rule), can be applied to the family.
WHERE MARRIAGE ORIGINATED
The first marriage, officiated in Eden by God, was a model for marriages in all future generations. Because Adam needed companionship, God created Eve (Genesis 2:18). When Adam saw her, he realized that she satisfied his needs, and he determined to satisfy hers. Adam said, “‘This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called “woman,” for she was taken out of man.’ For this reason, a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh” (Genesis 2:23, 24).
The apostle Paul, writing in Ephesians, reiterated the concept of unity in marriage. He emphasized that the love, concern, and mutual interest of husband and wife for each other can be compared to Christ’s love for His church (Ephesians 5:21-33).
In 2 Corinthians 6:14, Paul stated another important principle for a Christian marriage. Believers should not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. In other words, the husband and wife need to share the same faith. Experience as demonstrated the validity of this principle. Marriage between believers and unbelievers nearly always results in greater stress, more unhappiness on the part of both parties, compromise of one’s principles, and disagreement over the methods of child raising.
God’s plan is for the home to be one of the most stable and permanent institutions in society. In order to stress this point, several times during His ministry on earth Jesus stated that the only basis for divorce is unfaithfulness to the marriage vow; and anyone who divorces and remarries on some other basis is guilty of adultery (Matthew 5:31, 32; 19:9; Mark 10:11,12; Luke 16:18).
So, what should people do who divorce in spite of the fact that they have no biblical basis for doing so? Paul advises, “A wife must not separate from her husband. But if she does, she must remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband. And a husband must not divorce his wife” (1 Corinthians 7:10, 11).
By inviting Christ to be a third party in the marriage, husbands and wives will have a happier life together. A marriage prayer that was written by a husband illustrates this point: “In order that I might come closer to her, bring me closer to You than to her; in order that I may love her with a heartfelt love, help me to love You more than her and her more than anything else in the world. So that nothing may come between her and me, may You dwell between us at every moment. In order that we may always be together, take us with Yourself to the place of solitude. And when we find ourselves side-by-side, O God, may it be upon Your breast. Amen.”
PARENTS AND CHILDREN
The Bible emphasizes the importance of parents teaching their children to know the Lord and understand His commandments (Deuteronomy 6:3-9). It commands fathers to “bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4). As they learn to love and trust their parents, children learn to love and confide in God as their heavenly Father.
The Bible advises children to obey their parents in the Lord (Ephesians 6:1) and to honor them (Exodus20:12; Ephesians 6:2, 3). As parents and children open their hearts to the influence of the Holy Spirit, harmony and love will prevail in the home. The increasing closeness of one to another and to God will testify to the power of the final gospel message to create the kind of unity for which Christ prayed (Malachi 4:5; John 17:23).
For further study: Proverbs 22:6; John 2:1-11; Ephesians 5:21-23.