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Marriage Relationships

Keep your eyes wide open before the wedding,
half shut afterwards.   ~Benjamin Franklin
Ok, I’m a big fan of Ben Franklin and his wit.  But there is a bunch of truth in his statement.  Haha.  Again, these notes are for those who are in leadership within the NICC family.  My hope is that they help all of us stay on the same page and also help those who are following Steve’s messages in their own classes and groups.  Leadership is very important to where we head together as a family and it’s is directly related to how we keep the Gospel moving throughout our community.
I’m going to give my own opinion of what Ben meant when he penned this quip.  Make sure you know the weight of the commitment your making before the ceremony.  After the ceremony…everything in stride.  J  That’s not saying something bad…it’s just the truth.  This is also the truth in any relationship, friendship, business partnership, teacher/student situation, mentor/mentoree. 
Things always look great on the outset.  But when you get down to the brass tacks of any situation, the little things come out, the negatives seem to rise to the surface, the problems can seem larger, but the opportunities for fun and success are doubled or even exponentially increased.  Before, there was just you. Now, there’s you and your spouse or new friend or new partner or new student.  There you and your problems…and theirs as well.  There’s your weaknesses and theirs.  And you thought you had a hard time dealing with your difficulties.  Now you’re dealing with two or more times the difficulties.  But remember…the good things are as well.  You have to have, in a weird sort of way, your eyes half shut…to overlook and get by those things could push you to make rash and regretful decisions.
I’m going to make a quick run through of the verses that Steve picked for this week.  They are great for this subject! 

·         Malachi talks about families being the place where the next generations of God-followers are raised!  Families are important to God.  He wants them to be healthy.

·         1 Peter talks how love can cover a multitude of sins (half closed eyes)…able to over look things that would normally tear us apart.  Forgiveness and forbearance goes a long, long way in any relationship.  Remember, this is from the guy who denied Jesus 3 times right before the crucifixion. 

·         Joshua encouraged his followers, the Israelite nation, to be strong and courageous.  Godly relationships are characterized by courage and constant encouragement to get through the tough times!  They ARE going to happen…but courage and constant encouragement help us make it to incredible days and breakthroughs and dreams.

·         King Solomon writes in proverbs that having fun, smiling, laughing brings health to the body…and, with what we’re focusing on, it brings health to any relationship, whether it be two people or more…even a huge organization or company.

As leaders, we need to bring these characteristics into our lives.  The simple test is to ask the questions, Are we focused on our commitment to God?  Do we love others in a way that is unconditional?  Do lead with courage and encouragement?  Another way to ask that last question is this: Do people follow us because of our courage?  Do we make things fun?  Do we bring cheer to the group or relationship?

For kids – I’m going to focus on Joshua 1:9.  Kid’s need concrete instruction, and Joshua’s story is easy for them to grasp…and kids always love adventure.  Here’s the basic outline of Joshua’s story.

·         He knows that God has given them the land, the great and wonderful land, on the other side of the Jordan river.

·         He knows, and Israel knows, that there are some huge and fortified cities and peoples over there that won’t like him and them.
·         He knows that to get to that great thing, the promised land, there is going to be some bumps in the road.

·         He still sets his eyes on the prize, and takes God’s encouragement to him and gives it away to his followers, the Israelites.

The story applies to relationships too.  Sometimes we need to have God’s encouragement and courage to help us become great friends and daughters and sons.  And if we can have God’s encouragement and courage, then there are great things ahead for u

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