June is coming up and it has traditionally been the greatest month for marriages. High School and college students graduate and there desires for marriage are fulfilled. At least that is the way it used to be before the total amnesia of historical Christian virtues that once permeated our nation, even pagans. But with the advancing loss of Christian teaching on love, sex, marriage, dating, courtship, whatever, the overflow to the culture has been nil. If there is a mist in the pulpit, there will be a fog in the pew and a total white out in the surrounding culture. Such is the USA today.
More couples under 30 live together than get married. The percentage of babies born out of wedlock is staggering (68 % in the African-American community; 39 % in the Hispanic community; 29 % in the Anglo-Caucasian community). And we haven't even gotten to the subject of statistics on marriage and divorce (almost 50%) !
The materials I have picked today would be good to give to graduating high school seniors, college students, out of school singles, engaged couples, young married couples, in church libraries and on Christian book tables. Ignorance of God's ways is not bliss--it is catastrophe! People today have not seen the Bible's teaching on love, sex, commitment and marriage lived out at home; they have not heard the Bible's teaching preached from the pulpit of their church; they have not been exposed to biblical teaching through books or seminars. They live in an ignorance that is waiting to devastate them!
I am personally working my way through Psalm 119 in my personal devotions and there is much food for thought in every verse. The Psalmist is hurting, struggling, under tremendous pressure, not wanting to displease or dishonor God. He needs to know the right path to get on and stay on to please the God he loves.
It would be easy for the reader to put the subject of marriage in this Psalm and see the absolute necessity of God's Word setting the parameters, showing the way ahead, exposing unworthy or base motives, shining the light on false ways, etc. Try it; you will find it to be a storehouse of clear teaching and exhortation about the importance of the Word of God for life and eternity.
RECOMMENDED BEFORE MARRIAGE ?
Andreas Kostenberger, GOD, MARRIAGE AND
FAMILY (Restoring the Biblical Foundations);
Crossway--the best book on all the Bible teaches
about God and His revealed will for marriage, sex,
marriage, child-rearing, etc.
Wayne Grudem, ed.; BIBLICAL FOUNDATIONS
FOR MANHOOD AND WOMANHOOD; Crossway--
essays about the fundamentals of what it means
to be a man and a Christian man; what it means
to be a woman and a Christian woman.
Wayne Mack, PREPARING FOR MARRIAGE GOD'S
WAY; Hensley Publications--a greater starter
manual to know what you aRe getting into and
how to handle it biblically.
Dave Harvey, BEFORE SINNERS SAY 'I DO';
Shepherd Press--a great writer who communicates
timeless truths with contemporary verbiage.
Mark Chansky, MANLY DOMINION; Calvary Press
Mark Chansky, WOMANLY DOMINION; CaLvary
Press--who you are and what role you play in your
marriage is critical to God blessing it and your
children after you.
R. C. Sproul, THE INTIMATE MARRIAGE; Tyndale
comes in an inexpensive paperback or a nice,
"wedding gift hardback". Great counsel from a
Bible scholar who has been married some 50 years.
RECOMMENDED JUST BEFORE THE WEDDING ?
Ed Wheat, INTENDED FOR PLEASURE (Sex
Technique and Sexual Fulfillment in Christian
Marriage); 4th edition; Revell/Baker--so neither
man nor the woman gropes around during the
honeymoon. This book has saved a number of
RECOMMENDED AFTER MARRIAGE ?
Wayne Mack, YOUR MARRIAGE, GOD'S WAY; P & R;
one of the very best books on communication
and conflict resolution in Christian marriage
Wayne Mack, STRENGTHENING YOUR MARRIAGE;
P & R--must reading for early in your marriage.
Wayne Mack, IN-LAWS (Married With Parents);
P & R/Resources for Biblical Living--if your parents
did not have any children, chances are you won't
either. Read this booklet anyway!
Paul David Tripp, WAR OF WORDS; P & R--the best
book on learning to communicate in your marriage
and how to disagree agreeably!
Tim Keller, THE MEANING OF MARRIAGE (Facing
the Complexities of Commitment with the Wisdom
of God); Penguin--a biblically wise and at times
profound examination of Christian marriage.
This should set any couple in a good place if they would prayerfully study and put into practice these books. If marriage is to be for a lifetime, but we live in a culture that actively seeks to wreck you and your marriage, hard work is needed and faithful prayer is needed NOT to become another statistic.
Your Book Servant,
Pastor Steve Martin