Helping People Triumph in God's Best

More!

Did you ever just think . . . “there has to be more?”  More to this life, more to this job, more to my marriage . . . . more than this?  There’s got to be more!  We even sing songs about it . . . “I want more . . . I want more!”

We seem to want more of everything.  More time, money, speed, data, etc.

We want More of the good stuff, but we don’t want More of the bad!   Often we just end up taking More of whatever comes our way, good or bad.  We just accept whatever comes, and just live with it.  After all, it’s the hand we’ve been dealt!  It’s our lot in life!

So, how do you get more good out of your life and your marriage, and less bad?

The dictionary defines “more” as:  a greater or additional amount or degree.

Here are some steps to get there, from here!  We will look at just these 3 tonight:

  1. How To Build And Maintain A Solid Marriage Foundation
  2. How To Affair-Proof Your Marriage
  3. How To Love When It Is Difficult
  1. How To Build And Maintain A Solid Marriage Foundation

A Foundation is simply a platform or base on which to build.  A very important starting point.   If you can get this part right, you will be preparing for More good to come!  The foundation must be built first, because it is the thing that holds the entire structure together – It is the platform.

A foundation is  “One of the most important things you’ll never see!”

Foundations don’t get the same recognition as the rest of the house.  When someone is describing their house, they never talk about the foundation, they always talk about the design, the layout, the decorations, but never say anything about the foundation.  But, it’s always important to value a strong foundation!  When building a large structure, hundreds of thousands of dollars could go into work that no one will ever see.  Besides the obvious concrete, . . . there are huge pipes, long cables, and deep footers have to go in underground before you can even begin to build what everyone will see.  If you are ever tempted to fudge a bit on the foundation, a wise architect will always jump in and caution you, saying: “Nothing is more important than the foundation.”

Here are 5 things to consider about the foundation of your marriage!

  1. A good foundation is essential for the health and well-being of a building.  Your marriage needs a solid foundation!  It is the basis for your entire marriage and family.
  2. A building cannot withstand much stress or pressure without a solid foundation.  And neither can a marriage withstand the storms of life without a solid foundation.  And things will come to test your marriage!
  3. A building’s entire strength depends proportionally on the strength of its foundation.  There is a direct connection between the foundation and the kind of building you can put on it.  The strength of your marriage depends on the quality and strength of its foundation.
  4. The greater a building’s height, the greater the importance of its foundation. The higher you want your marriage to go, the more you want to accomplish, the greater you want your intimacy and closeness to be, the greater the importance of the foundation you choose to build.
  5. The foundation of a great building is not readily visible, yet it is essential.  You Marriage foundation may not be immediately noticeable, yet it is essential for the strength, growth, and quality of your marriage.  We may not see the foundation itself, but we see the results of it everyday!

Also consider this:

Just like trees, foundations don’t move, they are stationary.  There is a difference between a house with a solid foundation, and a mobile home.  Have you ever seen a really strong 5 or 6 story mobile home or trailer?  There’s a reason for that.

A good foundation has to be made from the right ingredients to ensure proper hardness.  Some of those ingredients are things like:  Righteousness, purity, holiness, prayer, commitment, faithfulness, obedience, and trust.

  • Individual Godly Foundations prepare you for a Marriage Foundation.
  • The Marriage Foundation prepares you for a Family Foundation.
  • The Family Foundation prepares you for a Church Foundation.

One thing feeds the next thing!

Many things will come and try to break your foundation – your beliefs, your faith, family, friends, health and finances.  Psalm 11:3  “If the foundations are destroyed,  What can the righteous do?”     One thing is for sure . . . .

  •   The foundations of your life will be challenged!
  •   The foundations of your marriage will be challenged!
  •   The foundations of your church will be challenged!
  •   The foundations of Christianity itself will be challenged!

It’s really up to you to either build a solid marriage foundation, or reinforce the one that you’ve already constructed.  You hear a lot these days about foundation repair . . . . .  You must maintain your marriage foundation!

This can be done by:  

  • Keeping full of God’s Word
  • Keeping good communication with God and your spouse
  • Keeping a servants heart toward your mate
  • Keeping a guard on your words
  • Keeping a positive outlook toward your marriage
  1. How To Affair-Proof Your Marriage

Affair-Proofing Your Marriage and Lessening the Severity of Temptation Requires A Real Commitment!

Build Barriers to Adultery!

When Proverbs warns of the dangers of giving in to the seductions of the adulteress, it concludes with the command to stay as far away from adultery as possible!

Listen to this from the Book of Proverbs:

“My son, pay attention to my wisdom; listen carefully to my wise counsel…. For the lips of an immoral woman are as sweet as honey, and her mouth is smoother than oil. But in the end she is as bitter as poison, as dangerous as a double-edged sword. Her feet go down to death; her steps lead straight to the grave. For she cares nothing about the path to life…. So now, my sons, listen to me. Never stray from what I am about to say: Stay away from her!  Don’t go near the door of her house!”      PROVERBS 5:1–8 NLT

In order to follow this advice, I personally choose to build some common sense fences to protect myself, my reputation, my wife, my children, my ministry, my church, and the name of Jesus. I have witnessed too many cases of devastation caused by someone who got too close to adultery and ended up in an affair, so I want my fences to be high and strong.  If you find these too restrictive, I suggest that you and your mate come up with your own set of barriers and follow them.

  • My Five Barriers to Adultery & Affairs
  1. Never be alone with a person of the opposite sex.

It is simple really—if I am never physically alone with a woman who is not my wife, then I cannot possibly commit adultery. I extend this rule to include not being isolated with a woman for any length of time for any reason behind closed doors. I also don’t counsel women alone. I have either Miriam or a female staff person join me. I won’t eat lunch one-on-one in a restaurant with a woman other than my wife. I also won’t ride in a car alone or an elevator alone with a woman other than my wife.

  1. Always wear your ring.

Have you noticed that people on the prowl don’t wear their wedding ring? Wearing your ring makes it clear that you are not available and not interested—and it will help protect you from temptation you don’t need.

  1. Always build up your mate and marriage in public.

When in a conversation with someone of the opposite sex, intentionally try to inject something positive about your mate into the conversation as soon and often as possible. That makes it clear that you are happily married. I make a point of doing this because I want it to be known that I am very content.

Never complain about your marriage or your mate to a person of the opposite sex. Don’t ever joke about your mate or your marriage with someone of the opposite sex.

Keep a good picture of your mate and one of your children at the ready. This could include your desktop image, smartphone screen, Facebook profile, etc.  Have some images ready to show at any time!

Don’t be afraid to show your spouse appropriate affection in public.

  1. Never share personal, emotional feelings with any person of the opposite sex (other than your spouse).

Adulterers almost always commit emotional adultery before they commit physical adultery. The Internet has made it easier for married people to share their intimate feelings with others through the various avenues of social media.     It all begins with a “harmless e-mail, text, or post”

  1. Be careful how you dress and how you touch or talk to persons of the opposite sex.

Generally, men respond to looks and women respond to words and to touch. Practically, this means that a woman needs to be careful how she dresses, and a man needs to be careful what he says and does. Regardless of whether a woman wears a wedding band, if her skirt is too short, her top too tight, or her neckline too low, she is sending the message that she is willing and available. Men will see a green light, regardless of her intentions.

A man needs to be very careful how he speaks to or touches a woman. She will read the tone of his voice and respond to his words. And she’ll notice where he looks.

Don’t ever flirt with another woman.  A man needs to be especially careful about touching a woman other than his wife. Grabbing her hand, giving a hug, or patting her on the shoulder can be innocent or it can be seductive. Be careful—and when in doubt, don’t.

Ok, Those Are My Five Barriers to Adultery & Affairs . . .   Here are some more!

Choose not to lust.

We live in a society that is crazed by sex. Men, especially, fantasize about sex, though women do, too. One recent survey of eight hundred active church members and leaders found that 15 percent of the men and 11 percent of the women admitted to marital infidelity, and 49 percent had viewed pornography in the past year. We must stop the process before it starts.

Proverbs warns that what starts with lust, will ultimately lead to adultery!

Don’t lust for her beauty. Don’t let her coy glances seduce you. For a prostitute will bring you to poverty, but sleeping with another man’s wife will cost you your life. Can a man scoop a flame into his lap and not have his clothes catch on fire? Can he walk on hot coals and not blister his feet? So it is with the man who sleeps with another man’s wife. He who embraces her will not go unpunished.

PROVERBS 6:25–29 NLT

In the New Testament, Jesus equates lust with mental adultery. He warns that lust will lead to corruption.

You know the next commandment pretty well, too: “Don’t go to bed with another’s spouse.” But don’t think you’ve preserved your virtue simply by staying out of bed. Your heart can be corrupted by lust even quicker than your body. Those leering looks you think nobody notices—they also corrupt.     MATTHEW 5:27–28   MSG

We can prevent adultery by blocking lust. Remember that “if you resist the devil, he will flee from you!”  In order to stay pure, as a husband, we should make the following commitments.

I Will Never …

  • Look at a pornographic website, video, app, or magazine.
  • Read a trashy or questionable novel.
  • Visit an “adult” bookstore, video store, or online store
  • Go to a so-called gentleman’s club.  There are no “gentlemen” there!
  • Look closely at a woman (other than my wife) below her chin.
  • Engage in a personal phone call or e-mail exchange with a woman other than my wife without my wife’s knowledge.
  • Be alone with a woman other than my wife in any setting, at any time, for any reason.
  • Share my personal or emotional feelings with any woman other than my wife.
  • View women as anything other than people for whom Jesus bled and died.

Invest in Your Marriage.

The easiest way to avoid adultery is to be so over-the-top in love with your mate that no one else could possibly pry you away.

Proverbs advises:

Enjoy the wife you married as a young man! Lovely as an angel, beautiful as a rose—don’t ever quit taking delight in her body. Never take her love for granted! Why would you trade enduring intimacies for cheap thrills with a whore, with a promiscuous stranger?        PROVERBS 5:18–20 MSG

Wise couples take all the energy, creativity, effort, initiative, time, and money that other people spend having an affair and pour it into romancing each other.  Can you imagine investing your entire life’s savings into a business, opening the doors, and then sitting back and heaving a sigh of relief, as if the hard work is already done?   It would spell doom for the business.   And yet, in the most valuable endeavor of our lives, as the moment of the wedding day vow fades into memory, we abandon “intentionality” in our marriages. The birthday flowers no longer get purchased, the kids get a hug on the way out the door but your spouse doesn’t, your time together is focused on others rather than each other, and your energy is given away to every other priority.

When you say that it can’t get any better than this, you are actually limiting God. He can do much better through you.

When you say that it can’t get any worse than this, you are discounting the deceptive means of the devil and not taking him seriously. It can get much worse.

The way you handle the next thing is the same way that you handled the last thing. It has to be handled by faith. This whole thing started in faith, it’s continuing in faith, and it will end in faith. It’s all about faith, and it always has been. Jesus even said when I return to the earth will I find faith at work. It’s all about faith.

Don’t let the enemy convince you that it’s going to be different this time. The same foundation that has supported your frame all this time will continue to support it in the future. You must spend time building your foundation. This is something that you have to get right.  For the younger marriages, you must build your foundation from the beginning properly. For you more mature  marriages, you have to maintain your foundation lest it fail, and the walls come tumbling down.

Don’t think it can happen? . . . . . . . Think again! . . . . . . Take It Seriously!

  1. How To Love When It Is Difficult

Unconditional love is expected

But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.

LUKE 6:27–28

Married couples who say they want a divorce because they do not love each other anymore are saying that they do not understand love. Love is not a great feeling: it is great action. Love is a verb. I may have no feelings for my mate at a particular moment, but I can still obey the command to love.   We cannot control our feelings, but we can control our actions. Act in love toward your mate, even if he or she mistreats you.

Unconditional love does not mean you like your mate all the time.

But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.

LUKE 6:27–28

Notice that nowhere in these verses does Jesus say “Like your enemies.”     Enemies — people who hate, curse, and use you—are not very likable (And NO, I’m not talking about your spouse).  Just because you may not like your mate’s behavior at a particular time does not mean you’re off the hook. Jesus tells us to love anyway.

We want to love our spouses only when they are being lovable. But Jesus tells us to love them even when they are unlovable.

No one likes everything about another person all the time. I’m glad Jesus didn’t say something as nonsensical as “Like everybody all the time.” Instead, He said something very real and very challenging: “Love people.” We may not like what our mates do, or how they think, or what they say; but we love them anyway.

Unconditional love benefits the other person.

But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.

LUKE 6:27–28

Retaliate. Retreat. Recount.  None of these responses was sufficient for Jesus. He demanded something better than hating or hurting back, holding out, or hurling slander or gossip. He demanded more—reaching out in love.  He told us that the way to respond is by doing good to them, blessing them, and praying for them.

Unconditional love is expressed.

But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.

LUKE 6:27–28

Because unconditional love is an action and not a feeling, it must be expressed. Such love treats “our enemies” far better than they deserve to be treated. Jesus gave us three ways to express love to our mates when they are acting like our enemies.

Do good: Doing good means to “treat well” or “act nobly toward.” Even when your mate treats you poorly, treat him or her exceptionally well. Be on the lookout for ways you can serve your mate.

Bless: Even if your spouse is not speaking kindly to you, make the effort to speak positively in response.

Pray for: One of the highest expressions of love is to pray for someone. Too often we argue with our mates or talk about our mates, when it would be much better for us and for them if we would simply pray for them.

Unconditional love exceeds all expectations.

If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also. If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt from them. Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back.

LUKE 6:29–30

I don’t think this statement was necessarily meant to be taken literally. I think Jesus wanted to make the point that unconditional love goes beyond expectations. When it comes to love, are you the person who asks, “What is the minimum required? How little can I get by with giving? What is the least that is acceptable in this case?”

Jesus just confronts that attitude by giving examples of real love going beyond the expected—turning the cheek, giving one’s coat and shirt, and giving when asked. This behavior is unnatural. It is supernatural. We cannot do it without God’s help.  But it is also powerful. Few mates can continue to act like an enemy when confronted with unconditional, irrational love that goes beyond expectations.”

Unconditional love is measured by personal standards.

Do to others as you would have them do to you.

LUKE 6:31

This verse is generally called the Golden Rule. Notice that Jesus did not say, “Do unto others before they do unto you.” Nor did He say, “Treat others as they have treated you.” Rather, He said, “Treat other people as you would have them treat you.”

Jesus’ point is simple—unconditional love is expressed by treating people the way we want to be treated. Rather than getting bent out of shape about your mate’s failure to encourage you, go out of your way to be supportive of your mate. Rather than complaining because your spouse failed to appreciate what you did for him or her, be sure to recognize what he or she did for you. Rather than being put out because your spouse isn’t listening to you, try harder to listen to your spouse. This kind of love builds and blesses your relationship with your mate.

Unconditional love gives even when nothing is given back.

If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that. And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, expecting to be repaid in full. But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back.

LUKE 6:32–35

Love is about giving, not getting. If you go into marriage looking for what you can get, you will be very disappointed. There will be times when your mate is sick or down or distracted or busy with the children or overwhelmed at work, and he or she will not be in a position to give back. Determine to Give anyway!

Unconditional love makes us godly.

But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked.

LUKE 6:35

God is love. He is also light and truth and power and holiness. But the easiest attribute to see is His love. When we act loving to our enemies, we act like God.

You see, the awesome thing about this whole issue of loving our enemies is that it is only possible because God truly loves us. How can God command us to love our enemies? Because He loved us, even when we were His enemies.

God loves us with more than feelings. He loves with actions.

He loves us even when we’re not very likable, when He doesn’t like what we’re doing or how we’re acting.

God’s love is always out for our benefit, even when it is totally undeserved. Even after we have hurt Him, He does not retaliate or retreat from us or tell us—or anyone else—our failures. He reaches out to us.

His love goes far beyond our expectations. He makes us His children and gives us the inheritance of heaven.  God gives to us when we cannot repay, and when we choose to not repay.

So, if you really, seriously want More . . . 

Then understand that the best gift you can give your spouse and your children is the gift of genuine, undeniable, unconditional, sacrificial, selfless love.

Now before you go to thinking that this is too hard, and you don’t have all the Bible knowledge you need to build and maintain a good foundation, affair-proof your marriage, and extend love at difficult times, let me remind you that Noah’s Ark was built by amateurs, and the Titanic by professionals!

I just want to encourage you today;  you can do this!

Here are some encouraging verses I found specifically for you tonight:

So, what do you think? With God on our side like this, how can we lose? If God didn’t hesitate to put everything on the line for us, embracing our condition and exposing himself to the worst by sending his own Son, is there anything else he wouldn’t gladly and freely do for us? And who would dare tangle with God by messing with one of God’s chosen? Who would dare even to point a finger? The One who died for us—who was raised to life for us!—is in the presence of God at this very moment sticking up for us. Do you think anyone is going to be able to drive a wedge between us and Christ’s love for us? There is no way! Not trouble, not hard times, not hatred, not hunger, not homelessness, not bullying threats, not backstabbing, not even the worst sins listed in Scripture.

None of this fazes us because Jesus loves us. I’m absolutely convinced that nothing—nothing living or dead, angelic or demonic, today or tomorrow, high or low, thinkable or unthinkable—absolutely nothing can get between us and God’s love because of the way that Jesus our Master has embraced us.

Romans 8:31-39    The Message (MSG)

May he give you the desire of your heart and make all your plans succeed.

Psalm 20:4

The Lord bless you and keep you;

the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you;

the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.

Numbers 6:24-26

Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans.

Proverbs 16:3

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Jeremiah 29:11

The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.  He makes me lie down in green pastures,

he leads me beside quiet waters.

Psalm 23:1-2

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.

James 1:17

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Isaiah 41:10

Though I walk in the midst of trouble, you preserve my life. You stretch out your hand against the anger of my foes; with your right hand you save me.

Psalm 138:7

And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.

2 Corinthians 9:8