This message was presented by David Norris of Ames, Iowa and Pastor Ralph Harmon, Berean Baptist Church, at their Sweetheart Banquet, Boone, Iowa. Brief biographies for the speakers conclude this presentation.
Happy Marriages Make Happy Families
Stronger Communities And A Stronger Nation
This, dear people, has not yet happened to me, but they say you are getting old when your grandkids give you a key chain with a picture of your car on it.
Good to see some of you here who are dating age.
First of all, a few thoughts about dating:
- It is important to have a common faith. Only date Bible-believing Christians.
- There is a wise saying that is humorous-when you are dating, have your eyes wide open. After you are married, have your eyes half closed.
- When you get married, you find out that you are in a situation where there are disagreements. We will explain how God handles this a little later.
Wonderful marriages are made in heaven. I am talking about
sweethearts, people whose love for one another is continuous.
I invited Christ into my life when seven years old. I would have done it sooner, but for some reservations. These are reservations that held me back, but finally I said yes to Jesus.
Here are some thoughts that helped me:
- I knew there were times when I betrayed myself and did things that were very wrong and harmful.
- God is not a dictator, as the world wants you to believe. Instead of being robots, we are given intelligence and the freedom to choose. It is self evident that it is the addictive vices of the world that cause people be imprisoned.
- God protects us, the great hope is that God protects those who look to Him. There is a reason that the Bible is the most popular book ever by far throughout history. The Bible emphasizes those practices that support life for lasting success and explains the truth about, moral permissiveness that causes people to self-destruct. Those practices are aptly called sin.
People whose trust is in creation’s God are liberated from sin and happy (John 3:16; Proverbs 3:5-6). For strategists behind the move to get Christmas and the knowledge of God’s Word out of education and society, God is the issue. The god wannabes wish to control education. Tyranny of the mind is their number one weapon. They want and control and soon choose to exploit their victim subjects. The choice is for each one of us to make.
- Christ’s Spirit enables believers to see the truth. I tell you, in this day and age, there is not a lot of truth floating around! Born-again Christians find that they have a new power to identify what is true and reliable and separate themselves from what is false and harmful.
In the 74 years since placing my trust in Christ’s provision, I can tell you that decision was by far the most important and helpful decision I have ever made. The sinless Christ gave His life in payment for our sins on the cross at Calvary. It is Christ in the hearts of the husband and wife that makes marriage a lasting sweetheart arrangement.
Sweethearts In Marriage
Love has been called the most powerful force on earth.
God-inspired love offers renewal, and a remarkable gift of
unconditional acceptance, kindness and faith to the objective of
happiness. Husband and wife share this relationship together,
the relationship that means more than any other relationship in
the world except our love for God. Experience the joy, peace,
happiness that love brings through the many splendid blessings
provided by God.
Recently when we were at a medical clinic, I walked across a rather large entry room waiting for my wife. She came down the hallway and I told some people, “There’s my precious wife.” That is the way she is at home or away from home. And that is what Christ does for marriage.
To understand marriage, you have to go back to Genesis when God made it. In Isaiah, chapter 40, we read, “The everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth neither faints nor is weary. His understanding is unsearchable.” The Bible is a history book. If you want to know the outcomes from good and bad behavior, just read the Bible.
We will define the meaning of love a little later, but the Bible says, “Husbands are to love their wives as Christ loved the church and gave His life for the church,” Ephesians 5:25.
Going to I Peter 3:7 we read, “Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with your wife according to knowledge, giving honor unto the wife as unto the weaker vessel as heirs together of the grace of God that your prayers be not hindered.”
This verse tells us that men and women are wired differently. There is a weaker vessel, and there is a stronger vessel. Wives are the weaker vessel. They are usually “now” and “detail” people. Wives make up for being weaker by knowing nearly everything and forgetting almost nothing.
When it comes to details, men are often clunkers. If I did not have my wife, I would be in a terrible mess! Husbands tend to be “strategists” and “doers.” Strategists need to know details. There are a few men who are husbands that don’t qualify to be called “clunkers.” Jokingly, they are called “lawyers.”
Married couples soon find out that about 25% of what the husband says to the wife and what the wife says to the husband makes absolutely no sense to the other. The reason is not selfishness. The reason is that we are created by God to analyze matters from a different perspective. As you love each other, you learn to appreciate this. Far better decisions are made when we consider both perspectives—the detailed skills of the wife and the leadership/planning skills of the husband.
Wives can be extremely burdened about some things they see that are not perfect. It probably doesn’t have anything to do with the husband. Maybe she saw the neighbor do something that was not right, or maybe something she read. It could be any number of things she sees that aren’t right, and it really burdens her. Wives need to unload that burden. The way they unload the burden is to tell someone. The husband’s duty is to listen to his wife, let her unload on him and not argue. Keep your mouth shut! Just soak it up. In that way, she gets rid of that burden. If you don’t do that, husbands (you already know this), she is going to unburden on someone else, or be a gossip, and that is not good.
We listen to our wives. They unload on us and there is no need to gossip. Gossip is making a derogatory report about someone to a third party. Gossip within any community or organization is very destructive. Gossip is evil. If we have a criticism of anyone, we should go personally to the offender in love and share our concern.
The wife is usually more right than is the husband (God is the boss). The husband is the leader in the home. The wife is right most of the time so I, as the husband, usually go along with my wife’s opinion. Prayer is important. Once in a great while, a man’s leadership instinct guides him differently, and he must say, “Sweetheart, that wouldn’t work.” My wife is a very loving person, she honors my responsibility to be the leader, and we go forward with the decision made. That is a blessing. It comes with love and appreciation for God’s way. We talk it over. If I decide it is not best, she honors that decision.
The power of God’s love within makes marriage
a sweetheart arrangement. It works and when we constantly remind
ourselves to be kind-hearted in the use of words, life can be pleasant.
Patience……..Love suffereth long and is helpful
Kindness……..Love is gentle and kind-hearted
Generosity…….Love envieth not
Humility…….Love is not puffed up
Courtesy…….Doth not behave itself unseemly
Unselfishness……Seeketh not her own
Good Temper…….Is not easily provoked
Guilelessness…….Thinketh no evil
Sincerity…….Rejoiceth not in iniquity,
but rejoiceth in the truth
I Corinthians 13:4-6
We submit to God’s care and to one another. Marriage is holy and it is to be kept pure (Hebrews 13:4). “Be angry and do not sin: do not let the sun go down on your wrath, nor give place to the devil” (Ephesians 4:26-27). So, we thank God for our sweethearts, genuine sweethearts.
There may be someone here who doesn’t know Christ. We understand that. It is your decision. But I can guarantee you, after 74 years, since I placed my trust in Christ, the promises of God have proven to be dependable. They work. He gives us wisdom and a wholesome sensitivity that is beyond the ordinary.
I was in business for thirty short years. I didn’t run with the crowd. I just worked, was honest, and God honored that.
The happy life is said to possess three things:
- God chooses a marriage partner, a woman for a man and a man for a woman, to love
- He provides believers with hope, forgiveness and assurance of heaven
There is a sense in which husbands and wives train each other. The key is sharing together in the power of God’s love.
“Dear Lord, we give You thanks and pray Your blessing on all those who are here and those reading this message. We thank You for this community and nation and the freedom we have in to worship You. In Jesus name, Amen.”
Sharing Together In The Power Of God’s Love
Pastor Ralph Harmon
I am going to share with you something that is very, very helpful. How you can have assurance that God loves you. Four verses from the Bible tell you how you can know that God loves you. One of the most important things in the whole world is to know that God loves us even in the difficult times.
The first reason that we can know that God loves us is because the Bible says so. John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting] life.” God loved you so much that he sent his Son and He recorded that message in the Bible which will never change by God’s authority. Dear friends, we have it on God’s word He loves you. The God of the Bible who cannot lie has promised His love to you.
Secondly, I know that God loves us because Romans chapter 8, verse 32 says, “He that spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?”
I will never forget when our oldest daughter had cancer in 1984. We met a Russian Jewish atheist in the hospital. Her son was suffering from leukemia. She saw us praying with our daughter before we would leave the room every night. She asked a very thought provoking question one evening, “How can you pray to a God who allows this to happen to your child and my son?” I replied to this brokenhearted mother, “I don’t know if God will spare your Freddie or our Joy, but this much I do know, that God loves us because He did not spare His only begotten Son.” That is how you may know tonight that God loves you. He gave that which was most precious to His heart, His only begotten Son, One who was without sin. In allowing His Son to die in our place, the Heavenly Father may bestow righteous love upon us. Christ became the sacrifice to pay for our sins that we might have a way to go to heaven.
Thirdly, God proved His love to us at the cross. Romans 5:8 says, “But God commendeth (demonstrated) His love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”
As sinners we all deserve the punishment of death and hell. This is the wages of sin. However, Christ took our punishment upon Himself at the cross.
Now the Bible says that “Scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die.” I hope that you are grateful for Christ’s sacrifice.
We have a young man from this church serving in the military in Afghanistan. I am very grateful for that young man’s sacrifice. I pray for him daily. But Jesus Christ did not come to defend people who were already free. Jesus Christ came to rescue people who were going away from Him. God, who loves us more than we love ourselves, gave us life. Sin destroys life and sin offends God. The only way God can be just and save us from our sin is to allow His Son to bear our punishment at the cross. Since Christ willingly took our sins upon Himself, God is able to “be just and the justifier of him that believeth in Jesus,” Romans 3:26.
Christ has paid the price for your sins, but you need to accept Him as your Savior by faith. You need to transfer your trust from yourself, whatever you can do for yourself, or whatever your church can do for you and put your complete trust in Jesus Christ as your Savior. Ask Jesus Christ to become your Savior and invite Him into your heart. When you invite Christ into your life He comes to stay. Our daughter’s salvation verse was Revelation 3:20, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock, if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come into him, and will sup with him and he with Me.” Christ will enter into your life when you call on Him to be your Savior. Our daughter has been with Jesus in heaven over 25 years now. You, too, will be in heaven, if you die with Jesus as your Savior.
Oh, dear friends, there is a fourth reason I know that God loves you. It is that nothing shall separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus when you know Christ as your Savior. Romans 8:38, 39 says, “For I am persuaded that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
My wife and I are getting to that age where we start to talk a little about what if she goes or I go first in death. This verse says that neither death,… shall be able to separate us from the love of God. Should my wife and I be separated by death, it will be but for a moment of time compared to eternity. Jesus said to those who know Him as their personal Savior, “I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand,” John 10:28, 29. That is double eternal security. That’s a love that will never, ever let you go even in the difficult moment. I trust you have that love. If you have questions about God’s love, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. If you have not taken this marvelous step, I would be happy to guide you, with Scripture, saying yes to Jesus Christ as your personal Savior.
Our prayer for victory in Christ: “Heavenly Father, I thank you for the privilege to share the treasures of God’s love through knowing Jesus Christ as Savior. I ask that You might help each one who reads this article to know that God loves them even in the difficult times. I pray that each one who has yet to know Christ’s love may come to know Him as Savior that they may enjoy His love forever. In Jesus name, Amen.”
Ralph Harmon and his wife, Karla, entered the ministry in 1974 after graduating from Pillsbury Baptist Bible College and Central Baptist Seminary in Minnesota. The Lord enabled many lives to be touched with the gospel during this period. The work included an active children’s ministry, a campus ministry at Dakota State College, plus the organization of Faith Baptist Church. At the conclusion of this ministry, their oldest daughter developed liver cancer and went home to be with the Lord in 1984. God carried Ralph, Karla and their daughter Joy through this in glorious and powerful ways. Many were blessed by Joy’s witness, and it added depth to Ralph and Karla’s ability for ministering to others.
Following this period, Ralph worked in a machine shop for two years and served at the Southview Baptist Church in Richfield, Minnesota as youth pastor. In 1986, the Lord directed Ralph and Karla to foreign missions in the Netherlands. They arrived on the field in 1988 and reached out to an international and Dutch community until 2005. They were able to work with refugee children during their first term, seeing several come to know Christ. Their second term on the field involved a move to Arnhem and a team ministry in an established work and the organization of a new church. Their third term brought them to the organization of another new church in Houten, outside of Utrecht.
From 2005 to 2009, the Harmons traveled a five-state area in the Midwest filling pulpits. In May of 2009, the Harmons were called to the Berean Baptist Church in Boone, Iowa where they actively serve the Lord with great joy. Berean is a growing church of caring believers who love the Lord and His Word.
It has been the Harmons’ desire to glorify the Lord by the motivation of II Corinthians 5:14, 15. Pastor Harmon and his wife have been married over forty years and have a growing love for the Lord and one another. The Lord has blessed them with four children. Their oldest daughter is with the Lord, their son is a missionary in Uruguay with his family, and two daughters are serving the Lord in Minnesota.
About the author—David Norris is a graduate of Iowa State University and a retired businessman. The Public Service 501(c)3 Heartland Foundation Inc. was chartered in 1981. He takes no income from this work. Publishers have classified David Norris as a self-taught historian. His books include: Lasting Success: Restoring Education Central to American Greatness and Hope for America. The office of Judge Robert H. Bork, a Reagan nominee to the Supreme Court, promoted this work. David Norris is the recipient of the 2004 man of the Year Award from the Women for Constitutional Government and chaired a Grand Jury for the 11th District of Iowa study of problems in higher education. The Grand Jury Presentment received nationwide attention and is available on this website. David and his wife have three married daughters, 11 grandchildren and 15 great-grandchildren.
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