God’s Original Design for Marriage Shakes Our Cultural Paradigm

Once again—Baruch HaShem! Bless the Name of the Lord! Word of Messiah’s in-person Messianic Marriage Matters conference in Charlotte, NC, in January was another opportunity to bless the many who attended. Remember, as congregation planters we know that you cannot have a strong congregation without having strong marriages that make up that community. So, we offer the marriage conferences to strengthen the congregations that are being planted and have been planted.  

Seventeen married couples and six singles filled up the fellowship hall of the host congregation, Hope of Israel Congregation in Charlotte. What a joy to know that those singles came to learn about God’s design for marriage (vs. what culture dictates and depicts)!

Takeaway Thoughts

After attending our July 2023 online conference, a couple from Florida told us, “The only thing that would make this conference better is doing it in person. When you do that, we’ll be there.” We told them about this conference, they registered and booked a flight—with their two-month-old baby in tow.

Like getting your yearly medical physical, in addition to our “return attendees” from the Sunshine State, two other couples came back for “a tune-up”—as Sam always encourages them to do. After the conference, Mike and Eve emailed us with their “extended takeaway thoughts.” And these are worth sharing:

“I (Eve) suggested attending the Marriage Conference in 2023. Mike agreed to go, and we were both really blessed. This year, when Mike heard about the Marriage Conference, he insisted that we return. During the conference, we reviewed the discussion questions and realized that we had not implemented some of our commitments to make changes in our marriage. I am pleased to share that since attending the conference again, we have been keeping those commitments daily. I personally learned a lot more in this conference than the first time. Maybe I am a slow learner. I was also really blessed by the questions that the conference attendees asked. As Sam said, attending the conference again is like having a checkup. Mike has already said that he wants to attend the Marriage Conference again next year.”

A Yearly Physical

Mike and Eve’s experience is exactly why Sam encourages everyone to take the conference again. (When you liken it to getting your yearly physical, or getting your car’s oil changed, it makes sense to keep tabs on how we measure up to God’s plumbline for our marriages.)

Here are a few other takeaways from the conference. Sam responded to each one, but space only permits us to include just a few of his comments.

Single guy: “This is very convicting. There is a fullness to both of the roles—husband and wife. There are different aspects that are to be played out in response to God. There is an equality with each other. We’re not just simply believers who live happily ever after.”

Be Interdependent

Single gal: “My life has made me be independent. In order to prepare for marriage, I need to be ready to be dependent on someone.” (Sam reminded her/us to be careful of being dependent on people. Instead, “Total dependence on the Lord will be seen in interdependence with each other. Both of you depend on the Lord….”)

Married man: “It was a good reminder for me that we are, as humans, designed to be dependent on God. So, whatever troubles we’re going through—home, wife, work, kids—is actually good for me so I can depend on the Lord. In the flesh, we want to be independent, to be free.” (Sam: It isn’t sin that made us weak. God created us weak so we would depend on Him….)

Spiritual Beings

Single gal: “I loved when you said you only get tempted at your point of commitment.”  (Sam had taught that “the point of commitment is the point of attack. But if you’re uncommitted to the things of God, the enemy is thrilled. You’re already on his side. You don’t know it, but it’s true. And only when you actually commit to the things of God, now you’re Satan’s enemy. He’s always been yours, but now in your commitment, you’ve now taken a side—God’s side.” Very important!)

Married man: I’ve learned to think about my wife spiritually first rather than just the physical needs we have…. (Sam had taught “from Genesis 2:7 that we are created as spiritual beings with a body; not physical beings with a spiritual experience. We must treat our spouses as spiritual beings created in God’s image.”)

Appreciate God First

Married man (return attender): This time around, I learned more about the nurturing aspect. I had never thought about a husband or a man being nurturing. Culture teaches you that it’s something that applies to women…. It’s so counter to what culture teaches. (Sam had taught: “In Genesis 2:24, it is the man that is called to leave and cleave to his wife; he’s the one that keeps the family together. Eph 5 & 6 refer to the husband as the nurturer of the wife and the dad is the nurturer of the children. Sin has brought a role reversal that places the responsibility to keep the family together upon the woman, which is not God’s will for the home.”)

Married woman: “The principle of ‘When you stop appreciating your spouse, you have already stopped appreciating God’ gave me pause.” (Sam taught that God brings the woman to the man in Gen 2:22. So he appreciates woman because he appreciates that God has provided what is perfect for him. When sin enters in Gen 3, the man stops appreciating the woman because he stopped appreciating God first.”)

More to Come!

Married man: “I need to be a priest in my home. And it’s more than just praying for her—it’s praying with her….” (Sam had taught that the man’s leadership in the home is expressed in Messiah as prophet by sharing the word, priest in his prayer ministry and “king” as managing the home, especially the children.)

Watch for a report on our February 17-18 online marriage conference in our next Shmooze letter! We are already planning another online conference in Summer 2024. Keep tabs on our upcoming conferences by going to www.wordofmessiah.org/marriage-conferences. You’re invited!

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