Welcome to the Fall 2017
edition of the From His Heart Newsletter: REAL
. We trust the insights below will be a blessing to you. Scroll down to view the following articles in this edition or click here
to download the newsletter as a pdf.
- How to fortify your family against Satan's attacks
- Q & A with Jeff
- From Debbie’s Heart
- A Note From Jeff
- Your Gifts at Work
by Dr. Jeff Schreve
I had the opportunity to travel to Africa on a mission trip some years ago. It was definitely an eye-opening experience.
After the ministry time was over, we had a couple of free days and decided to go on a safari. It’s really an incredible thing—you’re right in the middle of all these wild animals that could literally kill you in a heartbeat. At night, we stayed at this encampment that was surrounded by an electric fence. And it’s a good thing it was there; because all throughout the night, I could hear animals moving around on the other side of the fence. When we woke up the next morning, we saw two lions sitting just a stone’s throw away—outside the fence, of course.
I don’t think I would’ve slept very well in my tent had the fence not been there. I certainly wouldn’t have felt very safe!
You know, there’s a reason the Bible says Satan “prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8). If that fence had a flaw in it, those lions would’ve had an easy breakfast.
Satan is looking for a crack in our defenses—a flaw in our fortifications. If he can find one, he will get in and cause havoc in our relationship with God and with people.
Do you know the earthly relationship he loves to wreck the most? Our marriages and our families. All it takes for him to get in is a crack in the wall.
To be sure, he uses all kinds of cracks to get in. Oftentimes, people are waylaid by drugs and alcohol, sexual immorality, pornography, unresolved conflict, or just plain old selfishness. The devil doesn’t have a preference. He will use whatever he can to bring chaos and destruction to the home.
So how do we build our marriages and families to withstand Satan’s attacks? We don’t.
Psalm 127:1 says…
Unless the LORD builds the house, They labor in vain who build it; Unless the LORD guards the city, the watchman keeps awake in vain.
Do you want love, joy, and peace in your home? You can’t have it apart from Jesus Christ. Because without Him, all you have is self. But when the Holy Spirit is present in your home, He bears within us the fruit of “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control” (Galatians 5:22-23).
Jesus is the chief cornerstone of the Church ... and He must be the chief cornerstone in your home! He is the One who watches over the home and provides sustaining grace for the rough patches every marriage and family experience. Don’t be one of those people who takes their family to church a few times a year, and then wonders why their home is in chaos. Put Jesus at the center of your family’s life and see the difference that will make!
Now, I realize you may be reading these words and thinking, You know what? My marriage is in trouble. My family is really struggling. My kids are experiencing the icy tension, and I don’t know what to do to fix it.
Here’s what you do: humbly return to Jesus. Get your life and marriage right with Him. Give Him His rightful place as Lord and take your rightful place as servant. Obey His commands regarding life and marriage, and you will begin to enjoy God’s blessings on your home once again.
Q: Jeff, my husband and I fight all the time—it’s like there’s never any peace between us. Is there any hope for our marriage?
A: YES! God can give beauty for ashes. The way to victory is found in honesty, humility, confession, repentance, and forgiveness. As couples get things right with God, they are then able to get things right with each other.
Without submission to the Lord, selfishness inevitably begins to reign. Make no mistake, selfishness destroys intimacy and romance. It always leads to a dark place of isolation. As we remember that we are crucified with Christ (Galatians 2:20), we are able to say no to self and yes to Jesus. When Jesus is given rightful control, His peace will begin to fill our marriage.
Q: I’ve been trying to get my family involved in church, but it’s a struggle. What advice can you give me?
A: The best way to impact a family member who is disinterested in church is to let the Word of God impact you. For example, when an unsaved husband sees how God is changing his Christian wife, which makes her more respectful and attentive toward him, it makes him want to go to church to see what is happening there. When a spouse is shining for the Lord at home, the rest of the family can’t
help but notice.
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- by Debbie Schreve
Someone once said, “A strong marriage requires two people who choose to love each other even on those days when they struggle to like each other.”
Can I get an AMEN to that?
I think anyone who is married would say that marriage cycles through difficult seasons. For most women, the biggest struggle is with submission. But I love John Piper’s definition of submission:
“Submission is the divine calling of a wife to honor and affirm her husband’s leadership and help carry it through according to her gifts. It’s the disposition to follow a husband’s authority, and an inclination to yield to his leadership. It is an attitude that says, ‘I delight for you to take the initiative in our family. I am glad when you take responsibility for things and lead with love.’”
In my marriage, submission doesn’t start until we disagree. At that point, I have a choice to make: submit to Jeff’s leadership, or fight to get my way.
Years ago, I recall having a discussion with a friend about this. Her husband was not a believer, so it made submission difficult for her. He had no interest in spiritual things or leading their family. After years of struggle, she realized that her fighting with him to have her way was hindering her relationship with her husband, with peace in the home, and with him coming to the Lord.
I reminded her that SHE wasn’t capable of changing her husband, nor was she responsible for his spiritual life. But she was responsible for her own. The Holy Spirit convicted her heart as she read 1 Peter 3:1-2, which teaches …
“Wives, likewise, be submissive to your own husbands, that even if some do not obey the word, they, without a word, may be won by the conduct of their wives, when they observe your chaste conduct … ” (NKJV).
As my friend began to be obedient to the Lord in the area of submission, God started to change her and use her relationship with Christ to be a living example of Jesus in their family. Over time, her husband was saved; and they now serve the Lord together in their local church.
God can use one person in a marriage to influence the other for Christ. May you be that person in your marriage!
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I remember when our kids were little, there were times when Debbie would meet me at the front door after work and say, “They’re alive … I’ve done my job! Now it’s your turn to deal with them!”
Kids can be that way, can’t they? They are the greatest blessing and the greatest frustration, all at the same time.
But it’s not just kids who bring us frustration. Spouses can too. As a pastor, I’ve heard from numerous spouses over the years who said something like, “Pastor Jeff, I can’t do this anymore. I am done with the stress and the mess of this marriage.”
Make no mistake, there is nothing easy about marriage and family. It takes work to have a loving, satisfying home. Husbands and wives must exercise discipline and diligence in order to reap the benefits of a strong and godly marriage and family.
The most important (and forgotten) ingredient in a loving home is the Lord Himself. Without His presence and power, couples are just spitting in the wind. We desperately need Him in order to experience marriage and family to the full.
I hope this newsletter has encouraged you and enabled you to see that Jesus is the answer to every marriage and family problem. He can and will make the difference if couples will sincerely turn to Him.
Our special resources this month are designed to help husbands and wives do just that. I hope you’ll request the booklets, Before You Say I Do and I Still Do ... and the 6-message series, Built to Last. I believe these resources will help you build a stronger, happier, and more fulfilling marriage and family.
As always, thank you for your support. You are a blessing to me!
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Thank you for helping make the following testimony possible through your support of From His Heart Ministries!
“From His Heart has meant so much to our family. My wife, our children, and their spouses have been truly blessed as we watch every week. Our whole family has grown spiritually and in God’s love, as you influence each of us and renew our commitment to Him.” — Pete
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