And I'm going to give you three ways believers historically have found their marriage partners. Number one, seeking a spouse according to what I call the Cinderella Theory.
What's that? That's the theory that there is one foot that that slipper perfectly fits. There is one person walking this earth that you're supposed to be in. married to. Cinderella and other stories on today's edition of Destined for Victory with Pastor Paul Shepherd.
Hello and thanks for stopping by. Believe it or not, marriages that begin as a fairy tale don't always have a happily ever after ending. Marriage is hard work no matter how it got its start. Today Pastor Paul talks about the three ways believers in Christ have historically found their spouses. Along the way, he'll tell you which of the three is the most popular method in the world. But brace yourself, his revelation may very well surprise you.
Today's message is straight ahead so stay with us or visit our website. originally Cinderella a lot of people believe that's what there is one person walking this earth that you supposed to be married to and you can't shake them from that belief I've known believers over the decades they believe that and they won't be confused with any other ideas. There's one person. People, you hear people often talking about I'm looking for my person as if there is one, they got to search the Earth and find them. All right, so that's their theory.
I'm not going to bother that belief. Second is seeking a spouse according to the any good size eight will do theory. See, if you got the Cinderella, there's one perfect foot for that one slipper and all the other feet won't fit it right. Then the other view is any good size eight will do.
I'm just looking for a good size eight. And so there's some people who found their spouse by, in other words, looking for certain compatibilities. They had a certain list of reasonable, here's what I need in a marriage partner and this is what I'm looking for. And then the third is receiving a spouse via arranged marriage. Those are the three methods that people use, believers all around the world and through the centuries have used to find a partner. If you want to contend one is the legitimate one and the others are illegitimate, that's you. I personally believe, because of what I said earlier, that marriage is an institution God ordained but is voluntarily entered into by two people who choose to be together, that all three of them, there are people in all three categories who are well married, blessed in their marriages.
So I don't think it's one size fits all. You who believe in Cinderella, you go right on. But there are three ways and so you need to know that. Now the historic and cultural practice of arranged marriage is actually worldwide the most popular of the three. So you would know that in America, because in America we think everything's romantic.
In the Western hemisphere, we think everything is spooky and ordained and predetermined and there's this one person you got to meet. And some of you sisters, y'all started real young. When you were a little girl, all these fairy tales about the prince. And so I get it, so you grew up thinking there's a prince coming.
God bless you, I get it. I wish there was one, I wish I could give all of you. We got some wonderful single women in this church and most churches I preach at around the world. Wonderful, godly, sensible, good looking, they got good jobs, all that.
I wish that I could give all of y'all a prince. But the fact of the matter is it simply was a wonderful fairy tale. It doesn't pan out in real life. There are Christian women down through the centuries who were godly, who were available, who were open to getting married. And the issue is while they were ready and available, a suitable guy never came knocking on their door who could upgrade them. Let me just shoot straight.
Pastors got to shoot straight. Single sisters, I applaud some of y'all because some of y'all have had a whole lot of brothers knocking. But when you interviewed him, you saw that he wasn't going to take you anywhere above where you are. In fact, some of y'all would have had to do a downgrade to hook up with some of what has knocked on your door and called you and texted you and Instagramed you and DM'd you. So why go down trying to look for companionship?
Just a question, just a question, just a thought. If you want to, and I've seen many folk do it, you have the right because you voluntarily enter into it. I've seen people say, I just would rather be with someone. I know he's not everything I was looking for, but I'd just rather not be alone.
Okay, but at what cost? You need to talk to some folk. Ask your married friends, tell me some stories. Not only maybe you don't want to talk about your own marriage too much, but tell me about some people you know. And gather some information because I don't want to see y'all go down trying to improve your life because it's not going to work out too well.
Now, let's just talk about the fact that the Cinderella thing, some folks are looking for that one person, God bless you. According to your faith, be it unto you as far as I'm concerned. I hope that works out for you. Others, any good size eight will do, go on and look for your size eight. Prayerfully look for your size eight.
By the way, you Cinderella folk, don't blame the others for y'all just not spiritual. You can be spiritual looking for a size eight. You've been shopping at the store just because you know what size you need doesn't mean that store has it.
You've had to go to many a store to find the right size eight. So you still, for those of us who are believers, you still need to trust God. You still need to pray. You still need to seek the Lord's direction. Do you know that Abraham sent his servant to find Isaac a wife? Abraham said, I'm an old man.
I ain't running around here trying to find my son or wife. But in that day, it was normative. And in today's world, I started to say earlier, more than half the people who marry in today's world worldwide do it by arranged marriages, nearly 60%. See, we Americans, that shocks us.
But let me tell you something. But now Americans are figuring it out because now we got a show on TV called Married at First Sight. Married at First Sight, they have had 11 seasons as of this day when I'm preaching in March of 2021. The 12th season is underway. I have looked at the 12th season. Y'all praying fast for the couples in the 12th season. But anyway, let me get back to the 11, the 11 completed series. Let me just give you some information.
I jotted this down. Of the 11 seasons completed today of Married at First Sight, which is an American TV series that premiered in July 2014, of those 11 seasons, 39 couples have been matched by these people who call themselves experts. They call themselves experts. 39 couples have been matched. Out of these 39 who they have matched, 24 of the couples actually chose to stay married on what they call decision day.
So of the 39 of all the 11 seasons who they put together, 24, which is 60%, of those chose to stay married after either six or eight weeks, whatever it is, of being married. Because you start out, they meet at the altar. Literally, they meet at the altar and they get married. And then for the next several weeks, they are married.
And then decision day comes. They got to decide whether they're going to stay married. 60% of the 39 couples stayed married or said they were choosing to stay married on decision day. Now, half of those have since divorced. Of the 24 that chose it, 12 of them are divorced. So as of December 2020, 12 of the couples remain married, making the overall success rate 30%.
It just makes the point. Experts can't live your lives for you. You got to figure out, do you want to do what it takes to have a working relationship with this person? And these are people who, for the most part, certainly the experts aren't basing anything they do on spiritual principles, they're just doing it based on what they think are sociological norms that would predict successful marriages. Bottom line is, I don't care how spooky you are or how clinical you are, you're going to have to make the marriage work. Nobody can make it work for you.
No expert can make it happen. So back to Abraham. So the servant goes out, because Abraham sent him out, said, go find my son and wife, gave him the perimeters. Don't go here, don't go there.
You got to go there. Look among his own people and find. And so he goes out, but the servant goes out saying, Lord, I don't know what I'm doing.
So I need you to point out a person who would be suitable for this family. And he put out a certain fleece. And read Genesis 24 when you get a chance. If you're not familiar with the story. And you know what happened? God honored the prayer of the servant. And that resulted, sure enough, in Rebecca showing up. He took her back, and she married Isaac.
Wonderful. Doesn't mean they were perfect. Their marriage lasted. Their marriage worked. But they weren't perfect people. Rebecca was straight up dysfunctional as a mama. You know the story. You read Jacob and Esau. And Rebecca loving one of her kids more than the other one. I'm simply trying to tell y'all you got to get out of fairy tale land and come into the real world. I don't care how spooky it was when y'all got together.
You better find out who that person is and whether you really want to link your life with them for the rest of your life. Still ahead, the second half of today's Destined for Victory message with Pastor Paul Shepherd, who is senior pastor of Destiny Christian Fellowship in Fremont, California. We want to take a moment to thank all of you who sustained Destined for Victory with your prayers and financial support, gifts that helped Pastor Paul share the gospel all over the world. Destined for Victory is a listener supportive ministry. So as God leads, please perfectly consider making a gift to Destined for Victory today.
You can give your gift securely online at pastorpaul.net or by calling 855-339-5500. I'm sure you read fairy tale love stories as a child. Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty and all the rest of them. Hollywood perpetuates the same idea with many of its own love stories. You're invited back to the real world next and the rest of today's Destined for Victory message are all marriages really made in heaven. Once again, here's Pastor Paul.
And let me tell you who are members of Destiny. That's why I believe in pre-engagement counseling. Yes, I do pre-marital counseling. I've done several couples while during this pandemic.
We get on Zoom and I meet you all, but they're already engaging. I'm still going to give them the information, try to help them work through. I give them my questionnaire that I personally wrote over the years when I learned how to keep from marrying crazy. And I give them, say, make sure you check this out, this, this, this, this, this. And I've had over the years, I've had some people come back and they broke up, they never did get engaged. And some of them say, thank you so much. I was getting ready to make a big mistake and you helped me, Pastor. I had somebody give me a big offering because I helped them keep from marrying crazy. So anyway, the fact of the matter is you've got to make this thing work. I will do pre-engagement if you're already engaged.
I still want to try to help you. But I would much rather do pre-engagement, meaning you all are just starting to think about maybe hooking your lives up. And one of you all needs to say, OK, Pastor Paul said, call him. Because you know why? You know why that's better? Because before you engage, before you blinging, before you picking out dates and picking out venues and telling all your friends and putting up on Instagram all the bling and all that stuff, before that, I want to sit down with y'all.
You know why? Because I'm in love with neither one of y'all. So I can shoot straight and tell you the truth. I love you, but I'm talking about in love. See, y'all just all goosebumps and just all hugged up. See, I don't feel that way toward either one of y'all.
So I can just shoot straight. Say, OK, God bless you. Find out about how'd you hook up and how'd you get together. I'm learning not to use words.
See, I'm old. I said to a couple, hook up. And they said, Pastor, we haven't had sex. And I said, what are you talking about? I said, hook up. But in my world, back in the wagon train days, hook up simply mean getting together, like for coffee or something. It had nothing to do with physical stuff.
But they helped me. They said, oh, no, Pastor, when you say hook up now, that means hook up. I said, oh.
All right, no, no, no, I wasn't accusing y'all of that. Praise God. And man, I'm having to learn as I go, boy.
I tell you what, pastoring in the 21st century is no joke for real, especially us old people. But we're going to get through it. But here's the thing. I want to help you think sensibly. Ask the right questions.
Look at the right issues. I don't care how much he love you. Do he love his mama? How's he treat his sisters? What does he do when he gets angry?
Have you seen him get angry? See, I could help you. I can say to the woman offline from the Zoom thing, I say, pick a fight. Pick a real good fight. Since y'all not engaged yet, pick a real good fight. Find a way. If you need me to help you come up with some ideas, I'll help you.
Pick a good one, because we need to see what he act like when he mad. Because you know what? Because you heard, some of y'all have heard it, but we got a lot of new people plus I want to hear it again. Let me tell my jack-in-the-box story. Here's the problem. When you dating somebody, y'all putting your best foot forward, you look your best, you smell your best, you got on your great clothes, you go to the restaurant back before COVID, and you sit there in the dark restaurant, and there's a little candle, and the flame is flickering, and your faces look all beautiful, and all that, and you're sitting there having this nice meal, and you're having this nice conversation. You're not getting to know them.
That's putting your best foot forward. It's fun. I remember those days as single. It's fun. Dating can be fun, but dating doesn't always get you information. Later in this series, I'm going to talk more about the fact that you can't just date, you got to evaluate.
We'll get there. But the fact of the matter is, y'all not getting to know one another. You sitting up there perpetrating the fraud.
You won't even laugh your regular laugh. You know you're rowdy and normally crack up and fall all over the place. Now you sitting at your table, talking about.
So somebody's got to help you get down to the core issues. You know why? Because you're not marrying that person sitting across there with the flame flickering. You're going to marry who they are when they're tired, who they are when they're mad. You're going to marry their background. You're going to marry how they dealt with their family dysfunction.
So I need to help you get in touch with that before you say I do. That's the whole idea, and I've always framed it in the Jack in the Box story. Y'all remember this kid's Jack in the Box? The box is pretty. It's got these little pictures on it, and it looks at the little whatever's on it. It's real pretty, and it engages the child's attention. And then it has that little crank. Da-da-da-da-da-da-da-da-da-da-da-da-da-da-da-da-da-da.
Bop! That's when Jack comes out. I'm trying to help you meet Jack.
Because y'all date, and you think you're going to marry the box. And it's all pretty and gorgeous and wonderful. So I'm going to teach you how to crank. Da-da-da-da-da-da-da-da-da-da-da-da-da-da-da-da-da-da-da. Pop!
That's what you need to see, what Jack looks like, how angry Jack gets, how dysfunctional Jack is, how accountable Jack is. You sisters bring me a man who said, no, no, I don't believe in church. I ain't going to let no man tell me what to do. Run, Forrest! Run! Don't walk.
Run! If I can't tell him what to do, what chance you think you have of getting him to live right as your husband? And he won't even submit to a God-ordained leader in the body of Christ. God himself gave apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers, especially those of us who were pastors with spiritual parents.
We guide people through their spiritual journey. And he won't submit to that. And you think he's going to be a suitable husband? You are an accident waiting to happen. And I could give you a boatload of people who could verify what pastor just said is true. So you got to deal with the real issues.
So that's it for this pitfall number one. This whole idea, believing that God has promised the spouse to every single person who wants to get married is simply not there. You have the opportunity to get married, but God hasn't made a personal promise. God is not eHarmony on high, match.com on high. Fact of the matter is God is not that. He has ordained an institution.
He can be as involved as you want, just like Abraham's servants said, Lord, please guide me and help me because I don't know what I'm doing. You're free to do that, but I'm simply trying to let you know marriages, even if they are made in heaven, and some people swear they are, not all are. And furthermore, even if yours was made in heaven, it's got to be lived on earth. On earth, people can get on your nerves.
Have y'all lived long enough to meet somebody who you genuinely are thrilled and excited and, ooh, they just give you goosebumps and they make your spine shiver and your liver shiver? Oh, but let life happen. And you see the real them, when they're angry and when they're irritable, when they're angry, hungry and angry, you need to see that. Angry, bad combination. Need food and need to go somewhere and chill.
You need to find out, but how do they handle that? Because God wants you, child of God, to live the abundant life and better to avoid a pitfall that you can't avoid by listening to what pastor's telling you than to just go jump headlong and say, oh, God's going to work it out, we both love Jesus. Loving Jesus doesn't make marriages work. I know a whole lot of people love Jesus, can't stand each other. I'm telling you, they married and they stood up in front of God and witnesses and promised till death, not till misery.
But when a little misery came, they took off. So I need you to let the Lord speak to you through this series. Again, some of this is going to be for married and single people, but let me just help you because you can live the abundant life.
Here's the thing I love. You can live the abundant life with nobody else's permission. I don't need a spouse, I don't need a boyfriend, girlfriend, I don't need parents, I don't need anybody to help me live the abundant life, life to the full that Jesus promised.
I can live that by myself. If I just follow His word, build the right relationships, we'll talk about and all the other ingredients of living successfully as a single or as a married person. Let those words sink deep into your spirit today. You can live the abundant, joyful Christian life without the permission of anyone on earth. Jesus bought it with His blood and you can have it the moment you put your faith in Him. If you need prayer today, if you're single and wish you were married, if you're married and sometimes wish you were single, or if you're facing any challenge at all, the Destined for Victory ministry team would like to join you in prayer.
Visit pastorpaul.net and use the contact feature to share your prayer requests with us. While you're there, be sure to sign up for Pastor Paul's monthly letter of encouragement, yours at no cost or obligation. Did you know that less than half of Americans identify themselves as member of a church, a synagogue, a mosque, or any other religious organization? It's true.
A 2021 Gallup poll confirmed it. This may sound discouraging, but Pastor Paul believes it should actually excite us. In his DVD message, Influencers for Christ, he explains why. And this month, we're pleased to offer this dynamic word from Pastor Paul for your generous gift to Destined for Victory. That's Influencers for Christ, a DVD message from Pastor Paul and yours by request when you make a generous donation to Destined for Victory. Call 855-339-5500 or visit pastorpaul.net to make a safe and secure donation online. You can also mail your gift to Destined for Victory, post office box 1767, Fremont, California 94538.
Again, our address is Destined for Victory, box 1767, Fremont, California 94538. Here's what to do. You want to live your best life? You want to experience happiness and personal fulfillment?
Here's what you do. He says, offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God. This is your true and proper worship. That's tomorrow when Pastor Paul Shepherd shares his message, if I only had a spouse. Until then, remember, he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion. In Christ, you are Destined for Victory. chapter 6
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