By Colleen Donahue

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The depth of our love for God is perhaps shown most clearly by our relationships. The Apostle John perhaps says it most clearly...

"If anyone says, 'I love God', yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen. And He has given us this command: Whoever loves God must also love his brother." I John 4:20-21 NIV

The word used for "hate" in these verses could also be expressed by the word detest or loathe. If there is anyone who evokes such strong feelings in us then beware -- a love for God and hatred of man (any man) are not compatible. God will always use a difficult relationship (no matter how hard or terrible) for our good. "In all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to his purpose." (Romans 8:28). This includes your insensitive husband, your selfish wife, your disobedient son, the demanding boss or your uncompromising teacher. It's hard to believe, but these people are God's greatest gifts to us. They drive us to God Himself when we don't know what else to do.

Equally important, our commitment to God is expressed most truly by our commitment to the people He has placed us with. Commitment is that form of trust with others that has provided some stability throughout our troubled world. Our enemy the devil hates commitment. His goal is always to divide: friends or family. He knows full well that when he can get us to break our commitments with others, then our trust and love for God Himself is weakened or broken.

Relationships are thus so important that..."Everything that comes as a barrier between us and another, be it ever so small, comes as a barrier between us and God." (Roy Hession, The Calvary Road, Ch. 3). The Bible has much to say about relationships but mostly about our part in them. The other person's behavior and response is always for God to change and deal with, not us. We are responsible for our own choices. And so this month I'd like to share a few more passages about...


MARRIAGE is in many ways similar to other relationships in that two people from different backgrounds learn to work through all kinds of life circumstances and decisions. As with any friendship, this demands time, patience and much forbearance. But unlike other relationships, this one comes with a life-time guarantee. It has God's own anointing on it, and is a sacred covenant in which we enter for life. Because of its solemnity the Bible deals with it clearly and separately, giving specific words to those who speak its vows. (Day 1-Day 10)

Day 1- What was God's original plan for a man and his wife?
Matthew 19:3-6 / Mark 10:6-9

Day 2 -Why did divorce seem to creep into society even during Moses' time?
Matthew 19:8 / Mark 10:1-5

Day 3 -A man's relationship with his wife and vice versa is meant in God's eyes to last forever. What consequences can occur if this relationship is severed?
Matthew 5:31-32 / Matthew 19:9 / Mark 10:11-12

Day 4- When is a husband or wife ever released from their marriage covenant?
Romans 7:2-3 / I Corinthians 7:39-40

Day 5 -What are the commands God gives to husbands and wives in these verses?
I Corinthians 7:10-11,27

Day 6 -Why should a man or woman who believes in Christ not marry someone who does not?
2 Corinthians 6:14-18

Day 7 -What if a believer in Christ does marry someone who doesn't believe?
I Corinthians 7:12-16

Day 8 -Before God speaks at all to the situation of marriage, what is His command to all men and women?
Ephesians 5:21

Day 9 -What two commands does God give to wives in this chapter that will maintain a healthy marriage relationship?
Ephesians 5:22-24,33b / Colossians 3:18

Day 10- How is a husband to love his wife?
Ephesians 5:25-30 / Colossians 3:19

Day 11 -Jesus sums up in Mark 12:28-34 how we are to love God and those around us each day.

Day 12 -What is wrong with passing judgement on someone else?
Romans 2:1

Day 13- In understanding one another it helps to know that God has given each of us different gifts. If we expect another person to operate as we do, it can only cause frustration for that person and ourselves.
Romans 12:4-8

Day 14- How are we to treat our spouses, our families, our roommates, those in our church?
Romans 12:9-18

Day 15- God's word to us regarding our relationships with those in authority (parents, teachers, employers, husbands, government officials, etc.) is very clear. How can we be sure that our submission to them is right?
Romans 13:1
When we rebel against authority, what are we really doing?
Romans 13:2

Day 16- What do our relationships with others have to do with the actual fulfillment of "God's law"?
Romans 13:8-10

Day 17 -It seems that no matter how close we are to others, differences in our thinking still come up that cause us to internally judge the other based on the conclusion we have reached. What does the Lord say to us regarding those that think differently on a matter?
Romans 14:1-5

Day 18 -What is really the important issue when we think and act differently about something?
Romans 14:6-12

Day 19 -What is Paul's advice about an activity which we think is OK but which causes another person to "stumble"?
I Corinthians 8:9-13 (Read all of Ch. 8 for a fuller understanding.) Romans 14:12-21

Day 20- Why should we be "accepting" of those that God has put around us? (Two reasons).
Romans 15:7

Day 21- What are the seven things listed in these verses that tell us what love IS?
I Corinthians 13:4-7

Day 22 -What are the eight things listed in these verses that tell us what love IS NOT?
I Corinthians 13:4-7

Day 23 -What happens to us when we keep "bad company"?
I Corinthians 15:33

Day 24 -How are we to become with others so that peace is not broken?
Ephesians 4:2-3,25-26,31-32 / Philippians 2:3-4 / Colossians 3:12-14

Day 25 -What should our speech be like as we relate to one another?
Ephesians 4:29

Day 26 -What activities are forbidden in our relationships with others?
Ephesians 5:3-4

Day 27 -How is a child to treat his parents?
Ephesians 6:1-3 / Colossians 3:20

Day 28 -How is a father to deal with his children?
Ephesians 6:4 / Colossians 3:21

Day 29 -How are we as employees to relate to our employer?
Ephesians 6:5-8 / Colossians 3:22-24

Day 30 -How should an employer treat those working for him?
Ephesians 6:9 / Colossians 4:1

Day 31- Is our attitude the same as Christ's in regard to other people?
Philippians 2:5-8

Suggested Reading: The Calvary Road by Roy Hession
(Christian Literature Crusade, Alresford, Hants., England)

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