About the Guest
Dennis Rainey shares of the importance of leaving a godly legacy to your family.
Dennis RaineyDennis Rainey cofounded FamilyLife®, a ministry of Cru®. Since the organization began in 1976 through 2017, Dennis’ leadership enabled FamilyLife to grow into a dynamic and vital ministry in more than 109 countries around the world helping families discover the joy God intended for their relationships with God, spouse, and kids. Dennis has authored or co-authored more than 35 books, including best-selling Moments Together for Couples and Staying Close and has received two Golden Medallion...more
Dennis Rainey shares of the importance of leaving a godly legacy to your family.
Bob: Marriage is a journey—a journey in learning how to love another person. Here’s Dennis Rainey.
Dennis: For the past four decades, I have been enrolled in God’s school of love—me learning how to love my wife and my children. I started with kindergarten and elementary school in that first decade. And you know what kind of love we had back then?—puppy love—[Laughter]—puppy love.
Bob: This is FamilyLife Today for Thursday, June 19th. Our host is the President of FamilyLife®, Dennis Rainey, and I’m Bob Lepine. Our love in marriage isn’t supposed to just grow up—it’s supposed to grow deeper. We’ll talk about that today. Stay tuned.
And welcome to FamilyLife Today. Thanks for joining us on the Thursday edition. All of a sudden, I feel like warm breezes and salt sea air—
Dennis: Well, it’s June. So, you ought to be thinking warm breezes. [Laughter]
Bob: Well, that’s true. Warm breezes outside right now, but I actually—
Dennis: You’re actually thinking about it in February—is what you’re thinking about.
Bob: That’s what I’m thinking about because, this past February, you and I were together on the Love Like You Mean It® marriage cruise.
Dennis: Yes. You with Mary Ann—I was with Barbara.
Bob: And we’re going to hear—
Dennis: Didn’t want to make it seem like you and I were on the cruise!
Bob: Good point. Every—you can confuse people in this day and age.
Dennis: In this day and age. There we go—just clarifying the facts—
Dennis: —my co-host, here.
Bob: I’m thinking about what a great week it was. We’re going to hear today the message that you shared with the folks who were onboard the cruise with us. But I’m also thinking about the fact that we’re down to just the last few cabins being available on next year’s Love Like You Mean It marriage cruise—Valentine’s week 2015.
Dennis: It’s a great combo. Let’s just face it. Think about valentines, chocolate, anniversary, a birthday, a surprise, maybe a Christmas gift. However you want to position this—this is a great way to get away for a few days—and frankly, be absolutely spoiled with great Christian teaching, great Christian entertainment, great Christian comedians,—
Dennis: —great Christian dancers.
Dennis: Now, that’s an interesting thought; isn’t it? [Laughter] But anyway, it’s just—it’s just a phenomenal investment in your marriage and your family.
Bob: We’ve got Steven Curtis and Mary Beth Chapman going to join us this year. We’ve got Kirk and Chelsea Cameron joining us. Voddie Baucham is going to be with us this year. Alex and Stephen Kendrick are going to be along, and they are going to show us a sneak preview of the movie that they are making right now. They think, by February, they’ll have a rough cut put together.
So, the folks on the cruise should be among the first to get a preview of their brand-new movie.
Dennis: We always have one of these.
Dennis: It’s really been cool, where the cruise ship turns into a sneak preview of an upcoming movie. Really, it’s fun to be able to share that with our friends.
Bob: The last night on the cruise, before we gathered everybody together and had a vow renewal ceremony,—
Bob: —we had the chance to hear you share a little bit about the importance of our legacy—having a long view, when we come to thinking about our lives and our marriages.
Dennis: Yes, I don’t think we talk enough about this, Bob. I think we need to take steps backward—and reflect on our lives, and think about the choices we’re making, the legacy we are leaving, and what kind of message we are sending to the next generation because all of us are sending some kind of message.
Bob: Well, as we’re going to hear today, it is important for every one of us to be intentional when it comes to our legacy.
Dennis: A number of years ago, I had the privilege of watching my baseball team, the Cardinals, play in the World Series. [Cheering] Yes, alright. Unfortunately, we weren’t doing too well in this one game. I had my son there with me—Benjamin.
The guy who had hosted us turned to me and Ben. He turned to Ben and he said, “Ben, what one word would you use to describe your dad?” I thought: “Oh, this is going to be good! It’s going to be ‘love, kind, generous—great dad.’ What’s he going to say?” So, I listened. Ben said, “Oh, that’s easy—intentional.” [Laughter] I looked at my son. I said: “Son, you come from better stock than that! You can do a better word than that; can’t you?” He goes: “No. Dad, that defines you. That’s who you are. You are intentional—
—“as you’ve raised us kids, as you love Mom. As we go about our family, you are very intentional about what you do.”
So, the next time our family got together, I got them all together. I said, “Now, what do you all think about this word that Ben used to describe me?” They all started nodding their heads. So, I decided I had to learn to like it! [Laughter] Actually, it is a good word because being intentional for the right thing can make a huge difference. So, as you leave here, I’m going to challenge you to be intentional as you build your marriage and family.
I want to begin my time by turning to the words of the conclusion of our Savior in His most famous sermon that He ever gave. It was the Sermon on the Mount. It’s interesting—as Jesus concludes this most quoted sermon that Jesus ever gave—how he talks about two home builders.
Listen carefully. Matthew 7, verse 24, “Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain fell and the floods came and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall because it had been founded on the rock. And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. The rain fell and the floods came and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell and great was its fall.”
Jesus talked about two architects, with two different sets of blueprints, and two different builders, with two different outcomes.
One common element—they had trouble / they had storms. He basically said: “If you hear these words of mine and you do not do them, you will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand.” When the storm and the wind blew against that house, He said, “It fell and great was its fall.”
There are two falls in the Bible. Well, let’s talk about the fall of man in Genesis, Chapter 3. Adam and Eve disobeyed God and ate of the fruit. That was the fall. This fall that Jesus talks about in Matthew, Chapter 7, is talking about the fall of a home—the fall of a family. When a family falls, it impacts generations. It has an impact upon a time you will not see.
But the difference between the foolish man, who heard the words of Christ and didn’t do them, and the man who did hear the words of Christ—heard them and obeyed them—was that his house was compared to that of building it on a rock foundation.
Now, I want to talk with you about five things that you need to be intentional about as you go back home. Five that I believe really do count over the long-haul.
Number one—you need to be intentional about keeping your promise—keeping your promise. Earlier in the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus had said, in Matthew 5:37, “Let your yes be yes and your no be no.” He talked about keeping your word / fulfilling your promise. Now, think about it for a moment. Your marriage started with a promise.
Two imperfect people stood before a pastor, and their friends, and family. They gave each other a promise. That’s what set your relationship apart from all the other six billion people on the planet—two people making a promise to one another.
But what’s happening today with that promise? It’s falling apart. It’s like the foolish man, who makes a commitment, but builds his house on the sand because he has no intention of obeying Jesus Christ. Be intentional about your promise.
I love this quote by Julia Wood. Listen carefully. She said, “The hallmark of commitment is the assumption of a future.” I really like that. “The hallmark of commitment is the assumption of a future.”
What is the promise that two people who marry one another make? “…till death do us part.” Our commitment is more than just not getting a divorce. It’s a promise to love, honor, and cherish, and protect, and remain faithful to one another.
Years ago, when we started FamilyLife, we started with the Weekend to Remember®—it wasn’t called that in those early years, in the late 70s—but we couldn’t afford to fly our wives to the conferences. So, there would be two of us guys go to the conference; and we’d speak on marriage and family. One guy would give the talk to the husbands, and the other guy would give the talk to the wives—that just wasn’t flying real good—you know? [Laughter]
So, we found the money, somehow, to get our wives to go give that message at the conference.
At one of these conferences—I’ll never forget this. This is a true story. Saint Louis, Missouri—excuse me, Kansas City, Missouri—it was on Saturday evening, after the conference had been going for a couple of days. I had tucked myself into bed. I’d called Barbara, back with the kids. At that point, I think we had four or five kids—there was a lot going on in our family. I was exhausted. I put my feet up. I turned the TV on to watch a movie, and the phone rang.
I picked it up. I said, “Hello?” A woman’s voice, on the other end, said: “Hi! What are you doing?” I said, “Well, I’m watching a movie.” She said, “Well, could I come up?” And this is just how it happened. I said—instantly—I said, “That wouldn’t be a good idea.” She said, “Well, why?”
I said: “For two reasons. Number one, I really love my wife. She is a magnet that draws me, from all over the country, back home to my family. I wouldn’t want to do anything to betray her. And number two, the movie I’m watching is The Ten Commandments.” [Laughter] Yes.
Here’s the thing: “Keep your promise—keep your promise.” It is the most sacred pledge two imperfect, broken, selfish human beings ever make with one another; but it produces the hope of a future.
Secondly, be intentional about becoming a student of God’s love. Now, here is the problem.
The problem is—we are born selfish and, secondly, we are indoctrinated / brainwashed by the world and the world’s view of love. Hollywood has done a masterful job. So much so that, when I had the opportunity to kind of sit back and think about this, I really did come to this conclusion: “That for the past four decades, I have been enrolled in God’s school of love—me learning how to love my wife and my children.”
I want you to look at this passage of Scripture—1 John, Chapter 4, verse 7: “Beloved, let us love one another for love is from God and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God because God is love. In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent His only Son to the world so that we”—
—catch this—“that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we have loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loves us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God. If we love one another, God abides in us and His love is perfected in us. There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out all fear.”
Listen, I’m convinced God wants you and me to enroll in His school and learn from this Book how He loves us so that we can, in turn, learn to love our wife / our husband, our children, our extended family members.
I look back on how we started our marriage—it really was puppy love. I don’t know where I am—in the graduate school—but it sure feels like I’m signing up for a PhD in this thing because I’m moving on toward five decades of being in this school. So, just like when you go to school and you learn the three “R’s”—writing, reading, and arithmetic—I want to give you three “R’s” for how you can learn the love of God, yourself.
Number one, receive God’s love. Look here at verse 9 and 10; do you see it? Verse 9 and 10 says there: “In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent His only Son into the world so that we might live through Him.” Some of you in this room have wondered, “Why do I not know how to love?” Well, it may be you’re not alive, spiritually. You’ve not been born again.
You don’t know the One who came to teach us how to love.
I would just challenge you: “If you’re unsure of where you will spend eternity—if you’re unsure if you really know how to love and you feel like: ‘I’ve really—I’ve not done that. I don’t know how to love,’ then, why not receive the God of love—receive His forgiveness?” It is what teaches us how to love another human being.
Secondly—second “R”—not only receive God’s love but, secondly, renew your mind. Renew your mind. Romans, Chapter 12, says, “Don’t be conformed to the world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” Because the world has done such an effective job of brainwashing our minds, we’re in need of getting a new blueprint for what God’s love looks like in a marriage relationship.
Did you know—when the FBI trains its agents in how to spot a counterfeit bill—they do not spend all of their time looking at phony $100 bills / phony $50 bills? They spend all of their time looking at the real thing so, when the counterfeit comes along, they can spot it.
I’m going to tell you something: Five decades—I’m beginning my fifth decade in this school—even while I’ve been here, I have caught myself thinking as the world would think about my wife, and about her performance, and what I’m expecting of her and me needing to replace my way of thinking—the world’s way of thinking—with God’s way, which is: “You don’t hurl an insult for an insult; instead, you learn the art of loving and you go to school.”
Last one is the “R” of reproducing the fruit of the Spirit. Some of you are going to be able to finish quoting the verse before I do. It’s Galatians, Chapter 5, verse 22. Here is the thing—Jesus went to heaven and He said: “I go to heaven, and I’m going to send to you the Helper because He’s going to help you do things you’d like to be able to do. It’s to your advantage that I leave,” Jesus said. Now, that’s a phenomenal statement—but the Holy Spirit came to produce His fruit in our lives. And in Galatians, Chapter 5, verse 22, Paul writes, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love.”
Anybody here have a hard time loving an imperfect person?
Why wouldn’t we want to cry out, call upon, and ask the Holy Spirit of God to instruct us, and comfort us, and show us how to love our spouses? Secondly, be intentional about becoming a student of love. Enroll for a lifetime of being tutored—a lifetime.
Number three—listen up on this one. This is important—be intentional about forgiving your spouse. Ephesians 4:32 says, “Be tenderhearted”—let’s see if it’s up here, yes—“be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another just as God in Christ forgave you.” When I read this out loud to Barbara—as I was just doing a little preparation, while I was here—she said: “You know, we don’t know how to love because we didn’t know the God of love. We don’t know how to forgive because we don’t understand how God has forgiven us.”
And this is how we practice forgiveness in a marriage relationship. Forgiveness—forgiveness is needed in all marriages because conflict is common in all marriages.
Bob: Well, we’ve been listening to the first part of a message from Dennis Rainey—a message from aboard the 2014 Love Like You Mean It marriage cruise, back in February. The issue of forgiveness—you’re just not going to make it in marriage unless you know how to forgive one another; are you?
Dennis: If you don’t know how to forgive well, you’re not going to know how to love well. It’s just a key component of love. I’ll tell you, Bob, I think this is a subject that we must train our children in understanding and in practicing. If there should be—if your family was anything like ours—plenty of opportunities—
Bob: Lots of opportunities; yes.
Dennis: —to apply it—help them apply it—sibling rivalry.
But it really is, I think, one of the most important things in a marriage to maintain.
And I think—for the listener, right now—just take a quick inventory: “Are you holding anything against your spouse right now?—last 24 hours?— 48?—last week?—something that stuck in your craw, you know, that you just haven’t let go of and you’re ticked / you’re angry?—you’re still punishing him or her?” This would be a good application for today’s broadcast. You don’t have to go on a cruise to forgive your spouse. You can do that right where you are, right now.
Bob: But you know what? One of the things I love about getting together with listeners and being onboard the Love Like You Mean It marriage cruise is that it’s a beautiful location—great ports of call. It’s fun to be onboard the ship together, but there is some great ministry that happens—
Dennis: Oh, yes.
Bob: —during this week, with messages like the one we’ve been listening to today—
—the other speakers who come along. God’s at work in the midst of this cruise.
Dennis: It’s not overdone. And I’ll tell you, Bob, one of the things that I think we underestimate is—when you get a ship of 2,000 people that are all there for, generally, the same purpose—they are there to sharpen their marriages and their families—when you get 2,000 people together, and there is nobody else except the crew—we leave a huge impact on the crew, trust me—but we also impact each other.
Bob: Well, and I want to remind listeners that we are really close to being sold out for the cruise for 2015. If you are interested in joining us—being with Dennis and Barbara, Mary Ann and me—Voddie Baucham is going to be with us—Kirk and Chelsea Cameron, Steven Curtis and Mary Beth Chapman, Building 429, comedian Michael Junior—I mean, we’ve got a great lineup of folks for the cruise this year.
If you’d like to be with us, we have fewer than a hundred cabins still available.
We expect, by the end of this month, that those will be gone. So, go to FamilyLifeToday.com. In the upper left-hand corner, where you see the “GO DEEPER” link—click that. It’ll take you to the area where you can get the information about the Love Like You Mean It marriage cruise. You can get signed up.
Or if you have any questions, probably easiest just to call 1-800-FL-TODAY, 1-800-358-6329. That’s 1-800- “F” as in family, “L” as in life, and then, the word, “TODAY.” Just mention that you are interested in going on the Love Like You Mean It marriage cruise, and we can get you all signed up or answer any questions that you might have.
By the way, if you’d like to hear the messages that were a part of this year’s Love Like You Mean It marriage cruise, the cruise CD album is now available. You can find out more about that when you go to FamilyLifeToday.com as well. Click the link that says, “GO DEEPER.”
You’ll find the CD album from the cruise on our website. Order online or call 1-800-FL-TODAY.
Now, tomorrow, we’re going to continue to talk about the foundation for our marriage—about how our love matures and about God’s design for marriages to go the distance. We’ll hear Part Two of Dennis Rainey’s message from the Love Like You Mean It marriage cruise tomorrow. Hope you can join us for that.
I want to thank our engineer today, Keith Lynch, and our entire broadcast production team. On behalf of our host, Dennis Rainey, I’m Bob Lepine. We will see you back next time for another edition of FamilyLife Today.
FamilyLife Today is a production of FamilyLife of Little Rock, Arkansas.
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