Thursday, December 29, 2016

Rockin’ Righteous Resolutions

“For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. 
If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me.”
– Philippians 1:21-22a

This is the time of year when millions of Americans around the country are talking about New Year’s resolutions. Possibly you’ve made one yourself. Maybe you’ve made a resolution to stop smoking, lose weight, start working out or get a better job. Interestingly, one of the most popular New Year’s resolutions over the past few years has been to “unplug” from technology. Many Americans have faced the reality that they are addicted to their smart phones and in response are jumping on the bandwagon to join “the digital detox.”

Well, I have a few thoughts that I’d like you to consider. For starters, most New Year’s resolutions are me-focused. They tend to focus on me, myself and I. I want to start doing this. I want to stop doing that. I want to be happy. 2017 is going to be my year.

Another thought that comes to mind is that most New Year’s resolutions don’t have a clear point. Think about it: Many Americans have made a resolution to lose weight, but what’s the point of losing weight? To look better? To feel better? To buy a new wardrobe? Okay. But what’s the point of looking better, feeling better and buying a new wardrobe? And while we’re talking about the point of resolutions, what’s the point of ditching the cigarettes, working out, or turning off the smart phone?

I hope you can see what I’m getting at here. Most New Year’s resolutions are not bad, just self-absorbed and rather pointless. As you probably know, most New Year’s resolutions fail within a few short weeks. And they tend to fail for two reasons. They fail because they do not have an intense, powerful motivation. And they fail because they don’t have a point—a clearly defined purpose. They don’t have something that a person can sink his/her teeth into and get fired up about. For example: If I carry out this resolution my marriage will be saved. If I carry out this resolution I’ll be able to afford to send my kids to college. If I carry out this resolution I will have a 75% better chance of beating cancer.

So, how do we make resolutions and set goals that are not self-absorbed or pointless? Great question! I’m convinced that the greatest resolutions in life are those that are grounded in Scripture, motivated by our love for Christ and carried out for the glory of God. One of the best ways to ensure that our resolutions are not shallow or pointless is to feed them through this three-part filter. Start by asking yourself, “Is my resolution solidly grounded in the Bible?” If so, great! Move on to question number two: “Is my love for Christ my motivation for making this resolution?” If so, fantastic, because Christ’s love that led him to the cross for you and me is the greatest motivator of all! 

Next, ask question number three: “Am I going to carry out this resolution for my own glory or for the glory of God?” The glory of God should be the end goal of everything that we do, because the glory of God is the purpose of our existence in the first place.

So, is it bad to make a resolution to lose twenty pounds or start eating healthier or start working out or take a trip somewhere? Maybe. Feed your resolution through the three-question filter and find out. Is your resolution biblically-grounded? Is your resolution motivated by Christ’s love for you and your love for Him? Will the carrying out of your resolution bring glory to God or just bring glory to yourself? If your resolution passes through the filter, great! Go for it, and let me know if I can help.

But regardless of whether or not you’ve already made a New Year’s resolution this year, I encourage you to give some serious thought and prayer to what Jesus Christ would like your life to be about in 2017. It’s often been said that if you aim for nothing, you will hit it every time. That’s some great food for thought!  All of us need goals to shoot for and resolutions to define our path. And when our goals and resolutions survive the three-question filter, they pave the way for the greatest adventures of faith.

Dane Davis is the lead pastor of First Christian Church in Victorville.
Start the New Year right by joining us for worship tomorrow at 10 a.m.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Christmas at the Movies: The Nativity Story

“But the angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus.’”
 – Luke 1:30-31

Over the years there have been many Bible-based movies that depict the birth of Christ 2,000 years ago. And I think the 2006 film The Nativity Story is one of the best. For starters, the actors who play Joseph and Mary are believable. The producer and director didn’t place supermodels or famous personalities in the lead roles. There was no attempt to boost box office ticket sales by casting Johnny Depp as Joseph or Carrie Underwood as Mary. And the movie doesn’t display award-winning cinematography or dazzling special effects. It just tells the simple, powerful story of Jesus’ birth.

We read in Luke 1:26-27 that God sent one of his premier messenger angels, Gabriel, to deliver a life-changing message to Mary. Gabriel had announced John the Baptist’s expected birth to John’s father, Zechariah, some six months earlier. And now Gabriel was ready to deliver some good news to Mary. She too would experience a miraculous pregnancy. Though she was a virgin, she would give birth to the Son of God.

Like Matthew, Luke declares that Mary was a virgin. In First Century Jewish culture, the term “virgin” usually referred to an unmarried Jewish girl who was fourteen years of age or younger. So, Mary was likely twelve or thirteen years old when the angel knocked her socks off with his groundbreaking announcement. And she had virtually no social status in Israel. Wealthy Jews held a higher social status than poor Jews, and Mary wasn’t wealthy. Jewish men were higher in the pecking order than Jewish women. And among women, married women held a higher social order than young maidens.

So without a doubt Mary—a poor, unmarried Jewish girl from the lowly town of Nazareth—was virtually at the bottom of the social pecking order. No wonder she was shocked when the angel suddenly appeared and greeted her with the words: “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.”

Now, it’s important to take a closer look at the angel’s greeting to Mary in Matthew 1:28, because many Christians and Christian leaders have completely misinterpreted the angel’s words. To put it bluntly, the angel’s greeting—traditionally translated into English as “Hail, full of grace”— in no way indicates that Mary is someone Divine or worthy of worship. In fact, the word translated as “greetings” or “hail” is the Greek word “chairo,” which is a variation of the word “charis”: one of the most important words in the New Testament. Charis means “grace.” And grace is defined as “undeserved favor” or as the acronym “G-R-A-C-E—God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense.”

Long story short: Gabriel greeted Mary with a word of grace. And when he followed that greeting with the words “you who are highly favored” or “full of grace,” the angel reiterated that Mary had received undeserved favor from God. Clearly the angel’s greeting in no way identifies Mary as a dispenser of God’s grace. She is merely a recipient of God’s grace. Grace was given to Mary by God. In no way had she earned it, and she didn’t have the ability to manufacture it. To claim otherwise is to distort the clear teaching of God’s word while heading down a slippery slope of false teaching.

Mary understood that she was a lowly human being, a sinner undeserving of God’s amazing grace. And she serves as a bright example of a humble servant who believed the word of the Lord and walked in obedience to His commands. Mary should be respected and her faith and obedience should be emulated. But she should never be lifted up on a Divine pedestal. Jesus alone is to be high and lifted up in our minds and hearts.

With that in mind, here are two marvelous lessons that we can learn from Mary. First, when the Lord offers you grace, receive it. Without a doubt, the people of Nazareth would have looked down on Mary once they discovered that she was pregnant before her wedding night. Her miraculous pregnancy did her no favors in the eyes of her neighbors and friends. But despite the social stigma that accompanied her faithful obedience to the Lord’s commands, she gladly received God’s grace anyway. In much the same way, God’s grace and our culture’s scorn await you as you faithfully obey God’s commands. I guarantee you that God has grace in store for you as you study His word, pray and live for Him each day. Yet at the same time, there are plenty of your acquaintances who will consider these priorities to be a complete waste of your time and energy. Will you obey God and pursue His grace anyway?

Second, when the Lord gives you a ministry opportunity, embrace it. Mary was blessed with an amazing ministry opportunity, the privilege of giving birth to Jesus Christ—God in flesh and Savior of the world. And Mary embraced it!  So too should you embrace ministry opportunities when the Lord opens the door for you to serve Him and His Church in meaningful ways. The Lord’s open doors should never be ignored, even on Christmas day. So, as you celebrate Christmas this weekend with church family, will you be looking for God’s open door? And once you see it, will you do what Mary did: Walk through it? I hope so. 

Merry Christmas from all of us at First Christian Church! We hope you’ll join us
for our Christmas Morning Worship Service Sunday at 10 a.m.
For more information, visit

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Christmas at the Movies: A Christmas Carol

“When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him.”
– Matthew 2:3

Since it was first published in 1843, Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol has been adapted into dozens of different movies, TV specials, stage plays and musicals. Even the Muppets and Mickey Mouse have their own versions of the Christmas classic. As you may remember, the tale begins on a cold Christmas Eve in London, England exactly seven years after the death of Jacob Marley, Ebenezer Scrooge’s business partner. Scrooge is a grumpy, penny-pinching old codger who is described by Charles Dickens as “a squeezing, wrenching, grasping, scraping, clutching, covetous old sinner.”

Scrooge hates Christmas. But at home that night, Scrooge is visited by Jacob Marley’s ghost, who is forever cursed to wander the earth dragging a load of chains, forged during a lifetime of greed and selfishness. Marley tells Scrooge that he has one chance to avoid the same fate. During the night he will be visited by three spirits. He must listen to them or be cursed to carry chains of his own that are much heavier than Marley’s. And just as Marley warned him, one-by-one Scrooge is visited by the Ghost of Christmas Past, the Ghost of Christmas Present and the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come. And as Scrooge is given a bird’s eye view of his past, present and future Christmases, his whole world is rattled.

King Herod’s world was rattled in much the same way shortly after Jesus’ birth—the very first Christmas—2,000 years ago. In Matthew 2, we are introduced to Herod the Great, who ruled Israel for thirty-three years before the birth of Christ. And we learn much about King Herod from the writings of two First Century historians, Tacitus and Josephus. For example, they tell us that Herod was a very accomplished yet violent leader. He poured liberal amounts of time and money into rebuilding the Jewish temple in Jerusalem. And he undertook other awe-inspiring building projects in and around Israel.

Yet at the same time Herod was a vindictive, murderous thug. He was insanely jealous of anyone who might threaten his reign or rule, including his own family members. Herod murdered his favorite wife and three of his sons whom he suspected of threatening his rule. At one point Herod murdered 45 Jewish noblemen, and on another occasion, he ordered his soldiers to drown the high priest Aristobolus III in one of Herod’s swimming pools.

So, when the wise men strolled into town with their entourage and enthusiastically asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews?” you’d better believe that Herod was disturbed. He was shaken; he was rattled. King Herod’s insecurities and fears and jealousy and paranoia were suddenly stirred up as the Magi innocently asked their question about Jesus. And the citizens of Jerusalem were also disturbed. They had learned over the years that when King Herod was disturbed, heads would roll.

After leaving Jerusalem, the Magi followed the star to the house where Jesus (by now several months old) was. The Magi worshiped the Christ child and gave him three gifts: gold, incense and myrrh. Sadly, King Herod was so insanely jealous and his heart was so hard that he ordered the extermination of every baby boy in and around Bethlehem. He issued this order in the futile attempt to kill Jesus. But by the time Herod’s orders were carried out, Jesus, Joseph and Mary were already several miles outside of town.

There are many lessons that we can learn from King Herod about what not to do at Christmas. I’ll highlight three. First, don’t be rattled at Christmas. Without a doubt, many of us do get rattled at Christmas. With only a matter of days until Christmas, we’re troubled by the number of things that we still have left to do. We have the unsettling feeling that we won’t get it all done. Our nerves are shaken and our fears are stirred. I believe God is telling us, “Stop it!” Each of us needs to stop and smell the Rose—the one, single Rose at the heart of Christmas—Jesus Christ, born to save the world. Most everything else is just clutter.

Second, don’t be outwitted this Christmas. The wisest, most intelligent thing we can do this Christmas season is to pursue and worship Christ. But our sinful nature and godless culture try to dumb down our Christmas celebration at every turn. Just about every Christmas TV commercial, Christmas movie and public school Christmas program tries to convince us that Christmas is just fine without Christ. Christmas is about trees and lights and mistletoe. Christmas is about presents and food and egg nog. But we as Christians know that Christmas is about so much more. Christmas is about Jesus Christ—born to save the world. Therefore, we should never allow ourselves to be outwitted by our culture’s lie that Jesus is expendable at Christmas. Make no mistake about it: Without Christ, there is no Christmas.

Finally, don’t be blinded by your anger this Christmas. Many of us dread the thought of sitting around the Christmas dinner table with Aunt Martha or Uncle Sid. They drive us up the wall and grate on our last nerve. This being the case, many of us lug around resentment and anger at Christmas. And when we do we are blinded to peace on earth and good will toward men. But just like Ebenezer Scrooge, we need to repent of our sin and surrender our anger to Christ at Christmas. And like Scrooge we must celebrate Christmas well by keeping Christ at the very heart of Christmas and celebrating him each day of the season. If we do, Tiny Tim’s words will come to pass. God will “bless us, every one.”

Dane Davis is the Pastor of First Christian Church in Victorville. For more information,
visit  and join us this Christmas season—Sundays at 10 am.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Christmas at the Movies: It’s a Wonderful Life!

“When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife.” - Matthew 1:24

In the Christmas classic “It’s a Wonderful Life,” George Bailey is a young dreamer who lives in the sleepy little town of Bedford Falls. He oversees a small building and loan that his father founded. George hates the building and loan business, but after his father dies and his younger brother moves out of the area, he feels obligated to put his personal dreams on hold to keep the family business running. He eventually marries a beautiful girl named Mary, and they have four cute kids: two boys and two girls. Despite his unexpected change of course, George is on top of the world. But suddenly his world comes crashing down one day when his coworker misplaces $8,000, and a warrant is issued for George’s arrest.

All seems hopeless for George—just as it must have seemed hopeless for Joseph of Nazareth in the first chapter of Matthew. We read in Matthew 1:18 that Mary and Joseph were pledged to be married. More specifically, they were betrothed. That means they were legally “husband and wife,” but Mary still lived with her parents and hadn’t consummated her marriage with Joseph. Although Nazareth was a podunk town located in the dull region of Galilee, Joseph must have been on top of the world. The wedding ceremony was at hand, and he would soon walk into his own home hand-in-hand with the prettiest girl in town.

But suddenly his world came crashing down when he discovered that his beautiful Mary was pregnant. God’s word doesn’t tell us how Joseph learned of Mary’s pregnancy. Perhaps she told him right away, or perhaps her bulging waistline revealed her secret. But regardless of how he learned of Mary’s pregnancy, it’s clear from Matthew 1:19 that Joseph had made up his mind: He was going to divorce Mary. The only logical explanation for her pregnancy was that she had committed adultery. Although Joseph was devastated, he had decided that divorcing her quietly was the most loving and honorable thing for him to do.

But a visit from an angel turned Joseph’s world upside down, just as it did for George Bailey. According to Matthew 1:20-21, “An angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, ‘Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.’”

Can you imagine how thunderstruck Joseph must have been by the angel’s words? What the angel said was crazy. It defied all logic. Virgins don’t get pregnant. Teenage girls don’t give birth to “God with us.” And it made no sense that he—a blue collar, living paycheck-to-paycheck carpenter—would be the earthly father of the promised Messiah.

But Joseph believed the word of the Lord and obeyed God anyway. After the dream ended, he got up and did what the angel had commanded him to do. He “took Mary home as his wife,” but he didn’t consummate the marriage until after Jesus was born. Righteous man that he was, Joseph put God’s needs, Mary’s needs and his miraculously-conceived son’s needs above his own personal needs. Despite the hardships to come and the stigma that he would certainly bear for having married a pregnant woman, Joseph obeyed the word of the Lord.

As I consider the wonderful example of Joseph, three life lessons come to mind. For starters, Lesson #1: Good things can come out of Victorville. In Jesus’ day, Nazareth had a bad reputation. Even one of Jesus’ apostles asked the question, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Similarly, many people ask, “Can anything good come out of Victorville? Can anything good come out of Adelanto? Can anything good come out of Apple Valley?” And God answers, “Absolutely!” Just as good things came out of Nazareth when God was involved, good things can come out of the Victor Valley when we, like Joseph, walk in humble obedience to the Lord’s commands.

Lesson #2: Maintaining a good reputation with God takes precedence over maintaining a good reputation with man. God has called us to live lives of integrity and, as much as possible, to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. But there are times when choosing to obey God will tarnish our reputation with people. So be it! Just like Joseph, we must always choose to do what is right in God’s eyes. We must obey God, not man. Ultimately, our highest aim as Christians is to be God-pleasers, not man-pleasers.

Lesson #3: Live and celebrate the wonderful life that God created you to live—a life of loving, trusting and obeying Him. The bridge is a pivotal place in the movie “It’s a Wonderful Life.” The first time George stands on the bridge, he is at the end of his rope, feeling completely hopeless. At the end of the movie, he’s back on the bridge but has a new lease on life. What changed? He is still $8,000 in the hole. He still has a warrant out for his arrest. His car is still smashed against a tree. So what changed? His perspective changed. God opened George’s eyes to see the glorious truth that—despite his hardships and difficulties--God had blessed him with a wonderful life. The same was true of Joseph, and the same is true of you. My friends, despite your problems, ask God to open your eyes so that you can see what He sees: Your God-given life is, in a word, “wonderful.”

Dane Davis is the Pastor of First Christian Church in Victorville. For more information,
visit  and join us this Christmas season—Sundays at 10am.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Too Rich to Make It to Heaven?

“‘Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God!  It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God…. With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.’” 
- Mark 10:24-25, 27

Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem when it happened, and Matthew, Mark and Luke all document the account. A man ran up to Jesus, fell on his knees in front of him and asked him: “Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” In other words, the man wanted to know what he must do in order to make it to heaven someday. Matthew tells us that the man was young. Luke tells us that the man was a ruler, and all three gospel writers tell us that the man was rich--very rich.

So, the rich young ruler wanted Jesus to tell him what he must do to make it to heaven. Did he need to make ten pilgrimages to Jerusalem? Did he need to give alms to twenty beggars? Did he need to have perfect attendance at synagogue? Certainly there were a few hoops that he needed to jump through, something specific he could do to secure his ticket to heaven. So, how did Jesus answer this young tycoon’s question?

Surprisingly, Jesus didn’t at first. Jesus started by responding to the man’s question with a question of his own: “Why do you call me good? No one is good—except God alone.” First and foremost, Jesus wanted the rich young ruler to understand that nobody on this planet is truly “good.” God alone is “good.” Next, Jesus pointed the man to the Ten Commandments, specifically commandments five through ten: Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not give false testimony, do not defraud (a paraphrase of the tenth commandment “Do not covet”), and honor your father and mother.

The young man must have been grinning from ear to ear as he responded, “Teacher, all these I have kept since I was a boy.” Jesus had just told him what he already knew: He was very good at following rules and obeying laws, and if law-keeping could possibly get anyone to heaven, it would get him there. But then Jesus burst the rich young ruler’s bubble as he turned to him and lovingly said, “One thing you lack. Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” Mark tells us in Mark 10:23, “At this the man’s face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth.”

As the rich young man walked away Jesus spoke these infamous words: “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” The twelve disciples couldn’t believe their ears. They knew without a doubt that it is impossible to squeeze a camel through the eye of a needle. So, in shock, they asked Jesus, “Who then can be saved?”

With this simple statement the disciples were expressing a popular belief in their day, the belief that everything in life comes easier for the rich, including salvation. The disciples (just like most of us today) were convinced that life was much easier for the rich. For example, it was easier for the rich to put food on the table, to pay the bills, to cover medical expenses, to find friends, and to receive justice in a court of law. And in their minds it seemed clear that if all of these other things in life came easier for the rich, so too did salvation. After all, the rich could afford to give extra large tithes. The rich could afford to sacrifice as many animals as necessary to atone for sin. The rich could afford to bribe rabbis or priests or whoever else they needed to bribe in order to receive a “Fast Pass” to heaven.

But in a few quick seconds Jesus blew that faulty theology out of the water. Jesus revealed this truth: When it comes to heaven, it is impossible for a rich man to get there. Why? Because neither the rich man nor the poor man are truly “good.” Both the rich man and the poor man are sinners who stand guilty before a holy God, and God’s justice requires that they be punished. Therefore, there are no hoops that any person (rich or poor) can jump through in order to make it to heaven. Working our own way to heaven is “impossible.” Earning heaven is “impossible.” Jumping through enough hoops to make it to heaven is “impossible.”

But not with God. With God all things are possible. Jesus provides a way for both the rich and the poor to make it to heaven: by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ. Ultimately, this is the truth that the rich young ruler refused to accept. He was prepared to do whatever it took to secure his own salvation as long as it didn’t require him to rely upon someone else. He was willing to kneel before Jesus, but he refused to relinquish control of his life to Jesus. He walked by sight and refused to walk by faith. So, he made his choice. On that day he had to choose one God to serve: Jesus or his money.  Sadly, he chose his money.  And he went away in despair having turned his back on the only one in the universe who could secure his place in heaven: Jesus. I hope and pray that you won’t do the same.

Dane Davis is the Lead Pastor of First Christian Church in Victorville. To hear Pastor Dane’s messages or for more information about the church, visit Services can be viewed on the church's Facebook page:

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

A Wife’s Respect (Part 2)

“Each husband also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.” – Ephesians 5:33

Although I had a few minor scuffles in grade school, it wasn’t until junior high that I found myself in an actual “fight.” I was in eighth grade, and Anthony—the most popular kid in my class—had been pushing my buttons for several months. His teasing had become a daily nuisance, and one day in the locker room I decided that I had had enough. After one of his wisecracks, I gave him a hearty push. I expected that to be the end of it, but clearly Anthony had other intentions. Before I knew it, his right fist was getting up close and personal with my upper lip.

I tried to explain to Anthony that I wasn’t interested in fighting him, but his fists had already found a new home. And besides, Anthony’s buddies were all watching and liked what they saw. Well, a guy can only take so many blows to the chops. My adrenaline kicked in, and before I knew it Anthony was on the ground and the fight was over. To be honest, I’m not quite sure how he got on the ground, but regardless—it provided a great opportunity for me to make a quick exit without too much embarrassment.

As a thirteen-year-old teenage boy, I could only stomach a certain amount of disrespect. And the same is true of me today (although I have learned to respond without my fists.) I’m convinced that it’s the way that God made me, the way that He wired me as a man. Just as a diesel engine will severely malfunction when fueled by a tank full of unleaded, a man will always malfunction when fueled by a steady flow of disrespect. Conversely, boys will pour countless hours into a sport or school project in order to receive their father’s praise. Young men will sacrifice multiple evenings and weekends in order to garner their boss’s approval. And a husband will climb any mountain or cross any river to hear his damsel in distress speak the two words of heartfelt admiration: “My hero.”

How much stronger and healthier marriages would be if wives grasped and responded to this critical truth: Men feed off of respect. God knew this full well when He gave this command to wives in Ephesians 5:33: “The wife must respect her husband.” As the Creator of men, women and marriage, the Lord understands better than anyone that when a wife withholds respect from her husband, bad things happen in a marriage. When certain husbands feel disrespected, they withdraw. Others react in anger. Still others become passive-aggressive, and the husband withholds love from his wife that is as critical to her well-being as respect is to his. 

God has called each Christian wife to demonstrate a healthy respect for her husband as a natural expression of her respect for God. Before urging wives to respect their husbands’ authority, God’s word first gives us all (both men and women) this general command in Ephesians 5:21: “Submit to one another out of respect for Christ.” Therefore, a wife is told to respect her husband as a natural expression of her respect for Jesus Christ.

Long story short: when a wife refuses to respect her husband, she is—at a deeper level—refusing to respect Jesus Christ. Just as it is impossible to demonstrate love for God while demonstrating hate for people, it is similarly impossible for a woman to exhibit respect for Christ while exhibiting perpetual disrespect for her husband. Once again: Respect for one is a natural expression of respect for the other.

Oh, I can hear the “buts” coming. “But, Dane you don’t understand; my husband doesn’t do anything that’s respectable!” Or, “But my husband doesn’t deserve my respect!” Or, “But my husband disrespects me!” While it may be true that your husband disrespects you and does plenty of things that are not respectable, if you look carefully, I guarantee you that you will discover certain things that your husband says and does that are worthy of respect. And when you discover them, you should draw attention to them—not by saying, “Well, it’s about time you did something right, you big moron!”—but by saying something like, “Great job! You hit that one out of the park. You’re really good at that.” 

I guarantee you that your husband will respond much more positively to your praise and encouragement than he will to your nagging, complaining or criticism. You will discover that as you praise your husband for what he does “right,” he will look for more opportunities to do what’s right. Many a Christian wife can testify that when she’s made the conscious decision to show respect for her husband’s position in the family while also targeting his respectable words and actions with praise and encouragement, he stepped up to the plate and became the respectable husband for which she had prayed. 

Believe me: Respecting one’s husband is a critical expression of one’s respect for Christ while at the same time being a key building block of a healthy and happy marriage. Just as I could only stomach so much disrespect from Anthony, I would only be able to stomach so much disrespect from my wife. As a man, I am—to a large extent—fueled by respect. The same is true of every husband. So wives, give your husband the fuel that he needs to function properly in your marriage relationship. And don’t be surprised if, in time, he becomes the loving husband you’ve always known he could be. 

Dane Davis is the Lead Pastor of First Christian Church in Victorville. To hear Pastor Dane’s messages or for more information about the church, visit .

Thursday, November 10, 2016

A Wife’s Respect (Part 1 )

“Each husband also must love his wife as he loves himself,
and the wife must respect her husband.”  – Ephesians 5:33

According to an old Ethiopian folktale, there was once a young married woman who became fed up with her husband. Having given up all hope for her marriage, she approached a local judge and asked him to grant her a divorce. Being a wise old man, he chose to probe her a bit. “A divorce!” he exclaimed. “Don’t you love your husband?” “Of course I love him,” she responded, “but we just can’t get along. So we must get a divorce.” The old man had an idea. He asked the young bride, “If I were able to give you magic medicine that would help you two get along much better, would you take it?” “Absolutely,” she responded. “I’d do anything to save my marriage.” “Great,” said the judge. “I’ll just need one key ingredient to make the medicine: a single hair from the tail of the lion that lives down by the river. I’m not sure how you’ll get it, but you must find a way.”

The woman made a beeline to the river, but as soon as she heard the lion roar, she turned in fear and ran home as fast as she could. But the next day she returned to the river with a sack of raw meat. She got as close as two hundred yards from the lion, quickly dropped the bag of meat and ran home. The next day she returned with another bag of meat and got as close as one hundred yards; the following day—fifty yards; and the day after that—twenty yards. After a few short weeks the lion was eating the meat out of her hand, and she was able to carefully reach back and pull a single hair from his tail.

As fast as she could, she rushed to the old judge and exclaimed, “I did it! I did it! Here is the hair from the ferocious lion’s tail.” The judge proudly smiled and said, “Securing this hair took an enormous amount of patience, courage and determination. Now, if you put the same amount of patience, courage and determination into your marriage that you put into securing this lion’s hair, you and your husband will enjoy a long and happy marriage. The magic medicine your marriage needs was with you all along.”

The struggles of this young couple are common to marriages everywhere. And the words of wisdom offered by the judge are just as relevant to us in America as they were to the young couple in Ethiopia. Many husbands and wives throw in the divorce towel far too early, claiming that they just can’t get along. However, more times than not, it’s not that they “can’t” get along but that they don’t try hard enough to get along. Sadly, they aren’t willing to put in the necessary effort. You see, there is no magic formula for a strong and happy marriage. It is—among other things—the result of patience, courage and determination disguised as hard work.

In this day and age when so many marriages aren’t “for better and for worse, for richer and for poorer, in sickness and in health ‘til death do us part,” we need to get back to basics. We need to return to the Creator of marriage and read His marriage owner’s manual once again. In Ephesians 5:22-33, God gives specific instructions to husbands and wives about their God-given responsibilities within marriage.

Let’s focus on one of the wife’s God-given responsibilities: to respect her husband. I find it very interesting that in Ephesians 5:33, husbands are commanded to “love” their wives, but wives are told to “respect” their husbands. Over the years I’ve had the opportunity to ask many husbands, “Would you rather hear your wife tell you, ‘I love you’ or ‘I respect you’?” Guess how most men have responded? By far the most common response from husbands has been, “I respect you.”

Because men are wired much differently than women, husbands have different needs and tend to be motivated differently than their wives. To put it simply: most wives feed off of love, but most husbands feed off of respect. This is certainly true in my own marriage. I enjoy hearing my wife tell me that she loves me. But when she looks me in the eye and says, “Dane, I respect you,” I light up like the Fourth of July.

And God understands this reality better than anyone. After all, He created both “male and female” and knows us inside and out. He knows that in order for a married couple to be happy and healthy, the wife needs to receive a healthy dose of daily love from her husband, and the husband needs to receive an ample amount of respect from his wife. Love and respect, respect and love: they are two critical ingredients in any healthy marriage.

When marriages tailspin into dysfunction, it’s often the result of the husband withholding love from his wife and the wife responding by withholding respect from her husband. Dr. Emerson Eggerichs (author of Love & Respect) refers to this as “The Crazy Cycle.” Withholding respect leads to withholding love which leads to withholding more respect which leads to more withholding of love. You get the idea. Ultimately, the crazy cycle can only be stopped when one of the spouses intentionally chooses to stop it. Either the husband chooses to love his wife despite her disrespect, or the wife chooses to respect her husband despite his withholding of love.

Perhaps you and your spouse are experiencing this crazy cycle. If so, there is hope. You must recognize your contribution to the craziness and choose to stop participating in it today. Husband, love your wife in tangible, meaningful ways even when she is disrespecting you up one side and down the other. Wife, communicate respect to your husband even when his love for you is as cold as a winter breeze in the Klondike. Ultimately, God’s ways are always the best ways. If your marriage strategies haven’t been working, then take God’s strategies for a spin. If there is a true lion’s hair that will transform your marriage, it’s love and respect.

Dane Davis is the Lead Pastor of First Christian Church in Victorville. To hear Pastor Dane’s messages or for more information about the church, visit

Is It Too Late for America?

“This is what the LORD says: I am going to bring disaster on this place and its people … because they have forsaken Me and … provoked Me to anger by all that their hands have made. My anger will be poured out on this place and will not be quenched…. [But] because you humbled yourself before Me … I have heard you, declares the LORD…. Your eyes will not see all the disaster I am going to bring on this place and on those who live here.” - 2 Chronicles 34:24-28

It was circa 625 B.C. The setting was Judah, and the recipient of God’s message was King Josiah. The northern ten tribes of Israel had been conquered 100 years earlier by the kingdom of Assyria. Although Israel was God’s chosen nation, God’s patience had reached its limit. He could only stomach so much idol worship, murder, sexual perversion, blasphemy and injustice.  So, God’s judgment had come in the form of the invading Assyrian army.

And now, Judah—which contained the two remaining tribes of Israel in the south—was heading for similar destruction. Like her Israelite family members in the north, Judah had experienced a moral tailspin. During his lifetime, King Josiah was able to turn the tide, ushering in a great spiritual revival. Unfortunately, his efforts were too little too late. During the reign of Josiah’s son, the mighty army of Babylon swept into Jerusalem and captured the city. It was the first of three Babylonian invasions that would strike Judah over a 20-year period.

The fact is, prior to Josiah’s ascension to the throne, Judah had already crossed a spiritual line in the sand that had sealed her fate. The people’s sin had mushroomed to such an extent that God’s judgment had to fall upon the nation. Even the godly Josiah could not alter this divine imperative.

With this in mind, I’ve wondered in recent years if the United States of America has crossed a similar line in the sand. While it is encouraging to know that a growing number of Americans are “pro life,” that doesn’t cleanse our hands of the blood from the 58 million abortions that have taken place in America since 1973. American churches spend millions of dollars sending missionaries around the world, but sadly, American businessmen spend billions of dollars peddling pornographic smut around the world. Although many U.S. churches are faithfully teaching God’s word and standing firm in the faith, far too many others are caving in to societal pressure to be soft on sin and firm on political correctness.

I am convinced that a major spiritual revival is on the horizon, a revival that will sweep through churches like wildfire, setting the faith of Christians ablaze and resulting in the conversion of millions of people across the country. I have been praying for revival for over fifteen years, and I am convinced it’s coming in the near future. Yet I wonder … even if such a revival turns our nation back to God, will it be too little too late? Have we, like Judah, already crossed a spiritual threshold? Will God’s judgment fall upon our country anyway?

If we have not yet passed the point of no return, it’s clear that we are quickly moving in that direction and have no time to lose. Christians must do here in America what God instructed King Solomon to do in ancient Israel. In 2 Chronicles 7:14, God laid out a four-step process for ushering in a national spiritual revival. #1: We must humble ourselves. We have to honestly confess: We have become an arrogant nation. We have banned the Bible from our public schools. We have forcibly removed the Ten Commandments from our courthouses, and we have created our own self-serving morality. The first step to usher in revival is to get off our high horse and down on our knees before our holy and all-powerful God.

And once we are on our knees, #2: We must pray. Christians, we need to spend more time praying for our political leaders than we do criticizing them. Pray for them to be humble. Pray for them to courageously stand on the timeless truths of God’s word. Pray for them to be forgiven for their sin and follow Christ as they lead us.

#3: We must seek God’s face. We need to make sure that our prayers are not all about “Gimme, gimme, gimme.” Seeking God’s face involves hungering and thirsting for His presence, not just hungering and thirsting for the stuff His hands can give us.

#4: We must turn from our wicked ways. Without repentance—true repentance—there is no forgiveness of sin. And without forgiveness of sin, revival will never come. Repentance is never just a matter of feeling sorry for our sin. Repentance involves acting upon our sorrow. It’s not enough to just be sorry Roe vs. Wade was passed; we must work to overturn it. It’s not enough to just be sorry that marriage has been cheapened in our country; we must work to strengthen it. It’s not enough to lament over how godless our public schools have become; we must strive to turn the tide by standing up for our kids’ God-given rights to pray, read Scripture and share their faith at school.

I hold out hope that there are enough Christians in this country who will cry out to God for a revival that will turn the tide. I hold out hope that there are enough of us who will boldly proclaim God’s word, humbly repent of our sins, and prayerfully restore a solid moral foundation in our homes, churches, schools and government. If there are, there is great hope for our nation. Won’t you be one of the many who helps pave the way for revival in America? 

Dane Davis is the Lead Pastor of First Christian Church in Victorville. To hear Pastor Dane’s messages or for more information about the church, visit .

Thursday, November 3, 2016

A Husband’s Love for His Wife (Part 2)

"Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up
for her.”  – Ephesians 5:25

In the year 1141, Emperor Konrad laid siege to the castle of Weinsberg in Bavaria, Germany. Wolf, the duke of Bavaria, resisted the siege as long as possible, but the day came when he realized that he must surrender. As retribution for Wolf’s lingering stubbornness during the drawn out conflict, Emperor Konrad planned to kill every resident of Weinsberg and burn the castle to the ground.

In response, the wives of Weinsberg begged Konrad to spare the women’s lives. He consented to their request, even granting each woman permission to carry her most precious possession with her as she left the city. After all, he didn’t want the women to be a drain on society by being left penniless. So, the time came for the women to safely exit the city, and one by one, each woman walked through the city gates and filed past Emperor Konrad’s soldiers. But what Konrad and his soldiers witnessed left them speechless: Each wife walked out of the city carrying her husband on her back. Emperor Konrad was so moved by the women’s faithful love for their husbands that he spared all of the men’s lives and even chose to leave the castle standing.

As touching as this story is, it paints a vivid picture of a sad reality in many marriages today: When it comes to the responsibility spouses have to love each other, wives carry a lopsided amount of the burden. It’s far too common for husbands to relinquish their God-given duty to love their wives as Christ loves the Church, and to let their wives “carry” the relationship. 

Many husbands have a view of love that is shallow and sexualized, but Christ’s idea of love is deep and pure. Many husbands fixate on what they can get out of the marriage; Christ’s love is focused on what we ourselves can put into the marriage. Many husbands cling to a love that is temporary and conditional based on whether or not their wives deserve their love, but Christ’s love is unchanging and unconditional.

Bottom line: Christ’s love for his church is sacrificial. Therefore, a husband’s love for his wife must also be sacrificial. Ephesians 5:25 says it so plainly. “Husbands, love your wives just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.” A husband’s love for his wife must be sacrificial, but according to Ephesians 5:26-31, it must also be three other things.

First of all, a husband’s love must be cleansing. Just as Jesus died on the cross to wash us clean from our sins, God’s word commands a husband to similarly wash his wife. That sounds interesting, but what does it mean for a husband to wash or cleanse his wife? To put it simply, a husband’s love must lead her toward understanding and obeying God’s word, not toward distorting and disobeying it.

This begins in the dating relationship. If a young man aims to “score” with his girlfriend, he is not only planning to sin himself, but he is also breaking God’s command to love her with a cleansing kind of love. To put it simply, instead of helping to preserve her chastity for her wedding night, he is selfishly defiling it. Similarly, when a husband flirts with another woman, he is tempting his wife to become angry, bitter and spiteful toward him. Obviously this is 180 degrees from the way a husband is commanded to lead his wife. Loving husbands lead their wives closer to Christ, not closer to sin. A husband’s love must be cleansing.

Secondly, a husband’s love for his wife must be nurturing. Not only does God expect a loving husband to tend to his wife’s spiritual needs, He also expects him to tend to her physical needs. Just as a husband feeds and takes care of his own body, he must feed and take care of his wife’s body. Regardless of what kind of work a husband can or cannot do and regardless of what earning potential he does or doesn’t have, God has called husbands to do their best to take care of the physical needs of their wives. When a wife is hungry, exhausted or sick, her husband should be the first in line to nourish her with food, rest and Nyquil. A husband’s love must be nurturing.

Finally, a husband’s love for his wife must be unbreakable. In Genesis 2, God makes it clear that a husband must “cleave to” his wife. The word God uses literally means to be “glued to” or “cemented to.” So, a loving husband is responsible before God to make sure that he and his wife remain cemented together until separated by death. Sadly, our culture has replaced God’s marriage cement with Velcro. If our marriages get too difficult or we find them unfulfilling, husbands simply peel themselves off from their wives and attach to another woman. How far we’ve strayed from God’s original design for marriage! A husband’s love must be unbreakable.

It’s high time for Christian men to “step it up” in their marriages, bearing the God-given responsibility of loving their wives as Christ loves His church. A husband’s love must be sacrificial, cleansing, nurturing and unbreakable. Our marriages desperately need husbands to love their wives with this kind of love. Strong marriages depend on it.

Dane Davis is the lead pastor of First Christian Church of Victorville and the author of Holy Huldah! Lessons You Should Never Forget from Bible Characters You've Never Heard Of. To hear Pastor Dane's messages for for more information about the church, visit

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

A Husband’s Love (Part 1)

"Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.”  – Ephesians 5:25

Ephesians 5:22-33 is the most misunderstood and misused passage about marriage in the whole Bible. Male chauvinist husbands have gravitated to verses 22-24, demanding that their wives “submit” to their authority. Spiteful wives have gravitated to verses 25-26, criticizing their husbands for being unloving and dropping the ball as spiritual leaders in their homes. Knowing that these Bible verses stir up frustration and arguments on both sides of the marriage aisle, many Christians avoid these verses like the plague.

But we shouldn’t sidestep this great passage. In this day and age when so many marriages aren’t “for better and for worse, for richer and for poorer, in sickness and in health ‘til death do us part,” we need to get back to basics. We need to return to the Creator of marriage and read His marriage owner’s manual once again. In Genesis 1 and 2, God makes it clear that He created marriage for two key purposes: unparalleled companionship and bearing children. But in Ephesians 5:22-33, God gives specific instructions to husbands and wives about their God-given responsibilities within their marriage.

Let’s focus on the husband’s two God-given responsibilities. According to this great passage, the husband is called by God to do two things within his marriage: to lead and to love his wife. Obviously, it’s the first of these commands that ruffles the most feminist feathers. You’d be hard-pressed to find a wife who would put up a fuss about her husband loving her, but there are plenty of women—and men as well—who balk at the notion of a husband having a position of authority over his wife. After all, modern wisdom dictates that spouses should be equal partners with equal authority in their marriage.

However, I would suggest that one of the main reasons these marital commands of Ephesians 5:22-33 are so often misunderstood and misused is because people treat these twelve verses as if they parachuted out of heaven and landed randomly in the Book of Ephesians. But they didn’t. In order to properly understand these verses, we must first read and take a closer look at the first four and one-half chapters of Ephesians, which provide the backdrop for this teaching on marriage.

Long story short: A husband’s leadership in his marriage must mirror Jesus’ leadership in the church, which the first four and one-half chapters of Ephesians describe. Many of us have developed a deep suspicion and resentment toward leaders, because we’ve known leaders who were domineering and manipulative. But Ephesians 1 makes it clear that Jesus’ leadership is not like that at all. Jesus’ leadership involves giving his church every spiritual blessing (verse 3), adopting believers into his family (verse 5), spilling his blood for us so that we can avoid eternal destruction (verse 7), and lavishing God’s rich grace upon us (verses 7-8).

Therefore, if a husband is to lead as God has called him to lead, his leadership in his marriage must mirror Christ’s leadership in the church. Like Jesus, he must be a blessing to his wife in every possible way; make his wife the most important, most valuable member of his family; be willing to spill his blood for his wife, and—like Jesus—he must cover her with God’s rich grace. Now ladies, how many of you would object to this kind of leadership in your home?

And just as it’s unfair and improper for us to superimpose our own cultural understanding of leadership on this Bible passage, it’s improper for us to superimpose our own cultural understanding of love upon this passage. The truth is: the Bible’s definition of true love is much deeper and richer that our culture’s definition of love. Our idea of love today is shallow and sexualized, whereas Christ’s idea of love is deep and pure. Our culture’s love tends to be selfish and self-centered; Christ’s love is selfless and others-centered. The world’s love is focused on what I can get out of the relationship; Christ’s love is focused on what I can put into the relationship. The world’s love is temporary and conditional based on whether or not the other person deserves my love, but Christ’s love is unchanging and unconditional.

Bottom line: Christ’s love for his church is sacrificial. Therefore, a husband’s love for his wife must also be sacrificial. Ephesians 5:25 says it so plainly. It’s a wonder that we’ve overlooked it in the past: “Husbands, love your wives just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.” There’s no way around it: A husband is to lead his family—including his wife—but his leadership is to be marked by giving himself up. It must radiate sacrificial love.

A husband must sacrifice his own good for her good. He must, when necessary, relinquish his own rights for her rights; he must be willing to get his own hands dirty so that her hands can remain clean. He must routinely forgo meeting his own needs so that he can meet her needs. That’s the put-your-money-where-your-mouth-is kind of love that Jesus has for the church. So that must be the kind of love that a husband has for his wife. Marriages become much stronger when husbands mirror Christ in their homes by sacrificially leading and loving their wives.

Dane Davis is the lead pastor of First Christian Church of Victorville and the author of Holy Huldah! Lessons You Should Never Forget from Bible Characters You've Never Heard Of. To hear Pastor Dane's messages for for more information about the church, visit

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Marriage and Questions of Final Authority

"Judge for yourselves whether it is right in God's sight to obey you rather than God." 
-- Acts 4:19

Perhaps Chief Justice John Roberts said it best as he responded to the Supreme Court’s 5-4 decision last year to legalize gay marriage in all fifty states: “Who do we think we are?” It’s a valid question because—as Roberts sees it—in one fell swoop five of his colleagues treaded upon the democratic process, states’ rights, the Constitution and a several-thousand-year-old cornerstone of civilized society. The Supreme Court’s marriage decision certainly does beg the question: “Who do we think we are?”

Our great nation was founded upon the premise that our basic human rights are God-given, and our Constitution was shaped and influenced by the Bible more than any other book. Many Americans try to argue that the United States has never been a “Christian nation,” but the evidence to the contrary is overwhelming. From the Pilgrims’ Mayflower Compact to the U.S. Constitution to the Supreme Court’s Trinity Decision of 1892, there is ample evidence that America was founded as a Christian nation upon the timeless principles of Scripture. And America’s political leaders and justices—for the first 170 years of our nation’s history—understood this and legislated accordingly.

But in recent years, America’s political leaders have moved further and further away from our nation’s Christian foundation and have begun moving—with ever-increasing speed and intensity—toward full-fledged secularism. So, have we reached a point where America has become a “post-Christian” nation? Although I hate to admit it, I believe so.

Corporate Bible reading and prayer have both been illegal in public schools for over fifty years. The Bible is no longer held as the source of absolute truth in the public square, the Capitol building or the White House. Prayers are heavily censored and—to a large extent—are just a matter of polite formality in city halls and state capitals across the nation. And Christian pastors and Christian business owners who were once respected and esteemed by elected officials are being ridiculed and prosecuted for refusing to ride the ever-growing wave of moral relativism and secularism.

Ultimately, each of us who claims to follow Christ as Lord and Savior has an important question to answer: Who is the final authority in my life? In Acts 4 when two of Jesus’ apostles, Peter and John, were commanded by the Jerusalem authorities to stop preaching and teaching about Jesus, they responded with these timeless words: “Judge for yourselves whether it is right in God’s sight to obey you rather than God.”

Obviously, Peter and John had already made their decision: If the religious and political authorities were asking them to say or do something that was contrary to what God Himself had asked them to say or do, they would obey God without batting an eye. God had called them to submit to the governing authorities up to the point that the authorities began asking them to say or do things that were against God’s word. At that point, civil disobedience was the most God-honoring response.

So, let me ask you: Who or what is the final authority in your life? Is your life theocentric (God-centered) and bibliocentric (Bible-centered) or is it anthropocentric (man-centered) and egocentric (self-centered)? In other words, are God and His word the final authority on what is right and wrong, or are you the final authority?

Sadly, the Supreme Court’s ruling last year revealed a weak link in many Christians’ views on final authority. Many Christians—knowing full well that God condemns homosexuality in both the Old and New Testaments—have chosen to ignore that reality and make the case that homosexual marriage should be praised and supported. By doing so, they have lowered the authority of God’s word while exalting their own authority. Many Christians—knowing full well that God created marriage to be a committed covenant relationship between one man and one woman—have chosen to reject His created design for marriage and redesign it themselves. Which begs the question, “Who do we think we are?”

In the grand scheme of things, there are hundreds, even thousands, of moral decisions that we will make over the next few years about what is right or wrong. And with each of these decisions, you and I will have to determine who or what is the final moral authority: our secular culture, our President, the U.S. Supreme Court, Hollywood, our friends and family, ourselves or God’s word.

It goes without saying: the final authority for me is God and His word. Therefore, I must both embrace and speak His truth in love. Even when God’s laws are hard to accept, even when they feel restrictive, even when they go against the flow of our secular culture and nation’s leaders, even when speaking them generates an impassioned backlash from media moguls—God and His word are the final authority in my life. If you call Jesus “Lord,” the same should be true of you.

Dane Davis is the lead pastor of First Christian Church of Victorville and the author of Holy Huldah! Lessons You Should Never Forget from Bible Characters You've Never Heard Of. To hear Pastor Dane's messages or for more information about the church, visit

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Marriage Is Good…Really Good!

"He who finds a wife does what is good and receives favor from the LORD." - Proverbs 18:22

Marriage is good. It sounds like a no-brainer, but sadly it’s not. A growing number of American adults—especially young adults—have come to the conclusion that marriage is expendable. Many view marriage as an outdated, archaic institution that needs to be redefined or scrapped altogether.

While most young adults wouldn’t go so far as to say that marriage is “bad,” the statistics speak for themselves: Over the past fifty years marriage rates among young adults (20 to 34 years of age) have declined significantly. One recent study discovered that almost 70% of American men under the age of 35 were unmarried. Many young adults avoid marriage like the plague, choosing instead to pursue inferior options like cohabitation or one-night stands.

Consider this: There is a growing men’s movement in our country called “Men Going Their Own Way,” or MGTOW. Men who have joined this movement believe women are not worth the trouble. They are not opposed to casual sexual encounters with women, but they refuse to commit to any woman. They believe the cost of doing so is too high. MGTOW men pride themselves on not being tied down by a girlfriend, and they adamantly reject Valentine’s Day and other societal pressures to be chivalrous and dote on their ladies. In their view, boxes of chocolates and bouquets of flowers are a complete waste of money.

Does this movement sound ridiculous to you? It should. But it’s symptomatic of a deeper problem. Let’s face it: Our culture celebrates selfish individuality and narcissism while ignoring service and sacrifice. And the repercussions of doing so have been devastating for the American family. A growing number of children are being raised in single parent homes because men have chosen to be sperm donors instead of fathers. Research is conclusive that the likelihood of juvenile delinquency, drug use, gang activity, promiscuity, and dropping out of high school all increase in homes where the father is absent. There should be no doubt that alternatives to traditional marriage have proven themselves to be abysmal failures.

But what does the Bible say? In Genesis 2:18-25, we read of how God created the very first marriage. Many people these days seek to discard marriage without stopping to consider how its Creator designed it in the first place. How foolish! Marriage is a magnificent creation of God, and we need to embrace its original design and purpose as described in Genesis 1 and 2. We discover two created purposes for marriages in these two chapters: companionship and bearing children.

In Genesis 2:18 God focuses on the first of these two purposes as He says, “It is not good for man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.” The Hebrew word translated as “helper” describes one who comes alongside another for support, for assistance and to shore up his/her weaknesses. Bottom line: Adam was incomplete on his own. By himself he couldn’t be all that God had created Him to be or do all that God had commanded him to do. He needed a perfect companion to provide him with unparalleled fellowship, love and sexual intimacy.

This leads us to the second created purpose for marriage: bearing children. God gave Adam and Eve this command in Genesis 1:28: “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it.” This command to have children and fill the earth was so important to God that He repeated it several times in the Book of Genesis. He reiterated this command to Noah in Genesis 8:17, Genesis 9:1 and Genesis 9:7. And in Genesis 11—after people had refused to be fruitful and multiply—the Lord diversified human languages at the Tower of Babel in order to make it so.

You see, people in ancient times resisted God’s command to be fruitful and multiply. And that same resistance is persistent in America today. A growing number of adults who can have children have chosen not to have children, viewing them to be an unnecessary annoyance, burden and restrictor of freedom. Meanwhile, far too many women have chosen to engage in promiscuous sex, ending up with three or four children who all have different dads. How far we have strayed from God’s original design for marriage and the family!

Contrary to popular belief, marriage is not expendable and children are not an unfortunate byproduct of sexual freedom. Quite the opposite: A child is a gift, a joy and a blessing from God. But they are a blessing intended for a committed husband and wife who can raise the child together. Marriage was designed by God to provide a husband and wife with unparalleled companionship and to provide a stable and nurturing environment within which to bear and rear children.

Sadly, as the days go by, many young men and women continue to choose cohabitation, one-night stands and “Going Their Own Way” as alternatives to marriage. But these have always been and always will be inferior alternatives. Marriage is good. Having children is good. And they are designed by God to go hand-in-hand.

Dane Davis is the lead pastor of First Christian Church of Victorville and the author of Holy Huldah! Lessons You Should Never Forget from Bible Characters You've Never Heard Of. To hear Pastor Dane's messages for for more information about the church, visit

Thursday, September 15, 2016

What Makes a Couple Compatible?

“Jesus answered, ‘The most important commandment is this: ‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’”  
– Mark 12:29-30

One of my primary jobs during pre-marital counseling is to ask couples to answer questions that they never ask each other. Most young couples tend to avoid discussing hot button topics that may lead to disagreements or conflict. Furthermore, they are so focused on the details of their wedding day that they talk very little about the substance of their marriage.

So for years I’ve had a practice of leading a discussion about compatibility on the first day of premarital counseling. Many young couples have bought into the old wives’ tale that—when it comes to finding your lifemate—opposites attract and make the most compatible spouses. But it’s simply not true. The most stable, strong and happy marriages are those in which the husband and wife have the most important things in common: values, beliefs and goals.

Imagine a target with five concentric circles. The inner three circles are where it’s critical for couples to be on the same page. When it comes to compatibility, the bull’s eye is values. Values can be defined as: “What I really care about and what I prioritize.” (We’ll get back to values in a moment.)

The circle just outside the bullseye is beliefs. Beliefs can be defined as: “What I hold to be true.” Each of us holds thousands of different beliefs. For example, I believe that the earth is round, that Pluto is a planet, that the Victor Valley is a good place to live, that the Bible is true and that Jesus Christ is Lord and Savior. And my list of beliefs goes on and on. Although no two people will be in complete agreement with their thousands of different beliefs, husbands and wives need to be on the same page with most of their convictions, especially the ones they hold most dear.

Which leads us to the bull’s eye of compatibility: values. Remember that values refer to the things I deeply care about—what I prioritize. I used to believe that beliefs were the most important area of compatibility, but I’m now convinced that values are even more important. Here’s why. Of the thousands of beliefs that you hold, there are only a handful that you really care about. For example, like me, you may believe that Pluto is a planet, but you probably don’t give Pluto a passing thought on any given day. None of your emotions are wrapped up in Pluto. It isn’t a priority to you. And the same holds true for the vast majority of your other beliefs. There are only a handful of beliefs that you care enough about to prioritize with your time, energy and passion. And the same holds true for every other person.

Many Christian women lament that their husbands express little to no interest in attending church, praying or reading the Bible. When asked if their husbands are Christians, many wives respond, “Yes.” They are convinced that their husbands believe in God and believe that going to church, reading the Bible and praying are all good things. But their husbands’ actions don’t seem to jive with their beliefs. Why not?

The answer boils down to values. Their husbands believe in God, but they don’t love God. Their husbands believe that the Bible is God’s word, but they don’t care enough about it to spend time reading it. They believe in prayer, but they don’t value it as a priority every day. Many engaged couples explore each other’s beliefs. But sadly, very few probe each other’s values.

I advise all dating couples to ask each other deep, values-centered questions like: Who is your first love? What are you really passionate about? If you had a million dollars, how would you spend it? What do you prioritize in your schedule every week regardless of how busy you are? If you could spend the rest of your life doing only one thing, what would it be?

The third circle on the Compatibility Target is goals. Goals describe where a person is heading. Even if a couple is on the same page with their values and beliefs, their marriage will not be compatible if they are heading in opposite directions. If the groom plans to be a missionary in Africa and the bride aims to be a politician, their marriage is bound to be rocky. It’s very important for young couples to explore each other’s goals. Where do you see yourself in five or ten years? Where do you want to live? How many kids do you want to have? What are your financial goals?

Young couples would save themselves a world of hurt if they spent less time planning their weddings and more time determining the compatibility of their values, beliefs and goals. The marriage relationship is designed by God to be the most important and fulfilling human relationship on the planet. And it is intended to be for life. As such, it is not to be entered into lightly. Explore each other’s values, beliefs and goals. And encourage your kids and grandkids to do the same. Happier and healthier marriages are in store for those who do.

Dane Davis is the lead pastor of First Christian Church of Victorville and the author of Holy Huldah! Lessons You Should Never Forget from Bible Characters You've Never Heard Of. To hear Pastor Dane's messages for for more information about the church, visit