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 Many view marriage as an outdated, archaic institution that needs to be redefined or scrapped altogether.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

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Is It Wrong for Christians to Drink Alcohol?

"So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God." - 1 Corinthians 10:31

If you want to start a lively debate at church, tell everyone what you think about Christians drinking alcohol. Many Christians-—especially those with roots in the Bible belt-—believe that Christians should never drink alcohol under any circumstances. Other Christians believe that drinking in moderation is part of our freedom in Christ and should be enjoyed without any concerns of conscience.

So, who is correct? Is it okay for Christians to drink alcohol or not? Is it possible to follow and serve Christ with a beer or glass of wine in hand? After studying this issue recently, I’ve become convinced that the most biblical answer is “it depends.”

For starters, it’s important to recognize that we never find a universal “thou-shalt-not-drink-alcohol” command in Scripture. Some Christians who are die-hard abolitionists claim that drinking alcohol under any circumstances is forbidden in Scripture, but that’s simply not true. However, the Bible does give several clear commands that restrict our drinking. Under any of the following four circumstances drinking is a sin.

#1: Drinking alcohol is wrong when it leads to drunkenness. Although the Scriptures never forbid drinking in any and every circumstance, the Scriptures definitely do forbid drunkenness. For example, in Ephesians 5:18 we read: “Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead be filled with the Spirit.” Similarly, Galatians 5:21 names drunkenness as an act of the sinful nature.

#2: Drinking alcohol is wrong when it’s against the law. God’s word makes it very clear in passages like Romans 13:1-2 that the Lord expects us to obey the laws of the land. Therefore, we are compelled as Christians to obey the laws regarding drinking that exist in our city, county and state. For example, in California it is against the law for minors to drink alcohol under any circumstances, even while at home under the supervision of a parent or guardian. Therefore, when teenagers in our state drink, it is an act of rebellion against both the laws of our land and God Himself.

#3: Drinking alcohol is wrong when it’s in defiance of your conscience. In Romans 14:14 the Apostle Paul writes, “I am fully convinced that no food is unclean in itself. But if anyone regards something as unclean, then for him it is unclean.” Paul could just as easily have said, “I am fully convinced that no wine or beer is unclean in itself. But if anyone regards alcohol as unclean, then for him it is unclean.” So, it’s clear from this verse that if you have a conscience issue with drinking alcohol, then under no circumstance should you drink. To defy your God-given conscience is sin.

#4: Drinking alcohol is wrong when it causes someone else to stumble into sin. Paul writes in Romans 14:20, “It is wrong for a man to do anything that causes someone else to stumble.” Even though I may be able to drink a beer, glass of wine or margarita responsibly, the person across from me at the table or in the booth next to me may not be able to do the same. I realize that drinking is contagious, and I don’t want to be anyone’s excuse for ordering an extra drink themselves. I may be able to call it quits after one drink, but the person across the table from me may not be able to do so. I may be able to drive home safely with a low blood-alcohol level, but the stranger across the room perhaps cannot.

The reality is that problem drinking is at epidemic levels in our country today. According to, there are some twenty million problem drinkers in the United States today, and according to another source, 3.3 million of these problem drinkers are high school students. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that each year in our country 2.7 million doctors’ visits, 1.2 million ER visits and 88,000 deaths are alcohol-related. Sadly, alcohol is involved in approximately ½ of all homicides, ½ of all domestic violence arrests, ½ of all crimes leading to incarceration, ½ of all birth defects and ¼ of all suicides.

Without a doubt problem drinking has produced a tidal wave of misery in our country. This cannot be disputed. So, I have come to the conclusion that even if I drink responsibly in moderation, the negatives of doing so far outweigh the positives. For that reason, I have chosen to err on the side of caution and practice abstinence.

However, if you are able to drink responsibly without breaching one of the four aforementioned conditions, then drinking falls underneath your freedom in Christ. You are welcome to do so. But make sure that as you drink, you do so with a thankful heart and with God’s glory in mind. All Christians-—both those who practice temperance and those who drink in moderation—-are compelled by God to obey 1 Corinthians 10:31: “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.”

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