HOME FELLOWSHIP CHURCHES

Having a Happier Marriage

47. Health Benefits of Prayer

Christie G Busuego & Elias A Busuego Jr PhD DTM – 40th Wedding Anniversary on May 21, 2020

Source: Journal of Marriage and Family – Couples who share religious beliefs, practices, and affiliations are happier than those with different or no religious orientation, according to a study of nearly 1,400 Americans between the ages of 19 and 59, conducted by the National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia. The happiest couples think, discuss, and practice their beliefs in the home, rather than only attending church or fellowship services.

Earlier research has identified three ways in which religion or spirituality enhances marriages:

  • By promoting ethical behavior [the Golden rule] and forgiveness;
  • by providing a family-oriented social network [Home Fellowship Church (family church)]
  • and by bringing a sense of meaning and purpose to life, which increases resilience to stress.

Christie and I was with our son Christopher, his wife Taylor, and daughter Zarah Rose

Spiritually: The Bible New Living Translation (NLT) Matthew 19:1-12 stated about, “Discussion about Divorce and Marriage
1 When Jesus had finished saying these things, He left Galilee and went down to the region of Judea east of the Jordan River. 2 Large crowds followed Him there, and He healed their sick.
3 Some Pharisees came and tried to trap Him with this question: “Should a man be allowed to divorce his wife for just any reason?” 4 “Haven’t you read the Scriptures?” Jesus replied. “They record that from the beginning ‘God made them male and female.’ 5 And He said, ‘This explains why a man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one.’ 6 Since they are no longer two but one, let no one split apart what God has joined together.” 7 “Then why did Moses say in the law that a man could give his wife a written notice of divorce and send her away?” they asked. 8 Jesus replied, “Moses permitted divorce only as a concession to your hard hearts, but it was not what God had originally intended. 9 And I tell you this, whoever divorces his wife and marries someone else commits adultery – unless his wife has been unfaithful.” 10 Jesus’ disciples then said to Him, “If this is the case, it is better not to marry!” 11 “Not everyone can accept this statement,” Jesus said. “Only those whom God helps. 12 Some are born as eunuchs, some have been made eunuchs by others, and some choose not to marry for the sake of the Kingdom of Heaven. Let anyone accept this who can.”

Life Application: iLumina Bible Studies – The Pharisees hoped to trap our Lord Jesus Christ by getting Him to choose sides in a theological controversy regarding divorce. The debate focused on Moses’ words about divorce in Deuteronomy 24:1-4. Some thought a man could divorce his wife for almost any reason. Others thought that a man could divorce his wife only if she had been unfaithful to him. If Jesus were to support divorce, He would be upholding the Pharisees’ procedures; they doubted that Jesus would do that. If Jesus were to choose sides in the controversy, some members of the crowd would dislike His position, for some may have used the law to their advantage to divorce their wives. Or, if He were to speak against divorce altogether, he would appear to be speaking against Moses.

The Pharisees had quoted Moses’ writings in Deuteronomy; our Lord Jesus Christ also quoted from Moses’ writings (Genesis 1:27; 2:24), but He went back to Genesis, the beginning, referring to the ideal state of creation and particularly of marriage. In creating male and female, God’s plan was that in marriage the husband and wife are united into one. The wife is not property, but a person created in God’s image. Jesus drew a distinction: God’s creation of marriage and his absolute command that it be a permanent union versus the provisions written hundreds of years later that tolerated divorce because of people’s utter sinfulness (Matthew 19:8). The Pharisees regarded Deuteronomy 24:1 as a proof text for divorce. But our Lord Jesus Christ focused on marriage rather than divorce. The Pharisees regarded divorce as a legal issue rather than a spiritual one; marriage and divorce were merely transactions similar to buying and selling land (with women being treated as property). But our Lord Jesus Christ condemned this attitude, clarifying God’s original intention; that marriage bring unity that no one should separate.

The Pharisees asked why Moses allowed divorce. They wondered if our Lord Jesus Christ was saying that Moses had written laws contrary to God’s commands. In reality, Moses had instituted divorce laws to help its victims. Under Jewish law, only a husband could initiate and carry out a divorce. The civil laws protected the women, who, in that culture, were quite vulnerable when living alone. Because of Moses’ law, a man could no longer just throw his wife out – he had to write an official letter of divorce so she could remarry and reclaim her dowry, money or property. This was a major step toward civil rights for women, for it made a man think twice before sending his wife away. Moses’ words gave protection to the wife and limited abuses of divorce.

In Moses’ time, as well as in our Lord Jesus’ day and today, the practice of marriage fell far short of God’s intention. Our Lord Jesus Christ said that Moses permitted divorce only because of people’s hard-hearted wickedness, referring to a stubborn, willful attitude. Many refused to follow through with their marriages as God had intended, so God allowed divorce as a concession to their sinfulness. Our Lord Jesus Christ turned the Pharisees’ “test” question back on them by using it as an opportunity to review God’s intended purpose for marriage and to expose their spiteful motives in testing our Lord Jesus Christ.

Our Lord Jesus Christ had clearly explained that divorce dissolves a divinely formed union. Some men were divorcing in order to get remarried. The rabbis’ interpretation of Moses’ law permitted remarriage after divorce, but our Lord Jesus Christ explained that marriage after divorce is adultery. However, He gave one exception: unless the wife has been unfaithful (see also Matthew 5:32). Scholars agree that our Lord Jesus’ words refer to both husbands and wives; that is, the unfaithfulness of one could be grounds for divorce by the other (see Mark 10:12).

While the application of our Lord Jesus’ words requires interpretation to specific situations, one truth is inescapable: God created marriage to be a sacred, permanent union and partnership between husband and wife. When both husband and wife enter this union with that understanding and commitment, they can provide security for each other, a stable home for their children, and strength to weather any of life’s storms or stresses.

The disciples believed our Lord Jesus Christ upheld such an impossible standard that it would be better for people not to marry than to enter into the covenant of marriage. It seemed better not to make the vow than to make the vow and not be able to keep it.

The high ideal of marriage was not for everyone, but only those whom God helps. Those given that responsibility are expected to adhere to it. There are some to whom this gift of marriage is not given. A “eunuch” is an emasculated male – a man with no testicles. Some are born as eunuchs, who perhaps had physical limitations that prevented their marrying. Others were made that way by others, such as those servants who, in ancient cultures, were castrated in order to serve the master without sexual distractions. Some choose not to marry for the sake of the Kingdom of Heaven, voluntarily remaining abstinent because, in their particular situation, they could serve God better as single people. Our Lord Jesus Christ Himself would be in this category, as was the apostle Paul.

Elias A & Christie G Busuego Families – Year 2011

THE PRIORITY OF PRAYER by Dr. Charles Stanley of InTouch Ministries https://www.intouch.org/watch/the-priority-of-prayer

Acts 20:20 says, “I never shrank back from telling you what you needed to hear, either publicly or in your homes.”

Paul’s ministry in Ephesus exuded boldness in telling the truth. The mention of homes may refer to house churches. Paul had one message for all. Both Jews and Gentiles alike were included in his mission, and both needed the central message of turning from sin and turning to God.
In this day of growing complexity, the church often falls prey to the temptation to become sophisticated and complicated, to fit into the culture. Born-Again Christian believers must never let the message get lost in the trappings of the ministry (buildings, programs, schedules, calendars) or the ever-present busyness of church activities.

The Home Fellowship Churches is committed to achieve the three main purposes: ENCOURAGE, ENLIGHTEN, and EMPOWER families to share the Great Commission, preach and teach the Gospel – the Good News – the love and forgiveness of our Lord Jesus Christ, our loving Savior and merciful Mighty God.

First, the Home Fellowship Churches’ purpose is to “ENCOURAGE” Born-Again Christian and spiritual matured believers to bring the church and/or fellowship (not the building or temple) that meets in every homes/houses, gives the families a future focus, a sense of hope, a sense of deep meaningful purpose. This sense of the future becomes more impactful, more powerful than the sense of the past, than what is often called baggage: past traumas, social injuries, past failures, and even the grasp of present circumstances. We will need to work basically on two things: vision – our sense of the future, and purpose driven life – those principles we want to live by so that we value them.

Second, the Home Fellowship Churches’ purpose is to “ENLIGHTEN” the members of the family at home through our Lord Jesus Christ who is the Light of the world. We could begin with the end in mind with a common purpose, a common vision, which is what gets expressed in a family mission statement within the Home Fellowship Churches. We may call it a purpose statement. The most important thing is the collective effort by all in the family to develop a clear sense of what that family is about and values by which it operates. A family’s vision, purpose, and values are more powerful, more significant, and more influential than the baggage of the past or even the accumulated noise of the present. The power of a mission statement lies in the family vision and in a commitment to that vision, to that purpose, and to those principle-centered values.

Third, the Home Fellowship Churches’ purpose is to “EMPOWER” families with the help of the HOLY SPIRIT to create family’s mission statement, a nurturing place of faith, hope and love that will direct and lead our families’ destination guided by our leadership skills with the wisdom comes from God. We received the guidance of the Holy Spirit and God’s Words, and the core values we want to live our lives by walking by faith in God according to His perfect will, hope from His promises, don’t give up, and envision together what lies down the road the way to live in eternity.

The Home Fellowship Churches’ ultimate purpose, vision, and mission is to establish church and/or fellowship in every home with the support and further of family’s mission statement. The family’s mission statement is to propagate the Gospel – The Good News of our Lord Jesus Christ to our loved ones, friends, and neighbors. It is also merely an extension of statement that is based on Habit Two of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People called “Begin with the End in Mind.” It focuses us on the principles of what we want to be in terms of character, and what we want to do about contributions and achievements. It is based upon self-chosen values and principles. This is the supreme value of the process of long-term thinking, long term planning in building powerful family mission statement that surround the accomplishment of worthy purposes for all God’s glory.

Improving Mood and Outlook

29.   Health Benefits of Prayer

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Source: Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease – Numerous studies have found a strong connection between deeply held religious beliefs and less likelihood and incidence of depression. For example, a study of more than 600 middle-age and older adults, by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, examined how both men and women experienced the influence of religious beliefs that protected them against symptoms of depression.

Researchers found that these were some of the protective experiences: “I feel God’s presence,” and “I feel comfort in my religion or spirituality.” Benefits were comparable for both men and women.

Spiritually: The Bible New Living Translation (NLT) Ephesians 6:18 stated, “18 Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere.”

Life Application: iLumina Bible Studies – This verse, although not naming another “weapon” in the believer’s armor, does continue the thought of Ephesians 6:17. As we take the sword of the Holy Spirit, God’s word, we must also pray at all times and on every occasion in the power of the Holy Spirit. Praying in the Spirit means that the Holy Spirit helps us when we pray (Romans 8:26); the Holy Spirit prays on our behalf (Romans 8:27); the Holy Spirit makes God accessible (Ephesians 2:18); the Holy Spirit gives us confidence when we pray (Romans 8:15-16; Galatians 4:6). He inspires and guides us when we pray. He helps us communicate with God and also brings God’s response to us.

Paul was giving the how-tos for taking up the armor described in the previous verses. We must not underestimate Satan’s forces. He will strike in different ways at different people; thus, we need to pray “all kinds” of prayers, allowing for all kinds of requests. Satan will attack at various times, but he will always be attacking someone. Satan will attack when we least expect it, so we need to stay alert to prayer needs when they arise. Satan will rarely let up if he thinks he can win the battle, so Born-Again Christian believers must be persistent in praying, no matter how long it takes. No believer is exempt from being Satan’s target – Satan demands battle against his enemies (we as Born-Again Christian believers). Thus, all Christians everywhere need our prayer support.

How can anyone pray at all times? Make quick, brief prayers our habitual response to every situation we meet throughout the day. Order our life around God’s desires and teachings so that our very lives become all kinds of prayers. We can make prayer our life and our life a prayer while living in a world that needs God’s powerful influence.

THE PRIORITY OF PRAYER by Dr. Charles Stanley of InTouch Ministries https://www.intouch.org/watch/the-priority-of-prayer

Reducing Stress in Fibromyalgia Patients

28.   Health Benefits of Prayer

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Source: International Journal of Psychiatry in Medicine – Fibromyalgia is a debilitating condition associated with stress and marked by pain in joints, muscles, and tendons, severe fatigue, and an inability to get a good night’s rest. Malfunction of the fight-or-flight hormone cortisol, which enables us to deal with stress in day-to-day life, is one of its characteristics. A study of 91 women with fibromyalgia, at the University of Louisville in Kentucky, found that those who had stronger religious beliefs had healthier levels of cortisol, enabling them to be more resilient to stress.

Spiritually: The Bible New Living Translation (NLT) Matthew 11:28-30 stated, “28 Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”

Life Application: iLumina Bible Studies) – While those wise and learned in their own eyes are blinded to the truth (Matthew 11:25-26), our Lord Jesus Christ invites those who are weary and carry heavy burdens. The “wise and learned” Pharisees had placed so many rules and regulations on the people that religion had become like “labor,” and a life of devotion to the Law had become a burden to carry (see Matthew 23:1-4). But Lord Jesus invited the “little ones,” true disciples with eyes open to see the truth, to come to Him and find rest from these labors. Our Lord Jesus Christ was clearly admonishing them to abandon Pharisaic legalism and join Him. Those who follow Jesus Christ will find refreshment in their renewed relationship with Him, freedom from guilt over sin, deliverance from fear and despair, and the promise of continued help and guidance from the Holy Spirit. (See Hebrews 3–4 for more on the New Testament view of rest.)

A yoke is a heavy wooden harness that fits over the shoulders of animals, such as oxen, that is attached to a piece of equipment that the animals are to pull. The law was a “yoke” that was considered hard to bear. Our Lord Jesus Christ used the familiar phrasing used of the law as an invitation to discipleship. “Take off the burdensome yoke of the Pharisee-styled law,” Lord Jesus Christ said, and “take my yoke upon you.” Following Lord Jesus Christ would not be a free ride; Lord Jesus Christ had already described the persecution and rejection His followers could expect (Matthew 10:17-42). They were not free from all constraints; they would carry a yoke, but it would be light. Again, this did not belittle the importance or difficulty of carrying out His mission; indeed, Jesus asked for more than mere obedience to the law. Discipleship requires extraordinary effort. These words focused on Jesus’ care and concern for his followers, his promise of guidance and presence (Matthew 28:20), and the ultimate future rewards.

Our Lord Jesus Christ said, “Let me teach you.” Our Lord Jesus Christ, our God, our Comforter, and example, was also the ultimate servant, humble and gentle. His path of humble service is the pattern for us to follow.

THE PRIORITY OF PRAYER by Dr. Charles Stanley of InTouch Ministries https://www.intouch.org/watch/the-priority-of-prayer

Protecting Against Age-Related Mental Decline

26.   Health Benefits of Prayer

 

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Source: The Journals of Gerontology Series – Researchers at Yale University School of Medicine studied more than 2,000 people over age 65 and found that those who attended religious services and/or fellowships were less likely  to lose their mental  faculties in the following few years. Religious people and/or spiritual people were also less likely to become physically disabled.

Spiritually: The Bible New Living Translation (NLT) Hebrews 13:1-3 stated, “1 Keep on loving each other as brothers and sisters. 2 Don’t forget to show hospitality to strangers, for some who have done this have entertained angels without realizing it! 3 Remember those in prison, as if you were there yourself. Remember also those being mistreated, as if you felt their pain in your own bodies.”

Life Application: iLumina Bible Studies The first command is: continue to love each other with true Christian love. The early Christians faced persecution and hatred from the world; hopefully, within the church and in the fellowship of believers, they should be able to find love and encouragement. The church ought to be a haven for believers. The command for believers to love one another was not new (see Leviticus 19:18; John 13:34-35). We as Born-Again Christian believers are to love one another based on our Lord Jesus Christ’s sacrificial love for us. Such love brings people to Christ and will keep believers strong and united in a world hostile to God. Our Lord Jesus Christ was a living example of God’s love, and we are to be living examples of JLord esus’ love (see also Romans 12:10; 1 Thessalonians 4:9; 1 Peter 1:22; 2 Peter 1:7).

The second command is to show hospitality to strangers. This kind of hospitality was important because inns of that day were expensive, as well as being centers for pagan practices and criminal activities. This hospitality also helped spread the Gospel because traveling missionaries would be able to go to more places and minister to more people if they did not have to stay in inns. These “strangers” to be entertained, however, were not to be people who worked against God’s Kingdom; that is, believers were not to welcome false teachers into their homes (2 John 1:10-11; 3 John 1:5-9). A further encouragement to this kind of hospitality comes from the biblical record that, through their hospitality, some have entertained angels without realizing it. This happened to Abraham (Genesis 18:1-14) and Lot (Genesis 19:1-3). That hospitality was given to and received by angels shows the importance of the hospitality Christians ought to give one another. It is better to offer hospitality generously than to miss the chance to entertain angels.

The third command focuses on those in prison. This instruction was already alluded to in 10:32-34. Believers are to have empathy for prisoners, especially for (but not limited to) Christians imprisoned for their faith. Our Lord Jesus Christ said that His followers would represent Him as they visited people in prison (Matthew 25:36). Others who were mistreated—beaten, robbed, assaulted, humiliated—also needed to be remembered.

THE PRIORITY OF PRAYER by Dr. Charles Stanley of InTouch Ministries https://www.intouch.org/watch/the-priority-of-prayer

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