ANCHORS Here are some Biblical texts to discuss with friends who have read this issue of BPWV:
Ephesians 5:21-33 and 1 Peter 3:1-7: How do these two passages help us to understand the kind of love that allows marriages to endure and grow stronger, year after year? What principles can you glean from these texts to strengthen your own marriage?
Galatians 1:11-24: How difficult do you suppose it must have been for the believers in Jerusalem to receive Paul, much less to glorify God because of Him? Do you sense a need for the grace of forgiveness in your own life?
Proverbs 26:13-19: Consider the uses of humor in these verses. What is the point of each? How does the humor work to make the point? Why did the writer think that humor would be a good way to make his points?
Daniel 3:1-30: The "three Hebrew children" were a favorite Biblical story of many Celtic Christians, as they were faced with the prospect of martyrdom. How might we appropriate this story to strengthen our own faith and that of our friends?
LAUNCHERS These questions can help to launch you into conversations concerning the topics raised in this issue:
Love is a choice that married couples make and renew every day. But they must both agree on the nature and purposes of love, and encourage and support one another in it. What are some ways you have seen married couples practice mutual encouragement and support in loving one another? How has their faith in Christ helped them during difficult or trying times?
Resentment, pain, anger, bitterness, grudges: these are some of the roadblocks to forgiveness and renewal in the grace of God. How would you counsel someone suffering from one of these maladies to overcome it, using a text like Romans 12:21 as your guide?
Can humor be used constructively in relationships? In what ways? How can we begin to tell when humor has gone from being constructive to merely insipid, if not hurtful?
When it comes to the Gospel, the Bible, or even just God Himself, there seem to be a growing number of angry people in the world. How should we try to relate to such people? To help them to see the truth of the Gospel and of God’s love for them?
POINTERS A few items for action:
Invite over to your home an older married couple whose relationship you have admired. Use the time to celebrate their example, affirm their relationship, and discover what you can about nurturing strong relationships of love.
Contact Prison Fellowship to see if you can be an encourager to a field staff member or a volunteer working with inmates. Make a plan to pray for, contact, and support however you can the work of these who are ministering among the last, the lost, and the least of our society. See if you can get some others in your church to join you.
Add to your prayer list specific times of intercession for troubled places in the world: the Middle East, Somalia, the Basque area of Spain, America’s inner cities. Plead with God to send laborers into the harvest in these areas, that they may bring His peace where conflict and strife presently obtain. Find out what you can about ministries operating in these areas, and determine a way to support those ministries in your prayers.