“’I hate divorce,’ says the Lord God of Israel.” Malachi 2:16
Who would know better than the architect of marriage that living with another person day in and day out isn’t always easy? God understands what we’re going through, even in our worst circumstances. When Paul stated that “those who marry will face many troubles in this life” (1 Corinthians 7:28), he wasn’t kidding! Fortunately, God has given us a blueprint in Scripture for success and fulfillment in our marriage relationship. The Lord designed marriage for our benefit, and He knows that destroying this partnership is harmful to us in countless ways.
No wonder God hates divorce. He has made it clear that the concept of separating permanently from one’s marriage partner is not only unacceptable, but abhorrent. The only exception He has recorded for us is in the case of adultery, and even in that situation there is room for forgiveness and reconciliation if we follow Christ’s merciful example.
Our encouragement to you as a husband and wife who seek God’s best is a very personal one. As Jim and I have sought out and followed the Word of God, we have found all the stability and fulfillment in our marriage that He has promised! And you will, too. Marriage is His idea, after all, and His principles and values naturally produce harmony between people. It’s sinful behaviors that kill a relationship.
When your time of “many troubles” strikes, Satan will be ready at just the right moment to suggest the “solution” of divorce. Perhaps you’ve already arrived at this place in the past. Surely you know and love couples who have come to this moment, and have chosen to believe Satan’s lie.
My prayer is that you will believe God instead.
– Shirley M Dobson
Sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. Colossians 3:16
It’s easy enough to express our gratitude to God when He graciously blesses us with many good things. But on those days when everything seems to go wrong, a grateful heart is harder to come by.
I’m reminded of a story by Gigi Graham Tchividjian about the time she decided to fix up the large family sandbox for her six energetic children. She called the local sand company, and a truck soon arrived. To Gigi’s dismay, the truck began making deep trenches in the grass. The ground was soft from recent heavy rain. As the driver maneuvered, the truck also broke off several branches from overhanging trees.
Then it happened. The sand truck got stuck. The more the driver accelerated, the deeper he sank, until the truck began sliding down the hill, plowing a gaping hole. An hour later, a tow truck arrived. This driver backed around and hooked up to the first truck, leaving more black trenches. He tugged and pulled, breaking sprinkler pipes, splintering branches, and uprooting small trees in the process. It was no use. Both trucks were stuck. Eventually, truck number three arrived—the cab of an eighteen-wheeler.
That night, after five-and-a-half hours of mass destruction, the three trucks departed. Gigi was left with a yard that looked like a war zone and bills for five tons of sand and two tow trucks. The day had been a disaster. But when she tucked in her eight-year-old for the night, she was astonished at his prayer: “And thank You, Lord, for the exciting day and all the entertainment we had!”
There are times when we feel we could do with a little less “excitement” and “entertainment” in our lives. But the Lord knows best, and He directs us to “give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 5:18). That’s a godly perspective worth remembering—on the bad days as well as the good.
– Shirley M Dobson
Illustration adapted from Weatherproof Your Heart by Gigi Graham Tchividjian (Old Tappan, N.J.: Fleming H. Revell Company, 2000).
When it is time to retire, picking a spot to settle down is a top priority. Things like cost of living, proximity to family/friends, climate, healthcare and fun activities all weigh heavily in your final decision. There’s no shortage of “best places to retire lists” out there but many times they are just the same old recycled picks. So, we’re looking at five cities on the rise that are perfect for retirement, whether that’s five years or twenty years away.
Even though Nashville is best known for its ties to country music and a thriving nightlife, this trending city is not short on great retirement features. The capital city of Tennessee has a great higher education system which means access to cutting edge healthcare. In fact, Vanderbilt University Medical Center is ranked No. 17 on the U.S. News Best Hospitals Honor Roll. Boomers are looking to Nashville for its exciting city life, lower cost of living, tax breaks and four-season climate. The Music City is also experiencing a growing economy and flourishing job market. If you’re looking to avoid a boring retirement, Nashville has plenty to keep you occupied. From a lively arts scene to access to pro sports and plenty of outdoor activities, there’s a lot of love about settling down here.
Portsmouth, New Hampshire
Why not retire to the charm, history and beauty that this New England city has to offer? Settled in 1623, this coastal gem is loaded with top-notch restaurants, boutique shopping and loads of historic charm. One of the best features of Portsmouth is its walkability — even in the winter. Even though you are smack in the middle of New England, the climate is relatively mild because of its location on the coast. There are great outdoor and cultural activities available all four seasons. Even though the cost of living is slightly higher than average, you’ll find that your retirement check will go much further because there is no statewide sales tax and no state tax on Social Security income. Plus, if you want big city life, Boston is only 45 minutes away.
Asheville, North Carolina
This North Carolina city’s economy is booming and you’ll enjoy a cost of living that is 3% below the national average. It also made the list of “Best Boomer Towns,” so it’s trending off the charts for retirees. The weather is mild and the scenery is incredible, as Ashville is nestled within the majestic Blue Ridge Mountains. The people are friendly and Ashville is a very walkable city with a great collection of art deco architecture, antique stores and art galleries. There is also a culture of volunteerism that allows retirees to stay active and give back to the community.
If you lean towards a quieter retirement, then Lancaster may be for you. Set among the beautiful Amish farmland, Lancaster has seen a revitalization in its downtown and many of the old warehouses and buildings are being transformed into trendy bars and restaurants. In fact, my wife and I are seriously considering Lancaster as the spot for our own retirement home. Lancaster has just topped the list of U.S. News & World Report’s 2019 Best Places to Retire in the United States. This charming garden spot made the list because of its affordable housing and low cost of living plus access to high-quality healthcare.
San Antonio, Texas
I’ve spent a lot of time in San Antonio and know that this is a great city for retirees. With spectacular weather, a low cost of living and some great medical facilities, San Antonio is offering an attractive alternative to many other Texas cities. According to finance site SmartAsset, San Antonio ranked second in the nation last year in “Cities Where Retirees Are Moving.” Texas is a tax haven for retirees because there is no state income tax and they don’t tax retirement income. The Lone State is home to many military installations and it has the big city amenities with a small-town relaxed feel. Housing costs are below the national average and there are scores of museums, parks and cultural activities that make San Antonio the perfect blend of activity and peace.