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      Nurturing people in the image of God since 1868.                                                                          POB 397/520 Dry Creek Rd./Smithville, TN



Peter Marshall told of a town whose water supply came from a spring high up the mountain above it. The town paid a mountain man to keep the spring clean of leaves, limbs, and other debris. In an economy move, they decided to cut out the service. At first, no one noticed any difference. Gradually, however, the spring became polluted and the townspeople paid a terribly high price in sickness, misery, and death.

Christian marriage is "the keeper of the spring." Henry W. Grady, a journalist, decided to travel to Washington, D.C., to write a series of articles about "The Capitol of America." On the way, he stopped overnight at a farm home. That changed his entire out-look. He wrote, "The home is the capitol of America." The major ills of today's society can be traced to the breakdown of the home. Living together without marriage, "marriages" between those of the same sex, divorce, illegitimate children, and marital infidelity are all so commonplace they don't even make the news.

God planned the home for mankind's benefit and well being and His own glory (Genesis 2:18-25). He intended it to be "the keeper of the spring" for all humanity.

THE HOME WAS PLANNED FOR THE CONTINUATION OF THE HUMAN RACE  (Genesis 1:28) Humanity began by miracle but was to be continued by law. Of course, children can be produced outside marriage and even without the benefit of a home, but only by paying a price in unhappiness and incurring God's righteous wrath (Hebrews 13:4). The reproduction of the human race is intended as a blessing, not a curse (Psalm 127:3-5). Abortion, unwanted and unloved children, tears, shame, disgrace, and huge welfare rolls are the payment for removing "the keeper of the spring."

THE HOME WAS PLANNED FOR MEETING THE NEEDS OF MEN AND WOMEN.  The deep-seated drives and hungers of mankind are God-given. There are physical needs (1 Corinthians 7:1-4), to be sure. From the dawn of time, God's blessing has been given to the marriage bed. But the needs of mankind are more than merely physical. They are deep and complex. No "one-night stand" or visit to a brothel can meet our deepest needs. Neither can two people living together in sin hope to find the long-term satisfaction God intended. The basic unhappiness many feel stems from the absence of "the keeper of the spring."

THE HOME WAS PLANNED FOR THE CREATION OF A CHRIST-LIKE CHARACTER. In 1 Peter 3, Simon Peter discusses Christian character. In the first six verses, he discusses the subjection of godly women to their husbands. The most unhappy people in the world are those in whose lives there are no rules. In turn, husbands are to dwell with wives according to knowledge, giving them honor (3:7-9). To be a good husband, a man needs to learn much about himself, about woman, and about God. Sadly many have never learned and could care less that they do not know. For the blessing of living with a godly woman, a husband should be thankful. He should show it and say it. "Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing, and obtaineth favour of the LORD" (Proverbs 18:22). Their lives thus shared, they are heirs together of the grace of life. A word of warning: failure to so live hinders prayer (3:9)! How we need "the keeper of the spring!"

THE HOME WAS PLANNED FOR THE TRAINING OF CHILDREN. Children must be trained (Ephesians 6:1-4; Proverbs 22:6). Some train their horses or dogs better than they train their children. Training requires love, patience, discipline, and time—lots of time! Think of all the values children must learn. They must learn that there are things hat must be done on time and done right. They must learn the value of Christian virtues (Galatians 3:22-23; 2 Peter 1:5-8). Others may teach facts, but parents have the best opportunity to instill values. When lawlessness, destruction, lying, cheating, and stealing are all commonplace, we need to be "the keeper of the spring."

THE HOME WAS PLANNED FOR A SHARED LIFE AND AS A HAVEN OF SAFETY AND RECUPERATION. One's home should be his/her castle. We all need a place where we can go to be "refreshed." Bars, honkey tonks, and "happy hours" all grew out of people needing a haven but not having the home God desired for them. In a Christian home and in Christian companionship, there is emo-tional refreshment. Paul said, "Onesiphorus hath oft refreshed me" (2 Timothy 1:16). How we need it!

Let's all vote to bring back "the keeper of the spring."