Sunday, February 28, 2010
"The only thing you've learned from your mistakes is that you've made mistakes," says Gary Richmond. "You have to learn new methods of behavior in order to overcome the problems you set up for yourself in the first relationship."
Roy says, "Most of the time people go from one relationship to the next with the same broken heart, the same scars, and the same unhealed wounds. The answer to the pain you feel is not another relationship. You've got to take your time and become a healed individual through the grace of God."
If you are basing your current behaviors on what did not work in the past, this is not a solid foundation for your life. God has provided you with the Bible, which is an instruction manual for life. He has also provided strong Christian teachers, counselors, church leaders, and biblically based books to help you establish roots and grow strong in your faith.
"I will show you what it's like when someone comes to me, listens to my teaching, and then obeys me. It is like a person who builds a house on a strong foundation laid upon the underlying rock. When the floodwaters rise and break against the house, it stands firm because it is well built. But anyone who listens and doesn't obey is like a person who builds a house without a foundation. When the floods sweep down against that house, it will crumble into a heap of ruins" (Luke 6:47-49 NLT).
Saturday, February 27, 2010
Faith and fear are opposites but work the same way. God will do nothing without faith and the devil can do nothing without fear. These two work the same way.
Psalm 118:6 says, “The Lord is on my side I will not fear what can man do to me?” If God is on your side, if God is involved in your life and if God is helping you why would you ever be afraid?
Faith and fear both work the same way but are exact opposites of each other.
Firstly we need to understand is that God operates by faith and will do nothing for you without faith. This very difficult for people to understand because many people believe or want to believe that God is moved by needs which He is not. If God was moved by needs nobody would ever get sick and die, or starve to death, or die and go to hell. But these things do happen every day.
The Bible tells us in Romans 5:2 that we have access into the grace of God by faith. If this is true, which it is, then only Faith will bring us into the Grace of God. Everyone does not experience the grace of God; only people with faith have this access.
Faith gives God access to our life and allows him to work with us and to help us.
Fear gives the devil access to peoples lives and allows him to work against you.
The Bible tells us in Hebrews 2:15 that people are in bondage because of a fear of death. The fear of death is the root of fear and people who are not born again have a fear of death because they are not sure where they are going to go when they die. People who know where they’re going to go when they leave this earth have no fear of death.
Even Job said in Job 3:25 “The thing, which I greatly fear, is come upon me and that which I was afraid of is come unto me.” What you are afraid of has access to you.
Much of fear is based in a fear of lack, the fear of not having enough. What we see on television every day right now is people talking about the economy and the fact that if our economy does not pick up people are not going to have enough.
The people in my church are not concerned about this because we know that God will provide for our needs according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus. This is called faith and this faith gives God access to our lives to provide for us, which He loves to do. The Bible tells us in Psalms 35:27 that God takes pleasure in our prosperity.
I tell people in my church and at financial increase conferences across the country that no matter what happens with our economy our covenant with God is still in effect.
Faith in God’s provision allows God to provide for you.
The fear of not having enough allows the devil to deprive you of what you need.
The Bible tells us in Romans 10:17 that “Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.” The only way to develop your faith is by hearing God’s Word and if you need provision in your life then you need to be hearing God’s word on provision or what we call prosperity.
Fear comes the same way, by hearing and hearing by the word of the world. What you hear on television every day about the economy and the lack of jobs will instil fear in you and allow the devil to deprive you of what you need.
Faith in God and in his provision will provide for you.
Faith and fear are both very powerful and if you have any ideas or suggestions for our readers in this area please share in the comments.
"Children are the leading cause of second marriages coming to divorce," says Gary Richmond. "They see the stepparent as the enemy, and they strongly defend the missing parent in the home."
The loyalty of a child to a natural parent is strong. You may wonder how your children could still love and defend your former spouse who betrayed, abused, or abandoned you and your children. You might think that your children would welcome a new stepparent who is kind, loving, and patient. Be careful not to make assumptions where your children are concerned. They might come to accept a new person in the home and they might not. Children are a stressor to new relationships and remarriages.
Trying to change your children's feelings or loyalties can be harmful. That is not where you should focus your energies. Instead, teach them about and model the love of God. Let them observe you tenderly caring and praying for them and for the family every day. Bring them regularly to church. Read God's Word daily and share with them what you are learning. True, godly love is the only kind of love that brings healing and peace in a home. If you were ever to remarry, your new spouse should have these same values.
"Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up" (Deuteronomy 11:18-19).
Friday, February 26, 2010
You must grieve your losses and know you are whole before you consider a new relationship. If you decide to get on with your life without dealing with the issues at hand, these issues will rise up again at a later time. When they do, the hurt and the pain will be even stronger.
H. Norman Wright shares what happened to a man he knew who remarried before becoming fully healed: "About four years after the remarriage, all of the sudden this man's buried feelings came out because his new partner began to exhibit some behaviors similar to his ex-spouse. That triggered all of those feelings that had never been dealt with, and the second marriage dissolved. It was a huge mess."
Healing comes from the Lord. Wholeness comes from the Lord.
"If you listen carefully to the voice of the LORD your God and do what is right in his eyes, if you pay attention to his commands and keep all his decrees, I will not bring on you any of the diseases I brought on the Egyptians, for I am the LORD, who heals you" (Exodus 15:26).
Thursday, February 25, 2010
I was recently challenged to watch a movie called FAITH LIKE POTATOES. I am not really a movie person, so I was resistant to it. Actually, if it had not been an assignment for a class, I probably would not have seen it. The trailor for the movie and the back of the slip cover did not really tell you anything about it. I suppose I am glad for that.
The movie is about a farmer who comes to faith in Jesus Christ. It shows how his life is dramitcally changed. It is based on the true story of Angus Buchan. So much about this story challenged me. I think I was mostly convicted over his prayer life. He spent much time every day in prayer and scripture. Yet, he was a farmer, he and his wife ran an orphanage, and he began traveling as an preacher. Did he have time to spend in prayer and scripture? Did he not have time to spend in prayer and scripture?
In addition, we see a man of great faith in God. But this great faith only comes from all of his time with the Lord. Quality does not superceed quantity! If we want great faith, we must also spend significant time with the Lord in prayer and scripture.
Perhaps you are already in a new relationship or are interested in pursuing one. Maybe you feel you never want to be in another relationship again.
This range of feelings is normal; however, statistics show that approximately 75 percent of people who have been through divorce will someday remarry, and the majority of those second marriages will end in divorce.
Juana shares how she chose to wait and not jump ahead of God's plan for her life. She says, "My life was still in turmoil, and I did not know the answers, but I knew the One who knew the answers. I was willing to wait for whatever God had for me. I waited actively to see what God was going to do with my life. A couple from church mentored and discipled me for fifteen months, and I began to grow in my faith and to learn the Bible. I would come home from work and read my Bible, and I would love it. It was a special time."
In making all decisions of life, the first place to start is by praying and finding out what the Bible says about that particular situation. Your goal should be to see your circumstances from God's perspective and not your own limited view.
"I have set the LORD always before me. Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken" (Psalm 16:8).
"Salvation is a gift," says Dee Brestin. "You need to ask Jesus for it. He has died and paid the price, and unless you ask Him to be your Savior and Lord, then you do not have a relationship with Him.
"Before I came to Christ, I thought, 'How boring to read the Bible. How silly to spend your life sitting in church.' After I came to Christ, I thought the Bible was fascinating, and I loved God's people. A change took place in me because God's Spirit came and lived in me when I asked Jesus into my life.
"If you have any doubt, why not be sure today and ask Jesus to be your Savior and Lord. All you have to do is admit your need for forgiveness and your need for Him."
You don't need to know the author of a book to read it and understand or enjoy it. But the Bible is unique. You need to know the Author—God—before you can really receive what He is saying in the Scriptures.
We encourage you to make sure you have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. It's the key to your healing and the key to understanding what the Bible has to teach on divorce, separation, and other issues in life.
"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life" (John 3:16).
Tuesday, February 23, 2010
Dr. Keener explains: "If a divorce is on valid grounds, the innocent party is automatically free to remarry. Paul makes that explicit, especially in 1 Corinthians 7:15 where he says that if the unbelieving spouse departs, the believer is not under bondage. That phrase 'not under bondage' means he or she is free to remarry."
Be careful though. Just because you are free to remarry does not mean you are ready to do so. Dr. Dennis Rainey in Staying Close examines God's purposes for marriage. If you are considering remarriage, first decide if your goals for this new relationship line up with God's. God's purposes for marriage are "to mirror God's image, to multiply a godly heritage, to manage God's realm, to mutually complete one another, and to model Christ's relationship to the church."
Dr. Rainey continues, "What these five purposes bring to a marriage are a sense of direction, internal stability, and the stamp of God's design."*
Does your new relationship reflect these five godly purposes?
"'For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.' This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband" (Ephesians 5:31-33).
Monday, February 22, 2010
"If you think that being divorced disqualifies you from being used by God, then you have to cancel a million different people today who are being used greatly by God," says Dr. Myles Munroe. "You're saying that divorce is stronger than the blood of Jesus, the forgiveness of God, and the grace of God. That's ridiculous. Divorce is an incident. It's not a lifestyle.
"God forgives. God forgets. What God forgets, you shouldn't try to remember. God will use you no matter what you've done. If I were to ask you the question, 'Is divorce worse than murder?' obviously you would say, 'No way.' If divorce is not worse than murder, then why did God use Moses? Moses was a murderer and a convict."
Also in the Bible, Paul was responsible for the deaths of many people, and God chose him to be one of the greatest preachers ever. God wants to use you for great works that honor Him. Choose to surrender your life to Jesus, and you will be amazed at what you can accomplish through Him.
"Immediately he [Paul] began preaching about Jesus in the synagogues, saying, 'He is indeed the Son of God!' All who heard him were amazed. 'Isn't this the same man who persecuted Jesus' followers with such devastation in Jerusalem?' they asked. . . . [His] preaching became more and more powerful, and the Jews in Damascus couldn't refute his proofs that Jesus was indeed the Messiah" (Acts 9:20-22 NLT).
Sunday, February 21, 2010
"Regardless of what he did to me, the way I responded to him was my responsibility," says Selma. "When I was able to assume responsibility for myself, I was able to forgive him for what he did, and I was able to heal."
In the Bible, Paul wrote a letter to the Corinthian church about their recent wrongs. When they read the letter and realized their wrong behaviors, they chose to repent instead of becoming angry. They took responsibility for their wrongdoings. They experienced godly sorrow, which leads to repentance, salvation, and no regret. Read this section of Paul's letter and consider how it applies to your situation.
"I am happy . . . because your sorrow led you to repentance. For you became sorrowful as God intended and so were not harmed in any way by us. Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.
"See what this godly sorrow has produced in you: what earnestness, what eagerness to clear yourselves, what indignation, what alarm, what longing, what concern, what readiness to see justice done. At every point you have proved yourselves to be innocent in this matter. So even though I wrote to you, it was not on account of the one who did the wrong or of the injured party, but rather that before God you could see for yourselves how devoted . . . you are" (2 Corinthians 7:9-12).
Saturday, February 20, 2010
The movie is called “Faith Like Potatoes”. It's a different kind of movie. Folks like me sometimes miss what’s going on out there and I’m greatful that I was informed about this one.
Its not every day when there’s a movie about farmers, let alone a farmer/preacher, and even though its about a farmer/preacher on the other side of the world there’s just something of a bond between us, because that’s the way it is with farmers.
The true story takes place in South Africa and just watching the trailer makes me wish I could farm there. At least they don’t have thirty below zero month after month! But the message of faith that comes from that farmer/preacher is life changing in itself. I know it really gives me a boost. In a day and age when religion in the Western World is basically an extension of a materialistic culture its refreshing to come across real faith and in farming real faith is badly needed in order to even survive in this day and age. One quote from the trailer. “Where there is faith, there is growth”, speaks volumes! The opposite is where there is no faith there is no growth and that should speak to a person just as well. Farming runs on faith! Many parables in the Gospels are about faith and most are related to a farming story, that should say something!
So to a dirt farmer and cattle man such as myself this is great news that there’s a movie out there about the two things I love, farming and faith, (of course this isn’t saying I’m leaving out family cause I figure they’re in both of those categories).
Step One: "If your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault, just between the two of you. If he listens to you, you have won your brother over" (vs. 15).
Step Two: "If he will not listen, take one or two others along, so that 'every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses'" (vs. 16).
Step Three: "If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, treat him as you would a pagan or a tax collector" (vs. 17).
The first step is to be done in private. The second step involves bringing along one or two spiritually mature friends, relatives, or a counselor. In the third step, you bring the matter to your church leaders and ask them to confront your spouse according to biblical guidelines.
Each of the above steps should be done with a spirit of forgiveness and patience. Give the Holy Spirit time to soften a person's heart so that he or she might respond correctly.
After Jesus gave the instructions above, Peter asked him how many times he should forgive a person who has wronged him.
"'Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?' Jesus answered, 'I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times'" (Matthew 18:21-22).
Friday, February 19, 2010
Sabrina Black says, "Prayer is a person going before the Lord being vulnerable, being open not only to talk to God but to listen to God. There is significance in a 'listening prayer,' where you don't just go to God with your wish list, saying, 'Lord, set me free from this. Help me to flee temptation.'
"Those things are important, but it is also important to ask, 'Lord, what is it that You desire from me? How would you have me live my life?' Then, after you have asked, sit still in the presence of God and allow Him to speak to you. This is an essential part of daily prayer."
Listening to God is something you can do throughout your day; it doesn't have to only be during a set prayer time. God speaks to people in many ways. He speaks through His Word, through other people, through prayer, and even through circumstances. As you interact with people today, is God trying to tell you something? As you drive in your car, is God speaking quietly to your heart? Ask the Holy Spirit to help you listen as you pray; this is not something that is accomplished through self-will. Praise Him and worship Him. Come to Him with a thankful heart. Be willing to let the Spirit work in you as you pray.
"Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and your soul will delight in the richest of fare. Give ear and come to me; hear me, that your soul may live" (Isaiah 55:2-3).
Thursday, February 18, 2010
Wallace and Linda decided to try and heal their marriage, and their decision resulted in eventual reconciliation. They share what they learned through this difficult process:
"Many people try to do things through self-discipline," says Wallace, "but the ability to be restored into a full relationship with the Lord and with one another can only come through Christ. A lot of damaged people can continue to be damaged and go on and live damaged lives, but to be restored, it has to come from Christ. People will say to me that things will never be the same between Linda and me. That's true. They won't be the same, but they will be better. They will be better and better through Christ. My desire was to restore this relationship in the way God wanted."
Linda shares, "I had been dependent on Wallace to satisfy me, to make me happy, and to meet every need. But he couldn't. No person can. I finally realized that my whole dependence must be on the Lord. In our relationship today, our main dependence and focus is on the Lord and what He can do."
God offers each person a fresh start in life, regardless of past hurts and wrongs, through Him. We can follow His example by forgiving others who have hurt us, and we can accept His forgiveness as we seek to make amends in our relationships. Linda concludes, "He's forgiven us for everything we've ever done, so we can forgive each other through Him."
"God put the world square with himself through the Messiah, giving the world a fresh start by offering forgiveness of sins" (2 Corinthians 5:19 Msg).
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
"I feel very fortunate to have had godly counsel. I think it protected me because I was pretty much emotionally spent and didn't have anything to contribute," says Jerry.
Dr. Tim Clinton says, "Get in touch with your pastor, who knows God's Word and will share truths of Scripture. Reach out to a professional Christian counselor. He or she can offer great assistance to you through this time of trouble or sorrow in your life. Don't let it go too long because if it goes unchecked, you'll find yourself in a bad predicament. There is always hope."
The Bible says you can have hope and success as a result of seeking advice from wise counselors. A wise counselor could be a church leader or mature Christian friend or it could be a professional Christian counselor. All of these people can help point you in the right direction and bring you to a place of certainty and hope. By seeking wise counsel, you are (1) recognizing and admitting that you need help, (2) allowing yourself to express your emotions in a safe environment, (3) becoming accountable to another person, and (4) taking positive action that will help you grow and move forward in healing.
"Where there is no counsel, purposes are frustrated, but with many counselors they are accomplished" (Proverbs 15:22 AMP).
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
Please do not confuse personal safety with a discussion of biblical grounds for divorce. If you or your children are in danger, take immediate steps to protect your family. A decision of whether or not divorce is appropriate should not be made in emergency circumstances.
The Bible does not specifically describe grounds for divorce beyond the two we have already examined. It does, however, offer guidelines for decision-making in all circumstances. As you faithfully follow these steps, the Lord's direction for your life will become clearer.
Ask God for direction. "For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayer" (1 Peter 3:12).
2. Bible study:
What biblical principles apply to your circumstances? "The unfolding of your words gives light; it gives understanding to the simple" (Psalm 119:130).
3. Wise counsel:
Seek direction from your church leaders; these mature Christians can help you interpret Scripture, pray with you, and offer godly counsel. "Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed" (Proverbs 15:22).
4. Guidance from the Holy Spirit:
That quiet voice in your head may be God's voice, urging you to take action. "But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you" (John 14:26).
Monday, February 15, 2010
He explains, "If the marriage is taken away from you against your will, after you've done everything you can in love to preserve the marriage, God doesn't hold you accountable for that any more than He would hold a rape victim accountable for rape or a murder victim accountable for murder."
In Psalm 55 David cried out to God. He was in distress because a friend of his, someone he trusted and loved, had turned against him, becoming vicious and hateful. David's relationship with his friend had been severed because of the friend's sinful actions toward him. In response, David brought his anguish to God, giving God his burdens and trusting God to sustain him.
Perhaps some aspects of the relationship between David and his friend are similar to what you have faced with your former spouse.
David says, "If an enemy were insulting me, I could endure it; if a foe were raising himself against me, I could hide from him. But it is . . . my companion, my close friend, with whom I once enjoyed sweet fellowship. . . .
"War is in his heart; his words are more soothing than oil, yet they are drawn swords. Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous fall" (Psalm 55:12-14, 21-22).
Sunday, February 14, 2010
"There is no divorce for irreconcilable differences," says Dr. Tony Evans.
For those people who feel they have fallen out of love or are no longer compatible, there is healing and hope for their marriage. Divorce is the wrong decision. If both partners will agree to work on the marriage, to grow together in Christ and receive counseling, that marriage can become intimate and exciting again because it is in God's plan.
Listen to what the Bible has to say about followers of Jesus Christ who decide to end a marriage for this reason:
"To the married I give this command (not I, but the Lord): A wife must not separate from her husband. But if she does, she must remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband. And a husband must not divorce his wife. To the rest I say this (I, not the Lord): If any brother has a wife who is not a believer and she is willing to live with him, he must not divorce her. And if a woman has a husband who is not a believer and he is willing to live with her, she must not divorce him. For the unbelieving husband has been sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife has been sanctified through her believing husband. Otherwise your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy" (1 Corinthians 7:10-14).
Saturday, February 13, 2010
This verse means that if you are a follower of Jesus Christ and your husband or wife is not, and he or she leaves you, you are not required to remain together in marriage.
"The party who is left behind can't be held responsible for the breakup of the marriage if that person has done everything in his or her power to keep the marriage together," says Dr. Craig Keener.
Unfaithfulness and the departure of a non-believing spouse are two reasons specified in the Bible that allow you to divorce your spouse. Even though divorce is permitted for these reasons, it is not required. In fact, it is better to try and restore the marriage.
Dr. Tony Evans says, "Even when legitimate cases for divorce exist, believers must place reconciliation above their rights. Let's say your mate did commit adultery, but sincerely wants to be forgiven. Even though you have the right to divorce, because your mate was immoral, you always have the responsibility to love. The responsibility of love comes before the right of divorce. If a person wants to be forgiven, you seek forgiveness rather than the right because that's exactly what God did for you." If you are the victim of abuse, staying in a dangerous relationship is not the best way to be a conduit of God's love.
"God has called us to live in peace" (1 Corinthians 7:15).
Friday, February 12, 2010
God allows divorce in the instance of sexual immorality or adultery. If your spouse is or was unfaithful, you have the right to divorce. You are not commanded to do this, but it is an option for you.
"Marriage is a covenant," says Dr. Craig Keener, "and a covenant involves an agreement between two parties before God. If one of those two parties is breaking the agreement, which sex outside of marriage certainly does, then that person has violated the marriage covenant, thereby annulling, so to speak, the marriage covenant."
Dr. Tony Evans says, "God never wants a divorce. He always rules against a divorce, but God recognizes that people are hard-hearted and they won't do right. So He had to bring some protection. In Matthew chapter nineteen, He says 'except for immorality.'" For you to choose divorce because your spouse was unfaithful is not God's ideal, but He does allow it.
"I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, and marries another woman commits adultery" (Matthew 19:9).
Dear God, I'm heartbroken and confused, and I just want to do what pleases You. Please give me godly wisdom and assurance in the decisions I make today. Amen.
* The Bible names two specific instances where divorce is "allowed," but the Bible doesn't specifically give instructions about many other situations that may be a factor in divorce, such as abuse (of all types), criminal activity, addictions, satanic activity, sexual perversion or some other very serious issues. So what is a person in those situations to think or do? The more we learn about God's character and His teachings that are consistent throughout Scripture, the better we can make decisions about things not specifically mentioned in the Bible. Those situations must be looked at in the context of the whole Bible. For instance, God says in Malachi 2:16 "I hate divorce," but the last half of that verse says "and I hate a man's covering himself with violence." God hates the violence and danger of abuse, addiction, etc., and he would not want you or your family to be covered with it. In the coming days, we'll have suggestions for you on how to find God's direction for circumstances that are not specifically addressed.
Also, please keep in mind that your physical safety and that of your children comes first. If you are the victim of physical abuse, see safety immediately. Once you are safe, you can begin work sorting out the many practical, emotional and spiritual questions you will face.
Thursday, February 11, 2010
First let's look at Jesus' response to a question from the Pharisees about divorce: "'Why then,' they asked, 'did Moses command that a man give his wife a certificate of divorce and send her away?' Jesus replied, 'Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning'" (Matthew 19:7-8).
Dr. Craig Keener says that divorce was permitted by God in Old Testament times. He says, "In the Old Testament we find out in Malachi that God says He hates divorce. In Genesis we find out that it was never God's original purpose. It was His purpose that a husband and wife should be one flesh. As our Lord Jesus says, What God has joined together we have no business putting asunder [Matthew 19:6]."
Scholars state that the divorce permitted in the Old Testament was a formal process to acknowledge divorce-like, sinful behavior that had already occurred "because [their] hearts were hard." It was designed to provide legal protection to the person who was being divorced.
There are situations where divorce is allowed, but just because it is permissible does not mean it is the best thing to do. Choose wisely.
"So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate" (Matthew 19:6).
Wednesday, February 10, 2010
The Scripture above is completely clear and not open to different interpretations. God does not mince words when sharing His attitude about divorce. All those who have been hurt by divorce can identify with God's response.
"I can see why God hates divorce because it tears apart the children," says Bonnie Keen. "It tears apart all the people who sat around you at the altar, who believed in your marriage and who stood with you and with the covenant you made. But I know that God does love the people who go through divorce, and I'm convinced that He will move you through that process if you let Him."
He hates divorce, but He loves you, no matter what the circumstances of your divorce.
Nell Ann shares, "God is so faithful. He hates divorce, but He loves the person going through it. He will greatly bless you when you seek His desire for your life. If you draw close to Him, He will truly draw close to you, and He will not leave you nor forsake you. You can make it through this. It seems so dark, I know, but you can do it."
God makes the following promise to you:
"He will call upon me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him. With long life will I satisfy him and show him my salvation" (Psalm 91:15-16).
Tuesday, February 9, 2010
God binds two people together in marriage. The definition of bind here does not mean that He ties two people in a way that imprisons them; rather, He causes the two individual spirits to combine with each other to form a cohesiveness, such as what happens in a chemical action. If God has bound people together in this amazing way, do people have the right or the ability to try and undo it? We humans must seek to understand the supernatural, godly forces of marriage and to understand God's character before we try to take matters into our own hands regarding our relationships.
Perhaps you are wondering why we are discussing God's ideal for marriage when your own marriage has ended. It is important for you to learn as much as you can about God's will for all kinds of relationships so that you can continue to grow and mature in Him. This knowledge will also help you in future situations, such as when you counsel friends who are considering divorce or starting new relationships, or if the possibility of reconciliation or remarriage ever arises for you or someone you know. As you draw closer to Christ and draw others to His healing and wholeness, you will continue to heal more fully than you could imagine.
"Can you fathom the mysteries of God? Can you probe the limits of the Almighty? They are higher than the heavens—what can you do? They are deeper than the depths of the grave—what can you know?" (Job 11:7-8).
Sunday, February 7, 2010
"I had always thought marriage was something that was a lifetime goal and a lifetime commitment," says Don. "Then all of a sudden, as a result of circumstances beyond my control, it was taken apart and torn."
God designed marriage to be a life-long commitment. When two people get married, they plan to remain together for the rest of their lives. When people divorce, it is often because both people took matters into their own hands and made decisions based on factors not in God's will. Other times, like in Don's situation above, circumstances beyond a person's control occur and one mate chooses to do something not in God's will. To step out of God's will brings hurt and pain every time.
If your spouse has stepped out of God's will and is abusive or otherwise dangerous, you must remove yourself from harm's way and find a safe place for you and your children to live. Seeking safety does not mean that you have to get a divorce or that you have given up on your relationship; it simply is a response to immediate danger.
Remember, as you read God's Word, He will use it to guide you in the steps you should take in response to your circumstances. He loves you and wants to restore and heal you.
"But you, O God, are both tender and kind, not easily angered, immense in love, and you never, never quit" (Psalm 86:15 Msg).
Friday, February 5, 2010
How does Lent work? Traditionally, people who observe Lent would set aside the forty days prior to Easter for a type of fast as an observance for the day to come.
The Lenten fast calls on you to deny yourself something or to add something to your schedule for the duration of those forty days. Going without red meat or soda for example or adding a time of prayer.Observing Lent is a way to prepare your spirit and mind in a way to cause a yearning in you for Christ’s return. Lent helps us to understand the suffering of Christ. And in our fast, each time we think about what is lacking from our daily routine it will cause us to think about Christ and the reason for our fast.
Lent starts on Ash Wednesday (February 17th) and lasts until Easter morning. Start thinking of your Lenten commitment.
"The Bible says that if I make a commitment, it is a commitment for life," says Dr. Spiros Zodhiates. "Marriage is not a feeling. Marriage is a commitment. It's a contract; it's a covenant. I cannot get out of my covenant simply because I changed my mind." The idea that marriage is a feeling is prevalent in our society. When one partner feels different about the other, he or she often chooses to follow those feelings and be unfaithful or seek a separation or divorce.*
In an ideal world (i.e., the Garden of Eden) marriage is between one man and one woman for a lifetime, and it is a sacred covenant. However, we live in a fallen world, and people choose to disobey God. Breaking the covenant of marriage is a sin, and God hates it (Malachi 2:16), but God will never love you any less. His love is unconditional, and He wants to forgive you and heal you.
"God made mankind upright, but men have gone in search of many schemes" (Ecclesiastes 7:29).
Lord God, I believe that marriage is a commitment, and I wish I weren't in this situation. Thank you that You have never stopped loving me. Amen.
* Note: In this section, we are speaking of situations where one or both individuals in a relationship decide to split up based upon their feelings or lack of feelings; we are not addressing situations involving abuse.
Thursday, February 4, 2010
Dr. Craig Keener explains, "The phrase 'one flesh,' or being part of another person's flesh or bone, is often used in the Old Testament with reference to family relationships; therefore, when a husband and a wife become one flesh, in one sense it means that they become part of one another's family. Yet the Bible portrays the marriage relationship as an even deeper level of intimacy. It's a physical union where you actually share part of your own being with another person."
Lou Priolo says, "When two people become married, they become one person. When that marriage is separated by divorce, there are significant consequences because the one flesh relationship is severed. That is a difficult thing to adjust to, and it requires all of God's resources to be brought to bear so that you can learn how to live as a person who is no longer one flesh with someone."
In marriage, two people become one. In divorce, that one flesh is torn apart. But be assured that as painful as the divorce is, with God, the healing will be that much more complete.
"For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh" (Genesis 2:24).
Wednesday, February 3, 2010
The Bible could be considered the "owner's manual" for life. This manual will help guide you through all of life, especially through tough situations like divorce. It is through the Bible that you will find God's help and guidance for your particular circumstances. The Bible is also where you will find healing and hope.
There are many other books on healing from divorce and other emotional tragedies in life. As good as some of these books are, the best resource to help you heal is the Bible. Over the next several days, you will discover what the Bible says about divorce.
Perhaps you are on the receiving end of a divorce; you did not want the divorce to occur, and you wonder what God thinks of your situation. Maybe you instigated the divorce, and you now wonder if you made the best choices. As you study the Bible and learn God's view of marriage and divorce, keep one thing in the forefront of your mind: God is a God of love and not condemnation. His love and forgiveness is infinite, and His Word is full of encouragement and hope for you personally.
"For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope" (Romans 15:4).
Tuesday, February 2, 2010
I have noticed that I have a tendency to blame the bad things that happen in my life on the devil. I mean, if it is bad for me, then how could it somehow be part of God’s design. I know that every good and perfect gift comes from God (James 1:17), so if that is true then doesn’t it follow that every negative circumstance must come from – well – not God.
The problem is that that idea isn’t biblical either. It isn’t the mere circumstances of our lives that concerns God – it is the outcomes of our lives. Part of my problem is that I often get the two confused. What I often want are good circumstances in the present. In my mind, I convince myself that pleasant circumstances in my present will somehow contribute to positive outcomes in my future. The problem is that that isn’t always true. As much as we may not like the idea, growth in the future doesn’t always come from pleasure in the present. So if God is truly about outcomes – wouldn’t it make sense that some of the negative circumstances in our lives are also from God.
The problem with our belief that God will somehow relieve us of our consequences is that it also assumes that God has no desire for us to grow. He becomes a passionless God and we become a passionless people – both of us static and unchanging.
God wanted more from Israel. And they needed to grow – so God declared that a negative circumstance would happen – Babylon would take the treasure of Israel away from her. Among the treasures would be the Ark of the Covenant – the place that held the most precious things of God. No gold or artifact was as important as the growth of the people of God – a positive outcome in their futures.
And nothing is more important to God than us. If you find yourself in a negative circumstance today, ask yourself if just maybe there is something that God desires for you to learn today - and that growth will be the result. You are more important to him than anything that you might possess.
Today I stood in the line at Walmart, waiting to check out my groceries. Yes, I was grocery shopping – first time by myself since I’ve been married. But that wasn’t the most profound thing.
Somebody dropped a $10 bill on the floor. I didn’t see them do it, but I guessed it was the person who just finished with the cashier ahead of me. A couple of things went through my mind.
A brief second of greed went through my human heart. The dark kind of side – you know – the side that makes you want to keep things for yourself and do the WRONG THING.
Nobody would notice. Nobody saw the person ahead of me drop it. Nobody was watching . . . .
I got ahold of myself and decided that if I was to be Christlike, I better let the cashier know about it. So I picked it up off the ground and gave it to her. An employee was able to track down the person who dropped it.
I looked back at the line behind me and it was about 5 people long. I wonder what they were thinking? I wonder if that simple action influenced them?
I’m no saint, but it got me thinking about the small gestures in life. Every time you do something small, I believe people notice.
The other day, our car stopped functioning at a gas station due to battery failure. A few good friends were kind enough to give us a jumpstart. The amazing thing was that they lived on the opposite side of town – quite a distance! We noticed the sacrifice they made that day. To them, it probably wasn’t much. To us, it meant the world!
The quality of doing the right thing in minor situations can have a profound impact on those around you. What are you going to do today?
Dr. Les Carter explains: "Make certain that you have proper expectations regarding the things that can and cannot come from relationships. Many times people who have a been through a divorce think to themselves that they want to have that ultimate relationship so they can prove to themselves and to the rest of the world they really are somebody.
"Be realistic in recognizing that there's no perfection, and you're not going to reach that ultimate ideal in your relationships. Then, when you have difficulties, it doesn't mean you've reached the ultimate bottom either."
Take time to think about what you have learned from past and current relationships and how you can apply it to future relationships. You will not learn if you are too focused on yourself and your problems, rather than on forward movement, growth, and application. Remember, your goal is not to have perfect relationships, but to learn how to grow together through hard times.
God is a sure foundation for any relationship. Ask God to guide you in your present and future relationships.
"The LORD will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail" (Isaiah 58:11).
Monday, February 1, 2010
Phil shares his experience: "One thing my friend and I would do to further that male bonding was to have lunch or dinner with each other. We were both divorced, and we both had children. We were both hurting and needed to be healed. I would call him when something went wrong. He would call me when something went wrong. We struggled through his court dates together, and I was there for him. To this day I can pick up the phone and call, and he will do the same with me."
This type of friend will be a wonderful help and a source of emotional support for you. In the Bible, David and Jonathan enjoyed a friendship blessed by God.
"David got up from the south side of the stone and bowed down before Jonathan three times, with his face to the ground. Then they kissed each other and wept together—but David wept the most. Jonathan said to David, 'Go in peace, for we have sworn friendship with each other in the name of the LORD, saying, 'The LORD is witness between you and me, and between your descendants and my descendants forever'" (1 Samuel 20:41-42).