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matthew13_22

It’s been a while – sixteen long months to be exact. I can only offer that I’ve been so busy that I burned out… I confess. Going to Church was a hit or miss kind of thing and I stabbed at reading my Bible — lots of nights not reading it at all. And there are other events that have occured in my life and my family that have only strengthened the burnout catapulting me into a darker hole.  I’m out of everything. Energy. Wisdom. Balance. Overwhelmed, I’ve just moved from day to endless day not knowing what day it was – or is. I’ve been in a mindless fog. I hit a wall. Does this maybe describe some of you?

Looking back over the last sixteen months, I can see the devourer at work in my life — and the lives of my family. I have seen an illness nearly take the life of our youngest son. I’ve seen that same illness be misdiagnosed — only to find out it may be worse than what was originally thought. He’s only twenty-eight. I’ve seen the devourer attack another marriage within my own immediate family — and now, I’m not only Standing in the Gap for my own Marriage but the Marriage of one of my own. It was this event that propelled me forward in anger at the evil that has so easily beset my family. It is crystal clear to me that the devil will not just stop at my marriage, but he is now after my flesh and blood. So while I stand, I am teaching another to Stand in the Gap. Before the two Married, I prayed hard that GOD would save this young woman who was to become my Daughter-in-Love. I never dreamed it would come in this manner… Through the cruelty of the devourer who comes only to steal, kill and destroy, this young wife and mother has come to accept Christ as her Savior and the LORD of her life. Praise GOD with me! While learning about the mercy of GOD over her own life, she is learning to Stand in the Gap through faith for the restoration of her young Marriage. In the last four months, I have seen such a dramatic change come over her. Though she hurts, it is so obvious that the power of the Sovereign God reigns in her life. She is faithful to attend Church and praise her GOD. And it shows! The peace and joy — in spite of the ache in her heart — are in her eyes. On her face. She’s beautiful! Radiant! She’s alive! She is also teaching her babies – and I do mean babies — about the Love of God. What an awesome GOD we serve.

But in these last sixteen months, I cannot count the times I have asked GOD why? Why is it taking so long? My GOD, my youth is wasting away! The time I can never get back. Less time with my Husband. Time. Gone forever. But yet, here I am. Still. It’s strange to say this, but if I had not still been standing, I could not hold her hand so tightly and walk with her so closely. I would not know where she is in her heart or how she feels or what she thinks… Could she learn on her own? Sure. But GOD uses us. He uses our afflictions — and with the comfort He has given us, we can comfort those with the comfort we ourselves have received. So, dear Stander, do not think the time that goes by is wasted. God in His infinite wisdom and mercy wastes nothing. Nothing.

And we know that all things work together for good to those who love GOD, to those who are the called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28 NKJV

But even in the midst of the burnout and pain, there has been blessing. I have another grandchild — and two more on the way. Can you say t.w.i.n.s?? What a blessing they all are and a sweet testimony to the newness of life — and His goodness and mercy. And since before each has been born, I’ve dedicated each to the LORD’s love and care asking GOD to bring each of them to Him, serving Him and bringing many to Christ for His glory. Can I get an Amen?

So, what on earth do tithes and offerings have to do with all this “stuff?” Read on…

“For I AM the LORD, I do not change; Therefore you are not consumed . . . . Yet from the days of your fathers you have gone away from My ordinances and have not  kept them. Return to Me, and I will return to you,” says the LORD of hosts. But you said, ‘In what way shall we return?’

“Will a man rob God? Yet you have robbed Me! But you say, ‘In what way have we robbed You?’ In tithes and offerings. You are cursed with a curse, for you have robbed Me, even this whole nation. 

Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be food in My house, and prove* Me now in this,” says the LORD of hosts, (*test)

“If I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you such blessing that there will not be room enough to receive it.

“And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, so that he will not destroy the fruit of your ground, nor shall the vine fail to bear fruit for you in the field,” says the LORD of hosts; 

“And all the nations will call you blessed, for you will be a delightful land,” says the LORD of hosts.

Malachi 3:6-12 NKJV

Ok you say. I’ve read that before. Well, read it again. Really take that in. Read each word slowly. It contains some of the languages of a Stander so it should hit a little closer to home. Read it again. This time ask God to open your mind — your spirit.

We have a tendency to see only money when we read that. Well, yes. It does involve money but it also involves offerings. They are different. But now ask yourself a question. If you’re robbing the LORD of the money He’s given you the ability to earn, then how do we expect Him to bless us in other areas of our lives?? He can’t! We are cursed because we are robbing GOD! So guess who has shown up? The d.e.v.o.u.r.e.r. 

deuteronomy8_18And, by the way, it is GOD Himself Who gives us the ability to earn our wages.

” . . . . then you say in your heart, ‘My power and the might of my hand have gained me this wealth.’

“And you shall remember the LORD your GOD, for it is He Who gives you power to get wealth, that He may establish His Covenant . . . . “

Deuteronomy 8:17-18 NKJV

And you thought it was *you* who has earned your wealth? Everything we own comes from the Hand of GOD Who has given us the ability to get what we have! And many of us aren’t giving any of it back! I can hear the skeptics and the pragmatists screaming aloud, “He’s supposed to be GOD! You say He can do anything! Why does He need your money? It’s a get-rich-quick scheme of the Church! It makes absolutely no sense! Giving your money away certainly isn’t going to help you any!” Well, the first thing we need to stop doing is listening to the skeptics and the pragmatists who have no clue Who GOD is, much less any inkling about His Word. No. GOD certainly does not need “our” money to do what He needs to get done. And yes, I will grant you that there are some ‘on-air’ T.V. ministries that constantly cry out for your money, preying on people. Holy Spirit discernment is needed there. But!! What this is really about is what we value first in our lives. What and/or who is first in your life? I can guarantee you for the majority, next to family, it is money! Money! $ $ $ $ $ and lots of it. We covet the ‘almighty’ dollar! So giving it away is a very foreign concept to us. Another point worthy of making here is that we are stewards – stewards of EVERYthing. We have brought nothing into this world and I will guarantee you we will take nothing out of it. So what do we really own? Nothing! When we pass from this life to the next, everything that was in our earthly stewardship passes along to another to care for.

Listen. Tithing and offering is a SPIRITUAL Law. It defies human wisdom and conventional bookkeeping practices! Remember the five loaves of bread and two fish Jesus miraculously multiplied feeding five-thousand men — and that didn’t count the women and children!? Tithing and offerings are a part of the spiritual law of the harvest. When we give as this with a willing heart, what we have left is miraculously multiplied! It goes farther than when we try to stretch it on our own. The law of the harvest? We reap what we sow. More than we sow. Later than we sow. But always what we sow. And if we are sowing nothing, we reap nothing.

“Do not be deceived, GOD is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap.

For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life.

And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.

Galatians 6:7-9 NKJV

Let me back up for a moment. If I’m going to link tithing to Marriage restoration, ask yourself another question. What do these have together in common — from the temple priests losing all respect for GOD and offering diseased animals on the altar to —> their treachery in divorcing the wives of their youth in order to marry *foreign* women to —> robbing GOD of His tithes and offerings? Eeek! How disconnected that all sounds.

Malachi’s appeal was to a backslidden nation; designed to break through barriers of unbelief, disappointment – and even the apathy of the people because the prophecies foretold had yet to be fulfilled. They had been waiting and waiting . . . . and waiting. Sounds sooo familiar, doesn’t it? If we aren’t following closely; if we aren’t looking up and forward to the Blessed Hope, we have a tendency to neglect that Blessed Hope and our attitude becomes one of indifference. In our unbelief, our *actions* literally scream to the world that it’s not worth serving GOD and we walk headlong into moral and/or religious corruption — having a form of godliness but denying the power thereof (ref II Timothy 3:5).

And so it was with the people and the priests… Malachi’s appeal through his prophetic word to GOD’s people was for them to stop and recognize that their lack of blessing is not caused by any lack of concern on GOD’s part but rather because of their blatant d.i.s.o.b.e.d.i.e.n.c.e. to the Covenant Law. The priests were wicked and corrupt and the people were disallusioned. They doubted GOD and in their quiet rebellion they began to question the Sovereignty of GOD and His ability to care for and provide for them. Their religion was empty tradition; their rituals, mechanical. It was in this state of disallusionment that they began to rob GOD of their tithes and offerings. And it is here that GOD confronts His people with a series of questions and answers — and it is here in each case that they deny His accusations.

How has GOD loved us? (1:2-5)

How have we despised GOD’s Name (1:6 – 2:9)

How have we profaned the Covenant: (2:10-16)

How have we wearied GOD? (2:17 — 3:16)

How have we robbed GOD? (3:7-12)

How have we spoken against GOD? (3:13-15)

Their sinful rebellion colored their perception of GOD resulting in a cold attitude and materialism — which lead them to rob GOD. They gave GOD stolen, lame and diseased animals for the required sacrifice for their sins! They gave a pure and holy GOD that which was blemished — like them — and they expected GOD to bless them anyway! They committed idolatry! They kept the best to themselves. The priests were wicked and corrupt — profaning the Covenant of GOD. The men were divorcing their GOD-ordained wives for *foreign* wives. And the people were robbing GOD of their first fruits — their tithes and offerings, and they wanted to know how GOD was wearied by their rebellion?? Though we are Standers, we must ask ourselves, are our actions saying the same things?

Idolatry. It’s what we commit when we hold too close our material possessions over and above GOD — willing to part with none of it; and it is p.r.i.d.e. that expects GOD to bless us in our rebellion.

And yet here most of us are actually in rebellion despising GOD’s Name, profaning His Covenant of Marriage, robbing Him of our tithes and offerings —  effectively speaking against GOD in our actions . . . . We are “covering the altar of the LORD with tears, with weeping and crying; so He does not regard the offering anymore, nor receive it with good will from your hands. Yet you say, “For what reason?”  (Malachi 2:13,14) . . . . and we want to know how we weary Him. We are bringing to Him the leftovers, if anything.

Tithes and offerings. Both are mentioned so both must be different. They are. The Hebrew word for tithes is maaser and the Hebrew word for offerings is minchah. Tithes are the first fruits of your income. First fruits denotes the first of your fruits — or your earnings. It is the money GOD has given you the ability to earn. You honor GOD when you take the first ten percent of your fruits — which is what is produced when you work — and He in turn rebukes the devourer for our sakes so that he will not destroy the “fruit of your ground.” The “fruit of your ground” must be different than the “the vine which bears fruit for you in the field” which is also mentioned in the same verse. Hmmm. The Holy Spirit spoke to this Stander as He always does using metaphors. For example, the “land” is used to denote the Standers own home — just like the “city”… The “nations” can be used of the people around you, and so forth. So, through revelation, GOD showed me that He Himself will keep the devourer away from “the fruit of my ground.” Ground is “land” and the “land” is my home!

Offerings are that which are over and above tithing. Our offerings are given as the Holy Spirit directs. There may be a special need within your Church that GOD is calling on you to fulfill. This “offering” can be your time and abilities as well. GOD has built within each of us something unique that is needed to serve Him. Special gifts, if you will. Have you read the Parable of the Talents? While talents is used for money, think of it in our terms — abilities.

In Matthew 25, there are two parables; the Parable of the Ten Virgins and the Parable of the Talents. The Parable of the Ten Virgins speaks of and stresses the need to be prepared and vigilant; while the Parable of the Talents emphasizes our productivity. So the first emphasizes watching for the LORD and the latter working for the LORD. There are two servants who are given five and two talents respectively while the third servant is only given one talent. The first two servants multiply their talents but the third servant hides his talent out of fear. The master rewards the first two servants with more! The third servant is confronted by his master who calls him a wicked and lazy servant —  slothful! Notice what the Word says here:

“Therefore take the talent from him, and give it to him who has ten talents.

‘For to everyone who has, more will be given, and he will have abundance; but from him who does not have, even what he has will be taken away.

Matthew 25:28-29 NKJV

Notice that the first two servants stood before their master with excitement but the third servant stood before his master in fear offering nothing but excuses. He was trying to appease his master by giving him back what belonged to the master along with excuses for not using the talent to the best of his ability.

So for offerings? Be faithful in using the opportunities given for service because everything we have — whether opportunities or abilities — belongs to GOD. But whatever your “talents” may be — some teach, others serve — someone may have five talents, someone may have two and still another may only have one, but give them as an offering, holy and pleasing as your sacrifice before the LORD.

Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith;

or ministry, let us use it in our ministeriing; he who teaches, in teaching;

he who exhorts, in exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.

Romans 12:6-8 NKJV

Here lately, I have been crying out for revelation – what is hindering me from receiving the blessing and desire that I so crave?  My answer??

The income I earn has increased but I feel as though I have nothing left! What about you? I feel as though I am struggling sometimes to scrape money for gas or lunch. Before when I tithed, I can honestly and truthfully state that this was not an issue. I also know that my Husband is very serious about his finances and he has absolutely zero tolerance for wanton waste and irresponsible use of money. His bills are always paid first and on time BEFORE anything else comes out of it. And his method of keeping his finances always served us well while we were Married and raising our children. We never went without food or shelter or clothing or transportation. Were we well-to-do? Hardly. Look up the yearly salary of an Airman in the USAF. At the time, it was approximately $11,000 per year. Poverty for one who served his country. And we have a family of four. He still uses that same method of keeping his finances to this day. I said all that only to say this: I also know that my ability to keep my finances in a better manner would honor my Husband as well as GOD. I speak of the change in my heart before my Husband — and I have changed. BUT… and you know there’s always one of those — if I’m not honoring GOD with my finances, then I won’t honor my Husband either. It will continue to be a point of contention between us and that’s not what a restored relationship needs.

Aside from ALL that, we must realize that it is our spiritual responsibility to honor GOD first — over and above everything and everybody, including our Covenant Spouse. We are to seek GOD and serve Him with all our mind, body, heart and spirit. That includes our finances and our talents (gifts).

There are many, many people Standing in the Gap for the restoration of their Marriages who think they have nothing to give. I do not in any way stand in judgment of you when I say have you considered the widow who gave all she had to give in her tithe? Jesus, Who was standing by the treasury watching the people put money into it — many who were rich put in much. But then the one poor widow came and threw in two mites. Two mites is equal to one-quarter of a cent in the American dollar. Yet she gave all she had! Jesus said they gave of their abundance — or their surplus — but the widow, in her poverty, gave her whole livelihood… (cf Mark 12:41-44) Now that is faith. And GOD forbid that any one of us ever has to give all that we have in faith, but rather may we give willingly of what we do have — and watch GOD bless us in everything. Our employment and our family. May the GOD Who created everything restore the years the locusts have eaten, in Jesus’ Name.

GOD says to TEST HIM. Don’t be like the wicked servant who didn’t have much but even with what he had been given, he hid it away. His reward was to be sifted from the sheep to the goats and cast into the outer darkness where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

Think about it. Pray about it. Do it.

Amen.

(c) TheEphesianMarriage. All rights reserved.


1peter1_15-16

Speak to all the congregation . . . . and say to them, ‘You shall be holy, for I the LORD your God am holy. Leviticus 19:2 NAS

How many of you believe it’s God’s job to make you happy? Have you ever really thought about it? It’s very rare that we don’t hear a feel-good sermon on happiness and prosperity. Translated means more sermons are being preached on how God wants you to be happy and prosperous than about the holiness and righteousness of God – about how His holiness demands righteousness and even to the contrary . . . . how His righteousness demands holiness. Nobody wants to hear about the righteousness and holiness of a Just God! Yeah, He’s a God of Love and Joy – but He is also a Just and Righteous and Holy God.

Think about it: One does not preclude the other – neither can you have one without the other.

If Jesus had preached the same message that ministers preach today, He would have never been crucified. Leonard Ravenhill (1907-1994)

About four months ago I was having a serious and heart-rending conversation with a family member about the failure of their Covenant Marriage. After some lengthy discussion and my spoken concern about their home and their family, it was plain to see that the devil had carte blanche access to her through her friends – and even some other family members. The same old excuses and the same old lies. She had met somebody who made her feel “alive and happy…” Up to that point, she had been waiting for her Covenant Husband to come home. But she decided that she had had enough and certainly God wants her to be happy so He brought another man into her life. You would think the devil would think of something different. But then again, if this almost always works, then I guess he really doesn’t have to. I knew the deception was complete when I heard her say those same words I had spoken so long ago: “I know what you believe. But the god I know wants me to be happy!”

Do you remember when you said that? I did. That’s a real good time to fall on your knees in repentance and ask for forgiveness. It’s an awful feeling to be confronted with our sin by the Holy Spirit – remembering what we have said and done. But it’s even worse to claim the God of the Bible as the god of our sin and deny that sin as sin and continue on as if it’s what the God of the Bible would want!

. . . . . how my heart breaks for her, her husband and their children. She does not realize what she has done and is doing. But it’s hard to tell someone that because of their blindness. We somehow think we are different when we are in the middle of our circumstances. When the Light is not present, there is nothing but blackness and we grope and feel around in that darkness until we become accustomed to it…We are blind to think that we can see clearly in the darkness.

The god I know. . . .

How carelessly we use His Name.

What a dangerous game we play when we have no fear of the Holy One.

And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. Therefore, it is not surprising if his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their deeds. II Cor 11:14-15 NAS

The implication of her statement was very clear – and it shows the depth of deception and blindness. That statement implies that we can believe what we want about God relative to each situation in life. It implies that God changes in accordance with each individual person and circumstance. He has become a cosmic bellhop who jumps when we call. He has become a “yes” God to our every whim. It was apparent that we don’t read the same Bible or worship and serve the same God. How can I say such a thing? How do I know that with such certainty? Because the God of the Bible does not, cannot, will not, ever contradict Himself.

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, and today; yes and forever. Do not be carried away by varied and strange teachings . . . . Hebrews 13:8-9 NAS

If we don’t understand what we’re reading and certain “escape clause” scriptures that we hear from someone else are used to justify our actions; or if we don’t know the Bible or have never even read it but we indiscriminately use the word “God” as if we are suddenly so spiritual, we may as well come out and call God a liar to His face.

The worldly term happiness implies a live and let live lifestyle. It is only relative to each individual’s preference – rather our likes and dislikes. Worldly happiness is an emotion. It is not Joy! In the Bible, the word happiness translated from the Greek makarismos, actually means blessedness. It signifies “the ascription of blessing.” It is used to refer to the condition of a man to whom the righteousness of Christ is imputed by faith. Reference Romans 4:6. True happiness, or rather the Joy of the LORD, is what will sustain you in and see you through hard times – even when you don’t feel happy. Worldly happiness is relative to the situation – where the Joy of the LORD is an absolute to those who are IN Him. The two are clearly not the same.

. . . . for this day is holy to our LORD. Do not be grieved, for the joy of the LORD is your strength. Nehemiah 8:10 NAS

The Bible says we shall know them by their fruits. There is no such thing as a tree that produces fruit inconsistent with the type of tree it is. It sounds harsh but we are supposed to know that if we aren’t living for God, we are living against Him. Judgmental you say? Listen to what the Apostle Paul says:

For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and Divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God, or give thanks; but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools. . . . Romans 1:20-22 NAS

I find it interesting that when someone is under conviction they automatically pull the “judge not lest ye be judged” card. A person who is under conviction by his Holy Spirit-driven conscience doesn’t like it so the Truth that we speak to them is now not done in love, or it is offensive to them. They don’t like the “squirm” effect it is having on them. So they become DEfensive. From their view, we are judging them. In their DEfensive mode, they will take the focus off themselves and try to put it back on you — maybe offer you an insight into your own imperfections. They don’t realize that they are making light of sin – their own sin. They make the conscience dead and desensitized to the Spirit each time they are convicted with the Truth and then walk away to their own way. He who presumes on the mercy of God will have to reckon with His justice.

No. God is not the god of tolerance.

Holiness Defined

How is Holiness defined? Most equate holiness with perfection – a perfection that cannot be attained. It’s attributable only to God. But Holiness is used to indicate sanctity and separation from all that is sinful or morally imperfect. It is used to speak of moral wholeness. It can also be used in reference to places and things (like when Abram was standing on Holy ground) – not just the state of our spiritual character or actions. Holiness is one of the most important and essential attributes of the divine nature and character of God. As children of the Living God, everything we do is subject to His moral standards – His divine nature. Why? Because He is the source. Holiness is actually the Person of God. He IS Holy. Since we are His children and have been re-made in His likeness by the acceptance of and faith in the blood of His Son, we are to take on that same attribute. Tough order when you still live in the flesh. . . .

For I AM the LORD your God. Consecrate yourselves therefore, and be holy; for I AM holy. . . . .For I AM the LORD, Who brought you up from the land of Egypt, to be your God; thus you shall be holy for I AM holy.’’” Leviticus 11:44-45 NAS

But, of course, He can’t expect that, can He? I know what you believe but my god would want me to be happy. Show me the “don’t worry, be happy” scripture and I’ll step away from the podium. Some of you may be thinking, ‘wow, she’s sounding a bit like a bull in a china shop right now’ – but Jesus says to you “he who has ears, let him hear.”

Behold the sower went out to sow; and as he sowed, some seeds fell beside the road and the birds came and ate them up. And others fell upon the rocky places, where they did not have much soil; and immediately they sprang up, because they had no depth of soil. But when the sun had risen, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away. And others fell among the thorns, and the thorns came up and choked them out. And others fell on the good soil, and yielded a crop, some a hundredfold, some sixty, and some thirty. He who has ears, let him hear. Matthew 13:3-9 NAS

As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance, but like the Holy One Who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior; because it is written “You shall be holy, for I AM holy.” I Peter 1:14-16 NAS

Don’t mistake this as a bashing session of this woman whom I love. Not at all. We have to realize that the Truth hurts and if we continue to hide behind our feelings instead of hearing the Holy Spirit speak to us, we will continue to walk in deception. I would rather you offend me with the Truth than be condemned to walk in darkness. Remember, they crucified the LORD of Truth!  It’s obvious they didn’t want to hear what He had to say! He was not a popular Man with those who were under conviction.

So when we are confronted with and convicted of our sin by a brother or sister in Christ and it stings, we need to count it a blessing that the Holy Spirit Who leads us into all Truth and understanding, is knocking on the door of our heart. He is in fact leading us into all Truth and understanding.

You shall consecrate yourselves therefore and be holy, for I AM the LORD your God. And you shall keep My statutes and practice them; I AM the LORD Who sanctifies you. Leviticus 20:7-8 NAS

Herein is true happiness and holiness. Your happiness is dependent upon keeping the Holy commands of a righteous God Who is asking you to lay down your life for your friend – your Covenant Mate – setting yourself apart from all else. Forsaking all others.

By this is My Father glorified, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples. Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; abide in My love. If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father’s commandments, and abide in His love. These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may be in you and that your joy may be made full. This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends. John 15:8-13 NAS

This is a worthy saying found on the tombstone of Leonard Ravenhill, an English Christian Evangelist and writer: “Are the things you are living for worth Christ dying for?”

What are you living for?

                         Happiness or Holiness.

Let us pray. . .

And I said, “I beseech Thee, O LORD God of heaven, the great and awesome God, who preserves the covenant and lovingkindness for those who love Him and keep His commandments, let Thine ear now be attentive and Thine eyes open to hear the prayer of Thy servant which I am praying before Thee now, day and night, . . . . Thy servants, confessing the sins of . . . . . which we have sinned against Thee; I and my father’s house have sinned. We have acted very corruptly against Thee and have not kept the commandments, nor the statutes, nor the ordinances which Thou didst command Thy servant . . . . Remember the word which Thou didst command Thy servant . . . . , saying, ‘If you are unfaithful I will scatter you among the peoples; but if you return to Me and keep My commandments and do them, though those of you who have been scattered were in the most remote part of the heavens, I will gather them from there and will bring them to the place where I have chosen to cause My name to dwell.’ “And they are Thy servants and Thy people whom Thou didst redeem by Thy great power and by Thy strong hand. O Lord, I beseech Thee, may Thine ear be attentive to the prayer of Thy servant and the prayer of Thy servants who delight to revere Thy name, and make Thy servant successful today, and grant [us] compassion . . . . ” Nehemiah 1:5-11 NAS

Amen.

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But LORD! If only You had been there...

11:1 Now a certain man was sick, Lazarus of Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. . . . . 3 The sisters therefore sent to Him, saying, “Lord, behold, he whom You love is sick.” 4 But when Jesus heard it, He said, “This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God may be glorified by it.”  5 Now Jesus loved Martha, and her sister, and Lazarus. 6 When therefore He heard that he was sick, He stayed then two days longer in the place where He was. . . . . 11 This He said, and after that He said to them, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep; but I go, that I may awaken him out of sleep.”  12 The disciples therefore said to Him, “Lord, if he has fallen asleep, he will recover.” 13 Now Jesus had spoken of his death, but they thought that He was speaking of literal sleep. 14 Then Jesus therefore said to them plainly, “Lazarus is dead, 15 and I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, so that you may believe; but let us go to him.” . . . . . 17 So when Jesus came, He found that he had already been in the tomb four days. . . . . . 20 Martha therefore, when she heard that Jesus was coming, went to meet Him; but Mary still sat in the house. 21 Martha therefore said to Jesus, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died. 22 “Even now I know that whatever You ask of God, God will give You.” 23 Jesus said to her, “Your brother shall rise again.”  24 Martha said to Him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.” 25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me shall live even if he dies, 26 and everyone who lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this? ”  27 She said to Him, “Yes, Lord; I have believed that You are the Christ, the Son of God, even He who comes into the world.” 28 And when she had said this, she went away, and called Mary her sister, saying secretly, “The Teacher is here, and is calling for you.” 29 And when she heard it, she arose quickly, and was coming to Him. . . . . 32 Therefore, when Mary came where Jesus was, she saw Him, and fell at His feet, saying to Him, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died.” 33 When Jesus therefore saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her, also weeping, He was deeply moved in spirit, and was troubled, 34 and said, “Where have you laid him?” They said to Him, “Lord, come and see.” 35 Jesus wept. 36 And so the Jews were saying, “Behold how He loved him!” 37 But some of them said, “Could not this man, who opened the eyes of him who was blind, have kept this man also from dying?”  (John 11:1, 3-6, 11-15, 17, 20-29, 32-37 NAS)

But Lord, if You had been here, I would not be going through this! Lord, if You had only been here I wouldn’t be separated! LORD! If You had been here, I wouldn’t be divorced and my family in a shambles. All my hopes and dreams are gone. My Husband refuses to forgive me and come home. Lord, my Wife is gone! She left me and the kids — telling me how she doesn’t love me anymore. Where were you Lord? WHERE WERE YOU!! WHY DIDN’T YOU SHOW UP WHEN I NEEDED YOU MOST?!?!

Where is God when you need Him most? Where is He in the midst of your circumstances? Your life is falling down all around you and you wonder how this could be happening! Why is it happening? Is this really happening to you? You pray. You seek God. And everything seems to go from bad to worse. And all your genuine heart-felt questions seem to fall on deaf ears – that is, if they ever make it past the ceiling… It doesn’t make any sense. You get angry. You become bitter. All the questions. But no answers. I mean He said He loved me! He promised He would never leave us or forsake us, right?

When the two-minute siren sounds and the tornado strikes, it can leave you feeling nearly as devastated as those in Joplin, MO. Your whole world has been smashed into nothing leaving you to pick through the debris — clinging to what is left.

8 “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Neither are your ways My ways,” declares the LORD.
9 “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts. (Isaiah 55:8-9 NAS)

What that means is most of what God does won’t make any sense. Even if you’ve been walking with God. But what does make sense is that you trust Him with all your heart and lean not unto your own understanding, but in all your ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct your paths. (Proverbs 3:5-6)

Mary and Martha can relate. They called to the Great Physician to come to them to heal their very sick brother whom they loved and whom Jesus loved. They sent a servant to seek out the Lord on their behalf who said “Lord, behold, he whom You love is sick.” The disciples are ready to go immediately but listen to what Jesus says to them; “This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God may be glorified by it.” Then what happens next is amazing! Jesus stayed put! He stayed two more days where He was! He didn’t go immediately to Mary and Martha — and their beloved brother, Lazarus, died. When Jesus did go, the first words out of Martha’s and Mary’s mouth were “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died.” You can hear it in their statements — “Where were you Lord? We sent for you! Why didn’t You come?”

Whether financial difficulties, job loss, death of a beloved family member — and even in separation and divorce — we have a decision to make. When we are going through the tragedy and heartbreak of separation and divorce, we can become prideful and bitter – angrily shaking our fists in defiance at God – or we can come before the Throne of Grace and hold on to God with everything we’ve got clinging to the Truths in His Word.

Why would Jesus wait two extra days? He says very plainly that it was “for the glory of God, that the Son of God may be glorified by it.”  I can honestly say that in the beginning of my stand I did not understand that. I didn’t even come close to comprehending that. All I could feel was the weight of my own sin and how it has affected my relationship with God — and what it did to my Husband and our children — and trying to somehow make it all right again! That’s all I could think about! Where were you God? If You had been there, our Marriage wouldn’t be dead and our family would be whole — we might have been just a bit sick and near death but we’d still be Married! Why didn’t You come! Yet He still waits to bring my Prodigal Husband back to acknowledge his Savior and Lord — and heal this Marriage and family! Why? “. . . for the glory of God, that the Son of God may be glorified by it.”

Have you ever wondered why Jesus waited until the “fourth” day? Interesting fact: When a Jewish person died, they did not embalm like we do today but rather they wrapped the body in linens and with spices and buried them that same day. They believed that the spirit of a person departed on the third day — so in order for this to truly be for the glory of God, that the Son of God may be glorified by it, Jesus had to wait one more day so the religious orthodox sect could not cry foul!

Some were moved by the fact that Jesus wept for His friend Lazarus and others were full of contempt and unbelief — still. After all, Jesus the Great Healer, waited two more long days — and Lazarus died. “But some of them said, “Could not this man, who opened the eyes of him who was blind, have kept this man also from dying?” Can’t you just hear some of the folks around you saying the same thing to you? He could perform all those miracles back then in the Bible but He couldn’t save your Marriage! Where was He when you needed Him most? There is no such thing as a “miracle.” Most of those who have been standing for a time — and then quit — listen to the lies of the enemy. They weren’t waiting and watching for the One Who promised. As soon as it didn’t happen when they sent for Him to come for the one He loves, they gave up their stand in disbelief. . . . Yeah, I believe He is God, but maybe He won’t heal us. Maybe He has other “more important” things to do. What the Stander-turned-Prodigal doesn’t know is that God is waiting those extra days for the glory of God, that the Son of God may be glorified by it — so that they may see Him work on their behalf something more amazing than they could ever imagine. Truly abundantly more than one could ever ask or think. . . .

But in true Jesus fashion, He ignores the yapping mouths of unbelief and devilish discouragement. Instead, He tells Martha to remove the stone. Martha believed that He is the Christ, the Messiah – Yeshua HaMashiach — but she was not quite convinced that she should roll the stone away either. . . .

38 Jesus therefore again being deeply moved within, came to the tomb. Now it was a cave, and a stone was lying against it. 39 Jesus said, “Remove the stone.” Martha, the sister of the deceased, said to Him, “Lord, by this time there will be a stench, for he has been dead four days.” (John 11:38-39 NAS)

What stone is Jesus asking you to remove? Anger? Bitterness? Unbelief? Unfaithfulness? Disobedience to His call to Stand for your Prodigal Spouse? What if you removed the stone? Would there be a foul smell? If Jesus were to ask you to roll the stone away, would you argue with Him and hang on to your stone of bitterness and pride? Your stone of unbelief in His ability to heal your Marriage? Would you hang on to the stone of worldly divorce and move on with your life? Or would you trust Him!

40 Jesus said to her, “Did I not say to you, if you believe, you will see the glory of God?”  41 And so they removed the stone. And Jesus raised His eyes, and said, “Father, I thank Thee that Thou heardest Me. 42 “And I knew that Thou hearest Me always; but because of the people standing around I said it, that they may believe that Thou didst send Me.” 43 And when He had said these things, He cried out with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come forth.” 44 He who had died came forth, bound hand and foot with wrappings; and his face was wrapped around with a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Unbind him, and let him go.” (John 11:40-44 NAS)

Stander listen! Did He not say to you, if you believe, you will see the glory of God?

19 “God is not a man, that He should lie, Nor a son of man, that He should repent; Has He said, and will He not do it? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good? (Numbers 23:19 NAS)

The Jesus that raised Lazarus to life so that he would die again someday is the same Jesus that will raise His eyes to His Father and say; “Father, I thank Thee that Thou heardest Me. 42 “And I knew that Thou hearest Me always; but because of the people standing around I said it, that they may believe that Thou didst send Me.” 43 And when He had said these things, He cried out with a loud voice, “[PRODIGAL], come forth.”  And your Prodigal Husband or Wife will come forth from the tomb of death and freed of the sinful wrappings that bind them — and the eyes (face) that are wrapped around with the cloth of blindness to their sin will come off and they will be set free.

“Lord, behold, the Prodigal whom You love is sick.” 4 But when Jesus heard it, He said, “This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God may be glorified by it.”

Roll the stone away for the glory of God, that the Son of God may be glorified by it . . .

Amen.

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© 2009 – 2011 TheEphesianMarriage. All rights reserved by TheEphesianMarriage unless otherwise stated. All other writings and symbols are the registered trademarks of their respective owners.


1 John 3:11 (NASB)
For this is the message which you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another…

John 13:34 (NASB)
A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another.

John 15:17 (NASB)
This I command you, that you love one another.

Romans 12:10 (NASB)
Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor

Romans 13:8 (NASB)
Owe nothing to anyone except to love one another; for he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law.

Galatians 5:13 (NASB)
For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.

1 Peter 4:8 (NASB)
Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins.

1 John 3:23 (NASB)
This is His commandment, that we believe in the name of His Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, just as He commanded us.

Ephesians 4:2 (NASB)
…with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love…

I did a search on “love one another” and that search resulted in twenty-three Scriptures on how we are to love one another. In some you will find the word “commandment” or “commanded” preceding “love one another.” In others you will not; however, if it precedes any “love one another,” then you can safely assume that it is a commandment — always!

Let me ask you a question. If you were to walk away from your one-flesh covenant Marriage, where would you go? Have you ever thought about that? I can tell you that if you are IN Christ — meaning you are a blood-bought born-again child of the King — and you have made Him Lord of your life, the answer to that question can only be that you would walk straight to Him — and no where else. For there is no other Name given under heaven by which man can be saved. And if you’re walking away — or running away — it had better be to Him. Otherwise, your troubles are only beginning. There is no one else that can save you from where you are at this moment in time. There is no one else to rescue you. None. If you are walking away from your Marriage, you are doing so under your own power. You think you have done all you can to make it work — and you are probably right that YOU have done all you can. But you haven’t given it to Christ — the One Who redeems that which is lost. The One Who restores that which is broken. The One Who Heals that which is sick.  The One Who makes the lame walk; the deaf hear, the blind see — the One Who raises that which is dead and breathes new life into them.

 1 The hand of the LORD was upon me, and He brought me out by the Spirit of the LORD and set me down in the middle of the valley; and it was full of bones.

2 He caused me to pass among them round about, and behold, there were very many on the surface of the valley; and lo, they were very dry.

3 He said to me, “Son of man, can these bones live?” And I answered, “O Lord GOD, You know.”

Ezekiel 37:1-3 NASB

Dear Stander, there is nothing more dead than a valley of dry bones. While the above verses are a prophetic vision of Israel that have been fulfilled in our time in the rebirth of the nation of Israel, God’s chosen people, those verses also aptly describe hundreds of thousands of Marriages and Homes. Did you know that from the last destruction of their nation to the resurrection and rebirth of the new nation of Israel was 1900 years?

God has used these verses to speak to me about the dead bones that represent my own Marriage. He said to me, “Can these bones live?” and I answered as Ezekiel, “O Lord GOD, You know.” It’s worth it to read the rest because it contains a promise for the Stander — the one who is waiting for God to open the grave of their dead Marriage, breathe life into it and restore them into the Land of Promise.

 4 Again He said to me, “Prophesy over these bones and say to them, ‘O dry bones, hear the word of the LORD.’

5 “Thus says the Lord GOD to these bones, ‘Behold, I will cause breath to enter you that you may come to life.

6 ‘I will put sinews on you, make flesh grow back on you, cover you with skin and put breath in you that you may come alive; and you will know that I am the LORD.’”

7 So I prophesied as I was commanded; and as I prophesied, there was a noise, and behold, a rattling; and the bones came together, bone to its bone.

8 And I looked, and behold, sinews were on them, and flesh grew and skin covered them; but there was no breath in them.

9 Then He said to me, “Prophesy to the breath, prophesy, son of man, and say to the breath, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD, “Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe on these slain, that they come to life.”‘”

10 So I prophesied as He commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they came to life and stood on their feet, an exceedingly great army.

The Vision Explained

11 Then He said to me, “Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel; behold, they say, ‘Our bones are dried up and our hope has perished We are completely cut off.’

12 “Therefore prophesy and say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD, “Behold, I will open your graves and cause you to come up out of your graves, My people; and I will bring you into the land of Israel.

13 “Then you will know that I am the LORD, when I have opened your graves and caused you to come up out of your graves, My people.

14 “I will put My Spirit within you and you will come to life, and I will place you on your own land. Then you will know that I, the LORD, have spoken and done it,” declares the LORD.’”

Ezekiel 37:4-14 NASB

I know that you and I do not have 1900 years to wait for the resurrection of our homes, and God knows that too — but as painful as it is to go through, the wait will be worth it to hear Him say, “Well done good and faithful servant.” The wait will be worth it to see your Prodigal Spouse acknowledging Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord of their life and coming home — HOME — to their Covenant Love. Folks, God has every detail in your life under His watchful care. Nothing that has happened to you has caught Him by surprise — but He uses what has happened to bring about HIS plan and the good that only He can bring about. Trust me, we have not put God on a detour road. All the days were written for me before one of them came to be — so He’s not in the least surprised by my stupidity — or yours. Seriously. These painful trying events make us stronger, nobler characters by stretching and growing our faith. I can honestly speak for myself when I say there are times I didn’t think I could go any further. In a fraction of a moment in time I actually contemplated “walking away.”

The million dollar questions start rolling around in my color-saturated brain cells (you know, blonde):

Where would I go?

To whom or what would I be running to?

Wouldn’t I be doing the exact same thing I did when I walked out the first time?

Wouldn’t my Prodigal Spouse think he was justified in not coming back?

I’ve already told our children that God is restoring this family. . . . Hmmm.

In my foolishness, I would make God’s Word out to be a lie. Some witness!!

Ask yourself another question:

WHY do you really want your Covenant Spouse restored to you?

Are you lonely?

Your kids are driving you nuts?

Your income and quality of living have diminished. . . .

Maybe you just don’t like the stigma attached to being “d-i-v-o-r-c-e-d” and you’re afraid of what some people think.

Who cares what they think? If you give sway to their thoughts, then you are like a ship tossed to and fro on the waves of opinion doomed to sink into the muck and mire of legalism and whatever else is out there — like your pride. You won’t be able to hear what God has to say when He speaks because of the other voices you give ear to.

WHY? Why do you really want your Covenant Spouse restored to you?

I’ll tell you why you should want your Covenant restored.

God hates divorce! That should settle it right there! He gives no exceptions! But since we are always looking for other proof… Keep reading! :) Divorce for any reason is really treason against the God of your Covenant Vow. You see, the real reason you’re seeking to reconcile with your Covenant Mate is because:

No 1: God will require your vows of you. Oooo… Why is that so important? Because you didn’t just say that stuff with your Covenant Spouse — “. . . . for better or for worse, in sickness and in health, until death do us part.” – you made a Covenant with God when you spoke your wedding vows.

“It is a snare to a man rashly to say, It is holy, And after vows to make inquiry.” (Proverbs 20:25 ASV)

“Again, you have heard that the ancients were told, ‘YOU SHALL NOT MAKE FALSE VOWS, BUT SHALL FULFILL YOUR VOWS TO THE LORD.’ (Matthew 5:33 NASB)

No 2: Can you say commandment? The link to that is this –> The hallmarks of a blood-bought born-again child of the King are FORGIVENESS, MERCY, and GRACE — the very things that Christ imparted to you when you asked Him to — because He loves you. Those are all UNmerited favors and are gifts to the one who will receive them. Freely He gave and freely you received. Those UNmerited favors cannot be earned by anything you do or say. But they are commanded to be given in return — for all are borne out of LOVE! And what is Love? A commandment. It’s IMPOSSIBLE to “hate” someone that you are loving as Christ loves you.

Why is it so hard for us to give those same things to our Prodigal Spouse? How can we expect God to forgive us and love us and impart His mercy and grace to us — and then we withhold those very things, even refusing to give them to our one-flesh (one in body) Husband or Wife? I’ve said it before: I am so very thankful that at present, my Prodigal is not the one who is my Judge. Understand dear Prodigal and Stander: the measure with which you use to judge another by will be the same measure God uses to judge you…

“For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you.” (Matthew 7:2 NASB) (Reference also: Mark 4:24 and Luke 6:38)

When you compare everyone to your standard of measure, they will fall short every single time! The Scriptures say that makes you without understanding! Your real standard of measure should be the Word of God and your example is Jesus Christ – He has called you to Love and Forgive every single time — without measure . . . .

“For we are not bold to class or compare ourselves with some of those who commend themselves; but when they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are without understanding.” (II Corinthians 10:12 NASB)


When God calls us — HE calls us to be HOLY because HE is Holy. 1 Peter 1:16 states “YOU SHALL BE HOLY, FOR I AM HOLY.”

When God calls us to Forgive — HE calls us to forgive without measure. Matthew 18:21-22:

 21Then Peter came and said to Him, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him? Up to seven times?”

22Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.

When God calls us to love one another, He isn’t kidding. At the beginning of the article, I posted nine Scriptures of at least twenty-three that have to do with loving one another.

Let me ask you another question. Where in the Bible — the final Authority on how we are to live and conduct our lives — does it give instructions on “When to Walk Away?”

I’ll save you the trouble in looking for that answer — but I’ll answer that question with another question.

When should Christ walk away from us? Have we not all committed harlotries (also known as adulteries) against the One Who shed His blood on calvary to save us from perishing? Romans 8:38-39 NASB:

38 For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers,

 39 nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

If you can find anything that can separate us from the love and mercy and faithfulness of God — anything that God missed in those two Scriptures above, then you’d be the first. There is nothing but nothing that will make Him walk away from His redeemed, blood-bought born-again children who are His Covenant Bride.

My point is simply this: Because you are one in body with your Covenant Husband or Wife; Because you are brother and sister IN Christ; Because you are one in body with Christ; Because you are His Covenant Bride — then you can never walk away. No matter what you or I do that is against our Heavenly Husband, Jesus Christ, He will NEVER walk away from His Bride and REmarry another. Marriage is to the Husband and Wife what Salvation is to the Church. We are his Covenant Body and our Marriage will take place at the Marriage Supper of the Lamb in Heaven when we will be presented to Him without spot or blemish. It is because of His presence within us that makes us Holy and Sanctifies us. It is by virtue of our being ONE in body with our spouse and our presence with them that they are Sanctified and made Holy. And one day soon, in your faithfulness to GOD, you will realize that this isn’t about being restored to each other “just because” — but this is really about presenting your Covenant Mate before the Throne of Grace and carrying them in labored prayer until they bow in acknowledgement of Christ Jesus as Savior and Lord of their life.

That’s why you’re here.

You can never walk away.

Amen.

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Standers – If you have a Prodigal Spouse who is being abusive and/or using, the above still fits. BUT my only caveat to the above is this — remove yourself to safety. Especially if you have children. Seek Godly help and counseling where appropriate, making sure to test the Spirits seeing that what is being said is in God’s Word. With God ALL things are possible — even the healing of your abusive / using Spouse. The fact that they are abusive and/or using does not negate the Covenant Vow. It is still until death. Your standard is still that of God’s Word — to be Holy because He is Holy; and to follow I Corinthians 7:10-11 — that a wife is not to leave (divorce) her husband, but if she does, she is to be reconciled to him or remain UNMARRIED. And a husband is not to divorce his wife. Neither spouse can REmarry. Removing yourself from the situation is NOT walking away. You are providing you and your children (if any) safe haven and rest — and relying on God to heal and restore that which has been stolen from you. Remember: your enemy is not your spouse. “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.” (Ephesians 6:12 NASB) Once you truly realize that this is a spiritual battle for the soul of your family, you will be better positioned to pray for the restoration of your spiritually blinded and hurting Spouse to the ONE Who gave all on the Cross at Calvary.

© 2009 – 2011 TheEphesianMarriage. All rights reserved by TheEphesianMarriage unless otherwise stated. All other writings and symbols are the registered trademarks of their respective owners.


 
matthew16_15-16

Psalm 86

A Psalm of Supplication and Trust.

A Prayer of David.

1 Incline Your ear, O LORD, and answer me;
         For I am afflicted and needy.
2 Preserve my soul, for I am a godly man;
         O You my God, save Your servant who trusts in You.
3 Be gracious to me, O Lord,
         For to You I cry all day long.
4 Make glad the soul of Your servant,
         For to You, O Lord, I lift up my soul.
5 For You, Lord, are good, and ready to forgive,
         And abundant in loving-kindness to all who call upon You.
6 Give ear, O LORD, to my prayer;
         And give heed to the voice of my supplications!
7 In the day of my trouble I shall call upon You,
         For You will answer me.
8 There is no one like You among the gods, O Lord,
         Nor are there any works like Yours.
9 All nations whom You have made shall come and worship before You, O Lord,
         And they shall glorify Your name.
10 For You are great and do wondrous deeds;
        You alone are God.
11
Teach me Your way, O LORD;
         I will walk in Your truth;Unite my heart to fear Your name.

12 I will give thanks to You, O Lord my God, with all my heart,
         And will glorify Your name forever.
13 For Your loving-kindness toward me is great,
         And You have delivered my soul from the depths of Sheol.
14 O God, arrogant men have risen up against me,
         And a band of violent men have sought my life,
         And they have not set You before them.
15 But You, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious,
         Slow to anger and abundant in loving-kindness and truth.
16 Turn to me, and be gracious to me;
         Oh grant Your strength to Your servant,
         And save the son of Your handmaid.
17 Show me a sign for good,
         That those who hate me may see it and be ashamed,
         Because You, O LORD, have helped me and comforted me.

When you approach the Throne Room of Grace in prayer, what is your belief about God? What do you really think about Him? Do you have an earthly view of your Father Who sits over all creation? Is your view of God formed by your earthly Father (and Mother)? Maybe you had a very angry and stern unmerciful earthly father – one who was quick to point out your faults and failures; one who was quick to become angry and punish. Maybe he was one who withheld his love; maybe he only showed you his love when he approved of what you did. Maybe he was disapproving of everything you did – unforgiving of your wrongs and very critical and condescending telling you how you would never amount to anything. Your accomplishments were and still are never enough. . . . . How about an absentee parent who is totally unresponsive to you and your needs? It’s like you don’t even exist.

Or do you believe like David – who was a man after God’s own heart – that God hears your prayers? Answers your prayers? And that God loves you with an everlasting and unconditional love?

3 The Lord appeared from of old to me . . . saying, Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore with loving-kindness have I drawn you and continued My faithfulness to you. (Jeremiah 31:3 AMP)

I ask because there are many of you, who like me, have done some pretty stupid things in our lives – things that are so mind blowing that when God finally gets a hold of you by the scruff of your neck, things that will make you wonder how on earth God could show mercy and grace to such a fool. Though I didn’t do it alone, my “crowning glory” was the final destruction of my Marriage and home. I haven’t always walked the talk, but I have been a born-again Christian all my life and at times I have really struggled with Who He is and what He is capable of. This isn’t a disbelief but rather an inability to totally comprehend Who He really is. If that doesn’t blow your mind along with the stupidity that we sometimes exhibit, nothing will. However, most of the time we have a tendency to project the human qualities, traits and characteristics of our earthly father onto God the Father. We’ve made Him out to be the demanding and insatiable God for Whom we can never do enough for – a Father who has a conditional love, is unmerciful and definitely can only forgive certain sins.

However, this is not the God of the Bible.

Read David’s description of God again. He describes God this way in vs 5;

For You, Lord, are good, and ready to forgive, And abundant in lovingkindness to ALL who call upon You.” (emphasis mine)

This definitely isn’t the picture of an unmerciful and cruel taskmaster. On the contrary, God is good and ready to forgive showing abundant love and kindness to ALL – ALL – who would call upon Him! There is no exception mentioned. Our God does not play favorites as parents sometimes do. He does not dole out His affection and mercy on those of us who might be “better” or “more deserving” than someone else. Placing absolutely no conditions on His mercy and love, God gives abundantly to everyone who would call upon His Name and ask. It’s that simple. Really.

David, a God-appointed king over God’s chosen people, committed adultery and murdered the husband of the woman he took because he couldn’t control himself – yet God called him a man after His own heart. It’s hard to fathom that kind of mercy especially knowing that David – and us – deserved much worse than he got. We definitely wouldn’t be asking God to give heed to our prayers. . . . . If we had to depend upon the mercy of a human earthly father to forgive us for those kinds of things (and more), I would fear for my existence and eternal destiny. In the early years of my upbringing, my Dad would have strung me up. I thank my God that he is now a changed man by the loving mercy and grace of God. I say that kind of tongue-in-cheek, but I can tell you I came close many times. But God is not like that. I can also thank God that my beloved Husband is not my ruler and judge. I thought at one time I was his ruler and judge, condemning him for what I thought he should or shouldn’t do, for his anger. I have since come to see that that is the enemy – not my Husband. I have relinquished control of those reins and let go and let God. In other words, I realized that I needed to forgive him for his part in the breakdown of our Marriage and love him with the love and mercy that God gives to me – no matter how angry he can be at times. God gave his Son for my Husband too. He offered His body for you and your wayward spouse as well. No, our God is not a God Who gives love based on a wishy washy set of human conditions but our God is a God Who is overflowing with love. Even when David was weak, needy and poor, he proclaimed the goodness of God by saying:

13 For Your loving-kindness toward me is great,
         And You have delivered my soul from the depths of Sheol.

Who is the God you believe you serve? Is He the God of the Bible or is He the god of manmade notions? Is He the impotent statue god created by your own hands – or is He the God Who is great and does marvelous and mighty wonders (vs 10)? Is He an absentee god who has no interest in your broken life and Marriage – or is He the God of the Bible Who promises that He will never leave you nor forsake you? (Hebrews 13:5) The same God Who promises that His Word will not return to Him void! (Isaiah 55:11) The same God Who promised you that He is faithful and just and will forgive even when we are unfaithful! (I John 1:9) The God of your impossible! (Matthew 19:26; Mark 10:27)

9 If we [freely] admit that we have sinned and confess our sins, He is faithful and just (true to His own nature and promises) and will forgive our sins [dismiss our lawlessness] and [continuously] cleanse us from all unrighteousness [everything not in conformity to His will in purpose, thought, and action]. I John 1:9 AMP

When you find that you are hesitant to come before your God and you are not wholly and fully trusting in Him, consider what your true thoughts are. What is your image of the God of your promise? Is He the REAL God of Scripture? Or is He the impotent statue created by your own hands?

15And if it seems evil to you to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell; but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. Joshua 24:15 AMP

Your house and my house may not be whole, but because you and I are standing in the gap for our beloved one-flesh covenant mate, I believe because your Husband or Wife is one flesh with you that they are still sanctified and set apart by your faith and belief in the One Who has called you both and set you apart unto Him. Otherwise if they are in unbelief and if not for you crying out to a Holy and Just and Righteous God on their behalf, they would be unclean.

30 He will even deliver the one [for whom you intercede] who is not innocent; yes, he will be delivered through the cleanness of your hands. Job 22:30 AMP

Heavenly Father, teach us Your way so that we may walk in Your truth;Give us an undivided heart to fear Your Name, the Name above all names, so that we will give thanks to You, O Lord our God, with all our hearts, and we will glorify Your name forever and ever. Amen.

3 Trust (lean on, rely on, and be confident) in the Lord and do good; so shall you dwell in the land and feed surely on His faithfulness, and truly you shall be fed.

4 Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He will give you the desires and secret petitions of your heart.

5 Commit your way to the Lord [roll and repose each care of your load on Him]; trust (lean on, rely on, and be confident) also in Him and He will bring it to pass.

6 And He will make your uprightness and right standing with God go forth as the light, and your justice and right as [the shining sun of] the noonday.

7 Be still and rest in the Lord; wait for Him and patiently lean yourself upon Him. . . . . (Psalm 37:3-7 AMP)

May the God of your comfort give you the desires of your heart.

Amen.

>>>  ><> ><> +++ <>< <>< <<<

© 2009 – 2011 TheEphesianMarriage. All rights reserved by TheEphesianMarriage unless otherwise stated. All other writings and symbols are the registered trademarks of their respective owners.

 


 john15_13

15 So when they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me more than these?” He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You ” . . . . .

16 He said to him again a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me?” He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.” . . . . .

17 He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me?” Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, “Do you love Me?” And he said to Him, “Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You ” . . . . .

19 . . . . . And when He had spoken this, He said to him, “Follow Me!”

21 So Peter . . . . . said to Jesus, “Lord, and what about this man?”

22 Jesus said to him, . . . . . what is that to you? You follow Me!”

(John 21:15-17, 19, 21-22 NASB)

Simon Peter was a disciple of Christ. He was hand-picked by Jesus Himself. He knew Who Jesus was. Peter claimed Him as Messiah. He said “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” (Matthew 16:16) Peter said he would “lay down his life for” his Lord. (John 13:37) Right after that, Jesus questioned Peter saying “Will you lay down your life for Me? . . . . .” I’m sure there was a great show of testosterone fueled bravery when Peter drew his sword and cut off the ear of the son of a high priest. Yet that same night mighty Peter would fall. Peter denied his Lord not once, but three times. . . . . Peter was in very danger of hell fire the moment the rooster crowed it’s last time.

“But whoever denies Me before men, I will also deny Him before My Father who is in Heaven.” (Matthew 10:33 NASB)

I can tell you I’ve read the above account all throughout the Gospels hundreds of times. I can tell you it was like reading sacred history – and all I remember thinking each time I read was, “Wow! Peter! Really? You walked with Him. You talked with Him! You saw the miracles He did!”

It’s pretty easy to judge the dead guy, right? He’s not here anymore anyway. But what was he thinking? Peter actually saw Jesus. He touched Him; ate with Him; lived with Him; traveled with Him. . . .Surely I would never deny my Lord!

And then I realized I’m actually just as bad as Peter. Whether I’ve seen Christ Face to face or not doesn’t matter. I’ve walked with Him my whole life. I was called to know Him when I was about 8. I’ve talked with Him – and have even heard Him speak; sometimes so loud I could swear it was audible. I have seen Him do tangible miracles in my life and the lives of others. . . . Yet I have denied my Lord before men more times than I care to count. No, it wasn’t a spoken denial as in Peter’s case. I have never done that. But it may as well have been screamed from the peak of Mt. Everest because my actions have spoken louder than my words of love for my Savior and Lord.

My divorce was just one of those times. . . .

After my divorce a few years ago, I actually heard Him say to me

“Do you love Me more than these?”

“Huh? Is that you Lord? More than what?”

                      S.i.l.e.n.c.e. . . . .

“Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.” . . . . .

                      “Follow Me!”

But I am, Lord.

                      S.i.l.e.n.c.e. . . . .

Lord? ? ?

                     C.o.n.v.i.c.t.i.o.n. . . . .

I said to Jesus, “Lord, and what about my Husband?”

Jesus said . . . . . what is that to you? You follow Me!”

          C.o.n.v.i.c.t.i.o.n. . . . .

                                      S.i.l.e.n.c.e. . . .

                                                               R.e.p.e.n.t.a.n.c.e. . . . .

I can imagine the guilt and shame Peter felt after having denied his Lord. Our circumstances are way different – but the sin is the same. After seeing my sin the way God sees it, I can barely comprehend the Love that would still reach down to Save me – Forgive me.

Have you felt the weight of your own sin? Whether Prodigal or Stander, we have all sinned – first of all, against God.

Do you have a tendency to “beat yourself up?” Have lots of regrets? Maybe you wrestle with not forgiving yourself for the things you have done – never mind what your Spouse might think of you at the moment!

33Who will bring a charge against God’s elect? God is the one who justifies;

34who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us.

(Romans 8:33-34 NASB)

“Who will bring a charge against God’s elect? . . . . Who is the one who condemns?” We always self-righteously apply that to situations like when other people judge us –  like maybe our Spouse? But do we ever apply it to ourselves after we’ve repented, asked for forgiveness and then been forgiven? When we’re so busy beating ourselves up over the things we may have done, are we not doing the same thing? A lot of us haven’t forgiven ourselves. We are condemning what Christ Jesus died for. . . . .We are charging — even condemning – God’s elect.

God’s what?

Exactly. If you are a child of the King in accordance with His Word, you are God’s elect.

29 For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren;

30 and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified.

(Romans 8:29-30 NASB)

 35 Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?

37 But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us.

38 For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers,

39 nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

(Romans 8:35, 37-39 NASB)

Ladies and Gentlemen. Prodigals and Standers. I don’t care the kinds of sins we have committed – I know how real these verses became to me when I realized that there is nothing left out.

     Witchcraft. Jealousy. Porn. Adultery. Pride. Anger. Hatred. Bitterness. Divorce.

          And on.

               And on.

If you can lay claim to the sin — and if we’ve broken even one of the commandments, we are guilty of breaking them all — then it can be forgiven!

. . . . . . . even denial.*

In our repentance, there is nothing but nothing that we can do that will separate us from the Love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Even after Peter denied his Lord; His Lord called Peter to follow Him.

Even after I denied my Lord, my Lord in His Mercy called me for His Glory.

Amazing Love.

12 “This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you.

13 “Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.

(John 15:12-13 NASB)

That’s what He did for us. That’s what we do for our Beloved. That’s why we Stand.

Listen! Can you hear Him?

       “Do you Love Me?”

                               “Follow Me!”

—Amen.

* Please note that there IS a denial of Christ that leads unto death – spiritual and physical. (References: I John 5:16; Luke 13:6-9) This is called an apostasy. In short, an apostate is an unrepentant individual who has completely denied and/or renounced religious (or other) beliefs. Because Peter denied Christ three times does not make him an apostate. Peter was forgiven and became a great apostle of Jesus Christ. When an apostate denies the continued call of Jesus Christ, the sin of apostasy does not only lead to spiritual death but it can also lead to physical death; and God alone reserves the right to take this person’s life. Please understand that because this individual is an “unrepentant” individual does *not* mean that they were ever a born-again believer when they renounced their faith! It does strongly indicate that the person was in the Church and exposed to all the goodness thereof – BUT it’s not the Church that saves us! Judas Iscariot was an apostate. Not only did he walk and talk with Christ as Peter, but unlike Peter, his repentance was absent. Judas knew who Jesus Christ was yet Christ said he was a devil. (Reference John 6:70). True salvation by faith in the finished work of Jesus on the cross means we have the indwelling of the Holy Spirit Who leads us into all Truth. The Holy Spirit does not indwell us to leave us without filling us with the desire for Truth and to follow Him. It doesn’t mean we won’t slip up, but it does surely mean that He will be there to impart His Truth and put us back on the right track. Amen.

—© 2009 – 2011 TheEphesianMarriage. All rights reserved by Celia Ann and TheEphesianMarriage unless otherwise stated. All other symbols are the trademark of their respective owners.


Hear the Prayers of Your Servant, O LORD

 

Well here we are. Another New Year and there are still Standers waiting for the sudden answer to their long-awaited prayers. Another year has passed without the return of your Beloved. The walls of the city God has called by His Name are still lying in ruins before all who pass by. We Standers are like a reproach and a pathetic disgrace to those who would look at our circumstances. We are like self-made victims of our circumstances. They have no concern for a person who won’t crawl out of their circumstances to “move on” with their life. We are little more than charity cases or “beggars,” if you will.

Have you been subject to the naysayers’ attitudes of unbelief, contempt and disdain for the call of God placed on your life – the call to pray for the salvation of your Beloved and the restoration of your Marriage? Nehemiah met with such people – people who would try to discourage him from the call of God on his life. When he discovered that the walls of his beloved Jerusalem were lying in ruins, he longed to return to his city and rebuild it.

Nehemiah’s Prayer of Repentance

3They said to me, ‘The remnant . . . . . who survived the captivity are in great distress and reproach, and the wall . . . . . is broken down and its gates are burned with fire.”

4When I heard these words, I sat down and wept and mourned for days; and I was fasting and praying before the God of heaven.

5I said, “I beseech You, O LORD God of heaven, the great and awesome God, who preserves the covenant and lovingkindness for those who love Him and keep His commandments,

6let Your ear now be attentive and Your eyes open to hear the prayer of Your servant which I am praying before You now, day and night, on behalf of . . . . . Your servants, confessing the sins of . . . . . which we have sinned against You; I and my father’s house have sinned.

7”We have acted very corruptly against You and have not kept the commandments, nor the statutes, nor the ordinances which You commanded Your servant . . . . .

8”Remember the word which You commanded Your servant . . . . . , saying, ‘If you are unfaithful I will scatter you among the peoples;

9but if you return to Me and keep My commandments and do them, though those of you who have been scattered were in the most remote part of the heavens, I will gather them from there and will bring them to the place where I have chosen to cause My name to dwell.’

10”[We] are Your servants and Your people whom You redeemed by Your great power and by Your strong hand.

11”O Lord, I beseech You, may Your ear be attentive to the prayer of Your servant and the prayer of Your servants who delight to revere Your name, and make Your servant successful today and grant [me] compassion before this man . . . . . “

(Nehemiah 1:3-10 NASB)

The Stander is like the remnant who survived the captivity that was their blindness. By the Grace of God, He has allowed me to see the blindness that held me captive. Thanks be to God that He brought me to my knees in fear and shame. I wept for days and days. I did not want to live. But it was that fear and shame that brought about the godly sorrow within that produced my repentance. That repentance has brought about in me a desire to prove the Love and Forgiveness of God. It has brought about a righteous indignation for the work of the devil in the lives of my family and a fear of a Holy and righteous God and His Word. It has brought about the God-borne desire to see my family healed of this dreadful and evil disease called “divorce.” By His power and through His Holy Spirit, this wrong done to my family will be undone.

9. . . . . you were made sorrowful to the point of repentance; for you were made sorrowful according to the will of God, so that you might not suffer loss . . . . .

10For the sorrow that is according to the will of God produces a repentance without regret, leading to salvation, but the sorrow of the world produces death.

11For behold what earnestness this very thing, this godly sorrow, has produced in you: what vindication of yourselves, what indignation, what fear, what longing, what zeal, what avenging of wrong!

(II Corinthians 7:9-11 NASB)

Nehemiah not only wept and confessed his own personal sins; he also confessed the sins of his family! He confessed for and interceded for himself, his family and his people. (Nehemiah 1:7-9 NASB) And God honored Nehemiah’s prayer.

Before CHRISTmas, at the urgent request of a long-time friend and former co-worker whom I will refer to as “J,”

To Whom Do You Answer?

 

we had lunch at the local sushi place. I had a very distinct feeling before I went in that this individual was also suffering in their Marriage. This individual claims a relationship with the Lord but is definitely backslidden and living in a horrible maze of lies and deceit. While we worked together a few years ago, we were going through the breakdown of our Covenant Marriages at the same time. J tried to coach me in the “now” or “in” thing with regard to “finding” myself and the perfect bed partner and mate. I chose to heed the call of God in Standing for my Marriage and the salvation of my Beloved while J chose to pursue the call of the wild. That worldly call on J’s life resulted in an adulterous REmarriage – a “marriage” that now less than two years later is in big trouble because J cannot control the “call of the wild”… I tried desperately to keep J from REmarrying because I knew that the reasoning behind J sowing wild oats to get it out of the system was not the foundation with which to build ANY marriage. J was building on a foundation other than the solid Rock of Jesus Christ and now that foundation is crumbling…

17Then I said to them, “You see the bad situation we are in, that Jerusalem is desolate and its gates burned by fire. Come, let us rebuild the wall of Jerusalem so that we will no longer be a reproach.”

18I told them how the hand of my God had been favorable to me . . . . .

19But when Sanballat the Horonite and Tobiah the Ammonite official, and Geshem the Arab heard it, they mocked us and despised us and said, “What is this thing you are doing? . . . . . “

(Nehemiah 2:17-18 NASB)

As I witnessed about rebuilding the walls of my broken Marriage and home; and as I tried to expand on some of the more difficult parts of the “escape clause” and the correlation of the Covenant Marriage to the Church’s relationship to Christ, this person broke in suddenly to ask me if I felt like a “charity case!” J knows that I came to live with my “ex” as a result of a job loss that took place in March of 2009. However, it wasn’t until September of 2009 that I was invited by my Beloved to move in. To J this appears as “charity” from the “ex” so the children wouldn’t think their Father was a horrible man and a brute. For starters, our boys do not think that about their Dad – but even they recognize it as the hand of God moving to heal and reconcile this broken family. Because the comment came out of nowhere, I found myself a tad bit stunned at J’s question but I was able to overcome it in an instant because I believe the Holy Spirit was there with me to give me the words as I witnessed about the God of Forgiveness and Reconciliation to J. My friend J was like Sanballat the Horonite and Tobiah the Ammonite and Geshem the Arab who heard about Nehemiah rebuilding the walls of his precious home. They were mocking him…

20So I answered them and said to them, “The God of heaven will give us success; therefore we His servants will arise and build, but you have no share, or any claim or historical right to it.”

(Nehemiah 2:20 NASB)

Though we have always been able to speak straightforward with each other, I believe my friend J was under conviction with regard to my living testimony and witness. My blind and captive nasaying friend J has no share, claim to or historical right to my Marriage or what God Himself has called me to do. I did tell J that God has spoken His Word to me and has made promises to me and He will bring it to pass. I either believe Him or I don’t. There is no gray area.

Folks, as a child of the King, you and I are not relegated to chance – but more importantly, neither is the King of kings. We are not left hanging – subject to the coincidences of a godless world. We are, by birth, children of the Most High God – and because it was He Who allowed me to be laid off from a job in a direct answer to my prayers to be closer to my Husband, then Hallelujah! J was “worried” that I might look bad to people who knew me and knew that my Beloved and I were legally divorced. In J’s eyes, I had the appearance of giving up my beautiful pride and bowing to being a needy woman. What the devil was trying to do – again – was discourage me. And God forgive my friend, but J was definitely being “used” to take my focus and shift it to past and present circumstances and what “people were saying” about this poor needy woman.

Work Is Ridiculed

1Now it came about that when Sanballat heard that we were rebuilding the wall, he became furious and very angry and mocked the Jews.

2He spoke in the presence of his brothers and the wealthy men of Samaria and said, “What are these feeble Jews doing? Are they going to restore it for themselves? Can they offer sacrifices? Can they finish in a day? Can they revive the stones from the dusty rubble even the burned ones?”

4Hear, O our God, how we are despised! Return their reproach on their own heads and give them up for plunder in a land of captivity.

 5Do not forgive their iniquity and let not their sin be blotted out before You, for they have demoralized the builders.

6So we built the wall and the whole wall was joined together . . . .

(Nehemiah 4:1,2, 4-6 NASB)

There will be times when the work of Standing – the work God has called you to – will be ridiculed by friends, family and even folks we don’t know but who hear of us. They will judge you and me by our circumstances in accordance with a worldly view of righteousness — because after all, there is the “exception clause.” Because they don’t understand, they will think we are weak and needy — we use Standing as a crutch for our unwillingness to “move on.” Those are the naysayers. These are the people, who when the conversation turns to the circumstance and call of Standing in the Gap for our Covenant Marriages and children, that we will need to forgive and to love. There is no doubt that the way in which a naysayer can say something that can cause emotional turmoil within us that we may just step outside our Christ-likeness and say (or do) something we shouldn’t. . . . We need to turn them over to God and in as much as is possible by and through the Power of the Holy Spirit Who lives in us, live in Peace with them.

Carefully think about something: even these naysayers are part of our circumstances. They are part of what God allows and uses to grow us into the sons and daughters, mothers and fathers, husbands and wives, that He has called us to be. If we can’t treat these naysayers with the forgiving love that we are to treat our Covenant Mate with, then how do we know if we can treat our Mate the way we’re supposed to. I understand that all the others are different kinds of relationships, but when someone gets under your skin with something said or done, there have been times in each of our lives that it didn’t matter who it was, we most likely didn’t have a very Christlike response. . . . And who of us doesn’t have a tendency to treat our friends better than our Spouses anyway.

Discouragement Overcome

9But we prayed to our God, and because of them we set up a guard against them day and night.

10Thus in Judah it was said, ”The strength of the burden bearers is failing, Yet there is much rubbish; And we ourselves are unable to rebuild the wall.”

11Our enemies said, “They will not know or see until we come among them, kill them and put a stop to the work.”

(Nehemiah 4:9-11 NASB)

The Two Become One

13But now in Christ Jesus, you who once were [so] far away, through (by, in) the blood of Christ have been brought near.

14For He is [Himself] our peace (our bond of unity and harmony). He has made us both . . . . . one [body], and has broken down (destroyed, abolished) the hostile dividing wall between us,

15By abolishing in His [own crucified] flesh the enmity [caused by] the Law with its decrees and ordinances [which He annulled]; that He from the two might create in Himself one new man [one new quality of humanity out of the two], so making peace.

16And [He designed] to reconcile to God both . . . . . , united in a single body by means of His cross, thereby killing the mutual enmity and bringing the feud to an end.

(Ephesians 2: 13-16 AMP)

And Nehemiah spoke to his people:

14When I saw their fear, I rose and spoke . . . . . : “Do not be afraid of them; remember the Lord who is great and awesome, and fight for your brothers, your sons, your daughters, your wives and your houses.”

(Nehemiah 4:9-11, 14 NASB)

And that’s what I intend to do – circumstances, naysayers and all. . .

–Amen.

© 2009 – 2011 TheEphesianMarriage. All rights reserved by Celia Ann and TheEphesianMarriage unless otherwise stated. All other symbols are the trademark of their respective owners.

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