Archive for the ‘Love’ Category


Pretty Woman or Pretty Slut? What are we encouraging our daughters to become?

Only 22 years ago young women the world over fell in love with the “Pretty Woman.” A pretty prostitute is rescued by Prince Charming. Richard Gere played the Wall Street tycoon who was redeemed from his company devouring, life destroying ways by helping to “convert” Julia Roberts into the “Pretty Woman.” Sex was the veiled backdrop to the theme of ‘pretty’ redemption.

Fast forward to 2012. Redemption is a theme we see only rarely on current movie and television screens. Sex is no longer in the background. Sex is front and center. Not married sex, but slutty, down and dirty sex. A prime example is one of the top twenty five shows in its second season and already picked up for syndication by TBS (which means it will be around for a long time): 2 Broke Girls. (This is only a prime example of what our children are being bombarded with across all media)

2 Broke Girls

Wikipedia: Set in the Williamsburg neighborhood of the New York City borough of Brooklyn, the series chronicles the lives of two waitresses in their mid twenties—Max (Kat Dennings), who comes from a poor working-class family, and Caroline (Beth Behrs), who was born rich but is now disgraced and penniless due to her father, Martin Channing, getting caught operating a Bernard Madoff-esque Ponzi scheme—working together at a Brooklyn restaurant. The two become friends and build toward their dream of one day opening a cupcake shop.

Television and movies are culture changers. They target younger audiences, and rather than try to reflect the conscience of the day, they push the conscience to the edge of changing morals. Pretty Woman glamorized immorality and glossed it over with a ‘redemption’ theme. Redemption is out the window now, and immorality is being accepted, glamorized and emphasized.

About “2 Broke Girls” – The show has received mixed to positive reviews from critics, earning a score of 66/100 from review aggregator Metacritic, indicating “generally favorable reviews”. The show has been criticized for its racially charged humor and sexual jokes. Despite this, the show has been generally well received by the public, and is one of the most watched shows of 2011-2012.

For example, in the November 18th episode, Caroline, the fallen rich girl, is going out with “Candy Andy.” She wonders why he doesn’t put the “moves” on her. Caroline is wondering if he is gay, but hoping they will “hook up” on their second date. She asks Max how the poor date, what should she expect on the second date. Her ‘broke’ friend indicates sex of a sodomite kind. Laugh, laugh. Max assures Caroline that Andy is not gay. Caroline chooses to go to a very “slutty” bar, hoping Andy will take the hint. However, Andy holds back, even though everyone around them is “Dirty Dancing.” Max (the poorer girl friend) comes to the rescue, and confronts Andy about his lack of aggressive sexual pursuit. He explains that he can’t because he sees Caroline as THECaroline Channing, rich princess.” He sees her as a dignified princess, not as a sex object. (What does this say about how we are to see women?)

Max reports back to Caroline and tells her to start acting slutty. Once Andy sees how Caroline really is, he can give way to his passions and they can have sex, even the sodomite kind, ‘laugh laugh.’ Instead of Richard Gere pulling up as a white knight in his expensive limousine, Poor slutty Max comes to the rescue with encouragement for Caroline to demean herself. And so she does. And the young audience gets the message that slutty is good, sex is good, immorality is great and fun and funny!

Gone is redemption.

Andy did not want redemption. Caroline did not want redemption. They are seen as only wanting sex and lots of it. And they must do what they can to get it. Laugh Laugh. And we wonder why 25% of our teenage daughters have sexually transmitted diseases!

Song of Solomon

Song of Solomon is an Old Testament Book about Solomon and one of his wives, his favorite according to the book.

There is plenty of sex here, but it is portrayed with dignity and beauty. It reflects two hearts very much in love with each other, not in lust. Do not get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with sex and sexual desires. However, God designed them to be the fleshly glue that keeps two hearts racing together in a marriage relationship. Sex is an essential component in a fulfilling marriage relationship. Listen in on this passage from Song of Solomon 5:

The Woman:

(1) I have come to my garden, my sister, my spouse;
I have gathered my myrrh with my spice;
I have eaten my honeycomb with my honey;
I have drunk my wine with my milk.
(2) I sleep, but my heart is awake;
It is the voice of my beloved!
He knocks, saying,

She is asleep, and is awakened by the voice of her beloved. She doesn’t know if she is dreaming or not!

Solomon:

“Open for me, my sister, my love,
My dove, my perfect one;
For my head is covered with dew,
My locks with the drops of the night.”

He is wet from the rain and needs to come in and dry off. He calls to her, his “sister, his dove, his love, his perfect one” There is no demeaning tone or sexual lust in his voice. This is no midnight ‘booty call.’ His heart is filled with love for his perfect one!

But she is half awake, and hesitates to come to the door. She is already in bed, she has washed her feet.

(3) I have taken off my robe;
How can I put it on again?
I have washed my feet;
How can I defile them?
(4) My beloved put his hand
By the latch of the door,
And my heart yearned for him.

Still, her heart longs for him, and she awakes from her dream-like state realizing that it really was his hand upon her door. She jumps from her bed and runs to the door. There is his oil of myrrh on the door handle, and her hands now drip with oil.

(5) I arose to open for my beloved,
And my hands dripped with myrrh,
My fingers with liquid myrrh,
On the handles of the lock.
(6) I opened for my beloved,
But my beloved had turned away and was gone.
My heart leaped up when he spoke.
I sought him, but I could not find him;
I called him, but he gave me no answer.

Sadly, she realized that he had gone. She had delayed too long. She ran after him, calling for him, but he was not to be found. Instead of finder her lover, she was accosted by the men pretending to watch over the city. These men represent the men of the world, corrupted by wrong standards, men apart from God.

(7) The watchmen who went about the city found me.
They struck me, they wounded me;
The keepers of the walls
Took my veil away from me.

The men of the world, instead of offering protection, beat and injured the woman. They sexually demeaned and abused her. This is what is meant by taking the veil away. Their actions brought shame upon her life. She is a picture of what this world wants to do (and is doing) to the daughters of God. This world wants to turn them into sexual objects, demeaned, objectified and sluttified. Exactly as 2 Broke Girls pictures them (albeit in the form of ‘comedy.’)

This woman represents a redeemed woman. Her feet have been washed, she is perfect in the sight of God and her lover. She is esteemed, respected and regarded with dignity and honor. This is the way Christ said we are to treat our wives, our daughters-with dignity and honor. We are not to see them as slutty sex objects, demeaned and de-humanized.

Jesus Christ is calling out to us to join Him, to experience his redeeming love. He wants us to escape the corruption that is in this world through lust. (2 Peter 1:4)

If we hesitate to open the door, we will miss Him, and we will fall prey to the media moguls who frame our thinking with the corruption of lust and demeaning desires. We will be abused and walk in shame as we cast off the dignity and protection of our Savior!

Sick of Love

(8) I charge you, O daughters of Jerusalem,
i
f ye find my beloved,
that ye tell him,
that I am sick of love.

She commands her sisters not to tell her beloved about her injuries or shame, but rather that she is “sick of love.” Scripture indicates this is one of the signs of the end times. “Because iniquity abounds the love of many will wax cold.” (Matt 24:12).

What this means for our children and grandchildren is a society with greater acceptance of immorality and even perverted behavior, and more and more broken marriages as our concept of “love” becomes sicker and sicker. We will continue to see pornography increase because society will be ‘sick of love.’ 

I am genuinely concerned about what my grand daughters will face in Middle and High School. What can we do to combat the corrupted “watchmen” who are exposing our children to immorality and demeaning behavior?

What is the solution? We need the cleansing oil of our redeeming Savior! We need to wake out of our slumber and run to the door to let our Savior back into our homes and lives. We need to have His cleansing oil wash the filth from our hearts and minds. We need a return to the morality of Scriptures, a morality that stresses our creation in the “image of God,” the dignity of men and women whom God is mindful of, even in pursuit of!

We need to embrace dignity and honor in our lives and relationships. We need to reject the lust and immorality that is so prevalent on television and in the movies! God’s warned us to protect our daughters from the corruption of lust and immorality. If we fail to do s, the land will become depraved and wicked!

Leviticus 19:29 “Do not profane your daughter by making her a prostitute, lest the land fall into prostitution and the land become full of depravity.

Wake Up!

Are you sick of love? Is your heart struggling with lust and immorality? Are you a Christian who has been asleep and not diligent in your quest to follow Jesus? Time to wake up and sound the alarm! Time to say no to the abusers and those that would force shame on our society, our daughters and granddaughters! We need to embrace the true lover of our souls, Jesus Christ!

If we truly love Jesus Christ, we will make the necessary sacrifices to keep Him as Lord over our life and loves. In Him is perfect love! In Him is genuine love. Lust and immorality are degrading substitutes!

Jude 1:21 Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.

Read “Sex and Shekinah Glory”
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Christ reveals the Light and Love of God as Grace and Truth

This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. (1 John 1:5-7)

John revealed in his Gospel the “grace and truth” of Jesus Christ. The true light entered the world…

The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world. (John 1:9)

This light was revealed to men as “grace and truth.”

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1:14)

Why is this? Because light in God, when brought to men, becomes truth; love in God, when brought to men, becomes grace. Truth and grace are here on earth, light and love back there with God. This is how John reveals Christ in his Epistles. Jesus is revealed as being with His Father as light and love.

What is truth in the Gospel is light in the Epistles. What is grace in the Gospel is love in the Epistles.

Grace & Truth will bring us into the Light & Love of God

The grace and truth of Jesus Christ will always bring believer’s into the light and love of God. Grace and truth will always develop the justice and righteousness in your life that God loves. His grace and truth is never bestowed lightly or in a whimsical manner. God’s grace and truth must be received by a heart willing to embrace the light and love of God. His light will always bring you to repentance and his love will always develop righteousness in you!

The problem we have is that anything that touches man can be corrupted by man. Man can misuse grace and corrupt truth for his own selfish purposes. This is why we must always preach Jesus Christ coupled with the light and love of God. Man cannot climb up to heaven and corrupt God. He is beyond mishandling. John takes us back to the throne to behold the Son with the Father. Such a vision of the light and love of God will always purify us and produce His righteousness. We can only recover the grace and truth of Jesus as we behold the light and love of the Almighty and Holy God. If, in our walk, we separate the grace of Jesus from the Holy light of God, our life will fall short of God’s Glory and we will become mired in false truth and false religion.

Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him: whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked. (1 John 2:4-6)


I want to focus on the golden sash across Jesus chest. It is the sash that covers His heart. It is a Kingly sash, wore by one in authority. It is a symbol of strength for action. The material is real gold and gold is only achieved when refined by fire, indicating that He was tested, yet came forth as gold. The purity of gold over His heart represents the purity of His love.

His heart of love is the basis of His authority, His strength and His actions. His love is the foundation for everything He is and does. This is Divine Love, which we understand when we see the Real Jesus. It is a Love this world does not understand.

We need an extreme makeover of our concept of love.

We need to see the Real Jesus to understand the Love that He expects us to have in our Christian Life.

Most of us really only know phileo, brotherly love. It is love (actually friendship) based on common interests and concerns. It is usually based on our interests and concerns.

Jesus expects Christians to have agape love. He expressed what it means in Matthew 5:44 when He told us to “love your enemies”

To love (agapáō) others means to see what their need is and to meet that need, not according to that person’s concept of need, but that of the one who loves. For a believer, we are to see the needs of even our enemies and we must do everything in our power to meet that need. Believers are never told to love their enemies with the word philéō because that would mean to have the same interests as they have[1].

To See This we need to understand God calling us ‘friends’

God calls us his friend (phílos), as He did Abraham (James 2:23), when we adopt His interests as our own, just as Abraham was willing to sacrifice his son even as God did His own.[2]

The Son of Man, the Real Jesus Christ has a message for each of seven churches in Revelation. Each message indicates a facet or characteristic of His Divine Love, and how the church is falling short of His love. The very first church, Ephesus, thinks they love Jesus, but Jesus wants them to understand what Divine Love is really all about.

Revelation 2:1-3

“To the angel of the church in Ephesus write: ‘The words of him who holds the seven stars in his right hand, who walks among the seven golden lampstands. “ ‘I know your works, your toil and your patient endurance, and how you cannot bear with those who are evil, but have tested those who call themselves apostles and are not, and found them to be false. I know you are enduring patiently and bearing up for my name’s sake, and you have not grown weary.

Some clarifications of the words Jesus uses:

Jesus knows (eido). He knows these people intimately, and watches them constantly.

  • “emphasizes better the absolute clearness of mental vision which photographs all the facts of life as they pass” (Swete)[3].

Works (ergon)

  • erga; The whole life and conduct as in John 6:29[4]. “Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.” John 6:29
  • deed, act, action, something done[5]

Toil (kopos)

  • kópos; gen. kópou, from kóptō <G2875>, to strike. Beating, wailing, grief with beating the breast, equal to kopetós <G2870>, lamentation, wailing (Sept.: Jer. 51:3). In the NT, toil, labor, i.e., wearisome effort, generally[6]
  • Originally suffering, weariness; hence exhausting labor[7]

Patient endurance (hupomone)

  • Hupomoné is associated with hope (1 Thess. 1:3) and refers to that quality of character which does not allow one to surrender to circumstances or succumb under trial.[8]

Cannot tolerate evil men (Not able (ou dunēi).bear (bastasai)

  • No power to bear them. They are such a burden, you dismiss them as being a burden and drag to the congregation.
  1. Test and deny false (pseudo) apostles
  2. Patiently endured and born up for the sake of Jesus (bastazo)
  • bastázō; from básis, basis, foot. To bear, carry in the hands or on the shoulders (picturing the duty of a servant, to bear a pitcher of water). Also pictures carrying the cross.
  • Figuratively it means to bear, support, endure, i.e., labors, sufferings[9]

Not fainted or turned back. (kopiáō)

  • kopiáō; contracted kopió, from kópos, labor, fatigue. To be worn out, weary, faint[10]

Ephesus sounds like a great church. They are doing all the right things. Any Pastor would be proud of this church! But they should be a church rich in ‘agape’ Love, for Paul taught them all about it…

Paul Emphasized Love to the Ephesians

Remember Paul’s letter to the Ephesians: It was all about needing, knowing, living a life of Love, God’s Divine Love.

  • 1:5 –  “In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ
  • 2:4 –   “For his great love wherewith he loved us”
  • 3:17 – “that you, being rooted and grounded in love,
  • 3:19 – ” the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ”
  • 4:2 –   “bearing with one another in love”
  • 4:15 – “speaking the truth in love”
  • 4:16 –  “the body…builds itself up in love”
  • 5:2 –   “Walk in love as Christ also loved us”
  • 5:25 – “As Christ loved the church and gave himself for it”
  • 5:25, 28, 33 “Husbands love your wives” – because you picture the love of Jesus Christ.

How could the Church at Ephesus fail the Test of the ‘Golden Sash’?

But I hold this against you, that you do not love as you did at first. Remember then how far you have fallen. Repent and live as you lived at first. Otherwise, if your heart remains unchanged, I shall come to you and remove your lampstand from its place. Revelation 2:4-5(Phillips)

~’But I have this against you, that you have left your first love. ~’Therefore remember from where you have fallen, and repent and do the deeds you did at first; or else I am coming to you and will remove your lampstand out of its place—unless you repent. Revelation 2:4-5(NASB)

But I have this against you: You have abandoned the love you had at first. Remember then how far you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first. Otherwise, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place—unless you repent. Revelation 2:4-5(HCSB)

Jesus sees and knows intimately how hard they labor and toil and try to live a life pleasing to Him. They live good and moral lives for His name’s sake. They endure persecution for His sake.

  • However, Jesus sees that something is missing in their hearts.
  • Something about their service bothers Him.
  • Outwardly, everything is great, but inwardly, something is not right.

He sees that their duty is correct, but their devotion is missing love. They are laboring and enduring from obedience rather than love.

They have moved away, they have forgotten what made them new creations. They have forgotten the love of Jesus Christ. Instead of it being about Him, and their love for Him, it has become about the service, the duty, and the religious observances. They are serving Him simply because they should.

Jesus holds this against them.

Remember their deeds at the first? Acts 19 recounts their sacrificial love for Jesus Christ. They sacrificed everything for the sake of following Jesus!

And a number of those who had practiced magic arts brought their books together and burned them in the sight of all. And they counted the value of them and found it came to fifty thousand pieces of silver. So the word of the Lord continued to increase and prevail mightily. Acts 19:19-20

They have Fallen

They have (aphēkes), at a particular moment, made a sad but definite departure from their fist love.

  • your first love (tēn agapēn sou tēn prōtēn). The Love you had at the first!

Aphekes pictures a definite moment in time when they left, deserted, or quit loving Jesus with all their heart mind, soul and strength. It is the same word used in Romans 1:27 that describes a man’s decision to leave the natural love of a woman and start loving a man. O yes, homosexuality is a decision, just as leaving your first love is a decision.

Remember Your First Works

The first works define your life, define your heart. The first works move you to crazy love, where you risk everything for the one you love.

  • The work of God resulted in something utterly crazy, giving His only Son to take all the sins of the world. [“This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.” John 6:29]
  • The work of Jesus led Him to become rejected by His Father, so that He might redeem you and me.

Jesus saw their service, but He also saw their hearts, and saw that they were falling into ritual service, ritual devotion, ritual duties. They were faithfully doing their duty. They were being good people doing what good people should. But the basis for their service was no longer their agape love. They had fallen into a phileo love. Their love for Jesus was now based on their own interests and concerns. Gone was that willingness to risk it all for Jesus Christ.

Jesus never meant His followers to religious or good. He meant them to love, the same way He loved. That love was not comfortable, not good, but it risked everything.

The Ephesians needed to repent. You need to ask yourself, do I need to repent?

  1. They had made a definite decision, which weakened their love.
  2. Their decision resulted in a fall from Divine Love, the only Love, which pleases the Lord.
  3. Their decision resulted in duty not devotion.
  4. Their decision resulted in the Lord’s demand for repentance and return.
  • Decision: to love something other than Jesus Christ, or to disobey his commands
  • Fall: Change of focus meant that the throne of God lost its power

Leaving their first love meant that sacrifice and devotion gave way to duty and observances.

The impact of this letter to the Ephesians is seen in answering the following questions from what Jesus said in the Gospels.

How Does Jesus Define Divine Love?

Divine Love is Crazy, with no concern for yourself, your safety, your possessions or even your reputation:

Matthew 5:43-48 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? You therefore must be perfect (COMPLETE, FULL), as your heavenly Father is perfect.

Luke 6:27-31 “But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. To one who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also, and from one who takes away your cloak do not withhold your tunic either. Give to everyone who begs from you, and from one who takes away your goods do not demand them back. And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them.

What is the Source of Divine Love?

As the Father has loved me, so have I 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 full. John 15:9-11

I made known to them your name, and I will continue to make it known, that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them.” John 17:26

You must know and be convinced of the Power of God’s Name if you are to risk everything for the sake of Jesus Christ.

What Causes us to lose our Divine Love?

A. NEGLECT OF THE WORD: Jesus answered him, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. Whoever does not love me does not keep my words. And the word that you hear is not mine but the Father’s who sent me. John 14:23-24

B. Other or Divided Interests: “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money. Matthew 6:24

C. FRIENDSHIP WITH THE WORLD: You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. James 4:4

D. CHOSE COMFORT vs. SACRIFICE: READ MATT 19:17-21 And he said to him, “Why do you ask me about what is good? There is only one who is good. If you would enter life, keep the commandments.” He said to him, “Which ones?” And Jesus said, “You shall not murder, You shall not commit adultery, You shall not steal, You shall not bear false witness, Honor your father and mother, and, You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” The young man said to him, “All these I have kept. What do I still lack?” Jesus said to him, “If you would be perfect (complete, full), go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me”.

How important is it that we have Divine Love?

John 5:40-44 “yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life. I do not receive glory from people. But I know that you do not have the love of God within you. I have come in my Father’s name, and you do not receive me. If another comes in his own name, you will receive him. How can you believe, when you receive glory from one another and do not seek the glory that comes from the only God?

Divine Love is Fullness of life!

Be Full and Complete as the Father is Full! Only when you risk it all do you know true love and fullness! Which would you rather eat-the fruit of the forbidden tree or the fruit of the tree of life! Those that keep their first love will eat of the Tree of Life. The Tree of Life was in the Garden of Eden, where life was complete, full, until sin entered the world. The Tree of Life will be in the New Heavens, when God’s plan is fulfilled, and life on earth is full!

The world teaches that fullness of life is in possessions and money, a prestigious career, the number of friends you have, or even your family.

But Jesus said “whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it. For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?” Mark 8:35-36

Divine Love is Fullness of Life…Fullness of Life comes to those willing to risk it all for His sake!

What are the consequences of fallen love?

In His letter to the church, the danger was the removal of the candlestick, which signifies the removal of the fire of the Holy Spirit. Today Ephesus lies in ruins, and the church is long gone.

  • Worship Devoid of the Spirit

Across the world there are churches that look like churches, act like churches, but the Divine Love of God is not in them. The Holy Spirit is not there. They are functioning out of a mistaken sense of duty. There may be a supposed love for Jesus, but they have fallen from His standards. They are down, serving in their fleshly strength. They are not living in the fullness of Christ of His love, of His word. They are like the Pharisees, content in their religious observances, yet on their way to Hell.

  • Children, teens Abandon the Church

The other consequence is that our children grow up with a concept of religion, but no concept of loving a real Jesus. Therefore, they rebel against religion for the sake of religion, and seek after something else that fills the void in their heart.

  • A Nation that is Outwardly Moral but inwardly Corrupt

How do we return to our first love?

Jesus said we are to do three things:

A.Remember

  1. Remember what He has done for you
  2. Remember what you were willing to do at first.

B.Repent

  1. Change your heart focus,
  2. Get rid of those things that have captured your affections, that have taken the place of Jesus Christ.

C.Return

  1. Do what you did when you first came to Jesus
  2. Live for Him totally.
  3. Risk it all for Him

David Left His First Love

PSALMS 51:7-15 Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones that you have broken rejoice. Hide your face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities. Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from your presence, and take not your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit. Then I will teach transgressors your ways, and sinners will return to you. Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God, O God of my salvation, and my tongue will sing aloud of your righteousness. O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will declare your praise.

David returned to his first love, singing and writing the Psalms, teaching others of the ways of God!

Peter Left His First Love

John 21:15-18 “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.” He said to him, “Feed my lambs.” He said to him a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Tend my sheep”. 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 everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him “Feed my sheep. Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were young, you used to dress yourself and walk wherever you wanted, but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will dress you and carry you where you do not want to go.”

Peter had left his first love, even denying Christ, and returning to the thing he loved most-fishing. Yet, when confronted by Jesus, he could only confess deep emotions for Jesus. He was not quite ready to confess agape love, that love that risks everything, sacrifices everything. Still, Jesus said, feed and care for my sheep. You will one day know that agape love.

Return to the works you did at the first. Return to the time you depended upon me for everything. The agape will return. You will regain your first love. You will sacrifice, you will risk it all!

Peter returned to His agape love, and He teaches us the importance of it in his last letter. Look at what Peter wrote in 2 Peter 1:3-11:

2 Peter 1:3-11 – His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire. For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with (phileo) brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with (agape) love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins. Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to make your calling and election sure, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall. For in this way there will be richly provided for you an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. 2 Peter 1:3-11

  • You will never fall as I did. You will keep your first love!

Do You See the Real Jesus? Do you see His Golden Sash? Do You Pass the Gold Sash Test.? Do You Love Him with Divine Love?

Have you fallen into comfort and complacency? Are you still doing the first works? Are you still risking everything for Jesus Christ? Perhaps you never did, perhaps you are not a genuine follower of Jesus Christ. Perhaps you never loved Him with agape love. You need to make sure you are a Christian. You need to repent and love Jesus with agape, sacrificing, risking it all kind of love!

Do you really want to Know Divine Love?
Do you want to see the Real Jesus?

Turn with me to Hebrews 13:12

So Jesus also suffered outside the gate in order to sanctify the people through his own blood. Therefore let us go to him outside the camp and bear the reproach he endured. Hebrews 13:12-13

Outside the Camp is Where we Find Agape Love

Jesus Christ died to set apart a people unto God. If we truly love Him, we must go to where He was willing to go – outside the camp.

  • ‘Outside the camp’ is where the lepers were kept.
  • ‘Outside the camp’ is where murderers were sent.
  • ‘Outside the camp’ is where the beggar begged as the apostles walked through the gate.
  • ‘Outside the camp’ was where all who were to be separated from society at large were to be kept.

‘Outside the camp’ is where we were called to ‘go to him’ and ‘bear the reproach he endured’ – death. Death to our comfort, death to our desires, death to our reputation.

Going Outside the Camp is where we discover the Love of the Golden Sash.

By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers. But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth. By this we shall know that we are of the truth and reassure our heart before him;1 John 3:16-19

  • Divine Love risks it all for the city that is to come.
  • Whatever you lose in this life will be made up 1000 fold in the life to come.
  • We can either retreat and perish in the wilderness
  • We can risk it all for the love of Jesus Christ, who risked it all for us.

In the 1600’s there was a man named Joseph Aline and he wrote a book entitled An Alarm to Unconverted Sinners.Let me close our time with what he said.

“All of Christ is accented by the sincere convert. He loves not only the wages, but the work of Christ. Not only the benefits but the burden of Christ. He’s willing not only to tread out the corn but to draw under the yoke. He takes up the command of Christ, yea, even the cross of Christ. The unsound man closes by halves with Christ. He’s all for the salvation of Christ but he’s not for sanctification. He is for the privileges but appropriates not the person of Christ. He divides the offices and benefits of Christ. This is an error in the foundation. Who so loveth life let him beware here. It is an undoing mistake of which you have beenoften warned and yet none is more common. Jesus is a sweet name but men love not the Lord Jesus in sincerity. They divide what God has joined, the King and the Priest, yea they will not accept the salvation of Christ as He intends it. They divide it, every man’s vote is for salvation from suffering but they desire not to be saved from sinning. They would have their lives saved but with all would have their lusts. Yea, many divide here again, they would be content to have some of their sins destroyed but they cannot leave the lap of Delilah or divorce the beloved Herodias. They cannot be cruel to the right eye or right hand. The Lord must pardon then in this thing. 0 be careful here, your soul depends on it. The sound convert takes a whole Christ, takes Him for all intents and purposes, without exceptions, without limitations, without reserve. He’s willing to have Christ upon any terms. He’s willing to have the dominion of Christ as well as deliverance by Christ and he says with Paul, “Lord, what wilt Thou have me to do?”


[1] Spiros Zodhiates, The Complete Word Study Dictionary – New Testament, (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 1993), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, Under: “phileo”.

[2] Ibid.

[3] Archibald Thomas Robertson, A.M., D.D., LL.D., Litt. D., Word Pictures in the New Testament, (Nashville, TN: Broadman Press, 1930), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, Under: “Revelation 2:2”.

[4] ibid.

[5] Spiros Zodhiates, The Complete Word Study Dictionary – New Testament, (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 1993), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, 650.

[6] ibid, 877.

[7] Marvin R. Vincent, Word Studies in the New Testament, (New York: Scribners, 1887), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, Under: “Revelation 2:2”.

[8] Spiros Zodhiates, The Complete Word Study Dictionary – New Testament, (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 1993), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, Under: “hupomone”.

[9] Spiros Zodhiates, The Complete Word Study Dictionary – New Testament, (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 1993), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, 328.

[10] Ibid, under kopiáō.


No matter how much we were in love with each other, there will come a time when we think to ourselves: “I love my husband or spouse, but I don’t feel in love.” In fact many people come to a place where they may even say, “I don’t think I love my spouse anymore.”

The reason is quite simple.

Most of us get married to be loved, not to learn how to love. I know you are probably reacting to that statement. I was convinced I was the best person in the whole world to love my wife. God had given her to me and I was the one who could love her best. I soon discovered there were some things my wife did that I did not know how to love. I soon discovered that my love was selfish. Along with my attempts to love her came my disappointment when she did not love me the way I expected. I discovered my love was rooted in selfishness.

Our reasons for marriage usually have some flavor of selfishness, usually because we believe we will be better off, they will provide for me, they will give me what I need.

Any marriage that begins with some semblance of selfishness (don’t they all?) will be in for some kind of adjustment. At some point your spouse will fail to do something which we expected or counted on. At some point we will encounter disappointment and even hurt because something we counted on did not get done.

Marriage confronts our biggest sin – Pride.

We all bring pride into our marriage, and because of our pride, we have expectations and those expectations will be disappointed, because our spouse also has pride and selfishness.

Melittledina posted this on askmehelpdesk forum, where you can ask experts anything:

I’ve been with my spouse for now 5 1/2 years. We have two girls. Oldest is 4 years old and the youngest is 2 years old. I am UNHAPPY in my relationship. The first year we where together, when I was pregnant with are first, I discovered that he was sending pornographic photos of himself and his ex-girl-friend on the internet “Live sex chat”. I forgave him. After, I discovered that he stole money that we had for the rent and lied to me about it until I caught him red handed. I forgave him. After, I discovered that he stole his best friend’s credit card. I forgive him. After I discovered that he stole money from his boss at work and he lost his job. I forgive him. Last October, I got a phone call from another woman. HE CHEATED on me! I left him. After 1 week, he tried to kill himself, so AGAIN I forgive him. I am so tired!!! I think today that I am with him only for my children… He is a good father to them. But I can’t live like this anymore. I’ve been thinking of cheating on him to get revenge but that won’t work. I just want him out of my life…

The experts told ‘melittledina’ she needs to divorce her no-good husband for the protection of the children. Obviously Christ was not in their family. Even if ‘Melittledina’ had been a Christian, she probably would have divorced her husband. She had discovered that he had serious character flaws. He was not meeting her expectations. She still loved him, but she was no longer in love…she wanted out of the marriage. She had married for love, but she did not marry to learn how to love such a seriously flawed man.

Most of us enter marriage with dreams and expectations. At one time we were active in our love for our spouse. Then, like ‘melittledina’, we start to see character flaws, some very serious. Then, disappointment, hurt, and bitterness build up stumblingblocks to our love.

What happened to my “Soul-Mate”

The truth is that we have this concept of “soul-mate” floating around our sub-conscious. Plato taught this before Christ was born, that somehow our souls were torn in two and there is someone out there with the other half of our soul. We get married because we think we have found our “soul-mate” and it is just so easy being around them. We have fun, we laugh, there is nothing forced about our relationship. We genuinely believe we have found the one God meant us to be married to the rest of our lives.

Love is largely a feeling that produces long conversations, walks in the park, long slow kisses, and gentle touches. Our feelings are magnified to the ‘nth’ degree. We are constantly floating on clouds.

Then we get married and life happens. Life is not easy, it is very difficult. The clouds evaporate, the long slow kisses become short little pecks, the walks in the park become falling asleep on the couch.

After months or years, as our disappointment grows and the trials increase, we find ourselves wondering about our “love” and where it went. You tell your friends that you still love your spouse, but the love has changed. The feelings are not there. You wonder about this “soul-mate” thing, especially when days go by without intimacy or involved conversation.

“Bride to Be” becomes the “Bride that Was”

Do you know the difference between the bride to be and the bride that was?

It’s not the veil, or the dress. It’s your attitude! A bride to be will not hesitate to tell you all the wonderful things her husband to be is. She can go on for 5 or 10 minutes about “he does this” and “he does that”.

When you ask that same bride about her husband 5 or 6 years later, she will generally say, well, he doesn’t do this anymore, he doesn’t do that anymore…At some point your marriage will go from “what my spouse is…” to what “my spouse isn’t…”

When we get to the point in our marriage where we define our spouse by their “faults” we find ourselves in that “struggle” phase of our relationship and we catch ourselves thinking, “I love my spouse but I am no longer in love.”

In fact, we discover we have “fallen out of love” and may have thoughts of moving on. It is a difficult situation when husbands and wives no longer feel they are in love with their partners, or no longer feel that lovely intimate connection they once enjoyed. It is at this point we are susceptible to outside influences that promise more excitement than we have at home.

This situation and thinking can lead to affairs: emotional, cyber, or physical intimate relationships outside of the marriage. This is one of the most harmful and damaging of all behaviors in a marriage, potentially ending the relationship and destroying a family.

What do we do? We embrace these three ideas and bring them into our marriage:

1. Marriage is a Love Laboratory, Not a Love Spa.
2. Marriage is a Loving Relationship, Not a Love Relationship.
3. Marriage is a Dependant Relationship, Not an Independent Relationship.

Marriage is not designed to be a series of Spa Days. You just can’t lay there while your spouse massages you 24 hours a day. In fact, most folks that have been married any length of time will tell you that marriage takes work. Now I’d like to challenge that idea just a bit. Most of us don’t associate “work” with fun and excitement. Most of us “work” to survive. While we certainly have to invest our energy, time, and effort into creating a healthy marriage and while creating a healthy marriage is not easy or simple, I believe it is better to see marriage as an open laboratory that requires our energy and effort to produce a beautiful and fulfilling and loving union.

1. Marriage Requires a Laboratory of love

  • This laboratory is constantly finding what the marriage needs for proper nourishment through the various stages of life. Summer, winter, Fall, Spring.
  • This laboratory is constantly finding how much energy the marriage requires at the various stages
  • This laboratory requires 24/7 commitment, because the marriage is a delicate creature.
  • This laboratory is a busy place, because the effort to keep the marriage flourishing requires persistence and endurance, as one who runs a marathon.
  • This laboratory requires dedication, because the studying of marriage is a constant and on-going process.
  • This laboratory requires creativity, because the marriage is constantly transforming into a different form requiring creative care and adjustments.
  • Each day there are new variables that require our constant attention to this relationship. You can’t let your guard down, this is a 24/7 situation.

Marriage requires a Laboratory that provides nourishment, effort, energy, creativity, commitment… and most of all love.

2. Marriage requires a Loving Relationship.

There is a huge difference between love and loving.

We often, and in the above situation use the word, “love” to describe a general feeling of care or sisterly/brotherly love. “Love” could be used to describe ones feeling for the neighbor down the street or a stranger across the planet. It is a nice word that denotes concern and perhaps even a degree of empathy. In the past this form of love was called “philos” meaning deep friendship.

When a person says they love their partner but are not in love, these feelings are often that to which they refer. Loving, on the other hand is completely different. It is a powerful verb meaning you are doing something. You are acting. You are involved and active. It is a participatory word. Take a minute and ponder what it means for you to be loving. What sorts of actions do you do when you are loving another? Perhaps you are engaging in sexual intimacy? Maybe giving gifts? Maybe being kind and considerate? Maybe you are complimentary or demonstrating love in some way?

Now, here is the REALITY of “love” in marriage:

If you are not “in love” with your partner it is because YOU are not loving him or her.

  • When a man says, “I love my wife but I no longer am in love with her,” it means, “my wife is a good person but I am not LOVING her”
  • When a woman says, “my husband is a nice man but I am no longer in love with him”; it means “I care about my husband but I am not LOVING him”.

In other words, to truly be “in love” requires you to be actively loving your spouse! If you are not loving, you will not be “in love”.

This is a simple idea yet can have extraordinary impact on a relationship. Too often people have the mistaken notion that being “in love” just happens. This is just not so. Remaining in love with someone requires you to be loving. It requires you to engage in the relationship in loving ways. You must demonstrate and bring love to the relationship.

The more you are loving the stronger the bonds of love.

It was Jonathan Swift, the satirical author of the famous book that many of you will know from childhood, “Gulliver’s Travels”, it was he who said these words: ‘We have just enough religion to make us hate one another, but not enough religion to cause us to love one another’.

HOW DO WE TAKE A STALE MARRIAGE AND TURN IT INTO A DYNAMO OF PASSION AND LOVE?

3. We Need a DEPENDENT Relationship

I’m not talking about being dependent upon each other. Most of us are in one way or another, and that only leads to a marriage of give and take. We are all dependent upon the government, some more than others, and I don’t think that leads to a “Loving Relationship”.

What kind of dependency am I talking about? Only by depending upon God can we truly become empowered to Love our spouse as He Loves. I think we will realize this when we look at the greatest picture of “Loving” ever written by man. And it was written by someone who never married. The first three verses I have “jimized”…

1 Corinthians 13:1-3 (JMZD)

If I sing “I Love You’s” with the voice of an angel and yet do not possess God’s love for my spouse, I am just an irritating hanger clanging on the closet door.

If I can capture the eyes of my spouse with mine, and know their deepest heart’s desires, and shower them with mountains of wealth and luxury, but possess not God’s love in my heart, I am just a vanishing vapor.

If I give everything I have to my spouse and even sacrifice my life for them, and yet I possess not the very Love of God, I have accomplished nothing.

Without Agape Love Your Marriage is Nothing

The emphasis on 1 Corinthians 13 is not Love, although that certainly is the subject. The emphasis is from the phrase in verse 2 and somewhat in verse three:

ἀγάπην δὲ μὴ ἔχω (agapēn de may echo) (But Divine Love I Do Not Have) (I do not hold or possess) οὐθέν εἰμι. (outhen eimi) I am nothing

If you do not possess God’s Divine agape love in your heart toward your wife, YOUR MARRIAGE IS NOTHING!

Do You want a Nothing Marriage? Do you want to lie in a grave next to your wife and over you there is a headstone that reads “Our Marriage was Nothing!

No! I want to say to the world Our Marriage was Something, because God was present in our marriage. We were actively Loving Him and as a result we were actively loving each other!

Paul’s Great Discourse on the Power of LOVING…

1 Corinthians 13:4-8 (ESV) Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away.

Here is 1 Cor 13:4-8 in a positively translated MARRIAGE PLEDGE:

A Marriage Pledge of Active Loving

  • suffereth long: I will always react to hurt with a slow boil,
  • is kind:  I will always be reaching out in kindness and showing favors,
  • envieth  not:  I will always share and rejoice in the experiences of my spouse,
  • vaunteth  not itself:  I will always seek to honor and give to my spouse,
  • is  not puffed up: I will always relate with humility and modesty,
  • Doth not behave itself unseemly: I will always be orderly and controlled and comely (attractive),
  • seeketh not her own: I will always seek to serve my spouse without expectations
  • is not  easily provoked: I will always be emotionally involved with my spouse without being overly “touchy”,
  • thinketh no evil: I will always think good or my spouse and will vaporize any hurts and unkindness
  • Rejoiceth not in iniquity: I will never think or speak of the wrongs of my spouse, especially to others,
  • but rejoiceth in the truth: I will courageously embrace truthfulness and honesty with my spouse,
  • Beareth all things: I will always bear my spouses irritations and failures and will always cover them with God’s forgiving love,
  • believeth all things: I will always believe the best of my spouse
  • hopeth all things: I will never cease to hope for God’s best in our marriage,
  • endureth all things: I will actively stand against any attacks or failings that threaten our love,
  • Charity never faileth: I will actively love my spouse forever!

If you desire a Sacred Marriage, to be TOTALLYMARRIED according to God’s Design, you must realize, you must fully embrace that Marriage is to be an ACTION VERB, not just a state of mind. It is to be not a LOVE RELATIONSHIP, but a LOVING RELATIONSHIP! Most importantly, you must realize that no man or woman can love their spouse with the ‘AGAPE’ love described in Romans 13. We must be dependent upon God for this LOVE. And if we possess God’s AGAPE Love in our heart, we will see that it is a dynamic force for LOVING our spouse. The Bible makes this abundantly clear:

The Bible Puts the LOVING in LOVE!

1. Put on love Colossians 3:14 (ESV)

  • And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.

2. Follow after love 1 Corinthians 14:1 (ESV)

  • Pursue love, and earnestly desire the spiritual gifts, especially that you may prophesy.

3. Abound in love Philippians 1:9 (ESV)

  • And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment,

4. Continue in love Hebrews 13:1 (NLT)

  • Keep on loving each other as brothers and sisters. Keep on keeping on…

5. Increase in love 1 Thessalonians 3:12 (ESV)

  • and may the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all, as we do for you,

6. Be fervent in love 1 Peter 4:8 (NKJV)

  • And above all things have fervent love for one another, for “love will cover a multitude of sins.”

7. Spur each other to love Hebrews 10:24 (ESV)

  • And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works

1 Corinthians 16:14 (NIV) Do everything in love.

How to Turn a Nothing Marriage into Something

Marriage is an Impossible Union without the Agape Love of Jesus Christ Loving through you. The sooner you surrender your heart to allow God to Love through you, the Sooner you can become TotallyMarried according to God’s Design.

Let’s see how we can possess God’s AGAPE love. Let’s see how God can take a nothing and make him a something. God does the same for our marriages, making them dynamo’s of His Love.

1 Corinthians 1:26-31 (KJV) For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: That no flesh should glory in his presence. But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption and _____________: That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.

Of God are we IN CHRIST JESUS, who of God is made unto us whatever we need – love for our spouse…

We must come to the place where we realize we cannot love our spouse the way God loves them. We must see ourselves as nothing before God. He wants no pride in our lives. He wants only His strength and His love in our lives. So we go through the Cross in our marriage, realizing that we do not have His love, that we are nothing, and then we say, “Christ lives in me!, All that He has is mine. Christ is AGAPE Love! Let me be a channel of His AGAPE Love! Once we kneel before Him as nothing, through Jesus Christ, God makes us SOMETHING! He fills us with the most powerful Love in the universe – HIS LOVE!

God’s love must be allowed to energize you. YOU hold the key to how much you love and how much you are in love with your partner. YOU have it in your mind and heart to act lovingly or not. YOU have it in your power to be loving.But you must be willing to allow God to channel His love through you, to love even the ugliness in your spouse that you have been unable to.

Love is not something that just happens. And remaining in love with your partner most definitely will not happen unless you give everything you have to God and then allow Him to change your heart. You must become “loving’ toward your spouse.

Notice how it may feel to tell your spouse, “I am loving you,” rather than, “I love you.” The first describes something you are doing, not just something that may be a feeling similar to how you feel about your childhood friend of long ago. To help you see what it means to be ‘loving’ I recommend you have this ‘Loving Kit’ handy at all times.

The Loving Kit for Sacred Marriages

  • Toothpick: Matthew 7:1 Always pick out the good qualities in your spouse
  • Rubber Band: Romans 8:28 Be flexible, things do not always go the way you want.
  • Band-Aid: Colossians 3:12-14 Take time to offer a healing hand, one full of love & grace.
  • Pencil: Ephesians 1:3 Write down a blessing because of your spouse; add to your list of blessings daily.
  • Eraser: Romans 3:23 Erase the mistakes your spouse makes as they happen.
  • Mint: Proverbs 11:25 Do something to refresh your spouse as you enjoy this mint.
  • Hugs & Kisses: 1 Peter 5:14 Don’t let the sun go down without giving your spouse at least one kiss & hug.
  • Teabag: 1 Thessalonians 5:18 Stop, relax, and thank God for your spouse. Then thank them. Thankfulness goes a long way.

In order to Possess the Love of God in your heart, you probably need to do some HEART cleaning first.

Prepare Your Heart to Be Loving

If there is any resentment, any hatred, any hurt, any bitterness, any wrong relationships, any regrets, anything you are not thankful for, any wrong doing you are holding onto. You can’t have the Love of God because He doesn’t have all of your heart. You are blocking Him from some area of your life. If your spouse has wronged you and you haven’t forgiven them, you are blocking that area of your heart from God’s love. You will not hold the love of God in your heart!

Here’s what you need to do right now: Give your entire heart to God-all the pieces-all the rooms. Hold nothing back. Give your spouse to God; give all those expectations, that honey do list that never gets done. Give it all and say God, fill me with your love and allow that love to overflow toward my spouse.

If you want to rediscover those lost feelings for your spouse start by changing the way you view him. Falling into a trap where you only see the negatives in your husband is very easy to do. Make a concerted effort to only focus on the positive parts of him. Be vocal about how much you appreciate those things about him. Tell him and tell others. The more you verbalize what you find appealing about him, the more you’ll start to recognize and appreciate it.

Start doing small things for your spouse again. Quite often when a wife (or husband) starts to fall out of love with her husband she also begins to neglect him. If you did certain things early in the marriage, such as making his lunch, cooking his favorite dinner or washing his clothes, do that again. Once you start taking the time to do things for him you’ll likely see a change in him too. He’ll also want to do more for you which will help you to recognize those qualities in him that first attracted you to him.

The Loving Dare:

On two pieces of paper write the three questions below. Each partner gets one sheet of paper.

Both you and your partner answer the questions then guess how your partner will answer them. (Four answers each). Share your thoughts! Discuss your answers! Then throw it away (or give them to God. Remember, Agape Loving is not about you and your expectations, it is about being a channel of GOD’S LOVE. So while it helps to see your spouses wants and needs and be willing to meet them, you must do the thirds step in our Loving Dare, you must daily ask God to love your spouse through you in a way they have never been loved before.

The three questions:

1. What can I do to make our marriage better?
2. What would my spouse like me to do to keep our marriage alive and vibrant?
3. God, will you love my spouse through me as they’ve never been loved before?

The Ring of Death Silenced by Love

In seventeenth-century England during the time of General Cromwell, a soldier was condemned to die by execution at the ringing of the curfew bell. This soldier, however, was engaged to be married to a beautiful young girl. With tears, the girl pleaded with the judge and with Cromwell to spare his young life. But it was all in vain. The preparations were made for the execution, and the city awaited the signal from the bell at curfew. The sexton, who was old and deaf, threw himself against the rope, as he had for years. He pulled it and pulled it and pulled it, not realizing that no sound was coming from the bell. The girl had climbed to the top of the belfry, and had reached out, caught, and held on to the tongue of the huge bell at the risk of her life. As the sexton rang it, she was smashed against the sides of the bell…but the bell was silent. At length, the bell ceased to swing, and she managed to descend from the tower, wounded and bleeding. Cromwell, waiting at the place of execution, wanted to know why the bell had not rung. The girl arrived and told him what she had done. A poet recorded it for all time. This is what he said:

At his feet she told her story,
Showed her hands all bruised and torn;
And her sweet young face, still haggard
With the anguish it had worn;
Touched his heart with sudden pity,
Lit his eyes with misty light:
“Go, your lover lives,” said Cromwell,
“Curfew will not ring tonight.”

To what lengths are you prepared to go to silence the clanging, the arguing, the discord in your marriage.

To what lengths are you willing to go to change wrong and disrespectful attitudes built up over the years.

To what lengths are you willing to go to be Loving toward your spouse.

Are you willing to give your heart to God and be used by Him to be a channel of His love toward your spouse. Are you willing to let Gid use you to be actively loving toward His Son or daughter?

God has always been actively Loving you through His Son

Because of Jesus willing to go to the Cross, God threw a mantle over your sins, over every hurt and pain you caused Him, and He took the punishment for your sins, and not only that, he sympathised with our sinful flesh, and through the Power of the Cross offers us a way to be transformed from selfish sinners into Loving Saints. Sin, Satan and death have all been defeated through the cross, and you can share in that when you live your life by the Power of the Loving Cross.

That’s what God did for us. He didn’t just send a note to us saying He loved us. He didn’t just give us a loving kit. He sent His son to visibly express his Loving Heart & Ways!

Powerpoint

Sermon Video


  • We are all in the gutter, but some of us look at the stars-Oscar WildeRefining Fire of Marriage
  • They dream in courtship, but in wedlock wake…Alexander Pope
  • Because marriage, more than any other relationship, reflects God’s involvement with us and bears more potential to draw our hearts to heaven, it can more readily give us a taste of hell (Dan Allender & Tremper Longman III)

We all associate the image of fire with hell. And many marriages in American have gone through this fire of Hell. Whether the marriage ends or the couple stays together, marriage is seen by some as hell on earth.

The Apostle Peter was well acquainted with fire.

Peter knew refining fireHe denied Jesus while warming his hands over fire. Jesus questioned his love while fish were roasting over fire. In both cases he associated fire with a test. One he failed another he passed. I think that is why he wrote these verses in 1 Peter 4:12-13 (NLT):

1 Peter 4:12-13 (NLT) Dear friends, don’t be surprised at the fiery trials you are going through, as if something strange were happening to you. Instead, be very glad—for these trials make you partners with Christ in his suffering, so that you will have the wonderful joy of seeing his glory when it is revealed to all the world.

1 Peter 1:6-7 (NLT) So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you have to endure many trials for a little while. These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world.

Fire is certainly viewed as destructive and dangerous. Fires destroy forests, but fires also lead to renewal. Fire burns away the dross surrounding certain metals and reveals the pure gold or silver. The fires of life can destroy our marriage, or, if survived, purify our marriage. The fires of our marriage can draw our hearts to heaven or leave us with the taste of hell.

In the Movie Fireproof

FireProof - the Love DareCaptain Caleb Holt (Kirk Cameron) is a firefighter in Albany, Georgia. His seven-year marriage to Catherine is falling apart. Neither one understands the pressures the other faces, and after a heated argument in which Caleb screams in Catherine’s face, she declares she wants out of the marriage, and takes off her wedding ring.

While Caleb claims to his friends and co-workers that Catherine is over-sensitive and disrespectful, Catherine simultaneously claims to her peers that Caleb is insensitive to her needs and doesn’t listen to her. Further catalyzing Catherine’s motivation for divorce is Caleb’s addiction to Internet pornography and a large sum of money ($24,000, to be exact) he has saved up for a fishing boat he intends to buy, ignoring the fact that Catherine’s disabled mother is in need of hospital equipment that she cannot afford, and which insurance refuses to cover. Caleb tells his father John about the impending divorce, and John challenges Caleb to commit to a 40-day test called, “The Love Dare.” Caleb reluctantly agrees to do the test, but more for the sake of his father than his marriage. Catherine initially sees through Caleb’s half-hearted attempts to win back her heart, which deepens Caleb’s frustration. But with his father’s encouragement, Caleb continues with The Love Dare, and eventually makes a life-changing commitment to God, unbeknownst to Catherine.

The movie has some various twists but the end result is Caleb and Catherine realize they need each other, and at the end they renew their vows in an outdoor ceremony, this time as a covenant with God. Their marriage becomes FIREPROOF.

Marriage is a Covenant

Marriage a Covenant to GodDid you see your marriage vows as a marriage Covenant? Did both you and your spouse get married knowing you were making a covenant before God! You did, whether you realized it or not.

Definition: a binding and solemn agreement to do or keep from doing a specified thing; compact

We know of Covenants from the Bible. God put a rainbow in the sky as a covenant that He would never destroy the world by rain. He made a Covenant with Abraham, He made a Covenant with David, He made a Covenant with all who by faith believe in Jesus Christ. That Covenant was sealed by the blood and body of Jesus.

When we get married, we enter into a covenant before God. In a Covenant, you make a binding agreement to stay with this woman or man until they die. In that Covenant we also promise to do so and so.

Most people believe “Well, my husband broke his promise to love me, or take care of me or so and so, so it’s OK for me to break my promise to him.” Or, well my wife is no longer the person I married, so my vow does not apply.

We Draw a Line in our Marriage

We Draw a Line in our Marriage“I’ll keep my end of the covenant as long as you don’t cross over this line.” I’ll keep my word as long as you don’t … … … But as soon as you do, that’s it, I’m out of here!

That would be OK if marriage was merely a contract between two humans. But it isn’t. Marriage is a Covenant before God. Whether you believe in God or not, marriage was designed by God and no marriage is undertaken without His knowledge. God is in every marriage, whether you are a Christian or not. In fact, God often uses marriage to bring people to saving faith in Jesus Christ.

Your marriage vows are made to God as well as your spouse. Regardless of what specific sins you commit, you are still married before God. You have entered into a Covenant with Him, and He wants you to keep to your WORD. It is binding, there are no exception causes, right person or wrong person, you are held to your word by God. And God will use this spouse that you married to work His will in your life.

So this morning, I want you to consider not taking the Love Dare, but the God Dare.

I dare you to bring God into your marriage, and to hold Him accountable for your love for your husband or your wife. I challenge you to trust God to use whatever sin besets your marriage, your relationship, your love to work His will in your life and make you like Jesus Christ. Regardless of where you are in your marriage, each day you get up and dare God to show you how he is using your spouse to make you like Jesus.

The God Dare is to Learn to Love and Forgive your spouse the way God does, and to realize that He will use your spouse to make you like His Son!

No partner left behind – unless you are my spouse

Dont Leave Your Spouse BehindCaptain Holt was a firefighter. He lived by the fireman’s creed “Never leave your partner behind

The Army Ranger Creed “Energetically will I meet the enemies of my country. I shall defeat them on the field of battle for I am better trained and will fight with all my might. Surrender is not a Ranger word. I will never leave a fallen comrade to fall into the hands of the enemy and under no circumstances will I ever embarrass my country.

No man left behind, No partner left behind. These are your buddies who serve by your side, who watch your back. If they should suffer harm, you don’t run to save yourself, even t the risk of your own life you rescue them.

We make a vow, a covenant to marry this man or this woman, but as soon as they cross over the line, or fail to live up to what I expect a marriage should be, we cut the line and run?

  • We are expected to save our bunk-mate but not our bed-mate?
  • We are expected to do our job rather than keep our Vow to Almighty God!

We all stumble in many ways

James 3:2 (NIV) We all stumble in many ways.

We All Stumble in Many Ways

Joe works hard for his family. His job requires long hours, with a long commute to boot. He leaves early gets home late. Joe complains that his wife Cheryl is always on the computer, chatting with friends. He gets home and she is on the computer. She seems to chat more with her friends than with him. Cheryl complains about how he is never home, and when he does he just flops down in front of the TV. She complains about his big expenditures and how he has run up the credit cards. He never has time for the kids.

marriage lose respectThe reality is that Joe and Cheryl have become adversaries. They still loved each other, but in reality they resented their spouses and resented their marriage. They are like Caleb and Catherine Holt, resenting each other and looking for a way out.

If we are honest, we have all experienced times when we resented our spouse. We may have even asked that question – did I marry the right one? Did I miss God’s perfect will? Or we meet someone else who seems to be our “soul-mate” and thank we are missing out on life. Marriage is the proverbial “ball and chain” and we are living as a condemned man or woman. Such questions can lead to contempt for our spouse, contempt for our life, contempt for our marriage.

If marriage is to accomplish what God intends, and that is to make us Holy, to empower us to be Victorious in Christ, then there are some fundamental decisions we must adhere to, and they center upon what God delights in! We must take the God Dare with our marriage. We must trust Him with our spouse.

We must commit to seeing our marriage as God sees it – the way to bring holiness to two stumbling sinners.

I have talked with so many men, so many wives who were totally frustrated with the behavior of their spouse. They won’t stop doing this, they won’t stop doing that. They treat me so and so. I always ask, have you told your wife or your husband how you feel. They will usually say, they don’t want to listen to me, or they will say yes, but it doesn’t do any good. They might change, but pretty soon they are right back doing so and so again.

I simply tell them to bring God into the situation. Simply tell your husband or wife that you are not expecting them to change, in fact you don’t care if they change or not. You have given them to God and are trusting Him to work in their life to make such and such like Jesus. That may scare them, or make them laugh, but that is not enough, you need to tell your spouse that you are asking God to use them to make you like Jesus.

So honey, if you mistreat me, God will use that to make us both like Him. He will teach me to forgive and to love those that persecute or hurt me, and God will open your heart to see how your actions or words are hurting Him. God will use our marriage to produce the character of Christ in our lives. He will use our marriage to prepare us both to live with Him in heaven.

Marriage makes Stumbling Sinners into Holy Saints

How does God use Marriage to Refine stumbling sinners and Make us Like Christ?

There are certain qualities that are ever present when we are dating. These qualities are often what single out that guy or gal from the rest of the herd.

Yet these very same qualities are the ones that seem to be tested the most in our marriage, and yet will bring that sweetness of the fruit of Jesus Christ in our lives.

Those Qualities are Respect, Selflessness, and Acceptance. When you are dating, thinking they are the one, you notice how they respect you, think you are something. They listen to you, your thoughts and opinions are important. There is selflessness about them. They sacrifice what they want to do what you want. They seem to put you first. They accept you the way you are. They love that thing that you are so embarrassed about. They seem so close and loving; they accept me and love me just as I really am.

Something about marriage will test these qualities. Yet these qualities are what we need to be like Christ.

Marriage and Respect

Marriage and RespectRespect for others, respect for Life is foundational component of society. Without respect for life murder is commonplace, without respect for authority society breaks down into anarchy. Without respect for others it becomes every man for himself.

Jesus was the picture of respect. From the lame, blind, poor, tax collectors, prostitutes, people of all walks of life were treated with respect by Jesus. His respect for His Father was greater than anything, and that led Him to throw the money changers out of the Temple. That led Him to call Hypocrites those who burdened people with so many restrictions that they could not come to God.

We find it easier to respect an image, an ideal rather than actual real, flawed people.

We fall in love with this striking woman or gorgeous hunk of a man. We have this ideal in our mind – they will love me, they will treasure me, they will protect me, they will provide for me. But the closer we get the more flaws we notice. Instead of an airbrushed beauty we discover wrinkles, moles, flaws. Instead of that dashing white knight we find a guy who scratches and belches and had bad breath at times.

Our ideal mate is in reality made of flesh and blood. We discover they can be selfish, tired, non-communicative, boring. And as the ideal gives way to the reality, often times our respect and admiration turns to resentment, and even contempt.

When our respect slips into contempt, it’s because I am weak, not because my wife is failing. If I was really mature, I would have the same compassion for her weaknesses as Christ does. Respect is a spiritual discipline, an obligation I owe my wife.

  • Contempt is conceived with expectations
  • Respect is conceived with expressions of gratitude.
  • You chose what you obsess over – expectations or thanksgivings.

PERSONAL TESTIMONY

In the mid-eighties Lydia and I went through a rather difficult time in our marriage. We had six children ranging from 2 to 10, selfishly I had bought a big house that we really couldn’t afford, money was extremely tight, the economy sucked so business was bad, my dad was under a great deal of stress. My wife was under a great deal of stress. I was under a lot of stress.

Instead of focusing on God and what he wanted me to do, I focused on unfulfilled expectations. My dad wasn’t paying me enough, Lydia wasn’t paying me enough attention, she wasn’t taking care of the household duties, and she was worn out, living in ratty sweats. I began to resent my life ad even resent my family and my wife.

overboard4Then I remember watching the movie “Overboard” with Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell. He was a single dad with four hellishly awful boys and he finds Goldie Hawn washed ashore with amnesia. He convinces her she is Annie, his wife and he brings her home. At first it is too much for her, but she gets the house under control, the kids under control, Kurt Russell under control. Wow, she becomes super Mom and Super Wife. I wondered why Lydia couldn’t do that. Stupid expectations, stupid unrealistic expectations.

Just when my marriage was about to fall apart because I did not respect and value my wife and all she was doing for me, God brought me to the place where my wife and my children were all I had. I saw my wife in an entirely new light-her love and respect for me, even though I had failed and disrespected her. She stuck by me when my brothers kicked me out of a company I had regarded as my own, as my life, as my reason for living. God showed me that without my wife and my children, I was nothing. She stuck by me the next few years as we struggled financially, and then started a paving business. She put food on the table for six growing children when we barely had enough to feed ourselves.

I’m not saying my wife is a perfect saint, but her decision to stay with me even though I was a stumbling and resentful sinner who did not show her the respect that God desired, brought about a change and work in my life that resulted in God showing His ability to transform stumbling sinners into strong saints.

  • Husbands – You Are Married To A Fallen Woman in A Broken World.
  • Wives – You Are Married To A Sinful Man in A Sinful World.

Get An Eye Check Up

Get an Eye CheckupJesus lays out an amazingly simple solution – check your eyesight for splinters and specks before you start complaining about the planks in your wife’s eye.

If you say “But my wife is the one who has the plank”, you are exactly the one Jesus is talking to. Jesus wants us to have humble spirits, humble hearts. We must cast off contempt and resentment and learn the spiritual discipline of respect.

Look at the people Jesus loved and offered respect-publicans, tax collectors, adulterous women, prostitutes, financial cheats, traitors, betrayers.

He washed their feet, he spent time with them, and he ate with them. Where was His contempt? There was none. He gave them His respect, He gave them His hand. We need to extend our hand of respect to our wives, our husbands, regardless of their sins.

Marriage and Selflessness

Once we have obtained that goal of marriage, most men will move on to what they are all about – Ambition and Accomplishment. Wives nowadays are about the same thing, perhaps on a smaller scale.

Marriages become preoccupied with accomplishments. We brag about our job, our money, our car, our home, our friends, our deer, our golf game. These accomplishments become a substitute for the selflessness and humility that are the foundation of intimate relationship.

The man is off making his way in the world, trying to provide for his family, while the wife is either working as well and at the same time becoming a taxi-driver and errand girl for her children. Instead of the intimacy that marriage is designed for, it becomes a series of accomplishments and errands.

Marriage and SelflessnessBill McCartney became famous overnight in Christian circles in the early nineties. A successful college football coach, he started Promise Keepers, which swept the nation. Yet his wife was lonely and hurting, which led to severe depression, during which she lost 80 pounds. Her busy husband didn’t even notice. She said she felt like she was getting smaller and smaller and smaller. Bill admitted his hard-driving approach to the ministry was distracting him from being a promise keeper to his wife and family.

Once he realized what was happening, he took the drastic step of retiring from coaching and stepped away from Promise Keepers to devote his life to his marriage. The McCartney’s are together and thriving in their marriage relationship today because of his decision.

Too often spouses struggle because one is making the other look smaller, while promoting them self. In marriage, being Godly is being selfless. I am no longer free to pursue whatever I want. I am no longer single; I am part of a team.

Marriage is about reining in your ambitions to what God wants. And God wants your marriage to be alive and thrive. But we must experience the cross daily. Jesus Christ set aside His ambitions and powers to become a selfless servant. He went all the way to the Cross, dying for you and me. God says we must be willing to die for the benefit of our marriage, our spouse. Paul said he died daily. Husbands, wives need to discover that selflessness that attracted them in the first place. That selflessness is a daily bowing before the Cross and dying to what each other wants and living to what God wants.

If I was the type of husband who expected my wife to cook for me, have sex with me whenever I wanted, keep a perfect and quiet home for my enjoyment. I would be the type of Pastor who would “browbeat you to fall in line regardless of your particular gifts and talents.”

Likewise if a wife abandons her family to ambitiously serve God, she will likely display the same lack of compassion and empathy for others as she does for her own family.

Our ministry and service to and for God is based on selflessness, and that is an integral part of marriage. God wants us to have the mind and heart attitude of Jesus Christ:

Philippians 2:5-8 (NIV) Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death– even death on a cross!

Marriage is about selflessness, about putting the needs of your spouse first. Those ambitions and accomplishments mean nothing if you lose your wife or your husband.

PRAYERS – If you fail to practice selflessness in your marriage, it can hinder your prayers.

1 Peter 3:7 (Phillips NT) “similarly, you husbands should try to understand the wives you live with, honoring them as physically weaker yet equally heirs with you of the grace of eternal life. If you don’t do this, you will find it impossible to pray properly. (Hindered)

Word is ekkoptō, to cut off. Without this quality men, you will keep getting dropped calls when you are praying. Your prayer life is inextricably tied in with your relationship with your wife. Why should God care about your prayer rquests when you don’t consider your wife’s needs?

Marriage and ACCEPTANCE

Marriage and AcceptanceWhen most of you that are dating, I imagine you had your spats. There may have been that fight followed by a long phone call and hopefully then that makeup kiss. The acceptance was there, the reconciliation was quick, complete, without damage to the intimacy of your relationship. In fact, often the misunderstanding brought a renewed and deeper intimacy.

Marriage is acceptance to the extreme. We are constantly confronted with things that we don’t like about our spouse. We either accept them and move on, or we argue, get hurt, stop talking, and stop having relations.

Marriage forces us into the intense act of reconciliation and acceptance. It’s easy to get along with people if you never get close to them.

Matthew 5:23-24 (NIV) “Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift.

If there is no acceptance in the marriage, things get really icy!

Marriage dissatisfaction reveals unrepented sin. Couples don’t fall out of love so much as they fall out of repentance. Sin, wrong attitudes, personal failures that are not dealt with slowly erodes the relationship.

We all enter marriage with sinful attitudes. When these attitudes surface, the temptation will be to hide them so they are not so well known, or flaunt them out of ignorance or pride.

Dating is like a dance where you try to put your best feet forward, look your best, act your best. But spouses need to admit their sin and not run or hide from it, but use the revelation of your sin as a means to grow in the foundational Christian virtue of humility, leading to confession and renouncement and acceptance.

Then grow further by adopting the positive quality that corresponds to the sin you are renouncing.

  • If you’ve used women in the past, practice serving your wife.
  • If you’ve been quick to ridicule your husband, practice giving him encouragement and praise.

View marriage as an entryway into sanctification-as a relationship that will reveal your sinful behaviors and attitudes and give you an opportunity to address them before the Lord.

Here is what happens in a selfish marriage. Our partner does something she or he know ticks us off. It could be anything, but let’s give an example like, he goes out with the guys or hunting or something when you had something else planned.

Ephesians 4:26 (NIV) “In your anger do not sin… and do not give the devil a foothold.

When we get angry or upset or feel neglected, we usually have a fall-back sin that we excuse and resort to. Kind of like, “we’ll I’ll get you back”. Anger and or feelings of contempt give room for the devil to maneuver in our lives. That old temptation rises, but this time we are powerless to resist. Or we resort to a learned bad behavior.

When the marriage is actually designed by God to be a mirror so we can we can our sin and weaknesses, confess and clean up, sometimes we throw the mirror down and break it.

We are accepted in the beloved (Eph 1:6) Husbands and wives must realize that each has ugly sins that will surface from time to time. But they must be committed to accepting the ugliness and working through it to producing that peaceable fruit of righteousness.

Marriage is a Spiritual Discipline. And disciple is painful:

Marriage is Spiritual DisciplineHebrews 12:11 (ESV) for the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.

Marriage is Seasoning for heaven

Mark 9:49 “For everyone will be salted with fire.”

Stress-free, comfortable marriages are an indirect desire to remain an “unseasoned”, immature Christian.

God has ordained that our refining process takes place as we go through difficulties, not around them.

We must go through the Red Sea, into the fiery furnace, through the River Jordan, to the Cross. God gives victory through our problems. Jesus said: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me” (Luke 9:23)

Like climbing a difficult mountain, we need to step back and say “this is tough, how do I keep loving this person in the face of this challenge?”

Would I rather live a life of ease and comfort and remain immature in Christ, or am I willing to be seasoned with suffering if by doing so I am conformed to the image of Christ?

If it was so easy to love someone till death do you part, why would we need to promise to love each other “till death do us part?” It is precisely because our society knows such a promise will be sorely tried and tested.

WE DON’T PROMISE TO EAT OR TO BUY CLOTHES.

Every marriage comes to a time when the “RUB” goes the wrong way. It is for those times such promises are made.

The Seasoning “Rub” of Marriage is for Eternal Glory

Gods Seasoning Rub of MarriagePaul wrote in 2 Cor 4:17 “For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.”

Any Sports Team-football, baseball, soccer, can go undefeated if they play weak teams. We love teams that have given it their all and have championed against the powerhouse team. We love an underdog that has vanquished a mightier foe. There is something about a struggle that brings out the best in our teams. We know when they’ve given it their all.

Young couples need to hear that: “A good marriage, a lasting marriage, an overcoming marriage is not something you find; it is something you work for! There will be struggles, there will be trials and tribulations, sometimes from without and sometimes within. You must learn to crucify your selfishness. There must be times of confrontation, and there must be times of confession. Eventually through the refining fire of this relationship will emerge a relationship of beauty, trust and mutual support.”

Working through problems is taxing. It is much easier to go shopping or dancing with the gals or go out with the guys or a sports game than to deal with intimacy issues or rejection issues or a relationship that is cold and going nowhere. It’s easier to look elsewhere for emotional satisfaction.

When you see marriage in the light of God’s design, then you realize there are spiritual benefits to working on this relationship, and therefore there are eternal benefits.

Otto Piper: “If marriage…is a disillusioning experience for many people, the reason is to be found in their passivity of their faith. People dislike that the blessings of God may only be found and enjoyed when they are persistently sought (matt 7:7; Luke 11:9) Marriage therefore is both a gift and a task to be accomplished.”

Don’t run from the struggles of marriage. Embrace them. Grow in them. Draw nearer to God because of them. Through the struggles of marriage you will reflect more of the spirit of Jesus. And thank God He has placed you in a marriage where your spirit can be perfected.

JohnWesleyJohn Wesley married a widow at the age of 48:

A greater source of trouble was his marriage to Mrs. Vazeille, February, 1751. Having come to the conclusion that “in my present circumstances I might be more useful in a married state,” he speedily consummated his design. Unfortunately, he could scarcely have hit upon a more unsuitable woman. Of a bitter and angry spirit — indeed, almost if not quite insane — she became the torment of his life. A number of times she left him, and again returned. She defamed him in private, and seized his letters and put them in the hands of those she knew were his enemies, interpolating so as to make them bear a bad construction. In one or two instances she published them. At times she was outrageously violent toward him, and there was always little else in their intercourse than constant connubial storms.

Wesley was almost worn away. February, 1756, he writes: “Your last letter was seasonable indeed. The being continually watched over for evil ; the having every word I spoke, every action I did —small and great — watched with no friendly eye; the hearing a thousand little tart, unkind reflections in return for the kindest words I could devise, ‘Like drops of eating water on the marble, At length have worn my sinking spirits down.’

Yet I could not say ‘ Take thy plague away from me,’ but only ‘ let me be purified, not consumed.’ “Wesley patiently endeavored to win her to a better mind, but all was in vain. His domestic wretchedness was protracted through thirty years, until she died October 8, 1781.

His love letters to her make tender reading. “My dear love, I know not how to stay a day at any place without writing a few lines,” he wrote to Molly on April 2, 1751. “I wonder at myself. How is it that absence does not lessen but increase my affection? I feel you every day nearer to my heart. O that God may continue his unspeakable gift! That we may both daily increase in faith, in zeal, in meekness, and in tender love to each other!”

But after only three months into their marriage, Wesley seems to have been troubled by the increasingly jealous disposition of his wife. “My wife, upon all supposition that I did not love her, and that I trusted others more than her, had often fretted herself almost to death,” he wrote. Wesley talked with her about it and “by the blessing of God the cloud vanished away, and we were united as at the beginning.”

Sometimes Mrs. Wesley drove a hundred miles to see who was with her husband in his carriage. John Hampson, one of Wesley’s preachers, witnessed her in one of her fits of fury, and said, “More than once she laid violent hands upon him, and tore those venerable locks which had suffered sufficiently from the ravages of time.” She often left him, but returned again in answer to his entreaties. In 1771 he writes: “For what cause I know not, my wife set out for Newcastle, purposing ‘never to return.’ Non eam reliqui ; non dimisi; non revocabo.” (I did not forsake her; I did not dismiss her; I shall not recall her.)

Charles and Anne Lindberg

linddeadCharles and Anne Lindberg had their 18 month old baby kidnapped. A ransom was paid, but the boy never returned. The boy was found 10 weeks later, dead, in the woods near their home. His body had been ravaged by wild animals. Reporters snuck into the morgue and took pictures of the badly decomposing body and put them on the front page.

She started writing, something that her husband’s fame had prevented. She wrote: “One can perhaps say that sorrow also played its part in setting me free” She expounds, “What I’m saying is not the old Puritan truism that ‘suffering teaches.’ I do not believe that all suffering teaches. If suffering alone taught, all the world would be wise, since everyone suffers. To suffering must be added mourning, understanding, patience love, openness and the willingness to remain vulnerable”

A difficult marriage, in and of itself, may not cause us to grow, to become holy. We must respond with understanding, love, patience, and a pursuit of virtue within that difficult marriage.

There is no room for victims in a difficult marriage. To become holy we must commit to virtue in the midst of difficulties. We can’t control how our spouse will act or how the world will act, but we can control how we will act and how we will respond. Seeking after holiness, virtue in the midst of hardship, abuse, neglect puts you in the driver seat. There are no victims in God’s marriage design.

Virtue means strength of character. It is power to do right, make the right choice, power to overcome the weakness of sin, bad choices

Anne Lindbergh wrote that “Undoubtedly the long road of suffering, insight, healing, or rebirth is illustrated in the Christian religion by the suffering, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.”

There is not a marriage represented in this sanctuary that has not experienced sorrow, not experienced trials. There isn’t a shared bedroom in Cass County where tension doesn’t occasionally or even frequently lift its snarling head.

Seasoning Brings Life

Anne Lindbergh wrote Second Sowing:

grain comes to life in second sowingFor whom the milk ungiven in the breast
When the child is gone?
For whom the love locked up in the heart
That is left alone?
That golden yield
Split sod once, overflowed an August field,
Threshed out in pain upon September’s floor,
Now hoarded high in barns, a sterile store.
Break down the bolted door;
Rip open, spread and pour
The grain upon the barren ground
Wherever crack in clod is found.
There is no harvest for the heart alone;
The seed of love must be
Eternally
Resown

As long as our pain and wisdom and lessons remain locked up in the heart or hoarded high in barns, they remain sterile and unfertile. Useless. To grow in the midst of difficulties, we must rip open the bags of grain and seeds and pour them out wherever we see fertile ground.

My Marriage is Worse than Most

olderadultsYou don’t understand what I’ve been going through!

Accept this: We often can’t choose which trials we faceSome of us have physical maladies. Unfortunately we do not get to chose whether we get cancer, kidney stones, arthritis, eyesight loss, brain aneurism, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s, diabetes. We all must face the truth that our body will degenerate as we get older. You don’t get to pick which part goes out of whack.

1223CharlesNita8We need to have the same attitude with our marriage. We each experience certain things with our spouses that are difficult to accept. One may struggle with alcohol, one with smoking, one with drugs, one with addiction to pain killers, one frail health, one anger, one physical abuse, one unhealthy sexual proclivities, one with Alzheimer or dementia, one with wandering eye, one with poor communication skills.

Sometimes we “put up” with the problem because of the benefits. We’ve all seen movies or TV stories about politician’s wives who put up with certain failings because of the “benefits” of her life.

But when there is not that benefit, when the struggle or hardship is so overwhelming that it obscures everything around it, such hardships become chains, a taskmaster, a tyrant, a brutal burden.

Where do you draw the line?

Look to God and forget the LineI will love my wife as long as she doesn’t do this, weighs this, stays this way. If she does this, gets this disease, looks like this, I’m out of here! What kind of Honorable person does that. Not one who shows respect, not one who is selfless, not one who is accepting. Not one who is willing to be seasoned by their Covenant before God!

There is no line in God’s Marriage Book. He has no lines with us. If Christ lives in your heart, there is total acceptance. There is no longer any sin that you could commit that would put you over the line into hell. You are His.

TotallyMarriedOur marriage is a picture of God’s Love and acceptance for us and His total satisfaction for what His Son Jesus Christ did. If we are like Christ, there is no line we can draw in the dirt. This man, this woman, God wants us to stay joined to the rest of our lives. We are both stumbling sinners, we have both been loved and accepted because of Christ. God is using our marriage to conform us to Jesus Christ. We must live by the God Dare, and trust God to use our spouse to season and perfect and discipline us, and to yield that peaceable fruit of righteousness.

  • TOTALLYMARRIED Christians Focus on the Eternal Benefits of the refining fires of marriage
  • TOTALLYMARRIED Couples Focus on Pleasing God

You are either seasoned to death or seasoned to life!