Marriage: How to be married and protect it

When we first become engaged to the woman or man of our dreams, we envision a certain amount of perfection that will follow in our marriage. We see our life filled with smiles, laughter, passionate kisses, maybe some children. We don’t dare imagine life without a few little bumps in the road, because after all we are trying to be honest with ourselves.

What happens after we say “I Do” is where the rubber meets the road. All of our hopes and dreams we have separately, jointly and even unspoken ones… all join together. The brightness of a newly married life and romantic adventure wears off a bit. After years it may fade away completely.

Why would this happen? Why is it accepted as part of the way things are when you get married? We should automatically reject that lie and also then understand that marriage is a life long romance that requires us to be vigilant to guard it and our hearts. [Proverbs 4:23] The enemy of our souls is seeking to kill and destroy and our marriage, Christian Marriage, tops his list of things to destroy.

There are a lot of reasons why he does this. Mainly because marriage is holy before God and he hates everything called holy. Another big reason is that when we are married before the Lord, we are blessed, strong and bonded in unity. Literally that must make the devil’s skin crawl. When we remember all these things, we should stand a bit taller and be ever more committed to protect and strengthen our relationship with our husband or wife.

We know that satan prowls about like a hungry lion and breaking a godly marriage is pretty delicious to him. So, how can we strengthen and protect our marriage from that?

It takes a hard and focused stand on the issue. We must eliminate everything, yes every thing, that comes between the husband and wife relationship. If our marriage is full of bickering there is a struggle for power in the marriage. That will take some serious denying of your flesh and giving God control. If we are spending too much time or too much money on “things” or “hobbies” then cut that out too. Sensual movies, sensual books, victorias secret (soft porn!) have no place in your marriage. Ever. Don’t fool yourself if you think you are not affected by it. Your eyes & heart should only be for your sweetie. God’s word is clear on the matter.

Our children, according to scripture, are NOT ahead of our spouse. The Biblical order to your priorities is

1. God
2. Husband/Wife
3. Ourselves
4. Children
5. Other family, Friends, Serving in Church
6. Exterior world

When we are at worship practice 3 nights a week, playing video games or out with friends frequently, shopping for kicks, on the net chatting or facebooking, texting, at soccer practice & games, pta meetings, television, netflix and so on… we are spending way too much time NOT being married or a family. We have our priorities out of whack.

Of course then, the result is we will have a cascading failure of our marriage and family.
If we take the time to prioritize our walk- God first, Our husband or wife second- then our life will shift back into proper focus. No longer will chaos, busyness, fighting, power struggles, passive aggressive remarks and behavior, sexual problems in the bedroom and our children’s behavior plague us. All of these things do straighten out if we genuinely turn all of this over to the Lord. Sometimes it takes more time than we prefer, but that is part of healing oftentimes.

On the subject of our bedrooms, it is a taboo topic for some reason in the Church. Secret sin abounds in this area and many are hurt and broken-hearted. It is not a place to manipulate, coerce or avoid and make excuses. The marriage bed is pure and holy and good and safe. A place of trust and intimacy. God says so in Song Of Solomon, “Drink deeply!” Passion and romance are very good and He wants us all to have it. When we begin to treat our husband or wife like they are a treasure to us, with honor, with adoration, we will see a change. Make an diligent effort and do it regularly. Progress may be slow at first, but keep praying and keep up the good work. Your marriage is worth it. Every little step counts. If you need help, a fantastic book “The Love Dare” is a good resource.

Lawlessness and The Church

Though there are plenty of important discussions debating the semantics of whether or not Christians are subject to the Law, as given by Moses, that is not my subject today.

Where there is no revelation, the people cast off restraint; But happy is he who keeps the law.

Proverbs 29:18

When you think of someone who does not keep the law, what do you see? Is it a stereotype you imagine, a rough looking individual? Does the phrase “cast off restraint” make you think of Mardi Gras in New Orleans? At its most basic definition, lawlessness means without law. That does not necessarily mean against the law. It is a very important distinction we must see.

The spirit of lawlessness has borders that might surprise the average believer and there are some very interesting ways this spirit affects people. In fact, it may shock you to hear that most people today have it. A spirit of lawlessness has paved the way in the hearts of men to think and do a myriad of appalling things.

The subject of lawlessness goes deep and has far reaching ramifications. The distance of which, we as the Church, underestimate.

To begin with, God makes the rules. He set the laws of nature, of what is love, what is holy and so on. He set them all, regardless if we accept them as true or not. We cannot rewrite the laws, the standard, that God set into motion. But that is exactly what we try to do. We are ridiculous and head strong.

Each of us has our own personal concepts and our personal defining of what is right and wrong, even in light of scripture we do this. We actually put our individual self on the scale of righteousness. Like a shade of gray on the spectrum from black to white. If Adam did that and shifted the awareness of his own sinfulness and need for the Lord and then next generation shifted that a notch down the ladder? Multiply that from generation to generation further on the scale away from holiness. Our “perceptions” are so far off the mark now that we are standing neck deep in sin and claim we are barely up to our ankles.

“And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold.”

Matthew 24:12

This personal standard (pure invention) of right and wrong sets up an entire panorama of justification for sin and perception on who is in error. Yes, it means hating God’s law in many cases (some would argue “all cases”), but this lawless spirit goes farther. Some of it is along the lines of ‘what is right for you is not what is right for me’ but that is way over simplified. Really that is just the first layer. The foundation being- we as creatures are steeped in sin and we refuse to conform or obey ANY standard unless we ourselves judge it to be acceptable. By doing that- we are setting our own laws– not conforming, but instead copying portions of a premade set of standards. Creating our own new set, and because these new laws are our own, we can flex them and bend them to allow ourselves to still be “sinless” in our own eyes and therefore above judgment. What a set up! We are fooling ourselves. It is exactly as if we are plugging our ears and singing “Free To Be You And Me” as loudly as we can, all the while believing that butterflies and sunshine await us when we die. Denying truth and embracing the lie.

Jesus said, “I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!”

Matthew 7:23

“Therefore as the tares are gathered and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of this age. The Son of Man will send out His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all things that offend, and those who practice lawlessness, and will cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth.”

Matthew 13:40-42

We cannot reject God’s law without consequence. We are not above judgment. We are not sinless. We do not set the standard. So then, what can we do? Can we correct this gross distortion our society (and the Church) is entrenched with? Perhaps. I believe we need to start within each of ourselves and teach our children as well. We must pull in the reigns on our ideologies. Correct our vision. We must get on our faces before the Most Holy and pray for revelation:

Where there is no revelation, the people cast off restraint; But happy is he who keeps the law.

Proverbs 29:18

When we receive revelation FROM GOD, we see clearly. The false perceptions we have fall off like scales from our eyes. Restraint becomes very important suddenly… Righteous living, or rather living within the standard that God has set, has enormous significance as a result. Therefore, our personal relationship with the Lord will intensify and deepen. One by one, we raise the societal standard of righteousness and holy living… OR one by one we each lower that standard.

Today, the Church has a choice.

.

Where Did Jesus Get It? …Plagiarism in the Church

 When I sought the Lord about this topic He plainly said to look up Mark 6. Right from the first couple sentences is:

Then He [Jesus] went out from there and came to His own country, and His disciples followed Him. And when the Sabbath had come, He began to teach in the synagogue. And many hearing Him were astonished, saying, “Where did this Man get these things? And what wisdom is this which is given to Him, that such mighty works are performed by His hands!”

Where did Jesus get the material for His teachings?

Most simply speaking, Jesus got it from scripture and the Father God.

Jesus did not try to pawn off someone’s teachings as His own- word for word or regurgitated with some new revelation spun on it. Jesus got His stuff straight from the source.

Of course, we could all say that what we sing, pray or write is our own if it originated with the Bible. That is saying, we could legitimately claim that it was our own IF that was where we actually got inspired. Today though, it is more often than not that we read something somewhere, heard a song, or whatever and had an “Aha!” moment where we wanted to spread this idea or revelation and then take credit for it. Granted there are the cases of inadvertent credit taken, but that is -not- what we are talking about here. We are talking finding a great thing and turning it out as our own or flat out trolling the internet or books and so on for material to rehash as our own.

It’s plagiarism. It’s deception, it’s self-promotion, it’s sin. It gets particularly sticky when we are talking about spiritual things, as we are today. After all, everyone can read the Bible and get the same message out of a portion of scripture then teach about it.

For example: We hear someone give a sermon and it inspires us to share it. That is good to do if we say we heard a sermon and so and so person said such and such. It is plagiarism when we are inspired by someone’s sermon and then re-fabricate it and share it as our own revelation.

What is the difference? Motive. 

Why is this happening in the Church?

In a nutshell, the hard truth is that the Church is not going to the source: the Lord. The Church is complacent and out of shape. She does not know how to talk to God or listen to Him. She never reads her Bible anymore. How can she hear if the Church rarely or never converses with the Lord or seeks His face? We already know the answer. She cannot.

How have you seen this issue play out in the Church?

Have you made this mistake before?

Worship: What It Is and What It Isn’t

And so it begins…

The lights were half dimmed as a drummer positioned behind ten other musicians began to play a loud militant beat. The sound increased with fervency as the other band members joined in one by one. Finally the lead guitar begins a riff to which the dancing crowd shouts out and claps along. The stage lights change up when the lead singer begins to sing a song about the power of love. People stream down to the front to dance and hug their friends on the way down. Clasping their hand and bringing them along, the stage area fills up with dancing, jumping, spinning, clapping and whooping. The band plays on. [Read more...]