The Deserts of Marriage

October 24, 2014

The Deserts of Marriage

1 John 4:11
Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.

Tears once more roll down the streambeds of her cheeks. Her heart is broken, discouraged, without hope, as once again she a has surveyed the landscape of her marriage only to see what appears to be but a desolate desert with the only moisture being that of her brokenhearted tears. Between the sobs and heartbreaks she only sees the ruins of what have been the years of her youth, the investment of her life, feelings and emotions. Dispersed in the pain are the feelings of anger and resentment that are like the cactus and thorns that are among the few things that now grow in this desert that is called a marriage.
Somewhere, in another room, another place or perhaps a bar, there is a man sitting quietly with his head hung down and a lump in his throat. Is this finally the end of the line? Has our love totally shriveled up and died? Has my insensitivity and inability to meet her needs put the final nail in the coffin of our marriage? Have my selfishness, my insensitivity and her continual nagging and criticism brought the closing act to our marriage?
Both lost in their thoughts and hurts think back to when they first met, their younger days of romance and early marriage. How different it was then. It was like the Garden of Eden. They were so in love. They never wanted to be apart. They thought about each other constantly and there was hardly a time when either of them could do wrong in the other’s sight. Things were so perfect. They dreamed together, they talked of what the future would hold for them and what they might accomplish together. Their hearts were swollen full of love and joy. They had found the perfect mate, the one that would fulfill all their dreams, expectations and fantasies. She would be the perfect submissive wife. She would live to meet and fulfill all of his needs. She would cook and sew, raise the kids, make the place a lovely home, always continue to be cheerful, joyful and full of love. She would be there when ever he needed her to meet his every need as his companion, friend and lover.
She likewise had the picture in her mind that he would always be there to share his heart with her, to spend lots of time communicating and talking. He would always be fun, exciting and making her laugh. He would often show up at the door with gifts and surprises, take her to unexpected places and constantly sweep her off of her feet with romantic ways. He would be her security, her tower of strength. He would provide for all the desires of her heart and fulfill all the dreams she had as girl. He would become rich, but still have bountiful quantities of time to spend with her.
As our honeymoons fade into the reality of everyday life we start to gain a greater and greater revelation of shortcomings of this one that we married. Many times our enchanted dreams of all that our marriage would be begin to slip into disillusionment as this person of our dreams begins to become more of the nightmare of disappointment to us. That person that could do no wrong, slowly becomes that person that can do no right. We begin to verbalize these complaints in hopes of changing our spouse’s behavior. On the other hand they are seeing all the places that we disappoint them and fail to meet their expectations. Most often a lot of shouting gets done, a lot of emotion gets expressed, but the results are far less than we hoped for because our alienation from one another only deepens and our intimacy grows less and less. We find ourselves dividing from the oneness we once shared into two emotionally separated islands dwelling under one roof. Hurt, resentment and anger continue to grow into walls of division, until we find ourselves at the place where this couple now stands, at the door of separation and divorce.
Jesus said in John 15:12-13, “This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you. Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” Who is a closer friend than our spouse has been. Are we failing to keep the commandment of Christ when we fail to truly love one another? There may be a hundred reasons why they are unlovely and unlovable to you, but we have to factor in who we are in Christ Jesus. Did we have to earn our love from Him? Did He wait till we were good enough and met His expectations before He came and gave His life for us? Romans 5:8 says, “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” When we see our human love in the light of His agape love, we see how shallow and empty it can be. The greatest problem for all of us in our marriages is our own selfishness. At the center of all our complaints is “my need isn’t being met.” Often one of the greatest problems for our disillusionment with our spouse is that we may have entered into marriage expecting them to meet areas of need in us that only Christ can meet. They are never going to be able to meet those needs in you. They are not a replacement for your intimate relationship with your Savior. We need to be complete and secure in our Lord before we ever enter into a relationship with a spouse, because He is your source of true and greater love. He is the one you can turn too, not only when your spouse fails to meet your needs, but also when you fail to meet theirs. We should enter into marriage and keep the perspective that I married that person to make them happy, marriage is not about me, it is about them.
When we gave ourselves in marriage we pledged the most important part of ourselves to one another, our hearts. It is to the shame of many of us that we have become very careless with that precious commodity that was entrusted into our care. Often we have dropped it, stepped on it, abused and misused it. We have not tenderly loved, protected and cherished it like we promised to do. If we are to keep Christ’s commandment of love, even to the one we promised to love, it can only truly be revealed as we abide in His unselfish love. If our commitment could be again to always submit ourselves to one another in unselfish love. Can we have enough of the unselfish love of God present in us that we would make it a priority to consider and minister to our spouse before ourselves? Can we obey the Word of God to release the offenses, the hurts and the unforgiveness that have become the walls of separation between us? If we can’t truly exercise and practice the love of God in our homes, how will we succeed in demonstrating it to the world?
Don’t lose your hope. Don’t give up or give in, there is a love that conquers even death and it can bring life back into your marriage. Let us come together and commit our hearts as one before Him who is our reconciliation. What is impossible for man is not impossible with God. When we become reconciled to God’s will and love for our lives with each other we will find again the joy and fulfillment that we had lost. Streams will come again into the deserts of our relationships, as the love of Christ is truly manifested in our hearts and lives. God hates divorce, but He has made a way for us to experience and find more abundant life in our marriages, if we are willing to become one in Him and the unselfish nature of His love.
Ecclesiastes 4:12, “And if one prevail against him, two shall withstand him; and a threefold cord is not quickly broken.” Think of the natural and spiritual strength that you have, as the two of you are one in Christ.

Blessings,
#kent

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Does the Lord come up Short?

September 12, 2014

Does the Lord come up Short?

Numbers 11:23
The LORD answered Moses, “Is the LORD’s arm too short? You will now see whether or not what I say will come true for you.”
Have you ever believed God for something and just felt so sure that He was going to fulfill a promise to you and then it didn’t come to pass as you thought it would. You sit there thinking where did I miss it? I was so sure I was hearing from God.
As I was sitting here meditating on what to write this morning my eyes fell upon the above scripture which I had printed out and clipped to my office organizer as a reminder of a promise that I had believed for.
We had lived in the same home for about twenty-seven years and although our house was adequate and our kids were raised, it still seemed crowded with our businesses. The stairs were becoming somewhat of a problem with the wife’s health and the fact was Sharon especially, was ready for a change. I had just retired and was struggling with a new business that was costing me more than it was making.
Being the conservative person that I am, it was hard to rationalize trying to buy a bigger house at this point in life, let alone knowing how we would pay for it. One day though I was stirred to faith and I set down with the newspaper and just looked at some homes. One in particular rather struck me and so I shocked Sharon one day by saying let’s just go look at some houses. The particular house that had struck my fancy was a new home, beautifully built and Sharon really liked it as well. The only small glitch was that it cost about $500,000 dollars, but what is that to God, right? Now there was no way in the natural I could see clear to have this house, but we began to pray and believe God. Somehow that faith really began to take hold in both of us and God just seemed to keep giving us little confirmations along the way. We would go out there and pray about it, over it and dream about it. We would just praise God and thank Him for it. Our faith was strong as we spoke as if we already had it, even when we could not see the means for it. At that time no miracles came to pass and one day it sold, only we weren’t the buyers. We couldn’t believe it. I would look over at that verse that I had clipped there and say, “God, didn’t you tell me that Your hand was not short to bring your word to pass? We even went by that house sometime after the other occupants were living there. We were even so bold as to go up and ask them if they liked the house and if they were planning on staying there? Perhaps God just had them house sitting for us for a while, but the daughter that we spoke too assured us that they were happy with the house and planned on staying there.
We gave up on the idea of the house and decided we would probably just remain stuck where we lived and make the best of it.
A little later down the road we were blessed with a wonderful gift. My parents, who are so precious and giving, received some income from an investment they had made some years prior. They passed some of that blessing on to us by giving us enough to finish paying off our home that we were currently living in. Now we were pretty much debt free. That is a great feeling.
It was probably about six months to a year later that we were driving home from a delivery for Sharon’s business and she spotted a “for sale” sign on a beautiful home. I had remember admiring it on occasion when we had passed by it, thinking what a great view they must have of the city. Being the woman of action that she is, Sharon called our good friend in real estate to see if we could look at the home. I don’t believe I was with them the first time they went through it but she came home loving it. It had a beautiful yard, and an incredible view. The house would provide us with the room and the distinction we needed for our businesses and it didn’t have all the stairs that Sharon would have to go up and down all of the time. It had so much of all that she had desired in a home. When I saw it, I liked it as well, but it was a pretty substantial investment. We put our home on the market and when we were about to put our offer in, two other parties were about to put there offers in as well, but then withdrew them till they knew if the homeowners would accept our offer. We came to an agreement and purchased the home before we had sold our other one. At least it was paid off and even though we had some expenses such as utilities and such, we didn’t have another house payment. This one was about twice what our other house payment had been. We moved in around the middle of December and that winter was rough. My business was dead and we had a lot of expenses, but God was so faithful to see us through.
A little over a year later, the Lord had increased our business and we have so enjoyed this home. It is so much more than we had ever imagined and we know, without a doubt, that it has been though God’s provision. We have come to realize that this house is so much better for us, in many respects, than the first house would have been. God had His time, but He came in a different door than what we were looking at. He so often does. We can never put God in our box or limit Him to our understanding. He is so much greater. Everyday we thank Him for what only He could supply and do. “And the Lord said to us, “Is the Lord’s hand waxed short? Thou shalt see now whether my word shall come to pass unto thee or not.” God is able to do exceedingly, abundantly above all that we ask or think.
We have lived in this home for ten years now and have never missed a payment due completely to God’s faithfulness not only to provide for this home, but to sustain it. Everyday is a miracle and testament to His goodness and faithfulness, even in trying times.  I don’t know how many times I have uttered through these years, “Only God”.

Blessings,
#kent

The Radiance of His Glory

Matthew 25:31
When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory:

The glory of the Lord is an awesome thing. It is the outshining of God’s very presence, being and life. No mere mortal man can stand before it. Even the mighty men of God that experienced it, like Moses and Daniel were completely undone and prostrate before it.
When Jesus came and walked among us we were able to view the glory of God, but it was veiled in human flesh. When our Christ comes again there will be no concealing His glory. It will be fully manifested. A few of the disciples briefly beheld Him in the fullness of His glory on the mount of transfiguration.
2 Thessalonians 1: 5-12 reveals, “All this is evidence that God’s judgment is right, and as a result you will be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are suffering. 6God is just: He will pay back trouble to those who trouble you 7and give relief to you who are troubled, and to us as well. This will happen when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven in blazing fire with his powerful angels. 8He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. 9They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the majesty of his power 10on the day he comes to be glorified in his holy people and to be marveled at among all those who have believed. This includes you, because you believed our testimony to you.” When the presence of Christ is revealed in His glory, His glory will be made manifest in the earth. The fullness of the Head will come in union and fully be enthroned within His body. The glory that is resident in the Head will be manifested throughout His body as He comes to rule and judge the earth. Isaiah 60:1-5 prophesies, “”Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD rises upon you. 2 See, darkness covers the earth and thick darkness is over the peoples, but the LORD rises upon you and his glory appears over you. 3 Nations will come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your dawn. 4 “Lift up your eyes and look about you: All assemble and come to you; your sons come from afar, and your daughters are carried on the arm. 5 Then you will look and be radiant, your heart will throb and swell with joy; the wealth on the seas will be brought to you, to you the riches of the nations will come.” The radiance of God’s glory will not only shine forth from the Son, but from those who are enthroned with Him. Revelations 20:4-6 says, “And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and [I saw] the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received [his] mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This [is] the first resurrection Blessed and holy [is] he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.” Thrones are the symbol of authority and power. This is the full expression of this King-Priest ministry that rules and reigns with Christ. They are fully as one. They express even one mind and one heart, that of the Father.
The Word of God teaches us that there are two resurrections. Those partaking in this first resurrection are those who will rule and reign with Christ. After the thousand years there will be a general resurrection in which all of the nations will be judged. We can glean that those who partake in this first resurrection are those that don’t partake in the mark of the beast and refuse to worship him. While we may not see this beast yet manifested the way that we might one day expect; his spirit still presides over the earth and the affairs of men. Our being caught up in the worldliness of this present time and our dependence upon the world can represent a partaking of that mark. This company of first resurrection saints are those who are willing to lay down their lives for their witness of Jesus. Their lives are not seated here; they are seated with Christ in God. They do not seek here any lasting city, but they are sojourners, foreigners, looking to a city whose builder and maker is God.
Where are our lives today? Is this earth our home? Is our glory found here? Are our hearts truly set upon the King of Glory and lived out in the hope of Him. There is no earthly comparison to the radiance of God’s glory. Let us not sell ourselves short of the great and glorious calling we have in Christ Jesus even if it cost us everything in this life and physical life itself.

Blessings
#kent

Strongholds

April 24, 2014

Mark 3:23-27a
So Jesus called them and spoke to them in parables: “How can Satan drive out Satan? 24If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. 25If a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand. 26And if Satan opposes himself and is divided, he cannot stand; his end has come. 27In fact, no one can enter a strong man’s house and carry off his possessions unless he first ties up the strong man. Then he can rob his house.

Strongholds

There are strongholds that each one of us deals with in our lives. Some may be stronger than others, but all of us have dealt with areas of our flesh where we are weak and more prone to failure and sin. Most all of us tend to want to keep these in the secret places of our closets so others won’t see, but often very ugly things reside behind the closed doors of our home and our hearts. These strongholds have fettered us and kept us in a state of bondage even as Christians for far too long. It is most often a love-hate relationship. We hate our sin and yet we love it too much to let go of it. As a result we struggle with our hypocrisy, often justifying it or rationalizing it so we can live with this bondage that is crippling our wholeness in Christ. Many of us live with much guilt and condemnation because we truly love the Lord and yet in these areas that may differ with each one of us, we are weak and seem unable to break free.
The enemy knows our areas of weakness and vulnerability. These are his inroads to our soul to hinder us and cripple us in walking in obedience in these areas. No amount of rules or laws are going to deliver us from these sensual or fleshly indulgences.
Paul says this in Colossians 2:19-13, “For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, 10and you have been given fullness in Christ, who is the head over every power and authority. 11In him you were also circumcised, in the putting off of the sinful nature, not with a circumcision done by the hands of men but with the circumcision done by Christ, 12having been buried with him in baptism and raised with him through your faith in the power of God, who raised him from the dead.
13When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, 14having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross. 15And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.” The truth is that Jesus Christ has bound the strong man, disarming his powers and authority. We now possess in Christ a greater power and authority than that which has bound us. Verse 10 says ‘you have been given fullness in Christ who is the head over every power and authority.’
So why are we still enslaved by these strongholds of sin and flesh? God has placed the Spirit of Christ in us to overcome the flesh. It is easy when someone does everything for you, but it doesn’t help you to grow or to find the strength you need to live in victory. God has called us to overcome in Christ Jesus.
We plead, “But I have tried and I still fail. I can’t do it.”
That is exactly right, we can’t do it, but we have a power resident within us by which we can. Romans 8:12-14 tells us, “Therefore, brothers, we have an obligation—but it is not to the sinful nature, to live according to it. 13For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live, 14because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.” The key words here for us are “By the Spirit”. We have an identity in Christ that we must put on in every area of our lives. We are no longer identified with the weakness, fearfulness and the lust of our flesh. We are identified with what we possess which Colossians 2:10 says is the ‘fullness in Christ’.
Colossians 3:1-11 exhorts us, “Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. 2Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. 3For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. 4When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.
5Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. 6Because of these, the wrath of God is coming. 7You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. 8But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. 9Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices 10and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. 11Here there is no Greek or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.” We must know who we are and where we now reside in the Spirit. We are not an earthly people any longer, we are a kingdom people with the King of Kings setting upon the throne our hearts and souls.
Some of us cry out in our souls and say, “I want to be free, but I can’t.” Can’t is not a statement of faith, but of fear and unbelief. “We can do all things through Christ that strengthens us.” Our greatest enemy is the deceptiveness of sin. We hide our sin in the closet because of our shame. We don’t want people to think of us less than spiritual; when in truth we are all struggling with the same garbage. It doesn’t matter how wicked or perverse the thing is that you struggle with, God sees it and He knows. It is not His will that this stronghold possesses you and rules over you. The greatest tactic of the enemy is to get you alone with your sin, like you are the only one going through this. You are not alone. We all struggle in areas of our life. Our greatest strength and victory is going to come when we bring our sin and struggles into the light and we allow the body of Christ to stand with us, pray with us and offer accountability to us. James 3:16 tells us, “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.” The reason we confess our sins to one another is to bring them into the light, which renders the devil powerless. He can only work in darkness. In the light we unite with the strength and support of fellow believers who can pray with us, stand with us and help us to be accountable in those areas where we are so prone to temptation.
It is time for all of us to come out of our dysfunctional state of sin and failure. Let us help one another in coming into the full freedom and deliverance from these strongholds that have so long crippled and hindered us in our walk and full devotion to Christ. You are not alone in your struggle. Surround yourself with other solid believers that you can trust and confide in. You may find that you are able to help them as much as they can help you. Let us walk in the light as He is in the light. No more strongholds!

Blessings,
#kent

Ecclesiastes 9:11

I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race [is] not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all. 


The Way of the Lord Leads Home


The way of the Lord leads home.  His ways are just and true.  He lifts up the brokenhearted and releases the captive from their captors.  Freedom is found in the Lord and in His presence. Joy is found in His fellowship and wisdom comes with understanding, which the Spirit imparts to man.  

Rescue the perishing, provide and have mercy toward the poor, the fatherless and widows.  Your mercy shall not go unnoticed, but will in due time reap its just reward.  

The expected gives place to the unexpected and wealth gives place to poverty.  The just shall live by faith, but the upright shall possess all things.  The man who is high in his own eyes shall be brought low and the humble before the Lord will be placed in their stead.  

Seek the Lord while He may be found, before the day of indignation and tribulation.  Know Him as the oil of your lamp and the life of your vessel.  As long as you are steadfast in your hope of Him, none will quench the light from your lamp, for the Lord Himself shall sustain you.   It is not by the will of man, nor his determination that establishes a soul, it is by the steadfast faithfulness of a broken and contrite heart that a man is lifted up and set in the high places.  Whom the Lord establishes and exalts, none shall remove.  Their place continues to abide.  Their eyes and heart are never set upon themselves, but in the might of the Lord they abide and their light shall not fail.

Watchmen, sound the alarm in Zion, sound the trumpets of battle.  The day of battle is at hand. The mighty Prince of Peace, the King of King mounts His horse and the sword of truth proceeds from His mouth.  Behold your King comes with His host of righteous ones.  Prepare for the day of battle that you may be among His noble ones.

 
Blessings,
kent

Our First Love

February 14, 2014

Revelations 2:3-5

You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary. 4Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love. 5Remember the height from which you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place.

 


Our First Love


Many times our marriages and our relationship with Christ have a lot in common.  They both are built upon love and relationship.  They generally start out with great commitment, emotion and passion to love and serve the Lord or to love and serve our spouse.  Through the course of life with all of its trials and demands the polish and gold tends to wear thin on the feelings and commitment we first felt and lived toward the Lord and toward our spouse. Many of us have endured many hardships together and we have trusted the Lord through many of them.  

Even though we are good people, who have worked hard for our marriage and for our spiritual relationship the dynamics have changed.  We’ve somehow lost the closeness and the intimacy of relationship we once had.  

This word “forsaken” in verse 4 in the Greek means, “ to depart, as of a husband divorcing his wife, yield up, expire, let go, let alone, to disregard, to leave, to omit, neglect.”  Do any of these words speak to our hearts as to our relationships in our marriage and in our walk and relationship with Christ?  We are still here in body, going through the motions of marriage and relationship, but have our hearts left the room?  Have they grown cold with complacency?  Sometimes our marriages are measured by how well we tolerate one another rather than how well we really love and bless one another.  Even in our Christianity we so often get in the rut of being religious, going to church, giving our tithe or doing our duty, but our heart and passion are no longer in it.  

It is a time for stirring up the embers and throwing on some new wood.  It is a time we must blow and breathe new life back into the fire of our relationships.  I’ll admit I have been bad about becoming so caught up in my business and the things that concern me, that I have neglected the weightier matters.  Somehow we come to take for granted that this loved one will always be there and everything will be fine, meanwhile we allow the foundation to rot out from under us.  One day we wake up and our house is in ruin.  The signs were all around but we didn’t heed them until our lampstand had been plucked from us and suddenly we found ourselves shut out.  

Here the Lord is warning us about our relationship with Him and also what can happen in our marriages.  We must return to that first love, the courting, the dating, the intimacy and attention that we gave to our partner then.  It can be no less with Christ.  It is not our works that save us in our marriage or our Christianity, it is the relationship that we maintain and cultivate with the one that we say we love. For me, it is often my communication that fails the most.  I get caught up in my own little world and when I fail to communicate, I find I am failing in my relationship.  That communication, especially that which shares my heart, is what my wife needs from me.  She has to feel that connection with my heart to feel close to me and a part of me.  I think this often comes more naturally to women as a general rule than men, but it doesn’t mean that we as men can neglect it.  We have to cultivate it, even when it doesn’t come naturally to us.  It is always remembering that love is not about us, it is about the object of our love.  When we love the Lord or our spouse the way they need to be loved, we will find that our needs are met in our giving and loving.  Let us endeavor to return now to our first love, not just in word, but in deed and with all of our heart. 

 
Blessings,
kent

The Deserts of Marriage

November 4, 2013

The Deserts of Marriage

1 John 4:11
Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.

Tears once more roll down the streambeds of her cheeks. Her heart is broken, discouraged, without hope, as once again she a has surveyed the landscape of her marriage only to see what appears to be but a desolate desert with the only moisture being that of her brokenhearted tears. Between the sobs and heartbreaks she only sees the ruins of what have been the years of her youth, the investment of her life, feelings and emotions. Dispersed in the pain are the feelings of anger and resentment that are like the cactus and thorns that are among the few things that now grow in this desert that is called a marriage.
Somewhere, in another room, another place or perhaps a bar, there is a man sitting quietly with his head hung down and a lump in his throat. Is this finally the end of the line? Has our love totally shriveled up and died? Has my insensitivity and inability to meet her needs put the final nail in the coffin of our marriage? Have my selfishness, my insensitivity and her continual nagging and criticism brought the closing act to our marriage?
Both lost in their thoughts and hurts think back to when they first met, their younger days of romance and early marriage. How different it was then. It was like the Garden of Eden. They were so in love. They never wanted to be apart. They thought about each other constantly and there was hardly a time when either of them could do wrong in the other’s sight. Things were so perfect. They dreamed together, they talked of what the future would hold for them and what they might accomplish together. There hearts were swollen full of love and joy. They had found the perfect mate, the one that would fulfill all their dreams, expectations and fantasies. She would be the perfect submissive wife. She would live to meet and fulfill all of his needs. She would cook and sew, raise the kids, make the place a lovely home, always continue to be cheerful, joyful and full of love. She would be there when ever he needed her to meet his every need as his companion, friend and lover.
She likewise had the picture in her mind that he would always be there to share his heart with her, to spend lots of time communicating and talking. He would always be fun, exciting and making her laugh. He would often show up at the door with gifts and surprises, take her to unexpected places and constantly sweep her off of her feet with romantic ways. He would be her security, her tower of strength. He would provide for all the desires of her heart and fulfill all the dreams she had as girl. He would become rich, but still have bountiful quantities of time to spend with her.
As our honeymoons fade into the reality of everyday life we start to gain a greater and greater revelation of shortcomings of this one that we married. Many times our enchanted dreams of all that our marriage would be begin to slip into disillusionment as this person of our dreams begins to become more of the nightmare of disappointment to us. That person that could do no wrong, slowly becomes that person that can do no right. We begin to verbalize these complaints in hopes of changing our spouse’s behavior. On the other hand they are seeing all the places that we disappoint them and fail to meet their expectations. Most often a lot of shouting gets done, a lot of emotion gets expressed, but the results are far less than we hoped for because our alienation from one another only deepens and our intimacy grows less and less. We find ourselves dividing from the oneness we once shared into two emotionally separated islands dwelling under one roof. Hurt, resentment and anger continue to grow into walls of division, until we find ourselves at the place where this couple now stands, at the door of separation and divorce.
Jesus said in John 15:12-13, “This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you. Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” Who is a closer friend than our spouse has been. Are we failing to keep the commandment of Christ when we fail to truly love one another? There may be a hundred reasons why they are unlovely and unlovable to you, but we have to factor in who we are in Christ Jesus. Did we have to earn our love from Him? Did He wait till we were good enough and met His expectations before He came and gave His life for us? Romans 5:8 says, “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” When we see our human love in the light of His agape love, we see how shallow and empty it can be. The greatest problem for all of us in our marriages is our own selfishness. At the center of all our complaints is “my need isn’t being met.” Often one of the greatest problems for our disillusionment with our spouse is that we may have entered into marriage expecting them to meet areas of need in us that only Christ can meet. They are never going to be able to meet those needs in you. They are not a replacement for your intimate relationship with your Savoir. We need to be complete and secure in our Lord before we ever enter into a relationship with a spouse, because He is your source of true and greater love. He is the one you can turn too, not only when your spouse fails to meet your needs, but also when you fail to meet theirs. We should enter into marriage and keep the perspective that I married that person to make them happy, marriage is not about me, it is about them.
When we gave ourselves in marriage we pledged the most important part of ourselves to one another, our hearts. It is to the shame of many of us that we have become very careless with that precious commodity that was entrusted into our care. Often we have dropped it, stepped on it, abused and misused it. We have not tenderly loved, protected and cherished it like we promised to do. If we are to keep Christ’s commandment of love, even to the one we promised to love, it can only truly be revealed as we abide in His unselfish love. If our commitment could be again to always submit ourselves to one another in unselfish love. Can we have enough of the unselfish love of God present in us that we would make it a priority to consider and minister to our spouse before ourselves? Can we obey the Word of God to release the offenses, the hurts and the unforgiveness that have become the walls of separation between us? If we can’t truly exercise and practice the love of God in our homes, how will we succeed in demonstrating it to the world?
Don’t lose your hope. Don’t give up or give in, there is a love that conquers even death and it can bring life back into your marriage. Let us come together and commit our hearts as one before Him who is our reconciliation. What is impossible for man is not impossible with God. When we become reconciled to God’s will and love for our lives with each other we will find again the joy and fulfillment that we had lost. Streams will come again into the deserts of our relationships, as the love of Christ is truly manifested in our hearts and lives. God hates divorce, but He has made a way for us to experience and find more abundant life in our marriages, if we are willing to become one in Him and the unselfish nature of His love.
Ecclesiastes 4:12, “And if one prevail against him, two shall withstand him; and a threefold cord is not quickly broken.” Think of the natural and spiritual strength that you have, as the two of you are one in Christ.

Blessings,
kent

September 12, 2013

The Blessing of Our Women

Proverbs 31:8
Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband [also], and he praiseth her.

Most all of us have a woman or women that are very special in our lives. They are often so dependable, constant and such a continual source of blessing that we often become complacent and even unappreciative in our attitudes toward them. Much like our attitude can become toward the Lord, we can become very insensitive to their presence, their continual serving and blessing and all that they contribute to our lives. We often are far more acutely aware of their faults, their nagging, and their expectations. Yet it is often some of these little irritating qualities that keep us on track, that help us live up to our abilities and responsibilities, and they are often the cornerstones of our households. These little ladies look after us, pamper us, serve us, bless us, love us, even when we are unlovely and are constantly laying down their lives to unselfishly serve and bless their families.
Often we relegate one day a year to commemorate and recognize these special ones, which is much like just going to church on Christmas or Easter. We should be so cognizant to love and appreciate them every day, in every way and through all of the little actions as well as the larger ones. Sure they have their human side. They can get cranky and irritable and some times hard to live with, but that may be a good indication that we as men and children aren’t doing our part to support, love and care for them.
I know my wife is so giving and far more generous than I am. While I’m always carefully watching the bottom line, if there is something I really need or want, she doesn’t hesitate to try and bless me with it if it is in her power to do so. Time would fail me to tell all of the examples of her giving and blessings in my life. She is such an example of love and Christ to me in these areas. Often, I get irritated with her for always asking me if I remembered this or that, but if she didn’t she knows that there is a good chance I would go off and forget it. What I am saying is that these special women are such a constant source of blessing and help to us, and we usually cop an attitude with them in their efforts to help us keep on track.
Proverbs 31:30 says, “Favour [is] deceitful, and beauty [is] vain: [but] a woman [that] feareth the LORD, she shall be praised.” We men and children that have godly women in our lives are very blessed and should never fail to praise and appreciate them. They wear innumerable hats, continually work at daunting tasks and yet manage to love and serve their household in that process. Many of us truly have heroines living among us whom we don’t love and appreciate nearly enough. They deserve our best, because they give no less of themselves.
It is interesting that some of Jesus’ last thoughts and concerns, while hanging on a cross, were for His mother. He delegated her care to the disciple John. If we see Jesus throughout His ministry so tender, loving, forgiving and caring of women should we, as men, be any less so? He valued women as few men did of that time. The Word exhorts us husbands in Ephesians 5:25, “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it.”
We must ask ourselves, as men, husbands and children, are we really everyday appreciating and showing the women in our lives how special they are? Our encouragement and praise means so much to them and helps them to continue on in their endeavor to serve and bless us. I speak this as strongly to myself as I do anyone else; that the women in your life are an extension of you in one way or another. If we love ourselves then we must not fail to love and bless them as a part of ourselves. Many of our marriages and relationships fail, because we cease to really love and appreciate one another. We become focused on all of the faults and shortcomings and actually cause them to become accentuated through the negative confessions of our lips. What if we were to speak, sometimes by faith, what we see or would like to see more of them, in a positive way? What if we were to be sure and praise and appreciate often the positive aspects of one another while humbly and willingly receiving loving correction and exhortation from one another. None of us are the perfect husband or wife, mother or child, but we can move and encourage one another toward that through the positive reinforcement we can bring to one another’s lives. Let today and each coming day be a day of true appreciation of those special women in our lives. Let us continually let them know how special they are and how much they bless our lives.

Blessings,
kent

Marriage Defiled

August 2, 2013

Marriage Defiled

Hebrews 13:4
Marriage [is] honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.

We have touched on this subject before, but this is what that Holy Spirit seems to be impressing upon my heart today. Not unlike times past our society and the moral fabric that holds it together is being compromised. We stand upon the precipice of ruin because so much of our society has lost the value and the sanctity of marriage. Over and over again when we watch a movies or TV or read a magazine the acceptance of a homosexual agenda is being presented as an acceptable lifestyle and alternative to marriage between one man and one woman. Now it is being pressed upon our society through the acceptance and legalization of same sex marriages.
Since the early 60’s the acceptance of cohabitation between unmarried couples has gained greater and greater acceptance, even now this comprises a great many of our households today. Then there are the many households where the lack of commitment has left children without fathers and many times with little or no support except from the government. Likewise, it is rare we watch movies, television and soap operas that fornication and adultery aren’t prevalent scenes and themes. What has all of this done to us as a society but make us hardened and callused to the fact that this is sin and an abomination to the heart of God? We have placed ourselves as a society and as individuals into a place of judgement because we have ignored and blatantly disobeyed God’s Word. If that isn’t bad enough we kill our unborn that result from much of this lifestyle. When we have not done these things literally we have entertained them and engaged them with our minds through impurity and pornography and vain imaginations. We have become a diseased society; infected with immorality and sin to such an extent that our hearts have become hardened and insensitive to the affects of the decay it is having on our families, our society and nation as a whole. There are hardly any of us that can say we haven’t been personally affected by this sin in our society, because it is touching each one of us either directly or indirectly. We have to come to the place and do all that we can to bring our society to the place where we really reverence the sanctity of marriage, the home and the family. God has been infinitely longsuffering and gracious towards us, but we must realize what a stench our sin is to His nostrils and He will not withhold his judgement indefinitely. By our own hand our nation will fall into perversion and ruin.
We have to again begin to really value and reinforce the importance of the institution of marriage between one man and one woman as God ordained it from the beginning. We have to reinforce the value of commitment and covenant in this relationship to where divorce isn’t found in one out of every two marriages. We have to again lay hold of the revelation of what it means to be one flesh with the man or woman we enter into covenant with, for better of for worse.
God doesn’t hate us because we have engaged in homosexuality, fornication, adultery or numerous other perversions and sexual sins, but He hates the sin. We have made ourselves His enemies in as much as we have engaged in it. If we are unwilling to repent, turn away from it and ask the blood of Jesus to cleanse us from these sins, then we will be judged in them. The Word says that the people who engage in such things have no part in the Kingdom of God. 1 Corinthians 6:9 says, “Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,” God puts His finger on it and tells us how it is going to be. We, as the people of God, must first purify our own hearts and get free from the strongholds and struggles we face in these areas. How can we help others until we have addressed our own issues? To our shame we have embraced many of the world’s values in regards to sexual purity and the institution of marriage. Marriage is the only acceptable area we can enjoy and share our sexuality in God’s eyes. He has given us this precious gift for a reason, but we have grossly perverted it and exploited it. We have to continually bring our hearts before Him and allow the Holy Spirit to examine us and show us our sin and folly, so that we can repent and return to a pure and right state in our minds and our hearts. We have to bear the torch and the standard of purity before our society. As long as we are in a state of hypocrisy and compromise we only reinforce this state of sin.
“God help us to purify our hearts and turn from our wicked ways so that we can be a light of righteousness to all around us. May they see the standard and the law of God written upon the tablets of our hearts through lives that glorify and honor you in word and deed. Help us to hold to the sanctity of marriage in our own lives and continue to keep covenant with the husband or wife of our youth through the power of the love you are working in our hearts. Amen”

Blessings,
kent

Psalms 29:10-11
The Lord sits enthroned over the flood; the Lord is enthroned as King forever.
11The Lord gives strength to his people; the Lord blesses his people with peace.

Lord of the Flood (Prophetic)

Though the flash floods come suddenly to overtake you, I am the rock you cling to and climb. Ascend the Rock of your Salvation. Come up into Me when the floods come. For they come to quickly wash away all that is not secure and eternal. Earthly loss is not spiritual loss. Though you lose everything in this world, you still have all that you need.
Though the waters rise, you shall rise above them as you cling and climb up the Rock of your salvation. Many below you are swept away, but I have not given you the spirit of fear, but of confidence. In that confidence you move knowing that your life is in My hands and not in the world and its circumstances.
Raging waters come to wash away all that is not secure, but security rest in Me, not in the abundance of what you have or own. Look to Me. Confide in Me your every need. Put no confidence in the flesh, for you are the circumcision in Christ Jesus that worships God in the Spirit. Your life is in My Spirit and because you are mine I will glorify Myself through you. When others are in terror, you shall be in peace, for I have overcome the world and My overcoming peace resides in you. You shall not fear what men may do to you, for your life is hid in Me and none can snatch you from My hand. Your steps are ordered of the Lord, so in physical life or death, trust me, for in Me, you shall never die. Where there is no permanent death, there should be no fear of death, but fear only Me. I will honor Myself through you as you walk in the integrity of My ways.
Secure yourself in the Rock of your salvation. Anchor your life there. For in that place, when the floods come, they will not sweep you away. I am your anchor and your sure salvation. Each day, set your hope in Me, honor Me and pursue me with all of your strength. In that pursuit, you will find I have become your strength and I am more than sufficient.

Blessings,
kentA

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