Obedience

How To Get It Right: Being Single, Married, Divorced, and Everything in Between

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How to Get It Right

“Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? And what communion hath light with darkness?” (II Corinthians 6:14, KJV).

Unequally Yoked:

Right out the gate, most everyone can quote this Scripture above, yet few comprehend the depth of its meaning. For example, when I was growing up, I was taught that “unequally yoked” meant that no Independent Baptist should mix with any other type of Baptist (Southern, Free Will, etc.) and definitely, we were not to intermarry with any other “foreign” denomination such as Lutheran, Methodist, and absolutely not with a Pentecostal or Presbyterian! Also, no person should ever mix with anyone outside their race, nationality, political or social status. Then there is the actual reality that no follower of Christ should marry a non-follower of Christ. 

In the Old Testament, God clearly instructed His people, time and time again, that they were not to marry outside their race. What was God’s motivation in this command? Was He prejudice against skin color or language that He created? No. God gave this command to keep His holy people pure of other gods, of worshipping anyone other than Himself. We must remember that the Old Testament was about things manifesting in the natural. The New Testament was about things happening in the spiritual. The Old Testament always mentioned how people looked externally. The New Testament does not speak of outward appearance. The reason is that things come first in the natural, then in the spiritual. Therefore, being unequally yoked has nothing at all to do with anything external, but spiritual.

I Corinthians 15:46-47 states: “The first man, Adam, became a living soul. The last Adam became a life-giving spirit. However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural; then the spiritual.” In the grand scheme of things, the spiritual is first in so much as God is Spirit and He has no beginning and no end, but this reference is written for the Earth, for mankind. We are physical man (natural first), but, through Holy Spirit (spiritual second), we are able to become spiritual. It’s all about keeping things within God’s perspective and order.

Since God chose to leave out external appearance in the New Testament, we must pay attention and follow suit. He omitted it for a purpose. We are to owe no man anything but love. Money issues aside, it translates, “All men owe every man love, regardless of anything external.” With that understood, we can eliminate any false meaning for being unequally yoked that has anything to do with outward appearance, including, and especially, skin color. As far as denomination is concerned, God is not a God of denomination, but our heart condition. If a black Baptist woman is in love with Christ and a white Methodist man is in love with Christ, what should man do to hinder them from marrying that has anything to do with God? 

To take all this even further, to be “equally yoked” in reference to holy matrimony boils down to one criterion: God’s supernatural ordination. Nothing else matters. The problem lies in how we perceive the matter of equally or unequally yoked. Again, most people have an internal checklist that they believe their spouse should meet to a tee, yet the list is generally not in compliance with God. Basically, we box God in so tightly that, no matter how clearly He reveals His will, we are too blinded by the flesh, and religious and parental tradition, to recognize. “Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment,” is instructed in John 7:24.

Don’t Judge by the Cover:

My husband isn’t anything like I pictured as a child. We must realize that our appointed spouse, when we first meet, could potentially not be ready for marriage, but that doesn’t mean they never will. The issue at hand is that we often meet our God-created mate, but, since they are not on our mental checklist, we impatiently and foolishly marry the first person who comes along that fits our standard. 

Cut two tennis balls in half, switch the halves, and glue one half of one ball to a half of the other ball. Though they are the same exact shape, color, texture, and size, they will never make a whole; they are merely two mismatched halves stuck together. If you pour oil and water into the same bowl, just because they are, for all intent and purposes, together, does it make them one new thing? No. It’s merely two vastly different substances cohabitating. The point is this: just because two things appear as though they could mix, it doesn’t mean they can, will, or should. 

I fell head over heels in love with Michael when I was 15 in August, 1983, 10th-grade algebra class, upstairs, A-hall, Mrs. Ward’s class, at Lexington High School. This is the classic example of a good soul-tie, but I was simply oblivious. I took one look at him and that was all she wrote! I didn’t understand it. I didn’t know why. It wasn’t based on looks, though he was handsome; it genuinely made no sense. It wasn’t sexual, hormonal, emotional, or mental – it just was, and with no logical explanation. Unfortunately, though we were algebra buddies and I helped him pass the class, we were but acquaintances. I wouldn’t even call us “friends.” 

About nine months after we met, he moved with his family to another city an hour away. I was devastated, to say the least. I remained forever in love with him, nonetheless. I was friends with his cousin before our meeting. I would see him occasionally when he visited her. He later joined the army and moved overseas for several years. During that time, he met and fell in love with a young woman.

As time went by, I eventually married someone else, and we moved overseas. My husband said he was called to be a preacher and things “appeared” in order, godly. Though married, the two of us never became one whole. He was an abuser. He did not hit me, but abuse comes in various forms. He was sexually, mentally, and emotionally abusive. 

After separating from my first husband once back in America, Michael and I reconnected and became the best of friends. We were able to do so because he had moved back stateside, leaving his girlfriend behind. We remained friends with no romantic commitment or ties. Two years after my first husband left, I married the nice, great guy I mentioned earlier: a handsome man with a stable job and very kind. To my chagrin, we married one another on the rebound of failed relationships, which is always a formula for disaster. After two years of trying to “make it work,” I left him. We tried several times to reconcile, but it simply was not right. We did not fit together to make a whole.

In 2000, after seven years of rebelling against God (from the time my first husband left), I found myself on my face before the Almighty begging Him to show me the way to righteousness, purity, and wholeness. Though most of these stories are in my other books, my point here is that I finally submitted totally to God. I vowed that I would never again lay with anyone who was not my husband, or marry again unless and until it was as God-intended. 

The blessings in mine and Michael’s lives are flowing for many reasons. The primary reason is because he and I make one whole person. We were specifically designed one for the other. The first husband was like mixing oil and water, an apparent mismatch. The second was like those two tennis balls; we looked like a good fit but were altogether wrong. The third marriage is a perfect fit. God has blessed and blessed and continuously blesses without end. I had taken a vow of abstinence long before our engagement and marriage. Although he was reluctant, Michael complied.

Just because you are marrying your ordained spouse does not mean that the marriage will automatically override sexual sin committed with that person; sex before marriage will hinder the fullness of the blessings God initially intended. Just because you marry the person that is within the will of God, your poor conduct (fornication or adultery) before the marriage will taint the otherwise holy covenant. We must stay aligned with God before, during, and after marriage. 

Marrying your intended spouse does not give you the right to put the cart before the horse. It is altogether possible to ruin that which God intended to be pure. Our obedience in every aspect is crucial to receive the best that God longs to bestow. It isn’t that Yahweh can’t or won’t work around our sin once we are repentant, but why would anyone shortchange themselves? That would be much like Esau giving up his birthright for a one-time cup of soup!

God, in His infinite wisdom and love, created me for Michael. I thank God that we were finally able to come together as it was designed. If I had known at 15 what I know now, I surely would have waited and prayed according to God’s direction. I would have saved myself, and everyone involved in those first two marriages, a lot of heartache had I been wise as to how God ordains, not just the union of general marriage, but specific marriages. I could never explain my unwavering love for Michael back then, but now I can. 

Please keep in mind that I was a born-again Christian, and he an agnostic when we first met. By man’s standards, that would not be a union “equally yoked,” yet was altogether “of God.” This is why we must tap into Holy Spirit as soon as possible and allow our spirit-man to become awakened to hear Holy Spirit speaking, leading, and guiding. By no means could I have entered covenant with him pre-accepting Christ. However, when we allow God to reveal our mate to us, whether it makes sense to common man or not, we will enable faith, patience, and grace to rule in our hearts. 

This type of waiting takes knowing and trusting the absolutes of God. The more knowledgeable we become, the more consigned to Christ we become, the more faith we place upon Yahweh, the fewer mistakes we will make along the way.

 

How To Get It Right: Being Single, Married, Divorced, and Everything In Between

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How to Get It Right

Chapter 7: What God has Joined Together

“What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate (Mark 10:9, NAS).”

Then Yahweh God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him.” Out the ground Yahweh God formed every beast…but for Adam there was not found a helper suitable for him. So Yahweh God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and he slept; then He took one of his ribs and closed up the flesh at that place. Yahweh God fashioned into a woman the rib which He had taken from the man, and brought her to the man. The man said, “This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out Man.” For this reason, a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh (Genesis 2:18-24).

 

The content of this chapter will overlap chapter six, but I believe it is necessary for us to notice several key things in the above Scriptures as they have everything to do with being equally or unequally yoked.

What God has Joined Together:

First and foremost it reads, “What God has joined together…” If no other Scripture indicates that God does ordain specific marriages, this one does. I have heard many say that the Bible does not clearly indicate that God ordains, creates or chooses a mate one for another. Clearly, if God knows and places the exact number of hairs on our head, surely He would put even more consideration into which person we are to marry whether we choose correctly or not.

Also, I find it intriguing that God states in Genesis chapter two that He took a rib out Adam to put into Eve. Although obviously, she too came from the ground, the difference between her and the other created beings is that she is forever linked physically and spiritually to Adam, Eve’s life mate. God created Adam from the ground without taking anything from another creation, and He could have created Eve without taking anything from Adam, yet He did.

It is my estimation that God did this to emphasize the value and validity of “oneness.” This happened in their situation physically and spiritually. In like manner, this is how we are linked together as one in current day marriages. Physically, we are joined together by having sexual intercourse; spending our lives together eating, drinking, making memories, etc. Spiritually, we are connected through verbal vows made before God and man. Vows are sacred to God as we just discussed; they are meant to be permanent, binding, lasting.

To recap, God says we are never to make a vow haphazardly. Numbers 30:2 reads, “If a man makes a vow to Yahweh, or takes an oath to bind himself with a binding obligation, he shall not violate his word; he shall do according to all that proceeds out his mouth.” Again in Deuteronomy 23:21, we see it written, “When you make a vow to Yahweh your God, you shall not delay to pay it, for it would be sin in you, and Yahweh your God will surely require it of you.”

These are applicable to marriage vows, business vows, flippant sarcastic vows; any and all vows are a serious thing. I am reminded of Jacob and his haphazard vow to Laban in Genesis 31: “Then Jacob replied to Laban, ‘…The one with whom you find your gods shall not live; in the presence of our kinsmen point out what is yours among my belongings and take it for yourself.’ For Jacob did not know that Rachel (his most cherished and beloved wife) had stolen them.” Later we see in Genesis 35, Rachel dies giving birth to Benjamin. The vow he foolishly made in haste had to be honored.

Is Divorce Lawful?

Let’s take look at the following passage in Matthew where the Pharisees came to test Jesus:

Some Pharisees came to Jesus, testing Him and asking, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any reason at all?” And He answered and said, ‘Have you not read that He who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? “So they are no longer two, but one flesh, what therefore God has joined together, let no man separate. “ They said to Him, “Why then did Moses command to give her a certificate of divorce and send her away?” He said to them, “Because of your hardness of heart Moses permitted you to divorce your wives; but from the beginning it has not been this way. And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery.” The disciples said to Him, “If the relationship of the man with his wife is like this, it is better not to marry.” But He said to them, “Not all men can accept this statement, but only those to whom it has been given. For there are eunuchs who were born that way from their mother’s womb; and there are eunuchs who were made eunuchs by men; and there are also eunuchs who made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the Kingdom of Heaven. He who is able to accept this, let him accept it (Matthew 19:3-12).”

We must address the line where Jesus said, “Because of your hardness of heart, Moses permitted you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it has not been this way.” It was not that way in the beginning because the initial marriage is that of Adam and Eve – a marriage created by God. It is because our hearts have become hardened toward God, or rather, against the perfect will of God, that disobedience abounds and unholy covenants of marriage abound all the more. Notice that this is where the Lord interjected the concept of being a eunuch.

In reference to marriage, obedience to God would be to pray for the ordained, anointed mate, walk in obedience in every other area while waiting (I.E. no sex before marriage, not dating anyone you desire just because you can, and so on), be patient with God, expectantly believe that God is God and has a better plan for you than whatever you could concoct in your flesh, and above all, seek first His kingdom and His righteousness (Matthew 6) trusting His ways above our own.

Does He or Doesn’t He Choose Our Mates?

I was just reading where a minister posed a question which asked, “There are those who believe that God chooses your mate for you and those who believe that the male is responsible for choosing his mate. Let me hear from you? What do you believe? Give Scripture if possible, please.” Many people weighed in. The majority believed that man chooses his own mate because God gives us free will; that God does not create a mate for people.

I believe 100% given all of the good and bad marriages of the Old Testament all the way to current day, including my own personal knowledge from my life experience, that God does not choose a wife for man, but He does create one just as He did for Adam. It was up to Adam to choose Eve, or not. Isaac, Jacob, Boaz, and others had women created for them and were directed to them supernaturally, but they still had to choose God’s will or their own. These God-ordained unions honored Him when they sought His will through prayer. This is the root purpose of everything God plans – to honor Him. Hosea, the prophet, was instructed specifically who to marry and why.

For those who are set aside as eunuchs by birth, there is no mate for them. For those who chose to be a eunuch or were made so by the hands of men, God already, in advance, before the foundation of the Earth, knew this. I must say that I don’t understand such strong people of God believing in a God who knows all would just say, “Here you go. Here are a bunch of people…pick one that you like” or “ooooppps…I didn’t know you were a eunuch, so I accidentally created a mate for you. I guess the mate is just out luck and on their own!” I ask with sincerity, does that make any sense? Many make themselves eunuchs because their ordained mate married the wrong person leaving them no choice but to be celibate. One wrong marital choice throws God’s perfection way off course.

Every marriage ordained of God written in the Old Testament was preordained. It means that God strategically planned the union with great thought and detail before the foundation of the Earth. That is why the marriages were successful even though the people themselves were flawed. We do have the God-given right to choose anyone we want just as we all have the right to choose Jesus or not. That’s part of free will. Just because someone doesn’t choose Jesus, does that mean there is another way to God the Father? No. It is radically and painfully obvious to all that mankind has, generally speaking, chosen poorly in all areas of decision making, including choosing marital mates.

For those who purpose to completely seek the face of God, hear His heart for their purpose, listen to His bidding, choose patience in all matters, and trust His perfect timing, are brought together with the mate God created just for them. We see so much divorce and tragic marriages within the body of Christ, including within the leadership, because we pick according to our standard, wants, likes and dislikes and choose not to wait upon Yeshua.

Marriage on Earth is to be a reflection of our spiritual marriage to God – unfortunately, they are a disgraceful display at best. We make such poor choices because we say with our lips, “I love God” yet we don’t trust Him enough to wait for Him to bring forth into our lives that which He orchestrated.

We don’t generally have enough faith to believe that God is big enough or thoughtful enough to create someone for us or us for someone. Rather, we do our own thing because it may have the appearance of holiness, yet is altogether unholy. Worse yet, not only are our choices in a spouse not for us, but they are against us and then we want God to come and fix our unholy covenant that He never purposed from the start.

God is so intricate in His planning and timing that He creates a mate for those who are to marry. That is why the Word reads, “What God has brought together.” Old Testament to current day, unholy covenants have taken place at the hand of our foolish choices and will proceed well into the future. We are led by emotions, hormones, loneliness, even (and especially) within the body of Christ, therefore, Holy Spirit had no say in the matter. Now having new knowledge of our own personal missteps, dare we have the audacity to question God as to why our marriage is so horrific?

We all know and can quote, “‘For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares Yahweh, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope (Jeremiah 29:11, NAS).’” I do wonder if we recognize and readily accept that there is a plan for every minute area of the life of every person. God is an orderly God who knows the plans He has for us. If we don’t seek His face, we miss it and make up our own plan as we go along; we usher our own demise, no fault of God. Few wait upon the Lord due to foolish fleshly desires not reigned into obedience to Christ.

Since two become one, would God so sloppily not create two specific people for one another? We conduct ourselves as if God is saying, “Yes, two become one, which is a deeply serious thing, but that isn’t my problem. I have left you abandoned and without direction. Do whatever you want, however you desire, and don’t even suggest that I (God) have time to bother with such things. Figure it out.”

In closing, remember that in our marriage to Christ, we become one entity – completely losing ourselves in Him. In human marriage, two become one – both are to lose themselves in the other creating one new entity. Is that not serious enough an issue for God to plan ahead? He ordains, but we choose.

But I want you to be free from concern. One who is unmarried is concerned about the things of Yahweh, how he may please Yahweh; but one who is married is concerned about the things of the world, how he may please his wife, and his interests are divided. The woman who is unmarried, and the virgin, is concerned about the things of Yahweh, that she may be holy both in body and spirit; but one who is married is concerned about the things of the world, how she may please her husband (I Corinthians 7:32-34).

How To Get It Right: Being Single, Married, Divorced, and Everything In Between

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How to Get It Right

Chapter 5: Common Law “Marriage” part II

Happiness or Holiness:

 Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma. But immorality or any impurity or greed must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints; and there must be no filthiness and silly talk, or coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks. For this you know with certainty, that no immoral or impure person or covetous man, who is an idolater, has an inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience (Ephesians 5:1-6).

 For this is the will of God, your sanctification; that is, that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each of you know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor, not in lustful passion, like the Gentiles who do not know God (I Thessalonians 4:3-5).

 “Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires (Galatians 5:24, NAS).”

***

 Neither immorality nor impurity should be named among God’s people. These texts are life-altering. Far too many people are concerned more with their personal happiness than holiness before God and it should not be. When seeking happiness, there’s guilt involved feeling like they’re being selfish seeking such happiness. In this state of guilt, the concept of holiness gets swept under the rug.

 Imagine if you will a person completely surrendered to God. This particular person will no longer seek happiness nor will they be led by emotions of guilt, shame, fear, or anything else. They will be, on the other hand, focused solely on pleasing the Savior. In this condition, there is no room for anything other than holiness; they’ll do whatever it takes to be in direct obedience to the One who can resolve any matter. A person, such as the two men mentioned above, would be able to make clear, concise decisions concerning their own personal life. They would be able with ease to tell their girlfriends that, since they’re seeking the face and holiness of Christ, they must of necessity break union, or at the very least, stop living in sin. Their desire for holiness would cause them to surrender completely to Christ and, in so doing, do whatever necessary to follow Christ.

 One must understand that commitment and surrender are vastly different things. Commitment in or to anything means that you are the one in control; you can quit whenever you want. Surrender, adversely, denotes one not in control, you can’t quit as you no longer have a say or vote in the matter; you have consigned your vote, say, and will. Countless people are “committed” to their girlfriend or boyfriend and suggest that, because of their commitment, they don’t need to marry. However, God doesn’t call people in relationship with Himself to commit, but to surrender.

 Since human marriages are a reflection of our relationship with Christ, we too are to surrender ourselves to our spouse. This way, there’s no out because you aren’t controlling the relationship, God is and/or your spouse. Commitments are broken at will every day because the one committed controls how long they stay. When both the husband and wife surrender to each other, there is an unbreakable force; yet in today’s marriages, both want to do nothing more than commit so that, if they eventually want out, they can leave.

When we say marital vows, most miss the fact that this is supposed to be a form of surrender, a giving yourself to the other; two becoming one (both are surrendered into one new creation). Because people miss this, too many are committed for a season but, eventually, they check out be it with literal divorce or emotionally though remaining legally married. In living together unmarried, one inadvertently surrenders themselves to a person without covenant and that can only lead to a disaster. This is why people who are living together having taken on each other’s bills, kids, property, etc. feel trapped though they’re actually free to leave. Surrender means crucifying self; it means to lay down your life for another. We all need to stop surrendering ourselves to one without covenant because, without covenant, there is no protection and all the lines of what is right and wrong are blurred leaving everyone confused and imprisoned.

 To reiterate, God doesn’t call anyone to happiness, but holiness just as He doesn’t call us to commit, but to surrender. Surrender causes us to become lost in Christ. Surrender causes us to become lost in our spouse. Surrender takes your focus off personal happiness (selfishness) and diverts it toward holiness (selflessness). Keeping this in mind, it will assist you in the quest for the correct union of marriage preordained by God. Instead of asking, “Will this make me happy?” always ask yourself, “Can I surrender to him or her? Should I surrender to him or her? Can I utterly subject myself to him or her and be in right standing with God?” These questions can literally save you from entering an unholy relationship of fornication, adultery or unholy marriage and even save you from exiting a correct marriage gone sour through divorce.

 

Commitment and happiness = self-focus and personal control

Surrender and holiness = God-focus and control abandonment

 

Prayer of Purity: Father, may I be self-controlled as Jesus was when He walked in human flesh. As I seek purity, reveal to me the weaknesses of my flesh that I will flee evil instead of deceiving myself into thinking that I have strength I do not possess. Lead me into the path of righteousness that I will not cast my foot upon a stone and stumble and fall. I choose today to crucify my fleshly man and receive Holy Spirit to take His rightful position as the ruler of my heart. I repent of all impure activity in my past and receive your forgiveness. I choose to abstain from all sexual impurity. Thank You, Jesus, for paving the way of holiness. Amen.

How to Get It Right: Being Single, Married, Divorced, and Everything in Between

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How to Get It Right

Chapter 5: Common Law “Marriage” part I

And those who are in the flesh cannot please God. However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him. If Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, yet the spirit is alive because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you. So then, brethren, we are under obligation, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh—for if you are living according to the flesh, you must die; but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live (Romans 8:8-13).

Two Become One:

For anyone who reasons, “If I become one with someone through sexual intercourse and we are considered as married, what’s the purpose of marriage? I don’t need a certificate to validate my relationship. In the sight of God, we’re already married,” I direct them to Jesus’ response to the Samaritan woman. In John 4:17-19, we read: “The woman answered and said, ‘I have no husband.’ Jesus said to her, ‘You have correctly said, “I have no husband;” for you have had five husbands, and the one whom you now have is not your husband; this you have said truly.’ The woman said to Him, ‘Sir, I perceive that You are a prophet.’”

There are a couple of items that need to be addressed. One, Jesus said that she stated correctly ‘I have no husband’ yet she had five husbands prior to her current common-law husband. If she is five times divorced and Jesus made it known that she didn’t have a husband, she is cleared of still being married post-divorce. Secondly, though she was entering into sexual relations with the one not her husband, Jesus did not consider that as validation of marriage in God’s sight. Her granted divorces were honored by God as no longer married and equally, her common-law husband wasn’t a husband at all.

We see continually that marriage is the place of covenant; the only place that God can and will honor sexual relations between a man and a woman. Sexual intercourse is to be kept holy as God intended. It is not for us to use as a tool to alleviate tension, validate a romantic relationship, or abuse in any capacity. Sex outside of marriage is a sin and extremely dangerous, much like a toddler with a butcher knife or loaded gun.

Biblical Dating?

The next question asked a lot among followers of The Way (Christ) is, “What is appropriate conduct in dating?” Let’s look at the next section of Bible passages:

Now concerning the things of which you wrote to me: It is good for a man not to touch a woman. Nevertheless, because of sexual immorality, let each man have his own wife, and let each woman have her own husband. Let the husband render to his wife the affection due her, and likewise also the wife to her husband. The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. And likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does. Do not deprive one another except with consent for a time, that you may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again so that Satan does not tempt you because of your lack of self-control (1 Corinthians 7:1-5, NKJV)

The phrase “to touch a woman” is an idiom referring to “sexual relations.” Apto is the Greek word Paul uses for “to touch.” It has the sense of touch, cling, take hold of; to kindle as in “to kindle a fire.” It can mean any form of physical touch from light caress to actual sexual intercourse.

Paul continues with the word “nevertheless” which connects all that he is saying. Dating is a western practice that isn’t found anywhere in the Bible. This would lead me to believe that dating as we know it in modern western society is invalid. With Paul’s apt “nevertheless,” he instructs men and women to marry and then (as in post-marriage vows) conduct yourselves in any form of touch that is holy in the sight of God.

Many argue that there are numerous things not mentioned in the Bible yet that does not constitute then as sin and that is true for many things such as celebrating birthdays or things of that nature. However, with dating, there are Scriptures that specifically speak to relations between a man and woman that would directly negate the form of dating for which is common today. If “dating” simply meant spending quality time together getting to know one another, that would be acceptable, but all the excessive touching between unmarried couples is indeed sin.

Paul continues to instruct the married couple to not abstain from sex. Within marriage, the man and woman are no longer their own, they belong to each other. We can conclude from this one section of verses alone that touching within the confines of dating is not permitted. We all know that few, if anyone, will uphold God’s way of thinking, sad as the fact is. If you must date, keep your body parts, all of them, to yourself since the more two touch, the more they “burn” and are tempted to forget God and act in the flesh (literally and metaphorically), and will possibly lead to a marriage or some form of improper conduct that God never designed or ordained.

Living-Together Debacles:

Living together, having sex before marriage, merging households without marriage – these are merely common occurrences in the modern-day Babylon in which we live. We’ve set such a low precedence that no one, including Christians, seems to know right from wrong in any given situation, especially in the arena of romantic relationships.

As I’m writing this, I am currently involved with attempting to help two men out of their unholy unions with women not their wives. Both men feel so trapped that they struggle to see a way out. They’re all miserable because none of the four entered their relationships while in right standing with God; Yeshua was not consulted in the least. These men, because they’re living together in sin with their girlfriends, have wedged themselves into a role of father to their girlfriends’ children and husband to women not their wives. These four have basically been playing marriage all the while having no marital covenant – a recipe for disaster!

One fellow and his live-in girlfriend are both married to estranged spouses. He refused to get out of the relationship when it was suggested and, because he hesitated to do what was holy and helpful for everyone, he eventually became aggressive as they both would badger one another mentally, emotionally and physically. As a result, now he’s in jail. If only he’d been obedient to God so as to remove himself from an adulterous relationship, he’d not be in jail. He tried so hard to force something to work that couldn’t and it ended in a worse way than necessary. This guy was too worried about her kids because he was their only support that he missed God’s plan altogether.

Because of his emotional and financial ties to her children, he felt as though he couldn’t leave. So, he remained in an unhealthy, unholy, unhappy relationship and it ended more poorly than if he had just said, “This isn’t working. It isn’t right in God’s sight. We need to separate.” Fear became a factor; afraid of hurting her, hurting her kids, leaving them abandoned, etc. When fear is in play, wisdom cannot prevail. When fear is in action, God’s voice cannot be clearly heard or obliged. Because of placing himself in a situation that was against God, fear became the lead which causes nothing less than chaos and confusion.

The other gentleman has children and his girlfriend has a child; together they’ve lived for many years. He is acting as father to her child and she is acting as mother to his children. Now he’s trying to get his life aligned with Yeshua and feels stuck just like the other guy. He doesn’t hate her but he doesn’t love her. They can’t divorce because they’re not legally married and he feels trapped in his own home. He illegally positioned himself to become something (husband, father) he never was. They are “common law” married but, in the sight of God, they’re simply living illegally due to fornication and lack of covenant. He too is fearful of what will happen when and if he breaks the relationship as she and her child have nowhere to go.

My suggestion to them both would be to align themselves with God and, in so doing, pull the plug on the very unhealthy relationship, stop having sex, stop living together and recalibrate from there. Fear is a terrible thing but always comes into action when lives are not aligned with the God who has already overcome fear. Imagine if they both began to walk in surrender to Christ. They would no longer worry about the outcome, but only that they are living a holy lifestyle in accordance to God’s commands. By recalibrating their thinking from an earthly, fleshly perspective into a heavenly, godly one, all fears would calm and they would have faith to do what is correct trusting that Yahweh will work things out for all involved.

 Those who live in common-law relationships miserable and sometimes volatile are setting a very low bar of life for their kids. They currently worry that the kids will be hurt if they split, but I say that they’ll be hurt worse in the long run if they don’t make an immediate change. Doesn’t everyone want their children to grow in a home where the parent or parents are at peace, joyful, and walking in accordance to Christ’s will? Living together unmarried will always, in time, lead to misery. The only exception is when the couple repents, aligns with Christ and then moves forward. 

How To Get It Right: Being Single, Married, Divorced, and Everything In Between

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How to Get It Right

Chapter 3: Understanding Covenant, part I

“That they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me (John 17:21, NAS).”

 If God’s holy people do not understand the covenant that we have in the spirit realm between God and His people, we don’t stand a chance of understanding the covenant between a man and a woman in marriage. This chapter is taken from my first book, What Was God Thinking? Why Adam Had To Die, chapter 7, “Enter the Blood Covenant.” 

I believe it to be of the utmost importance to help us understand what God has done for mankind. Once we obtain a reasonable concept of spiritual marital covenant, we will better grasp physical marital covenant. Christ calls us to “die daily” spiritually so that our flesh does not impede our relationship with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit – The Groom. In like fashion, we must “die daily” to our selfish nature to become “one” with our spouse so as not to hinder our relationship with our spouse – our physical bride/groom.  If you’ve already read What was God Thinking? this chapter will simply be a refresher course.

Covenant Protection:

As I’ve already mentioned, I had consigned myself back to Christ in February of 2000, after seven years of angry rebellion. However, too quickly I found myself right back in my fleshly ways resembling that of my rebellion. The result was becoming pregnant by a man that was not my husband. Our relationship was brief because I was quickly convicted (not quickly enough) of my sinful conduct. However, my covenant covering (Holy Spirit) was removed by my own actions of broken covenant.

Although God’s love for me never moved, as a result of my blatant disobedience, His covenant protection was. I was no longer living according to the Spirit but dead flesh. My soul was reactivated in an instant through lustful thinking allowing it to override the voice of Holy Spirit speaking into my spirit. I liken the flesh of mankind as unto a zombie we see in sci-fi movies. Though the person they once were is dead, as a zombie, the body moves at will all the while destroying everything in its wake.

It is of the utmost urgency to know, accept, and understand that one cannot enter into the blood covenant that Christ has freely offered until we choose death to the fleshly nature. Death activates God’s covenant. Disobedience, an act of the flesh, nullifies it.

“For where a covenant is, there must of necessity be the death of the one who made it. For a covenant is valid only when men are dead, for it is never in force while the one who made it lives (Hebrews 9:16-17, NAS).”

Man’s flesh cannot enter into a covenant because of its cursed condition. Nothing cursed can come into covenant with the pure and holy God. This is why Christ took the flesh of all mankind into the grave with Him –He crucified mankind – so as to allow us free access to the Kingdom of God. As we take up our own cross, we accept death as the only source of entrance into holy covenant. Although we’re technically already dead, it requires our acknowledgment. Because Jesus is the last sacrifice and He shed His own blood, we cannot receive the new blood of Christ until we are purged of the old blood of Adam.

We must, spiritually speaking, give up our old condemned blood (Adam’s) in order to receive the new pure blood (Christ’s). His blood was shed for us so that we may receive it. We are not obligated and we all have the right to keep our own. But, in doing so, we keep death eternal. God says in Deuteronomy that we “choose” life or death, blessing or curse. If we choose to keep our own blood, we choose a curse. We choose life only when we choose His life-giving blood, His covenant of blessing.

It is of the utmost importance to understand “dying to the flesh” so to validate and activate covenant with God. Merely saying the “sinner’s prayer” may grant access to Heaven upon death of the physical body, but if the individual does not accept that he or she must die to his or her natural man and the desires thereof while here on Earth, that person will never truly enter into covenant with Yahweh as intended. To reiterate, Christ crucified the flesh of all of mankind at His death, therefore it is dead. When we live according to the flesh (death), we give false-life to a dead thing causing much destruction.

Forfeiture of Covenant Protection:

When Christ followers walk according to their old fleshly man, they forfeit their covenant protection. Until you realize that you must die to daily rendering the flesh in which you dwell as inactive, covenant promises and protection will elude you while residing on Earth. When a person of Christ sins, they reason “God will forgive me.” Truth be told, that person is already forgiven. Forgiveness was sealed for you and I at the cross therefore it is a non-issue. Breaking covenant with God, however, is the issue.

If you’re wondering what’s going wrong in your life in Christ with all your religious conduct and good deeds, maybe “life” isn’t your problem, but death is. Possibly you haven’t died to self and, more than likely, you didn’t realize that was a requirement for covenant activation. I didn’t know this for way too long.

Are we to continue sin so that grace may increase…How shall we who died to sin still live in it? Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death? Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life… knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin; for he who has died is freed from sin. Now if we have died with Christ…death no longer is master over Him…consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus (Romans 6:1-11 (NAS).

We are called to die with Him in His death. The “newness of life” comes only after we crucify our flesh. It occurs to me through the reading of these Scriptures that when someone accepts Christ as Savior through His blood by repenting of the sin nature, they automatically enter into covenant with Yahweh. Unfortunately, many are saved for a long time before they understand that the covenant has not been activated because they have not died to self or even understand how or that they need to. Some never understand. They continue to have all of the same problems and issues they had before salvation because they have no idea who they are in Christ. It is like having a vault full of billions of dollars, yet it is untapped because they do not know it exists or don’t know they have the key in their grasp. So it is with the average believer; they forfeit for lack of knowledge, therefore perish.

Most people never know their covenant promises. Most have zero understanding of how to tap into the limitlessness of God’s power and authority to overcome all obstacles. They never receive revelation or understanding about how to die with Him, therefore operating within the covenant always eludes them. I was this way until death of the flesh was revealed to me. I say again that there is no covenant activation without death of the flesh. It is the death for which He calls us that ushers freedom from sin.

 

 

 

 

How to Get It Right: Being Single, Married, Divorced, and Everything in Between

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How to Get It Right

Chapter 1: God’s Perspective

“When you brought in foreigners, uncircumcised in heart and uncircumcised in flesh, to be in My sanctuary to profane it, even My house, when you offered My food, the fat and the blood; for they made My covenant void – this in addition to all your abominations (Ezekiel 44:7).”     

Understanding God’s View:

God hates divorce; however, we need to clarify what type of divorce is hated. God understands divorce, for God has been divorced as noted in Ezekiel 44:7. To “make My covenant void” is to divorce. He divorced His holy Bride in times past due to her harlotry and deep-seeded wickedness. God wants His people to view both marriage and divorce, not from the perspective of Law, but from His heart. He is Law, but He sent His Son to fulfill the Law that mankind was incapable to fulfilling; therefore, we must look at things as a whole instead of in fragments.

Eunuch for the Kingdom of God:

Marriage is a physical depiction of our spiritual union (marriage) with God. In Matthew 19:11-12, Jesus says, “Not all men can accept this statement, but only those to whom it has been given. For there are eunuchs who were born that way from their mother’s womb; and there are eunuchs who were made eunuchs by men; and there are also eunuchs who made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the Kingdom of Heaven. He who is able to accept this, let him accept it.”

A eunuch, by man’s definition, is a “castrated human male.” However, spiritually speaking, since the Spirit is neither male nor female, either gender can be a eunuch in so much as they choose to abstain from sex for the greater good of God’s Kingdom. It could be one who has homosexual tendencies but, for the sake of the Kingdom of Heaven, he or she vows to God to abstain. It could be a sex addict who, for the sake of the Kingdom of God, abstains altogether and so on.

We should be so in love with God that obedience is our desire, not our burden. This comes from trust in who He is, therefore we want to submit because His ways are best. Unfortunately, even when we possess the earnest desire for obedience, we rarely know what true obedience is. We must all keep in mind that not all people are meant to marry, but whether we are or whether we are not, there is always a plan. If the one who is called to be a eunuch can accept it, they should seek Yahweh to give them peace, joy, and understanding of their God-ordained purpose.

 

Divorce Hope:

If on the other hand one is to marry, God specifically creates their mate so that, when the two come together, they perfectly unify with one another and with God. In this, God is honored and the people are richly blessed. There are countless marriages not of God, but of man. To open this first chapter, I have inserted the following excerpt from Divorce Hope so as to lend insight from someone else’s point of view on marriage and divorce:

We have heard this Scripture: “Yahweh God of Israel says that HE HATES DIVORCE” (Malachi 2:16). This is almost always quoted as if God hates all divorces in general. But that’s just not true. We have previously read from the Bible books of Ezra, Nehemiah, Jeremiah, Deuteronomy, and 1 Corinthians that God is not against divorce. Then why all the confusion concerning why God said that “He hates divorce?” The reason for the confusion is because there are TWO “kinds” of marriages and TWO “divorces” being mentioned in the Malachi 2:11-16 passage.

The “divorces” were not official divorces; they didn’t need to be. They were already previously married and “unofficially” married again. The Hebrew word shalach means “putting away”― a separation, as correctly translated in most Bibles. However, the King James and a number of newer versions have incorrectly translated shalach as to mean: divorce. It never meant divorce and it doesn’t mean divorce. The word was most likely translated as “divorce” to fit what was taught in the church. Shalach is just a common word used throughout the Old Testament which means to: go, separate or to send. That’s it!

So why did God angrily say that He “…hated putting away [a separation]?” “…Because you have not kept My ways [concerning marriage, divorce, and remarriage] but have SHOWN PARTIALITY IN THE LAW” (Malachi 2:9). The Law specifically stated that when a man got a divorce from his wife that he was to write “…her a CERTIFICATE OF DIVORCE, put it in her hand, AND [shalach] send her out [put her away]…” (Deuteronomy 24:1). God also commanded them not to marry anyone who did not serve Him ― who served a foreign god (See Nehemiah 13:25-30). Instead, men separated from their wives without ever giving them a Certificate of Divorce and then illegally married someone else. This is why Yahweh said that they were still “their wife by covenant.” The marriage covenant had never been dissolved by the Divorce Certificate.

“Yahweh’s holy institution which He loves…Yahweh has been witness between you and the wife of your youth…[and] SHE [STILL] IS YOUR COMPANION AND YOUR WIFE BY COVENANT. For Yahweh God of Israel says that He hates divorce [shalach], [separating without a Certificate of Divorce]…. He has [illegally] married the daughter of a foreign god. May Yahweh cut off…the man who does this being awake and aware.” Malachi 2:11,12a,14b,c,16a

Because these men had remarried illegally ― separated from their wives without giving them a Certificate of Divorce, they were in adultery as Jesus stated: “Furthermore it has been said, “Whoever PUTS AWAY [separates from {apoluo}] his wife, LET HIM GIVE HER A CERTIFICATE OF DIVORCE. But I say to you that whoever PUTS AWAY [separates and remarries without being divorced from] his wife for any reason except sexual immorality causes her to commit adultery: and whoever marries a woman who is PUT AWAY [separated without being divorced {apoluo}] commits adultery” (Matthew 5:31-32). (Yahweh never forgot about the Malachi incident when He came to Earth to redeem lost man). The Old Testament Hebrew word shalach and the New Testament Greek word apoluo are equivalent which will be discussed later.

Because these disobedient men still had “un-divorced” wives, Yahweh did not command them to give their illegal wives a Certificate of Divorce, rather, they simply had to “separate, put them away, [shalach].” SO DID GOD HATE DIVORCE? NO! RATHER, GOD HATED THAT THE HUSBANDS WERE SEPARATING FROM THEIR WIVES WITHOUT GIVING THEM A CERTIFICATE OF DIVORCE WHICH WOULD ENABLE THEM TO GET REMARRIED. THIS IS WHAT GOD HATES!

The men of Israel were SEPARATING from their wives for self-gratifying reasons. God Himself was a “witness” at their original marriage ceremony which was still in effect. The marriage covenant was never dissolved by a Certificate of Divorce. The men remarried outside their own culture and tribe. God considered the children they bore unholy because of the mixed marriages bringing curses into their families (See Ezra 9:1,2; Nehemiah 13:26-30).

Because of these unauthorized marriages, the Word of God came to Ezra and Nehemiah to have the men and women of Israel who had done this thing, to separate from their spouse and even from their children (See Ezra 9:1, 11-12, 10:3, Nehemiah 13:23-27). In this situation, God’s command was to “put them away, separate yourselves from them!” This was NOT the kind of marriage to which God was saying, “I hate divorce!” He was saying loudly, “Get out these wrong marriages!” DIVORCE IS A METHOD TO SEPARATE THE ONE, AND MAKE THEM INTO TWO just as a surgeon’s knife is used to separate the cancerous flesh from the healthy flesh. Both operations are good. Divorce can be used to kill a righteous marriage, just as a surgeon’s knife can be used to kill a healthy person. (end excerpt from Divorce Hope)

Narrowing the Margin of Error:

Whether you agree or disagree, we still must understand that divorce happens to Christians and non-Christians alike. So, instead of passing judgment, let’s find out how to prevent divorce as well as recover from one. It can easily be prevented by understanding before marriage that God does not have 100 people lined up before you and say, “These are all people who love Me. Pick one!” God is strategic in all things. To be “unequally yoked” does not mean that you are forbidden to marry someone of another race, color, nationality or denomination. Rather, it’s about who God created specifically for you to become one with the one that God pre-ordained for you so as to honor Yahweh in the union. This definitely narrows the margin of possibilities!

If God’s people understood this basic truth, we would not allow ourselves be to deceived, led by the flesh and drawn into marriages of the flesh. With understanding, there would be a huge decrease in divorce since there would be a decrease of marriages and more that would actually be “what God has brought together.” People marry for many reasons other than seeking the face of God: sex, physical attraction, money, power, loneliness, rebound, rebellion, loyalty, parent-pleasing, parent-rebelling, pregnancy, to cover homosexuality, to cover fornication, etc – and all of this within the Body of Christ. Even if both people are Christ-followers, that doesn’t mean that the two should marry. We make messes and, when things go wrong, we question why God made such a mess. We need to seek the face of God concerning our ordained spouse…and then wait on God

Philadelphia: A Kingdom Call to Brotherly Love

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Chapter 19: Problems and Resolutions

“For every high priest taken from among men is appointed on behalf of men in things pertaining to God, in order to offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins; he can deal gently with the ignorant and misguided, since he himself also is beset with weakness (Hebrews 5:1-2, NAS).” 

I have narrowed it down to four main problematic areas within the body of Christ concerning love: 

  1. Lacking love for God which would provide surrender
  2. Lacking love for self which would produce growth
  3. Lacking love for the brethren which would produce unity
  4. Lacking love for unbelievers which would produce transformation

The thing which stands out the most about Hebrews 5 is love. Where there are priests, they are for the sake of and help for the people. These appointed priests are to deal gently with those who don’t yet fully understand God’s Word. The priests, post-resurrection, are anyone who is hidden in Christ, not just those with a title. We, men and women of God, are a priest because the Priest lives within each of us.

As for problem #1, above all else, those who make a profession of faith fail to understand surrender, total submission to the King. Loving God is not merely hating Satan. Surrender can only come from total immersion into another being. We can’t truly submit ourselves to someone until we love them through and through. Falling in love with God eludes most. This is primarily due to insufficient teaching from the elders surrounding us. One generation after another, we become weakened in the area of loving God. As a result, each new generation wanes in their love and devotion to God. We first must comprehend we are to fear God. Through such fear, love blossoms. No fear, no love, no surrender.

Problems  number 2 & 3 go hand in hand. If God’s people would become aware of the fact we are priests under the headship of the High Priest, Christ, then we would begin an entirely different journey. We would allow ourselves to yield spirit, soul and body to the One True God. That would spring forth being able to more readily love ourselves because we would know we are fearfully and wonderfully made. Once we recognize we are not to loathe ourselves, our appreciation for the life God has granted would allow room to love others as we love ourselves; not with a vain love, but a brotherly, unconditional love. With such love, unity would prosper.

Once we resolved issues 1-3, we would not be so short with the ignorant as so many of us are. We would not be quick to pass judgment on others who don’t comprehend things as do we. We would be far less prone to gossip about sister-grumpy-pants or brother-too-slow and much more apt to function in patience, kindness, longsuffering, and more. Once we achieve the first three hurdles, we will then be positioned so as to love the unbelievers who mock, scorn and hate people of God. In this, problem #4 is also resolved. We would witness more transformations from the world into the Kingdom of God.

To hate a fellow servant of God is to hate ourselves. We desperately need to fall in love with God so as to cease the self-loathing which will stem into falling in love with the Body of Christ and the human race at large. Love, not as the world views “falling in love” as it relates to sex, but rather a falling in love with mankind as God loves us.

Fitted and Held Together:

Therefore, I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love, being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all…as a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here  and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming; but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ, from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love (Ephesians 4:1-6, 14-16).

***

How strong is your curtain rod of love? How deep is your Philadelphia? How earnestly are you in love with your fellow bondservant of the Most High? How far are you willing to “give whenever asked” as Christ directs? How forgiving, merciful, kind, magnanimous, gentle, benevolent, and selfless are you?

This is not for me to judge but to cause you to judge yourself. 1 Corinthians 11:31 says, “if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged.” I encourage you to judge yourself with righteous judgment, not with pride or self-abasement. Be honest, repent if necessary and go and sin no more. Be a cheerful giver; one who desires to be so driven by the supernatural love of God you can’t help but give.

Philadelphia will cause you to stop caring about being used by people. It will stir in you such a giving spirit you can’t be used, per se; you’ll be too busy giving freely. After all, if you’re giving your all, there’s no opportunity to be “used” by anyone. In the Kingdom of God, Philadelphia is a pre-requisite – it is not an option. May the Lord bless you with such profound love you will go out making disciples of many nations through the love of Yahweh.

Philadelphia: A Kingdom Call to Brotherly Love

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Chapter 17: Falling in Love with the Human Race

So, those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you. Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity (Colossians 3:12-14).

Whatever we as Christ-followers do, whether good or bad, we represent Christ; unfortunately we do not always present God in our actions. When we do not conduct ourselves in love, we are conveying to people that God is unloving. When we operate with impatience, we are saying God is not patient. We need to become very aware of how we come across to others so that we do not give Christ a bad name. Perception is reality and it is, indeed, God’s name on the line, not our own.

I was speaking the other day to a dear friend who is not a Christian. He commented to me that he has been tossed aside by many “Christians” when they felt like he was a waste of their time; meaning, when he did not convert to Christianity, they walked away from him. That is one of the saddest things I have ever heard, yet I hear and see it all the time. In my past, I too have been guilty of this as well. It is unfortunate that Christians, unknowingly, push people away from Christ. That is not their intention, I’m certain, but it happens all the same.

We need to begin to fall in love with the human race just as Christ Himself is in love with us. Once we begin this process, ministry and witnessing will come with much greater ease. We will realize that the work of getting people to come to Christ is not our burden, it is God’s. Only God can change a heart; it is His completed work extended through His people.

Our part, contrarily, is to walk in a genuine love for people no matter from whence they come or their external appearance; no matter if they come into the Kingdom of Christ or not. Our job, as it were, is to walk in supernatural love. It is love which will woo them to Christ, not browbeating them and condemning them for not believing when and how we think they should. We never know when the moment will come where someone will admit that Jesus is real, valid and vital. Who are we to say, “You’re taking too long. I’m done with you”? In fact, if we are in tune with Holy Spirit as we ought, God will instruct us as to when and if we are to part ways with someone.

We Christians seem to be on a mission to convert people instead of on a mission to love people. Love will usher conversion, not our attempts to persuade them by force. I recognize most mainstream Christians have not been taught how to love with the supernatural love of Christ. Love is certainly a choice and it is something that must be taught through the discipline, instruction of and surrender to Holy Spirit. Children love naturally and automatically, they do not need to be taught. Nevertheless, as children begin to grow, love does not come so readily.

We become a people wounded and bruised by the world in which we live. Because of this, even though we become a born-again believer, we must learn how love looks through the perspective of God instead of the eyes of the world. The world’s love is conditional and superficial; it’s the kind we see in movies and hear in songs. It comes and goes like the wind. The world’s love is fluid, God’s is concrete.

I John 2:6 (NAS) states, “The one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked.” That is a powerful statement! Jesus walked in love whether He was correcting, healing, encouraging, serving, teaching or being crucified for sins He did not commit. Jesus walked in supernatural love from Heaven. As mentioned earlier, even Jesus’ correction was filled with love, for He purposed to help someone come out of sin, not to make them feel guilty and condemned.

God’s supreme supernatural love is forever, enduring, unconditional, steadfast – it never changes. “Children, it is the last hour; and just as you heard that antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have appeared; from this we know that it is the last hour. They went out from us, but they were not really of us; for if they had been of us, they would have remained with us: but they went out, so that it would be shown that they all are not of us,” 1 John 2:18-19 tells us. Without Philadelphia, brotherly love, we have nothing and are nothing in God’s sight. We will all be known by our love.

 

Philadelphia: A Kingdom Call to Brotherly Love

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Chapter 16: What Are You Giving?

Are we emitting a scent of love or hatred, kindness or brutality, gentleness or harshness, forgiveness or grudges, mercy or mercilessness, grace or guilt, honor or guile? If we do not love our brother, stranger, family and enemy, we are not of God. We are the only people who get to choose what we permeate toward a person or group of people. We are the only ones who can determine our eternal fate; after all, God has given us free will. Neither God, Satan, nor our offenders can set our destination; that’s all on us. God has laid an unshakable foundation for us and we choose what structure we build upon it.

Yahweh has withheld nothing from us. All tools are at our disposal so as to allow us the opportunity to make good choices despite the climate. What we decide to do with His instructions, commands, warnings, armor, and blessings is all on us. Choose wisely. If we’ve acted foolishly, change course. Give mercy to the merciless, forgiveness to the unforgivable, grace to the graceless, love the hateful, and grant gentleness to the harsh. God has a way of moving in the hearts of the worst of people. Allow His grace to be sufficient.

Have we diligently and regularly asked ourselves, “What am I giving?” Asking ourselves questions on a consistent basis and answering ourselves honestly will allow us to realign when needed. We tend to excuse bad behavior with “it’s just this one thing”. Unfortunately, that “one thing” becomes “two things” and, inevitably, those one or two issues invariably multiply becoming a mountain of disaster. Resentment, bitterness, guile, anger, vengeance, hatred, impatience, unkindness, and so much more of this ilk are not what is of God. These are not good traits and they will destroy many in the end if we do not purposefully eject them from our inner man. What are you giving?

***

“Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love (I John 4:7-8, NAS).”

The one who loves his brother abides in the Light and there is no cause for stumbling in him. But the one who hates his brother is in the darkness and walks in the darkness, and does not know where he is going because the darkness has blinded his eyes (I John 2:10-11, NAS).”

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

So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you. Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity (Colossians 3:12-14 (NAS).”

“The godless in heart harbor resentment…(Job 36:21, NAS).”

“And his lord, moved with anger, handed him over to the torturers until he should repay all that was owed him. My heavenly Father will also do the same to you, if each of you does not forgive his brother from your heart (Matthew 18:21-35, NAS).”

“But since we are of the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet, the hope of salvation (I Thessalonians 5:8, NAS).”

“…show them the proof of your love…(II Corinthians 8:24, NAS).

Philadelphia: A Kingdom Call To Brotherly Love

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Chapter 14: Give Unrelentingly

I could write an entire book on giving but, for sake of time, I’ll attempt to give a brief overview on how the Lord calls us to give. I’ve added a list of texts at the end of the chapter. “Giving” is not what we see in churches across denominations where we robotically take our 10% or whatever amount and place it in the offering plate Sunday after Sunday. If we are called of God to do that, fine, but giving as Christ calls His people is far beyond that. I hear all the time, “I saw a beggar and I didn’t give him anything because…” 

  1. They should get a job
  2. They’ll use the money for booze or drugs
  3. I have my money set aside to give to my local church
  4. I don’t want to
  5. I hate beggars
  6. They’re lazy
  7. They’re undeserving
  8. They won’t pay it back
  9. They’ll rob me
  10. I prayed for them already
  11. They’re ungrateful
  12. I don’t like them
  13. They smell badly
  14. They look scary

There are many other reasons, but these seem to be the most frequently used. Luke 6:30 begins with the words, “Give to everyone who asks you…” That alone debunks all excuses pertaining to not giving. It further states, “If they steal from you, give more.” That dethrones the remaining excuses used to not give. If we want to go further, read James 2 where we see praying, alone, is insufficient. Faith has legs and hands and feet and money. Faith in Christ will cause us to give, not just prayer, but physically meeting the needs of others.

If we’re still wondering when, how much, and to whom we should give, I John 3:17 clarifies with, “But whoever has the world’s goods, and sees his brother in need and closes his heart against him, how does the love of God abide in him?” If we have the means and someone is in need, give. It’s that simple. In the early church, those who had plenty sold their goods so that no one was without. Selfishness was not an option. When they sold their possessions so as to give, it didn’t leave them penniless, it merely allowed everyone to have and no one was in need.

Why aren’t God’s people giving in such a fashion? It’s because we’ve become calloused, greedy, and hard-hearted. It is time to thaw our frozen, stingy hearts and begin to love one another with prayer, time, energy, and money.

***

“But whoever has the world’s goods, and sees his brother in need and closes his heart against him, how does the love of God abide in him (I John 3:17, NAS)?”

If a brother or sister is without clothing and in need of daily food, and one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace, be warmed and be filled,’ and yet you do not give them what is necessary for their body, what use is that (James 2:15-16, NAS)?”

Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back…Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that you give, it will be measured back to you (Luke 6:30, 38, NIV).”

Additional texts: Deuteronomy 15:10, 16:17; Proverbs 21:26, 3:27, 11:24-25, 22:9, 28:27; I Chronicles 29:9; Matthew 6:3-4; Mark 12:41-44; Luke 3:11, 6:30, 38; II Corinthians 9:6-10; John 3:16; Acts 20:35; Romans 12:8