Revealing Truth Today

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Are You Tired?

“My flesh and my heart faileth: but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion forever.”  ~Psalm 73.26

Are you tired? How, exactly, are you tired?

There can be a weariness in the physical body or even in the emotions or spirit. We are made in the image of God and are triune beings. Just as God is comprised of the three persons of the Trinity (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit); we are, essentially, made up of three parts (Mind, Body, and Spirit). If one of the parts of an indivudual are lacking, it puts a greater burden on the other two parts to compensate. For example, if the physical body is unwell – the mind and Spirit have to work harder to maintain peace, calmness, hope, etc.. Whether you are tired in your mind, body, or Spirit – there is hope in Christ!


Physical Exhaustion

“And he said unto me, ‘My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness.’ Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” 2nd Corinthians 12:9

SrqThe Bible teaches that it’s most important to keep the Spirit strong. Proverbs 18:14 states: “The spirit of a man will sustain his infirmity; but a wounded spirit who can bear? In other words, the human spirit within us can endure a sick body, but who can bear a crushed spirit? Therefore, we find it is of utmost importance to keep the spirit within us strengthened through the Word of God, worship, and prayer. Still, there are times when the body, namely, becomes so weary that it makes life very challenging.

For those of you who have followed this blog for a while, you may recall that I have spoken (at times) about my chronic health issues. I know there are many fellow-Christians who also deal with ongoing health conditions; and I wish to encourage you. I would like to share a poetic prayer I wrote about three years ago. Please, feel free to adopt it as your prayer if it resonates with you.


A Prayer For the Weak in Body // by: Maranda M.

I don’t want negative attention; that’s not who I am

Because I strive to be positive and do the best that I can

I want to be a ray of sunshine and not a dark, gloomy cloud

But my mind and my body shouts so obnoxiously loud

It cares not about my desires or my scheduled plans

It only fights viciously, daily, to gain the upper-hand

Oft times I must rest when I would much rather go

Which causes discouragement that only God and I know

It hurts deeply to be only a shell of my former being

When I have so much left to give, yet unable to bring

It’s like having a melody but the strings are all broken

Or having a song with the words left unspoken

It’s not by choice or out of a lazy mindset at all

In fact, the drive for life remains; yet, I always hit a wall

The “wall” is called fatigue and being chronically unwell

With hopes in my heart, imprisoned in each tired cell

The weariness, oh the weariness – words cannot describe

Thankful for life, yet a deep longing to even feel alive

Survival-mode is meant as a temporary means

But it is my life, thus, the fatigue that it brings

Does anyone know the effort and the strength that it takes?

To even shower or leave the house; oh, the efforts I make

But don’t get me wrong, I’m a very grateful soul

God is faithful to walk beside me with each hard-hitting blow

I am thankful I have Him, and that is enough

But please understand, I can’t live off the cuff

I am tired always and muddle through as I can

Upon awaking, I think, “Was that a marathon I just ran?”

I’ve tried remedies and vitamins like you wouldn’t believe

Striving, fighting, grasping for some ounce of relief

Maybe one day, I can be who I fully wish to be

Until then, I am relegated to be this altered version of me

Compassionate love and understanding goes a long way

Amidst fatigue and all, we still have love at the end of the day

My prayer is for healing, but only in God’s Will

His timing, His reasonings – I must accept, still

God’s Son suffered as did many of the saints

But the Lord sustains mercifully as, for him, I await

Dear Lord, while I tarry, please strengthen my soul

For this weary lot in life has truly taken its toll

Yet amidst the weakness, I have found my home

It is to dwell in Your presence where I am never alone

Whether here or in Glory, ‘til this burden is lifted

‘Til the tears are dried and the healing is gifted

I ask that You stay with me until that day arrives

I know that I need You in order to survive

Thank you for the joys and respites along this path

I feel the touch of Your hand – I honestly have!

I cannot summarize or articulate the point of my words

I guess all I am asking is for my feeble voice to be heard…


A Tired Mind and Spirit

“The Lord gives strength to his people; the Lord blesses his people with peace.” ~Psalm 29.11

chsThere is so much to think about… truly! We have responsibilities, deadlines, appointments, troubles, unplanned setbacks, decisions, and so much more on our minds often. There is not a day goes by that the mind is not engaged to some degree. After a while, life can get mentally and emotionally exhausting. We can become heavy-laden with all the cares of this life. But the Lord instructs us to come to him. “Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matt. 11:28).

As the Missionary, James Hudson Taylor, once said: “To every toiling, heavy-laden sinner, Jesus says, ‘Come to me and rest’. But there are many toiling, heavy-laden believers, too. For them this same invitation is meant. Note well the words of Jesus, if you are heavy-laden with your service, and do not mistake it. It is not, ‘Go, labour on,’ as perhaps you imagine. On the contrary, it is stop, turn back, ‘Come to me and rest.’ Never, never did Christ send a heavy-laden one to work; never, never did He send a hungry one, a weary one, a sick or sorrowing one, away on any service. For such the Bible only says, ‘Come, come, come.'”

In the mid-late 1800s, Charles H. Spurgeon preached the message, “Weak Hands and Feeble Knees”. It speaks to all types of weariness and offers amazing hope – even today! The message is timeless. I have spliced together some of the high points of the sermon below:


Weak Hands and Feeble Knees // by Rev. C.H. Spurgeon

“Strengthen ye the weak hands and confirm the feeble knees.” ~Isaiah 35:3

iss“In all flocks there must be lambs, and weak and wounded sheep; and among the flock of men, it seems that there must necessarily be some who should more than others prove the truth of Job’s declaration, ‘man is born to trouble even as the sparks fly upwards.’ It is the duty then of those of us who are more free than others from despondency of spirit, to be very tender to these weak ones…

Although religion changes the moral temperament of men, it does not change the physical. A man who is weak in health before conversion will probably be as weak afterwards, and many a spirit that has a tendency to despondency, has exhibited that tendency after conversion. We do not profess that the religion of Christ will so thoroughly change a man as to take away from him all his natural tendencies; it will give the despairing something that will alleviate that despondency, but as long as that is caused by a low state of body, or a diseased mind, we do not profess that the religion of Christ will totally remove it…

Hence, then, if the knees be weak and the hands be weak, it is little that we can do. We cannot run with the weak knee; we cannot labor with the weak hand. How can ye, the servants of Christ, how can ye lift the heavy burdens which ye have to carry, if your hands be weak and your knees totter? Look well, then, to this, for herein ye suffer exceeding loss; if in active service ye lose power and strength….

He would believe in God, but he cannot appropriate the promise. He would lay hold of the angel, but all his sinews shrink, and he cannot wrestle. He would plead the promise, but his hand refuses to clutch it with an iron grasp. And he goes away crying, ‘Oh that I could pray! oh that I could believe in God! oh that I could succeed with God in prayer, and become as a prevailing prince. Alas! I am as weak as water, and I can do nothing.’ Herein lies the importance of having a strong hand that we may serve God, and of having a strong knee that we may wrestle with him in prayer, and get the blessing from him…

Once we could run along the walls of salvation with triumphant faith; at other times we could walk even through the valley of the shadow of death with quiet confidence: but we have come to a place of trial and of extraordinary difficulty, where all speed failed us, and strength did not suffice…

If your knees are feeble, serve God the best you can with them; if your hands hang down, then do the best you can with the hands hanging down, and pray God to strengthen them, until you become mighty, and then you will be able to do more. But do something every one of you… Above all, cry for the Holy Spirit to strengthen you, for without him all is vain.”


Helpful Scriptures

“But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” ~Isaiah 40:31

“…for the joy of the LORD is your strength.” Nehemiah 8:10

“Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.” ~Isaiah 41:10

“I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.” ~Philippians 4:13

“He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.” ~Isaiah 40:29

“But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen you and protect you from the evil one.” ~2nd Thessalonians 3:3

“Seek the LORD and his strength, seek his face continually.” ~1st Chronicles 16:11

“‘Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the Lord Almighty.”  ~Zechariah 4:6

“And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.” ~Galatians 6:9


Sources: blueletterbible.org, biblehub.com, canva.com
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Afraid to Pray for God’s Will?

“…Thy Will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.” ~Matthew 6:10

lpDo you want your prayers to be effective? Did you know that Jesus left us instructions for effective praying in the Bible? We find “The Lord’s Prayer”, in Matthew chapter 6. Jesus went into detail in explaining how to pray and basic guidelines of what to pray for. I covered my thoughts on the Lord’s Prayer in a previous blog – but I wanted to hone in on one aspect of this prayer today.

One very notable sentence in the Lord’s Prayer is in verse 10. Jesus prayed for God’s Will to be done in earth as it is done in heaven; and instructed us to pray in like manner. However, I have found that many Christians are hesitant to pray for God’s Will. Why? I think it is because of the fear that God’s Will will so vastly differ from ours. I, too, used to be a bit apprehensive of praying for God’s Will – that is, until I saw that he has my best interest at heart. Scripture says in James 1:17 that “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.” I have a couple of personal examples I would like to share in regards to praying for God’s Will.

Firstly, I recall a time when I prayed for God’s Will with tears in my eyes. I’ll admit, it was hard to pray for his Will – but when I saw the results of praying that way, my fear subsided and I felt immense comfort. The time I am referencing happened about five or more years ago. My dear Great-Aunt whom I am so very close to was hospitalized. Not only was she very sick, but she was well into her 80’s, had already endured a heart attack, and only had one kidney. All odds were stacked against her. As she continued ailing, the doctor’s began discussing dialysis since they believed her one and only kidney was beginning to fail. Truthfully, it looked like the end.

After receiving this devastating news, I had planned on visiting her in the hospital. I decided, beforehand, to purchase the family breakfast before going to see her; knowing it would likely be a long day and we may not have an opportunity to eat lunch. As I drove alone, I remember praying aloud to God. Of course, I prayed for my heart’s desire – for her to recover. Then, I prayed these words, “Lord, I don’t know your Will. I don’t want you to take her, but if that is your Will then… then, I will accept it, as hard as it is. But if it is your Will to heal her here, Lord, please let it be done swiftly.” It was only a few hours later that her health made a major turnaournd! Her numbers began improving and she began to regain her strength. She was released from the hospital shortly thereafter and was back to normal within a very short time! I prayed for God’s Will – and it was done! To God be all the glory!

Additionally, I have another testimony of how praying God’s Will does not have to be a scary thing. You see, my husband and I were married in 2001. All of these years later, we still did not have any children. I deal with chronic health concerns and was always told that it would be such a high risk for me to become pregnant. But as the years passed by, I knew that my window of opportunity to have a child or children was coming to a close. To be honest, I wasn’t even sure that it could happen due to health factors. Nonetheless, my husband and I decided to leave it in God’s hands. We decided that if God chose for us to remain childless, that was okay. But, if God chose to bless us with a child, we would be open to his Will.

Needless to say, after nearly 18 years of marriage, I am currently expecting for the very first time! Our baby girl is due in the Summer of 2019. Again, once we decided to pray for God’s Will – it was done; and it was a tremendous blessing! Admittedly, I was terrified at first and even fell into a short bout of extreme depression. I had one doctor even advise that I abort due to my health. But one day, I prayed with all the courage I had in my heart and asked God to let his Will be done in my pregnancy and to give me the strength I didn’t have on my own. Now, here I am in my second trimester and everything is looking great with the baby and me, praise God!

 

Even If

“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” ~Romans 8:28

I would be remiss if I said that praying God’s Will only brings the results we feel are best. But, we must remember that our Father knows best even if we don’t understand. Let’s look at a couple of examples, beginning with the example of Jesus.

Right before the time of his crucifixion, he was praying to his Father in heaven. He was very sorrowful and heavy as he fell on his face and cried out these words in prayer… “O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt (Matt. 26:39). We see by this example that, yes, it is good to make our requests known to God, whole-heartedly and boldly; but, we also see that it is good to hold our requests lighter than our desire to be in God’s Will.

csEven in such a trying time, Jesus was able to pray for God’s Will. How was he able to do this if God’s Will was for him to suffer through the crucifixion? Because – for the joy set before him, he endured the cross (see Heb. 12:2). He simply endured it, because it certainly was not enjoyable. It cost him his life – he was put to on open shame; yet, it was God’s will for this to happen (see Is. 53:10). But now, look at the amazing joy set before him which he has inherited! He is seated at the right hand of God, the Father – angels, authorities, and powers are now subject to him. There’s not a crown without a cross – and we can be sure of this; when God asks us to endure a “cross”, he will always abundantly reward our obedience to his Will. These blessings will far surpass our sufferings. You see, our momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all… so, we (like Jesus) endure (see 2nd Cor. 4:17).

An additional example we find in scripture is the account of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. We find this account in the book of Daniel, chapter 3. These three men boldly stood against King Nebuchadnezzar’s decree to worship the golden image which had been set up. This sparked rage and fury in King Nebuchadnezzar and he commanded that these three be thrown into a fiery furnace. Here was their reply…

“If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king. But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.”

You see, they knew God’s abilities were limitless to deliver them; still, they resigned themselves to God’s Will; in essence stating, “Even if he chooses otherwise, we still will not bend our beliefs.” Even though, yes, they were thrown into the fiery furnace – it was so that God could show his power in an even stronger way. For, you see – even though they were bound and thrown into the flames, something miraculous happened.

King Nebuchadnezzar was astonished at what he saw and said, “I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt; and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God!” He then called for them to come to him. When they did, everyone saw that the fire had no effect on their bodies; not even a hair was singed, and they had no scent of the smoke and flames upon them! By this, we can learn that even if God’s Will differs from ours, he will somehow make all things work together for the good – whether in this life or in the one to come.

Comfort in God’s Will

“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.”  ~Jeremiah 29:11

serenityEven in the times we pray for God’s Will and things do not turn out as we had hoped, still, our heavenly Father knows best. His plans for us are for good and not evil (see Jer. 29:11). Should things in this life not align with our plans, we can rest assured that God will set all things right in the end (see Rev. 21:4, 5).

Another comfort is this: the Spirit is always interceding to God on our behalf. Romans 8:26-27 reflects this very thing. It states: “Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God.”

You see, if we trust God with our eternal soul which is most sacred, we can surely trust his Will for our lives here. Since his Will is done in heaven, as the Lord’s Prayer reflects, why wouldn’t we want that same “heavenly” order here in our lives? There are no negative requests in the Lord’s prayer. All of the requests are for good; things such as praying for his kingdom to come, praying for his Will to be done, praying for blessed daily bread, praying for forgiveness, and praying for deliverance from evil. So, praying for God’s Will is actually a good thing, a positive thing. Always remember, God is on our side (see Ps. 56:9). As Romans 8:31 states: “If God be for us, who can be against us?” His Will is for our good – He is for us, not against us.

 

Sources: biblehub.com, youtube.com, canva.com
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Waiting on Your Table

“Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies…” ~Psalm 23: 5

One night, I found myself in a crowded assembly. Amongst the people, there were workers assigned to morally test random guests in the crowd. A worker came up to me and interviewed me briefly in front of the crowd, for all to hear. I refused to bend my morals or deny my faith. Because of this, I was quickly taken out of the assembly and ushered downstairs, into a cave-like dungeon.

This dungeon was other-worldly. It seemed to have such an evil aura about it that it felt very tormenting. As I was forced within, I saw three other Christians sitting on the cold, concrete dungeon bench – awaiting certain torture. I was the fourth and final Christian amongst that large assembly. It’s true, there were only four of us who took a stand and had genuine faith.

Text placeholderAs I was seated next to the other Christians, it seemed that the demons within this dungeon were loosed to do with us as they pleased. There was an evil ringleader, of sorts, and his demonic workers who carried out his wishes. These were not people; they were very large, ugly, overtly evil spirits. If any of us dare to fight back or escape, we were quickly put back in place with threats, swords, and buckets of boiling water being poured toward us.

The doors were sealed and it was time for the torture to begin. The first person on the bench they chose to torture was a young girl. She was maybe around 10 to 12 years of age. It was unthinkable the acts they carried out on her. I had never witnessed such an open display of evil torture. The magnitude to which they tortured her was beyond what I thought she could survive. I looked on in shock and horror with tears in my eyes. I prayed to God, “Please, make it stop! Please, make it stop!”  As they slung her around like a rag doll, she laid unconscious on the ground, with only her chest barely moving as she struggled to breathe.

They left her lying there as the evil leader turned toward those of us remaining. All of us had an immense sense of dread. We saw no hope of escape or of avoiding such torture as we’d just witnessed. If only we would deny our faith, they would have let us go free; but would we have truly been free? Would not our conscience scream loudly at us if we were to sin so gravely against our Lord by denying him? And what type of freedom can evil offer? Freedom to sin? Freedom to drive the soul deeper and deeper into the perditions of hell? The false freedom would be fleeting. It may be joyous for a moment, but in the end, it would bite like a venomous viper. No, denying our Lord was not an option for any of us – so we felt there was no escape.

As a last-ditch effort to survive, I began saying the name of Jesus aloud. I repeated my Lord’s precious name over and over, knowing that, at his name, every knee must bow (see Phil. 2:10). But I was only saying it to save my own skin – it did not carry the weight it should have as I spoke his precious name. As it is now, evil persists and dares to defy his holy name; even using it in vain. Make no mistake, evil will be punished and all will bow at his name.

As I robotically repeated the name of Jesus aloud, I began noticing the leader and his demons taunting me. They would make fun of me and weren’t really all that phased by my repetitions. I was baffled as they were repeating his name by mocking me. But there was one thing I knew they could not do – and that was to PRAISE his name. Maybe they could speak his name in vain, but they could never truly praise his name as I could.

So, instead of just saying the name of Jesus robotically, I began to earnestly PRAISE the name of Jesus. As I began praising him with my whole heart, the evil spirits began to cringe a bit. Then, the other Christians sitting on the bench with me also began praising the name of Jesus. We all stood, with hands raised heavenward and loudly proclaimed heartfelt praises to our Lord. The evil spirits not only began to cringe, but they began to back up as if they wanted to run away from us. They tried their hardest to remain superior and not allow us to defeat them. They were fighting with all they had to resist us and to quieten us, but to no avail. As we continued, these evil spirits began to crumple to the ground. This left us an opportunity to escape out of this dungeon.

As we all triumphantly left that place of torment, we helped the tortured young girl out with us. She had recovered enough where she could march out of that dungeon too! It would have been enough for us to have just escaped that hell, but God had even greater plans.

As we all walked out, we entered an exquisite dining hall. There were several beautiful, marble tables within and chairs. Instinctively, we all knew to take our rightful seats at the table. After we were all comfortably seated, the rest of the assembly was ushered in and lined up against the wall to our left. We looked on in silence as they all filed in. No one spoke as it was a very solemn scene.

A preacher man stood before us all and said, “Those of you who are seated at the tables in the dining hall – well done.” He then turned to address the assembly. “As for those of you who stayed with the crowd, you have made the easier choice but it was the wrong choice. Many of you even profess to be a Christian, but your heart is far from the Lord. You won’t walk the narrow path that leads to life. You won’t stand against evil. You are passive and not firm in your beliefs. You have wavered and have been tossed to and fro with every wind, with every popular worldly opinion. I am sad and exceedingly regretful that you have not chosen life.”

After the preacher man concluded speaking, the crowd was led into the dungeon; although they had no such hope of escape as us few Christians had. They had no one to turn to, no out, no plan, no aid, no support, no second chance, no hope – just a harsh realization of what rightfully awaited them. The wishy-washy person who seemed moral met the same demise as the openly evil person – eternal death without the Savior. Once a person’s life is over, their fate is sealed. If a person denies the Lord openly in word, or quietly in deed – both will land in the same dungeon of hell (see Matt. 10:33). This crowd had chosen to take the broad road that was far more comfortable to them while on this journey of life. However, the broad load only led them to destruction (see Matt. 7:13).

As the crowd departed, my eyes amazed me. The same evil leader and demons in the dungeon were hidden behind the crowd, but now revealed. They were the motivation for the crowd’s stubbornness, complacency, and sin. But now, these evil spirits were pinned against the wall with their heads hung in defeat. They looked so small and powerless, like a malnourished specimen of dejected flesh just standing there. God had put them in their rightful place of shame. They were forced to stand there and watch as the four of us Christians were served a banquet dinner, fit for royalty.

_Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies..._As our tables were being prepared with this feast, it dawned on me. The weight of my realization was so strong that I spoke it loudly and triumphantly, “Thou, God, has prepared a table before me in the presence of mine enemies!!!!” This familiar scripture from the 23rd Psalm made my heart feel whole. Every hurt or bad memory was instantly healed with a soothing balm or warm honey, as it were. I felt vindicated and I felt like God had the last word of revenge toward the evil spirits who tried to destroy and get us off course.

In the end, the Christian will triumph. At times, it may seem like we go through more than our share of hardships or torments; but the enemy is only trying to weary the saints – that’s all (see Dan. 7:25). He tries to hit us with repeated blows in a feeble attempt to get revenge on our Lord through us. Evil hates us because we look like Jesus. But we cannot be destroyed at a soul-level without consent. God is able to keep us from falling and with every temptation, he provides that way of escape so that we are not tempted to the point of sinning and losing our faith altogether (see Jude 1:24 & 1st Cor. 10:13).  We may be troubled on every had, but we’re not distressed. We may be perplexed, but we’re not in despair. We may be persecuted, but we’re not forsaken. We may even be cast down, but we are not destroyed (see 2nd Cor. 4:8-9). In the end, God will have the final word.

In the meantime, we are simply waiting on our table… that table that God will prepare before us in the presence of our enemies. He may even give us a foretaste of that vindication and victory in this life; but if that never comes, rest assured that it will. Although hunger sets in and it’s hard to wait – we keep relying on God as he’s preparing our table. The table is indicative of our victory – and victory will be so sweet and well worth the wait! Stay strong, dear Christian, while you’re waiting on your table.

Sources: canva.com, biblehub.com
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RTT Update for 2019

Hi everyone! I hope your 2019 is off to a great start! I just wanted to post a quick entry to let you know a few updates for 2019 to keep all of my readers in the loop.

Firstly, I want to let you know that I am currently pregnant with my first baby! I am almost through my first trimester and hoping to regain some energy so I will be able to post.

Also, my husband and I are in the process of finding a home to move into before baby arrives this Summer. Once things are more settled, I plan on getting back to a more normal posting schedule, provided my health holds up during pregnancy. Your prayers are much appreciated.

Since I began this blog, I haven’t missed a month of posting (even if it was just an update), so I hope to keep that consistency the same for my readers. Thanks for dropping by today – have a blessed 2019!

RTT Administrator/Author,

Maranda M.

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Why Are Many Churches Powerless?

Preface: Today, I am pleased to introduce you to my Christian friend and Guest Blogger, Francesca Lopez. For over 30 years, she has travailed for the Body of Christ, feeling the Father’s heart. It is her prayer that the church repents and begins to walk in holiness. Please take what you read to heart and keep upholding the churches in prayer.


“Why Are Many Churches Powerless?” By: Francesca Lopez

1awWhy is the church powerless, dead and dry?

Time constraints are put on worship, ministry and prayer just to appease the crowd, when it’s the most important thing. Things are made so complicated when all that needs to happen is complete surrender to the move of the Holy Spirit and allowing Him to move as He pleases with no reservation or restrictions.

Sin is no longer being called sin from the pulpit. So much hypocrisy goes on in the church. Pastors are no longer teaching the people to walk in holiness and righteousness nor taught the fear of the Lord. Church is so set on routine, functions, conferences, church cliques, and a superficial love instead of walking in true love and concern for one another. The people feel disconnected and not ministered to. Leaders want members in the church solely to fill the seats and to attend every function, every service, every get-together. Jealousies among leaders and fellow believers. Compromising and condoning sin instead of bringing correction so not to offend anyone or cause friction. Excusing the character for the gifts and talents. Placing individuals who are walking in sin in positions of leadership, teaching, or leading worship just to fill a position or just because they are part of the so-called inner circle of friends.

If my spirit is grieved, how much more the Spirit of God? How can the Holy Spirit move in this type of atmosphere? Some churches don’t even allow the Holy Spirit to take full control nor know how to truly worship in spirit and in truth. Worship has become entertainment and a performance. Stages have taken the place of altars. The world is so hungry for the things of the Spirit and a move of God but there is no bread in the house, only crumbs.

The church has nothing to offer them that will impact and change their lives. The church has become so fat, dead, and powerless that it has forgotten its purpose – to reach the lost and brokenhearted with the love of the Father and the power of the Holy Spirit. We are to be filled and equipped, when in our prayer closets, so that we can impact and transform the world by being poured out to a lost and dying world in the fullness and power of the Holy Spirit.

“If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” ~2nd Chronicles 7:14

1awt

I echo what Francesca wrote in this blog and feel the same grief over the churches. Please see my post on this, “Pseudo-Christianity Will Not Stand” by clicking HERE Also, another blog, “The State of the Pulpit and Christianity” can be read HERE. Thank you for reading.

 

Sources: revival-library.com, biblehub.com, facebook.com

 

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God CAN Heal!

*For this month’s blog entry, it is my honor to welcome back my friend and guest blogger, Jennifer Dunn. Please be inspired by her words…


“God CAN Heal!” By Guest Blogger: Jennifer Dunn

I was so deceived by the Word of Faith movement, for years.

I prayed and prayed – did the “name it and claim it” like they said to do; but, no healing came. It made me feel so miserable. It made me feel like either I’m doing something wrong or God must not love me. So, I gave up on believing for healing.

ibIt took me a long time to realize that I don’t have to beg God to heal me. I realized that IF it’s His will to heal me, I must walk in faith believing, not that He WILL, as the Word of Faith people say; but simply that He CAN. This means that I will believe in the scriptures about healing, speak them over myself, and then simply say to God “I trust You for healing, Lord, should it be Your will. I trust in Your timing, Lord, for I know that Your timing is always perfect”.

This is what I want for others to know… They do not have to beg for healing, and end up disappointed when/if it doesn’t happen. I simply want us to believe that healing is possible, and to pray like it’s possible! Curse your sicknesses and speak healing over your body without it having to mean that suddenly you’re 100% healthy. Much like people with visible physical deformities; we see them with a smile on their face. They are smiling in spite of their deformity. It’s as if they are saying, “Ilness, devil, you WON’T get the best of me! You won’t beat me down so that I succumb to misery! You won’t defeat me!” They know they have a deformity, but they live as if they didn’t. It’s not that they deny the deformity exists; but they don’t let it define them.

Sickness and physical problems, have a way of consuming us and of making us so focused on them; it’s like they become our identity. That’s exactly what the devil wants, because it takes our eyes off of Jesus. We don’t deny the “thorns” in our flesh, but we don’t give them the power to define us or consume us.

Be encouraged to rise above and shine so bright with the loving light of Christ! Our ailments have no power to define us! Because of Christ in us, no impairments can hold us back! “For my strength is made perfect in weakness…” (2nd Cor. 12:9).

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Finding Certainty in an Uncertain World

If you’ve lived on this earth for any length of time – you will understand that life presents many uncertainties. Perhaps you are uncertain about your future, your job, your health, your relationships, your family, your finances, your decisions, etc. The list could go on and on.

It can be disconcerting to feel out of control over what happens to us. We cannot control if a bad storm blows through and destroys our home. We cannot control if someone we love passes away. We cannot control if someone dislikes us for no apparent reason. Of course, there are ways in which we try to prevent bad things from happening to us and our loved ones – but in the end, we find that we are out of control of many things. The thought of this can be unsettling. So, what can we do about this persistent, vulnerable feeling of being “on a bubble” that could pop at any moment?

Find the Silver Lining

silverWhen things seem to be going wrong and there is a proverbial storm in our sky – we are taught to find the “silver lining” behind the storm clouds. In other words, the sunshine which is concealed behind the dark storm clouds, creates a silver lining on the edges of the ominous clouds. This reminds us that the sun is still shining, and that it will shine again once the storm passes. However, when it seems that everything is in an uncertain tumult, how can we find this “silver lining” of peace?

The pathway to peace is in finding certainties amidst uncertainties… of finding the fact that the proverbial “silver lining” represents a truth; the truth that the sun is still shining despite how powerfully the storm is raging. For the Christian, we find the silver lining of truth in scripture. What could be more true than words from God himself?? Nothing.

Whatsoever Things Are True

“…whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” ~Philippians 4:8

In the scripture, we are told to think/dwell on what things we know to be true. This is amazing wisdom from scripture that will help us in this uncertain world. We do not deny that there is trouble in the world, nor does scripture teach us to ignore it or pretend it’s not there. In fact, Jesus told us that in this world we would have tribulation. But he also followed up by saying, “But, be of good cheer; I [Jesus] have overcome the world” (see John 16:33).

When things get immensely difficult, try this exercise:

Get a pen and paper and draw a line down the center. In the column on the left, write down what you are experiencing (whether it is fear, a bad doctor’s report, financial crisis, a loss… anything). The header for this column will be “What’s True In My Mind”. Then, in the column on the right, search scripture to find something true to hold onto despite what is written in the other column. The header for this column will be “A Bigger Truth (From God’s Word)”. Please refer to the example below:

rtt1

By the examples given above, we learn that we can rely upon one certainty to get us through this life… and that is this: GOD WILL ALWAYS HONOR HIS WORD AND HIS PROMISES. As long as we are applying scripture in proper context and keeping our faith, we can have no doubt that God will sustain us and never leave us. There are tons of comforting scriptures in the Bible – but we have to diligently seek them out in order for them to help us.

One Certainty

“Of one thing I am perfectly sure: God’s story never ends in ashes.” ~Elisabeth Elliot

Remember the promise that God made thousands of years ago? Genesis 9:13-15 tells us that God made a covenant between himself and the earth that he would never destroy all life by flooding the entire earth again with water. The symbol of this promise is that God puts his rainbow in the sky. To this day, thousands of years later, God is upholding his promise – even though this covenant was made a long time ago. By this, we can take comfort in knowing that he is a God of his word and that he can be completely trusted. He will always do what is right. Even though we don’t often understand, we must trust that our Heavenly Father knows best. We can have confidence and assurance in God – and that’s all we need!

Our certainty is in God. He is not like a human who can lie. Numbers 23:19 states: “God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?” This is our confidence. Our faith gives us the assurance of things hoped for; even while they are yet unseen (see Heb. 11:1). Likewise, we are instructed in Hebrews 10:35 to hold tightly to our confidence in the Lord and not to throw it away. “Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompence of reward.” We can have bold hope in our Lord! As the Commentator, Matthew Henry, stated:

“All things here are but shadows. The happiness of the saints in heaven will last for ever; enemies can never take it away as earthly goods. This will make rich amends for all we may lose and suffer here. The greatest part of the saints’ happiness, as yet, is in promise… The Christian’s present conflict may be sharp, but will be soon over… And those who have been kept faithful in great trials for the time past, have reason to hope for the same grace to help them still to live by faith, till they receive the end of their faith and patience, even the salvatioin of their souls. Living by faith, and dying in faith, our souls are safe for ever.” ~Matthew Henry

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One of the Sneakiest Sins…

One of the sneakiest sins? What could it be?

Today, I welcome my friend and guest blogger, Jennifer Dunn, to expound upon the topic of unforgiveness and grudge-holding.  The entirety of today’s blog is brought to you by Jennifer. I think you’ll find her advice to be very insightful and helpful.

~Maranda M.

RTT Administrator


One of the Sneakiest Sins...

Guest Blogger: Jennifer Dunn

Immediately after being wronged, most people will have intense feelings of upset such as sadness and/or anger. For those of us who practice forgiveness, it’s easy to believe we have truly forgiven a person when these negative feelings fade. We do not often realize that a memory can linger which reminds us of the offense; stirring up the same old emotions of distrust and fear. Such feelings often lead us to “write a person off”. Not only do we distance ourselves, but we completely eliminate all trace of them. After making such a decision, we cut off all contact and have no intention of ever opening the door to them again.

At times, distancing ourselves from someone is born out of the genuine, innocent motive of self-preservation… we want to avoid being hurt. We tend to think if we shun a person completely that we, thereby, prevent any chance of being hurt by that person again. However, there are times that we cannot completely avoid a person; particularly if it’s a relative. When/If we see them somewhere or hear about them from someone else, we are reminded of our negative feelings. These feelings can range from angst, dread, anxiety, anguish, disgust, or irritation, to full-blown anger. We can make the mistake of telling ourselves that, because whatever happened was so bad, we have a right for our negative feelings to be stirred up! We do not want to think that we haven’t truly forgiven them or that we are still carrying a grudge.

True Forgiveness

learn howWhen we have truly and fully forgiven a person, we imitate God – in that, we let the trangression(s) go. We walk in forgetfulness (see Isaiah 43:25, Hebrews 10:14-18). To state it plainly, we live as if the offense never happened in the first place. We do not let the memory become like salt in a fresh wound. We know that we have truly forgiven when we are no longer bothered by their past transgressions and we have feelings of sympathy, compassion, goodwill, peace, and love toward those who have wronged us. Not only do we want good for them, but we want to do good TOWARD them. We want to embrace them, and no longer wish to keep them at a distance. Sure, we may have to close the door of communication or distance ourselves if there is real danger; but the hope should always remain…  for it to be a temporary closure or distancing. The desire and goal should always be for reconciliation; to make amends, to be at peace with all people, and to have a harmonious connection with all people (see Hebrews 12:14, Romans 12:18).

The ONLY way to ensure we keep on the straight and narrow path of genuine forgiveness and love, is by always keeping in mind that there are no perfect people. We are all fallible (inclined to, and likely to sin). Scripture teaches us that we all fall short (see Romans 3:10, Romans 3:23). Thus, we ALL need continual forgiveness for our sins. No one wants to continually feel guilty, condemned, or ashamed for the wrong they have done; especially if they are truly regretful/repentant.

We Want to be Forgiven

We do not want others to hold our mistakes and sins against us. We do not want others to have negative feelings toward us or to hold a grudge against us; so then, how could we do that against someone else? If we say we know God and desire to be like Him and love like Him, how can we deem certain people TOO guilty? How can we not forgive AND forget? How could we keep a record of their wrongdoing? How could we shun them or cast them away in darkness as an irredeemable, permanent enemy; or regard them as if they are the ultimate enemy (the devil)? How could we do these things when God’s word tells us that He so loved the world that He made a way to forgive people, to save them, to spare them eternal condemnation?

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God’s word also tells us that Christ came and died for ALL. Of course, it is up to each person to chose it, receive it, and appreciate it; but, God’s mercy and grace is open to all. God didn’t have to come in the flesh (in the form of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ). Jesus didn’t have to make the sacrifice; He didn’t have to die. He chose to because of LOVE. Real love. A love so real and pure that with His dying breath, hanging nailed to a wooden cross, He asked His Father to forgive those who so UNJUSTLY accused, condemned, and crucified Him. These were people who were not only guilty… they were unrepentant! They didn’t recognize they were wrong; they didn’t own their sin. By this, we see the beauty of Holy Grace – to be so considerate that even those who were guilty had a chance at pardon; at reconciliation, at being spared righteous judgement, condemnation, and punishment.

Luke 23:34 teaches us that Jesus forgave those who made themselves His enemies. Likewise, we are commanded to forgive our enemies; if we don’t, God will not forgive us (see Mark 11:25-26). He tells us to love our enemies, to pray for them, to do good to them;  and in so doing, we are like Him (see Matthew 5:43-45, Luke 6:27, Ephesians 4:32). How then, can we justify ourselves in not extending the same olive branch? How can we not extend the same Holy Grace as we are offered DAILY?

When we refuse to forgive, we reject God by refusing to be like He is. We can come up with all sorts of reasons why we are “right” to divide, to place certain people into categories, to mark some as being innocent enough to deserve our forgiveness, while we deem others as not being so. However, none of these reasons are ever “right” in light of scripture.

We may use human reasoning to justify ourselves in holding a grudge. We may try to justify ourselves in treating people differently – in looking down on them, or in withholding kindness from them. We may even tell ourselves that it’s for our good; that it will show people not to “mess with us” ever again. But, because we cannot enforce control over everyone all the time, and because we cannot live out our lives in complete isolation – there will always be people we will have to face who have wronged or wounded us (and vice versa).

Popular global platforms (Facebook, for example) have opened up a door to a world of diverse people, cultures, events, ideas, discussions, interactions, and connections. This means even more possibilities for:

♦ Conflicts

♦ Disagreements

♦ Arguments

♦ Personal attacks

♦ Disturbing realities

♦ Grievous events

More often than not, we were completely unaware of such things before these global platforms (social media) existed. Websites (like Facebook) have also become a stage where people showcase their lives – particularly their successes and their joys. It can be very hard to see those who have wronged us, prospering. We witness people who are not innocent portraying themselves as such – and many people believing they are. It can cause us hurt to see the positive attention they get; especially if they never owned what they did to us – if they never apologized, never made amends, and never had a desire to do so. We are prone to feel jealously and anger – again, showing us that we do hold a grudge which we need to actively work on releasing.

A Testimony|By: Jennifer Dunn

Now, let us briefly talk about marriage and how holding a grudge ties in.

Some of us, such as myself, have not had the joyous marital union so hoped, desired, and prayed for. Personally, my husband and I both could have behaved better, as we are both in need of much refinement. We are also both guilty of falling short when it comes to forgiveness. Without going into the details, there were/are ways my husband has so grievously wronged me that others may justify me if I chose to hold a grudge and not forgive. I won’t lie and say I am always inclined to instantly forgive, nor has forgiveness always been a smooth road. It is especially difficult since certain sins have had a lasting impact; leaving me under a continual state of injustice and suffering. However, I do love my husband as I love God – that is why I strive to be obedient to forgive.

What helps me to forgive? I keep in mind that before any of us were ever created, sin entered the world and corrupted all of humanity. Because God is perfect and there is no fault in Him, we must realize that any fault in us (no matter how minor), makes us incongruent with Him. That is why we are in need of cleansing and repair; so that we are made worthy to be in the Lord’s presence forever. If God forgives me/us for being corrupted ‘human’ beings, it is a MUST that we forgive each other… no matter what.

Our Relationship With God

learn how(1)You see, marriage is an earthly reflection of the heavenly relationship between God and us (the Bride of Christ). Because God wants reconciliation with us, we too should desire and strive for that in our earthly marriage. There can be no cleansing, no healing, no reconciliation, no peace, no love, if we aren’t willing to forgive and forget. If we want reconciliation with God, we must also want reconciliation with a spouse. There can be no reconciliation with a spouse if we hold a grudge against them.

Until we are reunited with Jesus in the new world, we cannot escape conflict or injury. We are imperfect and always needing cleansing, refinement, and forgiveness. It is better that we learn how to respond to the conflicts, the failings, and the injuries. We must always look to our Heavenly Model, presented in the form of God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. We must operate out of love, truth, and righteousness. We must walk in love and truth, according to the following scriptures notated (Ephesians 5:2, 2 John 1:6, 2 John 4, Ephesians 4:25, 1 John 1:8, 1 John 3:18, Psalm 86:11, Ephesians 6:14, Proverbs 12:22) and, in righteousness (see Romans 2:13, Romans 6:13, Romans 6:17-19, 2 Corinthians 3:9, 2 Corinthians 5:21, 2 Corinthians 6:4-8, 1 Timothy 6:11, 1 John 3:10).

In closing, please remember that the foundations of the Lord’s throne are righteousness and justice – with love and faithfulness leading the way (see Psalm 89:14). In order to truly love the Lord and be faithful to Him, we must also love His righteous ways and obey them. We should love as He loves; we should forgive AND forget without holding grudges. We must seek reconciliation and peace; for when we do, we will “sow a harvest of righteousness” (James 3:18). This is pleasing to our Heavenly Father and guarantees our own forgiveness, reconciliation, eternal peace, and joy forever!

 

 

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Remarriage, Fornication & Adultery: Explaining the “Exception Clause”

As some of you may know, I wrote about the topic of divorce and remarriage some time ago. I would STRONGLY urge you to read this first since this blog entry is a continuation of that conversation. At the time, I gave my best theoretical explanation of what is known as the “exception clause” and still stand by what I wrote. Still, I want to add this other insightful explanation.

What is the exception clause??

The exception clause is mentioned in Matthew 19:9 in regards to divorce and remarriage. Some people argue that the exception clause given in this scripture validates remarriage. Matthew 19:9 states:

And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery.”

The “exception clause” we are referencing is “except it be for fornication”

Proponents for remarriage while your original spouse lives believe that they are allowed ot remarry if their divorce was due to fornication (a cheating spouse, as they define it).

**Our Guest Blogger (my friend), Michelle Renee, has studied this topic in great depth and will be presenting her findings on the exception clause in today’s blog.  She writes, in part, and quotes John Piper’s teachings in the rest. I hope this is insightful.


“Explaining the Exception Clause”

Compiled By Guest Blogger: Michelle Renee

I know there are those that believe adultery or sexual immorality (Matthew 5:32;19:9) is the permission given for marrying another while the estranged spouse of their youth is still living. At one time, I remember thinking that this must be what severs that one flesh entity which is spoken of in Genesis 2:24, “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” But, that thought didn’t sit right with me. For me, it made me think about all of those *FIRST* marriages where they’ve survived adultery (or sexual immorality) through repentance and forgiveness, and remained together. Are they now required to marry again in order to become one flesh again and seen as married again with God? I’d say of course not, because the adultery or sexual immorality did NOT sever their one flesh union which God had created when they were joined in Holy matrimony.

I’m certainly NOT infallible in my understanding of scripture (what I see), and I am always learning. But, because adulterers will not inherit the Kingdom of God, I believe this is something we don’t want to be wrong about when we take our last breath. I’d like to share this for you to take into serious consideration. It’s not written by me [it’s by John Piper], but I do see the same thing from scripture.

Bible Scholar, John Piper, writes the following:

blogpicWhy does Matthew use the [Greek] word PORNEIA instead of the word MOICHEIA, which means adultery? Almost all commentators seem to make the simple assumption that porneia means adultery in this context. Even though the question nags at me why Matthew should not use the word for adultery, if that is in fact what he meant. Then I noticed something very interesting. The only other place besides Matthew 5:32 and 19:9 where Matthew uses the word porneia is in 15:19 where it is used alongside of moicheia. Therefore, the primary contextual evidence for Matthew’s usage is that he conceives of porneia as something different than adultery. Could this mean, then, that Matthew conceives of porneia in its normal sense of FORNICATION rather than adultery?

The next clue in my search for an explanation came when I stumbled upon the use of porneia in John 8:41 where the Jewish leaders indirectly accuse Jesus of being born of porneia. In other words, since they don’t accept the virgin birth, they assume that Mary had committed fornication and Jesus was the result of this act. On the basis of that clue, I went back to study Matthew’s record of Jesus’ birth in Matthew 1:18-20. This was extremely enlightening.

In these verses, Joseph and Mary are referred to each other as husband (aner) and wife (gunaika). Yet they are described as only being betrothed to each other. This is probably owing to the fact that the words for husband and wife are simply man and woman and to the fact that betrothal was a much more significant commitment than engagement is today. In verse 19 Joseph resolves “to divorce” Mary. The word for divorce is the same as the word in Matthew 5:32 and 19:9. But most important of all, Matthew says that Joseph was “just” in making the decision to divorce Mary, presumably on account of her porneia, fornication. Therefore, as Matthew proceeded to construct the narrative of his gospel, he finds himself in chapter 5 and then later in chapter 19, in a difficult situation. He has before him the absolute sayings of Jesus that if a man divorces his wife and marries another, he commits adultery, that is, he commits a grave injustice. Nevertheless, the one divorce that Matthew has contemplated with his readers in chapter 1 has been described by him as a “just” possibility. Therefore, in order to avoid the jarring inconsistency between what he has said about Joseph and what Jesus says about divorce, Matthew inserts the exception clause in order to exonerate Joseph and show that the kind of divorce that one might pursue during a betrothal on account of fornication, is not included in what Jesus has said. This interpretation of the exception clause has several advantages:

1) It does not force Matthew to contradict the plain, absolute meaning of Mark and Luke.

2) It provides an explanation for why the word porneia is used in Matthew’s exception clause instead of moicheia.

3) It squares with Matthew’s own use of porenia for fornication in Matthew 15:19.

4) From a redaction-critical standpoint, it is a very astute edition which promotes the truth of Jesus’ own absolute command and the rightness of Joseph’s intention in resolving to divorce his betrothed Mary.

Mark 10:2-9 and Matthew 19:3-8 teach that Jesus rejected the Pharisees’ justification of divorce from Deuteronomy 24:1 and reasserted the purpose of God in creation that no human being separate what God has joined together.

Mark 10:2-9: “And some Pharisees came up to Him, testing Him, and began to question Him whether it was lawful for a man to divorce his wife.  And He answered and said to them, ‘What did Moses command you?’  And they said, ‘Moses permitted a man to write a certificate of divorce and send her away.’  But Jesus said to them, ‘Because of your hardness of heart he wrote you this commandment.  But from the beginning of creation, God made them male and female.  For this cause a man shall leave his father and mother,  and the two shall become one flesh; consequently they are no longer two, but one flesh.  What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate.'”

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In both Matthew and Mark the Pharisees come to Jesus and test him by asking him whether it is lawful for a man to divorce his wife. They evidently have in mind the passage in Deuteronomy 24:1 which simply describes divorce as a fact rather than giving any legislation in favor of it. They wonder how Jesus will take a position with regard to this passage.

Jesus’ answer is, “For your hardness of heart, Moses allowed you to divorce your wives” (Mt. 19:8).

But then Jesus criticizes the Pharisees’ failure to recognize in the books of Moses God’s deepest and original intention for marriage. So he quotes two passages from Genesis. “God made them male and female. …For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh” (Genesis 1:27; 2:24). From these passages in Genesis Jesus concludes, “So they are no longer two, but one.” And then he makes his climaxing statement, “What therefore God has joined together, let no man put asunder.”

The implication is that Jesus rejects the Pharisees’ use of Deuteronomy 24:1 and raises the standard of marriage for his disciples to God’s original intention in creation. He says that none of us should try to undo the “one-flesh” relationship which God has united.

Before we jump to the conclusion that this absolute statement should be qualified in view of the exception clause (“except for fornication”) mentioned in Matthew 19:9, we should seriously entertain the possibility that the exception clause in Matthew 19:9 should be understood in the light of the absolute statement of Matthew 19:6, (“let no man put asunder”) especially since the verses that follow this conversation with the Pharisees in Mark 10 do not contain any exception when they condemn remarriage.

Matthew 5:32 does not teach that remarriage is lawful in some cases. Rather it reaffirms that marriage after divorce is adultery, even for those who have been divorced innocently, and that a man who divorces his wife is guilty of the adultery of her second marriage unless she had already become an adulteress before the divorce.

Matthew 5:32: “But I say unto you, That whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery.”

Jesus assumes that in most situations in that culture a wife who has been put away by a husband will be drawn into a second marriage. Nevertheless, in spite of these pressures, he calls this second marriage adultery.

The remarkable thing about the first half of this verse is that it plainly says that the remarriage of a wife who has been innocently put away is nevertheless adultery: “Whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery.” This is a clear statement, it seems to me, that remarriage is wrong not merely when a person is guilty in the process of divorce, but also when a person is innocent. In other words, Jesus’ opposition to remarriage seems to be based on the unbreakableness of the marriage bond by anything but death.

I would assume that since an innocent wife who is divorced commits adultery when she remarries, therefore a guilty wife who remarries after divorce is all the more guilty. If one argues that this guilty woman is free to remarry, while the innocent woman who has been put away is not, just because the guilty woman’s adultery has broken the “one flesh” relationship, then one is put in the awkward position of saying to an innocent divorced woman, “If you now commit adultery it will be lawful for you to remarry.” This seems wrong for at least two reasons.

1) It seems to elevate the physical act of sexual intercourse to be the decisive element in marital union and disunion.

2) If sexual union with another breaks the marriage bond and legitimizes remarriage, then to say that an innocently divorced wife can’t remarry (as Jesus does say) assumes that her divorcing husband is not divorcing to have sexual relations with another. This is a very unlikely assumption. More likely is that Jesus does assume some of these divorcing husbands will have sexual relations with another woman, but still the wives they have divorced may not remarry. Therefore, adultery does not nullify the “one-flesh” relationship of marriage and both the innocent and guilty spouses are prohibited from remarriage in Matthew 5:32.

1 Corinthians 7:27-28 does not teach the right of divorced persons to remarry. It teaches that betrothed virgins should seriously consider the life of singleness, but do not sin if they marry. “Are you bound to a wife? Do not seek to be free. Are you free from a wife? Do not seek marriage. But if you marry, you do not sin, and if a virgin marries, she does not sin.”

Some people have argued that this passage deals with divorced people because in verse 27 Paul asks, “Are you free (literally: loosed) from a wife?” Some have assumed that he means, “Are you divorced?” Thus he would be saying in verse 28 that it is not sin when divorced people remarry. There are several reasons why this interpretation is most unlikely.

Verse 25 signals that Paul is beginning a new section and dealing with a new issue. He says, “Now concerning the virgins (ton parthenon) I have no command of the Lord, but I give my opinion as one who by the Lord’s mercy is trustworthy.” He has already dealt with the problem of divorced people in verses 10-16. Now he takes up a new issue about those who are not yet married, and he signals this by saying, “Now concerning the virgins.” Therefore, it is very unlikely that the people referred to in verses 27 and 28 are divorced. A flat statement that it is not sin for divorced people to be remarried (verse 28) would contradict verse 2, where he said that a woman who has separated from her husband should remain single.

Verse 36 is surely describing the same situation in view in verses 27 and 28, but clearly refers to a couple that is not yet married. “If anyone thinks that he is not behaving properly toward his virgin, if his passions are strong, and it has to be, let him do as he wishes: let them marry—it is no sin.” This is the same as verse 28 where Paul says, “But if you marry, you do not sin.”

The reference in verse 27 to being bound to a “wife” may be misleading because it may suggest that the man is already married. But in Greek the word for wife is simply “woman” and may refer to a man’s betrothed as well as his spouse. The context dictates that the reference is to a man’s betrothed virgin, not to his spouse. So “being bound” and “being loosed” have reference to whether a person is betrothed or not. It is significant that the verb Paul uses for “loosed” (luo) or “free” is not a word that he uses for divorce. Paul’s words for divorce are chorizo (verses 10,11,15; cf. Matthew 19:6) and aphienai (verses 11,12,13).

Corinthians 7:15 does not mean that when a Christian is deserted by an unbelieving spouse he or she is free to remarry. It means that the Christian is not bound to fight in order to preserve togetherness. Separation is permissible if the unbelieving partner insists on it.

1 Corinthians 7:15: “If the unbelieving partner desires to separate, let it be so; in such a case the brother or sister is not bound. For God has called us to peace.”

There are several reasons why the phrase “is not bound” should not be construed to mean “is free to remarry.” Marriage is an ordinance of creation binding on all of God’s human creatures, irrespective of their faith or lack of faith.

The word used for “bound” (douloo) in verse 15 is not the same word used in verse 39 where Paul says, “A wife is bound (deo) to her husband as long as he lives.” Paul consistently uses deo when speaking of the legal aspect of being bound to one marriage partner (Romans 7:2; l Corinthians 7:39), or to one’s betrothed (l Corinthians 7:27). But when he refers to a deserted spouse not being bound in l Corinthians 7:15, he chooses a different word (douloo) which we would expect him to do if he were not giving a deserted spouse the same freedom to remarry that he gives to a spouse whose partner has died (verse 39).

The last phrase of verse 15 (“God has called us to peace”) supports verse 15 best if Paul is saying that a deserted partner is not “bound to make war” on the deserting unbeliever to get him or her to stay. It seems to me that the peace God has called us to is the peace of marital harmony. Therefore, if the unbelieving partner insists on departing, then the believing partner is not bound to live in perpetual conflict with the unbelieving spouse, but is free and innocent in letting him or her go. This interpretation also preserves a closer harmony to the intention of verses 10-11, where an inevitable separation does not result in the right of remarriage.

Verse 16 (“For how do you know, wife, whether you will save your husband? Or how do you know, husband, whether you will save your wife?”) is an argument that you can’t know, and so should not make the hope of saving them a ground for fighting to make them stay. This supports the understanding of verse 15 as a focus on not being enslaved to stay together, rather than not being enslaved to say single. Paul did not see the single life as a life of slavery and so would not have called the necessity of staying single a state of being enslaved.

Sources: desiringgod.com, gettyimages.com, biblehub.com
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