The Hound of Heaven By Francis Thompson (1859–1907)

`Ye did not choose out me, but I chose out you, and did appoint you, that ye might go away, and might bear fruit, and your fruit might remain, that whatever ye may ask of the Father in my name, He may give you.
John 15:16

‘Can anyone hide in secret places so that I cannot see him?’ declares the Lord. `Do not I fill both heaven and earth?’ declares the Lord.”
Jeremiah 23:24

Where can I go from Your Spirit?
Or where can I flee from Your presence?
If I ascend to heaven, You are there;
If I make my bed in Sheol, behold, You are there.
If I take the wings of the dawn,
If I dwell in the remotest part of the sea,
Even there Your hand will lead me,
And Your right hand will lay hold of me.
Psalm 139:7-10

[ This classic poem is the biblical rebuke to the permissive heresy “once saved, always saved”, and to the humanistic corruption by Martin Luther, John Calvin and Erasmus of the  doctrine of “free will”.    Enjoy!      – “standerinfamilycourt”]

I FLED Him, down the nights and down the days;
I fled Him, down the arches of the years;
I fled Him, down the labyrinthine ways
Of my own mind; and in the mist of tears
I hid from Him, and under running laughter.
Up vistaed hopes I sped;
And shot, precipitated,
Adown Titanic glooms of chasmèd fears,
From those strong Feet that followed, followed after.
But with unhurrying chase,
And unperturbèd pace,
Deliberate speed, majestic instancy,
They beat—and a Voice beat
More instant than the Feet—
‘All things betray thee, who betrayest Me.’

I pleaded, outlaw-wise,
By many a hearted casement, curtained red,
Trellised with intertwining charities;
(For, though I knew His love Who followèd,
Yet was I sore adread
Lest, having Him, I must have naught beside).
But, if one little casement parted wide,
The gust of His approach would clash it to.
Fear wist not to evade, as Love wist to pursue.
Across the margent of the world I fled,
And troubled the gold gateways of the stars,
Smiting for shelter on their clangèd bars;
Fretted to dulcet jars
And silvern chatter the pale ports o’ the moon.
I said to Dawn: Be sudden—to Eve: Be soon;
With thy young skiey blossoms heap me over
From this tremendous Lover—
Float thy vague veil about me, lest He see!
I tempted all His servitors, but to find
My own betrayal in their constancy,
In faith to Him their fickleness to me,
Their traitorous trueness, and their loyal deceit.
To all swift things for swiftness did I sue;
Clung to the whistling mane of every wind.
But whether they swept, smoothly fleet,
The long savannahs of the blue;
Or whether, Thunder-driven,
They clanged his chariot ’thwart a heaven,
Plashy with flying lightnings round the spurn o’ their feet:—
Fear wist not to evade as Love wist to pursue.
Still with unhurrying chase,
And unperturbèd pace,
Deliberate speed, majestic instancy,
Came on the following Feet,
And a Voice above their beat—
‘Naught shelters thee, who wilt not shelter Me.’

I sought no more that after which I strayed
In face of man or maid;
But still within the little children’s eyes
Seems something, something that replies,
They at least are for me, surely for me!
I turned me to them very wistfully;
But just as their young eyes grew sudden fair
With dawning answers there,
Their angel plucked them from me by the hair.
‘Come then, ye other children, Nature’s—share
With me’ (said I) ‘your delicate fellowship;
Let me greet you lip to lip,
Let me twine with you caresses,
With our Lady-Mother’s vagrant tresses,
With her in her wind-walled palace,
Underneath her azured daïs,
Quaffing, as your taintless way is,
From a chalice
Lucent-weeping out of the dayspring.’
So it was done:
I in their delicate fellowship was one—
Drew the bolt of Nature’s secrecies.
I knew all the swift importings
On the wilful face of skies;
I knew how the clouds arise
Spumèd of the wild sea-snortings;
All that’s born or dies
Rose and drooped with; made them shapers
Of mine own moods, or wailful or divine;
With them joyed and was bereaven.
I was heavy with the even,
When she lit her glimmering tapers
Round the day’s dead sanctities.
I laughed in the morning’s eyes.
I triumphed and I saddened with all weather,
Heaven and I wept together,
And its sweet tears were salt with mortal mine;
Against the red throb of its sunset-heart
I laid my own to beat,
And share commingling heat;
But not by that, by that, was eased my human smart.
In vain my tears were wet on Heaven’s grey cheek.
For ah! we know not what each other says,
These things and I; in sound I speak—
Their sound is but their stir, they speak by silences.
Nature, poor stepdame, cannot slake my drouth;
Let her, if she would owe me,
Drop yon blue bosom-veil of sky, and show me
The breasts o’ her tenderness:
Never did any milk of hers once bless
My thirsting mouth.
Nigh and nigh draws the chase,
With unperturbèd pace,
Deliberate speed, majestic instancy;
And past those noisèd Feet
A voice comes yet more fleet—
‘Lo! naught contents thee, who content’st not Me!’
Naked I wait Thy love’s uplifted stroke!
My harness piece by piece Thou hast hewn from me,
And smitten me to my knee;
I am defenceless utterly.
I slept, methinks, and woke,
And, slowly gazing, find me stripped in sleep.
In the rash lustihead of my young powers,
I shook the pillaring hours
And pulled my life upon me; grimed with smears,
I stand amid the dust o’ the mounded years—
My mangled youth lies dead beneath the heap.
My days have crackled and gone up in smoke,
Have puffed and burst as sun-starts on a stream.
Yea, faileth now even dream
The dreamer, and the lute the lutanist;
Even the linked fantasies, in whose blossomy twist
I swung the earth a trinket at my wrist,
Are yielding; cords of all too weak account
For earth with heavy griefs so overplussed.
Ah! is Thy love indeed
A weed, albeit an amaranthine weed,
Suffering no flowers except its own to mount?
Ah! must—
Designer infinite!—
Ah! must Thou char the wood ere Thou canst limn with it?
My freshness spent its wavering shower i’ the dust;
And now my heart is as a broken fount,
Wherein tear-drippings stagnate, spilt down ever
From the dank thoughts that shiver
Upon the sighful branches of my mind.
Such is; what is to be?
The pulp so bitter, how shall taste the rind?
I dimly guess what Time in mists confounds;
Yet ever and anon a trumpet sounds
From the hid battlements of Eternity;
Those shaken mists a space unsettle, then
Round the half-glimpsèd turrets slowly wash again.
But not ere him who summoneth
I first have seen, enwound
With glooming robes purpureal, cypress-crowned;
His name I know, and what his trumpet saith.
Whether man’s heart or life it be which yields
Thee harvest, must Thy harvest-fields
Be dunged with rotten death?
Now of that long pursuit
Comes on at hand the bruit;
That Voice is round me like a bursting sea:
‘And is thy earth so marred,
Shattered in shard on shard?
Lo, all things fly thee, for thou fliest Me!
Strange, piteous, futile thing!
Wherefore should any set thee love apart?
Seeing none but I makes much of naught’ (He said),
‘And human love needs human meriting:
How hast thou merited—
Of all man’s clotted clay the dingiest clot?
Alack, thou knowest not
How little worthy of any love thou art!
Whom wilt thou find to love ignoble thee,
Save Me, save only Me?
All which I took from thee I did but take,
Not for thy harms,
But just that thou might’st seek it in My arms.
All which thy child’s mistake
Fancies as lost, I have stored for thee at home:
Rise, clasp My hand, and come!’
Halts by me that footfall:
Is my gloom, after all,
Shade of His hand, outstretched caressingly?
‘Ah, fondest, blindest, weakest,
I am He Whom thou seekest!
Thou dravest love from thee, who dravest Me.’

Lord, may we rest confidently in Your promises while You, O God, faithfully pursue our prodigal.

7 Times Around the Jericho Wall |  Let’s Repeal No-Fault Divorce!

What Would We Do Without Facebook Watching Out For Us?

Facebook:   Keeping the social media world safe for contemporary lasciviousness,  fornicating cohabitation and serial polygamy.    

– “standerinfamilycourt”FB_exes


You just broke up with your girlfriend of a year. You’ve spent the last three days sulking on your sofa, too devastated to shower or eat anything but string cheese. You idly open Facebook between Netflix binges and see your ex has posted a smiling photo of a night out on the town.

Breakups in the time of social media updates can be rough. Facebook is testing a new feature that will help ease the pain, without forcing you to unfriend exes or delete all your past posts.

The new “Take a Break” option pops up when you make the breakup Facebook official. After you change a relationship status, you’ll be given the option to limit what you see about your ex and what they can see about you.

If you opt to “see less” of your former flame, their updates will no longer appear in the news feed and you won’t get reminders from Facebook to tag him or her in a photo. (But don’t worry, you’ll still be able to visit the profile page while listening to Adele on repeat.)

The settings go both ways. You can also hide your own updates. With this option, your ex only sees new posts he or she is tagged in, or things posted publicly or shared with mutual friends.

As Facebook has awkwardly discovered with its own memories features, sometimes the past is really painful. An edit option will let you go through all your old posts and block an ex from seeing them, or untag yourself from those smooching selfies you took in better times.

“This work is part of our ongoing effort to develop resources for people who may be going through difficult moments in their lives,” said Facebook in a blog post.

In the olden days, you might have burned a box of photos. That’s harder to do when photos are digital.

This may not be as therapeutic, but it does have one big advantage: none of the Facebook changes are permanent. You can undo them at any time, which is great if you get back together, become friends or get nostalgic.

Former flames won’t be notified of your changes. The feature is being tested in the U.S. to start, but should eventually roll out to broken hearts around the world.


Shawn Janiece Koponen's photo.

Keys to Breaking the Back of the Evangelical “M-D-R” Heresy: One-Flesh Joining and Biblical Covenant

Jesus-at-Cana-2by Standerinfamilycourt

…so that they are no more two, but one flesh; what therefore God did join together, let no man put asunder. 
Matt. 19:6

Because the Lord has been a witness between you and the wife of your youth, against whom you have dealt treacherously, though she is your companion and your wife by covenant.  But not one has done so who has a remnant of the Spirit. And what did that one do while he was seeking a godly offspring? Take heed then to your spirit, and let no one deal treacherously against the wife of your youth.
Malachi 2:14-15


Even now, most marriage-permanence disciples and ministries don’t fully understand the foundational concepts that make non-widowed remarriage constitute the ongoing state of adultery, in every case.    As a consequence, the best of these are constantly battling rationalized pleas for worldly exceptions that can seem impervious to scriptural correction, and suffering endless accusations of “legalism” evoked by the very idea that those who do not repent of marrying someone else’s covenant spouse will not inherit the kingdom of God.    Virtually NO Protestant pastor today preaches on the foundational facts underlying the thrice-repeated words of Jesus concerning this:

everyone who marries a divorced [person] enters a state of ongoing adultery”.    [Matt. 5:32b; Matt. 19:9b-KJV; Luke 16:18]

The most enlightened pastors who correctly and faithfully quote Jesus in the “what” of marriage permanence do so without giving any deep voice to the “why it is so.”    Jesus said, “…from the beginning it was not so”,  referring to false, man-made  declarations of marriage dissolution, and He bluntly stated this was not possible by the hand of men.    The last such sermon or writing we’re aware of that came close to Christ’s explicitness of this foundational truth in God’s marriage  law went like this:

Isaac Williams (1802-1865)  Church of England

” ‘What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.’ Here our Lord sets aside the letter of Holy Scripture, in one case, in the passage in Deuteronomy, (which He speaks of as the command of Moses,) on account of the higher law of Christian holiness and perfection…And therefore this passage in the book of Genesis not only is spoken, as St. Paul says it is, of the Sacramental union betwixt Christ and His Church, but does also signify that marriage is of itself of Divine sanction, and the union formed of God, and necessarily indissoluble as such…for if God hath joined, man cannot put asunder.”

But precisely why is it not possible for marriage to be dissolved by an act of men?

We really don’t need to look any further than Matthew 19:6 and its parallel verse, Mark 10:8-9 to see where Jesus tells us concisely why:

“…so they are no longer two,  but one flesh.   What therefore God has joined together, let NO HUMAN* separate.”

(*the Greek word in the manuscripts is anthropos, meaning “mankind”,  not “andra” / “aner”  or “man”.)

GOD creates the one-flesh entity, and from that point on, no longer sees two individuals.    From that point on, only death can make one-flesh two again,  which immediately eliminates every single one of the myriad rationalizations for remarriage while the spouse of our youth remains alive.    [This is directly echoed in Romans 7:2-3  and  1 Cor. 7:39.]    

Yet GOD does something even further upon the making of vows before Him of holy matrimony, after He has created the irrevocable, inseparable  one-flesh entity:  He unconditionally enters  covenant with that new entity.  (Malachi 2:14)   This foundational fact means that holy matrimony is never replicated in a non-widowed remarriage, for God does not abandon covenant, nor join into a competing one.    That’s why Jesus was so unrelenting and exceptionless  in insisting that to marry another while having a living spouse, or to marry someone’s discarded spouse, is always to enter a state of ongoing adultery until repented and terminated.    To do so, brazenly mocks the God of the marriage covenant!

(See also Genesis 2:21-24,  and Ephesians 5:31 , noting that in every one of these stated cases,  a man leaves his father and mother, not the spouse of his youth)

It’s literally that simple.   However, to fully grasp the implications of all this, one must know the attributes of God’s character and how He deals with His own covenants, to which He is always the dominant party  — for the most part, unconditionally.

What are those attributes?

Holiness – He will not abide nor inhabit that which is immoral and undertaken in treachery.    (Not to be confused with the outward appearance of blessing, for He causes the rain to fall on the just and the unjust. )

Omnipotence – If not for His mercy and forbearance, we would be instantly consumed.   Yet He brings the foreign invader and the internal blight, against which He withdraws His mighty hand of protection from a nation in order to chastise toward repentance, for the purpose to restore relationship with Him.

Integrity –  Ancient covenants were always unconditionally binding on the stronger, more powerful party, i.e. Himself.    He does not break covenant even when men do.   Biblical scholars  J. K. Tarwater and D.W. Jones exhaustively studied a total of 267 Old Testament, and 34 New Testament covenants of the Lord, and found that He broke not a single one of them in all of biblical history.

Justice –  Unrepentant covenant-breaking and self-worship will have its day of retribution and recompense, even if it doesn’t occur in this life.   Undertaken in this life, the cost of repentance is finite.  Undertaken in the next life, the cost is unending.

Jealousy for His Symbols –  From the severe discipline Moses received as a consequence of disobeying God in striking the rock (a symbol for the crucified Christ – Numbers 20:8-12) to  the instant death that  was meted to the priest Uzza for touching the Ark of the Covenant (1 Chronicles 13:9-10), the Most High allows no violation of His sacred symbols, of which holy matrimony was the very first and most sacred of symbols (Ephesians 5:31-32).

As though it wasn’t symbolic enough for Jesus, the Bridegroom, to rehearse virtually the entire script at the last supper of the  traditional Hebrew betrothal ceremony (John 14:1-4; Luke 22:14-20) as He instituted holy communion, the actual elements of bread and wine represent a bit more than His flesh and his blood, they also represent one-flesh and the biblical marriage covenant itself:  “I will not drink again of the fruit of the vine until I drink it anew with you in My Father’s house.”

(For a deeper study on God’s Character and His Covenants, follow this link.)

Before we take on the entrenched culture of “sanctified adultery”, calcified by 500 years of Reformation-sourced twin heresies: that men can dissolve the marriage covenant contrary to what Jesus asserted, and that born-again believers are not accountable for their post-conversion apostasies (behind which are the all the demons of hell),  we first must establish an immovable foundation whose pilings are the unambiguous teachings of Christ contained in scripture, whose bricks of covenant are the unchangeable attributes of God’s character, and whose mortar is the supernatural binding of one-flesh that only God can unbind. It is the unshakable knowledge that this foundation is not replicated, (nor can it ever be replicated) in unions that Jesus repeatedly characterized as in the ongoing state of God-mocking adultery.

This enhanced understanding of one-flesh and of holy covenant allows us to get out of the weeds of endlessly arguing about word usage and etymologies, of suffering charges of harshness under humanistic standards of perceived justice, and misguided concerns about “repeat sin” in undertaking the necessary acts of repentance.    It’s the stuff of the book of Ezra, a contemporary of Malachi, where more than a hundred of the priests could have made all the same arguments, and thereby permanently forfeited the sovereignty of their nation,  but instead they heeded the “thus saith the Lord” of their covenant to put away their foreign wives, for whom most had likely put away their one-flesh covenant wives previously, or were living in polygamy–as a good 60% of the contemporary Western church is today.  Imagine how rapidly God’s kingdom would be rebuilt if only a modern-day Ezra would be raised up by the Lord, and His shepherds would repent and become as faithful!


Thus says the Lord, ‘If My covenant for day and night stand not, and the fixed patterns of heaven and earth I have not established,  then I would reject the descendants of Jacob and David My servant, not taking from his descendants rulers over the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.  But I will restore their fortunes and will have mercy on them.’
Jeremiah 33:25-26


7 Times Around the Jericho Wall |  Let’s Repeal No-Fault Divorce!



Naghmeh Abedini is a Stander, Her Husband a Prodigal, It Turns Out

abedini-familyby Standerinfamilycourt

There were those who dwelt in darkness and in the shadow of death,
Prisoners in misery and chains,
Because they had rebelled against the words of God
And spurned the counsel of the Most High.
Therefore He humbled their heart with labor;
They stumbled and there was none to help.
Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble;
He saved them out of their distresses.
He brought them out of darkness and the shadow of death
And broke their bands apart.
 Let them give thanks to the Lord for His lovingkindness,
And for His wonders to the sons of men!
For He has shattered gates of bronze
And cut bars of iron asunder.        –  Psalm 107: 10-16


It was in October a year ago that “standerinfamilycourt” was in Indianapolis at a womens’ conference with 8,000 other women and Naghmeh Abedini,  whose pastor husband, an Iranian-born U.S. citizen had been brutally imprisoned in Iran for over two years at that time.   Nancy Leigh DeMoss (since just yesterday,  Mrs. Wolgemuth) had persuaded Naghmeh at the last minute to take a pause in her busy efforts at advocacy for the release of her husband, to come and give her and Saeed’s testimony, and receive prayer with and by the other ladies attending.

Naghmeh updated us on his visits with attorneys and his parents, the venues the Lord has taken her to testify and make her appeal (the U.N., Congress, the Secretary of State’s Office, cable news networks),  her introverted nature that she had to overcome by the power of God, and there wasn’t a dry eye in the house as she read the riveting letter from prison that Saeed had gotten to his little girl, Rebekka, for her birthday the month before,  carried to Nagmeh by Saeed’s parents:

“My dearest Rebekka Grace, happy eighth birthday. You’re growing so fast and becoming more beautiful every day. I praise God for His faithfulness to me every day as I watch from a distance through the prison walls . . . (He gets to watch pictures of the kids growing up. And Rebekka’s hair used to be that short, in the picture, and now it’s long, so he gets to see how the kids are growing up.)

. . . and see pictures and hear stories of how you’re growing both spiritually and physically. Oh, how I long to see you! I know that the question is why you have prayed so many times for my return, and yet I’m not home yet. Now, there’s a big “why” in your mind. You’re asking why Jesus isn’t answering your prayers and the prayers of all the people around the world praying for my release and for me to be home with you and our family.

The answer to the “why” is “Who.” Who is in control? The Lord Jesus Christ is in control. I desire for you to learn important lessons during these trying times, lessons that you carry now for the rest of your life. The answer to the “why” is “Who.” The confusion of “why has all of this happened,” and why your prayers are not answered is resolved with understanding Who is in control-the Lord Jesus Christ, our God.

God is in control of that whole world and everything that is happening in it, for His good purpose, for His glory-and will be worked out for our good-Romans 8:28. Jesus allows me to be kept here for His glory. He’s doing something inside each of us, and also outside in the world.

People die and suffer for their Christian faith all over the world, and some may wonder why, but you should know the answer to why is Who. It is for Jesus. He’s worth the price. He has a plan to be glorified through our lives. I want you to read the book of Habakkuk. He had the same questions as you, but see how the Lord answers him in Habakkuk 2:3: “The vision comes-and doesn’t delay-on time. Wait for it.”

Mommy and I always had big desires to serve Jesus and had great visions to be used for His kingdom and His glory. So, today we pay a cost because God Who created us called us to that.

So, I want you to know that the answer to all your prayers is that God is in control. He knows better than us what He is doing in our lives and all around the world. Therefore, declare as Daniel and his friends Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego did in Daniel 3:17­-18: ‘”If that is the case, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the fiery furnace. He will deliver us from your hand, O King. But, if not, let it be known to you, O King, that we do not serve your God, nor will we worship the gold image which you have set up.”

Learn and declare as Habakkuk did that, even if we do not get the result that we’re looking for, God is still good and we will praise His holy Name. Habakkuk 3:17-19: “Though the fig tree may not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines; though the labor of the olive may fail and the fields yield no food; though the flock may be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord. I will joy in the God of my salvation. The Lord God is my strength. He will make my feet like deer’s feet, and He will make me walk on high hills.”

Then, my dear beloved daughter Rebekka Grace, I pray God will bring me back home soon, but if not we still sing together, as Habakkuk did, “Hallelujah!”-either separated by prison walls or together at home. So let Daddy hear you sing a loud “Hallelujah,” that I can hear all the way here in the prison. I’m so proud of you my sweet, courageous daughter.

Glory to God forever. Amen. Kisses and blessings. Daddy.”


When she was finished reading,  the ladies formed hundreds of prayer circles to pray for Saeed’s release,  along with the three other Americans being held in Iran, and also to pray for the persecuted church in every country where people are imprisoned and killed for following Jesus instead of the state religion.     In the months that followed, it seemed Saeed was close to being released on a couple of different occasions, and our State Department became more vocal if not more effective in calling for his release.     We were gratified to hear that the Lord had protected Saeed’s life and has supernaturally touched the life-threatening medical conditions for which he was being denied treatment, but the Lord has held back from his release.

This week, Naghmeh disclosed Saeed’s long struggle with pornography addiction and the abuse that existed in their home prior to his arrest and detention in Iran, and she announced that she will be stepping back from public advocacy for his release while continuing to pray and to leave those efforts in the hands of their attorneys at the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ).

Could his imprisonment have been a divine intervention?    “Standerinfamilycourt”  hates the heresy known as OSAS (“once saved, always saved”)  because it is a web of emboldened entrapment, luring people into activities, such as pornography and adultery, that lead to demonic oppression, which in turn requires exhaustive spiritual warfare to free them.    A shockingly high number of pastors, when interviewed anonymously, have admitted to viewing porn in a short window of time prior to the interview.
Several studies have documented the biochemical changes to the brain that result from pornography addiction that then lead to other destructive behaviors.    Apparently, this was an issue in Saeed’s life well prior to his imprisonment in Iran.    Many covenant marriage standers will tell us they feel that Satan targeted their prodigal, who had been extremely fruitful in the kingdom of God and had clearly been used of the Lord just before their fall.

Naghmeh is taking all of the same abuse from her fallen kingdom warrior that most non-famous standers do from their backsliding prodigals.   It’s exhausting and appears to all observers to be thankless–until God suddenly moves on the situation.    Wives like Naghmeh are torn between speaking out to try and secure the help they know their one-flesh needs,  and showing him the unconditional respect of not speaking negatively about him in public.    Naghmeh is also at considerable risk as she makes a public announcement that she is stepping back to be with her children and seek the Lord for what to do next, as we recently saw with Anna Duggar.    Everyone will have an opinion,  and in our self-focused, microwave culture, usually not one that is protective and supportive of healing the marriage.    She will be subjected to wave after wave of slander against her one-flesh (–slander doesn’t necessarily have to be untrue, just delivered in a fleshly and venomous way that rationalizes or reinforces somebody else’s unbiblical prior choices),  and will be regaled with corresponding unsolicited advice.    If she decides to follow fully biblical instructions, such as those Paul gave in 1 Cor. 7:11,  she can count on being publicly castigated and assured that no power in heaven or on earth can change her husband’s heart issues.    As sad as the Paris events were that deflected attention away from her announcement,  this development served as a merciful shield from the “Christian” magpies out there.

Naghmeh and Saeed are part of a fairly large nondenominational church in Boise, ID.    It is difficult to tell from their stated doctrines whether they believe that any act of men, from abuse to civil divorce or civil remarriage dissolves the marriage covenant, contrary to Christ’s word on the matter [Matt. 19:6 and Mark 10:9] — and this is a crucial issue in today’s largely apostate evangelical church.

From the church website“The Bible is our creed. Therefore, any effort to define the basis of our teaching necessitates emphasis on the whole Word of God as the sole source of our beliefs. Furthermore, it seems unwise to adhere to the labels of much of Christendom, whether it’s Fundamentalism, Pentecostal, Calvinism, Armenianism, Charismatic, Dispensational, Reformed, etc.   It is unrealistic to think that any individual man-made system of beliefs is completely error free or, conversely, without merit at all. It is therefore our sincere desire to simply teach the Bible true to its original languages and respectful of its historical context, the context of each passage, and the accepted and normal use of language (i.e. being able to discern the difference between a parable and a proverb, a prophecy and an historical account, etc.). We trust that this will enable us to understand the intended meaning and truth that is to be found in God’s inspired Word. “


The above sounds hopeful, that the leadership of this church values the “Berean” approach.   If so, the Holy Spirit has far fewer obstructions in the form of wishful interpretations than might otherwise be the case in an evangelical church of today.    When Saeed is finally released, he will have been so traumatized that he will likely not be immediately returning to ministry, and we can be praying that appropriate church discipline, repentance and marital healing, by the grace of God, happens first.

Back to the womens’ ministry conference in Indianapolis….it was perhaps providential that the Cymbala family, from Brooklyn Tabernacle was also there, with a wonderful session of testimony and extended, soaking prayer for the redemption of prodigals and the breaking of spiritual bondage holding them captive.   Additionally, a covenant marriage stander by the name of Vicki Rose gave the account of her restored marriage, after addiction, adultery and divorce.

Also, providentially, Nancy’s closing session, also focused on the redemption of prodigals, was around Psalm 107–and very powerful!   May the Lord quicken all of this back to Naghmeh as she seeks His face, leading her to watch the videos again and realizing that the Lord knew, and orchestrated all of it!

Standers, though we bear shame for the sake of the kingdom, we know that deception can (and does) fall on the strongest kingdom warrior,  yet God will still find a way to be glorified in the end.    Let’s take heart, as we hedge this precious marriage in our prayers.

Therefore, since Christ has suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same purpose, because he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin,  so as to live the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for the lusts of men, but for the will of God.    – 1 Peter 4:1-2


7 Times Around the Jericho Wall  |   Let’s Repeal No-Fault Divorce!



Another Year, Another Set of Reformation Day Musings: Our Betrothal to Christ

11266536_402635179933830_2645708547098071997_nby standerinfamilycourt

“I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven.”        Matt. 16:19

For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus,  who gave Himself as a ransom for all, the testimony given at the proper time.      1 Timothy 2: 5-6

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; for you once were not a people, but now you are the people of God; you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.
1 Peter 2:9-10


It was exactly a year ago that the events of 2013-2014 had me thinking about All Saints Day in a way I never had before.    There had been a startling and shocking rise in martyrdom abroad.   The Vatican had just concluded Installment 1 of their Extraordinary Synod of Bishops, with the alarming news that the Vatican was seriously considering changing 2,000 years of marriage doctrine to emulate an apostate aspect of the Protestant Church — with no apparent regard to the resulting societal degradation, nor awareness of discipline of the Lord’s hand coming to bear on her rebellious cousin in consequence of the same.

With my fledgling blog and Facebook pages, this Pentecostal believer had been slowly forging alliances with traditional family champions and organizations, a disproportionate number of whom were Roman Catholics.    I had just come through Round 1 with the family court system / Sexual Revolution Enforcement, which left me feeling like a bit of a religious martyr myself ahead of the pending constitutional appeal of the retaliatory decree.    I felt the urge to capture these events in an early blog, not even realizing that the year 2015 would unfold so very many significant related events that would be very much of a reprise of the prior year.    And so, here we are, still even more threatened by the twin terrors that overhang our nation:  sexual anarchy and militant Islam, and wondering if there will be a Great Awakening, or instead, the sealing of God’s judgment.

The Lord had considerably more to walk this covenant marriage stander through in the months following this post.   The original thought was to use the blog and Facebook page to write about my journey through the family court system and appeal process, through the lens of faith in Jesus Christ and the lens of what the word of God has to say about the indissolubility of covenant marriage.    I hoped to inform anyone interested of the many ways in which unilateral divorce laws deny basic fundamental rights protected by our Constitution for all other citizens except “Respondents” to a so-called no-fault petition.    Little did I realize that this effort would soon put me in contact with a treasured network of accomplished bible scholars and church historians, right within the community of covenant marriage standers, who would bring so much richness to my task, and transform the direction of these pages in a way that was much bigger than my limited vision, to bridge between the national, political pro-family network and the geographically-dispersed community of standers,  two groups who may never have become aware of their common journey, or even aware of each other’s existence otherwise.   I can’t begin to describe the awe that comes with feeling the Lord’s hand in orchestration of an assignment, and the providence that unfolds for it to be advanced.    I can only sing His praises for it.

In the early months of 2015, I was introduced to the ante-Nicene church fathers, and would find out that for the  400 years after Jesus went to the cross, every one of them articulated in his own way, what prior to this I only knew through scripture and personal  Holy Spirit revelation,  that man had no power or authority to dissolve a marriage covenant, nor unjoin what God had joined short of death.
I learned hermeneutic, historical and cultural facts that, for the first time in my long walk with the Lord, caused the scriptures on marriage to finally hold together, rather than contradict each other.
I learned much more about the forces and activities involved in the Reformation’s handling of marriage doctrine, including motives and mechanisms that impacted the way scripture came down to us.
I learned about the church wolves who co-opted and countermanded the teachings of Jesus they deemed to be too harsh.    In the process, I learned some appalling facts about the dark side of the character of some of the Reformers, and I learned the history, circumstances and effects of fraudulently handing marriage over to the civil (state) authorities in order to obtain access to dissolution proclamations denied by the Church of Jesus Christ.

In the process, I resolved all lingering doubt in my mind that unrepentant rebellion against God, in marrying another person while a covenant spouse is alive, will cost a person their inheritance in the kingdom of God.   In other words,  1 Cor. 6:9-10 and Galatians 5:19-21 is most certainly talking about this kind of adulterer.    In fact, I realized that this type of adulterer is the only type Jesus is ever recorded in the gospels as defining, and that He warned about this soul-corrupting sin on three different occasions, in a way that leaves me wondering how anyone could possibly wager their eternity on an “exception clause” called fornication (misconstrued, “adultery”).

The news that came down in early September from the Vatican removed all doubt that the Roman Catholic Church was casting about for a way to shore up membership by joining its Protestant counterparts in betraying Christ’s teaching on the absolute indissolubility of sacramental covenant marriage.    Since Pope Innocent III in the 12th century, the mechanism for doing so had been “annulment”, i.e. the outright denial that the events Jesus describes in Matthew 19:5-6 and Mark 10:8-9 have actually occurred between a biblically-eligible husband and covenant wife who, sometimes many years and children earlier, had repeated vows before God and (sometimes), a priest.    In what Pope Francis has dubbed “the year of mercy”, this initiative speeds up the denial of covenant process and makes it cost-free at the sole discretion of a local bishop.    Obviously, with inheritance in the kingdom of God at stake, one has to question how truly “merciful” this approach is, but making what is portrayed as an “administrative enhancement” was observed by commentators as aimed at taking the pressure off the twin proposal to administer communion to remarried adulterers.    That seemed fine with a majority of the Western prelates,  but SIFC was thanking God for the spirited opposition of the African church fathers to abandoning the sanctity of marriage in this fashion.

This past year, of course, also brought the constitutionally-jarring Supreme Court decision, Obergefell v Hodges on June 26, 2015, and along with it, an opportunity to observe the response of both the Protestant and Catholic Churches, particularly with regard to any signs of introspection, not just the predictable denouncement of the 50-state imposition of sodomized marriage over the democratic will of the super-majorities in numerous states.     It should be noted that the “mercy” proposals of the RCC included the same embrace of “married” or “committed” sodomists as well as “married” adulterers.    For now it appears that this latter proposal failed in the 2015 Synod completely, and opposition from the Pope was unequivocal.     This essentially puts the Catholic and Protestant churches on the same page — tolerating legalized adultery, but vocally rejecting recognition of legalized sodomy.    To be sure, there have been some glimmers of introspection concerning accommodation of so-called no fault (unilateral) divorce start to hit the evangelical blogosphere, along with some non-cleric Catholic voices urging a challenge of the religious freedom infringements, but nothing of substance so far.    There also does not appear to be much evidence that the “Marriage Pledge” advocated a year ago by First Things Magazine is being implemented, whereby more than 800 clergy of all traditions vowed to stop signing civil marriage licenses if same-sex marriage was imposed by the courts.

In this past year, SIFC also learned to critically question her NIV and NAS bibles, and (thankfully) how to hold them up to the various online tools of detection and scrutiny.    I learned that part of the need for this actually had roots in the Reformation and also in the backlash against the Reformation.    Once again, this provided the missing puzzle piece for my prior (externally-imposed) fog of why the two or three most commonly relied-upon marriage scriptures didn’t seem to line up with the vast body of the remaining scriptures.    My eyes were opened up to incredible facts about how ancient bible manuscripts were chosen and the variations those choices caused in consequence of faithfulness to the original teachings of Jesus and the Apostles.


(photo and downloadable PDF by Sharon Henry)

Since the King James Version has never been for me very conducive to undistracted personal bible study,  it was a relief to learn that there is now a contemporary bible translation available, and actually downloadable free-of-charge in PDF version which is translated from faithful manuscripts by a qualified born-again translator,  Dr. Wilbur Pickering’s  New Testament, called Sovereign Creator Has Spoken (2013).

Of course, the basic tenet of the Reformation, that we are saved by grace alone, by faith in Jesus Christ alone (justification) has also come into sharper focus for me during this unexpected 2015 journey.   It did not take long to determine several years ago that heresies tend to pair off, and the heresy that there are “biblical grounds” to marry someone else’s spouse or marry an eligible person following man’s divorce on certain grounds was usually justified with the corollary that even if Jesus really meant what He said about this being adultery,  Jesus died for all sins, “yesterday, today and tomorrow”,  the idea of physical repentance from remarriage adultery was therefore “legalism”  and “salvation by works”.    SIFC certainly agrees that Jesus died for our sins of yesterday, and for our nonwillful, unconfessed sins of today, but the tomorrow part has always been a bit problematic.    Always before, I resolved it by what the Lord responded back to me in times of prayer and fasting:  that a clearly-regenerated (born again) soul can walk away from their salvation, but the fact that they are sealed with the Holy Spirit as a deposit makes that hard — and the Lord pursues hard.    Seemingly on an unrelated note, I couldn’t help but notice in certain conversations I observed standers having online with theologians, any mention of the Hebrew betrothal analogy in general, and Mary and Joseph’s betrothal in particular, were summarily dismissed and rebuffed.   Usually this was in the context of the running dispute over whether the Greek “porneia” in the presumed Matthean exception clause was to be rendered “whoredom / fornication”, or “sexual immorality”, thereby including post-wedding adultery and (although this rendering still contorts the sentence structure of both Matt. 5:32 and Matt. 19:9),  justifying a claim that the marriage covenant is dissolved with Christ’s “authority”.     By the same reasoning, then, the OSAS crowd must accept that Christ can therefore divorce us and marry another, but in bizarre fashion, some of them actually make this very same argument against themselves!

Then I had an opportunity to read Casey Whitaker’s “Have Ye Not Read?” Chapter 10, and struck upon a much deeper insight about Paul’s admonition to “finish the race”.    Marriage forms the basis for analogy for our walk with the Lord in so many different aspects, and I believe it does so uniformly when indissolubility is embraced by the believer as well.


Is the marriage supper of the Lamb not in heaven?    Is it therefore in the future?    Do we not have to actually show up for it?   Can we be walking (or running) in the opposite direction and expect to arrive there properly attired and equipped before we run out of time?

 “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a wedding feast for his son…. But when the king came in to look over the dinner guests, he saw a man there who was not dressed in wedding clothes,  and he *said to him, ‘Friend, how did you come in here without wedding clothes?’ And the man was speechless.   Then the king said to the servants, ‘Bind him hand and foot, and throw him into the outer darkness; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’  For many are called, but few are chosen.”      Matt. 22: 2, 11-14

Then the kingdom of heaven will be comparable to ten virgins, who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom.   Five of them were foolish, and five were prudent.  For when the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them, but the prudent took oil in flasks along with their lamps.   Now while the bridegroom was delaying, they all got drowsy and began to sleep.   But at midnight there was a shout, ‘Behold, the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.’   Then all those virgins rose and trimmed their lamps.   The foolish said to the prudent, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’   But the prudent answered, ‘No, there will not be enough for us and you too; go instead to the dealers and buy some for yourselves.’  And while they were going away to make the purchase, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding feast; and the door was shut.   Later the other virgins also came, saying, ‘Lord, lord, open up for us.’   But he answered, ‘Truly I say to you, I do not know you.’   Be on the alert then, for you do not know the day nor the hour.      Matthew 25: 1-13

These two parables, of course, like so much of Matthew’s gospel make sense only in the context of the Hebrew betrothal.    Christ died for our justification, enabling but not guaranteeing our sanctification.

Finally, there has been much discussion lately whether the Counter-Reformation continues, and in similar vein, whether the Reformation is itself now under reformation.    The last 15 minutes or so of the video linked above addresses this more authoritatively than SIFC could, including the connections with the Emergent Church, with the Jesuit challenges, and with the push toward ecumenism.    All of these things have unmistakable ties to the prophecy of Daniel, and to that in Revelation.    Given the fulfillment of the prophesied recent events in the Middle East and given Russia’s renewed involvement, given the push by Pope Francis, who is indeed the first Jesuit pope,  while recently in the U.S. to meet with representatives of non-Christian religions, and given the documentation of plans originating in the late 19th century exposed in A. Ralph Epperson’s 1989 book concerning the New World Order, SIFC’s pope-watching has begun in earnest.     Yet at the same time, the backlash has also been noticeably ramping up from those who say there will be no Rapture of the church, and that all prophecies were fulfilled by A.D. 70.    In general, these are evangelical leaders who want the current system of entrenched institutional serial polygamy to continue, and for whom the culture war is an ideology of politics dressed in piety far more than it is truthfully contending for the kingdom of God.

We shall see what 2016 brings, especially in terms of the scheduled change in leadership for the United States.


7 Times Around the Jericho Wall  |  Let’s Repeal No-Fault Divorce!