Category Archives: Prayer

Legalism, Fundamentalism…and Time-Limits on Almighty God

Psalm-32-9-Posterby Standerinfamilycourt

I will instruct you and teach you in the way which you should go;
I will counsel you with My eye upon you.
Do not be as the horse or as the mule which have no understanding,
Whose trappings include bit and bridle to hold them in check,
Otherwise they will not come near to you.
Many are the sorrows of the wicked,
But he who trusts in the Lord, lovingkindness shall surround him.
– Psalms 32:8-10

Is the following reasoning not true in the carnal estimation of our contemporary “me”-vangelical culture?

Legalism is the unpopular belief that man’s divorce and remarriage while an estranged spouse remains alive is immoral.   (Malachi 2:16)

Fundamentalism is the far more unpopular conviction that man’s divorce and remarriage while an estranged spouse remains alive is impossible.  (Matthew 19:8)

Anyone who has an unconditional love relationship with Jesus Christ, and who continues to be led by the power of the Holy Spirit, instantly sees the self-righteous fault in both of the above presumptions.    Those whose love of Jesus is merely conditional will eventually wear down and will go their own way, espousing both fallacious attitudes.     Are such people lost forever?    Mercifully, no, provided they live long enough to fully surrender to His rule and unconditionally repent.      If their conversion was false, they will have a much more uphill battle to true faith from apostasy, because the Holy Spirit only indwells those who truly did die to self when they once embraced Christ.   Both the false convert and the backslider are equally lost at this point.   If their initial conversion was the real thing, His indwelling Holy Spirit, now grieved and quenched, will make them miserable on a daily basis until they forsake all of their self-worshipping ways, including faux spouses.     Either way, God’s faithful chastisement can be counted on, despite external appearances.

Actual legalism can be observed in such people long before the outright apostasy manifests in their actions and choices.     This legalism can also ripen into actual fundamentalism if it continues to grow in the heart of such a person, and this can be readily observed externally in visible elements such as the mode of dress adopted over time.     Their lack of unconditional love for Jesus often either results in a reverted desire to become indistinguishable from the surrounding lost culture in all their ways, or it can swing to the other extreme of a loss of desire to be both salty and attractive in the culture, instead becoming a walking caricature.

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There was a marriage permanence retreat in Ohio Amish country recently, coincidentally timed in the aftermath of one such highly visible fall from grace of a stander who was very prominent on social media.  This retreat  drew several leaders of our movement, and discussion of that overshadowing incident seemed to be everywhere in that gathering, despite a great move of the Holy Spirit that weekend.  The hosts for that annual recurring event are gracious people of Amish heritage who sensed that their former community did not uniformly consist of true Christ-followers.   Many had come out of those Amish communities (typically, being “shunned” in the process) in order to more fully follow Christ without the legalism or fundamentalism that it becomes so easy to hide behind as a substitute for that love relationship with Him.    For the most part, this coming out did not fundamentally change their mode of dress or their characteristic reverence for holy matrimony.  It did not change their wonderful ethic of ministering to others.     They formed churches around similar values, but with Jesus firmly at the center.   Here they made traveling to participate in this retreat affordable for standers of limited resources by putting us up in their homes, where they soaked our families in prayer.   Non-standers in the community spent hours preparing and serving the meals so that standers could focus on the retreat sessions.       Former prodigals and their standers from within that community were wonderfully transparent with us about their journey, and some of the waiting standers themselves are also from that community.    This was a truly refreshing time for emotionally-battered covenant spouses who bear the tremendous burden for souls in their own family members.     Legalism and fundamentalism have little to do with our outer circumstances, and everything to do with whom or what is sitting on the throne of our individual hearts.

Early on, people who eventually fall away adopt (and make highly public) an attitude that treats peripheral matters, such as the observance of popular holidays, the day Sabbath is observed, the name by which God is referred to (etc., etc.) as heaven-or-hell issues.

It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery.   –  Galatians 5:1

They fail to “keep their powder dry” for the relatively few actual heaven-or-hell issues.     They use harsh language and subjective name-calling that should only be reserved for backsliding issues that harden hearts and pose a true danger of falling away, or leading others away.     If such a person is a covenant marriage stander, they structure their home in a way that is so drastically different from the best of what the home their prodigal once shared with them brings to remembrance, that returning and reconciling looks increasingly unattractive to their true one-flesh, especially in comparison with the material rewards that our culture (and church) heap on legalized adulterers.    As time goes on, the floundering stander become less and less Christ-like, less ready to go the distance with a suddenly-returned prodigal, and perhaps even eventually repelling their own children from faith as they come into adulthood.     At this point in the progressive hardening of their heart, they become actual fundamentalists.    This earned label, “fundamentalist”, is no longer a badge of honor for them, but a badge of dishonor.

Sadly, such people may have tens of thousands of social media followers when they finally, publicly fall away from heart-driven obedience to Jesus, potentially taking many with them into apostasy.   Ironically, these people lose (or never actually had) the only valid motive for standing, aside from loving obedience to Jesus….deep care and burden for the eternal soul of their prodigal spouse and children.

Let not many of you become teachers, my brethren, knowing that as such we will incur a stricter judgment.     –  James 3:1                 

Those of us who love Jesus, without any reservations or conditions, will learn from witnessing this fall…in an edifying way that sharply contrasts with those who follow them into apostasy.     “But for the grace of God, there go I. “

The heresy adopted in any particular case that becomes the deceitful rationalization for “marrying” another’s spouse must be uniquely creative, because if it is not highly subtle, the appearance that their own personal standards of holiness have not slidden cannot be maintained, and outright rebellion against God’s word must then be admitted.     A good rule is that any rationale for “remarrying” while having a living, estranged spouse which departs from the unchangeable principle in Matthew 19:6, 8 is automatically a heresy which results in what Jesus repeatedly called adultery.     However, there are clever ways to attack this foundational truth, and satan will not hesitate to use them.     The current popular heresy is that what Jesus said in Matthew 19:6,8 “does not apply to unbelievers”, claiming that “God does not join” those marriages into an inseverable one-flesh entity if one of the spouses was an “unbeliever” at the time of their vows.     Ironically, there is a mountain of biblical evidence against this claim in dozens of Old and New Testament couples who illustrate God’s recognition of their state of holy matrimony – without applying any religious test.    Logically, this assertion would require intact one-flesh spouses to repeat their vows after they both come to Christ, in order to not be living in “adultery”.  We see no illustration of such in all of scripture.     Only lust and idolatry make this theory appear “valid” – we readily believe what feeds our flesh if Jesus isn’t everything to us; if He isn’t truly sufficient for us.

Those of us in the marriage permanence community who stand firm should not be surprised or discouraged by any of this.    First of all, the battle is the Lord’s.    Secondly, satan’s intensified rage that we’ve recently witnessed is a testament that light always overpowers darkness, and not the other way around.    The very reason that Jesus likened us to “salt” in the first place is because salt is a preservative, of society, of our covenant families and the of the church.    As nice as a lengthy vacation from Ephesians 6 might seem to most of us, satan is not going to take his ball or his bat and go home until Jesus comes back for the third time.    We all know he is actually going to gain power for seven years after Jesus comes back for the second time.   If we don’t learn this while dealing with various and sundry apostates in the movement today,  including the high-profile ones, we can’t expect to learn it in time to be effective when our repenting prodigal suddenly returns home to our families.

Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock.   And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded on the rock.     –  Matthew 7:24

 

Therefore, do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward.  For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God, you may receive what was promised.

For yet in a very little while,
He who is coming will come, and will not delay.
But My righteous one shall live by faith;
And if he shrinks back, My soul has no pleasure in him.
– Hebrews 10:35-38

www.standerinfamilycourt.com
7 Times Around the Jericho Wall |  Let’s Repeal Unilateral Divorce!

 


One-Flesh: Preaching / Teaching Only the “What” of Marriage Indissolubility Isn’t Enough!

AugustineOneFleshby Standerinfamilycourt

So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and he slept; then He took one of his ribs and closed up the flesh at that place.    The Lord God  fashioned into a woman the rib which He had taken from the man, and brought her to the man.   The man said,

This is now bone of my bones,
And flesh of my flesh;
She shall be called Woman,
Because she was taken out of Man.”

For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh.
–  Genesis 2:21

To our post-1970’s divorce culture these words, spoken by Adam and penned by Moses, aren’t too controversial, so long as everyone agrees that the “become-one-flesh” part is a human, sexual, gradual, “natural law” process.    That way, any number of “ribs” are perfectly interchangeable, even though the Lord saw fit to take only one rib out of the man.    But living spouses aren’t morally interchangeable!   Jesus didn’t agree at all that becoming one-flesh (sarx mia) was a gradual or even a primarily sexual process.  He came along and said a whole bunch of things in one short, controversial passage,  Matthew 19:5-6, that strongly suggested this process is not at all natural, gradual or interchangeable as the humanists would like, but supernatural, instantaneous, individually God-accomplished–ahead of and  independently of the physical consummation.…and (therefore) inseverable.     Then Paul followed along to confirm twice that only death severs this God-created one-flesh entity,  going so far as to say in Ephesians 5…

He who loves his own wife loves himself; for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also does the church, because we are members of His body.  For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and shall be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.   This mystery is great; but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the church.

This topic has been urgently on SIFC’s heart over the past several weeks due to a trio of recent events.     There is a Thursday night conference call arranged and hosted by one of the “standers” as part of his ongoing ministry to other covenant marriage standers where typically someone gives a detailed testimony, then the call is opened up to questions from others on the call.     One recent Thursday, the featured speaker was a pastor with a congregation who teaches the biblical truth that man’s divorce does not dissolve holy matrimony, and that remarriage after man’s divorce is almost always adultery–other than the rare instance where the divorce was a repenting divorce and where only one of the partners has a living, estranged true spouse.     On the same call was also a second marriage permanence pastor who joined in to the question period.      SIFC took the opportunity to commend both pastors, but was concerned about all the crazy, heretical teachings out in the “marketplace of (evangelical) ideas” that compete with the biblical truth, even among the stander community,  and asked,

“Praise God that both of you courageously preach the truthful ‘what’ of marriage permanence.    But it’s one thing to speak of ‘permanence’ and quite another thing to more precisely speak of ‘indissolubility’.   Do you ever have occasion to preach on the concept of one-flesh, or the ‘why’ behind Jesus calling remarriage adultery?”

There was a long moment of quiet as thoughts were gathered by the two preachers on the call.    SIFC asked if they understood the question, and realized that this might actually not have occurred to either one of them before.    They both said they understood, but SIFC clarified that the question was based on Matthew 19:6, and Jesus describing a supernatural, instantaneous process by the hand of God, and that the New Testament speaks in several other places about the implications of that truth — so, do they ever speak on that topic?    Both preachers on the call said that they didn’t think their congregations could “handle” that kind of packaging, saying… “we try to bring the hard truths to our people as gently as we can, without running them off.   There are people in our congregation who would be offended due to their loved ones being remarried.”     (Therefore, due to the sensitivities involved, those congregations only get the “what”, but at least they get that much of the truth, which is better than the silence or false teaching that most congregations get.)

The second incident relates to a certain brother in the permanence movement who seems to be growing weary after a few years in his stand for the rebuilding of his covenant family,  and he seems to be “re-evaluating”.      He and others are currently embracing an extrabiblical theory, that God only joins two believers in this inseverable one-flesh state,  therefore believers shouldn’t be “unequally-yoked” with unbelievers, and furthermore, God would never so “yoke” them.     This seems to be the “heresy-du-jour”,  such as satan brings along every few months, seeking whom he can devour, perhaps even supplanting, for now, the pair of wicked Judaizing heresies we were so fiercely wrestling with a few months ago.    We standers live daily on the fierce front line of spiritual warfare, fighting with all our might for our families, and giving satan a major black eye every day.   Our lives are filled with wearying conflicts with many others in our world, including other believers whom we love and respect.   The emotional exhaustion makes any one of us a prime target at any time for falling into deception.  This man knows his bible well,  and the Good Book is chock full of historical examples in both the Old and New Testaments against this false notion, so we can only pray the emotions and urges he is suffering will subside, and this brother is refreshed in the Lord again soon.   Until then, may our faithful Father place dense thornbushes in this brother’s path to keep him from walking out the deception.
(Update: this man has now apostasized and entered into an adulterous “marriage” with another man’s estranged covenant wife.  Willful, unrepentant adulterers forfeit their inheritance in the kingdom of God, and, losing their freedom in Christ, they come under the dominion of satan.)

Most marriage heresies are quite easily discredited with a firm and steadfast understanding of the biblical one-flesh concept because most such heresies ignore or violate this truth,  but in this instance, satan seems to be whispering (Pssst…did God really say?)  against even this core truth, by falsely claiming that God only joins a certain few (believers only)  in that instantaneous, supernatural inseverable entity.
MarriageHeresy
Therefore, as this carnal reasoning goes, the battle-weary stander should be able to remarry after a valiant effort at standing, without Jesus calling it adultery if their unbelieving spouse civilly divorced them.     By this same logic, however, most marriages that ever existed throughout all time in any culture have been mere fornication under civil-paper unions, including Mr. & Mrs. Potiphar, Ahab and Jezebel,  Herod and the daughter of Aretas,  Herodias and Philip,  and Timothy’s parents.  Under this logic, John the Baptist only laid down his head on the executioner’s block for the sin of “incest” (since supposedly God did not join either of the pagan unions involved), and Paul was urging believers to remain in a fornicating civil-only relationship in the hopes of evangelizing a spouse who wasn’t born again…

But to the rest I say, not the Lord, that if any brother has a wife who is an unbeliever, and she consents to live with him, he must not divorce her. And a woman who has an unbelieving husband, and he consents to live with her, she must not send her husband away.   For the unbelieving husband is sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified through her believing husband; for otherwise your children are unclean, but now they are holy.   –  1 Corinthians 7:12-14

Sanctification without an authentic, supernatural one-flesh joining in place, and without God covenanting with that entity?   Not likely!

The third incident happened to SIFC at a recent weekend retreat held by the womens’ ministry at a former church, where Day 2 of Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth’s  “Revive 17” conference was being simulcast to remote audiences.     This year’s  theme was Titus 2, which begins….

But as for you, speak the things which are fitting for sound doctrine. Older men are to be temperate, dignified, sensible, sound in faith, in love, in perseverance.  Older women likewise are to be reverent in their behavior, not malicious gossips nor enslaved to much wine, teaching what is good,  so that they may encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children,  to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, so that the word of God will not be dishonored.

Various segments of the excellent day-long presentation featured speakers who each addressed some aspect of verses 3 to 5 of Titus 2:  Reverent behavior, Self-Control, Loving husbands well,  Being a worker at home, Submission,  and….Purity.    Each segment was preceded by a clever skit to set the tone for the speaker.    Just before the lunch break came the segment on Purity, and that skit unfolded thusly:

Two young married ladies were meeting up in a coffee shop at the request of one of them (Girl #1)  in order to talk about her unhappiness with her covenant marriage, and the (married) man she had just met who, of course,  was “wonderful in every way”, unlike the toad she was married to.    Girl #2 listened attentively, then attempted to bring a reality-check into the situation by asking various questions.    Girl #1 finally figured out that she was not going to get any approval for her plans to pursue an adulterous relationship, so she lit into Girl #2:  “it’s all easy for you to say, since you’re married to Mr. Perfect-and-Wonderful.   You think I don’t deserve to be happy just because I made a mistake in who I married.”     A moment of heavy silence, then Girl #2 says “There’s something I have to tell you.    Steve is my second husband.    I committed adultery like you’re thinking about doing, and my first husband divorced me.    It was only by the grace and the mercy of God, who brought Steve to me.” [END].

The conference participants were then called to prayer with their tablemates…while sitting right next to SIFC was the church secretary who had two years ago “married” a divorced man for the second time (her first had unfortunately passed away in his state of sin, but had been a loyal elder in the church.)    SIFC prayed aloud for sound doctrine to land in the session, based on what Jesus taught in Matthew 5:27-32, so that everyone would be able to see that there are actually two practicing adulteresses in this skit, and not just one.   This skit and prayer was then followed by a presentation by Dannah Gresh, where the main theme was that biblical purity is accomplished by the “grace and mercy” of God in our lives.    When the lunch break was announced afterward, the two leaders of womens’ ministry called SIFC outside for a “sisterly admonition”, details of the severity of which will be spared here.

SIFC responded to these two women’s ministry leaders that charges of “legalism” are not valid when a heaven-or-hell issue, according to biblical instruction, makes clear that real souls are at-stake.  Since Titus 2 begins with a call to “sound doctrine”, it was not “inappropriate” in an audience that included impressionable teenage girls (their own daughters, as a matter of fact), for Christ’s directly relevant teaching to bring the skit back into alignment with the scriptural truth.    One of the two pleaded that the remarriage(s) in question were not adultery because the original marriage(s) and divorce(s) occurred before some of the parties got saved, so nobody’s going to hell due to “God’s grace”.   It ended with “an agreement to disagree”, and was followed up two days later with a rebuking email to SIFC from the senior pastor of that church, who levelled a charge of “disrespect for leadership”, to which SIFC responded, in part:

“I am well aware of your close friendship with C___ and G___, and perhaps it was even you who performed their wedding (hope not), but if you really love them and want to share eternity with them, I urge you to study a lot more on this topic before you jump to the conclusion that I and a growing number of pastors (now found in quite a variety of denominations), are “wrong”.   I deeply regret that I didn’t take the opportunity to speak with C___ before that wedding as I did have an opportunity, but at the time I was still honestly questioning whether “not inheriting the kingdom of God” was the same thing as going to hell….Remarriage adultery almost always takes people to hell in pairs, at a minimum, if not physically repented before death.  There is an excellent book written in 2007 by Joe Fogel called “One Flesh” that I just gave away my last copy of to the board of the Council for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (CBMW) in response to The Nashville Statement.   I will be ordering more copies for the work I am now doing full time, and would like to bring you a copy when my supply is replenished.   It does an excellent job of explaining the “why” behind all of this in an impeccably-scholarly manner.  It needed to be of this high caliber because each of those board members is a PhD seminarian.”     ( A brief “bible study” was also engaged on the oft-hijacked topic of The Unpardonable Sin in that email.   These leaders all insisted they were “not going to debate” with this blogger.   Both this pastor and Nancy D-W will be receiving a letter this week about the skit, with a complementary copy of Joe Fogel’s book.   The letter to Nancy will be covered in a separate blog post. )

The readers can readily notice that the conflict in incidents 2 and 3 are both based on the same extrabiblical premise, namely, that our vows and resulting covenants “don’t count” if they happened before we got saved.    “Standerinfamilycourt” dealt with that abusive notion in one of the blogs in the “Debunk Series” in 2015.

How did Jesus get around the “black hole” of excuses, exceptions and permissions when He had to take the same wildly unpopular stand in order to usher in the kingdom of God?    Matthew 19  and Mark 10 both tell us….He deliberately skipped past Moses’ regulations designed to mitigate carnality (the conversation the Pharisees all hoped to have with Him)  and went all the way back to the Creation to which He was personally a witness, and Moses was the historical author.    That way, He could focus the conversation on the only thing relevant to the New Covenant — namely, the old one-flesh design “from the beginning” that Mosaic regulations had trampled under foot.    Excuses, allowances and exceptions, after all, are only for those not willing to lose their life to follow Him.    Those who claim that God “made an allowance” for man’s weakness or “hard-heartedness” are pagans and phonies.    To them, anyone who preaches even the “what” is a “legalist”.    Chances are, if anyone preaches the “why” to them, they will be slandered even more severely as a “fundamentalist”, but at least then the rebellious will choose their sin over following Christ with the full information on the table, as well as its accurate context.   If even one of the already-perishing actually repents, the result would be well worth it.

Here are the top eleven additional reasons why anyone who wants anyone else to take #1M1W4Life  to heart, must be educating people about the true, biblical nature of one-flesh as the indispensible “why” behind the “what”.

11.  The culture war within Christ’s church is just as fierce and high-stakes as the outside culture war, and neither will be won otherwise.

There is a cognitive dissonance among evangelicals that makes them resistant to define adultery differently than the culture does.  Even when they embrace Christ’s Matthew 5 definition, they only embrace the part about “mental adultery”,  and they gloss right over the part about marrying the God-joined spouse of another found in verse 32, even though Jesus repeated it two more recorded times afterward.    This can be seen in a response by a Moody Bible Institute representative to a recent letter by SIFC asking them to stop broadcast programming that promotes “blended families” as not being sinful, so that true disciples can conscionably donate to their godly ministries.   Said that Programming Manager, “However I fail to see where the content in the programs you listed [ Family Life Blended and Focus on the Family] are sanctioning adultery.”   This, despite our original letter citing several explicit scriptures stating that to marry a divorced person is adultery.

10.  All marriage heresies (“annulment”, “Pauline Privilege”, “Matthean Exception”, elevated Torah observance)  have the common characteristic of being mutually exclusive of what Jesus taught in Matthew 19:6.

(Self-explanatory:  all are unauthorized  and illegitimate human attempts to put asunder what God has inseverably joined and only death can separate.)

9.  Permanence and indissolubility are not equivalent concepts.

Even an adulterous union can hope for “permanence”,  but such a union lacks indissolubility because of the absence of the authentic,  God-joined state and lack of divine covenant.    Permanent adulterous unions by Christ’s definition lead to an eternity in hell (1 Cor. 6:9-10; Gal. 5:19-21; Gal. 6:7-8; Heb. 13:4; Rev. 21:8)

8.  Even Jesus did not consider it enough to give “rules” without kingdom-based justifications.

He painted a very graphic picture in Matthew 18 of what will happen if we take justice into our own hands and refuse to forgive;  In Matthew 5, He warned that fornication and adultery are so addictive as idols that we’re better off losing the means to commit them than wind up in hell for all eternity;  again in Matthew 18, He warned that if children / grandchildren are abused and rejected because they’re in the way of our carnal desires, their angels will take up their case before Him and He will treat the transgression as if it was directed at Him.      In that vein, pastors will have a very difficult time ceasing to perform adulterous weddings over the already-married-for-life unless the groundwork of teaching and preaching on one-flesh and indissolubility occurs beforehand.   The “exceptions” must evaporate entirely, because every such “exception” endangers souls.     

7.   Correct one-flesh understanding knocks down barriers to genuine repentance and restitution needed for cleansing of sin.  

God doesn’t just “hate divorce” in Malachi 2.    He was actually saying He hated the economic and spiritual abandonment of the one-flesh spouse of our youth, and covenant children – literally, “putting away”, with or without civil sanction.    We don’t actually need a “culture of marriage” in the church.   Instead we need a culture of repentance, restitution and obedience.   Unfortunately, wicked shepherds have spent five decades creating a  situation that will entail some repenting divorces.  That is not the fault of those convicted to repent, but instead the fault of those who twisted biblical doctrines to accommodate grievous, society-destroying sin.

6.  Correct one-flesh understanding demonstrates just how immoral it was for the Reformers to cede authority over holy matrimony to the civil state.

The Roman Catholic Church falsely taught that only a wedding within that church and between two baptized members created a valid and indissoluble state of “sarx mia”, whereas Jesus taught that all valid vows between eligible couples (i.e., not already one-flesh with another living person) created inseverable “sarx mia”.     This RCC distortion directly led to an overreaction by Luther and the other “Reformers” to misuse the state to create an aura of legitimacy over that which Jesus repeatedly called adultery by restoring access to manmade “divorce” as it was among the Hebrews before Jesus abrogated those Mosaic laws.   No access to divorce is ever needed in a society unless the motive is to attempt to legitimize an immoral relationship through the illusion of “dissolution” and “remarriage”.    This is the only wicked reason for the civil state to have power over families that God never delegated.    There are other ways for the civil state to hold the adulterer responsible for his or her illegitimate offspring without claiming to “dissolve” his or her biblically valid state of holy matrimony.   Adultery partners, on the other hand, don’t deserve state protection that shields them from the natural consequences of their sinfulness at the expense of the God-ordained covenant family.  They need the consequences and censure in order to repent and redeem their soul, since they are never morally interchangeable with the living covenant spouse.   Today the civil “marriage contract” reflects no part of the definition of biblical marriage that Jesus gave in Matthew 19:4-6 in any state in the U.S., and any pastor who signs a civil marriage license these days as an agent of the state is saying, in effect, “I (and possibly NOT God) have joined these two people for as long as they don’t grow weary of each other or lust after someone else, of the opposite or same gender, despite the words of God I falsely spoke over them.”

5.  Failure to comprehend the divinely-created, inseverable one-flesh state robs believers of their anointed walk in the gifts of the holy spirit, and robs the church of all power among the pagans.

Jesus promised we would be sealed with the Person of the Holy Spirit as soon as our lives are surrendered to His lordship.    When we backslide and choose to live immorally after that event, the Holy Spirit does not depart from us, but Paul tells us He is instead “grieved” and “quenched” when we do things like sleep with someone other than our God-joined one-flesh under a blanket of man’s paper and the false blessing of our church.    Such a church, in turn, is deceived out of all moral authority against satan’s schemes and attacks.   This has been recently played out in the religious freedom court wars over Christian wedding professionals being legally compelled to participate in sodomous “weddings” in an earlier blog post.

4. Failure to respect and uphold the divinely-created, inseverable one-flesh state robs the church of leadership opportunities in legislative efforts and judicial influence toward the overall good of society.

If the church deems all heterosexual marriages as morally interchangeable based on civil law, there is little incentive to conform civil law to God’s law, nor to stand up to those who claim it’s “wrong” for civil law to reflect God’s law, or for civil law to promote what’s good for eternal souls.   This likely explains how “no-fault” repeal bills could have been before the legislatures of several states in recent years, and in two adjacent states in 2017, but barely elicited a yawn from the churches of those states.   Failure to comprehend the insult to God, that violation of the one-flesh precept of God constitutes, can probably also explain why the only churches sending busloads of people to national marriage marches were the inner city and minority churches most adversely impacted economically by immoral family laws, and why issues like pot, gambling,  and bathroom access take the highest priority with Christian family policy groups in various states, with endeavors to influence family laws getting little or no funding.    To stand idly by while the nation’s family laws have been irrefutably shown to lead to the mistreatment and deprivation of innocent children instead of their “best interests”,  leading to eventual derangement of our citizens in all sorts of manifestations, is a shirking of the Creation mandate of God for His people to take dominion and to rule righteously.    

3.  Failure to comprehend the divinely-created, inseverable one-flesh state creates an implied moral equivalence between heterosexual and homosexual unions, despite all “hot air” to the contrary.

Remarriage that Jesus repeatedly called adulterous (marrying any non-widowed divorced person) is immoral for precisely the same reason that homosexual “marriage” is immoral:   there’s no God-joining, hence no one-flesh entity created, with which He has unconditionally covenanted.   This would have been far less difficult to explain to the world if the church had not abandoned these principles in pursuit of unrighteous mammon, but as it stands, even the pagans know that serial polygamy is immoral rebellion against God, and that it is destroying society.   Cynically, some actually hope it destroys marriage  (and assessments of biblical morality) altogether.   Indeed, the need to explain these principles to the homosexualist community probably would never have arisen at all, because the Almighty would not have needed to go to such extremes to gain the attention of His bride.

2. Failure to comprehend the divinely-created, inseverable one-flesh state causes church discipline to be carried out unjustly, and on the wrong members.

This point is very eloquently expressed by the testimony of a repented prodigal named Dave, who was shunned by the church for divorcing out of an immoral union with another man’s one-flesh wife:

DAVE:  “They don’t teach about the one-flesh covenant marriage relationship, so, in their eyes, a person divorced from a legitimate marriage is in the same boat as a person divorced from an illegitimate marriage.  So, can I ever marry again and not be living in sloppy-agape?
Now follow my logic here: A marriage can’t be legitimate and illegitimate at the same time. If you divorce from a legitimate marriage and remarry anyone else you are committing adultery. But, if you divorce from an illegitimate marriage and marry a life-long single person, you are not committing adultery!”

(FB profile 7xtjw As with SIFC’s recent experience of being censured at the ladies’ retreat for speaking out against satan’s lies which profoundly marred a ministry event, we must aim to please God rather than men, and remain accountable to Him when our leadership refuses to be.    God is never going to ask us how faithfully we followed our denomination’s doctrine.   He is going to ask us how faithfully we purposed to obey Jesus with our life choices – and He’s already going to know the answer!)

He who justifies the wicked and he who condemns the righteous, Both of them alike are an abomination to the Lord– Proverbs 17:15


1.  Failure to comprehend the divinely-created, inseverable one-flesh state causes severe disorder in the homes of believers, and missed opportunity for sanctification of unsaved family members.

If legitimate husbands and wives truly saw themselves as an inseverable one-flesh entity, each would realize that they cannot bring harm of any sort to their spouse without bringing the same degree of harm to themselves.   We, of course, see Paul admonishing the men to this effect in Ephesians 5, but if it works that way for husbands, it’s equally true for wives.    We see this validated in scriptures like Proverbs 12:4:

An excellent wife is the crown of her husband,
But she who shames him is like rottenness in his bones.

We even see the one-flesh state as something of a designed-in spiritual weapon in 1 Corinthians 7:14:

For the unbelieving husband is sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified through her believing husband; for otherwise your children are unclean, but now they are holy.

This is, of course, not a guarantee of success against satan’s domination or control of a one-flesh spouse.    After all, a sword is a weapon, but if it is not skillfully wielded, or if it’s laid down too soon, it might be used against its owner!   We daresay that the brother mentioned in the second incident described at the start of this post, who grew weary enough of the Lord’s timetable for rebuilding his satan-ransacked covenant family that he turned a deaf ear to both Christ and Paul, will soon feel it in his own flesh and bones (and offspring) if he does not repent on his face before the Lord of his lust to marry another (and thereby compromise the very soul of another) – with whom he cannot ever be one-flesh.

________________________________________________________________

“Standerinfamilycourt” concludes by challenging all of God’s shepherds to muster the most righteous courage you will ever need to muster, short of actual life-and-property persecution conditions (which obedience in this area might actually avert from God’s hand),  and begin the process of gaining Spirit-led knowledge about the divine, supernatural one-flesh state, sarx mia, not to be confused with satan’s counterfeit, hen soma.   Then preach it boldly, and let the chips fall where they may.    The most likely result is that all of the false converts in your pews (who would not be there, had your MDR doctrine not been falsified to accommodate their sin)  will indeed rush for the doors, but true disciples will soon replace them.    Revival will then explosively follow, but it will appear to be moral chaos to those who don’t understand one-flesh, because a massive wave of repenting divorces and reconciliations will be an inevitable outcome, for the sake of many souls that now hang in the balance.    Those who do understand these events because the groundwork was laid by a return to the faithful teaching of one-flesh will compare it to the purging described in Ezra, chapter 10 and realize that Christ’s bride will not be purified enough for admission to the wedding supper of the Lamb until these things inevitably come about.

 

www.standerinfamilycourt.com

7 Times Around the Jericho Wall  |  Let’s Repeal Unilateral Divorce!

NDOP 2017 Is In The Books (Yawn!)

NDOP_EOby Standerinfamilycourt

The word of God is a seamless garment, and men who deny its law deny its eschatology also, and are deprived of God’s power.   It is not surprising, therefore, that this is an era of impotence in the church.   That impotence will no more be cured by frantic and earnest prayer meetings than was the problem of Baal’s prophets by their shouts, “O Baal, hear us (1 Kings 18:26).   True faith mean law-obedience, and obedience spells power and blessing.   Deuteronomy 28 tells us precisely, and for all time, how prayers are answered and a people blessed.   –  Rousas John Rushdoony (2002), as quoted by Jack Shannon, author of Contra Mundum Swagger (2017), pages 136-7.

Shannon goes on to say, “Rushdoony is absolutely justified in taking a swipe at prayer meetings.   He’s exactly right.  You can pray for reformation and revival as earnestly and frantically as you want, but as long as you continue to disobey the law of Christ….and disregard all call to repent of your adulterous marriages, the Church will continue to be powerless.”

From Malachi, chapter 2, just ahead of the far more famous passage dealing with the sanctity and indissolubility of holy matrimony is this description of unlawful marriage which causes God to reject the false worship offered in any and all attempts to appease Him, short of actually repenting…..

For the lips of a priest should preserve knowledge, and men should seek instruction from his mouth; for he is the messenger of the Lord of hosts. But as for you, you have turned aside from the way; you have caused many to stumble by the instruction; you have corrupted the covenant of Levi,” says the Lord of hosts. “So I also have made you despised and abased before all the people, just as you are not keeping My ways but are showing partiality in the instruction

10 “Do we not all have one father? Has not one God created us? Why do we deal treacherously each against his brother so as to profane the covenant of our fathers? 11 Judah has dealt treacherously, and an abomination has been committed in Israel and in Jerusalem; for Judah has profaned the sanctuary of the Lord which He loves and has married the daughter of a foreign god. 12 As for the man who does this, may the Lord cut off from the tents of Jacob everyone who awakes and answers, or who presents an offering to the Lord of hosts.

And while U.S. Christendom prayed Thursday, the National-Symbol-for-Violence-and-Treachery -Toward-One’s-Own-Family held a Rose Garden Ceremony, complete with persecuted nuns,  to sign an Executive Order promising to uphold the religious freedom of those who voted for him.      Incredibly, the Chief of the Executive Branch ordered his troops not to enforce a Federal statute (which several successors of Eisenhower and LBJ had never enforced anyway, even  Obama) which forbids tax-exempt religious organizations from engaging in political activity.     Common conservative consensus on this one is that Trump tossed his supplicants a religious freedom bone, but one outspoken seminarian quipped that Trump-daughter Ivanka stripped every particle of meat residue off before she would allow Daddy to toss it out there.    (The ACLU concurred, announcing the same day that they wouldn’t bother to sue.)

That morning, Christian radio stations across the land conducted their usual interviews with twangy-voiced female guests who served as the organizational spokespersons of the year to tell us all about this year’s theme (“For Your Great Name’s Sake”), merchandizing,  and where to go pray that Roe and Obergefell would be overturned (but not unilateral divorce nor Amoris Laetitia), that Obamacare would be repealed, that boys would return to being content to use the boy’s room and if they remain confused about how God made them, that coercive governments would stop interfering with truth therapy.   Later in the day, Joyce Meyer came on in their station time slots as usual, as did Ron Deal, the “blended family” guru.     There was no evangelical  thanksgiving to be heard over the fact that God’s hand was moving, after 50 long years, behind two states who are actively  in the process of seeking repeal of the immoral “family” laws that are the root cause of these existential threats to the survival of our nation.   Prayers went up for revival to break out across the land,  from folks who would be the last people to recognize it as such if God did so move.

How life-giving would have been the public recognition by church leadership  that in 2017, God Most-High was giving off many signs to the pure-hearted watchful ones that indeed repentance and revival is truly what He wants for our nation, rather than the far more probable destruction that is the alternative ?

We heard, as usual, about the rich history in the U.S. of national calls to prayer on the eves of other great national threats, and how God indeed heard and delivered.    We heard about George Washington, Abraham Lincoln and even Ulysses S. Grant — all men who were lifelong faithful to their less-than-perfect covenant wives.    We heard about their rightful humility on behalf of the nation before the throne of the Almighty, but left unmentioned Thursday, was the very significant fact that they didn’t have to leave their offering at the altar first and go be reconciled with covenant wives and children, flesh-of-their-flesh and bone-of-their-bones – nor the fact that many of the national spokes-folk would have been far better served by doing so.    Our forefathers didn’t need a slick marketing campaign to engage people nor to substitute emotional ginning-up for actual integrity.

We treat our constitutional freedom of religious expression as something God both gave us and actually owes us.    We call it an “inalienable right” .     But is it, actually?   Are Christ-followers actually owed anything in this life by the Creator of All Heaven and Earth?     Quoting  Contra Mundum Swagger again, page 136:

“Much of the evangelical world simply makes no connection between personal and cultural destruction, and the sin in their lives and in their churches.    They just think they are righteous like Job, and are experiencing similar loss, when in reality they are not blameless servants.   They are guilty as Ham, Achan and Ahab were.   When men are obedient to the law of God, blessings are manifest.  When men are disobedient to the law, curses are. “

We bible-toting, church-attending evangelicals cannot believe how long God is taking to deliver us from Islam and homofacism, and we’re still deeply concerned that Donald Trump might not.   Ham was too cowardly to confront obvious sin in his father so he left it to his brothers.    Achan was greedy and covetous, proving that he loved baubles and trappings far more than he loved God.    Ahab was a lifelong idolator.    All three of them paid for misappropriating God-given privilege and blessing to their own self-indulgence with the cutting off of their generations of progeny — just as we are collectively doing as a nation!    How many pastors, how many religious freedom champions  do we know who are all of these things and worse?     Were we not bestowed our religious freedom for a strong kingdom purpose that transcends our own personal interest?    What happens when we not only violate that purpose but institutionalize an immoral way of life in our churches and choose leaders whose lives epitomize that immorality?

In the natural, it appears for all the world that God answered the fervent prayers of 2017 that very day.    After all, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to repeal Obamacare that day, along with its coerced mandate for abortifacients and its financial penalties for noncompliance.   Will that event result in the recovery of our nation’s integrity, since the fervent and effectual prayers of the righteous avail much (James 5:16)?  What if, instead of another twangy-voiced spokeswoman who prospers temporally from being “married” to another  woman’s God-joined covenant husband, the national spokesman for NDOP 2018 is the prophet Ezra ?

But at the evening offering I arose from my humiliation, even with my garment and my robe torn, and I fell on my knees and stretched out my hands to the Lord my God; and I said,

“O my God, I am ashamed and embarrassed to lift up my face to You, my God, for our iniquities have risen above our heads and our guilt has grown even to the heavens.   Since the days of our fathers to this day we have been in great guilt, and on account of our iniquities we, our kings and our priests have been given into the hand of the kings of the lands, to the sword, to captivity and to plunder and to open shame, as it is this day.   But now for a brief moment grace has been shown from the Lord our God, to leave us an escaped remnant and to give us a peg in His holy place, that our God may enlighten our eyes and grant us a little reviving in our bondage. For we are slaves; yet in our bondage our God has not forsaken us, but has extended lovingkindness to us in the sight of the kings of Persia, to give us reviving to raise up the house of our God, to restore its ruins and to give us a wall in Judah and Jerusalem.

“Now, our God, what shall we say after this? For we have forsaken Your commandments,  which You have commanded by Your servants the prophets, saying, ‘The land which you are entering to possess is an unclean land with the uncleanness of the peoples of the lands, with their abominations which have filled it from end to end and with their impurity.   So now do not give your daughters to their sons nor take their daughters to your sons, and never seek their peace or their prosperity, that you may be strong and eat the good things of the land and leave it as an inheritance to your sons forever.’ After all that has come upon us for our evil deeds and our great guilt, since You our God have requited us less than our iniquities deserve, and have given us an escaped remnant as this,  shall we again break Your commandments and intermarry with the peoples who commit these abominations? Would You not be angry with us to the point of destruction, until there is no remnant nor any who escape?   O Lord God of Israel, You are righteous, for we have been left an escaped remnant, as it is this day; behold, we are before You in our guilt, for no one can stand before You because of this.”   —  Ezra, Chapter 9

Instead, when it comes to restoring our 1st Amendment privileges, we may wind up with the “prophet” Hanson in how we sound to the One to Whom we are appealing:

 

HansonNDOP  (MMMBop by  pop group, Hanson, 1997)

www.standerinfamilycourt.com

7 Times Around the Jericho Wall  |  Let’s Repeal Unilateral Divorce!

“Nana, Why Did You and Papaw Split Up?”

420_grandma_child_imgcache_rev1285259918902

by  Standerinfamilycourt

“You shall therefore impress these words of mine on your heart and on your soul; and you shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontals on your forehead.   You shall teach them to your sons, talking of them when you sit in your house and when you walk along the road and when you lie down and when you rise up. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates,  so that your days and the days of your sons may be multiplied on the land which the Lord swore to your fathers to give them, as long as the heavens remain above the earth.”
– Deuteronomy 11: 18-21

SIFC was down in Arkansas for our eldest granddaughter’s eighth birthday, having not seen them for almost 2 years, due to some exaggerated circumstances brought about by man’s divorce.   I was trying to take a short nap on a recent afternoon when our little one plops herself down on my guest bed and says, “Nana, why did you split up with Papaw?”   I didn’t have the presence of mind to ask her until later where she had heard that.   Her 5 year old sister was in the room at the time as well.

Nana responded,

“Oh, baby. Nana never wanted that, and loves Papaw very much.  It’s not possible to get a divorce like that in God’s eyes!  Nana’s wedding ring is still on, because Papaw will always be Nana’s husband until one of us dies, and it’s sinful to go into a courtroom and get a piece of paper that says differently.   We have to pray for Papaw to stop living in sin so that he won’t go to hell — we don’t want Papaw to go to hell, do we?”

(Trigger alert:   those who do not walk with Christ, and who think obedience to His stated word is optional WILL be offended by this post.   It is already well-established that SIFC “lacks grace”, is “judgmental” and is “legalistic”.     Nolo contendre :  so was John the Baptist, Jesus, Paul and James!)

I was able to talk to this precious one about how God created one-flesh when her mommy and daddy got married, when her uncle and aunt got married (she was the flower girl in that wedding at age 3), and when Nana and Papaw got married, about how God looks and sees only one person instead of two for as long as both are alive.   She repeated it back to me with a real sense of relief, and grasped it perfectly – that only death unglues people who are really married, (“right, Nana?”).   Right, baby.

Later in the evening, her parents decided to take advantage of my visit to squeeze in a date.   Caitlin has always loved bible stories right from her big-girl bible when tucking the girls in, so I decided to tell her the story of John the Baptist, Herod and Herodias, and said Herod had a real wife once (“like you, Nana?”) and Herodias had a real husband whose name was Philip.   They both thought they could divorce their real wife and real husband and be married to each other – but how come, Caitlin,  did God not join Herod and Herodias? (she got the reason right following our earlier talk about one-flesh).  We talked about why John the Baptist cared so much about whether Herod and Herodias went to heaven that he was willing to risk having his head cut off.   It went really well, but before I did the bible story, she asked me why Papaw’s bible was in my suitcase and why Papaw didn’t want his bible any more.   I was able to explain that when someone has made up his mind that he doesn’t want to obey Jesus anymore, they can’t stand what the bible says, but we can pray that God will make them really hungry again for His word.   She wanted to know why her daddy always got mad every time she visited with Papaw on skype, and why can’t she ever see him in person.   I did my best to say her daddy just wants to protect her from Papaw’s bad friends.    Good friends help you be closer to Jesus, but bad friends make you ashamed of Jesus and make you want run away from Him.

The next day, Caitlin’s mother expressed her angry displeasure that Nana had told their daughter about hell and what sort of things send people there if they die in the same.    Nana endured the indignity of being upbraided by the child she birthed and raised and discipled,  who deems all talk of hell to be a manipulation and control mechanism, to which she will not tolerate her daughter being exposed.    How could I not “respect her beliefs”?    (This “belief” seems to be a bit late-developing, to such an extent that it was a bit shocking to hear it coming out of her mouth.   More likely, the one-flesh discussion was equally offensive to her because it inherently discredits her husband’s aunt who is in a longtime lesbian union, and it violates her liberal politics in every possible way.)

They say that God has no “grandchildren”,  only “children”.    May the telling of this family story comfort many standers who are surely going through the same struggles in their own covenant families.

The morning after that, it was the son-in-law’s turn to suggest that imposing Nana’s  “belief system”  on others was causing chaos in their family,  was directly responsible for daily strife between them, and was causing him to question Nana’s emotional stability.    We had a lengthy exchange on the infallibility of rightly-divided scripture, and the fact that there are not multiple correct alternatives when comes to rightly dividing the same.    He suggested I was not “extending grace” to my prodigal husband of 40+ years in insisting his non-covenant marriage is what Jesus called it –  ongoing adultery.     I warned him that retreating on his prior resolve not to expose his daughters to that immoral relationship will not produce the relief he craves, nor will it end the barrage of emotional blackmail the family has been receiving from my husband, who refuses to see his granddaughters unless the family embraces his adulteress.

Can admitted non-believers convey “grace” to backslidden believers? Isn’t “grace” something that flows FROM GOD THROUGH those who are exclusively His? Isn’t the “grace” of non-believers false because they themselves reject God’s grace in their own lives because they reject the idea of repentance and obedience that is attached? Aren’t they the ones who love to point to Jesus saying “let him who is without sin cast the first stone”…but they look at you stupefied when you remind them of Christ’s next sentence: “Go and sin no more!”

If one denies or doubts that there is a real hell and people send themselves there by refusing to repent and obey Christ’s commandments (the bible says in Heb. 10 that this is insulting the spirit of grace) what can the purpose of grace even be?

“Grace” without love for God’s word or His order is certainly human kindness — so long as eternity isn’t considered.   It is sympathy and empathy — making fellow travelers on a journey to the same fiery destination feel better about their unrepented sin.   Such “grace”, however, is false because it cannot supply the ingredient that restores the kingdom of God and turns that traveler around on his or her wayward road.   You cannot convey to another that which you reject for yourself, due to its high price tag, can you?

Has Nana given up on God’s ability to redeem her entire household?    Not on her life!   Over the past eleven years, the devil has launched a series of fiery attacks against various other family members, and God has always shown up and shown off.    This time last year, another son was having a massive faith crisis to which Nana’s stand was also contributing, and an even more devastating reaction issued forth from this adult married son.    It is not for nothing that Paul wrote about taking up the full armor of God while shaking up the princedom of the power of the air in the name of Jesus Christ.    Nana will be praying against any exposure of our granddaughters to Papaw’s unrepented mockery of marriage, but if it occurs, at least Caitlin will have heard the truth about it.    We will have prayed together with our arms around each other for Papaw to repent and return to the Lord, then to his covenant family.   Nana makes no apologies whatsoever for not saying something  more culturally acceptable, like…

“Sometimes people who love each other try as hard as they can, but in the end, they realize they can’t live together.   It’s nobody’s fault, so we just ‘trust God’ and move on…”       (No such pablum for this Nana!)

“Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.   For I came to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and a man’s enemies will be the members of his household.”     Matthew 10:34-36

 

 

www.standerinfamilycourt.com

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

From the Book, “Looking Back 25 Years” by Bob Steinkamp

SteinkampBook
transcribed by Standerinfamilycourt

This has been a favorite devotional from the returned prodigal husband who remarried his covenant wife, Charlyne, then founded Rejoice Marriage Ministries with her nearly 30 years ago.   The Steinkamps  have sustained, prayed for and coached thousands of covenant couples, seeing a very large percentage of them through to reconciled and restored marriages.   Bob graduated to heaven in December, 2010.   To the best of our knowledge, this devotional has not been featured so far in Charlyne Cares, perhaps because it’s more of a commentary than a devotional.   We think it’s still worth sharing.

(Rev. Steinkamp, who served as an auxiliary police officer:)

…One of the great fears of many standers is their prodigal spouse will never be obedient to God.   That can be illustrated by another law enforcement device, spike strips.

Almost weekly on the new we see police pursuits.  Let’s compare a prodigal on the run from God to a felon on the run from the police.

The first contact with a fleeing felon might be when a police officer pulls in behind a suspect vehicle, turns on the lights and attempts to make a stop.

Every prodigal who has left home does so while looking in the emotional rear view mirror.    They want to know who has seen what they just did.   An officer “lighting up” a suspect might be compared to God signaling a prodigal to stop what they are doing.

Even though it cannot be done, fleeing felons and fleeing prodigals often think they can do so without being caught.  As the pursuit increases, both felons and prodigals feel they will not be caught.  Watching a police chase on television from an aerial view as the subject drives without knowing where they are going is the same as many prodigals.

A major concern in a police chase is not to endanger the lives of innocent people.   Fleeing prodigals, just like fleeing felons show a total disregard for the welfare of others, namely their spouse and children.  God must look on the actions of us prodigals with a broken heart as we refuse to stop.

Finally someone makes a decision that the police chase must end.  Some distance ahead of the pursuit, the road is cleared and spike strips are readied.   A sturdy rope-type device holds multiple sharp spikes, designed to flatten the tires on the subject vehicle.  The spike strip is deployed just in front of the approaching vehicle.

God also has spiritual spike strips that He allows to be deployed in front of prodigals, if other efforts to have them stopped have failed.  I dare not give illustrations lest someone feel I am using their family as an example.

In police chases, we often see a vehicle driving on the rims, with all four tires flattened and even the rubber on the tire gone.  Prodigals can hit the spike strips of life and then continue running on the rims in the far country.

It is not uncommon to see a police chase coming to an end with the suspect starting to run on foot, and then suddenly surrendering to authorities.  We  know prodigals who run and run, and then suddenly give up.   In fact, that is what happened to me.    My running came to an end as I surrendered to my God and came home to my stander.

What is the real deal of a stander?   Someone just like you who, regardless of what today brought, is ready to put that all behind them by the shed Blood of Jesus, spend time with God, and then get up tomorrow as certain as ever that God is going to do just as He promised and restore your marriage.  To God be the glory!

Real deal standers are not Christians who are perfect.   They are people who can admit they are imperfect but who love and serve a God Who is always perfect.    Real deal standers depend not on Bob or Charlyne, nor on this or any Ministry to keep them standing strong.   They depend on God.

Dear stander, go fight the spiritual battle one more day with the weapons of God.   After that, fight the next battle and the one after that, always keeping one eye on your front walk to see if your prodigal is on the way home.

Your family restored, with everyone loving and serving Jesus, prepared to be with Him for eternity, is the real deal.

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

www. standerinfamilycourt.com

 

 

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

hound-of-heaven-illustration
`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,
Wantoning
With our Lady-Mother’s vagrant tresses,
Banqueting
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!

www.standerinfamilycourt.com

An Encouragement to Covenant Marriage Standers

13.2.2

by Standerinfamilycourt

SIFC was privileged to attend a recent live lecture this past week with bible teacher / historian Ray Vander Laan.   This evening was eagerly anticipated because it was the series of episodes, That the World May Know, around Holy Land history and archaelogy tours hosted by Vander Laan that electrified the word of God in my well-worn bible some 10 years ago.   I had known deep in my spirit from the earliest days of walking with the Lord that His covenants were indissoluble and that He fiercely guarded their integrity, but this was basically the extent of my understanding until Vander Laan’s “Come! Let’s go see…” [that week’s episode] took me deeper and deeper into the context of what the Lord was doing in Israel, in prophecy, and in His broad purposes.  It was, in fact, all cast against a background of faithful covenant.   I started to gain some very rich depth of understanding of the textures that our indissoluble marriage covenant was to represent to the world, even under siege as it was, and even in its violated and tattered condition.   Vander Laan’s previous series on the 7 churches of the Revelation is, in my opinion, a “must-watch” in these days of explosive culture war and Christ’s imminent return.

The purpose of the live presentation was to introduce and preview the newest series called “Becoming A Kingdom of Priests in a Prodigal World”,  a series very much about engaging the culture we face.   The producers see this as a new undertaking in light of the rise of LGBT totalitarianism and the resulting defilement of marriage.    Astute standers would say that the prior series begun in 1993 were massively important in rebuking the culture of divorce and immoral remarriage that long preceded the current wave of marriage redefinition.

 

This preview episode places the tour group at the top of a mountain in the general vicinity of Mount Sinai where Moses received the 10 Commandments:

Now then, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be My own possession among all the peoples, for all the earth is Mine; and you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.” – Exodus 19:5-6

What did the Lord mean by “keep My covenant”?   Vander Laan pointed out that the 10 Commandments were actually a marriage vow between the Most High and His people Israel.   It struck me that the “grafted-in” (Gentile) body of Christ has institutionalized serial monogamy / sequential polygamy in the last 50 years by embracing the pretense of covenant dissolution because it has “irreconcilable differences” with the 1st, 7th and 10th commandments in that marriage vow on stone tablets.   Additionally, its shepherds have “irreconcilable differences” with the 4th commandment as they misuse the Lord’s name in pronouncing holy matrimony over unions that Christ would call adulterous.   In that sense, the bride of Christ is herself a prodigal in these last days.   The word “prodigal” literally means “wasteful”, though prodigals are the last to see what is squandered in undermining covenant families while giving unrighteous preference to “blended” ones.

 

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.

Beloved, I urge you as aliens and strangers to abstain from fleshly lusts which wage war against the soul. Keep your behavior excellent among the Gentiles, so that in the thing in which they slander you as evildoers, they may because of your good deeds, as they observe them, glorify God in the day of visitation. – 1 Peter 2:9-12

 

I’d like to share a few additional highlights of the lecture before directing you to click here to view a 30-minute full-length episode:

    • Vander Laan points out that the mission of a priest is to put the full glory of the Lord on display for all to see, and that the biblical kingdom is where the King is obeyed.   The kingdom of God expands in proportion to that obedience.
  • He next points out that context is everything when it comes to reading bible text, he quoted Acts 16:12 (Luke’s narrative with Paul): “…and from there to Philippi which is a leading city in the district of Macedonia, a Roman colony, and we were staying in this city for some days…”  What was the significance of the Roman colony?   Romans set these remote cities up where all features of Roman life were to be on display, and all inhabitants would be bestowed all the benefits of Roman citizenship.   Luke was likening the kingdom of God to this model Roman colony in how we live, already being citizens of heaven, before others. This was evidenced in the conversion of the Philippian jailer and his family, verses 31-34 after the Lord responded supernaturally to Paul’s and Silas’ singing of hymns and praises to God. Our culture will be strange to the aliens we live among.   We are a “peculiar people”.
  • It’s OK to wrestle with God, for He favors “chutzpah” – intense persistence and a passionate refusal to give up, such as that which characterizes long-standing covenant keepers.   According to Vander Laan, there is a saying, “when life becomes a desert, the Greeks question whether there is a god, but Jews question God.”
  • Most of us know the account in Genesis 15:9-17 of the blood covenant God made with Abraham in the splitting of cow, goat, and ram, where the custom was to walk through the blood implying “so may you do to me, if I do not keep my covenant”, yet something unique happened in this situation. Abraham knew the minute he passed through he was a dead man, because his end of the covenant was to walk blamelessly before his God, yet the Lord had it covered for him:

“Then he brought all these to Him and cut them in two, and laid each half opposite the other; but he did not cut the birds….Now when the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell upon Abram; and behold, terror and great darkness fell upon him…It came about when the sun had set, that it was very dark, and behold, there appeared a smoking oven and a flaming torch which passed between these pieces.”

The Most High not only made the covenant unconditional, He took up Abraham’s part in passing through the blood.   God’s end of the covenant?   Land, descendants and the Messiah, the means of covenant fulfillment.

FB profile 7xtjwSIFC note: In a covenant marriage, the covenant is between God and the one-flesh entity He has supernaturally joined. (In a non-covenant union that Jesus calls adulterous due to the unbroken prior covenant, there is merely a contract between two people without God’s participation). God’s participation in the same manner as with Abraham also makes a way for the fulfillment of that covenant despite circumstances or human faithfulness.   All covenant marriage standers should read the account of Abraham’s faith in Romans 4 for encouragement.  

  • Priests were instructed through Moses to sew long tassels on their garments, with one blue thread which was the color of the priesthood.   The significance to today’s covenant standers is that the tassels were a reminder as follows (Numbers 15:37-40):

The Lord also spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak to the sons of Israel, and tell them that they shall make for themselves tassels on the corners of their garments throughout their generations, and that they shall put on the tassel of each corner a cord of blue. It shall be a tassel for you to look at and remember all the commandments of the Lord, so as to do them and not follow after your own heart and your own eyes, after which you played the harlot, so that you may remember to do all My commandments and be holy to your God.”  

Are we remembering our role in His priesthood every day?   Are we sewing those tassels to the garments of our prodigals, as our privilege as their one-flesh enables?   Non-covenants lack this privilege and are acting as a counter-witness to the kingdom of God.  The rebellion of remarriage adultery shrinks the kingdom, rather than expands it.   Their “colony” represents temporal life in this world only.

 

Wrapping up, I will mention that since 1993, the producer of That the World May Know is Focus on the Family.   I can say that apart from FOTF’s Adventures in Odyssey, this is the best of all that they sponsor, and probably their only adult programming that builds up covenant families rather than undermining them through their support of adulterous remarriage.   I hope other standers gain rich encouragement from all of these series and episodes from the Holy Land.

FB profile 7xtjwSIFC note:  When Ray is not producing a new episode on location, he returns to his life as the teacher of a discipleship class in Michigan for high school seniors.

 

 

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

www.standerinfamilycourt.com

 

 

ONE-FLESH AND SPIRITUAL WARFARE

ValentinesBlog2015 Have a blessed Valentine’s Day, covenant marriage standers!

 

When the hour had come, He reclined at the table, and the apostles with Him.  And He said to them, “I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer;  for I say to you, I shall never again eat it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.” 17 And when He had taken a cup and given thanks, He said, “Take this and share it among yourselves; for I say to you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine from now on until the kingdom of God comes.”   And when He had taken some bread and given thanks, He broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me.”    And in the same way He took the cup after they had eaten, saying, This cup which is poured out for you is the new covenant in My blood.   (Luke 22:14-20)

 

“Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me.  In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you.   If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also.  (John 14:1-4)

 

He who loves his own wife loves himself; for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also does the church, because we are members of His body.  For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and shall be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.   This mystery is great; but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the church. (Ephesians 5:28-32)   “But from the beginning of creation, God made them male and female.   For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother,  and the two shall become one flesh; so they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate.” (Mark 10: 8)

 

When Jesus shared His last intimate moments over a Passover seder meal in the upper room with His beloved disciples, He did something very symbolic–apart from washing their feet.   He spoke to them in some very intimate and familiar terms which they all would have instantly recognized, for He re-enacted the traditional Jewish betrothal [“kiddushin”] ceremony, reinforcing His role as the Bridegroom to His Church by invoking the timeless word script (bolded above) spoken by Hebrew bridegrooms for centuries, so that it would forever be “married” to the sacrament of communion He was establishing.

 

Lord, may these words this stander shares this day be only the words sent by the Holy Spirit, and may they powerfully encourage all other covenant standers on this Valentines Day.  In Jesus’ name, I pray.  Amen.

 

I was in the early months of a project assignment in London when I found out that instead of arranging his work so that he could join me there, my husband had become involved with someone who coveted my God-given helpmate assignment.  She coveted my assignment  instead of the one assigned to her,  which I later found out she had forsaken and abandoned some 20 years earlier.    The bad news of my beloved’s betrayal arrived in a credit card statement and was later confirmed by the further investigation of our adult children.

I was blessed to be in fellowship while in the UK in a small nondenominational  country village church,  a collection really, of a few very warm, large families who loved the Lord.    One day in my pew in that quaint little rock church, I was preparing to receive communion.    As the Scottish pastor richly spoke the words of Jesus from Luke 22 over the bread and the wine,  the Holy Spirit strongly impressed on me on that day nine years ago, that the communion elements corresponded perfectly to the permanent one-flesh relationship with my husband (bread) and to our indissoluable marriage covenant (wine) of which Jesus was a party.   Not only that, but because of our one-flesh relationship,  I would be taking communion for the benefit of my life partner who was now running from his once-close walk with God.   I  would be doing so until my beloved was back in fellowship with his King and could resume doing so for himself.    This was now my second stand for what was at that time a 31-year marriage.   During my first stand, 25 years earlier, the Lord did not speak this to me, because my beloved had not yet come to faith in Jesus.    We are told not to eat the bread or drink of the cup unworthily, but to do so only in self-examination and remembrance of the Bridegroom (1 Cor. 12:27).

 

Most covenant standers, we who know that the Living God permanently and uniquely inhabits our pure union with the husband or wife of our youth,  we know that the Jewish custom around betrothal [“kiddushin”] is far different from our western tradition.   We know that Mary, mother of Jesus, was legally Joseph’s wife as a result of becoming engaged to him, though they had not yet come together.    Few of us know the rich details that go into the Jewish ritual of covenant engagement, so we cannot fully appreciate the deeply significant and comforting ceremonial words that Jesus spoke in the upper room before He said, “this do in remembrance of Me”.

At the Jewish betrothal ceremony, which usually took place over a meal in the bride’s home, a marriage contract [“Ketubah”}, was presented to the father of the bride.  The Ketubah consists of all the bridegroom’s promises to his bride. The bride cherishes her Ketubah.    ( A loving sister-in-law once decoupaged our wedding invitation onto a plaque that was given to us at our wedding, which has hung on the wall of every new home of ours for forty years.)   We in the Church, too, have a Ketubah from our Bridegroom.   Our Ketubah (God’s Word) shows us all we  are entitled to as the Bride of Christ.    All, not some, but all the promises in God’s Word, are for us.   As the Bride of Christ, we are entitled to them — they are part of our Ketubah.

At this ceremony the bride was given an opportunity to accept or reject the proposal.    If she accepted, she usually remained silent    Rebekah, however, chose in faith to verbalize her desire leave her home to go with Abraham’s servant be wed to Isaac, whom she had not yet seen or spoken with (Genesis 24:58).   After the terms of the Ketubah were accepted, a cup of wine was shared to seal the marriage covenant.    In Matthew 26:29, Jesus said, “I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s Kingdom.”  

The bridegroom would speak the ceremonial words sealing  the covenant before the family witnesses, “I go to my father’s house to prepare a place for you.  I will not drink of this cup again until I drink it new  with  you in my father’s house”.      The cup that Jesus took at His last Passover on earth was the cup of the new marriage covenant with His Bride.   In Luke 22:20, Jesus said, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is shed for you.”    The second cup of wine would be partaken many  months, perhaps a  year or more later at the wedding supper.

Once the marriage covenant was sealed, the bridegroom left his bride to return to his father’s house where he would spend a year or so preparing the living quarters for his bride before returning for her.   It was actually up to the father to decree when the quarters were acceptably complete and the bridegroom could go after his bride to bring her back for the wedding supper and consummation of the marriage.    When Jesus said that only His Father knew the day and the hour He was to return for us, He was also likening that day to the wedding day to come.   The bride, therefore, knew with certainty that her groom would be returning for her, but did not know when, so she waited in faith and in preparedness.  

 

We all know what a powerful spiritual weapon we have in the shed blood of Jesus!

Nothing is more important than family restoration, because in it is tied up our  loved ones’ very souls.   In the same way that regular ministry can’t take precedence over our families and its generations, standers ministry is no exception.   But, in Hebrews we are sternly warned that a hardened heart that won’t repent will cause us to walk away from our salvation, and in some cases, run out of time and grace.   We must never give up praying for that not to happen.   It’s on my heart every time I’m taking communion – the Lord showed me years ago that as my beloved’s ONLY covenant one-flesh, I’m taking communion with and for him while he is spiritually unable to (the unbelieving/backslidden husband is sanctified by his believing wife)! 

 

The one-flesh relationship is just as powerful as a spiritual weapon.

I also invoke this uniquely-appointed spiritual weapon against the spiritual ravager of my beloved’s soul whenever singing a praise chorus with “I” or “me” in the lyrics, but I sing “we [one flesh]” turning that chorus into a golden bowl of prayerful incense that rises to the throne of El Elyon (God Most High), and reminding all the spiritual host of God’s indissoluable covenant with my beloved and me,  as I’ve done since way back in my first stand for marriage restoration:

“Draw [us] close to You [as one flesh],  never let [us] go.   [We] lay it all down again, to hear You say that [we’re] Your friend.   This is [our] desire.  No one else will do.   ‘Cause nothing else can take Your place, to feel the warmth of Your embrace.   Help [us] find a way to bring [us] back to You [as one flesh].    You’re all [we] want.   You’re all [we’ve] ever needed.   You’re all [we] want.   Help [us] know You are near. “

 

“Take [us] by the outer court, and through the holy place   Past the brazen altar, Lord [we] long to see Your face          Pass [us] by the crowds of people and priest who sing Your praise.  Lord, [we] hunger and thirst for Your righteousness, and it’s only found in one place…. Take [us] into the Holy of Holies, take [us] in by the Blood of the Lamb [as one-flesh].   Take [us] into the Holy of Holies, take a coal, cleanse [our] lips, here [we are]. “

 

In that one act of worship, a stander is wielding at least three spiritual weapons:  praise of God, the sword of the spirit, the blood of the lamb,  and invoking the unique one-flesh relationship that sanctifies the prodigal spouse, according to God’s word.   This provision for sanctification by the indissoluable one-flesh relationship is not just for estranged spouses, but also for those intact homes where a beloved spouse is estranged from Christ because he or she has not ever come to saving faith.

 

Could this be why Satan’s deception is so strong over the apostate church which teaches in direct contradiction of God’s word, that divorce and remarriage (legalized and church-blessed adultery)  is justified due to being “unequally yoked” ? “But to the rest I say, not the Lord, that if any brother has a wife who is an unbeliever, and she consents to live with him, he must not divorce her.  And a woman who has an unbelieving husband, and he consents to live with her, she must not send her husband away.   For the unbelieving husband is sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified through her believing husband; for otherwise your children are unclean, but now they are holy.”      (1 Corinthians 7:12-14)    

 

Just as covenant marriage perfectly represents the Godhead (Father, Son, Holy Spirit / Christ, Husband, Wife), holy communion perfectly represents covenant marriage.   When Jesus took the cup and began to speak,  He deliberately chose to use the Hebrew ceremonial words for the betrothal ceremony in Luke 22:15-20.  The covenant and the one-flesh relationship.   The marriage supper of the Lamb.   I’m urging that covenant standers should never skip communion, and should never take it without a strong consciousness of the spouse of your youth, otherwise you are missing a potent and uniquely-appointed spiritual counter-attack, one that you are the only person on the face of the earth who can perform.   Grasping this truth alone would separate counterfeit , adulterous stands from authentic ones, and save a lot of “quitter’s anguish”.  

 

This revelation by the Holy Spirit instilled in me a righteous indignation at all forms of desecration of God’s definition of marriage, both the front and back ends  of Matt. 19:4-6,   and it called me to a purpose to invest my gifts in restoring His kingdom to this holy realm.  I have captured only a few elements of the rich custom that our Lord walked out as a metaphor establishing Himself as the one who prepares a place for us, and is coming for us.     This link will be helpful to standers who would like to  go  deeper in their understanding.

 

This stander is going to mark Valentine’s Day 2015 with a private communion ceremony.    Satan possibly has plans for my one-flesh to attempt to legalize his adultery that day with a hollow counterfeit, someone else’s covenant wife,  in a civil contract that will forever lack this powerful covenant blessing with the presence of El Kanna (our Jealous God).

 

Father God, in the Garden You said to our spiritual enemy: “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers.   He will crush your head, and you will strike his feet.”    We thank and praise You, Lord, that it’s not the other way around!   When You formed the covenant helpmate out of the rib of her husband, You were already putting in place the divine provision for this,  and when You declared over them “no longer two but one flesh, let no man put asunder”,  You were sealing them in a spiritual weapon far greater than any carnal weapon the evil one could form against the holy covenant that stands sealed in Your shed blood.    Thank You that You are not a man that You should lie, nor a son of man that You should change your mind, but that which You promise, You, by character, are flawlessly faithful to fulfill.   May this word comfort the hearts of those who are permanently faithful to their covenant with the One who is faithful and true!   In Jesus’ name, amen.

(Scriptures in prayer:  Genesis 3:15,  Genesis 2:21-23,  Matthew 19:5-6, Isaiah 54:17, Luke 22:20, Numbers 23:19,  Revelation 19:11)

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

www.standerinfamilycourt.com

No Day in Court for (Stander) “Jane Doe” – Our Story, Part 4

 

An excellent wife, who can find?
For her worth is far above jewels.
The heart of her husband trusts in her,
And he will have no lack of gain.
She does him good and not evil
All the days of her life.

Proverbs 31

IlSupCtStatueby Standerinfamilycourt

The two-year ride through the Illinois family court system may be nearly over for Standerinfamilycourt,  several months ahead of our scheduled appeal docket date.    On December 2, 2014, the 2nd District Court of Appeals denied our appealed motion for anonymity to bring our religious freedom and equal protection challenge to Illinois’ unilateral divorce law, just as the trial judge had done back in August.     Our constitutional attorneys have confirmed that this denial cannot be appealed any higher.   This very important matter was firmly in God’s sovereign hands all along, and it was the subject of much prayer, both mine and that of our small band of supporters in this cause.    God’s people are right to obediently show up dressed for battle, but we must never lose sight that the battle belongs to the Lord, as does all choice of weapons and timing for the battle.

He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.
    And what does the Lord require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
    and to walk humbly with your God.      –   Micah 6:8

Why was anonymity so important?   Doesn’t the public have a “right to know”?   In this case, probably so.     A consulting firm which employs an emotionally ill man in a very responsible position,  seeks new clients who will rely on this firm’s fiduciary integrity over $ million+  long-term contracts.   That firm allowed this principal to install a girlfriend under his direct supervision, and at least two blood relatives into jobs in the firm, possibly ahead of other more qualified people.   It further allowed per diem payments for lavish trips, and short-sightedly did not care that its employment policies were not only destructive to the families of its employees, but it tolerated illegal sexual harassment discriminatory to the rest of its employees in condoning and knowingly facilitating a known boss / subordinate adulterous relationship for many years.    SIFC is an employee of the sort of client who might hire such a consulting firm, and in fact, her employer is a chief competitor of this firm’s main energy industry client.   If SIFC can simply go to Bing and type in the first and last name of this regional business director who manages very important international engagements, and bring up all the sordid facts about this firm and that consultant in a published appeals case opinion that provocatively challenged the constitutionality of a long-standing state law,  she might well advise her employer to steer clear and find an alternative vendor who manages their business with far less drama.   Such is indeed the public’s right to know, and such are the facts already captured in the trial transcripts.

That said, I love my Lord who unconditionally loves both of us as one person, and I unconditionally love my life companion of more than 40 years.   I have no desire whatsoever to be out of alignment with either of them, unless my beloved is out of alignment with his Lord.   According to God’s clear word, SIFC remains the one-flesh covenant wife of this emotionally tormented man until God’s divorce parts us (God spells divorce  “D-E-A-T-H”) .   By God’s design, nothing happens to this petitioner husband of mine that does not directly happen to the one-flesh wife of his youth, regardless of anything the civil authorities will ever have to say on the matter.   Nothing happens to us as a covenant couple that does not impact the lives of everyone close to us: extended family members on both sides of the family, employers, friends and neighbors.   Which brings us to why anonymity was important in asserting this constitutional challenge in a godly way, if that indeed remains the Lord’s assignment for this time:

  • It would cover my distraught husband’s “nakedness” while he is haplessly under Satan’s control (Genesis 9:20-23)
  • It would be merciful, allowing him an avenue to return to walking with the Lord, without immense public humiliation to live down when God’s discipline eventually catches up
  • It would be equally merciful to his adulterous and extortionist partner whom the court record reflects received massive cash payments from my husband
  • It would protect innocent family members who became ensnared in my prodigal’s elaborately sinful scheming
  • It would avoid the appearance of vengeful or materialistic motives on my part in making a name for myself which would be a poor public witness for this much larger godly cause impacting our entire state, and possibly the nation

Job #1 for any Christ-follower who has been given a covenant life partner, is to unconditionally love, to fast and to  pray that partner all the way through this life and into the Kingdom of God – period.    Every other pursuit is secondary and human divorce decrees are totally irrelevant to that mission.    We will all stand before a Holy God who will ask us,  how did you steward the gifts I gave you, including the most important one, that husband or wife with whom you were joint heirs of My Kingdom and with whom you were made by ME one-flesh during your life walk?   Since we’ve been empowered by the Holy Spirit in a way that transcends time, distance and circumstances, with a holy authority that outranks civil authority, and since all of the host of heaven is fighting on the side of defending our covenant marriages,  He is not going to accept as an alibi that some civil judge, with no Kingdom authority whatsoever over what God divinely and permanently  joined,  has somehow excused me from His assignment just by writing out a sham human dissolution order that means nothing before His throne.

 

SIFC has repeatedly found throughout this legal journey that being restoration-minded, as God’s ways require, is totally incompatible with functioning under the unilateral divorce regime, even with Christian lawyers.   Even its godliest legal practitioners cannot seem to get their heads around maintaining truly biblical behavior and motivations in this profoundly wicked realm.    The very best of them truly fear what failure to submit to the thuggish web of state-sanctioned lies will do to their clients’ cases.   In this instance, my Christian attorney and his associates felt compelled to file his motion to proceed under fictitious name claiming in that document that I feared political backlash from those who support the continuation of no-fault grounds and favor continuation of the tyrannical public policy banning marital fault as a basis in settling property and custody disputes,  rather than pleading the true family preservation reasons I have just stated.   I will always wonder whether the outcome might have been different if my attorney had simply filed his motion petition with the truth concerning my motives.   “She does her husband good and not evil all the days of her life.”    What if my Christian attorneys had had the integrity to truly speak for me with the mind of Christ in that legal motion?

 

I hope that sharing my learnings through this legal journey will help people understand more about what is keeping such an immoral and unconstitutional family law regime so deeply entrenched in our system of “justice”, and how very much the idolatry of doing so is costing us as a nation.      As time marches on, a  growing percentage of us have never known any other way!   Many presume that a law that has gone unchallenged for so long must be inherently right.    Indeed, it takes the lens of God’s word to truly appreciate all that’s wrong.  Many whose consciences tell them they should be challenging this immoral and unconstitutional singling out of a disfavored class of citizens, unfortunately fear men more than they fear God.     All of the powerful gatekeepers (judges, legislators and attorneys on both sides) are members of the legal community who economically benefit from it at the expense of all of the rest of society.    Goliath continues to taunt God’s people and there appears to be no champion in the land to ask His anointing on a stone and a slingshot to bring this giant down.    The expected champions, those national organizations who faithfully take on every other political threat to the traditional family and to every other form of religious freedom violation, quake in fear or denial on the sidelines when it comes to this particular Goliath.    Jesus rightly said we cannot serve God and mammon at the same time.

If I am unable to bring my case without destroying my life partner of over 40 years, how long until God raises up another David with the same reverence for holy matrimony, sufficient finances and zeal for God’s kingdom?   Under those circumstances, I have to have faith that nobody is indispensable, and I have offered my God everything I have in this effort, except the irreplaceable soul of my covenant husband which is, and which must remain, my very first priority and responsibility.

 

“Jane Doe” was not only fighting for the integrity of her own family, but for the families and for the fundamental 14th Amendment rights of all innocent contesting Respondents as a class:  Jack , Jill and Joe Doe, in bringing a constitutional challenge to a blatantly unconstitutional law.    As the politically powerful homosexual movement demonstrated over the past year, actions need to be replicated in many (perhaps not all) states for unilateral divorce in our democratic nation to fall into the dustbin of perverse human history , where it undeniably belongs.

As individual Christ-followers, we are told we must follow Jesus in emptying ourselves of our individual “rights”.  So how does this biblical wisdom “square” with asserting legal rights in the family court system as I and some other lone-wolf believers before me have sought to do?     I think it helps to take one step back from our Constitution and Bill of Rights, and hear what these documents say about all liberty and all justice being given by God as His gift and as a purposeful privilege.   Jesus said, “to whom much has been given, much is required.”   What we think of as fundamental rights can actually be revoked if abused by selfish motives, or if left unprotected through cowardice or slothfulness (i.e. prayerlessness, thanklessness and personal moral compromise) in how we defend them.     The possibility of revocation makes these things divine privileges, more so than rights with responsibilities attached, in sharp contrast to the way most of us have become accustomed to thinking of our constitutional rights.

 

As providence would have it, the day I received the notice from the Appellate Court denying our anonymity motion,  I came home to my devotion book published by Revive Our Hearts,  Nancy Leigh DeMoss’ ministry to women, True Woman Manifesto – the chapter next up was Day 11:  Selfish Insistence on Personal Rights ( is contrary to the spirit of Christ who humbled Himself, took on the form of a servant, and laid down His life for me.)   This devotion further challenged:

“Have you been acting more like a temporary servant of God or like His willing and permanent slave?”    Being honest with myself, I journaled: “the idea of being a permanent slave,  unentitled to the personal fruit of my time, treasure and talent is haunting and chilling to me.  Help me, Lord!”

On the one hand, many years of experience with the Lord has shown me He never fails to restore what the enemy has stolen, and in fact heretofore has always restored it in a multiple!   That is not the issue for me.    The issue is being willing to lay down all the research, financial sacrifice, suffering and risk to my own family, to wait and pray while God accomplishes this momentous state-wide and national task His way.   The issue is continuing to have faith while being humbled and possibly obscured for now.

This devotion reflected on the writings of Elisabeth Elliot, widow of missionary Jim Elliot, both graduates of nearby Wheaton College, who was murdered with several colleagues on the mission fields in Ecuador.    Nancy Leigh DeMoss writes:

‘What are some of the rights that as Jesus’ disciples we need to be willing to surrender?   Here’s the list that Elisabeth Elliot came up with:

  • First is the right to take revenge (Romans 12:19-20).   (if not against my husband, perhaps against the judge who brutally punished me for my convictions?)
  • The right to have a comfortable, secure home. Jesus said, “The birds of the air have nests, the foxes have holes, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head” (Luke 9:57-58). The right to have a comfortable, secure home. It’s a right we surrender to Christ.
  • The right to spend our money however we please (Matthew 6:19-21).
  • The right to hate an enemy (Matthew 5:43-48). We have to surrender that right.
  • The right to be honored and served (Mark 10:42-47).
  • The right to understand God’s plan before we obey (Hebrews 11:8).
  • The right to live life by our own rules (John 14:23-24).
  • The right to hold a grudge (Colossians 3:13).
  • The right to fit into society (Romans 12:2; Galatians 1:10).
  • The right to do whatever feels good (Galatians 5:16-17; 1 Peter 4:2).
  • The right to complain. “Ooo. I can’t have the right to complain? ” No. That’s a right you’re to give up. By the way, you find that in Philippians 2, verse 14: “Do all things without complaining or murmuring.”
  • The right to put self first. That’s the passage we’ve been looking in, Philippians 2:3-4).
  • The right to express one’s sexuality in ways that are contrary to the ways of God (1 Corinthians 6:18-20).
  • The right to rebel against authority (1 Peter 2:13-15).   Acceptable to do so only where there is a clear conflict with God’s law.
  • The right to sue another believer (1 Corinthians 6:1-8).

FB profile 7xtjw (SIFC was summoned into court in this instance because as a follower of Christ she refused to sign a document that affirmed the civil charge of “irreconcilable differences” even though doing so might have protected more of our family’s [in reality, God’s] assets.)

There’s more we could say about all those, but just a sample list from God’s Word of rights that we’re asked to surrender as followers of Christ.  –  Nancy Leigh DeMoss,  www.reviveourhearts.com.

Being a student of the bible, I know it is not acceptable to God to shrink back in fear from a God-appointed battle.    I also observe from the ill-fated battles of the bible that complete obedience is required in all aspects of a God-favored battle:  timing, tools, size of army, willingness to accept seemingly impossible circumstances and trust God, instead of our own resources, to overcome unfavorable circumstances and obstacles for His glory.

2 Chronicles 14:11

Then Asa called to the Lord his God and said, “Lord, there is no one like you to help the powerless against the mighty. Help us, Lord our God, for we rely on you, and in your name we have come against this vast army. Lord, you are our God; do not let mere mortals prevail against you.”

Though I was by now pleading with the Lord to write His instructions on my wall,  I still felt as though I was not getting any clear answer from Him whether to pursue or drop the appeal without the anonymity protection for our family.    I had (perhaps wrongly) treated this anonymity item as a Gideon-style “fleece”.    Was God spanking me for not having more spiritual maturity after 35 years of walking with Him, or was this His actual revelation according to that extended “fleece”?   I had no peace with either pursuing the appeal under our actual names for the sake of the people of our state and all that has been invested,  nor with dropping it for the sake of our family’s peace,  privacy and recovery.     So, I located a comprehensive study of all the biblical battles, their issues and outcomes, and I spent a couple of days studying it, hoping for more clarity.    To get inside the skin of another long-sacrificing soldier of Christ with a similarly monumental task of marshalling an army to change both internal church culture and government policy on a profoundly vital moral and human rights issue on which the future of nations turned – ending the African slave trade,  I dove into Eric Metaxas’ biography of William Wilberforce, called Amazing Grace.   Could some of Wilberforce’s processes be applicable to my approach to this hard decision, and more specifically, to my discipleship path in this?

One passage in this Wilberforce biography seemed jump out and grab me, standerinfamilycourt,  by the throat:

“And so he took stock of himself.  He well knew his mind’s natural tendency to be endlessly on a thousand subjects at once, to flit from this to that and to the next thing to no particular purpose — indeed, he called it his ‘butterfly mind’…..He knew that his world-class wit could turn into the vicious and wounding sarcasm, and that his ability to mimic others and joke and sing and generally be charming could be used to merely draw attention to himself, merely to exalt himself and to feed his personal and vain ambitions….Wilberforce alone knew how constitutionally weak he was with regard to self-discipline…”  

Ouch!   It’s encouraging to reflect that God with whom nothing shall be impossible still found a way to astoundingly use such an inherently flawed vessel!    When I went on to read about the elaborate and regimented tracking lists Wilberforce used to hold himself accountable for correcting these flaws,  I sincerely wonder if I could stay at it for long.    Is that the bottom-line cost of success in an endeavor so much bigger than can be handled in the natural?

In the meantime, some external events transpired that were very encouraging, making it very clear that others are forcefully carrying  this banner alongside me.    Our facebook community page, Unilateral Divorce is Unconstitutional has rapidly gained international followers, including a couple of like-minded U.S. state and national organizations, despite its intensely unpopular cultural message.   By the hand of God, one re-post of Dr. Albert Mohler’s  2010 blog on the hypocrisy within the church’s official position on divorce and remarriage which sharply conflicts with what Jesus taught, was directed into the strategic hands of some seminary theologians and a group of Catholics who care about this subject.    It has been re-shared 21 times in 5 days as I write this, and has had over 8,000 views, with dozens of thoughtful debate comments by important people that seemed to take on a life of its own.    Other posts are also getting large audiences and great feedback very suddenly.   I made personal connection with no-fault opposition pioneer Judith Brumbaugh, who has extended us the honor of her helpful background guidance for which we are so grateful.    Perhaps most significantly, standers from all over are beginning to message our page for prayer and guidance.

With all the praise and the thanks to God, the Illinois legislative session miraculously adjourned without passing the deplorable bill HB1452, or the ERA (equal rights amendment) bill.    Both would have been monumental threats to Illinois families.     Many prayers went up across the state for their defeat, and God was faithful.

Last month, the Catholic-leaning religious magazine First Things started an excellent debate on whether pastors should continue to sign off on civil marriage certificates, or should force a godly separation between God-joined biblical unions and the world’s severely-devalued civil constructions brought on by nearly 5 decades of destructive redefinition.    Additionally, they published the excellent article, Time to Challenge No-Fault Divorce, by Drs. Thomas F.  Farr and Hilary Towers.   The article very significantly validated what the national religious freedom legal organizations are so reluctant to acknowledge:   that divorce Respondents do suffer genuine religious persecution in the family court system, (as all perceived opponents of the sexual revolution do).   Perhaps it’s this group of Catholics through whom our post was circulated so wildly beyond our expectations this past week.   Did some influential people get a good look at our pages and think concretely about a potential alliance?   It is very comforting at a time like this and on the cusp of such a pivotal personal choice that I have to make to see God’s hand and some strong evidence that all of this is part of a larger move of God in which I may not have to be a very significant player nor the lone voice in the wilderness.    May God give me the mix of humility and ambition that is most appropriate here, since I’ve lost all hope of a “cloak”,  and only He can see the larger picture ahead.     May He direct my thoughts and my steps!

In January, the U.S. Supreme Court is reportedly going to decide whether to hear arguments in cases that upheld state constitutions in their voter-approved traditional marriage definitions coming out of the 6th Circuit which conflict with rulings in several other Federal Circuits around the country.   Some of those rulings and cases assert the fundamental right to remain married.      What  is the sustainability of unilateral divorce if the Supreme Court affirms the fundamental right to maintain civil marriage intact?     SIFC was on the Washington Mall with 10,000 other traditional marriage supporters on the chilly day in March, 2013 when the first round of marriage definition arguments were heard during the March for Marriage sponsored by the National Organization for Marriage.    No doubt there will be a similar rally organized in 2015 on the date of these new arguments.   The speeches SIFC heard that day from inner city pastors and the young adult children of divorce galvanized this stander’s resolve that unilateral divorce must be abolished.    SIFC is likely to be there again.

 

Yesterday I mailed off to the attorneys an envelope containing the case history and analysis I researched on prior constitutional challenges to no-fault divorce laws in various states since 1970,  and a glossary of legal concepts that have been impacted by very recent cases.    After much prayer I’ve come to the place where I will not feel any peace about dropping the appeal until my Christian attorneys have reviewed this work and also sought God’s direction specifically concerning the 14th Amendment equal protection and due process aspects of the case.      If our attorneys are willing, I will find the funding somehow for this round of the appeal, but if we win that, God will have to step in and provide the finances to go up against the deep state pockets we would then be facing.    If they discourage me from this aspect of the case, and I can’t find a suitable legal team,  it is unlikely I’m going to be comfortable putting my family through any further litigation rigors.    Prayer warriors reading this post, SIFC would be so grateful if you would pray for our family and our two law firms.

 

Even with dropping the appeal, the Lord will have other, slower avenues to work toward the goal of ending the tyranny in the family court system.    I am confident He is about to raise up further opportunities for challenge across the country.   Important alliances are being formed in the background, and I see SIFC’s pages as a linkage between people and needed resources in the future.    I see these pages as a continuing resource for committed Christ-followers in having the difficult conversations within their churches and denominations to begin to change the culture much the way the abolitionists slowly changed the culture in Wilberforce’s time.    Perhaps with the social media resources we now have and the Lord’s end times timeline, the process will be much more rapid.    We’ve seen the meteoric speed with which evil social change can sweep the nation in the past 5 years.    Yet the word of God says “greater is He that is in us, than he who is in the world.”

Until the hearts of the leadership of the state family policy councils and of the Christian public service legal funds change to embrace our cause legislatively and judicially,  I have a vision for starting a fund that will help people in other states in the appeal stage who have been bullied for their convictions by the family court system.       I don’t have any idea how I’m going to accomplish this just yet, but I know Who must be the Provider.     While we probably can’t afford to fund primary divorce challenges, there are some legal aid groups who may be able to fill that role, and perhaps knowing such resources may be available at the appeal stage may encourage individuals to do as I’ve done in challenging the “irreconcilable differences” civil charge in order to gain standing to bring a 14th Amendment constitutional appeal in other states.    Perhaps the presence of an appeal fund may reform the egregious behavior of the legal community including the bench.

 

Meanwhile, I challenge the state family policy councils, and indeed the many Christian denominations at headquarters level – what are you willing to do to be a godly voice on the  offensive in changing these laws?    Will you trust God enough to risk offending some donors or losing some members ?    When your next meeting comes to debate the cultural “relevance”  of your official position statements on Marriage, Divorce and Remarriage, will you honor God and move back toward scriptural purity and eternal relevance?

I challenge the religious liberty legal funds whose mission statements all say they defend the “traditional family”:  same sex marriage is going to be a waning issue by next year, and there are credible reports that some of you are already feeling it in reduced coffers.    Honor the One you should  be looking to for those coffers, as well as for the tide to turn in court.    Why not look to help the millions who would be only too willing to send in their $50 in exchange for your pledge of solid commitment to this cause, rather than appeasing larger donors out of an unexamined and untested fear that they may be offended because their lifestyles may be biblically immoral.     Soon enough, everyone is going to see the obvious and unavoidable connection between unilateral divorce and same sex marriage.

 

May the favor of the Lord our God rest on us; establish the work of our hands for us— yes, establish the work of our hands.  – Ps. 90:17

Our Story:  7 Times Around the Jericho Wall – Part 1

Our Story:  7 Times Around the Jericho Wall- Part 2

Our Story:  7 Times Around the Jericho Wall- Part 3

 

 

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

www.standerinfamilycourt.com