Category Archives: Prayer

Meat Sacrificed to Idols, Inadvertent Shepherds and The Harsher Judgment

Groupsby Standerinfamilycourt

All things are lawful, but not all things are profitable. All things are lawful, but not all things edify.   Let no one seek his own good, but that of his neighbor.   Eat anything that is sold in the meat market without asking questions for conscience’ sake;  for the earth is the Lord’s, and all it contains.  If one of the unbelievers invites you and you want to go, eat anything that is set before you without asking questions for conscience’ sake.   But if anyone says to you, “This is meat sacrificed to idols,” do not eat it, for the sake of the one who informed you, and for conscience’ sake;  I mean not your own conscience, but the other man’s; for why is my freedom judged by another’s conscience?   If I partake with thankfulness, why am I slandered concerning that for which I give thanks?

Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.   Give no offense either to Jews or to Greeks or to the church of God;   just as I also please all men in all things, not seeking my own profit but the profit of the many, so that they may be saved.
–  1 Corinthians 10:23-33

Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil.
– Ephesians 5:16-33

“Standerinfamilycourt” has never been one to belong to dozens of social media sites and pages, being  extremely selective and purposeful about which ones merit THE LORD’S time which has been entrusted to advance the kingdom of God.    This balance of time is certainly going to look different from disciple to disciple, depending on the particular assignment we’ve been given in these last days.    The half-dozen sites SIFC has committed to membership in generally serve these main purposes, consistent with kingdom assignment:

(1) plug into high-quality  scholarship of others so that 7 Times Around the Jericho Wall and Unilateral Divorce Is Unconstitutional can be as reliable as possible in dividing God’s word (and on the flip side, promote respectful avoidance of misusing the word of God)

(2) provide a trustworthy connection point to refer opposite-sex individuals who contact our pages seeking to be ministered to deeply — which should be done by a same sex person who is spiritually mature.

(3)  extend the reach and circulation of our posts  so that the stander community is aware of, and connected with, other voices and communities who are our natural allies in the righteous, interdependent quest to abolish unilateral divorce and clean up the apostate churches to the extent possible.

(4) keep tabs on what satan is up to these days in opposing God’s kingdom.  He loves to send in intruders and hang out on standers’ pages, too, while constantly shifting his ugly tactics.

Many covenant marriage standers will belong to an astounding number of sites and seem to be online “contending for the faith” all day and night.    Knowing firsthand how addictive social media is, especially to isolated and often-alienated standers, one has to wonder how much time is being truly spent in intercession for the rebuilding of our torn up families, pleading with the throne of heaven for the soul of our estranged one-flesh partners, and praying protective hedges around our impacted loved ones, especially given satan’s particular rage against us.      Not a few in the marriage permanence community, if they were completely honest with themselves and others,  have seemingly given up expecting the Lord to restore their holy matrimony union (if they haven’t instead come out of an unholy matrimony union).    Some, wrongly in my view, see Paul’s instructions in 1 Cor. 7:11,
“remain unmarried [celibate] or be reconciled…”
as “either / or” instead of “both / and”, and this is reflected in how they spend their time and emotional energy.     I pray that the Lord will greatly surprise these folks one day.    

A well-run site for covenant marriage standers (and for others with hearts open to the truth of marriage indissolubility), will have ground rules that look something like this:
this is not a dating site
– name-calling, gossip, personal attacks and bad language will not be tolerated here
– off-topic posts and those pushing divisive, controversial ideologies not essential to inheriting the kingdom of God will not be allowed in our space, nor will debate on them be permitted
– promotional posts for unrelated ministries, products, etc. will be removed as spam

It is not typical at the present time for most pages which are geared to a doctrinally pure, continuously-maturing covenant marriage stander or repenting prodigal membership, to have more than a few hundred members or followers, nor rapid net growth (joiners far exceeding the unjoiners).  Yet when one gives this reality some reflection, such small following is still equivalent to a small-to-medium-sized church congregation.    Given the other reality that in a lot of cases, a particular site may become the church-surrogate for an unfortunate number of standers, the integrity and consistency with which the rules are applied takes on a sobering importance.    Everyone in this marriage permanence community has recently had a front row seat for the sad spectacle of what happened under the cronyism, carnality and lack of accountability in Greg Locke’s brick-and-mortar church.     Though virtual fellowship is not typically a matter of financial stewardship, the situation might not be too different in some of the stander sites in many other important respects, complete with defecting sheep who fall into carnality because the responsibility for discipling  the members wasn’t quite what it should have been in some sites where the defectors were hanging out.    When a standers’ site is growing at megachurch pace, it doesn’t hurt to take an objective look at what might be driving that aberrant pace and be a bit wary of failure to consistently apply the site’s own rules.

SIFC joined a fast-growing page recently that seemed to be well-run, at least as it appeared from the outside.   Its owner is an organizer of weekly conference calls of very high quality, good attendance, and excellent guests.     The live streaming of these calls had just become available on that site, with convenient playback.   Despite misgivings some months  earlier about the pushiness of the owner in posting the call notices on several restricted-topic sites and being rather obstinate about respecting those owners’ reasonable requests not to do so,  SIFC began to join these conference calls on a fairly regular basis due to the quality of the speakers.    Site membership had grown to about 1300 with a dozen or so new joiners weekly to site membership.    At first it appeared this site would nicely meet all three of SIFC’s top desired purposes for joining, as described earlier, and for committing to being a contributing member of helpful standers’ group.    Some of the handful of soundly-based groups that had been fruitful a year or two ago had gone fairly inactive, so the time seemed ripe.

After two or three weeks’ participation, SIFC has come away feeling as if comments in response to some of the posts had invited everyone there to a dinner party where, unknowingly, there had been meat sacrificed to idols served, which offended some guests of weaker faith.     Let me explain.

At the time point of joining, there was quite the conversation ongoing on about a male stander who had fallen prey to a heretical remarriage apology page, but had simultaneously been a member of this particular group, from which he evidently pursued several female standers (as confessed by one of them) before selecting a another stander to “marry” while his covenant wife remains a living prodigal.     To-date, two of our blog own posts have early-flagged and discussed the role of this man’s profuse legalistic ideologies which directly contributed to his moral fall, and (likely) to the ongoing depth of estrangement from his true wife.

Against this unfortunate backdrop, it was incredibly disheartening to see  legalistic and dogmatic posts by one of the page’s moderators in the next two weeks on all of the following off-topic issues that drew contentious debate:
– the  alleged”corruption” of attending a flesh-and-blood, brick-and-mortar church that has an appointed pastor or pastoral staff
– the alleged “pagan-ness” of Valentine’s Day celebrations
–  the alleged “impropriety” of addressing anyone, great or small, by a title

This appeared to be the only type of post ever observed being made by this gentleman in that time frame.   Not only were the moderator-poster’s extrabiblical biases being promoted, but anyone not practicing them was being overtly condemned.    SIFC’s first appeal to observe the site’s own posted rules was made to the owner in a comment on the post.  The site owner publicly commented that he agreed with the legalism complained of, and would therefore allow the posts to remain for the heated and unseemly discussion that ensued.   SIFC challenged the moderator-poster on all three of the above distractions, a man whose “story” hadn’t been revealed in SIFC’s short sojourn on the site, but his faith background can likely be guessed from the ethnicity of his name and the apparent appeal to him of these particular dogmas.    One of SIFC’s challenges was quickly deleted by somebody with access to do so, and SIFC received two PM’s from the site owner claiming that the dissenting comments constituted “name-calling”.  (Apparently because SIFC used the “L-word” as a descriptor).    In a display of spiritual maturity, this  fellow removed himself for a morning from the page membership, then the next thing SIFC knew, the page was “no longer available”.    Not only was I removed, but evidently also blocked from the page.

This site had all of the ground rules described above in place, and then some, as follows:

“This is NOT a dating site. There is ZERO tolerance for name calling, gossip, slander or profanity. If you do not answer questions, you will be ignored, and you and your posts may be deleted. Posts of false doctrines or false teachers will be deleted. This is not a debate forum. Keep posts focused on [marriage, adultery, divorce and remarriage].
DO NOT POST VIDEOS BY UNAPPROVED SPEAKERS. APPROVED SPEAKERS HAVE THEIR WEB SITES LISTED AND/OR ARE MODERATORS. VIDEOS SHOULD BE APPROVED PRIVATELY BY A MODERATOR PRIOR TO POSTING ON [site name].

(Examples: types of baptisms, tongues, women head coverings, dress or other topics that Christians have been divided on hundreds of years) Not a place to advertise your business. Violators and their posts will be deleted without warning.”

These were indeed enforced against infractions committed by non-cronies of the page owner, as SIFC observed on one occasion when a lady was admonished, not for a post but for a question she raised about a legalistic and divisive doctrine.     On the other hand, outright slander against a very effective and godly pioneering marriage restoration ministry was actively defended by the site owner when interjected by another commenter, interfering as she was with help SIFC was attempting to provide to a new member in the crisis of his wife leaving him.    Nope, this site is clearly not safe for referrals from Unilateral Divorce is Unconstitutional as originally hoped.    

Reflecting on this incident in its aftermath, several thoughts come to the surface that (at least in SIFC’s estimation) if heeded will help keep the looney-tunes “cult” perception, not to mention actual stander defections from biblical morality, at bay so that the marriage permanence community as a whole be taken seriously by people who can potentially help us make a difference for families, a goal I’m certain this site owner shares.

Many years ago, SIFC and spouse were trained in our charismatic, nondenominational church, which practiced a plurality of pastoral leadership as modeled by the 1st century church,  into a 13-week course for house church leaders called “The Maturity in Christ Series”.  We  weren’t very chronologically mature at this time in the early ’80’s, but we then went on to teach this course together to new leaders a couple of times after that, while we co-led a house church with a seasoned couple who were both bible college grads.   Without denominational leadership and sound doctrine, the atmosphere was ripe for every kind of lunacy to be tracked in from outside, and indeed, we observed much during this time that was successfully resisted by the framework that the leadership had proactively established and the careful grooming and monitoring of the lay leadership.     On one occasion, there was an administration of (Matthew 18:15-17) public church discipline to a male house church leader who had become romantically involved with a troubled female in his charge.   This man was put out of the church for refusing to terminate the immoral, extramarital relationship.

In those days, marriage permanence was preached from the pulpit of that church.   Unlike the affluent Methodist church downtown, the number of remarried divorced pairs could be counted on the fingers of one hand.    The typical dogmas and distractions that regularly surfaced were very similar to today’s virtual communities of believers:  dress and makeup legalisms, Sabbath disputes, head coverings, holiday observance,  homeschooling, women working outside the home being likened to “streetwalkers”,  legalism about pursuing college at a secular institution, order in using the gifts of the Spirit, and so forth.    Similar to our virtual communities, people were being born again after spending their upbringing in churches with autocratic authority structures and some clearly pagan or extrabiblical practices, and these folks tended to backlash in the opposite direction of whatever they have grown up with until a period of responsible small group discipleship had brought them into better balance.

But what happens when a stander or repenting prodigal is persecuted in their traditional church, or even worse, put out of it for being outspoken about remarriage adultery being a hellbound sin?     The discipling processes can be short-circuited in some cases before a person has matured spiritually.      They can easily become distrustful of all traditional churches, due to the widespread apostasy over the remarriage issue, and assume all pastors are incorrigible and all churches apostate.   However, it doesn’t stop there.   Instead of becoming spiritually secure individuals, it becomes necessary to disparage and accuse anyone who is attending an actual church and attempting to influence their pastor toward scriptural faithfulness.   This was indeed the tone taken in one of the posts by the page moderator, who appears from this behavior to have come out of a faith tradition where church leadership is deemed “infallible” and not to be challenged.    Only, who’s there and qualified to disciple him in the virtual church?  Who’s properly trained and willing to do so?    Only somebody who can see (or has seen) where the man’s error is taking him!

Do not be deceived: “Bad company corrupts good morals.”
– 1 Corinthians 15:33

There’s a key reason why SIFC opted for an open community page instead of a closed group – lack of time and biblical qualification to act as a de facto pastor.    There are just over 600 self-elected followers to Unilateral Divorce is Unconstitutional, none of whom are very likely to mistake the page for a suitable church substitute.
(By contrast, a community page started four years earlier, similarly targeted as ours, but which doesn’t call non-covenant “marriages” adultery, doesn’t seek to reform the laws, and doesn’t write about things like hell, toxic Calvinism, and the corruption of our contemporary bibles, has eight times as many page fans.)   Even so, ministry, prayer and referral (as appropriate) takes place behind the scenes upon request on UDIU, and there is a comfortable margin of time for this to occur with good handling while maintaining the page, and while assisting on a couple of other pages.   People don’t (normally) get insulted, protest loudly and huff off on our page — which I’d say is good for public decorum.    They simply “unlike” and “re-like” our page.

Were there 1300 group members to deal with, coming and going through a page-owned gatekeeping process, that’s equivalent to a fairly large church, and maintaining this administratively pretty much requires a staff, as indeed this page has appointed its moderators.  The site owner told me he works the page himself an average of eight hours a day.

An overseer, then, must be…. and not a new convert, so that he will not become conceited and fall into the condemnation incurred by the devil.
– Timothy 3:7

Page owners in the marriage permanence arena must understand that their page is a pseudo-church (unless the following is very small or unless they regularly and sincerely urge participation in a real church or house church fellowship wherever possible), and they must understand that the shared leadership of that page are indeed pseudo-pastors, at least to a portion of their members.     Is this page owner therefore willing to qualify these folks serving as his moderators according to Paul’s guidelines in 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1?   If not, what unction do they really have for criticizing the qualifications of a non-widowed remarried pastor?  If they don’t consistently “police” the lunacies and heresies surfacing on their page, are they any better than Paul found the Corinthian church to be when he rebuked the leadership for tolerating similar lunacies and heresies in his first letter?  If they have defectors who go into immorality, is this not a potential sign of pastoral deficiency?

And what is their strategy for discipling and counseling the women in their virtual congregation?    There are one or two virtual marriage ministries that have addressed this issue thoughtfully and made effective provision for it.   At least one of the leaders of this particular page, however, claim there’s something wrong with a female Christ-follower if, deprived of the covering God expects from her absentee husband, she therefore decides to be under the covering of a traditional pastor.  Yet her critics on the page really don’t have anything superior to offer her in the alternative.    What then happens in the vacuum is (unfortunately) that some can be preyed upon by insiders and outsiders alike.

Here’s a quick reminder of a few of the substantial benefits someone who can’t or won’t attend a flesh-and-blood fellowship miss out on:
–  communion (the taking of which just might be felt by our absent one-flesh partner)
– anointing with oil when ill
– meals brought over when ill
– small helps in severe situations they are unable to do themselves
– opportunity for mission trips
– opportunity to mentor young people

Surely, the Lord would not have His sheep criticized in this fashion for being a part of a congregation that provides things which He clearly intended for us to have that the alternative gatherings, real or virtual, can’t necessarily provide?    I think of an isolated late middle-aged woman who died alone in her house in our neighborhood several years ago who wasn’t even discovered until a part of her roof fell in due to heavy snow, and whose out-of-state children then had to be tracked down.    How incredibly sad, and  I’ve often wondered if she had been a stander.

Let’s face it:  we standers tend to be a mess emotionally, and long years of standing don’t normally make it any better.   These online groups tend to be a magnet additionally for wounded people who, for whatever reason, reject having spiritual authority over  them, who bristle at the idea of tithing (one legalism they do agree not to tolerate), and at other disciplines they shouldn’t be finding excuses to avoid.   Often this behavior and mindset is due to being raised in a church that was pompous in requiring the use of titles, and in declaring individual leaders “infallible” while promulgating the traditions of men that contradict the word of God.    Standers’ groups should be safe havens for those who have been involuntarily rejected or persecuted by their brick-and-mortar church.    But bad behavior that is harmful to the others on the group page should never have a safe haven.    Response to this behavior should follow a Matthew 18:15-17 process with no favoritism shown.     “Excommunications” should certainly follow this process, and should be done with correct motives which are soul-related.     “Excommunication” should never result from other members pouting at being admonished.

For the body is not one member, but many.   If the foot says, “Because I am not a hand, I am not a part of the body,” it is not for this reason any the less a part of the body.  And if the ear says, “Because I am not an eye, I am not a part of the body,” it is not for this reason any the less a part of the body.  If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole were hearing, where would the sense of smell be?   But now God has placed the members, each one of them, in the body, just as He desired.    – Corinthians 12:14-18

Another thing typically happens in large, virtual pseudo-churches.   All of the usual functional and spiritual gifts have a tendency of showing up in the group’s members and manifesting in posts and comments on the page.    One of the key pieces of leadership training my honey and I received “way back when” was instruction in what some of these gifts look like in their actual exercise in a group, including both the strengths and the weaknesses of each kind of person so gifted.    However, many standers have always been taught some measure of cessationism, so this conversation could not even be had on this particular group page, according to the stated rules.    One is perfectly free on this page, therefore, to hyper-apply Matthew 23:1-12, according to the YouTube video of some self-appointed “theologian”, but God help anyone who dares exercise the gift of, say,  discerning of spirits in that group.    That “passed away” with the Apostles,  after all.  Unfortunately, satan doesn’t spare the marriages of charismatics any more than he does the marriages of the “Reformed” or the Baptists.    Pretending within a group of Christ-followers that the functional gifts don’t exist doesn’t make them “poof” go away.   God certainly knows that a body can’t function without a nervous system,  so chances are that an “excommunicated” nervous system just might grow back through another member.     Successful groups, flesh-and-blood or virtual, learn how to benefit from the functional gifts in an orderly fashion.

I do not share my written perspective on this to get back at the group, for if so, I would name them.   I also do not write this out of any desire to rejoin, based on what I so quickly learned about how its governance stacks up with my pre-contemplated desires for investment of time in such a group.   At best, rejoining would fulfill only objectives (3) and (4) – not good enough to compensate for the much greater downside, as it currently stands.   I will probably not repost this blog to Unilateral Divorce is Unconstitutional, because a portion of that diverse audience is best not exposed to petty squabbling and (actual) cultishness in the body of Christ.     I blush that the poor man who was a new joiner seeking help for a horrible family crisis was exposed to it that day, and can only pray he wasn’t so turned off that he won’t follow up on the good referrals he was given.    My main hope is that this post will trigger the marriage permanence community to reflect on what they hope to achieve from group membership, and for the many others administering marriage permanence pages to prayerfully gut-check their own priorities and objectives, responsibly considering some of the eternal implications for running their page.

Surely, making one’s own decision whether to be part of a traditional church or observe Valentines Day are both lawful, according to the Apostle Paul, and whether or not they are both profitable depends on the circumstances involved, which are not for a third party to judge in any event.    Similarly, Jesus did not forbid a disciple from voluntarily addressing someone by their title.   At least that was the interpretation of the Shepherd of Hermas (addressing an angel sent to him in a dream):

““And I said to him, ‘Sir, if any one has a wife who trusts in the Lord, and if he detect her in adultery, does the man sin if he continues to live with her?’ And he said to me, ‘As long as he remains ignorant of her sin, the husband commits no transgression in living with her. But if the husband knows that his wife has gone astray, and if the woman does not repent, but persists in her sin, and yet the husband continues to live with her, he also is guilty of her crime, and a sharer in her adultery.’ And I said to him, ‘What then, sir, is the husband to do, if his wife continues in her vicious practices?’       (The Shepherd, Second Book, Commandment 4:1)

Rather, Jesus taught that it was presuming upon the glory of God to insist that others address us by a title.  Someone of weaker faith might not see one of these issues as the scripture intended, and someone of the weakest possible faith will have issues of conscience over the shallowest reading of scripture or every suggestive, but ill-researched teacher they encounter.    I humbly suggest that such folk are not yet ready to teach others if they elevate such things to a heaven-or-hell gravity.

My brethren, be not many masters, knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation.    –  James 3:1

 

www.standerinfamilycourt.com

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

 

Valentine’s Week Testimonies….Sonny* and Sally*: A Story Close to My Heart

NeverGiveUpby Standerinfamilycourt

Put me like a seal over your heart,
Like a seal on your arm.
For love is as strong as death,
Jealousy is as severe as Sheol;
Its flashes are flashes of fire,
The very flame of the Lord.
“Many waters cannot quench love,
Nor will rivers overflow it;
If a man were to give all the riches of his house for love,
It would be utterly despised.”
– Song of Solomon 8: 6 – 7

A fan of our Facebook page, Unilateral Divorce is Unconstitutional,  “inboxed” us one recent evening to ask if we knew of any holy matrimony couples who had been “divorced” under man’s immoral laws and later came out of non-covenant “remarriages” with others to be reconciled to each other by the power of God.     We have been sharing true stories like this all week leading up to Valentine’s Day, and we’re not finished yet!

(* names have been fictionalized to protect the privacy of SIFC’s own son’s mother and father in law, but the facts are true and real.)

One blustery late afternoon in February several years ago, our son asked a young lady to marry him after he had led her to the Lord, and she accepted.    SIFC had met this young lady on two or three previous occasions, on the first of which, she temporarily had blue hair and various body piercings.    The next occasion saw her at our home prior to attending a business dinner as our son’s escort, and I was asked to lend her a pair of tights for the evening so that the “cutting” scars on her legs would not show.    It wasn’t long after that, that an early May wedding was scheduled, and the mother-of- the-groom was heading toward the home of her parents to assist the mother-of-the-bride with her gown for the occasion, sewing basket in hand.   The family story that unfolded as we prepared for this wedding was an amazing one indeed.

Sonny, his pastor brother “Sam”, and Sally were all from Cajun country in Louisiana, and now were living and working in north central Illinois.    Sonny and Sally married young, not long after finishing high school.    Unlike the brother,  neither Sonny nor Sally are born-again believers to this very day, despite Sonny’s and Sam’s father also being a pastor.   Grandfather and uncle co-officiated at the tender wedding of our children in 2011.

A few years into Sonny and Sally’s marriage, Sally met another man and divorced Sonny.    She remarried this other man, taking two children, including our daughter-in-love, into this new “marriage”.    To the two dark-headed, olive-complected covenant children were eventually added a blonde half-sister.    God was nevertheless gracious to Sally, and after some time, He pulled her out of that unholy matrimony union.   In due time, she was back home and remarried to Sonny, who had honored his original vows and did not remarry.    (Having now met the whole family, I have to strongly suspect the unrelenting prayers of the elder pastor and his wife, Sally’s in-laws back in Louisiana.)

Though Sonny remains a polite but firm atheist, he did not hesitate to forgive his covenant wife, nor raise his little non-covenant step-daughter in such a way that you would never know she is not his own flesh and blood.    As far as SIFC is aware, the biological dad has not been part of our son’s sister-in-law’s life since the non-covenant marriage was dissolved between the parents.

This divorce and remarriage trial has left its scars scattered through the family, on several levels that reflect the unresolved need for this home to be introduced to Jesus Christ, so that He may become the center of that home.    One of the violent crimes against heaven, when satan drags off a believing spouse into a life of covenant family abandonment and legalized adultery, is that he or she is “AWOL” when a Sonny and Sally enter our lives, speaking of SIFC’s own prodigal, who would have gone out of his way to minister to Sonny a few years before falling away himself.    There is no other couple of similar age and experience to model a Christ-centered, restored marriage in front of them, nor moral authority to witness to them that no covenant marriage is beyond God’s touch to bring about ALL of His purposes for it.    Among Sonny and Sally’s children, the elder son is a practicing homosexual.     Our daughter-in-law has panic attacks, and it’s taken years to get her to wear a swimsuit, due pervasive scars from the season of cutting herself that resulted from the turmoil in her family. Though Sonny has forgiven his wife for these events,  the lack of Jesus, and of God’s design for biblical roles in their home has kept their relationship on tense and fragile terms where teamwork is present, but intimacy has never been fully restored.    Our son and their daughter have a vibrant, Christ-centered marriage, to the praise of God, and the prayers continue down in Louisiana, as well as in SIFC’s home,  for the power of God to get hold of that elder covenant marriage one more time!      For nothing will be impossible with God.

www.standerinfamilycourt.com

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

Are Millions REALLY Going to Hell for Remarriage Adultery? How Do We Know?

Luke16
by Standerinfamilycourt

What I tell you in the darkness, speak in the light; and what you hear whispered in your ear, proclaim upon the housetops.   Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.
–  Matthew 10:27-28

With permission, we’re sharing an “inbox” inquiry received on our Facebook community page, Unilateral Divorce is Unconstitutional:

“Quick overview. Covenant wife divorced me early nineties. Stood approx. 4 years until Cov. wife became engaged. Starting dating..fell into sin..ended up marrying woman I impregnated 1 week before cov. wife was remarried. Tough second marriage. 3 year separation where I stood for the non covenant marriage and she did come home with another mans child. Fast foward 15 years and she left again. This time as reading the bible and studying the blinders came off. Now back to standing for covenant marriage altho cov wife seems to have had a very blessed marriage. Sometimes I think if I had married one week after I would have had a good marriage and hers would have been bad. The struggle I have is with how my covenant wife has seem to have been so blessed. Reading your blog there was an article where you had come to grips with remarriage being a hell or heaven matter. What was the information the settled the matter in your heart? You see so many people in remarriages that love God…works demonstrate their faith, etc. that it’s hard to believe that an eternity in hell awaits them. Your thoughts are appreciated.”

( FB profile 7xtjw  SIFC: Of course, we have addressed these recurring questions in many prior posts, such as this one,  and  this one, but we’re not surprised that the central question keeps popping up.)

Thanks for your question, Page Fan.   You raise many issues in your question, and the response can get lengthy in a hurry.  Since it’s a question many have, I’d like to give you a quick answer about the events that solidified the heaven-or-hell heart knowledge for “standerinfamilycourt”,  and give you a couple of resources to digest on your own.    Then, with your permission, and keeping your identity confidential, what I’d like to do is bring a fuller response to everyone through a blog post by the end of February.   May I ?

The first thing to understand is what Jesus was telling us in Matt.19:6 and 8.  Humanists, from Moses to the Pharisees, to Martin Luther to Pope Francis, have always rebelled against God’s order, which was established at creation, by trying to make the question of divorce and remarriage about allowances and “permissions”.
Jesus came along and said, “no, it’s strictly about metaphysics — to which there are no exceptions.”   This is what He’s saying in Matt. 19:6:  only God’s hand can form the lifelong one-flesh entity of holy matrimony.  He does it instantaneously and supernaturally, creating an entirely new entity, “they are never again two (according to the verb tense He actually used, translated into Greek) but one flesh.”   God then becomes the other party with that new entity to an unconditional covenant.  All of this occurs BEFORE physical consummation if the couple was chaste before taking vows.
Where they weren’t chaste, but there is no living, estranged spouse, it occurs before they are back up the aisle and out the door.

This is the foundation that makes all non-widowed “remarriage” adultery, and is why Jesus repeated on three separate occasions that EVERYONE who “marries” a divorced woman enters into an ongoing state of adultery.   If it was adulterous for another man to “marry” YOUR covenant wife, it is equally adulterous for your one-flesh to claim to the world that she is “married” to that man, regardless of how “blessed” it might look from the outside.

I assure you, she knows that “hen soma” (satan’s glittery but pale counterfeit discussed in 1 Cor. 6:16) is a hollow substitute for “sarx mia” – the supernatural, God-joined genuine article.   Jesus was not just saying in Matt.19:6 and 8 (SIFC: notice the verb tense again in “it was not [EVER] this way”) that divorce was immoral — He was saying that man’s paper claims of “dissolution” were IMPOSSIBLE.   Only death severs the one-flesh entity, and only death removes God from the unconditional covenant He has made with that inseverable one-flesh entity.   To the divorced and remarried priest He addresses through the prophet Malachi (chapter 2), He says….” the Lord has been a witness between you and the wife of your youth, against whom you have dealt treacherously, though she IS (not “was”) your companion and your wife by covenant.”

I have always known from my earliest days as a believer that non-widowed remarriage was fake and adulterous, and this came by revelation of God’s direct word and the Holy Spirit’s counsel to me personally.   I stood strong against the rapidly-apostasizing church four decades ago based on that.   But even in those days, I only knew a fraction of what I was eventually to learn.    So here are the events that clarified things for me:

The first thing was that the pastor of my own church decided a few years ago to take many weeks to teach the entire congregation on Sundays how to use the principles of sound hermeneutics in bible study to detect and avoid error / “spin”.   He was so serious about it that he did this right from the pulpit in the main service.   He wasn’t teaching on marriage, just general principles.   I then read a 1957 book called “Does Divorce Dissolve Marriage?” written around the same kind of rigorous hermeneutic framework as I had just learned in church, written by a bible college president who died in 1975.

The second thing was the range of accomplished bible scholars I met shortly afterward.   Soon I met displaced pastors whose covenant wives had divorced them, but they had obeyed the Lord and remained celibate, some of them for 30 years who never had a church again after that, expressly because they refused to “remarry”. These guys (and in one case an accomplished lady bible scholar who had repented of an adulterous “remarriage” with another woman’s “divorced” husband), taught me how to use free online deep bible study tools to get back to the original Greek and Hebrew texts, which then exposed all of the places where liberal bible translation committees had distorted our English-language bibles over the past 100 years or so to make divorce and remarriage seem acceptable.  I then found out there were a handful of happily married pastors, in quite a mix of denominations, with congregations who agreed with these “divorced” pastors and preached the truth boldly from their own pulpits all of the truth.   Being able to see the differences in Greek word usage that the liberal commentators don’t tell people about, helped me deeply understand the nature of both one-flesh and God’s unconditional covenants, as well as His character in how He treats His holy symbols.

Once I had this hermeneutics and online tools methodology under my belt, I happened to be accepted as a FB friend by a prominent professor (former Catholic) in a mainline Protestant seminary who had become an early friend of our FB page, and who had once rebutted Dr. David Instone-Brewer’s erroneous and liberal book from 2001.   Dr. G allowed me to post marriage indissolubility comments on his wall, which is a gathering-place for Christian leaders and students, but he became uncomfortable and PM’d me one evening when I posted evidence that it’s a heaven-or-hell issue, just as remaining in a sodomous relationship is for gays who claim to be believers.

Dr. G: ”  [SIFC}, I think you are beginning to dominate the discussion on my divorce post overly much. I think people understand your point. Some of it is helpful but careful for overkill.”

SIFC:  “Good evening, Dr. G. Sorry I’ve offended. I’m in the middle of finishing a blog, so will give it a rest, and I do appreciate the touch-base. I do have a question, if it’s something you’ve addressed before. In your mind, is there any difference between “not inheriting the kingdom of God” and going to hell?   This is a serious question and would love to have your input some time. Thanks.”

Dr. G:  “Not inheriting the kingdom of God means exclusion from eternal life.”

SIFC:   “So I guess your response would be “no difference”?”

Bottom line, he readily admitted that they mean the same thing, and has continued to allow me to post the same kinds of comments ever since.    (The other possibility might have been for him to cite “loss of rewards”, as some of the Calvinists do with regard to the born-again who disobey the Lord in this area, but he didn’t do so.)

By that  late evening incident in 2015, I knew that it wasn’t wrong to link 1 Cor.6:9-10  with Luke 16:18, since after all, Jesus Himself did so in verses 19-31 of Luke 16.   Notice He also does so in Matthew 5:27-32, keeping in mind that when those words came out of His mouth, there was no bible committee to sanitize it by adding “helpful headings” and “suggested divisions”.     (Dr. G still claims there is adultery and “adultery-lite” depending on whether or not there’s man’s paper involved, but this learned seminarian has never been able to point to any scripture that supports this, except for the (irrelevant) story of the woman shacking up with a non-husband,  to whom John’s account doesn’t tell us Jesus told her she had to “come out of”  – but neither does John’s account tell us that He told her to hie herself off to the rabbi and “marry” the dude, post-haste.)
Dr. G is similar to John Piper and Voddie Baucham, good men who all agree that “remarriage” is adultery before it actually happens, but who all object, without scriptural basis, to the idea that repenting of this ongoing sin is done the same way as repenting of any other ongoing state of sin.

The third thing that happened is that I was exposed to all of the writings of the early church leaders, from the Apostles – people who had been in the house with Jesus after His confrontation with the Pharisees about remarriage being adultery, where He spoke of becoming a “eunuch” for the sake of inheriting the kingdom of God – to the ones that lived some 300 or 400 years later. They were unanimous about it as well. Even if some of them did consider man’s “divorce” real in terms of a separation, they all knew it didn’t dissolve anything until somebody died, so they all unanimously forbid remarriage while an estranged spouse was still alive.
One of them, Ignatius, who was the bishop of Antioch (died when executed by the Romans in a den of lions) said this around 100 A.D. :

“Do not be in error, my brethren. Those that corrupt families shall not inherit the kingdom of God. If then, those who do this as respects the flesh have suffered death, how much more shall this be the case with anyone who corrupts by wicked doctrine the faith of God, for which Jesus Christ was crucified? Such a one becoming defiled in this way shall go away into everlasting fire, and so shall everyone that harkens unto him.”

This audio link with important church history details is by Rev. Stephen Wilcox – whom I also highly recommend to you as a contact. Stephen runs the Spirit of Hosea Fellowship. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AhhGSHJAef4

We have to understand that remarriage adultery doesn’t just break the commandment against adultery. It also breaks the 1st commandment against idolatry (finding God-substitutes / self-worship), and the 8th, 9th and 10th commandments (stealing, bearing false witness, and coveting that which belongs to another).
If we die in the ongoing sin of remarriage adultery we die in all of those other sins as well, and we know from Rev. 21:8 that unrepentant liars and covetous idolators are cast into the lake of fire.   Ditto for living in an ongoing state of unforgiveness which Jesus repeatedly stated will send people to hell if they die in that state (see Matt. 18:23-35).   Adulterous remarriage constitutes permanent unforgiveness, taking our own revenge, as well as idolatry, covetousness, theft and sexual immorality.

MarriageHeresy

If we stand for our covenant marriage, our motivation has to be right — we have to dread the idea of our God-joined one-flesh being cast into the lake of fire so much that we are determined to go the distance in what will seem like endless deprivation.  We have to dread the idea that our children and grandchildren are likely to emulate our example of something that could send them to hell, unless they have the chance to observe us drawing a durable moral line in the sand.    Above all, we can’t presume to give the Ruler of All Heaven and Earth a selfish time limit before we go and jeopardize yet another person’s soul by purporting to “marry” them when we are already joined for life in holy matrimony by GOD.

There’s much I can say about the appearance that your wife is “blessed” while “married” to somebody Jesus repeatedly called an adulterer.   To gain some perspective, I suggest you read all of Luke, chapter 16, and think deeply about everything Jesus was saying in that rich chapter and how it all ties together.  The part about unrighteous mammon (following the world system), about John the Baptist who was beheaded for warning a pair of remarriage adulterers to repent or face hell and what Jesus thought about that, and finally the story of the rich man and Lazarus, thinking about how that relates to your exclusive one-flesh and the counterfeit she is “married” to.

But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.   –  Matthew 5:44-45

Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap.  For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.  – Galatians 6:7-8

(FB profile 7xtjw  SIFC: When we sow peas, we don’t reap corn.   We usually reap much later than we sow, and normally, we reap much more than we sow.   When the covenant wife “divorces” her husband, she takes herself out of the God-ordained covering-and-authority structure that includes her God-joined husband with God over him, which is also planting a “seed”, of sorts.  That act [unrepented], too, is a “work” that is demonstrating her “faith”, is it not?   God’s mercy toward her may be because she was never taught any better, but we cannot say.)

And if you have not been faithful in the use of that which is another’s, who will give you that which is your own?   No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.”   Now the Pharisees, who were lovers of money, were listening to all these things and were scoffing at Him. And He said to them, “You are those who justify yourselves in the sight of men, but God knows your hearts; for that which is highly esteemed among men is detestable in the sight of God.”     –  Luke 16:12-15

In Hades he lifted up his eyes, being in torment, and *saw Abraham far away and Lazarus in his bosom.   And he cried out and said, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus so that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool off my tongue, for I am in agony in this flame.’  But Abraham said, ‘Child, remember that during your life you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus bad things; but now he is being comforted here, and you are in agony.   –  Luke 16:23-25

“Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it.  For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.”   –  Matthew 7:13-14

Truly, I say to you, “they have their reward in full.”  – Matthew 6: 2, 5, and 16

Finally, Page Fan, do remember that God joins and honors valid mixed and pagan marriages as indissoluble, equally as He does “Christian” marriages.   However, if anyone in this scenario is unsaved, not born again, remarriage adultery won’t be the primary reason they wind up in hell.   Nobody can afford to put the cart before the horse.   I hope you will recognize these women in your life, and all the children, as souls first who need Jesus more than anything else.

Blessings, Page Fan, and I hope this helps.

www.standerinfamilycourt.com

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

Christian Culture Wars: Why is the MESSENGER Seen as “Judge”?

angry-judgeby Standerinfamilycourt

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

Woe to you when all men speak well of you, for their fathers used to treat the false prophets in the same way.   –  Luke 6:26

Some of us have a bad habit of mirroring our self-image after the perceptions and expressed feelings of others.     Hopefully this unhealthy tendency diminishes under the power and control of the Holy Spirit as we acquire the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16).  But keeping our self-concept firmly rooted in Christ doesn’t happen automatically.    We have to take a deep breath and be intentional about it.    “Standerinfamilycourt”  has some dear longtime church friends who happen to be legalized adulterers, by Christ’s definition.  Well over 30 years ago, the wife civilly divorced her God-joined, one-flesh husband for some infraction, and probably a very serious one.    Already a mother of young covenant children, this lady “married” a more faithful gentlemen, and at some point thereafter, they got saved together.     They are the perfect argument for the evangelical crowd which cites  2 Corinthians 5:17, the “proof-text” that none of what Jesus repeatedly said about marrying another while the spouse of one’s youth is still alive  “should apply” to them because it all happened before they were born-again.     This couple is gracious, generous, hospitable in every way, and they both serve the church until they drop from exhaustion.   They were among the first to make us feel welcome in our new Assembly of God church after we moved from a distant state almost 20 years ago due job relocation.     When SIFC’s spouse (who was also very close to them) later went prodigal, they were the couple that made sure there was at least a birthday lunch that didn’t pass in lonely isolation.

In those earlier days, SIFC was aware that their “marriage” was adultery, biblically-speaking,  but was sincerely wrestling with a couple of issues that delayed any warning to them:

(1) whether those who die in legalized adultery always forfeit their inheritance in the kingdom of God (that is, go to hell despite all their goodness otherwise).

(2) whether an infinite God deals with such anomalies on an individual, case-by-case basis, knowing the hearts involved, and being more lenient with those whose pastors, under whom they were in submission, have innocently misled them.

Issue #1 was definitively resolved through some events that occurred within the past 3 years, after this couple had moved away.   Face it, would we not all behave very differently if we knew that not missing heaven due to clinging to a biblically-illicit relationship, (the opposite certainty) was even a possibility?      We might not remarry ourselves, out of a continued desire to love and obey Jesus, but we would at least have the relief that our prodigal spouse and our dear friends would not be risking hell if we didn’t do our best to speak up,  I believe.     There would be no compelling reason to offend  them with this (admittedly) harsh truth under those circumstances.     We could “live and let live”, and people would have a much-improved opinion of us.    We could then afford to be much gentler in our modes of influence.     We could attend a retreat and let heresy and misinformation float through the room while we “chill”.

Indeed, if millions of people weren’t actually going to hell for dying in the ongoing state of legalized adultery, if there really were no justifiable scriptural connection between #LukeSixteenEighteen  and 1 Corinthians 6:9-10,  then the constitutional offense which unilateral divorce represents to Christ-followers would be much lighter (at least with regard to the violation of our right to free religious exercise), and we could conscionably “chill” with regard to working for full repeal, in order to go along with the many who are trying to mitigate the 14th amendment violations of property and parental rights by working for various tweaks to the existing laws, which they see as more “doable” than full repeal.    (But, I digress.)

The timely, definitive resolution of Issue #1 in SIFC’s personal experience made Issue #2 absolutely moot in one fell swoop.    SIFC’s very public  “ministry” was launched as a result, though it was not originally planned that way.   Issue #2  became even more moot as awareness grew of the free online deep bible study resources available to any sincere Christ-follower wanting the truth and wanting to obey, also with the growth in vocality of the Marriage Permanence movement leaders and members, including several solid pastors with very well-done online sermons.    As deplorably difficult as this matter is, it’s becoming increasingly impossible for anyone in the church to honestly claim they’ve not been warned, unless they live under a rock.    This trend is quite likely to continue, orchestrated by God.

One day the wife of this couple (a facebook friend) broke into an online  conversation SIFC was having with another gentleman on the topic of the need for adulterously “married” partners to sever those unions.      She gave a very emotional plea around all that she had experienced in suffering under her true marriage with the unsaved husband of her youth, then the Lord “bringing her” a godly husband who got saved alongside her.    A very dicey exchange followed, along the lines of SIFC’s then-recent discoveries described above, also how our denomination had officially moved from a biblical to an unholy and unbiblical MDR doctrine in 1973 (another recent discovery).     My dear friend was told that the pain of this is entirely the fault of the evangelical pastors who decided they knew more than Jesus and Paul about what was right in God’s sight, and that I came to be conclusively convinced with the confirmation of reliable authorities of its heaven-or-hell nature.    My friend’s Catholic upbringing, which she felt redeemed out of,  did not help the conversation much, suffice it to say.

At the end of the conversation, we “agreed to disagree”, and I was amazed that she did not “unfriend” me.   Nor did she “unfollow” me, apparently.     Some time passed, during which I was also exposed to my own relatives, among whom there are also a fair number of the adulterously “married”,  and at some point last year, this lady started occasionally posting these nondescript “swipes” on her wall, addressed to who-knows, similar to this:

“If becoming ‘religious’ has made you more judgmental, rude, harsh, a backbiter, you need to check if you are worshipping God or your ego.”

 Obviously, there is no way to deliver a message that half or more of the “marriages” in the church are no more than papered-over adultery,  according to Jesus that would not come off as harsh to most people.    John the Baptist certainly found this out in no uncertain terms.     I decided to just let the snipes and swipes go by without a response of any sort, but did notice they tended to come after a particularly outspoken day with others on repenting from legalized adultery.     On two of these occasions, there had been a reference to 1 Corinthians 5 in the hours that preceded, and the instruction “not to even eat with such” (in hopes that they will repent and the souls will be rescued, as Paul hoped in the situation he was addressing.)     Yup, that would probably do it!     I realized that the combination of this sister continuing to follow “standerinfamilycourt”  while avoiding any further direct confrontation beyond that first long ago challenge on my wall probably had at least a small element of conviction in it (and probably no small amount of frustration that SIFC was not “healing” out of the “cult” phase — with past-due apologies tendered).     I began to ask myself if, the core message having been dutifully delivered to her, it might be best at this time to quietly “unfriend” her to spare her the emotional turmoil of my very public ministry until the Holy Spirit could finish the job of convicting.   Before doing this,  I sought the advice of fellow standers in a non-public forum.      Some suggested tweaks to privacy settings I wasn’t aware of, and others pointed to the conviction that is likely building  insider her.   One particularly insightful comment went like this:

” I think what most of these friends think … is that “we” are the ones sending them to hell for remarriage.. when we know that power is not within us but God…”

Now this is some food for thought:   how might they think what they think about this?     Do they want us to just “shut up” ?   I’m sure they do!   Do we speak such a thing as consignment to hell “into being”, in their estimation or fears, as the Lord does?    Do they think we “pray them” into hell (or that we would even remotely want to)?    How could the judgment of hell (or its prospect, at least) be coming from anywhere but the One with divine authority to do it?

Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.
– Matthew 10:28

There is the fateful scene in the book of Acts, with Ananias and Sapphira, where Peter says: Why is it that you have agreed together to put the Spirit of the Lord to the test? Behold, the feet of those who have buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out as well.”
(The pair had sold land and misrepresented the proceeds from it which they had pledged to the community of believers.)    Those speaking out the truth in marriage permanence are speaking scripture, but aren’t coming even close to taking this kind of authority in Jesus’ name as Peter did.    It will never be deemed “loving” in most people’s eyes to tell someone that their “marriage” is adultery and their soul is on the line.    But it is even more unloving not to tell them, even if in today’s warped culture,  pointing out immoral behavior is deemed a “worse” sin than committing the immorality in the first place.     This is because the guilty conscience cannot be rational, and cannot see that a godly rebuke, though it’s coming out of the mouth of a human, is ultimately from God.    David saw this, for example, did not protest to Nathan that the prophet’s ego was talking and that he was a backbiter.    How could he when the moral rebuke of murdering a covenant husband in order to legalize and conceal his own adultery was to his face?     In the instance of an offended, furtive follower of a public ministry that rebukes the culture of the harlot church and the anti-Christ actions of its leaders (usually by name), it’s most accurately the taking of offense just because “the shoe fits”.      There’s another word for this:  fruitless conviction.

The wicked flee when no one is pursuing, But the righteous are bold as a lion.      –  Proverbs 28:1

If anything constitutes “backbiting”, it’s putting a “corrective” message on one’s wall that has no “To” line.    This friend is not normally a wicked person, and her predicament is largely due to the faithlessness of the shepherds she followed in subconscious preference to following what’s actually in her bible.    Even for “standerinfamilycourt” who loves both of these legalized adulterers of 30+ years deeply and personally,  it going to be the saddest of days when conviction does finally and properly land, and they realize they must separate in order to see each other in heaven.     They spent those decades doing what they sincerely thought was godly and right, in devotion to both Him and each other.   If any unlawful couple caused SIFC to wrestle with the Lord about #LukeSixteenEighteen,  it’s this couple.

We tend to make an assumption in the contemporary church that Jesus, Paul and the apostles were consistently meek when addressing all issues, and that they only got “rough” with the Pharisees.     This leads to the belief that anger or directness is never appropriate or “godly” in dealing with a deadly spiritual cancer — one, in fact, that is infested with demons.     A recent article,  Read The Gospels To Discover The Jesus Nobody Likes To Talk About by Glen T. Stanton in the Federalist states it this way:

“Two truths about Jesus seem to be at odds with the modern Christian understanding and presentation of God’s son. First, the God-man, unbound by time, held a decidedly ancient and unenlightened view of the world by contemporary standards. Second, he did hurt others’ feelings and didn’t apologize for it—and not just those of the religious fat cats of the day.   Along with the tender Lamb of God, we find a lion as well. We must admit to and accept all of this if we want to know the whole divine person of Christ.”

Very typically, the other person like this in many of our lives is our own prodigal spouse, someone who does not need any enticement to think and speak negatively about their true one-flesh covenant mate in order to self-justify keeping the counterfeit.     If that person was ever born-again, the Holy Spirit is pursuing them relentlessly, day by day, hour by hour, and doing so from within.    It’s easy for the blame for that to fall on the praying covenant marriage stander who has not taken off their wedding ring even though their spouse may have put on a false one.   If the covenant spouse also takes an unrelenting public stand against institutionalized adultery, meaning to change both law and culture, it escalates from there.   Prodigals are half-right about the blame for their discomfort.    We are instruments or agents of what they dread, but we are not the Divine Orchestrator.

For the sorrow that is according to the will of God produces a repentance without regret, leading to salvation, but the sorrow of the world produces death.     –  2 Corinthians 7:10

www.standerinfamilycourt.com

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

 

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.

Esh

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)  into 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?”

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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)

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`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.

 
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