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What GOD has put together…let noone separate!

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Lately, I have been realizing more and more how blessed I am to be married to my bride. Not for what she does, what she says, or who she is, but simply someone who God blessed me with to share my life with, to grow in Christ with, to love…

See, marriage has gotten so distorted through time, it has become a convenient act that people do to either get a tax break, or in the heat of the moment, they get married to each other, either from pressure from family, or pressure from each other, and neither one is even ready to be joined at the hip for what marriage takes.

And then, when the fire burns out, the spark is no longer there, the honeymoon is over, the fairytale turned into a nightmare, and they are “no longer happy”, they hire a lawyer and sign a paper of divorcement and start the chaotic cycle all over again!

It’s kind of funny how the origins of marriage and the ceremony can be traced back to Genesis and when Jesus taught His disciples daily. But we wouldn’t even THINK of giving God the credit!
Like why do we get married? Why is it in a church? Why does a Pastor or minister have to do the ritual, and why is God’s name always in the words of pronouncement?
No-one has really ever thought that God ordained marriage, its sacraments, and the groundwork. People don’t even realize that marriage is actually the physical picture of Christ and HIS bride, the Church!
But we all take it for granted, don’t we? These days, when things don’t work out, we just get a divorce and be done with it. We don’t stick it out, try to communicate, comprise with each other.. NO! We simply hire a lawyer, or if we don’t have kids…that’s just so much easier. We just go online and print out a paper!
Marriage has become nothing more than a word for shacking up with someone you have lust for!!

And that’s just with EACH OTHER! What about the mother-in-law that questions the authority of their daughters husband? Or the dad that dips into the couple’s spats, or arguments?

It’s even been my experience that when family gets involved in an already strained marriage, the couple just falls apart, because now, the peer pressure is coming from the parents, or the siblings!! I have had TWO such marriages where the in-laws wouldn’t keep their distance as we tried to work through our problems! Hence, TWO failed marriages, because the exes took the sides of their families and not what God had put together!!

Why do you think God said in Genesis 2:24, “for this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.” ??

Why did Jesus say it again in Matthew 19:5?

Why did Paul mention it in Ephesians 5:31?

Because God already knew what would happen!! I’d say it was important to note that the only way for a man and a woman to have a successful marriage is to be united unto each other AWAY from family for a time to get grounded in GOD and in each other!!!

Mark 10:9 says, “Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”
This has been a staple in many a marriage ceremony. But, they are also the words of Jesus! So many of our marriage traditions can be traced back to Genesis and the days of Jesus!

Jesus spoke at length in Matthew 19:1-12 about marriage and divorce. And several other places in the Bible! I can think of SEVEN places in Proverbs ALONE off the top of my head!

Paul gave a nice little addendum in Ephesians 5 about how husbands and wives should treat each other…most assuredly with inspiration from Jesus!

So you see, God takes this seriously!! It isn’t bad enough that marriage is a challenge… 2 people from totally different backgrounds, joining together, being one flesh…and then try to think the same, eat the same, share the same… and then, lets throw family in the mix, then kids, then finances… you got a big all chaotic mix there and unless that couple had some real quality type pre-marital counseling, they’re in for the ride of their lives!

Couples back in the early days, they didn’t have their families to rely on… they only had each other. That’s why you see folks in their 80’s and 90’s married for 50 plus years! Because they knew marriage was something to be WORKED at! The rewards for a quality marriage are phenomenal, but we have a generation coming up that just doesn’t get it, and so marriage is as disposable as kitty litter and diapers!!

God forbid, a family member get involved in a marriage covenant! Read Mark 10:9 again…. “Therefore what God has joined together, LET NO ONE SEPARATE.”

In other words… you’re in big trouble with GOD if you decide you want to screw with a marriage! See, my first two marriages were outside of the blessings of God, but I knew God’s heart and did everything I could to make them work!! Why? Because, somewhere in my heart, I KNEW God was happy with good foundation in marriage covenants, and I wasn’t one to disappoint! But what about the wives that found the pressure of family more overwhelming than the covenant she made to her husband? It doesn’t look too hot for her either!!

Ephesians 5:22-33, Paul went all out to show the importance of a marriage covenant that should never be broken, and related it to THE CHURCH, THE BRIDE OF CHRIST!

With my bride now (and forever), we have decided to make GOD the center of our marriage…do we argue? Sure! Do we disagree? Absolutely! Do we still revere each other in the eyes of God? MOST ASSUREDLY! But God is the center, and we have a SOLID MARRIAGE FOUNDED ON THE ROCK OF JESUS!

So, the next time you think you want to screw with a marriage, or bring distain on your name, or the name of God… THINK AGAIN! God sees marriage as important!
And if you’re a Christian? You should ALWAYS be mindful that WE are the bride of Christ, just as an earthly wife is the bride of her husband. And they are COMPARED WITH EACH OTHER!
We are to REVERE God’s institution of marriage between a man and a woman, simply because GOD revere’s the marriage between a man and a woman, His HEART as well as the BRIDE of Christ.

I pray that whoever reads this will find something that they have been missing, to see what God intends in marriage, and if you are married, that you’ll look at the scripture quoted, study for yourself, and look at your spouse a totally different way!!

Peace, Mike

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My Heart is breaking

I don’t know how else to say it. I don’t think I have ever written anything like this, but it is on my heart and it needs to come out.
The youth of the nation are finally starting to see Jesus face to face. Seeking Him, following Him and leading others TO HIM!
A couple years ago, the Father called Darlene and I out of our comfortable church. The church where God put us when we both came back to the Lord after a long hiatus. There have been many storms since then. My battle with drinking, both of ours with pornography, struggling with secular music. Also, our storm with when God called us into the ministry; Mine was 20 years before, Darlene was called a few years ago…
We had the bookstore/ministry for a few years, our Bible studies and occasional speaking at our church…
So, here we are, at a small church in Minerva. God said GO! Go away from your comfortable surroundings… GO from where I called you to… GO!!
There’s been a lot of that.
So, we get to Minerva wondering WHY? Why, God have you called us here? These people think we have an agenda, some of them don’t trust us… WHY?
So we rest. We watch.
And then, the direction. God said, you’ll help with the youth.
What?! I specifically told Him NO!! Don’t make me work with kids again!!
I can’t do it!
God said “GO!! Let Go! Let ME!”

So, we start out with helping out.. showing up every Wednesday.. playing the games, then planning the games, then giving messages and then…

Our co-leader went home to the Father…

And here we are. We are up to our eyeballs now… fully committed to this group of teenagers…. “ALL IN” if you will.

No turning back. We listened, we learned… and then it begins… the youth, the older ones start showing the spirit working in their lives… we start a leader corps with the teenagers showing the most fruit.
They are on FIRE!! They are all in… we take them on a couple missions trips, we start gearing them up for the enemy, they start taking on more responsibility..

We keep our cell phones on for late night talks… we pray daily for their spiritual well being… we have long talks… leading, guiding… the younger ones aren’t getting it yet, but these guys are!! These FIVE teenage girls are GETTING IT!! Then we see OTHERS… GETTING IT!!!

And then….. CRASH!! The enemy got his foot in the door…
One falls… then the next, then the next..
Oh, they all still believe.. but now they are questioning.. they fall away from the word that gave them life..

They stop wanting to be at youth.. they still come, but something is wrong.. seriously wrong.  My heart breaks.  I am crying tears of fear, not tears of joy.. what happened?

WHAT HAPPENED???

Our hearts are breaking… what did we do wrong? What did we say? How do we get them back into what God had specifically called them to do???

They don’t answer back our texts.. we don’t hear from them…

Why? How? When?

We got all in… now we are drowning!! We are drowning and the ones showing fruit are now drying up…

We spent all that time.. all that energy and then they just give up????

Then God whispered…. “was it you? or was it me?”

Wow, I had never thought of it before… sure, I pray over the music, my messages.. but was it all us? Did we really rely on God?

In John 15:1-7, Jesus said,
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.”

Darlene and I had not given EVERYTHING fully to the Father! We made the plans.. noone shows up… We invite servants to serve, but without praying over the increase!!!

We had not fully surrendered “Rooted Students” to God, the Father of all creation… we felt we could do it alone.. after all, must has been in trusted to us.. we can’t fail now. We have so many lives in our hands.. we have to teach them the right way…

US??? OR HIM?

My heart still breaks. We love these kids with all our hearts and souls… even to the point of laying down our lives for them. We keep pressing on to the higher calling… but THIS YEAR… this minute, this SECOND….

We fully surrender to YOU, Father. Take care of our teenagers… enable us to be efficient tools, worked by YOUR HAND. And help us to trust in YOU!

So, we pray without ceasing, give all of our fruits to HIM.. trust HIM with all we have and with the hearts of these young ones… and pray that they keep the faith and not lose ground…
Proverbs 3:5-6
New International Version (NIV)

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.”

trust