Is there a heart so broken, soul so wounded, two hearts in a marriage so hurt, or scars so thick that God, the Creator of all things, cannot heal them?

Yesterday I posted a piece about toxic relationships being a new age cop out.  It came to my attention that perhaps I didn’t stress the power of God enough.  People can feel extremely hurt and justified in maintaining their anger and resentment.  They can harden their hearts and sear their conscience, so that they no longer feel conviction when the Holy Spirit brings to mind all of their complicity.  We know from God’s word that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.  We also know that none are righteous.  

For the person who is deeply hurt, this information doesn’t seem to help them, but it is the only information that will help them.  They have to see their own sin and see how much in need they are of God’s grace, mercy, and love.  When they can see their need, and it moves them to repent and believe in the work of Christ, then they can see the other person, and how weak and needy they are.  When you can look at someone who has wronged you, hurt you, scarred you, and then see how you have done the same thing to Christ, and yet know that He has forgiven you, given you grace, mercy, and love, in light of what you know you justly deserve, you can then love the other person in like fashion.

God, who created everything, things known and unknown by us, the seed from which a redwood grows, the highest majestic mountains, to the lowest, deep cut valleys, to the blue sky where winged birds fly, and beyond to the vast reaches of space where we lose ourselves in contemplation of our smallness, this very God who knows everything about us, He is all powerful, and to think that He cannot change your heart?  What hope is there if a sinner’s heart cannot be changed?  Therefore, there is no wound so great that the saving balm of the gospel cannot use it for the glory of God.

Joel Osteen, “WHERE’S THE GOSPEL?”

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Some of us are old enough to remember the funny Wendy’s commercial with the, “where’s the beef?” lady.

 

Just like how most fast food chains can leave you unsatisfied and wondering just, “Where is, the beef?”  The prosperity gospel and life enhancement version of Christianity leaves people unsatisfied and lacking the appropriate knowledge.  They are spiritually malnutritioned and existing as the walking dead.  They drone on through life never getting it.  One can only wonder how long people will continue to pay this man to hear his silky smooth distracting messages delivered through his 10,000 watt smile.

Many folks get angry when you mention any wrong doing of Joel and his ilk.  I have been surprised at how many Christian brothers and sisters have gotten down right perturbed at me for besmirching their golden cow.  Joel is not any better than any of us.  He certainly is not educated and rooted in the word, like many genuine theologians and Pastors.  Joel is firmly in the, “Word of Faith” movement.  He teaches that your words have power and if you have faith when you speak you can declare prosperity for yourself and God will provide it.  How messed up is that?  “Say, I think I’ll twist the arm of the sovereign Creator of everything into giving me a better house and car with my, “less than a mustard seed of faith.”  It is men like him who give good unsung Pastors a bad name.

Think about all of the times you have listened to him on television or the books of his you have read.  Can you recall anything that he has done that looks anything like, “You were once a vile sinner.  You were under the condemnation of sin.  You were going to be cast into Hell for eternity, but you repented of your sins and believed in the atoning work of Christ Jesus on the cross.  He paid the price of your sin debt.  He satisfied the justice of God through His propitiation.  Now go and be holy for God is holy.”

Joel isn’t a Pastor, he is a self-help guru with a Christianesque guile.  He is the burger with fillers and washed in ammonia.  He is not the real deal.  Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying he is not saved.  I don’t know that.  I am saying he isn’t qualified to be a Preacher of God’s word.  He is not a Preacher of the gospel.  He has this humungous platform to do something really great for the kingdom of God, but instead he backs away from boldly proclaiming the gospel and preaching the word.  Why is that?  What sort of Preacher does that?  I haven’t even really addressed his teachings here.  That wasn’t my goal for today.  I simply wanted to draw attention to the lack of good, God centered, gospel proclaiming, life giving, preaching of God’s word.  Now I declare, go read your Bible Joel and repent.  Use that television platform, and mega-church for the right use.

If you love Joel ask him to preach the gospel every Sunday.  Ask him for clear and correct teaching instead of the prosperity life enhancement fluff.  Who knows, maybe he’ll listen.

 

Marital Love

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Marital Love

            When two people get married, usually they are in love.  This is true for Christians and the lost.  What happens when one person stops being in love with the other?  However this comes about, let’s assume that it has happened.  In a marriage of lost people, what is there to keep them together?  Once the one spouse realizes the other is no longer in love with them, why should they stay?  Why would anyone want to stay in a marriage where they are not cherished and loved?  There might be some pragmatic reasons like, convenience, money, or children.  Some people will stick it out just for these reasons.  What is the point of all of that if you don’t have the love of your spouse?  You might as well be living on your own, looking for someone to share love with.

Nobody gets married, thinking that one day they won’t be in love anymore.  People get married to share their love and lives together.  So what happens to a Christian couple when one of them stops feeling in love with the other?  The same thing happens to them, that happens to a lost couple.  About half the time they get divorced.  The others stay married out of pragmatic reasons or some sense of duty or obligation.

How should it be with a Christian couple?  What should the spouse do that has found out their spouse isn’t in love with them anymore?  What should the spouse do that doesn’t feel in love anymore?  Should they divorce and look for someone to be in love with?  Should they stick together because of duty, obligation, or their faith?  We know that God hates divorce.  We read about it in Malachi 2:16 “For the man who does not love his wife but divorces her, says the Lord, the God of Israel, covers his garment with violence, says the Lord of hosts. So guard yourselves in your spirit, and do not be faithless.”  So the Christian couple should stay together, but that doesn’t fix the problem.

They are not in love anymore.  Either both of them have no feelings for each other, or one of them has lost their feelings for the other.  How do we resolve this?  What does the bible say about love?  We read this about love and God’s love in 1 Corinthians 13:1-13, “1If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.

So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.”

How pointless is life without love?  The love of Jesus for us, the love we should have for each other is explained in the cross of Christ.  In 1 John 4:7-13 we read this, “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.  In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him.  In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us. By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit.”  Are we starting to get the picture?

Maybe they are not in love anymore because one or both of them feel like they have been wronged or victimized?  If so, they are holding on to hurt feelings and resentment.  Healing of their marriage can’t happen until they forgive each other.  In Matthew 6:15 we read, “but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”  Ephesians 4:31-31, “Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice.  Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.”

We know that in a marriage there are two sinners living together.  Sins are bound to happen.  One of them will sin against the other and the other might sin back or sin in the way of harboring a grudge, hurt feelings, or resentment.  If these things are left undealt with they will keep coming up to cause problems.  Both people must repent.  Sometimes one person believes they never did anything wrong.  They think, “It is all the other persons fault, I don’t need to repent.  What could I have possible done wrong?  They are the one who hurt me!”  Most of the time, both people are thinking the same thing.  This is why both need to repent and ask not only God to forgive them, but they have to ask for forgiveness from the other.  When you humble yourself and come to someone asking them for something that they can give or deny it takes the power away from you.  You are at their mercy.  Hopefully you have a truly saved spouse who can see their own sin and grant you their forgiveness because of how much they have been forgiven by Christ.

Even still, while you are living in this torment you can’t give up.  As Christians you aren’t allowed to stop loving your spouse just because they aren’t in love with you anymore.  Oh, you might want to.  You might even feel yourself beginning to resent them as you put yourself on the throne of your life.  You might hear, “You poor, poor person you…  You don’t deserve to be treated like that by them!  How dare they!  Don’t they know how good they’ve got it with you?  You’ll teach them!  You’ll leave, and then what will they do?”  So you like what sin is telling you?

Do you want to be on the pitty pot?  You have failed to remember that you are the worst kind of sinner.  Christ bled and died for your sins.  Romans 5:8, “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”  1 John 4:10, “In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.”  Jesus pursued us, our salvation, and the Father’s will, all the way to the cross and the grave.  How dare we give up on forgiving, loving, and repenting!

Sinners who don’t think that they have been loved the way they think they should be, you have been loved by Jesus in spite of your many sins against Him.  Your sins are responsible for His suffering on the cross.  You don’t deserve love!  You deserve death and Hell, being so self-centered, to think that you deserve to be treated with love from anyone is ludicrous.  Repent of your selfishness, ask Jesus to forgive you.  Ask your spouse to forgive you for not loving them selflessly, even if your love is not reciprocated.  Love them, while they are yet, not in love with you.  The only love you need is the love of Christ.  Pour yourself out for them the way Christ did for you, and Love them to the grave.  See your sins, and how much they cost Christ.  Look at your spouse, and see them for what they are.  They are a sinner, just like you, in need of The Saviors’ grace.  Demonstrate love and mercy towards them, because you have experienced the love and mercy of God.  Repent of harboring bitterness and forgive them.  Fill your heart with the love of God and then pour it out as a merciful balm of healing on your marriage.  Together, repent and be restored to each other and God.  God can make all things new, including your marriage.  You should know this, because when you were saved, He made you new.

Representations of the sinner, church, and gospel in the Old Testament.

The chosen people of God in the Old Testament are representative of the individual sinner, and the church. We see how some want to please God. How others seeking their own pleasures only after being judged repent. In 1 Samuel we see the Israelites rejecting God’s rule. They demand a king other than God. Samuel is to warn them but also he is to anoint the one who would be king. Are we mastered by God or sin? Who is your king? When judged and shown the sin in our lives do we repent, then follow God with our entire heart? Over and over we see God’s chosen people sinning, being punished, repenting, and worshiping. They would go on for a while and fall again. God would accept their repentance and worship after they were humbled. God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble. It is His mercy to break the sinner. Only in humility can they experience God’s grace. Oh that I could always remember and be humble so as not to sin against my God. I fear the discipline even though I know it is for my good. Like a child I am in regards to it. As one that matures I see the love of the Father in it. Oh how I love Jesus! His grace is sufficient for even me! So as we see the chosen people of God so we should see ourselves the church. How many times have we sinned and in our self-righteousness punished ourselves in the sinful hope of appeasing God’s righteous and holy judgement? How dare we make less of His grace? Did He die on the cross so that we could be our own saviors? Repent of self-righteousness! I to must repent! Don’t let any sin be the churches King. Only Jesus be our king! Like Israel we are God’s people. We were purchased from sins great price by the redeeming blood of Jesus. The Old Testament books display for us the likeness of the individual sinner, the church, and God. We should see the Messiah in all of the word not just the New Testament.