Do Not Divorce

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I have been getting many “hits” from people searching out what Joseph Prince says about divorce.  I can only assume it is because some are considering divorce, have been divorced and are Christians seeking out God’s opinion on the matter.

 

Search the scriptures, it is relevant today and will speak to your heart.  God hates divorce.  If divorced, we are to be reconciled or remain single.  I will add Scripture quotes later, I am at a coffee shop and feel compelled to write this.

 

If you are in a situation where you or your children are in danger, seek help and a shelter from the abuse.  If your spouse is mentally ill and or using drugs or alcohol, there is help and there is hope.  Your spouse can be healed and be the person you fell in love with and most likely will be better than ever through Jesus.  It will take time for recovery to take place, if the situation is abusive or involve drugs and alcohol, I think a year minimum will be required of honest work being done by the abuser to regain sanity.

 

If you or your spouse have cheated, been unfaithful, there is forgiveness form God through Jesus, just receive it and let God’s Spirit keep you from sinning in this manner again.  Forgive your spouse, keep your heart tender in the Lord towards your spouse and remember God paid a heavy price for your forgiveness, so forgive as you have been forgiven.

 

God will heal your broken heart, He knows your pain and has made provision for a total recovery.  Do not hold things against each other, keep no record of wrong.  Meditate on the 13th chapter I Corinthians.  God is love and His love has been shed abroad in our hearts, keep the love flowing with God’s help.

 

I pray to the Father of us all in Jesus Name that healing take place in your life and marriage and that by His Spirit you are able to do what we cannot do on our own.

 

 

 

 

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Day 9 Love makes good impressions II

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The first time I saw my then future wife, she smiled her 1,000 watt smile. If all that ever transpired between us was her smile, we’d both be happier people today.

I have worked through the Love Dare book several times, this is the fourth journey. I cannot perform the “dares” by request of my wife. I do seek God daily, several times a day even, on what I am to do in this difficult situation. Unless my wife has a change of heart, her divorce from me will be finalized in 31 days. I used to say, until just this moment, that unless God intervenes, the divorce will be finalized. I believe God is intervening, in my life as well as hers. God directs, urges, prompts us to do the right thing constantly and it is our choice to follow those promptings or not. We often receive bad counsel from other “well intentioned” Christians and relatives and friends.

One of the reasons I am sold on “The Love Dare” is because it relies heavily on Scripture and gives supporting Scripture for emphasis. There is a danger creeping in to Christian Counseling of “worldly” counsel. As mature Christians we need to be absolutely certain of what God says about divorce. God “allows” divorce due to our hardened hearts. Is that really a place we want to be? There obviously are some serious issues that need to be addressed in a marriage that is heading for divorce, I haven’t heard of anyone divorcing because their marriage was great.

So far in The Love Dare we have been encouraged and shown how to show patience, kindness and encouragement towards our spouse. Christians should recognize these qualities as being “Fruits of the Spirit”. My wife and I both need to grow up in many areas. The ironic and now not surprising thing to me is I embarked on a program for improvement in areas of my life that previously I had resisted. This began in January of 2010, by June of 2010; my wife ejected me from the house and her life. Ironic because we had been struggling for 17 years in the old way of doing things, not surprising because as Joseph Prince teaches, “when God begins a good work in you, the Enemy comes to destroy that work”.

Through all the years and difficulties my wife and I endured, there were times of such incredible joy and goodness, I’d have to be a poet to do the memories justice. I have absolutely no doubt that God has placed a tremendous love in my heart for my wife. I was immature, unforgiving, lacked the grace and mercy to fully develop this love, but it remains. I am not denying that my wife does not have issues also, but I know that with God’s help and submission to His Will, this marriage could be a shining example of what God can do with two willing believers.

As the authors encourage in this reading, greet one another warmly and with love. My memories are filled with the waking smile on my wife’s’ face and the joy she showed when seeing me again after even a brief absence. I am blessed to have many great memories amongst painful memories that are thankfully fading. Forgiveness of our spouse’s sins is an incredibly freeing act; accepting forgiveness through the shed Blood of Jesus is simply indescribable!

Instead of showing “Random Acts of Kindness”, be Purposely Kind! Grace, peace, and blessings…

Day 6 Love is not irritable II

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“He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit, than he who captures a city.” Proverbs 16.32

I received some feedback to a comment I left on a blog post written by two people I greatly admire. They write exclusively about marriage and what it means to become “one flesh” with your spouse. The response included a comment about God opening and closing doors, and to, “go through the open ones with joy and rejoicing and quit knocking your head against the closed ones”. I am a slow learner, stubborn and thick skulled, so I know I knock my head on the closed doors too often. The problem is I am slow to recognize closed doors, the metaphorical ones, I run into real closed ones less frequently. I don’t know if they consider me writing and going through The Love Dare is one of those closed doors.

We are to pray that God’s will be done in our lives and to have “expectant faith”. I think it is helpful to know what God’s Will is, so I can have expectant faith. Problem here is there are almost as many opinions on what God’s Will is concerning divorce as there are Christians. I firmly believe it is not God’s will for Christians to divorce. It is also not God’s will to engage in the activities or manner of conduct that leads to divorce. Being angry and letting your spouse know just how they have disappointed you is not appropriate, nor is being so sensitive that every unkind word is taken as a dagger to your heart.

We are responsible to learn what leads us to being irritable, and it is not the fault of our spouse. We can be stressed and distraught over our present situation, but the best response is to seek God in prayer and study, to learn His solution. I’ll say it again; when I respond in anger it is a lazy approach, letting my feelings dictate how I respond to others and how long I choose to remain in an “off” mood. It takes effort to seek God’s word on the problem, to seek out godly counsel takes humility. God’s solutions are always the best ones! If we pray instead of responding in an angry manner, we will not hurt anyone. Hurting our God given spouse should be the very last thing we should do, but seems to be the first thing we do when irritable.

We must study and pray. If we accept what other Christians are saying, without studying God’s word for ourselves, we will not know if we are given wrong advice. If we do not fellowship with God through prayer, we may miss what He has to say. I have received some excellent counsel and heard some bad counsel from well-meaning Christians (in the past). I am blessed to have several Christians that “rightly divide the Word” giving counsel at this time. The scripture teaches us to establish something “by the words of two or three witnesses”, this applies to scriptures some quote to support their beliefs.

This chapter in “The Love Dare” is another good one, read it, apply it and let me know what you think.

Day 2 Love is Kind II

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I was tested in patience yesterday, not 1 hour after posting my blog.

My stepson texted me and said his Grandmother and family were upset that I was listed as Garrets’ “father”, so he deleted the listing. “Don’t take it personally”, texts Garret. I did take it personal, I helped raise Garret since he was a baby and his contact with his biological father was minimal. I won’t go in to all the particulars, and I understand the sensitive nature of his dilemma. I would have liked to have Garret say, “he raised me, I consider him a father.” Perhaps if I were not facing this divorce, I would have responded differently. Instead I told Garret I took it personal and as a public humiliation. I did tell him later that I responded poorly, asked forgiveness and told him I love him.

Today the reading is on kindness. The LD breaks kindness down into 4 categories, Gentleness, Helpfulness, Willingness and Initiative. Hopefully you will obtain this book and read all the great stuff in it.

The section on Initiative always stands out to me. Be the first to: greet, smile, serve, forgive and don’t require the other to get his or her act together before showing love.

The whole idea of divorce is so anti-Christian, anti-grace and anti-mercy, that it screams to be recognized as such. God does not divorce us, He did not wait for us to “get it together” before forgiving us and making sure we can have right standing with Him. We are the Bride of Christ, where does divorce fit in with this teaching? “Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you”. Ephesians 4.32

The harsh reality is divorce amongst even Christians. Having to deal with the other parents of children now in a combined household is extremely stressful. If there is a parent that is unyielding, uncooperative and spews venom in the mix, it can be hell on earth. Step-parenting can be a thankless job, “the real” parent is primary, even if they are not nice people. “But love in its truest sense is not based on feelings. Rather, love determines to show thoughtful actions even when there seems to be no reward”. The Love Dare.

A reminder to anyone just finding this blog: I am in the process of being divorced from my wife. This divorce is her initiative and in 38 days it will be final. This is my 4th time through The Love Dare book. Aside from my failings, I believe the enemy has won a battle in making sure this marriage is not restored. Christians need to get this teaching in The Love Dare.

Pops Talks Grace

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For those of you who had been following this blog and perhaps were wondering what has transpired over the past several months, here’s an update.

I was served with divorce papers and had 30 days to file an “Answer” with the Court.  There is an interwoven story that I will not attempt to share at this writing, for sake of brevity.  I traveled to the county where the papers were filed, to submit my legal response to my wife’s petition of dissolution.  After many sleepless hours, I realized I could not, would not file an Answer.  I emailed my reasoning to Beth, telling her I still love her, do not want a divorce and would not be appearing in court.  I let her know I am aware that my actions mean that she will get what she is asking for by default.

The main thing I want to share here is what I have learned, in part through this ordeal.  Three months ago I read an excellent book, “Destined to Reign” by Joseph Prince.  Prior to reading this book, I was still laboring under an oppressive mix of The Old Covenant and The New Covenant.   Read the book to find out what that means, you won’t regret it!

I have, by the grace of God been clean and sober for 19 ½ years.  It took me 19 ¼ years to come to a better understanding and peace with God.  I attend 5 meetings a week and correspond heavily online.  I say this to convey that what I am finding are people who have been wounded in their lives by religious minded believers.  I listen to atheists, agnostics, self-righteous Christians, those who are angry at God and those who feel God is angry with them.  In the past several days my discussions with atheists and agnostics has worn me out.  I feel surly and scattered in my thinking from hearing their reasoning.

I have been doing a programmed Bible reading plan since the beginning of the year.  It has readings from the Old and New Testaments daily.  I regain my equilibrium through these readings and through the prayers, love and fellowship with mature Christians.

I do not, cannot blame Beth for her actions.  I can see where there are faulty conclusions and misunderstandings that have had a terrible outcome.  Beth thought I had expectations of her that really were her way of seeing me and not what I actually thought.  I have had uncharitable and wrong minded thoughts towards her that do not line up with the message of grace that is at the heart of the Good News.  I am just now aware of the wrong I committed due to this lack of grace.  This all sounds complicated because it is and that in itself is contrary to the message of grace!  The Good News is so simple and grace so effortless, it is amazing.

Beth held that many Christians (and for good reason), judged fellow believers and held those judged in contempt.  Beth vocalized an understanding of the love of God being greater than all our sin and greater than the love shown by other Christians.  This ties in with the people I hear talk of the rejection and judgments they feel from Christians and the failure of Christians to walk in love as Jesus commands believers to do.  What I, Beth and others have chosen to do with this travesty is where the rub is.

At some point, believers reject God totally, in part because of the “hypocrisy” or lack of love from Christians.  Some think there are enlightened Christians who know the damage self-righteous Christians do to their own and condemn those self-righteous Christians.  These so called enlightened ones are lacking in the truth of the message of grace also, fomenting division, hatred and superiority.

I have and probably will sin again in the area of self-righteousness.  I have a heightened sense of the grace message, because I need it so much.  The love of God that is shed abroad in the believer’s heart is how and why we can love the seemingly un-loveable.   The grace of God and His forgiveness of our sins is what allows us to forgive others their sins against us.  God making us the righteousness (right standing) of God through Jesus is what allows us to go directly to Him and not be ashamed.

I sincerely love Beth with all my heart and more importantly, with the love God has placed in my heart towards her.  The tragedy here is she believes that I do not know what love is and that I am like the believers who act as Pharisees and “don’t get it”.  The fact is, Beth is not acting out of love towards me, or with the love God has for me, nor forgiving me and recognizing “there is now therefore, no condemnation to those who love the Lord”.  You cannot reject, eject and disrespect a spouse or anyone and claim you have a superior or correct knowledge of what God’s love is.  We are to love as God loves us and rejoice that our sins and other’s sins are forgiven, erased even.  The beauty of this is that God gives us the ability to do and be all that we should be!  Grace requires nothing but belief, accepting what God says is true and receiving what He has done for us.

I am okay.  I am glad for God’s love and the love of many towards me.  It is sad and a terrible witness to have Beth’s and my marriage end.  It is not an end for me or her individually, we continue like all God’s children, to be His workmanship and all we need to do is let God be God and thank Him for all He does for us all.

The irony in this is the rejection, the judgment, the discarding what God has redeemed and Beth believing she is right in doing what she is doing.  I would rather have the end of the marriage than to be in a marriage with someone like myself, who has been blind to what grace truly is.  If we are going to rail against the “hypocrites”, shouldn’t we quit acting like them?

Is God a Liar?

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Either we believe the word of God is true, or we don’t.  We can trust His word to guide us and show us how to live a life pleasing to God, or we can modify it to fit what we want it to say.  I believe, from experience in both camps, that the very best thing for me to do is to believe God at His word and not complicate scripture in order to make it fit my life choices.  I do not believe that God is waiting to club us down if we disobey Him.  Evil comes our way when we defy God and step out from under His protective covering.

To the “are there any other reasons why my life is difficult, without all the spiritual warfare mumble, jumble?” crowd, yes there are.  For those of us who ever held on to unforgiveness, we know that bitterness sets in and bitterness can lead to all sorts of physical ailments.  Ever seen the book, “Anger Kills….As Seen on Oprah”?  I’ve seen the book, missed the show!  Ever have an “accident” because you are distracted by worry or life business (texting or talking on the cell phone while driving)?  The Bible refers to “the reproofs of life”, simply put, there are consequences for our actions or inactions.

I do not have my concordance, so if you want the scripture references, you’ll have to look it up.  It is always a good practice to search the scriptures when someone quotes it, reading before and after the verses to get a better picture of what is going on around that verse.  “In the mouths of two or three witnesses, a thing shall be established.”  Find supporting scripture so you have two or three, (at minimum) to establish what is being said.  I won’t waste time addressing the “too intelligent” among us who manage to discount every simple command of God by describing why the Bible should not be taken literally.  There are many among us who have had “insights, visions” due to digestive maladies and those visions should be scrutinized by God’s word also.  There are many sick among you (us), because we take the Lord’s Supper in the wrong spirit and by doing so, there are many sick and dying among us.  We are told that if we have anything against a brother, we are to go make it right before we take the Lord’s Supper.

Do you harbor anything against someone and you say, “I just can’t forgive them for that” or, “I forgive you, I just can’t to be married to you anymore”?  The Bible says we are to forgive, so our Father in heaven forgives us our sins.  But didn’t Jesus die for our sins and isn’t that a done deal?  Yes and yes, still the verse about forgiveness stands, why?  Ask God.  I do know that scripture says the world will know we are brothers by our love.  If we won’t forgive our brothers or sisters, let alone strangers, how will the world see Jesus?  What about the “can’t be married to you anymore” statement?  I’m talking about two Christians, vowing to God and each other in covenant, all the promises and pledges in a traditional marriage vow.  What does that say to our children, fellow believers who pray for us, our extended families and to outsiders just looking for hypocrisy amongst believers to sharpen their teeth on?  It says simply, “I have no desire to please God by believing His word, my happiness is more important, my suffering is too much”!

Jesus had all the same physical characteristics as you and I.  He got tired, hungry, sad, felt pain and frustration, even to the point of checking to see if “this cup” could pass by Him, if he could avoid the torment of taking on all our vile sin, getting beaten to a pulp and hung on a cross to die!  I have to ask myself what in my life of “suffering” came close to that of my Lord’s!  God said He would not put anything on us that would be too much for us to bear.  If I quit my marriage or spend all my energy trying to avoid or get out of the “refining fires” of life, I am saying, “God You are a liar”!  That is what it boils down to, if we are honest.  What in our life experience comes close to the Lord’s Passion?  Yet, as He was dying on the cross, He said, “Father forgive them, for they know not what they are doing”.  WOW.

I have been criticized for turning to God when my life turns upside down.  Pretty silly criticism, since it is the only way for me to get my life right side up.  The criticism fits for ignoring God and allowing my life to get upside down!  When I do my life on my terms, in my understanding and will power, it goes sour to say the least.  My life is a good example of what happens by living a life that is not pleasing to God.  He does not make my life hard when I don’t follow His word, He doesn’t have to, I MAKE IT HARD.

I am blessed and grateful to belong to a group which believes that without God in their lives, their lives would be unmanageable.  In fact, if this group and I step out and live life like we did, we know it would hasten our death and our life would not be worth living anyway.  When you have this sort of mentality every day, you become grateful for the reprieve and the promise of a better life…in God.

Peace & Blessings

Stan

Final Blog of Pops Dumonde? No.

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This was to be my last post as Pops Dumonde.  I have come to the realization that when a marriage relationship has deteriorated to the level of mine, it is time to “move on”.  I believe in the principles in the book, “The Love Dare”.  I highly recommend this book to anyone wishing improve their marriage, and all the better if BOTH parties are willing to work through this process.  My wife is categorically uninterested in working on our marriage.

You CANNOT have a successful marriage if both parties are unwilling to forgive.  You cannot keep a record of wrongs and expect anything to change.  If you to continue to see your spouse through the filter of hurts, or offenses and have gone so far as “type” the other person, so that anything they do fits a profile, you can be sure of one thing—- DIVORCE.

When I started the Love Dare this time around, I was in a lot of emotional pain.  I was being assailed with suicidal thoughts at a frequency I had never experienced prior to this time.  I will not suicide; I have a plan of action to combat it.  That does stop the thoughts though.  As I worked through the Love Dare I took a hard look at myself and as honest an inventory of my deeds, as possible.  I believe in personal responsibility, I accept my misdeeds, I have confessed them and received forgiveness for them, from God, not my wife.

Perhaps 1 week ago, I was experiencing some relief, for part of a day, then most of a day, then a whole day!  Every day though after writing this blog, I was experiencing a different kind of depressed mood.  I would become fearful of an impending divorce, (keep in mind my wife severed all communications with me); I’d watch for the mail, expecting legal papers.  I would go down in my mood so far, that I dreaded a new assault of suicidal thinking.  I cannot afford to go back there!

Last night I contacted a pastor friend and told him that I could not handle living in this limbo and was considering filing for divorce.  He urged me to talk to my pastor first and advised that I wait for my wife to “leave”, so I would be released.  He further stated that the pain would not ease and the closure I sought would not come through divorce.  Good advice, so I contacted my pastor.  He urged me to make contact with my wife and request communication being opened to resolve the conflict.  Good advice, I emailed my wife.  She returned some very nasty remarks and told me her life is much better without me and told I was deluding myself if I thought I could, or have changed.

I will be starting divorce proceedings after the Holidays.

I believe God works miracles and hears our prayers.  I also know that we can assert our self-will and God allows us to continue on our willful way until we die, if we insist.  I really feel like I’m trying to stay alive long enough for God to be done with me, my marriage and that goal seem to be at odds.  If my starting the divorce proceedings is something that God does not want me to do, I am listening.

God bless you my faithful 3 readers and peace to you and yours.  If anyone stumbles upon this blog, get a copy of “The Love Dare” and give it your all.

Katie, I don’t know what you are going through or even if you are still out there, but a special thanks to you.  I continue to lift you and your daughters up in prayer…..Stan

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