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.

 

 

 

 

Grace and Divorce

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I will be adding another new post in a day or so, time to get some of these bottled up thoughts out again!

There have been many people viewing my blog by searching “Joseph Prince and Divorce”. If you are not familiar with his ministry it is very good on the teaching of Grace. I have followed his daily devotionals and read a book of his. He refers to restored marriages but says they are rare (restored after a divorce) yet encourages us to believe it possible. I would love to hear from readers and stumblers upon their experiences with divorce and remarriage or their use of the ‘Love Dare” book.

If you are a follower of the teachings of Joseph Prince and are facing divorce, please open up dialogue here.

My main reader and contributor died this past year. Katie Mitten-Smith was her name and she is sorely missed, I lost a friend and a prayer warrior partner with her passing.

The apostle Paul says quite plainly that as Christians we are to be reconciled or remain single, (scripture reference to follow). Clearly this practice is not a common one. I sometimes wonder if church leaders and pastors shy away from teaching that would require some sacrifice or hard work to follow. I hope teaching is not going out just to satisfy and therefore keep members or contributors to the ministry happy.

Hope to hear from you!
Stan “Pops”

Day 13 Love fights fair II

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“Like it or not, conflict in marriage is simply inevitable. When you tied the knot as bride and groom, you joined not only your hopes and dreams but also your hurts, fears, imperfections, and emotional baggage. From the moment you unpacked from your honeymoon, you began the real process of unpacking one another, unpleasantly discovering how sinful and selfish each of you could be.” The Love Dare.

If you have been following my blog, you will notice that I have written about this day in the Love Dare before. I am in an entirely different place emotionally than I was then and that is an encouragement to me. I am faced with the finalization of my wife’s divorce of me, 27 more days. I ask myself why I am writing this blog since I am the only one in my relationship who desires a positive change. I still need the lessons of the Love Dare. The mental fog of emotional pain has lifted to a large extent and this writing is helping me process what went wrong.

I am still waiting to hear from anyone who is applying these principles in their marriage and how that is going. I have learned a lot about myself and am starting to understand a little more about the dynamic of my marriage. The dismay I feel at this time is based on my wife’s determination to end this marriage, her beliefs have undergone a radical shift in the opposite direction. My beliefs have been strengthened in God and I fully believe that a married couple can thrive if they apply the principles in this book.

Please prayerfully read Galations 5, especially when the talk is about the liberty we have in Christ. Many Christians today are exercising their liberty in Christ, but it is in fulfilling the desires of the flesh. We are to live in the Spirit and develop the fruit of the Spirit in our lives. The fruits of the Spirit do not lead us to divorce, but the flesh and our own desires do.

Rules of Engagement as suggested in “The Love Dare”

1. We will never mention divorce.
2. We will not bring up old, unrelated items from the past.
3. We will never fight in public or in front of our children.
4. We will call a time out if conflict escalates to a damaging level.
5. We will never touch one another in a harmful way.
6. We will never go to bed angry with one another.
7. Failure is not an option. Whatever it takes, we will work this out.

Pray for God to grow the fruits of the Spirit, Galations 5:22, in you, exercise them in all your dealings with others, especially your spouse.

Day 12 Love lets the other win II

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I had a conversation with a friend last night. He is of the opinion that there are “no good marriages”. I admitted that most of what I believe concerning having a Bible-based, God-centered marriage is based on faith, not experience. I know a few married people who have good marriages, but they seem to have them by “luck” and not by design. If I consider what makes the marriages I see as successful work, many of the elements outlined in this book are being implemented, not by design, but perhaps through discovery or just due to the individual’s personalities. What this says to me is this Love Dare book is really needed!

We are to glorify God and give honor to Him through our lives. When we do not have marriages that glorify God and bring honor to His Name, it is a terrible testimony and a HUGE missed opportunity to witness to others what the reason for our success is. When we divorce, what does that tell those who look to us as Christians for answers? I can say this about my own failed marriage; it is not God’s fault. It takes two willing people to submit to God’s guidance and live out what He empowers us to live out when we are willing to do His Will in our marriages and lives.

Today’s lesson in “The Love Dare” covers stubbornness, willingness and the ability to lay aside personal “rights” for the good of the relationship. Stubbornness can be good in certain areas, like our belief in God and a refusal to deny those beliefs. In a marriage, a stubborn insistence on our own way and “rights” is detrimental to a good relationship. It only takes one partner to “give in” to diffuse an argument, but ideally both should become willing to cooperate with one another.

I am a stubborn person, my wife is stubborn also and this knowledge causes me much grief. I know my wife is stubborn enough to take her being offended, hurt and disappointed all the way through Divorce Court. I did not file an “Answer” to my wife’s Petition for Dissolution. I told her I could not, would not file an Answer and would not appear in Court. In Minnesota, it only takes one person to file for divorce and if there is no “Answer” filed, all that the person filing for requests is granted by default. I had the “right” to challenge my wife’s settlement requests, but was physically, emotionally and mentally unable to. The Apostle Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 6: 1-11 admonishing believers not to take one another to court. I read this after I was unable to file legal papers and felt better about not being able to do so.

Even though this is not the scope or application the author was referring to, I feel like I am allowing my wife to “win”. This is a sickening thought in this application and I pray that God will be able to impress upon my wife that this is not the course to stay on. I am not deluded however to think that if the divorce were stopped and my wife reconciled to me, that our marriage would succeed without professional help and the application of the principles laid out in this book. Without God being first and foremost in our lives and a humble submission to His Will for our lives, we can have no success. Whatever the outcome, I am giving myself wholly to God everyday, to seek His Will for my life and ask for His power to carry that out. I am course corrected and I am very grateful for that, “not my will, but Thy Will be done”.

Day 11 Love cherishes II

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Two illustrations are given in the Love Dare book on how we handle marriage. The first example is of an old car in need of extensive repairs, upon learning the cost of the repairs, the owner decides to get a newer model. The next example is of a crushed hand and the expense willingly paid to repair and save this hand from amputation. The authors comment that our marriages should be like saving the hand, cherish our spouse as we do our own bodies.

I have been amputated from my wife and it still feels like the wound has a long ways to go towards being healed. This has been described as a natural feeling, since we become “one flesh” with our spouse. The tearing apart of the “one flesh” does not follow neat lines and the wound is very jagged. Jesus came in part to heal the brokenhearted and I am relying on that healing every day. I pray for healing in my marriage daily, but I realize we all have free will and can do what we want regardless of God’s plan. I can exercise faith with things and strengthen my belief in God but my wife is free to do whatever she chooses to do, as am I, but I choose the marriage.

My stepson graduates this year from High School. He and I are back on speaking terms; he states that he was not angry, just too busy to get back to me for a week. Today I received an invite from my wife to an Open House for Garret, I don’t know if she thought I would come, but I am not emotionally incapable of attending. If the roles were reversed, I am certain my wife would have no difficulty in attending an event like this, which just illustrates how different we are emotionally. I did not make this decision by myself, I have a “Sponsor” who helps me decide what I am able to handle when I am unsure.

Eighteen years ago, my oldest daughter graduated from High School. My first wife had divorced me and I was in worse shape emotionally then than I am now. I was in the early stages of recovery and was able to attend her graduation and make a 2 minute appearance at her Open House. The similarities are present now, my first wife had reached a point where she “couldn’t take it anymore” because of my behaviors that are common to many alcoholics. I had much to learn in my sobriety and the hardening of my first wife’s heart towards me was not something she would change. I have now been sober 19 years, 7 months.

I can write all I want about my beliefs and the confidence I have in God to change lives and marriages, but if my wife continues on the path she is going, I will be spouting theory about God’s plan and work in marriages. I am fully confident that He can work miracles in the marriage of two imperfect people, because of all the cases of His miracles being worked in the lives of alcoholics and addicts.

If your marriage is in trouble or could use a boost, please cherish it enough to do all it takes to make it a great marriage. It is possible with God’s help, and it is worth it.

“Don’t let the culture around you (not even Church culture) determine the worth of your marriage. To compare it with something that can be discarded or replaced is to dishonor God’s purpose for it….it should be a picture of love between two imperfect people who choose to love each other regardless.” The Love Dare; parenthetical opinion is mine.

Day 10 Love is unconditional II

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God demonstrates His own love towards us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5.8

When I read this verse today, it was if I had read it for the first time, perhaps it is the first time I meditated on the first 5 words. God demonstrating His love, while we cursed Him, ignored him, sinned against Him and denied Him, Christ died for us. Without Jesus, we are at enmity with God, separated from His love; we have no fellowship with Him.

This is somewhat the position I find myself in with my wife. We have no fellowship, we are not at peace with each other, and we are headed for divorce. This separation has been good for me. I think separation is necessary for couples when their problems require professional help. I am absolutely convinced that divorce in a Christian marriage is against God’s Will however.

Think about it, while we were sinners, enemies of God, He laid His life down for us, the supreme sacrifice. Jesus was beaten, spit upon, had His scalp lacerated with a thorny crown, scourged with a cat-of-nine tails, 40 lashes times 9 steel balled ends tearing the flesh off of Him, then nailed to a cross! Who amongst us can claim that extreme abuse? Jesus said, “Father forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing”! Abuse, whether verbal or physical is wrong and must stop and that is where separation until professional help comes to play. We are to forgive, God does not divorce us, and He forgives us.

When you are separated for an extended period of time from your spouse, in my case approaching one year with a short reprieve, you learn what your love is made of. “Phileo”, friendship love is gone as is “eros”, sexual love. If you have forgiven your wife for the wrongs she has done, asked forgiveness for the wrongs you have done against God and your wife, what remains? Good memories? Hopefully. If the love you feel grows during the separation and you get past the hurt, you realize this love is from God and it is unconditional.

“The Scriptures say that “neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8. 38-39) This is God’s kind of love. And thankfully—by your choice—it can become your kind of love. But first you must receive it and share it.” From “The Love Dare”.

Until yesterday I would say, unless God intervenes, my marriage will be over in “x” number of days. I was corrected, God has intervened, He has given us forgiveness of sins and all the accompanying promises of salvation and that was before we accepted it. In like manner He is intervening in my marriage, my heart has undergone a course correction, He has spoken to my wife through our Pastor, at the bare minimum and has provided her with the same Spirit of truth that all believers have. If my wife chooses to ignore God’s Will and obtains her divorce that is her choice, not God’s Will. If God’s Will was being done on the Earth, Jesus would not have taught us to pray, “Thy Will be done on Earth as it is in heaven”.

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…

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