Posted in bible, husband, marriage, prophecy, wife

What marriage is really all about

The Bible begins with a marriage and ends with a marriage. The marriage motif is laced throughout scripture in progressively obvious ways. As BibleGateway explains,

“Marriage is used to describe the relationship between God and Israel in the OT and between Jesus Christ and the church in the NT. Contemplating marriage deepens understanding of God’s love for his people; examining God’s covenant love for his people similarly enriches an understanding of marriage.” (BibleGateway)

It begins in Genesis 2, where God unites Eve and Adam as one flesh. He made Eve from Adam, as a helper fit for him.

Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. (Genesis 2:24)

As we progress through the Old Testament, we see God declare He is “married” to Israel. God’s marriage covenant with Israel is seen in Ezekiel 16:8-14, below. The covenant at Sinai was seen as a form of marriage. See also Jeremiah 31:32; Ezekiel 16:59-60.

God as Israel’s husband is also seen in Isaiah 54:5 and also Hosea 2:7; Joel 1:8.

8 “When I passed by you again and saw you, behold, you were at the age for love, and I spread the corner of my garment over you and covered your nakedness; I made my vow to you and entered into a covenant with you, declares the Lord God, and you became mine. 9 Then I bathed you with water and washed off your blood from you and anointed you with oil. 10 I clothed you also with embroidered cloth and shod you with fine leather. I wrapped you in fine linen and covered you with silk.[a] 11 And I adorned you with ornaments and put bracelets on your wrists and a chain on your neck. 12 And I put a ring on your nose and earrings in your ears and a beautiful crown on your head. 13 Thus you were adorned with gold and silver, and your clothing was of fine linen and silk and embroidered cloth. You ate fine flour and honey and oil. You grew exceedingly beautiful and advanced to royalty. 14 And your renown went forth among the nations because of your beauty, for it was perfect through the splendor that I had bestowed on you, declares the Lord God. (Ezekiel 16:8-14)

In the New Testament, we see frequent symbolism of Jesus as the Groom and the Church as His bride.

For I feel a divine jealousy for you, since I betrothed you to one husband, to present you as a pure virgin to Christ. (2 Corinthians 11:2)

The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a wedding feast for his son, (Matthew 22:2)

The Marriage supper is likely one of the most eagerly anticipated events…by Jesus! Since before time began when names were written down, Jesus has been promised a wife, one who will adore Him and with whom He will be the groom, lovingly guiding her all the rest of eternity. The day which He knows not, the day when the Father will say, “Son, go get your Bride”, (cf Matthew 22:2) and brings His church triumphant to heaven for glorification (consummation) will be a tremendous, tremendous moment. It hardly bears mental sensibility to even imagine such an event!

We’ve seen the marriage theme in Adam and Eve, in Hosea, Ezekiel, Isaiah, Joel, and Jeremiah. In the New Testament we see the marriage theme in Matthew, 2 Corinthians, and other books, and now in Revelation.

Then came one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues and spoke to me, saying, “Come, I will show you the Bride, the wife of the Lamb.” (Revelation 19:7)

We Christians long for the day when we are the wife, the glorified, perfected church, able to worship properly and perfectly, walking in true harmony with the Groom. As for the Bible, the marriage metaphor is sewn into the very heartbeat of scripture. It begins with a marriage, scripture showing that all marriages are the picture of Jesus and His redeemed and perfected bride, and the Bible ends with a marriage. The kingdom itself is a wedding feast!

Then came one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues and spoke to me, saying, “Come, I will show you the Bride, the wife of the Lamb.” (Revelation 21:9)

John MacArthur explains in his commentary that in Revelation 21:9 the church is referred to as the wife because the marriage has taken place in Rev 19:7. Oh what a day that will be.

The most important thing to remember is this: earthly marriage is a picture of the Church’s marriage to Jesus. He as Head, lovingly guiding, shepherding, teaching, taking responsibility even though He never makes a problem. The Church as bride, loving her Groom, helping, submitting. Submission is a joyful following. As was stated in our sermon Sunday, a woman said regarding submission (which men are to submit also), “If submission to the Father did not ruin Jesus’ dignity I don’t suppose it will ruin mine.”

Marriage does not exist to make you happy. Being happy has nothing to do with it. I’ts to love a married life (if you’re called to it) in mutual submission, sacrificing for each other, and persevering for the long term. It is a picture of Jesus and His bide and personal happiness has nothing to do with it.  Of course, if you’re happy in your marriage, GREAT! But God did not design marriage for your personal happiness.

Since marriage on earth is a picture of Jesus and His spotless bride, then THAT is why satan works so hard to interfere with marriage. That’s why it’s under assault. It’s why feminism arose, so the wife would be rebellious. It’s why homosexuality arose, so men would not marry women and lead solid homes. And in case someone does not believe that marriage is ‘one man, one woman, forever’, think of this. When the Pharisees asked Jesus about marriage, Jesus explained it by going back to the Old testament and stood firm on Genesis 2:24, which says,

Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.

When the Pharisees tested Jesus on marriage, Matthew 19:4-6 says, He answered, “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, 5and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? 6So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.”

So Jesus stood on the OT picture of marriage and that has not changed. Satan tries his best but don’t let him interfere with you wives by allowing your flesh to rise up and usurp the husband, or tempt you to a career choice that sacrifices the children.

The Bible begins with a marriage and it ends with one. Marriage is important.

PS: There are some women and men He has set aside (consecrated) for singleness. Apostle Paul calls this a gift. (1 Corinthians 7:6) For example, there will be 144,000 virgin men who will become super-evangelists during the Tribulation. Jeremiah never married, it’s probable that John the Baptist never did either. In modern times, the famous preacher John Stott never married. Neither did missionary Gladys Aylward. If God has chosen you for singleness, it is a gift and He will sustain you throughout your celibate life for the ministry or task He has consecrated you to. Take heart! You’re in good company!

Posted in encouragement, marriage, singleness, unmarried, virgin

Joyful in Singleness part 4 conclusion: Personal Note and Opinion

Joyful in Singleness part 1
Joyful in Singleness part 2
Joyful in Singleness part 3

Pastor, Christian Book reviewer, and blogger Tim Challies mentioned recently that in his search for recommendations of female conservative bloggers, he noticed that many of the blogs he found had gone cold. “Conservative female bloggers tend to publish less consistently than their male counterparts” he wrote. Subsequent to that observation, three of the women on his recommended blog list contacted Mr Challies to explain why. All were married.

The women bloggers mentioned a myriad of reasons why their essay production is slower than male counterparts, including the normal and reasonable fact that they have many demands on their time as either working mothers or stay at home moms. Challies illuminated the simple fact that many male theologian bloggers are employed or are in a career attached to theological writing, such as pastor, parachurch essayist, professor, or seminary student. A woman’s ‘day job’ often gives little time to theological writing at night.

Contrary to rumor, a single woman’s
life of service to the Lord
doesn’t look like this. It involves
dirty dishes, car breakdowns, and slogging
through difficult verses – alone

As a female Christian conservative blogger, I am also acutely aware, as are my sisters, that as women we must study harder and more deeply before writing, to ensure that we have not been deceived, deluded, or led astray, but that we understand the scriptures correctly. As women, the bible clearly shows that we have a tendency not to. We are the weaker vessel, it was the woman who was deceived. (1 Timothy 2:14). Thus, it takes longer to produce a piece, because so much prayer, study, more prayer, and editing are involved. At least, that is the case for me.

In her response to Mr Challies, Hannah Anderson said that productivity or sheer output is not necessarily a mark of quality. She said, “don’t evaluate a blogger’s worth based on productivity alone. In my own life, I’ve had to accept that God has called me to be both a stay-at-home mom and a writer.” 

I applaud my sisters who are busy with serving the Lord through their capacity as mothers and wives, congregants, and volunteers, and yet still write wonderful and uplifting pieces for their sisters and God’s glory.

However … I would like to report from the side of a female blogger who is not married. What of the single woman, given the spiritual gifts of discernment, teaching, and exhortation, and who possesses a God-given ability for writing? What of the single woman who has no husband and no children, no family, lots of time, and a nearly insatiable interest in the bible? What then? How can such a woman use her Spirit-given gift and her God-given time to serve the Lord?

I wrote to Pastor Challies and had a nice exchange with his blog secretary/e-mail screener. But it seemed that his interest in exploring single/unmarried female bloggers’ issues and contributions to the faith were not to be. I kept thinking about the issue, though.

I mentally looked around my church. I saw the row of youths sitting in the chairs at the back wall, between the ages of 16 and 23 or so. One young man teaches the career and college class and is headed to a Christian University in the fall. Another participates in the choir, and sometimes co-leads musical worship time. Others serve in the nursery. Most of the Youth participate in sort term mission trips in the US and even abroad; several single young people traveled to Peru to serve in an orphanage there.

In looking around further, I saw widows. One is very active in serving in the community, tirelessly, as well as serving in our church. Over there is the recently divorced man, sadly through no desire of his own. Over there is the married woman with small children whose husband is working far away for long periods. There is a widow with health issues. Some widowers. Of course there are married couples of all ages and stages, too. And me, a single loner, older in life but relatively new to the faith. What a diverse demographic spread in our small, rural Baptist church. And why wouldn’t it be? Jesus calls people to his own from all races, creeds, economic status, and stages of life.

I don’t enjoy talking about myself so much, but I think it would be disingenuous not to share my background a bit after so much writing about being single for the kingdom. People need a context so my actions and statements can be judged accordingly. I am single and childless. I came to the Lord as an older woman, at age 43. I’ve been professionally employed in all my adult life either as a teacher, or writer/journalist/editor. I was divorced prior to salvation for a biblical reason. After salvation, I joined a church and I serve there. I firmly believe that serving in real life is and should be a primary place of service for all Christians. Blogging is not a substitute for real life. It’s no substitute for discipling relationships in a church with oversight and support.

John Stott wrote of his 90-year singleness and how it came to be.

In spite of rumors to the contrary, I have never taken a solemn vow or heroic decision to remain single! On the contrary, during my 20s and 30s, like most people, I was expecting to marry one day. In fact, during this period I twice began to develop a relationship with a lady who I thought might be God’s choice of life-partner for me. But when the time came to make a decision, I can best explain it by saying that I lacked an assurance from God that he meant me to go forward. So I drew back. And when that had happened twice, I naturally began to believe that God meant me to remain single.

Though prior to salvation I had wanted very much to be married (but not have kids, interestingly), after salvation I realized, like Dr Stott, it was not God’s plan for me to have either marriage or children. I accepted this without too much protest and with some relief, but I did ask the Lord to help me with it. He did. (1 Corinthians 7:7).

When the platforms for bloggers became available and free, I started this blog on January 6, 2009 and began publicly doing the writing, researching and editing I’d been doing already informally. I had already started my personal blog in 2006. The focus of this blog is Christian prophecy, discernment, and encouragement. I’m in my seventh year and I thank the Holy Spirit for giving me endurance and catalysts for ideas by reading His word.

The Lord began designing my life so that I could sustain myself through an employment that was fulfilling but not mentally or physically taxing, (teacher’s aide) and still have the energy to arrive home and shift gears into the second part of my day- the most important part- ministry through writing. If I spend 8 hours a day at school, I will just as likely spend 8 hours a day researching, writing, blogging, praying, studying, and responding to people via email or in real life who have biblical questions or concerns. It’s my ‘second shift.’ In this regard, however, sometimes I do get undisciplined.

You see, though single and actively dedicated to Jesus most of the day, I’m not a holy, exalted person. I’m still human. There are some days to my shame, I don’t pray. I have a tendency to enjoy movies and TV shows on Netflix and Hulu (currently binging on BBC’s The Indian Doctor) to the exclusion of spiritual work. Netflix and Hulu are a blessing in that they’re inexpensive and allow me to exclude lascivious ads and manage what passes in front of my eyes to a higher degree than broadcast TV, but still, some days I have to push through an urge to just watch the tube all day and then walk around the pasture taking photos of sheep and grass and picking flowers.

For the wives and mothers who blog, my hat is off to them. Their primary means of serving the Lord is to raise a family in submission to your husband and ultimately the Lord. Yet they still find time to write and do it well.

I have no such responsibilities. What else would I do with the extra time the Lord has given me? Squandering it would be sin. And I know I’d fall into sin. We know what the bible says about idle widows, “They learn to be idle, wandering about from house to house; and not only idle but tattlers also, and busybodies, speaking things which they ought not.” (1 Timothy 5:13). That could easily be me in an instant. At root, I am lazy.

I should use the time, talents, gifts, and energies He gave me for His glory, always keeping in mind the kingdom of God. Blogging theological essays of varying depth each day is not easy, it is tiring some days and causes spiritual grief on others. But it is always fulfilling. I have an opportunity to meet with the Lord each day through His word- without distraction. Even if my blog counter read zero every day, I would still blog. I have an audience of One and I pray He is pleased.

One other item to mention: something that would go a long way toward rectifying the near-idolatrous focus on marriage and family to the near-exclusion of addressing ministry for singles and others in conservative Christian churches, is expositional preaching. Preaching through books of the Bible will result in a perfect proportion of sermons aimed at each demographic, because it would reflect the perfect proportion Jesus had in mind when He sent the Spirit to inspire its writing in the first place.

free to reuse by torbakhopper

Topical preaching is fraught with stumbling blocks. A pastor’s fears or biases will lead him to preach on his likes and comfort zone and avoid his dislikes and discomfort zone. Culture around us is filled with marrieds, so preaching usually reflects that church reality also.

It presents stumbling blocks to me personally, also. In my own case, when I see that yet another sermon series will be on “Marriage” or “The Family” I have to fight an urge to make myself absent that day. I then need to spend spiritual energy chastising myself by mentally saying ‘It’s about worshiping Jesus, not what I get out of it’ … ‘I must support and honor my pastor and leaders, not selfishly stay home because I don’t click with the topic’ … ‘I must not forsake congregating with the saints as the bible says’… Pastors, just preach the word, in season and out of season. (2 Timothy 4:2). Everything that way will always come out even.

Stott: Final words of advice for single people:

First, don’t be in too great a hurry to get married. We human beings do not reach maturity until we are about 25. To marry before this runs the risk of finding yourself at twenty-five married to somebody who was a very different person at the age of twenty. So be patient. Pray daily that God will guide you to your life partner or show you if he wants you to remain single. Second, lead a normal social life. Develop many friendships. Third, if God calls you to singleness, don’t fight it. Remember the key text: “Each person has his or her own gift of God’s grace” (1 Cor. 7:7).

Joyful in Singleness part 1
Joyful in Singleness part 2
Joyful in Singleness part 3

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Further Reading

This blog’s tagline gives me pause as to its overall philosophy, (“social psychology + faith + reconciliation“) but this particular essay I thought was very good.
Singled Out: How Churches Can Embrace Unmarried Adults

Desiring God: How to Serve “The Singles” — Ministry to Unmarried Adults in Your Local Church by Carolyn McCulley

ChurchLeaders: 8 Single Principles for a Singles’ Ministry

Posted in encouragement, marriage, singleness, unmarried, virgin

Joyful in Singleness part 3: Famous biblical unmarrieds

Joyful in Singleness part 1
Joyful in Singleness part 2
Joyful in Singleness part 4 conclusion: Personal Note and Opinion

Are you one of a partly hidden minority in the body of Christ who has felt led by the Lord to remain single and celibate for all your days? I’m not talking about unbiblical vows of celibacy like the false Roman Catholic Church forces on its priests and nuns. I’m asking if you are one of the blessed recipients of what apostle Paul called a gift of singleness.

Though marriage is the norm for most people, and it is indeed an institution created by God, and it is a picture of our coming union with Christ, marriage is not given to everyone. Never mind that the average person on earth is single for a good portion of their lives. Americans now spend more years of their adult lives unmarried than married.

The trend toward spending more time single is not specific to the United States. Across 192 countries, people who, by age 30, had always been single, increased from 15% in the 1970s to 24% in the 1990s. The increase was greater for developed countries: In the 1990s, 38% of the women and 57% of the men reached the end of their 20s without ever marrying (World Fertility Report, 2003). Source: Single Women Fact Sheet

These demographics are reflected in the average church congregation. Yet ministry and interpersonal attitudes have not kept up, and many permanently single people feel marginalized or overlooked.

In part one I introduced these and other facts. In part 2 I looked at specific verses and passages that address marriage, singleness, celibacy, and eunuchs (old and modern-day). In this part I’ll look at the impact that single people have made for the kingdom. I’m not focusing on the status of temporarily single people who will marry at some point. I am looking at those people who are beneficiaries of the God-given gift of singleness, a status designed purposely by God for His glory through His use of these individuals. (1 Corinthians 7:6-7).

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

A few days ago, Aimee Byrd posted an essay reviewing Kevin DeYoung’s new book, “What Does the Bible Really Say about Homosexuality?” In her essay titled The Demythologizing of Sex, Byrd quoted DeYoung.

But, of course, none of this can be possible without uprooting the idolatry of the nuclear family, which holds sway in many conservative churches. The trajectory of the New Testament is to relativize the importance of marriage and biological kinship. A spouse and a minivan full of kids on the way to Disney World is a sweet gift and a terrible god. If everything in Christian community revolves around being married with children, we should not be surprised when singleness sounds like a death sentence.

I admire married people with children who labor in the church. I can’t imagine their exhaustion, the time it takes to raise children, and still have time to study that Sunday School lesson he will be teaching, or her volunteer work in the nursery, or their ministry to the community hungry…and remain diligent in personal Bible study and family devotions. Phew! There seems not to be enough hours in the day. Jesus designed it so that a majority of people will at some point in their lives marry and most of these will likely have children. Their focus is naturally on their family lives. And naturally, their interests are divided. (1 Corinthians 7:33, 35).

We know of famous married couples in the Bible, Adam and Eve, Ruth and Boaz, Jezebel and Ahab, Abram and Sarai, Jacob and Rachel/Jacob and Leah, David and Michal/David and Bathsheba, Solomon and all his wives, Mary and Joseph, Zacharias and Elisabeth, Priscilla and Aquila, Ananias and Sapphira…In each case God ordained for the person a spouse and in each case their marriage as recorded in scripture became something the Lord used for His glory and our instruction.

However, remember, marriage is not an institution that will last forever. In his exposition of 1 Corinthians 7:25-40, S. Lewis Johnson said,

The central thought of the apostle is that celibacy is desirable; it’s not demanded. Why? … Well, from reading the passage here and from knowing the things that our Lord had said with which the apostle was familiar, evidently for him he thinks of marriage as a temporary covenant for the propagation of the human race. But the relation to the Lord is an eternal relation — relationship.

And so in the light of that, what he seems to be suggesting to us is that we, as believers, should remember that we are heading to an eternal destiny in the presence of the Lord. … He wants to focus our attention upon the fact that we are on our way to eternity. And this is temporary. And we are to spend ourselves during this temporary period of time in seeking the Lord and ministering as believers for him in the society of which we are apart. I gather that that’s what — that’s why Paul says the things that he says when he says, “Marriage is good. It’s alright to marry, but it’s better to give yourself holy to the Lord.” And now he is going to talk about why it is so.

The unmarried man or women does not have divided interests and can focus solely on pleasing the Lord. (1 Corinthians 7:32, 34b). Let’s look at some people in the Bible who were specifically and notably single, devoting all time and energy to ministering to Him. First will be people from the Old and New Testaments we know were single, and then a list of others we can say might have been or were probably single.

Jeremiah, by Michaelangelo

Jeremiah

A prophet of the Lord and author of the book of Jeremiah and Lamentations, Jeremiah never married or had children.

The word of the Lord came to me: 2“You shall not take a wife, nor shall you have sons or daughters in this place. (Jeremiah 16:1-2)

The LORD said He was planning to still the voice of the bride and bridegroom, and plagues and hardship were going to come upon the land. Gill’s Commentary explains Jeremiah’s single status,

Thou shall not take thee a wife,…. Not because it was unlawful; for it was lawful for prophets to marry, and they did; but because it was not advisable, on account of the calamities and distresses which were coming upon the nation; which would be more bearable by him alone, than if he had a wife, which would increase his care, concern, and sorrow.

Apostle Paul alludes to the times also as a reason not to marry. (1 Corinthians 7:26). Sometimes God ordains singleness not to test a person in endurance or deny a person a pleasure, but to spare a person grief in coming calamity.

St. Anna the Prophetess by Rembrandt Van Rijn

Anna

Here is a woman who lived in apostate times, the worst of times. Her generation had drifted fully from the Old Testament law and lived under the oppressive and false rule of Pharisaical law, as we know from the many admonitions and warnings Jesus gave to the Pharisees, and Paul’s initial terrorism against the early Christians. God had been silent 400 years, since the close of the Old Testament canon in Malachi in approximately 430BC. The last chapter of Malachi is short, but contains a warning about the Day of the LORD, a warning to follow the Law given to Moses, and this, the last words Israel heard said to them by God–

“Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the great and awesome day of the Lord comes. And he will turn the hearts of fathers to their children and the hearts of children to their fathers, lest I come and strike the land with a decree of utter destruction.” (Malachi 4:5-6)

Malachi’s warning was not without cause. The Jewish people were mistreating their wives, marrying pagans and not tithing, and the priests were neglecting the temple and not teaching the people the ways of God. In short, the Jews were not honoring God. (Source)

Things only worsened as 400 years ground on. Yet there were a few that remained pure in heart and pleasing to the LORD. In approximately 27-29BC, Jesus was born and was presented at the Temple according to the Law. Anna was there.

And there was a prophetess, Anna the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was advanced in years and had lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, and then as a widow to the age of eighty-four. She never left the temple, serving night and day with fastings and prayers. At that very moment she came up and began giving thanks to God, and continued to speak of Him to all those who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem. (Luke 2:36-38).

A widow can know what it is to face a long, lonely and cheerless life, and a solitude made more acute because of the remembrance of happier days. But it was not so with Anna. When as a young, motherless wife, God withdrew from her the earthly love she rejoiced in, she did not bury her hope in a grave. In the place of what God took, He gave her more of Himself, and she became devoted to Him who had promised to be as a Husband to the widow, and through her long widowhood was unwearying in devotion to Him. She “trusted in God,” and her hoary head was a crown of glory (Proverbs 16:31). Repose of soul was hers for eighty-five years because the one thing she desired was to have God’s house as her dwelling place all the days of her life. Source.

Paul

Paul writing his epistles. Valentin de Boulogne

In 1 Corinthians 7:6 Paul declared he himself had the gift of celibacy, so we know that he was not at that time married. Had he ever been married? We don’t know for sure. At some point, if Paul had been married, his wife either had died or was not in the picture. Paul’s tremendous conversion showed that the redemption available in only Jesus Christ is not beyond even the “chief of sinners”, a murderer and terrorist of His people. (1 Timothy 1:15).

In his life lived and in the strength of Christ, Paul founded churches all over the region in his three missionary journeys, pastored them, discipled young men for the future labor in Christ, contended for the faith alongside many men and women, ‘redeemed’ a slave and reconciled him with his master, and wrote Romans, 1 and 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Philippians, 1 and 2 Thessalonians, Philemon, Ephesians, Colossians, 1 and 2 Timothy and Titus.

From conceited, legalistic terrorist, Paul became a humble, powerful witness for the glory of Christ.

Mary/Martha/Lazarus 

This sibling trio were single. They were used mightily of Jesus. In His Incarnation He lodged with them, all three of whom He loved. (John 11:5). He used Lazarus to show the glory of God, Martha illustrated her “love and piety alike found adequate and satisfying expression at all times in the ordinary kindly offices of hospitality and domestic service” according to Lockyer, and Mary of Bethany loved to sit at her Lord’s feet and absorb heavenly truths.

Philip’s four unmarried daughters

These women (Acts 21:8-9) prophesied.

Philip’s household included four virgin daughters who were prophetesses. That Luke describes them as virgins suggests that they may have been set aside by God for special ministry (cf. 1 Cor 7:34). Prophets, like apostles, were specially appointed by God in the church. They must be distinguished from individual believers with the gift of prophecy (1 Cor 12:10). They complemented the ministry of the apostles (Eph 4:11) by functioning exclusively within the body of a particular congregation, while the apostles had a broader ministry.

It has been recorded that early believers regarded these women as valuable sources of information on the early history of the church. The historian Eusebius notes that the church Father Papias received information from them (Ecclesiastical History III.XXXIX, p. 126). Perhaps Luke used them as a source of information in writing his gospel and Acts. He would have had many opportunities to talk with them, not only during this visit but also during Paul’s two-year imprisonment at Caesaria (Acts 24:27). (Source: MacArthur Commentary on Acts).

Apocalypse of Lorvao. Wimimedia Commons public domain US

The 144,000

Revelation 7:1-8 and Revelation 14:1-5 records that the Lord reserves 144,000 virgins and will supernaturally seal them from harm during the judgments of the Tribulation, in order to use them for His glory. They will evangelize the world during the Tribulation. Multitudes and myriad come to faith in Jesus Christ during this time, thanks to the supernatural energizing of these unmarried singles.

We, in the Christian church, perhaps in our day are not giving proper credit to those who, by the grace of God, have given themselves to a celibate or single life. The unmarried woman, for example, and the unmarried man who have given themselves to service for the Lord and have eschewed marriage; we should give them credit for what they have done. ~S. Lewis Johnson, Marriage Counsel III

Probably unmarried/virgin:

John the Baptist

The bible doesn’t say one way or another whether John the Baptist was married…he was in all probability a Nazirite but Nazirites were not forbidden to marry. Nazirite comes from a Hebrew word meaning “consecrated.” There were only two other lifelong Nazirites in the bible (Samuel and Samson) so it not unlikely that John was not married but consecrated for life to his task, which was forerunner of Christ. Though we can’t speculate too far, given John’s lifestyle of living in the desert, eating, locusts and honey, wearing camel hair, and being a Nazirite itinerant preacher completely submitted to Jesus, it is unlikely that he was married. (Matthew 3:1,4). Since before the foundation of the world, John was appointed forerunner of Christ. It seems as if it is not too presumptuous to say he was unmarried so that his attention would not be divided.

Daniel

Daniel 1:3, 7-9 alludes to the fact that when taken captive, Daniel might have been castrated and become a eunuch.

In Daniel 1:3, Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah (known by the Babylonian names Belteshazzar, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego) were put under the care of Ashpenaz, the chief of the saris. The Hebrew word saris is translated as “eunuch” and “court official.” It does not always refer to one who has been made a eunuch. Potiphar is called an Egyptian “saris” in Gen 39:1, yet he was married. It is unclear whether he was also a eunuch. Despite this devastating turn of events, Daniel possessed an unwavering faith in God. In Ezekiel 14:14–16, he stands with Noah and Job as the three men God commended for their righteousness. Daniel obeyed God in matters from dietary cleanliness to daily worship, and he proclaimed to everyone—at great peril—that God is above all. Source: Faithlife Study Bible, JD Barry.

Lydia

This woman ran a profitable business and had a home large enough to accommodate the entire missionary team. (Acts 16:14, 15, Acts 16:40). No husband is mentioned in association with ‘Lydia’s business’ and ‘Lydia’s household’ so it was likely she was single via widowhood. She provided a safe haven for Paul and his mission team time and again, in loving hospitality so they could rest and recover. Her home is where Paul and Silas went after being released from prison, and it was there the brethren received solace and encouragement. Baumgarten says,

“This assembly of believers in the house of Lydia was the first church that had been founded in Europe”.

Of Marriage and singleness in general, S. Lewis Johnson remarked,

I never quite understand why married people who have the comforts of home often speak in a disparaging and unkind way of unmarried people. It should be that if marriage is so delightful, that married people would speak in a very tenderness and — tender and sympathetic way of people who have not married. But instead of that, they speak sometimes in such a contentious way. I never like to hear people say, “Oh she’s just an old maid’ or “he is just an old bachelor.” Wait a minute! He whom you so designate may be glorifying the Lord in a way he could not have done if he were the head of a household and she of whom you speak, may be one who is rendering wonderful service to God and humanity. I repeat, some of most devoted Christians I have ever know have been unmarried men and women who gave themselves holy to the work of the Lord Jesus Christ. All honor to them. I agree with that. ~S. Lewis Johnson, Marriage Counsel III

Wikipedia

In modern times we can point to many people who chose to remain unmarried for the sake of the kingdom, like Pastor John Stott, for example, who was single all 90 years of his life and served the Lord actively as pastor for 65 of them. Some chose to stay unmarried after the death of a spouse, Rachel Saint, for example. MacArthur says of Mrs Saint,

Rachel Saint served as a single missionary among the Auca Indians of Ecuador for many years without companionship. She poured out her life and her love to the indians and found great blessing and fulfillment. (source)

S. Lewis Johnson said of single missionaries,

Many of the missionaries who have gone out from the shores of the United States have been women missionaries who’ve gone out, spent their lives in heathen lands and the jungles, and in the countries where things are not nearly so nice as the United States of America, and have been responsible for many, many people having an opportunity to hear the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. I’ve known of some who have gone to Mexico, translated the language of tribes themselves and then written the Bible for them, so to speak, translated it, and made it possible for people to have the Bible in their own language. What a marvelous ministry. And when you remember that we are here just a short time and eternity is fairly long, you can see what a marvelous choice has been made by some people to not be entangled in marriage.

Whether God has destined a mate for you, or has consecrated you to Himself as an unmarried/single earlier than eternity, His glory always shines through His people when we submit all to Him. Whether married or unmarried, single temporarily or permanently, we are His children, loved perfectly and endowed with His Spirit to do His work. We have all been gifted, and when we look upon each other, we should not see married or single, at odds in misunderstanding or apprehension, but equally gifted individuals co-laboring for Christ’s name and His glory.

Joyful in Singleness part 1
Joyful in Singleness part 2

Joyful in Singleness part 4 conclusion: Personal Note and Opinion


Posted in church life, marriage, ministry, single ladies, singleness

Joy in singleness, though you’d never know it by Christian social media or church life. Part 1

 Joy in Singleness, part 2: Gifted to live singly for Jesus
Joy in Singleness, part 3: Famous biblical singles
Joyful in Singleness part 4 conclusion: Personal Note and Opinion

I am currently reading through and studying 1 Corinthians. In 1 Corinthians 7, Paul outlines responsibilities of life to marrieds & singles, and mentioning young men, virgins, and widows. It is a great chapter. Paul is specific, loving, and clear, focusing on marriage, lust, and conjugal duty.

Marriage is the foundation block of society, procreation is strongly urged, (Genesis 1:28, Genesis 9:7, Psalm 128:3, Proverbs 31:27), and divorce is considered a violent act, (Luke 16:18; 1 Corinthians 7:15; Matthew 5:32; Matthew 19:6,8; Genesis 2:24). As a matter of fact, unauthorized divorce prohibits men from serving in leadership capacity, (1 Timothy 3:2) so it is no wonder that churches spend a good deal of time preaching to and discipling marrieds. There are many marriage retreats, books, Sunday School curricula, and sermons given over to the subject. This is a good thing.

Marriage, the Bible tells us from the beginning of the Book of Genesis, is a divine institution. That is, it is something established by God. It is a covenant that is given by God and for that reason it is traceable to him. It has also been consecrated by him, for he has blessed the marriage relationship. And, of course, it’s the means of the preservation of the human race. ~S. Lewis Johnson, Marriage Counsel, part 1

 However oftentimes so much attention is given to married couples and their issues, that an overly myopic focus descends upon any given church that leaves the other half of the population out. There are young unmarried men and women, honorably divorced folks, and widows and widowers. Because of the excessive focus on marriage and married Christians’ concerns, one would be led to believe the entire church was composed of couples. But it is not so.

Census data from 1970 show that 70 percent of American households contained a married couple. The 2006 report from the Census Bureau disclosed that fewer than half of American households are now maintained by married couples. Eye on Unmarried America

In this series I’ll focus on singleness, its joys, benefits, church life, and ministry and civic opportunities. There are several kinds of singles: singles who are frustrated in the waiting for what they know will be God’s gift of marriage to them, or who have had that gift and are now widows or widowers and are grieving the loss. Some in today’s world are temporarily single also by the fact that their spouse is serving overseas, working far away, or are incarcerated. (Yes it happens). For these singles, a different kind of ministry is needed. Many of these people desire comfort and love and support as they yearningly await a change in their marital status.

Those aren’t the singles I am discussing. I’ll address the fact that even if some singles are acknowledged and gasp! ministered to, not all singles are in a waiting room for marriage. Some, like me, know they will be single forever, and are happy with that gift. Yes, gift. Rarely is the gift of singleness discussed in the church, or even preached about, looked upon as an enhancement to the Body, let alone acknowledged as a normal segment of the family He is creating.

Churches are so committed to the idea of a family-centered church that they’re just not sure how to handle rising rates of singleness. “Are Single People the Lepers of Today?

Further, I’ll reject the subtle cloud that usually attaches to a discussion of singles: depression, sadness, longing. There are singles out there which God has granted a life of joy and fulfillment, with nary a search for the soul mate in sight but only having eyes for the Groom.

For there are eunuchs who have been so from birth, and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by men, and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. Let the one who is able to receive this receive it. (Matthew 19:11)

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 Joy in Singleness, part 2: Gifted to live singly for Jesus
Joy in Singleness, part 3: Famous biblical singles
Joyful in Singleness part 4 conclusion: Personal Note and Opinion

Posted in Francis Chan, marriage

Yes, this is a quiz

Charisma Magazine (not recommended) interviewed Francis Chan last year on the publication of his new marriage book, “You and Me Forever”.

Here is the trailer with Chan and his wife Lisa announcing the book. It is not a long trailer, just 2 minutes or so. If you watch it, perhaps something will strike you, like it did me. I’m sure there are many things that may strike you, but I’m thinking of one particular thing that jumped out at me.

Let me know what you think in the comments. After a while I’ll put my answer in the comments, depending on response.

🙂

Posted in 50 shades of grey, marriage, mommy porn, porn

Many links on the subject of rejecting 50 Shades of Grey, AND edifying links about Christian marriage

Today marks the debut of the movie 50 Shades of Grey. it is based on the book of the same name. The book and movie (as well as its origination texts, the Twilight series of vampire romances) has sparked concern and outrage from evangelical Christians. Here is a roundup of some of the best write-ups regarding this film and the damage it causes, and what interest in its subject means for our culture.

By Men

Dr. Al Mohler
Fifty Shades of Shame — The Evolution of Pornography

Life Site News
The real reason 50 Shades is so wildly popular

Matt Walsh
To the women of America: 4 reasons to hate 50 Shades of Grey

Landon Chapman
‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ and the Annihilation of Christian Women’s Innocence

Christianity Today
Is There Anything Redeeming in the ’50 Shades’ Trilogy?

John Kennedy, Assemblies of God News
Christian Leaders Warn Against Fifty Shades Movie

From Fight the New Drug, Aimed at a readership of young women and men, their “mission is to raise awareness on the harmful effects of pornography through creative mediums.”
5 Things ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ Teaches About Sex

Tim Challies, article includes links to other articles, book recommendations on the subject of porn, and addresses the cultural phenomenon of 50 Shades
10 Articles on Pornography

By Women

DebbieLynne Kespert
50 Shades to Avoid
50 Shades, 40 Days And None Of The Above

Elizabeth Prata
Why Christian women are drawn to 50 Shades of Grey

Sola Sisters
Fifty Shades of Grey? It’s Really Just Black and White

Becky Thompson
Christian Women and Christian Grey

Secular

Daily Beast
More ‘50 Shades’ Ticket Preorders Have Happened in Mississippi Than Anywhere Else

Fox News
50 shades of abuse? New movie sending wrong message to women

Christian Marriage

GotQuestions
What Constitutes Marriage According to the Bible?

Grace To You essay
What can my spouse and I do to build a strong marriage?

Grace To You article
Marriage As It Was Meant to Be

Truth For Life, Alistair Begg sermon series
God’s Pattern for Marriage

Posted in family, marriage, martyr

Sunday Martyr Moment: Vitus killed by his own father, & the temporary nature of families

Foxe’s Book of Martyrs. According to this summary from Christian Book Summaries,

Writing in the mid-1500s, John Foxe was living in the midst of intense religious persecution at the hands of the dominant Roman Catholic Church. In graphic detail, he offers accounts of Christians being martyred for their belief in Jesus Christ, describing how God gave them extraordinary courage and stamina to endure unthinkable torture.

From the same link, the book’s purpose was fourfold:

  • Showcase the courage of true believers who have willingly taken a stand for Jesus Christ throughout the ages, even if it meant death,
  • Demonstrate the grace of God in the lives of those martyred for their faith,
  • Expose the ruthlessness of religious and political leaders as they sought to suppress those with differing beliefs,
  • Celebrate the courage of those who risked their lives to translate the Bible into the common language of the people.

Text from Foxe’s Book of Martyrs

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We are looking at the ten primitive persecutions. Foxe developed his chronicle in chapters from the first martyr, Stephen, in chapter 1: “History of Christian Martyrs to the First General Persecutions Under Nero” and now we are nearing the end of chapter 2: “The Ten Primitive Persecutions“. This brings us up to 303AD.

Vitus of Sicily was taught the principles of Christianity by a nurse who raised him. When his pagan father, Hylas, discovered this, he tried to convert him to paganism but failed. To appease his gods for his son’s insults to their deity, he sacrificed Vitus to them on June 14, 303.

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I looked at just one man today, Vitus. I want to examine the nature of the family relationship for a moment.

The bible says, “You will be delivered up even by parents and brothers and relatives and friends, and some of you they will put to death.” (Luke 21:16)

This became a sad truth for Vitus, but also a joyous one. He died for the name of Christ! And he is given the Crown of Life, also known as the Martyr’s Crown. (Revelation 2:8-11, James 1:12)

We often believe that family ties are the strongest ties we can have on earth, but it is not true. We read old secular proverbs like”Blood is thicker than water”, indicating that family ties will outlast and be stronger than any other ties. We read Mario Puzo’s book The Godfather and the indelible memory of Vito Corleone’s son Michael (another Vito from Sicily, this one fictional) saying “Fredo, you’re my older brother, and I love you. But don’t ever take sides with anyone against the Family again. Ever.”

But we know what happened there, money was thicker than blood, and poor Fredo went fishing…and then slept with the fishes.

The family is an institution Christ set up in the garden. He married Adam and Eve and told them to be fruitful and multiply. He likened the sacrificial love of a husband for his wife and family to the love Christ has for His bride. And the same with the wife. Jewish progeny was supremely important in order to perpetuate the race and to keep the tribes intact. Deuteronomy 25:5 makes provision for keeping the family name alive, in commanding the widow of one brother to marry the other in case of death, so the name will be kept going.

All of this is beautiful and true. However, the fact is that whether a person is an unsaved person or a saved person, family is not the main relationship. Unsaved people serve satan, and when push comes to shove, the unsaved person will serve satan out of hate rather than their family out of love. Vitus is but one example. The Luke 21:16 verse proves that family ties will matter little when faced with a push from satan. Here are two more examples-

They will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.” (Luke 12:53)

Brother will deliver brother over to death, and the father his child, and children will rise against parents and have them put to death,” (Matthew 10:21)

So the unsaved serve satan above his family. Alternately, the saved person serves Jesus above his family.

If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple.” (Luke 14:26)

And his mother and his brothers came, and standing outside they sent to him and called him. And a crowd was sitting around him, and they said to him, “Your mother and your brothers are outside, seeking you.” And he answered them, “Who are my mother and my brothers?” And looking about at those who sat around him, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! For whoever does the will of God, he is my brother and sister and mother.” (Mark 3:31-35).

We should be aware that secular relationships are filled with betrayal, because they serve satan. Just look at abortion, putting babes in the fire for sacrifice to Molech. Infanticide is horrible and satanic.

Yet though Christian family relationships are modeled after Christ, and are a picture of the glory to come, they won’t last. As John Piper said in his tremendous sermon Single in Christ: A Name Better Than Sons and Daughters, when we attain heaven, there will be no marriage. We will not marry nor procreate. Our relationships will be complete. Through Christ, we will be one family. We won’t need the picture when we are face to face. Here is a snippet from Piper’s sermon, where he is outlining his main points:

  • That the family of God grows not by propagation through sexual intercourse, but by regeneration through faith in Christ;
  • That relationships in Christ are more permanent, and more precious, than relationships in families (and, of course, it is wonderful when relationships in families are also relationships in Christ; but we know that is often not the case);
  • That marriage is temporary, and finally gives way to the relationship to which it was pointing all along: Christ and the church—the way a picture is no longer needed when you see face to face;
  • That faithfulness to Christ defines the value of life; all other relationships get their final significance from this. No family relationship is ultimate; relationship to Christ is.

For poor martyred Vitus was killed by his father in the name of a satanic god, but Vitus held fast to the value of a relationship with Christ, His true Father. Vitus not only attained the crown of life, but look what else is given to Vitus, and to all of us:

And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands, for my name’s sake, will receive a hundredfold and will inherit eternal life.” (Matthew 19:29)

You and I will have a hundred-fold mothers, and not just any mothers, perfect mothers. Perfect brothers and perfect sisters and perfect children…

While your blood ties on earth are temporary and imperfect, and even if you have experienced betrayal and heartbreak, awaiting you in heaven is the perfect family. What a blessing we can have a taste of that family life now, in the family of Christ on earth. The family of God is eternal and everlasting and forever, amen.

Posted in bible, marriage, morality, tim gunn

Tim Gunn chose celibacy thirty years ago. How about you?

I’m writing three loosely connected blog entries. The first one was about marriage. The second was about divorce. This third one is about celibacy.

Tim Gunn, Wikipedia pic

I started watching Project Runway this summer. (Thanks, free Hulu!). Project Runway is a contest show where each week the fashion designers must create a fashion look and the best one is selected and the worst one causes the judges to boot the designer. During the times while the designers are creating, a man named Tim Gunn who used to be a professor of fashion at the Parsons New School for Design in NY comes in and consults with the contestants. He mentors them and helps them. He is very good at what he does.

Being the fashion industry and set in NY, there are many gay contestants. Some don’t talk about it and some do. Mr Gunn doesn’t. After binge-watching a bunch of episodes, I became interested in Mr Gunn. He seemed like a very nice man.

Googling him yielded uniformly that he is, indeed, a nice man. He’s very caring and genuine with the contestants and very skilled in his ability to mentor and draw out their thoughts and convert them to concrete design. I enjoy his style as a teacher and also his clothing style!

It turns out, that yes, Mr Gunn is gay.

The most prominent item in the search results was this: he stated in an interview last year that he has been celibate for 29 years.

photo credit: Dead  Air via photopin cc

He said that his partner broke up with him, which was devastating, and said the boyfriend did so because Gunn’s sexual perfomance wasn’t all that great. It also was said that Gunn had struggled with his sexual preference and as a result he had attempted suicide as a young man. Gunn said that he made the decision to abstain from sex because “it’s very psychological”. Lastly, he was very worried about staying healthy, since at that time the pestilence afflicting the gay world, AIDS, was rampant. He said he is glad to be alive today.

When Mr Gunn made his declaration last year, it stunned secular society (at least, the segment of the society that follows these things). The LA Times said that he “blew the nation’s mind this week” and asked, “How weird is it to go without sex for 29 years?” Others speculated that this was so unusual that perhaps a new disorder should be added to the DSMIV for asexuality. The tone of the article was that certainly no one would make this choice if there wasn’t something wrong with him.

Certainly, society’s pressure to be sexual was felt by Mr Gunn, who insisted that he had ‘nothing to be ashamed’ of, and that he “is a fulfilled individual.”

Excesses at the NY Gay Pride parade.
photo credit: Boss Tweed via photopin cc

Heterosexual youths hook up like it’s nothing nowadays. The adherents to a homosexual lifestyle in particular insist that one be promiscuous, in a celebration of ‘pride’ in their choice to have unnatural sex. Gay men are supposed especially lusty and proudly strut and have sex at the drop of a hat.

The day after Mr Gunn’s revelation, the LA Times reported, “Today, Tim Gunn’ was one of the mostly widely searched terms on Google, partly because such an admission was shocking even in a world that thrives on TMI.”

That’s because the lustful world cannot conceive of a person not indulging their lusts.

Here is the point, he made a personal decision to refrain from sexual activity (for whatever reason) and held to that for three decades. If a man who has unnatural lusts can do that for himself by himself, then what can a person struggling with homosexual thoughts and desires do who appeals to the Holy Spirit? The Spirit aids us in resisting lusts, and Mr Gunn shows us that it can be done.

The Holy Spirit helps all of us in resisting that which is not profitable. He helps us resist any and all sins. In today’s society, l-ust, promiscuity, fornication, homosexual sex, adultery, p-ornography are the most deeply embedded of the sins and the ones society most pressures us to succumb to. However they are exactly the sins which should be most resisted.

photo credit: EssG via photopin cc

This is what Jesus said about marriage and the marital bed:

“For there are eunuchs who have been so from birth, and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by men, and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. Let the one who is able to receive this receive it.” (Matthew 19:12)

So there are three categories. Those who were born without an ability to engage in a sexual union. Second, some have had some sort of accident, or undergone some kind of religious rite, or some slaves castrated to work in a harem, etc. and physically cannot perform.

The third category are people who feel led to remain single and not married (not because of an unwillingness to commit) but do so by a dedication to this state of singleness (‘made themselves’) and it is for the sake of the kingdom.

Jesus is saying many things here. First, that if you are married, it is not good to be celibate. Celibacy is only good for those who are not married. The context of his sermon here is on the subject of marriage & divorce.

Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 7:1-5,
“Now concerning the matters about which you wrote: “It is good for a man not to have sexual relations with a woman.” But because of the temptation to sexual immorality, each man should have his own wife and each woman her own husband. The husband should give to his wife her conjugal rights, and likewise the wife to her husband. For the wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. Likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does. Do not deprive one another, except perhaps by agreement for a limited time, that you may devote yourselves to prayer; but then come together again, so that Satan may not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.”

So we know not to make ourselves eunuchs if we are married. That does not further the cause of the kingdom.

At the end of His talk, Jesus said “let them receive it.” This means receive His whole teaching on marriage, sex, and singleness. It is not a command, because He said, ‘let them’ receive it. If you are married, have a happy and fruitful marital bed. If you are single and feel that the Lord is not leading you into marriage or back into it if you are widowed or widower, let them receive it. It is all for the sake of the Kingdom.

Now, does one think that the Holy Spirit is not going to help in either of these cases, the married or the single? Of course He will! He ministers to us, helps us resist unwanted thoughts, convicts us of potential actions, brings scripture to mind in dangerously tempting situations.

The world cannot understand a Christian’s actions regarding sexual conduct. The world was amazed, perplexed and felt almost betrayed by Mr Gunn that he chose to make himself a eunuch for three decades.

They won’t understand. Here is John MacArthur expounding on the Matthew verse, especially the part where Jesus says, ‘let him receive it.’

photo credit: soundfromwayout via photopin cc

“I think this is a very important statement at the end of verse because, you see, the Lord puts this in there knowing that most people aren’t going to be able to hear this, right? I mean, if I go into the average situation with a bunch of pagan people, I mean, if I went down and spoke at the local Kiwanis club, for lack of a better illustration, or if I went into the local college classroom and I said, “Now, I want you to know, people, this is the law, here’s what is God’s standard: you will marry one person for the rest of your life and make a lifelong commitment‑‑no divorce. Furthermore, if you are single, you remain single for the sake of the kingdom of God, not to play around.” Now, how well would I be received? They’d say, “Who is this idiot? Where did you come from?”

Take heart single people. The Holy Spirit will help you resist desires. Gill’s Exposition explains of the Matthew verse:

“But here it means such, who having the gift of continency without mutilating their bodies, or indulging any unnatural lusts, can live chastely without the use of women, and choose celibacy: for the kingdom of heaven’s sake; not in order, by their chaste and single life, to merit and obtain the kingdom of glory; but that they might be more at leisure, being free from the encumbrances of a marriage state, to attend the worship and service of God.”

If you are single, choose celibacy. You are doing something for the Kingdom! Not that your choice expands it, but that in the extra time you have in being single, you can devote yourself to the Lord instead of the the spouse & children. If Tim Gunn can do it without aid of the Holy Spirit, you certainly can. “Casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:7)

Why should you cast your cares on Him? Because He cares for you.

photo credit: Lel4nd via photopin cc

Posted in gay marriage, genesis, homosexual, marriage

‘I am still not getting what I want’: UK Gay couple suing church for refusing ‘wedding’. And, God ordained marriage as explained by Genesis

Part 2: Social media is changing child custody disputes, child-support payments, & divorce
Part 3: Tim Gunn chose celibacy thirty years ago. How about you?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

With the homosexual agenda advancing into so many areas, especially marriage, I have been thinking deeply about God-ordained marriage and why its absence from society isn’t good for society. I have assembled three blog entries that are loosely related to the topic of marriage in these days of apostasy.

photo credit: jakebouma via photopin cc

Great Britain recently became legal in Engnland and Wales. The story below from last week notes that the legislation hadn’t yet been signed off on by the Queen, but she has approved it by now.

Prime Minister of the
United Kingdom, David Cameron

England’s Gay Marriage Law To Become Legal After Lower House Approval
Gay marriage is to become legal in England and Wales after the lower house of the British parliament approved the final changes on Tuesday to a law that had Prime Minister David Cameron’s backing but split his ruling Conservative party. The law had the support of both Labour and the Liberal Democrats, Britain’s two other main political parties, but damaged Cameron’s standing within his own party with many of his own lawmakers criticising him for being too liberal. … After a two-hour debate, the House of Commons passed the bill, meaning it now only needs to be approved by Queen Elizabeth, a formality.

Prime Minister Cameron had promised that though homosexual marriage would become legal, churches would not be forced to perform them if it went against their beliefs.

However, this did not deter the gay lobby. They are now suing the Church of England to force them to perform gay marriages. As one gay man said, “I’m still not getting what I want.”

And isn’t that exactly what sin is all about. Pursuing your ungodly lusts no matter the cost to yourself or others. Jude 1:16a says, “These are grumblers, finding fault, following after their own lusts;”

Barrie Drewitt-Barlow, left,
with boyfriend Tony. (source)

‘I am still not getting what I want’: Gay couple suing church for refusing ‘wedding’
“Less than two weeks after the coalition government’s gay “marriage” bill was signed into law, a homosexual man has launched a lawsuit against a Church of England parish in Maldon for refusing him and his civil partner the lavish church wedding of their dreams. Barrie Drewitt-Barlow told the Essex Chronicle that he has launched the suit because, despite the law, “I am still not getting what I want.”  Section 9 of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013, which comes into effect next year, grants anyone in a civil partnership the ability to convert that partnership into a “marriage.” But the law contains measures specifically to preclude unwilling churches from being forced to participate.”

Other articles say that the courts will decide…

You know that satan never stops and he never sleeps. He was given an inch and he is taking a mile. Give him a mile and he will take the city.

Let’s go back to Genesis 1-

Michaelangelo, Sistine Chapel Painting, God creating Adam

In the Creation account, God created the universe and everything in it in 6 days. Each time as the day ended (24-hour day) God surveyed His work and declared it good. (Genesis 1:4, 8, 10, 12, 21, 25).

When He created man, it is the first time we read of the Holy Executive Council together, all three intimately participating in the creation. Until that point we read ,”And God said, And God said, And God said.” But with man, it is recorded, “Let Us make man…” It is an important moment.

Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.” (Genesis 1:26)

After He made man, he said it was “very good.”

So from this we gather that man is the most important of His creations, because he is the only one made in His image. And it was the only creation that God declared ‘very good.’

Now, think for a moment. What was the first thing we read of in the bible that was ‘not-good’? No, it wasn’t the serpent of chapter 3. It is in Genesis 2:18:

“Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.”

The first thing that was not-good was that man was lonely. He was alone with no society to commune with except God. Then God caused the beasts to come before the man to see what he would name them. And still, the man was alone. We often focus on the helper part of the verse in 2:18. But look at the part that says “fit for him.” Dogs are man’s best friend. An animal could have become a nice companion for the man, as they have done today. But no. Monkeys are funny and sort of look like humans, they are sociable animals, they have opposable thumbs…why wasn’t a monkey a good helper? Because he was not fit for the man. (“The man gave names to all livestock and to the birds of the heavens and to every beast of the field. But for Adam there was not found a helper fit for him.” Genesis 2:20).

God made a woman.

Michaelangelo, Sistine Chapel painting, Creation of Eve

“And the rib that the Lord God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. Then the man said, “This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.” Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” (Genesis 2:22-24).

One flesh. That is one reason why divorce is such a violent act, it is literally a ripping apart of flesh.

As an aside, notice the comment at the last part; there were no parents yet. No one had a mother and a father. God had just created Adam and Eve. They had no clue about procreation and parents yet. God was ordaining society!

This is the foundation upon which the first society is built. Here we have one man, and it was not good for him to be alone. And all the beasts were brought, and still none helper was found “fit for him.” So God created woman. God then ordained future generations of society and of sexual conduct by declaring how society was to continue: through the man and woman as one flesh. They come together as one flesh and they leave the parents and they build another foundational block of society through their marriage. That is how it works, and it is beautiful.
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Part 2: Social media is changing child custody disputes, child-support payments, & divorce
Part 3: Tim Gunn chose celibacy thirty years ago. How about you? 

Posted in christianity, covenant, marriage, prophecy

Lots of steamy sex affairs will actually save your marriage, says sociologist

Marriage was the second covenant God made with man. (The first was in Genesis 2:16-17 where God told Adam not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.) God made Eve from Adam’s rib and told them to cleave together and become of one flesh. He outlined certain standards of behavior and expectations for them both, and that was marriage, the foundation of society. Why is it the foundation? “Because it is not good for man to be alone, I shall make a helpmeet for him.” (Gen 2:18). Together, they formed the first society.

So of course satan targeted for destruction that good and solid foundation of one man and one woman married and bearing children. Satan immediately incited the woman, Adam followed, and off we go toward the Fall of Man into sin.

From that moment in the garden, we have had a constant and direct attack on marriage, specifically its definition. Any variance satan can get from the biblical definition suits his purposes. Look at this-

The recipe for happiness? An enduring marriage and an affair with lots of sex
In an extract from her new book, the controversial sociologist says it is time to redraw marital rules – with a radical rethink on fidelity
“As dating websites open up a global shop window of sexual possibilities, as life expectancy continues to rise and we become increasingly sexually aware, how can we still take the crushing old rules of fidelity, that turn marriage into a prison, for granted? Why should we not be able to recapture the heady thrills of youth, while protecting a secure home life? The time has come, alongside the technology, to redraw the rules of marriage for the 21st century. Just as the Pill opened up premarital sex in the Sixties, the internet is opening up a whole new culture of affairs among married people. Sex has become a major leisure activity of our time, accessible to everyone, married or not, rich and poor. It’s time to start honing our seduction skills and join the playground. Yet it is the most puritanical nations, including Britain and America, that have traditionally resisted the notion of adultery most rigorously. Here, couples endure the challenges of child care, work pressures, mid‑life crisis and dwindling marital sex against a backdrop of repressive Anglo-Saxon hang‑ups about infidelity, seen always in pejorative terms such as “cheating”. “

How’s THAT for a total repudiation of everything God stands for in marriage??

Like:

  • fidelity
  • trust
  • vows
  • promises
  • self-sacrifice
  • modesty
  • resistance to temptation
  • purity
  • unity

From the Center for Christ and Culture, we read from the article published in 2006, “Why is Marriage Important?

“Marriage is far more profound than our contemporary culture would lead us to believe. It is a life-long commitment that restrains self-centeredness, self-indulgence and self-gratification. It is the one relationship that effectively prepares and conditions us for community. By restraining self-centeredness and promoting love of another, marriage becomes the foundation for social order. When this commitment labeled “marriage” is reduced to nothing more than a mere contract between two consenting persons, or worse just another option, it ceases to restrain our self-centered passions. Self-centeredness harms not only that relationship but also others as well until it spreads throughout society like ripples in a pond. Abandoning the “others before self” concept of marriage for the self-serving concept of contractual relationships between autonomous individuals makes us increasingly narcissistic, ultimately leading toward moral and social collapse. Across America the institution of marriage is being assailed, reduced to nothing more than a sentimental ceremony between consenting adults, radically redefined, or simply abandoned altogether.”

Yup. All that abandonment is contained in the article we read above and what we see enacted every day.

In the distant past, we were given biblical verses about how the world would be in the far future. There are specific prophecies about the coming perilous times, and there is no doubt we are living in those perilous times now. Conditions that we see all around us that did not exist at all or didn’t exist to the degree we see them today, such as the blatant and constant pressure to dispense with traditional marriage, are all around us. This disposal is a tragic and irreversible mistake.

That satanic urge to dispose of marriage the way God intended does not come only from the homosexual agenda but from all quarters, as we saw above. Once the foundational block of society is done away with then all else can crumble. Is this not happening now? Of course it is. The excessive narcissism that homosexual or triadic or polygamous or adulterous marriage definitions promote lead inevitably to societal collapse. And thus, society is collapsing. Paul wrote of the conditions we were to expect:

“Godlessness in the Last Days

1But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. 2For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, 4treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people.” (2 Timothy 3:1-5)

You notice the last part of verse 5 says “having an appearance of godliness”. The people perpetrating the perilous acts will be people who seem good, having a godly appearance, pious and sincere. Yet they will be in the inside, brutal, selfish, without-self control.

The article about marriage I linked to above concludes:

“Marriage is simply the highest of all human relationships and therefore must never be entered into lightly. It is the means of procreating humanity, nurturing and training subsequent generations, producing social order and for the Christian, the best means for perpetuating the Gospel. … If marriage is allowed to die in America as it is in other Western nations our posterity will inherit a godless culture.”

I maintain that THIS GENERATION is the inheritor of the godless culture. The constant barrage of marriage redefinitions (among other horrifying conditions) hath wrought godlessness in the last days. The only good news to this statement is that as the culture becomes ever more like it was in the Days of Noah (Matthew 24:37) and the Days of Lot, (Luke 17:28), it means the Day of the Lord is even closer and that means the rapture of the saints is even closer than that! But for the sinner, The Day of the LORD is near, said Zephaniah! Consider his words, ye sinners!

The great day of the Lord is near,
near and hastening fast;
the sound of the day of the Lord is bitter;
the mighty man cries aloud there.
A day of wrath is that day,
a day of distress and anguish,
a day of ruin and devastation,
a day of darkness and gloom,
a day of clouds and thick darkness,
a day of trumpet blast and battle cry
against the fortified cities
and against the lofty battlements.
I will bring distress on mankind,
so that they shall walk like the blind,
because they have sinned against the Lord;
their blood shall be poured out like dust,
and their flesh like dung.
Neither their silver nor their gold
shall be able to deliver them
on the day of the wrath of the Lord.
In the fire of his jealousy,
all the earth shall be consumed;
for a full and sudden end
he will make of all the inhabitants of the earth.
(Zephaniah 1:14-18)