Lord of Peace

In Matthew 19 Jesus is speaking to all believers about the permanence of marriage. While teaching the Pharisees, Jesus brings up Deuteronomy 24:1-4, and since you have read your bibles, I don’t need to share here, do I? In Divinity circles (those working towards becoming fully divine) this passage is called this the Liz Taylor Clause. A lovely actress who got lots of press late in life over her penchant to marry and divorce. She had 8 marriages in total to 7 different husbands. So Jesus, what do you say about to Ole Mo giving a certificate of divorce? 

Matthew 19:8~He said to them, “Because of your hardness (σκληρο sklēro) of heart (καρδία kardia) Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning, it was not so. (ESV) They were suffering from spiritual sclerosis, a hardening of their hearts. Translated as hardness of heart it is (σκληροκαρδία sklērokardia) in the Greek, which gives us both cardiac and sclerosis, which means a hardening of the tissue. In other words, Jesus is saying the provision for a divorce was a concession; and does not reflect the will of God. 

Divorce is a testimony to man’s hardness of heart, which is a result of sinfulness. The hardness of heart refers to prolonged, unconfessed sin that makes the divine plan for marriage impossible. Irreconcilable differences or no-fault divorces come because of hardness. When an adulterous husband or wife has a hardness of heart, they are insensitive to the sin of adultery. Therefore, God makes a concession and reluctantly permits divorce. The Bible shares only three biblical reasons for divorce: Adultery, Abandonment, and Abuse. To delve deeper go look at Matthew 5:31-48. 

Seeking to clarify the intent of the command about divorce, Christ Jesus continues in Matthew 19:9~And I say to you: whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality (πορνεία porneia), and marries another, commits adultery. (ESV) The word (πορνεία porneia) translated sexual immorality or fornicate means any form of forbidden sex. In its broadest sense, adultery refers to sex with anyone except your spouse. This includes homosexuality, bestiality, and incest. The Greek word (πορνεία porneia) refers to a persistent, unrepentant lifestyle of sexual immorality, not just a one-time act. A one-time moral failure is not a basis for divorce. Christ Jesus is not encouraging divorce; He is allowing it in the case of an unrepentant spouse. 

Regardless of the circumstances, God never encourages divorce because His way is always reconciliation. Remember Paul’s words to the people of Rome in Romans 12:18~If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. (ESV) JB Philips takes his rendering a little more strict saying, As far as your responsibility goes, live at peace with everyone. When that is not possible, divorce may be the only option, but it must be biblically based. 

Divorce is God’s concession for those who are innocent. For the Bible teaches God hates divorce. Malachi 2:16~For I hate divorce, says the Lord, the God of Israel, and him who covers his garment with wrong, says the Lord of hosts. So take heed to your spirit, that you do not deal treacherously. (NASB) The NIV says divorce does violence to the one we are to protect. Divorce hurts, it creates emotional scars that never go away, especially for the children. I can’t tell you how many adults have told me that decades later, they still have pain over their parent’s divorce.

Is there a place in your life where you have a longterm pain? If so, I want you to honestly go before the Lord and ask Him for help. I want to encourage you to not hold anything back. What we want is for the Lord to heal the hurt and alleviate the pain. Yes, there will always be a scare, but we can have the victory the Lord promises us in scripture. Understand, like with all healing, it may take time and require more than one trip to the Lord in prayer to process your pain. But know that God will WAR for you, because God is: Willing, Able, Reliable=W.A.R.



5…David —Confessions of a King — No More Tears — 1 Samuel 23-30…Handout

Ever get down or depressed? Everyone does, it is one of the chief _______ hazards of the Christian life. The reason is Christians are the ______ people who know the difference between the way the world is, and the way it ought to be. When we get down and depressed we often cry out as in Psalm 22:1~My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from _______ me…(NIV) No More Tears: Research,________

1) Research the Cause (1 Samuel 23-26) Research is a ___________ investigation. 2 Timothy 2:15~Study to shew thyself approved unto God…(KJV) On the journey through life and faith, we can feel as though we are on a _______ coaster ride. David’s life reveals___causes for his depression. Cause #1—Difficult________. 1 Samuel 23 shares how David goes to help the people of ______

What do we do when we learn people are against us? 1 Samuel 23:9~When David learned that Saul was _____ against him, he said to Abiathar the priest, “Bring the ephod.” (ESV) David seeks the Lord to understand how to proceed. We too must learn to seek the Lord when we need direction for proceeding with difficult people, lest we get down and fall into depression. Later David will again be betrayed by the _______. These two betrayals, Keilah and the Zephites set the stage for David’s depression. While hiding in a cave David has an opportunity to take Saul’s life. How do we respond to a situation where we can eliminate an adversary?   

David cuts Sauls garment in a moment of opportunity and then hears the Lord. As he shows Saul the cut cloth he _____ with his face to the earth in reverence. His repentance allows the Lord to work. 1 Samuel 24:16~As soon as David had finished speaking these words to Saul, Saul said, “Is this your voice, my son David?” And Saul lifted up his voice and _______. (ESV)
 
Cause #2—________ of a mentor or loved one. The death of this great man of God (Samuel) and ally of David is one of the most traumatic events in David’s life. Know that our strength is in the Lord, and He will never leave you or forsake you.
 
Cause #3—_______ Like all of us, David feels that he deserves respect. The question is how do we respond when people don’t show us what we feel we deserve? Though we may have the power to behave badly, God expects more from us. Allowing God to work David is met by Abigail. A wise woman who pays him great respect. Shortly after her gracious gift, David will _____ her. It creates a problem in David’s life. For God’s standard has always been ___________, not polygamy.

2) Reflect on the ____________(1 Samuel 27-29) David has a problem that won’t go away. Depressed, David begins to _______ God’s promises and thinks to himself that God will allow Saul to kill him. David again heads to Gath where king Achish gives him _______. A city in southern Canaan David uses for ____ months. (27:1-7). From Ziklag David attempts to hide, lying and________ everyone, which deepens his depression. When we are depressed, it is very _______ to look for relief in all the wrong places. David feels the weight of a spiritual crop. Hosea 8:7~They sow the wind and reap the whirlwind…(NIV) Take-A-Step: _______________________________________________



Love-Unity-Peace

When is the last time you had a marriage tune-up? Sometimes we need to be reminded that our marriage is not about us getting what we want but rather a healthy discussion on what we both need. Jesus reminds us in Matthew 19:6~So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore, what God has joined together, let not man separate (χωρίζω chōrizō). (ESV) Created by God as a man and a woman to complement each other physically, emotionally, and spiritually. God is truly amazing, therefore, every married couple that experiences fulfillment, companionship, encouragement, physical fulfillment, and the blessing of children and grandchildren are experiencing God’s blessing. Since God created marriage, Jesus declares to let there be no separations. Take your past, put it under the blood, and stay in your marriage. The word (χωρίζω chōrizō), separate in this context refers to divorce. Grasp that marriage is the work of God and divorce is the work of fallen humans.

So then, what causes marriages to breakdown? Spiritual Sclerosis (19:7-9). If we go to a cardiologist, as many do, you may hear that you have atherosclerosis. It’s where our arteries get hardened due to plaque build-up. Known as Heart disease, the leading cause of death for men, women, and people of most racial and ethnic groups here in the United States. One person dies every 37 seconds in the U.S. from cardiovascular disease. About 647,000 Americans die from heart disease each year, that’s 1 in every 4 deaths. Heart disease costs the U.S. over $219 billion each year. This number includes the cost of health care services, medicines, and lost productivity due to death.

Before we dive-in to the spiritual side of a hard heart, let’s pause and ask how are our new year’s resolutions working? Many of us said we were going to live better, eat better and exercise more. Are you keeping up with the lifestyle changes that were brought about by 21-Days? Why not double down on your efforts and make life better by doing the things you know are needed. Today, ask the Lord to help remind you in those moments of weakness and to give you His strength to make the necessary changes that you have already begun. You can do this, with God’s help!