The Ministry Of Marriage

Whether you believe what’s written in the bible or not, you should listen to this. It is the best explanation of the sweet thing marriage can be that I have heard.

Marriage is about giving, not getting.

Check it out! …and may God richly bless you.

http://www.tscnyc.org/media_center.php?pg=sermons&spg=s3pm&mi=47198

Plain Instructions From God

I hope to re-emphasize that my experiences with God are evidence of his great love. Certainly if he responded in kind to my poor efforts to please him, it would be a sad situation. Fortunately, God is love and everything he does demonstrates that.

From our human vantage point, we call it a blessing when his love is sent in our direction. But when it happens, we should not be surprised or exulted as though something special has happened to us. (See Luke 10:20). God simply does all things well, and sends good at every occasion. He is always ahead of the game. We may view circumstances as an indication that God has changed, or that God has reacted, but that’s just our limited view of things.

I had been saved about 2 years, it was early November, and my wife was expecting our second child, however we lived in an adult only building. No one was complaining or asking us to leave. But we knew we could not stay there much longer.

In prayer one morning, not thinking or praying about our housing situation, God said to me, “by April 1st you will be living in _________.” It happened to be the town my wife spent her teenage years in.

Getting up from prayer I told her about this word of knowledge from the Lord. But there was a problem. We did not want to move to that town. I had just begun working as a tradesman in the city, and after many months of searching we had finally found a really good Spirit filled church. Counting the time before and after we married, we had both lived in the city on and off for approximately six years, and did not want to leave the things we enjoyed or the things we were learning. And we certainly did not want to move back to a small town.

So we continued throughout that winter, looking for a house or apartment to rent. I took a college night class and joined the church choir. My wife was raising our daughter and pursuing her interests. Evenings and weekends we would visit the markets and enjoy the things that only a large city can offer. But we still could not find anywhere affordable to live.

We honestly had put God’s instruction completely out of our minds, when early in March, during prayer again, God spoke to me, reminding me about moving by the 1st of April. Getting up from prayer I said to my wife, “You’d better get in the car, drive to ________, and look for a place.” She did, that morning, and late that afternoon called me. In spite of almost zero vacancies, the main floor of a house was newly advertised that day. She had met the owner and placed the deposit. The new apartment was empty and available for April 1st.

Our landlord in the city forgave our lease, returned the last month’s rent without any dispute, and on April 1st we were sitting in our new apartment, in the town God appointed, on exactly the day he said.

At the time I was too immature to realize that God had gone ahead of us, and just how wonderfully he had provided. In fact I am only recognizing the depth of it for the first time now as I write this. That he would be planning every detail, ahead of our need, without being petitioned. That’s amazing.

Oh, if we only knew how much God loves… then I believe we would find rest.

He is so good, and I feel so encouraged writing about this. I hope you are encouraged too.

What is Faith?

For a number of reasons I could not attend church until about three weeks after I was born again. By then I had read all four gospels and the Book of Acts in the New Testament. And when that Sunday morning arrived, I expected to see devils cast out and people being healed just like when Jesus and the apostles lived. On top of that I thought we would go home after church and pray all afternoon. I was really excited. I knew what God had done for me, and I could not wait to see him do the same for others.

But even though it is so clearly presented in the Bible, nothing like that happened at the church I attended that morning. I learned later that many Christians do not even believe that God performs miracles anymore. It’s difficult for me to reconcile that.

However God has never let my faith diminish. In fact my level of expectation has increased, and the more time I spend with him, the more the reality of God’s kingdom takes over in my heart and mind.

… I think that kind of faith needs to be explained.

The Bible describes faith as, “the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen,” and this leads me to conclude that faith is a gift from God. How else can belief in the impossible be explained? How else could faith be described as ‘the substance?’ It is because the Eternal, Almighty God is the God who makes something from nothing… and that is the basis of faith. It has nothing to do with how strong we are, but has everything to do with the fact that the Holy Spirit has the ability to speak to the heart, and literally create faith in God.

There are many religious, mystical and moral disciplines that seek to govern the heart and mind, all claiming to bring peace, healing and order to their follower’s lives. They all require a type of faith and adherence to principles, but ultimately depend on the strength of the individuals that practice them. Have you ever been there? I have.

But Jesus taught that by seeking God, even the most undisciplined of us can find healing, peace and order in life.

First, when Jesus came to earth he demonstrated absolute command over nature, over disease, over demonic powers, and even over death, to prove that the kingdom of God exists and rules supremely. Then, when he left the earth, Jesus sent the Holy Spirit who is also called the Comforter, to “speak comfortably” to everyone that would decide to follow him.

Now the name Comforter, as it is used in the Bible, is perhaps the most beautiful word in all of the English language, because it describes the Holy Spirit’s unique ability to speak to the heart. Our tie to God is portrayed as a relationship of love, like a very tender marriage, and especially the prophet Hosea (Hosea 2:14-16) describes how God lovingly courts his ‘bride’, speaking “comfortably” or ‘to the heart’ of his people. And that literally means that the Holy Spirit tells us how much God loves us, and creates faith and love in our hearts and minds!

We all say that love is the greatest power in the universe, and we all know that we need more of it. We also know intuitively that love could solve every one of mankind’s individual and corporate problems. And when we say that, we are speaking truth and (whether we realize it or not) talking about the kingdom of God. But healing will never happen until we turn to God, because only the Comforter can create the love we need in our hearts.

So I ask you. Why would anyone refuse God’s offer of wholeness and conclude that faith in Jesus is foolish?

I honestly do not know.

Do you?