Thursday, November 26, 2015

Life After The D-Word

It's an ugly word and God hates it.  No matter how you use it it brings anger and bitterness. When used in a relationship it's guaranteed to turn ugly very quickly. This word has brought even the brightest relationships to the gallows to lay down and be separated by it's cruel blood stained blade.  The D word I'm referring to is not the four letter word that is a homophone for Dam. No this word is much worse and has far greater impact on the stability of humanity. The D-Word I'm referring to is the word DIVORCE! It literally means to cut in two, an idea that boldly goes against what Jesus commands..."What God has put together let no man separate" (Matthew 19:6).  Unfortunately in this day and age divorce is a common occurrence.  We are so full of ourselves today that we no longer work things out but instead we take the easy route and pay a lawyer thousands of dollars to drag each other through the mud so we can get "everything we deserve".   

Now if you think I'm writing this blog to condemn anyone you are wrong.  How could I condemn someone for something that is also touching me and my family right now.  I am currently going through a divorce and I know how easily Satan can get inside your mind and make you want to "fight for your rights".  You see Satan's greatest tool is get you to pray against someone else.  He'll bring scriptures to your mind about God destroying your enemies and cause you to believe that's the attitude you should have. Satan knows that if he can get you to pray against those who hurt you then He's won the battle because you're failing to pray against him, the real source of your battle! Jesus knew what He was talking about when He said "pray for you enemies". That's where the power is.

So men this is where I'm gonna step on your toes and like a former pastor of mine says "I don't step on your toes with anything that God hasn't already stepped on mine with".  Part of becoming a Square Watermelon is realizing that your ex-wife is not your enemy. No matter what the court says, no matter what that stack of legal mumbo-jumbo locked away in a box says, and no matter what your broken heart says your ex-wife is still your CALLING and your RESPONSIBILITY!

Getting a divorce doesn't free you of your God given responsibility as a husband. In fact in God's eyes you are still married to your ex-wife. Your divorce is not even something God acknowledges. Jesus said that divorce was allowed because of the "hardness of your heart" but "from the beginning it was not so". (Matthew 19:8) He goes on to say that a man who is divorced and marries another woman is committing adultery.(verse 9) Now correct me if I'm wrong but in order to commit adultery you have to be married.  So according to Jesus you may hold a piece of paper that says you are no longer married but in heaven you are still one flesh.

Now again I want to be clear that I am not condemning anyone.  If you are divorced and remarried please don't feel like I'm calling you out.  I know many Godly people who have been divorced. God "works all things together for good to those who love Him"...even divorce!  What I am saying is that we, as ex-husbands, are still responsible for loving our ex-wives "as Christ loved the church" (Ephesians 5:25) How did Jesus love the church?  He died for us while we were yet sinners. (Romans 5:8) Sin separates us from God and is a choice on our part.  We choose to sin, which means that ultimately we choose to be separated from God.  That sounds a lot like divorce to me.  Yet even in the midst of our divorce from God He still chose to die for us.  He put aside His rights and laid down His life to save us.  That's what we as Square Watermelons must decide to do with our exes. We must put our selfishness aside and start putting them first. 

So how do we flesh this out in real life?  Do we start buying our exes flowers and asking them out for supper?  Dedicate love songs to them on the radio? No. (unless of course God tells you to that)

First of all we must forgive them. I have a friend who says that all divorces happen because of a decision not to forgive.  That is so true.  Divorces ultimately don't occur because of adultery.  They don't occur because of addiction. They don't even occur because of finances.  They occur because at least one, but most of the time both spouses make a conscious decision not to forgive the other spouse for a wrong done.  This is not the way Jesus loved the church and so we as ex-husbands have to forgive our spouse. The Apostle Paul said in Colossians 2:13 "And you being dead in your sins...He has made alive together with Him having forgiven you all sin" As I said earlier divorce means to cut in two.  Literally to separate flesh.  In other words to murder.  When a couple gets divorced it's as if the spouses have become "dead" in their divorce.  This type of "dead" is similar to the "dead" we were when we were in sin. It's a spiritual death that can only be dealt with by forgiveness...unforgiveness is not an option!

The next thing Jesus does regularly is He prays for us.  Jesus is our heavenly intercessor.  He even prays for us when we make mistakes and sin.  I love the story of when Jesus tells Peter "Satan has requested to sift you as wheat but I have prayed for you that when you return you will strengthen your brothers".  Jesus knew that during Peter's sifting he would fail Him.  He knew He would deny Him yet He prayed for Peter.  We also have to pray for our ex-wives no matter how badly we have been hurt.  We are still the spiritual head of our household. Now obviously we can't go over to there house and have a bible study each night. It's too late for that but we can intercede on our wives behalf.  We have to protect them and bind any stronghold that Satan has on their mind that keeps them from being free in Jesus.  We have to ask God to give us opportunities to show them His love. We have to pray for God to bless our exes with peace.  We have to pray for God to bless them financially...better yet pray for God to bless US financially so we can bless THEM!  Their spiritual well being is at risk when the divorce occurs and Satan would love nothing better than to get a foot in the door and exploit that weakness.  We have to spiritually stand in front of them to protect them from the true enemy.

Maybe you've been divorced or maybe you're like me and you're in the middle of one right now.  Maybe you've fallen for Satan's lies and started thinking of your wife as your enemy.  Don't get discouraged and think that you can't start over.  It may be too late to save your marriage but you most definitely can help protect your exes soul from the attack of Satan. Make a decision today to pray for your ex.  Notice I said pray FOR your ex.  Ask God to change your heart to still think of her as your wife.  Ask Him to help you have the resolve to love Her even though she is "dead" in divorce.  If you'll do this I promise you'll live a better life.  You won't be wrapped up in fighting for your rights but instead you be living the way Jesus calls us to, by "putting others first"!

With God's help your D Word can be transformed into a new word.  It will no longer be thought of in the negative form as a Divorce but instead it will be Delightful! Who knows, God may even raise the dead and bring the separated halves back together again!  He does great things like that when we're obedient.

A slave no more, except to Him who saved me!
Lee Lumley

Romans 6:6
"Knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. FOR HE WHO HAS DIED HAS BEEN FREED FROM SIN"

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Seeing God

I spent the morning on the river banks watching the sunrise and praying.  As I sat in the cool, damp air surrounded by the sounds of the earth waking up to sing praises to God I couldn't help but join in. With hands raised and eyes closed I worshipped Him unashamed. With no small determination I pressed into the throne room of heaven thanking God for the trials that are behind me and for being able to see now how His hand guided me through them.  I thanked Him for counting me worthy of suffering in order to bring me to Him. I offered my appreciation for the trials that He has told me are ahead of me and prayed for Him to strengthen my faith so I may come out of them with a testimony to bring glory to His name. 

As I stood there remembering the goodness of God my spirit began to awaken and the desire to draw closer to Him grew stronger. I cried out asking Him to open my eyes and let me see His face.  I so desperately wanted to experience His tangible presence, to gaze upon the face that looked upon me while I was in sin and stretched out His arms to die on a cross. I prayed for His presence to surround me like a cloud, pleading with Him to open the heavens and let me see a glimpse of His backside as He did for Moses.  I longed to be like John and be carried by way of vision to the heavens to see the Lamb of God seated on the throne.  I am a Son of God and I desperately wanted to look upon my daddy. "Open my eyes Lord", I prayed.

When I ran out of words I sat quietly with my eyes closed listening to the sounds in the air hoping to hear a still small voice call my name to look upon Him but nothing came.  Doubt began to set in and I began to wonder if I wasn't living like I should.  I've heard of people's eyes being opened to the heavens, why not mine?  I thought over my life and the mistakes I have made and I wondered if there was anything that I hadn't confessed and repented of.  "Surely there must be something wrong with my life" I thought or He would answer my prayer.

It's then that I turned and felt a warmth come over me defeating the coolness of the morning air. Though my eyes were closed I could tell that there was a great light in front of me.  I felt a tingling in my body that caused me to believe something great was about to happen. Could this be the moment that I see his face? Could it be that my prayers have reached heaven and moved God's heart? With great expectations I opened my eyes to see His face and I did but not in the way I expected.

In front of me was a huge sunrise in a clear blue sky with light reflecting off of the water in a beautiful display of sparkles and colors.  It's then that I realized God gives us a "good morning kiss" every day in the form of a sunrise and every night His face kisses us "goodnight" with a sunset. God is the light of the world. The reason the sun burns so bright and provides so much warmth even though it is 150 million miles away from the earth is because God allowed part of His presence to fuel it's fire. Since God is everywhere at all times the sun is able to warm us with God's presence from so far away.

So looking back now I realize how silly it was for me to pray to see God's face.  God is spirit. Our minds are so finite that we can't comprehend being able to "see" something unless it has substance. We think of "seeing" as setting our eyes upon it and then the image bouncing around in our head until it reaches the brain where it causes us to comprehend the image. That is why we go through life missing God's face. We are looking for Him the wrong way, we are looking physically and we need to look spiritually.

I don't want miss God's face because I'm looking for a sub-par human version of Him. I want to look around me and see Him in everything. 

A slave no more, except to Him who saved me!
Lee Lumley

Romans 6:6
'"Knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. FOR HE WHO HAS DIED HAS BEEN FREED FROM SIN"