Covenant 101

From the Covenant Keepers website

You have to once and for all make up your mind.  Is God’s Word the TRUTH in your life, or are the present circumstances the truth in your life?  Which is it?  On what are you going to make your stand?  Circumstances or God’s Word?

* * *

Tim Coody

in his book: Meaningless Words, and Broken Covenants

Covenant marriage is not for the faint hearted but for those who are willing to lay down their personal will to the will of God and determine to be absolutely surrendered to Him.

God is calling those of us who call ourselves Believers to a higher standard of living for Him in our marriages.  To give the best for His glory requires unrelenting determination.  Such determination is a matter of the will, not one of debate or reasoning but absolute and irrevocable surrender of my will to God.

His people have not changed all that much in twenty-five hundred years.  They still ignore their covenants, and they are still surprised that it is a big deal to God.

The understanding of covenant began to change as integrity was pushed aside by convenience and honor was subdued by self-interest.

A generation of Christians hummed My Way with the radio during the week and sang The Old Rugged Cross on Sunday morning.  They were confused, and many are still confused about who to follow — Jesus or self — and who should go to the cross.

* * *

Excerpts from: The Bible Speaks

Mal. 2: 16

“I hate divorce,” declares God.  There is more to divorce that just incompatibility.  It is something so serious that it involves breaking a covenant that is just as binding and as sacred as a covenant that God makes with His people. 

A covenant is an agreement that involves promises and commitments.  The Bible describes the marriage as a spiritual covenant that is just as binding, and just as sacred, as the covenant that God had made with his people.  In fact, we find that when God describes the relationship between Himself and His people He speaks of the husband/wife relationship.  (Jer. 31:31-32)  In the New Testament the blessed relationship between Christ and the church is described by the covenant relations of the husband and the wife. (Eph. 5:22)  Marriage is a holy union before God.

A fact that many fail to realize is…though it is a man and a woman that make the commitment to be married they are joined in that commitment, bound in that covenant relationship, by God.  Our Creator instituted marriage from the beginning and only He has the authority to bind, or say what does and does not break that covenant.  Jesus declared, “…what therefore God has joined together, let no man separate.” (Matt. 19:6)

A marriage covenant involves more than an individual, their spouse, and the law of the land; it involves God and the covenant that He has bound when a man or woman vow their commitment before Him.  The only one who has the authority to declare what is a legitimate reason to break that covenant is the one who bound it, and that is God. 

* * *

He has given only one….only one exception to this lifetime covenant, which is adultery, and that alone is the single, and only reason under which He will allow a marriage covenant to be severed, and that is only if hearts are hardened.  Infidelity does not automatically mean the marriage is over.  Breaking the covenant because of adultery is only an option, and not the way God would have it be handled.  Do not harden your hearts.

* * *

Jesus said, “Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning made them male and female’, and said, ‘for this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’?  So then, they are no longer two but one flesh.  Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.”  (Matt. 19:4-6)

It is God that joins man and woman in this holy union and only He has the authority to allow and state an exception to this lifetime bond.

Jesus then said, “And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery; and whoever marries her who is divorced commits adultery.” (Matt. 19:9)  To divorce and remarry for any other reason is to be guilty of adultery.  Just as it is…having been divorced and now choosing to live by deception and in sin with another person.  Even if not married to this other person, its still adultery (continuous sin against God, and must be dealt with.)

Jesus stated the truth concerning marriage in a way that should not be misunderstood.  How we follow God’s truth concerning marriage, like all other things in life, will not only have consequences in this life, but throughout eternity.

From the beginning God made male and female and united them as one.  Anything that would break this union would be a violation of God’s original plan.

 * * *

A Standers Devotional

(Rejoice Marriage Ministries)

“I am a Stander.  I have been standing for about a year and a half.  I was married for 25 years before my husband left me for another woman.  I hear often in emails that ‘your husband doesn’t love you anymore and doesn’t want to’.  The destroyer who speaks through your husband on these occasions is the one who doesn’t love you and who never will.  As a matter of fact, if you allow him to, he won’t stop with your husband but will sweep through the whole family! 

My husband is my ‘one flesh’ mate, even though he is living in adultery with another woman.  I don’t think God looks upon it as my privilege to pray for him, but rather my responsibility.  You say that praying all those prayers and reading all those scriptures does nothing to change his will?  This is not true.  We can testify to the fact that prayer and the Word can change someone.  I have a friend with whom I correspond who stood for her marriage after her husband coldly and formally announced to her that he didn’t love her anymore and never would again.  Today my friend enjoys the FRUITS of a God-centered, God-healed marriage that is a blessing to all around her.  Her husband has said many times to her, “Thank you, thank you for standing for me.”  He is now a born-again-to-the-bone Christian, whereas before he was a so-so one.

It happens.  God is no respecter of persons.  What He has done for them, he will do for you and me…but it takes faith.  The kind of faith that looks at the circumstances and says, “So what, what does it matter what my mate says or thinks?  You say he’s re-married?  Doesn’t make any difference to God, so it shouldn’t make any difference to you.  God is greater than he who is in the world, and don’t you forget it.  Your husband has been taken captive by satan to do his will.  You have the choice of believing what comes out of your husbands mouth and is revealed by his actions, or what the Word of God says.  My God tells me that with Him NOTHING is impossible (doesn’t make any exceptions there about your hubby’s ‘will’, now does it.)  Let that piece of Scripture sink into the marrow of your bones.  “With God all…all…ALL things are possible.”  He tells us to ask whatever we will, believing, and it shall be done for us.  Do you notice any clause in your Bible that prohibits God from acting?  I don’t.  He tells us in Isaiah — “I work and who can hinder it?”  Your husband?  Mine?  I think not.”

* * *

Portions of a testimony/devotional by Kim, a stander inNebraska through Rejoice Marriage Ministries

What God has joined together, let man not separate. 

When did this command become a suggestion?  Where in this instruction did it say they are one flesh until one or the other finds someone better?  Or gets disappointed?  Or disillusioned?  Or bored?  Or…or whatever, you fill in the lame excuse for a reason.  Where is the ‘out’ that modern society has provided for so many one-flesh relationships?  Why do we not call things what they are anymore?  We’re living in a society that sugar-coats everything so no one has to feel bad, or guilty about what they’ve done.  What trash!

“It is because the LORD is acting as the witness between you and the wife of your youth, because you have broken faith with her, though she is your partner, the wife of your marriage covenant.  Has not the LORD made them one?  In flesh and spirit they are His.  So guard yourself in your spirit and do not break faith with the wife of your youth.”

Do not break faith.  Sounds pretty crystal clear to me, what about you? 

* * *

Bob Steinkamp (a returned prodigal) comments on remarriage of a prodigal spouse: 

“To prodigals, marriage is not big deal. How can I be so sure?  We walked out on a covenant mate, didn’t we?  It ‘s going to be much easier to walk out on the non-covenant, when the Holy Spirit moves us in response to someone’s faithful and strong stand for a healed marriage.”  We simply cannot give up on our prodigals or on our families.  Too many lives are counting on us. 

We may feel that a non-covenant marriage means the end of our stand.  Nothing could be farther from the truth.  But people: friends, family, and even well-intentioned Christians will remind us that it is the end.  They figure that our spouses have made their choice, they have married someone else.  It truly is over now.  It is time for us to face reality, ‘suck it up’ as we are often told and move on with our lives.  But what we have to remember is that these people are not privy to the promises God made to us.  They do not know the words that were spoken to our hearts.  They don’t understand the calling that was placed upon us that we cannot walk away from.  They don’t know the power of the God we serve.  They don’t know the conviction that lies deep in our souls and the urgency with which we have been called to pray for those we love.

What we are facing right now may seem to be the end, but it is only another season in our lives.  It isn’t over.  Not unless we walk away from the One who made us promises, and turn our back on the hope He offers.

[Which reminds me of a time in early 2009.  I was bold, I was faithful, I was strong in the might and power of our God.  Well, at least I was trying.  And oh, how I was praying!  And one day I declared before God, out loud.  To get a true picture of my stance in this scene and my ferocity of heart and determination I really should’ve been standing on a mountaintop with a royal blue cape flying out in the wind behind me for this picture to be perfect.  Be that as it may, I proclaimed, “Father!  Even if Terry gets married again I will stand firm and I will not let it alter my course to Stand!”  A couple months later, I found out he’d gotten remarried.  I wasn’t so strong right at the particular moment.  The news did take me a bit by surprise and some hurt reared its ugly head….but I bounced back, little by little till a strong wind filled my mainsail again, and on I strode onward over the tops of the waves with my Lord!  Thank you, Jesus!  It is only because of You!]

Rather than [the news of the remarriage] weakening my stand, it strengthened it.  Rather than withdrawing in humiliation and shame, it emboldened me.  Rather than extinguishing my hope, it made my trust and belief burn even brighter. [Me too! Praise Jesus!!!]

It was in the heart of my troubles that God showed His heart to me.  It was when I was bent down in the ashes and dust that I felt His gentle hand on my shoulder.  It was when I dwelt in the darkness that His light shone most brightly.  It was when I could not take another step that I felt His angels lift me so I would not strike my foot on a stone.  Turns out that God is the best provider and husband ever!

There were many times I’ve wanted to just quit, to give up, to buy into the enemies lies that this is just one thing that is too big even for God.  But every time those thoughts come into my head, God helps me to take them captive with a promise or word from the Bible, or a ‘heart’ feeling, or a sign of some sort.  So, I place my trust in God.  By keeping focus on Jesus and off of my circumstances, I have been able to keep putting one foot in front of the other and keep walking this new and narrow road.  Because His Word tells me that what the enemy has meant for evil, God will turn around for good.

For most of us, the one we married will forever be our spouse, despite what a piece of a paper says.  Your one-flesh mate doesn’t see it this way.  They are looking through the eyes of the world, not through the eyes of God.  The Bible is very clear on divorce and remarriage.  [It’s best to walk obediently according to the Word of God, don’t go looking for trouble.]

Remember your wayward spouse is not the enemy.  Satan is the enemy.  The one we pray for has fallen into the enemy’s lap and has bought into all his lies.  They are blinded and deceived and can’t find their way out of the pit they have fallen into.  It is our job as Standers, indeed our calling, to pray for opened eyes and softened hearts so that they may know the joy of a life lived for Jesus.

A non-covenant marriage changes everything — and yet, it changes nothing.  Our circumstances have changed, but it doesn’t change our hearts.  Our hopes have changed, but it doesn’t change what we hope for.  Our prayers have changed, but it doesn’t change what we pray for.  The road has become difficult, but it doesn’t change our call to stand.  It has changed us, but it doesn’t change God, His promises are the same to us yesterday, today and tomorrow.  Never judge God’s faithfulness on the basis of what you see or what you feel.  God’s promises do not fail.

[Thank you, Lord]

[Yes Lord]

 

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