Endurance, Faith, Marriage

I Can’t Go On

Have you come to the point in your stand where you have uttered the words “I can’t go on”? If so, you are not alone. Pressing on when the weight of the world and stressors of this life have taken their toll both physically and emotionally is so very difficult. For those who suffer through the added burden of separation and divorce, the suffering can be immeasurable. But lest you think giving up is the answer, consider the following message of hope.

Before David fulfilled his destiny and became the great king whose lineage brought mankind the Messiah, his existence was wrought with pain and sorrow. He was relentlessly pursued and tormented by powerful forces that sought his very existence be wiped off the face of the earth. We get a very real sense of the burden he carried and the despair that occupied his heart and mind in the following passage:

For my life is spent with sorrow, and my years with sighing; my strength fails because of my iniquity, and my bones waste away. Because of all my adversaries I have become a reproach,
especially to my neighbors, and an object of dread to my acquaintances; those who see me in the street flee from me. I have been forgotten like one who is dead; I have become like a broken vessel. For I hear the whispering of many – terror on every side! – Psalm 31:10-13

David was a hunted man. Danger was all around him. Death and destruction was just a stone’s throw away. But strong was his faith. Despite the powerful forces arrayed against him, he knew salvation and deliverance was in the Lord’s hands. Yes, his heart was often filled with sorrow, fear and anxiety. Despite this, David knew and believed the God of Abraham would not abandon him as long as he stayed faithful.

But I trust in you oh Lord; I say, “You are my God.” My times are in your hand; rescue me from the hand of my enemies and from my persecutors!

Psalm 31:14-15

How powerful was David’s faith! And what an example of God’s goodness and grace! These passages from Scripture are there to equip and strengthen us in our greatest hour of need. Such a great comfort they were when I was in the depths of the valley, wondering if and when the sadness and pain would ever end. It was in my darkest hour I clung and held fast to verses such as these. Knowing God is the author of truth, and that He would never allow us to be forgotten or forsaken, strengthened my resolve to press on, even in the midst of the fiery trials.

Had David given in to his fears and anxieties, there is no telling how different his life and legacy would have turned out. But he didn’t! And dear stander, neither should you. Resisting the urge to give up on your marriage and your prodigal is part of what sets believers apart from a lost and dying world. We have a hope! With your whole heart, lay your burdens at the foot of the cross, and place your complete trust in Jesus. Walk humbly in His ways and forsake the urge to lean on your own understanding. One way or another, He will reward your faithfulness. That is His promise!

In Christ,

Tommy Larson
Purposed Marriage

Marriage

Divorce is War!

Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness?”

2 Corinthians 6:14 ESV

If you are in the midst of standing for your marriage and profess to be a Bible believing follower of Christ, you’ve likely encountered attacks not only from your prodigal, but also from the forces of darkness that seek to destroy the holy covenant made between the Lord and your spouse.

Today, as we witness the daily battles between the forces of light and darkness, I can’t help but recognize how the entities standing against the kingdom of God have literally all come together to undermine and attack the name of Christ and His followers. While posing as agents of righteousness and justice, their words and deeds communicate something entirely different. Recently, I read the mission statements of one of the organizations in the current national spotlight. It read, “…to disrupt the western-prescribed nuclear family structure”. Christians know full well who the author of creation is, and recognize His design for marriage and family. We should easily be able to discern what message is from God and what isn’t. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case.

Far too many who have seen their husbands or wives leave the home and marriage to pursue a life of sin have given in to pressure from the world and well intentioned family members who believe divorce to be the right path. Hearing things like, “It’s for the best” or “You deserve to be happy” sound good, but when you break it all down, these words of advice all lead to the same place. And while some may be able to rationalize this in their minds, there is no escaping the fact that to pursue divorce is to pursue what God hates.

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.”

John 10:10 ESV

As we consider who and what we are aligning ourselves with, it is so vitally important that we ground ourselves in the Word of God. We must not yield to advice encouraging us to go along with the wisdom of the world or to walk away and move on from our marriages. The enemy has allies on every corner. Even professing Christians can be used to do Satan’s bidding. Be mindful of this while assessing your situation. When it comes to discerning the right path, do so with a heavenly and eternal perspective. Divorce is death and destruction. The path that honors Christ leads to life and fulfillment.

The forces of darkness have been at war with Christ since the beginning of creation. Satan and the demonic realm constantly seek to destroy and thwart God’s plan and will. Marriage and family are their primary targets. The reason is simple; divorce is a destroyer. The damage done to husbands, wives and innocent children caught in the middle have long lasting consequences. So much is the devastation, that the repercussions of divorce can be felt for generations. It is for this reason, standing for your marriage is so vitally important. For the sake of the cross, your testimony, and the message of the Gospel, earnestly seek the Lord during these trying times. Keep your eyes focussed squarely on Christ. Your persistence and steadfastness in the midst of the storm will largely determine the extent to which glory is given to the Father. Know that the purpose of your very existence is to give praise and honor to Him. It is our sole mission. Remember these words today, and as we do, may the banner we carry always point towards the promises of God and His eternal truths. Stand for your marriage and for Jesus!

In Christ,

Tommy Larson
Purposed Marriage

Divorce, Marriage, Prodigals

An Open Letter to Prodigals

Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the Lord, that he may have compassion on him, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.

Isaiah‬ ‭55:7‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Are you running from your marriage? Have you convinced yourself that investing any more time in a relationship that isn’t providing what you want or feel you deserve is an exercise in futility? Do you long for a fresh start and clean break from the bondage to a marriage partner you have fallen “out of love” with? If so, please take the next few minutes to consider a perspective that up until this point, may have eluded you.

If you answered the above questions in the affirmative, it is likely you’ve already purposed in your mind the path to be taken. You may think to yourself that nobody should have to remain in a loveless marriage. You deserve to be happy and God wouldn’t want you to be miserable the rest of your life. You might even acknowledge that divorce is wrong, but believe your situation is unique. Restoration, healing and forgiveness work for some people but it is an impossibility for your marriage. Or so you think…

YOU ENTERED INTO A COVENANT WITH YOUR SPOUSE AND GOD.

Consider the oath made on your wedding day and the words spoken before your spouse, pastor, audience, and Almighty God. “I take you to be my wife (or husband), to have and to hold from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death us do part, according to God’s holy law, in the presence of God I make this vow.”

“But from the beginning of creation, ‘God made them male and female.’  ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.” Mark 10:6-9

Once joined in marriage, Jesus himself plainly states the husband and wife should not be separated. This is not up for debate, nor are there any special circumstances or loopholes. Divorce is not to happen. If you willingly violate God’s law and think there won’t be consequences, you are gravely mistaken.

GOD DOES NOT MAKE “EXCEPTIONS” TO HIS LAW.

But my spouse violated the covenant by not honoring or respecting me, so therefore it’s ok if I walk away from the marriage. WRONG! If this is your line of reasoning, it is seriously flawed. Two wrongs do not make a right. Furthermore, do you see any example in Scripture where a sin is atoned for by committing another sin? On the contrary, if we examine the life of Jesus, we see the complete opposite. He countered hate with love, anger with grace and longsuffering and bitterness with forgiveness.

I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery.” Matthew 19:9

The behavior of your spouse does not let you off the hook when it comes to honoring the marriage covenant. Even if your husband or spouse has committed adultery, divorce is not justified. Divorce only prevents you from being found guilty of adultery if the grounds for divorce are sexual immorality. The anger, unforgiveness, and hard heartedness that have existed leading up to the divorce, are still offenses you will need to give account for.

“IRRECONCILABLE DIFFERENCES” IS A LIE FROM THE PIT OF HELL.

All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; 19 that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. 2 Corinthians 5:18-20 

Modern “no-fault” divorce laws reflect a disdain for Christ’s teaching and the message contained in His Word. For confessing Christians especially, the notion of irreconcilability goes against the very heart of the Gospel. The story of God and man is entirely about restoration; a righteous and holy God reconciling Himself with sinful created beings. Saying divorce is the necessary course of action because the conflict between two individuals is too great for God to repair, undermines the reality of God’s power, as well as the validity of your own faith.

STUBBORNNESS AND AN UNWILLINGNESS TO FORGIVE IS LIKE IDOLATRY.

For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. 1 Samuel 15:23 KJV

You cannot reconcile forgiveness with divorce. They are completely at odds with one another. If you claim to have forgiven your spouse, yet are willing to go through with a divorce, you are lying to yourself. Do not be deceived. Unforgiveness and a right relationship with God cannot exist together.

Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. Colossians 3:5

The pursuit of divorce as a means to bring you happiness, exalts your wants and desires over God’s. Our God is an awesome and jealous God; one who does not share His glory with others. Engaging in this behavior is foolish and dangerous. Those who willingly violate his laws and think accountability will never come are in great error.

SIDING WITH DIVORCE IS SIDING WITH THE WORLD AND SATAN.

We love because he first loved us. If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother. 1 John 4:19-21

Divorce is the opposite of love. I would argue that divorce is a perfect example of hate. To stand against one’s spouse in a court of law is to treat him or her as the enemy. Think of the picture this paints for others to see. You would be hard pressed to find a greater example of how to best undermine and destroy the witness or testimony of a professing Christian than to stand before a judge and advocating for the permanent separation of you and your spouse.

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.

Malachi 2:16 NASB

The lost world does not know God or love Him. Being a Bible believing Christian means standing against the things of this world. Defending and advocating for something God says he hates, puts you in the same camp as unbelievers. If this is your position, the question that must be asked is, “What exactly sets you apart?” Your stance on this issue is contrary to the entire theme of Scripture. You cannot hold this perspective and stay in the Lord’s will if you are a child of God. Stop trying to bend God’s Word to fit with your will. Instead, conform your will to God’s truth. This is the only course of action that truly honors our Lord.

If what has been shared here strikes a nerve, then you should be glad. The conscience, which has been given to each and every one of us, is what pricks our hearts and helps us to know the difference between right and wrong. You may be attempting to convince others that your decision to move forward with divorce is right, but deep down in the hidden recesses of your heart, you know this isn’t true. For the sake of God’s kingdom and your witness, I urge you brothers and sisters, please do not go down this path.

One day there will be a reckoning. When you stand before the Almighty, the excuses you have made in this life will be of no value. You will be held accountable for denying the truth of Scripture and willingly violating God’s commands. Do not be a fool. Repent now of your wicked ways, and turn your heart back to Christ. He will forgive. This is His promise. He has a perfect plan for your life, but it will only be realized when you turn away from your life of sin and give yourself completely over to Him. The time to repent is now. Do not delay.

In Christ,

Tommy Larson
Purposed Marriage