If you have been a christian for any length of time you’ve read, or heard read “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.” What if your cross is to heavy? Every time you look at it you think I can’t do it, I can’t carry it, I’m to weak and wounded.
How do we face such a situation? Believe me these situations will come, pretending they won’t is foolish. In fact you maybe there now struggling to pick up a cross that seems to get heavier, and heavier by the second. There is an answer you know. We find it in the Life of our Lord who also had a cross to pick up. His was a literal physical weight. (Though our emotional, and physical problems can be just as heavy.)
We find the answer in a couple of different places.
First here in Luke 23:26 As they led him away, they seized Simon of Cyrene, who was coming in from the country. They placed the cross on his back and made him carry it behind Jesus.
The second is here in Mathew 11:28 Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.
Jesus couldn’t carry His cross because He was to weak and weary, so let me ask you this, why are you trying to carry yours? Jesus is our Simon of Cyrene the difference is that Simon was forced to carry the cross, and Jesus longs to carry it for you.
Why not go to Him in prayer crying out to Him when you feel the weight, and let him take it for you. Don’t try to take it back! He has strength to carry what you can’t.
One more quick thing
While writing this I remembered that David Wilkerson has already said this far better than I did so here is the link to His article.
When God made man he spoke these words ” Then God said, “Let us make humankind in our image, after our likeness” , this statement is followed by a description of how God made them “God created humankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them, male and female he created them”. This is vital to our understanding of marriage.
It’s vital because when we go to Genesis 2 and read the more detailed account of the Creation of Man there is an interesting statement from God. “The LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a companion for him who corresponds to him.””(Emphasis Mine)
This statement is interesting and important, because everything up to this point God had pronounced as good. However man being alone was not good. So God made a companion or helper for man to do what man could not do for himself. Man was alone he could not be fruitful and multiply. The divine blessing upon creation he was unable to enjoy by himself, man needed a companion he needed woman to fully walk in the divine blessing upon creation.
So man was incomplete, his completion was found in the one taken from him, his flesh of his flesh, or bone of his bone. So it could be said that woman completed the divine image of man. This is seen in this passage of Scripture:
Gen 1:26 Then God said, “Let us make humankind in our image, after our likeness, so they may rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move on the earth.”
1:27 God created humankind in his own image,
in the image of God he created them,
male and female he created them.
This then allowed Man and Woman to receive the divine blessing of “Be fruitful and multiply” found in verse 28 of chapter 1.
So why is this important in the current redefinition of marriage?
Because a rejection of the Biblical definition of marriage is a rejection of not just a definition, but rather God’s original purpose of creation of man and woman. It’s a statement of extreme rebellion against God and His word. Man and Man can not be fruitful or multiply, neither can woman and woman. I realize that they can adopt, or use artificial insemination to increase, however this doesn’t change God’s original purpose for humankind. Rather in a way it affirms it, because adoption and insemination requires the opposite sex.
As I’ve said in the past Marriage is a divine institution and is not to be redefined by man.
Biblical Studies Press. (2006). The NET Bible First Edition; Bible. English. NET Bible.; The NET Bible (Ge 1:26–27). Biblical Studies Press.
Biblical Studies Press. (2006). The NET Bible First Edition; Bible. English. NET Bible.; The NET Bible (Ge 2:18). Biblical Studies Press.
Biblical Studies Press. (2006). The NET Bible First Edition; Bible. English. NET Bible.; The NET Bible (Ge 1:27). Biblical Studies Press.
Biblical Studies Press. (2006). The NET Bible First Edition; Bible. English. NET Bible.; The NET Bible (Ge 1:26). Biblical Studies Press.
Like I said in my last post I’ve been looking at marriage and reconsidering it in light of God’s word. One of the things I’ve noticed is a theme running throughout the Scriptures. I’ve seen it many times before, but lately I’ve been meditating on it. I believe that it reveals a significance to the marriage relationship that we tend to overlook.
The theme of God as the Husband and Israel the adulterous wife is a prevalent theme in the Old Testament. In fact one whole prophetic book is dedicated to this theme, the book of Hosea.
Another Scripture that takes up this theme is Isaiah
54:5 For your husband is the one who made you—
the LORD who commands armies is his name.
He is your protector, the Holy One of Israel.
He is called “God of the entire earth.”
54:6 “Indeed, the LORD will call you back
like a wife who has been abandoned and suffers from depression,
like a young wife when she has been rejected,” says your God.
and another is Hosea 2:19–20 (NLT)
19 I will make you my wife forever,
showing you righteousness and justice,
unfailing love and compassion.
20 I will be faithful to you and make you mine,
and you will finally know me as the Lord.
Then when you go to the New Testament we see the Church as the Bride of Christ. In John 3 we see John the baptist referring to Jesus as the Bridegroom, in Eph 5 Paul talks of the everlasting marriage covenant between Christ and the Church, then in Revelation we see the wedding supper of the Lamb. Clearly God is saying something to us about the importance of Marriage in His word.
We overlook the fact that God choose the intimate relationship that should exist between a husband and a wife as an analogy of His relationship to His people. He is forever faithful to us and we are to be forever faithful to him. Easy divorce is the abandonment of God’s purpose for marriage, and results in a society that has no strength of conviction, nor commitment to promises. The scary thing to me is the fact we see this within the Church. Make no mistake this affects not just our witness, but our relationship with God as well.
Biblical Studies Press. (2006). The NET Bible First Edition; Bible. English. NET Bible.; The NET Bible (Is 54:5–6). Biblical Studies Press.
I’ve been thinking of marriage lately, or more to the point the purposes of God behind it. So I guess in a way… I am reconsidering marriage. I started this reconsideration not because of the current redefinition of marriage, but rather because I am working on a wedding ceremony with a young couple. (Man and Woman)
As I reconsidered marriage I began to see more clearly a scriptural view point on marriage, and since the Bible is the rule of faith and conduct for all mankind, regardless of whether they accept it as such or not. (We do not decide the validity of the law of gravity but all of us on earth live under it’s rule, and so it is with God’s word). We do not have the right to decide it’s validity and all mankind live under it’s rule.
So with this in mind I began a thoughtful reconsideration of marriage in light of God’s word. I asked for guidance in prayer, and then started my journey. By the way it’s not finished, my journey I mean, I’m still reading, meditating, and praying for the ability to communicate what I’m learning.
So far I’m realizing that as Christians we often hold marriage in a low regard. because of this our views are often contrary to the intent and purposes of God’s for the marriage covenant. We leave the covenant of marriage as if it’s a temporary contract that can be forgotten, and done away with.
Yet, this is not God’s intent at all. As a matter of fact, It more often than not shows the hardness of our hearts toward God and His word.
I realize that divorce can be a complicated and messy issue. However, I also know that it is often easier to get a divorce than stay and work on the marriage. But this series is not about divorce per say. It’s more about God’s Biblical will for marriage.
I’m not sure how long this series will be, nor am I completely sure of what it will look like. I just feel the need to share some thoughts upon Marriage and God’s purpose for it, and then maybe…just maybe provide some insight and direction for those of us who want to reach for God’s best in our marriages.
I originally wrote this for about 83 friends of mine who belong to a men’s group on Facebook. I decided to re-post it here because I believe we need it. TGBTG
1 John 3:2 Dear friends, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet been revealed. We know that whenever It is revealing we will be like him, because we will see him just as he is.
I read the above verse and was reminded about something. I don’t know about you but I can remember thinking when I was a child. ” I can’t wait until I grow up.” I had no idea what I would look like, be like, or act like, yet I couldn’t wait for it.
John is telling us that in Christ we are little Children. He also say’s what we will be is not yet revealed. Just like when we were literal Children what we would become was yet to be revealed. We couldn’t rush growing up into adulthood then, and we shouldn’t rush our spiritual maturity now.
We need to learn spiritual maturity day by day, and not try to rush it. We can slow down and learn the lessons of growing in Christ once. Because the church is full of rushed growth people that are ineffective for the kingdom of God. They suffer, their families suffer, and the Church suffers.
I have advice for you. Grow up physically and be a mature adult, but spiritually don’t rush it. Go through every phase of your walk with Christ and allow our heavenly Father to develop into you the nature and character of Jesus Christ.
Then and only then will we see God just as He is
Scripture is quoted from NET Bible
1 John 5:4 because everyone who has been fathered by God conquers the world. This is the conquering power that has conquered the world: our faith.
I read this and was reminded of something I read last night from the puritan writer William Gurnall. This is from his book “The Christian In Complete Armour”.
Here is what he say’s about faith and doubt in the midst of trials.
“When you are in the midst of testing, do not give up in despair. Faith is a dogged grace! Unless your soul flatly denies the power of God, this courier-faith-will beat a well worn path to the throne. Doubt cripples but does not incapacitate faith. Indeed, even as you are disputing the mercy of God and questioning in your mind whether He will come to your rescue, faith will make it’s way, if haltingly into His presence. And the message it delivers will be, “If you are willing you can make me clean!””
Doubt can wound us, cripple us, and leave us battered, however it can not kill us unless we abandon the belief that God is indeed for us in-spite of what the circumstances we face seem to indicate.
The only thing that can really destroy our faith is our abandonment of God and His purposes. A real man of faith will go into the presence of God and cry out for the bread of life until he receives it. Just like this man in Jesus’ parable:
Luke 11:5 Then he said to them, “Suppose one of you has a friend, and you go to him at midnight and say to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves of bread, 11:6 because a friend of mine has stopped here while on a journey, and I have nothing to set before him.’ 11:7 Then he will reply from inside, ‘Do not bother me. The door is already shut, and my children and I are in bed. I cannot get up and give you anything.’ 11:8 I tell you, even though the man inside will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, yet because of the first man’s sheer persistence he will get up and give him whatever he needs.
11:9 “So I tell you: Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you.
If you are in the midst of trials, then begin to cry out in the power that conquers the world your faith until you have your answer.
Scriptures are from the NET