Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Dealing With Marital Unfaithfulness

When someone you are committed to love and have covenanted your life to, to spend the rest of your life with and share yourself with all the remaining days of your life is not as faithful to that covenant, but is rather having extra-marital affairs with someone else, the knowledge of this is a thing I am at loose of words to describe. I am tempted to use words like hurt of feelings or betrayal, but I am not sure if these best describes what I am trying to communicate to anyone reading this post.
Marital unfaithfulness is the leading cause of divorce in marriages and has played a major role in troubled homes. In fact some people go to the extreme and do unthinkable things when they find out their spouse have been unfaithful to them. As a matter of fact some kill for it. Jesus understanding how hurtful this can be in Matthew 19:9 gave marital unfaithfulness as the only reason why anyone can go for a divorce. But the clause to that we will find in 1 Corinthians 7:11 when Paul speaking as God’s mouth piece says divorce can only take place if the person going for the divorce option remains unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband, and same goes for the man.
In the culture of the part of the world where I come from (which is African/Nigerian), it is permissible for the man to cheat on his wife, in fact it is a common occurrence that a man is cheating on his wife and it is assumed that the wife should understand and bear with it. So in the man’s world it is understandable to cheat on your wife. But when its the the wife who cheats on her husband, it is totally a thing of great dishonour to the woman and most unlikely if her marriage is not destroyed completely whenever the husband gets to know about it. What beats me in this tradition is if the woman is less human than the man and if it is also assumed that she should not hurt over the fact that her husband is having extra-marital affairs or there is no sense of betrayal that should be mourned over on her part. But with all these said, the main purpose of this message is not to dwell too much on the problem of marital unfaithfulness, but to trust God to help us with a workable solution for those struggling with such in their marriage without having to face the follow up problem of divorce or separation.  
I once wrote a message on this blog on the topic of trust in the marriages and in dealing with the issue of unfaithfulness which is closely tied to the word TRUST, I will be making some similar conclusions as we did then. But the first thing to address when trying to heal through the problem of marital unfaithfulness is the ability to forgive. One of the reasons why marital unfaithfulness leads to so many other problems in marriages is the inability of the one who has been bruised to forgive his/her spouse. In fact Jesus stated in Matthew 19:8 that the reason why Moses permitted divorce was because the hearts of men were hard. When you cannot see yourself forgiving your spouse, then the issue of divorce comes into the picture.
To ask whether it is possible to forgive a spouse who has dishonoured the marriage covenant you both share is a question I will personally give a YES answer to, depending on how far you are willing to remove the hardness of your heart and bear in you the mind of Christ. And if asked whether I really do understand what it means to have my husband cheat on me, I will still give you a yes answer to that too, because I have been through that road before, I understand the betrayal and I have felt the hurt before and still I have forgave my husband, trusted God to help me through with grace to trust my him again and I have a beautiful marriage going for me, married to a wonderful husband who though has made his mistakes and we have healed together and with God he has helped me heal through the process.
Once you are able to forgive your spouse, it really does not end there. Dealing with marital unfaithfulness is not just about forgiving your spouse, it is about preventing the situation from re-occuring, and being able to build the trust the you once had for your spouse. Forgiving your spouse for cheating on you is a factor that depends on you, but preventing him/her from cheating on you again is a thing that you cannot determine. It not a factor that depends on you, but on your spouse with the help of God. Then rebuilding the trust you once had for him/her is a factor that depends on you, but will be greatly boosted by your spouse’s actions and commitment to you and the marriage. I will trust God to help give better details on these rebuilding process. 
Like I just mentioned, the fact that your spouse will not cheat on you again after you must have forgiven him or her is an issue that you as a person can determine no matter how hard you try. The more you try to be vigilant and monitor his/her movement, the more concealed he/she becomes of their sins. For the unrepentant spouse, they will only learn better ways to conceal the sin than give it up. But when you kneel before the Lord in prayer and hand over your spouse and his/her sins to God, He will not just forgive and wash the sins away, He will replace his heart of stone with a heart of flesh and put a new spirit in him. He will give him reasons to run away from marital unfaithfulness beyond what you can ever imagine. Proverbs 21:1 says “The king’s heart is in the hands of the Lord; he directs it like a watercourse wherever he pleases.” Also Ezekiel 36:25-27 reads “I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of sone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.” From this two passages, you understand that to run away from the sins of marital unfaithfulness, you only need to commit your spouse to God and trust the Lord to do a renewal work in his/her life and place him/her on the path of those that please the Lord rather than those that gratify the lust of the flesh. Don't bother to believe that your spouse is remorseful and will change, but rather trust God to change him or her. It is easier and more assuring to trust God to make the necessary changes in the life of your spouse than to trust your spouse to change by their own self effort.
The last thing to consider when dealing to this kind of problem in marriage is the ability to trust your spouse again. But the truth is that you do not need to bother yourself with trying to trust your spouse, it is more reassuring to trust God to change your spouse for you. Jeremiah 17:5-9 reads “5This is what the Lord says: ‘Cursed is the one who trusts in man, who depends on flesh for his strength and whose heart turns away from the Lord. 6He will be like the bush in the wasteland; he will not see prosperity when it comes. He will dwell in the parched places of the desert, in a salt land where no-one lives. 7But blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him. 8He will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruits. 9The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?’’ So from what we have read in this passage it is more assuring to trust God even in the matter of your spouse’s faithfulness to you. Trying to trust and believe that they can be faithful by themselves will only open you up to possible disappointment again in the future. For the unrepentant spouse, they only learn better tactics to conceal their extra-marital affairs such that you don't know than giving it up.
It gives you more assuring confidence that you have handed the matter to God and you trust Him to bring about a lasting solution to it. With God working on your behalf, you will see the changes in the life of your spouse that leaves you no doubt that he/she is a new person that is worthy of your love and trust again. But you need to trust God to make a change first than to trust your spouse to change with self effort.
With all that the Lord has help us to know in this message, I am positive that overcoming marital unfaithfulness without divorce or separation is still very much possible. When you are able to forgive your spouse and trust God to make the desired changes in his/her life you are sure of a beautiful marriage and more sure of your spouse’s salvation. Your labour in this regard is never in vain.

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Tuesday, 26 November 2013

The Believing Spouse Vs The Unbelieving Partner

1 Corinthians 7:14
For the unbelieving husband has been sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife has been sanctified through her believing husband. Otherwise your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy.

I do have a love for marriages, and I am convinced that if we can get it right at the home front, then the world will be a better place for all to live in. The home is the foundational bedrock of any society, and the larger the number of homes functioning well, with love abounding in the home, then the society at large will surely function well.
In the verse before us, Paul addressed the issue of an unbeliever married to a believer. It is correct that Paul in 2 Corinthian 6:14-18 says we should not be equally yoked with unbelievers, but if probably both were unbelievers when they got married, and one spouse found Christ, does that negate their marriage union? 
Even in that case, the position of God has not changed, and God has not permitted divorce or separation on grounds of belief. It might appear as though Paul permitted that a believer separates from his/her spouse if the unbelieving spouse wishes it so, but I bless God that Paul beginning in 1 Corinthians 7:12 stated that he was just saying his view and not God's position. And so, we will not be wrong to conclude that the belief factor is also not a reason strong enough for a married couple to consider divorce or separation. 
With that been said, we will now consider a marriage relationship between a believer and an unbeliever. Paul said, that the unbelieving wife has been sanctified by the believing husband, and also the unbelieving husband has been sanctified by his believing wife. Job 22:30 confirm this statement of Paul in some ways, it reads: "He will deliver even one who is not innocent, who will be delivered through the cleanness of your hands." And so we understand that God will show mercy to your unbelieving spouse through your own righteousness or better still the cleanness of your hands.
It a thing of joy to know that the mercy of God will radiate through you even to your spouse. This should not be misery to you though, knowing that you and your spouse are one in flesh and spirit before God and man. So by virtue of your relationship with God your spouse enjoys the mercy of the Lord until he/she is also won over to God. 
I want to believe that for the believing spouses this is a message worth been joyful over, knowing that as you wait on God for the salvation of your loved one he/she still enjoy God's grace and mercy through the cleanness of your hands. And with you standing in the gap in prayer for him/her  and showing him/her the love of Christ in your daily living, it will not be long before he/she will also be won over to Christ Jesus.


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Thursday, 21 November 2013

Dealing With Abusive Marriage

1 Peter 3:1-2
Wives, in the same way be submissive to your husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behaviour of their wives, when they see the purity and reverence of your lives.

Proverbs 19:13
A foolish son is his father’s ruin, and a quarrelsome wife is like a constant dripping.

Proverbs 21:9
Better to live on a corner of the roof than to share a house with a quarrelsome wife.

Malachi 2:16
“I hate divorce,” says the Lord God of Israel, “and I hate a man’s covering himself with violence as well as with his garment,” says the Lord Almighty.

Some minutes ago I was discussing with some married women and the line of discussion was on marital abuse such that the wives are being physically abused by their husbands. And while I was quiet and listening to the other two women speak, their conclusions were that they could not take such from any man. But the reality is that I will term them lucky to be married to men who by nature of their upbringing do not abuse women. But for those men and women who are challenged with abusive marriage I will tell you categorically that this is a problem like all other problems we encounter in life that can be overcome without you leaving that marriage depending on how you deal with the issue.
Most times a lot of women have been advised to leave the marriage for safety of their lives when the abuse becomes bloody in nature, and I am also tempted to go for same advise for those in abusive marriages. But after the assumed temporary separation, what happens next? And also what are the chances that the couple will ever get back together given that they did not heal from the wounds of the abuse while being together. So the natural thought is that they are better separated, given that if possibly they get back together there are no guarantees that the problem will not reoccur.
So what I will be trusting God to help us address is how the couple can overcome the problem of abuse in marriage without having go to through the process of separation. Based on my own personal experience I am convinced that divorce is not the solution to a troubled marriage. I am also convinced that separation is not the answer to an abusive marriage.
The mostly discussed form of abusive in marriage is that of the husband over the wife. Although there one too many cases also of men being the ones on the receiving end of the abuse and I am also trusting God to help us look through that aspect of abuse, but we will first address the issue of the man abusing the wife in a marriage situation.
I once wrote a post on dealing with dispute in marriage and the conclusions arrived at in that post will not be far from that which I will be discussing in this post. For the man to abuse his wife for any reason there will be an underlining cause to it. The man might be pushed into it by his wife, it might be an hereditary traits to that problem, it might also be that he is having an extra-marital affair and thus the other woman pleases him more while his wife has began to irritate him, it might be that he is operating under the influence of a curse or some demonic powers are on display in his life or even that he is experiencing some frustrations in his finances or having other forms of challenges and is taking out his frustration on his wife, and there might be many other reasons for his ungentlemanly attitude. But whatever the case maybe the wife is still the one assigned by God to help him get over it because in all of a man’s troubles in life, the wife is God’s appointed suitable help for him.
I am sure most wives who are at the receiving end of the rod in an abusive marriage will find it a little difficult to accept my last statement but that is the truth of the word of God. It is assumed that the wives are more discerning, mostly especially if the wife is a godly wife, and if this happens to be true, then the wives will be in the position to seek help on behalf of their husbands who might never agree that he requires help in this situation rather than abandon their marriages for uncertainty.
Peter in 1 Peter 3:1-2 admonished the wives to win their husbands for the Lord not by words but by their behaviours. If for example, your husband shouts at you and you have assumed that you are his wife and not his slave that should be shouted at and so decides that the appropriate thing to do is to shout back at him, which in turn leads to an argument that eventually degenerates to the exchange of punches, then I will say that the wife has behaved less than God expects of her in that marriage. Her behaviour has not in any way displayed that of a suitable helper available for God’s use to win her husband over to God. The self esteem of a woman is not in any way affected by your husband’s bouts of shout. You are a beautiful woman loved and appreciated by God irrespective of your husbands shouts. Your response to your husband’s shouts over time will tell if he will continue to shout or he will eventually give up that nasty behaviour. Your husband’s negativity will only affect you to the extent to which you allow it to. Your prayerful calmness on the other hand is a trait that over time, will produce a result of calmness and peace in your home. And so Peter said that your unbelieving husband will be won over to the Lord not with words, but by your behaviour.
If your husband is being violent to you for reasons other than you trying to be the boss lady in the marriage, you are still the instrument the Lord desires to use in helping him because the are God’s designated suitable helper for his life. Your husband as a victim might never be able to explain the reason behind his behaviour, but you as the closest to him and being empowered to discern things will be able to narrow down possible reasons to his behaviour and persistently take the situation to God in prayer. Praying continuously and fervently until you see results. Sometimes when you are downcast you can seek help from trusted true believers who can join you in supplication to God over the matter until God comes through for you, and He surely will. But you need to ensure that you do all that is possible to keep yourself from harms way at the time of his violent outburst ensuring that you didn't trigger the outburst and while not doing anything to jeopardize your marriage until the normalcy is restored in your home.  
If your husband is beginning to act strange as a result of the fact that he is seeing another woman outside of the marriage, though it will definitely hurt you and you’ll feel betrayed, but you still need to get yourself together and pray the strange woman out of your husband’s life and out of your marriage. In most cases being confrontational about it might enable you a momentary satisfaction, but will most likely not solve the problem. But when you take the matter to God in prayer and pray the truth of the word of God in Proverbs 5:15-20 and Genesis 2:24 which says you and your husband are one in flesh and spirit and not with a strange woman, then you will surely see positive and lastly results that will give you peace and restore love into your home. You also need to ensure that you remain physically attractive to your husband and enable him the satisfaction he deserves from his wife
With all that has been said concerning the woman and a violent husband, we will take a glance at the issue of a quarrelsome woman. If as a man your wife is quarrelsome, and is on the verge to pushing you to the wall, then I implore you to be the advocate of that woman before God just as Christ Jesus is our advocate before God the Father until the Lord transforms her into the wife of noble character that will promote the favour of God in your life. I understand that sometimes it can be frustrating when the woman who should be giving you peace has become a thorn in your flesh, but try imagine the patience that Christ keeps up with over his stubborn bride which is the church yet He continue to intercede for them before God. Bearing in you the mind of Christ, I will beg you to continue to prayer tirelessly for your wife until the Lord comes into her life and speaks calmness into her.
Seeking succor from another woman will just encourage sin that will ultimately ensnare your life and hinder your prayers, and being violent is also not an option because it is an attitude that God hates. Divorce as it maybe is also not a readily available answer to that problem, but when you trustingly commit the situation into the hands of God, it is just a matter of time for you to start experiencing a newness in your wife that gives you much pleasure and peace.
Marriage is a beautiful place to be, not that it without its challenges but when God has been made that foundation of that union then you are guaranteed of peace, joy and love in your union, being mindful of the truth that two are better than one. When you have learnt and you abide by God’s rules of engagement for your marriage you cannot get it wrong because the author’s manual of the God that established marriage is what your union is running with. Your life and home is blessed in Jesus Name.   


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Saturday, 16 November 2013

A Guaranteed Promise

Numbers 23:18-24
Then he uttered his oracle:
“Arise, Balak, and listen; hear me, son of Zippor. God is not a man, that he should lie, nor a son of man, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfil? I have received a command to bless; he has blessed, and I cannot change it.
“No misfortune is seen in Jacob, no misery observed in Israel. The Lord their God is with them; the shout of the King is among them. God brought them out of Egypt; they have the strength of a wild ox. There is no sorcery against Jacob, no divination against Israel. It will now be said of Jacob and of Israel, ‘See what God has done!’
The people rise like a lioness; they rouse themselves like a lion that does not rest till he devours his prey and drinks the blood of his victims.”


I bless God for another wonderful opportunity to share a bit of God’s word on this blog site. It's been a long while since I posted a message here, well I’ll blame it on health and the so many distractions that have been trying to take my focus away from the assignment of God in my life. Not that the messages are not important, but the strength to continually do this I pray for daily.
The oracle uttered by Balam in the passage above shows that it is impossible for God to speak and not act, and also it is impossible for God to promise and not fulfill. Even though we are assured God is boundless and there nothing is impossible for Him to do, but when it comes to God speaking a word over a situation, it is impossible for the word to be reversed or the promise of God to go unfulfilled.
For the descendants of Abraham, the promise of God that will not go unfulfilled is a promise of blessing, protection, strength and victory. A full package I must say coming from God for His own people that will not change as long as these people remain His people and are not snatched away by sin and the lust-fullness of the world.
The sure word of God concerning the descendants of Abraham spoken by Balam says, “no misfortune is seen in Jacob, no misery observed in Israel.” From this line of the oracle, it is certain fact that the descendants of Abraham are protected from any and every form of evil. In order to appreciate this better lets hear what satan has to say to God concerning Job in Job 1:9. “ ‘Does Job fear God for nothing?’ Satan replied. ‘Have you not put a hedge around him and his household and everything he has? You have blessed the work of his hands, so that his flocks and herds are spread throughout the land.” From this we can now understand that when a man works right before the Lord, God protects him and all he has from any evil. Balam’s oracle has made this known concerning the descendants of Abraham and then satan also confirmed it concerning the life of Job.
Another sure thing that is made known in the oracle of Balam is that God is in the camp of the descendants of Abraham. He says “the shout of the King is among them.” And so no sorcery or divination can work against the children of Israel. They are the untouchable breed as long as they are not consumed by sin.
If we are convinced that the oracle of Balam is true and we know that till date the descendants of Abraham are is covered by the covenant spoken of by Balam, then we need to find out if we can part-take of this covenant and have the blessings, protection, strength and victory of God abide is our own lives too.
Galatians 3:26-29 answers this question for us, it reads: “You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, for all of you who were baptised into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise." So we now know that as long as we belong to Jesus, we are blessed and that is a fact that no-one can change. There is no misfortune seen in us and no misery observed in our dwelling. The Lord is with us and the shout of the King is among us. We have the strength of a ox and there is no sorcery against us nor is there any divination against us. That is our heritage. That is what the Lord has spoken concerning our lives which will not go unfulfilled. He has spoken it and He will act on it. HALLELUYAH!!!!!!!