Archive for November, 2014

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my work is not to drag the world kicking and screaming into a new awareness. my job is to simply do my work… sacredly, secretly, and silently, and those with eyes to see and ears to hear will respond.

As i shared in the previous post each year around this time i begin taking inventory of my year… my life as to where it’s at compared to last year and… and where it seems to be headed. i usually come away with a theme for the next year, a concept, a few words that become the focus of my life. One year it was “my outer collapses exist because my inner strength can not sustain them.” Last year was “i must do today what others will not so that tomorrow i can do what others can not.” This year has been “Let my eyes hear before they see.” These books under the covering of the Word make me who i am. The keep me on course… most of the time. Combine these books with the DVD series that come alongside of these and i almost can’t have a thought that doesn’t come from one of them.

imagesBefore i share this years book there is one more book titled a shepherd looks at PSALM 23. “There is an inner consciousness,which can be very distinct and very real, of Christ’s presence in my life, made evident by His gracious Holy Spirit within. It is He who speaks to me in distinct and defiant ways about my behavior. For my part is a case of being sensitive and responsive to that inner voice.” After reading this book i was led to write my own personal version of the 23rd Psalm.

Now for this years book. It’s an unlikely title and subject matter. i would never have pick this book up if it were not for my son’s wife, (and i say it that way because she is not my daughter-in-law she is my daughter but some might get confused). i heard that she had asked several women to read it and for whatever reason i got the book on my own and read it as well.

This book is a story of relentless love and redemption which for me quickly became a fearless moral inventory. images-2With this book i wasn’t given the opportunity to think about what was being said, it simply moved me. Hours of driving to or from work were filled with tears as God revealed insights regarding my life. Insights about who i am today, His great love for me,  and my sometimes spotty but heart-felt desire to love and serve Him with all my heart, mind, soul and strength.

i am so glad that i did the audio thing prior to reading the digital. This is a book to be felt and not just read and thought about. It’s an experiential book so it can’t be taught or learned. The opening line of the Foreword says, “People who really want to make a difference in the world usually do it, in one way or the other. And i’ve noticed something about people who make a difference. They hold the unshakable conviction that individuals are extremely important, that every life matters.” 

i thought i knew that… and believed it… and i did, to some degree. But hearing those words brought me to tears as i listened to them over and over… for my entire drive to work. They hold the unshakable conviction that individuals are extremely important, that every life matters.” 

The title of the book is called “Kisses From Katie.” i told you the title alone would have kept me from buying this book. Let’s face it… it sounds like a girly book. These posts are personal for me, of course that’s always been the intention of me and I Am. But this series… well i can’t imagine anything getting more personal.

If you decide to get the book and read or listen to it please… don’t just read it like a book and think about it. You’ll have wasted your time. This book requires using your imagination… experiencing the words, the sights, the sounds, the emotion, the passion of this 19-year-old woman who simply says “Yes” to God. This book is also about a spiritual warfare that is not taught nor even spoken about in this context, but we will do that in these posts.

i wish each and every one of you a joyous and a unique Thanksgiving this year as you live life intentionally for His Glory.

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UnknownEach year around this time i begin taking inventory of my year… my life as to where it’s at compared to last year and… and where it seems to be headed. i usually come away with a theme for the next year, a concept, a few words that become the focus of my life. One year it was “my outer collapses exist because my inner experience can not sustain them.” Last year was “i must do today what others will not, so that tomorrow i can do what others can not.” This year has been “Let my eyes hear before they see.”Unknown

These are usually revealed to me through a book or a study that takes me through a process of life change. That wasn’t always the case. It used to be that i spent the last month of the year depressed, frustrated and disappointed with the small amount of results that i had to show for another year passing by. my assessment also included little hope of change for the coming year and thus the holiday blues would set in and take control until mid January.

i’m not a big reader but what i do read is always life altering and is more than just a one time read. When my grandchildren get old enough i will pay each of them to read the following books.

imagesFirst there’s “Who Moved My Cheese.” It revealed to me about being comfortable, complacent, indifferent in the spiritual matters of my life. It was my first introduction to the idea of living life intentionally through the handwriting on the wall.

There was a book prior to that called “The Heart Reader” it revealed to me about true relationship and the connection that exists between every person. It’s where God told me that i was to stop enduring people and to start enjoying them.

Another title was “Ordering Your Private World.” Wow… this book was an eye opener and taught me concepts that are now everyday principles. This is the book that revealed to me about my outer collapses and why my inner strength could not sustain them.

Then there was “How to Pray” by Dr. Cho, i possessed this book some 20 years before i actually read it as we opened the Onething Prayer and Worship Center. Not a church but a house of prayer where a new understanding and a new love for prayer was revealed to me.

UnknownThe Seven Longings of the Human Heart by Mike Bickle. This book revealed to me that my life has value and importance because God enjoys me. This is despite the fact that i may never be a part of anything large or have a grand impact or do anything memorable for God.

The Circle Maker… i read this book when i had a sense that there was far more to prayer, and to God’s vision for my life, than what i was experiencing? It revealed to me the legend of Honi the Circle Maker—a man bold enough to draw a circle in the sand and not budge from inside it until God answered his prayers for his people.

Unknown-4Love, Acceptance & Forgiveness by Jerry Cook. my copy of this book is tattered and torn.  It confirmed my inner thoughts about church and the role of a paster. He says that a pastor’s speaking in and of itself should be used of the Spirit to accomplish ministry. As a pastor speaks, people should be saved, changed,and edified. Acts 10:44 shares that concept. While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit came on all who heard the message. When Jesus was done teaching there was no need to hang around and pray. The work was done!

“Today Matters” by John Maxwell which i could recommend most any book by Him but this one is my stand out. It revealed that if i want to go to places i’ve never been before then i will have to think in ways i have never thought before. This book taught me how to develop 12 daily practices to help me take control of my daily agenda so that i would have time to love people.

“The Dream Giver” by Bruce Wilkenson which i’ve read over 12 times and done a study with a small group at least 6 times. Everytime i touch this book it takes me out of my Comfort Zone, past the Boarder Bullies, across Wasteland and beyond the Giants in the land. i gained great wisdom along the way, nourished by insightful quotes, Scriptures and memorable principles.

Then there is my all time favorite, The Shack by William Young. i can not say enough about this book. It’s a love it or hate it book. i have read or listened to it well over 25 times. Obviously i love it. It would take a years worth of posts to share what this book revealed to me.

In the next post i’ll share about where this years book is taking me and the life altering experiences. This one by far is  the most intimate and personal and down right grueling at times. i’m on my third listen my second read and our first small group. Until then be intentionally your gratefulness as we approach Thanksgiving.

 

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Have you ever felt like your waiting on something that isn’t going to happen? i’ll bet that most of us have at one time or the other. It’s called expectation. And about now your wondering what exception have to do with average.

imagesHello my name is Dr. ed peterson and i’m the host of the me and I Am post and podcast. My hope today that as you read or listen to this that it would meet your expectations. This series about being “Average” or not, is completely about relationships. The first thing i must understand is that relationships come with degrees of expectations those i put on myself and ones i put on others. Even my relationship with God has expectations.

The whole relationship thing for me has always been difficult because of my expectations. Expectations are, the act or state of looking forward or anticipating, the degree of probability that something will occur.  A belief that someone will or should achieve something.

i think i found an example to summarize my whole take on expectations… and relationships.images-2

This is found in Matthew 26 starting with verse 36. “Then Jesus went with them to a garden called Gethsemane and told his disciples, “Stay here while I go over there and pray.” Taking along Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, he plunged into an agonizing sorrow. Then he said, “This sorrow is crushing my life out. Stay here and keep vigil with me.” EXPECTATION – “Stay here and keep vigil…” RELATIONSHIP… “with me.” Going a little ahead, he fell on his face, praying, “My Father, if there is any way, get me out of this. But please, not what I want. You, what do you want?” In this relationship Jesus is surrendering His will for that of His Fathers.

When he came back to his disciples, he found them sound asleep. He said to Peter, “Can’t you stick it out with me a single hour? Is it at all possible that there’s a slight touch of frustration or disappointment in the relationship?

EXPECTATION… Stay alert; And this time Jesus goes far as to tell them what to do and why He is expecting them to do this. “Be in prayer so you don’t wander into temptation without even knowing you’re in danger. There is a part of you that is eager, ready for anything in God. But there’s another part that’s as lazy as an old dog sleeping by the fire.”

images-4He then left them a second time. Again he prayed, “My Father, if there is no other way than this, drinking this cup to the dregs, I’m ready. Do it your way.”

“When he came back, he again found them sound asleep. They simply couldn’t keep their eyes open. This time he let them sleep on, and went back a third time to pray, going over the same ground one last time. So did Jesus lower His expectations?

“When he came back the next time, he said, “Are you going to sleep on and make a night of it? My time is up, the Son of Man is about to be handed over to the hands of sinners. Get up! Let’s get going! My betrayer is here.” This is no casual statement. There is an urgency for Jesus to fulfill what the Father asked and required of Him, which He was more than willing to do. You might say that God had an expectation of His Son. 

Many have asked me, “If your not average, what are you?” “Are you saying your above average?” “What do you want to be called, if not average?” Here’s the thing about not wanting to be average. i am left with a decision of what do i want to be called. My problem with being called average is that i have an immediate question of… compared to what and who? i initially though i would just call myself different. But then i found the same problem as with average. Different from what and different from who?

In light of this whole series i have found the answer. i simply want to be called a disciple. Jesus says in Matthew 26:33 to seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will be added unto you. This is what makes me a disciple, not average, not above average, and not below average. God can use average people but what He desires are disciples.

images-1There’s one last thing i must share about expectations and loving others and not wanting to be called average These are the actions of those who don’t want to be called average. They are the behaviors of disciples.

Love never gives up. Love cares more for others than for self. Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have.
Love doesn’t strut, Doesn’t have a swelled head, Doesn’t force itself on others, Isn’t always “me first,” Doesn’t fly off the handle, Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others, Doesn’t revel when others grovel,
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth, Puts up with anything, Trusts God always, Always looks for the best, Never looks back, But keeps going to the end. Love never dies.

That’s a disciple!

 

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imagesMatthew 5:38-42 Jesus says, “Here’s another old saying that deserves a second look: ‘Eye for eye, tooth for tooth.’ Is that going to get us anywhere?” It may not get me anywhere but it does feel good sometimes, if only for a moment. 

Hello i’m Dr. ed peterson the host of the me and I Am post and podcast. It’s my intention to wrap up this series regarding my being “Average” or not? i think there have been enough examples of what it looks like to be “Average” and what it takes to not be average. There’s plenty of knowledge. Now is the time for obedience. Daily application of these principles will determine whether i am average or not.

Unknown-1Jesus continues, “Here’s what I propose: ‘Don’t hit back at all.’ If someone strikes you, stand there and take it. If someone drags you into court and sues for the shirt off your back, gift wrap your best coat and make a present of it. And if someone takes unfair advantage of you, use the occasion to practice the servant life. No more tit-for-tat stuff. Live generously.” This could easily be misunderstood by thinking that Jesus is telling us to become doormats for everyone. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Doormats feel unworthy and allow people to mistreat them due to a lack of love and respect for themselves. Jesus is saying that our lives should flow out from the love of the Father. That as we understand more of the depth of His love for us we are able to love ourselves and then we have the ability to share that love with others.

Unknown“You’re familiar with the old written law, Love your friend,’and its unwritten companion, Hate your enemy.” i’m getting the feeling that my past is about to show me just how average i am in some areas. Jesus says, “I’m challenging that. I’m telling you to love your enemies. Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst.” 

my only hope for loving an enemy is through a renewed mind in Christ and my only hope of a renewed mind is a hunger and thirst regarding the Fathers love for me which goes back to the death and resurrection. Out of a revelation of the Fathers love for me will come the correct response… in every situation! These verses apply to “momentary” enemies, those that do or say something that we feel is contrary to what is inappropriate at that moment making us to want to hit them with a brick. The best example i can think of with this is a parent with their child or a husband and a wife.

When someone gives you a hard time, respond with the energies of prayer, for then you are working out of your true selves, your God-created selves. This is what God does. He gives his best—the sun to warm and the rain to nourish—to everyone, regardless: the good and bad, the nice and nasty. If all you do is love the lovable, do you expect a bonus? Anybody can do that. If you simply say hello to those who greet you, do you expect a medal? Any run-of-the-mill sinner does that.

One of the reasons some Christians shy away from the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5–7) is because of conditional statements like this. “IF you love your enemies (the way God loves his enemies), THEN you will be his children.”

This does not mean i can earn my way into God’s family by loving my enemies. Rather it means that when i love my enemies, i prove myself to be in relationship with God.

i’ll close with Jesus words, “In a word, what I’m saying is, Grow up. You’re kingdom subjects. Now live like it. Live out your God-created identity. Live generously and graciously toward others, the way God lives toward you.”

Average… Empty Promises!

Posted: November 17, 2014 in Average..., Podcasts

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imagesMatthew 5:33-37 And don’t say anything you don’t mean. This counsel is embedded deep in our traditions. You only make things worse when you lay down a smoke screen of pious talk, saying, ‘I’ll pray for you,’ and never doing it, or saying, ‘God be with you,’ and not meaning it. You don’t make your words true by embellishing them with religious lace. In making your speech sound more religious, it becomes less true. Just say ‘yes’ and ‘no.’ When you manipulate words to get your own way, you go wrong.

Hello i’m Dr. ed peterson the host of the me and I Am post and podcast. The verses i just shared are what Jesus said to the crowd of people in the Sermon on the Mount.  These words are the next portion of my look at whether i am average… or not.

In the past few posts i shared about paying attention to the character of a person versus their personality, their ability to speak well or their appearance. Empty Promises is probably not the best title for this portion of the word. “Integrity” may fit better. Integrity is a reputation of trustworthiness that is built up over a period of time and is proven by our behavior, our conduct both in and out of the limelight, both in the public view as well as when no other human is looking. This is exactly the point of what Matthew 5:33-37 is trying to convey through Jesus words.

i heard this story, “My boy,’ said the businessman to his son, “there are two things that are essential if you are to succeed in business.” What are they, Dad?” Asked the boy. “Integrity and sagacity. What is integrity?” “Always, no matter what, always keep your word.” Replied the dad. “And sagacity?” Asked the boy? “Never give your word!” Answered the dad.

That story reflects the epidemic of lies, deceitfulness, and distortion of truth that saturates our world today. It’s hard to know who or what to believe. There is no hope of objective truth – truth which is true for all people everywhere, regardless of age, nationality, ethnicity, gender, education, or income level. What’s true for me may not be true for you. Truth has become subjective.

images-1Some examples… Companies have assured their clients that their private financial or health data is totally safe and secure with them, until a buyer was found willing to offer the right price. Corporations have gone out of business or their executives have been imprisoned because of lies they told their investors. The health of millions has been jeopardized because tobacco companies never told the truth to smokers about the high risks of cancer. Drug companies have withheld serious risk factors of their products until deaths of patients precipitated legal proceedings. Tragically, some Christian organizations have also played fast and loose with the faithful contributions of their sponsors. Sadly, so much of the legal profession today is caught up in trying to find clever, sophisticated ways to bypass, avoid, undermine or conveniently twist the law and the truth to suit their client’s purposes. It would take a highly trained, high paid lawyer to interpret to most of us all the fine print of so many of the deals and transactions we make, that we generally just sign and hope for the best. And how about our wedding vows? I do, i do, i do, i do, i don’t!

To try to get the truth in a court of law, we used to have to raise our right hand and place our other hand on the Bible and “swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help me God”. But the fear of God, the mention of His name, and the use of the Bible have been banished from our judicial system. However, it is still assumed that when you stand before a judge and make a statement under oath that to knowingly give false testimony, makes you guilty of the crime of perjury.

Jesus says, if you don’t want to be average then “Don’t say anything you don’t mean. You only make things worse when you lay down a smoke screen of pious talk, saying, ‘I’ll pray for you,’ and never doing it, or saying, ‘God be with you,’ and not meaning it. You don’t make your words true by embellishing them with religious lace. In making your speech sound more religious, it becomes less true. Just say ‘yes’ and ‘no.’ When you manipulate words to get your own way, you go wrong. You become average.

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Thank you for joining me today. i’m Dr. ed peterson and i’m the host of the me and I Am post and podcast.

There is a difference between spending all your time together and being married? Once the knot was tied, the whole dynamics of the relationship changed. i am now bound to her and her to me. i made a commitment, and i can’t just walk out when things don’t go my way and the same is true for her. i’m in this for the long haul, good times and bad times, for better and for worse, in sickness and in health and my level of commitment makes all the difference.

UnknownIn America today the average marriage commitment lasts just eight years. There is a divorce every 36 seconds which translates into 2,400 divorces per day, 16,800 divorces per week, and 876,000 divorces per year. An average degree of love and affection will put us right in the middle of those statistics.

There are moments in marriage when your spouse may disappoint you. When this happens, it’s hard to know how to deal with the disappointment without making things worse.

Disappointment comes in many forms such as minor or major. It could be as simple as forgetting to pick something up at the store or as complicated as an affair. In some of the most difficult situations, the disappointment in your spouse can actually change the way you look at them. Maybe you never thought that he or she could do something that would disappoint you. Your view of your spouse’s character changes.

When your spouse disappoints you, the first thing that you need to do is to examine why you feel disappointed. Were you asking too much of your spouse? Did you have over-inflated expectations? For minor disappointments, it might be best to let it go. If you feel that your disappointment is valid and needs to be addressed, then the next step is to deal with the issue with your spouse.

As spiritual people, we know that we are not perfect. We are merely human and make many mistakes along the way in our lives. Why then, do we assume that our marriages have to or will be perfect?

imagesWhen we’re young and in love we tend to believe that a happy marriage means that we will spend hours staring into each other’s eyes, doing fun things together and always agreeing. This is probably because during dating, a couple tends to spend hours staring into each other’s eyes, doing fun things and always agreeing. We tend to focus on how perfect our love is.

Marriage is really an imperfect union made up of two imperfect people. We each have our own opinions, backgrounds and quirks. No matter how compatible we are for each other, we have to be aware that we have imperfections.

While it is helpful to have the same basic beliefs on the big issues, money, family, etc., spouses will have a tough time in life if their goal is to always be of the same mind in everything. Disagreeing is inevitable, and appreciating the differences is a wonderful way to realize how unique and special we each are.

Trying to have a perfect marriage puts much undue pressure on a couple. We must be able to relax in marriage and focus on working together rather than worrying about everything being perfect. Even telling your spouse that he or she is perfect is a lot for that spouse to live up to. A better approach is to believe that the two are perfect for each other and that no matter what difficulties come, we’ll make the best of our imperfect marriage.

Often times ultimatums come into play. They will be used by someone who may be feeling a bit desperate. If you feel that your needs aren’t being met or if the relationship isn’t going the way that you want it to go, then you might issue an ultimatum. Frustration and lack of communication often breeds ultimatums. It is a way of putting everything on the table or tossing the issue up in the air to see where it lands. Something will happen after an ultimatum, although usually it is something negative.

If you ever need an issue to be forced, then issuing an ultimatum will certainly do that. But, you have to be prepared for the consequences. In marriage, ultimatums should be avoided. In a marriage, ultimatums can be a dangerous thing. Healthy and happy marriages don’t need ultimatums. It is more important to focus on building your lifelong communication with each other. When you have great communication with your spouse, then there is no need for ultimatums.

In closing… There is sometimes much pain in a place where there is also much joy? A loving relationship is the most awesome experience in the world. This is why it also holds the potential for so much sadness. There are so many things that can go wrong. People are complex and love develops in good times and bad times, in sickness and in health, in better times and worse times through a commitment of “Till death due us part.”

 

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The American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers reports that 56% of divorce cases involve one party having “an obsessive interest in pornographic websites.”

imagesAccording to numerous studiesprolonged exposure to pornography leads to:

  • a diminished trust between intimate couples
  • the belief that promiscuity is the natural state
  • cynicism about love or the need for affection between sexual partners
  • the belief that marriage is sexually confining
  • a lack of attraction to family and child-raising

Thank you for joining me today. i’m Dr. ed peterson and i’m the host of the me and I Am post and podcast. We’re looking at Matthew chapters 5 , 6 and 7 and finding out what Jesus says is average and what the alternative is to being average.

Jesus says to His listeners, “You know the next commandment pretty well, too: Don’t go to bed with another’s spouse.

Then He drops a bomb shell. He says, “Don’t think you’ve preserved your virtue simply by staying out of bed.” 

“Your heart can be corrupted by lust even quicker than your body. Those leering looks you think nobody notices—they also corrupt.” Once you hear or read these statistics there will be no question about the seriousness of what Jesus said.

This is played out today in part through a multi-billion dollar industry,$20 Billion to be more precise. While that number seems to be going down one must keep in mind that the good news is tempered with the reality of 80 – 90% of all participation in pornography is done where there is no cost.

56% of divorce cases involve one party having “an obsessive interest in pornographic websites.”. Jesus says, “those leering looks you think nobody notices-they also corrupt.” Nobody i know openly proclaims that they look at pornography. Yet… it has become the norm, something the average person does.

Paul Fishbein, founder of Adult Video News, says, “Porn doesn’t have a demographic—it goes across all demographics.” After an analysis of 400 million web searches, researchers concluded that 1 in 8 of all searches online are for erotic content.

So who are the victims most likely to be? According to data taken from Internet users who took part in the General Social Survey:

  • Men are 543% more likely to look at porn than females.
  • Those who are politically more liberal are 19% more likely to look at porn.
  • Those who have ever committed adultery are 218% more likely to look at porn.
  • Those who have ever engaged in paid sex are 270% more likely to look at porn.
  • Those who are happily married are 39% likely to look at porn.
  • Those with teen children at home are 55% likely to look at porn.
  • Regular church attenders are 74% more likely to look at porn than non-attenders,
  • Those self-identified as “fundamentalists” are 91% more likely to look at porn.

After an analysis of more than one million hits to Google’s mobile search sites, more than 1 in 5 searches are for pornography on mobile devices.

By 2015, mobile adult content and services will reach $2.8 billion, mobile adult subscriptions will reach nearly $1 billion, and mobile adult video on tablets will triple worldwide.

35% of boys say they have viewed pornographic videos “too many times to count.”

More than half of boys and nearly a third of girls see their first pornographic images before they turn 13. In a survey of hundreds of college students, 93% of boys and 62% of girls said they were exposed to pornography before they turned 18. In the same survey, 83% of boys and 57% of girls said they had seen images of group sex online.

About 64-68% of young adult men and about 18% of women use porn at least once every week. Another 17% of men and another 30% of women use porn 1-2 times per month.

With two-thirds of college-age men and half of college-age women saying viewing porn is an acceptable way to express one’s sexuality it is now the norm and not the exception, all the while being hidden.

Screen-shot-2013-02-25-at-11.26.39-AMLet me repeat what Jesus said, “Your heart can be corrupted by lust even quicker than your body. Those leering looks you think nobody notices—they also corrupt.”

Now listen closely, we live in the age of grace. If you’re a Christian i want to tell you some good news, everything you’ve ever done in the past is forgiven. Everything. You may have blown a marriage; you may have blown three marriages. i don’t know how to unscramble the eggs. i don’t know how to put it all together. But i can tell you one thing i do know and that is that whatever i’ve done, whatever you’ve done in the past is under the blood of Jesus Christ. We start from here. “And if any man be in Christ he is”, what? “A new creation, old things have passed away and all things have become new.!’ Forget the past! Take hold of the moment and become intentional about living it according to Gods ideal? Get out of the average statistics!

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Welcome to me and I Am. i’m your host Dr. ed peterson.

Every generation has its life-defining moments. If you want to find out what it was for a member of the so called Greatest Generation, you ask: “Where were you on D-Day?” For baby boomers, the questions are: “Where were you when Kennedy was shot?” or “What were you doing when Nixon resigned?” For Generation X, those born between 1965 and 1980—there is only one question: “When did your parents get divorced?” Life has been forever changed by the answer to that question.

i don’t believe that anyone ever gets married planning for divorce. In fact just the opposite, everyone says things like, “Whatever happens, we’re never going to get divorced.” But, while we don’t plan for divorce, we also don’t plan for success. We just sorta take it as comes and when push comes to shove… divorce becomes an option.

UnknownThe topic of divorce is sensitive and would appear to be somewhat difficult to nail down and to complex to understand. That’s not due to the fact that God isn’t clear. It’s due to the fact that sin has muddled up the world so badly that we tend to be unable to think in terms of the clarity and the simplicity of the mind of God.

God’s Design For Marriages…

One day in Matthew 19 the Pharisees were badgering Jesus: “Is it legal for a man to divorce his wife for any reason?” He answered, “Haven’t you read in your Bible that the Creator originally made man and woman for each other, male and female? And because of this, a man leaves father and mother and is firmly bonded to his wife, becoming one flesh—no longer two bodies but one. Because God created this organic union of the two sexes, no one should desecrate his art by cutting them apart.”

They shot back in rebuttal, “If that’s so, why did Moses give instructions for divorce papers and divorce procedures?”

Jesus said, “Moses provided for divorce as a concession to your hard heartedness, but it is not part of God’s original plan. I’m holding you to the original plan, (I’m holding you to be more than average.) and holding you liable for adultery if you divorce your faithful wife and then marry someone else. I make an exception in cases where the spouse has committed adultery.”

Jesus’ disciples objected, “If those are the terms of marriage, we’re stuck. Why get married?”

i love how Jesus responded. “Not everyone is mature enough to live a married life. It requires a certain aptitude and grace. Marriage isn’t for everyone. Some, from birth seemingly, never give marriage a thought. Others never get asked—or accepted. And some decide not to get married for kingdom reasons. But if you’re capable of growing into the largeness of marriage, do it.”

What’s that look like?  Life-long Commitment  –  Faithfulness  –  Work out Your Difficulties

When It Seems Like Things Won’t Work…

Verse 7 continues, “Why then,” they asked, “did Moses command that a man give his wife a certificate of divorce and send her away?”  Jesus replied, “Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning.” 

Then here’s what 1 Corinthians 7:10-11 “A wife must not separate from her husband. But if she does, she must remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband. …

If there is no sexual sin, but you just can’t stand to be married anyway, the Bible does permit you to divorce, despite the fact that Jesus did not support that idea. But in the event, that divorce is chosen, you should remain unmarried. For the first time it dawns on me why? Because God is able to put any marriage back together again. To remarry is to close the door on reconciliation and in God’s eyes is adultery—unfaithfulness to the covenant you have made.

Mark 10:12 And if she divorces her husband and marries another man, she commits adultery.”

1 Corinthians 7:12-15 If any brother has a wife who is not a believer and she is willing to live with him, he must not divorce her. 

[13] And if a woman has a husband who is not a believer and he is willing to live with her, she must not divorce him. 

[15] But if the unbeliever leaves, let him do so. A believing man or woman is not bound in such circumstances.

identity

 

 

In closing… Average people lose their identity to their circumstances. i believe that’s what Jesus was saying, Average people lose their identity to their circumstances. Times when i make average decisions it’s because my circumstances are driving me away from the word of God. When i shared recently in a post titled “Average… Called Out” that was the case. i became who my circumstances directed me to be versus what God intended for me to be.

 

 

 

PLEASE CLICK THE LINK BELOW TO LISTEN.

Hello I’m Dr. ed Peterson the host for the me and I Am post and podcast and i’m glad you’ve joined me today. i’m sharing about not wanting to be called average and how that translates into everyday living according to Jesus words from Matthew 5, 6 and 7.

In Matthew 5:19,20 Jesus is saying, “Trivialize even the smallest item in God’s Law and you will only have trivialized yourself. But take it seriously, show the way for others, and you will find honor in the kingdom. Unless you do far better than the Pharisees in the matters of right living, you won’t know the first thing about entering the kingdom.”

my interpretation of these words is that unless i do far better than the average in these matters of right living, i won’t know the first thing about entering the Kingdom. In other wards, the average person has far more knowledge than obedience.

Then while still trying to absorb those words Jesus fires another round , getting more direct, more personal and far more detail specific. Oh please say it isn’t so… it’s hard for me to imagine Pooh angry?

Pooh“You’re familiar with the command to the ancients, “Do not murder.” I’m telling you that anyone who is so much as angry with a brother or sister is guilty of murder. Carelessly call a brother “Idiot” and you just might find yourself hauled into court. Thoughtlessly yell “Stupid” at a sister and you are on the brink of hellfire. The simple moral fact is that words kill.”

Surely the interpreters who wrote the Message Bible must have got this wrong? Seriously, so much as angry? Calling someone Idiot or Stupid? Just to be sure I’m going to fall back on my favorite translation to see. This is how the Amplified Bible says it. “But I say to you that everyone who continues to be angry with his brother or harbors malice (enmity of heart) against him shall be liable to and unable to escape the punishment imposed by the court; and whoever speaks contemptuously and insultingly to his brother shall be liable to and unable to escape the punishment imposed by the Sanhedrin, and whoever says, You cursed fool! [You empty-headed idiot!] shall be liable to and unable to escape the hell (Gehenna) of fire.”

So here’s my take. i am not allowed to say anything about myself or anyone else that God himself would not say. God would not and does not call me an idiot regardless of whether i act like one or not. Jesus is saying that my words matter, that they make a difference in my life and in the lives of people who hear them and actually even when they don’t. No more calling drivers idiots or stupid when they drive like what i think stupid or idiot is. But Jesus doesn’t leave me there, He continues on and tells me what i can and should do.

PeaceThis is how I want you to conduct yourself in these matters. If you enter your place of worship and, about to make an offering, you suddenly remember a grudge a friend has against you, abandon your offering, leave immediately, go to this friend and make things right. Then and only then, come back and work things out with God.

Or say you’re out on the street and an old enemy accosts you. Don’t lose a minute. Make the first move; make things right with him. After all, if you leave the first move to him, knowing his track record, you’re likely to end up in court, maybe even jail. If that happens, you won’t get out without a stiff fine.

Please click the link below to listen.

Hello I’m Dr. ed Peterson the host of the me and I Am post and podcast. i’ve been sharing about not wanting to be called “Average” and thus have been looking into Jesus words in Matthew 5,6 and 7, commonly called the Sermon On The Mount.

What does not being called average look like? Literally… how does that play out in my every day life? What am i to say? How am i to act and react? What does Jesus say as to how others should see my life as i respond to… life? Last post i shared about being average or blessed. Today i’m picking up at chapter 5 verse 13 which is subtitled Salt and Light.

SaltEveryone knows what salt taste like and everyone except for the blind know what light looks like. There are those that dislike the taste or the use of salt and just as well there are actually those that prefer the dark to light. But for our purpose here today well leave personal preferences and physical challenges aside and speak as Jesus was in generalities, regarding spiritual matters.

He begins by saying, “Let Me tell you why you are here.” How long have people been asking, “Why am i here?” Here’s the answer.

Jesus says, “You’re here to be salt-seasoning that brings out the God flavors of this earth.” Being salt and light is not optional. Jesus didn’t say, “ed, you can be…or ed, you have the potential to be…” He said, “ed, you are.” Everyone who is born again is the salt of the earth and the light of the world.

The value of salt, the old testament world can not be under estimated. Roman soldiers received their wages in salt. The Greeks considered salt to be divine. The Mosaic Law required that all offerings presented by the Israelites contain salt. (Lev. 2:13) When Jesus told his disciples that they were “the salt of the earth”, they understood the comparison.

It’s not often that i go into deep spiritual background on topics, because there are so many different opinions and such is the case with salt. Some think that its whiteness represents the purity of the justified believer. Others say that salt’s flavoring properties imply that Christians are to add divine flavor to the world. Still others believe that Christians are to sting the world with rebuke and judgment the way salt stings an open wound. Another group asserts that, as salt, Christians are to create a thirst for Christ. Salt, however, has another vital purpose which is probably what Jesus had in mind… it stops decay. When Jesus said, “You are the salt of the earth”, i believe that He meant all of His disciples from then until now are to serve as preservatives, stopping the moral decay in our sin infected world. As for all the other thoughts about salt… each has its own value, so my answer is all the above.

Jesus continues saying, “If you lose your saltiness, how will people taste Godliness? You’ve lost your usefulness and will end up in the garbage.” This isn’t hard to understand. It’s what I call the flip side. So let me take the paragraph above and make it the flip side and personal. ed if you lose your saltiness you will not represent the purity of a believer. ed, if you lose your saltiness you will not add divine flavor to the world. ed, if you lose your saltiness you are not going to sting the world with rebuke and judgment the way salt stings an open wound. ed, if you lose your saltiness you will not create a thirst for Christ. Lastly, ed, if you lose your saltiness you will not serve as a preservative, stopping the moral decay in your sin infected world.

LightThen as only Jesus does so well, He comes back and says I can see some of you are not getting this so… Here’s another way to put it: You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We’re going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. If I make you light-bearers, you don’t think I’m going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I’m putting you on a light stand.”

In closing here’s the practical application for not being average. “Now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand—SHINE! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven.”