Marriage Before the Rainbow

christianmarriagerainbow There is an overload of articles, debates, mocking words, and offensive assumptions about Jesus and his design of marriage.

A college professor shared this advice, "While in debate, if both of you do not believe that God's Word is 100% true you will exhaust yourselves in circles." Share God's Word but do not be surprised when your pearls are trampled on.

 

Some say that believers should be shocked and fearful.

Some tear into gays with speech that is clearly hateful.

Some believers, influenced by the pull of our culture, say "Jesus is happy about gay marriage too!"

 

Instead of plaguing you with another opinion I found it absolutely refreshing to read Jesus' words over anyone else's.

He isn't at all surprised at these events but he certainly expects more from us who follow him.  

 

If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. I Peter 4:11

 

Please join me in reading 1 Peter. I recommend reading the entire book but I will share excerpts below.

Living Godly Lives in a Pagan Society // 1 Peter 2:11-25

11 Dear friends, I urge you, as foreigners and exiles, to abstain from sinful desires, which wage war against your soul. 12 Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.

13 Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human authority: whether to the emperor, as the supreme authority, 14 or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right. 15 For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish people. 16 Live as free people,but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as God’s slaves. 17 Show proper respect to everyone, love the family of believers, fear God, honor the emperor.

18 Slaves, in reverent fear of God submit yourselves to your masters, not only to those who are good and considerate, but also to those who are harsh. 19 For it is commendable if someone bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because they are conscious of God. 20 But how is it to your credit if you receive a beating for doing wrong and endure it? But if you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God. 21 To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.

22 “He committed no sin,     and no deceit was found in his mouth.”

23 When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly. 24 “He himself bore our sins” in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; “by his wounds you have been healed.” 25 For “you were like sheep going astray,” but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.

 

Suffering for Doing Good // 1 Peter 3:8-4:19

Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble. Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing. 10 For,

“Whoever would love life     and see good days must keep their tongue from evil     and their lips from deceitful speech. 11 They must turn from evil and do good;     they must seek peace and pursue it. 12 For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous     and his ears are attentive to their prayer, but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.”

13 Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good? 14 But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. “Do not fear their threats; do not be frightened.” 15 But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, 16 keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. 17 For it is better, if it is God’s will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil. 18 For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive in the Spirit. 19 After being made alive, he went and made proclamation to the imprisoned spirits— 20 to those who were disobedient long ago when God waited patiently in the days of Noah while the ark was being built. In it only a few people, eight in all, were saved through water, 21 and this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also—not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a clear conscience toward God.[e] It saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ, 22 who has gone into heaven and is at God’s right hand—with angels, authorities and powers in submission to him.

 

Living for God // 1 Peter 4:1-11

Therefore, since Christ suffered in his body, arm yourselves also with the same attitude, because whoever suffers in the body is done with sin. As a result, they do not live the rest of their earthly lives for evil human desires, but rather for the will of God. For you have spent enough time in the past doing what pagans choose to do—living in debauchery, lust, drunkenness, orgies, carousing and detestable idolatry. They are surprised that you do not join them in their reckless, wild living, and they heap abuse on you. But they will have to give account to him who is ready to judge the living and the dead. For this is the reason the gospel was preached even to those who are now dead, so that they might be judged according to human standards in regard to the body, but live according to God in regard to the spirit.

The end of all things is near. Therefore be alert and of sober mind so that you may pray.Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. 10 Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. 11 If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.

 

Suffering for Being a Christian // 1 Peter 4:12-19

12 Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. 13 But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. 14 If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. 15 If you suffer, it should not be as a murderer or thief or any other kind of criminal, or even as a meddler. 16 However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name. 17 For it is time for judgment to begin with God’s household; and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the gospel of God? 18 And,

“If it is hard for the righteous to be saved,     what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?”

19 So then, those who suffer according to God’s will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good.

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He knew all along

i know the plans hhh In a handful of days, my husband and I will celebrate ten years of moments together since we walked up that church aisle as man and wife. Our marriage hasn't been all wide smiles and and pink peonies and bliss, but it certainly has been blessed. He is my match and living life with him makes me a very happy girl.

I look at this photo and grin back at the blushing, beaming, nerves-a-mile-high bride who was a breath away from saying “I do” and stepping into a life with her groom.

What I love most about this photo is the passage on the classroom bulletin board behind me.

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." ~Jeremiah 29:11 

I didn't notice the verse on the wall until months later when I saw it in this picture. It's like a little God-wink. That fresh-out-of-college bride had no clue what the future would hold. But her God knew.

God knew every failure, every fall, every heartbreak. And He forgave and carried us.

He knew that we would struggle to have a baby. And He used that time for His glory.

He knew we would grow our family through adoption. And He brought us together with our Josiah.

He knew that Josh would leave his work as a carpenter behind and become a pastor. And He planted us in Michigan to serve our church and community and raise our family.

None of this came as a surprise to Him. He knew all along. 

When the unexpected came and threw us headfirst into the unknown, our edges certainly would've frayed if our Savior had not been woven with us. When we unravel in our brokenness, He pulls and wraps us tight and we draw in close.

Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken. ~Ecclesiastes 4:12

It sometimes feels as though our wedding day was a lifetime and forever ago - much has happened in the decade since then. There has been great joy and loss and hurt and love. There have been arguments and forgiveness, moves and new experiences, plans and parenthood.

Just like the bride in the photo, we still do not know what will come our way in this lifetime. What do we know? That we're safe in our Father's hands. We are weak, but He is strong. We know His plans are better than ours. We can trust Him. Because the One who knows and controls and provides is the One who holds us. We are in this together. We are to give thanks for today and celebrate the beauty our Creator has filled up our life with. We can embrace the unexpected even when it's scary and hard. We must pray that in both hurt and in joy, we will remember God is always good.

And we cling to the Hope that we have. And the perfection that awaits us because of Him - the most beautiful plan of all.

 

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On the Road: Little Van on the Prairie

On the Road Banner 4 On the road again. Somehow, after a week with sick kids and busy schedules, my husband and I managed to get our family packed and into the van. We paid extra to take the tollway and skirt around Denver, avoiding downtown traffic from the Colorado Rockies opening game. The mountains faded behind us, and traffic thinned out. We passed Kanorado and were on our way to Kansas City. Before we knew it, the kids were asleep, there was no urban traffic to contend with, we hadn't seen an antelope for miles, and our 3G was unavailable.

kansas prairie

"So, I was just thinking about..." 650 miles is a long drive. What else was there to do but talk? We discussed how neat the big old churches in the tiny towns were, and speculated about the best spots to take cover if there was hail or a Kansas tornado on the wide open prairie. We thought the moving truck towing llamas was probably the first we'd seen. We talked about the kids at school and work and moving plans. We chatted like friends do.

How often do we have time to do that? Especially once babies and careers fill our days, it's hard to imagine there was a time we spent hours talking on the phone, followed by the stereotypical "you hang up first." We quickly touch base about groceries, bills, discipline, and schedules. Just working together isn't nearly as fun as being friends together, though, is it?

650 miles is a long drive. As our little van made its way past a hundred signs for Colby, by wind turbines blinking red simultaneously in the dark, and prairie fires smoldering, we had no other option but to enjoy our time together. Thank you, Jesus, for long long long prairie trails.

windmill

You might also enjoy other posts in the On the Road Series.

On the Road: Lessons from the Mountains

On the Road: Organized Bohemian

On the Road: 20 Moving Ideas

 

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