The Story of Marriage

by David Cook

Marriage is a divine idea. God instituted marriage when there was just one man and one women on earth. Their marriage was a match made in heaven.

Then the Lord God said,
“It is not good for the man to be alone;
I will make him a helper suitable for him.”
Genesis 2:18 NASB

 

john-lisa-photo

For John, it was love at first site when he saw Lisa in her “customized short, shorts” and beautiful legs at Purdue University.  After 32 years of marriage they have learned a few lessons along the road.  You’ll be enriched by this enlightening and fascinating interview of John and Lisa Bevere as they share their courtship, romance and life as a newly married couple and the difficult adjustments they faced.

God wants a husband and wife to be intimate allies not enemies. In this talk Lisa Bevere gives us some “real talk”, true stories about their early marriage. At the onset of their marriage Lisa and John tried to change each other into the perfect spouse each had envisioned for themselves. As opposed to accepting one another and loving one another and allowing God to work His transformation in each person in His time and in His way. Lisa and John learned that they could be giving each other the grace and space they needed to be all that God has called them to be at that time.

Jesus said you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free, and you will be free indeed.  My heart and prayer is as you listen to John and Lisa share about their story of marriage you can learn from their life lessons and be set free to have a marriage where you can love courageously and enjoy the life God has given you with your spouse.

“If you continue in My word,
then you are truly disciples of Mine;
and you will know the truth,
and the truth will make you free.”
–Jesus the Messiah, John  8:31-32 NASB

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Romance & Marriage

by David Cook

R&M 01

Maybe you’re in the midst of a college romance.  Perhaps you’re twenty-something or thirty-something, regardless of your age if you’re single and desirous to find a relationship where you can be fully known and fully loved this may be worth your time to read.  It may even spare you some heart ache if you take some of this to heart.

This article was not written for wimps. If you are afraid of the “C” word (commitment) you may just as well avoid this article just like you avoid commitment in a relationship.

Then the LORD God said,

“It is not good for the man to be alone;

I will make him a helper suitable for him.”

Genesis 2:18 NASB

The marriage relationship is a divine original, it was God’s idea for a man and a woman to be united in love in a covenant relationship.  Is it God’s will for you to be married?  If so, how do you know?  And how do you find your match made in heaven?

Maybe you’re in a relationship with someone you were introduced to by a friend.  Or you’re interested in someone you saw on an online dating site.  Maybe it’s someone you’ve gotten to know over time, on a mission trip or someone you sang on tour with.  Or it could be a friend who is singing as a featured artist on your new album and a spark ignites.  Maybe you started a summer romance that sent you to cloud nine and you’re wondering…is this someone I should get serious with?

Or perhaps you met a billionaire’s heir in a garage sale in answer to a prayer.  It may start out with a little crush, and to your surprise it’s reciprocated and before long your feeling a little rush.

It’s hard to say, regardless sparks begin to fly and you may think you’re about to die from a romantic heart attack.  You’re falling head over heals in love.  But are you falling in love with the right person?

What happens when a good girl, who loves her mama and Jesus meets a bad boy; who is a player?

Infatuation…

People begin romantic relationships for different reasons.  Some people are marriage minded and looking for “Mr. Right” (or “Mrs. Right”).  Sometimes people know from the get-go that you’re not the person they’ll marry but think they would like to have a relationship with you until the right person arrives on the scene.  Some people are looking for a romance that quickly leads to a sexual relationship without a marriage commitment. Sometimes this is referred to as FWB — “Friends With Benefits”, a casual, no-strings-attached relationship.  The Bible refers to this as fornication and is forbidden by God. Have you ever wondered why God forbids having sex with someone unless you are married to them?

It’s important to find out if what you are looking for in a relationship is the same thing the person you are attracted to is looking for.  Have you started out a romance and thought; “Baby you’re so good for me!!”  And the further down the road you traveled together you think; “Baby you’re no good for me!!!”  I have.

How can a relationship go from “Baby you’re so good for me!” to “Baby you’re no good for me!?!”  This is just one of the reasons why it is much wiser not to get too physically involved with someone you hardly know and are very infatuated with.  It is better to pray, wait a while, spend time together in different situations and get to know someone before you commit your heart, soul and body.  Some people the more you get to know them the more you like them.  Other people the more you get to know them the more you wished you didn’t know them.

Making wrong choices in relationships are full of pain and regret.  It can leave you in a pool of your own tears and in deep depression.  God desires to protect us from the consequences of wrong choices by helping us make good choices.  Living a holy life style.  Living a pure and righteous life as a child of the light…not so easy to do in a fallen world that is morally bankrupt and spiritually dark.

LL 2015

Lara Landon relates in her book Beloved, “I was in the middle of tying to rid myself of a destructive relationship…Every time I made up my mind to never look back, I fell right back into it, harboring those same old feelings again.  So I begged God to break my heart and burn all of the bridges back to the feelings I wanted to let go of.” [1]

The apostle Paul wrote to believers in Messiah Yeshua;

Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, 10 nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.  12 All things are lawful for me, but not all things are profitable. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be mastered by anything. 13 Food is for the stomach and the stomach is for food, but God will do away with both of them. Yet the body is not for immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord is for the body. 14 Now God has not only raised the Lord, but will also raise us up through His power. 15 Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take away the members of Christ and make them members of a prostitute? May it never be! 16 Or do you not know that the one who joins himself to a prostitute is one body with her? For He says, “The two shall become one flesh.” 17 But the one who joins himself to the Lord is one spirit with Him.18 Flee immorality. Every other sin that a man commits is outside the body, but the immoral man sins against his own body. 19 Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? 20 For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.  1 Corinthians 6:9-20 NASB

Paul wrote to the church of Corinth and said that “the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God”.  People who practice fornication or adultery will not inherit the kingdom of God.  Fornication is sexual intercourse between two singles.  Adultery is sexual intercourse with a married person.  [2]

Paul wrote that some of the believers in the church at Corinth had been fornicators, idolaters, adulterers, effeminate, homosexuals, thieves, covetous, drunkards, revilers, or swindlers. “Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.” [3] These individuals had been living an unrighteous lifestyle but then they heard the gospel of Christ and turned away from their sins and put faith in Jesus Christ as their Savior and Lord and they found God’s love, forgiveness and eternal life!

16 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. 17 For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law. 19 Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, 21 envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. 24 Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.  25 If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. 26 Let us not become boastful, challenging one another, envying one another.  Galatians 5:16-26 NASB

Is the pleasure of having sex with a person you’re not married to worth giving up your virginity for?  Is it worth giving up your dignity for short term pleasure and the shame that eventually will follow? Is it worth giving up your eternal inheritance for?  Is sexual pleasure outside of the marriage relationship worth giving up eternal life in the kingdom of God?

Giving up your birthright for a bowl of beans is a bad trade. [4]  Don’t give up all that your Father in heaven has to offer you for the short term pleasures of sin that the Devil may try to entice you with.  I’m talking to myself here as well as anyone else who may read this.

14 Pursue peace with all men, and the sanctification without which no one will see the Lord. 15 See to it that no one comes short of the grace of God; that no root of bitterness springing up causes trouble, and by it many be defiled; 16 that there be no immoral or godless person like Esau, who sold his own birthright for a single meal. 17 For you know that even afterwards, when he desired to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no place for repentance, though he sought for it with tears.  Hebrews 12:16 NASB

I Do Not Condemn You, Go And Sin No More

We read of the grace and forgiveness of Christ in the gospels;

But Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. Early in the morning He came again into the temple, and all the people were coming to Him; and He sat down and began to teach them. The scribes and the Pharisees *brought a woman caught in adultery, and having set her in the center of the court, they *said to Him, “Teacher, this woman has been caught in adultery, in the very act. Now in the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women; what then do You say?” They were saying this, testing Him, so that they might have grounds for accusing Him. But Jesus stooped down and with His finger wrote on the ground. But when they persisted in asking Him, He straightened up, and said to them, “He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” Again He stooped down and wrote on the ground. When they heard it, they began to go out one by one, beginning with the older ones, and He was left alone, and the woman, where she was, in the center of the court.10 Straightening up, Jesus said to her, “Woman, where are they? Did no one condemn you?” 11 She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “I do not condemn you, either. Go. From now on sin no more.”  John 8:1-11 NASB

Lara Landon sings of God’s love and forgiveness in her song, “There Is Grace”.

lara-landon in nature

Lara Landon at www.LaraLandon.org

Each person has their own list of what is important to them in a relationship.  Things like physical attraction, chemistry, a great personality, a good sense of humor, shared values, hardworking but obviously each person’s list is different and may change over time.  Not only may your list of what is important to you in a relationship change over time but people change over time.

As you continue on the search for the love of your life here are some questions to consider;

Is she (or he) single?

Is she (or he) saved?  (Is she a royal?  Is she a child of the King?)

Is she (or he) sanctified?

Is she (or he) selfless (other centered) or selfish (self-centered)?

Is she (or he) someone who has std’s, lot’s of baggage, who has left a trail of X’s with a broken heart?

In the list above, only is she (or he) single and is she (or he) saved are clearly mandated for a believer in Christ when considering someone to marry.  Is she (or he) sanctified and living an other-centered life is written of in the scriptures.  God asks His children to live a sanctified life and to live not just for yourself but for others.  The final question just makes sense; do you want to marry someone who has std’s, lot’s of baggage, and has left a trail of broken hearts?  Do you really want to marry Elvis?  (Granted Elvis was good looking and could sing.)  But do you really want to marry a player (or a playette)?  If you do, your heart may be the next broken heart he (or she) breaks.

Sometimes opposites attract

other times its two peas in pod

who are on the same page.

 

Is she (or he) single?

“You shall not commit adultery.” 
Exodus 20:14 ESV

It is not God’s will for you to begin a relationship with a married woman (or man), this is breaking God’s law.  We read in the Torah; You shall not commit adultery.” Exodus 20:14 ESV  Sometimes a woman is separated from her husband and wants to begin new relationship with another man, even though she is married.  So guys be sure she is single! Girls be sure he is single before you begin a romance.  Sometimes men don’t wear their wedding ring and are looking for an extra marital affair.

Is she (or he) saved?  (is she or he a royal?)

It is not God’s will for a believer to marry an unbeliever.  It’s God’s will for a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ to marry a believer.  The apostle Paul wrote about this to believers in the city of Corinth;

Do not be bond together with unbelievers.
For what partnership is there between righteousness and unrighteousness?
Or what fellowship does light have with darkness? 

2 Corinthians 6:14 HSV

Is she (or he) a believer?  Is she living in the light of Christ Jesus?  Is she saved?

Whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
Romans 10:13 NASB

Anyone who calls on the Lord Jesus Christ will be saved!  If you have never called on Jesus to forgive you of your sins and save you, today is good day; now is a good time.  He can hear you when you pray!

Is she (or he) a royal?

But as many as received Him,
to them He gave the right to become children of God,
even to those who believe in His name,
John 1:12 NASB

The apostle John wrote that when a person receives Jesus Christ as their Lord and believes in His name then that person is given the right to become a child of God.  That person becomes a part of the forever family of the King of the Universe.  You become a member of the royal family by God’s grace and placing your faith in His Son Yeshua (Jesus).

The apostle Paul wrote to believers in the city of Corinth and gave this relationship advice;

A wife is bound to her husband as long as he lives. But if her husband dies, she is free to be married to whom she wishes, only in the Lord. 40 Yet in my judgment she is happier if she remains as she is. And I think that I too have the Spirit of God.
1 Corinthians 7:39-40 ESV

In this scripture Paul is clear that if widow decides to marry after the death of her spouse to be sure the person she marries is “in the Lord”.  That is be sure she marries a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ.

Rapunzel 02

Maybe you feel like Rapunzel, locked away in your tower…lonely and isolated.  You may think; “When will Mr. right ride in on his steed and rescue me?”

Is she (or he) sanctified?

For you know what instructions we gave you through the Lord Jesus.

For this is the will of God, your sanctification:

that you abstain from sexual immorality;

that each one of you know how to control his own body

in holiness and honor,

1 Thessalonians 4:2-4 ESV

Paul wrote to believers in Messiah Yeshua (Jesus) that it is the will of God for a believer to be sanctified.  An important aspect of sanctification is living a holy life, abstaining from sexual immorality.  So why does God ask His children to abstain from sexual immorality?

God desires to protect His children from;

Lost virginity and related shame.
Emotional scars.
Std’s (sexually transmitted diseases.)
Unwanted pregnancy and avoid temptation to have an abortion.
Guilt, remorse and depression.
A broken heart and a hardening of your heart.
Difficulty to Trust Again.
Difficult to bond after several bad relationships.

Brothers and sisters, we request and exhort you in the Lord Jesus, that as you received from us instruction as to how you ought to walk and please God (just as you actually do walk), that you excel still more. For you know what commandments we gave you by the authority of the Lord Jesus. For this is the will of God, your sanctification; that is, that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each of you know how to possess his own vessel [i.e. own body] in sanctification and honor, not in lustful passion, like the Gentiles who do not know God; and that no man transgress and defraud his brother in the matter because the Lord is the avenger in all these things, just as we also told you before and solemnly warned you. For God has not called us for the purpose of impurity, but in sanctification. So, he who rejects this is not rejecting man but the God who gives His Holy Spirit to you.  1 Thessalonians 4:1-8 NASB

You may be in a relationship with someone who is saved, sanctified, selfless and you’re singing “Lucky One” along with Amy Gant!

Is she (or he) selfless or selfish?

The apostle Paul wrote a letter to Timothy a young leader of a church about some of the attributes of people prior to the return of Jesus Christ coming back on the clouds;

But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power; Avoid such men as these. For among them are those who enter into households and captivate weak women weighed down with sins, led on by various impulses, always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.    2 Timothy 3:1-7 NASB

Is she (or he) narcissistic, a lover of pleasure rather than a lover of God?  Is she (or he) self-centered or other centered?  Does he exhibit living a selfish or selfless relationship.

The bar is set pretty high for a believer in Yeshua the Messiah;

Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name…  Philippians 2:3-9 NASB

The apostle Paul wrote to believers to “Do nothing from selfishness…regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.”

Is she (or he) some someone who has std’s, a lot of baggage, and a long line of X’s?

Has this person left a trail of broken hearts behind them?  Are they a player?  Are they offering romance and love in exchange for sexual pleasures?  Does he (or she) have std’s as a result?

How much baggage does this person have (everyone has some) from their childhood, family, friends, work and past relationships?

What about the X factor?  If this person is single and never married do they have people they dated in the past who they were sexually involved with who may be like a revolving door?  They may want to come back after they get over the anger they had for unresolved issues when they broke-up.  Or after they break-up with the person they are currently with they may want to get back with the person you are currently dating.

After a romantic breakup it’s good to hang with your girl friends (or guys with guy friends) and family to recover.  Problem is a common thought is, “I need to go out and find someone I can hookup with to boost my ego from the pain of the breakup” (regardless of who broke up with who).  Normally you feel pain, loneliness, disconnected, rejection, and a good case of the blues.  But jumping out of the frying pan into the fire is never a good idea.  Will you go out and drink a little too much and do something crazy you will deeply regret tomorrow?  Two wrongs don’t make a right.  Does finding a shallow, self-absorbed person to have a quick fix sexual encounter with really fix your low self esteem?  Or will it just make matters worse?

If the person is single but divorced should they actually be trying to reconcile with their X-spouse?  Do you want to be in a relationship with someone and then find out it is God’s will for them to reconcile with their X-spouse?  If their divorce was for “irreconcilable differences” or was just “complicated” most likely they should be seeking counsel, working on their issues and attempting to reconcile with their former spouse. [5]  If their spouse committed adultery then they are free to divorce and remarry. [6]  Or if a believer in Christ (a Christian) is divorced by a non-believer (non-Christian) the scriptures said let them go. [7]  So in this case if there is a divorce allowed in the scriptures then the believer is free to marry someone new.

Finding real answers to these five questions and being honest with yourself should help you eliminate some potential pitfalls and a broken heart.  So we begin to see why it is a good idea to get to know more about someone before getting too romantically involved.

What if you fall in love with someone and are contemplating marriage and then find out they are bisexual and you are heterosexual and want to marry someone who is monogamous?  Or what if you find out the person you are married to is heterosexual but you find out they want an “open marriage” and you want a monogamous marriage?  Having conversations about important moral values is important to see if you are on the same page before you marry.  Also, making observations about a persons actions and attitudes on issues may give you insight to a persons moral values (or lack of moral values).  Where there is smoke, (normally) there is fire.

This is not to say that someone who was immoral in the past cannot have a change of heart, be forgiven by God and live in a new and different way.  Consider rap artist Lecrae and the transformation of his life.  If any man be in Christ he is a new creation, old things fade away and all things become new.

But sometimes people backslide and struggle walking a holy lifestyle.  When someone backslides and “cheats” it breaks trust and makes building a romance and marriage extremely difficult and many times ends the relationship.

Brooke Fraser Holy Jeans

Brooke Fraser at www.BrookeFraser.com

When you hear the phrase “living a holy lifestyle” you may think of living in style wearing holy jeans like Brooke Fraser.  Brooke sings about living a holy lifestyle in her song, “Love Is Waiting”.

It is God’s will for single men and women to save their bodies for their future spouse.  If you are a virgin you have a real gift to give away to your love on your wedding night.  If you’re not a virgin, receive the grace of God and begin to live today the way God desires. Today is a new day, leave yesterday behind you and move forward in faith and hope.

Finally, then, brothers, we ask and urge you in the Lord Jesus, that as you received from us how you ought to walk and to please God, just as you are doing, that you do so more and more. For you know what instructions we gave you through the Lord Jesus. For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor, not in the passion of lust like the Gentiles who do not know God; that no one transgress and wrong his brother in this matter, because the Lord is an avenger in all these things, as we told you beforehand and solemnly warned you. For God has not called us for impurity, but in holiness. Therefore whoever disregards this, disregards not man but God, who gives his Holy Spirit to you.
1 Thessalonians 4:1-8 English Standard Version (ESV)

Prince on his steed 04

Prince and Rapunzel 05

rapunzel-styled-21

Prince & Rapunzel 06

Rapunzel Photos [8]

Sometimes the vow to love one another until death do us part works out.  Two people continue to be for each other and for the marriage relationship through life’s ups and downs, both the good times and the bad.  This was God’s plan from the beginning that a man and a woman might be united, the two become one; in covenant love.  Marriage is a divine original…God knew it wasn’t good for a man to be alone, so he made a women.

Sometimes Harry & Sally meet, fall in love, marry and live happily ever after; until death due them part; this was God’s will for a married couple from the beginning.

 Sometimes Johnny & Donna fall in love but don’t know what love is. Sometimes they drift apart and their relationship falls apart and their marriage ends in divorce.  Divorce is painful for a husband and wife regardless of who was at fault.  It’s painful because at one point they were in love with one another and now the two that were one are split apart with broken hearts.  People bring both their good and bad into a marriage, their strengths and weakness, their assets and liabilities.  And if they were blessed with children it is painful for the children to go through a divorce as well.  It may take everyone involved years to sort out and question their value and are they still able to give and receive love.  Sometimes a spouse dies and passes from this life into the next from cancer or a heart attack.  Sometimes this happens early in a marriage from a car accident or tour of duty in war.  Sometimes a spouse loses a spouse after twenty-five or even fifty years of a good marriage and then are grief stricken, questioning why God allowed their husband to be taken away.  And children question why God allowed their Dad or Mom to be taken away.

So there are times when we look at both sides of love, past and present, what was for better and what was for worse.  Pleasant memories and difficult ones.  What was an illusion of love and what was real love, this is not always easy to do.

It seems as early as the first crush in grade school we attempt to define too much of our worth and sense of self on the thought, “since I’m loved by someone that I and my peers respect and value; therefore I’m loved and valuable.”  Problem is, people are fickle and flawed (since the fall of mankind). [9] Selfishness motivates so much of what most us do. It is better if our foundation of self-worth comes from the One who made us, we are created in His image. [10]  And if by His grace we were chosen by Him before the foundation of the world to be His beloved children then we can know we are valued and will be loved now and forevermore. [11][12]  Our Father in heaven gave what He valued most (the life of His dear Son) to bring us back into a relationship with Him and call us His beloved. [13]

“If your definition of ‘love’ stresses affectionate feelings more than unselfish actions,
you will cripple your ability to maintain and grow strong love relationships.
On the other hand, if you stress the action of love over the feeling, you enhance and establish the feeling. That is one of the secrets of living life.” ~ Tim Keller

Maybe we need to redefine the word love. [14]

Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.  Love never fails…   1 Corinthians 14:4-8 NASB

[1] Beloved by Lara Landon, “Let It Go” page 111;

[2] Fornication: Sexual intercourse between a man and a woman who are not married to each other. http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/fornicator  “Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God?” 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 NASB and “those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God” Galatians 5:19-21

[3] Sanctified: Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.  1 Corinthians 6:11 NASB

[4] A bowl of beans for a birthright: Then Jacob gave Esau some bread and some lentil stew. He ate and drank, and then got up and left. So Esau despised his birthright.  Genesis 25:34 NIV

[5]  When a Christian couple divorce they should either remain single or reconcile and remarry (unless their spouse commits adultery, in such case they are free to forgive and rebuild trust and the marriage or free to forgive and divorce.);  10 But to the married I give instructions, not I, but the Lord, that the wife should not leave her husband 11 (but if she does leave, she must remain unmarried, or else be reconciled to her husband), and that the husband should not divorce his wife.  1 Corinthians 7:10-11 NASB

[6] When a spouse commits adultery; free to forgive and rebuild the marriage or free to forgive and divorce the spouse.  Matthew 5:32 and Matthew 19:9.

[7]  A Christian is divorced by a non-Christian; Yet if the unbelieving one leaves, let him leave; the brother or the sister is not under bondage in such cases, but God has called us to peace.  1 Corinthians 7:15 NASB

[8] Rapunzel Photos, http://greenweddingshoes.com/the-story-of-rapunzel/

[9] The fall of mankind, Genesis 3:1-24 and the effects of sin continue from Adam to people on earth today, Romans 5:12-21.

[10] People are created in the image of God, Genesis 1:26.

[11] Chosen by God to be part of His beloved family before the foundation of the world, Ephesians 3

[12] To those who receive and believe in Jesus Christ the Son of God as their Lord God gives the right to become children of God.  John 1:12.

[13] Reconciled to God, justified by the blood of His Son: while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him. 10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved [f]by His life.Romans 5:6-11

[14] Redefine the word love, http://31kings.com/redefining-love-audio/

[15] Mali Music, Mali Music Video; www.malimusicofficial.com/videos/

Kings & Queens

By David Cook

  But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;

1 Peter 2:9 NASB

Sometimes the lines seem to blur between living in reality and living ones dreams.  Is it possible for the King of the Universe to give you storybook realities that exceed your dreams while you’re chasing down today, tomorrow and forever?

Brooke Fraser touches on some of these themes in her song “Kings & Queens”.

BF Kings&Queens
Brooke Fraser with husband Scott Ligertwood

In the Chronicles of Narnia author C.S. Lewis presents a fantasy world were average young citizens of England with childlike faith enter into another world where they find that they are in fact, prophetic royalty that have come to play a strategic role in the fight against evil.  They relate to and eventually find themselves in a relationship with a Lion named Aslan who is a benevolent and mighty King of the realm of Narnia.

The Biblical narrative presents similar realities for followers of Messiah Yeshua who is Himself the KING of kings and LORD of lords.  The Apostle Peter spent over three years with His Majesty here on earth before Yeshua offered His life as a sacrifice for our sins.  Peter was a disciple of the Messiah who will rule the earth as the KING of kings when He returns to set up His millennial kingdom on earth.

What did Peter want believers in Messiah Yeshua to understand about their identity?

1.     A member of a chosen race.

2.     A member of a royal priesthood.

3.     A member of a holy nation.

4.     A member of God’s People.

Why did God do this?

 “so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him
who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light”   
1 Peter 2:9 NASB

Peter wanted God’s people to understand who they are.  Their real identity, not just for time on earth; but their identity during the millennial reign of King Messiah on earth and throughout all eternity.

Let’s read this scripture in 1 Peter chapter two in context with the whole chapter and discover practical Christian living counsel that Peter gives for living this new life in Christ here and now.  In the comments below I’d be interested to know any insights you see for believers in Yeshua on how to live in this present reality on earth.

1 Peter Chapter 2

For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps, 22 who committed no sin, nor was any deceit found in His mouth; 23 and while being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously; 24 and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed. 25 For you were continually straying like sheep, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Guardian of your souls.   1 Peter 2:21-25 NASB

BrookeFraser.com

Honor all people, love the brotherhood, 
fear God, honor the king.
– the Apostle Peter

1 Peter 2:17 NASB

LaraLandon.org

For by Grace

New Zealand Beach

By David Cook

For by grace you have been saved through faith.
And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God,
not a result of works, so that no one may boast.
  Ephesians 2:8-9 ESV

So many good things in this life come from human effort, hard work and the payoff from that effort and work.  It could be physical effort, intellectual work, creative effort or networking work and various related rewards.  But what about grace, divine grace that comes out of the blue?  When perhaps you don’t get what’s due; instead you are embraced by an avalanche of grace.  Perhaps you’ve never experienced it. Or perhaps you have, over and over again; like waves rolling in from the deep blue sea of God’s love.

523px-Celsius Library-DK

The Celsius library ruins in the ancient city of Ephesus.

The apostle Paul wrote to believers in Yeshua the Messiah who lived in the ancient city of Ephesus.  The city of Ephesus is near present-day Selçuk, Izmir Province, Turkey.

And you were dead in the trespasses and sins 2 in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— 3 among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.  4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— 6 and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.    Ephesians 2:1-10 ESV

Paul wanted believers in Messiah Yeshua to understand their past spiritual condition, dead in our trespasses and sins and the amazing grace of God.  Because of the immeasurable riches of God’s grace, when a person puts his (or her) faith in Yeshua the Messiah; a spiritual new birth transpires and eternal life begins!  After a person has been born again transformation begins to take place in our thoughts and actions!!  We begin to understand our new identity in Messiah!  God has raised us up with Yeshua and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Messiah! So that in the coming ages God might show the immeasurable riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Messiah Yeshua.

For By Grace You have been Saved through Faith

3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. 4 For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love 5 he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— 6 to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. 7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace 8 that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding, 9 he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, 10 to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment—to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ.   Ephesians 1:3-10 NIV

Know Jesus Know Love

Yeshua explained God’s love and the gospel; 16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.  John 3:16-18 NIV

When you put your faith in Yeshua the Messiah, the Son of the living God you pass from God’s condemnation of your sin into God’s pardon of your sin and eternal life.  You are born again and you receive new life.  You become a child of God!

See what great love the Father has lavished on us,
that we should be called children of God!
And that is what we are!

1 John 3:1 NIV

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One Day my Prince will Come, with Power and Great Glory!

Bohem Bride & Groom

By David Cook

אני האהוב שלי ואהוב שלי הוא שלי

“I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine”

Kate Mose Wedding

“May he kiss me with the kisses of his mouth!

For your love is better than wine.

Song of Solomon 1:2 NASB

The lovestruck heart cry of a beautiful newlywed bride, married to the prince who inherited his father’s throne and kingdom; Solomon, the third King of Israel.  The bride was intoxicated with her husband’s love, longing for his kisses.  Not long before, this beautiful humble bride was in the fields tending goats, now because of the love of her beloved she is part of the royal family married to the King; living large in their elegant home with cedar beams and cypress rafters. [1]

Neuschwanstein Castle

Some Moms and Dads read bedtime stories to their children of castles in the sky from days gone by.  Perhaps the tale begins long, long ago with an ancient King and his beloved son the Prince and their vast kingdom.  The loving King arranged a marriage for his son to marry a fair maiden, but dastardly villains who were cohorts of the deceitful dragon had enslaved her and locked her away in a dungeon.  The Prince is on a quest, he will valiantly ride on a white steed to rescue his damsel in distress and slay the dragon and all those who serve him.

Knight Riding Horse

Many young girls grow up with the hope of being swept off her feet by a young prince who is strong and courageous of heart.  Later, in junior high and high school during the teen years this hope is reinforced by numerous songs from the music industry and movies from the motion picture industry.

 

the princess bride

Westley and the Princess Bride.

Sometimes these hopes and dreams can produce unrealistic expectations and relationship reality never quite measures up to the dream.  Yet, as I read the Bible and piece together the puzzle of the epic Biblical narrative of what the Hebrew prophets foretold, and Yeshua the Messiah explained; it is even more spectacular than a childhood fairytale.

In the Bible we read of the King of the Universe and His beloved Son the Prince, who created the heavens and the earth; both everything visible and invisible. [2]  We read of life in the garden of Eden, with the first man and the first woman Adam and Eve; who lived in innocence and fellowship with the King and His Son who created them.

eve apple

Adam and Eve chose sin and rebellion against the King and fell, not down a hill like Jack and Jill; but they fell from innocence to a dark place, knowing both good and evil.  As a result, they lived with shame, alienation and quickly learned how to blame shift their sin on the one they love.  Death entered their world; free communication and communion with God was severely severed.  Spiritual and physical death was a new reality to their self-centered world.

Adam’s choice and sinful action resulted in monumental consequences.  Adam’s sin resulted in spiritual death (separation from God) and ultimately physical death came as a result of his sin.  And death spread to all people since all sinned, sin was passed down from generation to generation. [3]  One of the most severe consequences to Adam’s sin was that the Devil (who is called the the serpent in Genesis and the dragon in Revelation) usurped Adam’s authority on earth and gained access to humanity to kill, steal and destroy. [4]

Most motion picture screenwriters know that a powerful plot needs a hero with a strong desire line.  When we look at history and the prophetic future in scriptures we see that the hero of the metanarrative written in the Bible; past, present and future is the Messiah. Yeshua the Messiah is the A&Z, He is the Prince who will inherit the kingdom from His Father in heaven; the King of the universe.

A Wedding Feast in the ForestBrides Maid

In the Song of Solomon, we are given an inside look at the young love of a royal romance between King Solomon and his bride.  The King is captivated by the beauty of His bride, like a beautiful rose in the desert!

Bohem Hair

“How beautiful you are, my darling,

How beautiful you are!

Your eyes are like doves behind your veil;

Your hair is like a flock of goats

That have descended from Mount Gilead.”

Song of Solomon 4:1 NASB

“Desert Rose” by Sting

Solomon let his bride know how beautiful she is to him, admiring features of her face; her eyes, her hair, her teeth, her lips, her mouth, her temples.  Then in subsequent verses he continues to compliment her, going down her beautiful body with his poetic admiration of God’s creation of a helpmate; who is “suitable for him”. [5]

WEDDING PHOTOJOURNALISM BY RON SOLIMAN

“How beautiful is your love, my sister, my bride!

How much better is your love than wine,

And the fragrance of your oils

Than all kinds of spices!

11 “Your lips, my bride, drip honey;

Honey and milk are under your tongue,

And the fragrance of your garments is like the fragrance of Lebanon.”

Song of Solomon 4:10-11 NASB

Verse 11 makes me think that “French kissing” may not be aptly named.  Perhaps it should be called “Israel kissing”, or more specifically; “Solomon kissing”.

The bride of the King responds;

“His mouth is full of sweetness.

And he is wholly desirable.

This is my beloved and this is my friend,

O daughters of Jerusalem.”

Song of Solomon 5:16 NASB

Olive Bar

Friendship is a good base to build a romance on, the King’s bride responds; “this is my beloved and this is my friend”.

Lara in Hait 4-27-14 & Whistli

“I’ve Never Been” by Lara Landon

The Bride says;

“I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine,

He who pastures his flock among the lilies.”

Song of Solomon 6:3 NASB

Fruit & Cheese

The Union of the Prince & His bride

“I am my beloved’s,

And his desire is for me.

11 “Come, my beloved, let us go out into the country,

Let us spend the night in the villages.

12 “Let us rise early and go to the vineyards;

Let us see whether the vine has budded

And its blossoms have opened,

And whether the pomegranates have bloomed.

There I will give you my love.

13 “The mandrakes have given forth fragrance;

And over our doors are all choice fruits,

Both new and old,

Which I have saved up for you, my beloved.”

Song of Solomon 7:10-13 NASB

CA Wine Country 01

CA Grapes

CA Wine Country 02

A husband & wife is a picture of Christ & His Bride

Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, He Himself being the Savior of the body. 24 But as the church is subject to Christ, so also the wives ought to be to their husbands in everything.  25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her, 26 so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless. 28 So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself; 29 for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also does the church, 30 because we are members of His body. 31 For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and shall be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. 32 This mystery is great; but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the church. 33 Nevertheless, each individual among you also is to love his own wife even as himself, and the wife must see to it that she respects her husband.  Ephesians 5:22-33 NASB

The apostle Paul compared the marriage relationship of a husband and his wife to Christ and His Bride, the church.  The love Christ Jesus has for His Bride is a hard act to follow. Yet this is the challenge God gave to husbands; to “love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her”. [6]  (Christ is the Greek word for the Hebrew word Moshiach [Messiah] which means “Anointed”.)

When Yeshua came to earth He revealed to us what His Father in heaven is like.  Yeshua the Son of God, “is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power.” Hebrews 1:3 NASB  The character of God is revealed through Yeshua His Son; God’s righteousness, God’s love, God’s power and His mercy.

CA Wine, 2 GlassesCA-wine-country-cheese

The desire line of Yeshua the Prince of Peace

Sometimes before a person leaves a loved one, they say things that are deep in their heart that they want their loved one to know.  Messiah and His Bride are a match made in heaven!  The Prince knew He would be leaving earth soon and His bride (God’s elect, the chosen people of God, chosen Jews and Gentiles collectively are the bride of Christ) whom He loved deeply. [7]  In His private conversation with His Father in heaven the Prince poured out His heart and reveals His strong desire line.  His prayerful desire for His Bride, the people chosen by God.

“I desire that they…be with Me where I am”

John 17:24 NASB

As we look at the Bible from beginning to end, the heart of the Father and His Son; is to be with the people who believe in and receive Messiah Yeshua.  The true and living triune God (Elohim) was with Adam and Eve in the beginning in the Garden of Eden. [8]  After the fall, Adam and Eve were dispelled from the Garden.  Their relationship with God was altered and they died spiritually and later physically.  Adam sinned and sin entered the world, and death came as a result of sin; and death spread to all people. [9]  God loved us so much that He sent Yeshua to die an atoning death.  Messiah took our many sins upon Himself.  Yeshua came to earth and gave His life as a ransom for many, He took upon Himself the fall of all mankind. [10]  Yeshua is Emmanuel – God with us!  This is the incarnation, the Son of God born of a virgin; who lived on earth as a human being. [11]   At first the Holy Spirit was moving in the world with God’s creation.  After the ascension of Yeshua to the right hand of His Father in heaven; and for those who are “born again”, the Spirit of Christ indwells you. [12]  When a believer in Yeshua dies he or she is “present with the Lord”. [13]  The apostle Paul wrote that “at the last trumpet” the dead in Christ will be transformed from mortal to immortal. [14]  Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord.  [15]  Then in heaven, will be the long awaited Wedding Banquet of Messiah with His Bride!  [16]  During the millennial reign, God’s people will reign on earth with Messiah for 1000 years. [17]  After that the first heaven and earth will pass away and there will be a new heaven and a new earth.  We will live with His Majesty, the Prince from Heaven and His loving Father, the King of the Universe; throughout all eternity.  [18]

Bride in the Get Away Car

The Prince is captivated by the beauty of His bride!
His desire is for her and she wants her Beloved.

SONY DSC

“How beautiful you are, my darling,

How beautiful you are!

Your eyes are like doves behind your veil;

Your hair is like a flock of goats

That have descended from Mount Gilead.”

Song of Solomon 4:1 NASB

LL 3-23-17 Spring

“I Want You” by Lara Landon on her OVERCOME album.

“I have come into my garden, my sister, my bride;

I have gathered my myrrh along with my balsam.

I have eaten my honeycomb and my honey;

I have drunk my wine and my milk.

Eat, friends; Drink and imbibe deeply, O lovers.”

Song of Solomon 5:1 NASB

All Praise to the Lord

A Match Made in Heaven

The Prince from heaven and His bride have an arranged marriage.  The King of the Universe chose a bride (individuals from every tribe, nation, ethnic group and language) for His Son before the foundation of the world.  The desire of the Prince of heaven is to be with His beloved Bride!

Father, I desire that they also, whom You have given Me,

be with Me where I am, so that they may see My glory which You have given Me,

for You loved Me before the foundation of the world. 

John 17:24 NASB

To hear music by Lara Landon visit;

www.LaraLandon.org

  1. Song of Solomon 1:17
  2. Genesis 1:26, Isaiah 48:1-16, John 1:1-3, Colossians 1:13-18
  3. Romans 5
  4. Revelation 12, John 10:10
  5. Helpmate suitable for him, Genesis 2:18
  6. Bride of Christ, Ephesians 5:25
  7. A Match Made in Heaven, John 17:24, Ephesians 1:4, 1 Peter 1:20
  8. “Let Us make man in Our Image”, Genesis 1:26
  9. Death entered the world through sin, Romans 5:18-19
  10. God gave His Son to die in our place, Isaiah 53, Daniel 9:24, John 3:16, Mark 10:45
  11. The Incarnation, a virgin gave birth to Immanuel, Isaiah 7:14, John 1:14
  12. Sealed with the Holy Spirit a pledge of our inheritance, Ephesians 1:11-34, John 3:7
  13. Present with the Lord, 2 Corinthians 5:8
  14. At the last trumpet, resurrection, rapture and immortality; 1 Corinthians 15:50-52
  15. Rapture of the living believers in Yeshua the Messiah, 1 Thessalonians 4:17
  16. Wedding Banquet of His Bride, Revelation 3:12 and 19:8-9, Ephesians 5:22-33
  17. Reign with Messiah for 1000 years, Revelation 20:6, Isaiah 2:1-5
  18. A New Heaven and a New Earth, Revelation 21:1-8

Classic Bentley

Signs of His Coming & the End of the Age

Coming on the Clouds

By David Cook

Many people around the world are looking for and longing for the coming of the Messiah and the era of peace He will bring upon the earth.  We read in the Gospel of Matthew;

Jesus came out from the temple and was going away when His disciples came up to point out the temple buildings to Him. And He said to them, “Do you not see all these things? Truly I say to you, not one stone here will be left upon another, which will not be torn down.”  Matthew 24:1-2 NASB

Temple AD 70

Temple stones toppled by Romans in 70 AD.

This prophecy given by Yeshua was fulfilled about 38 years later, in 70 AD when Roman legions under Titus attacked and subsequently destroyed much of the city of Jerusalem and the Second Jewish Temple.

As He was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things happen, and what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?”  Matthew 24:3 NASB

So as Yeshua (Jesus) was sitting on the Mount of Olives and He gave His disciples these three categories of signs of His coming, and of the end of the age;

  • Beginning of Birth Pains     (Matthew 24:8)
  • Tribulation                           (Matthew 24:9)
  • Great Tribulation               (Matthew 24:21)

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran

On January 23, 2007 the Fars News Agency reported that “Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in a meeting with Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Mualem here on Tuesday assured that the United States and the Zionist regime of Israel will soon come to the end of their lives.” [1]

 The Beginning of Birth Pangs

  1. Misleading False Messiahs.    (Matthew 24:4-5)
  2. Wars and Rumors of Wars.     (Matthew 24:6-7)
  3. Famines in various places.         (Matthew 24:7)
  4. Earthquakes in various places.   (Matthew 24:7)
Rabbi Schneerson

Rabbi Schneerson

False Messiahs:  False messiahs are a dime a dozen and certainly are on the rise whether it is Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, known as the Rebbe among his followers or other false messiahs around the world.  Rabbi Schneerson was a prominent Hasidic rabbi who was the seventh and last Rebbe (Hasidic leader) of the Chabad-Lubavitch movement.  The Rebbe’s followers believe and claim him to be the Messiah.  Or there is the Rev. Sun Myung Moon who his follows believe to be the Messiah.  Rev. Moon is the founder and leader of the Unification Church established in Seoul, South Korea.  False messiahs are on the increase. [2]

War in Syria man with automatic riffle Photo by Goran Tomase

Wars and Rumors of War: The United Nations released an estimate in May 2013, that the Syrian War death toll had exceeded 80,000.  On January the 15th of 2015, the United Nations estimated that 220,000 people had died in the Syrian war.  This includes civilians, armed combatants and government officials.  An online article in the Jerusalem Post that was attributed to REUTERS (10/03/2015) estimated that over a quarter of a million people had died in the Syrian War and the events of war has displaced half the Syrian population. [3]

Famine in Somalia

Famines in Various Places: The BBC News reported on July 20, 2011 that the UN declared a famine in Somalia in Bakool and Lower Shabelle region;  “An estimated 10 million people have been affected in East Africa by the worst drought in more than half a century.  More than 166,000 desperate Somalis are estimated to have fled their country to neighboring Kenya or Ethiopia.” [4]

Earthquake Frequency: The frequency of earthquakes are similar to the contractions of a pregnant woman as she approaches labor and the the delivery of her child.  The closer the woman comes to giving birth to her child, then the more frequent (and intense) the contractions become.  Similarly, the closer we come to Messiah’s “coming on the clouds of the sky with power and great glory” (and the rapture of God’s people) then the more frequent earthquakes become.  Take a look at the chart below with data from the U.S. Geological Survey, that shows the increase of frequency of earthquakes over time.

philippines-earthquake

U.S. Geological Survey Earthquakes Data

Time Span

Earthquakes 7.0 or Higher

Earthquake Per Time

1 AD to 1000 AD 15 earthquakes 7.0 or higher 1 every 66 years
1000 AD to 1800 AD 114 earthquakes 7.0 or higher 1 every 7 years
1800 AD to 1900 AD 115 earthquakes 7.0 or higher 1 every 10 years
1900 AD to 1980 AD 774 earthquakes 7.0 or higher 1 every 37 days
1980 AD to 2000 AD 225 earthquakes 7.0 or higher 1 every 28 days
2000 AD to 2008 AD 127 earthquakes 7.0 or higher 1 every 26 days
2009 AD 17 earthquakes 7.0 or higher 1 every 21 days
2010 AD 24 earthquakes 7.0 or higher 1 every 15 days
2011 AD 20 earthquakes 7.0 or higher 1 every 18 days
2012 AD 16 earthquakes 7.0 or higher 1 every 23 days
2013 AD 19 earthquakes 7.0 or higher 1 every 19 days
2014 AD 12 earthquakes 7.0 or higher 1 every 30 days

U.S. Geological Survey Earthquakes Data. [5]

FUKUSHIMA earthquake

When my grandmother was living in the late 1800’s earthquakes 7.0 (or higher) happened one in every ten years.  In 2014 earthquakes 7.0 on the Richter magnitude scale (or higher) happened one in every thirty days!  Earthquakes are dramatically increasing in both frequency and magnitude.

The 2015 Nepal earthquake killed more than 7,000 people and injured more than 14,000, occurred on April 25, 2015, with a moment magnitude (Mw) of 7.8 Mw[1].  Its epicenter was the village of Barpak, Gorkha district, and its hypocenter was at a depth of approximately 15 km (9.3 mi).

nepal-earthquake_1

A magnitude-7.8 earthquake in Kathmandu, Nepal, April 25, 2015.

It was the most powerful disaster to strike Nepal since the 1934 Nepal-Bihar earthquake.  Some casualties were also reported in the adjoining areas of India, China, and Bangladesh.

The earthquake triggered an avalanche on Mount Everest, killing at least 19, making it the deadliest day on the mountain in history.  It triggered another huge avalanche in Langtang valley, where 250 were reported missing.

Everest basecamp after avalanche

Everest basecamp after avalanche.

Hundreds of thousands of people were rendered homeless with entire villages flattened, across many districts of the country. Centuries-old buildings were destroyed at UNESCO World Heritage sites in the Kathmandu Valley, including some at the Kathmandu Durbar Square, the Patan Durbar Square and the Bhaktapur Durbar Square. Geophysicists and other experts had warned for decades that Nepal was vulnerable to a deadly earthquake, particularly because of its geology, urbanization, and architecture. [6]

Beginning of Birth Pangs: Yeshua said that false messiahs, wars and rumors of wars, famines and earthquakes are the “beginning of birth pangs”.  He compared the turbulent times of wars, famines, earthquakes and false messiahs to the contractions and labor pains of a pregnant women, as she nears the day of delivery. [7]  As the day draws near of the coming of our Deliverer we see false messiahs, wars (and rumors of wars), famines and earthquakes increasing in frequency.  These four signs of the times, false messiahs, war, famine and earthquakes are like contractions that increase in both frequency and intensity as the day approaches of Yeshua’s coming for His people.

Yeshua the Messiah said;
 “Then they will deliver you to tribulation, and will kill you,
and you will be hated by all nations because of My name.

At that time many will fall away and will betray one another
and hate one another.”

Matthew 24:9-10 NASB

Christians will be Killed: On May 28, 2013 FOX NEWS broadcast a report on the beheading of a British soldier on the street in London and the rise of Islamic killings of Christians and other non-Muslims (so called “infidels”).  Author Raymond Ibrahim said; “In Indonesia, three Christian girls on their way to school were beheaded; in Syria last Christmas, U.S. supported rebels beheaded a Christian man and fed his body to the dogs.  In Africa—Somalia, Tanzania, Mali—Christians are regularly decapitated.” [8]

Genocide in Sudan

Mr. Ibrahim spoke of the all-out jihad in Nigeria, Lebanon and in Sudan.  In Sudan there has been a genocide, it is estimated that over 1.5 million Christians have been killed by the Janjaweed, (the Arab Muslim militia), and even suspected Islamists in northern Sudan since 1984. [9]

The Beginning of Tribulation

  1. Christians will be killed i.e. Martyrs dying for their faith. (Matthew 24:9)
  2. Christians Hated by All Nations because of Jesus (Yeshua) Name. (Matthew 24:9)
  3. Many People will fall away from the Christian faith. (Matthew 24:10)
  4. Many People will Betray and Hate each other. (Matthew 24:10)
  5. Many False Prophets will Arise and Mislead Many People. (Matthew 24:11)
  6. Lawlessness Increases and Most People’s love will Grow Cold. (Matthew 24:12)
  7. The Person who Endures to the End will be Saved. (Matthew 24:13)
  8. The Gospel of the Kingdom will be Preached in the Whole World as a Testimony to All the Nations.  Then the End will Come. (Matthew 24:14)

Great Tribulation

  1. Abomination of Desolation, the anti-Christ standing in the Holy Place of the Temple.  (Matthew 24:15 also see Daniel 9:27 and 2nd Thessalonians 2:3-4)
  2. Yeshua gives Instructions for those living in the province of Judea in Israel during the time when the Abomination of Desolation occurs.  (Matthew 24:16-22)
  3. Then there will be a Great Tribulation, such as has not occurred since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever will.   (Matthew 24:21 and Daniel 12:1)
  4. For the sake of the elect (Jewish and Gentile believers in Yeshua as Lord) those days will be cut short, otherwise no person would still be living.  (Matthew 24:22)
  5. False Messiahs and False Prophets will Arise and show great Signs and Wonders to Mislead People, if possible even the Elect, that is Jewish and Gentile Believers in Yeshua who are alive at that time.  (Matthew 24:24 and Romans 8:28-33)
  6. The Coming of Christ Jesus will be like lighting that flashes from the east to the west.  (Matthew 24:27)
  7. Immediately AFTER the Tribulation of those Days; the Sun will be Darkened, the Moon will Not give its Light, the Stars will Fall from the Sky, and the Powers of the Heavens will be Shaken. (Matthew 24:29)

Messiah Yeshua Coming On the Clouds of the Sky & Gathering the Elect

  1. The Sign of the Son of Man (Jesus Christ) will appear in the Sky. (Matthew 24:30)
  2. All the Tribes of the Earth will Mourn when they see Yeshua (Jesus) Coming on the Clouds with Power and Great Glory. (Matthew 24:30 and Zechariah 12:10-14)
  3. Yeshua (Jesus) will send His Angels with a Great Trumpet and they will Gather Together His Elect (that is Jewish and Gentile Believers in Yeshua, see Romans 8:33) from One End of the Sky to the Other. (Matthew 24:31, 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18, 1 Thessalonians 5:1-11, 2 Thessalonians 2:1-2, 1 Corinthians 15:50-52)

This event that Yeshua referred to as the Son of Man coming on the clouds and sending His angels to gather together His elect; is commonly referred to as the rapture of the saints (i.e. believers in Messiah Yeshua as their Savior and Lord).  It is important to notice that Jesus taught that His coming on the clouds and the rapture of the elect happens after the birth pangs, tribulation and after what Jesus referred to as the great tribulation.

29 “But immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from the sky, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 30 And then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky with power and great glory. 31 And He will send forth His angels with a great trumpet and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of the sky to the other.  Matthew 24:29-31 NASB

Then Yeshua gave more details about His coming on the clouds of the sky and the rapture of His elect in Matthew 24:39-41;

“…so will the coming of the Son of Man be. 40 Then there will be two men in the field; one will be taken and one will be left. 41 Two women will be grinding at the mill; one will be taken and one will be left.” Matthew 24:39-41 NASB

The Son of Man (a title of Yeshua the Messiah) will come;
1. Two men will be in the filed one man will be taken up (raptured) and one will be left behind.
2. Two women will be grinding at the mill; one will be taken up (raptured) and one will be left behind.

The Apostle Paul also taught on this important subject when he wrote to the saints who were in the Thessalonian church;

Now we request you, brethren, with regard to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, that you not be quickly shaken from your composure or be disturbed either by a spirit or a message or a letter as if from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come. Let no one in any way deceive you, for it will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, who opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God.  2 Thessalonians 2:1-2 NASB

The Apostle Paul wrote to the church that two things would take place before the rapture of the elect (i.e. rapture of believers in Yeshua the Messiah, the Son of the living God);

  1. The Apostasy (the falling away of many Christians from their faith.  Yeshua spoke of this in Matthew 24:10 and Paul in 2nd Thessalonians 2:3)
  2. The anti-Christ, who is the man of lawlessness and son of destruction; will be revealed and take his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God. (Referred to by Jesus in Matthew 24:15 as the abomination of desolation and by Paul in 2nd Thessalonians 2:3-4 and in the Book of Daniel 9:27 and 12:11.)

Paul wrote to the church at Corinth that at the last trumpet the dead in Christ would rise from the dead and be given immortal bodies and then be taken up into the clouds to meet the Lord in the air.  Then the believers who are alive and remain on earth would be changed from mortals to immortals and then they would be taken up into the clouds to meet the Lord in the air.

50 Now I say this, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. 51 Behold, I tell you a mystery; we will not all sleep, but we will all be changed, 52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. 53 For this perishable must put on the imperishable, and this mortal must put on immortality.  1 Corinthians 15:5-52 NASB

Paul wrote to the church at Thessalonica that our Lord Yeshua will descend from heaven “with a shout, with the voice of the archangel” and the sounding of the trumpet, the resurrection of believers in the Lord Jesus who had died would be transformed into immortals and then taken up into the sky to meet Christ Jesus in the clouds.  Then those believers who are alive and remain on earth who would then be transformed into immortals and taken up into the clouds to meet the Lord in the air.

13 But we do not want you to be uninformed, brethren, about those who are asleep, so that you will not grieve as do the rest who have no hope. 14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep in Jesus. 15 For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord. 18 Therefore comfort one another with these words.  1 Thessalonians 4:13-17 NASB

Yeshua gave His disciples the promise that He would be “coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.  And he will send out his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.” Matthew 24:30 ESV

[1] Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Demise of US, Israel Imminent, Fars News Agency, News number: 8511030486, 17:45 | 2007-01-23  http://english.farsnews.com/newstext.php?nn=8511030486

[2] False Messiahs, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_messiah_claimants

[3] Syrian civil war, Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Syrian_civil_war
Casualties of the Syrian Civil War, Wikipedia,       https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Casualties_of_the_Syrian_Civil_War     http://www.jpost.com/Middle-East/US-allies-short-on-options-as-Russia-and-Iran-flex-muscle-in-Syria-419823

[4] UN declared famine in Somalia, BBC NEWS, www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-14211905

[5] U.S. Geological Survey Earthquakes Data, http://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/eqarchives/year/2012/2012_stats.php

[6] Nepal Earthquake on April 25, 2015, ttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2015_Nepal_earthquakeh

[7] Yeshua spoke on earthquakes being like birth contractions, Matthew 24:7-8.

[8]  Exposing Islam’s New War on Christians: FOX NEWS, http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2013/05/28/islam-rule-numbers-and-beheading-in-london/ (For a comprehensive picture of Christian suffering under Islam read, “Crucified Again: Exposing Islam’s New War on Christians” by Raymond Ibrahim).

[9] Persecution of Christians, Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Persecution_of_Christians