Marriage as a Sacred Covenant

Marriage by Kumon licensed under Creative Commons 2.0

Marriage is a topic that is close and dear to my heart. I suspect it’s because of the longing I have in my heart, or maybe I just find the idea simply fascinating. Or maybe because it reminds me of God’s immense love for His bride and the wonderful relationship between them. Why am I writing about this? Simply put, I wanted to emphasis marriage as a very sacred covenant between two people and God. I also wanted to encourage people (believers and unbelievers) to treat it as such.

Marriage is a very special gift from God. It creates a safe space where man and woman open up their hearts and connect with each other in a powerful way – physically, emotionally and spiritually. Where two flesh becomes one. In addition to this, marriage is a safe environment for raising children. Of course, this special gift comes with a great responsibility and commitment.

Matthew 19:4-6 (ESV)
4 He answered, “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, 5 and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? 6 So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.”

Yes, I realize that there aren’t much fairytale marriages out there but single folks can learn from them, whether good or bad, before making one of the biggest commitment in life. Don’t laugh at me, but I do enjoy reading books and articles on marriage so I can learn from them. So I’ll just share what I’ve learned from what I read and observed in real life =)

Firstmost, marriage involves opening yourself physically, emotionally and spiritually to your spouse. That is a very vulnerable position to be in! Yet it’s powerful and special at the same time.

There’s a good reason why God commands us to wait until marriage before fully committing ourselves to other person. It’s not to take away our joy, but instead to protect us from heartbreaks associated with causal dating/relationships. Seeking love, physically and emotionally without a commitment and for selfish reasons is a sure recipe for painful heartbreaks. Imagine opening yourselves up and then getting rejected. It’s very painful. Our hearts are not meant to broken repeatedly. For each heartbreak, it generally gets harder and harder to open up as in the beginning. Marriage is a safe environment for people to express their love fully. The commitment of marriage protects people from being heartbroken.

Matthew 7:6 (ESV)
6 “Do not give dogs what is holy, and do not throw your pearls before pigs, lest they trample them underfoot and turn to attack you.

Proverbs 4:23 (NIV)
23 Above all else, guard your heart,
for everything you do flows from it.

Your heart is a precious treasure just like pearls in the verse. It’s designed for loving one another and receiving love. Take your time getting to know a person, don’t open up everything at once. A healthy relationship consists of respecting one another and being considerate of others’ feeling. Relationship also takes time to grow and develop.

The Holy Scripture clearly states there should be no divorce except on the ground of adultery. Why?
First, let’s look at these two bible verses –

Mark 10:10-12 (ESV)
10 And in the house the disciples asked him again about this matter. 11 And he said to them, “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her, 12 and if she divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery.”

Hebrews 13:4 (NIV)
4 Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral.

Divorcing would mean breaking your sacred oath of commitment to your spouse and to God. It would mean undermining what marriage stands for. If people treated marriage as causal relationship then it ceases to be safe place of commitment and love.

If we hold these above-mentioned verses to our heart then we would give careful consideration before marrying a particular person since we are treating marriage as an once-in-a-lifetime choice!

And simply put, divorces cause untold sufferings and pains to spouses and children. Custody battles. Bitterness. Regrets. Children going back and forth between parents. Spouses and children feeling abandoned and rejected. It’s a ravager of hearts.

Additionally, I’ve put together a simple list of what helps and hurt a marriage as listed below. These traits doesn’t have to be only for marriage, but can also be applied toward any type of relationships – friendships, families, etc..

Things that helps marriageforgiveness, love, being sensitive to your spouse’s feeling, communication, understanding your spouse, faithfulness, commitment, respect, nourishing the relationship.

I wanted to expand a little bit on two things – nourishing the relationship and forgiveness. Don’t stop with nourishing, keep on connecting with each other! Nourishing the relationship is similar to watering plant. If a person neglects watering the plant then it will wither. Give love and time to each other on regular basis! This also applies to friendships and people you meet. As for the forgiveness, that is very important!! It removes bitterness, resentment, and gives you a CLEAN SLATE with your spouse. God gave you a clean slate, so you do likewise for your spouse!

Things that hurt marriagelack of commitment, not considering others’ feeling, contempt, marrying for selfish reason (money, physical intimacy, social status, etc.), not loving one another, rushing into marriage, resentment/bitterness, lack of forgiveness, being unequally yoked (believers with unbelievers).

Rushing into marriage is a dangerous endeavor since you won’t know whether if you are compatible for each other. It requires having a good understanding of who you are and who the potential spouse is. That includes positive and negative traits. Know what you’re getting into, ask questions but in a loving way of course! Compatibility is an important aspect of marriage. Look no further than the Bible. Remember when Israelites married foreign women, prior to entering the Promised Land AND during their ongoing presence there? Believers with unbelievers. And what about when Solomon had many foreign women during the latter part of his reign? What happened afterwards? Foreign women lured them away from the LIVING GOD who gave them everything, to idols who can’t see or hear or walk.

Ultimately, what ties these hurtful traits together is lack of love and it deprives the spouse from the love and respect they seek. It’s very painful. We cannot change other person, but we can choose how we conduct our actions!

Your hearts are precious treasures. God created marriage to protect and nurture our hearts with love. He doesn’t want to see His precious children getting hurt. Marriage helps us understand more about the loving relationship between God and His bride, how immensely God loves His bride, His faithfulness to us, and how He just want to simply spend time with us!

Sweet Nectar of God’s Love

Recently I had an intense dream but I was unsure what it meant. I felt a profound sense of love and acceptance in the dream. I still thanked God, even though I didn’t understand the dream, for He has poured His love into me. Nevertheless, it has inspired me to write this poem. Enjoy!

Your love is like a sweet nectar
Pure, intense and yet gentle
Let me drink deeply of your love!

How can mere words describe your LOVE?

Your love is higher than the highest mountains,
Deeper than the deepest ocean,
Wider than the whole universe,
Enduring forever and ever!

O Loving GOD,
Let us dance!
Without care in the world,
Watch the world diminish to nothingness,
As we get closer and closer!

A Short Encouraging Thought

I sent this to a dear brother in Christ and thought others would benefit from this as well!

Exodus 17:8-13 (NIV)
The Amalekites came and attacked the Israelites at Rephidim. Moses said to Joshua, “Choose some of our men and go out to fight the Amalekites. Tomorrow I will stand on top of the hill with the staff of God in my hands.”

10 So Joshua fought the Amalekites as Moses had ordered, and Moses, Aaron and Hur went to the top of the hill. 11 As long as Moses held up his hands, the Israelites were winning, but whenever he lowered his hands, the Amalekites were winning. 12 When Moses’ hands grew tired, they took a stone and put it under him and he sat on it. Aaron and Hur held his hands up—one on one side, one on the other—so that his hands remained steady till sunset. 13 So Joshua overcame the Amalekite army with the sword.

When your hands grow tired, others can step in and help uphold your hands. So you’re not alone in your struggle! So we can still be victorious even when our hands grow tired because God will send us helpers to uphold our hands. In other words, if we are battered, discouraged, and feeling like we don’t have the strength to go on, God will not abandon us to our own strength and will send His STRENGTH to help us keep on going.

What Shall I Do, O Lord?

Is it your voice O LORD?
Or is that just my thoughts?
Is that the voice of evil ones?
Or just my own thoughts?

Or yours?

Or am I just overthinking things?
O Soul, cease being anxious!
O Soul, what torments you?

Well Soul…
I will still follow God’s command regardless –
Which is loving and following you,
And loving and treating one another royally.

Is this a case of taking on more faith?
And knowing less where we’re going?

Or is this a test?
To see what I would do without clear guidance?
Like the servants in the parable of talents?

If so,
Then I’ll make sure to put Your “talents” to a good use!
I will bring to my remembrance
Of what I’ve learned from Your Holy Word,
And try to discern what your will is.

I hope my mere efforts please you, O LORD
Even it is stumbling and imperfect..

Only You can make and refine me
Into a beautiful vessel of great value
From gritty ashes into magnificent jewels
O Author and Finisher of my faith!

Then BAM!
Out of nowhere,
The LORD speaks
Not by our timing,

A question I’ve pondered in my heart –

Is it that when we grow closer and closer to God, that we learn to depend more and more upon faith? Less sight and more faith?

Protecting Our Weaker Brothers

I’ll briefly describe what happened in the video. The wolves chased after the herd in attempts to ISOLATE their prey from rest of the herd. When a bison and a calf were isolated from the herd, they became easy targets to the wolves. Then the wolves proceeded to ATTACK the vulnerable calf relentlessly as the stronger bison valiantly kept on protecting the vulnerable calf from harm. What a fiercely protective LOVE! A wolf attempted to DISTRACT the stronger bison while the other wolf leapt toward the calf to attack. They tend to wait until their prey lowered their defense before attacking. The pack of wolves also HARASSES to wear out their prey, in attempt to weaken them for easier targeting.

What happened in the video isn’t that different from what happens in the spiritual realm. Demons and the fallen spirits are extremely determined to devour us. They don’t play fair and they don’t mess around! Most folks usually dismiss them as mere fairy tales, but that’s quite dangerous thinking! Just because we can’t readily discern evil with our senses doesn’t mean it doesn’t exists. We can’t see, smell, hear, or taste radiation but it’s still very deadly to us.

Like the wolves in the video, they use the following tactics – isolate, attack the weak, distract, and harass – to weaken believers systematically in attempts to devour them. Although it’s not a comprehensive list of tactics they use but I’ll just focused on these four for the simplicity of this post.

ISOLATE – The wolves seek to isolate believers from God because they know believers will become weaker and more vulnerable when isolated. The wolves attempt to deceive us into thinking that God is not there for us, distant and aloof from our lives, thus “isolating” us from God’s LOVE. Don’t listen to this lie! Nothing can stop God from loving us! God is faithful to us and watches over us as a loving parent watches over a child.

Although, there are times when God set us in wilderness in order to develop and mold us into a strong and beautiful vessel for the LORD. In this case, isolation can help us to learn how to be truly dependent only on God!

ATTACK THE WEAK – The wolves know to press hard onto any weak spot we might have. We become vulnerable to evil onslaught whenever we turn away from God and His commandments. Unforgiveness, anger, greed, and sinful behavior are some examples of the weak spot.

Take unforgiveness for example. If we don’t forgive those who have hurt us, then the enemy will press this advantage mercilessly. A thought from the evil one drips in your head – “Look what that person did to you, how can you forgive that person?” Then another thought drips in your head – “Maybe you should withhold your love from that person. After all, that person doesn’t deserve to be loved.” One thought leads to another and another. It eventually leads to hatred, bitterness, and perhaps even murder! Thoughts like these starts to crowd out the good qualities God has given us – love, forgiveness, gentleness etc… See how starting with one small tiniest weak spot eventually becomes a glaring hole in the armor, setting themselves up for a fatal arrow blow! The wolves will keep on pressing on the weak spot repeatedly unless we say “NO MORE!” and allow God to repair our weak spot.

Just as Christ has forgiven us, we should extend that same forgiveness, LOVE, and MERCY toward others. If you have difficulty forgiving someone, ask God to give you the strength to forgive! And then move on with your lives.

DISTRACT – The wolves attempt to lure us with worldly distractions because it can be effective at taking away our focus on God. They will try to lure us with career ambitions, social activities, and entertainments to drown out our precious time with God. Lack of time with God means we are not being built up in God’s word and His love. This can make us weak and vulnerable to others’ notions that are not of God. The parable of sower (see the verses below) mentioned how seeds surrounded by thorns – which represented life’s worries, riches and pleasure – don’t mature. Yikes!

Luke 8:4-15 (NIV)
4 While a large crowd was gathering and people were coming to Jesus from town after town, he told this parable: 5A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path; it was trampled on, and the birds ate it up. 6 Some fell on rocky ground, and when it came up, the plants withered because they had no moisture. 7 Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up with it and choked the plants. 8 Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up and yielded a crop, a hundred times more than was sown.”
When he said this, he called out, “Whoever has ears to hear, let them hear.”
9 His disciples asked him what this parable meant. 10 He said, “The knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of God has been given to you, but to others I speak in parables, so that,
“‘though seeing, they may not see;
though hearing, they may not understand.’
11 “This is the meaning of the parable: The seed is the word of God. 12 Those along the path are the ones who hear, and then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved. 13 Those on the rocky ground are the ones who receive the word with joy when they hear it, but they have no root. They believe for a while, but in the time of testing they fall away. 14 The seed that fell among thorns stands for those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by life’s worries, riches and pleasures, and they do not mature. 15 But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop.

Another way for the wolves to distract us is through difficult circumstances in our lives. The wolves are counting on us seeing in the present circumstances only and hope we will forget about God’s promises and His strength.

Imagine yourselves as Israelites wandering around in the wilderness – oppressive heat, sheer physical exhaustion, and lack of food. Their circumstances seemed overwhelming! Doubts start to rise in their mind, thinking, “Did God deliver us out of Egypt only to die in the wilderness”? They only focused on the present and forgot about God’s promises that were yet to come. In the end, God did fulfill His promise, giving Canaan to Hebrew people.

We can learn from their mistakes and have faith in God despite whatever circumstances we’re facing. We can always ask for God’s strength to help us through the difficult circumstances. He is our Comforter and Deliverer!

HARASS – The wolves relentlessly takes one bite after another to wear us down. They intend to discourage believers from pursuing a meaningful relationship with God and following His command. While growing up, I’ve experienced emotional neglect and feeling left out many times. The evil ones had taken advantage of this fact mercilessly and harassed me with thoughts of feeling unloved and rejected. Eventually it deteriorated into self-deprecating thoughts such as “I’m nobody special” or having doubts that people actually cares about me. Then I decided, NO MORE! I refused to yield to these thoughts any further. I am choosing to see myself as God sees me, a precious child in His eyes, beloved and loved by our own CREATOR! The following verse came across my mind.

Psalm 139:13-16 (NIV)
13 For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place,
when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed body;
all the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be.

Whenever I get battered with these negative thoughts, I would remind myself of God’s love and how God has created me fearfully and wonderfully! We are His precious child and wonderful creation. To criticize ourselves is to criticize what God has made! So let us say no to these harassing thoughts and remind ourselves of God’s awesome love for us!

Romans 8:38-39 (ESV)
38 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

The adult bison reminded me of a mature Christian – strong, valiant and able to stand against the evil. They have been through the purifying fire and they know to rely on the LORD for strength. They possess fiercely protective LOVE toward their brothers, especially the weaker ones. The calf can be compared to a new Christian or a weaker brother, not fully grown and formed in Christ. We are to help them grow and to guide them to Christ. So if you are the adult bison, then let your LOVE of the LORD overflow to the younger ones, protecting them from harm and guiding them toward Christ. If you are the younger ones, then affix your eyes upon Christ and grow in Him. He will watch over your steps and do not fear! Be vigilant and sober!

Ephesians 6:10-20 (NIV)
The Armor of God
10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. 19 Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.