No Substitute For Victory

Never Forget

Never Forget

It was a clear day back in September, and I was in the shed just cleaning up a bit. I had the radio on for ‘company’ I guess. Usually listening to talk shows, and usually Glenn Beck, or Hannity or Rush, and then I heard  about a tower in New York City being hit by an airplane. I went into the house and turned on the television, and the tragedy wasn’t over yet. I could not believe what I was watching. I sat on the couch, I couldn’t look away, another plane, another tower was hit. People were looking, pointing at the fatally wounded towers. I was just one of millions, stunned, and shocked by the actions of a few ‘religious’ fanatics. I was angry, very angry, that people would do this to us. Who were they? Why did they do this? What do they want? We (Americans) have helped so many people around the world… now this?!!!  People were jumping from the towers, they didn’t want to die in the flames, so they just jumped. Hearts were breaking, mine was breaking. Tears were flowing, time passed, not much time, but just as I thought things were bad, they got worse, as one tower crumbled and fell, and then the second came down. There were people screaming, crying, running, falling. There were people covered in dust, there were people trying to save people. New York was hit, America was hurt. Where once two tall towers proudly stood and marked the skyline, now an empty space, and smoke. Then President Bush stood, representing a determined America, and promised, “Soon those who did this will be brought to justice.”
   Here it is 2012, we have been at war with Islamic Terrorists for 11 long years. The battles have been and are still being fought. We have not yet won the victory, not yet. We are still being attacked. 911 is still being marked by death of Americans. This is not the time to pretend the victory is won, for it is not. This is not the time to get tired… it is time to remember what the war is all about, and renew our determination to WIN. THERE IS NO SUBSTITUTE FOR VICTORY.
   Christians are at war with Satan and all he stands for. Jesus came and beat him when he died on the cross, (Hebrews2:14). Yet we still have to fight. The Christian must be prepared, and wear the ‘armor’ necessary to do battle, (Ephesians 6:10-18). The devil may hit us and knock us down, and even cause us to panic, and think we are defeated, but through Jesus we are not defeated. One person said, “I HAVE READ THE END OF THE BOOK, AND GUESS WHAT… WE WIN!” Until then we must not forget, THERE IS NO SUBSTITUTE FOR VICTORY! We cannot make peace with Satan, nor can we make a treaty or have a truce. He doesn’t want that. Satan wants our total defeat. Just like those represented by the ones who knocked down the towers. There can be no truce, nor peace, for that is not what they want. They want us to give in and give up. This, we will never do. Not America! Not Christians! We will fight on, and through our Savior, we will WIN!
   If you are one who is discouraged, or just tired of ‘the fight’… trust me, enduring and persevering will be worth it. Renew your heart in prayer, and study of scriptures, and get with a good brother or sister, and let them encourage you as well. Attend the assembly of the saints, and ‘drink in’ the love and fellowship that God has added us all to.
   Winston Churchill was invited to speak one time at a University. He approached the podium slowly, but resolutely. He was silent for a minute or so, the students waiting for words from the War worn Prime Minister. He cleared his throat, and looked out at the student body and said, “NEVER….. NEVER…… NEVER….. GIVE UP!” Then he returned to his seat.
   That’s all they and we need to hear… and do.

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The Question Of Fellowship

   A man landed on a deserted island he thought, and as he wandered around. He came across a small grass hut with a sign, “2nd Deserted Island Church of Christ”. He went in, found the bearded man sitting on the sand, song book (of sorts) in his hand and inquired of the man, if there were anyone else on the island? The bearded man said, “No, just me.” The man asked, “Well, why does the sign say, “2nd Church of Christ”? The bearded man said, “Well a while back I had a disagreement with myself, so I left and started another congregation.”
   While humor is good, the subject of “Fellowship”, is truly serious, and one of the most precious blessings we have in Christ. Sad indeed it is when “FELLOWSHIP” is misunderstood, and used the wrong way, as if we can somehow take it away, or grant it, depending on whether or not someone agrees with us in every detail. Sadly we have seen congregations where the leadership “withdraws fellowship” from other congregations and their leaderships. I have found no example of this being done in the New Testament, not even with the church in Corinth. Bottom line, we need to re-study “Fellowship”. Maybe this brief article will be helpful in beginning this study. Read and re-read it with your Bible handy. I TAKE NO CREDIT FOR THE ARTICLE, I found this in dad’s New Testament, and recall him reading it to me and referring to it several times. I am grateful to the author, and encourage you to give this some thought… Maybe a comment… Dad underlined sections which I will put in bold print.

   “It is important to remember that the word “fellowship’ is a noun. It is never used as a verb. We should not belittle such truths, because it is necessary that we employ sound speech. We do not want to confuse others, and to avoid doing so, we must not use the language of the Spirit, we must also do it in the same manner in which the Spirit has used it. Thus, we should not say that we fellowship a certain person. We are in the fellowship with certain persons. We never ask, “Do you partnership him?” or “Do you companionship him?” By the same token we do not ask, “Do you fellowship him?” To do so, removes fellowship from a state or condition and reduces it to an act. It then becomes something which we may extend or withdraw, when, in reality, it is a state in which we enter. That is why the expression “withdraw fellowship” is not in the scriptures.
   We do not “fellowship” things, or ideas, or doctrines. Fellowship is a relation between persons, like brotherhood or partnership. The word “fellow” shows this. It is from a word meaning “a companion” or “one who shares”. We do not fellowship societies … Bible classes, individual cups, etc… I mention this because of the communion error of many of my good brethren, who have been conditioned by long practice to misuse the word in such a manner. We need to purify our speech if we would please God.
   The implication of what we have said is simply this. Fellowship is not a state that is entered because of a position on the things that have been allowed to divide us. We come into the fellowship by response to the call of God. Anyone who makes the proper response to that call enters the fellowship. He may not even know there has been division created by an attitude toward certain things. He may be unaware that God’s family is rent or divided. Just as the fellowship is not entered by a view of these issues, and because of that, it is our contention that it (fellowship)( JHEjr.) is not broken or destroyed by an opinion on these matters. Fellowship is brotherhood. Brotherhood is the result of common Fatherhood. Disagreements with each other about certain things do not remove us from our family. The term used to describe the family relationship of God’s children is “fellowship”.

   Fellowship is way too precious for us to ‘mess up’. The body of Christ is a grand family of believers. We do not all believe the same on everything. That’s just a fact. Yet on the basics, and ‘core essentials, we agree. Things like cups, kitchens, buses, puppets, styles of music, Bible classes, Bible translations, Women’s head coverings etc…. should not be allowed to ever divide the body of Christ. These things and many other things we have allowed to upset, splinter and divide the church are not the basis of fellowship. The foundation of our fellowship, is coming to Jesus by faith, repenting of our sins, being immersed into Jesus at which time we receive the Holy Spirit as a gift (Acts 2:38-39). That promise is given to all who come to Jesus. The Lord add all those who come, to the fellowship of Jesus Christ. Guard and protect the unity of the Spirit..

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Let’s Pray For Balance

   ‘Grace’, ‘unmerited favor’, ‘give that boy some elbow room’, however you express it, we need it, and we need to understand it. The subject brings so many things to mind for those in the body of Christ. From feelings of joy, excitement and gratefulness, to nervousness, fear of abuse, and fear of one being a ‘change agent’ or ‘liberal’.
   The problem has been and is, and will be, one of ‘balance’. The lack of which often results in church arguments, ‘splits’, ‘splintering’ and division, but not peace and unity. We sing about grace, and mention it in sermons and at times we verbalize it in prayer. We just don’t know much about it. We are so “subnormal, when we see someone normal, we think they are abnormal!” Our emphasis teeters towards performance/ success syndrome. We are better on specifics than generics, better on commands than the underlying, under-girding principles that support them. We are strict on “authority”, but weak on mercy. We amplify words like “commitment”, “performance”, and “obedience”!!!
   It is rather hard to deny the “out of balance” charges when, as a brotherhood we have only produced a handful of books on the subject in the last 50 years. This is an indictment and a rather shameful revelation of a people who speak of restoring New Testament Christianity. Surely GRACE is the keystone of such a noble project as restoring New Testament Christianity.
   For too long, this subject has been one viewed with caution instead of being embraced with joy. The fear of the ‘abuse’ of God’s grace has resulted in a loss of BALANCE on the subject.  Uncertainty has ‘kicked’ the joy of our salvation to the side in the lives of many Christians. “Are you saved?” Someone asks… A sheepish reply comes back, “I hope so.” or “I just don’t know”. Clouds of discouragement come, as we try to ‘walk the line’, only too often to find ourselves unable to ‘do it as well as expected’.
  We need… (No, we MUST) understand God’s wonderful grace. Without it, I hate to think of, where I would be, and where any of us would be. Yes, there are plenty of scriptures that speak of God’s saving grace. There are plenty that speak of faith, obedience, as well as commandment keeping. To bring it all into BALANCE so that one scripture neither contradicts, out-weighs nor ignores the other scriptures requires an honest search for truth and desire to “rightly divide the word of truth”.
   This is similar to ones search for truth on “What must I do to be saved?” There are scriptures that say, “believe on the Lord” and you’ll be saved (Acts 16:31), “repent and be baptized…. in the name of Jesus Christ, for the remission of sins…” (Acts 2:38), “confess with your mouth, Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved (Romans 10:9). Obviously, we cannot ‘pit one verse against the other’, nor can we ignore important verses on a subject and pick the ones we want to support a position or belief… IF we are truly searching for truth. BALANCE will bring you the correct understanding, that all of these play a part in one’s coming to Jesus and finding salvation. They are all part of God’s plan of salvation. All are included in “For it is by grace you have been saved through faith— and it is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God” (Ephesians 2:8). 
   Pray for BALANCE, we all need it.
   (For those who wish to study the ‘ABC’s of Grace’ by Jack Exum, it is provided free of charge under “Books by Jack Exum” in this site. Thank you for visiting this site.

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The Rubber band

   Simple things can make a huge impact when conveying truths about Bible principles. Illustrations don’t have to be fancy by any means, but they need to do what is intended… put light on the subject… not on the illustration.
   A rubber band is a simple but powerful illustration. When dad used it in his lesson on grace, he would simply use it to show how the very essence of God’s grace is that which does not condone sin and imperfection, but accepts in spite of sin and imperfection.. to a point.
   You can stretch a rubber band just so far, and then it breaks. Of course it’s wrong to ‘try’ and ‘stretch’ God’s grace (Romans 6:1-2) yet most have done this. His grace ‘stretches’ though…. that’s the nature of grace (using this illustration). Grace means “unmerited favor”, but what is that, if it isn’t acceptance that cannot be earned or deserved on the basis of how good you are or how perfect you keep commandments. (Keep the commands of Jesus… but don’t depend on your command keeping to save you.) If you ‘merit’ God’s favor, then you have earned it, and God is in debt to you, on the basis of your own life and actions. (Like the worker who comes to the boss and says, PAY ME WHAT I HAVE EARNED!) Who is going to lay claim to ‘meriting’ (earning) God’s favor? Paul said, “There is none righteous, no, not one” (Romans 3:10). Then again in verse  20, “By the works of the law shall no flesh be justified in His sight…” If grace means anything to me, it means room to grow, to get up and ‘try again’ after falling. Like Grandma said to grandpa, who was being a bit tough on little Johnny.. “Give that boy some elbow room!” 
   Can a person lose this great gift of “unmerited favor”? Of course, but too many Christians think that every time one sins, he falls from grace till he publicly confesses and repents and prays, and then the Christian is “back in grace again”. “In and out, in and out…” Are there times for public confession? Yes. However, the idea that grace is so narrow (like walking a tight rope) and rigid that there is no ‘elbow room’ or room for growing, can’t relax and enjoy being saved, no room for mistakes (sin)… in my judgment is not right.
   What about those sins you forget to mention in prayer? What about those sins that you cannot pray about? Suppose you are in a car accident, and end up in a coma before you can repent and pray? Such a picture of grace provides no confidence to the Christian. Yet one can fall from grace, and be lost. When? In short, when a person turns his back totally on Jesus and won’t come back. This means one must repent (turn and come back), but in this case, the person will not ever repent (Hebrews 6:4-6). If he did repent would God receive him? Of course… that’s the nature of God’s love. Yet a heart that is hardened, cannot be molded, changed or taught.
  What can be learned from a rubber band? Well, next time you pick one up, just sit and stretch it and think… God’s grace is so good. He loves and saves even me, and can save you as well.

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Preaching And Communicating

   Is there a difference in preaching and communicating? Not supposed to be… I mean, when someone gets up to speak to the people of God a message from God, it should be communicated well. (Communication involves not only speaking words but how well these words are received.) However, we have all sat and listened to well meaning preachers who have presented a message but it went ‘right over your heads’. We have all heard lessons where we have thought it would have been better to have stayed home. In other words… boring. No change, no challenge. I am guilty of all of this for sure. Over the years of preaching, there have been quite a few occasions where dad was in the audience, and he offered a lot of good advice. However I also learned from simply watching and listening to  others who were more experienced. What appealed to me was when a preacher really communicated to the people.  There is something that happens when God works in His man.

   There is something that happens to the audience as well. It shows in their faces, people lean forward, they laugh, they cry, they smile, nod. It’s hard to put in words as you have noticed, but when you are communicating and reaching the audience, you ‘feel’ something happening. Someone wisely said that “no one has the right to make the Bible boring”. Unfortunately, too many times, I made it boring. Didn’t mean to, but here are some things that I have learned… ie mistakes.

 1. Poor preparation results in shallow lessons. I look back over my first few year’s lessons and just wonder how they put up with my lessons in Fitzgerald. They were kind and patient. But poor study habits result in poor lessons. People need and want to go deeper into the scriptures. They should go home saying, “What a wonderful Lord” not “What a great speaker.” “How great is His grace” not “How great an orator this man is”. They want to see Jesus.

 2. No contact with people (staying in the office too much), hearing theirs stories, their laughter, their tears. Without this contact with people in your town (soul winning), and congregation (visiting their homes), the lessons are more a shot gun approach, hoping you may spark an interest. If you know people’s hurts, and needs it’s easier to reach them in the lessons, and illustrations without being direct.

 3. Too nervous about how you will be received (Dad called it “too much Exum, not enough Lord”). Preachers should not get in the pulpit because they have to say something… but because they have something to  say, ie a message from God. that is what people need. Actually the preacher is standing in God’s stead speaking to the greatest people on earth.  Love the people, relax, hide behind the cross, forget yourself, and speak a word from God.

 4.  Poor illustrations. and jokes. Don’t get me wrong. Jokes and illustrations really help. Without them a lesson CAN BE dry. Many times a good illustration at the right time, done well, really nails down when you are saying. A “thus saith the Lord” is good, but Jesus didn’t just quote scriptures… he used simple illustrations and stories. They were done well, and ‘hit home’. These things have to come across naturally, even if you have to reherse them over and over. “Make it your own”, dad said. Make sure the illustrations, and jokes, are appropriate for the occasion.

 5. Poor conclusions are like a “burp in a presidential speech”. You can have a great lesson, and then ruin it with a poor conclusion. Plan it all to the end. Make your endings vary. Don’t think you have to mention the 5 steps every time, and call people to be baptized. The invitation did not begin at Pentecost, it began in the 1800’s with the Mourner’s bench, and the “Altar call”. Sometimes it is good to end with a prayer. Be sure and convey your thoughts to the elders, but the idea is to reach people, not follow tradition for tradition sake.

Preaching is a privilege that carries with it huge responsibilities, so be sure you are right in yourself with the Lord. A preacher who is not right with the Lord cannot be right in the pulpit. The power needed will not be there. Be lost in the Lord and in his power. The Lord will use you if you let Him. In the end you will be humbled at what God does through the selfless attitude. Dad said, I’m the kind of guy that believes the act of communicating always supersedes any teaching or praying. Many preachers preach, but how many really communicate? You first have to get permission from your students that they want to learn. I always believed in hands-on teaching. Most preachers put themselves away  from the audience as they stand behind the pulpit. When I teach I use all kinds of visual aids. I use their eyes, and their ears, and that’s two different modes of communication working in concert. I always wanted the congregation to move up so I could touch them in many ways. I remember a child coming down front, and sitting next to me. I said, “You like being close don’t you?” She said, “Yes”. That’s the key to communication… to be down on their level. I believe the idea of a hierarchy is a no-no. It is said in the Bible, “Holy and reverend is THY name”, not my name….
 He always loved the people he spoke to and for the time he was there… he was theirs and they were his. There was a relationship with the audience, a bond, and they knew he cared. This was dad. Hard to emulate, but easy to love. Again, he would be the last one to say, “Copy me”. He would also be the first to say, LEARN FROM ME, copy what will help, and avoid that which will not help. He would encourage any and all who wanted to be a communicator, to be yourself, and let God use you in His service.

 People that dad loved in the pulpit… Charles Hodge Jr., Earl Williams., C.E. McGauphy., Fred Walker, are the ones I remember him speaking about.

“Preach the word” brother…



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Dad’s Preacher Bloopers

    There were times when dad was preaching or teaching a class, that things just didn’t go according to plan. Obviously preaching is an exciting way of serving the Lord, and well worth the struggles involved. It takes a special person, or maybe I should say, a special Lord working through a very usable “vessel”. Even then, sometimes things just don’t go ‘as planned’. You just have to laugh, and we all did.

 1. One time dad was preaching, he had a dark brown blazer on over his white shirt and tie. His pants were light brown. Well, he needed to use the bathroom, so before he got up to speak he went to the bathroom. Problem,  it went down his slacks. He had one side light brown, and the other ‘dark’. Thinking fast, he ‘innovated’, took off his  pants, soaked them in water so they looked dark  brown (along with his dark blazer). Then he returned to the auditorium to speak. He started a with dark brown blazer and dark pants, and when he finished, his pants had dried out and were light brown.

 2. One time, dad had to speak and he had a terrible cold. His throat was sore, and he had to clear his throat. Well if you were around dad a lot, you would know how that sounds. This time, he had started speaking but could not keep going… He excused himself to the bathroom and cleared his throat. “Hoooiiiiccckkk”. It was terrible of course. He came back to the class and heard everyone laughing. He discovered he had left his microphone on and every gross sound he made, was broadcast over the speakers.

 3. While in Calgary, Alberta, Canada – He got up to speak and made a special announcement about Sister Brown. “Good to have Sister Brown back with us this morning. She was being checked for cancer, and the AUTOPSY reported the cysts were benign.”

 4. Another time he was speaking and had a great lesson going about the second coming of Jesus. He was quoting from Revelation 22:7, 12 where Jesus says, “I am coming quickly” (KJV). He made that statement (I come quickly!), rushing toward the pulpit, and pointing his finger toward the audience. Then it happened, he forgot what he was going to say next. So he decided to try it again. He back up and went at the pulpit, pointed his finger at the audience, and said, “Behold I come quickly!!!” Again he could not remember what came next. One last time he backed up and determined to put everything in it. He rushed at the pulpit, just about to say those famous words, and tripped over the carpet, knocked over the pulpit, stumbled, and landed in an old lady’s lap who was sitting on the front row. His face was red, the lesson was destroyed, everyone was shocked and quiet, the pulpit was knocked over, and there he sat, red faced, apologizing in this lady’s lap.  “I’m so sorry, I don’t know what happened” he said. She looked at him and said, “It’s OK sonny, you done warned me three times.”

 5. Speaking on the subject of “How to raise your kids right”, making the point that if parents are not consistent, and allow their children to disrespect their authority, and the authority of teachers, that they won’t respect the law later in life. Then he raised a blank pistol, and said, “You may as well just give them a gun.”  Well, he made the mistake of going a bit far with his illustration… and pointed it at his head and pulled the trigger… To te shock of everyone… most of all, dad… there was a blank in the pistol, and it went off. What a noise. It’s hard to imagine what went through dad’s mind then. Probably thought, “I’m glad it was a blank!” Anyway, after the lesson, a young  boy came up to him as he was getting all his stuff together, and said, “I know you didn’t mean for that to happen. You’re too smart to do that twice.”

 6. While speaking one time, Dad was really hungry. He had preached over-time (I know your minister never does that), as he was preaching, he was thinking about eating fried chicken with potatoes and gravy. He ended his lesson by reading a song. “Rescue the perishing care for the dying, snatch the poor sinner from sin and the gravy!” (instead of grave).

   We remember dad would be relaxing in his big blue recliner as he told us about these times, and others, and we all just laughed till we cried. People who take themselves too seriously and cannot laugh at themselves, are people who are touchy, sensitive and hard to be around. Learn the lesson… you’re not perfect…

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Haze, My Friend

   I was 7 years old, and we lived in Alexandria, Virginia. Dad moved around so often, it was difficult to develop close, lasting friends. One friend I have remembered through the years is Haze. Memories are a bit blurry now, sad I cannot even remember his last name. We lived right next door to each other, and shared happy times together.  We went to Maury Elementary School, played in the snow during the winter. We dug in our sand pile in my back yard making tunnels and hills in the sand. We enjoyed playing with plastic army men and having make believe wars in the sand pile. This was during days when kids didn’t have to be entertained, and didn’t need expensive toys and electronic games. These were good days, we just didn’t know how good they were. Time passed dad got another preaching job in Beaumont, Texas, and I lost touch with Haze. Of course I thought of him, but new places, new people, new friends happened.
   Years passed, we grew up, I wondered whatever happened to my friend Haze. One day, I took a vacation and decided to go back to Alexandria. I drove by the old Elementary school, and Radio Tower Hill, where we as kids had gone down on sleds, nearly killing some by-standers. I went to our old home where my brother Ed had lost seven teeth thanks to riding on my back part way down the stairs. (He fell the other half way down.)
   Next door was my friend Haze’s house. I went and knocked on the door. His mother came to the door and at first did not recognize me. I said. “It’s me, Jack” (she called me Jackie then) of course she was happy to see me. I walked in and we sat together in a living room where Haze and I once had spent time together playing when it was rainy outside. “Where is Haze?” I asked. His mother’s face changed, it seemed that the joy just left her face. Haze was an only son, and was her pride and joy. He had grown up, was drafted to go to Vietnam. “Did he make it back?” I asked. She said that he did.
 She told me that Haze had come home from the war, and received the “welcome” that so many others received. “For months, he was terribly depressed” she said. Then the terrible news, “Soon after that he committed suicide.” My friend was dead, and I never knew. Sometimes I wonder what he thought, and why life had been so dark for him. Where was the justice in all this? Fighting a war that few supported. Seeing friends die beside him. Perhaps he wondered why he was spared.
   The emptiness in my heart is hard to explain when I think of Haze. He deserved better, they all did, and do. The pain of Vietnam, I never knew because I was passed over, but it still hurts. That is why when I meet Vets, I say, “Thank you, thank you for what you did”.
 I never got to say good bye to Haze, but August 28, 2010 my wife (Wiwik) and I along with some dear friends, went to the “Restoring Honor” rally in Washington, DC, I walked up to “The Wall” and laid my hands on the hallowed stone, and said “Thank you”, and “good-bye Haze”, my friend.
   “Honor to whom honor is due.”


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“Divorced… Now What?”

This article is part 1 of 9 in the series Divorce and Remarriage

   (Presently updating this series)
   This series is being offered simply and solely to offer hope and healing to the broken hearted. This is not an easy thing to deal with, and should not be treated lightly. Yet the church continues to be faced with this. We are not dealing with ‘things’, we are dealing with hearts. “Have you been through divorce?” asks someone? The answer is sadly yes. I understand a little more about the broken hearted David. “Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: According to the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions. 2  Wash me thoroughly from mine iniquity, And cleanse me from my sin. 3  For I know my transgressions; And my sin is ever before me. 4  Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, And done that which is evil in thy sight; That thou mayest be justified when thou speakest, And be clear when thou judgest.
5  Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity; And in sin did my mother conceive me.
6  Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts; And in the hidden part thou wilt make me to know wisdom. 7 Purify me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. 8  Make me to hear joy and gladness, That the bones which thou hast broken may rejoice. 9  Hide thy face from my sins, And blot out all mine iniquities. 10  Create in me a clean heart, O God; And renew a right spirit within me.
11  Cast me not away from thy presence; And take not thy holy Spirit from me.  (Psalm 51:1-8). 

   Yet there is hope for the broken, penetent and contrite heart…

David found forgiveness… Psalms 32:1  Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, Whose sin is covered. 2  Blessed is the man unto whom Jehovah imputeth not iniquity, And in whose spirit there is no guile. 3  When I kept silence, my bones wasted away Through my groaning all the day long. 4  For day and night thy hand was heavy upon me: My moisture was changed as with the drought of summer. Selah 5  I acknowledged my sin unto thee, And mine iniquity did I not hide: I said, I will confess my transgressions unto Jehovah; And thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin.
What precipitated David’s ‘about face’ in his life? David met the prophet…Nathan who accuses and convicts him not only of adultery, but murder as well! David’s heart crumbles before Nathan and into the arms of the Righteous God, who in turn forgives. Were there consequences? Yes, but was he forgiven? Yes. This is the ‘mainest thing’, right?!  
   Is there hope for you, for me and others? Yes, but it rests in humbly repenting and confessing sin… not in pridefully denying it. Beginning again, means having a starting point. David found his… I found mine… you can find yours. As with all sin repented of, must come the promise, “Never again Lord, never again.”


   Most every person who knows something about the Bible knows what is said regarding divorce. Just a casual look at Matthew 5 and Matthew 19 shows that the Lord is against it, and didn’t approve of how the religious leaders were handling this. Obviously divorce is not a good thing, it hurts, it wounds, it destroys… there’s just nothing good about it. Bottom line… it is not easy!
   People don’t just wake up on a bright sunny morning and say, “Well, we’ve been together for a few years now, why don’t we go down and get a divorce.” Couples who go through this crisis have been and are hurting.   
   The questions start pouring in, problems multiply from everywhere but unfortunately, many in the church who mean well, offer little comfort or help with traditional views.
   It is not the purpose of this writing to pretend that I have all the answers or that there is some magic potion which will make all problems, hurts, and relationships will somehow all be made right. I just don’t. I do understand the feelings, struggles, and many problems because I have been through marriage failures. I am not proud of it, and am truly sorry and repent for breaking my Master’s heart, and won’t do it again. My purpose in sharing this and writing, is that today the church is truly facing a serious problem with so many going through marriage failure. 
   I truly want to help those who have travelled down this ‘road of tears’. Who was the ‘guilty party’? Who did what and when? These are important questions, however the bottom line is, when divorce ocures, there is sin, somewhere. Either in action, or attitude and words or all of these together. Paul said, “All have sinned and fallen short of God’s glory” (Romans 3:23).
   I have never believed that the answer is in trying to ‘unscramble the eggs’ when this is not the Bible plan of ‘forgiveness’. Considering the First Century church and the circumstances surrounding its spreading throughout the Roman world, it is truly amazing that the Apostles handled questions of immorality, divorce and remarriage, with more simplicity than people have today.
   What I want everyone to understand at the outset is there is hope and forgiveness for all who sin, through the finished work of Jesus. He still saves “to the uttermost” all who seek Him.  
   Read what the Bible says is required for forgiveness (Acts 2:38-39 for those outside of Christ wanting ‘in’, and 1 Corinthians 6:9-11). (For Christians, Acts 8:22; I John 1:9). 
   Ever since I was in preacher’s school, and I ‘hitched’ a ride back and forth to and from school, with a good friend of mine, Harold Thomas. We would have ‘mini-debates’ on this topic…. I never believed adultery was an unforgivable sin or that peole who have divorced and remarried must separate to be or remain saved. 
   The question of the Christian, “Now what?” is addressed by God’s grace in response to Godly sorrow, repentance, and determination to NEVER, do it again.
Now it’s time to get back and serve the Lord.
   More later….


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