Faith on the Ocean

My husband and I just returned from a week-long cruise with Covenant Keepers, Inc, an amazing ministry to those who choose not to accept divorce as the answer to marital problems. It was a wonderful week, renewing old friendships and making new ones. The sea was refreshing, the fellowship was wonderful, and the rest and relaxation were welcome.

The thing I loved best about it, though, was to be surrounded by so many people of faith. Listening to stories of hardships and victories blessed me to the point of tears many times. These are amazing people! In a day and age when so many want to be “happy”, their life to be self-fulfilling, and want nothing to interfere with their ease it is quite a phenomenon to encounter people willing to sacrifice to remain faithful.

These are folks whose spouses do not want their marriage. They may have divorced them or chosen not to live with them, but in every case their spouse has rejected the marriage. These Covenant Keepers have decided to do just that. They are keeping their marriage covenant. They made a vow to God and to their spouse to remain faithful until death and they are holding faithfully to that vow.

It is refreshingly wonderful to be with people with that level of integrity. The Body of Christ needs the infusion of faith that their stand brings in the midst of divorce and remarriage at every turn. Yet so many of them face persecution from their own church and family. Few today understand marriage covenant (until death do us part) and most look at marriage as a contract (I will only be faithful only if you do your part).

Jesus is a powerful example of faithfulness in the face of unfaithfulness. He loves unconditionally and never leaves us or forsakes us, no matter how faithful or unfaithful we are to Him from day to day. Ephesians 5 compares marriage between a husband and a wife to the relationship of Christ and the Church. We can all be thankful that Jesus doesn’t give up on us when we disappoint Him. He is a covenant-making and a covenant-keeping God. And He is our example as a spouse when we marry.

Every day in ministry we see miracles as marriages that everyone called dead are restored and thriving by the power of the Lord! And every day we see those who give up on each other and decide to divorce. Everything in us longs to see the day when the followers of Christ on this earth are known for our faithful, unconditional love for one another! We long to see the world marvel when they “see how they love one another” and to hunger for the overcoming power that makes forgiveness and healing possible in every marriage!

For today we rejoice that there is a growing army of those who stand faithful to their marriage vows no matter what. May they be a sign and a wonder to this generation that has little idea of what marriage is supposed to be. Thank you, Covenant Keepers, for letting your light shine in the darkness! Love, Marilyn

“…when the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?” Luke 18:8

Father’s Day

Today we are embarking on the Covenant Keeper’s cruise. We are looking forward to all God has planned for all of us in the next few days. For us personally it is a wonderful way to celebrate Father’s Day.

We never cease to be blessed by God’s generational plan for families. So many today are making decisions that satisfy their own needs, but fail to realize how those decisions affect the next generation.

Divorce comes against so many of the plans and purposes of God for family, but perhaps its biggest casualty is the relationship of children with their fathers. We read a statistic years ago that men who do not receive custody of their children seldom continue relationship with them.

There are two schools of thought on this. Some feel that when a man decides to leave his wife and reject his family, it is best he does not continue in relationship with the children. Others feel that the relationship with their father is so important that, even though flawed, it is better than no relationship at all. There is also the situation where the mother makes the decision to leave and takes the children with her, keeping the father from relationship with his children.

Whatever the outcome, we know the enemy works hard to remove the father from his proper role in the family. Fathers are so important to the maturing of their children, to the development of their identity and purpose in life. We know there are many single moms doing a wonderful job raising their children alone and yet we know that even they recognize that they cannot take the place of a father.

Fathers are held to a very high standard by God. They are the spiritual head of their family and are given clear instructions by God’s Word of their role in the life of their children. A man who realizes the depth of his role as father will endeavor to walk closely with the Lord to draw strength and wisdom for the enormous task he has been given.

Children who lack a godly influence from their fathers face more challenges in life. Our prayer for years has been that the Church would recognize the void in the lives of fatherless children and that godly men would step up to mentor and encourage them. Too often people are simply trying to find someone to replace the previous spouse. That only adds more problems to the mix and usually does not address the real issue.

So today, we celebrate God’s plan for fathers. Whatever your personal situation is, we pray for the influence of a man of God in the lives of your children. Whether you face the challenges of joint custody or are raising your children alone, whether your spouse is not a good influence in the lives of your children, or whether you are kept from being part of their lives, God is able to bless your children because He is Father! Keep your heart open to His intervention in their lives. And if you are a father, may today be a special day of blessing for you!