Author Archives: jandhgort

About jandhgort

We are church planters with Biblical Ministries Worldwide. We believe God is leading us to plant a church and this is one method to make known our plans.

How long does marriage last?

Perhaps you have wondered, “how long does marriage last?” Well, you wouldn’t be the first, and you certainly won’t be the last.

American societies’ views on marriage were initially shaped by the Bible and the practice of marriage in Europe. From then until the 1800s, it was typically recognized that marriage was between one man and one woman, which was binding until death (with a few rare groups or churches teaching marriage was plural, eternal, or both).

What does the Bible teach in regards to the lasting nature of marriage? We see three main passages which are relevant to the discussion are Matthew 19:1-12, Matthew 22:23-33, and Romans 7:1-3 (all quoted below). The Bible teaches that a man and woman bound in marriage are to remain so until death. Upon death, the marriage is no longer binding. Paul, writing to those called “saints,” that is true believers in Christ, who have been redeemed by God’s grace through their faith, are not given a law of eternal marriage. There is no textual evidence that this has been changed, as some claim of the Bible.

Therefore, if you are married, enjoy marriage during this life!  God’s intention for marriage is procreation, enjoyment, and protection from sin (Genesis 1:28; Proverbs 5:18, 19; Ecclesiastes 9:9; 1 Corinthians 7:1-5). Ultimately, our satisfaction should be in Jesus, for “For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame” (Romans 10:11).

Matthew 19:1-12, which is often quoted without context, reads:

Now when Jesus had finished these sayings, he went away from Galilee and entered the region of Judea beyond the Jordan. And large crowds followed him, and he healed them there.
And Pharisees came up to him and tested him by asking, “Is it lawful to divorce one’s wife for any cause?”
He answered, “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, 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’? So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.”
They said to him, “Why then did Moses command one to give a certificate of divorce and to send her away?”
He said to them, “Because of your hardness of heart Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so. And I say to you: whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery.”
The disciples said to him, “If such is the case of a man with his wife, it is better not to marry.”
But he said to them, “Not everyone can receive this saying, but only those to whom it is given.For there are eunuchs who have been so from birth, and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by men, and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. Let the one who is able to receive this receive it.”

Matthew 22:23-33 reads:

The same day Sadducees came to him, who say that there is no resurrection, and they asked him a question, saying, “Teacher, Moses said, ‘If a man dies having no children, his brother must marry the widow and raise up offspring for his brother.’ Now there were seven brothers among us. The first married and died, and having no offspring left his wife to his brother. So too the second and third, down to the seventh. After them all, the woman died. Mat  In the resurrection, therefore, of the seven, whose wife will she be? For they all had her.”
But Jesus answered them, “You are wrong, because you know neither the Scriptures nor the power of God. For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven. And as for the resurrection of the dead, have you not read what was said to you by God: ‘I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? He is not God of the dead, but of the living.”

Romans 7:1-3, written to those called saints (Romans 1:7):

Or do you not know, brothers—for I am speaking to those who know the law—that the law is binding on a person only as long as he lives? For a married woman is bound by law to her husband while he lives, but if her husband dies she is released from the law of marriage.
Accordingly, she will be called an adulteress if she lives with another man while her husband is alive. But if her husband dies, she is free from that law, and if she marries another man she is not an adulteress.

Can the Bible mean anything?

You text your wife, “Going to store need anything?” You have communicated a message, namely that you are going to be making a stop before seeing her and you are willing to purchase items she might need. She replied,

“Just this necklace.” You asked if she needed ANYTHING, so you were offering to pick up anything she felt she needed, right? Even a $6,700.00 Tiffany Soleste necklace. 

Such a ridiculous example helps illustrate that messages have meaning. The meaning of any given message is determined by the author. The Bible is ultimately written by God, as He inspired authors to pen His exact word for His audience. It turns out the audience is mankind at a given time and place, with application for all people, at all times, and in all places. If we fail to remember that there is a context and meaning of God’s Word we might start to think it can mean anything, but it cannot. It means what God intended to communicate.

Going back to the texts with your wife, she replied, “two dozen eggs and chocolate bar.” Because you knew it was for a birthday cake, you don’t pick up 24 Easter eggs on clearance and Snickers bars, you pick up 24 farm fresh eggs and baking squares. She communicated clearly, in just 24 letters.

God has written us a single volume consisting of 66 books of the Bible. Context is the key to help you unleash His Word in your life.

Stars

O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory above the heavens. Out of the mouth of babies and infants, you have established strength because of your foes, to still the enemy and the avenger. When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him?

When David wrote that Psalm, was he reflecting on his nights watching over sheep? Did he remember the intensity of the night sky while being chased by King Saul? Was he in his regal palace in Jerusalem, looking at the sky, and awed by how infinitesimal his majesty was compared to the heavens above?

Psalm 8 directed people to worship God because of His word, and was pointing  to the coming of our Creator in human flesh (Hebrews 2:6-9). Jesus, our Great God and Savior, who spoke the stars into existence, was made “a little lower than the angels” during His incarnation. The Creator of the stars, gazing at the same stars David wrote about, while He prepared lay down His life for us.

Today, we too can look up at those stars and reflect upon Him who created all things, took on human flesh, died on the cross to pay the penalty of our sin, and ascended into heaven until He comes to gather us to Himself. Let us, therefore, declare with David, “O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!”

You are the Problem

You are the problem. You make excuses. You delight in destructive tendencies. You don’t want to hear the truth.

Though the truth hurts, it is going to be more painful. If you continue in bad decision making, even worse results will follow. You are not able to do better, because your inward being is insatiably driving you forward.

You are likely trying to justify your behavior along the lines of, “why do you get to judge me,” “I’m not that bad,” or “I don’t have to listen to you.” You listen because you know what I wrote is true, you know you are actually worse than many think, and the reason I get to say these things flows from common experience (i.e. I, too, am the problem).

Our much needed solution is not in our power or ability, but in the One who created us and provided a solution. That solution was taking our place in paying the price of the penalty. However, His design is that when you receive the gift He freely offers, you would utilize and enjoy this new found freedom. Continued actions similar to those prior to the reception of His gift will result in discouragement, dissatisfaction, and disassociation, which is far the desired results.

So, quit being the problem by delighting in the Solution, in the end, He will use you to help those you love to also break the cycle and enjoy Him and the life He gives. Not sure how to begin? Start here, and if you already have done that, check this out.

What does it mean to “bear fruit?”

In John 15, Jesus and the 11 disciples (Judas having already left to betray Jesus) are gathered in the upper room partaking of the Passover feast. Jesus explained,

I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit.

Also, in verse 5:

I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.

To bear fruit, according to the context, is to hear the words of Christ and act accordingly. Therefore, as a believer in Jesus, you should be be aware that salvation is through faith in Christ’s sacrifice on the cross, and be aware of what He teaches is the way a believer should live.

Some of Jesus’ teaching is obvious, don’t lust (Matthew 5:28, 29), don’t lie (Matthew 19:28), don’t murder (Matthew 5:22), and don’t reject Him (John 5:39, 40). However, He came to give life. As He told the Jewish people, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” There is more to bearing fruit than just doing good works or not sinning, as bearing fruit should be a lifestyle for a believer.

The abundant life is the fruitful life of following Jesus! This is summed up in John 15:7, 8:

If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples.

Live your life as a follower (what disciple means) of Jesus, and in doing so, bear much fruit.

Who am I to follow?

16487168_10155890756369012_4648992587089498487_oJerry Coyne in his book Faith Versus Fact: Why Science and Religion are Incompatible, argues that that worldview that is based on knowledge gleaned through observation, testing, and skepticism is incompatible with faith in any deity that interacts with the world. In line with other “new” atheists (Dawkins, Harris, etc.), he attacks faith in general (and sometimes things done in the name of faith are right to attack, like the inquisition, bombings, willingly letting children die of operable tumors in the name of faith, etc.).

The premise is in line with his presumptions. A non-believer who writes a book espousing non-belief admits they cannot use the very tests he demands as a basis of truth on the subject of origins. He writes, “Are there times when it’s alright to hold strong beliefs that are supported by little or no evidence?” What he really means, “there is little to no evidence I and others who are pushing the atheist worldview accept, so why not let our worldview be your authority?” I encourage you to not let him and his worldview be your authority.

It may be surprising that I agree with his premise that that religion and science, as Coyne defines and articulates, are not compatible. I am not for dropping anything but Coyne’s worldview and retaining belief in the Bible. “Little to no evidence,” Coyne wrote, means there is some (and I dare say more than he would admit) for a biblical worldview. The numbers of those who believe in something among practicing scientists (22%) in America, quoted in his book, points to the majority of unbelievers in scientific community, but also to the hope that there are still those who believe. I suspect the work of those who believe the Bible is going to be under greater scrutiny, especially if pointing to Young Earth and Creation models. Thankfully, they are not absent, and their evidence may not be as readily accepted.

Writing an article telling you to not follow Coyne and the athiests, and instead follow religion “that is pure and undefiled” and to have faith in Christ, who did die on a cross and was raised from the dead is not surprising. To believe the Bible (including the specific and special creation, the worldwide flood of the earth, the exiting of the slaves from Egypt, the building of the nation of Israel, and the life of Christ as declared in the Gospels) and to go to a church that declares God’s Word as truth is in line with my role. The evidence may be slight and at times imperceptible, but it is not the first time the Bible has been put to the test and found reliable. In the face of Coyne’s premise that science alone gives knowledge, Proverbs 2:6 declares, ”For the LORD gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.” This is not a call to abandon science, discovery, and study. This is a call to study both the Bible and our universe, and in doing so, follow God.

Renew Your Mind

In stark contrast to the warning against being conformed to this world, Paul wrote in Romans 12:2 “be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”

This is for all those who are believers. We are all to be transformed by the renewing of our minds. As Paul addressed plural believers with the word “brothers,” so, here, the pronouns are plural. We are not to be conformed to the world, instead we are to be transformed by the renewing of our minds.

To the put the rubber to the road: Where is your mind? What do you dwell upon? What do you find yourself thinking about, desiring, wanting? If one ponders the Bible throughout the day, even the most mundane aspects of life can be accomplished with a renewed mind.

If you are one who consistently and constantly complains, stop (for that is not the will of God, according to Philippians 2:14), and be transformed by the renewal of your mind. If you are one who is constantly dwelling upon inappropriate fantasies, stop, and dwell upon those things that are true, and lovely, and pure, and of good report (as Philippians 4:8 commands). If you are one given to lies, stop (Colossians 3:9), and be transformed in the renewal of your mind by only dwelling on truth.