Saturday, August 17, 2019

Broken

I could see it in her eyes. She had just unloaded her sad tale of a shattered fairy tale and a broken heart. Bravely she fought back the years but I see her misty eyes. For some reason she felt comfortable sharing her brokenness with me. I could only listen and love. I can pray.

There are broken people everywhere. Broken hearts are not easy to see. When people are wounded externally it is obvious. There is a gaping wound. Broken hearts are hidden. People try to fake it. They go to great lengths to try to hide their broken hearts. If you know the signs you can tell.

A broken heart is usually accompanied with a darkened heavy countenance. You've probably noticed someone who seemed down and asked if they were okay. I bet you heard many times, "I'm fine." Or if you asked them what was wrong they responded with, "Nothing." You didn't buy it but did not know how to help.

Broken people are all around us. In our families. Among our friends. Around our neighborhoods and even at work. We worship alongside broken people. From the outside it may appear such people have their acts together. Appearances can be deceiving. Broken shattered lives hide behind two car garages, nice clothing and fake smiles.

Jesus sees broken people. I find it interesting how many times He went out of His way to engage such people. The demon possessed. The woman with the issue of blood. The grieving mother at Nain. Jairus and his daughter. The woman caught in adultery. The lepers. The paralyzed man at the Pool of Siloam. The blind.

We live in a world of broken people. Widows and widowers. The divorced single parent. The impoverished. The wounded. The forsaken and neglected. The forgotten. The disillusioned. The drug addict. The adulterer. The cheated on spouse left to cope with the after effects. Unloved and unwanted children. The abused. The enslaved.

It is easy to get so caught up in our own worlds, and at times our own pain, we forget about the broken people around us. While we may not be able to fix all their brokenness we can do two things. We can pray with them and for them. We can also point them to Jesus. Jesus is able to pick up the broken and shattered lives and put them back together. He has done it for me. I have seen Him do it for others. I believe Him to do it for you today. So here is my prayer for all the broken people out there.

Jesus,

You see the broken people. They may feel alone. They may feel forgotten or ignored. You see them. You see their pain. You see their silent tears and the ones that flow freely when nobody is watching. You see tear stained pillow cases. You hear every sigh from a weighed down heart. I ask You to manifest Your presence today. In a Bible verse. In a phone call. In a text, email or letter. I ask You to show up in a friendly smile, a hug or pat on the back. I ask You to bring to mind broken people in the minds and hearts of Your followers. I ask You to motivate Your servants to reach out. I ask You to use Your servants to be You with skin on for broken people.

I ask You to lift heavy burdens off the broken. Please give them relief and refreshing today. I ask You to breakthrough in impossible situations and against impossible odds. I ask You to comfort the grieving. I ask You to draw near to them and massage their hearts with Your love and compassion. I ask You to provide for those against the ropes and who need a miracle. I ask You to save the day for them. I ask You to restore hope for those cast headlong into despair. I beg for Your still small voice to speak louder than words of demonic screams that torment the mind. I ask You to touch the physically suffering today. You are able to heal, restore and revive any broken body. I ask You to help unbelief for those trapped by their circumstances. I ask You to make a way where there seems to be no way. I ask You to give strength to those barely hanging on. Please empower them to get through this day and then the next one hour by hour.

I ask Yo to make broken people whole. For the sin stained in bondage I ask You to break the chains. For the devastated I ask You to give the garment of praise in exchange for the dungy clothes of depression. I ask You to recover to the broken what has been lost, mainly their pace of mind and joy. Those things are not impossible to You. ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE WITH YOU. I believe You for all of it for the broken. I believe You for this in Jesus name, amen.

Covenant

covenant | ˈkəvənənt |
noun
an agreement.
• Law a contract drawn up by deed.
• Law a clause in a contract.
• Theology an agreement which brings about a relationship of commitment between God and his people. The Jewish faith is based on the biblical covenants made with Abraham, Moses, and David. See also Ark of the Covenant.

God takes covenant seriously. He did for His chosen people Israel. He does through relationships between people and Jesus. He also does in the covenant of marriage. 

It is the covenant of marriage that weighs on my heart today. Nobody talks about this anymore. Two people fall in love (or lust) and wed. Sometimes a preacher performs the ceremony. Often it is a Justice of the Peace. This used to mean something. It has become a sham. I attended a wedding once where a mail order ordination certificate was ordered so an individual could legally perform the wedding. Truth is I have heard about this happening on at least three occasions. I bet there was little talk about covenant. 

Things in the marriage may start off well. The newlyweds enjoy marital bliss. Then real life hits. Bills. Work. Children. Arguments. Adjustments. Soon the fairly tale fades. Then one day one spouse decides they do not want to get married anymore. Selfishly they pack up and move on leaving a trail of devastation in their wake. They get a lawyer and head to the divorce court. Soon, after much heartache and devastation the divorce is finalized. As is often the case, the one who wanted the divorce feels free. The other is left to pick up the shattered pieces of their not happily ever after. 

Here is the part few ever think about. The covenant. The agreement for the two to become one in the eyes of God. The contract between God and two people. God established marriage. It was His idea. He set up the boundaries. He created the covenant. People can go to divorce court and break off the marriage agreement. What about the covenant? The divorce court cannot break the covenant in the eyes of God. 

Jesus did make an exception in the case of adultery. Adultery is pandemic. It seems not a month goes by that I do not hear about someone cheated on someone and now divorce is imminent. Sadly I hear about thins among Christians way too often. Satan tempts, lures, and entices people outside the covenant relationship. Covenant is cast to the side for fleeting moments of passion. Satan only creates destruction. God set up boundaries. His idea was for marriage to be between a man and a woman in saved relationships with Him and a covenant relationship between one another. A bond. A sacred trust. 

Let me state this clearly. MARRIAGE IS HARD WORK! There are compromises to make, meeting in the middle, denying self, serving, and working at keeping the romance alive. 

On the day I got married I had the whole morning to myself. I went to get a haircut. The lady asked me what I had going on that day. Proudly I stated, "I'm getting married today." I ate breakfast alone. Later I headed to the church excited and got ready to join my heart and hands with the woman who captured my heart on the campus of Howard Payne University. I put on my tuxedo. I joked with my groomsman. The hour arrived. I walked out with the preachers to stand down front to receive my new bride. When the back doors opened and she walked in with her father a flood of emotions hit me. She looked stunning. Took my breath away for a moment. Then another thought. The full weight of marriage hit me at that moment. Even though, we did premarital counseling, and our counselor told us we had a very realistic view of marriage. We read books on marriage. We talked about it endlessly. As she walked down the aisle I recall thinking, "This is not dating anymore. You don't just get to breakup. This is forever." The full weight of covenant hit me in that moment. From that moment on during the ceremony I soberly and willingly entered into that covenant marriage relationship with Brenda Maria Ortiz on June 29, 1991. We are still in love today 28 years later. 

As a pastor I have had the privilege of performing marriages for several couples. I always require premarital counseling before I officiate at the wedding. I talk about covenant. I have also sat with many a brokenhearted person coping with a cheating spouse or a spouse who just wanted a divorce because they did not love anymore. In most cases one wanted out and the other willingly would do anything to keep the marriage together. I have talked to both about covenant. Sadly many times to no avail. 

I've seen covenant broken way too many times. I have experienced the pain of broken covenant  marriage relationship first hand as a child.  I've also seen it as a pastor watching the after effects on families. Children feel torn and guilty. While children are resilient, make no mistake divorce impacts them in very real and negative ways. 

What bothers me most is when Christians throw away the covenant marriage for illicit sexual affairs. Like dogs who cannot control their unbridled lustful desires sexual flings happen. Does anyone stop to calculate the success of those type of relationships? I am betting few affairs last into happily ever after. 

Now let me state I know in the case of adultery Jesus made exceptions for divorce. While He never addressed physical abuse I cannot fathom Jesus telling a woman to stay in a relationship with blood pouring out her nose after a punch to the face from her husband. That is a discussion for another day. 

I just want to remind all of us that marriage is not a partnership. It is not a promise to stay together as long as we feel like it or until someone else better comes along. It is a covenant. One God takes seriously. I wish more people took it seriously too. 

Genesis 2:21-25 (ESV) 
21  So the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. 
22  And the rib that the LORD God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. 
23  Then the man said, “This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.” 
24  Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. 
25  And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed. 

Matthew 5:27-28 (NKJV) 
27  "You have heard that it was said to those of old, 'You shall not commit adultery.' 
28  But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart. 

Matthew 5:31-32 (NKJV) 
31  "Furthermore it has been said, 'Whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce.' 
32  But I say to you that whoever divorces his wife for any reason except sexual immorality causes her to commit adultery; and whoever marries a woman who is divorced commits adultery.