I am continuing to see God do good things during my time in Portugal. Last week we made a great measure of progress in recording two more training courses with Portuguese translation. We will finish those courses this week. This weekend I was blessed to minister in another three of the churches here. God is good and He is pouring out His goodness on hungry hearts in Portugal.
I have been addressing the topic of marriage and connecting this to the joining of Christ and His body in heaven and on earth. It is a testimony of the likeness and the image of God made known in a natural world and it creates the foundation for life-giving families in the nations of men. God’s way for marriage is a life-giving covenant of a man and woman. Two different identities are joined together for a greater testimony than themselves. Their differences actually work to bring life in a way that produces life beyond themselves. It is the mystery of the two becoming one. If a marriage of a man and woman has a foundation that says, what can I get from you? – it is destined to fail. What can I get? What do I get? At some point that relationship is going to be tested and someone is not going to be getting what they think they should be receiving. There is going to be a destruction from the life connection between the two. The strength of a marriage covenant is in the giving, not the receiving. But when both partners live from this foundation and for this cause, the fruit of receiving is a part of the supernatural testimony of love.
I don’t believe that marriage ever became what it was supposed to be in the Old Covenant. What held it together was an obligation to the law and sometimes challenges came in that relationship. So, Moses permitted a certificate of divorce. Divorce means to totally destroy and pronounce dead. When two individuals become one made of two and they are not giving life to one another, something is dying in the relationship. Hearts become hard. They look for life somewhere else. Looking for life somewhere else is not the real problem. The real problem is not being able to find life in the relationship. So, there is a responsibility from both the man and the woman to give life to one another. If I ever say to my wife, you have to submit to me as unto the Lord because that is what God’s word says; she should say to me, Did you read my mail? That was a private letter between my heavenly Father and me. Did you open up my private mail and look at it? When God says to the wife to submit to the husband, He is talking to the wife not the husband. I am not my wife’s teacher; My responsibility is to give life to her. That is what my mail from my heavenly Father says to me. If we mind our own business, we will have a healthy marriage.
In the Old Covenant, Moses permitted a divorce. We have to understand what divorce was about in the Old Testament. Divorce is pronouncing something dead so that freedom can come for the future. God hates divorce because divorce is death, but many couples are dead long before a certificate is given. They may be dead to one another which is an abomination to life. A controlling husband may be holding his wife to the bondage of death by demanding she remain one with him, though he is not giving her life in any way. He may demand that she can’t divorce him because it is against God’s word, but he stopped giving life to her long ago. He hasn’t washed her or watered her with life-giving words for a long time. He never brings her alongside of him in anything. He never includes her in any decisions that they make as us. But he is saying you can’t divorce me; the word of God says you can’t divorce me. The truth is, he divorced her a long time ago when he stopped fulfilling his responsibility of being a life giver.
We could take it the other way. When the wife refuses to receive the life the husband is giving. When she doesn’t believe in who she is for the sake of them together or when she doesn’t believe in who he is for the sake of them together she is binding herself from receiving the life that can be received. When she refuses to come alongside of him as a partner with him in life. When she says, you have to love me, but she hasn’t been making herself available to be loved. When these kinds of things happen there needs to be a miracle, a rebirthing of the one flesh. They have been practicing divorce. When we practice divorce, it eventually manifests for what it is – death of the marriage. When one part of the two-flesh relationship is dead to the other, it causes the testimony of that one flesh relationship to become defiled with death.
Divorce is not merely a certificate; it is the fruit of a death of one or both of the life-giving partners. We must always return to our first love to create new first experiences. Our first love is the testimony of giving our life, and the giving of life, to another. It is as simply as, here I am! I pick you. You were born to be loved by me. I was born to be loved by you.
This same principle is true in our relationship with God as the body of Christ and with our relationships with one another as the many members of that body. God is a life-giver and we must respond to Him as life-receivers and life-givers in all things. It is from this foundation that the family of God will grow in life-giving ways and with testimonies of life in all things.
Ted J. Hanson
I am scheduled to be in Africa next month. I am still believing for the funds to purchase tickets. Some of you have donated to help me and for this I am very grateful. If others of you can donate to help it would be greatly appreciated. I have several tickets yet to buy for the next few months and I am dependent upon your help as God empowers you to join with me for this cause.
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Thank You So Much – Ted J. Hanson